Life is peachy

ontario peaches | la vie quotidienne by suzanne mccarthyI’m easy when it comes to what inspires me. Lately it’s peaches, which happen to be my favourite stone fruit.

The other day I bought my first basket of Ontario peaches at the local Italian grocer up the street.

ontario peaches | la vie quotidienne by suzanne mccarthyontario peaches | la vie quotidienne by suzanne mccarthyontario peaches | la vie quotidienne by suzanne mccarthyontario peaches | la vie quotidienne by suzanne mccarthy

The growing period for Ontario peaches is typically July, August and into September, which gives us a good chance to enjoy them. They come and go but not too quickly. Still, best to start adding them to your menu now.

Although peaches are perhaps best known for their starring roll in cobblers, crisps and jams, I’ve been more inspired to broil or puree them. The other night we grilled some on the barbecue and served with homemade coconut milk ice cream.

broiled peaches with cocnut milk ice cream by suzanne mccarthy

It’s a challenge to photograph ice cream on a hot day. At least it’s realistic!

broiled peaches with cocnut milk ice cream, suzanne mccarthy

Either fresh or frozen, peaches are a wonderful addition to smoothie recipes.

ontario peaches, smoothies | la vie quotidienne by suzanne mccarthy

Peaches are lovely tossed in a salad, as a topping for cereal and waffles.

Or perhaps they are best enjoyed when rinsed in cool water and eaten whole. The experience is made even better if things get messy and juice dribbles down your chin. (I have no photo of this as I was “in the moment” enjoying my peach!)

 

ontario peaches, rinsed in cool water and ready to eat |la vie quotidienne by suzanne mccarthysliced ontario peaches, ready to eat | la vie quotidienne by suzanne mccarthyMy next order of business is to poach some in red wine or puree and add to a sparkling wine.

Wherever you are, I hope you’re feeling inspired and nourished by summer’s bounty, and that you get to enjoy your first peach of the season very soon.

xo

A classic summer drink; blender lemonade

blender lemonade

I hope this post inspires you to make a batch of this delicious lemonade. Drinking it perks me up and makes me feel like I have my summer game on. Maybe it will do the same for you.

What attracted me to this recipe was the use of the whole lemon (minus the seeds and some of the pith to avoid bitterness).  If you’re like me, and love the addition of citrus peel to a recipe or if you like your lemonade nice and tangy, give this frothy lemonade a try. I also love the idea of plunking everything in the blender and giving it a one minute zap.

I used well-scrubbed organic lemons, ones with nice looking peels.

blender lemonade |suzanne mccarthyblender lemonade |suzanne mccarthy

I added frozen strawberries to this batch just for fun. Frozen blueberries or a couple of chunks of frozen pineapple could work, too.

blender lemonade |suzanne mccarthygarnishing blender lemonade with mint from the garden | suzanne mccarthy

Fresh mint makes for a perfect garnish.

blender lemonade |suzanne mccarthyAdd a splash a vodka and serve it as a pre-dinner cocktail.

I also used fizzy water for one batch.

Experiment!

Here’s the basic recipe (you can double or triple depending our how many people you’re serving).

1 whole organic lemon, scrubbed

2 cups of very cold water

4 ice cubes (fewer if adding frozen fruit)

2 to 3 tablespoons of your favourite sweetener

Quarter your lemon or, if it looks seedy, cut it in eighths. Easier to remove the seeds.

Remove the seeds and the thickest part of the pith from each lemon slice.

Add to the blender along with:

ice cubes,

two cups of cold water (preferably chilled),

a few tablespoons of the sweetener of your choice. I used coconut sugar. 

Blend for a full minute until the mixture is frothy. Pour over ice.

Top with mint and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

xo

 

blender lemonade | suzanne mccarthy

blender lemonade | suzanne mccarthy

Raw chewy chocolate squares

raw chewy chocolate squaresraw chewy chocolate squaresraw chewy chocolate squaresThese squares deserve a better name than Raw Chewy Chocolate Squares. It describes them well; they’re no-bake, are a pleasure to bite into and wonderfully chocolaty. But somehow it fails to describe their essence, which is pure natural deliciousness.

I came across the recipe by way of Kris Carr who got it by way of someone else, and Raw Chewy Chocolate Squares is what they call them. They’re not unlike a Nanaimo square, although it typically has three layers. These have two layers but we could dream up a third, no? And maybe a better name to match their specialness, too.

If you’re hankering for something sweet but nourishing these satisfy beautifully. Our daughter was coming home for a quick visit and I wanted to make something sweet she could eat (she avoids processed sugar and all grains). These are sweetened primarily with dates (I used lovely soft marjool dates) but the ground almonds and coconut flour lend a sweetness, too.

raw chewy chocolate squaresYou need a food processor or blender to make them.

Bottom layer:

  • 2 cups of ground almonds
  • 6 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1 cup pitted dates, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons of water

Blend until ground down. Start with 1 teaspoon of water and add more only if needed. Press the mixture into the bottom of a square pan.

Top layer:

  • 3 cups pitted dates, well packed
  • 1 cup coconut milk. It should be thick (I used the thick stuff at the top of the can)
  • 18 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Puree dates first.

Then add the coconut milk, cocoa powder, vanilla and salt. Puree until smooth and then add the oil and blend until incorporated.

Spread this mixture over the crust. Keep in the fridge for 8 to 12 hours or in the freezer for 4 to 6 hours. I like to keep mine in the freezer.

Top with drizzled chocolate, grated coconut, or anything else you fancy. Or how about that third layer. What would yours be?

Enjoy!

Have a wonderful weekend.

xoraw chewy chocolate squaresraw chewy chocolate squares