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Tag Archive: spring

Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream (vegan)

June 26, 2014 Print this page

People, it’s summer! Rejoice! And what says “summer” more than fruit-infused ice cream?! I got my strawberries from the local farmers’ market and rhubarb from a farm stand up the road from my house. You can’t get better than that.

Ingredients

Prep Time 4 hr
Cooking Time
Total Time 4 hr
Yield 6-8 servings

FOR THE STRAWBERRY RHUBARB SAUCE:

1 lb of rhubarb, chopped into 1/2-inch cubes

1/3 cup of water

1/3 cup of organic cane sugar or coconut sugar

1 pint of fresh (or frozen + thawed) strawberries, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder

FOR THE ICE CREAM BASE:

1 1/2 cups of raw cashews, soaked overnight

1 14-ounce can of full-fat coconut milk (about 1 1/2 cups)

1/3 cup of coconut oil, melted

1/3 cup of honey or coconut nectar

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/4 cup of rosé

1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips or nuts (optional)

Directions

FOR THE STRAWBERRY RHUBARB SAUCE:

In a small saucepan, combine the water with the sugar and stir over medium heat until dissolved. Add the rhubarb, then bring the mixture to a boil. As soon as it bubbles vigorously, turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Watch as the rhubarb magically disintegrates!

To the rhubarb, add in the strawberries. Cook for another 10 minutes, then take a little sauce out and stir in the arrowroot powder. Add it back to the sauce, whisk to combine, then taste and adjust for sweetness and thickness. It should hold together pretty well on its own but not be a goopy paste.

Pour the sauce into an airtight container and put in the fridge for at least four hours or until cool to the touch. That’s one trick about ice cream: you DO NOT want any of the ingredients to be warm!

FOR THE ICE CREAM BASE:

Meanwhile, make the ice cream base: combine the soaked cashews with the coconut milk, coconut oil, honey, salt, and rosé in the bowl of a blender. That’s right, rosé.

Blend everything on high until smooth and creamy, then press the ice cream base through a sieve into an airtight container. Let cool in the fridge for at least four hours or until cool to the touch.

Once both the ice cream base and the sauce are cool to the touch, put the sauce in the bowl of the ice cream machine and churn according to your manufacturer’s instructions–THE LONGER THE BETTER. When you think you have about five minutes remaining, add 1/2 of the strawberry rhubarb sauce and the chocolate chips or nuts, if you’re using them.

Scoop the ice cream into a loaf pan or airtight container and smooth the top with a spatula. Pour the remaining sauce on top of the ice cream and use a fork or wooden skewer to swirl it around a bit to make a pretty pattern.

Freeze until solid–I find it’s best after 4-6 hours–and let sit out for five to ten minutes before scooping.


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Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream (vegan, paleo)

June 24, 2014 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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People, it’s summer! Rejoice!

And what says “summer” more than fruit-infused ice cream?!

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In the late days of spring and early days of summer, strawberries and rhubarb make their first appearances in Connecticut. I’ve been waiting all year for fresh, local fruit (even though rhubarb is technically a vegetable, I think…), and here we are! I got my strawberries from the local farmers’ market and rhubarb from a farm stand up the road from my house. You can’t get better than that.

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My favorite part about this ice cream is the wonderful combination of sweet and tart. On its own, rhubarb is EXTREMELY bitter, but with a little help from some sugar and strawberries, it tuns into a much mellower, tastier sidekick to the creamy vegan ice cream base.

At my house, we love having a little crunch in our ice cream, so I added some chocolate chips for flavor, color, and texture. You can leave them out if you like, or replace them with your favorite kind of nut (I’d recommend almonds or hazelnuts here). But really, who leaves out the chocolate?!

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Let’s taste how fruity this summer can be. Yum.

First, soak 1 1/2 cups of raw cashews in a water bath overnight. You can also do this a few days in advance and keep the cashews in a glass jar in the fridge. Make sure you freeze the bowl of your ice cream maker, too!

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Before you get started on making your ice cream base, you’ll need to make the strawberry rhubarb sauce. It’s super simple and tastes amazing–I dare you not to keep dipping a spoon back in for more.

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To begin, chop up a pound of rhubarb–for me, that was about 6 big stalks. I recommend trimming off the bottoms, slicing the stalks in half lengthwise, then cutting into 1/2-inch cubes in the other direction.

In a small saucepan, combine 1/3 cup of water with 1/3 cup of organic cane sugar or coconut sugar and stir over medium heat until dissolved. Add the rhubarb, then bring the mixture to a boil. As soon as it bubbles vigorously, turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Watch as the rhubarb magically disintegrates!

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To the rhubarb, add in 1 pint of fresh (or frozen + thawed), roughly chopped strawberries. Cook for another 10 minutes, then take a little sauce out and stir in 1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder into it. Add it back to the sauce, whisk to combine, then taste and adjust for sweetness and thickness. It should hold together pretty well on its own but not be a goopy paste.

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Pour the sauce into an airtight container and put in the fridge for at least four hours or until cool to the touch. That’s one trick about ice cream: you DO NOT want any of the ingredients to be warm!

