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dairy free

Vegan No-Churn Chocolate Coconut Banana Ice Cream

Vegan No-Churn Chocolate Coconut Banana Ice Cream

We’ve been sweating through a major heat wave here in Philadelphia, and with 97-degree temps set for well into next week, it doesn’t look like the ice cream weather is stopping anytime soon.

That’s alright with me. As just mentioned, it’s perfect ice cream weather. Or should I say, Nice Cream weather.

Vegan No-Churn Chocolate Coconut Banana Ice Cream

I’ve been watching the “Nice Cream” trend spread over the past few weeks, keeping it on my to-make list for some time now. I love ice cream. I love niceness. I knew I’d probably love nice cream, too.

A no-added-sugar, vegan, cool summer treat? Count me in.

And so, on a temps-nearing-90-before-8AM morning, I set off in the kitchen to make my own version.

Vegan No-Churn Chocolate Coconut Banana Ice Cream

 

What was awesome about this ice cream is that it came together with a quick 2-minute assembly and a spin in the blender. From there, all the work was left up to the freezer. No ice cream machine needed, no fancy ingredients. Nor too many ingredients that’ll weigh you down on a hot day.

Dates and bananas add the sweetness. This did provide a noticeable, but not overbearing banana taste. If you’re opposed to that, you can play around with cutting down on the banana and maybe even adding additional dates.

It gets its creaminess from coconut milk, also lending an element of richness you want in an ice cream, dairy-free or not.

Enjoy after three hours in the freezer for a soft-serve-like consistency. If you leave it in there much longer, then you’ll want to sit it out for a few minutes before serving and dip your ice cream scooper in hot water. And be sure to finish it with whatever crunchy, salty and fresh toppings your heart desires!

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Vegan Eggplant Rollatini

Vegan Eggplant Rollatini

I’ve happily walked into the life of someone who owns a grill. And a pool. Seeing as though I live in a small, city apartment with not even an inch of backyard space, this new addition to my life overcomes me with joy. I’m not talking about the new friend. Just the swimming and the grilling. (Kidding, of course).

While as a kid I had more than enough yard for forts and capture the flag, I didn’t grow up with a grill. Or a pool. But I begged my parents for both. I can see why they didn’t want to take on the latter, but the absence of a grill is still something I’ve never quite figured out. When veggies are in season, I find it to be one of the easiest ways to create a healthy plate full of flavor.

As of lately, I’ve been using my friend’s grill to feast on a ton of portobello mushrooms. It’s as simple as whisking up a 3-ingredient marinade of garlic, olive oil and splash of balsamic. From there, just throw those saucy rounds to the flame. Easy. Add some melted cheese, toast up a bun, and you’ve got summer’s easiest vegetarian burger.

Eggplant

Before I discovered my new friend had grill access, I invited him over for post-yoga dinner of Eggplant Rollatini. If I would’ve known about his backyard status, I would’ve saved this one for a later date. There are only so many eggplant slices you can fit on a countertop George Foreman. Chilling outside while waiting for food to char is one thing. Chilling inside, impatiently counting the minutes till the next batch, is another. Times that by four batches, and you get the true 2-br Philly apartment grilling experience.

Vegan Eggplant Rollatini

If you have a backyard grill, by all means, use it for this recipe. If you don’t, but have a grill pan or other smaller device, I assure you, the slight impatience you may suffer through will be worth the results. Take the time to slice and cook through several batches. Grilling the eggplant first ensures you won’t end up with a chewy, undercooked rollatini. If there’s anything that can easily ruin an eggplant parm or rollatini, it’s an undercooked base. Don’t let that happen.

Here, I’ve created a vegan version of the Italian classic by using a ricotta-like crumbled tofu and then adding bulgur wheat for a little extra texture. Herbs and nutritional yeast make sure this is by no means a flavorless vegan dish, and marinara seals the deal to compliment all the flavors. If you’re lucky, eat this pool-side or deck-side. If you’re not, don’t sweat it. Literally. Grab a beer, open the window and enjoy.

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Tuna Casserole

The words leading up to the recipes in a majority of my blog posts center around what inspired the meal.  Whether it’s a special ingredient, flavor, person, or memory, I’m frequently inspired to write about what inspires me.

One of my greatest and perpetual inspirations in life is my mom.  She’s always been my biggest fan and wholeheartedly supportive of everything I’ve ever wanted to do in life.  From wanting to be an artist to a chef to a journalist, my mom’s always pushed me to pursue my dreams—even if none of them have ever involved making any considerable amount of money. She encourages me to work hard, never close my mind to opportunities, and always keep an optimistic attitude—all very essential characteristics for which I’m grateful she continues to teach me.

In terms of driving my culinary pursuits, my mom was the first person to introduce me to the kitchen.  Growing up, she’d always have dinner on the table. Day in and day out, despite all the childhood pickiness, complaining, and never-ending varying schedules, she was always there to fuel my growing body and to emphasize the importance of a family meal.  She has taught me that while you can make cooking a chore, all you have to do is flip your attitude to turn it into an enjoyable hobby. Which is what it has become for me today.  Who knew I’d turn out to be another foodie in the family?

So today I dedicate this post to my mom. (…Who probably won’t read this until a week from now, considering she has yet to get addicted to the Internet…something I can certainly appreciate as well).  She is both the inspiration for this recipe and the one who taught me how to make it. And she is the one who inspires me every single day.

Growing up, tuna noodle casserole was always a favorite of my brother and I.  It’s a cheap meal too, so I’ve carried it with me to college.  There’s just something about its simplicity that makes it good.  The sweet creaminess of the milk paired with the natural saltiness of the tuna mixed with the staple ingredient practically everyone has in their cupboard, pasta, creates a meal that’s incredibly effortless.  We’ve always used whole wheat pasta and soy milk in my household, naturally creating a healthier version of standard tuna casserole that tastes just as good.

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