Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Vegan, Sugar-Free Ice Cream

Did you know you can make ice cream out of nothing but bananas? It's pretty much the best thing ever. Personally, I put a few more things in just for flavor, but if you really like banana flavor you can just make banana ice cream, and here's how you do it:

One-Ingredient Ice Cream
  1. Buy a bunch of bananas
  2. Peel them and chop them into chunks
  3. Freeze the banana chunks for at least an hour and up to two weeks
  4. Run the frozen banana chunks through a blender
If you like soft-serve, stop here. Otherwise, or if you want to make it ahead of time, store it in a tupperware and re-freeze. If you freeze it longer than a few hours you may have to let it thaw a little bit before serving (a few minutes on the counter or 10 seconds in the microwave should do the trick).

I like to put cocoa powder (about a teaspoon per banana, adjust to your personal taste) and peanut butter (about a tablespoon per banana) in the blender with the bananas to make chocolate-peanut butter-banana ice cream. You could also put in just the cocoa powder to make chocolate ice cream, or strawberries, raspberries, or some other fruit to flavor the ice cream.

It turns out there's another super magical thing you can do with these frozen bananas, and that's make milkshakes. This is one of my absolute favorite recipes, and it makes a great breakfast in the summer. Healthy milkshake for breakfast? Yes, please!

Vegan, Sugar-Free, and Unbelievably Delicious
Chocolate & Peanut Butter Breakfast Milkshake
  • 1-2 frozen bananas (I freeze pre-cut bananas by the bunch, so I usually just grab a little more than a handful and drop it in the blender; if your bananas look like most supermarket bananas, you'll only need one, but with the smaller non-GMO bananas you sometimes need more)
  • 1 generous spoonful of peanut butter*
  • 1 generous tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon superfood powder (optional)**
  • 1/2 cup hemp milk or other non-dairy milk (or, if dairy is not a concern for you, dairy milk works fine--my boyfriend is allergic to dairy so we use Pacifica hemp milk)
  • Put all the ingredients in a blender, put on the lid, and blend it on up.
  • Taste test and adjust flavor and thickness as desired. You may want more or less cocoa powder or peanut butter, or for a thinner milkshake add more liquid (in this case, hemp milk or whatever milk you're using).
  • Pour into a tall glass and enjoy (share only if you want to)!
I always wash my blender before I'm even allowed to sip my milkshake. That way it gets washed and reassembled quickly and easily (otherwise, it never happens until I need to make another milkshake).

*It's only sugar free if you use sugar free peanut butter--Trader Joes, Organics, and Nut'n Better all make peanut butter where the ingredients list consists of literally nothing but peanuts and salt, and it doesn't get better than that. Those three brands all taste the same to me, but I'm not sure if the TJ's PB is organic or not. The other two are definitely organic.

**I use a superfood blend from the good folks at Enchanted Cedar in Lorena, TX. It contains Arriba Criollo Cacao Powder, Macca, Lacuma, Mesquite, Cinnamon, & Vanilla, and is 100% raw and organic. It's great blended into milk (dairy or non-), chaga tea, or coffee, and I also like to slip it into my milkshakes to bring the nutritional value up an extra notch.

January: Abstain From Sweets

When I originally set my goal/resolution/project for January, it was simply to abstain from dessert-type things (e.g. cakes, cookies, ice cream, candy, hot cocoa, etc), and to refrain from adding sugar to things myself (e.g. sugar or honey to coffee or tea, honey on cheese, etc.). When January arrived, I was actually much more strict than that--I didn't eat anything that had any added sugar at all. I had bought some non-fat vanilla yogurt from Trader Joe's because I was on antibiotics, but when I noticed it had sugar in the ingredients list, I let it go bad. After two days of nearly starving myself on this madness*, I reconsidered.

