Butter Celebrates! Banana Pecan Caramel Cake and a Giveaway!

Butter Celebrates! Banana Caramel Pecan Cake

So I have this friend. She likes cake.

She likes cake so much that she eats a slice every. single. day. She takes her cake eating very seriously. If she’s out for dinner, she’ll order a slice of cake for dessert. If she’s eating in she’ll buy a slice of cake on the way home. If she comes over for dinner, she’ll always bring a cake. She’s a good friend to have.

(I seriously have a friend like this. I’m not talking about myself. Although you can usually count on me for sweet treats. I also really really like cake.)

And this banana pecan caramel cake is the perfect cake for cake lovers. Just look at it. First of all, the layers. There’s four of them. FOUR! Four layers of moist (yep, I said it) banana cake studded with pecans. And in between each layer is a thick schmear of caramel buttercream frosting. CARAMEL BUTTERCREAM. Also known as the lovechild of fluffy buttercream and caramel sauce. Four layers of cake means four layers of buttercream. It’s just math.

Butter Celebrates! Banana Caramel Pecan Cake

You can find the recipe for this luxurious cake on page 113 in the “Welcome Wagon” chapter of Butter Celebrates! Rosie Daykin’s latest cookbook. In case you don’t already know Rosie, allow me to introduce you. Rosie Daykin is the owner of the Butter Baked Goods bakery in Vancouver. Next time I find myself in Vancouver, you can bet I will be making a stop at Butter. Rosie’s first cookbook, Butter Baked Goods was released in 2013 and is a national best seller. Her latest creation, Butter Celebrates! A Year of Sweet Recipes to Share takes us through the seasons and shares recipes for delectable treats to enjoy during various holidays and special occasions. Rosie covers everything from Valentine’s Day to Mother’s Day to Summer Celebrations to Halloween to Christmas, and even shares a few recipes for our furry friends, inspired by her rescue pup, Zelda. (My girl Bella is already begging me to test out those treats). It might be the most beautiful cookbook I have ever owned, with 259 pages of gorgeous photos and mouthwatering recipes. And can I get an amen for a cookbook that includes a photo of every single recipe? I mean, how can I be sure that a recipe wasn’t a massive fail if I have no idea what the thing is supposed to look like when I’m finished? Rosie’s got us covered.

Butter Celebrates! Banana Caramel Pecan Cake

In her book, Rosie encourages us all to take the time to celebrate the little and big moments in life, preferably with cake. Now that’s a life goal that I can get behind.

Butter Celebrates! Banana Caramel Pecan Cake

Choosing a recipe to share was damn near impossible, as I flagged nearly every other page during my first flip through the book. I honestly cannot wait to try everything. Alas, I had to make a decision, and settled on this banana pecan caramel cake. My inability to consume bananas before they get too ripe for every day eating means I almost always have bananas on hand to bake with. The idea of an indulgent cake instead of my usual healthy banana muffins or banana bread just seemed too good to pass up. And holy heck, this cake did not disappoint.

The good news is that there is an opportunity for one of you lucky devils to win this glorious cookbook along with a box of goodies from Rosie’s bakery. If that isn’t an early Merry Christmas, I don’t know what is!

Butter Celebrates! Banana Caramel Pecan Cake

Good luck to all of you and happy holidays!

Please be sure to check out more incredible treats from my fellow Butter Celebrates! blogger pals in celebration of this gorgeous cookbook!

And now, for the giveaway!

One lucky reader will win a personally signed Butter Celebrates! cookbook from the lovely Rosie herself along with a delicious box of goodies from her bakery in Vancouver. Umm, yum! More details are listed below. Good luck!

Simply leave a comment below and tell me your favourite holiday tradition (mandatory). Be sure to click the widget options below for both mandatory and optional bonus entries.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to all legal residents of Canada who have reached the age of majority at the time of the contest in the province or territory in which they reside. Void in Quebec.

Winner must answer a skill-testing question.

No purchase necessary to enter.

Giveaway will run from Wednesday, November 25, 2015 at 12:01am to Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 11:59pm. Winner will be contacted via email and name will be displayed on Rafflecopter widget. Email address will never be given out to any third party or anyone for that matter.

Prize value is approximately $125.

Butter Celebrates! Banana Caramel Pecan Cake

A big warm thank-you to Jenny Jack of the Brunette Baker for organizing this blog hop and Rosie Daykin of Butter Baked Goods for providing this super sweet giveaway!

Disclosure: The Butter Celebrates! A Year of Sweet Recipes to Share cookbook was provided to me by Random House of Canada Limited for review at no cost. All opinions are my own. I truly adore this book.

