Kids Healthy Cooking – Dairy Free Peanut Butter Ice Cream

sugar free dairy free peanut butter ice creamIce cream. One of the many favorite summer treats, wonderful on a hot summer day. But honestly, great anytime and popular with kids. Growing up in my house ice cream was a staple and often requested after dinner. So when we went dairy free, ice cream was definitely something I missed. But like any change (like when we went sugar free) it was just a matter of shifting gears and finding new recipes to meet our ice cream needs. This is when I discovered this sugar free dairy free peanut butter ice cream.

I had been promising the kids in my Mini Chefs class ice cream for a few classes and many of them kept asking when we were going to make it. In our last class of the session I thought I’d throw it in with our chocolate making, making it a bit of an extra treat. This sugar free dairy free peanut butter ice cream recipe is rich, creamy and delicious. No one would ever know that it did not contain dairy (and don’t worry if peanuts are a concern you can use WOW butter, an awesome substitute for peanut butter. Being in a peanut free facility this is what we used and no one noticed a difference in either look, taste or texture). In fact when we made it in class the kids did not question the ingredients at all. They just heard ‘ice cream’ and were ready to make it and eat it.

sugar free dairy free peanut butter ice creamThis sugar free dairy free peanut butter ice cream recipe is super easy to make with kids. Just put all the ingredients into a blender, blend and then pour into your ice cream maker. If you do not have an ice cream maker, you can take the mixture and put into a freezable container and put in the freezer until firm.

All the kids were bouncing off the walls, waiting for the ice cream to be ready. And when it was, they gobbled it up, most of them asking for some more. I was pleased to be able to finish off the class with something a little more special (and considered a treat), but also still healthy and good for them. By this point, none of them were questioning the ingredients that were going into things, and all of them were willing to try it. Which I think is the greatest success – a child who is willing to at least try it will open up their world of healthy foods and possibilities. Not only with foods, but in other areas of their life as well.

Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Ingredients:

1- 14 oz. can coconut milk, chilledsugar free dairy free peanut butter ice cream

¾ c. coconut sugar

½ c. natural peanut butter (or WOW butter if need peanut free option)

1 tsp. vanilla

3 tbsp. dark chocolate shavings

Prepare your ice cream maker ahead of time by freezing the canister overnight. You’ll also need a good blender to whip the ice cream mixture.

Combine chilled coconut milk and coconut sugar in blender and whip until sugar is dissolved. Add in peanut butter and vanilla. Whip until mixture is creamy and frothy.

*If it’s hot in your kitchen and the mixture is warm-ish, chill mixture before adding to ice cream maker; it will freeze better is mixture is cold.

Set your freezing canister in place and turn on ice cream maker. Pour mixture into freezing canister. Add in shaved dark chocolate.

Churn until frozen. Depending on your ice cream maker this could take 10-15 minutes or up to 30 minutes.

Make roughly 3 cups. Serve in small single scoops as it is rich.

Original recipe from Gluten Free Goddess

healthy chocolateCooking with kids really can be easy and fun. I had a great time working with these kids, gently expanding their palates and horizons. I was pleased to see how everyone progressed and to hear from parents how what they did in class was being transferred to home. Whether it be a food they now liked, making supper, or helping with clean up.

My greatest joy was the success I had with the more particular eaters, one’s who said they did not like much of anything, but by the end of our classes were not only trying everything but loving what we were making. Those kids had come a long way and really grown. It just goes to show how cooking with kids,  and letting them make their own food not only encourages them to eat it, but also to start trying and experimenting with new things.

Kids Healthy Cooking – Healthy Chocolate with Natural Sweeteners

healthy chocolate

Kids and chocolate. They go together well. All the memories of chocolate covered faces, whether from ice cream or pudding or just a good old fashioned chocolate bar. Yes they say too much chocolate is not good for you, but honestly there is such a thing as healthy chocolate.

A lot of the trouble with chocolate is the amount of sugar in it, but chocolate without sugar and natural sweeteners instead, is a different story. Chocolate itself is rich in antioxidants and is actually very good for us. It is the sugar that is the problem.

healthy chocolateWhen I learned to make my own healthy chocolate, I was surprised at how quick and easy it was. It was so easy that I came home and made it with my oldest son, who at the time was only 6. Four simple ingredients gave us our base chocolate, and then we could create whatever we wanted. He loved it! and wanted to make more. Now my twins who are also 6, love making it as well. It is so easy to make with kids.

