Browsing Tag


Birthday Celebration Tarts

June 3, 2013

Today is my birthday! I turn 26.

The day brought much reprieve and rest, along with ample sunshine. My fiancé and I packed a picnic lunch and spent the afternoon enjoying some lovely eats and the warm weather along the harbor. We even have some new freckles to prove it.

I don’t usually aim for anything too fancy on the big day. I like keeping things simple. I’m totally content with enjoying a nice meal with friends and sharing some dessert. There’s always some dancing involved too. Over the weekend I did just that. I set off gallivanting the streets of Cork with my dear friend Emma. You can be sure there was plenty of banter and laughter shared, the best kind of celebrating.

Upon arriving at Emma’s house on Saturday, she remarked, “You look like a tart.” This was funny for multiple reasons. First off, Irish insults are interesting terms of endearment which are abundant in the friendship between Emma and me. Secondly, as coincidence would have it, I just so happened to be experimenting with these raw tarts for my birthday. I went on to explain the intricacies of making raw tarts with nothing but nuts and dates. It turns out we both have bold minds. We collapsed in a huge fit of giggles. Who knew Veganism could be so risqué?

These tarts are pretty amazing. Let’s forget for a moment that they are vegan, gluten-free and raw, and just focus on the delectable elements that combine to create perfection. Raw desserts really are my fave (especially during the summer months.) I can enjoy an incredibly delicious, nutrient-dense dessert without post-dessert remorse. I can feel really good about what I am putting into my body, and what I am feeding the people I love. That is truly something to celebrate.


Raw Berry Tarts

Serves 6



  • 1 cup of almonds
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 cup of medjool dates


  • 1/4 cup raw cashews (soaked for 3 hours)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 3 Tbsp filtered water
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup


  • fresh blackberries, strawberries, raspberries or blueberries
  • mint leaves for garnish (optional)



  1. In a high powered blender or food processor, blend the almonds and allspice until it becomes a fine consistency. Then add in the dates one by one until they have all been added and you have a sticky dough.
  2. Divide the mixture into 6 muffin or tart tins.  Then press the mixture into the tin forming the crust.
  3. Place them in the fridge until you are ready to fill them.


  1. Drain the cashews after they have been soaking for at least three hours and place them in a blender or food processor along with the lemon juice, zest, water and maple syrup. Blend until smooth and creamy, adding additional water as needed.


  1. Place the filling in each tart, heaping it up in the center, using up all the filling. Top each tart with berries and a garnish of mint leaves. Enjoy!

Tarts are best eaten same day but will keep in the fridge for up to two days. 

 Now it’s time to pop some bubbly and toast to another amazing year.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

August 23, 2012


Rhubarb is one of the season’s sweetest gifts. These crisp, tart stalks that look like ruby-red celery start appearing in the farmer’s market in early spring. They get snapped up in a hurry by eager bakers, but to the uninitiated they are a bit of a mystery. That’s because rhubarb looks so much like a vegetable — it is in fact a vegetable– and is so lip-puckering sour that someone who’s never tried it before can’t help but wonder how it would fit in with sweets, where it is most often used. Well, I have an easy solution to make you a believer: put some rhubarb where your mouth is. But first, bake it into a pie, like this one I have for you today.

Strawberry rhubarb pie is adored by many, in spite of or perhaps because of its old-timey charm. At their best, cooked strawberries taste like cotton candy and rhubarb is the perfect almost citrusy-sour contrast. There’s no twist here, nothing fancy whatsoever. This recipe is simple, just the way I like it. I want you to have access to the most balanced approach to a strawberry rhubarb pie. This is a recipe to keep in your back pocket, taped to the inside of your pantry cabinet, or simply seared into your mind.

Vegan & Gluten-Free Pie Crust

Makes 1 approximately 9″ pie crust


  • 1 1/2 cups rice flour (brown or white)
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp. agave nectar, or sweetener of choice
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed + 3 Tbsp. water
  • 1/4 cup dairy-free buttery spread, melted
  • cold water


  1. Stir together the flaxseed mixture and melted dairy-free buttery spread.
  2. Sift together the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients. Stir the dough together – it will be soft and crumbly. Add enough cold water so that the dough can be pressed together and holds.
  3. Lightly oil the pie pan.
  4. Press the dough into the pie pan and up the sides as far as possible being sure to keep the crust an even thickness. I use a flat bottomed measuring cup to help make the crust even and flat.


Strawberry-Rhubarb Filling


  • 3 cups thinly sliced rhubarb
  • 2 cups rough chopped strawberries
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar, or sweetener of choice
  • 1/4 cup tapioca or cornstarch (gluten-free)
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest


  1. Preheat oven to 425° F (218° C).
  2. Combine all of the filling ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add filling to the prepared pie shell. Cover loosely with tin foil and poke a few holes in the foil to let steam escape.
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes at 425° F (218° C). Lower heat to 350° F (177° C), and remove the tin foil. Bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes, filling should be bubbling and the crust should be golden.
  5. Place on a cooling rack and let cool for about 30 minutes before serving.


(Photo Credit: my sister, Jenny Norris –

Strawberry Spinach Salad

June 15, 2012

This is one of my favorite summer dishes. A bright, seasonal salad that is super simple to throw together and really refreshing. I wanted to take advantage of the beautiful spring produce which is now appearing in abundance at the grocery store and farmers’ market.

With strawberry season in full swing we’ve been gorging ourselves daily on the sweet, juicy berries and can’t quite get enough of them. Not only are they summery and delicious, they’re a bona fide superfood, too. Nutrient-rich and packed with antioxidants (like vitamin C), strawberries offer a wide range of health benefits, some of which may surprise you. For starters, strawberries are rich in fiber. Fiber enables digestion to work properly, which is essential for proper immune function. Strawberries are chockfull of antioxidants and other essential nutrients that can flavorfully help you reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, inflammatory diseases, and birth defects as well as mouthwateringly manage your weight.

Spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in existence. Spinach contains an impressive range of active substances which are indispensable to the body. One cup of the leafy green vegetable contains far more than your daily requirements of vitamin K and vitamin A, almost all the manganese and folate your body needs and nearly 40 percent of your magnesium requirement. It is an excellent source of more than 20 different nutrients, including dietary fiber, calcium and protein. This dark green leaf will protect your brain function from premature aging, promote cardiovascular health and neutralize free radicals in the body. A good rule of thumb: the darker the leaf, the better.

Now lets get back to this salad! This recipe may be perfect timing for the weekend. If you can get yourself to a strawberry patch or a local market for some summer berries, you can whip up this simple, refreshing salad.


Strawberry Spinach Salad with Orange Poppy Seed Dressing

Serves 1


  • large bunch of fresh baby spinach
  • fresh strawberries
  • pecans, walnuts, almonds, or other nuts or seeds (optional)


  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • light drizzle of agave nectar or other liquid sweetener
  • hint of orange zest
  • 1 Tbsp. orange juice
  • 1 tsp. poppy seeds
  • pinch of sea salt


  1. In a bowl combine all ingredients for the dressing. Mix well.
  2. Toss the washed and dried salad greens, and plate. Top with fresh strawberries, nuts, and any other add-ons. Drizzle a generous amount of dressing over salad. Serve.

What are some of your favorite things to eat in the summer? Please share them below! Hope you have a fun and exciting weekend. If you have lots of sun where you live, send a little this way as ours is hiding and we could always use a little more.