05 August 2012

Vegan Peanut Butter, Banana and Jam Ice Cream

The heat is on in Washington! I never thought I would ever hear myself saying this about the weather here, but man, it has been hot!!!

We've been enjoying the beautiful sun and gorgeous weather, but it is making us down loads of green smoothies, salads, and our new favorite, raw vegan ice cream!

The Little Boy and I have been having so much fun experimenting with different "ice cream" flavors like Banana & Cacao Chip, Honey Walnut, Vanilla Cinnamon, but this one, a spinoff of the Strawberry Banana Ice Cream we made a couple of days ago, is currently the Little Boy's big favorite!

Vegan Peanut Butter, Banana and Jam Ice Cream

1 frozen banana (in chunks)
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp strawberry preserves
1-2 pieces of frozen strawberries

Start off with just blending the frozen banana and strawberries until you get a creamy consistency. Once you have some creamy ice cream, add the peanut butter and the strawberry preserves and blend again, just long enough to make peanut butter & jam swirls in the ice cream! Enjoy immediately!!! ;-)

What I love about this "ice cream" recipe is that you don't have to be exact with any of the ingredients so feel free to experiment -- add more peanut butter if you want a nuttier taste, add walnuts or almonds for chunks, whatever makes it yummier for you! You can even substitute raw almond butter for the peanut butter and skip the strawberry preserves and just add a couple more strawberries to make this a completely raw dessert!

02 August 2012

Ice cream for dinner? Why, yes, please!

The other day, our Little Boy had to go in for dental surgery and ended up having four (yes, FOUR!!!) of his teeth pulled out and getting silver caps on several more. The poor, poor boy.

I was very uncomfortable with the idea of having him sedated for the procedure. I just didn't love the idea of injecting a ton of sedatives into his tiny little body! So, we actually took him to three different pediatric dentists to see if we had any other options, but they all agreed that having him out for the whole procedure was our only choice if we did not want to traumatize him forever! :(

So on Tuesday morning, we brought him to the Center for Pediatric Dentistry in Seattle for the procedure. We were lucky enough to find this place because the staff here were just awesome. They were all so warm and helpful and were more than happy to talk us through the whole procedure since they knew we were a little unsure about the whole thing. They were also so caring and really went out of their way to make sure our Little Boy never felt afraid. They even let the Little Boy choose a stuffed animal to hug and keep before he went into the OR. And even if we were not entirely comfortable with the idea of the dental surgery at first, I'm just happy that it's finally over.

Anyway, with four of his upper molars missing, chewing has definitely been a challenge these past couple of days so we've been downing a LOT of smoothies for his meals. And since he couldn't really have anything too warm on that first day, for dinner, I made him a special treat (a reward for being so brave, too!!!) and made him fresh fruit "ice cream" for dinner!

I know ice cream has always worked wonders for soothing toothaches and sore gums and is always a part of any major trip to the dentist but I also wanted to stick to staying dairy-free, so I knew I wanted to make him homemade ice cream and this really easy, quick recipe was perfect!

Raw (and Almost Vegan!) Strawberry Banana Ice Cream

1 frozen banana (in chunks)
4-5 frozen strawberries

Put frozen fruits in the blender and pulse and blend until you get a creamy consistency, and that's it! I must warn you though that those frozen strawberries will give a good fight before it is completely blended into the bananas. I made the mistake of freezing our strawberries whole, so that made it take longer so next time, I'm freezing the berries in halves or maybe quarters. But other than that, it is super, super simple to make!!!

This recipe makes enough ice cream for two people though so after I gave the Little Boy his share, I added a couple more stuff to make a Mommy treat for myself! So, in addition to the banana and strawberries, I also added:

a handful of cacao nibs
and a drizzle of raw, wild honey (you can use agave syrup, too, but I LOVE the taste of the "caramel swirls" wild honey makes!)

...blend these into the fruits and top with walnuts and more honey or agave syrup! Or go crazy and top your ice cream off with anything you fancy -- pecans, sliced almonds, raisins, buckwheat groats, etc!

