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As a mother of three children, I long gave up the idea that I could enjoy a leisurely brunch with the kids. If I did attempt to brunch with my babies, it involved several mimosas just so I could relax and not nag them to finish their plates while neglecting my own.

I’ll admit, I’m envious of my single and childless friends’ brunch posts on Instagram come weekends that show off their gourmet avocado toasts festooned with radish slivers, their frothy cappuccinos, sparkling Prosecco mimosas and comely stacks of Meyer lemon pancakes. Meanwhile, as I gaze into the world of Instagram through the screen of my phone, I’m making umpteen banana pancakes for my kids at home, with nary one left for me.

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CanBech Gourmet Giveaway & Kitchen Inspiration


I’ve been inspired in the kitchen by CanBech sweet sauce. These little jars arrived all the way from Fontanilles, Spain, to my door in Los Angeles. Intrigued by these sweet sauces (or what I’d call jelly) I began opening each package. The instructions on the box said to pair with cheese, however, a flood of ideas came to me. What about as a topping for cheesecake? Salad dressing? Marinade? Grilled cheese sandwiches? CanBech, where have you been all my life? 

1-CanBech-Fig-Grilled-Truffle-Cheese-GreensGrilled Cheese Sandwiches. Yes, I thought, rummaging through my refrigerator. Truffle cheddar… paired with… black fig sauce, and… mixed baby greens on whole grain bread.

I placed the bread on a sheet pan and brushed it with a light amount of olive oil for toasting, while grating some English cheddar with Italian truffles into a bowl. Then I chopped up some fresh mixed greens (baby kale, arugula, spinach). Once the bread toasted under the broiler, I layered one side of the toast with cheese and the other with CanBech black fig sauce. Then I added a pinch of greens and assembled the sandwich, pressing down with the palm of my hand. I heated it in a pan on the stove until the cheese melted into the greens. Generous amounts of the black fig jelly seeped through the bread and cheese, mingling its aroma with the warming olive oil. I set the grilled cheese sandwich down upon a wooden board and cut it in half.  The melt of cheddar, fragrant with truffle and fig, was enough temptation to sink my teeth into. I shared the sandwich with my honey. He rolled his eyes in pleasure and sighed aloud after one bite. After we devoured the sandwich, I made just one more. This is good reason to try other combinations of CanBech sweet sauces.


CanBech sweet sauces are the perfect pairing for cheese. Each jar comes with pairing suggestions depending on the type of cheese— soft cheeses, hard cheeses, soft paste and blue cheeses. There are some amazing vegan cheeses available these days, and I happened to have a container of Kite Hill vegan cream cheese (almond milk based) to serve with the remaining loaf of whole grain bread. I used Thompson grapes on one toast pairing. The delicate floral pops of ripe grapes complimented the cream cheese with the black grape CanBech jelly. Other toasts with avocado, shreds of dark leafy kale and red cabbage, sliced cucumber and edamame, and strawberries paired with black fig jelly. Making these toasts would work nicely as an appetizer for a small gathering.

For gluten-free and non-dairy options: You could easily use gluten-free crackers of any sort, and crispy slices of toasted jicama can also work well for a non-grain based cracker. Add vegan plant-based cheese and your choice of CanBech sweet sauce— just as satisfying without missing out on a cheese pairing experience. Try CanBech sweet sauces in other recipes as well.


The sweet sauces have a complex layer of flavors rather than a single note jam. Black grapes with Majorcan almonds, black figs with Australian macadamias and Jamaican pepper, peach and apricot with goji berries and Guatemalan cardamom, raspberry with rose petals and Szechuan pepper, and golden delicious apple with pistachios and cinnamon. CanBech suggests other uses for these gourmet sweet sauces on their website.

I’ve been hosting a CanBech giveaway on my Instagram feed to win prizes. The details are given on my Instagram post, so please join in. I’m extending the giveaway until August 15th 2015 and will choose three finalists to win. The grand prize includes a $100 gift card as well as CanBech gourmet sweet sauces. Savory or sweet, the flavor profiles of each sauce pairing can be used in a variety of ways.




This sleepy Sunday what-do-I-make-for-everyone brunch recipe came to me after the second cup of tea. I wanted to make something easy and wasn’t into flipping stacks of pancakes. I’ve been more focused on writing these days, so being in the kitchen, as much as I love it, has not happened as often. Sunday is here. I’m dreaming of going to the farmers’ market, though the heat of summer is upon us. Too hot.

It was Henry James that said “Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” I feel the same about Sunday brunch. 

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It’s a hot summer day. The sky is brilliant blue and birds are singing. July heat. I’m drinking a lot of coconut water mixed with sparkling soda and a squeeze of lime while planting in my garden, hands in the soil. The kids will be home from camp later (and they are always hungry!). I’m too hot (and lazy) to cook anything up tonight. The backyard patio is the place to dine on nights like this, with a big bowl of cold sesame noodles for everyone to share.

Sesame tahini paste, peanut (or cashew) butter, yuzu, lime, chili sambal and garlic make a zesty creamy sauce for these noodles. Add slivered cucumber, shredded red cabbage and carrots, garnish with cilantro as well as other toppings, and you have dinner covered, et voila!

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The bounty of summertime inspires me to make something sweet out of juicy cherries. Of course, there’s always a good cherry pie to be made. But just as simple, clafoutis, a rustic French baked fruit recipe, is delightful when you’ve got bowlfuls of cherries plus guests and/or family to please after a weekend dinner. Cherry Clafoutis. It sounds fancy, but do not be in the least bit concerned if you can’t make a dessert. This is so easy. In a way, it’s sort of like a ‘pancake + pie’ in a ramekin (if that makes any sense). The batter is somewhat custard-like, not exacting, just like making pancakes. Easy to adjust as you please.

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