Friday, I Am Grateful: American Thanksgiving + The Best Pecan Pie Ever



best pecan pie ever: bourbon pecan pie // gratitude and greens

Last night I celebrated my first American Thanksgiving… in America. Although I celebrated the holiday with American friends during my four years away at school in Scotland, last night was my first-ever, proper American Thanksgiving, taking place in the U.S. itself. I loved being able to experience my boyfriend’s longstanding family rituals, such as pancakes and board games in the morning, and the singing of Albuquerque Turkey during dinnertime.

Since the tasks were delegated among family members, cooking and prep-work weren’t exhausting. We were in charge of all vegetable items—mashed potatoes, roast vegetables, brussel sprouts—while others brought the turkey, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and wine. For dessert, we had three pies: I made this bourbon pecan pie, and cousins Joe and Lynne brought a blackberry and apple pie, as well as a yam and ginger pie. Cousin Joe made the yam and ginger pie for Lewis and I, because my better half has ginger hair and my last name is yam. The pie was meant to be a celebration of what cousin Joe likes to call “our enduring love,” and was a very sweet sentiment.

best pecan pie ever: bourbon pecan pie // gratitude and greens

My favourite part of the evening was when we went around the table saying what we were thankful for. We were thankful for many things, but I think, mostly, everyone around the table was thankful for one another. Grandma Sally was thankful for my boyfriend’s sister, Rosie’s, recovery from surgery. Joe thanked his wife Lynne with a sonnet about mammalian and reptilian pettings habits (it is as sweet and funny as you think it is). Lewis was thankful for his family and me. I was thankful for food on my plate, and the people who grew the food. I was also thankful for Lewis and all the wonderful people he has brought into my life, who I now think of as a second family, if not family itself.

best pecan pie ever: bourbon pecan pie // gratitude and greens

Last night I was reminded of the love and joy that surrounds me, and I was filled with so much gratitude. I am thankful for so much in my life, and as I got ready for bed last night, I felt inspired to start a blog where I would write specifically on mindfulness, gratitude, and happiness. I remembered, however, that I already had a blog, and it was called gratitude and greens. This was the light-bulb moment I was waiting for, the solution to the problem I recently wrote about: my neglect of the ‘gratitude’ aspect of the blog. With that said, my Friday posts will now be Friday, I Am Thankful.

But first, pie. And not just any pie, but the best ever bourbon pecan pie. This was one of the first recipes I posted on my blog, and I am sharing an updated (read: edited and better) version of the last one I posted, the first of many old recipes to be improved upon. This pie is inspired by my friend Jessica’s mom, who first introduced me to this pie two years ago.

best pecan pie ever: bourbon pecan pie // gratitude and greens

The Best Pecan Pie, Ever: Bourbon Pecan Pie
For a 10-inch pan. I used a cast-iron skillet, which is quite deep. You might have extra filling if you are using a shallow pan.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 eggs
    • Use flax eggs if vegan. 1 flax egg = 1 tablespoon of flax + 3 tablespoons of warm water. Whisk the flax with the warm water and refrigerate for five minutes.
  • 3 cups pecan halves
  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup bourbon or good whiskey
  • 2 tablespoon rye flour
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • pie crust

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 200ºC/390ºF.
  2. Melt the coconut oil on the stovetop over low heat.
  3. While the coconut oil melts, beat the eggs with the coconut sugar, bourbon, almond milk, and vanilla extract.
  4. Allow the coconut oil to cool (but not solidify) before pouring it into the pie filling to prevent cooking the eggs. This will take just 5-10 minutes.
  5. Pour the coconut oil in, and mix. Add the flour and sea salt.
  6. Add the pecans and give the pie filling a good stir.
  7. Spread your pie crust over the cast iron skillet or pie dish you are using.
  8. Pour the filling into the crust.
  9. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour. The pecans should be crisp and caramelized, and the centre should be set.
  10. Let the pie cool before eating.

Enjoy!

