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Recipe: vegan apple crumble

Despite the sprinkling of snow this week, it’s still too early to call this season winter. That means there is still time to indulge in your favourite fall desserts. The smell of roasted squash, sweetened fruit, and perhaps a bit of pumpkin spice is too much to resist. I will literally follow that smell to the nearest bakery or coffee shop. There is something addictive about these flavours, and I’m not ready to give them up just yet!

My personal favourite is an apple crisp or an apple crumble. There is a great recipe for a vegan (with gluten-free options) version of this fantastic dessert, provided to Women’s Post by Avra Epstein, founder of Love Wild Live Free. Give it a try and let us know what you think!

Recipe Apple Crumble Pie (gluten-free option)

Yield: 1 pie (9”) or 4 mini pies (4.5”)

Ingredients

Pie Dough:

1 cup + 2 tbsp flour (see notes below on making this gluten-free)

1/3 cup *cold* unrefined coconut oil

1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

4 tablespoon *ice cold* water

Filling:

4 apples (about 1 + 1/2 lbs), peeled, cored and sliced

1/2 cup coconut sugar (or other vegan sugar)

2 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon true cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

Crumble Topping:

1/2 tsp true cinnamon

1/2 cup rolled oats (not the quick cooking kind)

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp flour

1/4 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar

1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil, softened

The tiniest pinch of pink Himalayan salt

Optional finishing touch:

1 tbsp unsweetened plant-based milk (I used rice milk)

1 tsp turbinado cane sugar

(use organic ingredients)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC).

Prepare the Pie Crust:

  1. Combine flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Using a pastry cutter (or fork), cut in chunks of cold coconut oil until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  2. Add in water 1 tablespoon at a time and gently mix until dough comes together (not to worry if it doesn’t form right away, the dough should come together when it is kneaded).
  3. Use your hands to gently knead/form the dough and gather any loose scraps.
  4. Transfer to a well floured surface and form into a disk shape. If you’re making 4 mini pies, divide dough into 4 and form each portion into a disk shape.
  5. Lightly flour the top of the dough, as well as your rolling pin and roll into a circle about 1/8 inch thick. Add more flour as needed to prevent sticking. Transfer to your pie dish and form crust moving from the middle of the dish, outwards to the rim of the dish. Repeat if making 4 mini pies.

Note: This dough is very forgiving, it may break when you transfer it to the dish, but you can easily press it back together.

Prepare the Filling:

  1. Combine apple filling ingredients in a large bowl – you can use the same bowl that you made the crust in to save time on clean up! Add filling to the pie dish(es), make sure not to include any excess liquid.

Prepare the Crumble Topping:

  1. Combine crumble ingredients in a small bowl. Top the apple mixture in the pie dish(es) with the topping.

Final steps:

  1. Optional: Lightly brush plant-based milk on any exposed pie crust on the rim of the pie dish(es) and sprinkle a small amount of turbaned cane sugar on top.
  2. Place pie dish(es) onto a baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Check after the first 20 minutes and keep an eye on the topping and crust thereafter to make sure that it doesn’t overcook.

Serve warm. Pairs well with a scoop of dairy-free ice cream or coconut whip cream.

A Note on making this Gluten Free

The flour: I have tested out a number of gluten-free flours over the years and I’ve found the best results with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour (GMO-free). I like to avoid gluten-free flour mixes that contain conventional potato and corn starch. Be wary of non-organic potato and corn as these are are grown with pesticides and are commonly genetically modified.

The oats: Oats are gluten-free by nature, but are sometimes contaminated during processing or even in the field during production. If you are celiac or have a gluten sensitivity, be sure to select oats that have a “gluten-free” label on the packaging.

 

Avra Epstein publishes organic vegan lifestyle living resources on her blog lovewildlivefree.com where she shares everything from nutritious recipes, to health & wellness information, while showcasing the best of Toronto vegan businesses and local food along the way. Her meal-time inspiration, with an emphasis on healing foods, will make you feel good, inside and out! LoveWildLiveFree was recently featured on Blog TO’s list as one of “15 Instagram accounts for Toronto vegans to follow.”

Vegan Soba Noodle Bowl with the Ultimate Peanut Sauce

On a cold snowy day, a delicious and filling noodle bowl hits the spot and leaves you feeling warm and satisfied.

LoveWildLiveFree, a vegan recipe and lifestyle blog by Avra Epstein, brings you a soba noodle bowl with peanut sauce that is full-bodied and tasteful. It’s absolutely addicting, but you can eat it without the guilt of consuming something unhealthy. A win-win in my opinion.

Soba noodles are a delicious alternative to regular pasta because they are made of buckwheat flour, a grain that is protective against heart disease and full of antioxidants. Soba noodles are also a great source of protein. Epstein also offers coconut sauce, also known as coconut aminos, as an alternative to the typical soya sauce.

