Some days, I confess, I think I’m truly somethin’ special. Like the day I made this ice cream. I mean, only some kind of genius (who bought a ton more blueberries than are needed to make blueberry mojitos and with nothing else to do on her hands) would think to roast blueberries and churn them into a creamy, vegan ice cream, right?
Apparently not. There are a few people out there whose brain wavelengths I just can’t escape. And I’ve met them all through blogging. Who would have thought this silly little thing would lead to that?
But if I have to be sharing a brain with someone, I’m honored to do so with my friend Ricki. She and I connected a few years ago when I started commenting on her blog, Diet, Dessert and Dogs. We naturally hit it off with our love of all things sweet, sticky and indulgent. (Hey, I’m just being honest here.) But more importantly we enjoy good, wholesome food. And though we don’t share the exact same eating philosophy (Rick is a vegan who also abstains from all gluten and refined sugar) we are always excited to see what the other has come up with, because there’s a good chance we can use it as inspiration. Case in point: her cookie-dough topped brownies are to-die-for, and her blueberry oatmeal pudding was the basis for my pumpkin version! We’ve had many long email chats about our passions for good food and good health, and our love for our beautiful dogs. As if that wasn’t enough to bond over, we randomly discovered that only a couple degrees of separation stood between us! Ben’s aunt and uncle are longtime good friends of Ricki’s cousins. There’s no doubt our friendship was meant to be
So when I posted on my facebook page about my excitement over blueberry ice cream one day, I wasn’t too surprised that Ricki commented that she had just made the same thing. Which is kind of ironic because we’re also both chocoholics so how is it that we both happened to be craving fruity ice cream at the same time? See? We really do share a brain.
Ricki and I thought it would be fun to share our recipes for blueberry ice cream on the same day, giving you not one, but two options for a cool and creamy summer treat. And, to help YOU get to know us better, we came up with 10 fun questions to ask each other. So before I move on to ice cream, here are 10 things you must *absolutely* know about Ricki:
What is your blog’s tagline? Can you explain it a bit more to us?
Like my blog’s title, the tagline is composed of three parts: “Sugar-free, gluten-free, allergy-friendly. Anti-candida living. And comments from my dogs.”
The first part explains the types of ingredients in my recipes: free of sugar, gluten, eggs and dairy (and many also free of nuts, soy, corn, or other common allergens). As a holistic nutritionist, I also focus on whole, real foods and don’t use processed ingredients. Because I am such a dessert fiend, though, I’ve found some great ways to recreate all my favorites so that they taste just as good as the original versions; and surprisingly, many of my readers have no dietary restrictions at all, but visit my blog simply because they are looking for healthy options.
The second part refers to the anti-candida diet, which I’ve been following since 2009 (a diet used to reduce an overgrowth of yeast in the body; for more info, see my Candida FAQ page). I also address reader questions about, and occasionally discuss the challenges that come with, the diet.
As for the third part, well, there was just no stopping them!
What TV show is your guilty pleasure? It’s not exactly a “guilty” pleasure, but I really enjoy Mad Men. I don’t actually watch television very much, so sitting down with my hubby for an hour, undisturbed in front of the telly on Sunday evenings, seems like a guilty pleasure!
What was the first sign your man was a keeper? During the first summer we were dating, the girlfriend of my husband’s then-room mate threw a huge backyard Bar-B-Q; it was the first time I would meet her or my hubby’s room mate. What I didn’t know before we got there was that the hostess had supplied burgers for everyone. As someone who follows a vegan diet, I was a bit perturbed to realize there was likely nothing there I could eat. But then my honey pulled out a huge eggplant, which he’d brought along so I could slice it for eggplant “steaks”—something I had mentioned in passing that I liked. Definite keeper!
Tell me a job you’ve held that no one would believe. It involves both meat and irony: not only did I stop eating meat during university, but I came from a family that ate meat 7 days a week—my father was a butcher! When I was away at university, the summer of my MA I was kind of desperate for a job and applied at a company called Hunk ‘N Chunk Freezer Meats (yes, that was its real name!), which sold full sides of beef, cut up and packaged, directly to consumers. In my interview, when the owner asked why an MA student in literature would want to work for a wholesale meat company, I piped up, “Well, I grew up with meat—my father was a butcher!” I got the job, but of course I knew absolutely nothing about cuts of meat (let alone being a salesperson). It turned out to be one of the best jobs I had, though—the owner was a lovely man, who even tried to set me up with his nephew!
What’s the best thing you ate so far this week? Some raw caramel cupcakes with raw orange-caramel frosting. It’s a recipe I’m working on for a review of products from a “raw superfoods” company. I’m in love with their hemp seeds.
