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Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Local Vegan Eats-- Wild Leek

The Wild Leek is by far one of my favourite spots in Halifax. It has a rustic artsy feel with delicious food that feels like something your mom would make. A vegan twist on traditional favourites, along with unique one-of-a-kind creations. 

You really feel at home at the Leek.

The menu is not massive but it's still enough that I always have a hard time choosing. Portion size is perfect and prices are extremely reasonable. I always leave satisfied from the Wild Leek. Fare includes bowls, a donair, wraps and an all-day breakfast menu.

I feel a lot of love from the food there.

Ultimate burger and potato soup
Potato soup
Wild Bowl
Chocolate hazelnut cupcake

The Wild Leek offers all day breakfast and to quote Tori Amos "breakfast every hour, it could save the world." I think this is a very smart move on the Leek's part because I am pretty partial to breakfast. They offer a vegan omlette, known as the "nomlette", which is pretty special, as well as housemade seitan bacon, pancakes and homemade cornbread. True comfort food.

They have a great selection of baked goods. I am pretty fond of the cupcakes, I can't leave there without getting one, which change daily. They are truly the best cupcakes in the world. They will also do desserts upon request. So if you are looking for a birthday cake or something delicious for a special occasion, the Leek has got you covered. Brownies, muffins, cookies and more are also always in house.

They have a smoothie and juice bar which are always fresh and made right before your eyes. The Chocolite has got to be my favourite smoothie and I am pretty partial to the Elixir when it comes to juice but they are all delicious and nutritious.

Daily specials, as well as, special menus are constantly being created. Holiday dinners, 3 course meal events, pizza nights and so much more.

It just doesn't get any better than this. I love the homey, welcoming atmosphere that is the Wild Leek. The staff is always friendly and helpful and the food is out of this world. If you are visiting Halifax or living here and yet to go, put it on the list of places to eat. And that my friends is the Vegan Peach seal of approval. 

Located at: 
2156 Windsor Street
Halifax, NS 

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Skinchantment-- Truly Natural Vegan Skincare

Skinchantment is not just another skincare company, unlike the "competition" they strive to make truly natural skincare that is all vegan, gluten-free, fair trade, synthetic preservative free and organic. They also donate portions of their profit to a local animal sanctuary-- making a better world for you, animals and the planet.

Hailing from Alberta, Canada, Skinchantment is truly a treat for the skin using only the cleanest ingredients. Each product is handcrafted in small batches, guaranteeing the highest quality product.

They offer 4 unique products in 4 different varieties.

Siren Salts (Kitchen Witch)-- It's no lie, I'm a huge bath fan and bath salts tend to be essential for a perfect relaxing experience. Upon opening the Siren Salts I could see just how natural this product is. The sage and rosemary sprinkled throughout adds a nice touch to the bath. The smell is divine and it left my skin feeling silky smooth and smelling great. Also, a little goes a long way.

Also available in: Secret Garden (rose), Circles Isle (lavender and rosemary) and Forbidden Fruit (orange and lemon).

Elixir of Light (She Dragon)-- I admit, I have a fear of oil products for my face because I have acne prone skin. I was worried this product would break me out even though it's labeled "For Acne Prone/Problematic Skin" but my fear was unwarranted because I love this product. My skin feels fantastic and that says a lot since the last 6 years or so has been a constant battle with my skin. Since I started a medication several years ago, my skin constantly breaks out and has left me extremely embarrassed to show my face. I feel like my brightness is finally coming back. My skin is actually close to clear for the first time in ages and I truly think it's because of Skinchantment. I use this product as a cleanser but it can also be used as a moisturizer or serum.

Radiance Nectar (She Dragon)-- This facial mist is partnered with the facial oil and is light and feels so good on the skin! Both together work their magic on my skin. :) I use this as a toner but can also be used as a makeup setting spray or simply for spritzing dry skin.

Also available in: Faerie Maiden (For sensitive/normal skin), Warrior Queen (For damaged/scarred skin) and Wise Woman (For Aging Skin).

