Summertime is almost over, but that doesn't mean my latest obsession with making ice cream has to end! This weekend I made blueberry banana vegan ice cream. I know. I know. A mouthful. Just call it ice cream and be done with it, I guess. We mixed some frozen banana and blueberries together and added some chocolate chips to it...because everything goes better with chocolate chips. And woo hoo. Simple vegan ice cream without an ice cream machine. Eventually, I will cave and buy an ice cream machine. It's inevitable.
The first time I made this, I forgot to slice the bananas, and while we were able to blend it all right-- I would definitely slice the bananas before freezing them. The flavor is the ultimate duo of berries and bananas. It really is. No added sugar or anything gross. Just fruit, nuts, and chocolate. Smile. It's ice cream.
My freezer had about four pounds of frozen blackberries leftover from last summer's picking frenzy. With the next season coming up, I knew that I had to work through them to make space for this year's frenzied frenzy.
We love to pick blackberries. Everywhere that we've ever lived has been abundant in blackberries. (Sigh. Sadness may take over when we move next! No blackberries where we're going). But hey, at least I'll get to pick berries for one more season.
Back to the cooking. I've made blackberry oat bars, blackberry oatmeal, blackberry sauce for banana ice cream, blackberry sorbet...well, I've made blackberry everything and my family has just about had enough of me. But, I had ONE more bag left and just enough inside to make mini blackberry crumble pies.
That's right. Mini Blackberry Crumble Pies. I named them this because they truly combine the heavenly crumbleness of a crumble, the butteryness of a pie crust, and the rich fruit flavors of blackberries.
And guess what? No added sugar. We don't use sugar here. I'd rather have a tart berry over a sucrose-laden lollipop attack any day of the week. If you like sugar, you might add some honey to the berries, but really, do you need to? Can it wait?
The recipe will make 12-14 mini pies. I made 12 in my cupcake pan and a breakfast "galette" with the leftover crust and berries, so the family could nibble on it whenever they please.
I've been on a major sweet potato kick lately. Almost every night, there is a plate of sweet pots of the table. Mmm. Some nights I chop them and other nights, I like to wedge them. A batch takes about 20 minutes to cook under the broiler -- yes, the broiler. Never use the "oven" to bake sweet potato fries because you will end up with half-cooked potatoes or having to wait 1 hour to eat them.
Chili is a great way to have a dinner party. Yes, I'm serious. A chili dinner party. Throughout my undergraduate education, I held monthly dinner parties for friends and classmates. Instead of slaving away over a plate that requires 3 components cooked to perfection (in my tiny kitchen, no way), I made of pot of something delicious that puts a smile on everybody's faces.
Given that some of my friends are vegetarians, vegans, or otherwise, I always made the dish eater-friendly. No meat. No dairy, and a gluten-free side. My three-bean chili with soyrizo always won people over.
It is rich, hearty, and healthy. The soyrizo lends a textured spicy addition to the beans. The chili can sit on the stove for hours, making it a great set-it and come back to get it dish. I make cornbread with the dish, but it does great on its own too.
As I mentioned before, this summer we are doing a summer-long baking unit study. The kids are learning about units, measurement, chemistry and food safety. Oh, and they are definitely learning about the five senses as well as business skills (they have had several bake sales).
This week, we baked these yummy banana chocolate chip cookies. They have no added sugar and can be made gluten-free with the appropriate flour substitute. We tried these cookies with wheat flour and almond flour. Both ways were delicious...actually, I preferred the almond flour cookies. But almond flour can be expensive, so flour will suffice.
The cookies make the entire house smell like a chocolate covered banana baking inside warm brioche. Doesn't get much better than that, does it?
Green smoothies are a wonderful way to start out a hot, summer morning. Loaded with vitamins, antioxidants, and the refreshing cool that prepares you for a sweltering 104...smoothies rock. Many folks are worry about the outcome (taste) of a green smoothie and I can vouch that sometimes, smoothies suck. But you drink it anyways. You tighten your big girl undies, plug your nose and go for it.
My Thai yellow curry will change the way you look at dinnertime. In this house, we live on one-pot creations, primarily dishes inspired by Asian influences. Sometimes it is u-don soup, and other times it is curry.
Okay okay, it is almost always curry. Or curry soup. Or curried veggies with lentils or something of the sort. Curried quinoa anybody? Delightful.
Tonight was a curry night. After five or six years of curry cooking, I am still adjusting my recipe. But I believe that I've stumbled upon the final twist. The right brand of coconut milk.
Every day, no matter what is going on, my child does this thing, and then I always know what's coming next. She wiggles from the bedroom where's she's been pretending to be a ninja for the past two hours and says, "Mooooooooom..."
"Yes?" (And I know what's coming because she says it)
And what used to ensue after this comment was a fifteen-minute conversation about what she did and what she didn't want to eat. It became too much and decided that I wanted to streamline her afternoon snack so that she only had 2-3 options from which she could choose.
Long story short, I compiled 14 snacks that she loves and I rotate them each week so I know she is eating a diverse plate of food. And the best part is that she knows what her options are and that nothing else is available. Problem solved.
Since you may be struggling with a kid who doesn't know what he wants to eat, or hell, a kid who knows what he wants to eat, but you aren't offering it, I wanted to give you my list of kid-approved snacks.
And while these snacks are geared toward kids, you could totally make them for yourself to take with you for work. I broke these up based on calorie load: 100 calories, 200 calories, and 300 calories.
Carrot and ginger soup is refreshing, light, and super nutritious. This soup gets made at least twice per month. Sometimes by me, but mostly by my sister who has become pretty killer at it. The carrot soup is loaded with vitamin A, healthy fats, vitamin K, potassium, magnesium, vitamin E, and zinc. This soup is a powerhouse.
Consider pairing this soup with a dollop of goat cheese, a slice of crusty French bread, white fish (halibut, cod...), or just on its own.
If you are interested in growing your own carrots, then consider heirloom seeds. Most carrot seeds can be planted in late Spring for early fall harvest, and you can plant carrot seeds every two weeks until the next summer....yep, carrots year round.