APPLE PEAR CRUMBLE February 22, 2012

Good grief has it really been THAT long???  Well, I guess it has, and I’m confident with my excuse: new motherhood.  I welcomed the best thing EVER into my life last year and it’s been one hellova rollercoasster ride since.  Poopy diapers and tantrums aside, I still love love love to cook and bake.  So that’s that.

Here’s a great recipe for one of my autumnal faves … Apple Crumble.  This version is modified to be GLUTEN FREE that has a slightly almond twist and incorporates pears as well.  It’s a quick and elegant way to use up any apples or pears you just know will go if you don’t use them soon, and is super easy to prep.  Now that time is of the essence (crazy toddler running around), making food that is healthy AND ready F-A-S-T is more important than ever.



1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup almond flour (or oats)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger (this is optional)
3 tbsp butter (at room temp)


3 tbsp almond flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. ground ginger (this is optional)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 pounds apples (about 4 medium sized)
1 1/2 pounds pears (about 4 medium sized)
1/2 cup dried cranberries or craisins or raisins
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp almond or vanilla extract


1) Grease an 8″ or a 9″ square baking dish

2) Peel, core, and slice apples and pears.


* In a medium bowl, combine sliced almonds, flour, sugar, cinnamon and ginger

* Add butter to mixture, and combine ingredients and butter until mixture resembles loose crumbs (best to use your fingers!)


* In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, cinnamon and ginger, then add apples and pears, cranberries, lemon juice and almond extract.

* Mix fruit with the dry ingredients to coat, being careful not to break up the fruit (again – best to gently use your fingers!)

3) Transfer FILLING (fruit mixture) to the baking dish, and sprinkle TOPPING mixture evenly over top.

4) Bake at 375° F for approx 30-35 min or until topping is starting to turn golden brown, and fruit juices bubble.

5) Cool slightly before serving


– you can serve with whipped cream or ice cream

– can be served warm or cold


Summer-Slaw July 16, 2008

Hmmm, saving money, making tasty food AND eating healthy … what a trio … and this slaw fits the bill. Cabbage is a cheap veggie that is often overlooked these days. I say “bring back the ‘bage!” Plus, this recipe is just a loose guide. You can add just about any fresh/crispy veggie to a slaw, and if you want it really creamy instead of ‘zingy’ just add some mayo and sour-cream instead of oil and vinegar. Keeps nicely for about 2 days, but that’s about it. A mandolin REALLY helps here – it’ll cut down your chopping time significantly.


1/2 medium head of green cabbage, shredded

1/2 small head of red cabbage, shredded

1/2 small red onion, chapped finely

2-3 celery stalks, chopped finely

1/2 orange pepper, chopped finely

6-8 string green beans, copped finely (I cut them diagonally)

1/4 cup each of diced cashews and sesame seeds, toasted (you can use almonds too – or omit nuts completely)

1/4 cup sesame oil

1/4 cup salad oil

salt and pepper to taste


1) Prepare all veggies, add to a large bowl with nuts and toss.

2) Whisk all liquid ingredients with salt and pepper, pour over salad, and toss to combine.

3) Chill for at least an hour before serving. To serve, simply toss and sprinkle with a few sesame seeds.


– you can turn up the heat a little bit by adding some cayenne pepper or a few drops of hot sauce to the seasoning

– great additions include shredded carrots, raisins, black sesame seeds, slices of mandarin oranges, or even dried crsipy noodles.


Breakfast Orangy Muffins July 10, 2008

Who doesn’t love a muffin?  Somehow we’ve convinced ourselves they are breakfast material and guilt free (when really they are glorified mini cakes, in my opinion).  However, they are the easiest things to bake – what other recipe encourages such lack of stirring/mixing?  The lumpier the better.  And while you’re at it … why not even smear a hot fresh-out-of-the-oven- muffin with the creamiest butter you can find.  We scrimp enough – just save this for a nice treat … you deserve it. 




3/4 of a stick unsalted butter

1 and 2/3 cups flour

1/4 cup ground almonds

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

1/3 cup sugar

zest of 1 orange

1/3 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed  works best if you can)

1/3 cup milk (dairy works best, however rice or soy can be used too)

1 egg

12 muffin tray lined with 12 paper cases (or well greased)

You can also add dried cranberries if you wish – use about 1 cup or less.





1) Preheat the oven to 400F and place paper liners in muffin tray.

