Raspberry Rhubarb Apple Crisp

Raspberry Rhubarb Apple Crisp | Swirls and Spice
Loaded with tart rhubarb and tangy raspberries, sweetened with local apples and rich maple syrup, this fruit crisp celebrates the end of summer harvest.  The topping is delightful, made with oats and ground almonds held together with butter and a touch of sugar and spice.  It also happens to be gluten free.  But mostly it’s a dessert that I want to repeat as often as possible.  To me it’s fruit crisp at its finest, which I’ll choose over chocolate decadence almost every time.

Raspberry Rhubarb Apple Crisp

  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Ingredients:Raspberry Rhubarb Crisp {with gluten free topping}
  • 3 to 4 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 1 cup chopped apple
  • 1 to 2 cups raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons apple juice or mixed berry juice, optional
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup oat flour or other flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar or equivalent
  • 2 tablespoons almond meal
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. In a large saucepan, bring rhubarb, apple, raspberries, juice and maple syrup to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C).  In a separate bowl, blend together oats, oat flour, almond meal, salt, ginger, and cinnamon to form the topping.
  3. Pour warm filling into a 2 quart baking dish.  Sprinkle with topping.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until topping is crisp and golden.  Serve warm.
adapted from Life on Manitoulin

Raspberry Rhubarb Apple Crisp {gluten free} | Swirls and Spice

I share recipes here.


Blueberry Lime Applesauce with Ginger

Simple, zingy, and astonishingly delicious–this homemade blueberry applesauce with ginger tastes sublime!  Another batch needs to be made soon, because we can’t get enough!

Blueberry Lime Applesauce with GingerA friend called me up last Friday and asked if I could go with her to gather some surplus apples in the neighbourhood.  The funny thing is, I had been hoping to score some free apples in the coming weeks.  I even said “bring on the apples” in my last post!  Well, my friend had no idea what I had wished for before she called, and I had not thought through how many apples would be coming my way when I said yes!  I sent my two daughters to help with the picking, since I had company at home.  And they filled both big bags that I supplied for apple collecting.

Cutting up our oodles of apples took a few hours.  But I now have endless options for stewing and baking them.  First I made some cinnamon applesauce, which I used to make some Saskatoon Berry Applesauce Bars.  Then I decided to go in a citrusy direction with lime applesauce, sweetened with blueberries, and accented with ginger.   The kids loved it.  I adore it.  Definitely worth making, even if you have to pay for your apples.

Have you ever picked your own apples?

Blueberry Lime Applesauce with Ginger

Blueberry Lime Applesauce with Ginger

  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • approximately 4 cups of sliced apples
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • juice of 1/2 large lime
  • ground ginger to taste (about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 100% apple juice, optional, to taste


  1. Cover the bottom of a large pot with a shallow layer of water.  Add apple slices and cover.  Simmer over medium low heat until apples are very soft.
  2. Stir in blueberries, ginger, and lime juice.  Simmer for 10 minutes or so.  Add apple juice to sweeten the sauce if desired.
  3. Remove applesauce from heat.  Serve warm or chilled.

This post may be linked here and at Allergy Free Wednesdays.


Crêpes on a Stick with Green Apples and Ham


September is nearly here, so bring on the apples!  Add some savoury ham and/or cream cheese, roll it all up with a crêpe, and breakfast becomes almost as much fun as a Seuss book!

In the house or in a car, eat them, eat them; here they are!
Crêpes in a car? Is there a way?
All you need is a stick I say.

Crêpes can brighten anyone’s morning; they also are an ideal breakfast component to make ahead of time.  On the weekend or during an evening show, whip up a stack to stow in the fridge or freezer (but see this post for storage tips).  Then become a morning hero, with sweet and savoury crêpes ready to roll as you start the day.

Now I grew up with Swedish pancakes, which are basically the same as crêpes; they are only made from wheat flour though.  French crêpes, on the other hand, have a dual tradition, with savoury crêpes made from gluten-free buckwheat flour, as well as sweet crêpes that are wheat-based.  I am all about reducing my gluten consumption these days, but most buckwheat crêpes aren’t as flexible and friendly to rolling as the pancakes from my childhood.  So these new and improved gluten-free crêpes were developed with flour ratios that help them flex and roll just right.

Since buckwheat is a seed and tapioca is a starch, these crepes qualify as grain-free too.  If, however, you prefer the classic wheat-based crêpes, you may use my simple recipe for Sunshine Crêpes.  Both recipes give wonderful results for spearing on a stick.

