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 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/lime/orange/grapefruit squeezed (1-2 TB's of juice)
2-3 TB of pure maple syrup
hearty pinch of sea salt

optional: 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. 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 freezer 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 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!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Pineapple Kale Lime Smoothie

Well it's been about a month now since I got a Vitamix and it's been a pretty great month of smoothies. My quote for this one off of my instagram was "those that 'green' together stay together" and me and my hubs have been enjoying the green together and I would have to say from personal experience that our love goes strong...:)

My favorite one is continually this green smoothie combo of frozen pineapple, kale and LIME. It makes it so fresh and sweet and great every damn time! So in effort to share with you my most favorite combo {for now ;)} I tried to write down estimates so that you can create it for yourself. And here's what I got...

Pineapple Kale Lime Smoothie Recipe
{gluten, dairy, nut, seed, egg, sugar-free, vegan}

1-2 cups of frozen pineapple
1-2 frozen bananas 
1/2 cup of date paste puree or you can put in 4 whole pitted dates too
1 small organic lime, washed and diced
1-2 cups of pineapple juice
1-2 cups of coconut milk beverage
2-3 cups of washed and roughly chopped FRESH kale
optional addition: protein powder of choice 
(my fav is pure rice protein and no fillers )

Blend in a high powered blender... this serves our family of four actually, but could be for 2 grown adults with big kid cups too :)
I have been enjoying this combo for breakfast this week and I've been waiting for it to get old and it hasn't yet- so until that happens I will be enjoying this combo on the back deck in the sunshine... :)

Hope you are well and finding balance this week.
Much love as always, xoxo

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Fresh Herb Garden Pasta Salad

This is a salad I start making almost every summer about this time. The fresh herbs and produce you can find at the farmer's market is a part the inspiration- not to mention an easy dish to pass at a gathering, pack up for a picnic, and serve from the fridge when it's super hot and sweaty.

It's not overly difficult and you can switch out different veggies for what you got available. It is a great "detox" summer meal because of the fresh herbs and veggies and with the GF pasta it is a great allergy-free option as well. Also, it can easily be vegan- but if you want to add some parmesean or motzarella cheese it would be that much more fabulous too. I have also added organic chicken sausages and those not only had flavor but added protein too. So it can be made a few ways, but if you make it the fresh herbs in the dressing is what makes the difference in my opinion. The dressing is super fresh, green and wonderful!

Hope you give this super easy and fabulous summer salad a try!
Much love and light to you xoxo

Fresh Herb Garden Pasta Salad Recipe
{gluten, dairy, egg, nut, seed and sugar-free}

1 cup of cherry tomatoes halved
1 cup of chopped sweet bell peppers
1 cup of sliced and quartered cucumbers
1/2 cup of thinly sliced and cubed radishes
1/4-1/3 cup of thinkly sliced and chunked red onion

1 12 ounce package of GF pasta (my favs include brown rice, or a rice and quinoa mix option. I avoid the GF pastas with corn because of digestion issues and they get too mushyin my opinion)

Herb Pesto Dressing Recipe
1 cup of fresh parsley
1 cup of fresh cilantro
(if you got other fresh herbs growing I sometimes add a handful of fresh basil, chives, oregano or thyme too...)
1/3 cup of quality California olive oil
1/3 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice
lemon zest from squeezed lemon
1-2 ts. of dried italian herb blend
1 ts. of dried garlic
pinch of dried onion
big pinch sea salt and black pepper
optional: add in a drizzle of honey or maple syrup before blending

Blend all of the above in a high powered blender to emosify and be a creamy green dressing. I sometimes double or triple this recipe above and make it available in the fridge to marinate meat, pour over salads and just have available to flavor rice, quinoa, or whatever other summer salad you got going. It's an added treat to just about anything savory!

Cook your GF pasta in boiling water and drain when it is AL DENTE! Then rise with a little cool water and pour into a large bowl with all the added veggies (and sausage if you are adding that) and then mix well together with the dressing and viola you got yourself a salad! If you are adding any cheeses or extra chopped herbs do that after it is all mixed well. Serve warm, or chilled, or however you damn please ;)

Hope you are well and enjoying the season of summer! Much love xoxo

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Fruit-Tea-Lemon Slush

We've had a few days of intense heat and humidity here in my neck of the woods. And even with the heat we've been spending long days of cleaning up the yard, playing at the park and splash pad and even enjoying our Lake Michigan beaches.  It's not even "official" summer yet- summer solstice begins next week- YAY!

