Caramel-apple crumble wedges

Caramel-Apple Crumble Wedges | A Dash of Compassion

I’m having one of those weeks where I’m feeling completely off. I can’t sleep, I’m having trouble concentrating on work, and my house is a mess. Do you ever have those days or weeks? I feel like my whole life is out of whack and I can’t seem to get anything done, no matter how hard I try.

So you’ll have to excuse me for being a bit mindless but I was determined to share this recipe with you today anyway, mostly because apple season is nearing its end and these caramel-apple crumble wedges are just too delicious to keep from you any longer.

Caramel-Apple Crumble Wedges | A Dash of Compassion

This easy recipe is a spin-off of my raspberry-oatmeal breakfast wedges I posted a few months back, but with a late fall twist! Think of this as a wholesome breakfast-meets-apple-caramel-pie kinda deal. It’s pretty rad. And super easy. And you likely already have all of the ingredients in your pantry (brown rice syrup is a staple for you too, right?).

Rest assured, despite my lack of sleep and motivation, I’m still surviving without my kitchen. For the last eight weeks I’ve been making all our meals in my dark, dingy basement and relying on my countertop Blendtec Smart Oven Pro to do the work I would expect of my regular oven. It’s definitely been meeting my expectations and it has also allowed me to continue baking delicious things like this (and this and this and this).

Although it’s on a much smaller scale than my regular oven (like, I can’t bake a regular pan of muffins or cupcakes, but I can do mini!), I do love that the built-in convection setting allows me to speed up the cooking time of sweet potatoes and pizzas, it bakes evenly and it lets me know when the time is up by sounding out a gentle “DING!” and automatically shutting off (but still keeping warm) until I’m ready to take out the pan from the oven. The new interior light also allows me to see how my precious meals and desserts are doing, and automatically turns on when the cooking time is up—I love that!

Dark chocolate cake with white chocolate mousse frosting + DIY Vegan’s 1st birthday!

Dark Chocolate Cake with White Chocolate Mousse Frosting | A Dash of Compassion

I can’t believe it. Has it been a year already? One whole year since DIY Vegan hit store shelves and Lisa and I officially got to share our cookbook with the world. This time last year was super exciting—and still continues to be—since it was the culmination of 18 months of work creating 135 brand new recipes (with gluten-free versions of each one!), testing and retesting, writing, editing, and photographing, plus all the sweat, tears and joy that go into creating a book.

We’ve had quite a year and a lot of fun promoting DIY Vegan through articles, podcasts, cooking demos and TV shows. Did you catch our latest segment on Breakfast Television? That was officially my first time on live TV. A cool experience? Hell yes. Nerve-racking? You bet. I hadn’t been in front of a TV camera since journalism school.

Dark Chocolate Cake with White Chocolate Mousse Frosting | A Dash of Compassion

So, we have a lot to celebrate. As I said to Lisa recently, I will be forever grateful for the friendship she and I formed after meeting at another local author’s cookbook launch in 2010. We connected instantly over our shared passion for veganism and outreach, and partnering with Lisa on all things food-related has literally changed my life. I’m so proud and amazed by all the awesome opportunities that have come our way since then, including this book.

You can’t celebrate a birthday without cake, right?

Roasted hazelnut-almond granola clusters from Oh She Glows Every Day + a giveaway!

Roasted Hazelnut-Almond Granola Clusters | A Dash of Compassion

I know you love cookbooks as much as I do, so I’m excited to share this recipe from Angela Liddon’s brand new Oh She Glows Every Day. I received a review copy of the book a little over a month ago and have been enjoying it immensely ever since.

Featuring reliable and inspiring plant-based recipes that Angela is known for, Oh She Glows Every Day takes a slightly different approach than her first bestselling cookbook, The Oh She Glows Cookbook (read my review here), focusing specifically on quick and energizing meals for busy lifestyles. The book contains photographic glimpses into Angela’s busy life with her husband Eric and daughter Adriana (just last week, newly born Arlo joined the family!) and it is clear that her active lifestyle as a mother and entrepreneur shaped the new book’s emphasis.

