Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream

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Sweet potato??? really??? was my first thought when I came across this ice cream recipe. I was very intrigued by it because of the ingredients… ONLY 4 INGREDIENTS!!! Now who wouldn’t want to make this??

I have had great success with Brandi at The Vegan 8 recipes which was another reason to test this one. Well we have been blessed with another heat wave :( and we want something cool and sweet. I typically do not use coconut milk, but with this being ice cream, I felt it would be necessary for the full creaminess effect. After I had blended everything (which BTW, you just put it all in a blender, so easy!) I had to taste test. Um, well I could have kept taste testing, this stuff is seriously delish! so I can only imagine how it will be when it is ready to come out of the freezer… DEVINE!!

Yup, that is sweet potato and dark chocolate!

Yup, that is sweet potato and dark chocolate!

 

Even though the coconut milk adds fat, it isn’t very much compared to the cream in packaged ice cream.  The processed fat and dairy which comes with a price to your health.  Our bodies can digest this easier as it is plant based. The sweet potato is loaded with Fiber, Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene), Vitamin C, Vitamin B-6, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium and also has protein and carbs, all of which come from the natural source. All the more reason to splurge once in a while with a cold treat!

 

Waiting for the chocolate to melt.

Waiting for the chocolate to melt.

 

Ingredients you will need: Serves about 4 cups

Canned coconut milk (you can use light coconut milk) be sure to shake before opening
Dairy free chocolate chips I use Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Morsels
Cooked mashed and packed sweet potato (not yams)
Pure vanilla extract
Sea salt

 

Recipe here: The Vegan 8 – click here for recipe

 

Directions:

Cook the sweet potato however you prefer. I used a microwave because I want to make this quick and I was excited to get it in the freezer :) If you choose to bake it, bake at 400 degree F with skin on until soft. Do not steam or boil it.

Once the potato has cooled, peel and mash it really well. No lumps or skin. Pack it into 3/4 cup and add it to the blender.

Continue with adding the vanilla, coconut milk and salt. But do not blend yet.

Melt your chocolate chips your preferred method. Be sure to not get the chips too hot as they will burn easy and will be useless. Also try not to eat all the chocolate ;) I used my setting on my microwave, heat for about 15 seconds then stir and heat again until about 90% is melted then remove and continue to stir until all chips are melted.

Add the melted chocolate to the blender, scraping every bit of chocolate you can from the bowl into the blender.

Adding the melted chocolate to the blender

Adding the melted chocolate to the blender

 

Blend all ingredients until completely smooth. Taste test, and adjust if needed. I didn’t add anything extra to it, it tasted amazing just as is and I could have kept tasting it!

I poured mine into an ice cream storage container as I do not have an ice cream maker. If you have an ice cream maker, use it! Using the storage container, you will need to return every 30 minutes to stir to get your desired consistency. Best to set a timer for 30 minutes as a reminder and it may take at least 2-3 hours to get it to set.

Now it may not last long enough to be in the freezer overnight, but if you do have some just take it out to thaw for about 20-30 minutes to soften. Also, remember every time the ice cream is removed, thawed, and put back in the freezer, ice crystals form. My guess is that there won’t be much to worry about that. You could always pour it in individual containers for single servings.

making choclate ice cream

Creamy Fudgesicles

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It is hot and anything cold is being shoved in our mouths. The kids wanted to make popsicle’s. That typically means they make a smoothie and pour it in the popsicle molds.  Well I had chocolate on the mind, so I talked them into making fudgesicles and my sales pitch worked :)  These were super easy to make, like less than 10 minutes if you have all the ingredients handy.  Freezing time took longer than I expected so I advise making them early in the day for that evening or the night before. They were worth the wait, creamy rich chocolatey coolness.

 

fudge in container

Made 6 bars with our Zoku

 

Ingredients:

1 can organic coconut milk, 13 oz
1/3 generous cup cocoa, unsweetened (you can use dark baking cocoa, I used half cocoa and cacao)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

ready to take out

Directions:

Using a blender, place all ingredients and blend at high speed for about 1 minute.  Blend until blended and smooth

Taste test, adjust if needed

*If you have time, I let it sit in the blender for about 20-30 minutes because I was doing multiple things and the cocoa was absorbed in the coconut milk, blend again for a quick pulse and the result was creamier.  You can also pour once blended.

