Monday, July 28, 2014

Raw Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream Sandwiches

I got my hands on some amazingly flavorful fresh cherries, and all I could imagine making with them was ice cream.  It just sounded so good!  It might have had something to do with the hot weather we have been having.  Cherry ice cream, with a bit of chocolate. Now that sounded even better. But I didn't stop there, my mind was wandering and I loved the direction it was going in.  You see, I was out on a long run, and sweating like crazy while this was going on in my mind and the ice cream was sounding better and better.  I finally decided to make ice cream sandwiches. Flavorful cherry cacao nib ice cream sandwiched together with chocolaty cookies.

There was no turning back, these ice cream sandwiches were happening. I made the most a simple banana based cherry ice cream, laced with cacao nibs and it was good just as was, but I knew it would be freaking delicious paired with the fudgy dark chocolate cookies drizzled with dark chocolate I had made. Cherries and chocolate are a match made in heaven, especially when put together as ice cream sandwiches!

Raw Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream Sandwiches
Makes 10

Raw Chocolate Cookies:
2 cups ground flaxseed
4 cups finely shredded dried coconut
2 cups soft medjool dates, pitted
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup raw cacao powder
1 cup chopped raw red beet

Cherry Ice Cream:
3 large frozen bananas, cut into pieces
2 cups frozen cherries
6 medjool dates
2 Tbsp raw coconut butter
pinch of sea salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 cup raw cacao nibs

1/2 cup raw dark chocolate chunks or chopped raw dark chocolate

In a food processor, combine the ground flaxseed, shredded coconut, dates, and sea salt and process until finely ground.  Add the cacao powder and beet and process until smooth.  Place on a sheet of parchment and roll out 1/4 inch thick.  Cut into 12 rectangles and place in the freezer to harden. 
To make the ice cream, combine all ingredients except the cacao nibs in a high speed blender and blend until smooth using the tamper to push down the mixture into the blades (but not too long or it will be too liquid). Alternatively you can use a food processor but keep in mind it will take longer and you will need to stop and scrape down the sides of the processor a few times.  Mix in the cacao nibs.  Put the ice cream in a bowl in the freezer until the cookies are hard. 
Once the cookies are hard, spread the ice cream over half the cookies about an inch thick, then top with another cookie.  Place back in the freezer and let freeze until firm.
When ready, melt the chocolate (I put mine in a bowl in the dehydrator for about 15 minutes).   Drizzle over the tops of the sandwiches, then place in the freezer for a few minutes to set the chocolate.  Enjoy!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Raw Green Tea Mint Raspberry Dream Cake

Every day when I am out walking and running, I see wild raspberries along the way.  I have been anxiously waiting for them to come to perfect ripeness, and finally last week they were ready.  So Eric and I went out and harvested all that we could find that were ripe.  Let me tell you, it was worth the mosquito bites and scratches, they were yummalicious! Nothing beats wild raspberries, and these happened to be black raspberries.  

My Mom also brought me a pint of fresh wild red raspberries that her coworker had picked over the weekend.  I was quite excited, I thought these beautiful berries needed to be used in a delicious dessert.  I wanted a cake, and I thought about all of the possible flavor combinations I could do with the berries, but I wanted to do something different and decided on green tea mint raspberry.  I had been meaning to pair green tea with berries, since I had enjoyed a delicious berry infused iced green tea my Mom made a few weeks back and I loved the combo, and I had fresh mint from the farmer's market so it was perfect!

This cake was so silky and dreamy since I included some avocado in the filling along with the coconut and the matcha powder (green tea) gave it an earthy quality that paired nicely with fresh mint and bright sweet flavor of the berries which I swirled into the filling in jammy ribbons.  It was heavenly on all levels.  I feel so fortunate this time of the year when my favorite local fruits and herbs are available!

