Oh My!

Hi Friends,

Some things I know:

– I like ice cream

– My friend Gwen and I were obsessed with Ben and Jerry’s Marsha Marsha Mallow (now known as Smores) ice cream post college.  The graham swirls did me in.

– Ben and Jerry have mastered the art of gooey ice cream swirls.

This was perhaps my finest batch of ice cream to date.

– Sarah’s Graham-azing Peanut Butter sounded like it would be lovely for swirling in ice cream.

– I saw this recipe on Oh She Glows and thought it sounded awesome but a little fussy to roll out all those tiny dough balls. 

– I have not yet mastered gooey ice cream swirls but I can roll out tiny dough balls and make a decent batch of ice cream.  (Plus it is vegan and gluten free too!)

Banana and Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Ice Cream

– 15oz can full fat coconut milk

– 15oz can light coconut milk

– 2 TB arrowroot powder

– 4 large ripe bananas cut into chunks

– 3/4 cup brown sugar

– Grahamazing PB dough balls  (recipe bellow)

– Dissolve 2 TB of arrowroot powder in 1/4 cup light coconut milk.  Stir well and set aside.

– Over medium high heat, combine bananas brown sugar and a tablespoon of full fat coconut milk.  Heat until brown sugar becomes bubbly and bananas begin to break down. 

– Lower temperature to medium low heat and add remain coconut milk.  Stir until well combined.

– Remove from heat.  Use an immersion blender to fully  break down any remaining chunks of banana and create a smooth mixture.  Stir in dissolved arrowroot powder.   Place in refrigerator until cool.

While the ice cream base was cooling, I got to work on what was supposed to be the pb graham swirl.  The mixture was too thick and I was out of peanut butter.  Rather than a swirl I decided so to go for a dough balls.  Thanks Sarah for the awesome idea.

Grahamazing Peanut Butter Dough Balls

– 2/3 a package of Kinnikinnicks Vegan and Gluten Free Graham Crackers

– 3/4 cup peanut butter

– 2 TB agave

– Place all ingredients in a food processor.  Process until uniform texture and consistency.  Roll into bite sized balls.  Place in an airtight container and freeze until ready to make ice cream.   

I simply mixed the ice cream according to directions for the Kitchen Aid.  After about 12 mins of mixing, I threw in the dough balls.  I didn’t stop the Kitchen Aid this time as the last few times I have done that I have had a hard time getting to start up again.  I literally stood next to the mixer and threw the dough balls in one by one.

Results?  Awesome!  Looking at the ingredients, how can it not be good?!  It is not the most photogenic ice cream but it definitely makes up for it in taste.

Getting in the zone for my 7 hours of silence retreat today.  We’ll see how that goes :)



Verbal Vomit and Muffins

Hi Friends,

Sunday afternoon I went to a raw food restaurant with some women who are also enrolled in Integrative Nutrition.  The ladies were very cool.  The food and conversation were awesome.  I left feeling very energized and excited about my studies.  I had a small epiphany on the way home in the car that I wanted to share with you.

I LOVE FOOD!  all kinds of food too!  raw food, vegan food, meat, baked goods, chocolate, fresh vegetables, coffee, kombucha, eggs, sea vegetables…..  You get the point.  It is all good, with the exception of okra that is just too slimy for my taste :)  It all has an appropriate time and place.  I like to cook food.  I like to eat food.  I like to read about food.  I like to talk about food.

Why not celebrate this?!  Sometimes I kind of get down on myself for not being a vegan or really liking ice cream or that I spent money on a meal at a restaurant when I could cook at home or……  But as of yesterday at approximately 3 pm, I am over that.  Life is too short and food is too fun.  So I am embracing all things food and letting go of weird feelings of guilt about it.  Anyone care to join me?! :)

With that said, I am still eating gluten free to see if it affects some health issues.  Plus it gives me a chance to embrace one more type of eating and an excuse to cook with different ingredients.  Reading about Emily’s trip to Babycakes, a vegan and gluten free bakery in New York, inspired me to check their cookbook out from my library. 

After browsing through all the yummy recipes, I decided to try their banana bread.  My mom would make my Grandma’s banana bread recipe frequently when we were kids.  Grandma’s recipe called for maraschino cherries and nuts.  Nuts made my brother gag when he was a kid so she would sub in chocolate chips instead.  I combined the two and came up with some tasty, vegan, gluten free, and refined sugar free muffins. 

Banana Cherry Chocolate Chip Muffins

adapted from Babycakes cookbook and my mom  


– 2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Flour

– 2 tsp baking powder

– 2 tsp baking soda

– 1 tsp xanthan gum

– 1 tsp salt

– 1 tsp cinnamon

– 1/2 cup coconut oil

– 2/3 cup agave nectar

– 2/3 cup almond milk

– 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

– 5 medium bananas, mashed

– 1/3 cup dried cherries

– 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

– Preheat oven to 325 and grease 12 cup muffin tin.

– In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthum gum, salt and cinnamon.  Add oil, milk, agave, and vanilla and stir until smooth.  Fold in mashed bananas, chocolate chips and dried cherries.

