Pumpkin Pie Smoothie & October in Victoria

by Julie on October 6, 2016

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

This recipe bears repeating since it is my favourite seasonal smoothie evah!  When pumpkin season arrives all I can think about are the cozy flavours and the goodness packed into this scrumptious smoothie.  It’s my pumpkin pie in a glass!  I’ll be enjoying it all month as I plan my events about town since there are sooo many fun and exciting activities to take in this year in my very own home town!

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First off, I’m excited for a 3 day break as we celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend with family at our cottage.  Forest hikes, maybe a calm water kayak along the waters edge where the golden maple leaves rustle in the breeze, followed by cups of warm spiced tea by the wood stove if it rains…I mean when it rains.  It’s a rain forest, so it’s inevitable.  Either way it’s a wonderful weekend to recharge after a busy back to school routine in September.  I hope you have some lovely plans brewing too.

If you find yourself on the Saanich Peninsula over the long weekend a visit to a favourite farm cafe and bakery might be in store.  I was just there recently to check out their autumn display! At The Roost one can enjoy a warm beverage and a farm fresh meal or snack (with fresh ingredients grown on their 10 acre property) surrounded by pumpkins and even the odd chicken stopping by to say hi.  It’s a family favourite since we love the opportunity to sit outside with our cozy scarves on and a steaming cuppa in our hands.  We usually end up here after taking in the most exciting Vancouver Island Corn Maze that has us traipsing thru aisles and aisles of corn stalks searching for clues to solve a puzzle.  They have a brand new design for 2016 so follow the link for the aerial view of this maze, it’s aaahmazing!

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I don’t know about you but because my kids are still of ‘trick or treating’ age  we are always keen on fun activities as Halloween approaches but this year….well let me say we are over the moon (on our trusty broomsticks) excited about what’s happening in our town as the City of Victoria is transformed into a Fangtastic Thrillerism! Whaat’s happening….? Wow!  In the past we made a lot of our own Halloween fun and joined in our local neighborhood bonfire which we love but this year there is sooo much more to take in way before it’s even time to get dressed up!  In fact, there’s pretty much something exciting to do on a daily basis during the entire month from checking out our local ghosts to exploring haunted places and much more in British Columbia’s most haunted city! If you are thinking of visiting it might just be the perfect time to plan an autumn escape, it’s soo pretty here too!  Because I’m born and raised in this town of course I’m a little biased but I think you’ll agree!  If you decide to make your way here, send me a note and perhaps there will be an opportunity for a meet up.

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Okay, so back to that delicious pumpkin pie smoothie!  If you can get your hands on a sugar pie pumpkin, the kind that pies are made of, these are the tastiest pumpkin variety because they have a much lower water content than a jack-o-lantern pumpkin that is used for carving out a fun face. To keep it simple I usually cut the pumpkin in half, scoop it out and roast the halves face down on a cookie sheet in a teeny bit of water until fork tender. Then I let it cool and then scoop out the goodness.  Sometimes I freeze the tender pumpkin flesh in small portions. Plan B is to purchase organic pumpkin puree from the store, hopefully in a BPA free tin.  So long as you get yourself some tasty pumpkin, all will be well!

roasted pumpkin

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Yield: 2 -10 oz smoothies
1 cup steamed pumpkin or organic canned pumpkin, bpa free tin
1 cup thick organic coconut milk, bpa free tin
1/4 cup almond milk + a little more (preferably home made)
1/2 avocado
1-2 tbsp hemp seeds
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp all spice
pinch nutmeg
pinch ground cloves
1/2 tsp vanilla
6-10 drops liquid stevia to taste

Method
Place all ingredients into blender and combine until well until smooth.  Adjust thickness if needed to your liking with additional almond milk if needed.  Pour into glasses and garnish with additional cinnamon.

ps. if you have pumpkin pie spice by all means…use that in place and add about a teaspoon or so to taste.  Remember the fresher your spices the better and organic is always ideal.

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I hope you have a marvelous week and that you have an opportunity to enjoy the flavours and the ambience of pumpkins while the season is upon us.  From roasting to pureeing and blending and even decorating I love the all mighty pumpkin and the season of falling leaves, harvest moons and vivid sunsets.

This month I’m making a conscious effort to be mindful. To appreciate the moments by being present, without judgment. Imprinting and capturing precious time with family and friends.  I wish the same for you.

Until next time….

