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. . . . . 😀
This recipe is also being shared with Friday Foodie Fix and Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Allergy Free Wednesdays .
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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Last Year at this Time: Fine Cooking’s Strawberries and Cream Layer Cake (gluten free; ACD Stage 3 and beyond)
Two Years Ago: Rhubarb Swirl Ice Cream (gluten free; ACD all stages)
Three Years Ago: Blog Break
Four Years Ago: Potato-Free “Mash” (Cauliflower, parsnip and bean mash) (gluten free; ACD all stages)
[Disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links. If you buy using these links, at no cost to you, I will earn a small commission from the sale.]
janet @ the taste space says
Blueberries are on sale this week. I know what I will be making, even if I don’t have an ice cream maker. Thanks for sharing, Ricki! 🙂
Thanks, Janet! I actually use the processor method exclusively these days, even thought I DO have an ice cream maker! 😉
Yum,,,can’t wait to try this one out! I also love Caras Spiced coconut almond porridge 🙂 Now I’ll hop over to her site and check her ice cream out 🙂
Thanks, Robyn!! And that’s so fitting, since her porridge recipe is based in part on this one! 😀 Hope you like the ice cream(s). 🙂
love this post from you ladies 🙂 LOVE both versions, too. Might have to try both very soon!!
Thanks, Shannon! It was so much fun to put together. And we didn’t share the posts with each other first, so Cara’s intro was a surprise to me, too! 🙂
Meghan @ Making Love In the Kitchen says
Amazing! I am a HUGE fan of ice cream that doesn’t require all the fussiness of the ice cream maker (okay- not fussy, but just I just want to eat the goodness faster). The blender/freezer method is how I make most of my ice cream these days…thanks for sharing this tasty looking recipe, Ricki!
Thanks, Meghan! I agree–once it’s frozen, it’s wonderful to be able to just eat it, perfectly textured, within 45 seconds of getting that urge (no softening time required!). 🙂
What a cute post! Your ice cream looks amazing, Ricki, I cannot wait to give it a try. xo
Thanks, SUnny! It’s so easy and really refreshing on a hot evening. 🙂
Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy.wordpress.com says
oh that sounds so delicious! and refreshing too! i love the color — so beautiful:) thanks for sharing Ricki!
Thanks so much, Caralyn! I’m really enjoying your BED experiments these days, too! Those broccoli cupcakes are just too cute (and look delish) 🙂
Laurel Alanna McBrine says
Fabulous, as always – thanks, Ricki!
If I were to use NuNaturals Pure Stevia, what would the equivalent be to 40 drops of the liquid, or what the equivalent sweetness would be in standard sugar so I can make a calculation?
Appreciate your creativity and generous sharing!
Laurel, I find that 40 drops is about 1/4 teaspoon of the pure stevia powder. I have the powder, too–just always forget to use it since the liquid is so handy!! I’d also add a bit of grated lemon zest (maybe 1-2 tsp) to compensate for the lemon flavor of the liquid stevia. 🙂
What a beautiful ice cream. Always inspiring. I’ve never made blueberry ice cream, and this looks just too perfect and easy not to try. PLUS, it’s going to be 104 degrees here in Northern California on Saturday (it keeps rising). Yikes@ This weather just begs ice cream.
What a fun connection between you and Cara. I love it.
Have a great weekend,
Thanks so much, Amber! And whoah on the 104 degrees–yowch! Hopefully not humid at the same time. 😉
Carol McDonough says
Your creations are fabulous! I really enjoy your web site also.
I ordered your 3 books via Pay Pal several weeks ago & have not received them. Would you please give me an ETA on them. I am anxious to begin makinging some of your yummy recipes.
Thank you, Carol
Thanks so much for your comment, and for ordering the ebooks!
Your ebooks were sent to you on the same day you ordered them. Unfortunately, the address on your PayPal account is different from the one associated with this comment; I also tried to email this address and got a message that the email address associated with this comment does not exist. As I mention on the Ebooks page, please be sure that the email address you use when ordering is valid, because that is where the ebooks are sent. If you see this comment, please email me from a valid address!
Carol McDonough says
I have sent you many messages with my email. If you do not send the books by tomorrow, I shall canceal my order. How many times do I have send this to you? Where are my books?
I’ve just tried to re-send them again (for the fourth time). I’m not sure why the emails aren’t going through. As mentioned on the Ebooks page, the ebooks are sent to the email address associated with your PayPal account; and you are asked to ensure that it is the correct email address. Since your email address is NOT the same one as this one, your ebooks were initially sent to the wrong address. I’m sorry, but if for some reason they still don’t get through, I’d be happy to refund your money.
Heather @Gluten-Free Cat says
Ricki, thank you so much for this post! First of all, it was so great to learn more about Cara. I thoroughly enjoyed her Food Photography session at Nourished. She was so much fun and had great tips! It’s fun to know more about her!
Secondly, I just got home from the grocery store with 6 pints of organic blueberries! They were on sale. And i knew I couldn’t get just one. Driving home, I was wondering what to do with the them besides freeze them for smoothies. Now I know! I don’t have an ice cream maker and am always annoyed when recipes call for one. Some day…but until then…. Thank you!
Glad to be of service! 😉 I hope you love this as much as we did. And also glad you enjoyed reading about Cara–we had lots of fun with these posts! (BTW, I answer the same questions, too. . . on her post). 😀
Heather @Gluten-Free Cat says
I just read Cara’s post…love your responses!!! I’m a closet Mad Men fanatic… And I love that your sweetie brought eggplant steaks for you! What a great read!
