Squash Pie Cups with Maple Mascarpone Cream {gf}

by fitforthesoul in ,


Oftentimes I open our fridge looking for snacks only to shut it right away, and that's because it looks so messy and unmanageable!  I sort of have a bad habit of forgetting that I have certain produce lying around in there, and although I have the best intentions of eating them right away they fall to the wayside because I eat everything little by little…and very slowly. I know, bad habit.

Luckily, I got to use the remaining half of this beautiful acorn squash this week in a more creative way than just roasting it.

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Don’t get me wrong guys, I love love love to roast my veggies (that’s what I thought it was, so thank you website, although some beg to differ and classify it as fruit) and I think that dipping roasted squash in BBQ sauce or hummus is one of the yummiest ways to enjoy it.  But there’s something about including veggies in desserts that has always intrigued me…and pumpkin and squashy vegetables are so moist and naturally sweet that you can’t go wrong when you include them in baked goods!  Open-mouthed smile

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Furthermore, as you could tell from my post featuring my love for fall outfits, I am beyond excited to welcome the fall weather here in So Cal.  Everything about the fragrance of fall leaves, dark skies and dreary weather makes me smile as it reminds me or childhood in Argentina.

Also, cuddling up to your loved ones with a hot mug of coffee and holiday desserts is an experience that can’t be beat and thus, I plan on doing that with my new little family--along with these little mini pies on hand.  Do these things sound good to you as well?  I hope so because I worked hard on these! Smile

I came up with these mini gluten free pies to celebrate fall and the impending holidays!  Make these for your upcoming gatherings and bless them with some baking love.  They can be topped with whipped cream or just as the recipe suggests—spoon a fresh dollop of one of my ultimate favorite delicacies—Mascarpone cheese!  That stuff is highly addictive and I’m warning you ahead of time that once you try it you won’t be able to look back.  So hasta la vista, baby.

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Squash Pie Cups with Maple Mascarpone Cream {gf}

I roasted leftover acorn squash and took out the seeds.  Then, I spooned out the flesh when it was nice and tender.  However, I suggest buying canned squash from the store (Sprouts, Whole Foods, etc.) to ease up the process.  If you don’t have the listed spice ingredients but do have pumpkin spice on hand, then you can definitely substitute it altogether.  Enjoy!

Makes 12 mini pie cups

Ingredients for Crust

  • 2 C oat flour (I processed whole oats)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 TBSP coconut oil (or other)
  • 4 TBSP ice water
  • 1 egg
  • oil spray

Ingredients for Filling

  • 1 C squash puree (any orange squash)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 5 TBSP powdered sugar
  • 1/16 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Ingredients for Maple Mascarpone Cream

  • 1/3 C  Mascarpone Cheese
  • 1 TBSP pure maple syrup

Directions

  1. If you use fresh squash, then you have to broil it for an hour.
  2. Preheat your oven to 375 F degrees.  Grab your food processor and process all of the crust ingredients.  Start pulsing it once it begins to become a ball of dough.
  3. Set aside to make the filling.  HOWEVER, if you are using another kind of oil and not coconut oil, then I suggest wrapping it in plastic wrap and putting it in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
  4. Clean out the processor if there are remaining bits of dough and add the ingredients for the filling.  Process it for about 10 seconds.
  5. Lightly spray a muffin pan with oil.  Take pieces of the dough in sizes smaller than a golf ball and press them into the holes in the pan.  The thickness should be a little bit less than a regular whole pie crust.
  6. Spoon the filling mixture into the crust almost to the top and bake for approximately 26-28 minutes or when filling is solidified and crust is slightly golden.  Let them cool on a rack.
  7. Mix the mascarpone cheese with maple syrup in a small bowl until they’re incorporated well.  Top them mini pies with the cream and garnish with cinnamon!

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Are you looking forward to a particular dish during the fall? 

What’s one ingredient that makes you go head over heels?

-Mascarpone for sure!  Also, dulce de leche.  Mmmmm.

