My wonderful husband knows how much I love blueberries and recently prepared this beautiful lattice pie. I helped with the lattice part but it was delicious and made a special dessert. It was a shame to cut it up but it was a real treat to enjoy! It’s not low fat by any means, but you’d only indulge like this occasionally right?
Double Crust Fruit Pie Dough:
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp canola oil
1 cup vegan butter (Earth Balance)
¼ cup cool water
2 tsp lemon juice
almond milk for brushing
course sugar for sprinkling
4 cups fresh blueberries
1 medium apple, peeled and chopped
1 cup sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
2-1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
Prepare the Pie Dough:
Combine the flour, sugar and salt together. Add the oil and blend in using a pastry cutter until the flour looks evenly crumbly in texture. Add the vegan butter and cut in until rough and crumbly. Stir the water and lemon juice together and add all at once to the flour mixture, mixing just until the dough comes together. Shape into 2 disks, wrap and chill until firm (about 1 hour). The dough can be made up to 2 days ahead and stored chilled.
Prepare the blueberry filling:
Bring the blueberries, apple, sugar, lemon juice, zest and cinnamon up to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until the blueberries are soft and tender (about 10 minutes). Whisk the cornstarch with a few tablespoons of cold water and add this to the blueberry filling, stirring and return to a simmer until the filling has thickened (and looks glossy). Set aside to cool at room temperature. If you make this ahead, store at room temperature, but bring up to room temperature before baking into a pie.
Preheat the oven to 400F. Pull the dough from the fridge 15-30 minutes before rolling. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the first disk into a circle (just under 1/4-inch thick) and line a 9-inch pie plate with pastry leaving the edges untrimmed. Spoon the blueberry filling into the crust base.
Roll out the second disk of pastry slightly thinner than the first but this one can be more rectangular. Use a knife or pastry wheel to cut long strips about 1/4 to 1/2 inches wide. Gently lay out the strips in one direction across the pie. Fold back half of the strips, then place a new strip perpendicular, weaving them under and over each other. The next new strip will weave opposite to the first making a weaving pattern. Continue until all strips are used and the pie is fully covered. Trim away any excess pastry from the edge and create a fluted design for the crust edge. Brush the lattice with almond milk and sprinkle with course sugar.
Bake at 400F for 10 minutes, then reduce to 375F and cook for another 40 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Cool the pie to room temperature and the chill until ready to serve.
Georgian Bay by boat – Beausoleil Island and surrounding area
Georgian Bay is a boater’s paradise and is sometimes referred to as the sixth great lake. The Canadian Shield landscape is serene, with its windswept tall pine trees, clear blue water, rocky cliffs and beaches. It was the stomping ground of the Group of Seven painters so you might recognize the landscapes from their paintings.
A common destination is Beausoleil Island, which is just off the shore and is most easily accessed by boat from Honey Harbour. If you own a boat, you will most likely moor at this island at least one night. It is part of the national parks and at 8km long is the largest island of Georgian Bay Islands National Park. It offers day and night docking, hiking, beaches, walking trails, camping as well as an information centre. There are several campgrounds if you have your own tent, but there are also cabin rentals and new oTentiks.
Make sure you have a good GPS for boating in this area. There are several rocks just below water level so it is important to know where they are so you can avoid grounding your boat! To get to Beausoleil Island from Honey Harbour, go through Big Dog Channel. It may look too narrow to get through but it is not! It’s best to plan your visit to avoid large crowds of people. Sandpiper campground has a lovely sandy beach and is a good place to go, if it’s not too crowded. You can also get higher vantage points from campsites at the north end of the island which are rockier.
Some things to watch for: There is some poison ivy off the trails so stay on the trails to avoid it! It can also get quite buggy in the evening so take longer clothes and bug spray. Also watch for the native Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake, which for the most part will try to avoid you. It’s worth a trip to the visitor’s centre on the south part of the island to familiarize yourself with these and other interesting facts. To stock up on food or gas, the closest stop by boat is Picnic Island.