Candy Bar Popcorn (Happy Halloween!)

Candy Bar Popcorn | Once Upon a Recipe

Happy Halloween!

It’s the scariest day of the year. Also known as the day when it’s acceptable to eat as much candy as you want and definitely more than you should. I look forward to this day and dread it simultaneously. Not because of the candy part, but because of the costume part. Creating amazing costumes is not my forte. Every year I make a promise to create an incredible and creative costume for Halloween. I make a plan to start early and not leave everything to the very last minute, but my procrastination always gets the best of me and I find myself scrambling to pull things together. And repeat. I know what I’m good at, and making costumes is not one of those things.

Candy Bar Popcorn | Once Upon a Recipe

But not this year! No siree, this year I made it real easy on myself and decided to just nix the costume idea altogether. Don’t get me wrong, I think costumes are fantastic, and if I was any good at actually putting something amazing together, I would. But sometimes you just have to create realistic expectations for yourself, you know? Fortunately, not having to worry about a costume left me more time and energy for what I’m somewhat better at – the food!

This popcorn was created as a way to put leftover Halloween candy to good use. I don’t personally know much about having leftover candy as it seems to find its way into my pie hole before I have the chance to stop it, but if I did have leftover candy, hypothetically speaking, this is how I would use it. This candy bar popcorn comes together in minutes! Popcorn is mixed with melted white chocolate and peanut butter and loaded with chopped candy bars and candy corn. Halloween crack, if you will.

Candy Bar Popcorn | Once Upon a Recipe

In the midst of your last-minute preparations for tonight’s festivities – the costume-making, the pumpkin carving, the decorating, the party planning – I have one very important task for you. You must ensure that you save some of that Halloween candy so that you can make this candy bar popcorn. In fact, buy some extra candy so that you can make this twice. And truth be told, if you get a hankering for this stuff at another time of year, just chop up some regular size candy bars. Using the mini sizes is great because you can use an assortment of chocolate bars and then you get a nice variety of little bites. You’re going to love this stuff. You’re welcome and I’m sorry.

Candy Bar Popcorn | Once Upon a Recipe

Candy Bar Popcorn 

Any kind of candy works in this popcorn, so use whatever you have on hand. My favourite combination was Mars, Snickers, Reese’s pieces, and candy corn. The popcorn can be stored in an airtight container for several days, if it lasts that long!

8 cups of popped corn

1 cup white chocolate pieces

3 TBSP. peanut butter

2 cups candy (chopped chocolate bars, candy corn, Smarties, etc.)

1/4 cup milk chocolate pieces

Prepare a large baking sheet with wax paper. Put the popped corn into a large bowl, being sure to remove any unpopped kernels. In a double boiler over medium heat, gently melt the white chocolate and peanut butter, stirring until smooth.

Pour the white chocolate mixture over the popcorn, add the candy pieces, and stir to combine. Turn the mixture out onto the baking sheet and spread into a single layer.

Melt the milk chocolate pieces in a small bowl in the microwave (start with 30 seconds, then 10 second increments until melted). Drizzle over the popcorn. Place the baking sheet in the fridge for 15 minutes until cool and set. Break into pieces. Store in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Candy Bar Popcorn | Once Upon a Recipe

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Oat Muffins

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Oat Muffins | Once Upon a Recipe

Hello Ladies and Gents! Happy Wednesday!

Oh, and happy back to the future day! The Internets tell me that today (Oct. 21, 2015) is the day that Marty McFly and Doc Brown traveled to in Back to the Future Part 2. I may or may not have googled Back to the Future to figure out the names of those two guys. Should I feel ashamed that I’ve never seen Back to the Future (Part 1 or 2)? For some reason I feel like I should.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Oat Muffins | Once Upon a Recipe

Anyways, just a quick little post here today. I feel like I’m neglecting this space again, but sometimes it’s just unavoidable! In the past few weeks I celebrated a birthday (hello 3-1…this number seems so much more daunting to me than 30 did) and Canadian Thanksgiving, went to the mountains for a quick but much needed getaway, and have been planning and preparing for a Halloween cooking class that I will be teaching this weekend. And exactly two weeks from today, I will be hopping on a plane to a beach destination for 10 days of rest and relaxation. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that the whole amazing bikini body that I planned to have for this trip when I booked it a couple of months ago just will not be a reality, but I’m kind of over it. There is just too much good food in this world and I believe too strongly in moderation (heavy on the “indulge” end of the spectrum). Plus my 31-year old metabolism doesn’t cooperate quite as well as my 25-year old metabolism did.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Oat Muffins | Once Upon a Recipe

However, that does not mean that for the next two weeks I don’t plan on exercising a little more restraint when it comes to stuffing my face with all things delicious. These muffins are the perfect way to enjoy a “treat” without the guilt. They are made with whole wheat flour and oats, pumpkin, and are sweetened only with maple syrup. I’ve made these numerous times over the past several weeks and I’m still not tired of them. They are perfect for stashing in the freezer and grabbing for a quick breakfast or snack. Plus, if you’re like me and still all about the pumpkin, you will love these!

