Pumpkin Soup with Toasted Macadamia Nuts + 10 Minute Herb & Cheese Scones

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Pumpkin soup is always a crowd pleaser. This rustic, thick and creamy concoction paired with warm, fresh-from-the-oven scones  is the ultimate comfort food

This soup is silky smooth, and loaded with bold pumpkin flavour. It’s an easy-to-make, basic soup turned gourmet meal with the addition of salty, toasted macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, and a sprinkle of homemade parmesan cheese. Macadamia nuts are good enough as is, but toasting them releases hidden flavours and adds a whole new burnt, smoky salty, and rich dimension that complements the soup perfectly

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The scones are cheesy and buttery and infused with rosemary, thyme, basil and sage. They’re perfect for dunking and smothering in pumpkin soup or just slathering with butter and eating straight from the oven. I made two versions. One with a gluten free flour mix and one with spelt flour. The gluten free version was more flaky and crumbly while the spelt version was a little bit denser and held together better, but both were equally good.

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Pumpkin Soup with Toasted Macadamia Nuts

  • 2 medium size carrots
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 medium size apple
  • 1 medium size Hokkaido pumpkin or other type of pumpkin
  • 420 mL almond milk or other milk
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp ground almonds (almond meal)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • handful of macadamia nuts and pumpkin seeds

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Wash and peel the carrots, onion and apple. Cut them into small cubes and place them on the baking tray.
  3. Cut the pumpkin into small cubes and cut the skin off. Put the pumpkin on the baking tray with the apple, onion and carrots.
  4. Bake on the middle rack for about 30 minutes or until everything is soft
  5. Take the vegetables out of the oven, and using a blender, food processor, or hand mixer, mix the vegetables with the milk, olive oil,  and almond meal. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. If you’re going to eat the soup right away, transfer it to a pot on the stove and heat it over medium heat until it reaches desired warmth
  7. Put the macadamia nuts and pumpkin seeds into a small frying pan without oil, and toast them over medium heat. Watch them carefully and move them around once they start to turn brown so that all sides toast equally. This takes about 5 minutes
  8. Sprinkle the nuts and seeds over the soup along with some homemade parmesan cheese

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10 Minute Herb and Cheese Scones

Makes ~8 scones

  • 2 cups whole wheat spelt flour (or gluten free flour mixture)
  • 1/2 cup buttery spread
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy cheese shreds
  • 8 large sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup almond milk or other non dairy milk
  • Chopped fresh herbs: ~2 tbsp each of chopped fresh rosemary, basil and parsley.
  • 1 tbsp each freshly chopped or dried sage and thyme

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour and baking powder
  3. Cut in the butter until you have a crumbly mixture
  4. Add all other ingredients and mix until well combined
  5. Form the dough into 8 balls and place them on the baking sheet
  6. Press them down with your hand or a fork so that they are slightly flat
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until tops are golden brown

Maple Syrup Sauce & Oven Roasted Fall Veggies

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Sweet, sticky, golden and delicious maple syrup makes a regular appearance on pancakes, waffles, over ice cream, in oatmeal and with all things sweet and breakfast-y. But when it comes to dinners and savoury dishes  it’s often overlooked in favour of saltier, sauce friendly alternatives like soy sauce, mustard and spices. But it shouldn’t be! This Maple Syrup Sauce adds a delicious flavour dimension to any savoury meal. It’s thick and sweet, with a kick of heat and spiciness from Dijon mustard, a touch of garlic, and delicious maple-y flavour swirled throughout. This is my go to sauce for pretty much everything. My favourite way to have it is just poured over a plate of grilled or oven roasted vegetables but you can also enjoy it as a salad dressing (I love it on spinach salad with strawberries and onions), drizzled into pumpkin soup, used as a sauce on a sandwich, over pasta or rice or as a dip for sweet potato fries.

imageimageimageWith only 6 ingredients, it can be whipped up in a heartbeat and can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 weeks. It’s great to make ahead and use as an easy sauce or spread whenever needed.  Here’s how:IMG_3620A big warming plate of oven roasted vegetables is a great meal idea as the weather gets cooler and when you’re not feeling too creative in the kitchen. It’s one of my favourite weekday evening meals.  All it involves is chopping any vegetables you have on hand, drizzling some oil over them and popping them in the oven. It’s quick, easy, healthy and filling, and nothing beats a big plate of warm food and a glass of red wine on a cool fall night.

