Pucker-UP! Last Days of Summer Peach Cherry Lemonade (and 3 tips to prepare for September!)

Peach Cherry LemonadeI can’t believe the end of summer is upon us. Can you? It feels as though it flew by. As if one hot day ran into another and suddenly…it’s the end of August! September is literally around the corner! Is that what happens when you have kids? The summers just disappear, days melting into one another like ice cream melting in your mouth as the sun beats down on you; you can’t remember what park you went to on what day, who you saw or if you even fed the kids or just snacked on veggies and dip??? I think I fed the kids today. Although it’s possible one meal consisted of samples from Costco…

Peach Cherry LemonadeSo today I have here a simple recipe for your final long weekend of the summer. You heard me. The FINAL long weekend of summer. Before ALL the crazy chaos of September begins and next you know it’s the end of December and I’m bringing you comfort food instead of juice. If you don’t have a juicer (and I suspect many of you won’t) don’t panic! You can make this refreshing juice by peeling the fruit and blending it in the blender. Then simply strain it through a fine strainer or a nut-milk bag to get some of the pulp out. Pour over ice – and you’re set!

Peach Cherry LemonadeTo relieve some of your panic (or my own personal panic), I thought I would share with you three tips to help you prepare and keep your family eating clean during the mad rush. Here we go:

1. Meal Plan Dinners

I know you’ve probably heard this one a million times but put together a simple meal plan for dinners. There are some fabulous resources out there to get you inspired such as Clean Eating Magazine, Healthful Pursuit (Leanne Vogel) or of course Pinterest. Don’t stress yourself out too much about it, start with one week and when you are comfortable add a second week (rotate so the family does not get bored with the food on the table). Many of these resources have shopping list to go with their plans to make it a lot easier. And remember to ask you family (the little ones included, not just your spouse) if they have an favourites they would like to see on the menu! They may be more helpful than expected!

2. Prep the food

Did you know a recent study shows that the average American spends only 33 minutes on food prep each day and 1hr and 11min watching TV? So guess what my lovely readers (where ever you may be…) we can make our lives easier with food preparation. Once you know your meal plan, have your shopping list and have purchased the food, make two nights where you do a little extra food prep for the week. For example, when I get home from grocery shopping I take the veggies I know will be used for pre-dinner munching or salads and clean, cut and pack them back up in the fridge so they are really easy to grab when I’m in a rush. The second day I prep for the week (usually falls on a Sunday) I prepare either baked goods, soups/stews, granola or sauces (pesto or BBQ sauce anyone…?) and tightly store them in containers in the fridge. Again saving time. Tell me, if you’re a woman, can’t you watch your TV shows AND meal prep at the same time? Also saving time. Just sayin’.

3. Keep It Simple Stupid

When in doubt KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID (K.I.S.S.). Sometimes we over complicate food. Well, a lot of the time. Heck, there is an entire industry out there trying to make your life easier with prepackaged meals. The problem with that food is it is over complicated with chemicals & preservatives¬† with often not a lot of nutritional value. You spend more time trying to decode the ingredient list when you could be spending that time with your family (or driving to the next soccer practice!). There is nothing wrong with steamed veg (use the raw ones you already cut earlier in the week), quinoa or brown rice & an avocado drizzled with olive oil & sprinkled with sea salt. Or using eggs for dinner instead of stressing about the meat you forgot to take out of the freezer the night before. Sometimes, if we keep it simple, we don’t have to worry as much about getting our families fed. And don’t feel guilty if your weekly plan does not work out. Just try to plan better for next week and adjust where you need to.

May the force be with you for the coming month!

Peach Cherry Lemonade
 
Ingredients
  • 6 whole lemons, peeled
  • 4 very ripe peaches (preferentially freestone), pitted
  • 10 cherries, pitted
  • 5 cups filtered water
  • 2 cups ice
  • natural sweetener of choice (I used no calorie Stevie)
Instructions
  1. In your juicer, place all the fruit. If no juicer, blend peeled and cut fruit in blender on high and then strain through a nut milk bag.
  2. In jug, mix juice mixture with water, natural sweetener and ice. Stir.
  3. Garnish with some fruit and serve immediately.