Roasted Hazelnut-Almond Granola Clusters | A Dash of Compassion

In addition to the 100 recipes for smoothies, breakfasts, snacks, sides, entrees and desserts included in the book, Angela also shares easy-to-make homemade staples like all-purpose cheese sauce, coconut whipped cream, balsamic vinaigrette dressing and vegan parmesan, plus useful information on essential pantry ingredients and making meals that are kid-, allergy- and freezer-friendly.

One thing I admire about Angela is that she doesn’t over complicate her recipes. Her simple and accessible approach to recipe development makes her recipes attractive to anyone, vegan or otherwise, looking for recipes that satisfy, nourish and inspire. Plus, there’s something to be said about her carefully written instructions, which are key to creating reliable recipes that work time and time again. I’ve made more than a few recipes from the book so far, including the freshest guacamole, fresh cherry tomato salsa, homemade sunflower seed butter, nut-free dream bars, flourless peanut butter cookies and coffee shop-worthy hazelnut milk.

A few other recipes I’ve bookmarked: overnight hot oatmeal power bowl, curried chickpea salad, crispy smashed potatoes and oh em gee veggie burgers.

My go-to green smoothie

My Go-To Green Smoothie | A Dash of Compassion

Smoothies are officially back in my life now that I’m more reliant on my counter-top appliances for everyday meal prep. I particularly enjoy them on weekends, when a full schedule of freelance work, long runs, house cleanup and social obligations lead me to stray from my usual weekday routine. They have once again become my go-to breakfast or lunch—in just 5 minutes, I can have a smoothie in hand that would just about rival the most nutritious meal around.

I realize there are lots and lots (and lots) of smoothie recipes out there, but after trying so many others—some requiring a seemingly endless number of ingredients—I found myself coming back to this basic green smoothie for three simple reasons: it’s super tasty and almost effortless, and it packs in a ton of glorious greens that my body loves.

My Go-To Green Smoothie | A Dash of Compassion

My go-to green smoothie includes ingredients I almost always have on hand—spinach, zucchini, almond butter, banana and Silk unsweetened almond milk, plus some added plant-based nutrition from Vega One.

While I believe eating whole foods is the best way to obtain nutrients, powdered supplements like Vega are an easy solution if you’re on the go or want to ensure you’re getting what your body needs to function at its best. It’s a convenience food that’s actually good for you! I love that there are so many plant-based options on the market these days, but I always come back to Vega because the company is constantly improving the flavour, texture and nutritional profile. Plus, the Vega One French Vanilla powder is so delicious you don’t have to add too much to get it to taste amazing.

Gluten-free salted chocolate cookies

Gluten-Free and Vegan Salted Chocolate Cookies | A Dash of Compassion

It’s been a little dusty around here lately.

Back in January, I mentioned our big plans to renovate the kitchen this year. Since then, we’ve been in talks with a local design-build group to help us create a functional, open-space kitchen design by removing the wall between our kitchen and dining room. I envisioned bright white cabinets that extend to the ceiling, shiny new appliances and a long island. We had an engineer in to confirm the wall we want to remove isn’t structural, and I’ve been consumed with design decisions like cabinet styles, appliance brands and hardware.

Fast forward nine months and here we are, in the midst of renovation chaos. My hubby took on the demolition—he loves to smash things and it saved us a ton of money—and we’ve got electricians and plumbers coming in and out, while my three cats hang out in the basement wondering what the bleep is going on above them.

Gluten-Free and Vegan Salted Chocolate Cookies | A Dash of Compassion

They haven’t been too lonely down there, since I’ve set up a makeshift kitchen in the basement so I wouldn’t be completely out of sorts for the next few months. While I’m down there, they perch on top of the cardboard boxes—as if they’re protecting my precious kitchen treasures—and watch me stir together my breakfast oats or chop veggies for salad (luckily we were able to fit the old fridge down there so I had somewhere to store my produce).

I don’t think I could survive this reno if it wasn’t for my small, counter-top appliances that can be used outside of the kitchen. It’s been pretty easy to blend together a smoothie in my Blendtec or whip up a batch of hummus in my food processor. And luckily, Breville generously sent me a Smart Oven Pro to experiment with, and so far I can honestly say it’s been a lifesaver.