Friday, July 30, 2010

Sweet Tooth: Summer Berry Tart

Happy Friday everyone! How has your week been? Where is the summer going? Can you believe that August has already arrived?! 

Today's sweet treat is my recipe entry for the Hot Raw Chef contest. I admit, the recipe looks long because I had to write every single little step for the purpose of the contest, but it's really very simple (as you saw on the video). It's delicious, satisfying, and can be made with berries of your choice. Now that blueberries are in season here, I'd like to make it with them. Speaking of which, I picked blueberries yesterday! 

Summer Berry Tart

6" tart pan, or several 4" tart pans. 4-8 servings. 

Macadamia Mango Crust


1 cup macadamia nuts
1/2 cup shredded coconut
2 tablespoons finely chopped, dried mango
pinch of himalayan salt
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup


1. In a food processor, grind the macadamia nuts, coconut, mango, and salt into crumbs. 
2. Add the maple syrup and grind again, very briefly, to combine.
3. Check to make sure the crust mixture is moist, crumbly, and will press together easily when pressed in your hand. 
4. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 6" tart pan, or 3, 4" tart pans. 
5. Chill the crust in the fridge or freezer for 1 hour, or until it hardens. 
6. When the crust is hard, loosen it from the tart pan, by pressing up from the bottom piece. It will pop out. Keep it chilled until the filling is ready.

Note: Do not over process the crust, or the oils will be released from the macadamia nuts, and turn the mixture into a soft, buttery consistency. If the mixture is a bit dry, add 1 teaspoon of water and grind again briefly.

Berry Filling:


3/4 cup chopped strawberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup cashews
2-3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons lemon juice
pinch of himalayan salt
1/2 teaspoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon melted extra virgin coconut oil (melt it in a dehydrator, or in a container submerged in hot water)

1 1/2 cups berries, or chopped fruit of your choice
berries, fruit, or edible flowers, to garnish


1. Combine the first seven ingredients (starting with 2 tablespoons of maple syrup), in a blender until completely smooth, creamy, and slightly warm. 
2. Add the coconut oil and blend briefly to incorporate. 
3. Taste the mixture. Add the other tablespoon of maple syrup if you prefer a sweeter filling. 
4. Fold the berries or chopped fruit into the filling. 
5. Spoon the filling into the tart crust. 
6. Garnish the tart with berries, fruit, flowers, or nuts of your choice. 
7. Eat the tart immediately or chill it for up to 12 hours to allow the filling to thicken further. 
8. The tart will keep, refrigerated, for 5-6 days.

Part of Potluck Party: Healthy Desserts

Berry picking... oh man, the buggies were bad, so I didn't stay in the berry patch as long as I wanted to! Plus, my mom got stung by a wasp. No good! 

More berries. These are wild dwarf raspberries that grow along my road. They were out last month and taste like the most insane raspberry candies ever!

Last,  but not least, wild strawberries - also out about a month ago. The best strawberries a person could ever taste...

What is your favourite berry??

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Party Parfait Winner!

Another fun raw dessert challenge has come to an end. I know fun times were had by all - it's evident in the creative and delicious looking parfait adventures. I love how you all conjured up unique parfaits, inspired by your favorite flavors, and memories. Thank you for all the beautiful entries ladies! After much debate, Courtney and I narrowed it down to our top three parfait entries, and couldn't help but add second and third place. These 2 gals will receive an E-copy of my new book.

So which parfait rose to the top?! 

Drum Roll Please...

Angela's Lifesavers Parfait wins the contest!

Inspired by her most favorite childhood candy, she walked us through each step of her creative journey with mouth watering photos. Just as there are 14 pieces in a package of lifesavers, she did 14 layers of 5 different pudding flavors: cherry, lemon, lime, orange, and pineapple. She took the time to pipe each layer into gorgeous tall glasses which were painted with the word "lifesavers". Angela turned the event into a magical experience by sharing it with her family at her most favorite place in nature - the lake. 
Beautiful job Angela! You take the prize of 6 of Blue Mountain Organics cacao walnut brownies! You'll also receive a printed copy of my new book (which I co-authored with Philip McCluskey), which will be out by the end of summer. 

