frozen dessert

Completely Board Post #12: Dairy Free Pumpkin Ice Cream

Veg-am's Completely Board - Vegan Month of Food 2014

My family got together yesterday to celebrate my mom’s birthday.  Her birthday is actually on August 17, but that’s another story.

It’s easy when we celebrate her birthday *on* her birthday because I know the sweet should be something summery.  But what do you do for a birthday party just a couple days before the official start of fall and it’s over 80 degrees outside?  I found the perfect answer on my Pinterest board: Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream.

I used this recipe from MindBodyGreen that boasts only 5 ingredients.  I have a bit of a pet peeve of recipes boasting few ingredients and then one of them being something like “yellow cake mix”?  Hello…there are probably 12 ingredients in that.  But, since the “offense” here was pumpkin pie spice (actually a mix of 4-5 spices that I always have in my kitchen), I won’t ding them on that one too badly. 😉

I set out to try the non-ice cream maker version just to let y’all know how it worked.  I was making a double batch and after 2 hours of the mixture being in the freezer I could hardly see any progress.  I’m sorry I can’t report on this for people that don’t have an ice cream maker, but I only had 2 hours left until the party. I switched over to the ice cream maker version.  I followed the instructions on my ice cream maker (use cold ingredients, freeze the canister for at least 30 minutes, churn for about 30 minutes).

So do you want to see it?

Dairy Free Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream

It was as delicious as it looks.  Seriously, it was pretty much everything I hoped it would be.  Creamy, sweet but not too sweet, pumpkiny and spicy.  The only thing I did differently was add about two pinches of salt to enhance the flavor/offset the sweet and churned for about two more minutes to mix it in.  It didn’t taste salty, but I really do think it brought the pumpkin and spice flavors out a little more

This will be made at our house again.  and again.  I’ve also gotten the confidence and inspiration to try some new flavors.

It does freeze hard after a few hours after returning it to the freezer, so eat it soon after churning and then when you go back for more (because you will go back for more), you’ll need to let it sit out and soften a bit so you can scoop it out.  After you’ve done this and refrozen it, it’s becomes a tiny bit icy, but not so much that it’s a deterrent.  I’ve had a few scoops since the party.

I sent some home with my nephew and he said he was going to mix it with his espresso and make a frappe.  I now officially think he’s a genius.

Speaking of my nephew, he’s getting married in a few weeks.  After the party we were going through old family photos to find ones of him growing up for the wedding slide show.  I came across this one of me in my red checked zip-up polyester jumpsuit.  Based on the hairstyle, I figure I was in second grade so we’re talking 1978.  My sister told me she remembers it definitely had bell bottoms.  Second grade me would have liked the ice cream too.

Second Grade Dawn

1 food 5 ways, Bananas, Way #2: Banana Split Ice Cream

I love ice cream. I especially love ice cream that you need to chew. I like it to be hard and have other stuff in it. When you are a soy free vegan who doesn’t own an ice cream maker, there aren’t a ton of choices out there that fit that description. One of my favorites growing up was a banana split ice cream. Not a real banana split, but the banana flavored ice cream with the fruit and chocolate mixed in. Lucky for me, Dreena Burton made a cashew banana ice cream that I was able to adapt to replace this childhood favorite.

Banana Split “Ice Cream”



“Ice Cream”:
5 very ripe bananas, cut into large chunks and frozen (1.25 lbs after being peeled about 4 cups frozen chunks)
1/2 cup salted all natural peanut butter (the stir-in-the jar kind)*
1/4 cup agave nectar

*If you have unsalted peanut butter add 1/8″ tsp salt

Add-ins
1/2 cup chocolate chips (Enjoy Life brand are vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free)
1/2 cup frozen pineapple, cut in 1/2″ dice
1/2 cup frozen strawberries, cut in 1/2″ dice
1/4 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts

Directions:
Mix the add-ins together in a large mixing bowl. Put bowl in the freezer while you make the ice cream base so you won’t end up with strawberry juice streaks in the “ice cream”.

Put the frozen banana chunks in food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. If you have a small processor, you might want to do that in stages. Even with my large one, it almost tossed the processor around a bit. Add the peanut butter and agave nectar and process until smooth.

Get out the add-in bowl and scrape the “ice cream” on top of the add-ins. Then fold in the add-in ingredients until they are evenly distributed.