Pour your mixture into the desired molds and freeze for 4-5 hours before serving,  Overnight was the better result.

Follow mold instructions, typically run under warm water to remove fudgesicle from molds.

rinsing

fudge get in my belly

Mexican Tahini Sauce

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Veggie burgers are made almost once a week, per request. I do my best to change them up, but sometimes it needs a sauce or topping that just gives it that BAM! Well, this Mexican Tahini Sauce from the lovely The Vegan 8, just knocked my socks off! Bonus, lots of savory flavor and it is oil-free!!

This sauce is very versatile with veggie burgers and on top of veggie bowls. Veggie burgers and bowls are made almost daily around here because they are super quick and easy.  Especially if you need to use some veggies that are on the last day or two, throw them together with a sweet potato or potato and some beans and you are good to go! This sauce would be great on some tacos as well.

Recipe Inspired by: The Vegan 8 – click here for the recipe

Veggie and sweet potato bowl with Mexican Tahini Sauce

Veggie and sweet potato bowl with Mexican Tahini Sauce

 

Definitely prefer this sauce on bowls of mixed veggies and greens.  The kids did not take to the sauce.  Which is fine as I am glad they tried it before turning their noses up without tasting it. Just means more for me!!

lunch bowl w_tahini

Go-to lunch bowl lately, different veggies each time but can’t go wrong, YUMMY!

 

 

Veggie Burger with Mexican Tahini Sauce

Veggie Burger with Mexican Tahini Sauce

School Incentives – Rewards

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State testing in our school district is currently happening.  The girls came home last week with a sheet of paper with the words “Incentive Program” at the top.  As I began reading through this sheet of paper, I suddenly started to feel frustrated and kinda angry.  Why do kids need incentives for doing something that is standard in their school curriculum?

There are 10 bullet points on this sheet of paper and EVERY single one of them is a reward for how the students score on their state testing performance!!!  Seriously, is this for real?   Am I just over reacting on this or looking at it from a different perspective?  I don’t agree with the pressure put on students for state testing, let alone the testing and I don’t feel it is an accurate display of a child’s abilities. Just seems so backwards to helping kids learn life skills for when they are out in the world.

Of course I want my children to perform well and succeed in what they work for.  I also want them to fail.  They must learn how to solve, navigate and overcome many obstacles in life. If they are rewarded for every step along the way,  I am failing as a parent.  But that is neither here nor there and a completely different post.

There are a couple incentives listed that are not food related, thumbs up for that!   For example, “Every student who scores Met Standards or Exceeded Standards in English and Math will be able to keep their elective”.   I think it means, if you do not take the test there will not be a score, therefore you will not get to keep your elective. It is unclear of the meaning behind it.

 

 

Encouraging and supporting these students is great, I am all for that. With the way society and world is lately, we all need that extra positive nudge in our lives.  I also understand some need a little more than others.  Incentives to receive rewards can work but are not always the best choice, especially when it comes to food/candy (read past post).  Kids DO NOT need to receive a reward for EVERYTHING they do and accomplish.  Correct me if I am wrong, this is not how it works in life later on. 

 

 

 

 

Gnawty By Nature

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Clearly you know by now I like treats.  Dark chocolate and dates go hand in hand. That is why these Gnawty by Nature treats are topping my favorite list!

Sinful, maybe.  Decedent, maybe.  Heavenly, maybe.  Down right freakin amazing, heck YAASS!

Most of all, these nut butter bombs are healthy and nutritious.  They are rich, gooey, sweet and salty (if you use it for a topping) and the ideal treat to keep stocked in your freezer for banishing those sweet tooth cravings. Not to mention, one of the easiest treats to make.

When it comes to treats, there has to be dark chocolate!   It is a requirement for whether a treat is made or not. Not always, but pretty darn close!  I don’t receive too many “no thank you’s” from the family or friends either.   When smooth, creamy nut butters and chocolate are combined, you feel like you can conquer anything!  Throw in a fiber rich, potassium filled, antioxidant power house date, and you’ve got a chocolate and caramel combo that just makes your eyes swoon and your mouth drool.

