This blog is all about Food. Real Food. Food that Nourishes, Heart and Soul.

Real Ingredients, Organic and Locally sourced whenever and where ever possible, shared with love.

No packages, no ingredients that are impossible to pronounce.

Real, honest food, from my kitchen to yours. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Roasted Carrot Soup with Leeks and Thyme

With this cooler weather upon us, thick hearty steaming bowls of homemade soup can warm your insides better than a cozy blanket by the fireplace. Soup is one of my favourite fall meals, its like a warm inside out hug.
This one takes a bit of time to prep, but you can always roast the veggies when you have your oven on for something else and refrigerate them until you were ready to make soup. Saving that roasting step would have this soup on the table in 20 minutes flat.

The carrots in my garden this year are lovely and this soup is a wonderful showcase for their delicious flavour. It is creamy and smooth without the need for dairy (although a swirl of sour cream would be lovely on top…!) I don't peel my
carrots for this recipe, but you may want to for store bought carrots.

As with most of my soups I prefer to use my homemade bone broth as the base. Nutrient dense and made from what would typically be waste; bone broth is both frugal and delicious! If you choose to use a store bought stock, be sure to read the ingredients first and avoid any with ingredients you cannot pronounce (and therefore should not eat!!)

this handy tool strips
the tender thyme leaves
 from the woody stem,
easy as pie!
Roasted Carrot Soup with Leeks and Thyme

Approx. 2 lbs of carrots, peeled if necessary and chopped
5 cups chopped leeks, (rinsed, white part only-see ***below)
2 Tbsp avocado oil (or coconut)
2 Tbsp fresh thyme, woody stems removed
1 tsp herbamare or sea salt of choice
5 stalks celery, chopped
2 Tbsp butter
8 cups bone broth or broth of choice.

Preheat oven to 400F.

On a large parchment lined baking sheet, toss chopped carrots and leeks with the avocado oil, thyme and herbamare.
Pictured without the thyme, I forgot to add it
before I took the picture :(
Roast in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Stir on the pan and roast for another 20 minutes.

When veggies are done, remove from oven and set aside.

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat until it starts to bubble. Add celery, and stir frequently until it starts to soften, approx 8-10 minutes. Add the roasted veggies and your broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat, and puree til smooth with an immersion blender (or whiz in a blender, in batches if necessary, being careful as hot soup in a  blender can be dangerous!!)

Check for seasoning and serve hot!

***Prepping your Leeks!

Cut leeks where they just start to turn colour. Using a bit of the green is ok! Trim off the root ends.
Cut the trimmed leek pieces in half lengthwise. 
Rinse well under running water, leeks are often sandy in between their layers. 
Chop and use as directed :) 

Friday, 9 October 2015

Grain Free Pumpkin Cream Cheese Streusel Muffins

It seems everything is coming up pumpkin right now. Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin spice cheesecakes, pumpkin spice smoothies, pumpkin spice cookies and muffins…I could go on….and on…and on…!!! But, I guess it is the season, and... so as not to be left out, I came up with these beautiful muffins on the weekend. They are the perfect melding of warming spices, mixed with the smooth cream cheese and the delicious pumpkin, you will be tempted to eat more than one!

Don’t let the long list of ingredients deter you from giving these muffins a try!   I believe, of all the muffins I have made over the last few decades, these might now be my personal favourites!

For the pumpkin puree, you can either cook a pie pumpkin (see my easy Crockpot cooking method at the bottom of my Pumpkin Bar Recipe) and use one cup of that,(freeze the rest!) or purchase a good quality organic puree (not a pie filling!)

