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Nothing makes my tongue excited more than a frozen treat.  I’ve praised mint chocolate chip ice cream a few times on my blog…but did I ever tell you that Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia frozen yogurt was my back up?  When I stopped eating ice cream because of the sugar and fat, I convinced myself that frozen yogurt was a good switch.  And back then, it was.  Then was before the heart attack, before the vegan life, before the sugarless life.

When I fall into a group of recipes that has a hidden favorite taste of mine, I have to share whether or not I’ve tried it.  If you try this before me, let me know how it turns out.  I found this recipe at

http://thesimpleveganista.blogspot.com/2013/05/banana-cherry-garcia-soft-serve.html

 

Banana Cherry Garcia Soft Serve

Cherries + dark chocolate is always a winning pair. Here I have continued my love of banana based ice creams and have added the duo to make this Banana Cherry Garcia Soft Serve ice cream. The inspiration comes from one of Ben & Jerry’s top selling ice creams ‘Cherry Garcia’. Here I have veganized it using simple ingredients that come together making a quick and easy soft serve to enjoy during the coming summer months. Gather some of the season’s cherries, freeze some bananas and get your chocolate ready…all in the name of good health and a tasty treat that you will enjoy time and time again. Eating healthy and cruelty free is as delicious as can be!
Dark chocolate can happily be a part of your healthy diet as long as it’s enjoyed in moderation. I usually have a small chunk every night with a dollop of almond butter as my dessert. Some of the benefits of dark chocolate/raw chocolate are its powerful anti-oxidants. These anti-oxidants may help to control blood sugar levels by helping the body use its insulin more efficiently. This in turn may help with reducing the risk of diabeties. It also can help improve and lower cholesterol. Dark chocolate has flavanols that may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s and slow the onset of dementia. These same flavanols may protect your skin from UV damage. It’s also rich in vitamins and minerals, can improve your mood, and reduce your stress.. These are just some of the benefits associated with dark chocolate. It’s best to consume chocolate that is 70% cocoa and above or pure raw chocolate, as it will have the most benefits. And to the men out there, it has been found that men benefit most from eating dark chocolate in moderation. So enjoy your dark chocolate without feeling guilty. For more information: Web MD…Dark Chocolate For Health BenefitsHuffington Post: Chocolate Benefits & Men Benefit Most From Eating Dark Chocolate
 
And then there are cherries, the real star of the recipe! Cherries, known as a ‘super fruit’, are one of the few food sources that contain melatonin, an antioxidant that helps regulate heart rhythms and the body’s sleep cycle. These little red beauties are also packed with antioxidants called anthocyanin’s which aid in the reduction of heart disease and cancer. This same anti-oxidant can help reduce inflammation and swelling associated with arthritis and gout. They are a perfect post work-out snack for those looking to reduce pain and joint soreness, like runners and heavy training athletes. Cherries are abundant in vitamins C, E, potassium, magnesium, iron, folate, fiber and contain 19 times more beta carotene than strawberries and blueberries. They are perfect for any healthy lifestyle. For further reading take a look at these: Huffington Post: Cherries For Health & Seven Benefits of Cherries

Banana Cherry Garcia Soft Serve

Ingredients

  • 2 frozen bananas, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups cherries, pitted and frozen (divided)
  • splash of unsweetened coconut milk or almond milk
  • scant 1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks (70% +), cacao nibs or raw chocolate chips

Place banana chunks, 1 cup cherries and splash of milk into blender/food processor and blend until just combined. You may need to scrap down the sides a few times or add another splash of milk to help the mixture move. Add in chocolate and remaining 1/2 cup cherries, pulse until just combined. Serve immediately as this is a soft serve ice cream. Top with shaved dark chocolate, cacao nibs or raw chocolate chips. Serves two generously.

Notes: It helps to freeze your serving dish beforehand if possible. Will keep your soft serve chilled a bit longer.

Variations: If you don’t want any chocolate chunks try adding 1 heaping teaspoon of raw or dark cocoa powder instead. Adding a teaspoon of vanilla extract never hurts either. It adds another flavor level.

The Best (Vegan) Cookie Dough Bites Ever!

By SHERI SILVER | December 30th, 2013 at 12:12 pm

vegan cookie dough bites

The secret?

Chickpeas.

Now, before you roll your eyes, stay with me. I, too, was a skeptic – how in the world could chickpeas, of all things, replace my beloved cookie dough ingredients? But I baked with chickpeas not that long ago, and was pleasantly surprised at how handy it is in replicating the moist base and sturdy texture in the cake.

vegan cookie dough bites

Vegan Cookie Dough Bites
adapted from V.K. Rees Photography

1 1/2 c. chickpeas, rinsed and drained (approximately 1 can)
3 T. sweetener of your choice (I used agave nectar but you could use honey or maple syrup)
1/8 t. baking soda
3 T. nut butter of your choice
2 t. vanilla
pinch of salt
1 bag (10 oz.) non-dairy chocolate chips
2 t. shortening

Combine all of the ingredients except the chocolate chips and shortening in a food processor. Process till smooth, scraping down the bowl once or twice if needed. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl.

Mix in 2 T. of chocolate chips (reserve the rest for dipping). Form into balls and freeze on a baking sheet till solid.

Set a wire rack over a baking sheet covered with tin foil. In the top half of a double boiler set over barely simmering water, melt the remaining chocolate chips and shortening – stir till smooth and remove from heat.

Using a fork, dip one bite into the melted chocolate, turning till covered. Lift the bite out of the chocolate and tap gently on the side of the bowl to remove excess. Place on wire rack. Repeat with remaining bites. Return bites to freezer and freeze till solid.

ice cream3

Raw Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
makes about 6 cups

 

Ice Cream Base
2 cups fresh young coconut meat (about 2 young coconuts)
1 cup raw cashews, soaked 4-6 hours
1 cup raw almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp raw agave or maple syrup
1 handful of fresh spinach (optional, for color)

Raw Chocolate Chunks
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

To make the ice cream base combine all the ingredients in a food processor or high-powered blender. Mix until very smooth. Transfer to a shallow container and freeze for 30-45 minutes chilled all the way through.

Meanwhile Combine all the chocolate chunks ingredients in a small bowl. Transfer to a shallow container and freeze. Once frozen (15-25 minutes) remove chocolate and cut into small chunks.

Add the chilled ice cream to your ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions. Once done place the ice cream in bowl and stir in chocolate chunks. Smooth top and cover. Return to freezer and allow 2-3 hours for the ice cream to harden.

Remove from freezer and let thaw 10 minutes before serving.

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