Author Archives for Adore2Ally

Ally’s Guide to Ottawa- Foodie edition

So every year for the Remembrance Day, we get the day off as a Bank Holiday. And since this year it happened to fall on a Monday, I figured what better to do a weekend getaway? (Do you really need an excuse for a weekend getaway though?!) So I packed up my bag… yes I only packed one – and was off on a 4.5 hour drive to Ottawa, Ontario.

And of course, being the foodie that I am I definitely wanted to check out some good food spots, and figured why not check to see what Halal options they have. To my surprise, they had A LOT! And, my fiancé sent me the sweetest email of recommendations of places to go based on his research (he didn’t even come on the trip with me – but it was the BEST surprise getting that in my inbox before my trip!) So, going with some of his suggestions and some of my own research, the first meal I had was none other than Middle Eastern! So first, we walked in to Salang Kabob House, looked around and the atmosphere just didn’t do it for us. So we walked out and went across the street to see if Shawarma Palace would be a better choice and boy were we happy we went there! The food was delicious and the portions were large! We had two plates between 3 people and it was more than enough.

Shawarma Palace – they have multiple locations but we went to 2949 Carling Ave

$$ /  8/10  / Halal, no alcohol on premise

We ordered

  • Kafta Kabob dinner – $15.95
  • Mixed Plate Dinner – $15.95

We also came back the day we were leaving for take out (yup, it was that good!) so we also tried

  • Chicken Shawarma $6.75
  • Beef Shawarma $6.75
  • Small Garlic Potatoes $5.50

We continued out foodie journey the following day with brunch at The SconeWitch, which, I have to say the food was good but the service was terrible. I was really disappointed with the experience. Firstly, it was quite difficult to find since there is no signage outside to indicate that the restaurant was inside an office building, but the security guard was helpful when I asked for directions. When we went in, it wasn’t too busy so I took two small tables, put them beside each other for my parents and I to eat comfortably. As we sat, the place continued to get busier and the staff continued to serve for dine in, when there clearly wasn’t any space left to dine in – not a comfortable experience to say the least! Once the food came, I went to ask for an additional plate and set of cutlery because we were sharing our 3 meals, and the lady behind the counter said “here – and don’t come here again we have knives back here” while shoving a plate in my hand not even letting me ask for cutlery. Now, I am all for safety and there were no signs to say not to go beyond a certain point, in fact it was open space – but even if I wasn’t supposed to come to that area – there is a way to speak to your customers. Then, before we could even finish our meal, another man came to ask if he could take away our plates. We said yes, gave up the second small table we had, finished the food we were still eating and quickly hurried out of there. We left with a rather unsatisfied feeling solely on the experience – it really goes to show what terrible customer service can do. The food was good, but the experience – nothing shy of terrible.

The SconeWitch – 150 Elgin St, Ottawa

$$$  //  2/10 // Terrible Service

Portions were small and overpriced for what you’re getting, food was tasty but not worth the hassle or the lack of service and the attitude

We ordered

  • Brunch – Cheddar scone with smoked salmon (was suppose to come with jam, but it didn’t)
  • Cheddar scone with Mediterranean vegetables with goat cheese
  • Vanilla Cream scone with Devon Cream and wild blueberry raspberry jam

Then in the evening, we carried on our foodie journey to Moe’s BBQ! I had heard about Moe’s BBQ from a friend and I had it on my radar for when I visit Ottawa and it was definitely a good decision! They have brisket, which I had never tried, so that itself sold me! The Chef, Mubeen or Moe, was super friendly and is planning to open in Toronto soon, so keep an eye out if you’re a Toronto foodie looking for some smoked Brisket! I have to say that my favorite dish, hands down were the ribs! Oh. My. God! They were delicious and I would definitely go back just for those Ribs! The Pulled Chicken was a little too sweet for my liking, but that’s just me. The platter was a good mix and gave us a chance to try a bit of everything, definitely a good choice to get some variety.