Love,

Ellie <33


Banana Cake with Coconut Chocolate Avocado Cream {vegan+gf}

by fitforthesoul in ,


You’ve heard it before.  Our bodies are actually smarter than we deem them to be, meaning that they crave foods that are sweet and decadent in order to compensate for something that is lacking whether that be a certain nutrient, regular sleep, and so on.  Now, there are times when my body makes a liar out of that theory because it isn’t necessarily lacking in anything but rather, it just wants some darn sweets! Simple as that. Make that a super chocolatey cake or pastry covered in chocolate with a side of banana, please.  Ever have one of those moments? April 10-2013 (1 of 1)-164

I promise that I wasn’t always chocolate crazy before I became pregnant.  Somehow, however, my hormones shifted in a mysterious way and as a result they made me make this mess in the kitchen.  After all, moderation is important when it comes to indulgent treats, so why not eat wholesome yet surprisingly delicious food?  Go ahead, no one’s stopping ya.

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And since lately I’ve been giving in to my sweet cravings far more than is beneficial for my health, I decided that banana cake (or bread, if you will) covered in coconut flavored avocado chocolate frosting would be the perfect midday snack.  And you know what?  It not only did the trick to satisfy those sweet cravings but it also gave me a peace of mind knowing that I’m doing something good for my body.  What is even better is that for those of you who love gluten free and vegan desserts this recipe might be right up your alley!  You’re very welcome, my friends.

Banana Cake with Coconut Chocolate Avocado Cream {vegan+gf}

For this cake I poured the batter into two separate 9 inch round cake pans, instead of baking it in one single pan and cutting the cake in half.  If this is inconvenient or you don’t have 2 pans available, you may use one and cut the cake after it is done baking.  However, the baking time will probably have to be a bit longer due to the larger volume. 

Makes about 8 servings

Ingredients for Cake

  • 1 1/3 C oat flour (I process regular oats)
  • 1 C millet flour
  • 3 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 C chia seeds (or flax)
  • 1/4 C raw cane sugar (or other)
  • 1/4 C coconut oil, melted (or other)
  • 1/2 C+2 TBSP almond milk
  • 1 TBSP vinegar (or lemon juice)

Ingredients for Cream

  • 2 medium ripe avocados
  • 1/3 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 5 TBSP honey
  • 3 TBSP almond milk
  • 1 tsp coconut extract

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees and lightly grease the cake pans.
  2. I ground up the oats in a processor along with the chia seeds so the seeds will become pulverized.  However, if you have oat flour available all you need to do is grind up the seeds.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine both flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar with a whisk.  Add the bananas, almond milk, oil, and vinegar last.
  4. Roughly mix the ingredients with a spatula and pour the batter into both cake pans, about half and half.  Bake for 20 minutes and let it cool down.
  5. Scoop the avocado flesh from the skin and put into a processor.  Add the rest of the wet ingredients and process until it is smooth in consistency. 
  6. Add the cocoa powder and once again process until it’s well incorporated. 
  7. With a rubber spatula, spread the cream on top of one cake. 
  8. Place the other cake on top and spread the cream in a circular manner.  Garnish with walnuts or your favorite topping!

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Are you a fan of chocolate?  What’s your ultimate chocolate dessert?

Do you have a mantra/philosophy when it comes to indulging in dessert once in a while?

-I pretty much have whatever I want in moderation.  However, it is a lot nicer when I can make my own creative and wholesome treats at home!!  If I do end up eating too many sweets in a given week, I just try to take it down a notch and up my consumption of water and whole foods.

Love,

Ellie <33


Perfect and Easy Berry Cobbler {vegan+gf}

by fitforthesoul in ,


April 10-2013 (1 of 1)-125 I don’t know if it’s stress from the recent car accident (of which I posted today down below) that has me craving sweets all the time now, or if it’s simply breastfeeding that’s making me hungrier for something extra.  Something sugary.  Something decadent and fruity…Whatever the case may be, I’m glad I was inspired to come up with this super easy, decadent, and best of all, vegan and gluten free cobbler!