– Place 1/4 cup batter in greased muffin tins.  Bake for 20-22 min.  Remove from oven and let cool for 20 min before removing from pan.

The muffins look a little brown but are perfectly baked.  The texture is “muffiny” with the crumb and chewiness level you expect from a muffin.  No weird crumbly gluten free baked good texture!  I guess I rather coarsely mashed the banana as there are big chunks of banana in the muffin.  I like this.  I really wanted to use frozen cherries rather than dried.  I couldn’t find any at two co-ops or Super Target so I gave up.  Is there a run on cherries that I don’t know about?

  I hope this recipe is indication of the rest in Babycakes.  It is awesome and I am excited to try out some others!  The photos don’t properly capture the yumminess of the muffins.  Do you play with family recipes or keep them as is?

Have a good week friends and thanks for reading my verbal vomit :)


Caramelized Banana Almond Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Hi Friends,

I took advantage of a my Monday snow day by having some fun in the kitchen. 

First up, I made a batch of Angela’s Detox Blonde Macaroons. I have been on a major coconut kick lately and these sounded outstanding.  I am hosting my research study group later today and wanted to make something healthy but sweet to share.

These turned out super good and were easy to make.  I was running low on maple syrup and ended up using 2/3 a cup instead on 3/4.  I used 2 tsp vanilla bean paste rather than vanilla extract and vanilla bean.  Art and I both enjoyed.  Hopefully the ladies will too!

Next, I asked Art for ice cream flavor suggestions.  He wanted something with caramel and almonds.  After I an internet search, I found this David Lebowitz recipe that I used for inspiration.  David’s blog is full of awesome dessert recipes if you ever need ideas.

Caramelized Banana Almond Coconut Milk Ice Cream

– 1 can full fat coconut milk

– 1 can low fat coconut milk

– 2 TB arrowroot powder

– 3/4 cup brown sugar

– 4 small ripe bananas, chopped

– pinch of salt

– 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

– 1/2 cup roasted almonds, finely chopped

– Dissolve arrowroot powder in 1/4 cup light coconut milk.  Set aside.

– Heat brown sugar and 1/4 cup light coconut milk in a sauce pan over medium high heat.  Stir until mixture starts to bubble.  Add bananas and salt.  Keep stirring until bananas are cooked, about 3-4 mins.  Remove from heat.

– Add remaining light coconut milk, full fat coconut milk, and vanilla bean paste.  Stir until combine.  Use immersion blender to break up banana chunks and create a smooth mixture.  (You could also use a blender)  Stir in arrowroot mixture.  Chill in refrigerator until completely cool.

– Mix according to ice cream maker directions.  With five mins of mixing time left, add chopped almonds and continue to mix.  Store in freezer.

Oh my!  I could tell before mixing that this was going to a thick, yummy batch of ice cream.  It  was close to spilling out of the Kitchen Aid during the mixing process.  Don’t know why it got so voluminous but I am not complaining.  The caramelized bananas provide awesome flavor.  I would maybe add 1/4 cup more almonds next time.  They provide nice crunch the midst of all the creaminess.  I am going to go out on a limb and say that this combination is my favorite batch I’ve made this winter.

Please share any ice cream flavor ideas you have with me! 

Happy Hump Day,


Hello 2011!

Hi Friends,

In a very atypical move, I slept in the last two days.  Crazy!  This was a great for today but yesterday I had to be out the door to get to work.  No leisurely breakfast for me!  I made the pancakes I was planning to end the with to welcome in the new one this morning.

Day 20 – VBP Cakes

Many of you asked what vanilla bean paste is when I mentioned it in this post.  It is very similar to a vanilla extract but there are chopped up bits of vanilla bean seeds mixed in.  We sell it at the store and have trouble keeping it in stock as everyone who tries it loves it.  I bought some for holiday baking and have noticed the difference.  The vanilla flavor is that much more intense.

I added some VBP into the last of the gluten free pancake/waffle mix.  In the microwave, I melted a small banana and the last of the frozen cherries.  I topped the pancakes with some greek yogurt and the cherry mixture.  YUM!  You can’t go wrong with pancakes. 

2011 Quarter 1 Project

Rather than make a list of resolutions or goals, I decided that I would give myself a little project for each quarter of the year.  My project for January thru the end of March is to clear up my skin.  In a totally scary move, I took a picture of my chin without make up this morning to show you what I am dealing with.  Brace yourself!

I have acne like mad in the area around my mouth and chin!  BAH!  It isn’t this sever all the time but I currently have quite a few inflammations.  This has been going for about four years.  I have tried various types of cleansers and exfoliators without much success.  I am tired of it and ready to end this battle once and for all!

After doing a bit of research, I have decided that perhaps I am breaking out due to a food sensitivity or allergy.  I am going to limit my intake of dairy, gluten, soy products, and refined sugars for the next three months and see if I notice a change.  My plan is not to eat more than one serving of the following each day.  I will focus on eating fruits and veggies, gluten free whole grains, foods rich in omega 3s and drinking lots of water.   Each month I will take a picture to update you on the progress.  Anyone know any more on the topic?  I am curious to see what happens.   