Raw Green Tea Mint Raspberry Dream Cake
Makes one 6 inch cake

2/3 cup raw sprouted buckwheat groats (or additional coconut)
1/3 cup ground flaxseed
3/4 cup dried finely shredded coconut
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
10-12 soft medjool dates, pitted and chopped (if they are not soft, soak them in water until they are and drain them well)

Raspberry Puree:
1 cup fresh organic raspberries
2 medjool dates, pitted (and soaked in water until soft if not soft)
a pinch sea salt
1 Tbsp lemon juice

3 cups young coconut meat*
2 cups avocados
1/2 cup coconut water
2/3 cup raw coconut nectar, raw agave nectar or raw honey
1/2  teaspoon sea salt
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract and seeds from half a vanilla bean
2 Tbsp matcha powder
about 10 fresh mint leaves
3/4 cup raw coconut butter (warmed to liquid)

Lightly coat a 6 inch spring form removable bottom pans with coconut oil. To prepare the crust, process flax, coconut, buckwheat and sea salt in a food processor until fine crumbs, then add the dates and process until the mixture holds together when squeezed between your fingers (if not holding together, add more dates). Firmly press crust into the bottom of the prepared pan, and set aside.
For puree, combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.  Set aside. 
To make the filling, in a high speed blender or food processor, combine coconut, avocados, coconut water, coconut nectar, sea salt, vanilla, matcha and mint  in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. With the processor running, add the coconut butter and and process for a minute until blended. 
To assemble cheesecake, pour 1/3 of the filling over the crust then drop the puree by the 1/2 tsp over that and swirl it with a knife. Pour half the remaining filling over that (carefully so that you don't disturb the swirl). Then drop the swirl over that by the 1/2 tsp and swirl it with a knife.  Pour the remaining filling over that carefully, then drop more of the swirl by the 1/2 tsp over it and swirl with a knife in a spiral from the outside in to the center, then a toothpick if you want more intricate swirls.  
Place in the freezer for about 4 hours to firm up. 
Once the cake has chilled, Garnish the top with raspberries before serving.

*If you do not have access to young coconut meat and you do not mind the recipe not being nut free, you can substitute 3 cups raw cashews soaked for 4 hours and drained in the filling.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Lavender Raspberry Cacao Smoothie Bowl

 It is a hard choice, but if I had to pick my favorite fruit, it would probably be raspberries.  To me, they are the perfect balance of tart sweet, a little texture from the seeds and beautiful little jewels.  They are available during my favorite time of the year, ready to pick around my Birthday and I love finding the wild ones, they are the most flavorful.  Nothing beats picking the berries off of the bush and enjoying them right then and there.  Eric and I went out and picked a bunch, and my Mom bought some that a coworker had picked up in northern Minnesota and I could not have been more thrilled to have them on hand.  I made a cake with some, but I used some in this delicious smoothie bowl.

Every time I go out running, I pass raspberry bushes and although it is very tempting to stop and eat them I don't because most of them are not ripe yet...but it leaves me craving them.  And this time I had some waiting for me at home, and it sounded amazing to make a smoothie bowl with them and combine them with cacao and lavender.  It is one of the most heavenly combinations!  Trust me, you need to try this smoothie bowl, and if there are not fresh raspberries available to you, you may use frozen and it will still make you happy.  

Lavender Raspberry Cacao Smoothie Bowl
Serves 1

1 large bananas, frozen and cut into pieces
2 cups frozen organic black and red raspberries
1 Tbsp raw cacao nibs
1 Tbsp dried lavender flowers
1 scoop raw vanilla protein powder (optional, I used Garden of Life brand or Sunwarrior Blend)
1/4-1/2 cup raw hemp milk or coconut milk (depending on how liquidy you like it, I like mine thick so I add less)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
stevia to taste (or your choice liquid raw sweetener)

raw cacao nibs
chia seeds
shelled raw hemp seeds
dried lavender flowers
fresh red and black raspberries

For the smoothie, combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth, using the tamper to press the mixture into the blades.  Pour into a bowl, top with toppings (I used about 1 Tbsp of each).  Enjoy!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Green Kale Smoothie and Popsicles: Guest Post by Lisa Viger

I am featuring some of my favorite food bloggers on Fragrant Vanilla Cake this week, and today Lisa Viger gets the spotlight!  Her blog Raw on $10 a Day (or Less) has always been an inspiration to me.  She makes raw food look beautiful, while also keeping it affordable.  Anyone looking to make raw food on a budget should check out her page!  Also, she has a new cookbook Easy Affordable Raw, and it is filled with lots of delicious recipes and I even contributed a dessert recipe! It is soon to be published and you should all check it out as well (you can pre-order on Amazon).  Today Lisa is sharing a nutritious kale smoothie recipe that also doubles as popsicles!  I will now turn it over to her!