Moe’s BBQ – 2446 Bank St

$$ /  8.5/10  / Halal, no alcohol on premise

We ordered

  • Pulled Chicken Burger
  • Sample Platter with 3oz Brisket, 3oz Pulled Beef and 1/4 Chicken
  • 2 AAA Beef Back Ribs
  • Came with 4 sides, we got Fries, Gravy, Mac and Cheese & BBQ Rice

And that took us to the end of our foodie adventure. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the foodie scene in Ottawa, the people were friendly and we enjoyed out stay.

And I can’t forget to mention our accommodation, we stayed in Kannata not far from the city. The hotel had a golf course, spa, and all the amenities! Definitely somewhere I would want to come back to in the summer to enjoy the outdoor adventures, but this trip was way too cold! But hey, that just means I’ll need to come back again! If you have any tips or places to try in Ottawa, or try any of the above let me know your thoughts in the comments below, or pop by to say hello on my instagram – Adore2Ally!

xo

Ally

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Allys Cold & Flu Fighters

Hello hello,

Wow, it really has been a while! And instead of making excuses as to why I haven’t been posting nearly as often as I would like to, I’m just going to jump right into it!

In the last little while, A LOT has happened and I can’t wait to share some of these life events! The first, and probably the biggest change in my life right now is that I got engaged!! This was in December (wow time flies!) and my fiance lives in NYC, so I’ve had the pleasure of visiting The Big Apple a number of times in the last little while! He’s been such an incredible part of my life and i’m really happy to have him along this crazy journey with me!

I’ve also traveled a fair bit in the last few years, and have had the pleasure of visiting some new places including Italy, Dominican Republic, Paris & Prague to name a few! I’m hoping to continue to travel as much as I possibly can and will look to share some of my most incredible experiences, as well as some tips along the way!

Apart from that, I have been trying to take advantage of the beautiful  HOT summer we have had in Toronto, play tourist both in my own city and abroad by just exploring all the incredible things around us! It has been such a rewarding and enjoyable experience thus far!

In addition to this, I have been trying to keep healthy & have been working out… well… trying to be consistent with it, but, let me be the first to say it is HARD to keep a regular schedule. I so want to make that a priority though, not only for the upcoming #weddingdiet, but just to live a healthy lifestyle too. That being said, getting sick is the absolute worst, and I can say that my family, friends, fiance and myself have all had our fair share of colds and the flu this year (yes, I’m currently still getting over my post-travel cold as I’m writing this) but, I’ve realized that there are a lot of natural remedies I use when I’m sick that really do help! And whenever a friend, colleague or relative get sick, I’m quick to pull out my Marry Poppins bag with something that will be sure to help! So, I figured let me dedicate a post to this specifically because if it can help anyone else then that’s a bonus! And, it’s a good place to have all my little secrets, tips and tricks to refer to in writing for anyone I do share this stuff verbally with. Most of these (okay, lets be honest..pretty much all of these tricks) I have learnt from my amazing mum, who is a huge health enthusiast! So, let me know what you think if you do happen to try out any of these remedies out, and I hope they help you as much as they help us!

These are written in no particular order unless otherwise specified, and I am not a doctor, nor am I in the health-care field so please choose to try this at your own discretion 🙂 I know they work for me and my family, but every person is different so just keep that in mind & wishing you lots of good health 🙂

  1. Mudd-harder (also referred to as haldi & turmeric)

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Yes, you’ve probably heard the craze on golden milk, turmeric root and how beneficial it is for our bodies, and it’s absolutely correct! This has been a tradition in my household for as long as I can remember. Different people suggest to mix turmeric in milk, water and even make a tea out of it! For me, growing up, as soon as I would get sick my mum would first give me a spoon of what was always referred to as “mudd harder” which translates to honey turmeric. Yup, it’s literally that simple – You take half to a teaspoon of turmeric powder and place the spoon over the stove for a few seconds to heat up the turmeric – this is a step you can’t forget, just be careful if you’re using a metal spoon directly over an open flame, to transfer the concoction onto another spoon before you eat it because the spoon gets really HOT! (yes science here would dictate open flame + metal = very hot but when i’m sick, i’ll be the first to say that has slipped my mind one too many times, so, I’ve made sure to include it as a tip!) next get an equal portion of  fresh honey and mix it with the turmeric into a paste consistency. Have this straight from the spoon and make sure you have some water on hand in case you’re not a huge fan of the taste. Have this 1-2 times a day for a few days and voila – it’s a natural antibiotic, antioxidant  and has been said to help prevent & treat cancer, Alzheimer and fight against depression! So, not only is this a great thing to have while you’re sick, but on the regular too!

