Vegan Ice Cream + New Breakfast Bowls

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After all the adventure earlier today, I decided to try out a kitchen experiment

Homemade Vegan Ice Cream

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Vegan ice cream!

I was inspired to try Mama Pea’s Cookies & Cream vegan ice cream – click here for recipe.

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I have an ice cream machine that requires the bowl to be frozen pre-ice-cream-making, so I got that prepped and placed in the freezer earlier this week.

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So, today I simply had to gather my ingredients and mix some stuff together. Gosh, ice cream is easy!

Xantham Gum

I think hubby nearly passed out when I asked him to get the Xantham Gum and he saw it was $12.99! I know that we only need a little bit at a time, but $13 is a lot at one time.

I considered omitting the xanthan gum, but I read online that it was best to use it (unless you had an allergy or something) because it helps ice cream stay creamy instead of getting icy.

I also learned (from my google search) that Xanthan Gum is a thickener commonly used in sauces and dressings and gluten free baking. You may have even noticed on the ingredient list of products you buy, if you read them.

Bottom line, I decided that we needed it, and now we have enough to make batches and batches and batches of ice cream! :lol:

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My ice cream machine was a cinch to put together and then I just had to turn it on and start adding my ice cream mixture.

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The machine ran for roughly 20 minutes before I checked it for consistency. It looked like it was close to being done (it seemed pretty well thickened to me at least) and I considered adding the cup of crushed chocolate cookies at this point…till I realized my 1 quart ice cream maker was TOO FULL! Doh!

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So, I just let the machine run an extra 5 minutes, then turned the machine off and poured it into a mixing bowl. I mixed the ice cream and cookie pieces by hand.

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Totally got to lick the spatula…to check the flavor of course! ;)

I placed my ice cream in the freezer to thicken up while I worked on some other stuff around the house.

Shopping Spree

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Check out my latest shopping spree goodies! My new breakfast bowls! Ok, they’re “cups” but I got them more for eating purposes than drinking.

I bought these glasses from Crate + Barrel today for breakfasts and snacks.

I strategically selected each of these glasses for size, shape and usability.

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The smaller mug will be for my mini ice cream and yogurt parfait snacks. At 4 ounces, this means it will be the perfect 1/2 cup snack size.

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The larger cups are going to be for full-sized breakfast parfaits or if I’m especially craving a large portion of ice cream, etc. At 9 ounces, this cup is really better for a cup-ish worth of yogurt and granola and fruit, or even a smoothie, but we’ll see.

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I also picked up these snazzy mini spoons. They’ll be perfect for eating from my small glassware or as condiment spoons when we’re entertaining. I love the pattern on the silver spoon.

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I also got this bowl for morning oatmeal. No size reasoning on this one, I just liked the size and shape. :)

Lunchtime Eats

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While my ice cream thickened up, I whipped up a quick lunch: breaded halibut, steamed broccoli and toasted Whole Grain Goodness with a wee bit of real butter.

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I picked up this Honest Ade – Pomegranate Blue from the race earlier. (What? Other spectators were getting it too!) It had a great flavor and I liked how it was “just a tad sweet.”

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After lunch I dove straight into my homemade vegan ice cream!

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Decorated with 2 cookies.

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Loved it! The recipe was super easy and the flavor was great. Thanks Mama Pea!

Reader question – Have you tried coconut milk ice cream before (homemade or store-bought)? What did you think?

Peachy-Keen Breakfast + Theo Pink Salted Caramel Review

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Howdy folks! Hope you’re all having a spectacular week!

Wedding Bliss

I, myself, am getting more and more excited for my trip this weekend. I haven’t said much about it, but I think I mentioned yesterday that the wedding is for my oldest best friend. Oldest as in years I’ve known her. I moved around quite a bit when I was younger and when I was around 7 or 8, we moved to yet another new neighborhood in Orlando, FL. Shortly after moving in, a little girl in our neighborhood stopped by with a plate of no-bake peanut butter and jelly cookies. And the rest is history. We instantly became best friends, which was really convenient since we both lived in the same cul-de-sac, just 2 houses away from each other. We took piano lessons together and visited theme parks together (especially the water parks! love those!) and just had a blast…till a couple short years later when my family decided to move back to SC. *sad face*

My friend and I vowed to spend two weeks together each year so we could stay in touch, but that eventually fizzled out.