It's hot out there though! And we have been trying to keep hydrated with water, herbal tea concoctions, fruit and now that I have a Vitamix- smoothies, popscicles, ice cream, and slushies ;)
This is really just a "smoothie" but it totally tasted like an old timey fruity slushie to me. I love the added lemons and dates for staying hydrated and tart sweetness too. It cooled me right down after a long day of outdoors work and it was just right thing when I had no appetite for dinner after a long day in the heat. This is a very 'loose' recipe. The main parts that got blended that I think are great are the hibiscus tea, lemon or lime and berries- oh and the dates ;) But truly you can easily add or take away- I just super loved this combo and have already made it two more times since the first.  Hope you are finding ways to stay cool and yet also enjoying the first days of summer heat. Much love and ENJOY xoxo
Fruit-Tea-Lemon Slush Recipe
{free of gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds, and sugar, vegan and paleo too ;)
made best in a high powered blender like a Vitamix or others out there...

1 cup of hibiscus tea or (Tazo Passion Tea already brewed) In the summer months, I brew 6-8 bags of this tea in a 2 quart Ball jar and keep it in the fridge and whenever I am needing to stay hydrated and sick of water this is my favorite go-to iced tea mix with a slice of lime. Hmmm, almost could be dessert :)

1 cup of coconut milk beverage or other plant milk of choice

1 frozen banana

2 cups of frozen berries/cherries (I did a mix of blueberries, cherries, and strawberries)

1/4 cup of leftover date puree (or 2-3 whole pitted dates)

1-2 slices of washed organic lemon (lime would be amazing too )

Put all of the above in a high powered blender and it should turn into a slushy within a minute. The vitamix makes everything so creamy and smooth- If I sound like I am gushing- I still am ;) The above ingredients measure out to 1 large cup for 1 or easily split between 2- you can play around with the measurements tho to make enough less or more and also depending on some of your favorite flavors and options. 
Perfect treat to the end of the hot day. Sometimes in the heat I have no motivatiom or appetite to cook or make a heated mess in the kitchen, so this was an easy way to ease into the hot evening. Then after getting hydrated you might have more of an appetite for something more. Hope you are well and much love xoxo

Monday, June 5, 2017

Five Ingredient Freezer Fudge

You guys- this is one of my most favorite discoveries... freezer fudge! It was something I had in my head when I couldn't sleep a few nights ago. It was mulling around in there. I was cooking again for a bunch of beautiful and brave women for a holistic health retreat and I had some extra ingredients on paste, cacao, coconut oil and some mini chocolate chips :) and you wouldn't believe it, but this combo melted and mixed together and frozen turns into FUDGE! You don't need much...just a square really, but you end up eating 2...or 3... and they are so good I wouldn't think twice about it :)
These might even be much better because of the coming summer heat that is upon us and to have a little chilled chocolate goodness melting in your mouth just seems that much more wonderful. We have traded the warm and comforting desserts for the chilled decadent bite to savor deeply. I love little treats like this because it ain't no crazy elaborate thing. just a square of fudge that leaves you speechless.
Five Ingredient Freezer Fudge Recipe
{gluten, grain, dairy, egg, soy, nut, and seed-free, also vegan and paleo}

1 - 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
1/2 cup of cacao or cocoa powder
1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips (Enjoy Life brand)
1/2 cup of organic virgin coconut oil
1/2 ts. of quality sea salt or sprinkle course sea salt ontop

Put all of the above ingredients in a small saucepan and melt and whisk together. Then pour into a parchment covered 9x9 pan or a 8x10 pan and spread smooth and put in the freezer for 2 hours and then cut into 2x2 squares. Keep in the fridge or freezer. If you leave out on the counter or outside it will melt again and turn into a fudge smoothie :)

I hope you give this one a try- it's too good not to. ENJOY and MUCH LOVE xoxo