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Oat Muffins | Once Upon a Recipe

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Oat Muffins (slightly adapted from Cookie & Kate)

Makes 12 muffins. Feel free to use coconut oil in place of the olive oil, or honey in place of the maple syrup. These muffins freeze beautifully when packed into an airtight container.

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup milk (any kind will do)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup oats, plus more for sprinkling on top

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a 12-count muffin tin with paper liners or spray with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the olive oil and maple syrup and whisk to combine. Add the eggs and mix well. Add the pumpkin puree, milk, baking soda, vanilla, salt, and spices, and mix well. Add the whole wheat flour and oats, and stir until just combined.

Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups. Sprinkle with additional oats. Bake for 25-27 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Cool completely. Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Oat Muffins | Once Upon a Recipe

Pumpkin Hand Pies

Pumpkin Hand Pies | Once Upon a Recipe

Hand pies. Mini pies. Pop tarts. Toaster strudels.

I wasn’t sure what to call these little gems of pastry stuffed with pumpkin and spice. Hand pies seemed most appropriate because they’re mini pies that you can most definitely hold in your hand. They’re flakier than pop tarts, and while they do remind me a little of toaster strudels, I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable putting one in the toaster. However, you most certainly should eat one of these hand pies for breakfast, alongside a strong cup of coffee or tea, because no day that starts with pie is going to be a bad one. It’s just science.

Pumpkin Hand Pies | Once Upon a Recipe

You guys, these hand pies are so flaky! Their flakiness is owed to the all-butter crust that has become my go-to crust recipe ever since I first tried it. The dough is so manageable and easy to work with. We have Deb from Smitten Kitchen to thank for that. Don’t fear the dough, it’s friendly and won’t give you a hard time. Oh, and there’s no need to be perfectionists here. I mean, take a peek at the photo below. The perfectionist in me was having a near meltdown, but I just had to tell her shut her face. The good news is that the crust layers will melt into each other and puff up a little during their stint in the oven and no one will be the wiser. Magic!

Pumpkin Hand Pies | Once Upon a Recipe

Now that we are really truly into Fall, a pumpkin filling felt like a must. However, I don’t doubt that these hand pies would taste delicious filled with whatever your little heart desires. So if pumpkin isn’t your thing, change it up. Do what you want!

Pumpkin Hand Pies | Once Upon a Recipe

I made these pies a couple of weeks ago when my cousin was visiting from Ontario. She’s kind of a pie crust junkie – meaning, she’d gladly eat the pie crust and leave the pie filling on her plate. I figured the crust to filling ratio of these pies would really float her boat and I was definitely right. In fact, everyone loved them. Sharing food that you made with your own two hands with people is super fun and amazing, but when they really love what you share, it’s kind of the best.

Pumpkin Hand Pies | Once Upon a Recipe

Pumpkin Hand Pies (crust from Smitten Kitchen, filling and process from Joy the Baker)

This recipe will make 9 pies. However, you may have some dough left over, in which case you can try to make a couple of extra pies, or bake up the pie scraps with a little bit of cinnamon and sugar. (Totally delicious). Feel free to change up the filling if pumpkin isn’t your jam. I think any fruit would work well here, and I’ve kind of been dreaming about a banana/Nutella combination.

For the crust:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 TBSP. sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 cup (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter (cut into cubes)

Cold water

For the filling:

3/4 cup pure pumpkin

1 large egg

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/8 tsp. ground cloves

1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. salt

1/3 cup granulated sugar

+1 egg (beaten) for sealing the pies

For the glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

2 TBSP. milk

To make the crust: Fill a one-cup liquid measuring cup with cold water and add a few ice cubes. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt, and whisk together. Add the butter and start cutting it into the flour mixture using a pastry blender. Once you have a coarse meal, add about 1/2 a cup of cold water. Using a spatula, start to bring the dough together. Add more water as needed – you’ll probably need at least another 1/4 cup, and gently knead the dough to bring it together. The goal here is to minimize the hands-on time on the dough, so as not to melt those lovely little chunks of butter that are dispersed throughout (they are going to make the dough deliciously flaky). Divide the dough in half, press into two discs, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour or two, but preferably overnight.