Well, fast forward many years and around 2005, I decided to google my dear friend and would you know it…she was in NC for school! She actually lived just a couple miles away from hubby’s mom and was taking a class from his aunt! Small world!

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I found my friend, Serena, just in time to have her be a co-maid of honor in my wedding and now, I’m going to be a bridesmaid in hers!!!

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The photo of my bridesmaid dress was one hint and this weather report is another. Check out the weather report for the wedding destination for the weekend. It’s going to be gorgeous! Know where I’m going yet?

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While I’m super pumped about the wedding, I’m really sad to be leaving this little guy behind. He never gets to go on the cool trips! Luckily, my family will be taking care of him this weekend, so I know he’ll be in good hands.

(Think I could sneak Bailey into my carry-on? heehee)

Wednesday Eats

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My Take Out Oops from last night (click) brought me a fantabulous breakfast of a Flying Biscuit Oatmeal pancake with peach topping. Sooo good…I feel a new obsession coming on.

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Hot coffee.

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Morningstar “sausage” on the side for extra TFB effect (TFB is the first place I had a non-meat “sausage”)

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I re-heated my pancake in the oven for a crispy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside texture.

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Did I mention this peach topping is delicious. *drool*

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Thanks to my ankle, I wore sneaker to work today. I don’t really think that many people noticed. My ankle is actually feeling pretty good today…I almost wanted to work out on it, but I want to ensure I rest enough for it to be 100% rather than push myself too far, too soon.

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Lunch was basically a repeat of yesterday.

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A big organic salad with dressing leftover from last night. Hey, waste not, want not. That dressing was delicious! I need to try to re-create it!

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Southwestern Quinoa Salad.

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Spelt toast (no topping). I need to get some jelly or something to keep at work, right?

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Heeey Minneola!

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It was cold in the office today, but luckily I was prepared. I bundled up in a Patagonia blanket I keep at my desk. The only problem is that I usually still need to type on my keyboard, so my arms/hands tend to stay cold.

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I swung by Great Harvest on my way home from work and got some treats for me and hubby and sampled their spinach bread. Dee-lish! I need me some of this!

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I dug into my first snack immediately – a mini cinnamon roll…yuuuum!

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Matt swung by today to help hubby bottle his home-brew and brought us a loaf of sourdough. Thanks Matt!!

I was going to incorporate the bread into dinner plans till hubby ordered pizza.

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I had two slices of cheese before I decided that I just HAD to have some of the sourdough.

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You try saying no to this! Nothing beats fresh-baked bread!

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I had a piece and a half (hubby asked for a bite) with some real butter.

Nice balanced, carb-aholic, dinner…riiiiight? hehe Some veggies would have been nice, but…oh well.

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Post dinner, we dug into our other GH treat – a split blondie.

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The blondie tasted almost like it wasn’t quite cooked through all the way, so I baked it for an extra 5 minutes.

The extra bake-time helped a little bit, but I wasn’t a fan of this one. Some people like the really dense, squishy center, but it’s not my thing. Now, those berry oat bran muffins…I am still infatuated with those. Yum!

Theo Pink Salted Caramel Review

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And, as if I didn’t have enough desserts today, I also decided to sample one of those Theo caramels I requested recently.

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Aren’t these Theo Chocolate Pink Salted Vanilla Caramels in Dark Chocolate gorgey?!

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I’m ready for my close-up Mr. Demille. ;)

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The verdict: delicious! It’s true what they say – that the salt accentuates the flavor of the caramel. The caramel was lovely and tender and was just the right amount of sweet. The dark chocolate was a nice, subtle shell for the main event – that fabulous caramel. I liked how the salt was nice and coarse so you could really taste it and get a good feel for the crunchy texture. This was a lovely marriage of savory and sweet. I think that these caramels would be best for the slightly more refined palate or the more adventurous eater or if you just want to give the gift of extra special sweets. Ooh la la! Click here to check out Theo’s other caramel flavors or to purchase the pink-salted vanilla flavor.

Thanks to Theo Chocolate for the samples! I’m moving on to the Orange Dark Chocotate next!

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Learn how to use food to your advantage with these tips I learned from Brendan Brazier.

It’s Earth Day tomorrow! Check out my article (click) for some easy ways to go Green.

