Saturday, July 28, 2012

Healthy Blizzard

Recently I flashed a vanilla ice cream picture at the end of my post featuring a virgin mojito. I said I was going to post the recipe in my next post but then completely forgot. That happens. I always have a pile of recipes and pictures that never actually make it to the bloggie. It's halfway through the summer and I haven't yet shared one photo of my stall at the farmers market. I've brought my camera a few times, but it gets busy and then next thing I know it's over. I'm aiming to snap a few pics by the end of summer because I think it would be a fun thing to share with you. I did post a few last year HERE and HERE. I'm always changing up the menu to include new things. A few items always remain as they are so popular. Its lots of fun!

Anyway, back to the point of this post. Ice cream! Better yet - blizzards!!!! I loved these as a kid. Ice cream mixed with delicious goodies like oreo cookie crumbs (my fave), or chocolate bar pieces. 

Fortunately there's a healthy version to be enjoyed! We all know and love the easy peasy banana soft serve which works beautifully to re-create a blizzard, but I sure do love vanilla ice cream too. Here's my nut-free recipe that J and I have been eating lots this summer. Vanilla is the perfect platform for fun additions. I like chocolate chip cookie chunks, granola bar, caramel pecan choccies, chocolate sauce... whatever I already have on hand. 

Vegan Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

1 can full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup maple syrup
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean**
8- 10 drops vanilla medicine flower essence* or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. 
Chill for a few hours. 
Process in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions. 
Eat as soft serve immediately or freeze for 1-3 hours. 

*Boosts the vanilla flavor to what I like it to be. Alternatively add a splash or pure vanilla extract.
**The vanilla bean is necessary in this recipe. Regular vanilla extract is not enough. 

Do you prefer chocolate ice cream? Add a few tablespoons of cacao powder to the recipe, plus a few drops of stevia to counteract the bitter cacao. 

Here I topped the vanilla ice cream with chopped chocolate chip cookie dough balls (three different recipes), and chocolate brownie bar. 

Speaking of ice cream, remember that the Vegan Ice Cream Sundae Challenge is on! 10 days to get your entry in. Next week I'll be posting the entries this far. They're looking great!
Part of Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Wellness Weekend

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cherry Coconut Parfaits

Cherries are one of my favorite summer fruits. They're so sweet, perfect to snack on, and of course great in desserts.

Are you a cherry lover? 
Surprisingly some people aren't. J doesn't like the texture of them... I'm working on it! 

Remember my recent fun playing with agar? I featured a Summertime Coconut Berry Dessert. While I only posted one recipe, I've experimented with a number of treats featuring agar. I find that it does take some practice to get just the right ratio of agar to liquid and also depends what consistency you want to end up with.

In this parfait, I layered the cherry coconut cream with shredded coconut and frozen thawed strawberries (the ones I got from the berry farm - unfortunately I had to get them into the freezer within days). Add whatever fun things you like.

Cherry Coconut Cream

This cream is silky smooth, nut free, and slightly sweet. It thickens slightly from the agar, giving it the consistency of pudding.

1/3 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons agar powder
1 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
2/3 cup pitted cherries

Bring the water and a 1/4 cup of the coconut milk just to a boil and whisk in the agar.
Continue whisking until the agar dissolves completely. The mixture will thicken.
Transfer the thick gel to a blender and add the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth.
Chill in the fridge for at 4-6 hours, or until it thickens.

Speaking of cherries, I made a tasty chocolate cherry shake the other day. No recipe but here's what I put into it:
Cherries, coconut milk, cacao powder, stevia, chia, vanilla, ice, bee pollen = Yummmm!!!

A reminder that the Vegan Ice Cream Sundae Challenge is on until August 6th. Are you getting your creation together? Entries have started coming in! So exciting!

Recap on the Grand prize, sponsored by Raw Guru. A big stash of goodies to make heaps more ice cream sundaes!

Raw hazelnut fig chocolate bark
1 lb really raw cashews
1 lb cacao powder
1 lb goji berries
1 vanilla bean
12 oz jar coconut nectar
1 jar Rawtella
8 oz wild jungle peanuts
Any one Sweetly Raw dessert eBook of your choice

Viewers choice award (get your friends to vote):
3 Raw caramel pecan choccie nut clusters
3 Cinnamon caramel pecan clusters
1 raw almond butter cup or vegan peanut butter cup
Any one Sweetly Raw Dessert eBook of your choice

Part of Wellness Weekend, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies and Weekend Fun

Are you having a good weekend? The weather's been great here - hot and sunny, just the way I like it!
Yesterday Nicole and I went blueberry picking. We're so lucky to have access to wild blueberries up here. They go for miles and miles and miles in the forest. We picked in the intense heat of the afternoon, but then went for a great swim in the lake at my parents place. No better way to cool down.