Julie xo

 

 

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Apple Season, Apple Festival, Apple Tart, Yum!

by Julie on September 28, 2016

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As much as I am a spring gal thru and thru I’m still sooo excited about the wonderful autumn colours and the abundance of the delicious seasonal produce. Who can resist a crisp bright sweet but slightly tart apple picked right from the tree?  It sparks fond memories of my childhood when we had a mini orchard of our own that my father planted with 6 apple trees, 2 pear and a plum.  A bite into a juicy bartlet pear or a crunchy sweet spartan apple brings me right back to recess time on the school grounds playing hopscotch with my class mates.  All those apples & pears supplied us with delicious organic fruit for most of the winter.

As I sit here typing away I wonder if my kids will have similar memories with the apples we collected from grandpa’s tree that I put in their lunch each day. The same spartan apple!  Just a little rub on your skirt and you can almost see your reflection on the apples shiny red skin.

Whether you are near or far from an apple orchard there’s almost always a farmers market close by that will have yummy specimens for you to shop.  In fact there is probably some kind of celebration happening in your area be it big or small. From restaurants featuring local apples on the menu all the way to a festival of apples as in the one that has been running for 17 years now on Salt Spring Island.  If you live close to or on Vancouver Island this Apple Festival is certainly worth joining in.  There’s over 450 varieties of apples on the Island of Salt Spring. The fact that just over a century ago, this island was British Columbia’s primary source of apples makes this a pretty special celebration.  Here you will be able to taste a myriad of apples ranging from white to pink to red fleshed!

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Enjoying an apple a day has always been considered a healthy idea for many reasons. Packed with vitamin C, an important antioxidant, the ability of apples to decrease oxidation of cell membrane fats is beneficial especially in our cardiovascular system reducing ones risk for clogging of the arteries. They contain a good amount of dietary fiber, are rich in flavanoids, and polyphenols especially in the skin so eat the skin if you can.  Enjoying the whole apple versus just the pressed juice or even cooking it provides the highest nutrient level with the least affect on blood sugar levels. You can’t go wrong with an apple as an easy snack each day versus any processed snacks.

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I had the pleasure of exploring the gorgeous apples on a wild orchard, Apple Lucious with owner Harry Burton as my guide.  His passion for his collection of apple trees is astounding as is his endless efforts to grow organically with natures gifts from rain water collection to seaweed fertilizers.  I could hardly keep up with the endless varieties of apples; Bramley’s Seedling–considered to be the best cooking apple of the century– Poppy’s Wonder, Hidden Rose (pink fleshed above), Rubinyat, Niedzwetskyana (the gorgeous red fleshed one above) and his prized apple Karmijn de Sonnavilla, originally from Holland, and Cox’s Orange Pippin to name but just a scant few.  His extensive and very descriptive catalogue is here if you are curious. If you are lucky enough to live in Victoria (my home town) then check out the Moss St. Market where Harry sells his massive array of apples every Saturday in October.

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Now with all this apple talk you’re probably salivating for an applicious dish!  I do declare I have something for you right here, no cooking required!  This raw apple tart is perfect for Thanksgiving or any special meal and will have your guests begging for more.  And because it’s raw it’s incredibly nutritious too!  This tart is a tried and true favourite of mine from a previous post a few years ago and is made from a combination of Asian Pear and and Green Apple but feel free to use your very favourite apple or combination of varieties for the tastiest tart. I’ve even made this into a mason jar dessert for a quick and easy yet impressive menu item.  Just spoon the crust mixture in the bottom, add the apples next and then a dollop of the apple cream and Voila!  I kinda went crazy with the cinnamon (I can’t get enough) but use as much as you desire, you can’t go wrong!

apple tart plated

This was my Daughter’s birthday treat for her class mates a couple years ago, it was a hit and an easy treat to transport.

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I hope this was a wonderful dose of inspiration for Apple Season that will have you racing to the farmers market or the nearest apple festival to capture the essence of our cozy autumn.  I’ve been taking time to really explore and experience mindfullness, the art of being present in every moment without judgment.  This has had all of my senses going crazy over the pleasure and the beauty of these apples trees I got to shoot, the smell of the apples in the basket and the juicy delicious flavour of every bite of an apple.  Give it a try without thinking of anything else and you may just be biting into the best apple you ever ate!

Have a wonderful Autumn and we’ll talk soon :)

Julie, xo

ps. if you are heading into a lovely spring then I’m envious since I’m such a spring gal but be sure to book mark this recipe for when yummy apples are in season for you!

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Disclaimer: The content on this site is not written with intentions to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatments. Our content is for information purposes only and should not be used to diagnose or treat health issues of any sort. Our information and statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Copyright Julie Cove and Yvonne Becker, 2009-2010. Please do not use or copy any information, recipes or photos without permission or without noting its origins on your blog or website.