The Clean Creative

healthy eating can still be awesome


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Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

bluecheesecake4There are some things that are so good, they’re worth waiting for. There are other things that are so good, you have to share them RIGHT AWAY. This is one of those things that falls into both categories. You see, I had planned this post for a much later date, since it’s another one that involves blueberries. However, it was just so good that I couldn’t help myself. I’ve also had a lot of requests for this recipe, so I thought I’d better get on it sooner rather than later!

Now before you get started with any ice cream making, you’ll need to make your cream cheese. This process takes a while (plan on a good two days) before it’s ready. And YES, for all of you dairy-free people out there, this is cream cheese you can eat!! It’s made with nothing but raw cashews, apple cider vinegar, and lemon juice. Amazing, huh? I can’t take the credit for this one. The wonderful Leanne from Healthful Pursuit came up with it, so you’ll need to check out her blog for the recipe. Thank you, Leanne! You’re a cream cheese genius!

So…at this point, your cashews have been soaked, blended, and have been draining in the cheesecloth…and it’s two days later and you want your ice cream! I get it. Calm down. You’ve probably also noticed that the flavor of your cream cheese is a little “zingy”. Don’t worry about that, either. When you combine the sharp flavor of the cream cheese with the mild flavor of the blueberries, you end up with absolute perfection.

My cream cheese looked like this when it was done. I don’t know if you’re a nerd like me, but I had a huge sense of accomplishment when I opened up the cheesecloth and found this little guy waiting for me!
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As for the ice cream, here’s what you’ll need:

1/4 c. raw cashews, soaked in water for 1 hour and then drained
1/4 c. unsweetened almond milk
1 frozen banana
1/2 c. frozen blueberries
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 “glob” of cashew cream cheese (you just finished making this…see above)
3 coconut milk ice cubes (pour canned coconut milk in an ice cube tray and freeze)

Place your soaked cashews and almond milk in the Vitamix and blend for about 30 seconds. Your Vitamix absolutely will fling cashew bits all over the inside of your container, but it’s not a big deal. The whole purpose of this process is to get the cashew cream started before too much heat builds up in the blades. Remember: The Vitamix has a top speed of 37,000 rpms. That can, and WILL melt your ice cream if this power is not properly harnessed.

Cashew cream? Yes, if you’re a non-dairy person, raw cashews are your new best friend. I’ve found that I can make just about any type of cream by soaking raw cashews and blending them. In this case, the cashew cream gives the ice cream some of its creamy goodness.

When your cream is done blending, scrape down the decimated cashew bits so they’re all in the bottom of your Vitamix container. It won’t be perfect, but get as much of that cashew cream down into the blades as you can. Add the banana, blueberries, vanilla extract, cashew cream cheese, and coconut milk ice cubes. How much is a “glob” of cream cheese? If you look at the photo, it’s that odd-looking thing in the upper left corner of the container, and it’s slightly out of focus. It’s about the size of an ice cube – maybe a little smaller.

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Does anyone know how hard it is to shoot a photo of the inside of a Vitamix? I had to shoot these blind because the thing is so tall! Thank God for autofocus. Anyway, back to ice cream!

Put the lid on the Vitamix and put your tamper through that nifty hole in the center of the lid. Start at variable speed 1 and quickly work up to variable speed 10, then HIGH. Use the tamper to push all the ingredients into the blades. Your Vitamix will make horribly angry grinding and chugging noises as you do this, but don’t despair. This is all part of the ice cream making process! Honestly, I wanted to give up about halfway through. Don’t do it. Just keep pushing everything into the blades, and soon your mixture will start to look more blended. When the sound of the motor changes and you see four mounds form on top of your mixture, shut off the machine. It’s not that the Vitamix can’t handle it. Heck, it would blend it into blueberry cheesecake soup if you ran it long enough! The real issue is that it will melt your ice cream very quickly. Who wants that? (The challenge here is that your cashew cream will have already clouded up the sides of the container, so it’s hard to see what’s going on. Don’t be afraid to pull the tamper out for a quick peek!)

