Six Degrees of Cara’s Cravings (and Blueberry Ice Cream)
[Who made this ice cream? Read on to find out!!]
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you probably have a good idea of the kinds of foods I eat or don’t eat, and my diet profile in general. While I consume a vegan diet, I don’t generally talk about it too much with people (unless they ask, of course). As someone who lives with an avowed omnivore (oh, wait, make that three avowed omnivores!), I don’t feel I have a right to direct other people to eat (or not eat) certain foods, as I wouldn’t appreciate them attempting to influence me. One of the benefits of living in the most multi-cultural city in the world is that it’s taught me that, with acceptance, tolerance and goodwill, we really can all get along.
And so, though my blog features exclusively vegan food, I’m always delighted to “meet” bloggers of all stripes and culinary persuasions. I read a wide variety of food blogs and gather inspiration from all of them. And today I’d like to introduce you to a special blog buddy of mine: Cara, who pens the popular Cara’s Cravings.
Cara and I first became friends about a year ago when we discovered (via Facebook) that her husband is the nephew of my cousin’s best friend (Kevin Bacon would be proud!). Subsequently, I was tickled to observe that we also share a love of healthy food; unusual flavor combinations (just give me the sauce on this one and I’ll be happy); chocolate (duh) and caramel; raw cookie dough; dogs; and funky accessories (see Cara’s answers to my questions, below). I’ve also become somewhat obsessed with her Chocolate Mint Protein Bars (which I’ve adapted to the ACD–will post my version soon!).
Well, when we recently both posted about our experiments making blueberry ice cream on Facebook–on the same day–the coincidences were just too big to ignore! We decided that we must share a food gene somewhere. As a result, we thought it would be fun to share our respective ice cream recipes (be sure to head over to Cara’s blog and check out her version–soooo decadent looking!), plus a little more information about ourselves. We asked each other the same ten questions, and today we’re each posting the other’s answers.
I hope you enjoy reading a little more about my “sister from another mister” today! If you’d like to see how I answered these same questions, check out Cara’s post as well.
Oh, and enjoy some Lemon-Kissed Blueberry Ice Cream, too!
1. What is your blog’s tagline? Can you explain it a bit more to us?
Cara’s Cravings is all about “Indulgent Recipes for Healthy Living.” Indulgent because I’ve always been a bit over the top with everything food-related, and I believe that food should be a source of pleasure and delight. Healthy because this is a lifestyle I’ve chosen to embrace for my own well-being and that of my loved ones. I’ve made it my mission to show that the two can go hand-in-hand and that healthy eating need not be boring. By focusing on clean, wholesome ingredients and incorporating unique flavor combinations, I find myself loving my healthy food more and more each day.
2. What TV show is your guilty pleasure?
Currently it’s VH1′s Tough Love. Normally I’m not a huge reality TV viewer, but I can’t miss this one because one of my lifelong friends is currently starring on it!
3. What was the first sign your man was a keeper?
During our first year of dating, I was still in college and Ben was living about an hour and a half away. Sometime that winter, I “threw out” my back. I still don’t know how it happened, but I can vividly recall the excruciating pain. Ben not only cleared his schedule to come visit me, but he drove me to a hospital and oversaw that I got the best care, rented a hotel room for us so I could relax away from my roommates, and diligently followed the doctor’s orders of massaging the area alternating with ice packs and a heating pad. I can’t imagine anyone taking better care of me!
4. Tell me a job you’ve held that no one would believe.
During one of my camp counselor stints, I was the boating instructor. Probably because I had no other talents to share (cooking was not an elective, not that I even knew how to cook at that age!) Kind of ironic since I was about the least active person ever. (Don’t worry – things have changed and I’m now one of the most in-shape people I know, but I never would have imagined it back then!)
5. What’s the best thing you ate so far this week?
Do I have to pick just one? The best thing I ate that I didn’t make was a seafood jambalaya at a new creole-style restaurant that just opened in my city. And the best thing I made? Probably the sweet-and-salty-peanut-buttery popcorn balls I’m working on. Recipe to come soon
6. There’s a can of coconut milk in front of you. What’s the next recipe you make?
Pina colada popsicles.
7. What accessory of yours is most “you”?
All fall and winter long it was my Lucky Brand ankle boots. First of all, they’re purple. Making them easy to match to all of my other accessories because 90% of what I buy is purple. Second, they’re covered in sparkly things. This means that when I saw them, they were just screaming my name. Lastly, they have a comfortable flat sole. I’m a baby when it comes to shoes (or rather, like Ricki, I have terrible feet) so I love that I can wear these everywhere! Now that summer is here, though, I’m loving my bright pink and orange feather earrings
8. If you had to eat one food every day for the rest of your life, which food would it be?
Well, you didn’t say only one food, so I’m taking this mean that I have to eat one food every day in addition to the rest of my, ahem, balanced diet. That makes this a very easy answer which I’m sure Ricki will agree with: chocolate! [Editor's note: Yep--AGREE!].
