Banana Claw – Decadent Vegan Ice Cream

Banana Claw ice cream

Back before we had kids, their dad and I used to like to go to the ice cream store and get a type of ice cream called Bear Claw. Bear Claw ice cream is a very rich chocolatey ice cream, with ribbons of caramel, and chocolate covered cashews.

I’ve been making vegan ice cream from bananas. I can’t eat Bear Claw ice cream anymore, so this is my healthy vegan adaptation of it. My daughter Kendra says we should call it Banana Claw.

This whole recipe is easy achocolate and cashewsnd quick. Once your bananas are frozen, the entire recipe takes about 15 minutes to make.

To freeze bananas: Choose bananas that are ripe, with freckles, but not totally brown. Bananas that are overripe and would work great in banana bread will make this recipe taste too banana-y. So pick bananas that are freckled, so that they are sweet enough, but not overripe. To freeze, break the bananas into chunks and put them in a container in the freezer.

cashews going into the bagMaking chocolate covered cashews is easy: Melt chocolate chips, stir together with cashews, and put them in the freezer for a few minutes. Ziplock bags are very non-stick, so they work great for freezing the cashews. The chocolate ends up on the cashews, not on the bag. Tip: To make it easier to spoon the mixture into the ziplock bag, you can put the bag into a glass or mug and fold its sides down over the rim. Then the glass will hold the bag open for you.

bananas avocado food processorThe caramel layer is my version of the caramel in Vegan Richa’s Salted Date Caramel Chocolate Pie with Almond Coconut Crust — a very decadent and wonderful vegan recipe.

just the ice creamI don’t normally use much salt, but it tastes really good in this caramel, and it’s only a small amount. If you happen to have fancy salt available, such as Himalayan Sea Salt, this is a good recipe to use it in.

cashews after freezingBanana ice cream is very easy to make: Blend three frozen bananas with whatever flavoring you like: fruit, or cocoa powder. An optional avocado adds extra richness.

And voila! Healthy fruit and nuts are magically turned into a rich and delicious ice cream.


Edited to add: I’ve had a request for a nut-free version. For nut-free, omit the cashews or replace them with pumpkin seeds (without shells). And leave out the almond butter.

more banana claw

Banana Claw - Vegan Ice Cream
 
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A rich vegan ice cream, made from bananas, full of caramel, laced with chocolate covered cashews.
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Serves: 1 pint
Ingredients
Chocolate Covered Cashews:
Caramel:
  • 5-6 dates (with no pits)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons almond butter
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3/8 teaspoon salt
Ice Cream:
  • 3 frozen bananas, broken into chunks
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 perfectly ripe avocado (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
Chocolate Covered Cashews:
  1. Melt the chocolate chips in a small bowl in the microwave, by heating for 30 seconds and then stirring. Repeat until the chips are melted.
  2. Stir in the cashews.
  3. Pour into a quart-sized Ziplock bag.
  4. Squeeze out the air, then zip the bag.
  5. Use your fingers to spread out and separate the cashews throughout the bag.
  6. Place the bag in the freezer.
Caramel:
  1. Blend all caramel ingredients in a blender or food processor, until completely smooth.
Ice Cream:
  1. Blend all of the ice cream ingredients in a food processor.
  2. Remove the bag of cashews from the freezer.
  3. While the bag is still closed, use your fingers to break apart the cashews, so that they are separate and not stuck together.
  4. Pour the cashews into the ice cream, and gently stir them in.
  5. Put half of the ice cream into a freezer-safe container. Smooth it out. Spread the caramel evenly on top. Add the rest of the ice cream on top.
  6. You can eat the ice cream now, though it will still be soft, or leave it in the freezer to firm up.

 

Potoccoli – a meal of potato, egg, and broccoli

Potoccoli

Potoccoli is made of potatoes, broccoli, and eggs. It is not glamorous, but it is soothing and nourishing.  Potocolli is intended as a main dish, but I could eat (and have eaten!) it for breakfast… and lunch… and dinner.

Everybody has their own favorite comfort foods. Potatoes are mine. When my digestive system is unhappy, Potoccoli is my magic wand of happiness.