I’m extremely ecstatic to share this recipe with you because I know how many of you love your gluten free and vegan desserts.  Some of you just prefer to eat those kinds of food while others have specific needs due to moral or health reasons.  I, for one, have always loved the creativity and taste that goes into gf and vegan dishes and enjoy the process of brainstorming a good recipe.  Another reason why I’m being more creative with my eats right now is that Selah seems to have a sensitivity to all dairy with the exception of eggs.

*Pumping fists*

Yes!  The eggs get to stay.

Although I’ve gone through a lot of trial and error to rule out the possible foods that make her gassy, I’m glad that it’s not coffee and that it is indeed, dairy.  I mean, who can give up coffee and tea when they’re consistently addicted to that sweet smell and nutty taste short on sleep?  Not I, my friends.  Not I.  And well, this isn’t to say that I don’t have a little bit of ice cream or yogurt here and there because I do.  But very rarely, I promise!

That’s why I bring you this decadent, healthy, and low sugar dessert today.  It’s friendly for all sorts of eaters (unless you’re allergic to nuts) and perfect to satisfy your sweet tooth without breaking the bank, your clean diet, or your breastfeeding needs. Open-mouthed smile  I also shared a photo of a single serving on Instagram last night, and that’s great evidence that this recipe is easily adaptable for when you’re short on time and money.  It is important to note that while you’re more than welcome to use fresh berries, I chose to use the frozen kind instead because it’s easier and much cheaper than the alternative.

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Perfect Easy Berry Cobbler {vegan+gf}

Makes approximately 4-5 servings

Ingredients for Biscuit

  • 2/3 C almond flour
  • 1/2 C millet flour (or other gf flour like oat, rice)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 TBSP pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 C almond milk
  • 1/4 C coconut oil (soft to hard texture is ok)***

Ingredients for Fruit Base

  • 1/2 C frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 C frozen blueberries
  • 1 TBSP pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Fill a round baking pan with the fruit base ingredients and stir them up.
  2. In a medium-large bowl whisk together the almond, millet flour, baking powder, and salt.  Then add the wet ingredients and mix them with a wooden spoon.  The batter should be somewhat chunky and runny at the same time.  Place the batter on top of the berry mixture and bake for approximately 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown.  Serve with vegan ice cream and enjoy!  I topped it with So Delicious vanilla bean ice cream.

***Many people are wary of using coconut oil because certain brands have such a strong taste.  Some are good and some taste interesting, for lack of better term.  My favorite brands of coconut oil so far are Dr. Bronner’s and Spectrum.  They have a neutral flavor that is suitable for all kinds of dishes.

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Have a lovely day, my friends!  Seize the day and seize every moment you have with your loved ones.  With a side of cobbler, hehe.

If you eat vegan and gf food, what are your reasons?  Or do you simply enjoy them?

What’s your ultimate favorite and healthified dessert?

What food or drink would be hard for you to give up?

Love,

Ellie <33


Snickerdoodle and Lemon Ice Cream Sandwich {Vegan+GF}

by fitforthesoul in ,


On my previous post I mentioned that I have a really cool recipe to share with you guys.  I’ve been anxiously looking forward to share this little dessert for the past week, and as I’m sure many of you would understand, coming up with a recipe and photographing the results is a miraculous feat when you have a baby around the house. April 10-2013 (1 of 1)-122

Snickerdoodle and Lemon Ice Cream Sandwich {Vegan+GF}

This recipe is full of nutrients and natural sugar thanks to the addition of Medjool dates.  Not only is this healthy dessert a powerhouse of potassium and healthy fat, but it’s also vegan and gluten free.  Unlike most store-bought ice cream sandwiches, this lemony and light recipe will satisfy your taste buds without giving you that dreaded sugar crash in the middle of the day.