Hope you like these treats! These are:

Soft & Chewy
Fiber rich
Perfectly Sweet
Easy to make

Need I say more!

 

Ingredients:

Dates (pitted)
Almond Butter or nut butter of choice.  I do not use any with salt and oil and suggest to avoid any added ingredients.
Optional toppings, chia seeds, hemp seeds, sea salt or cayenne.
Dark chocolate of choice, I use Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Chips

 

 

Directions:

A plate to place the dates on. You can line with parchment paper.
Choose the amount of dates you want.
Slice down one side of the date.  If there are pits, be sure to remove them.
Spread in your choice of nut butter.  We prefer almond butter, but if you like peanuts, peanut butter tastes divine as well.

 


Place them in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
Melt dark chocolate or chocolate of choice.  I used a microwave setting and it works fine.
Pull out the dates from the freezer and begin pouring the melted chocolate over the nut butter filled dates.

 

The chocolate will start to harden.  At this time if you want to sprinkle some chia seeds, hemp seeds, sea salt or cayenne, now is the time.
Once they are all covered, place back in the freezer for another 10 minutes or so and then enjoy!

I stored these in a glass sealed container in the freezer.  I would guess about 4 days is good, but they never last long enough to find out :)

 

Kale Salad with Spicy Cilantro Dressing

This is a post from a couple years ago, and it’s just too good of a recipe to not share again.

Well this 98+° weather we are having here is leaving me with little motivation to cook in the kitchen, especially with an air conditioner on its last breath. Easy, cool, crisp and delicious is what I am going for during these next few days of heat. The fridge has been stocked with lots of fruit, greens and easy fixins to toss in a bowl for when it’s time to get our munch on. I have some dressings made but am always looking for new ones to try. Shannon at The Glowing Fridge is such a bright light and makes the most delicious recipes, and this is one I have been wanting to try and I had just about everything but some I modified for what I did have. If you like spicy hot (but doesn’t leave you sweating) and bursting with flavor, then this is one I recommend trying.

 

putting the fixins together

Recipe Inspired by: The Glowing Fridge

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

6 cups de-stemmed chopped kale (I used half kale & half spinach)
1 cup of quinoa (I didn’t use this in the first batch that is why it is not in my picture)
1/2 red onion or 1 shallot, chopped (I chopped about 5 green onions as that is what I had and it tasted fine)
1 can black beans
1 cup organic sweet corn

Spicy Dressing:

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup hot sauce of your choice (I used Franks Hot sauce)
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
1 generous teaspoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon cumin
sea salt and pepper to taste

spicy dressing (2)

 

Directions:

Cook quinoa according to directions if not already cooked. (I did not use warm quinoa)

In a large bowl add the kale and the onion.

Once the quinoa is done cooking, add in the black beans and corn to the pot with the quinoa and mix it up. Add the quinoa mixture to the bowl with the kale and mix.

Prepare the dressing by mixing all ingredients in a bowl.

I added chopped avocado and cherry tomatoes, but you could add any vegetables you’d like.

Note: I had pre cooked quinoa in the fridge so I used that and did not heat any of the ingredients and it tasted great. I also used both kale and spinach and it was delicious. Also depending on if you want a warm or cold salad, you can’t go wrong. The dressing can be modified to how hot you like by adding less or more hot sauce.

 

PB & Yay!

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For the longest time I have been making Kinda Like Muffins for the kids. They are the ultimate grab-n-go snack and always stocked in the freezer.  Over time they have evolved into other creations by changing up the ingredients, but always using the dates, bananas and oats as the base.

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Nature’s Candy Apples

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Alrighty, by now you have figured out that I like treats and I do my best to avoid using granulated industrial sugars of any kind.  I do use pure maple syrup and honey in some recipes and I am doing my best to reduce and eliminate those ingredients.  It is still sugar no matter how you perceive it, but a better alternative to industrial sugars. Dates are what I focus on using for added sugar.  These bites of heaven do more than satisfy a sweet tooth (and one does the trick!) they are packed with fiber, potassium, carbohydrates and magnesium that the body can digest easily.  They are great for sports, biking or running for a long duration.

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