Peppermint Pattie Smoothie (gluten free, vegan)

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Happy day-before St. Patrick’s Day!

Whoever first thought to combine chocolate and mint deserves some kind of lifetime achievement award, at least in my books. It’s one of my all-time favourite sweet pairings, so much so that I was rarely found without a box of Junior Mints in my purse during my high school years. These days, I eschew those high-fructose corn syrup droplets of yum in favour of more natural alternatives. I have found some pretty fantastic organic dark chocolate + mint bars over the last few years that satisfy the craving and taste infinitely better, but today I wanted to give a nod to the Irish side of my heritage and celebrate the holiday in a healthful way.

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Quinoa Tabbouleh with Pomegranate and Pistachios (gluten free, vegan)

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People ask me all the time where I get inspiration for my recipes, and of course, that ends up requiring a bit of a lengthy reply. Cookbooks and food blogs of course inspire me, as do my own taste buds and whatever happens to be in the fridge when I decide to cook, but more often than not it’s a simple trip to the farmer’s market or grocery store. I sometimes ignore what’s in season to feed a craving, but it’s always much more rewarding to work in tandem with what nature has to offer. It forces you to get those creative juices flowing and perhaps cook with unfamiliar ingredients – I made a lasagna with celeriac noodles the other day and… mind blown! Plus, seasonal produce tastes WAY better and lets you feel good (and just a little smug) about doing your part to support local farmers.

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Pomegranate Guacamole with Cherries and Mint (gluten free, vegan)

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Guacamole is a dinner host’s best friend. It’s always a crowd-pleaser, takes almost no time to prepare, and staves off appetites long enough for you to get things done in the kitchen without feeling rushed. It’s also easy to present in an appealing way; the vibrant green of the avocado just needs a clean white bowl to really set it off.

Guacamole can also, however, be a little predictable. Sure it’s satisfying and delicious, but we all know what to expect. So why not get a little playful? Avocado has a mild enough flavour that you can pair it with practically anything and it will work. And since summer is a time for bright, exciting colours and beautifully sweet and ripe fruit, it’s a great place to take your inspiration from. Continue reading