Oatmeal Chocolate Chip ‘Macaroons’

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No these aren’t really macaroons, but I had trouble coming up with a name for these babies. Are they cookies? Clusters? Balls? All sounded a bit off. They do have almonds and coconut so, why not put a twist on a macaroon. Don’t get confused with the Laduree macaron (mack-ah-rohn) you get in paris. These are a play on the  mack-ah-roon you most likely have tried at a passover dinner or at one of your g-free friends get togethers.

These clusters were created months ago while watching a pretty intense Montreal Canadians hockey game. For those of you reading who live outside of Canada, hockey is pretty much a religion here. We take it very seriously. There were lots of dudes and their ladies that were craving something sweet. I pretty much need no excuse to bake, so I went to to my mans (Zach) kitchen to see what he had in his pantry. I had been making him granola weekly at this point so I figured something had to work!  I pulled out oats, almond flour (that was there from cauliflower pizza making), chocolate chips, coconut, coconut oil vanilla, maple syrup and got started. I basically used my best baking judgement of the amounts I needed and mashed it in a bowl, formed it into balls and put it in the oven. What we were left with was a pretty amazing cluster of goodness that we polished off that night.

So ladies, if you are trying to get your significant other or male friend to eat a little healthier, I suggest you start with these. All the boys couldn’t get over how it was even possible that these cookies were good for you. One of Zach’s friends even called me the next day to personally tell me how good they were. He said, “why have I been eating unhealthy cookies all this time when I can just eat these?” Music to my fucking ears.

So these macaroons, cookies, clusters whatever you want to call them, are gluten, dairy and refined sugar free. They are packed with fiber, healthy fats, good carbs and are a really good snack to get your energy up after a long day or before a workout. The best part is that they are so easy to put together. One bowl, barely a mess (yay no flour), and bake in half an hour. Enjoy!
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Ingredients:

• 3 tbsp coconut oil + extra for greasing
• 2 eggs
• 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
• 1 tsp pure vanilla exract
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 1 cup almond flour
• 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
• 3 cups large flake gluten free oats (not the quick cooking kind)
• 1/3 cup 70% cacao chocolate chips or 70% cacao chocolate bar chopped finely
• good pinch sea or pink himalayan salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet parchment paper and grease with coconut oil.In a pan or microwave safe bowl, melt 3 tbsp coconut oil.Transfer coconut oil into a large bowl and allow to cool.
2. To the coconut oil whisk in eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla.
3. Then add in cinnamon, almond flour and coconut. Stir until combined.
4. Add your oats one cup at a time and stir. If you find the batter is getting too dry then leave out 1/2 cup of oats.
5. Form palm sized balls (about 2-3 tbsp). Squeeze tightly so that the liquid inside the oats releases and allows them to stick together.
6. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden. After 15 minutes, turn the pan so they bake evenly.
7. EAT AND ENJOY <3
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One of my many taste testers, Kat, giving her approval.

One of my many taste testers, Kat, giving her approval.

Squash and Carrot Soup with Spicy Cilantro Corn and Pumpkin Seeds

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Todays post will be a short one as I have had a super busy week and am quite exhausted! Lots of teaching, tutoring, cooking and catering and I have barely any steam left. But, I don’t want to leave you with no post this week so this one mostly be recipe.

One of the best parts about the cooler weather is cozy sweaters and comforting food (although we are getting one hell of an indian summer here in Montreal). I love making hot soups that both fill and heat you up. I love most soups, but squash and carrot soups are two of my favourite. I had both options in my pantry so I figured why not combine the two? I have started ordering produce from any amazing farm here in Montreal called Lufa Farms.  The produce is beautiful and always in season. It has actually helped inspire me to use ingredients I don’t normally buy and combine ingredients I hadn’t thought of before.

For this soup, I spiced it up with fresh ginger, turmeric, cumin chilli flakes, garlic and creamy coconut milk. I love different textures in my food so I topped my soup with fresh corn sautéed with cumin and fresh cilantro and some toasted pumpkin seeds. This soup is a meal in itself as it gives you loads of vitamins, good carbs, protein and healthy fats. Have a great weekend! Bon appetit!
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Soup Ingredients:

• 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
• 2 leeks (chopped)
• 1 sweet onion (chopped)
• 4 cloves garlic (chopped)
• 1 tbsp turmeric
• 1 inch knob of fresh ginger
• salt and pepper to taste
• 1 tbsp cumin
• 1/2 tsp dried oregano
• 1 tbsp paprika
• 1 acorn or butternut squash (chopped)
• 1 lb carrots
• 1 quart vegetable or chicken stock (preferably homemade or low sodium organic)
• 1 can coconut cream

Topping Ingredients:

