Dinner with cousins

avomousseingredientsWhen you send your cousin a picture of the ingredients that you have planned for dessert and she responds with, “I’m intrigued,” you know your cousin trusts you.

My evacuee cousin has lived in a hotel for the past two weeks. I know what that is like. During my second year of college in Lethbridge, I had to live in a hotel for 47 days. It was awesome at first, but quickly lost its charm when I had to eat out for every meal. While, I was in my 20s, I can only imagine how much more difficult it is with kids, and in my cousins case, a gluten allergy.

It is often said how difficult allergy cooking is. When cousin J said she would come for dinner, I knew I was going to adapt a recipe I learned at the May Williams-Sonoma Cookbook. The book features was Gwyneth Paltrow’s It’s All Easy. The book focuses on easy, healthy meals, many of which omit gluten or minimize dairy.

zunichickenDuring the cookbook class, we prepared Zuni Sheet Pan Chicken, Zucchini noodle Cacio e Pepe, and chocolate avocado mousse. My mom joined this class this time as a Mother’s day event, kind of like an Adult Mommy and Me class. Mom was a bit hesitant on the chocolate mousse, but was very surprised at how much she enjoyed it.

So when the time came to host Cousin J and her kids for dinner, it was pretty clear that we would be adapting the Zuni Sheet Pan Chicken for the BBQ and omitting the baguette. The two cupcakes we extremely excited to have cousin J, and Buddy and Buddy’s brother, visiting for dinner. The kids all ran outside to play and enjoy the sunshine. The dinner menu was a mix of our family favorites,  buttery Brussel sprouts a la Chrissy Teigan, roasted cauliflower and potatoes, and for dessert: Avocado Mousse. The kids gave declared the chocolate mousse pudding a two thumbs up. In fact my cupcake stated it was balanced, rich and creamy. Yes this how she talks. She has a refined palate…for an almost six year old.

mousse servedAvocado Chocolate Mousse

1 large avocado, pitted and peeled
2 Tbsp. almond butter
Sea salt
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup brown rice syrup
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup raw cacao or unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
¼ cup almond milk
¼ teaspoon liquid stevia
2 Tbsp. coconut oil

1. In a blender or food processor, combine the avocado, almond butter, a large pinch of salt, vanilla powder, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, cacao, almond milk, stevia, and coconut oil and blend for 2 minutes, or until very smooth.
2. Divide among four ramekins; cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

While the evacuation is devastating, it was great to see Cousin J. Our family is close. We don’t get to see each other that much, but when we get together it is like no time has passed. Our family is big, loud, opinionated, stubborn, but fun.

And to my friends and family making their way home today – travel safe McMurray, the long journey home is upon us, and the road ahead is dusty, but when the smoke clears, we will rebuild. Bigger. Better. And in the end we will have a stronger community. #YMMSTRONG

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