Yay for Mad Men!! 😀 And yes, he’s quite the sweetie (most of the time–lol!!). Thanks for going over there and checking it out, Heather (and apologies for the nudge!) 😉
Johanna GGG says
this is the sort of blogging community activity I love seeing in action – Cara’s info about the ice cream makes me wonder if you have found it as hard to find a good ice cream recipe – you seem to have so many on your blog which always impresses me as I am not great at ice cream making and I think my experiences have been more like cara’s (without great successes)
It was so much fun to do with her! 🙂 I have found that I just love using the processor method, because once the mixture is frozen and ready to go, you have perfect ice cream in less than a minute–and it is always perfectly scoopable and never hard once it’s processed. I honestly am not sure whether this would harden up with an ice cream maker; I suspect you’d have to eat it fresh and not keep it in the freezer too long!
Johanna, I bet if I just employed Ricki’s food processor method with my ice cream base, I’d have creamy ice cream all the time too. She is one smart cookie!
Maybe, but I don’t have always-scoopable recipes like your roasted blueberry ice cream! 😀
Johanna GGG says
I had to return after reading your interview on Cara’s blog – always love your stories but the one about the turkey is hilarious and just a little bridget jones
Thanks, Johanna! Yes, my face was red, but the turkey was blue!! I actually told that story once on the blog. . . though just don’t ask me which post (with over 700 posts, it would be tough to find it!!). 😉
I agree with your approach to being vegan — no preaching, and only talk about it if questions are asked. If I’m asked questions while eating in the company of omnivores, I try to defer to a time when food isn’t involved, so as to avoid awkward moments. I can be quite roused about diet and animal rights issues, but usually I have to be questioned before offering my opinion. I think I’ve had a lot of influence on people because I let them draw their own conclusions.
Fun and unexpected interview questions. Now I’m heading to Cara’s blog to see what you said!
Andrea, that sounds like such a sensible, helpful approach! Love it. So when are we going to have dinner together already?? 😉
What a cute idea! Loved reading Cara’s answers, it’s always a great way to get to know someone a little better! Blueberry ice cream sounds divine to me!
Thanks, Maggie! I loved reading her answers, too–and I still can’t believe how similar we are! The ice cream is lovely–very summery and refreshing. 🙂
Gretchen @gfedge says
Beautiful – just in time for summer fruits which are coming in fast! Freezing some in ice cream like this may be the only way for me to catch up and not lose out on some of this summertime goodness.
I agree! We need to save this summer goodness any way we can. 🙂
Carol McDonough says
Still waiting for my books. 🙂
Carol, I’ve tried to send them four times. If they still haven’t arrived, I’m really not sure why you’re not receiving them. Would you let me know? If you still haven’t gotten them, I’d be happy to refund your money.
Oooh, a new blog to follow! Now, to somehow expand the hours in my day as well as the number of blogs to read… 😉
Gorgeous ice cream! I’m a super-large-big fan of lemon desserts, so I’m glad you’ve got that twist here 🙂
Thanks, Hannah! And I agree–hard to keep up with blogs these days! I don’t read nearly as much as I used to. 🙁
Love this post and great blueberry ice cream recipes from both of you!
Mmmmmm…..Can’t wait to try this out! I’ve made low-carb ice-creams with just about every berry out there but blueberry! I’m curious about the pear in this, too.
Thanks so much! I use the pear really as a sweetener so I don’t have to add too much of any other sweetener. It also adds texture. 🙂
Blueberries in homemade dairy-free ice cream? Oh yes, count me in! Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe on Allergy-Free Wednesdays!
Thanks so much, Laura! And of course it’s my pleasure–it’s a great event. 🙂
Cindy (Vegetarian Mamma) says
This looks refreshing! YUM
Ricki Heller says
Thanks, Cindy! It’s not too sweet, but very satisfying! 🙂
Hi! I would really like to try your recipe, but I am on the candida diet and currently can’t have cashews or most fruit (berries are okay). Could I substitute almonds for cashews? Any suggestions on substituting the pear?
Ricki Heller says
Thanks so much! This recipe was actually formulated for people on stage 2 of an anti-candida diet. I do allow cashews on the diet in my book, so for me they are not an issue. You could try macadamias before almonds, as almonds contain far less fat and wouldn’t have the same creamy texture when blended (or else perhaps add a bit of coconut oil). There are really no subs for the pear–I use it as a “nonsweet” fruit to give some texture and (again) creaminess. You could try something like pureed spaghetti squash, but I’m not sure how that would taste (I do use it sometimes in baking, though). If you try it out with the subs, do let me know how it turns out so I can share with my other readers! If you’re looking for a Stage One ice cream try this one without the topping, and sub all-stevia for the sweeteners; or same with this one (and sub more avocado for the pear).
Do you have a way of altering this recipe or any ice cream recipe you have without using nuts? I’m on a very limited diet due to allergy testing and need to avoid all sources of dairy, wheat, gluten, nuts, corn, vanilla, and quite a few fruits and vegetables.
Ricki Heller says
Hi Marianna, you could try raw sunflower or hemp seeds instead of the nuts, or just leave them out. The final result won’t be quite as thick and rich, but will still taste good. 🙂