Makes 6 sandwiches

Ingredients for Snickerdoodle

  • 10 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 C millet flour
  • 1/2 C almond flour
  • 1/2 C almond or soy milk
  • 1 1/2 TBSP ground flax seed+3 TBSP water
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 TBSP raw organic sugar (or regular)
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil (can be hard or soft)

Ingredients for Lemon Ice Cream

  • 1 can of 13.5 oz coconut milk (full fat)
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla powder (or extract)
  • 2.5 TBSP honey
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest

Directions

  1. For the snickerdoodles preheat the oven to 350 F and lay parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  Make the flax egg by mixing the flax and water in a small cup.  Let it sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Grab a food processor and pulse the dates until they reach a paste like consistency and then add the flours, cinnamon, baking soda, vanilla, sugar, and coconut oil.  Pulse until it’s somewhat well incorporated.
  3. Pour in the milk and flax egg and pulse so that the batter becomes sticky and scrape the sides as needed.  Spoon about a golf ball sized amount of batter on the pan about 2 inches apart from each other and bake for approximately 14-16 minutes.  Every oven is different so make sure to keep your eye on it.
  4. For the coconut lemon ice cream simply add all of the ingredients into a clean processor or Magic Bullet and process until it’s creamy in consistency.  Freeze for at least 3 hours.
  5. When the snickerdoodles are finished put them in the freezer or let them cool down completely before filling them with ice cream.

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If you decide to give these a try I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.  Don’t talk with your mouth full because these are a mouthful.  They’re huge!

For more gluten free recipes you may check out the recipe page.  Although I’m a total amateur when it comes to baking in general and have a long way to go, I’m sure you’re bound to find at least one recipe that you like.  Hehe.  Yes, I’m embarrassed to type that sentence but heck—let’s use up some of that shameless plug, eh?

If you could have any ice cream sandwich flavor combination, what would it be?

-Mine would be a lemon shortbread cookie with white chocolate ice cream filling!

Love,

Ellie <33


Banana Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting {Gluten Free}

by fitforthesoul in , , , ,


You all know that I love to bake. I’m sure that by now you’re aware of my love for cupcakes, and somewhat healthier ones, might I add. (Okay okay, I love ‘em every which way)

Need I mention that I love DIY gifts, especially if it means baking for others?

I’m not even going to mention the fact that 50% of my treats contain cinnamon and banana.

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Well, I think that these moist and delicious cupcakes meet all those criteria!  Luckily, these “trial & error” cupcakes came out perfect on the first go since there was no error in the process.  Good thing too, because I didn’t have to put myself nor my sister’s taste buds through any torture on her special daySmile  But always remember that sometimes, what’s perfect to me isn’t perfect for you!  There.  Now I’m free of any accusation that these are subpar cupcakes although I’m pretty certain anyone would enjoy them.  Perhaps even love them.

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As with any baked good that contains banana as an ingredient, it is best to use really ripe ones for maximum flavor.

Banana Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting {Gluten Free}

These cupcakes may seem intimidating to make due to the GF label and the lesser known flours that might not be in everyone’s pantry.  However, I made sure to use ingredients that are rather easy to access in regular grocery stores—although some of them are definitely guaranteed to be found in a health food market as well as Asian stores.  For the oat flour I basically ground up approximately 1/2 C of GF oats to make 1/2C of flour.  These cupcakes don’t contain too many processed ingredients, but if preferred, you may use 1/2C of sugar altogether instead of 1/3C sugar+Stevia.  Enjoy! : )

Ingredients for cupcakes

  • 1/2 C GF oat flour (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/2 c white rice flour
  • 1/2 C brown rice flour
  • 1/4 C millet flour
  • 1/4 C cornstarch
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 whole egg+1 yolk
  • 1 1/2 large bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 C Safflower oil (or other neutral tasting oil)
  • 3/4 C milk (or almond milk)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 C pure cane sugar
  • 10 drops of Stevia
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 C walnut pieces for garnish (optional)