Have you ever had salted caramels? What did you think?

Take Out Oops + Organic Gardening Q+A

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*Before I forget yet again, thanks to Bonnie, Taylor, and Ashley for your fun zumba notes. I loved reading them!*

More Tuesday Eats

After my fabulous quinoa breakfast, I brewed up some Teavana tea.

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Mate Vana + Rooibos Macadamia = delicious tea

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Sweetened with local honey.

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I was extra glad to be at home so I could get comfortable and prop my foot up. RICE, right? Ok, so my “injury” isn’t that serious, but I’ll do anything to make it get better faster! So far no swelling, so I expect to be 100% sooner than later. *crossing fingers*

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I got stuck on phone conferences and couldn’t get to lunch so I snacked on some Stacy’s Pita chips. Darn you Stacy and your irresistible pita chips!! It’s too easy to eat these.

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I had a nice, healthy lunch today.

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A GIANT salad or organic veggies: baby spinach, romaine, cherry tomatoes, sunflower seeds, pepitas and Drew’s Rosemary Balsamic.

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Plus a piece of spelt toast with some Homestead Creamery butter (from my weekend grocery trip)…so so good!

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I was mostly excited about digging into my creation from last night – Southwestern Quinoa Salad (click for recipe).

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For nutrition, I had a mini Vega Health Optimizer shake made with a little more than 1/2 a scoop of mix plus plain ole water.

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Then I had a not-so-healthy snack – a mini Texas donut…

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…plus some Tulsi tea in India Breakfast.

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I got a candle going to combat the rainy day and make the room smell yummy.

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For dinner, I got take out from The Flying Biscuit. I asked the guy on the phone to help me choose from 3 options (turkey meatloaf, turkey pot roast, and herb-crusted chicken). He recommended the chicken (served with mac and cheese and collards) so I took his suggestion.

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The dinner came with a salad with a vinaigrette dressing.

Dinner was also supposed to come with a biscuit (hello, the restaurant is called The Flying BISCUIT!) :lol: but I didn’t get it. I called to ask if the dinner was supposed to come with a biscuit (in case I misunderstood) and they said it was supposed to. The person I spoke with was very friendly and apologetic and when I said I wanted to come back for the biscuit (yes, I really wanted it!), they offered to throw in dessert. They started to go down the dessert list, but I had another idea – breakfast! I am still thinking about the fabulous breakfast hubby and I had at TFB last Saturday. So, I got a single oatmeal pancake with peach topping to go. I’m already looking forward to breakfast now!

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I was really excited about my biscuit, but you know what…the restaurant forgot the apple butter. :oops:

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Luckily, I had some Kime’s at home, which I heated up to get the full Flying Biscuit experience.

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I got to enjoy my biscuit whilst catching the latest Glee – the Madonna episode! I love this show…so glad I remembered to watch it this week. I’m pretty bad at watching TV shows because I don’t pay much attention to the schedules and forget when they’re on.

Anywho, The Flying Biscuit made some mistakes tonight, but who doesn’t!? No one’s perfect. The important thing to me was that they were concerned about my satisfaction and they went out of their way to make me happy. Thanks TFB…I’ll definitely be back.

Theo Chocolates

After contacting Theo Chocolate, I was thrilled they were interested in sending me some samples to review. :mrgreen:

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The chocolate came extra-nicely packaged with cornstarch packing peanuts! Neat! I usually try to keep my peanuts to re-use them when I ship stuff, but it’s nice to see how eco-friendly these are – they dissolve in water!

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Theo Chocolate sent me some awesome stuff – some Pink Salted Vanilla Caramels in Dark Chocolate

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…plus an Orange Dark Chocolate bar.

I love how Theo supports both Organic and Fair Trade. I can’t wait to sample these and write up my reviews!

Organic Gardening Q+A with Don

You guys had some fabulous questions for Don, founder of Instant Organic Garden. In fact, we already have answers for those questions:

Michelle –

Question for Don: I’m wanting to start a garden, but I’ll be living in a rental property and can’t plant like I’d like to. Do you have any tips on container gardening?

Yes, use as big a container as possible, especially for summer plants like tomatoes. A whiskey-barrel sized container is sufficient for a single tomato plant. Use good-quality potting mix, but no synthetic fertilizers. Natural fertilizers like Plant-Tone or worm castings are best.