Meet me at the Masquerade (Ebony Satin)-- Ebony is truly the colour of this dry masque which can look a bit scary but do not fear, even though it's a bit messy, it makes your skin feel and look fabulous. This one goes well with my oil and mist as it is for detoxification which obviously aids in correcting my acne prone skin but you can definitely pair the Sea Silk masque as well as it is for acne prone skin. You simply add a little water to a small amount of powder and voila! you've got yourself a masque!

Also Available in: Crimson Velvet (For Beautiful Aging Skin), Sea Silk (For Acne Prone/Problematic Skin) and Pearl Lace (Gently Exfoliating/Moisturizing).

I was also sent samples of the Sea Silk masque and the Warrior Queen mist and oil. I have tried them and enjoyed them as well but definitely want to stick to my main products. I also want to mention how much I love the names of the products as someone who's really into fantasy, I appreciate it. Each product has a story to tell and that is truly inspiring to me.

Thank you Skinchantment for making me feel beautiful again and giving me the opportunity to collaborate with you. 

Vegan Love <3

Monday, 21 December 2015

Surya Brasil-- Vegan and Cruelty-free Hair and Skincare

I have to say, I am pretty damn excited to write this post and share this amazing company with you. Surya Brasil offers what I consider to be some of the best vegan, cruelty-free and natural products on the market and honestly some of my new favourite products.

Surya Brasil offers products that are made from sustainably harvested, non-GMO ingredients. They are vegan certified, gluten-free and never tested on animals. They do not contain parabens, petroleum, pesticides, propylene or butylene glycols, phthalates, sulfates, PEG’s, TEA, DEA or GMO, silicones, artificial dyes or fragrances. Which we all know in this day and age is hard to come by, even in the natural community.

They have been around for 20 years and sell their products in 40 countries internationally striving for sustainable and responsible beauty, succeeding on every level.

Surya Brasil offers a large range of beauty products including henna hair colour, hair care products, skincare including a line specifically for men and woman under their Sapien label, lip balm and much more.

I am simply honored to have been given the opportunity to use and review some products and share my thoughts with you. The lovely folks at Surya sent me several products and here are my honest opinions for each.

Sapien Women Body Scrub: I first have to say, I will probably repeat myself a lot because their products smell AMAZING!! Being someone who almost exclusively uses products that are "natural" or claim to be so, I am extremely sensitive to chemical smells, always have been but even more so now that I don't use many chemicals. The scents from these products are clearly from natural sources and I love that. It reminds me of Hawaii or a rainforest and that made me instantly fall in love with the products. This scrub is incredible. It leaves your skin feeling silky smooth. It is gentle on the skin, no worries about scratching or tearing the skin like some traditional scrubs have done to me in the past. Perfect for the cold winter weather we are having right now.

Water, *Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Kaolin (White Clay), Glycerin, **Sucrose Cocate, *Mauritia Flexuosa Pulp Powder, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Dehydroacetic Acid Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroxanthan Gum, Fragrance, Magnesium Aluminium Silicate, Cocos Nucifera Shell Powder, Sodium Hydroxide
98.80% of the total ingredients are from natural origin
23.27% of the total ingredients are from organic farming

Sapien Women Shave Gel: Confession: I don't shave that much anymore, mostly due to the fact that I always cut my skin or get really bad razor burn but I made an exception because I wanted to give a full review of all the products given to me. I shaved for the first time in a couple months last night and it's honestly the first time I haven't had either razor burn or painful nicks on my skin. Again, the smell of their shave gel is amazing and the gel itself made my skin feel incredibly smooth and nourished. I always moisturize after shaving but I really had no need to with this product.

Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, *Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Decyl Polyglucoside, Glycerin, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, ** Sucrose Cocoate, Dehydroacetic Acid Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroxanthan Gum, Fragrance, Xanthan Gum, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Citric Acid, *Penthaclethra Macroloba Seed Oil, Tocopherol, *Macadamia Integrifolia Seed Oil. *Theobroma Grandiflorum Seed Butter.
98.80% of the total ingredients are from natural origin
13.62% of the total ingredients are from organic farming

Sapien Woman Body Moisturizer: Gonna say it again, it SMELLS AMAZING!!! Not too surprising, it made my skin soft, non-oily and left it feeling great. A little goes along way too.

Water, *Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Cetearyl Olivate Sorbitan Olivate, Glycerin, *Macadamia Integrifolia Seed Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Dehydroacetic Acid Benzyl Alcohol, *Astrocaryum Murumuru Seed Butter, *Penthaclethra Macroloba Seed Oil, Fragrance, *Theobroma Grandiforum Seed Butter, Saccharomyces Silcon Ferment, Saccharomyces Magnesium Ferment, Saccharomyces Zinc Ferment, Saccharomyces Cooper Ferment, Saccharomyces Iron Ferment, Sodium PCA, *Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Oil, Xanthan Gum, Tocopherol, Sodium Hydroxide, Carrageenan.
98.88% of the total ingredients are from natural origin
18.88% of the total ingredients are from organic farming

Color Fixation Shampoo and Conditioner: Created for color treated hair, this is perfect for me since I have done an insane amount of damage to my hair from coloring. The shampoo and conditioner, along with the mask has made my hair feel a million times lighter and healthier. My hair also feels much more manageable and styling has become easier as a result.

Shampoo Ingredients:
Deionized Water (Aqua), Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Decyl Glucoside, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Xanthan Gum, Dihydroxanthan Gum, Mauritia Flexuosa Fruit Oil, Theobroma Grandiflorum Seed Butter, Tocopheryl Acetate, Citric Acid, Essential Oils (Rose Flower Oil, Cananga Odorata Flower Oil, Jasminum Officinale Oil and Santalum Album Oil), Lawsonia Inermis Leaf Extract, Arnica Montana Extract, Phyllanthus Emblica Fruit Extract, Paullinia Cupana Fruit Extract, Achillea Millefolium Extract, Genipa Americana Extract, Malva Sylvestris Extract, Corylus Rostrata Seed Extract, Daucus Carota Sativa Root Extract, Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Extract, Zizyphus Joaseiro Bark Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Malpighia Punicifolia Fruit Extract, Bertholletia Excelsa (Brazil Nut) Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Extract, Hydrolized Rice Protein, Vegetable Glycerin.

Conditioner Ingredients:
Deionized Water (Aqua), Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetrimonium Chloride, Orbignya Oleifera Seed Oil, Mauritia Flexuosa Fruit Oil, Theobroma Grandiflorum Seed Butter, Sorbitol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Citric Acid, Essential Oils (Rose Flower Oil, Cananga Odorata Flower Oil, Jasminum Officinale Oil and Santalum Album Oil), Lawsonia Inermis Leaf Extract, Arnica Montana Extract, Phyllanthus Emblica Fruit Extract, Paullinia Cupana Fruit Extract, Achillea Millefolium Extract, Genipa Americana Extract, Malva Sylvestris Extract, Corylus Rostrata Seed Extract, Daucus Carota Sativa Root Extract, Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Extract, Zizyphus Joaseiro Bark Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Malpighia Punicifolia Fruit Extract, Bertholletia Excelsa (Brazil Nut) Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Extract, Hydrolized Rice Protein,Tocopheryl Acetate.

Mask Ingredients:
Deionized Water (Aqua), Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetrimonium Chloride, Orbignya Oleifera Seed Oil, Mauritia Flexuosa Fruit Oil, Theobroma Grandiflorum Seed Butter, Sorbitol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Citric Acid, Essential Oils (Rose Flower Oil, Cananga Odorata Flower Oil, Jasminum Officinale Oil and Santalum Album Oil), Lawsonia Inermis Leaf Extract, Arnica Montana Extract, Phyllanthus Emblica Fruit Extract, Paullinia Cupana Fruit Extract, Achillea Millefolium Extract, Genipa Americana Extract, Malva Sylvestris Extract, Corylus Rostrata Seed Extract, Daucus Carota Sativa Root Extract, Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Extract, Zizyphus Joaseiro Bark Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Malpighia Punicifolia Fruit Extract, Bertholletia Excelsa (Brazil Nut) Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Extract, Hydrolized Rice Protein,Tocopheryl Acetate.