Kale is often called, “The World’s Healthiest Food,” and with good reason. It contains a remarkable amount of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin K, which is crucial for bone and heart health.

This is the %DV that Kale provides per cup.
·         Vitamin K - 1180%
·         Vitamin A - 98%
·         Vitamin C - 71%
·         Mangenese - 27%
·         Copper - 22%
·         Vitamin B6 - 10%
·         Fiber - 10%
·         Protein - 5%

Kale is also an amazing plant in the garden, is easy to grow, and beautiful, too. Start some now for a delicious Fall harvest!

This smoothie is a nutritional powerhouse, but is also incredibly tasty and perfect for breakfast or an anytime snack.

Green Kale Smoothie
·         3 cups kale leaves, loosely packed
·         2 cups water, more or less for blending
·         1 cup mango chunks, frozen
·         1 cup strawberries, frozen
·         1 banana, sliced into 1 inch pieces and frozen
·         ½ cup chopped carrots (can be frozen for an extra frosty smoothie)
·         4 tablespoons hemp protein powder (optional)

·         Place the kale leaves and water in a blender first and process until smooth.
·         Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth and creamy.

 * Popsicle option ... Like any smoothie mix, this can easily be made into popsicles ... just pour into molds and freeze! 

Yield: makes about 3 servings
Nutritional information:       calories: 253      fat: 0 gr      carbs: 44 gr      protein: 14 gr


Lisa Viger is a vegan artist, author, gardener, food blogger, navel gazer, and lover of the planet and all its inhabitants. More than almost anything, she enjoys showing others that a healthy vegan lifestyle can be economical, simple, fun, and delicious, too. Lisa lives in rural Michigan in a twisty house on a windy hill that sits between a wild creek and a lazy berry patch. Her first raw food book, Easy Affordable Raw, is available now from Quarry Books.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Summer Cauliflower Salad with Garlic Scape Pesto

Last Saturday Eric and I went to the Minneapolis Farmer's Market and we got our hands on some garlic scapes.  He had never had them before so we had to get some.  I used to buy them and roast them until crispy then eat them like fries, but I knew they were also delicious in pesto, so I decided to make a pesto with them this time. I love a good garlicy pesto!  I combined them with a bit of kale, basil and lemon juice along with some hemp seeds and sunflower seeds for the pesto and it was delicious!  I combined it with some cauliflower, fresh corn, tomatoes, bell pepper and celery and it was a delicious salad!  I shared some with Eric, but if I hadn't I think I would have eaten the whole batch in one sitting, since I was hungry and it was that good.  If you have some garlic scapes, this is a must try!

Summer Cauliflower Salad with Garlic Scape Pesto
Serves 2

Garlic Scape Pesto:
1 cup chopped garlic scapes
2 large kale leaves
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
juice of one large lemon (about 3 Tbsp)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup hempseeds
1/4 cup filtered water (or as needed)
sea salt to taste

1 large head cauliflower, broken into flowrettes
2 cups fresh organic sweet corn kernals
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 large stalks celery, diced

For the pesto, combine all ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor and process until smooth (adding more water if too thick, until it reaches desired consistency).  Toss with the veggies in a large bowl and serve!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tropical Sun Sorbet: Guest Post with Emily Von Euw of This Rawsome Vegan Life

I am featuring some of my favorite bloggers on my blog this week doing guest posts, and today Emily Von Euw gets the spotlight!  She makes some of the most delicious raw desserts and savory dishes I have seen, and in fact, the first raw cake I ever made was based off of one of her recipes.  I am always drooling over the dishes she posts on facebook and instagram!  If you haven't visited her page This Rawsome Vegan Life you simply must! After you are done reading her post and delicious recipe first of course. Now, I will turn it over to Emily!

