The Clean Creative

healthy eating can still be awesome


2 Comments

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

mintchip3Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I’m not Irish, but I really like green. In fact, my entire kitchen, dining room, and bathroom are decorated in various shades of green! I also really like anything vanilla-mint flavored. What could be better than mint chocolate chip ice cream?

I have to admit: the first time I discovered that I could blend a frozen banana and turn it into ice cream, I thought I was a genius. After doing a little Google research, I found out that I was NOT a genius, but rather a little behind the times in the world of non-dairy ice cream. OH, WELL! (I also thought I might get away with another ice cream post since it’s St. Patrick’s Day, and pretty much anyone will get excited about something if it’s green, no matter what it is.)

This recipe is actually quite simple – but you’ve gotta stay with me to the end after you read the ingredient list! Trust me…this stuff is really good!

Here’s what you need:

1/8 c. raw cashews, soaked in water for 1 hour and then drained
1/4 c. unsweetened almond milk
1 1/2 frozen bananas
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. pure peppermint extract
1/4 tsp. lime juice
3 coconut milk ice cubes (use full-fat canned coconut milk)
a small handful of spinach (I’M SERIOUS!)

mintchip1

Yes, food fans, THIS is what’s going in your ice cream! Spinach, indeed. Now that I’ve lost half of my readership, hopefully the other half of you will believe me when I tell you that you’ll never taste it in your ice cream. (Moms – don’t show your kids! They don’t need to know that this ice cream is actually good for them!)

Put your raw cashews and almond milk in your Vitamix and blend for about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides. I was kind of experimenting with the cashew cream this time around, so I used half the cashews I normally do. I also made the mistake of purchasing unsalted cashews (which have a mild flavor), rather than raw cashews (which have almost no flavor), but the recipe still turned out just fine!

  • Helpful hint: I’ve found that if I start the cashew cream on variable 1 and leave it there for a good 10 seconds before SLOWLY increasing to variable 10 and HIGH, I get better results. The cashews look more like jumping beans as they bounce around in the blades, but they get chopped down a little more before being catapulted to the lid on your container (or your ceiling, in case you forgot the lid).

Add the rest of your ingredients in the order listed. Put the lid back on your Vitamix, unscrew the cap, and drop your tamper in place. (I’m learning that the Vitamix becomes twice as awesome with the tamper!) Start on variable speed 1 and work quickly up to 10, then HIGH. Use your tamper to push all the ingredients into the blades. Don’t worry about those grinding noises! That’s just the sound of your frozen ingredients being pulverized by the blades. They had it coming, anyway.

  • Note: If you’re going to use peppermint oil rather than peppermint extract, be very careful! Peppermint oil is much more concentrated. Using too much can have mild negative effects like causing your ice cream to taste bitter. Stronger effects can go as far as making your eyes water! One or two drops is probably more than enough.

Once four mounds form on top of your mixture, stop the machine. Don’t be like me and try to wrestle with one little piece of spinach that happens to cling to the side of your container. I ran the Vitamix for a few seconds too long, and…well…soft serve is still good!!!

mintchip2

Hey, it looks like a shamrock! Even my Vitamix is getting festive. You can see that the four mounds on top of this mixture aren’t very pronounced. This is what happens when you insist on wrestling with a defiant piece of spinach, rather than just leaving it alone.

Scoop it into a festive dessert cup (in my case, it was a cute green mug that I found at Goodwill), and top with maltitol-sweetened dark chocolate chips or carob chips. (By the way, if you can find the chocolate chips at your grocery store, they’re probably a LOT cheaper!!!)

mintchip3

You also have the option of dropping a few handfuls of chocolate chips into your mixture once it’s finished, and hand-stirring them in. I’m not a fan of frozen chocolate chips, so I just topped my ice cream with a few of them. You could also try blending them into the ice cream, but then you’ll lose that lovely green coloring!

Now remember: don’t tell your kids that they’re eating spinach ice cream! If they ask about the little green flecks…um…tell them it’s FOOD COLORING! Well, it is…that’s the only reason the spinach is in this recipe, anyway…aside from the vitamins and whatnot… Wow…ice cream without sugar, dairy, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, yellow dye #5, red dye #1, polyethylene glycol, propylene glycol, ethyl acetate… (Yes, they actually put this stuff in processed food!!! And people say I’m crazy to put spinach in my ice cream…really?)

  • If you don’t have a Vitamix: If you’re using a standard household blender, this recipe might work for you if you increase the recipe to 2 bananas, and eliminate the coconut milk ice cubes. You’ll be stopping and starting a lot, and scraping down the sides each time, but it just might work!

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, in a nutshell:
1/8 c. raw cashews, soaked in water for 1 hour and then drained
1/4 c. unsweetened almond milk
1 1/2 frozen bananas
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. pure peppermint extract
1/4 tsp. lime juice
3 coconut milk ice cubes (use full-fat canned coconut milk)
a small handful of spinach (I’M SERIOUS!)

Place raw cashews and almond milk in the Vitamix. Blend for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides. Add the rest of the ingredients. Starting at variable speed 1, work quickly up to variable speed 10, and then HIGH, using the tamper to push the ingredients into the blades. Stop the machine once four mounds form on top of the mixture. Top with chocolate or carob chips and serve.

  • Note: I must share with you all that my inspiration for this recipe can be credited to the awesome Shamrock Shake, courtesy of the lovely Erika at alittleinsanity.com. Thanks for your inspiration!


7 Comments

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!
bluecheesecake1

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.

bluecheesecake2

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!)

bluecheesecake3

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!)

bluecheesecake4

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!