If you don’t have the powder, or don’t like the taste, you can also get curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) tablets  at the health food store. It’s best to get the ones with black pepper already in it, or have it with some black pepper as it will absorb easier into the bloodstream.

2. Ginger candies! (Gem Gem – Jam packed with Positivity)

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Yup, candy! I have literally told everyone I know about these little candies! They have ginger in them but are still sweetened with cane sugar, and include tapioca for a chewy consistency. I’ll sometimes just have it as a treat as well. They’re vegan, gluten free, have no trans fats and cholesterol free, too!  They hit your throat a little bit, but when you’re feeling your throat start to hurt these are the best little things to pop in your mouth! Ginger also helps with nausea, helps fight fevers, excessive sweating and motion sickness. You can find these at a health food store such as ambrosia, or, I get mine from Marshals or homesense in their food section.

3. Garlic pills (Allimax)

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Okay, so I realize that I just included the top three things to made a basic indian curry, but trust me, this stuff works!!! I was travelling to Italy and my friend and I were both getting sick, we arrived to Venice and hadn’t eaten, or slept for over 18 hours! So we dropped off our bags, went to get a meal and wanted to call it a night, however, we ended up getting lost in Venice and didn’t return to our hotel until well past midnight. So we we’re both worried we were going to get super sick, and had only started out Italy trip, so we both popped 2 of these little garlic pills and called it a night. And let me tell you, these things are magic!! We both woke up feeling so much better, and the sore throat was completely gone. So this is now a staple for me to take whenever I travel, or if I get sick to try and help nurse me back to full health! They can be found at any health food store, but again I got mine from Ambrosia and the brand I buy is called Allimax, but I’m sure there are various brands wherever you are too.

4. Oregano Oil

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This stuff does not taste great, so let me warn you about that first, BUT it does work. You put a few drops in some water, or if you’re daring enough from the dropper directly into your throat as soon as you start feeling the early symptoms of a cold or flu. Take this a few times (I usually have it 2-3 times a day) and you’ll feel it really work to fight those flu symptoms off ASAP

5. Water

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Yup, anytime you get sick, lots of liquids especially water is key. It helps your body stay hydrated and you can fight off the infection better when you have lots of liquids in your system. Tea works too, but water is best. If you want some flavour try adding a little bit of honey and lemon which will help sooth a sore throat too.

6. Essential oils

Okay, so another craze people seem to be on are essential oils which let me tell you i’m all for! But just make sure you’re getting good quality, all natural oils before you put them on your body or in your diffuser, because when it comes to oils, it’s all about quality! My mum has been using young living for over 20 years now, and it has been the best thing to assist when you’re not feeling well. It also helps with so many other things, which, if you’re interested in I can dedicate a post to as well. But when you’re down, Joy has been an incredible oil that has helped lift my mood and feel better. In addition to that, thieves is an oil that really helps fight off infection and I always travel with it on planes. Lavender is also a great oil to help you sleep, especially when you’re sick and I find lavender really helps to relax me as well. Overall, I use essential oils on the regular and find that when I’m sick they aid in my recovery process as well. 🙂

Those are all the tips I can think of for now, I hope they help you as much as they have helped me and my loved ones throughout the years. This list is forever growing, but please let me know if you have any tricks or tips of your own in the comments below! Hope you enjoyed reading and stay healthy!

Xo

Ally

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Bhai’s Bites

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This all vegetarian gem in Richmond Hill was amazing! Chef Sanjeev is famous for his show Khana Khazana, so growing up having it in the background on weekend mornings when making breakfast with my mum, it was natural that I had to try his restaurant! Bhai’s Canteen is the newest addition to the Host Hospitality Group umbrella, and I have to say it didn’t disappoint!