Ingredients for frosting

  • 1 stick butter, room temp (1/2 C)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 C powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp milk

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 F degrees. In a large bowl stir together all of the flours, xanthan gum, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon with a whisk.  Set aside.
  2. Grab a medium bowl and mash the bananas, then add the eggs, oil, and sugar+Stevia and whisk together until creamy.  Add the milk and vanilla and whisk until it’s all incorporated.
  3. Add the wet ingredients into the bowl with dry ingredients and whisk just until it’s mixed rather well, but do not over mix or it will get tougher in texture.
  4. Have a cupcake pan ready with paper liners and spoon the batter into the holes up to 3/4 of the way.  Bake for approximately 16-18 minutes.  Let cool on a rack.
  5. To make the frosting, a stand mixer or hand mixer is preferable.  Put the butter in and beat at a medium-high speed.
  6. Add the cinnamon, vanilla, sugar, and beat until it’s creamy smooth in consistency and scrape the sides as needed.  Add the milk little by little to see if it needs more or less liquid.  Refrigerate for about 20 minutes or more.
  7. Once the cupcakes are cooled down, spoon the frosting into a ziploc bag and snip one edge with scissors.  (Size varies according to preference)

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Whisk the flours and get that pan ready!

 

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Thoroughly mix those liquids.

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Now we’re talking!  This is the fun part. Smile

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This is even more fun. Snip the edge off of the ziploc bag filled with frosting and squeeze away.

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This time I started from the outer edges, but there are so many ways to frost beautifully.  The colder the frosting is, the easier it will be to shape it.

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Surprisingly enough, these don’t taste grainy or feel gritty in texture.  They were husband and sister approved, if that says anything.  Weee!

 

In regards to gluten free eating, I’ve been doing an OKAY job, though there are times when I’ll scarf down my favorite Korean pastries, only to find out that my stomach is aching and I can’t even say that I’m in pain because it’s my fault in the end, haha.  So I haven’t gotten any tests done as of yet, and when the time for that comes I’ll make sure to start eating just like I used to in the past.  Although gluten or wheat might not be the cause of the problem, I can attest to the fact that I’ve been feeling much better lately.  I don’t know!  Maybe it’s the placebo effect?! Smile with tongue out

In conclusion to that thought, if I want a happy stomach I’ll just have to have more self control in the pastry department.

Even before I saw Jen’s marvelous “Falling into Good Habits” theme, I started to take to heart a lot of the things that awesome people like Amanda have been writing about.  I felt like her post went along really well with my post regarding the importance of un-striving for perfection.  I will still be exercising as much as I want because I enjoy it so much, but one thing that Amanda got me thinking about is that so many of us (myself included) tend to over exercise perhaps because of habit and perhaps because of fear of weight gain.  Although I do exercise for its health benefits, I am afraid to declare that the vain aspect of it does take the passenger’s seat sometimes.  Of course, there is nothing wrong with wanting to stay or get in shape!  After all, that’s one of the reasons why I like to make healthy food for loved ones, as they want to learn to eat better while losing weight.  But I’ve been realizing more and more that in order for me to truly be physically healthy, adopting more of the mellow fitness routines and balancing it out would do me lots of good.  Moving in itself is such a gift from God!  So I want to take care of what He’s given me by not overdoing it, regardless of how good I feel when I sweat like a beast.  And lastly, although I am a follower of Christ I always have my own struggles just like anyone else—the only difference is that I know He loves me and fights on behalf of me so that no idols will take his place in my life.  HE LOVES ME IN SPITE OF ME.

Thank you guys for always inspiring me in so many ways.  I want you to know that your posts really help little ol’ me!

PS:  Eeeek!  I am so excited for Autumn that I can hardly contain it!  Something about it is so beautiful and leads me to get even more reflective than usual about life’s blessings.  And please…let’s keep Costa Rica and its surrounding countries in prayer.