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Is that not the most glorious thing you’ve ever seen? Wonderful blueberry ice cream with swirled-in bits of cashew cream – where have you been all my life? Your tamper should be full of the ice creamy goodness, so when you pull it out, DON’T WASH IT OFF! God gave you a tongue, so use it! Wash it off after you’ve licked it clean.

It’s at this point in the process that I literally freaked out. With nobody in the kitchen to hear my exuberance, I kept saying over and over, “Oh my gosh…Oh my gosh…OH MY GOSH!!!” It was awesome. The flavor and wonderful creaminess was more than I could take. I literally started drooling. It’s as if my salivary glands got so excited that they tried to jump right into the Vitamix container before I could put more in my mouth! I tried to lick anything that had this stuff on it. If the blades on that blender weren’t sharp enough to shear off my tongue, I’m sure I would have found a way to stick my head in the container. (Feel free to run with that mental image!)

Scoop your ice cream out with an ice cream scoop (because it’s that absolutely perfect consistency), and serve it up with a few left over frozen blueberries. Unlike me, you can just eat it at that point. I, however, had to photograph this thing so that I could share the final product with all of you! Do you know how hard that was? The photography part was easy. Resisting the temptation to shove a spoon in it and eat the whole thing was not. Don’t say I’ve never done anything for you. (I recommend eating this right away. If you freeze it and save it for later, it isn’t as good!)

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As soon as I put my camera back in the bag, I devoured this thing. Really, there’s enough ice cream in the container for two people, but since there’s nothing “bad” in it, I see no harm in eating the whole thing.

By the way, I don’t recommend trying this in a household blender. You might be able to get away with a much gentler approach (blending this in little bits at a time), but I make no guarantees. If you use the rather aggressive “dump it all in at one time” Vitamix method, you can be sure you’ll burn out the motor. However, if you’re waiting for your blender to die so that you can finally justify getting a Vitamix, then jump in with both feet and get aggressive with it! 🙂 (You didn’t hear me say that, by the way.)

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream, in a nutshell:
1/4 c. raw cashews, soaked in water for 1 hour and then drained
1/4 c. unsweetened almond milk
1 frozen banana
1/2 c. frozen blueberries
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 “glob” of cashew cream cheese (recipe found here)
3 coconut milk ice cubes (pour canned coconut milk in an ice cube tray and freeze)

Place soaked cashews and almond milk in the Vitamix and blend for 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of container. Add banana, blueberries, vanilla extract, cashew cream cheese, and coconut milk ice cubes. Blend in the Vitamix (using the tamper) until for mounds form on top of the mixture. Stop the machine. Scoop and serve!


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Blueberry Banana Pecan Oat Muffins

muffins3When one has leftover blueberries in their fridge, what’s the best way to utilize them? Well, there are probably quite a few good ideas out there, but this time around they turned into a batch of blueberry muffins!

These are some of my favorites. In fact, my family raves about them. I’m not sure I was allowed over for family gatherings for a while if I didn’t bring any with me.

Normally, I’d make these with spelt flour, but this time around I decided to be creative and make a gluten-free version.

Now before I give you the ingredient list, I need to ask, “Does everyone know how to make oat flour?” If you thought that going to the store and buying it was your only option, you’ve been misled…and you’re paying way too much.

Here’s what you do: Put a cup or so of rolled oats into your food processor. Pulse about 10-15 times, and voila! – OAT FLOUR!!! Repeat this process until you have the amount of flour you need. If you want a more finely ground flour, pulse it some more. I decided to leave mine a bit more coarse, and I really liked the outcome. Think about what a container of rolled oats costs. Now think about what a bag of oat flour costs. I think you all see my point.

Do you see those rolled oats in the second container of my header image? Yup…those became oat flour, and now reside in these muffins!

