Happy Canada Day! ~ Nanaimo Bars

Happy Canada Day! We love our neighbors to the north, and I am always up for an excuse to celebrate another holiday, so I made a batch of Nanaimo bars in honor of this day. 🙂

Nanaimo bars are typically a rich, buttery, and sugary dessert. If you aren’t familiar with the confection, here is a little about their history. They are so good, but something to enjoy only every once in awhile. Then I found this recipe that is vegan and almost 100% raw, (except for the maple syrup, which makes them even more Canadian!) They are rich, but also full of healthy, good things. With all of the nutritious ingredients, they are like Canadian energy bars that will help you celebrate all day long! 😉 I’m glad I gave them a try. I hope you will, too. 🙂

The only thing I changed from the original recipe was the amount of maple syrup. I tried using less, and tasted as I went. I ended up using 2 tablespoons less in the custard filling and 3 tablespoons less in the chocolate topping. Just add a little at a time and taste as you go to make them as sweet as you like.

Nanaimo Bars

Based on a recipe from Living Nutrition


For the crust:

1 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1 1/2 cup blanched almond flour

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

3/4 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder)

10 dates, pitted

A few pinches of sea salt

For the cashew custard filling:

2 cups cashews, (soaked in water for 2 hours or more)

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tsp vanilla extract or seeds of ¼ vanilla bean

1/2 cup melted coconut butter or oil

1/4 tsp sea salt

For the chocolate ganache:

1/4 cup + 1 tbsp maple syrup

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla extract and a pinch of sea salt


For the crust:

Add everything to your food processor, and process for at least 20 seconds, or until it is thoroughly combined into a dough. It should stick together slightly when pinched. If it doesn’t, you can add a tablespoon of water or a few more dates to the mix. Press into a 9×9 inch-baking pan. Place the crust in the fridge or freezer to set while you make the cashew custard filling.

For the cashew custard filling:

Add cashews, water, maple syrup, vanilla, coconut oil, and sea salt to a high-speed bender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Pour over the crust and smooth evenly with a spatula. Place in the freezer to set for 2 hours.

To make the chocolate ganache:

Place the maple syrup, coconut oil, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and sea salt in the blender until creamy and emulsified. Spread evenly over the cashew custard filling and chill for another 4 hours.

Cut and serve.

The little Canada Day printouts are from Catch My Party. I couldn’t resist. 🙂 They are so cute, and also free!

It’s Canada Day! ~ Cedar Plank Roasted Salmon with a Maple Glaze


Happy Canada Day!

We love our neighbors to the north :). We spent our honeymoon on Vancouver Island, and British Columbia is one of our favorite places to visit. It’s just a hop, skip and a jump from Seattle, and it’s an absolutely beautiful province.

Even though we aren’t Canadian, who can’t use an extra reason to celebrate? Celebrating non-traditional holidays shakes things up a bit and it’s fun!

I think of maple syrup when I think of Canadian cuisine, and British Columbia has some great seafood similar to Seattle, so I decided to make cedar plank roasted salmon with a maple glaze. The wooden plank infuses a subtle smokey flavor into the fish. (Luckily it didn’t smoke the house, as well ;). It did make the kitchen smell nice and toasty, though.) I found the recipe at Epicurious.com. I followed it pretty closely, so I just want to pass the recipe onto you since it was so delicious and special!


Cedar Plank Roasted Salmon with a Maple Glaze

1 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

4 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic

An untreated cedar plank (you can find them at specialty cooking stores)

2 1/2-pound center-cut salmon fillet with skin

1 bunch of scallion greens

In a small saucepan, simmer the maple syrup, ginger, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, soy sauce, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste until it is reduced to about 1 cup. (About 30 minutes). Let cool.

Place the oven rack in the middle position, and preheat your oven to 350. Heat the cedar plank by itself in the middle of the oven after it is up to temperature for about 15 minutes to get it a little toasty.

Pour half of the glaze into a small dish, and keep the other half in the pan. Stir the remaining 1 tablespoon of lemon juice into the sauce on the stove, warm and cover.

Arrange the scallion greens in one layer on the plank.

Put the salmon, skin side down, on the scallion greens and brush with the remaining glaze in the small dish. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and roast until just cooked through, about 35 minutes.

Cut the salmon crosswise into 6 pieces and drizzle with the warm sauce.

Happy Canada Day to all…Whether you live in Canada or just enjoy their beautiful country :).