To make the filling: In a small saucepan, heat the pumpkin and spices over medium heat, just until fragrant. Remove from heat and transfer to a medium bowl. Whisk in the egg, salt and sugar and refrigerate while you roll out the dough.

To assemble the pies: On a well-floured surface, roll each disc of dough into a 9 x 12-inch rectangle. I used a measuring tape to make sure I had a uniform rectangle. Cut each side into thirds, creating 9 (3 x 4-inch) squares. Refrigerate the first set of squares while you roll out the second disc of dough. We gotta keep that dough cold!

Brush the first set of squares with the beaten egg. Spoon about 1 TBSP. of the pumpkin mixture into the centre of each square. Top with another square of dough, and seal the edges with a floured fork. Use the fork to create vent holes in the tops of each pie. Place the pies on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.

Put the pies back in the fridge while you preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

Combine the glaze ingredients. Drizzle over the pies once they have cooled. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Hand Pies | Once Upon a Recipe

Homemade Acai Bowls

Acai Bowls | Once Upon a Recipe

Oh friends, I have waited so long to share these açai bowls with you! Sadly a series of unfortunate events sabotaged my plans.

But first, allow me to start at the beginning. I first became obsessed with açai bowls during my trip to Maui this past February. And when I say obsessed, I mean eating-an-açai-bowl-every-day obsessed. Feeling-sad-when-the-açai-bowl-was-gone obsessed. Plotting-the-next-opportunity-to-eat-an-açai-bowl obsessed. You get the idea. My friend K and I searched the island for the best açai bowl available and when searching for the best, one must be committed, you know? Açai bowls run aplenty in Maui. I didn’t taste one that I didn’t enjoy, but if you ever find yourself in Maui and in search of a truly satisfying, delicious, and totally good-for-you breakfast, snack, or even dinner, please make your way to one of the Wow Wow Lemonade locations. They offer several different varieties of açai or pitaya (dragon fruit) bowls, all of which are amazing. Apparently their lemonade is bomb as well, but I was too busy eating açai bowls to drink any lemonade.

Acai Bowls | Once Upon a Recipe

What is an açai bowl you ask? Well, an açai bowl is essentially a refreshing, naturally sweet and energizing smoothie bowl topped with fruit and granola and other delicious things. I like to think of it as the healthy cousin to the ice cream sundae. The base is generally comprised of a combination of açai purée and other frozen fruit. Then comes the granola, fresh fruit, and other toppings – and the possibilities here really are endless. Açai – pronounced “ah-sigh-ee” – berries are harvested from açai palm trees, which are native to the rainforests of South America. Açai berries are considered a superfood, and are full of antioxidants, fiber, and heart-healthy fats. They help to promote cardiovascular, digestive, and immune health. Boom! In North America, you can typically find açai berries in the form of puréed smoothie packs in the frozen section of organic grocery stores and health food stores. My favourite frozen açai smoothie packs, and the ones most available to me, are made by Sambazon, and they seem to be widely available throughout Canada and the US. Here in Edmonton, they can be found at places like Planet Organic and Earth’s General Store. In the US, you can find them at Whole Foods. Açai juice and freeze-dried açai powder are other options, although I have not tried them myself. Açai bowls are not a cheap treat – most of the bowls we enjoyed in Maui were around the $12 mark – but you can make them at home for a fraction of the cost.

Acai Bowls | Once Upon a Recipe

When we returned from Maui, K and I set out to perfect our recipe for homemade açai bowls. We have yet to find a spot in Edmonton that sells these bowls of goodness (if you know otherwise, pleeeeeeease let me know asap) so there was definitely some urgency to figuring out how to make them at home. The cravings were intense! After several trials, we figured out our perfect combination. One evening in March, we crafted our perfect bowl and I snapped some photos of the process. A few weeks later, my house was broken into and my laptop and camera (and all of my photos), among other things, were taken. PS. This is an ideal time to recommend routinely backing up your photos on an external hard drive, or via something like iCloud. Idiot me had not done a thorough back-up of my files for longer than I wish to admit, and many of my photos were lost to those punk criminals. It took me several months to replace my laptop and camera, and by that time, my previously mentioned blogging rut had set in.

But alas, K and I had another açai bowl night last week and now I can finally share this recipe with you. Hooray!

