Sips, Sweets & Snacks

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After a super busy year of takeout and re-heating leftovers, I’ve only just started to get back into cooking and baking for myself at home again this month.

Making food, especially this time of year, is one of those magical activities that has a way of bringing people together. Whether it’s you and a partner squabbling over a recipe book, your mom teaching you how to make her famous shortbread, or table full of friends eagerly awaiting your creations, food has a way of creating family in all sorts of shapes and forms.

The meaning of “family” shifted for me this year – as friends started growing their families by getting married or having children of their own, my chosen family grew bigger and stronger than ever before. Sophie and Bobby from Kitten and the Bear are some of my very favourite people, and getting to be an honorary aunt to their little boy Forrest was seriously one of the highlights of my 2017. I’m always impressed by their baking and jam-making prowess, so when Soph offered to come over to bake these Chocolate Cherry Jam Cruffins before I headed home to Vancouver for the holidays I couldn’t resist the time spent together (or the CRUFFINS!)

Scroll down for the full recipe by Kitten and the Bear!

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What you’ll need //

1 jar of Kitten and the Bear jam (we used Dark Cherry, Plum & Cocoa and Winter Cranberry)
1 box of Tenderflake classic puff pastry or rolled puff pastry sheets
2 tbsp soft butter
2 tbsp icing sugar (for dusting)
1 tbsp flour

Recipe //

1. Thaw pastry according to the directions on the package (either in the fridge overnight, or 2 hours at room temperature.)
2. Preheat your oven to 375 F
3. If you are using classic Tenderflake pastry, roll each brick out on a floured surface to about 12”x12” (give or take…it doesn’t have to be exact). If you are using the rolled sheets, use as-is!
4. Brush soft butter evenly across the pastry, then apply the jam in a thin, even layer.
5. Slice the sheet down the center to create two long rectangles, then roll each rectangle up into a cigar shape.
6. Cut each cigar in half lengthwise using a floured knife to expose the layers of pastry and jam.
7. With the cut side facing outwards, twist each piece into a loose rosette shape and place into a non-stick muffin tin.
8. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until puffed and golden brown, checking midway and rotating the tray if necessary.
9. Run a small knife around each cruffin to dislodge the pastry from the tin. It’s much easier to do this when the jam is still hot.
10. Allow to cool slightly, dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!

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KATB + RAOP wish you and yours all the best this holiday season – may your days be buttery and bright!

Sips, Sweets & Snacks

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Nanaimo bars are one of my all-time favourite treats – when i lived in BC growing up they were just about everywhere we went, and I could never get enough. After moving to Toronto I realized they were much harder to come by out of province. Did you know Nanaimo Bars are named for their birthplace, a small city on Vancouver Island in BC? I grew up at bike races (yes, I was super sporty!) in and around that area, so it’s no wonder these sweet triple-layer treats make me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Traditional Nanaimo bars are certainly not healthy or even close to vegan, but as per usual Amanda of Blueberry Moon came through and made our vegan dessert dreams come true! Instead of custard for the centre filling she created a pink peppermint coconut-based cream, and oats, dates and almonds were used alongside coconut to boost health points in the base layer.

Scroll down for the recipe

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What you’ll need //

Crust:
1 cup almonds
1/2 c packed dates
1/2 c oats
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c cocoa powder
1/2 c shredded coconut
2 tbsp coconut oil

Cream center:
1 cup coconut butter
3/4 chilled full fat coconut milk
1 cup icing sugar
2 tsp mint extract
2 tsp peppermint extract
2 tsp beet juice (may need to adjust slightly based on colour preference)

Topping:
1.5 cups melted chocolate chips

Optional: Crushed candy cane, sprinkles

Recipe //

Prepare your base layer by adding all crust ingredients listed into your food processor.
Once it reaches a crust like consistency, press firmly into a greased square pan. You could also cut out some parchment paper tabs to line the bottom for easy removal.

Next, begin to prepare the middle layer by adding all ingredients into your high speed blender. We used our Vitamix. Once this layer is thick, creamy and smooth, pour it over the crust and spread as evenly as possible. You may want to carefully slam the tray (it not glass) a couple times against your counter to remove air bubble and really pack down.

Move to freezer to set faster.

