02.20.2018

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We are a family of professional snackers. From dawn to dusk we are planning snacks, packing snacks, eating snacks, cleaning out snack containers and doing it all over again. The boys start each day with a “snack plate” as they call it (a tray of foods grabbed from the pantry and fridge to hold them off until breakfast which is about 10 minutes later…) designed to satisfy their early morning hunger as well as distract while I pack more snacks for school, after school, and hockey practice. While we snack on a lot of really simple things like popcorn, nuts, sliced fruit, hummus, and cheese, we have a few favorite snacks we whip up when we crave something special – mango lassis are at the top of that list.  

The beauty of the mango lassi is that it is packed with nutritious ingredients, keeps the kids full, and works for us adults as well. Sometimes we each sip on one while getting ready in the morning and other times I stick them in the boys’ hands in the backseat of the car  (lidded mason jars with straws work particularly well). Luckily, this lassi tastes good at breakfast, snack time, and even for dessert. Our mango lassis are most frequently sipped but the mix makes great ice pops in the summer and is fun transformed into a lassi bowl (simply pour the mango lassi into a shallow bowl and top with granola and sliced fruit or berries) on slower mornings.

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Mango Lassi

Makes 2

1 cup whole milk plain yogurt

1 cup frozen Dole mango chunks

⅓ cup milk of your choice (use your favorite nut, plant, or dairy milk)

1 fresh orange, juiced

Simply blend all the ingredients together until the lassi is the consistency of a milkshake. Pour into two glasses, pop in a couple of straws and sip. In the hot summer months I like to add a small handful of ice to the blender to make an ever slushier lassi.

This post is sponsored by Dole Packaged Foods.

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01.22.2018

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Nick turned 36 last week and, per his request, I made him a Classic Yellow Birthday Cake with Chocolate Sour Cream frosting. The cake smelled, looked, and tasted delicious (I made it while the boys were at school so I had the frosting covered spatulas all to myself…). There was just one problem – I recently challenged myself not to eat sugar, dairy, or gluten during the week (I’m not sweating the frosting licks) as a simple way to recover from our holiday overload. Nick’s beautiful birthday cake had serious doses of all three.

This Raw Pineapple-Mango Cheesecake saved the day for me and was the perfect thing to have as a healthier option alongside the classic birthday cake. I love tropical, tart desserts, especially during the dark winter months – they remind me of sun, sand, and heat! This dessert is also a great party alternative for guests who have food sensitivities.

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Raw Pineapple-Mango Cheesecake is incredibly simple to make – you don’t actually cook anything. The most challenging step for me is to remember to soak the raw cashews overnight. The crust, cheesecake filling, and fruit topping are all whizzed up using a food processor then layered into a springform pan and chilled.

While some sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free desserts are made with tofu or processed vegan foods, I like that this treat is full of recognizable ingredients like nuts, unsweetened coconut, and fresh fruit.

For all of you staying among snow and darkness this winter, give this cake a try. I promise it’ll make you feel like you’re lounging under a palm tree somewhere, however far off that actually may be.

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Raw Pineapple-Mango Cheesecake

Makes 1 9-inch cake – serves 12 to 16

 

Crust:

1 cup raw almonds

1/4 cup raw cashews

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Juice and zest from 1 lime

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

10 Dole pitted dates

1 tablespoon flour of your choice (all purpose or gluten-free)

Pinch of kosher salt

 

Cheesecake:

3 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 Dole cup pineapple juice

1/3 cup melted coconut oil

Juice and zest from 1 lime

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 cup water

 

Pineapple Topping:

1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted

1 1/2 cups Dole frozen pineapple chunks, thawed

1 ½ cups Dole frozen mango chunks, thawed

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  1. Start by making the crust. Place all the crust ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and run the motor until the mix forms into a dough. Turn the ball of dough out into a spring form pan and, using your fingers, press the crust into the bottom of the pan. Set aside.  
  1. Next, make the cheesecake filling. Add all the cheesecake ingredients to the rinsed food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy. Taste for sweetness. This is not a sweet cake so if you prefer more sweetener, add in a tablespoon of agave syrup or other liquid sweetener. Pour the cheesecake batter over the pressed crust.
  1. Lastly, make the fruit layer by blending the melted coconut oil and thawed fruit in the food processor until smooth. Pour over the top of the cake. Set the cake in the freezer to set up. After an hour in the freezer you can remove the springform ring and serve or place the cake in the fridge to serve at a later time. Raw Pineapple Cheesecake is good chilled or at room temperature.

This post is sponsored by Dole Packaged Foods.

