Maple Balsamic Summer Fruits with Cashew Cream, Pine Nuts and Basil

Summer Fruits + Cashew Cream6
During the warmer months, I find myself baking comfort foods a lot less. Dessert in the summer is fresh seasonal fruit from the market, frozen fruit (pineapple is my go-to right now), and a simple piece of dark chocolate. I realized however that my guests might not want simple strawberries for dessert. So, to highlight the natural deliciousness of the summer cherries and amazing bite-sized strawberries I whipped up a heightened and dairy-free version of strawberries and ‘cream’.

This is a perfect dessert the those crazy so-called ‘non dessert people.’It plays more to the savoury side of dessert, making it light and not overly sweet.Feel free to swap out the cherries or strawberries with some of your other favourite fruits like pineapple, raspberries and blackberries. The cashew cream is an amazing alternative to whipped cream or yogurt. If you have a nut allergy, try whipping up coconut cream and sugar as a substitute. Works wonderfully as well! Hope you love it.
Summer Fruit and Cashew Cream

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Cashew Cream Ingredients:

• 1 cup raw cashews (soaked overnight)
• 1/2 cup water
• 1 1/2 tbsp pure maple syrup
• good pinch salt
• 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Ingredients:

• 2 cups strawberries (halved)
• 1 cup cherries (pitted and halved)
• 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
• 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
• 1/4 cup pine nuts (toasted)
• 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil

Directions:

1. Soak cashews overnight. Drain and rinse.

2. Add all cashew cream ingredients to a high power blender like a Vitamix or into a food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy. Place in a bowl or jar and set aside.

3. In a small nonstick saucepan, heat the balsamic vinegar and maple syrup on medium heat. Allow to heat for about 5 minutes or until it reduces by half. You should have a thick syrupy balsamic. Set aside.

4. Toast your pinenuts in a dry sauce pan on medium heat for about 3 minutes. When they start to release oil thats when you want to take them off the pan. Otherwise they will burn quite quickly.

5. Wash and chop your fruits and basil.

6. I like to serve each element separately and allow your guests to make their own combination. Bon appetit!
Summer Fruit and Cashew CreamSummer Fruit and Cashew Cream

Lavender, Maple, and Coconut Salted Chocolate Bark

Lavender, Maple, and Coconut Salted Chocolate Bark

Valentines Day has never really been my favourite ‘holiday’. Although it’s nice to have a specific day where we spoil our loved ones, I think we should be doing this EVERYDAY; ok fine… at least weekly. However, I’ll never pass up an opportunity to make a sweet treat or write a card to a loved one. One thing I have learned from my mom is that even if you don’t get a gift, ALWAYS write a card. I am so grateful I have passed that along to Zach because I have such amazing cards from all the different stages in our relationship and I’m sure our future kiddies will love to read them one day! If you’re looking for a last minute card, you HAVE to check out my future sis-in-law’s new letterpress Etsy shop.

If you want to give a handmade gift AND a card, this chocolate bark is the easiest last minute gift. It has all my personal favourite combinations with chocolate but free feel to add some chilli, chia or any of your other favourite superfoods/treats! As nice as it is to get a box of chocolate for valentines, it is even nicer to get something homemade.
Lavender, Maple, and Coconut Salted Chocolate Bark
Lavender, Maple, and Coconut Salted Chocolate Bark
Lavender, Maple, and Coconut Salted Chocolate Bark

Ingredients:

• 3 cups 70% dairy free chocolate (20 ounces)
• 3/4 cup toasted coconut chips
• 1 tbsp lavender
• 1/2 cup maple flakes (can find them here)
• 1/2 cup toasted cashews
• 1 tsp coarse pink himalayan salt (optional)

Directions:

1. Cover large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Melt your chocolate over a double boiler. (Lazy? You can melt it in your microwave in 30 second stints, mixing vigorously in between each.)

3. Pour chocolate onto your baking sheet, spreading the chocolate evenly on the parchment. For a thicker bark, do not spread it as far.

4.Sprinkle with toppings. This is a salty-sweet combination, so if you don’t like too much salt then only use a pinch or none at all.

5. Allow to cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours or until it has solidified. Break into pieces with your hands or hammer. Store in an airtight container in the fridge, freezer or room temp.

6. Eat with loved ones!

Happy Valentines Day to my awesome readers. I love and appreciate every single one of you!

Love,
Jen
Lavender, Maple, and Coconut Salted Chocolate Bark

Chocolate Bark

Superfood Hot Chocolate

Superfood Hot Chocolate
So it’s now two weeks into 2016 and I figured it is a good time to check in on your resolutions and share some of my own. As we settle back into our routines after a relaxing holiday, it is a perfect time to think about the goals we have set out for in 2016. One of my (many) New Year’s resolutions is to take a big step away from screens. Between cell phones, iPads and television I find that most of us have lost the ability to be fully present in our everyday lives. We feel insecure or lost without our gadgets, even when sitting at the dinner table. So to unplug in 2016, I have made a rule with my fiancé that there are no gadgets (including cell phones) after 10pm! I’m really ruining his score on Candy Crush but he hates to admit that he truly does enjoy a few hours of email-free serenity before bedtime.

​Another great way to replace some of that Netflix time (I repeat, only some) is to read. Yes reading for pleasure! With that cold winter chill and snowy roads nothing sounds better than curling up on the couch with a hot beverage and a book. A hot tea or lemon water is always a good idea but sometimes we crave something more luxurious and comforting. Remember that sugar doesn’t always go hand in hand with comfort. Actually, a sugary drink might leave you feeling tired halfway through that book. I am so excited that I have partnered with Truvia sweetener to bring you a superfood packed hot chocolate without any sugar. This stevia-based sweetener provides you with the sweetness of two teaspoons of sugar without added calories or the dreaded blood sugar swing! With the help of turmeric, cayenne and coconut oil this beverage provides anti-inflammatory, metabolism boosting and anti-bacterial benefits. So it’s time to order that book you’ve been meaning to read, and drink up this good-for-you hot chocolate.

Ps. For free samples of Truvia Calorie-Free Sweetener head to Truvia.com/Canada/products/free_sample
Superfood Hot Chocolate

Ingredients:

• 1/2 cup coconut milk
• 1 cup almond milk or non-dairy milk of choice
• 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
• 1 tsp maca powder
• 1 tsp coconut oil
• 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
• 1/2 tsp cinnamon
• pinch of cayenne powder
• 2 packets Truvia Calorie-Free Sweetener

Directions:

1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring almond and coconut milk to a simmer.

2. Add cacao, maca, coconut oil, turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne and Truvia Calorie-Free Sweetener. Whisk until well combined (about 2-3 minutes)

3. Carefully add mixture to a high speed blender. Blend for 30 seconds and pour into mugs. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve immediately.Superfood Hot Chocolate