Crepes on a Stick with Green Apples and Ham or Cream Cheese

Crêpes on a Stick with Green Apples and Ham

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 min
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print


  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup coconut milk or dairy milk
  • 1/3 cup buckwheat flour (I used light buckwheat)
  • 1/3 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • butter or oil, for greasing the skillet
  • 8 thin ham slices, preferably nitrite free and/or 6 ounces cream cheese*, softened
  • 1 to 2 green apples (or other tart variety), cut into medium slices
  • lemon juice, for sprinkling on apples


  1. Whisk eggs and milk together until smooth.  Add flours* and salt and beat or whisk until a smooth, thin batter forms, adding a little more water or milk if needed.
  2. Heat a 9-inch round skillet or sauce pan over medium heat.  Grease with butter or oil and pour in about 1/4 cup crêpe batter.  Quickly tilt and swirl the pan to create a thin, round crêpe.  When the batter is cooked through (it will lose its shine), flip and cook the other side until golden spots appear.  Transfer cooked crêpe to a platter and cover to keep soft.  Lightly grease skillet before making the next crêpe.
  3. Sprinkle lemon juice on apples and saute them with butter or oil for several minutes, until the apples are softened but not mushy.  Let apples cool.
  4. Place a slice of ham in the center of a crepe and roll up.  For vegetarian crepes, spread crêpe with softened cream cheese and roll up.  Slice each crepe at 2 cm intervals to form round pinwheels.  Cut each apple slice in half and spear through with a sharp knife tip.  Thread crêpe pinwheels and apples onto wooden skewers or stir sticks.  Cover until ready to serve.  If tightly wrapped or kept in an airtight container, these can be refrigerated and served the next day.


* If you prefer to make crêpes that are not gluten-free, use this recipe.
* Cream cheese may be sweetened to taste with maple syrup or caramel sauce.


This recipe may be shared here and at Allergy Free Wednesdays.

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12 Fresh Food Pairings for a More Appealing Lunch

12 Fresh Lunch Pairings (Including Many Gluten-Free) What was the last homemade lunch you truly enjoyed?   I like to find a balance between variety and keeping things simple. Even folks like my husband, who are willing to eat the same sandwich five days in a row, appreciate an upgrade from time time.

Whether you pack a lunch for work, make lunches for kids, or just want something different on the weekend, it is helpful to have a creative range of mid-day options.  Yet when life gets busy I start forgetting about the breadth of possibilities available.  I fall into food ruts.  Sometimes I overlook something simple and obvious–that I could make from pantry ingredients I already have.  Or I neglect some delicious recipes posted a while ago on this blog!

So when you need a change from the usual sandwich routine, here are 12 fresh lunch options–paired up for your convenience and mine.  Because some days I get stuck puzzling over what to make.  Don’t we all?  The first eight pairings are all gluten free (GF), and none of the twelve involve sliced bread.

Celery Sticks + Gluten Free Pineapple MuffinLadybugs on a Celery Stick + Pineapple Almond Muffin (GF)

Gluten Free Summer Rolls + Mango Lemon BarsShrimp or Chicken Summer Rolls + Mango Lemon Bar (GF)

Gluten-Free Pigs in a Blanket + Napa Cabbage SaladGluten Free Pigs in a Blanket + Napa Cabbage Salad (GF)

Asian Cucumber Salad + Pumpkin Bites (gluten-free)Tangy Cucumber Salad with Chicken and Peanuts + Pumpkin Coconut Bites (GF)

wrap + chai CollageHam and Pear Lettuce Wraps + Chai Chokladbollar (GF)

Rainbow Potato Salad + Tapenade and Buckwheat Crackers (gluten-free)Rainbow Potato SaladBuckwheat Crackers with Cilantro Olive Tapenade (GF)

Ham Musubi + Creamy Pea Salad (gluten-free)

Ham Musubis + Creamy Sweet Pea Salad (GF)

Bacon Avocado Tomato Kebabs + Sweet Potato and Lentil SaladBacon Avocado Tomato Kebabs + Wild Rice Salad (GF)

Ham and Broccoli Pocket + Cherry Chocolate PuddingHam and Broccoli Pockets + Fresh Cherry Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Green Bean Foccacia + Deviled EggsGreen Bean Foccacia + Tapas-Style Deviled Eggs

Taquito + Fruit CollageChicken Taquitos with Cranberry Salsa Paradise Fruit Salad

Mango Chicken Curry + Naan Bread (dairy-free)Mango Chicken Curry + Dairy Free Naan Bread

Feel free to mix and match options that work best for you and your situation.   Many of the recipes double as appetizers and sides that can be made a day or more ahead of time and served as part of a meal (if you like).  Set aside portions for lunch and you are set for the next day.   Then, instead of sighs, let there be smiles of anticipation when you think about lunch!

