Mint Chocolate Pistachio Blizzard (Dairy-Free & Soy-Free)

This tasty healthy summer treat is dairy-free, soy-free, only five ingredients, and done in five minutes.

(Rachel – The Vegan-Eatin’ Daughter)

This summer my husband is coaching a select summer baseball team with a rigorous schedule. Since he’ll be so busy, I thought it might be fun for me and Jackson to come along with him for a few of his tournaments. We could check out a new town and spend some family time together between games.

As it turns out, the cities he plays in are a little hard up for entertainment. In my internet search of one town, the highlighted “Family Activity” was a trip to Dairy Queen for ice cream. Sorry honey, we’ll just see you in July when you’re schedule let’s up.

I’m not knocking DQ. If you were raised in a small town in Texas, like I was, you probably do have lots of memories at the local Dairy Queen. I can recall several trips as a child, stopping on our way home from ball games. I remember our high school cross country coach always treated us to Blizzards when the season was over. After months of getting up at 5:00 am to run around a cold dark track and spending our Saturdays running through muddy trails, we’d go celebrate. We lined up and one-at-a-time placed our order, then waited eagerly to be handed an upside down cup filled with thick ice cream blended with our favorite mix-ins.

Now that I don’t eat dairy, being treated to a DQ blizzard is a thing of the past, but with Banana Soft Serve “Ice Cream,” my days of enjoying delicious cool treats with tasty mix-ins are far from over. In just minutes, frozen bananas blended up in the food processor turn into a thick creamy cold treat, just like soft serve ice cream. I combined two of my favorite ice cream flavors, Mint Chocolate Chip and Pistachio, for this sweet, salty, cool combination.

I wouldn’t recommend flipping your cup upside down, but I would totally recommend sticking a spoon in and chowing down. With banana as the main ingredient and healthy mix ins like pistachios and dark chocolate (antioxidants, hellooo!), it’s practically health food.

This soft serve “ice cream” is simply frozen bananas and pistachios blended together, garnished with a mint chocolate swirl and a cherry on top.

Serves 1

Ingredients

2 bananas ~1 cup (chopped and frozen)*
1/4 cup pistachios, roasted and salted
1 t. sugar
3 squares of a mint dark chocolate bar (I used the Endangered Species brand–it’s vegan & delicious)
2 t. coconut cream (~1 t. non-dairy milk would work too)

Optional Garnishes: chopped pistachios, cherries dipped in the chocolate sauce & cooled, fresh banana slices, sprig of mint

Directions

In a food processor, blend bananas until they whip together like soft serve ice cream, stopping to scrape the sides as needed. Add in pistachios and sugar and blend again until pistachios are chopped up.

In a small bowl, combine chocolate and coconut cream. Microwave for 8 second intervals, stirring between, being careful not to let the chocolate burn.

Pour half of the pistachio soft serve into a pretty glass, top with half of the chocolate, then repeat, gently swirling the chocolate at the top. Garnish with chopped pistachios and a cherry on top (optional). Fresh banana slices between the layers of soft serve are good too.

Serve immediately.

Note: This doesn’t re-freeze well.

*Freeze bananas that are ripe, but not overly ripe for this recipe. The ones that are really soft and ripened are great for baking and smoothies, but not for this recipe.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Mint Chocolate Pistachio Blizzard (Dairy-Free & Soy-Free)
The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-o5
© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved


Kiwi-Strawberry Key Lime “Flower” Tarts (Vegan)

Becky’s Kiwi-Strawberry Key Lime “Flower” Tarts

Those of you who know me, or have been reading this blog, have probably discovered that although Rachel and I share a love of cooking and laughter, she’s definitely “Felix” and I am “Oscar” in this Mother-Daughter Odd Couple.

When she and her husband Jared were visiting us this year,Jared was hungry and so I told him,”Jared, just scrounge in the fridge! You never know what you’ll find in there.” To which Rachel instantly deadpanned,”Or what might jump out at you.” It wasn’t long before she offered to give me a hand cleaning out my fridge. At one point she held up a lime that was, okay, a little brownish-black, but I figured the juice might be salvageable.

“What’s this?” she asked, dubiously eying the shriveled citrus.

“It’s a lime,” I offered, hopefully.

She shook her head.  “Not a lime.”

“Not a lime?” I echoed.

“Not a lime.  Mom, face it. This thing died weeks ago, you just couldn’t bring yourself to bury it.  Grieve the lime and Let. It. Go.”

I sighed and let her toss it in the trashcan.

This week I sent Rachel the following picture of a lime that I found in the recesses of my kitchen.

“Not a lime.” Sigh.

To which she offered this advice. “Mom, when limes start looking like kiwis, they are no longer limes. Toss it out.”

But (and this is the way my ADD mind works), when she said “kiwi” and “lime” together in the same sentence, I started thinking how great those two flavors would taste together.  That rabbit trail led to others and finally to the creation of the following yummy, easy, tart, fresh and pretty dessert featuring kiwis and limes.

But do not worry: No dying limes were harmed in this recipe. In fact, it features a store-made lime product from Kroger’s. This “Preferred Selection” brand of jarred key lime pie filling is truly scrumptious:  tart and just-right-sweet, loaded with real key lime juice.  It also happens to be vegan.  You can make the shortbread cookie crumbs from scratch (see recipe) or if you are in a hurry, just put a few of your favorite store-purchased shortbread cookies in the food processor to make fine crumbs.

I served this to six women on my back porch today.  So pretty and refreshing–the kiwis look like the center of a flower, the strawberries make perfect “petals.”   And the women just nearly licked their sherbet bowls clean!