I invented this recipe years ago. It has been one of my favorites ever potato cubessince then, because it is easy to cook and I usually have the ingredients on hand. I picked it to be the first dinner recipe in my new blog because the recipe is entirely my own invention, and because I have loved it and been nourished by it over many years. The name is a combination of the words potato and broccoli. Its alternate name is Potatoccoli — adding another syllable.

At the store, if you have a choice between “broccoli cuts” or “broccoli broccoli floretsflorets,” florets work better in this recipe.

This recipe relies on good potatoes. I like Yukon Gold or Yellow Finn potatoes in this recipe, but any type of potato should work. Potatoes are grown with a lot of pesticides, so use organic potatoes if you can.

five eggsI aim to post a vegan version of each recipe on this blog — but this recipe is an exception. I am not sure it’s possible to make Potoccoli vegan and still be Potoccoli. Possibly the eggs could be replaced with scrambled tofu, or cashews blended with water and oil and salt — but I have not tried it.

This is a very flexible recipe. I never measure any of the ingredients in Potoccoli — estimating works fine. I like to use equal amounts of potatoes and broccoli, but you can vary this to suit your own preferences.

Potoccoli
 
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A quick and yummy dinner of potatoes, egg, and broccoli.
Author:
Recipe type: Main Dish
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds of nice potatoes -- Yukon Gold or Yellow Finn work great in this recipe
  • 1 pound frozen broccoli florets
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4-5 eggs
Instructions
  1. Cut the potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes. Place them in a pot. Add just enough water to cover them. Heat over medium-high heat until the water boils. Pour on the broccoli florets, still frozen, and leave them sitting on top without stirring. When the water boils again, turn the heat down to medium and cover the pot so that the steam from the potatoes will cook the broccoli.
  2. Boil for 10 to 12 minutes, until you can easily pierce a piece of potato with a fork and it seems soft.
  3. While the potatoes cook, beat the eggs in a bowl.
  4. Drain the potato-broccoli mixture in a colander in the sink.
  5. Put the mixture back in the pot. Add the oil, then sprinkle on the salt, then pour on the beaten eggs.
  6. Stir the mixture with a big flat-handled metal spoon. Cover the pot with the spoon still in it, so that the spoon gets heated along with the mixture (so that uncooked egg doesn't stay on the spoon and get back into the food). The spoon should be in the middle of the mixture, not touching the bottom of the pot where it might overheat. Be careful - its handle may get hot.
  7. Heat the mixture on medium, checking and stirring every 1-2 minutes, leaving the spoon in the mixture.
  8. When all of the egg looks dry like scrambled egg, not runny anymore, the Potoccoli is ready.
  9. Serve!

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies – no gluten, dairy, or refined sugar!

chocolate chip cookie with a bite taken out of it

I searched far and wide for my perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe — and I have found it! This recipe has no gluten — indeed no grain or flour of any kind — and it is sweetened with dates instead of refined sugar. It makes delicious chocolate chip cookies that start out soft and stay that way.

cookie doughThis recipe is based on the Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe from the blog Cooking a la Mel. But I’ve modified the recipe to use nuts instead of quinoa flour, replaced coconut oil with canola oil, and left out the refrigeration stage.

dough before bakingFor making blobs of cookie dough, I use an OXO Good Grips Medium Cookie Scoop that I bought on Amazon. It makes it easy to turn out a zillion perfect blobs of cookie dough in no time flat — although you can also use a tablespoon to scoop the dough and another one to scrape it off the first one, and that will work fine too.

baked cookiesYou can make these cookies vegan by replacing the egg with a flax egg instead.

My pick for chocolate chips is Equal Exchange, because they are dairy-free, organic, and fair trade.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
 
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Awesome gluten-free chocolate chip cookies: made from healthy ingredients, stays soft, and tastes fabulous!
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Serves: 18-22 cookies
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pumpkin seeds (without hulls)
  • 1 cup dates, with no pits
  • optional: 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 egg (or replace with a flax egg to make it vegan)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips, such as Equal Exchange semisweet
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place all ingredients except for the chocolate chips into a food processor.
  3. Blend for several minutes, until the mixture looks someplace between dough and wet sand. The largest pieces should be the size of the head of a pin.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips.
  5. Place blobs of 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough on a cookie sheet. Flatten the blobs into round cookie shapes. You can put them close together -- they don't expand much during baking.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes.
  7. Tastes best after cooling. Yum!