Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cherry Dark Chocolate Chip Paleo Ice Cream

Yep.  You read that right.  And it was GOOD!

I like in the Bible when God made things, like, say, the Universe, trees, planets, animals, humans, etc, and called it, "Good."

I am not God.  I know you knew that but I just wanted to make sure no one else thought I was throwing such a claim out there.

I know I wrote about it at one point over the last 6 years, but I think it's quite possible that the fruit on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was likely cherries.  I mean, really, what could have been that good that Eve just had to have a taste?  I mean, maybe a peach tree?  But probably cherry, I'm guessing...

Anyway, I did create black cherry dark chocolate ice cream tonight...and it was SO GOOD!  Which is why I snapped pictures, after the fact (like, I fished the can and bag out of the recycling bin and trash...), and told my husband it was blog worthy.

He agreed.

In fact, in his words, "Wow!  This rivals Sebastian Joe's Raspberry Chocolate Chip!"  And let's just say, coming from my husband, such a statement is a big freaking deal.  It is his all time favorite ice cream flavor from his all time favorite ice cream parlor...and my quick throw together tonight, induced by a monthly craving, gave his fave a run for its money.

Here you go:

  • 1 can organic full fat coconut milk
  • 1 10 ounce bag frozen organic dark sweet cherries, I used Earthbound Farms
  • 2 to 3T agave nectar
  • 1/2 tsp pure almond extract

In a blender or food processor, combine all of the above items on high until smooth.  Pour into your pre-frozen ice cream maker and let churn for about 15 to 20 minutes.


In a glass measuring cup, combine 1/3 cup dark chocolate (I used could use some of your secret chocolate stash in your cupboard, back there behind the good china or wherever you hide it...) and 1 T butter (you could use coconut oil I would guess but I always use butter when it comes to making my fudge sauce).  Microwave for about 30 seconds until chocolate and butter mix smoothly.  Remove from microwave.  Add 1 tsp dark cocoa powder.  Stir.  Add 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1 to 2 tsp of almond milk.  Stir until smooth.  *(Can be dairy-free/vegan if you skip the butter and use coconut oil instead...)

By the spoonful, add semi-cooled chocolate mixture to the churning ice cream so it swirls in and becomes "chips," if you will.  If it's too hot, the mixture won't become chips but will mix right in...make sure you add the chocolate when your ice cream is almost done and set up...

Umm.  It was awesome!

Even Em liked it, and she hates coconut milk!  I think the almond extract took the coconut flavor away.
4 ingredients.  Four.  F. O. U. R.  Go to the local grocer and count how many ingredients are on the back of a typical national brand.  Oh yeah, and try to pronounce them...Add the chocolate "chips" and you are only adding 4 more ingredients: chocolate/cocoa, butter, vanilla extract, and almond milk.

This was a last minute treat so the lighting isn't great, but Em, who is 10 and has informed us she has more taste buds, assured us it was really yummy. 

Let us know if you guys try this recipe and if it passed your kids' taste buds.  With ingredients I know are healthy, I can feel good about a dessert like this once in a while for my family.  We have some more ice cream recipes up our sleeves.  We'll share here at some point :)  Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Some of you have asked what I feed my kids.  Here's a picture of what I packed Em for lunch today.  We joked that it's the only "Lunchable" she'll ever have.

The other day I used this plastic carry case to house a gluten free turkey sandwich with pesto and green leafy lettuce,  lined up apple slices in one pocket, and then seaweed in another...

Every week I like to pack Em a "picnic" lunch.  This would usually include some summer sausage or salami, but I didn't have any this time.  Pistachios, dried peas, gluten-free crackers, some sharp cheddar, apple sauce and grapes round out this meal.

Tonight for dinner we made sushi rolls.
Make sushi rice according to directions on back of bag.  I didn't, of course, b/c I don't like to follow directions.  I didn't want to use sugar, so I used agave, instead.  And, I made it way ahead of time and then put it in the fridge, so it was too sticky.  But it tasted just fine.

So, when I went to the grocery store today to buy sushi papers they were $6.89 for 7 sheets.  Sheesh.  But, on my way to the check out I noticed these on a kiosk.  They are those seaweed snacks that are usually 2x3" long, but these were sold in bags of 5 sheets the size for sushi for $3.49, so I decided to try it. 

They are thinner than regular sushi sheets (like, you can see daylight thru them) but with rice and veggies and salmon in them, they rolled up just fine and tasted great!

Cucumbers, avocados, and, of course, more carrots from our garden.

Cream cheese for Jason's Philly rolls.

We roll our own...

