this blog is dedicated to health, wellness and beauty
I hope it inspires you

I'm baaaaaack.........

what a ride.......happy to be back!! So grateful to be blessed with good health, and two wonderful, successful, caring and supportive kids who are the centre of my universe.
I landed a pretty terrific job that has kept me busy these past 5+ years.....I'm able to use all my skills and creativity on a daily basis.....I wanted to come back to share my skills, to connect with like minded individuals who simply don't have the time to get everything done at home.  There just are not enough hours in the day!
I'm ready to be of service.......whether it's meal prepping, errand running, house sitting, organizing events......urbanmaven can do just about anything....sounds fantastical but it is true.


Chia Breakfast Parfait

Omega's, Protein, Vitamin C for breakfast.
Looks so pretty sitting in your fridge just waiting for you.....

Simple to make:

  • make the chia pudding.....2 cups almond milk to 1/2 cup chia seeds.  Combine the two the night before. big fyi: Stir the chias into the almond milk, stir often until the seeds plump up. Leave covered in the fridge overnight.
  • Purchase your freshest fruit of choice and layer in a glass. It's fun to see the layers :)
  • You can even puree some of the fruit as one layer
  • Top with favourite granola.....or chopped raw nut mix 
  • I then place a piece of cling film overtop each glass.....these will keep for at least 2 or 3 days
  • The 2 cup almond milk to 1/2 cup chia seeds will make 6-8 parfaits, depending on the size of your glass 
  • Good morning sunshine.....

Poached Pears in Red Wine

I love this dessert.....it could well be one of my favourites!
Pears can be poached in either red OR white wine......I prefer to poach mine in red wine, and I also consider this a fall/winter dessert....must be the burgundy colour of the pears and the subtle wintry spices that evoke the first brisk autumn night or a cold winters eve.....
I recently made these this past February....they were a hit.....in fact, a friend and excellent caterer called them 'superb' ooh la la....
Very simple to make, though a couple key steps are crucial:

  • Choose ripe but firm, unblemished Bosc pears, Bosc are best....they won't disintegrate in the poaching process (nod to Martha there)
  • Choose pears that have their stems firmly intact! this will be key upon presentation
  • Before poaching, Trim the end of the pear, the root end and NOT the stem end :) You want to cut the end off so that the poached pear will stand upright on the plate without falling over
  • Seemlessly in one stroke trim the pears of their skins
  • Pears are best made ONE DAY IN ADVANCE
  • I must admit the recipe is part Julia Child and part Martha Stewart
  • Purchase a decent medium body red or white wine, one that you would drink. If going for red wine, anything NOT pinot noir as it won't give the nice depth of colour you are looking for and lacks flavour substance
  • One bottle will do 6-8 pears 
  • Into a large soup kettle combine the bottle of wine, one recipe simple syrup, see below,  and enough water to just submerge the pears (you don't want to dilute the wine with too much water)
  • Add to the pot: 1 cinnamon stick, 4 juniper berries, if you have on hand, 6 whole cloves, and one star anise
  • Set a piece of parchment on top of the submerged pears (cut to the size of your pot) Cover pot with lid
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat immediately to a slow simmer. Stir the pears every now and then so that they colour evenly. Simmer for 20 minutes or so, when you think they are done (just soft) insert a sharp knife to check. You don't want the pear mushy, the knife should insert easily but should still be a bit firm
  • Remove pot from heat. Remove lid from pot but leave the parchment. Continue to stir the pears until they cool off, ensuring even red wine colour distribution. 
  • Once cool.....place the whole pot in the fridge overnight (return lid to the pot) 
  • Next day: 
  • Carefully with spoon, remove the pears from poaching liquid, stand up cut end down
  • Simmer the poaching liquid and reduce to a syrupy consitency
  • Serve the pears on a plate or wide shallow bowl.....stand the pear, drizzle reduced syrup over pear to form a small pool on plate
  • Dollop of soft whipped cream or creme fraiche alongside the pear
  • Can shave best dark chocolate over all (optional)
  • Fork and spoon, both are necessary......fork to spear and hold the pear steady, spoon to gather speared fruit, syrup and whipped cream in one delicious mouthful
  • Bon Appetit 
  • x
Simple syrup
as per Julia Child:
"the rule for poaching syrup: the proportions for a fruit poaching syrup are always 1 1/2 cups sugar for each quart of liquid - water or wine or 6 Tbsp sugar per cup of liquid " 
(in the above instance i used water)