From the moment we stepped in the door, the décor just took my breath away. It was simplistic, but done tastefully. The vibes of India showed through from the wall art to even the bathroom décor.

Indian food is done best family style, so we decided to stick to that and ordered a variety of dishes. We started off with a pani puri competition! We had so much fun, and the pani puri was the best we’ve had in the city! Although I can’t quite say that I won, I can say that I enjoyed each and every one of those 6 pani puri’s to the max! The pani puri came with the cutest presentation, with a syringe in the ‘pani’ portion which made the competition that much more fun!

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We then had the rest of the dishes come out together, which included

KHUMB MEIN SEEKH – Tandoori Mushrooms

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PANEER SHANEER

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MASALA DOSA

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CHILLI PANEER

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CHOLEY BHATUREY

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HAKKA NOODLES

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The food was all presented well, and the taste of each of the dishes was exquisite. The traditional thali style servings were authentic, keeping true to both the street style food and maintaining a fine dining experience! My favourite dish, though difficult to decide, would have to be the choley bhaturey! I enjoy spicy food that’s not over the top, and this dish was just the perfect amount of spice! It didn’t compromise on flavor at all, and although I was full I still wanted to eat a bit more! (That’s when you KNOW the food is good!)

My only regrets of the evening were that I didn’t try the karak chai, or the traditional Indian deserts! Because it was a friends birthday, we did have a delicious cake from one of my favourite bakeries in the city; Nadege! We had the Marie Antoinette Macaron cake which was AMAZING! The restaurant was very accommodating for the birthday, providing plates, forks and even candles! Overall, an incredible dining experience and I was very happy with the service too!

I definitely recommend you give Bhai’s a try as well! Let me know if you decide to go, and what your favorite dish was!

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Happy dining!

Xo, Ally

Yorkville Cafe Crawl

Yorkville – a gorgeous upscale neighborhood commonly referred to as the annex was once the Canadian capital of the hippie movement. Now, as one of the best places to find all your designer gems at your fingertips, it also has a huge selection of great food that will satisfy any foodie! But what I love most whilst shopping is a nice hot cup of tea in the crisp fall weather.  But let’s be honest, I enjoy a hot cup of tea whilst doing just about anything! And since I work in Yorkville, I tend to try out all the café’s in the area. Whether it is to sit and cuddle with a good book before work, or to grab a quick latte and pistachio croissant (SO GOOD!)  I have narrowed down the perfect café crawl list in Yorkville you have to visit, and a few of my favorites at each.

Because I am self-proclaimed tea addict, most of my choices will be tea inspired. if I do have coffee, it’s usually a latte or chocolate mocha. I have done my research for tasty coffee too, don’t worry!!

Sorry Coffee Co. (102 Bloor St W – In the Kit and Ace store)

  • Earl Grey Misto – this is the first on my list for a reason. I am OBSESSED! (As I’m sure you can tell by the number of pictures from this place!) The tea is absolutely amazing, fresh leaves that they steep with steamed milk and hot water. They have this liquid sugar that is a must with this to give it the perfect sweetness. I highly recommend it!
  • Chocolate hazelnut croissant – It’s the perfect sweet treat and it’s a small croissant, so you don’t feel guilty having the extra calories ( #sorrynotsorry )

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Café Moi (1200 Bay St.)

  • Assortment of fresh tea leaves that smell & taste amazing! I especially like their iced teas infused with vanilla! So perfect on a hot day!
  • Hands down the BEST croissant I’ve ever has, the pistachio croissant is so worth it! It’s on the pricier side, but this is a heavenly treat! It’s made at the famous Parisian bakery Delysees (and I would also recommend stopping by that bakery if you’re ever around the area (780 King St. W)

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Goldstruck Coffee (130 Cumberland St.)

  • Their Latte was quite strong, and a bold taste for a coffee lover. A bit too strong for me, I only have it once in a while when I really need a pick me up! But I have to say the beans were freshly roasted and you could definitely tell the difference! Next time I need a gold star caffeine rush (get it?!) I know where to go! The interiors are super cute, and have character the minute you walk in the doors! I love places like this for the ambiance as well, my only regret is that the menu doesn’t include any teas! Next time I’ll be sure to try out their baked goods as well!