Acai Bowls | Once Upon a Recipe

The possibilities for personalizing your açai bowl are limitless. You can change up the frozen fruit in the smoothie base, the fresh fruit you use, as well as the toppings. Next time I might try adding some greens to the smoothie base, like kale or spinach. A high speed blender works best for creating a nice thick smoothie base (aim for a sorbet consistency), but if you don’t have a blender, I’m sure that a food processor would give you similar results. I added maca powder for an extra superfood boost, but it certainly is not essential to this recipe. Maca is also expensive and can be difficult to find, so don’t sweat it if you can’t get your hands on it. For the granola, use your favourite stuff – whether it be store-bought or homemade. Looking for an excellent granola recipe? Might I suggest coconut oil granola, cherry hazelnut granola, or an old favourite, appropriately called favourite granola?

Acai Bowls | Once Upon a Recipe   Acai Bowls | Once Upon a Recipe

Acai Bowls | Once Upon a Recipe    DSC_0470

Alright, enough talk. Let’s make some açai bowls!

Homemade Açai Bowls

Makes 1 small bowl. Double the ingredients for a large bowl or for 2 servings. Exercise your creativity here, and have fun with different fruit and topping combinations!

1-100g pure unsweetened açai berry superfruit pack
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen berries
1/4 cup almond milk
1 tsp. maca powder (optional)

1/2 cup granola, divided
Sliced strawberries, bananas, and blueberries
1 tsp. shredded coconut
1 tsp. hemp hearts
1 tsp. cacao nibs
A drizzle of honey

While you are assembling your smoothie base, place the serving bowl in the freezer. This will help to keep your smoothie thick and cold, and will prevent it from melting too quickly. In a high-speed blender, combine the açai purée, frozen banana, frozen berries, almond milk, and maca powder. Blend until smooth.

Remove your bowl from the freezer. Sprinkle some of the granola on the bottom of the bowl. Spread your smoothie base into an even layer in the bowl. Top with the remainder of the granola, fresh fruit, and your desired toppings. Enjoy immediately!

Acai Bowls | Once Upon a Recipe

Rhubarb Apple Oat Breakfast Crisp (in a Skillet!)

Rhubarb Apple Oat Breakfast Crisp | Once Upon a Recipe

Well, hello September!

There is a definite hint of Fall in the air these days. The temperatures have been cooler, at least in the mornings and evenings, and on more than one occasion I have found myself turning on the heat in my car during my drive to work. I’m feeling an eagerness to pull out my boots and scarves and warm sweaters, and to start baking with pumpkin. Coffee shops are welcoming back the ever-popular pumpkin spice latte, and even though I don’t drink the things (fake pumpkin flavour ain’t my thing), the fact that they’re available again excites me. I’m weird, and I know it. Fall is my favourite time of year, and the thought of its imminent arrival gives me a little thrill each time I think about it. I don’t know what it is about this season that makes me feel all the feels – I mean, the beautiful colours of the changing leaves speak for themselves – but there’s something more that I can’t quite put into words.

Rhubarb Apple Oat Breakfast Crisp | Once Upon a Recipe

Despite my eagerness to bake everything pumpkin, right now I’m trying to use up the last of my summer favourites. I am lucky to know several people who were able to provide me with a steady supply of rhubarb all season long. At one point, I couldn’t keep up with the supply, and froze a big bag of the stuff for rainy day baking. As I was taking inventory of my freezer’s contents this past weekend, I came across that bag and decided that I’d better put it to good use before it reached the typical freezerburnt fate of many things that find their way into my little icebox of doom.

Rhubarb Apple Oat Breakfast Crisp | Once Upon a Recipe

In search of inspiration, I flipped through a few of my cookbooks. With the steady availability of recipes and food inspiration on the Internet these days, I find myself spending less and less time with my cookbook collection – something I hope to change. With a little bit of help from Megan Gordon’s Whole-Grain Mornings, this crisp was born. I managed to use up my entire supply of rhubarb, and threw in a few apples from my neighbour’s tree that had fallen into my backyard for some added sweetness. Full disclosure: I maybe might have possibly jumped up and picked a few apples off of the tree, but only from the branches hanging directly above my backyard.

Consider this crisp as a delightful little merging of two seasons: the rhubarb of summer and the apples of late summer and fall. I find rhubarb a little bit too tart to be used by itself in crisps and crumbles, and I didn’t want to have to add a boatload of sugar, so the apples were the perfect compromise. And while not entirely guilt-free, I do feel that this crisp boasts enough healthful ingredients to justify eating for breakfast, as I have for the past couple of days.

Oh, and I baked this in a cast iron skillet because I just love using my cast iron skillet. I’m a rustic gal, what can I say? You can certainly use a large baking dish (11 by 7-inch), if you prefer. Enjoy!