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Maple Syrup Sauce

Makes between 1 and 1.5 cups of sauce

  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Generous amount of ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Directions

  1. Mix Dijon mustard, garlic, balsamic vinegar, pepper and maple syrup in a food processor or in a small bowl with a hand mixer
  2. Slowly add in the olive oil and continue to mix until everything is well combined and you have a thick, smooth sauce
  3. Store in a sealed jar or container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Oven Roasted Veggie Plate

  • Any vegetables you have on hand – I used eggplant, button mushrooms, pumpkin, brussels sprouts, red and yellow bell peppers, tomatoes, and onions. It’s also great with portobello mushrooms, potatoes, zucchini, and squash and pumpkin of all shapes and sizes.
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil to drizzle
  • 1 cup chick peas mixed with 1 tbsp olive oil, paprika, chili powder, pepper, and cumin
  • maple syrup sauce

Cut up your veggies, put them in a large bowl and pour a little olive oil over them (enough to coat them all). Mix with your hands making sure that all of the vegetables are well coated. In a separate bowl mix the chickpeas with olive oil and spices. Line 1 or 2 trays with parchment paper and spread the vegetables and chickpeas out evenly.

Bake at 350 F for 30-40 minutes or until vegetables are soft.

Drizzle with as much maple syrup sauce as desired.

Maple & Vanilla Bean Mini Donuts

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Maple syrup is great…on pancakes, as a natural sweetener in baked goods or coffee, on fall vegetables like sweet potato or pumpkin, or just with a spoon. I love all things maple and I didn’t think that pure maple syrup could get any better until I recently discovered a glorified version of maple syrup that I can’t believe I’d never tried before…Pure Maple Butter.  It’s basically maple syrup boiled down until it transforms into a thick, creamy, sweet and buttery spread. I’m not sure how I managed to go 24 years living in Canada without trying it! it’s amazing!

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Spoonful by spoonful, the maple butter in my fridge was slowly disappearing and before devouring the entire jar I wanted to make use of it. The jar suggests spreading it on toast but I think it deserves something more gourmet than that! With it’s naturally sweet flavour and easily spreadable texture I thought that it would make a great no-fuss-frosting. And it tastes like the frosting on my childhood favourite doughnut Canadian Maple. So I decided that some maple doughnuts were a good idea.

These doughnuts are:

  • Baked not fried
  • Made with whole grain spelt flour
  • Refined sugar free… sweetened with pure maple syrup!
  • Doughnut pan free! all you need is a standard muffin tray
  • Super fast and easy to make— you can make the batter in under 10 minutes!
  • Light
  • Fluffy
  • Maple-y and sweet and sure to impress even the pickiest of donought eaters!

They go perfectly with a cup of tea or a chai tea latte

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Maple & Vanilla Bean Doughnuts

  • 2/3 cup soy milk or any other milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp ground vanilla powder (or use liquid vanilla)
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 cup whole wheat spelt flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and grease a muffin tray with oil or a buttery spread
  2. Mix the soy milk and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl, stir and let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and ground vanilla.
  4. Add the maple syrup and melted coconut oil to the milk + vinegar mixture and stir well
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until well combined.
  6. Spoon the mixture into a regular muffin tray putting about 2 heaping tbsp in each muffin hole so that they are about 1/4 full. If you have a doughnut tray you could use it as well!  Use the back of a spoon to spread the mixture around evenly.                                                               image
  7. Bake for 15 minutes and allow them to cool for 10 mintues before removing them from the pan.
  8. Once removed from the pan use a sharp paring knife to cut a small hole in the centre of each doughnut. Or just leave them whole!
  9. Spread some maple butter on the top of each doughnut. This works best if you do it while they’re still slightly warm so that it’s easier to spread and goes on smoothly.  If you don’t have or can’t get maple butter you could top these doughnuts with any kind of jam, nut butter, or regular glaze or frosting.

Autumn Lattes 3 ways – Matcha + Chai + Pumpkin Spice

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My favourite season is now officially here! Colourful blowing leaves, pumpkins galore, roadside stands selling hearty fall produce, apple cider, pumpkin farms, corn stalks and hay bales, Thanksgiving and Halloween spirit, hoodies, jeans, cozy knit sweaters and boots, cool temperatures and warm food.  And of course pumpkin spice lattes!

There’s no better way to kick of the fall than with a seasonal latte. As you walk through the city when the weather cools down, the iconic green and white starbucks cups pop up everywhere full of delicious chai, vanilla, and pumpkin spice flavours. And a latte in the morning (and possibly the afternoon and evening!) adds a wonderful comfort on a cool fall day.

But as fancy and complicated as everyones favourite fall beverages may seem, they’re actually totally DIY-able and involve minimal effort!