I like to share ideas here , at Homemade Mondays, and at Allergy Free Wednesdays.


Instant Banana Coconut Grain-Free “Oatmeal”

So easy to make you won’t believe it, this paleo “oatmeal” is the best!  And the minimum number of ingredients?  Two.  Coconut and banana.  I sat amazed after the first bite!Grain-Free Coconut "Oatmeal"

This ultra simple recipe came about because starting every day with eggs was getting boring.  Furthermore, eating nothing but protein in the morning seemed to result in a headache.  In my quest for variety in the grain free realm, I researched a few paleo “oatmeal” recipes.  But they were either complicated or required expensive ingredients.  This recipe is not like that.  Plus  it offers endless mix-in options!spoon-coconut-up

Lately I’ve seen lots of healthy recipes that call for coconut butter, which is pricey to buy or requires a Vitamix to make your own.  I have nothing against having a fancy blender, but it falls in the same category as a big flat screen T.V. for our family right now–nice but not essential.  And thus prompted by hunger, I devised this low-cost breakfast in a bowl using coconut flakes.  All it requires for blending equipment are these:Fork and bowl to mash banana

Got a fork and bowl?  You are just one minute away from breakfast bliss.

What will you mix into yours?

Instant Banana Coconut Grain-Free Oatmeal

  • Servings: 1
  • Time: 2 min
  • Difficulty: very easy
  • Print


  • 1/3 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut flakes
  • 1/2 to 1 ripe banana

Optional Mix-ins:

  • nuts
  • almond butter, peanut butter, etc.
  • chocolate chips, cacao nibs, etc.
  • berries
  • use your imagination!


  1. Add water (or almond milk) to coconut flakes until they are moistened completely.  Heat wet coconut mixture to boiling, either via microwave or stove.
  2. Mash in banana and stir until well blended.  Add any mix-ins you like.  Serve warm.

Grain-Free "Oatmeal" Made from Coconut ShredsI share recipes here and at Allergy Free Wednesdays.


Gluten-Free Pigs in a Blanket

Good bye gluten, hello easy lunch!  These pigs in a blanket made with rice wrappers provide a superbly simple alternative to their doughy counterparts.  Let the good times roll!

Gluten-Free Pigs in Rice Wrappers

Is avoiding gluten a good move?  When  I lived in Vietnam, I ate far less gluten than I do now.  We also didn’t own a car, so I did a lot of walking, and I was ten years younger.  So I am wondering if avoiding gluten will help me get into better shape or not.  Cutting out wheat is not easy since I love bread.   Further more, where I live in Canada, even store bread tastes almost as good as homemade.

However, in my quest to eat less wheat, I invented this new version of pigs in a blanket.  Rice paper is so much simpler than making some sort of gluten free dough that doesn’t quite measure up to wheat-based dough.  I did make a version of traditional pigs in a blanket for my kids.  But then I happily rolled up this spring-roll-like version for myself in just a few minutes.  The results were fabulous!  Even when my kids were happily munching on their homemade wheat bread “blankets”, I did not feel that I was missing out at all.  I was the fortunate one!  So even if you aren’t eating gluten-free, these are a delightfully different take on a classic.

Gluten Free Pigs in a Blanket

  • Servings: 6 to 8
  • Time: 30 min
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Gluten-Free Pigs in a Rice Sheet

  • 16 to 20 round rice wrappers (9-inch diameter)
  • 2 carrots, peeled into thin strips
  • 3 Napa cabbage leaves, thick portions removed, cut into strips
  • 8 to 10 gluten-free beef franks, pork wieners, or vegetarian hot dogs


  1. Cut hot dogs in half.  Preheat oven (or toaster oven) to 350 degrees F (180 C).  Soften one rice wrapper in warm water.  Wrap a hot dog in cabbage and carrots strips and then fold and roll the hot dog and vegetables in a soft rice wrapper, like a burrito.  Repeat with remaining wrappers, hot dogs, and vegetables.  Baste each wrapped hot dog with oil.
  2. Place wrapped hot dogs onto a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake for about 15 minutes, until wrappers are slightly crisp.  Serve warm with dipping sauce such as sweet chilli sauce.



Gluten-Free Pigs in a Blanket


I like to share recipes here and at Allergy Free Wednesdays.


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