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Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Coconut Chili

On Sunday, my family and I got together at my parents’  place to watch the 100th Grey Cup game. (Grey Cup is Canada’s version of the Superbowl). The Grey Cup took place in Toronto this year. Calgary Stampeders went into Toronto in hopes of winning against the home team (the Toronto Argonauts), but the Argos had others plans. In the end, the Toronto Argos won in front of their hometown crowd. As much as I love celebrating Grey Cup and watching the big championship game, I’m always sad that football season is over.
As we do every year, we had WAY too much food for our Grey Cup festivities on Sunday. But it was all so, so, so delicious! Mom made taco dip (a family staple), spinach dip and mini pitas stuffed with a delicious spread of mayo, cheddar, roasted peppers and toasted almonds. Yum! My sister brought homemade jalapeño poppers. They were awesome! I’ll have to share her recipe soon. They were baked and felt much less greasy then the fried ones, but they had just as much flavour (if not more!). I brought along a huge bowl of green goddess guacamole dip. Mmmm!
After our appetizer overload during the game, we sat down for some homemade chili. I made a vegan chili for everyone to try – one perfect to share for this week’s edition of Vegan Tuesdays! I’ve actually never used my slow-cooker, so I thought I’d finally try it out. I picked a slow-cooker chili, so dinner could slowly cook during the football game.
The chili turned out great! I welcomed a huge dose of veggies after I had polished off so many appetizers. The coconut milk adds a really nice element to the chili. I’ve never had coconut milk in chili before, but it added something special. The spices were well balanced with the sweetness of the butternut squash and apples. We served the chili over a small scoop of rice and it was perfect. A wonderful, heart-warming meal – just right to celebrate the end of another football season.
Hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Ours was great. We went to see the movie Lincoln on Friday and really enjoyed it. I highly recommend it :) We also went out to a karaoke party on Saturday. It’s official – I cannot carry a tune to save my life. *hehe* But I can dance to the Spice Girls like nobody’s business!
Enjoy your week! xo
Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Coconut Chili

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Total Time: 6 hours, 10 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Serving Size: 1 and 1/2 cups


  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium apples, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups of peeled + diced butternut squash
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely minced (or 1 tsp of garlic powder)
  • 1 medium can of black beans, drained + rinsed
  • 1 medium can of chickpeas, drained + rinsed
  • 1 can (400ml) of low-fat coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons of chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cooked basmati rice (optional)
  • chopped fresh cilantro, parsley or chives (for garnish)
  • shredded unsweetened coconut (for garnish)


  1. Place all ingredients except the garnishes/rice in a slow cooker. Cook on high heat for 4 to 6 hours (or on low for 8 hours). During the last hour, taste the chili and season with salt and pepper. Add more chili powder as desired. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper if you like chill on the spicy side. In the last 45 minutes of cooking, open the lid to allow the chili to thicken. If the chili looks a bit dry, add a bit more vegetable broth.
  2. Serve over basmati rice. Garnish with fresh herbs and shredded coconut.
Source: Winnipeg Free Press originally from Crock-Pot Cookbook

Coconut Macadamia Nut Pancakes with Pineapple Sauce

A few years back, my boyfriend went to Seattle for training and could not stop raving about this restaurant called Café Flora. He had coconut crusted tofu with sweet chili sauce and was in love. Lucky for me, they were selling a cookbook with all of their best recipes! And he brought me back a copy, so I could recreate some of the favourite dishes he had while in Seattle. 

This morning, I was flipping through the cookbook looking for tasty things to make for dinner this week. (I am attempting to meal plan properly for the week, so I don’t go broke when grocery shopping today. *hehe*) While going through the book, I found the recipe for coconut macadamia nut pancakes that I had not made since I first got the Café Flora cookbook. Since I remember them being easy & delicious, I decided to make a batch for brunch this morning. They were more yummy than I had remembered. I love coconut anything, so this was a special treat for a relaxing Monday off. I love lazy days off!