Nespresso Boutique Bar (159 Cumberland St.)

  • The famous Nespresso coffee machine has a flagship store in Yorkville that’s super chic, with high ceilings and a café and retail store. The décor is beautiful, and I have yet to try their food but will be going by in the near future to try the lobster Panini! It’s a great date spot, after work coffee bar or to enjoy a latte after dinner, but the down side is that they don’t do take out! Not the best for those working in the area, but hopefully a suggestion they’ll take into consideration!

That about sums up some of my favorite places, and I guarantee you once you try them you’ll be back for more! I have a few places in the area that have sweet treats that deserve an honorable mention below! Hope you have a chance to check out a few of these places, and enjoy the gorgeous area while you’re at it!

  • Prairie Girl
  • Trattoria Nervosa
  • Holt’s café

Xo, Ally

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Lost in Thought

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Recently I’ve been cooking, baking and eating A LOT, and been so terrible at posting what I’ve been up to! I blame it on a busy summer, but I promise I will get back into it! As summer winds down, I will be spending more time cuddled up with my Pumpkin Spice Latte’s and writing up lots of new material! I also have decided to branch more into a lifestyle type blog, where I will still be putting out recipes, but will also include a lot more. A few of these are guides in different areas of food/coffee/TEA/things to do etc around Toronto, the GTA and anywhere life decides to take to for life & travel! I also want to include a few of the things I have a passion for which includes fashion, make up, hair, healthy lifestyle choices, working out, etc.

Working in Yorkville, I tend to put up a lot more pictures on my social media (particularly Instagram) of places that I frequently visit or try out. It’s such a gorgeous area of the city, and I will be dedicating a few posts specifically to Yorkville.

I also recently went to Vancouver, BC and had the most incredible time! I’ve been asked by a number of my friends and followers of suggestions of where to eat, sleep, visit, and what was and wasn’t worth it in the city. I have so much I want to share and can’t wait to get started!

I will be re-branding my blog likely in the near future, but will also be posting here until then. I’ll keep you all posted with that as soon as it happens! If you have anything else you would like me to do, please do comment and reach out to me, I would LOVE to know! Or just pop by and say hello!

In the meantime, check out my Instagram to keep updated on what I’m up to on the norm, and I’m looking forward to bringing you a lot of new material!

Tata for now,

Ally

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough & White Chocolate Rosebud Pistachio Bark

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Recently, I have been baking up a storm and haven’t had any time to blog about it! I have tried to keep my Instagram page updated with pictures of the goodies (@Alyiar27) and now it’s time to go back and give some recipes to some new & old favorites! Currently, I’m obsessed with chocolate bark! I’ve made a variety of types (rosebud & pistachio, double chocolate Oreo, chocolate peppermint) but this one reminds me of the perfect ice-cream flavors! So for the hot weather we’re currently getting, I figured let’s start with this one (with a bowl of ice cream by my side of course)

So what’s the flavor you ask? Well, what can be better that cookie dough? Cookie dough stuffed in between two layers of chocolate and topped with cookie pieces! The best part, you can eat it as is or put it in any flavor of ice cream to take it to the next level! Currently my bowl is vanilla with chocolate cookie dough chunks; heavenly!!

BUT if you’re going for something a little fancier, I’m giving the recipe for two varieties! How does white chocolate pistachio rosebud bark sound? I made these for my best friends baby shower and they we’re a gorgeous addition to the sweet table! Not to mention they taste amazing!! If you’ve never eaten rosebuds or rose petals before, I highly recommend it! (I also highly recommend rosebud tea) Especially with chocolate!

Here’s the recipe to both, hope you enjoy!

