Blackberry-Pear Crumble

Yesterday I made a pear-only crumble for my dear friend Alison's house warming potluck and the general concensus was good. Today I thought I would try it again, but with the addition of blackberries, so I went out picked a large yogurt container's worth of berries this morning (very exact measurements, I know). All of the fruit in the recipe was handpicked by me today (and free!). Crumbles usually call for brown sugar but I am using honey instead, since my Dad and I harvested 40 lbs. of honey from our backyard beehives yesterday. He got two stings, but I avoided it entirely. His advice? Tuck your pants into your socks.

Blackberry-Pear Crumble
4 c. pears, peeled and diced
1 to 2.5 c. blackberries (I used the full amount, but it's your call.)
2 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. butter, melted
2 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

2 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. oat flour
1/3 c. butter
1/3 c. honey
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Preheat over to 350

Filling: Peel and core pears, then dice them into 1" cubes. Combine diced pears with cornstarch, butter, honey, and pumpkin spice spice until pears are covered. Gently add in blackberries, making sure they are coated, but trying not to mash them up. Tranfer filling into 9x9 pan and gently even out fruit.

Topping: Combine rolled oats, oat flour, pumpkin pie spice and butter, and using fingers or a pastery wire hand pastry blender, chop the butter into pea-sized pieces. Add in the honey and vanilla extract. Pour the topping on to the fruit in the pan, then flatten mixture gently so it is evenly covers the filling. Bake for 40-45 minutes.


Late Summer Vegetable Chili



Plum Pie

There are hundreds of plums in my backyard, so I decided it was time for a pie. In the background you can see the tree where all the plums came from. I love when things come full circle like that.

My first three pie crust attempts failed. Once because I tried unsuccessfully at using gluten-free flour. The next two failed as well, which baffled me because I used regular flour and two different "No Fail Pie Crust" recipes. After this I tried tasting the the flour I had been using, only to discover it was not flour, but powdered soy milk! I tried for a fourth pie crust and got this beauty. I am so good at making pie crusts.

After the (eventual) success of the first pie, I made a second. This pie had a starry double crust. I got the idea for the crust from Joy of Baking, and they got the idea from Martha Stewart who makes "star spangled" blueberry pie for 4th of July reasons. Please, never make this with a blueberry pie. Unless you're being deeply, deeply ironic.

I used the same basic recipe for Blueberry Pie from Joy of Baking, except that the filling was different.

Plum Pie Filling
  • 6 cups plums, pitted
  • 3/4 c. honey
  • 2 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 5 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/3 c. water

Cook the plums in water for 10 minutes. Add the honey, lemon zest, vanilla and cornstarch and cook until thickened (about 5 minutes). Allow to cool slightly before pouring into pie crust.

Cherry Snowballs, again.

I made these to take to a VIVA-Raw vegan potluck and it went over well, with all of them disappearing in the first three minutes. I've made these many times, and if you're interest in the recipe, click here.


Tomato Vegetable Soup

I've been making a lot of meals in the slow cooker lately, my second favourite appliance. So there have been many soups/chilis/curries. I like slow cookers because you can go off and do something else whilst your meal cooks. The recipe for this is almost a non-recipe, but I wanted to demonstrate how easy it is to make something like this via a slow cooker. It was made even easier by chopping up all the vegetables via the food processor. Oh, the food processor, my favourite appliance, maker of nut butters.

Tomato Vegetable Soup
  • 1 c. cooked kidney beans
  • 2 c. crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 c. tomato paste
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 bunch celery
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 purple onion
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • handful basil leaves
  • tbsp. organo
  • tbsp. cumin
  • 2 c. water
Put the previously listed ingredients in the slow cooker for at least three hours. You've made soup!


Whippersnaps-inspired Stir Fry

My cousin Allison runs the food blog Whippersnaps, detailing her culinary adventures in healthy vegetarian food. After reading a few pages of it I decided to make a tribute meal, partially because the idea of a tribute meal from one food blog to another amused me, but at least 70% because she makes delicious looking food. So I tried my hand at a healthy, vegetable-laden dinner inspired by some of her stir frys. I even tried to get the photography similar, but it came out a little dark.

"The Whippersnap"
  • 1/2 c. salsa
  • 3 deseeded tomatoes
  • 2 sm. heads broccolini
  • 1 sm. Japanese eggplant
  • 5 green onions, chopped with scissors

I stir fried this, adding maybe 1/3 c. water to keep it from burning. It made about 3 servings.


Cafe Bliss

I frequented to Cafe Bliss, the local raw vegan restaurant a'coupla times (okay, a *lot*), which made for some excellent food photography opportunities.

I Love Summer salad
(mixed greens, avocado, blueberries sunflower sprouts, tahini-lemon dressing, flax seed cracker)

Greek salad
(lettuce, mixed greens, tomato, red pepper, purple onion, cucumber, olives, cashew cheese, flax cracker)

Mediterranean Pizza
(cashew cheese, pesto sauce, marinated vegetables on a dehydrated buckwheat and flax crust)

Thai Coconut Soup

A closer inspection of the ever-present flax cracker.
(chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, unhulled sunflower seeds)

Caramelized Walnut Fruit Salad
(bananas, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, caramelized walnuts)

... and finally a chocolate raspberry cheesecake. It was the one year anniversary of the restaurant so I had to get it. I should post DIY instructions for how to make these because raw vegan cheesecakes are much easier to make then you would think and understandably delicious.


Honey Harvest

As some of my readers know, my Dad took up beekeeping a few years ago in order to look into Colony collapse disorder, and because, you know, it's in the top five for Things You Can Put On Toast. I too have become an apiarist. A few days ago there was a ball of bees clustered outside the entrance to the hive. There are are almost always bees outside the entrance, particular during the daytime in the summer, but we're talking thousands of bees. At first he thought they were about to swarm, but after explaining the symptoms to his beekeeping mentor it was decided that more likely the bees had completely filled the hive with honey to the point where they had driven themselves out. Which means: honey harvest!

We've already harvested about 30 lbs of honey of the 100 lbs available in the hive. My Dad doesn't take any more than a generous estimate of what the bees themselves will need, so he would be considered an ethical beekeeper. The 100 lbs of honey is top of what the hive needs to sustain itself during the winter.

One comb was full of pollen, about one in seven compartments packed full of it. The tangy pollen-laden honey has completely spoiled me for anything else. Bee pollen is around 40% protein and rich in B-vitamins (mustn't... make... pun). I really wanted to make a pun there, but ultimately I decided against. Anyway, it is particularly useful to eat pollen from local beekeepers if you suffer from allergies, because it exposes you to local flora in minute quantities.

Green Juice, again.

Yes, more green juice. These consisted of celery, cucumber, swiss chard, mixed greens. I made these up for me and my parents, because the tables have turned and I am now the one insisting they eat-...er, drink their vegetables. The two on either side of the picture also contained an apple each, but I didn't put one in mine (middle) because I am a juicing masochist, OBV. Lower glycemic index!