Carrot, cucumber, green leafy lettuce, smoked salmon

Might not look like the professionals but it sure tasted yummy!
I, approximately 90% of the time, eat Primal or Paleo, meaning:  meat, veggies, fruit, nuts, and seeds.  You know me and all my food sensitivities and allergies, so this works for me.  But, once in a while I'll eat grains and baby, it better be worth it!  And let's just say, sushi, or rolls, are so very worth it in my book!  That, coupled with wasabi and pickled ginger, and I am one happy chomper.

As far as the kids go, Em and Ryan both had their fair share of pieces of rolls tonight.  Ryan ate a few pieces but then finally just wanted "Moy, moy" of the avocado and seaweed.  Em enjoyed the food as well as the process using chopsticks and dipping in her tamari.

It's only the American mentality that kids only like macaroni and cheese, quesadillas, cheeseburgers, french fries, chicken fingers, and buttered noodles.

Start them out young with veggies and just keep giving them tastes here and there of good, whole, delicious foods.

Explore your grocery store's produce section and move beyond lettuce and green beans to try lots of other varieties.

Make hummus or another kind of dip and plate the veggies so they make a smiley face.

Every day at lunch we line up Ryan's wild animal flash cards and give his cards "tastes," each and every one, before Ryan then takes the final bite.

Make it fun and exciting to try new recipes and ask your kids to be "gourmet taste testers."  Stop treating food as a reward for your kids' behavior and start teaching them the importance of taking care of their bodies through health and nutrition.

Kids have smart taste buds...don't dumb them down!  It's fun to be healthy!

Imagine the next generation actually avoiding disease because they choose healthy whole foods over Lunchables!

It'd be wild, wouldn't it?!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Smoothies, Smoothies!

I'll admit it.  I like smoothies.  This affection for cold and creamy, though, was birthed long ago from chocolate shakes and malts at fast food restaurants and ice cream parlors from the 70's and 80's like Farrell's and Swenson's.

Then, in the late 80's, early 90's, I was introduced to Slim Fast, as well as other weight loss shake makers.  I thought it such a grand idea to be able to drink a chocolate shake two times a day AND lose weight at the same time!

A chubby chocolate shake lovers dream come true!

During all of this time it never occurred to me that my farty-ness was anything other than kinda funny. 

Or, let's face it, down right charming.

And why, even after weight loss shake after weight loss shake, made with 8 oz of cow's skim milk, one scoop of chemical-laden artificially flavored weight loss powdered supplement with main ingredients of high-fructose corn syrup/dairy/corn-syrup solids/partially hydrogenated oils/artificial sweetener, and 1/2 cup of ice, would it not occur to me that year after year I still had a stomach pooch and bloating?  You mean constipation and hemorrhoids as a child wasn't just normal?

Anyway, over the last, oh I'd say 8 to 10 years, I've still made smoothies but with cleaner and purer ingredients, experimenting with my food sensitivities.  I still know how to make a chocolate shake that rivals anything you could make, but mine doesn't make me farty anymore and it's one I'm happy to share with my children because I can pronounce all of the ingredients.

Speaking of which, I have a little smoothie fan right here at home.  Every smoothie recipe I make up I test out on my mini-critic.  If he says, "Moy!  Moy!  Moy!"  I know it's a winner.  (Translation:  MORE!)  If he says, "No moy, all done," well, then it's obvious he wasn't a fan.

Now, unlike "Chocolate Covered Katie," I do not make something with chocolate in it every. single. day.  That is not wrong, I'm just saying, I prefer to enjoy a wider variety of tastes and flavors.

And so, without further ado, here's what Ryan and I slurped up in the kitchen this morning:

The ingredients: golden flax meal, frozen blueberries, stevia, canned pumpkin, medjool dates, walnuts, frozen banana, water and ice

My little smoothie critic and biggest fan, Ryan, my little lover

Here's my smoothie critic, post-satisfaction with some traces still under his lips.  I didn't get as much smoothie this morning as I had planned because, "Moy, moy, moy!" was all I heard.  But there was plenty for both of us.  It was really creamy and quite scrumptious!

Here's our recipe:

  • In a measuring glass, put 3T ground flax meal and 1/3 cup of water.  Allow to sit for about 2 or 3 minutes until it becomes gooey, or boogery as we say at our house.  Then fill measuring glass to 1 cup with water.  Add this to blender.
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup frozen blueberries
  • 6 walnuts
  • 1 large medjool date w/o pit
  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • dash stevia
  • couple drops almond or vanilla extract, if desired
  • 8 to 10 chunks of ice
I had to put my blender on chop first, then puree, then liquify.  Basically, my blender is sensitive to frozen bananas.  Just blend until super creamy, put a straw in it, and enjoy!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Cookies! Chocolate!