Rhubarb Apple Oat Breakfast Crisp | Once Upon a Recipe

Rhubarb Apple Oat Breakfast Crisp (in a skillet!)

Adapted from Whole-Grain Mornings. This recipe can easily be made gluten-free, as long as you make sure to use certified gluten-free oats. The almond meal adds a lovely extra bite to the crisp topping. I think if I make this again, I will add a little bit more cinnamon, so if you’re a fan like me, feel free to add an extra 1/4 teaspoon. Serve warm with ice cream for dessert, or with a splash of milk for breakfast. Serves 6 to 8. 

For the topping:

1 cup sliced raw almonds

2/3 cups rolled oats

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

2 TBSP. brown sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Pinch of salt

4 TBSP. cold unsalted butter

3 TBSP. buttermilk

For the filling:

4 cups chopped rhubarb

2 cups apples, peeled and cubed

1/2 cup coconut (or white) sugar

Juice from half a lemon

2 TBSP. cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 375°F. If using a baking dish, butter or spray with non-stick spray. If using a cast iron skillet, skip that step.

For the topping: Put the almonds in a food processor or high-speed blender, and pulse or blend for about 30 seconds, or until you have a medium-fine almond meal. Add the oats, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt, and pulse or blend for a few more seconds, until combined. Add the butter and pulse/blend until the mixture resembles a coarse meal, about 30 seconds. Slowly add the buttermilk, and pulse/blend until the dough has come together.

For the filling: Mix together the rhubarb, apples, sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Scoop the mixture into the baking dish/cast iron skillet.

Pile/spread the topping over the fruit in an even layer. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the juices are bubbling. Remove from oven and allow to cool a little before serving. Not too much though – I think this crisp tastes best when it’s still a little bit warm.

Rhubarb Apple Oat Breakfast Crisp | Once Upon a Recipe

My Favourite Green Smoothie

My Favourite Green Smoothie | Once Upon a Recipe

My Favourite Green Smoothie | Once Upon a Recipe

Hold onto your butts folks, I’m about to drop a blog post. Hey-oh!

If you did a double-take when you saw that this gal had published a new post, I don’t blame you. I’ve been rather absent as of late. As usual, I have no good excuses to give you, other than I was feeling a severe lack of inspiration and just needed to take a little break. Blogging had begun to feel like another task on my to-do list and I was no longer enjoying the process. Fellow food bloggers know that publishing a new post is more than just whipping something up, snapping a few photos, and typing out a recipe. There is preparation, and styling, and editing, and putting together something that you feel proud of. I’m still figuring it all out, but as I sit here typing out these words, while drinking the smoothie I’m here to share with you, I feel a renewed sense of energy and excitement. I’m remembering why I love this little space so much and I look forward to finding my blogging groove again. Thanks for sticking around.

My Favourite Green Smoothie | Once Upon a Recipe

My Favourite Green Smoothie | Once Upon a Recipe

About a month ago, I bit the bullet and bought a Vitamix. Holy heck, are those machines fantastic! It truly is one of the most amazing kitchen gadgets, and if you’re a smoothie lover like me, it’s worth the investment. It can do so much more than make a good smoothie, but that’s definitely what I’ve used it for the most so far. Behold my current favourite green concoction. Drink it for breakfast, a post work-out snack, or just ’cause you need a dose of greens. I promise the spinach taste is undetectable!

My Favourite Green Smoothie | Once Upon a Recipe

My Favourite Green Smoothie

This recipe makes one generous serving or two small servings. Feel free to substitute a different milk for the almond milk if you have another preference. The banana is completely optional – this smoothie is still delicious without it. The peanut butter is optional too, but let’s be real – what isn’t made better by the addition of peanut butter? (Answer: nothing.)

1 1/4 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk

2 cups fresh baby spinach, packed

1 cup frozen mango chunks

1 TBSP. hemp hearts

1/2 frozen banana (optional)

1 TBSP. natural peanut butter (optional)

Add ingredients to a high-speed blender in the order listed (adding liquids first will help get things moving). Blend until super smooth. Enjoy immediately.

Nutritional Info: 340 calories – 33g carbs – 16g fat – 12g protein – 265mg sodium – 21g sugar

My Favourite Green Smoothie | Once Upon a Recipe

A Delayed Culinary Blog Tour

Happy Sunday, friends!