Second place goes to... 

Emma's Black Forest Sparkle, which was inspired by her happy childhood memories. 
Morello cherries and raw honey were her two ingredient additions, with a touch of fairy glitter to shine it up.... and had Courtney and I drooling by the end! She layered: White chocolate vanilla mousse, Chocolate sauce, Chocolate cookie crumbs, Milk chocolate cream, and lots of cherries to create her dream parfait, and then photographed it in the garden. 

Third Place goes to... Thereasa's Chocolate Coffee Explosion Parfait, which was inspired by old fashioned comfort desserts. She combined milk chocolate mousse, white vanilla creme mousse, chocolate cookie crumbles, banana, and coffee mousse (which was achieved by adding coffee extract to the milk chocolate mousse and omitting the cacao powder). They look absolutely scrumptious!

I have some more exciting news! Results are in for The Hot Raw Chef Contest which I entered a month or so ago. Thanks to YOUR help, I came in second place overall, and second place in the viewer's choice category! I'm so excited and grateful. I'm fortunate to win $650 toward any course at Living Light Culinary Institute, so I've enrolled in their food styling/photography course which is being held at the end of August. I'll post my contest recipe on Friday!

California, here I come! I plan on doing a little traveling too, so if there are any "must do" raw spots I should check out, let me know. I definitely want to hit up Cafe Gratitude - if you want to meet up for a meal there (at any of their locations), I'm looking for eating buddies! (email:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Toronto and Ottawa... Final Trip Adventures

Now I'm into the 4th post of my travel adventures - this is the last. It was action packed in every way, and totally fun!

Naturally, there was plenty of chocolate involved - particularly Nelly's specialty - moonie pies! She makes caramello moonies that are insane, and I was fortunate enough to be around for a batch.

While she was it it one evening, Kelli was making rawmond joys...Mmmm. Me? I enjoyed being the taste tester, hehe. I was in heaven - I love having raw foodie friends who make amaaazing food!

In addition to the other tropical fruits, we picked up some young coconuts in Chinatown and I decided to do a quick, impromptu video on how to open one.

Nelly, her boyfriend John, his brother Mark, Kelli, and I (oh, and Jackson) enjoyed coconut water shots! Cheers! I love this crew!!!!

I got my fair share of raw ice cream during the trip too - and it was necessary because it was so hot and humid (2 showers a day kinda hot)! The girls and I shared a pint of Blue Mountain Organics Vanilla Ice Cream (which I've had before and love). We also got a pint of Coconut Bliss Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge Ice Cream. I've tried a few of the Coconut Bliss ones and am such a fan! Let's see, I've also had the vanilla, cherry amaretto, mint galactica (on other occasions) ... and on this trip Danny and I picked up a container of the pineapple coconut one hot afternoon to enjoy in Hyde Park.

I'm always prepared - I brought toppings: dried mulberries and cacao nibs!!! The combo was insanely good - we were hooked.... ummmm so hooked that we bought the naked coconut ice cream later on.

Do you know how to balance a spoon on your nose?! That's important when eating ice cream, you know!

I also took a trip up to Ottawa to have a visit with some very special people. It's been almost 19 years since I've seen my father. I recently reconnected with him via phone and email, and decided it was time to share a visit in person. It was a wonderful reunion. I met my grandmother for the first time, and Bruce's wife, Irene. They welcomed me with open arms, and I plan on going back for more visits!

Everyone says I look like Bruce, what do you think??

I love the corn field in their back yard!

I've been reading and re-reading through everyone's parfait entries... and tomorrow the verdict is in! I will also let you know if I placed in the Hot Raw Chef contest

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Raw Party Parfait Challenge - Entries!

It's time for a party! A raw vegan parfait party, that is! Weeks ago I started another raw dessert challenge. Once again, all the entries are gorgeous and creative. Tomorrow, Courtney and I will get out our check lists and go though each entry again, in search of the best summer party parfait! A few more will be rolling in tonight, and I'll add them, so stay tuned! 
Which parfait is YOUR favorite?!