Hope you all had lovely New Years Eve celebrations.  Art and I hung out with some of his friends from college and went to a neighborhood bar to ring in 2011.  Afterward, we went to his friend’s house and played some dancing game for X Box 360.  It was soooo fun and the only video game I have been semi decent at.  It was low key, but really nice evening.  What did you all do?

Have a wonderful first day of 2011!


Midweek Inspirations

Hi Friends,

Tuesday evening was the last meeting of my ecology class.  The professor shared the Wolf Credo by Del Goetz with us and I thought it was kind of nice.  Simple but eloquent.  I thought it would be a nice thing to share with you all as you start your day.

Wolf Credo

Respect the elders
Teach the young
Cooperate with the pack
Play when you can
Hunt when you must
Rest in between
Share you affections
Voice your feelings
Leave your mark.

Day 7 – Vanilla Cranberry Smoothie

After my pumpkin smoothie, I was craving a good smoothie combo.  Into the blender went frozen cranberries, half a frozen banana, 3/4 scoop vanilla protein powder, unsweetened soymilk, a bunch of powdered ginger, and three ice cubes.  I topped with some ground flax and a sample of Kashi Go Lean Crisp that I got in the mail.  This was a nice, thick and flavorful smoothie combination.  YAY!

Day 8 – Steel Cut Banana Bread Oats

Art was in charge of groceries over the weekend and he accidentally brought home steel cut oats rather than rolled.  Since they came from the bulk bins, I felt weird about returning them.  I don’t not like steel cut oats but they take so long to cook.  After a bit of research, I discovered how to cook the oats overnight.

Last night, I brought 1 3/4 cups water to a boil.  I added a pinch of salt and 2/3 cup steel cut oats.  After boiling for  a min, I cut the heat and covered the pot to sit overnight.  This morning, I heated the oats over medium and added 1/4 cup soy milk, 1 mashed banana, a bunch of cinnamon, vanilla, and a big handful of raisins.  This made two portions of oatmeal.

They turned out pretty well.  The texture was different and a bit chewier than regular oats.  They got very creamy with the banana and my yogurt topping.  I would definitely make these again and Art enjoyed them too.

My desire to go to work today  is slim.  I’ve worked everyday since last week Tuesday.  While I still really enjoy the store, I am tired of thinking about gift baskets and selling fancy chocolate.  Luckily I have this Friday through Sunday off.  Hopefully this will recharge my batteries so I make it through the holiday rush. 



Baked Oatmeal

Hi Friends,

Last night I dreamed of baked oatmeal.  I was having my family over and made a large pan of ginger, pear and cranberry baked oatmeal.  I don’t think I have ever made such a dish but I knew what I would be having for breakfast this morning.  Ok, so I didn’t have ginger, pears, or cranberries in the house so I improvised and worked with what I had. 

Banana Baked Oatmeal

I mixed a heaping 1/3 cup of oats, 2/3 cup Almond Breeze, half a ripe banana coarsely mashed and cinnamon individual sized casserole dish from my Grammy.  I baked at 375 for about 14 min.  Toppings included frozen wild blueberries, a blob of greek yogurt, more cinnamon, and a bit of maple syrup. 

This was a great breakfast!  It was warm and satisfying yet easy to make.  The top got the slightest bit crispy while the center remained chewy.  You could make a batch the night before and pop it in the microwave to reheat in the morning.  The topping and mix in potential is endless.  

Next time I would either mix the ingredients in a separate bowl before pouring into the casserole or wipe the top of the casserole dish to prevent the ring of burnt oatmeal bits around the top of the dish.  Not that these affect the flavor of the oatmeal at all but I know they will be a pain in the arse to clean later :) 

Have you ever dreamed of food or new recipes?



The Return of Oatmeal

Hi Friends,

After a summer of smoothies and yogurt bowl breakfasts, today seemed like the perfect day to make a warm bowl of oatmeal.  There was a chill in the air and Art was up early for the first day of school.  (He works in a high school)  I throughly enjoyed lounging and savoring my oatmeal while he rushed out the door.  I think I will very much enjoy leisurely mornings!

In the mix: 1/3 cup oats, 1/2 a banana, 2/3 cup Almond Breeze, a pinch of cinnamon and a splash of vanilla.  I brought these items to a simmer over medium heat and stirred in some frozen blueberries at the end of cooking.  Toppings included a few fresh bloobs, a bit of pb and some unsweetened coconut.  It totally hit the spot!

I looked up oats in my The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods that I am reading for one of my classes this semester.  Did you know that oats were first harvested in 500 BCE making them the youngest of all the cereal grains?  Due to the perishability, oats were thought to only be suitable for horses and barbarians.  Today, only 5 percent of the oats commercially grown are used for human food.  (source: The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, pg 328)   It is my guess that approximately 50 percent of those oats are consumed by bloggers!

You can thank me later for that little bit of useless knowledge :)  Please share your favorite bit of useless knowledge!  You never know when these things may come in handy.

Enjoy your evening and the short work week!



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