Black Bean, Quinoa & Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers from Feast on the Cheap

Black Bean, Quinoa & Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers c/o Feast on the Cheap

Several months ago – over five to be exact (it makes me cringe to say that) – I was featured over on Feast on the Cheap as part of Mariel and Mary Anne’s Culinary Blog Tour. It was quite an honour to be chosen as one of these incredible ladies’ top blogs to follow. Mariel and Mary Anne are a mother-daughter duo focused on the idea that “delicious, healthy, homemade food should be easy and accessible – and shouldn’t require a massive bank account.” They achieve this goal over and over again, as Mary Anne brings her catering skills to the table, and Mariel contributes “less expensive, space-conscious renditions that are easy enough for even a fledgling foodie.” When visiting their site, be sure to check out the Cinnamon Streusel Baked French Toast, the One-Pot Chili Mac & Cheese, and the Pear, Pancetta & Gorgonzola Quiche with Toasted Walnuts. I have been following Feast on the Cheap since its early days and can also tell you that the Black Bean, Quinoa & Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers are not to be missed! A very belated thank you to Mariel and Mary Anne for the feature! My apologies for my extreme tardiness, but…better late than never?

Now it’s time to pass the torch to three of my favourite Internet food stops! I read literally hundreds of food blogs, so it’s very hard to choose, but here are three of my current loves.

Chocolate Dipped Vanilla + Chocolate Waffle Cookies from The Frosted Vegan

Chocolate Dipped Vanilla + Chocolate Waffle Cookies from The Frosted Vegan

1. The Frosted Vegan: Abby’s blog is a recent find for me. Bless the powers of Instagram for connecting me to more beautiful food blogs! Abby focuses her culinary energy on showing “vegans and non-vegans alike that even if you are eating vegan or plant based, you can still enjoy a lovely and delicious dessert, without the hassle.” Mission accomplished, Abby. From Chocolate Dipped Vanilla + Chocolate Waffle Cookies, to Loaded Baked Potato Pizza with Vegan Cheese Sauce and Bacon Bits, to Brown Sugar Banana and Toasted Almond Cinnamon Rolls, Abby will change your mind about vegan food altogether.

Cheesy English Muffin Bread from Bakerita

Cheesy English Muffin Bread from Bakerita

2. Bakerita: I’ve been swooning over Rachel’s food photos for some time now. Rachel is a University student with “a major addiction to creating delicious, sweet treats.” Umm, I’ll say. Not only does Rachel have plenty of butter and sugar-laden recipes; she also has quite the selection of paleo, gluten-free, and vegan recipes that look and sound equally amazing. There are so many incredible recipes to choose from on Rachel’s site, but her most recent posts for Pepperoni Pizza Pull Apart BreadRaspberry Coconut Crumble Tart, and Cheesy English Muffin Bread have me wanting to drop whatever I’m doing and just bake.

Pan Asparagus & Perfect Poached Eggs from She Eats

Beautiful Pan Asparagus & Perfect Poached Eggs from She Eats

3. She Eats: I would be remiss to have a culinary blog tour without making stop over at my homegirl Kristy’s blog. Not only is Kristy a fellow Canadian, but she believes strongly in “eating & drinking organically local, regionally in season and when it comes to meat and dairy, pastured. CSAs and farmer’s markets are brilliant and second only to growing our own food. Or at the very least, knowing someone who grows our food. Farmers really are the best kinds of people.” Her writing is hilarious, her recipes are delicious, and she loves wine. A girl after my own heart, really. I encourage you to pop on over to Kristy’s site and take a gander at the Grilled Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Coffee Sandwiches (I mean, !!!), Savory Crepes with Broccolini, Mushrooms, and Ricotta, and Pan Asparagus & Perfect Poached Eggs.

Now I’m hungry.

What are your favourite blogs to read? Enjoy the day!

Overnight Oats!

Overnight Oats! | Once Upon a Recipe


It feels strange to be sitting here writing this post. Strange in a good way. Familiar yet new. I’m hoping that blogging is like riding a bike because daaaammmmnnnnn, I’ve been gone a long time. So umm, a belated Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Happy Valentine’s Day to you! I’ll jump in here with an early Happy St. Patrick’s Day, just in case.

I could insert approximately 47 reasons here to explain my two+ month blogging hiatus, but let’s not waste our time with that boring stuff. The important thing is that I’m back here sharing a recipe and my ramblings with you. My hope is that this post will kick-start a much more reliable and frequent schedule of recipe-sharing, so…fingers crossed! Let’s just jump right in.

Overnight Oats! | Once Upon a Recipe

Overnight oats.

I realize that I’m a little late to the overnight oats party. They’ve kind of been a thing now for a while. And being the oatmeal lover that I am, when recipes for overnight oats started popping up a couple of years ago, I was eager to give them a try. I mean, throw a few ingredients in a jar, put the jar in the fridge overnight, and wake up to a delicious breakfast? Sign me the heck up!