A few Useful Tips:

  • Melt the chocolate in the microwave instead of a double boiler, I found the extra moisture made the chocolate a dryer consistency and more difficult to spread
  • Prep all the ingredients in bowls beforehand so you can work quickly
  • When working with white chocolate, keep in the fridge longer & work swiftly as the chocolate tends to melt quickly

Ingredients:

Cookie Dough Bark

  • 1 pkg Chocolate melts light (12oz)
  • 2-3 Butter cookies
  • Cookie dough

Cookie Dough

  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1/3 granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • Handful mini chocolate chips

Directions:

Cookie Dough

  1. Cream together the butter, brown and white sugar until light and fluffy
  2. Add in salt, vanilla and milk and mix until combined
  3. Add in flour and mix on medium speed until smooth
  4. Fold in chocolate chips and form into a ball
  5. Place in the fridg
    e to cool

Chocolate Cookie Dough Bark

  1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
  2. Melt half the chocolate and spread evenly on cookie sheet
  3. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes
  4. Remove the chocolate and the cookie dough from the fridge, spread cookie dough evenly out on the chocolate and pat down to make a flat layer
  5. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes
  6. Remove bark from fridge, melt remaining chocolate and spread over the cookie dough layer
  7. While chocolate is still warm, break up butter cookie pieces and decorate the top of the bark
  8. Place in fridge for 15 minutes
  9. Remove from the fridge, break into pieces and enjoy!cookie.jpg

White Chocolate Pistachio Bark

  • ½ cup pistachios
  • ½ cup dried rosebuds or dried rose petals
  • 1 pkg white chocolate melts (12oz)

Directions:

  1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
  2. Chop pistachio up finely
  3. Heat white chocolate in microwave
  4. Pour white chocolate onto cookie sheet
  5. Break up the rosebuds and pour on top of melted chocolate keeping a few buds as well
  6. Evenly pour pistachio pieces on top of bark and slightly press in larger pieces
  7. Place in the fridge for 3 hours
  8. Remove from fridge and break apart the bark
  9. Place on a pretty & enjoy!

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Blueberry Crumble

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I have not met a person who has told me they did not like this crumble as of yet. I even had one of my co-workers (who swore she wouldn’t eat fruits unless they were blended in a smoothie) asking for more! They literally taste like you just had a tiny piece of heaven, and they’ve become a Sunday morning baking routine.  I love making it first thing in the morning, it makes the house smell amazing and its ready in time for brunch. And we all know that’s the favorite meal of the day! So let me know if you give this a try and have a new staple in your house as your go to dessert!

Another bonus for this recipe, the crust and the crumble is the same. Which means less work, and you can choose how much you want as the crust or the topping, depending on which part is your favorite. Mine personally: lots of crispy crumble topping yum!

A few Useful Tips:

  • I used my trusty Vitamix to pulse the rolled oats a little bit to make the texture a little smoother
  • Don’t use instant oats, that will make the mixture very dry and hard to work with

Ingredients:

IMG_4236.JPGCrust & Topping  

  • ½ cup butter (salted)
  • ¾ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar (not packed)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

 

Blueberry filling

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • ¼ – 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp water

Directions:

  1. Preheat over to 350F. Choose your pan of choice, line with parchment paper and/or cooking spray
  2. *Optional* Use your vitamix or food processor and pulse oats once or twice for a second
  3. Mix dry ingredients together (flour, sugars, oats) in a bowl and add in melted butter
  4. Mix together and allow mixture to form clumps which will be used for the crumble topping
  5. Line the bottom of your pan of choice with the mixture and pack down to form a crust (keep aside about 1-1.5 cups of the mixture for the topping, depending on how thick you want the crust)

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Blueberry filling

  1. Add blueberries to a bowl and pour sugar and cornstarch on top evenly
  2. Pour lemon juice and water over the blueberry mixture and carefully mix together, trying not to crush any of the blueberries
  3. Pour blueberry mixture evenly over the crust and make sure all the liquid is poured into the layer
  4. Sprinkle the remaining crust mixture over the crumble, using your fingers to make clumps
  5. Bake for approx. 45 minutes – 1 hour at 350F, until golden brown. The blueberries will look like a jam texture.
  6. Cool for 1 hour completely before cutting into squares & enjoy!bb crumble.jpg