Meanwhile, make the ice cream base: combine the soaked cashews with 1 14 ounce can of full-fat coconut milk (about 1 1/2 cups), 1/3 cup of melted coconut oil, 1/3 cup of honey (or coconut nectar to make it vegan), 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 cup of rosé in the bowl of a blender. That’s right, rosé.

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When it comes to homemade ice cream, another trick I’ve found to make a rich, creamy base that doesn’t get icy is to add some alcohol. Yes, I am sixteen, and yes, I know that I am below the legal drinking age. No, I don’t care. It’s not like I’m chugging the stuff at a bawdy party. I’m using it to lower the ice cream’s freezing point and make it easier to scoop here!

Anyway, blend everything on high until smooth and creamy, then press the ice cream base through a sieve into an airtight container. Let cool in the fridge for at least four hours or until cool to the touch.

Once both the ice cream base and the sauce are cool to the touch, put the sauce in the bowl of the ice cream machine and churn according to your manufacturer’s instructions–THE LONGER THE BETTER. When you think you have about five minutes remaining, add 1/2 of the strawberry rhubarb sauce and 1/2 cup of chocolate chips or nuts, if you’re using them.

Scoop the ice cream into a loaf pan or airtight container and smooth the top with a spatula. Pour the remaining sauce on top of the ice cream and use a fork or wooden skewer to swirl it around a bit to make a pretty pattern.

Freeze until solid–I find it’s best after 4-6 hours–and let sit out for five to ten minutes before scooping.

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Aestival win! (Aestival means of or occurring in summer–can you tell I’m studying SAT vocab?)

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What is your favorite early-summer fruit (or vegetable)? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!


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Healthier Homemade Peeps

April 6, 2014 Print this page

Oh my goodness. It’s a marshmallow Peep, and one that won’t make you glow in the dark from the amount of chemicals beneath its friendly, squishy exterior!

Ingredients

Prep Time 4 hr
Cooking Time
Total Time 4 hr
Yield 24 adorable bunny rabbits

2 1/2 teaspoons of gelatin

1/4 cup of cold water

1 cup of organic sugar, plus more for the coloring (or coconut sugar or maple crystals, if you prefer)

1/3 cup of water

Freeze-dried fruit (strawberries, blueberries, apples with parsley, and mango are my favorites)

Arrowroot powder (1 tablespoon per color)

1 tablespoon of cocoa powder

1 tablespoon of water

Directions

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the gelatin with 1/4 cup of cold water until the gelatin dissolves and the mixture becomes pasty. Set aside while you make the simple syrup.

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar with 1/3 cup of water. Whisk often to help dissolve the sugar, bring to a boil over medium-low heat, and heat to 238 degrees Fahrenheit.

Watch that sugar like a hawk! You don’t want it to burn: that would be AWFUL. (Trust me: I’ve burned a lot of sugar in my day.)

Once the sugar reaches the desired temperature, pour it immediately into the prepared gelatin. Using the whisk attachment on the stand mixer, beat on medium-high until light, fluffy, and almost stiff, about 8 to 10 minutes.

If you find that the mixture gets too stiff, don’t worry! Just add a little more water to compensate: only a teaspoon or so, though, because you don’t want the marshmallows to be super loose.

Using a small ice cream scoop or two small spoons, divide the marshmallow mixture between the 24 spaces in THIS silicone mold, which you can purchase at a Michael’s craft store or on Amazon. I’m sure you can also make these marshmallows in a large glass dish, but they won’t be, you know, bunny-shaped.

If you’re worried about the marshmallows sticking, grease each cavity with a little coconut oil.

Transfer the mold to the fridge and let set for at least 4 hours, preferably closer to 7 or 8. I would’ve liked to have waited longer to pop these out, but as we all know, I’m not the most patient person on earth.

So whenever you’re ready, pop the marshmallows out of the pan and set aside on a plate while you prepare your fruit-flavored coloring.

Using a coffee grinder or a mortar and pestle, grind a handful of freeze-dried fruit with 1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder and 1 tablespoon of organic sugar (or coconut sugar or maple crystals, if you prefer). No clumps of fruit should remain and the colors should be very potent.

Once you have selected your color (or colors), place each marshmallow in the powder and use a fork to spread it all over the outer layer. Pick up the Peep with your hands to shake off the excess and place on a plate.

To make eyes for your Peeps, combine the cocoa powder with 1 tablespoon of water. Using a toothpick, dot the chocolate mixture in a triangle to make two eyes and a nose for your critter.

Eat immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to 2 days. These are best consumed sooner rather than later, but I don’t think they’ll last too long, anyway.


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Healthier Homemade Peeps (gluten-free and naturally-sweetened)

April 6, 2014 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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Oh my goodness. It’s a marshmallow Peep, and one that won’t make you glow in the dark from the amount of chemicals beneath its friendly, squishy exterior!

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Keep paddling, peeps! You shall soon arrive in my mouth!