Vegan Soba Noodle Bowl

Ingredients:


2 tbsp organic unrefined, virgin coconut oil (or water if you’d like to make this oil free)

1 package of Soba Noodles (about 8.8 oz)

1 onion, diced

1 bell pepper, diced

1 + 1/2 cups broccoli, cut into pieces (you can include the stems)

3 – 4 baby bok choy

fresh garlic and ginger, minced, to taste

Sesame seeds, to garnish

Pink Himalayan salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

(use organic ingredients)

makes 2 to 3 servings

Instructions:

1. Cook soba noodles according to the directions provided on the package. In general, they should only take about 3 to 5 minutes to cook once the water has boiled. Once cooked, strain and keep warm until serving.

2. Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over medium heat and add coconut oil (or water if you’d like to make this oil free, you may have to add extra while you cook as needed).

3. Add onion, minced ginger and garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes, or until soft, stirring often. Add a tiny pinch of salt to draw out the liquid – this helps the onions to soften.

4. Prepare the baby bok choy by trimming and discarding any rough bottoms. Separate the leaves, rinse, and pat dry.

5. Add bok choy, peppers and broccoli to the pan and continue to cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until cooked through. Season with pink Himalayan salt and ground pepper to taste.

6. Place noodles into serving dishes and top with pan fried veggies and peanut sauce (recipe below). Garnish with sesame seeds.

The Ultimate Peanut Sauce

Ingredients

1/4 cup smooth peanut butter

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 + 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon hot sauce (I used a natural Sriracha sauce)

1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely grated

1 tablespoon coconut seasoning sauce or soy sauce

1/4 cup filtered water

(use organic ingredients)

Instructions

1. Combine all ingredients except for the water in a small mixing bowl.

2. Add 1/4 cup filtered water and mix. Add more water if needed until the sauce is the desired consistency.

Orignal recipe can be found here: Vegan Soba Noodle Bowl with the Ultimate Peanut Sauce 

 

5 fall ciders to try from Toronto Cider Festival

If you are looking for a sweeter alternative to beer — and aren’t feeling a glass of wine —  a tasty cider could be the perfect fall solution

Ciders are normally made with fermented apples, but other fruits can be used as well.  With harvest season just around the corner, delicious and fresh ciders are available throughout Ontario. To find the best cider in the province, I attended Cider Fest on Saturday at Dundas Square and sampled some of the amazing featured beverages offered.

Here are my five favourite ciders:

  1. Spirit Tree Cider

Spirit Tree Cider was my favourite out of the ciders I tried. There were two different samples — a lavender cider and a hoppy cider. The cider with a hint of lavender was made with local apples. The floral taste the lavender added was surprisingly pleasant, making it one of the most creative ciders at the festival. The hoppy cider was also a rarity, with only a few hoppy ciders available. The hops was subtle yet apparent, and added a kick to the cider. The hoppy cider from Spirit Tree is the perfect beverage for someone who loves beer, but is in the mood for a cider that isn’t as sweet. At the cidery located in Caledon, Spirit Tree has 12 different ciders available, a bakery, and offers tours.

  1. Shiny Apple Cider

My second favourite was the Shiny Apple Cider, made in Niagara on the Lake. This cider is gluten-free and vegan, using potato rinds instead of pork rinds during processing. Shiny Apple Cider is seven per cent alcohol, higher than many other ciders. It had a crisp taste, and it tasted like it had very little preservatives. It was sweet, but there was distinct quality in the taste. Shiny Apple Cider has two cider options — Shiny Apple Cider and Shiny Red Apple Cider — and is made by Small Talk Vineyard Wines.

  1. Angry Orchard

This sweet and light cider is from Walden, New York in the Hudson Valley, was not as sweet as Shiny Apple Cider and had a light bubbly taste. It still retained an apple taste though, but the bubbly quality made it seem more like a sweet wine than a beer.  Angry Orchard has over 10 ciders and provides a variety of seasonal tastes, ranging from adding cinnamon to ginger while retaining the true apple taste of the region. Definitely try Angry Orchard a cider.

  1. Thornbury Village Cider

The Thornbury Village Cider is sour and has a closer taste to a champagne. It is a perfect option for someone who loves wine, but is looking to branch out into other taste palettes. The cider is also highly carbonated, which varies in different ciders. The beverage is from Thornbury, and also boasts being gluten-free and vegan. The cidery is located along the shores of Georgian Bay and is a beautiful site for a tour.

  1. Forbidden Dry Cider

The final contender for best five ciders is the Forbidden Dry Cider, a beverage made by the Coffin Ridge Boutique Winery. This cider is very similar to wine, and is typical for dry ciders. If you like tart drinks then Forbidden is for you. The winery is located near Meaford, Ont., which is close to Georgian Bay.

The weather may be getting cooler, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy patio season with a good cold brew. Throw on a jacket and a light scarf and enjoy the changing of the leaves. For those who don’t enjoy hoppy beers or tart wines, a cider is the perfect option. These are just five recommendations, but there are dozens to try, each with different flavours and fruit notes. Be a bit adventurous and try these local ciders this fall.

 

What is your favourite cider? Let Women’s Post know in the comments below.