9. What was your worst kitchen disaster?
Very ironic given the subject of this post, but it’s without a doubt ice cream! Ever since I bought my ice cream maker a couple years ago, I’ve been trying to perfect a lighter, healthier version. First I did a lot of experimenting with nonfat Greek yogurt and more recently it’s been light coconut milk and tofu. I’ve tried to avoid sugar, opting for small amounts of healthier sugars (like coconut sugar or maple syrup) along with natural, zero-calorie alternatives like erythritol and stevia. But do you know what happens when you try to take the fat and sugar out of ice cream? It turns into a rock in the freezer! I’ve tried various gums and adding alcohol to my ice cream to lower the freezing temperature, but only a few batches have turned out successfully so far. This is one of them. (Another is my vegan salted caramel ice cream!)
10. What was the inspiration for the last recipe you created?
Rather than giveaway any upcoming secrets, I’m going to tell you about one of the more recent original recipes on my blog, Honey-Tahini Chicken with Grapes and Artichokes. This is one of my most favorite recipes lately not only because it tastes so good, but because of what it reminds me of. This recipe was inspired by a trip to Greece I took two years ago, and let me tell you, I’d go back again and again just for the food! The vegetables are among the most flavorful I’ve ever had and the meats and freshly-caught fish are the simplest yet most tastefully seasoned. Because the cuisine relies on such simple, natural preparation, I was even able to indulge in bread and wine daily without feeling bogged down in any way. This savory-sweet sauce is very similar to one we had in Santorini, over grilled halloumi cheese and quite frankly, one of the best things I’ve ever made! We’ve also used it for dipping the leaves of whole roasted artichokes, so if you don’t eat meat, I highly suggest you go that route so as not to miss this special sauce
Thanks, Cara! I loved learning more about you. And am not the least surprised that we had the same answer for question #8! And since I haven’t seen the recipe before, I’m going to hop over to your blog and check out your blueberry ice cream! But first, let me share with my readers. . . . .
Lemon-Kissed Blueberry Ice Cream (no ice cream maker required!)
This ice cream is a great summer treat. Light and fruity, it offers a pleasant diversion from the heavier, cream-laden ice cream flavors. Top with a few more fresh berries for a lovely presentation.
3 cups (750 ml) fresh blueberries
2 Tbsp (30 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp (15 ml) water
30-40 drops lemon or plain stevia liquid, to your taste (I used NuNaturals lemon stevia)
2/3 cup (110 g) raw cashews
2/3 cup (160 ml) unsweetened plain or vanilla almond or soy milk
1 can (12 oz or 400 ml) full-fat organic coconut milk (I use Thai Kitchen)
1 ripe pear, cored (you can leave the skin on)
Either prepare your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions; or place 10 silicone muffin cups in a muffin tin and set aside.
Place the blueberries, lemon juice and water in a small pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Lower heat to medium-low, cover the pot and cook until the mixture reduces to about 1-1/2 cups (360 ml), stirring frequently. It should be fairly thick with very little juice (if any) at the bottom of the pot. Remove from heat, stir in the stevia to taste and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, place remaining ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until perfectly smooth and silky.
Add the cooled blueberry mixture to the blender and blend again until combined. (NOTE: to create a blueberry swirl through the ice cream, remove about 1/3 cup (80 ml) of the blueberry mixture before adding it to the blender and set aside. Otherwise, simply add all the of the blueberry mixture to the blender now.).
Regular (with an ice-cream maker) ice cream: chill the mixture if desired. Once cool, place the ice cream in an ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s directions. For the blueberry swirl, add the reserved blueberry mixture during the final seconds of churning. Freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.
Without an ice-cream maker: Divide the mixture equally among the silicone muffin cups (store the reserved 1/3 cup cooked blueberries in the refrigerator for now, if using). Freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight. Once frozen, pop the hardened disks out of the cups and store in the freezer in ziploc bags until ready to use.
When ready to make ice cream, withdraw about one “muffin” per serving. Cut each into quarters and place the chunks in a food processor, then process until the mixture resembles crumbs. Continue to process until it comes together in a ball. Press down and pour a ring of the reserved blueberry mixture over the ice cream in the processor. Pulse 2-3 times, just to incorporate the “swirl” into the mixture, but not enough to blend. Scoop and serve. Total recipe makes 6-10 servings. Store frozen for up to 1 month.
Suitable for: dairy-free; egg-free; gluten-free; grain-free; sugar-free; low glycemic; Anti-candida stage 2 and beyond; vegan.
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© Ricki Heller, Diet, Dessert and Dogs