I’d love to know: what are you most grateful for? Did you celebrate American Thanksgiving? What’s your favourite pie? Let me know in the comments below! 

Wishing you much love and happy kitchen adventures,
Gen.

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more pie recipes:
vegan pumpkin cream pie with coconut pecan crust by salted plains
dark chocolate silk pie with almond chocolate crust by vegan richa
banoffee pie by bloom and nourish

Recipe Redux: Gluten-Free Spiced Caramel Apple + Pear Crêpe Cake


gluten-free spiced caramel apple + pear crepe cake // gratitude and greens

This month’s Recipe Redux is a food memory for which you are thankful: In the U.S., November marks the Thanksgiving holiday. But many of us are especially thankful for food memories we have shared with friends or relatives throughout our lives. Was it a special meal you ate as a child? Or, maybe it was a food you grew and harvested with your children. Please share one of your favourite food memories and a healthier “redo” of the recipe.

We met in an evening language class- Spanish, to be precise- in the second semester of my first year of university. I was seeing someone else at the time, and didn’t think much of making his acquaintance. I remember his red hair, his almost there ‘fro. It wasn’t until my second year that he charmed me over a cup of tea, and we started spending lots of time together in the library… studying, of course. We watched a lot of movies. He carried out a Star Wars experiment on me, where we watched the movies in the order of of 1-2-3-4-5-6 instead of 4-5-6-1-2-3. We went for drinks. We went for mediocre bagels. We baked cupcakes. He made me French toast. We skipped all the way down my street in our Halloween costumes. I was single and loving it, but I doubt anything could have stopped me from developing fuzzy feelings for this smart, funny, and (at the time) mysterious redhead who swept me off my feet. You’ve probably read about him here and here. This week, we celebrated our third anniversary together.

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I’m so very lucky to have found someone with infinite love, kindness, and patience. I’m grateful to have someone remind me of the certain things when I can’t seem to remember them myself: that I’m beautiful, smart, and capable. I’m even luckier to have found someone who values these traits, who is a proud feminist and supporter of gender equality. He believes that I can do everything he does just as well, if not better. I’m grateful for his endless support. Whether it’s my ridiculous dreams for dinner or something more serious like my career, I know he’s got my back. I love that he is okay with, and even admires, my devotion to eating as ethically as possible. I’m grateful to have someone who loves good bookshops just as much as I do, isn’t afraid to search high and low for the best eats wherever we are, and loves to travel as much as I do. I love how goofy we are together when we are jamming to Majic 100.3 in the car, or dancing to Blank Space by Taylor Swift.

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Although we have many special food memories together, I decided to come up with a recipe inspired by our first trip together. We went to Paris for my birthday, and spent the week visiting art museums, eating pastries, and devouring crêpes. The first crêpe place we ate at was Breizh Café, where I had a glorious fig crêpe for dessert. In memory of the wonderful week we had in Paris, I am sharing a recipe for a spiced caramel apple and pear crêpe cake.

The caramel filling is raw vegan, and I baked the apples with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and coconut sugar to enhance the natural flavour of the apples. This cake is made with buckwheat and coconut flour, and is gluten-free. The crêpes can be made vegan with flax eggs, however, I found that the batter produces much better crêpes with real eggs. It’s entirely up to you- I used two eggs and one flax egg and my crêpes turned out fine. As you can see, the cake is pink! I used the water from cooking my beets to naturally dye my crêpe batter. If you’d like a deeper colour, you could probably use beet juice instead of the beet’s cooking water. Since this is a pretty big post already, I’ll be posting about the health benefits of beets.

gluten-free spiced caramel apple + pear crepe cake // gratitude and greens

Top layer was a little dry, oops!

Spiced Caramel Apple Crêpe Cake
Yields 15-17 medium sized crêpes.