Wild blueberry bush. Aren't they pretty?  

I did some baking this weekend too. I have many fond memories of my mom baking cookies from scratch when I was a little girl. I loved to help in the kitchen, and better yet, loved licking the bowl. Mmm cookie dough! Did you like to eat the cookie dough too? I have some friends who never ever did that and think it's gross. I just can't imagine NOT eating it, lol.

Who doesn't love freshly baked chocolate chip cookies?!

Thankfully there are healthy options for cookies these days. This recipe is vegan, gluten free, and absolutely delicious! They're so easy to throw together. You just need a food processor.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
Gluten free - Refined Sugar Free

What's better than a warm chocolate chip fresh from the oven? Have your cookie and eat it too with this healthy version!

1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
1/2 cup oats (regular or gluten free)
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon himalayan salt
1/3-1/2 cup agave or maple syrup
1/2 cup melted coconut oil, or grapeseed oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate chips

In a food processor grind the oats.
Add the almond flour, rice flour, baking soda, and salt. Pulse to combine.
Add the sweetener and oil. Process until incorporated.
Transfer the dough to a bowl and stir in the chocolate chips.
Chill dough first, OR use a mini ice cream scoop and transfer each ball of dough onto a greased cookie sheet (or ungreased silpat).
Press down gently on each cookie or leave as-is.
Bake at 350F for 5-6 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges.

Yummy. Eat up! 

Last night J and I went to our friend's place for a BBQ. Sparkling wine was in order! I decided to add some pomegranate juice to jazz it up even more. 

There was a beautiful punch filled with fresh berries and mint leaves which I added to my drink. Oh yummm!!! Do you like adding fresh berries to your drinks in the summer? I love the way the fruit infuses into the drink. 

We didn't need it with the heat, but we had a fire before moving inside to play Pictionary (never too old to play hehe). We get a little goofy!

I like this shot of the fire with the sun shining through the trees. 

My cutie pie :)

On a last note, anyone out there a Bachelorette fan?! I'll be watching the 3 hour finale tonight! I'm a dedicated watcher :) Who do you think Emily will choose? I really like Sean... somehow Im hoping she'll bring him back - or he'll be the next Bachelor. 
Have a great night!

Oh, and a reminder that the Vegan Ice Cream Sundae Challenge is happening! Check out all the details HERE.

Seen on Allergy Free Wednesday, Wellness Weekend

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Vegan Peanut Butter Ice Cream

It's time to kick off the Vegan Ice Cream Challenge with a recipe! Are you getting creative in your kitchen yet?

I came up with this recipe last week and it turned out to be a big hit for J and I. If you're a peanut butter lover like me, you'll enjoy this too. You can make it raw with wild jungle peanut butter or the roasted version. Naturally I had to dress it up with goodies like my favourite chocolate sauce, chopped peanuts both - both folded into the ice cream.

Vegan Peanut Butter Ice Cream

1 can full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum*
Handful chopped peanuts

Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy.
Chill in the fridge for a few hours.
Process in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions.
Fold in a handful of chopped peanuts.
Eat immediately (will be like soft serve) or transfer to a bowl and freeze for a few hours before eating.

*This helps to thicken. You can use guar gum instead.

Instead of a cherry, I added a vegan chocolate chip cookie on top!

What toppings do you like on ice cream?

Are you getting your ideas together for the ice cream challenge?!

This recipe is part of Wellness Weekend and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Allergy Free Wednesday

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Vegan Ice Cream Sundae Challenge

Are you ready for another dessert challenge?! So much fun was had with the three raw vegan dessert challenges I've hosted in the past and now it's time for more. This time the theme screams SUMMER FUN, but first... Lets take a quick walk down memory lane to past contests. Remember how much fun it was? People's creativity really blew my mind. Click the links below to see all the fantastic entries.

It all began with the Moonie Pie Challenge.

Which led to the Ultimate Raw Ice Cream Cake Challenge.

And then the Party Parfait Challenge.

This time it's a Vegan Ice Cream Sundae Challenge! That's right. Who doesn't love a Sundae? It's one of the ultimate summertime treats, in my opinion. It can be customized to suit your taste and can be enjoyed by people of all ages, plus it can be healthy.

Get your thinking cap on guys and gals! Dream up your best vegan ice cream sundae and make it happen. Take some pics, blog about it, and share your recipe. Lots of great prizes to be won!

Throughout the contest I will feature each sundae entry on my site in the form of one photo with title and link back to your post.

My past dessert challenges were raw and vegan. This time it's a vegan challenge, which opens it up to even more ingredients like maple syrup, peanuts, coconut milk, etc. The name of the game here is healthy. If you want to make it raw, that's totally awesome too! Get crazy, creative, and delicious...

There are wicked prizes to win!

