Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Vanilla Bean Vegan Coconut Ice Cream

Summer brings about the love and craving for ice cream more than any other season. Not sure if it's just part of our American heritage or the fact something cold and creamy just tastes better while we sweat and soak in the summer sun. 
This recipe is basic. A classic. A plain-Jane-vanilla-bean ice cream kinda recipe. But maybe plain, simple, classic and basic is where it's at! This recipe also serves as a good base for almost any vegan ice cream and then when you want to take away the vanilla and add in more or differing flavors....you got it!  This one is my absolute favorite to top all the summer fruit crisps and crumbles. Or just keep it even easier and top (or mix-in) all the fresh berries you can get your fingers on. 
This handful of berries came from a friends backyard that backs up to a bike trail that has dozens of wild bushes of wild black raspberries growing. My daughter thought this find was the best thing ever- some how it brought out her own independent declaration of not needing me anymore for snacks :) I'm glad she loves to pick berries as much as I do. Hopefully you can hunt down some berry goodness this summer for yourself. For most of us GF or allergy people berries are a great treat just by themselves. Focus on the sweet treat and beautiful food you CAN have and forget about the sweet and sugary foods that hurt and harm you. This simple berry and coconut ice cream treat will have you forgetting any past desserts you can no longer enjoy. If you are looking to make some homemade vegan ice cream I'll share a few of my secrets below... 
Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream Recipe
{gluten, dairy, soy, egg, nut, seed, and refined sugar-free, VEGAN}

2 cans of full fat coconut milk cream - should amount to 2 cups of cream
(scoop out the cream and save/discard the water in the can)
1 vanilla bean pod scraped
1/2 lemon squeezed (1 large TB of juice)
2-3 TB of pure maple syrup or a mixture of honey/maple syrup if you are not vegan
hearty pinch of sea salt
1 TB of tapioca starch (this ingredient helps the ice cream to be so much easier to scoop from the freezer and even I think allows it to be creamier and melt just the right way instead of it being too hard or icy- you can omit it too, but from my experiments I like it better added!)


In a small saucepan, warm up the coconut cream with the rest of the ingredients, make sure to whisk in the tapioca starch well and as the milk warms under the flame it will slowly thicken the cream. DO NOT warm too much to a boil. Just warm enough for the starch to thicken and turn off the heat and let it cool off. Then use an immersion or regular blender and blend the mixture to get a bit frothy and bubbly. Pour into a container and let full cool off in the fridge for 2 hours- overnight, or in the freezer for 30 minutes. 
Then if you have not invested in the Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker- then you might want to in time for this summer. I got this as a birthday gift last year and have enjoyed using it. The instructions before you make the ice cream is to deep freeze the mixture container. It must be super cold! Then once you do that you can hook up the container and follow the instructions- which for this ice cream includes just pouring in the mixture while it has already started spinning. This will take anywhere from 20-30 minutes to thicken up the ice cream. It is like soft serve and ready to top or eat, but if you want a more scoop-able ice cream then let the machine run for the allotted time and then pour into a container and put in the fridge and within 30 minutes it will be a perfect scoop!
Once you got your ice cream steps down- you will be willing to make this more often and enjoy it's creamy presence in your life. This recipe can be easily doubled and this recipe recipe makes about a pint of ice cream. This is a great 4th of July treat paired with fresh fruit, picked cherries or wild black raspberries...Did you notice the red white and blue happening here ;) haha!

I hope you give it a try and truly ENJOY it's wonderfulness :)
Much love as always xoxo

Monday, June 26, 2017

Strawberry Banana Blender Waffles

Have you been enjoying all the fresh local strawberries?! Here in Michigan the strawberry season marks the true beginning of summer and the days are long and hot and it's strawberries that help us ring in the the summer solstice. My family likes to pick and eat as many as we can while they are perfectly sweet and fresh from the plant. Don't you think they are just sweeter we you eat them right from the plant?!? Maybe it's just the whole fun sensory experience, but I think they just taste best too!
If you haven't made it to the farmer's market or u-pick field yet- I think there is still time to look for some... at least I think that is how it is here in Michigan, maybe another good week or so of picking... so get out there and hunt some down. 
And then you can think about making these waffles, pie, jam, and put some away in the freezer for smoothies and crisps this winter... they are so many ways to enjoy frozen berries that you won't regret putting some away!
But while you got fresh strawberries these waffles make it feel like you are running a fancy pants diner with a gorgeous breakfast and a decent cup of coffee and good conversation. I hope you give this recipe a try. If you got a blender and a waffle iron- then you got it! Happy summer, friends!
Strawberry Banana Blender Waffle Recipe
{gluten, dairy, egg, soy, seed, nut and refined sugar-free}