*Allow me to clarify: NO added sugar is a great thing to try, but because I was staying with my parents for a while (i.e. I was NOT in charge of grocery decisions), and because my work requires me to do a good deal of restaurant dining, it did not work out for me to be quite that strict this month. I wasn't going to starve myself at my mom's house just because much of her otherwise healthy food had something like 1 gram of sugar per serving, and I'm not going to interrogate waiters for hours trying to figure out exactly what I'm allowed to order, because I don't have a deathly allergy or a medical or dietary restriction.

I've pretty much stuck with my original plan, although I did have a mixed drink that I later realized probably had a good amount of simple syrup in it, and I did order a few pancakes sans-syrup that they put the syrup on anyway, but I figured I already paid for it, I was hungry, I did my best to get them without syrup, I might as well eat them rather than throw them away. I also had a teaspoon of honey the other night to fight off a cough and sore throat I was dealing with, but I had allowed for that use when I originally wrote the rules of my challenge.

Here on day 13 it's pretty easy to avoid temptation. I remember the first three or four days were awful--I had one constant, dull headache for at least 3 days straight, and for the most part I would just not eat. Both my parents' houses were in Holiday mode (especially Mom's), so they were full of homemade cakes, pies, tarts, cookies, and candies, and frankly not much else ready-to-eat (even the cereal selection was FULL of added sugar), and my low blood sugar made me super tired so I never felt like preparing anything. This meant that I pretty much skipped breakfast and lunch for the first two or three days--not something I would recommend or repeat. If you're thinking of severely cutting down on the sugar in your life, I recommend you go pre-purchase some ready-made, no-sugar-added food beforehand, enough to last you two or three days (think prepared salads, etc.), because if you're anything like me you will NOT want to cook anything, and you probably won't want to drive anywhere either. Good luck if you want to start this on a workday.

Around the middle of day 4, my headache just went away and never came back. I wasn't so tired anymore, and making gyoza for lunch sounded doable, so I did. I still would occasionally open a box of See's Chocolates and just smell it, so I will say it's easier now that I'm home at my apartment, largely removed from temptation.

I've also been juicing a bunch, since it's a way for me to get sugar from fruit and a whole bunch of nutrients from fruits and vegetables at the same time. I'm making a sweetener-free dessert today, too, since my bananas finally ripened. Expect a few recipe posts from me soon.

All the best,
Lovely Wednesday

The Minimalist Game (part 10)


That's the number of things we've listed on here as things we got rid of, out of our total goal for number of things to get rid of in the Minimalist Game. This leaves us 391 things to go, which is roughly 80% of our total goal. Crazy that half the month only came out to about 20% of our item goal.

I have a few lists of things we already got rid of and didn't blog about, so I'll start with those things:

  1. 17 more neckties
  2. 5 orphan socks
  3. a fitted sheet, two regular sheets, and two pillowcases (none match)
That's already 27 more items, so we're at 132/496.
  1. two hairbows
  2. old digital watch
  3. two lighters (one has the White House on it)
  4. mystery key
  5. empty Hearos (musician's earplugs) box
  6. unused smoke bomb
  7. frayed velvet microphone bag
  8. rainbow striped headband
  9. broken suitcase (protects luggage just fine but won't stand up on its own)
  10. unopened lipgloss sample (I gave it to a friend)
Now we're at 144/496.
  1. We got rid of our rice cooker because Boyfriend got a new and awesome saucepan for Christmas. Granted, they take up about the same amount of space, but the saucepan can hang from our ceiling, where there is lots of space, and the rice cooker had to sit on the counter, taking up rare and valuable counter space. Plus, I don't know why he wanted that godforsaken rice cooker in the first place when you can make better rice in a pan anyway, even if your second-hand rice cooker isn't broken and actually came with instructions, or wasn't so old that you couldn't even look up the instructions online.
145/496, but if you ask me that rice cooker should have counted as at least 2 items. Now I've got to go find the other list, which I wrote on the back of an envelope and hopefully didn't throw away with the suitcase. 

I remember that I gave away 50 tea lights and a glass vase, which would bring us to 196/496. It may be a while before that update, because I just went looking for the list (albeit without my glasses) and I have no idea where it is.

Happy New Year,
Lovely Wednesday