Sadly, my first experience with overnight oats was not a good one, and it turned me off of the whole idea for a long time. The texture was really off – kind of watery, yet chunky – and I couldn’t get over it.

Overnight Oats! | Once Upon a Recipe

Fast forward to a couple of months ago when I decided to give them another try. The game changer for me was the addition of Greek yogurt and chia seeds – the original recipe that I had tried just called for almond milk, oats, and fruit. But the Greek yogurt and chia seeds give the mixture a much creamier texture, similar to that of traditional hot oats. And with the right toppings, you can turn overnight oats into a downright satisfying, decadent, yet still super healthy breakfast. Seriously, I feel a little nip of sadness after I take the last bite. But the best part is that these overnight oats hold me over all morning until lunch time.

The recipe below lists the base ingredients – I always use oats, Greek yogurt, almond milk, and chia seeds. You can certainly substitute another milk for the almond milk, if you prefer. And then I add whatever fruit I have on hand. The toppings are up to you, but I’ve included some of my favourite additions. Best combo to date: fresh strawberries, crunchy natural peanut butter, hemp hearts, and cacao nibs. It was like breakfast dessert!

Side note: I can’t stop putting cacao nibs on everything. Help.

Overnight Oats! | Once Upon a Recipe

Overnight Oats!

This recipe makes one serving; however, you can multiply to create as many servings as you’d like. These oats keep well in the fridge for a few days, so feel free to make a bunch of servings at the beginning of the week and store in the fridge for quick and satisfying breakfasts all week long. If you’re using plain Greek yogurt, you may wish to add your favourite sweetener, or other flavours like vanilla extract. I tend to use flavoured Greek yogurt (usually vanilla or strawberry). 

1/3 cup oats

1/3 cup non-fat Greek yogurt (flavour of your choice)

1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)

1 TBSP. chia seeds

1/3-1/2 cup fruit (ie. fresh or frozen berries, banana, chopped apple)

Optional mix ins: 1 TBSP. natural peanut butter, 1 tsp. hemp hearts, 1 tsp. cacao nibs, 1 tsp. shredded coconut, nuts, etc.

Combine the oats, Greek yogurt, almond milk, and chia seeds and stir together in a mason jar or sealable container. I usually add my fruit here too, as well as peanut butter if I’m using it. The mixture shouldn’t be too thick at this point – if it is, add a bit more almond milk. Refrigerate overnight. Add your favourite toppings and enjoy!

Nutritional info for base recipe (before fruit and mix-ins): 216 calories, 7.0 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 30.2 g carbohydrates, 11.4 g protein, 7.7 g fibre, 8.7 g sugars.

Overnight Oats! | Once Upon a Recipe

It’s good to be back, friends!

Almond Shortbread Bars

Almond Shortbread Bars | Once Upon a Recipe

Only four days left until Christmas!

Every year, Christmas seems to sneak up on me. This year has been no different and despite the whirlwind of shopping, baking, and holiday-partying, I can’t believe we are so close to the big day. Nevermind the fact that 2014 is rapidly coming to a close. Seriously, where did the year go?

Almond Shortbread Bars | Once Upon a Recipe

I’m hoping to share a couple more recipes during this final countdown to the big day. If you’re looking for quick and easy sweets to add to your holiday dessert table, look no further. These almond shortbread bars are wonderful. They start with an easy shortbread base and are topped with sliced almonds that have taken a little swim in butter and brown sugar, creating a little caramel-y goodness.

Almond Shortbread Bars | Once Upon a Recipe

Every Christmas needs a little shortbread, in my opinion. Think of these bars as shortbread’s older, wiser, and hotter older brother. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about.

Almond Shortbread Bars | Once Upon a Recipe

Almond Shortbread Bars (adapted from Love Write Now)

Shortbread bars that get a little extra pizazz from a caramel-almond topping. These bars freeze well when stored in an airtight container. 

1 1/2 cups butter, divided

1 cup icing sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

Pinch of salt

1 cup brown sugar

2 tsp. lemon juice

1 TBSP. water

1 1/2 cups sliced almonds

1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cream together 1 cup of butter and the icing sugar. Add the flour and salt and mix together. Press the mixture into an ungreased 9″ x 13″ pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned.

In the meantime, melt the remaining 1/2 cup butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, lemon juice, and water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add the almonds and vanilla. Spread the mixture evenly over the base and bake for another 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool and then cut into bars.

What are your go-to last-minute holiday treat recipes?

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