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dates

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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Mostly Raw Curry Sunflower Oat Energy Bars

Most Raw Curry Sunflower Oat Energy Bars

Snow in the city is dirty. It will soil your shoes, your gloves, your stoop, your snowballs.

Suit up and put your game face on, or that black — and sometimes salty blue — stuff they call snow might stain a piece of your soul, too. It feels little like the soft, white flakes that flow quietly to country lands. Lands where cars stay stationary, kids go sledding and firesides roar.

Most Raw Curry Sunflower Oat Energy Bars

Yet snowfall in the city can also be a magical experience. I see this in ways far different than where I grew up. It comes in ways that remind me why I’m carrying out my youthful years in an urban setting.

Most Raw Curry Sunflower Oat Energy Bars

For one, while schools might shut down, often the community does not. Where I currently live, on snow days restaurants often remain open. They fill up with afternoon conversation. At the corner of my block, a place lights its fireplace and spreads out its board games. Beer is poured. Coffee is served. Warmth, both literally and socially, can be found in abundance.

My neighborhood’s yoga studio powers through with an evening session taught by a local teacher. I go, as do others, to fill the class, and practice while gazing out the window at the falling white flakes. They remain clean as they hang in the air, and it’s in this moment that I feel like I am “home” again. Back in the country enjoying a piece of serenity.

Following class, I rejoin the bustle. I meet a friend up the street at the fireplace for a beer and a game and good company. And again I remember, this is why I love the city.

Most Raw Curry Sunflower Oat Energy Bars

The start of this year has been a rough one in terms of the weather. I loathe winter. I could do without snow, and even seasons too if I really had to.

Yet, I am constantly reminded of why I still remain on the East Coast, in a state that won’t let me scoot by without being cold, in a city that I’ve grown to love. Surrounded by friends, and not far from family, I’ve learned to survive the cold seasons and even admire some of its parts I hate the most. Snow too has its place, and for now, it seems to be a significant part of my life…like it or not.

So until I get the guts to move far, far away to a new city in warmer lands, you can find me coping in my current city with my baking gear and measuring cups. When snow falls, cooking and tea and adventuring all call — usually in that order, too.

These were whipped up during our last winter storm here in Philly. They make for a healthy snack or breakfast, and are definitely going on my repeat recipe list. Made with antioxidant-rich curry powder and mostly raw ingredients (excluding the peanut butter), their packed with energy. The good kind. The kind you might need to get you through a long winter. Only 31 official days left. Not that I’m counting down or anything.

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Chocolate Chip Date Banana Bread Muffin Tops

Chocolate Chip Date Banana Bread Muffin Tops

I’m generally not much a fan of muffins. In fact, one of the spots I work has free muffins of all different varieties. And they sit, and they sparkle, amidst open-air with glistening tops that scream, “Choose me, choose me!”

I have to admit, I’m often tempted.

Chocolate Chip Date Banana Bread Muffin Tops

Occasionally, as the workday nears its end, and I still see a plethora left, I’ll grab one. My impulse always ends after one bite. The muffin gets tossed, free throw style, into the trashcan without looking back. (That is, unless I miss the can.)

Wasteful, I know. But those muffins are just too friggin’ sweet. They look so good but feel so…eek.

I like dessert, I do, I do. But not pasty pastries that taste of straight-up sugar. And to me, that encompasses the majority of most store-bought/store-sold muffins.

Chocolate Chip Date Banana Bread Muffin Tops

So I was thrilled when I came across this recipe from Oh She Glows. There’s not one ounce of extra sugar in here that doesn’t come from the natural fruit that builds these tops. No honey. No maple. No brown suga’ suga’.

After tasting a small spoonful of batter, and then going in for a second, I knew there needn’t be, either.

I guess you could (and probably should) exclude the chocolate chips when you say no added sugar. But in my book, there’s generally always room to break the rules in the name of dark chocolate.

Chocolate Chip Date Banana Bread Muffin Tops

Aside from that, these are an excellent choice when craving something sweet. And  by far beat the poor, sorry sights of most of the muffin/muffin tops on the market these days.

Although, forgive me as I talk these babies up as muffins. Likely, you could swap that muffin top label out for “cake-like cookie”, but there’s always room for less sugary versions of those too, right? Plus, when I can have a “cookie” for breakfast, and feel alright about it too, that recipe’s certainly going to make the repeat list.

Chewy, perfectly sweetened and filled with heart healthy oats, this my friends, is a muffin/cookie/whatever-you-want-to-call-it recipe I stand behind. Throw in a few walnuts and some extra chocolate chips, and it’s golden.

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Mascarpone Stuffed Dates

Dates are one of my favorites, especially when they’re extra fresh and soft. The maroonish ovals are one of those prime examples of nature’s candies, with an extra sweet, almost molassesy richness to them. Stuff them with a little mascarpone, and the fiber-filled fruit becomes even more decadent. The toasted pecans in this recipe add in a flavorful crunch, pairing perfectly with the creamy, lemony filling. Another great party hors d’oeuvre, packing in a lot of taste in just one portable bite.

Lemon-Pecan-Mascarpone Stuffed Dates

-25 dates (about 1 lb.)
-3/4 cup mascarpone cheese
-Zest of one lemon (plus more for garnish, if desired)
-2 tsp. lemon juice
-2 tsp. honey
-25 pecans (about 1/2 cup)

Make a lengthwise split in each date and remove pits.

Over medium-high heat, toast pecans in a skillet until browned. Remove from heat. Cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together mascarpone, lemon zest, lemon juice, and honey, until throughly combined.

Place one toasted pecan at the bottom of each open date. Add 1-2 tsp. of mascarpone mixture on top. Garnish with extra zest, if desired.