avocado hummus


summer time entertaining calls for ALL the hummus! it is the perfect appetizer to serve at any gathering because you can dip just about anything you can think of in it. from fresh veggies to warm pitas to different flavoured harvest snaps, anything goes! while a classic roasted garlic hummus is always a hit, i like adding different flavours & twist to it. remember that gorgeous pink roasted beet hummus from january? today, for a more summery twist, i incorporated fresh avocado! it makes for the perfect cross between guacamole & hummus. i brought in the classic guacamole flavours like garlic & cilantro, but kept the seasoning to a minimal. the avocado makes for such a smooth & creamy dip. just make sure that avocado is perfectly ripe! i topped it off with an avocado rose because they add such a wow factor to any finished dish. lastly, i served it with both black bean habanero & black pepper harvest snaps. they are the perfect shape for dipping into hummus with!


  • 2 1/2 cups chickpeas, drained + rinsed
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • sea salt + pepper, to taste
  • 85 grams black bean habanero harvest snaps, for serving
  • 85 grams black pepper harvest snaps, for serving


  • in a food processor add the chickpeas, avocado, tahini, garlic, cilantro, olive oil, water, lime, salt & pepper. puree until smooth.
  • transfer to serving dish & top with olive oil, fresh cilantro & sliced avocado.
  • serve with black bean habanero & black pepper harvest snaps!
  • stores for up to a week in a sealed glass jar or plastic tupperware.

dessert chocolate + cheese board


growing up my parents took us to quite a few fancy restaurants in niagara-on-the-lake & fine dining restaurants on cruise ships. they wanted us to be part of every celebration & every milestone they reached. whenever we went to these types of restaurants & it was time for the dessert menu to be served, it always had a local cheese board dish on it. i never understood how cheese was considered a dessert?! it was probably because my knowledge of cheese didn't stretch past the basic marble cheddar & kraft singles i was used to eating... two cheeses i wouldn't dare to eat now. as i got older, it all began to make sense. pairing creamy style cheeses with fruits, nuts, jam & of course chocolate was the best way to end a perfect meal.

today i am teaming up with my friends at ghirardelli to present to you the ultimate dessert cheese board to serve at any party! be it awards, game day, or a casual gathering with friends, everyone is sure to find something they love on this board! now the star of this platter doesn't necessarily have to be the cheese, it can be all the fun chocolate you pair with it too! because you can't have dessert without a little chocolate i paired the cheese board with ghirardelli's snack line of chocolate covered treats! they make for the best finger foods as you saw in my previous salted cashew trail mix recipe (which you can find here). this board contains chocolate covered sea salt cashews, sea salt almonds, blueberries, and toasted coconut.. it has every flavour you can dream of.


  • 1 4.8 oz package of ghirardelli milk chocolate sea salt cashew
  • 1 4.8 oz package of ghirardelli milk chocolate sea salt almond
  • 1 4.8 oz package of ghirardelli dark chocolate blueberry
  • 1 4.8 oz package of ghirardelli milk chocolate toasted coconut
  • 1 wheel extra creamy brie
  • 1/4 wheel extra creamy danish blue cheese
  • 1 orange, thinly sliced
  • 1 pomegranate, seeded
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 pear, thinly sliced
  • 1 baguette, thinly sliced & toasted


  • on a large wood serving board place the brie & blue cheese.
  • arrange all other ingredients around it starting with the fruit, chocolate & baguette slices.

artichoke + spinach dip


who doesn't love a classic artichoke & spinach dip!?! i am partnering with vitamix today to share the ultimate holiday starter. i thought something warmy & cheesy would make for the perfect dish to serve at any gathering! this one earns bonus points because you can prepare it in advance & bake it when you are ready to serve. anything that involves minimal prep the day of christmas dinner earns a gold star in my books! the presentation of this dip looks so inviting & rustic when served in a cast iron pot. the little twist i did from the classic version was use an aged cheddar cheese over parmesan. i love the flavour it adds & the gooey melt factor. while i served mine with freshly toasted baguette slices, you can serve it with just about anything you like! tortilla chips, pita, nann bread & so on.

NOW..i have made two versions of this in my vitamix, a hot dip (which you see here) & a cold dip (which turns out a vibrant green colour). while the hot dip is much more indulgent, the cold dip is perfect for serving along side raw vegetables. it involves the exact same ingredients below but everything gets pureed in the vitamix & served as is. no heating involved! because of the green colour the spinach turns it, we call this one the grinch's dip:) as for the hot one, everything but the spinach, artichoke hearts & cheese gets pureed in the blender. then i fold those ingredients into the mix to add texture & depth to the final dish.

now let's get blending!!!


  • 1 cup cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 shallots, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup spinach, freshly steamed, strained & roughly chopped
  • 1 cup artichoke hearts, strained & roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated old cheddar cheese, plus more for topping
  • 1 baguette, thinly sliced & toasted


  • preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • place the cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, shallots, garlic, salt & pepper into the vitamix. pulse until ingredients are well blended.
  • pour into a mixing bowl. fold in the strained spinach, artichokes & cheddar cheese.
  • transfer to an oven safe skillet or baking dish & top with additional cheddar cheese.
  • bake for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted & browned (broil for a minute or two to crisp the cheese).
  • serve immediately with toasted baguette or warm pita.