2) Melt the butter and set aside.

3) Combine flour, ground almonds, baking soda and powder, sugar and orange zest in a large bowl.

4) Measure orange juice and milk into a large bowl and whisk in egg and finally the cooled, melted butter.

5) Pour liquid ingredients into the dry, mixing with a fork slightly (if batter is too dry, add a tbsp of orange juice or milk as needed).

Don’t forget that the whole point of muffin mixture is that it can’t  be overworked!!!


6) Spoon mixture equally into muffin cases and cook for 20 min (or until a cake-tester comes out clean).

7) Remove to a wire rack and let cool slightly (but not completely) before enjoying!


Notes – these freeze nicely if well sealed.



Toasted Almond Pesto May 13, 2008

Filed under: Italiano,Veggie Mains — s mcdowall @ 9:18 pm
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Pesto is by far one of the easiest and versatile sauces to make.  It pairs well with any pasta or your choice, and tastes great over just about anything (gnocchi, tofu, chicken, fish … you get the point).  I’ve even used it as a dipping sauce for crusty bread.  This variation uses toasted almonds instead of pine nuts, so you get the sweetness from the almonds, plus all their wonderful health benefits too.  Really one of the best meals I’ve made.



1 package of pasta (I used rigatoni)

1/2 cup of skinless almonds, slivered

1/2 cup of freshly grated parmasean cheese

1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic gloves

1-2 cups of fresh basil

salt and pepper



1) boil pasta as per package instructions.

2) heat a fry pan to extra hot, and toast almonds for about a min – do not burn!

3) transfer toasted almonds into a food processor and pulse.

3) add olive oil, basil and garlic to food processor and blend until smooth.

4) place mixture into a large bowl and combine with parmessean, and salt and pepper to taste.

5) add sauce to pasta and serve hot or cold!  Garnish with a few basil leaves and a bit of parmessean.


Granola – the quick and easy kind February 22, 2008

I just made this and if I could guess what heaven smells like, I would bet on the aroma my house is bathed in right now. This healthy and delicious granola recipe is easy to prepare and will leave you snubbing store bought impostors.
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 1/2 cups oatmeal
1/4 cup wheat bran
1/4 cup ground flax
1/2 cup dried cranberries (you can half this with raisins too)
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
3 tbsp nut butter (I used a combo of peanut and almond)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup honey or agave syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla

1) Preheat oven to 300F
2) Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
3) Combine all wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
4) Add wet into dry, and throughly mix until evenly blended.
5) Spread onto a baking sheet and bake for approx. 40 min.
6) Cool and serve!

*Store at room temp – no need to refridgerate.
*This makes an awesome gift. Wrap it up in an air-tight Mason jar or other glass/plastic container. Now, aren’t you swell!?


Brekkie + Snackie Bar January 30, 2008

Making homemade granola and granola-type bars is very easy, and gives you complete control over what goes into them. Thank god! This recipe is really really versatile and can accomodate numerous substitutions and proportions.


Date Mixture:
1/2 cup chopped dried dates
1/2 cup water

Flax Mixture:
5 teaspoons freshly ground or store bought flax
1/2 cup warm water

Dry Ingredients:
3/4 cup quick oats
1/4 cup flour (any wil do here; I used hemp)
1/4 tsp cinnamon (or to taste)
1/3 cup chopped raw almonds
1/3 cup raw seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, etc)
1/3 cup raisins
1 cup diced dried fruits (apples, cherries, pineapples, mangoes, prunes, etc)

1) Lightly coat a 9″x9″ baking pan with cooking spray or oil and set aside.

2) Prepare Date Mixture:
– Add 1/2 cup water and diced dates to a small saucepan.
– Bring to a slow simmer and cook about 5 min, stirring occasionally, until dates are soft (mixture will be nice and thick).
– Allow to cool.

3) Prepare Flax Mixture:
– Combine 1/2 cup very warm water and 5 tsps freshly ground or store bought flax.
– Set aside for five minutes to thicken then stir.

4) Mix all dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl.

5) Add flax mixture to date puree, and stir well.

6) Pour wet into dry ingredients, and mix to combine.

7) Press mixture into prepared pan, and bake at 350F for approx 15 min.

8] Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars, and serve!

– These keep really well if stored properly.

Add ins:
– 1/3 cup coconut flakes
– 1 tbsp oat bran
– 1 tbsp protein powder