 

Chocolate Cream Pie with Fresh BC Blueberries (Gluten-free & Vegan)

Chocolate Cream Pie with Fresh BC Blueberries

I’m baaaaaack! After taking a couple of months hiatus from the blog, I am back with a new fantastic recipe that is perfect for your upcoming summer BBQ party. I tell ya, if you’re the one who has been assigned desserts for the next pot-luck – this Chocolate Cream Pie with Fresh BC Blueberries is perfect! Decadent, creamy, cool and utterly satisfying, this pie will do the trick to win over the hearts of your friends and family. Of course, check about nut allergies before you bring it – wouldn’t want a serious allergic reaction to ruin your fun…

Chocolate Cream Pie with Fresh BC Blueberries

Who knew that chocolate and blueberries went so well together? Anyone? Anyone? Why have I never had this combo until now?!?!?!?! This combination is perfect, especially when the blueberries are fresh and from your local farmer. We have an earlier harvest season here on the West Coast compared to the East. And lucky us we get to have blueberries at a very reasonable cost so early in the summer.

Chocolate Cream Pie with Fresh BC Blueberries

Chocolate is back in my diet…in small amounts. How I was dealing as a new mother with no dark chocolate (or wine!) is beyond me! Seriously, as much as I love my kale, let’s be honest, it’s NOT chocolate. And everyone deserves some chocolate in their lives. I still have to watch my intake and not have too much or Baby A will be refluxing for several hours.

Every summer since we moved to British Columbia we go to an organic blueberry farm and pick blueberries. It’s only a half hour drive to get to the farm, which really is not far to have fresh blueberries in the fridge. We buy buckets full. And I mean buckets. Literally. My husband LOVES his berries and has to eat them every day. So we usually make to trips to pick, one near the beginning of the harvest and one near the end. The batch we buy at the end of the harvest gets pack and frozen so we can use the berries through the winter when the cost to buy them in the store is not affordable. It’s great for the family to get out picking, connect to nature and see how our food grows and gets to our table.

Chocolate Cream Pie with Fresh BC Blueberries

What about you and your family? Do you go blueberry, strawberry or even apple picking at harvest time?

Chocolate Cream Pie with Fresh BC Blueberries (Gluten-free & Vegan)
 
Ingredients
  • CRUST
  • 20 pitted dates, soaked 15mins in warm water
  • 1 cup raw pecans
  • ¾ cups raw walnuts
  • ½ cup cocoa powder (don't skimp on this part!)
  • ½ cup GF flour blend (I used Trader Joe's for this recipe)
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp chis seeds soaked in ¼ cup water for 5mins until a thick gel
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1 heaping tbsp coconut oil
  • CREAM FILLING
  • 1 cup raw cashews soaked in water for min 3hrs
  • ¾ cup full fat coconut milk (Thai kitchen's brand has mini cans that work perfectly)
  • ½ cup cocoa powder (again, don't skimp on this!)
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • TOPPING
  • 1-2 cups of fresh, cleaned blueberries
Instructions
  1. Get your cashews soaking. Set aside and make crust.
  2. Soak your dates in warm water for 15mins. In a food processor with an 'S' blade, take your pecans and walnuts and grind them until it resembles a meal-like texture. Place in medium sized bowl.
  3. Next, take the soaked dates and drain water. Place in food processor and make into a paste, scraping sides with a spatula if necessary. Add to nut mixture along with remaining crust ingredients and mix until well blended.
  4. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Take a 8" spring-form cake pan and grease with a little coconut oil.
  5. Take your raw crust in a ball and place in the middle of the pan. Then gently press the dough around the bottom and sides of the pan until completely even & smooth.
  6. Bake for 10-15mins, keeping an eye on it so that it does not burn. When done, let cool completely still in the pan before you put your filling in.
  7. For the filling, drain water from cashews and place all cream filling ingredients in the food processor with and 'S' blade and blend until smooth. This can be done with a high powered blender as well. Once completely smooth, pour into cooled crust, cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in freezer for 4hrs to set.
  8. When ready to serve, remove spring-form and allow the pie to thaw for 30mins or longer if it was in the freezer for more then 4hrs. Pour blueberries on top. Using a sharp knife (run under hot water for 1min for a clean cut) cut into slices and serve. Enjoy!