The best part is seeing everyone's creations. So here you go, in random order. Click to read full entries.

I hope you're inspired to make a parfait of your own at home! :)

The winner will be announced on Tuesday! Stay tuned... 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Sweet Tooth: Blueberry Cardamom Cheesecake

I've been remiss the past two weeks due to my action packed travels, but I'm back with a yummy treat to satisfy your sweet tooth!

First, a reminder that you have 3 days until the Party Parfait Raw Dessert Challenge deadline (midnight). Incredible entries have started rolling in! Curious? Check them out via my sweetly raw facebook page.
The prize is 6 raw vegan brownies from Blue Mountain Organics, AND a copy of my new dessert book which will be out in print by the end of summer!

I made these mini blueberry cardamom cheesecakes for my raw dessert party. I love mini desserts - they allow for sampling many different kinds, and they're easy to pick up and eat.

Blueberry Cardamom Cheesecake

While I really like this cheesecake, I LOVE my blueberry cardamom ice cream even more, and it can be make into a frozen cake by adding a crust.

1 cup walnuts
2/3 cup pitted, packed dates

Grind both ingredients together in a food processor.
Add 1 teaspoon of water if the mixture is too crumbly.
Press the crust into pans of choice. I used mini silicone muffin cups. Set aside.


3 cups blueberries
1 1/2 cups cashews
1/2 cup pure maple syrup or agave 
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
(start with less and add more, cardamom can be strong!)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons melted cacao butter

In a blender, combine all but the cacao butter, until completely smooth and creamy. 
Add the butter and blend again to incorporate. 
Pour the mixture over the crust(s)
Chill in the fridge or freezer until firm. Since the freezer means less chilling time, I prefer it. 
Garnish with blueberries, edible flowers, or any other garnish of your choice. 

Now, go do your parfait entry! :) Have a fabulous weekend guys! 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Adventures in Toronto - Dining at Live

I'm still trying to catch up on my Toronto trip... it was far too action packed to attempt more than the first post I did at Nelly's one evening.

If you haven't actually been to it, you've probably seen pics of the CN Tower before. While I didn't go into it this time (I did when I was 13 and stood on the glass floor at the top which was scary and cool), I did manage to take some cool pics of it.

My friend Danny and I were in the perfect location for a few pics one sunny afternoon...

The CN Tower is standing tall and proud :)

I was fortunate enough to dine at Live Organic Food Bar twice during my holiday, and I'm so glad I did. It's a cute place with great raw food, and even some cooked vegan options, which is nice if you're eating with non-raw folks. My only complaint is about the brownie I tried. I took it "to go", and was really turned off the next day when I chomped into it, because it was very obvious that the walnuts in it were rancid. On the flip side, I tried a little piece of their spicy cherry chocolate, and even though I can't handle too much spice, it was yummy.

Danny and I shared the nacho platter (now I've tried the nachos at 3 of the restaurants), and I really enjoyed them. While the guacamole, salsa, and sour cream were great and very similar at the other places, I thought Live's chips were the best because they're so thin and crispy.

We had cocktails: berries, kombucha, and vodka... I am soo making these at home, they were good!

Salads! A bit of everything in there...

Nelly, Danny, and I shared nachos (yes, again), for the second visit to Live. For our mains... ok, I'm boring, I ate the same salad. Simple and good!

Nelly had the falafel/greek salad special. These were really good! Much better than the falafel ball I had on my salad at Cruda which was terrible.

Danny had the veggie wrap.... filled with kale, other veggies, and I think some kind of seed pate.

We didn't bother with dessert. I admit, I'm a raw dessert snob. I like my own desserts, the things my friends make, and the goodies at One Lucky Duck. Otherwise... well, it's just not the same...

Wherever I am, I find a way to make it to the water. My favorite place :)

Countdown for the Party Parfait Challenge! Sunday is the deadline. Get your parfait on!