This past weekend here in Canada we celebrated one of my favorite holidays...Canada D-eh! And it was 150 years at that, so even more reason to celebrate this beautiful country I am blessed to call home. And celebrate we did! This year a few friends and I who all live in the same neighborhood were trying to plan a "house hop" where you start at one house, have a drink and app, and then walk on to the next place. So when we decided to do a "Canada Day Pilgrimage" with Canadian themed food - I had to really ponder what I could make that would be safe for me to eat/drink and also be enjoyable by others! If you are just stumbling on to this post, let me shortly explain that I follow a low fat whole food plant based diet, and steer clear of dairy/gluten to give my body the best healing conditions to combat RA, heal my gut and give my body what it needs to thrive. While it is fairly easy and enjoyable now to eat this way at home, it can make social gatherings challenging as not everyone will understand why I am doing this, or necessarily agree with it and I don't like to be seen as fussy so I try to bring something that I can eat when we go to functions. I have had some people laugh and make fun, others have been super supportive and understanding. And let's face it, we can't go anywhere without food being a pivotal part of a gathering! Food is such a hot topic with many deep rooted attachments to how we eat, and I have really had to let go of peoples opinions and not worry about what they think or let it stop me from still going to social events with family and friends. But plant based Canadian food?! I was stumped at first! Luckily my boyfriend and I took a trip to this funky little vegetarian restaurant a few weeks ago - The Healthy Rabbit in Brantford (amazing vegan/vegetarian options btw!). Upon walking in I saw hot apple cider brewing and couldn't resist. As we drooled our way through that yummy cup, we thought that would be the perfect drink for the party, and then apple crisp came to mind! Apple crisp was always a staple holiday dessert in my house growing up - and many times I would make it with my mom and learned her special recipe that she knew by heart. So with my mom's nostalgic apple crisp in mind, I then looked up a few other recipes and from there concocted this adaption that serves as a perfect party gathering dessert, or even a breakfast treat (I froze the extras and have been enjoying a few for breakfast this week!) It is gluten free, dairy free, & oil free - so really - a guilt free dessert that you can have a second round and not regret it the next day! We paired it with homemade apple cider - however my boyfriend had to chop about 3 bags of apples so that was a lot of chopping and I would not have been able to do that without him! The day was a blast going from house to house in our neighborhood and one of my friends made the most amazing potato skins (even with vegan cheese for me!)...that I will most definitely be trying out soon!
For simplicity's sake I wouldn't make the cider again but the apple crisp is an easy treat to make, and so worth it! So here it is, mini apple crisps!
Ingredients (This will make approx. 12 servings)
* 6 large apples - peel them and chop up
* 2 cups of GF rolled oats (I used Bob's Red Mill GF Oats)
* 2 tsp cinnamon
* 1/2 tsp nutmeg
* 12 Medjool dates - pit them and chop up
* 2/3rd cup of chopped walnuts
* 2 1/2 cups of coconut milk (or Dairy Free milk of choice - whatever agrees best with you!)
* 2 tsp pure vanilla
* 4 tbsp pure maple syrup
* 12 mini pie pans, or a large baking dish
1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Wash, peel and chop the apples into cubes, place apples into a large bowl and add 1 tsp of the cinnamon, stir and cover the apples. Now transfer the apples evenly into the little pie pans (this is what I used for single servings for the party, however you could make a big serving if preferred and spread it out into a baking dish)
3. Stir dry ingredients together in a large bowl (oats, remainder of cinnamon, nutmeg, dates, walnuts)
4. In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients (maple syrup, vanilla, coconut milk)
5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together
6. Now top the apples with the crumble mixture, make more if need be!
7. Bake in oven uncovered for approx. 40 minutes or until the topping is slightly browned and the crumble has set.
8. Let cool, and then drizzle each with a little maple syrup (Canadian staple!) before serving.