{Roasted} Strawberry Vanilla-Bean Jam

Summer in northern California provides an abundance of fresh, hand-picked strawberries that are found in these little stands dotted along the side of the road in areas near our house.  Coming from central Illinois, where the most abundant crops were soybeans and corn, I couldn’t get over the fact that we instead have strawberry fields and the ability to purchase our fruit directly from the growers themselves.  The bright juiciness of these strawberries can’t and won’t ever compare to those in found in the grocery store.  Eating local never tasted so good!

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Chocolate (Avocado) Mousse

This recipe was inspired by a fantastic dessert my husband and I shared with friends at a little restaurant called Magpie in Sacramento.  Over and over we had been hearing rave reviews about this eatery, so at nine months pregnant with an appetite as big as my stomach, we headed over there prepared to chow down.  I ordered their mac n’ cheese with Brussels sprouts which was decadent and delicious but the highlight of the meal was dessert. Or, more accurately, desserts. Our friend made the executive decision that we had to try and share all four desserts off the menu.  One of the desserts was a chocolate avocado mousse dusted with cinnamon that was by far my favorite.  What excited me even more was that it seemed easy enough to recreate myself.

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So, the mousse I have created includes all the healthy fats from the emerald green avocados with a light, natural sweetness from Medjool dates and 100% maple syrup.  No butter or sugar here!  I also incorporated a few warming spices such as cinnamon, cardamom with a hint of cayenne pepper and topped it off with flaked sea salt.  Perfect ending to a decadent meal.

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