Right out of college I was a nanny for a wonderful family.  I was only with them for one year but we have remained friends, and family, ever since.  We've been through a lot together and I can't even begin to tell you the amount of heart space this beautiful family takes up in my life.  I love them dearly.

When I worked for Nanci Masso, I learned a lot about healthy shopping, menus, recipes, and eating because it was Nanci's line of work as well as her passion.  She was surely a front runner in the health and supplement industry and is still diligent at work educating America about health and nutrition, a place where obesity and disease is rampant.

It's crazy to think the kids I nannied years ago are all grown-ups! 

I'm thankful for that particular time in my life, and for God introducing me to this family.  I believe it was pivotal as the beginning of my journey to really know what is in food and which foods are beneficial for healthful living.  It inspired me to watch Nanci's example in the kitchen, along with her attitude toward nutrition as she raised her children.  I have her to thank for my last days at McDonald's and my decision when I became a mom to never allow my kids to eat there or at other low-quality fast food joints.

Recently Nanci and her oldest daughter, Faryn, launched a company called "Biosanes."  They have some great quality products for health and weight loss, as well as a cookie that's been featured on "Dancing With The Stars"  which is gluten-free products!

Nanci was recently on a morning show in Texas sharing one of her cookie recipes she makes at home.  I thought it looked good and I'm going to bake some of my own soon, but thought I'd share it now since I just saw the clip and didn't think something this good should wait :)  It's packed with power ingredients!  When I do make them, I'm going to split the batch and do a version with no oats but substitute coconut flour or another nut flour like almond, pecan, walnut, or hazelnut.  I'll let you know how it goes!

(From the Biosanes blog)

*FYI:  This is Nanci's recipe.  This IS NOT the recipe for their "Magic Cookie."  Just wanted to clarify...

Friday, August 3, 2012

Just BEET it!

Thankfully the hail didn't damage our carrots or beets. 
The colors of fresh, home grown vegetables are so vibrant!

Check this's a seemingly "normal old beet..."

I chose a variety pack of beet seeds including dark purple, yellow, and this fun striped specimen.

I like beets.  When I was a kid I think the only kind of beet I had every tasted was pre-cooked from a can or pureed into the commercial recipe of V8 Juice.  As I "matured" and started eating more and more vegetables, when my friend Kim had roasted some with a little olive oil and garlic salt, I decided to give them another try.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Since then I've ordered many different beet salads at restaurants with goat cheese and figs and arugula and all sorts of yummy things.  And I've even juiced beets.  They are really tasty!

After watching Food Network, I decided to branch out and plant a packet of beet seeds in the garden earlier this Spring.  I also planted broccoli, carrots, kale, chives, lettuces, leeks, musk melon, and tomatoes.  And, since I live in Colorado, it doesn't just rain in my hails.  And it hails pretty much every time it rains.  So, the only survivors of our hailstorms this summer are the carrots, beets, chives, kale, and lettuces (which I missed b/c I was out of town, so when I got home they had gotten too big and tart).  The leeks may still have a chance.

Anyway, the other day I picked the pile of veggies you see in the above picture.  I made a homemade gluten free carrot cake for my mom for her birthday with this recipe from Karina, the Gluten-free Goddess.  It was a hit!  I did the add-ins of walnuts, golden raisins, and coconut.  We had a Primal spaghetti dinner with spaghetti squash and grass-fed beef and tomato sauce (with gluten free pasta for the non-squash fans...I had leftovers...these will come into play later...)

The next day, I cleaned up the beets and cut them into about one inch chunks, tossed them with olive oil, a little lavender balsamic vinegar, some garlic powder, and sea salt, and roasted them for 1/2 an hour at 375.  They were super yummy!

And, I knew I could eat the beet greens, so I chopped them up and sauteed them with a little olive oil, 1/4 of a white onion, some fresh minced garlic, sea salt, and a piece of bacon.  So great!

Today I made a really delicious lettuce wrap with 4 pieces of green leaf lettuce, 2 slices of turkey, 1 piece of bacon, 1/4 smashed avocado, thinly sliced leftover cold beets, 1/4 cup leftover spaghetti squash w/garlic oil, and a drizzle of fig balsamic vinegar.  This was one of the best wraps I've ever tasted!

I found a recipe to use carrot tops as an alternative to basil in pesto.  I'm going to try that next.

Eating from the garden has been so much fun!  I have a whole plan for the backyard for next year!

Do you have any garden fresh recipes you'd care to share???