Now that you all know how to make oat flour without spending an arm and a leg, here’s what you’ll need:

3 ripe bananas
1 egg, beaten (you could also use 1 Tbsp. ground flax, beaten in 1 Tbsp. water)
1/2 c. honey
1 1/2 c. oat flour
1 tsp. guar gum or xanthan gum (don’t add this if you decide to use spelt flour rather than oat flour)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/3 c. olive oil (you could also use 1/3 c. unsweetened applesauce)
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1 c. fresh or frozen blueberries

Mash banans in a large bowl. Add egg (or flax) and honey and stir until combined completely.

In a separate bowl, combine oat flour, guar gum (or xanthan gum), baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add to banana mixture, alternating with olive oil (or applesauce) and mix well. Add pecans and blueberries. I generally use pecans in my baking, because my mom is allergic to walnuts. If you’re more of a walnut fan, those would work just as well!

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Don’t you just want to stop there and eat the batter when it looks like that? If you made it without eggs, go for it. However, you’ll be missing out on the muffin goodness that awaits you!

Grease a muffin pan and bake at 375º for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Yes, you can use those paper muffin cups, but I hate those things!!! They end up stealing too much of my muffin in the peeling off process.

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You can kind of see that I left my oat flour a little more on the “chunky” side if you look at the above photo real closely. I’m glad I did. They turned out awesome!

If you have leftover batter, you could either fill your muffin cups a bit more (which is what I should have done), or use your grandma’s mini muffin pan to make those cute itty-bitty ones (which is what I actually did).

When they’re done, let them cool in the muffin pan for about 10 minutes before removing them. (I just use a butter knife to pry them out, and then place them on a cooling rack.) Cool them completely before storing.

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Warning: If you bring these to any family gathering, you may be obligated to bring them to ALL family gatherings in the future. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. You could also empower your family members to make their own batch by sending them the link to this post!

(Give them a blueberry muffin, and they eat for a minute. Teach them to make blueberry muffins, and…oh, now you get it!)


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Blueberry Oatmeal “Buttermilk” Pancakes

pancakes4I know what you’re thinking: “Buttermilk? Isn’t that dairy plus more dairy?”

Well, not really…and not to worry. You can make a DIY buttermilk without using butter or milk. It’s quite simple! For every cup of non-dairy milk (rice, almond, or coconut), add one tsp. of apple cider vinegar. Stir it together and let it sit for a little while. TA DA!!! You now have non-dairy buttermilk.

As you could probably guess, that’s the start of this whole process. Here’s what you’ll need for the entire recipe:

2 c. non-dairy milk (almond, rice, or coconut)
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 c. rolled oats
2 Tbsp. ground flax seed
4 Tbsp. unsweetened natural applesauce
1/4 c. plus 1 Tbsp. water, divided
1/2 c. spelt flour (brown rice flour or oat flour would also work, I assume)
2 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. fresh blueberries

First, you need to create your buttermilk, as directed above. Add to that your 2 c. rolled oats, stir together, and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. (You thought you were going to whip these pancakes up in a hurry? Sorry…patience is a virtue…so is planning.)

When the oats are done, they should look a little something like this (I stirred mine after soaking to make sure everything was well combined):

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A normal person would have probably used eggs and oil in this next step, but I’ve had a fascination with flax and applesauce lately. It’s not that I can’t do eggs and oil; I just chose not to. Ground flax seed was also on sale at the grocery store, so I went for it.

You’ll want to combine your applesauce and ground flax seed plus 1 Tbsp. water in a mixer. You likely could do this with a fork, but I heard that whipping it with a bit more power does a better job. It’s a little overkill for such a small amount, but here’s the end result:

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Throw that in the fridge for 5-10 minutes, and it should be perfectly gloopy. (“Gloopy” is the new word of the day, just so you know.)

  • Helpful hint: If you’re a fan of using applesauce in your recipes, I’ve found that the best way to purchase it is in the individual 4 oz. cups. If I buy a jar of it, I end up using only half before it goes bad. When I buy the individual cups, it lasts MUCH longer, and I can use up all of it before it even gets close to growing hair.