  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted macadamia nuts
  • 1 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of skim milk
  • 1 egg
  • Vegetable oil for the frying pan
  • 1 small tin of crushed pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

Ingredient Note: You want to try and find unsweetened shredded coconut for this recipe. If you are unable to find it, it’s okay to use the sweetened coconut. However, you must use unsalted macadamia nuts for this recipe. If you cannot find any unsalted ones, simply wash the macadamia nuts (remove the salt) and then bake them a minute or two long in the oven to help dry them out a bit.


1. Preheat the oven to 300’F. Melt the two tablespoons of butter in the microwave in a microwave-safe measuring cup. Set the butter aside to cool.

2. In a small frying pan on low-medium heat, toast the coconut. Keep a close eye on the coconut as it gets toasted. Once it’s slightly golden brown (about 2 minutes), set the coconut aside.

3. When the oven is preheated, place the macadamia nuts on a baking sheet. After 2 minutes, toss the macadamia nuts and allow to bake for another minute. Toss again. Continue to toast for another minute. They will become golden brown and fragrant when done. Remove from oven and allow them to cool with the coconut.

4. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.

5. Mix the milk, egg and melted butter in a separate small bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir just until the dry ingredients are incorporated into the wet. Do not overmix the batter, or you will have rubbery pancakes. 

6. Roughly chop the macadamia nuts. Fold the nuts and coconut into the pancake batter.

7. Heat a lightly greased nonstick frying pan/griddle over medium heat. Once hot, drop 1/4 cup of the batter per pancake onto the skillet. Cook until bubbles start to form (about 3 minutes) and then flip. Cook for 1 minute on the second side. Note: you may need to grease the skillet/griddle/pan between batches.

8. Stack the pancakes on a plate and cover with a damp tea towel. Keep them warm in the oven until you are ready to serve them. Note: Oven will be off, but still warm from toasting the macadamia nuts.

Serve pancakes with warm pineapple sauce. 

Pineapple Sauce: in a small saucepan, heat one small tin of crushed pineapple with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Allow the mixture to simmer while you cook the pancakes. Serve the syrup on top of the coconut macadamia pancakes. Delicious!

Source: Café Flora Cookbook

Vegan Tuesdays

Vegan Tuesdays is much like the well-known “Meatless Mondays” – except that it’s on Tuesday and all products consumed are plant-based (ie. no dairy or eggs). As much as I support the “Meatless Mondays” movement, I’ve been a vegetarian for 16 years and was looking for another way to challenge myself + make an additional positive impact on the environment. I decided to incorporate a lot more vegan meals into my diet and dedicate one whole day each week to vegan cuisine. My goal was learn more about vegan cooking + baking, but also to promote plant-based meals. Plant-based meals are extremely healthy and can been incredibly flavourful. Plus, plant-based eating is a kind diet that benefits both the environment and our animal friends.

For those of you currently participating in Meatless Mondays, please also consider trying Vegan Tuesdays. If you have a blog, please consider incorporating Vegan Tuesdays into your post schedule. I think it would be wonderful for more bloggers to focus on plant-based meals at least once a week. If you’d like to contribute a post to The Fig Tree’s Vegan Tuesdays, please contact me at courtney[at]thefigtreeblog[dot]come.


Here are some recipes to get you started:


Monday, September 3, 2012: Introduction to Vegan Tuesdays

Tuesday, September 4, 2012: Fresh Corn Farrotto

Tuesday, September 11, 2012: Butternut Squash Quinoa Nut Burgers

Tuesday, September 18, 2012: Curried Autumn Squash Lentil Stew

Tuesday, September 25, 2012: Pear + Golden Raisin Cookies

Tuesday, October 2, 2012: Pumpkin Pecan White Chocolate Blondies

Tuesday, October 9,2012: Creamy Sweet Potato Rosemary Soup

Tuesday, October 30, 2012: A Few Vegan Favourites

Tuesday, November 6, 2012: Roasted Sweet Potato + Black Bean Enchiladas

Tuesday, November 13, 2012: Coconut Ginger Quinoa Salad with Apples

Tuesday, November 20, 2012: Holiday Eggnog Steamer

Tuesday, November 27, 2012: Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Coconut Chili

Tuesday, December 4, 2012: Chocolate Chai Shortbread Cookies

Tuesday, December 11, 2012: Curried Quinoa Mango Salad

Tuesday, January 5, 2013: Vegetarian Gyoza (Japanese Dumplings)