Have you ever tried gluten free cupcakes?  How were they?

Do you have more successful recipes the longer you cook or bake?

What habits are you changing or adopting?


Homemade Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream {Vegan | Low Sugar}

by fitforthesoul in , ,


I think I spoke too soon when I kept telling people that Southern California’s weather has been perfectly cool and breezy, because that couldn’t be farther from the truth this month.  I’m sure that most of you who live in the U.S. can relate to the madness that comes from this hot hot weather, along with the foods that the summer season has to offer, namely good old frozen yogurt and ice cream.  Mmmm! IMG_9557

Although I don’t normally crave rich and chocolaty foods in the summer heat, this time around it’s the complete opposite and all I’ve been wanting is pastries, chocolate, and ice cream.  I promise you I’m not pregnant!  Or so I think…*Nervous laugh*  Since I have to have at least some self control with my cravings—because let’s face it, healthy or not, too much of this heavn’ly stuff isn’t good for us. ;) So I decided to come up with a fun and easy recipe for some homemade ice cream that will rock your socks off! :D  My curiosity got the best of me and got me started in the kitchen for a wholesome and vegan alternative of one of my favorites—mint chocolate chip ice cream. 

Don’t mind the color as it results in a slightly tan and white color.  Since I don’t normally use food coloring in my recipes, I’ll leave it as is.  But feel free to add some green to it if you decide to give it a try.

Homemade Mint Chocolate Chip Ice cream {Healthier Alternative|Vegan}

This rich and creamy homemade ice cream is made of full-fat canned coconut milk.  I’m sure that it would also work with light coconut milk, but for that extra creamy consistency, I opted with the full-fat version.  If you just have a food processor or blender, this recipe will come together in a pinch.  It would be such a fun activity for moms with kids as well!  For those who are health conscious, it might be helpful to know that 1/4 C of the ice cream will equal to approximately 160 calories and very little added sugar. (For the hardcore vegans, honey may be substituted with maple or agave nectar) Bon appetit!

Ingredients

  • 1 can of 13.5 oz coconut milk
  • 4-5 ice cubes
  • 14 droplets of neutral flavor Stevia
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1 TBSP arrowroot powder***
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/3 C semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Grab an empty ice tray and put it in the freezer to chill.  Take your blender or food processor and pour in the coconut milk, ice cubes, Stevia, honey, mint extract, and salt.  Blend it together until all of the ice is dissolved.
  2. Add the arrowroot powder and blend until the mixture gets a bit thicker, about 30 seconds.  Then add the chocolate chips and process until the chocolate turns into the desired consistency—chunky, fine, etc.
  3. Take the chilled ice tray and fill it almost all the way up with the mixture.  If there’s anything left, then pour it in a separate bowl and try not to eat too much of it! :)  Freeze for 45 min-1 hour.

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Gather ‘em up!

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Poor ice tray will get chilly in the freezer…

 

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See the creamy and melty consistency?  Yup, time to lick the lid, which is always the best part!

 

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Fill ‘er up to the top, and no worries if it gets messy.

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These cubes are great for snaking on when that scary craving suddenly hits you—that is, if you can just have one bite.  Once you pop, the fun don’t stop.

 

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Surprisingly enough, the taste of coconut milk is barely detectable, and I know that for a fact because Greg did not mention the word “coconut” even once.  Usually, he can tell right away and gets a bit wary of it.  The texture is so rich and fluffy that even the pickiest ice cream eater will love it!  If there is such a person out there, hehe.

Have a beautiful Sunday and stay cool y’all (pun intended).

PS:  Let us keep Iran in prayer!  May we remember the victims of the earthquake and pray for the injured people as well as their families.  To me this is another reminder that life is short, so let’s say “I love you” as often as we can and live as meaningfully as possible.

 

What are your cravings this summer?

-All I want is veggies, chocolate, pastries, and ice cream!

Have you made “ice cream” at home? 

Love,

Ellie <33