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ice cream

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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Roasted Strawberry and Fennel Coconut Ice Cream

Roasted Strawberry and Fennel Coconut Ice Cream

Is there anything better in the summer than homemade ice cream? When it’s topped with seasonal berries, I think not.

Heaven in a bowl. Spoon, please.

Summer Berries

This past weekend, my roommate and I got the ice cream machine churning with not just one, but TWO coconut ice cream creations. (You can find the other recipe here: Vegan Cardamom Coconut Ice Cream with Blueberries.)

Afterward, my roommate declared, “I think I actually like coconut ice cream better than the regular kind.”

I may have to agree. Although, this roasted strawberry-fennel combination could be skewing my opinion. These two vibrant ingredients are a match made to be. Yum.

Roasted Strawberry and Fennel Coconut Ice Cream

Fennel has a mild licorice-like flavor that adds that refreshing punch of flavor you get from an herb, yet without becoming overpowering like often happens with herbs. This is good news, since the real star in this ice cream should be the strawberries.

Caramelized in the oven so that their flavors condense, strawberries take on a new and appreciated meaning once roasted. The fennel allows for this sweet flavor to shine, while acting as the perfect, complimenting partner in crime. Teamwork.

Roasted Strawberry and Fennel

This recipe’s not vegan like the other one, but you could certainly omit the eggs if you wish. They are there to amp up the creaminess that’s already inherent in the coconut milk. Without the eggs, you’ll achieve an ice cream that’s still creamy on its own, but will be slightly more condensed upon removing from the freezer. The solution? Simply let it sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. That little bit of melt will revive the cream of the coconut.

Roasted Strawberry and Fennel Coconut Ice Cream

Do you have a favorite ice cream recipe? I’m in the market for something chocolaty and/or peanut buttery, but am also loving the uniqueness of various herbs/spices. Would love to hear what you’re coming up with!
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Cardamom Coconut Ice Cream with Blueberries

Cardamom Coconut Ice Cream with Blueberries

Ice cream – it’s a universal pleaser. This recipe especially because it’s dairy-free and tastes so ridiculously delicious you’ll want to celebrate with seconds. And your body won’t totally yell at you for doing so.

Cardamom Coconut Ice Cream with Blueberries

My roommate and I spent a good 30-minutes on the couch over the weekend brainstorming on what to make for the 4th of July. We wanted to celebrate, and I wanted to blog about. Another typical Saturday.

Her: “Cheesecake?” Me: “Because that’s totally fitting for my blog…”

Her: “Champagne and pie for later on the roof.” Me: “Perfect, obviously.” Both of us: “Too much work.”

Me: “Ice cream?” Her: “Roasted Strawberry?” Me: “Can we make it vegan.” Both of us: “FIREWORKS!”

As I said, ice cream – the perfect pleaser – especially when it’s coconut and able to be shared with all. Boom.

Summer Berries

This vegan version of ice cream gets its creaminess from coconut milk with an extra boost of flavor from cardamom. Together, it has an Indian-kind of vibe going on, which pairs phenomenally well with blueberries. Don’t skip them from this equation, as they’ll really complete your bowl.

Plus, I don’t know where you live, but where I am, it’s full-fledged blueberry season. Again, cue those fireworks in the air.

Cardamom Coconut Ice Cream with Blueberries

For best flavor and creaminess, allow your ice cream to sit for at least 5 minutes at room temperature prior to eating once you remove it from the freezer.

P.S. My roommate and I got a little carried away and made not just one, but TWO coconut ice creams. Check out the 2nd recipe here: Roasted Strawberry & Fennel Coconut Ice Cream.

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Peach Sauce

The cool breeze pulls my eyes open a little wider with each step through the long rows of heavy-loaded peach trees. My shoes dampen with the dew and the overgrown grass tickles my ankles.

As I walk, I hear little else but the songs of the morning sparrows, putting me at ease and drawing my attention to my beautiful surroundings. In the distance, faint giggles of a boy and a girl can be heard as they chase each other through the orchard. I look up and catch a quick glance at their faces. They are shimmering from laughter and the sweet, sticky juice that reveals the secret to their energy. These kids make me smile.

As I pluck my first peach from its resting place, I too feel like a giddy kid again. I jump as a beetle emerges from a nearby spot on the tree, but my mind is quickly onto the next thing with an immediate dive into my first bite. The juice explodes in my mouth, and on this Saturday morning, I feel content.

There’s something special about fruit straight from the tree. The longer I live in the city, the more I come to realize this. A supermarket peach, a Whole Foods peach, even a farmer’s market peach, will never be as sweet as the crimson-colored one you pick yourself from the tree. If you’ve never made this experience, I highly recommend you do so at some point in your life.

On this particular outing, I left with two wooden baskets full of peaches, ripening further by the minute. About 25 of them went into a pot, spiced with cinnamon, vanilla, brown sugar and a pinch of salt. Once simmered down, this warm sauce spooned over ice cream serves as a flawless explanation of why I am so in love with summer. Simple perfection.

This recipe is loose, so adjust the cinnamon and sugar to your liking. The opportunities to use this sauce are endless. Ice cream, yogurt, pancakes, oatmeal, fruit salad & granola, or even lightly spooned over fish tacos are just a few ideas to get you started. I’d love to hear what you do with this summer special. Also, this makes a decent sized batch, with the intention of freezing or canning a portion. Feel free to cut the recipe in half, share with others, or freeze some, too.

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Coconut Chocolate Ice Cream Shell

So I jumped on the coconut oil bandwagon a couple months ago and have been testing it out on various ingredients ever since.  It may seem odd that coconut oil has become a craze, given its particularly high saturated fat content.  That’s the artery-clogging fat they’ve been making us fear for years.  But as Errol Schweizer, Whole Food’s global senior grocery coordinator, told the NY Times, annual sales growth of the product is definitely on the rise, seeing stats well into the double digits at Whole Foods.  So why is this 90% saturated fat-filled item being let off the hook among foodies, and that goes for healthy foodies too?

Well, some recent studies have shown that not all saturated fat is the same.  That which fills coconut oil may not be the deviled fat that fills bacon.  Instead, coconut oil consists primarily of medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs), known as lauric acid.  This kind of saturated fat has actually been shown to increase the levels of good HDL.  Like other forms of saturated fat, it also increased the bad LDL levels, but it doesn’t create a negative imbalance between the two levels.  Recent research has shown that this might be the most important factor in maintaining a heart-healthy diet.  One’s diet shouldn’t necessarily exclude saturated fat but rather maintain a healthy ratio between the various dietary fats. Click here to continue reading…