Lip Balm: I am a self-proclaimed lip balm junkie, as I am sure most of you know. Surya Brasil actually found me through my lip balm review post. I had originally tried the cinnamon flavour but I have a sensitivity to cinnamon so didn't overly enjoy it so now I have got to try all their other flavors which include: Strawberry & Buriti, Chocolate, Acai Berry and Chocolate & Mint. I love all of them. They smell amazing and work really well on my dry, chapped lips. Non-oily as well.
  • Vegan certified. No animal ingredients or animal testing
  • Made with fair trade certified cacao butter
  • Packaging made with 40% recycled content
  • Antioxidant rich, acai oil bursting with flavonoids and omega 9 fatty acids
  • Petroleum and paraben free
Ingredients: Organic Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Organic Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Fair Trade Certified ª Cocoa Butter, D-Alpha Tocopherol, Mauritia Flexuosa (Buriti) Seed Oil, Bertholletia Excelsa Seed Oil, Virola Sebifera (Ucuuba) Nut Oil, Astrocaryum Murumuru Butter, Organic Flavor.

Thank you so much to Surya Brasil for giving me the opportunity to review their amazing products. They have lots of their products on sale right now for the holidays so I highly suggest ordering now if you want a great deal! Muah!

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

A Vegan Holiday Feast with Chef Lauren Marshall

 If you don't know about Chef Lauren Marshall it is time you do. Lauren's talents are many and she excels at everything she does. She is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Alumni of the Culinary Institute of Canada, competitor on Top Chef Canada, Instructor at PC Cooking Schools, Ambassador for Yves Veggie Cuisine and Owner of Coastal Healing located in Halifax, NS.  Lauren promotes a healthy way of eating that is delicious, nutritious and compassionate!

Lauren offers cooking classes (both private and public), nutrition services and wellness retreats.

I had the pleasure to attend Lauren's Veggie Holiday Feast class where we were taught to prepare walnut and spinach stuffing with fennel using her cornbread muffin recipe, a vegan wellington that includes layers of roasted carrots, mushroom duxelles, portobello bacon and bean mixture, mushroom gravy, creamy coconut mash and finally for dessert pumpkin pie.

The fantastic thing about Lauren's recipes is how adaptable they are for every diet and every picky eaters preference. She made her Walnut and Spinach Stuffing with her cornbread muffin recipe but she stated that you can use any bread of your choosing. Spices can also be interchanged easily for all her recipes. She did her stuffing into balls and put them in a muffin tin but it can also easily be done full size in a casserole dish too. 

Lauren is nice enough to let me share these fantastic recipes with all of you, so enjoy:

Walnut and Spinach Stuffing with fennel
Serves 8
10-12  cornbread muffins (day-old), cut into 1-inch cubes
2 stalks celery, diced
1 small bulb of fennel, diced (or 1/2 a large bulb)
1 small onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1 pac frozen spinach (or 1 large container of spinach - cooked and squeezed to remove water)
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh sage, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh marjoram, roughly chopped
1/2 3/4 cup vegetable broth
2 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

-Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread corn bread on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until barely golden browned and nicely crisped (but not rock hard), 2030 minutes. Cool slightly, then transfer to a large bowl.  Add all of the other ingredients to the cornbread cubes and mix well. Add more broth or olive oil if it is a bit dry use your own judgement. Spread evenly into a glass baking pan. -Bake at 350º for 20-30 minutes, until the veggies are tender and the top is nice and golden brown.