In a separate bowl, combine the spelt flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Yes, I used spelt flour, and yes, it has gluten in it. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not on a gluten-free diet. Gluten really isn’t the problem; white flour is the root of all evil! (That’s what my immune system seems to think.)

  • Helpful hint: Baking powder already has baking soda in it. I always measure my baking soda first, brush off the spoon, and then measure my baking powder. No need to get a clean measuring spoon!

Now you don’t HAVE TO do this next step, but I must remind you: I have a Vitamix. I’m a little obsessed with it. What does any self-respecting Vitamix owner do when faced with something that COULD be blended? They throw it in! I dumped the buttermilk/oat mixture, the flax/applesauce mixture, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 2 Tbsp. honey, and the flour mixture in, and blended it until it was a glorious finely-ground batter. The batter comes out MUCH thicker than I like for my pancakes, so I added an extra 1/4 c. water and blended again. PERFECT! Should you choose not to blend your batter, that’s just fine. You’ll have to mix it by hand (or with a mixer), and you’ll have whole oats in your pancakes, but that’s not such a bad thing, is it?

  • Helpful hints: Any time you’re measuring honey, spray your measuring cup or spoon with cooking spray first. It slides right out! Also, if you’re not a Vitamixer, a BlendTekkie, or a Ninja, make sure you use a LOT more water, should you choose to blend. You very well may kill your blender if you don’t.

Now for the fun part: let’s make pancakes! Dump in your fresh blueberries, stir them in (with a spoon), and you’re ready to go. Make sure your pancake skillet is preheated over medium heat. It’s ready when you drip water on it and it sizzles.

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Your pancakes will grow rather quickly, so use less batter than you think you’ll need for an average-size pancake. Be especially careful if you added extra water, because they’ll spread even faster! Let them cook until they bubble, and then gently coax them off of the griddle with a spatula to flip them over. I guarantee that your first few will grip onto your pancake griddle as if their lives depended on it! It gets much easier after those few rebels.

I always keep my oven set to “warm” when I make pancakes, which is 170º on its lowest setting. I keep a plate in the oven, and I toss the finished pancakes onto that plate. Seriously, who wants cold pancakes?

  • Helpful hint: If you’re anything like me, you hate getting food in the burners on your stovetop. Here’s an easy trick: Make sure your unused burner is turned OFF, and place a plate over it. Set your container of pancake batter on the plate. Rather than dripping all over your stove, it drips on the plate, which washes off quite easily!

Once the pancakes are done, serve them up with fresh blueberries and pure maple syrup. Yes, that’s butter in the photo. Strangely enough, a lot of people who can’t have dairy are just fine with butter, and I’m one of ’em. I’m not sure why, but I’m not complaining!

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Seriously, I think these are my new favorite pancakes. They smell gloriously of fresh blueberries, they taste absolutely amazing, they’re fluffy and moist, and they’re REALLY filling!

Pancake recipe, in a nutshell
2 c. non-dairy milk (almond, rice, or coconut)
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 c. rolled oats
2 Tbsp. ground flax seed
4 Tbsp. unsweetened natural applesauce
1/4 c. plus 1 Tbsp. water, divided
1/2 c. spelt flour (brown rice flour or oat flour would also work, I assume)
2 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. fresh blueberries

Combine non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar in a medium-size bowl. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. Add rolled oats and stir. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

Whisk applesauce, 1 Tbsp. water and ground flax seed in a mixer until “gloopy”. Refrigerate for 5-10 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine spelt flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add flax mixture to oat mixture, along with vanilla, honey, and 1/4 c. water. Add flour mixture. Blend in a Vitamix, if desired. Stir in fresh blueberries.

Preheat pancake griddle over medium heat, and pour pancakes onto griddle. Gently flip once they have started to bubble for a minute or so. Cook until both sides are golden brown, and store in a warm oven until ready to serve.

Serve with fresh blueberries, pure maple syrup, and butter.