In a large high powered blender add the following....
2 ripe bananas
2 cups of fresh or defrosted frozen strawberries
1/2 cup of date puree paste
1 lemon squeezed and zested
1 cup of plant milk (coconut, rice or others....)
2 TB of maple syrup
2 TB of avocado or olive oil
2 TB of apple cider vinegar

2 cups of certified GF rolled oats (or a mix raw dry quinoa and oats here)
1 cup of rice flour (or sub sorghum, quinoa, or millet)
1/3 cup of tapioca flour
1/3 cup of potato starch
1 TB of baking powder (corn-free version)
1 ts. of baking soda
1 ts. of sea salt

Put all of the ingredients above in a blender and blend.... until it is smooth and bubbling. If your mixture seems a little too watery you may need to add 1/4 cup of flour to the mix depending on how watering your berries were... but add the oat or rice flour to thicken up if needed... It is so great because all the mess is in your container- that you can even pour right to the waffle iron or skillet! SCORE!
Then I use my waffle iron according to it's instructions and then even cook for a bit longer than that to get the crispiness we desire. Because this recipe is vegan and has no eggs it can tend to be a bit soft (or soggy) if you do not cook long enough. So its about a 3-4 minute cook time on my iron- but that might be different on yours.  This recipe makes about 6 waffles or 12 pancakes. When I make them, we usually eat half and have the rest in the fridge ready to toast up for the rest of the week- so a great leftover!!! Make a big batch and stick them in the freezer ready to go! 
You can also make pancakes with this recipe. Pour from the blender onto a skillet and make small or large pancakes if you desire. I usually cook with some coconut oil on the skillet to get a crispier finish to pancakes.  Cook 3-5 minutes on a skillet to each side. 
Top the finished product with more fresh bananas, berries, organic powdered sugar or pur maple syrup. It feels like you reached fancy breakfast heaven, especially if you haven't had such since going GF. These little babies have a way of bringing more hope (and healing) to the GF/vegan journey if you ask me. You all of a sudden believe in making your food options feel that much bigger and better and more open! Your willing to leave the losses and bitterness behind and keep going forward.

I hope that for you my friends. Much love and light as always, xoxo

Friday, June 23, 2017

Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower with Dairy Free Ranch

Everyone needs a fun and easy app recipe in their back pocket when it comes to summer gatherings and picnic parties and such. I love the vibrant color and flavors of this dish and is a crowd-pleaser among most foodies :)

This recipe was inspired by Against All Grain's buffalo chicken wings and dairy free ranch. But I wanted to make a few substitutions- one of them being to make the "wings" out of cauliflower and not chicken :) And the other way using a vegan mayo so that it didn't have any eggs in it, so my following recipes reflect those options.
I made this appetizer for a gathering recently and explained how simply I made it because because I used a few already prepared sauces and spreads to make it easy. If I have some extra time up my sleeve in a month or so when eggplant and peppers come into season- I am going to make a spread of my own out of roasted eggplant and peppers. But the Trader Joe's spread is a great option and is made with clean ingredients and easy to use in a variety of ways. Check it out!
 
Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower Recipe
{gluten, dairy, egg, seed, nut, soy and refined-sugar-free}

1 large head of fresh cauliflower washed, and chopped up in easy to pick up pieces
1/3 cup of avocado (or olive) oil
1/2 cup of Trader Joe's Red Pepper Spread with eggplant and garlic
1 TB of apple cider vinegar
1 TB of maple syrup or honey
1 lemon squeezed and drizzled over
1/2 ts. of ground paprika
1/2 ts. of dried granulated garlic
1 ts. of sea salt
black pepper to taste

optional to make it spicy hot:
1 TB Arizona Pepper's Organic Harvest Hot Sauce 

Wash and chop the cauliflower and let it dry weel. Then in a large bowl mix the rest of the ingredeitns with the cauliflower and make sure each piece is spread well with the mixture. Then spread out each piece of cauliflower on a parchment papered baking sheet and bake in a 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes until the pieces get a bit soft and crispy. Let cool for 5-10 minutes and put on your serving dish ready to serve. Serve with hot sauce on the side and fresh celery sticks and some of the dairy-free ranch dip below....


Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing or Dip Recipe
{gluten, dairy, egg, soy, nut, seed, and refined -sugar-free}

1 cup Hampton Creek Just Mayo
1/2 cup coconut milk beverage
1/2 cup of fresh parsley leaves
1/2 ts. of dried chives (you can use fresh (1 TB) if you got it)
1/2 ts. of dried dill (you can use fresh (1 TB) if you got it)
1 ts. of dried Italian herb blend
1/2 -1 ts. of sea salt
1/4- 1/2 ts. of crack black pepper
1 ts. of dried garlic
1/2 ts. of dried onion
1 lemon juiced (1/4 cup) add some of the zest if you want


In a high powered blender, mix up the above ingredients for a few pulses, being carful to not overly blend so that the parley stays just finely chopped. Pour into a Ball jar and have it ready to dip veggies, cauliflower wings, and pour over salads. 

There you have it- I hope you give it a try if you are looking for a new fun appetizer!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Chocolate Date Avocado Pudding

Chocolatey....creamy...custard....rich...melt-in-your-mouth...delicacy... so many ways to try and describe such wonderfulness. This one's a goodie! A special easy peasy chocolate pudding delight! It is actually a play on my Freezer Fudge Recipe with the added secret ingredient of avocado! Yes. Avocado. The little soft green and creamy fruit that adds so much creamy texture packed full of minerals, vitamins, healthy fats and nutrition. It may surprise you if I told you later that the ingredients are ones to love and nourish you. But then again... who needs much pushing to eat amazing avocado....
I love cutting into a soft avocado and make beautiful things happen... toppings to a salad, guacamole, and now...pudding?!? Yes yes yes- it is true- chocolate avocado pudding sweetened with dates and perfect for a warm summer's eve. You guys- if you are trying to get your kids to eat their dinner and promise chocolate pudding as a dessert- you can secretly smile inside knowing you will be treating them with more nutritional goodness :)
Chocolate Date Avocado Pudding Recipe
{gluten, dairy, egg, nut, seed, and refined sugars-free} 

1 1/2 cup of date paste puree (I make this by soaking pitted dates with boiling water...equal parts and then blending them in a high powered blender to create a creamy caramelly paste or puree and you can use it in baked goods, oatmeal, and fudge. It can keep in a jar in the fridge for weeks after blending....)
date paste puree
1/3 cup of cacao or cocoa powder
1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips (Enjoy Life brand)
1/3 cup of soft organic virgin coconut oil
1/2 ts. of quality sea salt
1 lime freshly squeezed
2 small or 1 large ripe and soft avocado (1 cup worth)
2 TB of pure maple syrup

optional additions: splash of pure vanilla or some pure vanilla bean


In a small saucepan on LOW heat, let the coconut oil, cocoa powder, and choclate chips get soft and melty then then pour those into a food processor or high powered blender with the date puree, avocado and the rest of the ingredients. Blend on high for 1 minute until soft, fluffy and creamy and ready to serve. You can serve right from being blended topping with coconut whipped cream, fresh fruit or lick the container clean- I don't judge! If you pour into little 4 ounce glasses you can get 4-6 servings. Also, if you want to chill the pudding you can but if you do more than 30 minutes it will turn into more of a stiff custardy chocolate ganache- which is also fabulous but just remember that if you want more of the soft and creamy texture. Both ways are great!

You can easily sub out the cocoa powder for carob powder if you cannot eat cocoa right now. You can also easily sub out the mini chocolate chips if you cannot do chocolate/sugar and just sub in a nut/seed butter or even just as it is. It still will be absolutely fabulous this way too!

You can also pour this pudding mixture into a already made pie crust.... I will post that recipe soon ;) and make a chocolate pudding pie! Sooooo, as you can see you can play arond with this simepl recipe a bit and make something great!

Hope you give it a try, MUCH LOVE and happy summer solstice!