Here are some easy recipes for three of my favourites….Matcha, Chai, and Pumpkin Spice

1. Matcha Latte 

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Matcha Latte

1 serving

  • 1 cup almond milk (or any other milk)
  • 1 tsp matcha tea powder
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  1. Mix the almond milk, maple syrup and nutmeg in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Add the matcha tea powder and mix well with a hand mixer or milk frother. You can also just use a whisk or fork but that tends to leave clumps.
  3. Enjoy!

2. Pumpkin Spice Latte 

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Pumpkin Spice Latte

If you’re anything like me, then at this time of year pumpkins are fighting for space on your countertop, and leftover bowls of cooked pumpkin in the fridge aren’t uncommon.  So it’s that much easier to whip up a latte.  Whenever I cook a pumpkin I save a couple of pieces just for that purpose. So when the pumpkin spice craving hits there’s no muscle power needed to cut the pumpkin and no waiting around for it to roast…. It’s cooked and ready to use! But if you don’t have any leftover pumpkin and don’t want to take the time to cut and cook one then you can also use canned pumpkin.

1 serving

  • 1 cup almond milk  (or any other milk)
  • 1 serving of espresso
  • 1 heaping tbsp of pureed roasted pumpkin (or use canned pumpkin)
  • 1 tsp maple syrup, agave or other liquid sweetener
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  1. Mix the almond milk, espresso, maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Add the pumpkin, reduce heat and mix well with a hand mixer. Alternatively, you can pour the milk mixture into a blender to incorporate the pumpkin.
  3. Froth using a milk frother if desired
  4. Pour into your favourite mug and enjoy!

 

3. Chai Tea Latte   

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Chai Tea Latte

1 serving

  • 1 cup almond milk (or any other milk)
  • 1/4 cup strong chai tea (1 chai tea bag + 1/4 hot water)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of ground ginger
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup, agave or other liquid sweetener
  1. Put the chai tea bag in 1/4 cup hot water and let it sit for 5 minutes
  2. In a small saucepan, bring the almond milk to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and add the maple syrup, spices and chai tea. Stir well for 1 minute
  4. Froth using a milk frother
  5. Pour into your favourite mug, sprinkle some cinnamon on top and enjoy!

 

Chewy Carrot & Sunflower Seed Crackers + Canapés

image It’s that time of year when pool parties, bonfires, and warm summer bbqs are replaced with indoor get togethers and that means that instead of simply grabbing something frozen to throw on the bbq we’re faced with the task of coming up with more weather appropriate dishes to serve.

Whether you’re celebrating an occasion, having friends over just because or just have a bowl of hummus waiting to be dipped into, these carrot and sunflower seed crackers are just what you need!

Salty

Chewy

Seedy

100% healthy

Flour-free

Oil-free

This isn’t your traditional crispy and crunchy cracker but more of a soft and chewy version similar to a flatbread. They’re loaded with fiber rich carrots and tons of seeds. Perfect for munching on straight from the bowl or for dipping.

And if you need something a little fancier to serve your friends and family you can easily jazz these crackers up by topping them with some avocado, herbs, and sun dried tomatoes for instant, bite-sized appetizers!

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Makes 30-35 crackers

  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2.5 cups grated carrots
  • 4 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1/4 sesame seeds
  • 3/4 cup water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional-  I like to eat these crackers plain but if you want to add some more flavour you can try either:
    • 1 tbsp minced ginger
    • 1 clove of garlic and some chili flakes for more of a kick
  • sesame seeds,poppy seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and extra sunflower seeds to sprinkle on top

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Grate your carrots and set aside
  3. In a food processor, process the sunflower seeds into a fine powder. Add the carrots, flax seeds, salt, pepper, sesame seeds and any optional ingredients and process until everything is combined
  4. With the food processor running, slowly add the water in a thin stream. The mixture should be thick, but moist enough to spread.
  5. When everything is well combined, spread the dough onto the parchment lined baking sheet so it is about 1/4 inch thick.
  6. Sprinkle on any seeds that you’re using as toppings and press them into the dough with your hand.
  7. With a knife or pizza cutter, cut into bite sized squares (it’s easier if you do this before baking)
  8. Bake for 40 minutes or until the crackers are dry and crispy

Canapés three ways – to turn these crackers into fancy litte appetizers just top them with one of the following combinations or come up with your own

  • Spread the cracker with a layer of tahini, and top with a piece of sliced avocado, a leaf of basil and a couple slices of chili pepper
  • Or: spread the cracker with mashed avocado and top with 1 or 2 sun dried tomatoes and chopped chives. This is my favourite!
  • Or: Spread the cracker with mashed avocado and top with 3 or 4 pieces of sliced cherry tomato and a basil leaf.

Hummus, baba ganoush, pesto, or vegan cheese shreds would also make great toppings!