Cornbread Muffins
1 cup almond milk (room temp)
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted2
1/2 cup (100 g) raw or granulated sugar
Dry ingredients:
2/3 cup cornmeal
1 1/3 cup oat flour
3/4 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda

-Preheat the oven to 350 °F and line a muffin pan with 12 muffin liners. Pour the milk in a large mixing bowl, add the apple cider vinegar, and give it a few stirs. Let sit for 5 minutes while preparing the dry ingredients. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together all the dry ingredients. Set aside. To the milk mixture, add the melted coconut oil, sugar and vanilla and stir until well combined.Add the dry mixture and stir just until combined.Pour into the prepared pan. Bake muffins for 18 minutes or until springs back.

The Vegan roulade has several steps and can be a bit time consuming but definitely worth it in the end. If you've ever had one of Field Roast's en croute roasts, it reminded me of a much more decadent version of that. The mixture of flavored just exploded in my mouth like anything I've had before.

Serve with some fresh winter greens (Arugula, Kale, Swiss Chard - roasted garlic etc.)

Rosemary Turkee Roulade
Serves 8

For the Roasted Carrots:
1 small bag of baby carrots
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

For the Mushroom Mixture:
1 pack button mushroom, roughly chopped
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 cup whiskey
1 cup Japanese-style breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/4 cup minced fresh tarragon leaves
1/4 cup minced fresh chives or parsley

For the Bean Mixture:
1 1/2 cups raw cashews
4 cups veggie stock
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium leek, white part only, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 medium cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

For Assembly:
1 (1-pound) package frozen phyllo dough, thawed
Extra-virgin olive oil as needed
Coarse sea salt
brush for spreading oil on pastry

For the Carrots: Preheat oven to 400°F. Add rosemary sprigs to pan, drizzle with olive oil, toss to coat, and place carrots on pan. Roast until caramelized , should take about 30 minutes. When you remove carrots from oven, turn down to 350 F.
For the Mushroom Mixture: Blend mushrooms in food processor until finely chopped. Heat some olive oil in a skillet over high heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until moisture has evaporated and mushrooms begin to brown, about 12 minutes. Add onion and garlic and cook, tossing and stirring, until fragrant and softened, about 1 minute. Add soy sauce, maple and whiskey and cook until almost dry, about 2 minutes. Fold in bread crumbs and tarragon.
For the Cashew-Bean Mixture: Place cashews in a saucepan and add veggie stock. Cook at a medium boil until all the stock has eva[orated. This should take about 30 minutes. Pulse in food processor.

For Beans: Lay beans on a sheet pan (lined with parchment). Roast in oven until they split open. Should take about 15 minutes. Place the beans in food processor and pulse until blended.

Cook Leeks: Sauté leeks and celery in a pan on medium high heat.  Season and blend in food processor.

Toast seeds: in a dry pan toast the pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Blend until you get a flour like consistency.

Fold: Fold the cashew mixture together with the blended leeks, seeds and beans. Should make a heavy dough.
To Assemble: Lay a single sheet of phyllo on a clean work surface and brush with olive oil. Layer with about 1 1/2 cup bean/cashew mixture, leaving a 2-inch border all around.

Roll the phyllo and stuffing up like a buritto, tucking in the sides about half way through rolling. Set the cigar-shaped roll aside.

Lay a clean sheet of phyllo on your work surface and brush with olive oil. Lay two more sheets on top, brushing each with olive oil as you layer them to help them stick together. Spread half of mushroom duxelles evenly over bottom two thirds of phyllo sheet, leaving a 2-inch border all around. Lay roasted carrots in even rows in the mushrooms and cover with remaining mushrooms, pressing down with clean hands to form an even layer. Place the cigar-shaped phyllo roll on top of the carrots and mushrooms. Roll the phyllo sheet up into a tight cylinder and set aside.

 Lay another single sheet of phyllo on a clean work surface and brush with olive oil. Do this 4-5 times then layer the rest of the bean/cashew mixture on top. Roll over your existing cylinder. this is your finished product.

Bake until golden brown, crisp, and puffed, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.