How often can you say that ice cream for dinner is good for you?! Well, this one is! And it made a perfect "I-jus-had-four-of-my-teeth-pulled-out" dinner for the Little Boy and it worked wonders in cheering him up. :)

26 July 2012

Quick Raw Vegan Breakfast: Banana, Cacao and Chia in Coconut Milk

It's been a tough couple of weeks in our kitchen. Our Little Baby has been having tummy problems and getting eczema rashes lately and it's looking like it's because of what I've been eating. I've already kicked dairy completely out of my diet and that helped a little bit but the rashes are still showing up! :( It has been a huge struggle just trying to figure out what exactly this little man is reacting to and I could rant on and on about this but to cut a long story short, I have decided to cut out soy and wheat (two notorious food allergens!) from my diet for now, too. So, yeah... bummer. :(

And while at first, I was feeling a little depressed about how much I had to give up -- seeing that wheat and soy are in practically everything!!! -- I think I have come to terms with the fact that it'll probably do me some good to stay away from all the processed wheat and soy products I have been eating anyway. So looking at the bright side, at least I get to go back to my awesome raw whole food favorites now!

This breakfast favorite was one of the things that had me looking forward to the big change! It's super simple and quick to prepare but it is super nutritious! And with the chia seeds and raw cacao nibs, it's an excellent way to get that much-needed energy fix in the morning!

Banana, Cacao and Chia in Coconut Milk

1 banana
1 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp raw cacao powder
1 tsp wild raw honey or agave syrup
1 tbsp chia seeds
...and whatever good stuff you have on hand! (cacao nibs, walnuts, buckwheat groats, sunflower seeds, goji berries, raisins, etc.)

Mix coconut milk, raw cacao powder and honey or agave syrup (I either put these in the blender or put the ingredients in a jar and shake well to make sure I don't get whole blobs of cacao in the milk). Chop the bananas and put in a bowl. Add the chia seeds. Pour cacao-coconut milk mixture into the bowl and add all the other good stuff you want! (I always just put whatever I have on hand or whatever I'm in the mood for but I almost always end up with the following things in my breakfast: cacao nibs, walnuts, and raisins!)

And voila! A super easy power breakfast free of dairy, wheat or soy and just chockfull of whole, super foods! :)

23 July 2012

Quick Breakfast: Banana, Coffee & Cacao Nib Smoothie

The Mister and I had a pretty rough morning today. First off, it's a Monday. That's always extra hard for us since Sundays (our only full family day in the week!) always seems to go by way too fast. Second, our Little Baby has been having problems sleeping through the night again. He's just discovered rolling over so he would roll over from his back to his tummy in his sleep and wake up shocked and frustrated! It's pretty funny, really! Aaand, he's teething. So, ya. It's been... fun. And this morning, we had to be up at 6AM (!!!) to bring the Little Baby to a skin specialist to have his darn stubborn rashes checked. So needless to say, we are both trying to stay functional today with just a couple of hours of sleep. Yay.

Oh and I know I said we HAD to be up at 6AM, but I think we hit the snooze button too many times today and ended up with hardly enough time for some much-needed breakfast before we had to go. So, smoothie it is for breakfast then!

You see, I love having smoothies for breakfast. Especially on mornings like this when there's just enough time to blend and gulp down a meal before you have to get out and face the day! The thing is, I love my coffee, too. Especially after having moved to the Pacific Northwest where mornings are always (well, ALMOST always) gray and chilly, I NEED to have my hot cup of joe! So every morning, it is always a battle between having a smoothie or having a "real" breakfast for the sake of having it with coffee. And this is where my current favorite breakfast smoothie comes in to save the day!

Banana, Coffee & Cacao Nib Smoothie

1 frozen banana
2 tbsp cacao nibs
1/4 cup brewed coffee
1 cup soy milk
1 tbsp wheatgerm
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
a drizzle of raw wild honey or agave syrup

Put everything into a blender, blend and serve!

