Monthly Archives: February 2016

Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Our daughter Annabelle turned 8 last week and she requested cake (I decorate cakes so they love for me to make a fancy, personalized one) and this homemade peanut butter ice cream. The cake, though also homemade, is not healthy. I try and use more whole food ingredients, but I usually do at least half white flour, and I make butter cream frosting using butter and powdered sugar, rather than Crisco (which is not real food). Anyway, back to our ice cream. ALL my kids love this ice cream, as do Scott and I, and it’s made from all whole food ingredients so I am happy to have them enjoy this treat on weekends or birthdays etc.

If don’t have an ice cream maker, try blending up all your ingredients and freezing them in a couple of tupperware containers over night and that should work well too(I say ‘should’ because I’ve only frozen leftovers, but not an entire batch). When you take it out of the freezer, just be sure to allow it to sit out on your counter at least 10 minutes before scooping  because it gets pretty solid.
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This is a young Thai coconut. They sell them at a lot of grocery stores, in the produce area, usually near the lettuce etc, but I find them cheapest at Sprouts or Asian food markets. I bought this one for $1.50 on sale at Sprouts; at Whole Foods they were like $4 for one! I usually need the meat from 1-2 coconuts for this ice cream recipe. Oftentimes, I’ll buy the coconuts, use the water and freeze the meat for later use and so if I have a lot, I’ll use 2 cups of meat in the recipe, but if I don’t have any saved in the freezer, I’ll usually just use one cup in the recipe; both taste great!

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I use a sharp cleaver knife and, with one hand behind my back so I don’t hack my other hand, I smack the top of that coconut (near the end with the point), then I’ll turn it, and smack it again, and I repeat this until I’ve gone around the coconut and can stick my cleaver part way inside where I’ve made cuts, and pry it open. This takes some practice, and some coconuts are easier to open than others. That is the hardest part of this recipe. Once the coconut is open, pour the coconut water into a jar to save for a smoothie (or drink it) and then with a spoon, scoop out all the amazing coconut meat and set it aside.

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Here’s a short video I found on how to cut open a coconut:

Place your coconut meat, almond milk, peanut butter, pitted dates(you can cut a slit with a knife and pull out pit, or I usually just pull the pit apart with my thumbs and grab pit), vanilla, salt and pure maple syrup  into your blender and blend until smooth.

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Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and process according to package directions (mine goes for about 20 minutes). It’s more like a soft serve when you eat it straight from the ice cream maker which we love, and then when we freeze leftovers (if there are any) and eat it another day, it’s harder like ice cream.

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Serve into individual bowls and sprinkle with chopped pecans, if you like, just before serving. Like I mentioned, you can freeze leftovers in a Tupperware container; when you’re ready to thaw and eat, pull it out and let it sit on your counter about 10 minutes before trying to scoop and serve.

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Peanut Butter Ice Cream
*serves 8 (2 scoops each)

2 c cold, unsweetened almond milk
1-2 c thai coconut meat (I use 2 c if I have lots of meat that needs to be used. Otherwise one works great)
2/3 c (~8) dates, pitted
1/2 Tbsp vanilla
2/3 c cold, natural peanut butter (crunch or creamy)
1/2 c pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp sea salt
optional: 1/2 c chopped pecans (to garnish on top)

Combine all ingredients, except the pecans, into high power blender and blend until smooth. Pour into your ice cream maker and process according to manual instructions (my ice cream maker churns for 20 minutes and then it’s done!). Serve into individual bowls and sprinkle with chopped pecans just before serving. Can freeze leftovers in a Tupperware container.



Filed under Desserts, vegan

Garlic Roasted Green Beans with Almonds

During the cold winter months, I find myself wanting more warm, roasted veggies with dinner. These roasted green beans are fantastic and we unfortunately, never have leftovers because once everyone has been served, if there are any remaining on the plate, people continue to grab and snack until they’re gone :), which I guess is a good thing.

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Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. While it’s warming up, rinse your green beans in a strainer and cut off the ends.

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Place them in a single layer on a foil-lined cookie sheet (for easy cleanup), drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and toss together with spoons or with your hands. Bake for about 15 minutes then pull it out,  sprinkle with minced garlic and sliced almonds, toss together with a spatula, spread beans out in a single layer and roast another 3-5 minutes until almonds are lightly toasted and golden.

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Place on a serving platter and eat immediately.

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You can eat this as a side to all sorts of dishes: Pizza and other Italian foods, with rice or potatoes etc.

