Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ice Cream Substitute #1: Dairy Free Frozen Coconut Milk

I SCREAM, YOU SCREAM...  anyone who knows me well knows that I love ice cream!  It was hard for me to stop eating my favorite frozen dairy treat when I gave up processed foods.  I started looking around for some ice cream substitutes, and I've come across/made up some pretty delicious recipes.  I'll share them all with you eventually.  The other day, I was reading the amazing Oh She Glows blog, and I found a recipe for coconut milk whipped cream.  After reading it, the gears in my brain started spinning and I thought, "Hmmmmm... I could probably freeze that stuff and make some delicious ice cream!"  Guess what?  I was right.  :)



1 can of full-fat coconut milk
1 generous squirt of agave nectar
About 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla

1.  Chill the can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight.

2.  Remove the can from the refrigerator and flip it upside down.  This is important, because it allows you to open the can with the liquidy part of the coconut milk on top.

3.  Pour out the liquid and save it for another recipe.  You could use it in a smoothie, for example.  I attempted to add it to a waffle recipe, thinking that it would add a wonderful coconutty flavor, but it was a flop.  Don't bother trying it, or if you do, don't say I didn't warn you.

4.  Scoop the hardened part of the coconut milk into a bowl and whip it with an electric mixer. Continue whipping until a whipped cream consistency is reached.

5.  Add agave and vanilla, and continue whipping.  At this point, you have coconut milk whipped cream, which is absolutely divine!

6.  Scoop whipped cream into a bowl and set it in the freezer.  Every 30 minutes, remove and stir.  After about 2 hours, you will have a wonderful "ice cream!"

7.  Serve alone in a bowl, or topped with homemade natural chocolate syrup (I subbed sucanat for the cane sugar), or as a topping on some warmed up chocolate banana bread!  YUM!!!

Refrigerate coconut milk overnight.  Flip can upside down.
Open can.  You'll see the liquid part of the coconut milk on top.  Remove and use in another recipe.
Scoop the more solidified portion of the coconut milk into a bowl.
Whip with an electric mixer (or a hand whisk, if you want to get really tired!)
Continue whipping until the coconut milk has thickened to a whipped-cream-like consistency.
Add agave nectar and vanilla.
Whip until blended.  You now have coconut milk whipped cream!
Scoop into a small bowl and freeze.  
After 30 minutes, remove and stir....
After 30 more minutes, stir again...
...and do the same after another 30 minutes passes.  
Scoop (I used a cookie scoop to do this) and serve atop your favorite dessert.
Here, it's pictured on some chocolate banana bread.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Savory Brunch Bites

Brunch is such a lovely meal... a cross between breakfast and lunch that features the best of both worlds.  I've always enjoyed eating brunch with friends, but it can be a bit tricky at times because I absolutely HATE eggs!  I'm fine if the eggy taste is hidden inside a recipe and masked by other flavors, but I can't stand the egg bakes, omelettes, and other egg-heavy dishes usually found at a brunch.  My husband and I recently hosted a brunch for 25 people at our home, and I made it my mission to create a new recipe that could be enjoyed by everyone - especially me. :)  This Savory Brunch Bites recipe does include two eggs, but they're impossible to taste because there are so many other competing flavors. 

P.S.  It took me 3 tries to get this recipe to work the way I wanted, so I'll give you some tips/tricks/warnings along the way as I tell you how to make them.  


1 3/4 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup flour of your choice ( I used whole wheat pastry flour)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. flaxseed (not necessary to the recipe, but it boosts the nutritional value of the bites)
1 1/4 cups cheese of your choice ( I used full-fat mozzarella)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup water
1 medium potato
1 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
2-3 large button mushrooms, diced.
1/2 of a medium red pepper, diced
3 green onions, chopped

1.  Gather ingredients.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Chop and dice vegetables.  Grate cheese and potato until completely shredded.  Place shredded potato in a small bowl and sprinkle with salt.  This will pull some of the extra moisture out of the potato and keep the bites from getting soggy.  This is VERY IMPORTANT.  I didn't do this the first time I made the recipe, and the bites were soggy and damp. Yuck.

2.  Place dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Mix well.

3.  Add shredded cheese; mix well.

4.  Add remaining ingredients; stir until evenly combined.  Note:  before adding the potatoes, squeeze them firmly to remove extra liquid.

5.  IMPORTANT STEP:  Allow the mixture to rest for AT LEAST 15 minutes to allow the oats to soften as they absorb the liquids.  This is so very important... I can't stress it enough.  The second time I attempted this recipe, I didn't allow the oats to soften and the bites were so hard it actually hurt to eat them.  Needless to say, I threw them out.  :)

6.  Spoon mixture into greased mini muffin tins and bake for 25-30 minutes.

YIELD:  32 mini bites.

Some of the cheese sinks to the bottom of each bite, forming a crunchy browned crust.  I thought these bites were a delicious addition to our brunch, and I've been breaking up the few leftovers and adding them to my salad every day since.  YUM! 

Gather ingredients.

Chop and dice vegetables.  Grate cheese and potato until completely shredded.  

Place shredded potato in a small bowl and sprinkle with salt.  This will pull some of the extra moisture out of the potato and keep the bites from getting soggy.  This is VERY IMPORTANT!!

Place dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Mix well.

Add cheese; mix well.

Add remaining ingredients; stir until evenly combined.
Note:  before adding the potatoes, squeeze them firmly to remove extra liquid.

Allow mixture to sit for at least 15 minutes.

Look at all the liquid I removed from just one potato! 

Spoon into greased mini muffin tins.  Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Look at that cheesy, crunchy crust!  Yum!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Your Food: Magnified!

RADISH, Caren Alpert Fine Art

Sometimes it's fun to take a different look at our food.  Artist Caren Alpert does just that, using an electron microscope to photograph edible items in an up-close-and-personal style.  The radish photo at the left is both mysterious and beautiful; it almost reminds me of a gorgeous patterned cloth.

CELERY LEAF, Caren Alpert Fine Art

It's interesting to compare the photos of whole, all natural foods to highly processed foods.  Alpert used the microscope to look at everything from celery to Oreos, sometimes zeroing in at a cellular level.  Personally, I enjoyed looking at each photo and trying to determine what it might be before sneaking a peek at the title of the piece.  FYI, I was usually wrong.  :)

If you would like to view the entire collection, check it out here.  I'm directing you to the "Artist's Statement" page, and from there you can access the Gallery.  Enjoy!

What do you think THIS is??