Quick tip: Whenever I brew a pot of coffee in the morning, I always brew a couple extra cups for either iced coffee for that afternoon or for this coffee smoothie the next day! I find that brewing my coffee extra strong by putting a tablespoon more of ground coffee per cup makes this smoothie or iced coffee still pretty strong even with all the extra stuff! Just pop into the fridge after coffee has cooled down and use when ready.

even better in my pretty to-go mug! ;)

With the flaxseed and wheatgerm, this keeps us feeling pretty full for hours and gives us a good kickstart for the day and with the superpower combination of coffee and cacao, this really never fails to perk us up and has even managed to make today's potentially dreary morning into a pretty good morning!

Happy Monday and enjoy the rest of the week, folks! ;-)

Love, light and blessings,
Earthbound Faerie

20 July 2012

Quick Vegan Meal Idea: Avocado & Vegan Coleslaw Bagel Sandwich

This summer, we get to enjoy outdoor family movies playing at the downtown park every Tuesday. Our Little Boy LOVES it! He loves being able to head out, help me “stake out” a good spot to lay our blanket out on, and just hang out until it gets dark enough for the movies. It definitely makes for a fun summer evening activity!

So the other night, I took the boys out to the park to see Happy Feet 2 (which I have to say is a great movie with a very real "the-planet-is-in-danger" message!). The Little Boy was so excited to see it and insisted that we NEEDED to have a pretty good spot close to the screen. Now to get a good spot though, we had to head out there very early so we decided to just make a quick sandwich to bring out to the park for a little picnic dinner before the movie.
So, dinner had to be quick, portable and light (to make room for the free popcorn, of course! ;p) and after a quick fridge check for what we had, we decided to make vegan coleslaw & avocado sandwiches!
Inspiration came from a sandwich that I absolutely LOVE having at our neighbourhood cafĂ©. We live just down the street from Gilbert’s, an almost-legendary deli in Old Bellevue that serves awesome sandwiches; so back when I was still having dairy, I used to order their Avocado & Pepper Jack Cheese bagel sandwich almost every other day for lunch. I would be so cranky if I didn’t have that for lunch (it was the pregnant hormones' craving, too)! So now that I can’t have dairy and now that I actually have more time to make our own food again, I decided to make our own version and “veganize” it!

my inspiration: avocado & coleslaw on poppy seed bagel at Gilbert's

Vegan Coleslaw & Avocado Bagel Sandwich
2 whole wheat bagels
2-4 tbsp Tofutti cream cheese
1 avocado
1 tomato
Vegan coleslaw:
          ½ cup shredded & chopped carrots
          ½ cup shredded & chopped cabbage
          1 tbsp Vegenaise or any brand of vegan mayo
          1 tsp white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
          1 tbsp maple syrup or agave syrup
          1 tbsp garlic salt
          Salt & pepper to taste

Start with the coleslaw by chopping & shredding the carrots and cabbage. (Now, I do have to tell you, this was made on a very, very lazy afternoon and I have zero knife skills so instead of “chopping and shredding”, I basically just hacked and murdered the cabbage and carrots we had on hand! And it turned out okay. I will have to say though, that when the Mister --who is a chef, btw! -- makes the perfect coleslaw shreds, it does end up tasting much better! I guess because the veggies are bathed in the dressing better when they’re chopped well? I’m not sure, but all I’m saying is that, if you have great knife skills, good for you! If you don’t, don’t sweat it! The coleslaw will still taste great! Just try your best to shred it as best you can! ;))

Put cabbage and carrots in a bowl and add the vinegar in and toss. In a separate bowl, whisk Vegenaise, maple syrup and garlic salt together. Pour into bowl with the veggies and toss again. Add salt & pepper to taste. (What I love doing to make it easier though... I’m telling you, this was a very lazy-friendly recipe! ;p ...is that I just put everything in a container with a lid so that I can shake everything up and that gets all the veggies covered in the dressing that way!) Put in the fridge for atleast 20 minutes.

In the meantime, cut bagels in half and toast them. Spread “cream cheese” onto each bagel. Layer avocado slices on top of two of the bagel halves. Sprinkle a little salt & pepper onto the avocado slices. Add the tomato slices over the tomato then add some of the coleslaw on top. Top with the other bagel half.  

Ta-da! Quick, portable vegan dinner! Enjoy! ;)

our homemade "veganized" version: avocado & vegan coleslaw on whole wheat bagel