Kiwi-Strawberry Key Lime “Flower” Tarts

Kiwi-Strawberry Key Lime “Flower” Tarts

Ingredients

Shortbread Cookie Crumbs (See recipe below or purchase your favorite cookies and whirl in the blender to make 1 1/2 cups fine cookie crumbs. Add 1/4 c. melted butter and whirl again.)

Kroger’s Key Lime Pie Filling (or your favorite brand)

My favorite Key Lime Pie Filling in a Jar. Loaded with key lime juice! (Kroger’s brand, located near pie fillings on baking aisle.)

8 strawberries, sliced into “petals”

2 kiwis, peeled and sliced into rounds for centers of the flowers

To Assemble:

Put 3 T. of cookie crumbs in each of six small dessert bowls  (I used my old-fashioned sherbet bowls.) Using the back of a spoon press the crumbs around the bottom and sides to create a miniature tart shell.

Pressing crumbs into small dessert bowls with back of spoon

Spoon 2 to 3 Tablespoons of key lime pie filling over each shell, smoothing the top gently.

Arrange kiwi and strawberry slices into “flowers” as shown in the pictures.

I filled the bowls with the cookie crumbs (pressed against the sides) ahead of time, and then at the  very last minute — filled them with the filling and topped them with the fruit. (A volunteer to help you assemble is nice, and a fun way to chat in the kitchen while doing something creative together.)

Shortbread Cookie Crumbs (Vegan)

Heat oven to 350 degrees

1 c. flour (can be mixture of whole wheat and white)

1/2 cup Earth Balance Butter (you can use regular butter if you aren’t vegan and prefer it)

1/4 cup powdered sugar (or brown sugar for a darker more caramelized crust)

1/2 c. finely chopped walnuts or pecans

Directions:

Pulse the first 3 ingredients in the food processor (or use your hands to blend). Add nuts.  Pat or roll the dough onto a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Dough can be any shape or form, just make the giant free from “cookie” about 1/3 inch thick. Bake  10 to 15 minutes or until light golden brown.  Let cool completely.   Break up the shortbread and pop it back in the food processor to make fine crumbs.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Kiwi-Strawberry Key Lime “Flower” Tarts (Vegan)
The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-iN


No Bake Apricot Bars

Vegan Apricot Cashew Bars

Some women nest when they are pregnant by obsessively organizing the nursery until every onesie is folded just so and all the outfits are color coordinated and sorted by size, some scrub the house obsessively. I did a little of those, but mostly I cooked. And when I say I cooked, I mean I cooked!

In the two weeks before Jackson arrived, I completely filled my freezer with everything from chili and cornbread, to pot pie, to muffins, to waffles, to cookies and hummus. I started with an empty freezer and when my nesting was over, I literally had to remove the ice basket to fit everything in.

One of the recipes I made, 5 Ingredient No Bake Date Bars, from the blog “Oh She Glows,” barely made it to my due date. My family and I could not keep out of them. They are like crack, but healthy crack. In fact, they could probably cure drug addiction.

Angela at Oh She Glows is a genius when it comes to making healthy vegan treats. I can’t wait for her cookbook to come out. These bars have no added sugar, only five ingredients and don’t even require turning on the oven. My favorite thing about them is that they are best eaten straight out of the freezer. When Jackson arrived and I was a new nursing mother, I would suddenly be ravenous, and could hardly think straight until I had food in me again. These were the perfect fuel for my sudden hunger attacks, high in protein and fiber, they were filling and healthy, but felt indulgent.

I’ve made different versions of the bars countless times now, but yesterday I tried a new combination that really rivaled it’s original counterpart. Instead of dates and almonds, I used dried apricots and toasted cashews. Wow! I don’t know which one I like more. I took them to the leader meeting for my MOPS (Mother’s of Preschoolers) group last night and several requested the recipe. So as promised, here you go ladies!

The sweet tangy pureed apricots sandwiched between layers of rich salty cashews hits three of the five taste bud senses and also combines creamy, chewy, and crunchy textures. It’s satisfying on every level.

No Bake Vegan Apricot Bars

5 Ingredient No-Bake Apricot Cashew Bars

Inspired by OhSheGlow’s 5 Ingredient No Bake Vegan Date Squares

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 1.5 cups whole cashews (toasted, roasted, honey roasted – whatever you have)
  • 1.5 cups regular oats (for Gluten-free, use GF oats)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt (omit if cashews are salted)
  • 10-15 dried apricots (~ 1/2 a cup), roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

Filling:

  • 25-35 dried apricots roughly chopped (~2 cups)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup water

Directions:

1. Spray a muffin tin (my preference) or 8×8 pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a food processor, process cashews, salt, and oats until a fine crumble forms. Add apricots and process until crumbly again. Add coconut oil and process until sticky. Remove from processor, set aside 3/4 cup of the mixture for later, press remaining into cupcake molds or pan to form a crust. For muffin tins I use a tablespoon and put a heaping tablespoons into each mold, then use the back of the tablespoon to press down and smooth out the layer.

2. Process the apricots and 1/2 cup water in the food processor (I’ve found a smaller work bowl works better than a large one if you have a full sized food processor–in fact I just used my mini one for this step) until a paste forms, stopping to scrape down the sides and adding a little more water as needed (don’t exceed 1 cup). Scoop out the apricot mixture into the pan or evenly into the muffin tins and gently spread out to cover the crust.

3. Sprinkle on the reserved crust and gently press down into the apricot mixture, just so it sticks. Freeze for at least an hour or until firm. Cut squares or pop out of muffin molds and wrap individually with saran wrap. Store in freezer. Enjoy straight from the freezer or slightly thawed as a delicious, guilt-free treat!

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: No Bake Apricot Bars
The URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com/2012/05/02/no-bake-apricot-bars


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