In my opinion, Valentine’s Day is a pretty polarizing “holiday”. Generally, you have the camp that thinks that spoiling someone/people you care about and making it an event, is mandatory. Then the other side, that thinks the whole holiday is a crock and an excuse for people to sell heart-shaped things, cards, and chocolate. I fall somewhere in-between, but feel that if I have any excuse to go crazy on food and celebrate, I’m going to go for it. Insert: the Deluxe Valentine’s Sweet Treat Platter!
One look at this spread, and you might think that I’m obsessed with desserts. You would not be wrong! I would be 100% okay with eating just a salad for V-day dinner and following it up with this masterpiece. And maybe a couple glasses of wine wouldn’t hurt. 😉
If I’m being really with y’all, it took me longer to style this Valentine’s Sweet Treat Platter than it did to actually make the components on it. There are three main snacks, with plenty of easy and customizable add-ons, in case you want to take short cuts or you just don’t like certain types of fruit, etc. The star of the platter is the Raspberry Merlot Creme Fraiche, which sounds way fancier than it is. It has a creamy, almond base with a light tang and a ribbon of raspberries cooked down in a little wine.
The other recipe I’m giving you today, is for Maple Cashew Butter Truffles! Simple, super rich and perfect for dessert, anytime. Obvious treats included here are chocolate-covered strawberries, slices of fresh fruit and some toasted crostini for the creme. Then, I added a few Chocolate Puffs (think vegan whoppers) from I Heart Keenwah for crunch and variety.
Basically, this could be your entire starter, entree and dessert, all in one. And that’s without the cute, heart-shaped shortbread cookies that I forgot to add! That’s what happens when you’re in the kitchen at 11pm after a long week. So, treat yo’self, treat someone else, I don’t care, but we all deserve treats!
Funny thing about shooting cookbooks, is that it tends to change your diet a bit. Instead of making my weekly staples, I end up eating dishes chapter by chapter. So, I may have a few days of salads, then a few days of entrees, then a few desserts, if I’m lucky. Or I’ll have the weirdest/best pairings, like last night, with my dinner of Breaded Oyster Mushrooms over vegan mac with a spicy remoulade sauce. But, occasionally I need to break away and make something that I definitely want to eat, and this time, it was Dreamy Tangerine Chia Pudding.
I’ve gone over this again, and again, but I super love chia puddings. The simplicity is very appealing, especially when you’re short on time. They are nutritious, easily customizable to your cravings, and look like bowls of weird little frog eggs, which is kind of the best.
I embellished my usual chia pudding with extra fruit, a tasty vegan granola mix for crunch and flavor, and a sprinkling of coconut. If you’re looking for a tasty and simple granola recipe, the Sesame Apricot Granola in Vegan Bowl Attack! is SO good.
Aside from that, I have a surprise for you: my first cooking video (on the VYA channel) in over 4 years! Holy geez, it has been way too long. I made it short and sweet, and I hope that you all love it! Make sure to subscribe on YouTube, because I’ll be posting videos more frequently for everyone.
Without further ado, here is the full recipe for Dreamy Tangerine Chia Pudding!
Bam! 2017 is definitely stacking up with projects, and my blog is already feeling the effect. I am supremely thankful for the work, but I still feel a little guilty when I can’t get you a new recipe in the most timely fashion. 😉 Fear not! Right now, I have a healthy, flavorful snack to tide you over. This Creamy Cauliflower Pesto Dip is easy-to-make and great for parties.
Rich dips and sauces are my jam, but even I need to switch it up with a lighter snack, every so often. Using cauliflower and potatoes as the base in this dip is excellent for lightening the density, while adding in all kinds of nutrients. I added some raw cashews to soften the taste of the cauliflower, while still leaving this recipe oil-free. Yes, even the pesto!
In my garden, I have a lot of arugula growing, which has been super awesome. This cold weather (having an actual winter in Southern CA is weird) has been great for my greens! So, I used mostly arugula for my pesto, though spinach will also work well. Also, I tried something new-to-me, with my go-to pesto recipe! My friend Christian had mentioned that old school, vegan pesto recipes usually had a bit of miso paste in them. This replaced the umami that parmesan brings to traditional pesto recipes.
How ingenious is that? I can’t believe that was my first time hearing of this! That being said, I tried it out in this recipe and loved it. I will definitely be doing this from now on. Depending on your allergies/preferences, either chickpea miso or white miso paste will work!
I’d like to add that I prefer this Creamy Cauliflower Pesto Dip served hot, like right after you process the creamy base. But, you can eat it cold, as well. Just know that it will be more like a spread, which is great on your avocado toast.