Grain Free Pumpkin Cream Cheese Streusel Muffins

Cream Cheese Filling:
1 cup cream cheese, room temp
1 tbsp honey
1 egg
Muffin Batter:
½ cup coconut flour
1/3 cup arrowroot flour/starch
2 tbsp chickpea flour
½ cup coconut sugar
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cloves
1/8 tsp allspice
½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
¾ tsp freshly grated ginger (use a kitchen rasp) or ½ tsp dried ginger
3 eggs
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumkin pie filling!)
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
Streusel Topping:
½ cup chopped pecans
3 Tbsp coconut sugar
2 tsp arrowroot flour/starch
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375F
Line a 12 section muffin tin with muffin papers or grease well.

Combine Cream Cheese filling ingredients together in your stand mixer or electric beaters until nice and smooth. Set aside.

Measure all muffin ingredients into a large mixing bowl and blend well with an immersion blender. Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, measure the streusel topping ingredients and mix well. Set aside.

Divide batter evenly between the 12 sections of the muffin tray.  Using a Tbsp, nestle a scoop of the cream cheese mixture down into the center of each muffin, and continue, using up all of the cream cheese.
Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the tops of all of the muffins.
Bake in preheated oven for 23-25 minutes or until the cream cheese filing looks to be set.
Remove from oven, and let stand in the muffin tin for 5 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool the rest of the way.

Refrigerate any  leftover muffins for up to 3 days.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Roasted Pears

Fall is pear season (and apple season, and squash season, and anything pumpkin season…!!) but I think the lovely pear too often takes a back seat in the whole fall harvest line up. Pears are delicious! They are high in fibre (more so than apples!) chock full of flavenoids, they are easily digested and low on the allergen scale. What’s not to love?!

There are a myriad of ways to enjoy this virtuous fruit.  Raw pears are lovely chopped or sliced into a salad with slivers of a nice sharp cheese and some toasted nuts (dip slices in a weak lemon water solution to mitigate the browning).  And, of course, who could forget this Honeyed Pear Upside Down Skillet Cake? These brilliant roasted beauties are also lovely chopped onto a salad too, adding a nice balance to a feta and greens combo. They also go well in chia puddings, (another post I am working on!) Pears really are the unsung hero's of autumn!

You will notice this recipe is rather large, and is perfect for a crowd. But with how tasty they are,  I am sure you will agree that more is better and leftovers are always used up in our house! If you do want to cut it down, reduce your ingredients accordingly except the liquid, only take it down to ¾ of the amount. The juices that accumulate in the bottom of the pan make a lovely drizzle, you won't want them to roast dry. 

Roasted Pears

9 Pears (Bosc, Bartlett or Red Bartlett all work well)
3 Tbsp butter, cold if possible, cut into 18 small pieces
1 tsp vanilla or vanilla powder
2 Tbsp coconut sugar (or other sweetener of choice, maple syrup and honey both work well, just drizzle instead of sprinkling)
1 cup liquid (you can get creative here! I usually use water, but have recently also used a nice hard apple ginger cider, but regular cider or apple juice would be lovely too)

Preheat oven to 400F

Cut pears in half lengthwise, and remove core and stem. A melon baller works wonderfully for the core, but I have used a teaspoon in a pinch.
Place pears cut side up in a 10x15 glass pan (or two smaller pans if necessary).  Sprinkle with the vanilla and the coconut sugar. 
Place a small piece of butter into each cavity. Add the liquid to the pan (if using two smaller pans, increase the liquid by ¼ cup for each pan)
Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and carefully flip the pears so the cut side is now down. Bake for another 20 minutes (at this point check to make sure the pears are soft thru…if your pears are on the firmer side you may need to add 5-10 minutes to the cooking time to cook them thru, you want them to be fork tender.)
Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving with topping of choice. (we have topped them with whipped coconut cream, vanilla ice cream, this maple custard, or just on their own. )

Pears pictured here topped with
a lovely vanilla ice cream and
a drizzle of pan juices 
These pears were roasted with a hard cider,
in a cottage on Lake Seneca for
 a friends birthday. We topped them with
whipped coconut cream and served with a
really fast ginger espresso  meringue-like
 cookie that I winged!