Nearby places to visit in the area include the towns of Midland and Penetanguishene. They have separate harbours but the towns are closely linked.
Midland (Population about 17,000)
Cycling and walking trails
King Street – main street with cafes and gift shops
Giants Tomb Island – This island has no permanent residents and is part of the Georgian Bay Islands National Park. It is popular for day trips and it’s best to anchor in the sandy bay on the east side and swim in the clear crystal waters, or walk along the sandy shore.
This is a nice lower fat version of risotto that uses balsamic vinegar to enhance the mushroom flavour and the creamy cheesiness comes from nutritional yeast. It’s quite simple to prepare and makes a good side dish or you could have it as a main with fresh tomato on the side.
1-1/2 cups short grain brown rice
3+ cups vegetable stock
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 lbs mushrooms, washed & sliced
2-3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 heaping Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp dried rosemary
Prepare rice as per directions using veggie stock instead of water. The type I use needs to simmer for 45-50 minutes.
While the rice is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. In a large pot, on medium heat, water sauté the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent. (Water sauté by adding a little hot water instead of oil. Add a little more water as needed so the onion doesn’t dry out.) Once the onions are soft add the mushrooms and balsamic vinegar. Toss to coat. Allow to cook with the lid off, stirring occasionally. The volume will diminish down to about ¼ the original amount.
When the rice is done, add to mushrooms. Add nutritional yeast and seasonings. Stir well and taste. Adjust seasonings as required. Voila!
How to think positively – 10 steps to encourage positive thoughts
Is your glass half empty or half full? Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Your attitude and the way you think may actually affect your health and well-being.
Negative thoughts can narrow your focus and can shut your mind off to opportunities or new ideas. If you listen with a more agreeable mind, you are more naturally open to what someone is saying. Our brains don’t process negative words very well. This is evident in young children. For example, when we say, “Don’t touch that” they automatically skip the negative word and hear “touch that”.
Positive thinking can actually make you feel happier and improve your outlook on the future. It also makes you physically and psychologically healthier. You are less stressed, have greater resistance to distress, have an increased life span and are more pleasant to be around. It starts with positive self-talk and each small step leads to more positive thoughts and actions. If you want to improve your thought process to become more positive, consider these 10 steps:
Allow quiet time with yourself. Find a peaceful place to meditate and practice deep breathing. This allows you to get into a relaxed state and helps you think more clearly.
Smile! Even if you fake it as first, it does help change your mood and relieve stress. Remember it takes fewer muscles to smile than it does to frown!
We are influenced by the people around us. Avoid people who sap your energy and motivation. Surround yourself with positive people who can give constructive and loving feedback. Talking to someone can help put things into perspective.
When you face a problem, think of it as a challenge and then a solution will naturally follow. Give yourself credit and be proud of even the smallest achievement.
Don’t play the victim and make excuses. If you make a mistake, remember that nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes but that is how we learn. Then move forward. Take charge and don’t be afraid of change. Take one step at a time. Believe in yourself!
Help someone else. Take the focus away from yourself and do something nice for another person.
Explore your creative side. Outlets like art, music, writing and drama allow you to express yourself, to explore your own original thoughts and to think outside the box.
Write down 3 things you are grateful for each day. Keep a gratitude journal. Being grateful makes you appreciate what you already have.
Read positive quotes to feel inspired. Have fun! Always make time for laughter.
Set meaningful goals. Keep visualizing where you want to be. Every small decision you make will keep you in the right direction.
Did this article make you feel happier? What steps do you take to keep positive?
The original broccoli salad uses dairy-based mayonnaise. This version is completely plant-based but just as creamy and I think I like it even better! Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable and full of phytochemicals. It ranks very highly on the nutrition scale. You can leave the broccoli florets raw if you prefer.
