Blueberry and Peach Summer Crumble

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Living in North American makes it incredibly easy to gain access to all sorts of fruits and vegetables year round. It has become so easy that as consumers, we have forgotten what grows when. Part of eating for wellness is making an effort to eat more locally which often allows for proper harvesting, a lower environmental impact and a positive economic impact for your community. It is quite simple. If you live in Quebec and buy Quebec fruit, farmers will be able to contain more nutrients within the fruit by allowing it to ripen naturally on the parent plant. By only transporting within Quebec, there is a shorter transportation time and Quebec farmers will be supported and happy! The consumer will be happy as well, knowing they are getting food that isn’t made in a large plant that is often focused on yield rather than quality.

Although we are blessed to have all these amazingly delicious fruits and vegetables year-round, I do urge you to stay in tune with what is in season and to buy local whenever possible. Although it can be more expensive, there really is nothing more gratifying then walking through a farmers market and knowing you are getting quality food while supporting your community. Don’t get me wrong, you will find me at Provigo, Loblaws etc… But I do make it a point, especially during the summers, to make it to farmers markets as much as possible. And its not always more expensive! That delicious (but expensive) iconic Quebec maple syrup you get in a can is actually half the price at Atwater Market! That alone is worth making the trip over!

So… what is in season now you ask? I know my readers come from all over the world so it truly depends on where you live. My advice is to find a well accredited website in your area and do a research. If you live in Quebec (comme moi!) you can click here  for an amazing chart of what is in season monthly!

If you take a look at that chart, you will see that both peaches and blueberries are in season during the month of July. In honour of their deliciousness I have made a wonderful crumble to celebrate! I highly recommend Jean-Talon, Atwater and Maisonneuve markets which are the largest here in Montreal. If you live elsewhere, you can check online for the best markets in your area. It is also worth it to check out small family owned grocery stores which often have the best produce and alternative products. Weekends are the best for making a day out of market and grocery store adventures. Drive a little further than you would normally, and you will be blown away with what unbelievable produce is available coming right from your hometown.
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Now on to the food. I love fruit desserts. Pies, crumbles… you name it, ill eat it. They are so easy to make and so very versatile. Any fruits you like will work and if you can’t find whats in season, you can use frozen fruit as well! How easy is that. I love mixing cherries, strawberries and apples. The possibilities are endless.For this summer crumble, I am using two fruits that are in season, but if you want to make this in the winter time, you can freeze the fruit yourself in freezer safe bags, or buy frozen peaches and blueberries at your grocery store. If you use frozen fruit, make sure to let them thaw and drain some of the liquid otherwise you might end up with a soggy crumble! Also, I like to leave the skin on my peaches for a more rustic dessert. If you hate the skin, feel free to peel it off.

You will also notice that there is a large amount of topping for this crumble. The topping is my absolute favourite part so I always like there to be an abundance! That is really the beauty of home cooking. Being the chef allows you to alter and adapt your dishes to how you, friends and family like it best! If you find theres too much topping for your pie, you can pour the mixture onto a sheet pan and bake for about 45 minutes for a perfect granola! As always this recipe is free of gluten, dairy and refined sugars. It is also vegan! Bon Appetit!
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Topping Ingredients:

• 2 cups gluten free oats
•4-6 drops stevia
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1 cup walnuts
• pinch of salt
• 1 heap tbsp arrowroot starch
• 1/2 cup coconut oil (not melted)
• 1 tbsp cinnamon

Filling Ingredients:

• 1/3 cup maple syrup
• 4 ripe peaches (sliced)
• 2 1/2 cup blueberries
• 2 heaped 2tbsp arrowroot starch
• juice and zest of 1 lemon

Directions:
1. Prehead oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, combine all the filling ingredients until well coated. Set aside.
2. In a food processor, pulse all the topping ingredients until crumbly. You still want some texture here so do not over pulse! Make sure to use coconut oil in its solid state and not melted.
3. Pour fruit mixture into ramekins or pie dish. Using a spoon, pour desired amount of topping onto the fruit. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling and beginning to pour over. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
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Creamy Coconut Avocado Lime Pie