Jessica –

Question for Don: What are some examples of vegetables in North Carolina that are cheaper to purchase as well as examples of those you would grow.

Avoid crops that are inexpensive in the stores, take a lot of room (watermelon, corn, okra), don’t taste better fresh (potatoes, onions) and don’t offer a long term harvest (iceberg lettuce, bush beans.)

Julie -

Question for Don: I only have a very small gardening plot available at my apartment (but I am lucky to have one I can use considering I am only renting my apartment!) What is the best way to maximize your space when trying to grow a variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Any suggested additional resources?

Good soil with organic fertilizer means you can plant three times closer together. Set up a trellis for climbing plants like beans and cucumbers. My book shows you how to get started. “No Green Thumb Required! Organic Family Gardening Made Easy.

Thanks for your answers Don!
If you’d like to ask Don a question about organic gardening, he’s kindly offered to answer some more! Leave a comment on this post starting with “Question for Don: ” and I’ll do my best to get your question to him.
If you’re in the Charlotte area, you can go to one of Don’s many local events to ask questions in person. :) Click here for his event page.

Randomness

Giveaway Alert! I have a super-cool giveaway planned for Thursday…stay tuned for details.

Page Updates – I’ve updated several of my pages:

  • Recipes – wow, I thought I only had to add one or two from the last week…turns out I was missing a TON!
  • Reviews – added links for some recent reviews
  • Blogroll – new bloggie friends

One great way, as suggested in my post the other day, to go Green this week for Earth Day is to get a re-usable water bottle. I just added the Klean Kanteen water bottle to my OpenSky shop if you need one. I’m also working to get some other sizes/colors added, so I hope to have some new options soon.

Did I mention I have a wedding to go to this weekend?! It’s my oldest best friend’s wedding! I can’t wait!

Have you ever picked up a take-out order only to realize after you get home that something is wrong/missing? What did you do? What did the restaurant do when you told them?

A Real Tofu-Kale-Soba-Noodle Dinner

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My body has finally started signaling it’s ready to eat real food again. I’ve been craving tofu-soba-noodles since yesterday and finally made a batch tonight to enjoy.

But first…

I wanted to try one of my Nicobella Organic Vegan Truffle samples (*). I figured they don’t have dairy in them, so I should be able to eat one, right? :)

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Eeny, meeny, miny…

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MOE!

I decided to try the walnut flaxseed crunch.

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The vegan truffle was really good!

I plan to do a full review of the Nicobella vegan organic truffles soon (once I’ve sampled all the flavors), so I’ll save the details for then, but what was most noticeable about this truffle over traditional ones, to me, was that this one didn’t leave me feeling heavy or on a sugar high! Nice!

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Ok, on to dinner!

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I finally got to test out the Tofu press (*) Nasoya sent me a couple weeks ago.

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The press was a cinch to use and was so much easier than stacking pots/pans and cans to weigh my tofu down. Thank you Nasoya!!

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So like I was saying, I was really craving soba noodles with tofu and veggies. I guess your body just let’s you know when it’s ready for something, ya know? I must be ready for real food again. I’ve been eating pretty well today (especially compared to the last couple days).

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Ingredients assembled/cleaned/prepped.

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Again…using a too small pot for all the big, leafy greens I wanted to cook! :lol:

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I did a play on one of my faves – my 3, 2, 1 Vegetarian Noodles (click for recipe), except I just used kale. I missed the other veggies but wasn’t up to going to the grocery store to get the others.

Hubby was out watching the basketball games, so my friend Megan came over for some girl-talk. ;)

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We made sure to have some time for…CHOCOLATE! As in some vegan chocolate chip cookies, which I made earlier today.

Oh yea!!!!!!!

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No Project Hydrate Updates for today. I haven’t really been keeping track since I first started feeling under the weather. I’m hoping to pick up again tomorrow, though.

Did you see the fun + eats from hubby’s beer brewing extravaganza? One of my favorite photos from the last couple weeks is in that post – it’s the hummus – the one taken from the side. Love!

Check out this post for some weight loss / diet / healthy eating tips gathered from one of the coolest TV shows I’ve seen lately.

Who’s excited about something they gave up for Lent that they’ll get to enjoy again tomorrow?!

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