Step One: Caramel Sauce

This raw salted caramel apple dip recipe comes from My New Roots. Other great caramel recipes I’ve been meaning to try: the vegan caramel from Pastry Affair and the almond milk caramel sauce from Oh, Ladycakes.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups pitted Medjool dates
  • 1/4 cup unsalted almond butter
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • water for soaking

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Soak the dates until they are soft. Although the original recipe on My New Roots recommends soaking them for four hours, my dates were soft and ready after two hours of soaking in hot water.
  2. Drain the dates. Save the water.
  3. In a food processor, blend the soaked dates with the almond butter, lemon juice, sea salt, and vanilla. If you’d like a thinner caramel, add the soaking water to the mixture one tablespoon at a time, until it reaches a thickness you like. Scrape the sides and blend again.
  4. Store in an airtight container and set aside until the crêpes are ready.
  5. Refrigerated, the dip will last a week.

Step Two: Spiced Apples + Pears

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 small apples
  • 1 pear
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

INSTRUCTIONS

  1.  Preheat the oven to 375ºC.
  2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  3. Slice the apples and pear. Toss in a bowl with the coconut oil, cinnamon, ground cloves, and nutmeg.
  4. Pour onto the baking tray and bake until tender and fragrant.
  5. While the fruit cooks, prepare the crepes.

gluten-free spiced caramel apple + pear crepe cake // gratitude and greens

Step Three: Crêpes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 3 beets, peeled + 1 1/2 cups of the leftover water used to cook the beets OR 1 1/2 cups beet juice
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 3 eggs or flax eggs
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • coconut oil, for cooking

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. On medium high heat, cook the beets in a pot of water. Make sure you have at least 1 1/2 cups of water leftover for the crêpe batter.
  2. Once the beets are cooked and the water has turned purple, mix the almond milk, beet water, and eggs in a blender.
  3. Add the dry ingredients a few tablespoons at a time, and blend until well incorporated.
  4. If you don’t have a blender, mix the wet ingredients in a large bowl and slowly sift the dry ingredients in, mixing as you go.
  5. Melt the coconut oil in a pan (I used a cast iron skillet) over medium heat.
  6. Once the pan heats up, ladle the batter into the pan. Spread the batter into a thin, round crêpe with a spatula.
  7. Once air bubbles begin to form, flip the crêpe. Allow it to cook until both sides begin to brown.
  8. Line a plate with a paper towel. Stack the crêpes on a plate and cover with a paper towel while you cook the rest of them, or allow them to stay warm in the oven at 60ºC/140ºF.
  9. Repeat with the rest of the crêpes.

Step Four: Assembly

  1. Spread the caramel on a crêpe, and top with apples and pears. Top with another crêpe and repeat until you reach optimum cake height.

Enjoy : )

What’s a special food memory you have? What kind of toppings and fillings do you like with your crêpes? Let me know in the comments below! 

Wishing you much love and happy kitchen adventures,
Gen.

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more crêpe recipes:
vegan + gluten-free crêpes from a house in the hills
gluten-free green tea crêpes from minimalist baker
raw breakfast crêpes from choosing raw

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Friday: I Moustache You Some Questions

Today’s Friday post is going to be a little different from my regular Friday posts. Rather than share the highlights of my week with you, I’m going to be participating in a fun question and answer: I moustache you a question. Thank you, Rebecca, for tagging me! Rebecca is the lovely blogger behind Strength and Sunshine, and I am always admiring her commitment to health and fitness. She’s a lean, mean yogi and is always posting granola recipes that make me drool. Three of her granolas I’ve been meaning to try: vanilla pear quinoa granola, apple cinnamon granola, and chocolate banana cashew granola.

Four Names That People Call Me (Other Than My Real Name)

  1. Almost all my family members call me Genny (like Jenny).
  2. There was a period of time when people called me GenBunny in high school.
  3. In third grade, my teacher called me Yamster the Hamster.
  4. There was also another teacher who liked to call me Guinevere. No idea why!