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Theres nothing like the refreshing and creamy taste of a key lime pie. Back when I ate whatever was in front of me, this was my go-to dessert at any steak house. Although always light in taste and texture, key lime pie is heavy in dairy, gluten and refined sugars. But, have no fear, a clean version of this recipe has been surfacing all over the internet. No I am not the first one to make an avocado lime pie, but after making this about 4-5 times by now, I think I finally have got the flavour just right. With some coconut cream, avocado and lime juice this dessert would fool any sweets fan.

This pie in particular is not called ‘key lime’ pie because I could not find any key lime juice. Fun fact: most people just call their lime tarts and pies by the key lime name even though key lime juice is nowhere to be found. Key limes are actually a variety of the lime family, but can be quite difficult to find in grocery stores. I am sure however, this recipe would be just as delicious (maybe even more so) with some key lime juice.

In the ingredients, I give options for sweetening this dessert. If someone is watching their carb or sugar intake in your family you can replace the coconut sugar and maple syrup with stevia. My dad watches his carbs like a mad man and I have been making this for him on a weekly basis. One of the hardest parts of following a low carb diet or having an illness that restrains sugar intake is satisfying a sweet tooth. The low carb treats that are offered by the various diets (Atkins, South Beach) are full of chemicals, hydrogenated oils and artificial sweeteners. My dad is thrilled he can eat a dessert that has good for you fats and natural low glycemic sweeteners. There are always ways to meet the dietary needs of your family, friends and guests! With a few trips to your local health food stores, your pantry will eventually be filled with all the ingredients you need for an allergy/diet friendly home. I hope you enjoy this refreshing summer dessert!
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Crust Ingredients:

• 2 cups shredded coconut
• 1/2 cup egg whites (about 4 egg whites)
• 1/3 cup coconut sugar or 1/2 tsp stevia
• pinch of salt
• 1 tsp vanilla

Filling Ingredients:

• juice of 4 limes (about 1/2 cup)
• zest of 2 limes
• 1 cup of organic coconut cream (**if you cannot find this in grocery stores, simply place two cans of full fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight and only use the thick white cream found at the top of the can)
• 3 ripe large avocados (about 2 cups scooped)
• 1/2 tsp stevia or 1/3 cup maple syrup
• dash of salt
• 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
• fresh mint and lime slices for garnish (optional)

Crust Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and line tart pan.
2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well combined. Press mixture into pan and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Let cool.

Filling Directions:

1. Using a spoon, scoop out the avocado from its skin and place in a food processor.Process until smooth.
2. Add the coconut cream, stevia (or maple syrup), salt, vanilla, lime juice and lmd zest. Process until completely smooth.
3. Taste the filling! You may need to add more sweetener or lime juice depending on how you tart/sweet you like it best!
4. When the crust has cooled, pour the filling into the crust. Place this in the freezer for about 1 hour or until it becomes solid. To serve, simple remove the pie from the freezer 15-20 minutes before serving.
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Easiest Gluten Free Bread

Photo 2014-06-24, 4 10 23 AMThere are so many misconceptions revolving around this very new and trendy gluten free world. Gluten free is not synonymous with healthy. In fact, it can actually be the opposite. Most gluten free products are filled with tapioca, corn or potato starches. Whats wrong with these, you ask? Its not that these are entirely unhealthy for you. However, they are not the best choices if you are trying to lose weight, control hunger or stabilize blood sugars. Heres why:

These starches helps bind gluten free recipes and improves the texture of baked goods. Tapioca helps add crispness to crusts and chew to baked goods. Compared to wheat flour however, these alternatives have very little nutritive value. They are very low in protein and fibre and have a high number of carbohydrates.These starches are one of the few products that actually raises your blood sugar more than wheat. Mean nothing to you? Heres a point of comparison… regular table sugar raises your blood sugar less than wheat does. So wheat has a very high glycemic index*. The flours used in commerical gluten free breads, baked goods and frozen dinners contain tapioca, potato, corn etc… have an even higher GI!
This contributes to diabetes, cataracts, arthritis, heart disease and growing belly fat. The high glycemic value in these starches leaves you feeling unsatisfied and wanting more and more AND MORE!! Pretty much, this is the gluten free version of white bread.

