may the last crumb be mine!

I came across the most lovely bakery-café today on Main Street called The Last Crumb, and let me tell you, the crumbs I had will not be my last! After a beyond divine gingerbread sandwich cookie with cream cheese centre, and a strawberry mint lemonade, I am now placing this bakery at the top of my “must visit often” list. 

The decadent cookies and treats go on for days, and I could almost still be standing there trying to choose one of their artisan cold teas and lemonades. Next visit: gotta try some of their knock-out soups and sandwiches.

A delicious cheesecake impostor? Oh, yes.

As a lifelong cheesecake addict, coming upon this cream cheese-less version was like a dream come true complete with angels singing and fairy dust twinkling in beams of sunlight. Imagine the rich, tangy, creaminess of the new york style without all the fat and calories. The substitute? Fat free greek yogurt! It sets up so similarly in texture and taste, you’ll forget about the cream cheesey one altogether. Oh, and there’s a gluten-free crust on this one, too. Just for added awesomeness.

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Here’s how you do it:

Preheat oven to 350ºF

Crust Ingredients:

1 cup powdered almonds
3/4 cup gluten-free flour
6 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter cut into chunks
(for a chocolate version, add two tablespoons of unsweetened coconut)

Crust Instructions:

Blend the ingredients together until they form a uniform crumbly texture.
Pour mixture into a 9 inch cheesecake pan.
Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350ºF.
Remove from the oven and cool.

Fill Ingredients:

2 cups fat free plain Greek yogurt
(for a chocolate version, add a half cup of unsweetened cocoa)
½ cup sugar (use brown sugar if going chocolate)
2 eggs (If you want a whiter cheesecake, use 4 egg whites)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp cornstarch

Fill Instructions:

Combine the eggs, sugar, yogurt and vanilla and mix until smooth.
Add cornstarch and mix until well combined.
Pour filling onto your favorite crust recipe in a 10 inch springform pan.
Bake for 35 minutes or until the edges start to pull away from the sides. The middle will still look a little wobbly, but will firm up as the cheesecake cools.

Let cool for 2 to 3 hours in the fridge before serving.

Serving Notes: Top with your favourite fruit, whipped topping or syrup, or even eat it plain. I topped mine with some stewed nectarine and a drizzle of honey to make it fancy. The chocolate version goes extra well with a dairy and gluten-free vanilla coconut ice cream such as Coconut Bliss.

(Photos by Natalie Clark)

Berry Delicious

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SWEET FACTS — If you’re like me, you’re scrambling to snatch up the last of the summer strawberries. But did you know some of these fascinating facts about this most beloved summer staple?

Strawberries:

  • were first cultivated in the 16th and 17th centuries in ancient Rome
  • were used as a medicinal herb in the 13th century
  • are not really a fruit or a berry but the enlarged receptacle of the flower
  • are grown in every state in the U.S. and every province in Canada
  • are a member of the rose family
  • have a museum dedicated to them in Belgium
  • are very high in vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants

LIfe’s a Peach

BC peach season has arrived - woot! - and I was (almost) first in line to get myself a bag of these locally grown summer darlings as soon as they arrived at the Urban Fare market here in Vancouver. However, I realized today that they had started to get a bit too soft to eat by hand, so it was time to transform them into something quick, healthy and yummy.

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I sort of winged this recipe, but it turned out well. Here’s roughly how it goes:

Peach Pudding

Ingredients:

5 soft peaches, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes with skins removed

1/2 cup dry oats

1 tablespoon butter, or coconut oil

3 tablespoons brown sugar, or for a sugar-free version use a stevia sweetener such as Sweet Leaf or Krisda

1/4 cup ground almonds

1 egg, beaten

Instructions:

Heat a large saucepan to medium heat and add the butter. Once butter is melted, add the peaches, brown sugar, oats and ground almonds. Simmer the mixture until peaches start to break down, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and fold in the beaten egg. Put equal portions into four medium size ramekins and let cool. Once cooled, place the ramekins in the fridge for at least a half hour. To remove the pudding from the ramekins, run a knife around the edge of the pudding, and turn out onto a plate. Garnish with greek yogurt and fresh mint.

The pudding can also be eaten warm out of the pan if you’re too excited to wait.

(Photos by Natalie Clark)