There’s a can of coconut milk in front of you. What’s the next recipe you make? For some reason, I’ve had this Nutella Ice Cream on the brain lately. Plan to make it this evening, in fact (I guess ice cream is going to be a theme for me this summer!).
What accessory of yours is most “you”? As someone who’s struggled with weight gain (and loss, and gain, and loss, and gain) my whole adult life, I love earrings because. . . they always fit! My favorite pair right now are black hoops that are threaded through a red ceramic flower on each one. They feel very cheery to me, and I think they express a bit of eccentricity. They also go really well with a pair of crazy flowered capris that I have.
If you had to eat one food every day for the rest of your life, which food would it be? This one’s a no-brainer: chocolate, of course! (We’re talking hypothetically, right? Because we all know that eating only chocolate would be entirely unhealthy. . . except a girl can dream, can’t she?).
What was your worst kitchen disaster? Back in my 20s when I still ate meat, I had just moved into my first apartment on my own and decided to throw a Thanksgiving dinner. I had never cooked a turkey before, but hey—I was the daughter of a butcher! The recipe I used (I think it was from The Joy of Cooking) instructed me to drape a clean tea towel over the turkey, then baste over it along with the bird to keep the meat moist. I dutifully obliged, basting every 30 minutes or so for the full cooking time. When it was time to remove the towel, I was devastated to find that the juices—as well as the skin of the turkey—had all turned blue! You see, I hadn’t realized I was supposed to use a white tea towel—I just used one of my regular, printed ones! I think we ended up ordering in Chinese food that night.
What was the inspiration for the last recipe you created? I love finding inspiration in restaurant meals I enjoy or products I love and often will try to recreate a favorite recipe as a healthier version at home. For my last recipe, though (a Raw Fudge-Topped Brownie), I remembered a recipe in an old cookbook of mine that is filled with chocolate-only desserts. I’ve been trying to eat more raw foods over the summer, so I decided to convert the Fudge-Topped Brownies from that book into a completely raw version. Happy to report that they were one of the best desserts I’ve made!
Please visit Ricki’s blog to see my answers and her recipe for Blueberry Ice Cream!
For my ice cream recipe, I went with a light coconut milk base. Roasting the blueberries? Don’t skip it. Roasting any kind of fruit or vegetable draws out the natural sugar, intensifying the sweetness, and that’s what makes this ice cream so decadent. I opted to use just a little bit of low-glycemic coconut sugar. If you’ve ever tried to make “healthier” ice creams, you know that trying to forgo fat and sugar always results in an ice-cold brick in your freezer. Fortunately, there’s a few ingredients that can help: arrowroot starch and guar gum help to thicken the base and improve the creamy texture, and erythritol, a zero-calorie all-natural sweetener, rounds out the sweetness and helps to maintain a soft texture upon freezing. I am proud to say, this ice cream was soft and scoop-able straight from the freezer for a good day or two. By day three, it was a little rough, but nothing that 10 minutes on the counter couldn’t take care of.
I haven’t seen Ricki’s blueberry ice cream yet, but I know it’s going to be pretty amazing
PS: I couldn’t resist dressing up my ice cream. That creamy dessert sauce? It’s made of cashew butter. I bet almond butter sauce would be amazing with this ice cream too. If you want to make your own nut butter sauce, just mix together: 2 tablespoons nut butter, 3 tablespoons almond milk, 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil, and 15 drops liquid vanilla stevia. Drizzle it on and enjoy! (Not all of it though – that makes enough for two.)
Roasted Blueberry Ice Cream
Yield: 4 (generous!) servings
2 cups (280gm) fresh blueberries
1/4 cup (40gm) coconut sugar
1 can light coconut milk
1 tablespoon arrowroot starch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
3 tablespoons erythritol
1 teaspoon guar gum
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Spray a ceramic baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Toss the blueberries and coconut sugar together in the dish. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring once.
Meanwhile, whisk together the coconut milk and arrowroot in a small saucepan until smooth. Bring to a low boil over medium heat, and cook for about 5 minutes, whisking often. The mixture will thicken substantially. Remove from heat.
Place the cooked blueberries and coconut milk mixture in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Add the vanilla extract, salt, almond milk and erythritol and blend again until smooth. Lastly, blend in the guar gum.
Chill the mixture for several hours or overnight, then freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat 5.9 g
Saturated Fat 1.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 189.6 mg
Potassium 75.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 23.7 g
Dietary Fiber 2.5 g
Sugars 15.3 g
Protein 1.0 g
Cara Lyons, www.carascravings.com
This post is linked to Friday Foodie Fix at The Whole Gang, where the secret ingredient this week is blueberries! Stop by for plenty of delicious gluten-free blueberry recipes. This post is also linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.