Put the entire mixture in a freezer-safe container and freeze ice cream until hard, overnight-12 hours. I put that time on it because at 5 hrs after making it was too soft, when I woke up at the 12 hour mark it was perfect! If it’s too hard to scoop after refreezing, just leave it sitting out for a couple minutes and it should scoop perfectly.

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I kinda hate to admit it, but I ate this for breakfast as soon as it was frozen hard enough. I just couldn’t help myself. Then again, with all that fruit in it, I guess it’s not so bad.
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Liebster Award:

Thanks to Richa from Hobby and More , Mel from Veganise This! and Kelly from Three and a Half Vegans for each awarding me a Liebster. “Liebster” is German and means ‘dearest’ or ‘beloved’ but it can also mean ‘favorite’. The idea behind this award is to bring attention to bloggers who have less than 200 followers and show your support during Vegan Mofo!
The rules of winning this award are as follows:
1. Show your thanks to those who gave you the award by linking back to them.
2. Reveal 5 of your top picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Post the award on your blog.
4. Enjoy the love and support of some wonderful people on the www!
I’d like to award Liebsters to the following:
1. Amanda at In My Vegan Life
2. Celyn at Miso For Breakfast
3. Celeste at Growing Up Veg
4. Cara at Fork And Beans
5. VeggieAmanda at Newman Improved

1 food 5 ways, Bananas, Way #1: State Fair Style Frozen Bananas

I’ve grown up hearing a story about my older brother visiting my grandparents and asking for a piece of fruit. He was offered apples, oranges, grapes and probably some other varieties of fruit. But with a little pout on his face, he refused them all declaring they didn’t have any fruit because there were no bananas.

I’m pretty convinced that most of my family feels this way about bananas. I’d be willing to wager that not one of us goes longer than a day or two without bananas in the house. So it just seemed a natural choice for my next set of posts. (You can read more about bananas at World’s Healthiest Foods)
One of my favorite things to do with bananas is to wait until they get really ripe, cut them in chunks and freeze them. It’s good to have them ready for smoothies. It’s also good to just break off a few chunks and eat them as a not-too-sweet frozen dessert or snack.
But this week is state fair week in NC. Surprisingly, there are quite a few choices I have of things to eat at the fair. But I have to admit I really miss the frozen bananas (which are up to $3 at the fair now!!) So I decided to attempt my own and was pleased with the results.
My original plan was to use Enjoy Life chocolate chips and some coconut oil to get the chocolate coating on the bananas. I’m pretty sure that would be a quick, easy option. However, I made these on Saturday when my sister was over for a visit. She can’t do the cane sugar and also loves frozen bananas. That made me determined to find another option. If you can’t find vegan, soy-free chocolate chips where you are, my sister made it easier on you :)
State Fair Style Frozen Bananas
Makes 6

You will need:
A small saucepan
A freezer safe container, bottom lined with waxed paper (I used a 9″ metal cake pan)

6 Popsicle sticks – see note #6 (6″ lollipop sticks might work too, but I haven’t tried)
3 Large Bananas (about 8″), ripe but not mushy. You could try 6 small ones, but if they aren’t big enough around, they might crack from the popsicle stick.
4 Tbsp Coconut Oil (I didn’t use the extra virgin kind, if you do expect a little bit of a coconut-y flavor)
6 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3 Tbsp Agave
2 tsp arrowroot, mixed with a fork in 1 Tbsp Water
2 Tbsp water
Chopped peanuts, optional (I didn’t measure but probably had about 1/4 cup whole peanuts)

Directions:
If using the large bananas, cut them in half. If using the small bananas, cut one end off so you have a flat end to insert the sticks. (You can freeze those ends separately to save for a smoothie). Insert the popsicle sticks. Be as careful as you can not to crack the bananas. If you get some hairline cracks, it’s no big deal, just smooth them over with your finger. Put the bananas in the waxed paper lined freezer safe container, uncovered is ok. Freeze them for an hour or two before making the chocolate coating. They don’t have to be frozen hard, but the chocolate will work better if the bananas are really cold.

Chop peanuts, if using, and set aside.

Melt the coconut oil in the sauce pan over low heat. Using a fork, stir in the agave nectar and cocoa powder until combined. At this point, it will probably be clumpy in some spots and watery in others. Add the arrowroot-water mixture and stir until everything is well combined and smooth. Add the remaining 2 Tbsp water and stir until smooth. Immediately remove from heat and pour the chocolate into a plate.