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…or perhaps driving there would be easier? Up to you, bunny. As long as you’re still delicious when I eat you.

Every year, those colorful, sugary critters on the corner of EVERY drugstore aisle taunt you with their supposed tastiness. While Peeps aren’t absolute calorie-bombs (each at 28 a pop), I’m more concerned with the quality of those ingredients, namely the presence of corn syrup, food coloring, and carnauba wax, which is also used in making car tires. Sounds scrumptious, right?

Oh, and a word about food coloring: I shall never, ever use it AGAIN. A few weeks ago, I was helping out in my high school’s preschool, making oobleck (that not-quite-a-solid-nor-a-liquid stuff from Dr. Seuss) with the kids, and I thought it would be cool to make the goop a color, so I let them pick out some food coloring to use.

Well, one of the little boys didn’t listen to my instructions and opened the bottles of purple and blue food coloring without permission. When I reached over to stop him and close the little plastic tubes, I got the stuff all over my hands. Naturally, I went to the bathroom to go wash it off. And guess what?

It stayed, almost in its entirety, even with hot water and soap.

After five more washes, it still hadn’t started to fade.

Needless to say, I had purple and blue fingers for the rest of the day, and the blue on my thumb didn’t completely come out until the following Saturday. I don’t know what was in that food coloring that made it so potent, but I know that I certainly wouldn’t want to eat it.

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Luckily, these peeps are colored with only natural pigments: I used freeze-dried apples and parsley for the green, mangoes for the yellow, strawberries for the pink, and blueberries for the purple. The freeze-dried fruit provides not only great color, but also a little burst of flavor when they melt on your tongue.

In the words of a taste-tester, these homemade Peeps are, “Magical.” They are incredibly delicate, melting away after only a single chew of their marshmallow-y goodness. While they may look difficult, these little guys are incredibly easy to make, provided you follow through with the instructions and keep a watchful eye on all of your ingredients.

Best of all, homemade marshmallows are revelations: they taste nothing like their store-bought counterparts. Even if you hate marshmallows, you’ll love these baby bunnies. They’re just too cute not to adore, don’t you think?

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Ready to make a healthier, naturally-sweetened treat for the spring season that EVERYONE will love? I sure am! Let’s get started.

Adapted from THIS RECIPE.

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In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together 2 1/2 teaspoons of gelatin (I recommend getting a good-quality brand online) with 1/4 cup of cold water until the gelatin dissolves and the mixture becomes pasty. Set aside while you make the simple syrup.

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In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup of organic sugar (or coconut sugar or maple crystals, if you prefer) with 1/3 cup of water. Whisk often to help dissolve the sugar, bring to a boil over medium-low heat, and heat to 238 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Watch that sugar like a hawk! You don’t want it to burn: that would be AWFUL. (Trust me: I’ve burned a lot of sugar in my day.)

Once the sugar reaches the desired temperature, pour it immediately into the prepared gelatin. Using the whisk attachment on the stand mixer, beat on medium-high until light, fluffy, and almost stiff, about 8 to 10 minutes.

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If you find that the mixture gets too stiff, don’t worry! Just add a little more water to compensate: only a teaspoon or so, though, because you don’t want the marshmallows to be super loose.

Using a small ice cream scoop or two small spoons, divide the marshmallow mixture between the 24 spaces in THIS silicone mold, which you can purchase at a Michael’s craft store or on Amazon. I’m sure you can also make these marshmallows in a large glass dish, but they won’t be, you know, bunny-shaped.

If you’re worried about the marshmallows sticking, grease each cavity with a little coconut oil.

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Transfer the mold to the fridge and let set for at least 4 hours, preferably closer to 7 or 8. I would’ve liked to have waited longer to pop these out, but as we all know, I’m not the most patient person on earth.

So whenever you’re ready, pop the marshmallows out of the pan and set aside on a plate while you prepare your fruit-flavored coloring.

Using a coffee grinder or a mortar and pestle, grind a handful of freeze-dried fruit with 1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder and 1 tablespoon of organic sugar (or coconut sugar or maple crystals, if you prefer). No clumps of fruit should remain and the colors should be very potent. You can make…

  • GREEN: freeze-dried Granny Smith apples with a little dried parsley or mint (don’t go overboard)
  • PINK: freeze-dried strawberries or raspberries (I prefer strawberries because they are sweeter and have fewer seeds)
  • YELLOW: freeze-dried mangoes or bananas (I prefer mangoes for a stronger tint)
  • PURPLE: freeze-dried blueberries

Once you have selected your color (or colors), place each marshmallow in the powder and use a fork to spread it all over the outer layer. Pick up the Peep with your hands to shake off the excess and place on a plate.

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To make eyes for your Peeps, combine 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder with 1 tablespoon of water. Using a toothpick, dot the chocolate mixture in a triangle to make two eyes and a nose for your critter.

Eat immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to 2 days. These are best consumed sooner rather than later, but I don’t think they’ll last too long, anyway.

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Now you can officially chill with your Peeps–and in a more healthful manner, too!

What is your favorite Easter or spring treat? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!


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