This post is also available in: Suomi (Finnish)
this post is sponsored by Foodin
Summer is here! So. Much. Love. I absolutely adore summer, as I really feel that it’s the season when I ‘bloom’. And apparently my boy is the same, as he would rather spend all day outside chasing birds and eating grass or sand. So I try to be outside as much as we can, as I know that this is a special time as we’re spending the last few weeks just the two of us before it’s time for a family holiday and the start of daycare.
Maybe it’s the really nice weather, or all the yummy ingredients in season right now, but I’m finally inspired to cook and create again! What I’m into now: fresh ingredients, effortlessness, and simple flavors. I feel like two types of meals are coming to my mind constantly: quick and easy everyday meals that go for lunch and dinner, and super delicious desserts that can be served in summer parties (my favorite kind of parties!) or just for friends coming over. So with these thoughts in mind, I’ve got two recipes to share with you!
I really am a salad lover, as they are a handy picnic food and great on hot days. I often like to add some kind of carb like rice or quinoa to my salads as they make it a bit more filling (I’m always so hungry!). Strawberry feta salad is a favorite from years ago but this time I added quinoa and some lightly toasted pumpkin seeds and pine nuts, all from Foodin. They made such a nice combo! Just enough crunch to balance all the sweetness from the strawberries and the saltiness from the feta cheese. The salad makes a light meal as it is but you can totally serve it as a side for example with some grilled fish, tofu, or veggie skewers.
Chocolate cake is my favorite dessert of all time and I think it makes a nice summer treat as well, especially when you serve it with some fresh berries and maybe a bit of ice cream. One of my most popular recipes here on the blog is this flourless chocolate cake and I’ve wanted to come up with a similar but fluffier version. And now I finally did! I added a bit of almond flour and coconut flour to the cake base (so it’s still grain-free! and also free from dairy, gluten, and refined sugar) and it gets its sweetness from coconut sugar. The filling is nice and creamy and made with avocado, coconut cream, and cashew butter (that cashew butter is so addictive though, you’ve been warned!). The cake turned out really moist and chocolatey, and it even got the approval of the toughest judges in my family (aka my dad and brother-in-law who are kind of huge sugar addicts), so it must be pretty okay :)
A few other things I’m loving this summer:
Kombucha and coconut water. My favorite non-alcohol drinks to enjoy when water feels too boring.
Aperol Spritz. For the moments when coconut water is not enough :)
My local outdoor pool. Going for a swim alone or with a friend is the best way to exercise in the summer.
Foodin’s raw chocolate bananas. A perfect treat when mama’s got a bit of alone time.
Being in the moment. No plans, no schedules, no goals. Forgetting all the to-dos in life and being content with what we’ve done so far. A work in progress for me but I hope to manifest this especially during the summer.
Wishing you all the loveliest summer days! ♡
Strawberry Quinoa Salad with Feta
notes: if you’d like to make this a bit more filling, you can add some avocado on the side. instead of cucumber, grilled zucchini would be really nice too. the trick in this recipe is to mix the vinaigrette to the quinoa so that it has more flavor and the salad will keep a bit more fresh for longer.
3/4 cup (200 ml) quinoa
70 g baby spinach
1/2 English cucumber
1/2 l strawberries
1/4 cup (5o ml) pine nuts
1/4 cup (5o ml) pumpkin seeds
100 g feta cheese
a handful of fresh basil
a handful of fresh mint
1/4 cup (5o ml) olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
a handful of fresh basil, finely chopped
salt and black pepper
1. Cook the quinoa according to the instructions on the package. Prepare the other ingredients while the quinoa is boiling.
2. Rinse the spinach if necessary. Cut the cucumber lengthwise in half and remove the seeds (aka the soft middle part). Cut the cucumber into slices. Chop the strawberries and cut them into a few parts. Toast the pine nuts and pumpkin seeds in a hot pan and then let cool for a moment. When the quinoa is ready, let it cool for a moment and then season with salt.
3. Prepare the vinaigrette. Measure all the ingredients to a small bowl and mix well. Pour the sauce into the quinoa and stir. Add the spinach, quinoa, cucumbers, and strawberries into a large serving dish. Top with feta cheese, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, and fresh basil and mint. Serve and enjoy!
Double Chocolate Cake (gluten and dairy-free)
notes: as this cake is really moist, make sure to check it’s doneness for example with a cocktail stick. instead of berries, you can decorate the cake with crushed chocolate, fruits, or just keep it really simple with the mousse!
into a 24 cm / 9-inch springform cake tin
serves 10 to 12
3 ripe bananas
1 /2 cup (120 ml) coconut oil
2/3 cup (150 ml) coconut sugar
1 cup (250 ml) almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
3 tbsp raw cacao powder (or dark cacao powder)
1 ½ tsp baking powder
a tiny pinch of sea salt
Chocolate mousse filling:
2 medium-size ripe avocados
1 cup (250 ml) full fat coconut cream (or coconut milk stored in the fridge)
2-3 tbsp raw cacao powder (or dark cacao powder)
½ tsp vanilla powder
4 to 5 tbsp coconut syrup (or maple syrup or honey)
1 tbsp cashew butter (or other nut butter)
fresh berries and cherries for decorating
1. Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F degrees. Cover the bottom of the cake tin with baking paper and add a little coconut oil to the sides of the tin. Set aside for a moment.
2. Chop the bananas into a blender. Add eggs, coconut oil, and coconut sugar and blend until smooth. Measure almond and coconut flour in a large bowl and add cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Then add the banana mixture to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
3. Pour the dough into the cake tin and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes in the middle of the oven. You can check the cake’s doneness easily with a cocktail stick: Just stick a toothpick into the center of the cake. If there is wet batter still on the toothpick, the cake needs a bit more time in the oven, but if it comes out clean, the cake is ready.
4. Chop the avocados into a large bowl and add all the remaining filling ingredients. (Note: the coconut cream should be really thick so that the filling will come out really creamy.) Taste, and add more sweetener if needed.
5. When the cake has cooled down, gently remove it from the tin. Cut the cake evenly into two parts using a large knife. Place the base on a serving tray and add half of the chocolate mousse. Gently place the other part of the cake on top of the base and spread the rest of the chocolate mousse. Decorate with fresh berries and cherries. Serve and enjoy! If you end up having leftovers, store the cake in the fridge for up to 2 days.