Genny, GenBunny, Yamster the Hamster, Guinevere…

Four Jobs I’ve Had

  1. Babysitting. I babysat for the nicest family in high school!
  2. I was also a library monitor in high school. I loved sitting with the books in the library in the evenings, all by myself.
  3. I waited tables and did some barista duty at a cupcake café while I was in university. Making coffees was definitely the best part!
  4. I’m currently working unpaid (interning? apprenticing?) in the kitchen of a fine dining restaurant. I love what I do, and I learn something new everyday. Best job I’ve ever had!

Four Movies I’ve Watched More Than Once

  1. The Holiday. I think I’ve seen this so many times that I can no longer bear to watch it anymore.
  2. Love Actually. Same scenario as above, even though they are the best movies to watch during the holiday season.
  3. Mean Girls. Who hasn’t, though?
  4. Ever After. This is a real guilty pleasure, and has been my favourite film since I was a child! You should watch it if you haven’t, even if you have to sit through Drew Barrymore’s not-nearly-there British accent.

Drew Barrymore in Ever After

Four Books I’d Recommend

This one is probably the hardest question to answer… where do I even begin? I’m going to cheat and do 10.

  1. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay + everything else she’s ever written
  2. Men Explain Things To Me by Rebecca Solnit
  3. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  4. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
  5. In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
  6. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
  7. Regarding The Pain of Others by Susan Sontag + everything else she’s ever written
  8. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
  9. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
  10. The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit. This is the book I’m currently reading, and it’s one of the most beautiful books I’ver ever laid eyes on. I was sucked in from the very first page and am completely in love with it.

Four Places I’ve lived

  1. Toronto, ON
  2. Hong Kong
  3. St Andrews, Scotland
  4. St. Louis, MO… only for the next month, though!
hong kong skyline // gratitude and greens

Hong Kong Skyline

Four Places I Have Been

These are four of my favourite places in the world that I’ve been to…

  1. Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  2. Istanbul, Turkey
  3. Florence, Italy
  4. Luang Prabang, Laos
florence, italy // gratitude and greens

Florence, Italy

Four Places I’d Rather Be Right Now

  1. Bali, Indonesia
  2. Hawaii!
  3. Edinburgh, Scotland
  4. London, England

Four Things I Don’t Eat

  1. Anything that is processed and comes out of a factory farm.
  2. Meat.
  3. 95% of the time: fish.
  4. 85% of the time: dairy. I suffer from a wonderful thing called lactose sensitivity.

Four Of My Favourite Foods

  1. Crunchy almond butter that is both unsalted and unsweetened. My favourite combo: apples + almond butter. So delicious!
  2. Coconut: fresh coconut water, the fresh meat from young coconuts, coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut flour… you get the idea.
  3. Fruits and vegetables in general, because I can’t pick a favourite. I love all of them.
  4. Dark chocolate, preferably from either The Chocolate Tree in Edinburgh or Soma in Toronto. The Chocolate Tree has amazing ice-cream, too. They even have dairy-free options!
the chocolate tree, edinburgh // gratitude and greens

The Chocolate Tree, Edinburgh

the chocolate tree, edinburgh // gratitude and greens

The Chocolate Tree, Edinburgh

Four TV Shows That I Watch

  1. Scandal. This is my newest obsession.
  2. Masterchef (Canada, Junior, US… I watch them all)
  3. Girls
  4. Game of Thrones

Four Things I Am Looking Forward To This Year

  1. Moving back to Toronto and beginning ‘real life’.
  2. The My New Roots cookbook!
  3. Developing and improving the blog.
  4. All the books I have yet to read.

Four Things I’m Saying

  1. What do you want to do for dinner?
  2. I really want sticky toffee pudding.
  3. Is there meat in this? Are you sure?
  4. I’m tired.

Four People I’m Tagging To Do This Next

  1. Arman from The Big Man’s World
  2. Maya from Nuts & Bowls
  3. Sam from Peanut Butter & Sam
  4. Katherine from The PB Lover
  5. Farrah from FairyBurger

Phew! Those questions were hard and are probably quite a lot to take in. So tell me: what are four things you’re looking forward to in the next year? Four of your favourite foods, books, places? Any exciting plans for the weekend? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Friday!
Gen.

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