6 cups fresh broccoli florets (2 large crowns), blanched
1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup red onion finely diced
3/4 cup cashews, soaked & drained
1/4 cup cold water
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Soak cashews in hot water for 10 minutes. Drain the cashews, then add them along with remaining dressing ingredients to a high-powered blender or Nutribullet. Blend until completely mixed and smooth and creamy. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Rinse and cut broccoli into florets. Steam florets just until blanched and bright green in colour. Length of time depends on the size of your florets but 3 to 4 minutes should suffice. Or microwave the broccoli in a covered dish for about 2 minutes. Either way, don’t let the broccoli get soft; it should still be crispy. Pour broccoli immediately into a colander and rinse with cold water to stop it cooking and allow to drain for a few minutes, then pat dry. In medium bowl, combine broccoli, onion, raisins and pumpkin seeds. Pour dressing over broccoli mixture and toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Do you prefer raw or blanched broccoli in your salad?
Do you ever had those days when you’re feeling stressed and just want to get away from it all? A change of scene and a change of pace can do wonders. One activity I love for escaping is boating.
In my youth, my parents built a cottage on a small lake. The experience I had and the memories that were created at the summer cottage were priceless. My family had a canoe and small aluminum rowboat. We never needed to go far on the water and the cottage was well equipped with the basics. It was a time to be unplugged from school and work. My siblings and I would spend the summers there until we were old enough to work a summer job. There were endless hours swimming, fishing, puttering and exploring. In the evenings, there were plenty of card games, reading in the bunks and even playing hide-and-seek in the dark with other kids on the lake.
My husband has similar memories and we wanted to share like experiences with our own children. We never got our own cottage but instead we invested in a boat. We did quite a lot of research and eventually got our first boat, which was a Princecraft deck boat. Our girls were young at the time, but old enough to help. We trailered it to nearby rivers and lakes and explored everywhere we could. We anchored and fished and swam. We beached it on nearby beaches and picnicked, spending the day out in the sun. Our girls had fun being pulled around on the tube. We even took it on trips and camped on the shore along the way.
Boating was a new way to escape! It is a hobby that forced us to slow down and not rush. Boating has its own pace and you simply can’t rush it. This is one reason we really love it now. It forces you to slow down and not get exited about delays. When you’re out on the water, you can feel your heart rate start to slow. The feeling of being out on the water is relaxing, calming but at times can even be exhilarating! The wind and sun feel energy giving and there’s nothing like having a picnic lunch in the boat after a delightful swim to cool off on a hot summer’s day.
Our next boat was an upgrade. We soon learned that pitching a tent and blowing up 4 air mattresses each evening was tiring! So we sold the Princecraft and purchased a 26-foot Regal cruiser, which we moored at a marina. It slept 4 relatively comfortably and had a mini-bathroom (or head) and kitchenette. We outfitted it with solar power and anchored out many evenings. There is nothing quite like seeing the sunset and sunrise from out on the water…. So peaceful!
Now that our adult children have moved out, we have downgraded again to a trailerable boat – another Princecraft but this time a fishing/ski boat with a windshield. It suits our needs right now while we are only using it on weekends in the summer. For the winter months it is covered and stored.
Our dream and plans include one day purchasing a 40-foot trawler to live on for a year and travel the Great Loop. This will be a true test of our love of boating. I will be interested to compare living on a boat for a 2-week holiday versus living on it for a whole year!
Challenges with boating:
Finding the right boat – consider how and when you will use it, how and where you will store it, do your research, go to boat shows, get as much info as you can, buy used
Ask lots of people – everyone has advice – most boaters love to tell you all about their boat and their experiences
Learning how to maintain a boat – changing oil, filters, etc. YouTube is a great resource
Learning how to launch a boat and how to trailer – if you are new to this, then practise backing up and learn how to turn the wheel to be able to back a boat down a ramp – it comes with practise
It can feel stressful to get your boat launched with other boaters waiting to use the ramp – remember everyone is in the same boat (so to speak) so don’t panic! Most boaters help each other – it’s a good community
Some boaters like to drink – this is one part I can do without – drinking and driving any vehicle is a big No-No in my books
Always wear lifejackets even if you know how to swim
Allow extra time – you can’t be in a rush!
Best part of boating:
Enjoyment of being out on the water
Getting close to nature
Fun time with family and friends – swimming, fishing, tubing, skiing exploring