• 3-5 ears of corn (kernels cut off the knob)
• 1 tsp cumin
• 1.5 tbsp freshly chopped cilantro
• 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
• a few drops stevia (optional)
• 1/2 tsp chopped fresh garlic or garlic powder
• salt and pepper to taste
• 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

Directions:

1. In a large saucepan, heat oil on medium-high heat. Add leeks and onions, sautée until tender and translucent. Add your garlic, ginger and spices. Cook for 1 minute.
2. Add your squash and carrots. Allow to cook in the spices for 5 minutes. Add your stock and allow to come to a boil. Reduce heat and cook with the cover on for about 25-30 minutes. You want the squash and carrots to be super tender and easily pierced with a fork.
3. Add your coconut cream and taste. Adjust any seasonings and then carefully transfer the soup into your blender with a ladle. (Make sure to hold the top of the blender with a dishtowel to save yourself from being burned!) Puree until reached desired consistency.
4. For the topping: Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan on high heat. Add your corn, cumin, garlic, salt, pepper, stevia and chilli flakes. Allow to sit on one side for about 5 minutes to add colour to the corn. Sautee until golden brown. Turn off the heat and add freshly chopped cilantro.
5. To serve the soup: ladle one scoop of soup into a bowl. Sprinkle about one tbsp of the corn and 1 tbsp of toasted pumpkin seeds. Enjoy!
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Caramelized Banana ‘Ice Cream’ Pie

Photo 2014-09-09, 4 58 38 AMI often find myself having the urge to cook or bake and I love when I get to share my creations with friends and family. My man and I were invited to a friends for dinner, and instead of bringing the expected bottle of wine, I wanted to bring something homemade. I find it really nice to bring something you have taken the time to make when invited to a friends or family for a meal. Whether you bring your infamous, jam, granola or even salad dressing, I think it shows you have made the extra effort. Even making a cake from a box counts as homemade in my books! Bringing a homemade gift is personal and can be shared by all your guests!

With that said, I normally contribute to a dinner with a sweet ending. It was cold and rainy outside the day of the dinner and I had zero interest in going to the grocery store. So as always, I looked at what I had in the pantry and got to work. I had tons of super ripe bananas (as per usual) and I wanted to make something other than my Cinnamon Bun Banana Bread. I thought it would be a good idea to make a delicious banana cream pie. So, I began mixing my coconut cream, ripe bananas, vanilla etc.. and I put the finished product into the freezer to get it to solidify quicker. After bringing it to guests, everyone said they preferred it frozen then in its creamy state, so… the banana ‘ice cream’ pie was born!

Not only is this pie insanely delicious, it is also gluten, dairy and refined sugar free… oh and vegan! It is the perfect dessert to close our summer before we start all craving hot apple pies and rice puddings.The caramelized banana pieces in the centre are too die for! And even those who weren’t crazy about coconut couldn’t get enough of the coconut crust. What is best about this pie is that it is super easy to put together and only involves around 15 minutes of baking time. All you need is a good blender or food processor and the work is done for you! I served mine with some delicious coconut milk ice cream and raspberries but in truth, it really doesn’t need it. Bon appetit!
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Crust Ingredients:

• 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
• 1/4 cup egg whites
• juice of half a lemon
• 1/2 cup coconut sugar
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 pinch salt

Filling Ingredients:

• 4-5 very ripe bananas
• about 1/2 cup coconut cream (preferably organic)
• 1 cup coconut yogurt (you can find this in most grocery stores in the health section)
• 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
• 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
• pinch of salt
• 1 tbsp coconut oil
• 1 tsp coconut sugar
• 2 tsp cinnamon (divided)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Mix all crust ingredients in a medium sized bowl and pour into a well greased pie dish. I greased mine with coconut oil. Press down evenly and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool.

3. While the crust is baking start preparing your filling. In a blender or food processor, put all but one banana, coconut cream, maple syrup, coconut yogurt, 1 tsp cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Pulse or blend until well combined and creamy. Put mixture in the fridge.

4. In a pa on medium high heat, allow coconut oil to melt. Slice one banana and carefully place into the oil. Sprinkle the bananas with coconut sugar and cinnamon while in the pan. Allow to cook on each side for at least 5 minutes or until golden and caramelized. You can use an offset spatula to flip each one. Set aside.

5. Pour half of the filling into pie crust. Spread caramelized bananas all around. Pour the remaining batter over the bananas. It is ok if you find the caramelized bananas have floated to the top. Simply push them down. Place pie in freezer and allow to set for at least 2-3 hours. It is best to make this the day before you need it or in the morning to ensure it freezes in time.

6. To serve, allow to sit at room temperature for five minutes. Dip a sharp knife in hot water to cut through. Enjoy!

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