Coat a banana in chocolate as well as you can and then use a spoon to fill in the missed spots. (I used a tablespoon – not the measuring kind) Over another plate, sprinkle on the peanuts. Return to waxed paper. Repeat with the remaining bananas. You can use the peanuts that have fallen on the plate to finish up the last banana.

Put container back in the freezer until bananas are completely frozen. 6 hours to overnight.

Notes:

1. The coating is not crunchy a la magic shell. At first I thought this wouldn’t be a good thing, but it ended up being better because it didn’t crack off the bananas when we bit into them.

2. There will probably be a little leftover chocolate. It will not freeze to become a candy (I tried). At first it looked like it was going to be gummy candy consistency, but leaving it in the freezer longer, it froze into a frosting/spread consistency. We ate it with our fingers, but in retrospect it would have been really good on apple slices or with almonds dipped in.

3. You can eat them before the bananas are completely frozen, but the chocolate gets a little melty. After they are completely frozen, that wasn’t an issue.

4. I haven’t tried it yet, but I think toasted coconut would be a nice alternative to peanuts.

5. I was totally discouraged at the clumpy/watery stage and was about to throw in the towel. I suddenly realized why so much chocolate has soy lecithin in it (emulsifier). Then my brilliant sister, knowing that eggs are an emulsifier, asked me what I use in place of eggs. Going down the list in my head brought me to arrowroot! Yay, B, for saving an almost-failure especially since you knew I had just thrown in the last of the cocoa!

6. You should be able to buy popsicle sticks at craft stores or craft sections of large discount stores. Or you can do what I did and rely on the kindness of a crafty home-school mom that can share a few. Otherwise, I may have felt obligated to make frozen bananas every week so I could warrant the purchase of all those sticks. Thank you, L, for saving me from myself 😉

7. I ended up holding the sticks with a paper towel because I kept getting chocolate all over the sticks. Would have tasted as good, but not looked nearly as pretty.

This was the first time I’ve made them, but I’m sure it wont be the last. Let me know how they go if you try them at home so if the recipe needs tweaking, we can.


Playing catch up: "Splurge" Saturday

This is my first “splurge” post for Vegan MoFo. Let me warn you now that I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if every one revolved around some kind of frozen dessert. I’m crazy over “ice cream.” When you’re a soy free vegan, there aren’t a ton of options, but thankfully some of the ones that are available here in the US are REALLY good. One such option, as mentioned in an earlier post, is Coconut Bliss and I used it to its full potential in this splurge.
First of all let me apologize for the less than stellar picture. It was dark outside when I got this little gem out of the freezer. And I wasn’t about to wait to eat it until tomorrow. Now moving on to the good stuff…

Ginger-coconut Cookiewich:
1/4 cup naked coconut variety of Coconut Bliss

Put the Coconut Bliss between the two cookies and wrap tightly (I used press and seal, but regular plastic wrap would probably work just fine). Freeze for at least one hour. Take it out, unwrap it and try to make it last for as many bites as possible. The last bite will make you a little sad.

Point value: 8

Playing Catchup: "This Not That" Thursday

“This Not That” Thursday is about making lower point choices. It doesn’t mean not to ever have the higher point treat. That’s what those weekly points are for! It also doesnt mean that the lower point choice is more nutritious, because often times lower point choices are more processed and lacking in nutrients that the higher point choice offers. Always use your head and make choices based on what’s important to you and your body!

I’m a huge fan of Coconut Bliss frozen non-dairy dessert. It’s one of the most delicious, creamy frozen desserts I have ever had. I don’t mean since I’ve become vegan. I mean EVER! I’m not ready to (nor do I suggest that you) sign off on never having Coconut Bliss again. It’s natural: made from real organic coconut milk and organic agave syrup. And did I mention it’s fabulous? However just a 1/2 cup serving packs a walloping 5 point value!


A lower point (though less natural, not organic) choice is Double Rainbow Chocolate Sorbet. Less creamy, but absolutely delicious, it satisfies that desire for a cold, rich, creamy dessert at only 2 points per 1/2 cup serving. It’s also less than half the price.

Whichever choice you make, it should be the occasional treat, not a replacement for nutrient rich fruits and vegetables. But when you make the choice to splurge on one of them, make sure you take the time to really enjoy it!

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