The roulade was perfectly paired with Lauren's mushroom gravy and a creamy coconut mash. I simply loved that instead of traditional potatoes for the mash, she chose parsnips and celeriac. Totally unique but just as satisfying and honestly, I don't think most people could tell the difference. The gravy is rich and flavorful and absolutely perfect with the roast. 

Roasted Mushroom Gravy
Serves 8

1 cup sweet onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp thyme, chopped
10 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. port
2 ½ cup vegetable stock
a few leaves of sage
1 pinch rosemary, chopped

-In a medium saucepot, add onions, garlic, and thyme. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until onions turn translucent and just start to brown. About 10 minutes. If the onions and garlic start to stick to the pan, add 2 Tbsp vegetable stock.
-Add the crimini mushrooms, sea salt, pepper, and cook until the mushrooms begin to brown, stirring often. This can take 10 minutes. Add the port and stir for about 1 ½ minutes.
-Add the vegetable stock to the pan. Add the remaining herbs:  sage, and rosemary.
-Bring the gravy to a boil, then to a low simmer for about 15 minutes. Blend. Season to taste. Serve warm.

Creamy Coconut Mash

3 pounds parsnips or celeriac, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch chunks
Kosher salt
6 leaves fresh sage
Freshly ground black pepper
6 fried sage leaves as garnish
Splash coconut milk
1/4 cup nutritional yeast

-Bring pot of water to boil over high heat. Salt add sage, parsnips or celeriac . Cook until tender, 20 mins.
-Drain the parsnips and place in food processor. Purée until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Finally for dessert she made a delectable pumpkin pie with raw cashews. It had the perfect consistency and actually very much tastes like your typical grandma's pumpkin pie just with a twist. Even though I am usually terrified of making desserts with cashews, it looks like something I could even do.

Pumpkin Pie  
Servings: 12

1/4 cup ice-cold filtered water
3/4 cup oats, ground into a flour with a blender
1/4 cup coconut flour
¼ tsp xanthan gum (optional)
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tsp maple syrup
6 Tbsp coconut oil, melted

1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked in filtered water overnight
2 cups pumpkin puree
1/3 cup raw coconut oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
1  tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. sea salt
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
-Spray the pie dish with non-stick cooking spray.
-In a medium-sized bowl, add the flours, xanthan gum, sea salt and sugar, and mix to combine.  Add the melted coconut oil and mix together with a fork, scraping the sides with a spatula. Add the cold water and mix together thoroughly with a fork.  The coconut oil will then start to harden and the coconut flour may absorb all the water.  You may need to add 2-4 more tablespoons of water to get the dough to come together.
-Press the dough into the pie dish using the palm of your hand and fingers to press the dough flush into the pie dish. Try to make the crust as even throughout. If it helps, use a large spoon to smoothen out the dough evenly.
-Place a large piece of parchment paper over the pie shell, just enough to hold pie weights, and fill the shell with dried beans or pie weights. Place the pie dish on a baking sheet, and bake on the center rack, until the shell is light brown, about 15 minutes.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and remove the parchment paper and pie weights from the pie shell. Place the baking sheet back into the oven and bake for another 5-7 minutes or until golden brown.  
-Cool the crust and prepare the filling.

-Place all of the filling ingredients into the blender then blend on high until very smooth. Stop the blender and scrape the sides to ensure everything is getting blended. Taste and sweeten to taste.
-Pour the mixture into the cooled crust, scraping the sides of the blender with a rubber spatula. Using an off-set spatula or knife, spread the filling into the crust evenly.

My experience at the cooking class was a great one. I feel like I learned so much and even a little less scared to experiment in the kitchen now. If you are interested in taking one of Lauren's classes you can see her calendar on or visit PC Cooking School's website. Lauren also does food ready for pick-up and if you don't have time over the holiday's, that's a great option for you, visit here for details. She has items such as mint nanaimo bars, kale chips, vegetable wellington, squash salad and more. 

Thank you to Lauren for allowing me to share her fantastic recipes of giving me the opportunity to see her in action.