Smoothies can be as light or as decadent as desired. They can be filled with a myriad of superfoods or made from a few simple ingredients. This version is more of a dessert combination, made from only four ingredients- fresh nectarines, vanilla bean, cashew ice cream and cashew milk. The nectarines give it a sweet, summery flavour while the cashew ice cream and milk give it a velvety smooth, rich texture and the vanilla increases the decadent factor. Nectarines and peaches are very similar genetically and can be used interchangeably in most recipes, including this one. I do often prefer nectarines because their smooth skin requires no extra prep beyond washing, while the fuzzy skin on peaches can sometimes be a nuisance. The best way to choose is by checking them both out at the grocer or market and going with whichever ones are more appealing, or whichever ones are more fragrant and more perfectly ripened, that day. Vanilla bean pods are filled with many little black seeds bursting with potent flavour. Generally, the seeds from one bean are equivalent to around one teaspoon of vanilla extract but I find that equation a little more nuanced with smoothies. The delicate flavour from the beans themselves blends in perfectly with smoothies, and the small black specks their seeds dapple the drink with can be very aesthetically pleasing, but when it comes to the extract, less is more. I recommend starting out with a small splash, around 1/4-1/2 teaspoon then adding more as desired. To get the seeds out of a vanilla pod start by cutting a long line across the top, breaking through the first layer but not cutting all the way down. Spread open the two sides then use the knife to scrape from one end to the other, collecting all the tiny seeds. Scrape over any areas where seeds remain until you have them all and discard the husk.Whole vanilla beans are not the most economical option but they really shine through in raw, simple dishes like this so it is a good way to use them. In baking recipes they can get lost amongst the other ingredients but in a smoothie they really get to show off.
Homemade soft serve can be made without an ice cream maker and just a couple ingredients. Blending thick coconut cream with really sweet fruit then freezing them in ice cube trays and blending once again creates a healthy, simple frozen treat. The only necessary tool is a high powered blender that is strong enough to crush ice.Pineapple is one of the sweeter fruits out there, especially when it is fully ripened, but a tablespoon or two of maple or coconut syrup (or any preferred sweetener) can be added to for those with a stronger sweet tooth. Though this is easy to make it does require some prep work. Chilling the coconut cream enough to separate and then freezing the coconut pineapple mixture each takes around 8 hours.Coconut cream is made from blending the meat and water of a coconut. The easiest way to obtain it is from cans of coconut milk. Place the can in the fridge overnight and when you are ready to use it flip it over, open it up and use a spoon to skim the thick cream off the top. The cold from the fridge makes the cream separate from the water and settle on the bottom of the can. Skipping the refrigeration period makes it pretty impossible to separate the cream from the water as it all blends together to create a milk. For people looking to make more dairy-free treats it’s a good idea to always keep a can or two of coconut milk in the fridge. I was inspired by some lemon and coconut gelato I had in Italy that were served in hollowed out lemon and coconut halves. The mass of a pineapple does lend to a more North American serving size but there are some smaller golden pineapples often available, which I used here, that are a more reasonable size.
1 cup coconut cream (place a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight, flip it over open it up and use a spoon to skim off the coconut cream concentrated at the top. Save the coconut water below for smoothies.)
4 cups pineapple, chopped
2 standard sized ice cube molds
Blend the coconut cream and pineapple until smooth. Pour into ice cube molds and freeze overnight, or for around 8 hours.
Place the frozen cubes into the blender and pulse until they are broken down and become a smooth, thick mixture.
There are few breakfast options more universal yet varied than bacon and eggs. Here I used thickly cut pancetta, a type of Italian bacon in a frittata, along with some leeks and a base of thinly sliced yams. Continue Reading →
Skewing fruits is a way to make fruit salad into finger food, an easy option for summer get togethers or for snacks on-the-go. This definitely doesn’t require a recipe or specific measurements. They can be more uniform with the fruits in the same order or they can be more sporadic. Continue Reading →
These Canada Day inspired parfaits are made from layers of chia pudding, yogurt and pomegranate arils. The chia pudding at the base is only three ingredients- puréed cherries and strawberries with chia seeds. A little maple syrup would be the perfect addition for some extra sweetness. Continue Reading →
There are few beverages that I enjoy drinking in the morning or early afternoon on a patio more than iced coffee. Usually, a shot or two of espresso is poured over ice then some milk is added to fill up the cup. When I am at home however, I like to do it a little differently and make the coffee into frozen cubes. Continue Reading →
These 3-ingredient pudding cups are an ideal snack for hot days. The chia seeds are a great source of protein and healthy fats to keep the mind and body going strong while the mango provides some quick energy and natural sweetness. They both are also great sources of fiber and a range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. I used coconut milk for a an extra hint of tropical flavour but any nut or seed based milk would work just as well. Continue Reading →
Blending eggs with vibrant green herbs and vegetables like spinach, green onion and basil makes the eggs themselves green, and they remain so even once they are cooked. Besides their hue, the greens also add their nutrients to the dish- a myriad of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. The eggs can be scrambled, baked into a frittata or folded into an omelette. Continue Reading →
Some blue iced tea and flavoured sparkling water create a light, refreshing and vividly coloured iced tea. Adding in some iced cubes with fruits frozen in add in a rainbow of colour and keep it cool. Staying properly hydrated , especially as the weather heats up, is important for our bodies inside and out and trying out different herbal teas can be a healthy way to mix it up. Continue Reading →
Smoothies are a great option for healthy treats. With the right ingredients they can taste sweet and decadent but still be filled with important and beneficial nutrients. This version has raw cacao powder and chocolate protein powder to make it very chocolaty and some hazelnut butter to create a nutritious nutella-inspired flavour. A few Medjool dates add in lots of natural sweetness along with fiber, minerals and vitamins while some cashew milk blends it all together into a thick and creamy smoothie. Continue Reading →