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12.22.2017

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I love Christmas cookies as much as the next person but our little sugar stash of holiday treats that can typically hide on top of the fridge without reminding us constantly of its existence is growing by the minute, slowly taking over our counter space…and sanity. We already relocated the boys’ gingerbread houses to the tippy top kitchen cabinet to kick the “Oh I’m walking by why not grab another gum drop…” habit.

This inspired me to take a nontraditional approach to holiday treats and make a batch of Cranberry Sherbet for a festive holiday dessert.  Sherbet is like sorbet in that fruit is the star of the show but sherbet has a bit of dairy making a silky, creamy texture.

I love a lot of things about this recipe – the simple list of affordable ingredients, the fact that there is no actual cooking or baking involved, the make ahead option (just pull from the freezer and scoop!), and the use of bright winter fruit. There is also a fun element of surprise when you pull out a container of Cranberry Sherbet to end a holiday meal – everyone is expecting a rich, chocolatey treat but a bright, tart, scoop of ruby red sherbet truly hits the spot.

I’m also willing to bet most of you have a cup of frozen cranberries hiding someone in your freezer – get those babies out!

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Cranberry Sherbet

Serves 4 to 6

1 cup frozen Dole cranberries

1 cup water

½ cup cane sugar

½ a lemon, juiced

⅛ teaspoon salt

¾ cup Dole pineapple juice

¾ cup heavy cream

 

Combine the frozen cranberries and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a strong simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Every few minutes, using a potato masher, mash the cranberries into the water so the fruit pops open and begins to release its juices.

While the cranberries are on the stove, combine the sugar, lemon juice, salt, and Dole pineapple juice in a blender. Blend for about 30 seconds, until the sugar is dissolved. Pour this liquid into a bowl and stir in the heavy cream.

Once the cranberries have broken down and the water is a deep pink, remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the cranberry mixture through a fine sieve set atop a bowl. Use a spatula to gently push the fruit into the sieve so you get all the flavor. Stir the strained cranberry liquid into the sherbet base. Set the sherbet mix into the fridge to cool down for 30 minutes.

After the mix has chilled, pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and process until it is the consistency of soft serve ice cream. You may serve the sherbet directly from the ice cream maker or transfer it to a lidded container and place in the freezer for later enjoyment.

This post is sponsored by Dole Packaged Foods.

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12.12.2017

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Hey island friends – I am doing two special holiday events and I’d love for you to stop by and buy some books (I’ll sign ’em all)! Thursday night I’ll be hanging at the local bookstore with my friend and fellow cookbook author Susie Middleton and next week I’ll be hanging at Morrice Florist for the day with another pal, local jewelry maker Nettie Kent. All the details are below! I hope to see you there.

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Thursday December 14th – Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, Vineyard Haven – 6:00 to 7:00 (evening shopping!)

Thursday December 21st – Morrice Florist, Vineyard Haven – 10:00 to 2:00 (daytime shopping!) 

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12.06.2017

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Hey there – I got you a present! You can win $75 to spend however you’d like on my new favorite thing – a Gathre bonded leather mat. Head over to this instagram post to enter and win.

Gathre makes a huge variety of beautiful, multi-purpose leather bonded mats in a range of sizes (tablecloth, maxi square, maxi circle, midi, mini, micro) and prints (york branches, buffalo check, starlight , solids) that can be used in a million different ways from the beach and park to under a highchair, for baby changing, picnicking, crafting, practicing yoga, on a playroom floor, as a tabletop placemat, or a full size tablecloth. Here is a helpful gallery of images that show the many ways to use a Gathre mat.

We have a tablecloth sized buffalo check mat and I love the mat’s texture (smooth on the top and soft suede on the underside) and the fact that you can just wipe them down with warm water and gentle soap after using. We pulled out our mat on Sunday to use as a gingerbread cookie making surface. The mat held up perfectly under the flour, dough, rolling, stamping, and general mess. I just ran a damp cloth over it and packed it up when we finished.

Head over now and enter – I hope you win!

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Gingerbread Cookies

Makes a couple dozen depending on your cookie cutter size

 

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2/3 cup molasses

1 egg

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, and salt in a mixing bowl.

3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter, coconut oil, and brown sugar together. Pour in the molasses and egg and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.

4. Add the dry ingredients into the sugar-butter mixture and mix to combine. Turn the dough out on a work surface and form into a ball. Divide the ball in half then shape each half into a disc. Wrap the discs in plastic and place them in the fridge to cool.

5. Once dough has cooled down (about 30 minutes in the fridge or 15 minutes in the freezer), flour a work surface and roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thick. Stamp the dough with cookie cutters and bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.

6. Let the gingerbread cookies cool on the baking sheet then store cookies in a lidded box or jar on the counter for up to 4 days.

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