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 Garlic Roasted Green Beans and  Almonds
*serves about 4

12 oz raw green beans, ends trimmed
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
black pepper to taste
1 tsp minced garlic (2 cloves)
2 Tbsp sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cover a large rimmed cookie sheet with tin foil and place trimmed green beans on foil. Drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and black pepper. Mix together with hands and spread out green beans in a single layer. Cook in preheated over about 10-15 minutes(you don’t want them to burn). Remove beans  from oven  and sprinkle with minced garlic and sliced almonds. Gently toss together with a spatula, spread beans out in a single layer and roast another 3-5 minutes until almonds are lightly toasted and golden.

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Filed under sides, Snacks/Sides/Appetizers, vegan, vegetarian

Blonde Truffles

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Make these to share with friends, or eat one or two and freeze the rest so you can pop one out and eat it when you need a sweet indulgence. These would be a nice treat to have out on Valentine’s Day, or you could even put a half dozen in a pretty clear plastic bag with a ribbon to close it off and give it to your sweetheart or a friend.

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If you have a high power blender, you’ll grind your shredded coconut and almonds to a flour, right from your kitchen. You can also use your food processor to grind up your coconut.  If you don’t have a high power blender, you can find these flours at most grocery stores on the baking aisle near the health food and gluten free items.

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Put all the ingredients in your food processor and blend well. Then I like to take my cookie dough scoop, or you can use a tablespoon, scoop out dough, gently pat it into a ball shape, and place it on a plate. Repeat until you’ve used all the dough. Cover with plastic and refrigerate at least 10 minutes before serving (so the coconut oil has time to harden and they set up).



Blonde Truffles  (lightly adapted recipe from Kimberly Snyder)
*makes about 16 truffles

1 1/2 c ground unsweetened coconut flakes (I grind 2 c unsweetened coconut flakes in my Blendtec which makes 1 1/2 c)
2/3 c ground raw almonds (I grind 1/2 c in blendtec and it makes about 2/3c)
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp coconut oil, softened (melted okay too)
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend well. Scoop out about a tablespoon of the mixture using a cookie dough scoop or a tablespoon, and pat with fingers into a ball. Arrange on a plate, cover and refrigerate at least 10 minutes before serving so they harden and chill.

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Filed under Desserts, vegan

Roasted Sweet Potato Mexican Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

I love salads and eat them year round, but in the winter, I like to add some warmer, more filling foods like black beans, quinoa, sweet potatoes etc. This salad recipe has them all (you can use brown rice or quinoa; I use whatever I have on hand in the fridge). The amounts in this salad depend on how many people you are serving. It’s usually just me eating a salad at lunch, so I just pull out all the ingredients from the fridge and throw whatever I feel like on top of my bed of lettuce. I’ve included a couple of recipes below 1) roasted sweet potato cubes and 2)creamy avocado dressing, both of which I love to have on my salad, but feel free to use another dressing you have on hand and leave out anything you don’t like.

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Creamy Avocado Dressing

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This salad is so filling and satisfying and packed full of amazing nutrients from all the various plant foods and grains.

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Roasted Sweet Potato Mexican Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

Fresh lettuce, spinach or kale (or a combination)
cooked and cooled brown rice or quinoa
thinly sliced red onion
roasted sweet potato cubes (recipe below)
chopped cilantro
black beans
avocado cubes
creamy avocado dressing (recipe below)

If you are having this for dinner with family or friends, serve it like you would Hawaiin Haystacks with all the ingredients, in individual bowls, out in the center of the table. I would use larger bowls for serving the lettuce, rice and beans and the other ingredients are in smaller dishes. I usually serve this by starting with salad and then adding as much as I want of all ingredients listed (feel free to add some of your own that might go with this Mexican-styled theme).

Roasted Sweet Potato Cubes: (from Our Best Bites)

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground paprika
1/4 tsp cumin

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 9×13 baking dish with tin foil. Place sweet potato chunks on foil, drizzle with oil and spices and then toss together with a large spoon. Spread out over the foil and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until edges begin to brown.

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Creamy Avocado Dressing: (adapted from The Beauty Detox Solution)
*makes about 1 cup

1 avocado, pitted
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c water
1/4 tsp dried dill
3 drops liquid stevia (or 1 Tbsp honey)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Cut the avocado in half and scoop out the flesh and put in a blender or food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until creamy and smooth (may have to scrape down sides with a rubber spatula and go again). This dressing can be used as a dip for vegetable sticks or tossed with greens for a salad.

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Filed under Dinner, Salads