Once the middle layer feels firm enough you can begin to melt your chocolate.

To do this, boil a couple inches of water in a pot and use a heat safe bowl to place on top of the pot (making sure its big enough to not fall through!) Add your chocolate chips into the bowl and keep stiring with a spatula until the chocolate has melted.

Pour over the middle layer and add your crushed candy canes.

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Shopping links!

Pink Food Processor

Beetroot Powder (Natural Food Colour)

4pc Gold Cutlery Set

Lorann Oils Natural Peppermint

Pink Christmas Tree

Sips, Sweets & Snacks

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Coffee is great and tea is even better, but I think we can all agree that when December rolls around there’s a hot beverage that smokes all the other competition – ’tis the season for hot cocoa!

Personally I’m a fan of anything chocolate all year round, so the influx of creamy sweet drinks topped with whipped cream leading up to Christmas is welcome in my books. This year we wanted to come up with something a little bit extra to sweeten our cocoa creation – a mix of all of our favourite beverages in one! What does that mean? Matcha, coffee, sugar and cocoa all meet to form the most perfect holiday beverage, finished with a touch of peppermint to up the festive flavour!

Scroll down for the full recipe!

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What you’ll need //

1/3 cup coffee beans
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons Matcha Ninja 100% Raw Organic Matcha
3-4 tablespoons cane sugar (or sweetener of your choice)
2-3 drops organic mint extract (our favourite is from The Spice Trader)
1 cup non-dairy milk
Coconut whipped cream
Sprinkles for garnish (we used Edible Gold Stars)

Recipe //
Makes 2 mugs

Grind the coffee beans into a coarse grind and boil water. We used this Turkish Handmade Coffee Grinder it’s perfect for just 1-2 cups!

In a small dish mix equal parts cocoa powder, matcha powder, sweetener and hot water, whisk with a Bamboo Matcha Whisk until it resembles a thin paste or syrup. Add 2-3 drops mint extract.

Heat up the milk in a small pot on the stove or use a frother, (add a bit of sugar to the milk for an extra indulgent treat).

In a Gold Bodum French Press combine coffee grinds and 2 cups boiling water (about half the french press) and allow to steep for 5-6 mins. Add the syrup mixture to the bottom of each mug and fill the mug halfway with hot coffee. Top off the mugs with warm milk and coconut whipped cream, garnish with sprinkles and you’re ready to serve!

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Sips, Sweets & Snacks

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Thanksgiving isn’t always easy if you’re vegetarian or vegan – in fact it can be a bit of a sad Holiday if everyone else at the table is feasting on turkey and gravy while your tummy grumbles! As a team of veggie ladies here at RAOP we’ve suffered many a hungry Thanksgiving, so we wanted to come up with an epic feast that literally anyone/everyone can enjoy this year!

We called upon master vegan recipe maker Amanda of Blueberrymoon to help us dream up the ultimate vegan Thanksgiving meal with only one condition: it has to be pastel! She truly outdid herself, making the recipe not only vegan AND pastel, but also gluten-free, soy-free and bean-free! These simple recipes can be added to your family’s traditional spread, or can stand as their own meal instead of the typical turkey set up. Start with Purple Cauliflower Soup, move on to Roasted Rainbow Veggies, and finish off with Layered Matcha Raspberry Tarts, or start with dessert and work your way back!

Styling tips – we set our scene with crystals, candles, and gleaming gold + iridescent CB2 goodies! You can shop some of our favourites here

Special thanks to Zipcar for providing a Thanksgiving vehicle to help us hunt down all of the rainbow food we needed!

Scroll down for all 3 recipes!

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Purple Cauliflower Soup //

What You’ll Need //

1 head purple caultiflower
½ an onion
2 large garlic cloves
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
¼ cup cashews
1 ¼ tsp salt (less if using veg broth)
Enough water or vegetables broth to cover veggies in your pot

How To Prepare //

Chop all your veggies and add to a large pot along with your spices and cashews. Use enough water or vegetable broth to cover everything.
Bring to a boil and reduce heat
Simmer for about 25 minutes or until cauliflower is tender enough.
Use a blender, food processor or hand emulsifier to puree soup.

This is a very simple soup recipe to feel free to get creative with spices and herbs!