I have been obsessed - no, scratch that, addicted - to this recipe since I made it a few days ago. It has been SO hot here (30c+ degrees  everyday) and the only way the fam and I can bear it is with cold drinks! Mom realized early on that frozen fruit and booze do the trick for her and my dad. I took note of that, but swapped the vodka for bananas! You can add water (or better yet, coconut milk) to this to make it the BEST smoothie ever, or leave as is to create the perfect sorbet: creamy, cold, sweet and luscious. Who needs added sugar when you have the sweetness of the fruit!? I am quickly realizing mango will define my summer, and there ain't nothing wrong with that. 

Tropical Sun Sorbet

1 cup frozen mango
1 cup frozen pineapple
2 bananas

Blend in a high speed blender until smooth and thick just like the perfect sorbet. Note: this serves one mildly hungry person so if you are like me and love your fruit, double or triple the recipe!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Raw Rhubarb Cherry Hand Pies

One advantage to everyone knowing I make desserts for my blog, is that I get given free vegetables and fruit sometimes.  My neighbor brought me a huge stash of rhubarb from her cabin and I knew I had to make something to use some of it fast.  Some of it got frozen right away, but I thought some pie with a bit of it that I left out would be wonderful!  I had never tried it with cherries before, but the combo sounded like pure deliciousness so I was going to give it a go.

I was going to make a large pie with maybe a crumble topping, or a tart but then I thought about it and that is what I always seem to make so I thought outside of the box this time.  Maybe a galette? Pretty but not different enough.  So I settled on hand pies. 

 Who doesn't like their own pie after all, especially one that is hand held and not messy.  I admit when I was a kid, I was in love with those little cherry pies that you could buy at the gas station. Probably just because they were cute, because they didn't taste all that great, just like a lot of sugar.  I liked the idea though.  I could make cute raw hand pies that tasted good, now that was a good idea.

I made a soft dough, and wrapped it around a jammy cherry rhubarb filling (which did not taste raw, thanks to the dates making it gooey).  I knew they would be amazing as was, but they needed a little glaze to make them pretty.  They were 100x better than any cherry hand pie I ate as a kid!  I now think I need to experiment with hand pies a little more in the future, endless possibilities for filling makes me excited!

Raw Rhubarb Cherry Hand Pies
Makes 6

2 1/2 cups finely shredded dried coconut
2 cups sprouted, dehydrated buckwheat (or additional coconut)
2 cups ground golden flaxseed
1 1/2 cups soft medjool dates, pitted (if they are not soft, soak them in water until they are and drain well before using)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup sliced ripe banana (about 2 medium)

2 1/2 cups fresh organic rhubarb, sliced
3 cups pitted halved cherries, divided
1/2 cup pitted medjool dates
1 Tbsp coconut nectar (or your choice liquid raw sweetener)
a pinch sea salt

2 Tbsp raw coconut butter, warmed to liquid
1 tsp raw coconut nectar (or your choice liquid raw sweetener)
2 Tbsp filtered water

To make the crust, combine all the ingredients but the banana in a food processor and process until finely ground.  Add the banana, and process until holding together like dough (if it seems too dry add a tsp of filtered water, if too sticky a few more Tbsp flaxseed). Divide the dough into 6 balls, and roll out 1/8 inch thick on a piece of parchment (if too sticky, refrigerate for about 10 minutes and oil your rolling pin).  Set rounds aside in the fridge.
To make the filling, combine the rhubarb, 1 cup of the cherries, dates,  coconut nectar and sea salt in a food processor and process until finely chopped but still a little texture.  Stir in the remaining cherries. Spoon a little filling into the center of each dough circle, then fold it over and flute the edges (or use a fork to crimp them shut).  Dehydrate for about 30 minutes until the outside of the dough is dry (this step can be skipped the dough will just be softer). 
To make the glaze, whisk together all ingredients until smooth (it may seem clumpy at first, but it will thin out). Drizzle over the pies (I find it easier and neater to put it in a ziplock back and clip the corner off then drizzle) and serve!