This is not to discourage you in any way shape or form to derail from your gluten free diet. Genetically modified wheat comes with more problems than gluten free flours. What I do recommend however is to be more mindful of the ingredients in the breads, pastries and other gluten free products you find in your grocery stores. Better yet, if you can find the time to make your own gluten free meals and desserts you will be in control of you are eating! My goal with this blog is to give you guys simple, healthy and delicious recipes that won’t leave you feeling disappointed or unsatisfied. There will be no fillers, unhealthy oils or loads of added starches. With the use of almond, coconut, brown rice and quinoa flours as the main ingredients in your recipes you can make the most delicious breads that can be enjoyed by your entire family.

I don’t often eat gluten free bread because it really does make me feel starved after I eat it. And I have trouble stopping myself at two pieces. It is also filled with vegetable oils, sugar, processed fillers and salt. If baking is not your thing and you would rather buy a bread, I highly recommend a brand that is made here in Quebec called Cuisine L’Angelique. Is it an all organic and gluten free bakery line that is also casein and dairy free. The primary flours in their  bread is made from brown rice , buckwheat, quinoa and amaranth. They only use olive oil in their breads and often add superfood seeds like flax, hemp and pumpkin! These breads do contain xantham gum so if that is bothersome for you, I highly recommend making the super simple bread recipe I have provided here.

Like everything, have your bread, cakes, pastries etc… But eat it in moderation. I cant express this enough: GLUTEN FREE DOES NOT MEAN HEALTHY! Plus those gluten free cookies from the grocery are usually bland and crumbly. Also, because people seem so frustrated with people following this ‘gluten free fad’ it has become quite difficult for those who are celiac to ask for gluten free options or say no to food that has gluten in it. It has become kind of a nuisance to some service people or even peers because it seems everyone is just jumping on board with this health trend and faking an allergy. If you truly are sensitive to gluten I urge you to not succumb to pressure and continue on with your gluten free ways. I don’t care how annoying I may be, my health comes first! It is not worth the stomachache to not be that annoying girl with food allergies. If anything, it is a lot more irritating for us!

This gluten free bread recipe is SO easy to make and requires very little arrowroot starch. I have made this without the starch but you will get less of a crusty crust and more of a… very dense cake. This bread in generally is a bit heavier than most airy toasts, but I really enjoy that. You really only need one slice cut in two and you are more than satisfied. If you rather work without the starches and replace with more buckwheat or almond flour your bread will still taste absolutely delicious. For this recipe all you need is a few good eggs, hand mixer and 4-5 ingredients! Hope you enjoy.

****The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly blood glucose levels (i.e., blood sugar) rise after eating a particular type of food.
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Ingredients:

• 1 cup almond flour
• 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
• 1/4 ground flax or chia
• 3/4 cup arrowroot starch/flour
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1/2 tsp baking soda
• 4 eggs
• 1 tsp raw honey
• 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
• 1 tbsp coconut oil

Recipe adapted from Elanas Pantry Bread 2.0

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, combine almond flour, buckwheat, arrowroot, flax/chia meal, salt, and baking soda
2. In a larger bowl, blend eggs for 5 minutes until light and frothy.
3. In a small saucepan melt coconut oil and honey and whisk until combined. Then stir in honey coconut oil mixture and apple cider vinegar into eggs.
4. Mix dry ingredients into wet.
5. Pour/scoop (it will be a bit thicker) batter into a well greased loaf pan (I used coconut oil)
6. Bake at 350º for 30-35 minutes, until outside looks brown and a toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.
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