raw cherry pear crumble

In my family, maple syrup is considered a food group. When I was growing up, my grandparents lived on a large and heavily forested property in Northern Ontario and would tap maple trees for their sap. They built a sugar shack and my cousins and I would have such a fun time playing in the snow while the sap boiled down to syrup. To this day, maple syrup remains my sweetener of choice. It’s flavour brings back really found memories and I’m always happy to support my fellow Canadian maple syrup makers.

Using maple syrup instead of agave and pears and cherries as a substitute for apples, I made this delicious crumble inspired by the raw apple crumble found in Going Raw by Judita Wignall.

raw cherry pear crumble

RAW CHERRY-PEAR CRUMBLE

TOPPING
1 cup pecans
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup raisins
4 Medjool dates
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 cup cherries

In a food processor, combine pecans and coconut sugar and process until you get a coarse meal. Add raisins, dates, sea salt, rolled oats and pumpkin seeds and process until the mixture sticks slightly together. Pit and slice cherries and set aside.

FILLING
3 tbsp maple syrup
juice from 1 lemon
1/4 tsp cinnamon (or combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice)
2-3 pears, thinly sliced

In a large bowl, combine maple syrup, lemon juice and cinnamon. Add pears and cover with filling mixture.

ASSEMBLY
Spoon half of the topping into the bottom of a pie dish or glass bowl. Layer pear filling on top and then drizzle remaining liquid over top.  Spoon on remaining topping. Garnish with cherries. Let set for 1-2 hours and serve.

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chocolate-avocado pudding

When I was a child I absolutely loved chocolate pudding made by a certain company whose name ends in “O.” How amazing was it that you could just open the package, mix it with dairy milk and 15-minutes later, viola! Pudding! My younger self never questioned what was in the pudding, the ignorance of youth can be bliss. But it’s this ignorance that ignored this rather scary looking ingredients list -

SUGAR, MODIFIED CORNSTARCH, COCOA PROCESSED WITH ALKALI, DISODIUM PHOSPHATE (FOR THICKENING), CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, SALT, TETRASODIUM PYROPHOSPHATE (FOR THICKENING), MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDES (PREVENT FOAMING), RED 40, YELLOW 5, BLUE 1, ARTIFICIAL COLOR, BHA (PRESERVATIVE).

As an adult, I’m not ashamed to admit that I still love pudding. However I don’t love that the above list contains more chemicals than it does actual food. Determined to create a rich pudding, it took me a few tries but I think I’ve created the a truly delicious and decadent dessert.

Made with avocado to give the pudding a creamy and smooth texture. Many people still fear the avocado because of the high fat content. But fear not friends! This type of fat is a monounsaturated fat which has been shown to reduce inflammation.  Avocados also support the heart and blood vessels and help with blood sugar regulation. Make avocados your friend by trying out this recipe…

chocolate avocado pudding by danielle felip

CHOCOLATE-AVOCADO PUDDING

2 ripe avocados
1/2 cup maple syrup (coconut nectar will work too)
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon

Cut avocados in half and scoop flesh into a food processor. Add in remaining ingredients and process until mixed thoroughly and fluffy. Scrap into a bowl and divide into four small portions, cover and chill.

Makes 3-4 servings.

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kale, apple + sunflower seed salad

It’s easy to over-complicate things…our relationships, our health, our priorities…life. All of these  can be made simpler with focus, organization and dedication but perhaps the first place to start is with food. It’s often the simplest meals that are the most delicious, maybe it’s because we take less time preparing and more time enjoying. Salads are an easy meal – throw a bunch of food into a bowl, cover with dressing and eat.

Unfortunately, we can even over-complicate a salad by adding lots of unnecessary and unhealthy ingredients, additives etc. The salad below brings things back to basics – simple, clean and full of nutrients. It takes minutes to make, is deliciously crunchy as well as detoxifying to the body.

kale, apple + sunflower seed salad by danielle felip

KALE, APPLE +SUNFLOWER SEED SALAD

2 bunches of kale, small chiffonade (or use baby kale)
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 apple, chopped
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup organic extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp maple syrup
splash of apple cider vinegar
1 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raisins
sea salt, to taste

Massage kale with lemon juice using your hands for a few minutes to break it down. In a smaller bowl, combine mustard, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and sea salt. While whisking mixture vigorously, add the organic olive oil slowly in a thin stream. Mix dressing with kale and top with sunflower seeds, raisins and apple.

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pineapple-broccoli stir-fry

Now that I co-habitat with the boyfriend, we’ve agreed that (well, mostly) I will handle the cooking. This is fine with me as I’m particular with what I eat.

The boyfriend doesn’t care too much about what he eats as long as he’s fed. So it’s a win-win for both of us. Cooking for breakfast and lunch are generally no issue, but when it comes to dinner I need to create meals that satisfy my love of sweet and his love of savoury.

I found a recipe for pineapple-broccoli stiry-fry online however it included chicken and some additional ingredients that were not to my liking. After a few modifications it became an equally satisfying sweet + savoury meal vegan meal anyone can enjoy.

pineapple-broccoli stir-fry by danielle felip

PINEAPPLE-BROCCOLI STIR-FRY

1-2 tbsp coconut oil
1 red pepper, diced
1/3 cup red onion, diced
1 cup pineapple, cut  into small chunks (tip – use fresh, not canned!)
2 tbsp water
2 cups broccoli florets
2 tbsp coconut aminos
4 tbsp pineapple juice

Heat coconut oil in a wok over medium-high heat and add red pepper and red onion, stir-fry 2 minutes. Add pineapple chunks and water and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in broccoli and cook for 5 minutes, broccoli should be a vibrant green. In a bowl, combine coconut aminos and pineapple juice and then add to vegetable mixture. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes to cover vegetables in mixture. Remove from heat and serve or soba noodles (pictured) or rice.

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orange goji cacao balls

Over the past few months, the excitement I once had for searching through friends blogs, cookbooks or creating my own recipes disappeared. I lost a lot of the purpose and patience I once had to prepare meals. I am fortunate enough to live in a city that allows me access to quick and healthy take-out and food but after weeks of receipts from local vegan hotspots piled up on my desk I realized this is not how I wanted to be.

Life cannot be so busy that we forget one of the core needs that keeps us going…food! Good, whole and nourishing foods. And not just food as substance, but food as pleasure and as something that brings us enjoyment.

Over the weekend I found myself wandering down the street, enjoying a gorgeous Spring day and itching to get back into the kitchen to craft something delicious. And that dear readers, is what I did. I created these tangy yet sweet Orange Goji Cacao Balls that I hope will please you.

orange goji cacao balls

ORANGE GOJI CACAO BALLS

10 Medjool dates
1/4 cup goji berries
1 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup almonds
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp raw cacao powder
pinch of sea salt
zest from one orange

Pit Medjool dates and cut in half. Place in small bowl and fill with warm water to top.  In a separate bowl, add goji berries and fill with warm water to cover. Let dates and goji berries soak for 10 minutes to soften them. In a food processor, add hazelnuts and almonds. Process to a fine but slightly chunky consistency (you do not want to extract too much oil from them) Drain dates and goji berries and add to food processor with nuts. Add your sweetener of choice, raw cacao powder, sea salt and orange zest. Process until well combined. Roll into balls, top with a goji berry and refridgerate until ready to serve.

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