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Roasted Rainbow Veggies //

What You’ll Need //

1 large head purple cauliflower
1 watermelon radish
1-2 purple sweet potato
10 mini pink potatoes
½ head of broccoli
4 heirloom carrots
½ an onion
2 garlic cloves
olive oil
smoked paprika
salt
pepper
chili powder
cumin
fresh rosemary

How To Prepare //

Chop veggies and brush with a generous coat of olive oil using your basting brush.

Season with the spice selection we used, or use your favorite go-tos!
Roast at 400°F for about 45 minutes to an hour.

Check and flip half way through.

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Layered Matcha Raspberry Tarts //

What You’ll Need //

Crust

10 dates
½ cup almonds
½ cup oats
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp coconut oil

Filling

2 cups soaked cashews
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp lemon juice
½ cup full fat coconut milk
¼ cup melted and cooled coconut oil
1 tbsp matcha
1 cup frozen raspberries, thawed

How To Prepare //

Starting with the crust, add everything into your food processor until it becomes a meal consistency.

Line a muffin tray with two ¾ inch strips of parchment paper that are crossed and are long enough to grab for easy tart removal. Alternatively you can use individual parchment muffin cups.

Pack about 2 spoonfuls of the meal into each cup and pack down firmly to form your crust.

Set aside and start on your filling by rinsing the soaked cashews well.

Add everything into the blender except for the matcha powder and raspberries. (Vitamix or similar preferred to create a creamy filling)
Once pureed remove half of the filling into a bowl.
Add you matcha powder to the blender and blend until chunks are gone.

Use this portion of the filling to create layer one of your tart! Once you’ve evenly distributed the filling, bang against the counter to remove air bubbles and but in the freezer.

Rinse out your blender and add in the other half of the filling plus the raspberries! Blend until pureed.

Use this at he top layer, repeating the previous steps.
Put in freezer and let set for a few hours.

We recommend leaving these in the freezer until about 10 minutes before you’re ready to eat them!

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Sips, Sweets & Snacks

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Whenever something magical and pastel starts circulating around the internet, we take it as a personal mission to test the trend. Scrolling through Pinterest a few weeks back I came across a post headline that read “Unicorn Noodles Are the Biggest New Food Trend”.

It was my solemn duty to investigate this new claim.

Apparently there’s a totally natural way to dye glass noodles pink, AND you can make them change colour! Various blogs all over the internet claim by cooking the noodles in purple cabbage they’re turn a vibrant shade of turquoise, and when citrus like lime is added to the mix the noodles change to shades of purple and pink. It seemed almost too good to be true, so we got to work testing this theory on our next staff lunch break.

Turns out, the rumours were TRUE! We made the prettiest rainbow fresh rolls with no added food colouring, just natural enchanted veggie magic! Scroll down to find out how we did it.

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What you’ll need //

1 package vermicelli or glass noodles
1 package Rice paper
Half a head of purple cabbage (roughly chopped)
Blue Majik Capsules

Avocado
Mango
Cucumber
Purple carrot
Green onion
Lime

Sweet Chilli Thai sauce for dipping

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Instructions //

Begin by making the magic blue noodles, in a pot over high heat boil a handful of purple cabbage with 2-3 cups of water. Stir and boil for 5-10 minutes, the longer you boil the cabbage the darker blue the water and final result. Take the pot off the heat and strain out the boiled cabbage with a spoon. Add the noodles, stirring occasionally to ensure all the noodles are covered with liquid. Cover and wait 2-3 minutes. If you want to add a little extra colour to your noodles, we used a capsule of Blue Majik opened and stirred it into the strained noodles!

You’ll find that adding an acid, like lime will start to change the blue to pink!

Set the noodles aside, and cut up veggies. Grate, or slice thin vertical pieces of each item and line them up ready for assembly. Fill a large bowl with hot water, not boiling. Slowly place one sheet of rice paper in the bowl at a time until it softens. Carefully shake excess water off and drape over a plate. Place a small handful of noodles and veggies along the middle of the plate and fold both the bottom and top inward. Now roll it up from the sides, the rice paper is very sticky so it will help to shape the roll.

Once you’re done rolling, cut each one in half and serve with a dip! Add a little extra lime juice if you’d like.

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