The grand prize, sponsored by Raw Guru, is a big stash of organic raw goodies to make even more incredible ice cream sundaes:

Raw hazelnut fig chocolate bark

1 lb really raw cashews

1 lb cacao powder

1 lb goji berries

1 vanilla bean

12 oz jar coconut nectar

1 jar Rawtella

8 oz wild jungle peanuts

Any one Sweetly Raw dessert eBook of your choice

There's a people's choice award too!
Get your friend's to vote (more on that later) for your chance to win the following:

3 Raw caramel pecan choccie nut clusters

3 Raw cinnamon caramel pecan clusters

1 jumbo peanut butter cup (vegan) OR 1 jumbo almond butter cup (raw)

Any one Sweetly Raw dessert eBook of your choice

How To Enter

1. Create your BEST Vegan Ice Cream Sundae and make a theme for it. You must create the recipe yourself.

2. Blog about your sundae, including your full recipe, photos, and why you chose the theme you did. Link back to this post. Leave a comment in this post with a link back to your post for judging. (I'll grab one of your pics for the "entries post").

3. Follow me on Twitter and Tweet about the vegan sundae challenge.

4. Join Sweetly Raw on Facebook.

5. Copy and paste the banner above into your post, with a link back to here.

6. The contest runs until Monday August 13th at midnight.

A few notes of importance

- An ice cream maker is NOT required to make ice cream. It can be done using a high speed blender or food processor to puree ice cream mixture after freezing it in ice cube trays.

- This contest is open to anyone, worldwide, however prizes are only available to winners in North America. If a person outside North America should win, they will be given my eBooks and the grand prize will go to the second place winner.

- One entry per person


As part of the judging process, I will be testing every ice cream recipe with the help of a few taste testers.

Judging will be based on:
  • Your ice cream sundae recipe
  • Photos 
  • Creativity of blog post
  • Overall presentation
  • Creativity of theme
Get your sundae party on!

Part of Slightly indulgent Tuesday, Healthy Vegan Fridays

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Refreshing Noodles

As I said in my last post, I have a simple savory recipe to share - rather, a few recipes. Let's face it. In the summer we want to eat cooling, watery foods. Zucchini pasta is a tasty, light, yet filling meal to enjoy this time of year. Kelp noodles are another fun base for a refreshing pasta dish and I have a few ideas for that as well.

Recently I kicked up regular sun dried tomato sauce and enjoyed it over zucchini noodles along with a sprinkle of hemp seeds. The kalamata olives are one of the components that really make the sauce... they add some body and a touch of creaminess. Can't beat fresh basil with noodles either! Mmmm!

Chunky Sundried Tomato Sauce

1/2 cup packed sun dried tomatoes, soaked 3-6 hours
1 cup diced fresh tomato
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
6 kalamata olives, pitted
1 small clove garlic
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
2 tablespoons packed fresh basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Squirt of lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt, to taste
Large handful chopped parsley

Process all ingredients except the parsley and salt, in a food processor until still a little chunky but mostly broken down.
Stir in the fresh parsley. Season with sea salt, to taste.
Toss with spiralized zucchini noodles.

Or maybe you want something creamy? This dish is heartier but so delicious and cooling. Perfect served with a salad. You can dress the noodles with just the sauce, or toss in some fresh herbs too. Sun dried tomato bits and small bits of red pepper are nice too and add a splash of color.

Alfredo Noodles

1 1/4 cup cashews
3/4 cup water
1/4-1/3 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon himalayan salt
1 clove garlic
1 drop stevia

Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy.
Toss with zucchini or kelp noodles.

How about something with a bit more zing?! Ginger, garlic, fresh cilantro, and miso flavored creamy sauce is paired with veggies and kelp or zucchini noodles. 

Creamy Ginger Kelp Noodles

1 package kelp noodles
Veggies of your choice, sliced such as:
Baby bok choy
bell peppers
Chopped cashews, raw peanuts, or sunflower seeds

Creamy Miso Ginger Sauce

Here's another yummy sauce I made recently (I didn't get a pic), also for kelp noodles. It's creamy and coconutty which I love. Serve it over zucchini or kelp noodles with veggies.

1/4 cup raw sesame oil*
8 tablespoons orange juice
3 tablespoons almond butter
3 tablespoons white miso
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice
3 drops stevia
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2-3" piece of ginger, peeled
1 small clove garlic
Cayenne, to taste

Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy in a blender.

*not to be confused with toasted sesame oil which has a very strong taste. The extra virgin kind has a very neutral taste.

Stay tuned for a fun announcement this week! 

Try some raw vegan Mac N Cheese. Recipe here!

What's your favourite noodle recipe? 

On that note I'm hitting the lake for a swim! Hope you're having a fun weekend too!!!
Part of Slightly Indulgent Tuesday and Wellness Weekend