So when it came to our last class of Mini Chefs, making healthy chocolate was really a no brainer. I wanted a nice sweet, fun, but healthy treat, so this was perfect. In class, we made the plain chocolate and kept it in liquid form for fondue, dipping a variety of fruit into it; such as apples, oranges and bananas. All of the kids loved it! And yes ended up with chocolate faces 🙂

Raw Organic Chocolate

Ingredients:

Cacao butterhealthy chocolate

Cacao powder

1 vanilla bean

pure maple syrup or honey

*amounts depend on how much chocolate you want to make

Boil water in kettle. Pour boiled water into a large metal bowl, place second smaller metal bowl on top of large bowl so that it sits on top. Place cacao butter into top bowl. Cacao butter will start to melt. While cacao butter is melting slice vanilla bean down the middle and scrape out the inside seeds with a spoon. Put seeds into melted cacao, it is ok if cacao butter is not completely melted yet. Stir.

*Be very careful not to get any water into your chocolate as it will not work if you do. If your second bowl sits nicely on top, this should not be an issue as you do not need to lift the second bowl off the one with the water in it until you are done making your chocolate. 

Sift cacao powder into a separate bowl. Once cacao butter is completely melted add 2-4 tablespoons of cacao powder. Taste for desired level of chocolatey-ness. If you’d like it richer add more cacao powder. Once satisfied with amount of cacao powder add natural sweetener of choice. Start with 3 teaspoons and mix. Taste, if desired level of sweetness has not been reached, add 1-2 more tablespoons and taste again. Once level of desired sweetness has been reached you have your base chocolate. This can now be kept liquid and used as a fondue, or can be poured into chocolate molds to form chocolates.

Another option at this point is to add additional ingredients such as nuts, dried fruit, coconut, essential oils (ensure that the essential oils you are using are safe to ingest), etc and pour onto a cookie sheet to let set. Chocolate is best set in freezer but may also be set in fridge.healthy chocolate

I had also been promising the kids we would make ice cream for a number of classes and many of them kept asking when we were going to make it. Since it was the last class we did make peanut butter ice cream as well. Sugar free, dairy free and super easy to make with kids. Look for the peanut butter ice cream recipe in the next kids healthy cooking post.


A Few Apple Muffins

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

For those of you who caught up with me last week, you’ll be pleased to know that I am still plugging away at using up the apples from my apple tree. Which is really good for you because I am finding and testing some great apple recipes which I then share. Plus my kids and D’Wayne are thoroughly enjoying being the taste testers, as are some of my neighbors.

Like I said there is a serious amount of baking at my house right now. There is not a day that goes by that I am not whipping up something in the kitchen and I am getting good at doing it quickly. Yesterday morning I whipped up some apple muffins between breakfast and heading out to my friends for coffee at 10 am.

Yesterday’s Apple Cinnamon muffin was a gluten, dairy and sugar free muffin, sweetened with maple syrup with coconut oil and flax seed meal. I am finding that I really like those recipes with that little extra kick of nutrition in there. You just mix it in and can’t even taste it.

I found this recipe on another blog site called the The Simple Veganista who shares raw and vegan recipes – who actually found it originally on the blog The Vanilla Bean. And I have to say these muffins are very good! In fact my oldest son Matthew’s response when he came home afterschool was “Damn these are good!” with his face all lit up with excitement.

They are super moist and very tasty. The only downside to this recipe is that one batch does not make enough – only 9 muffins! I did stretch it to 12 but got some very small muffins out of it.

Apple Cake Muffin

Last week I tried the Gluten Free Goddess’s Apple Cake muffin recipe, which we also enjoyed as this muffin has chunks of apple in it which I really liked. Many of the recipes I found called for grated apple and though this was good I wanted to really taste and notice the apple, so I liked the chunks. Her recipes still call for refined sugar so a quick substitution of coconut sugar and I was able to whip these babies up! It even called for powdered sugar sprinkled on top once they were done baking and I was able to substitute for this as well! See recipe below.

I love muffins that have a little sprinkle of something on top, and both these muffin recipes do -the first being a coconut sugar and cinnamon mixture. Yum! There is just something fun about sprinkling something on top 🙂

The only thing I find with the Gluten Free Goddess is many of her muffin recipes are the same base with slight changes in them to make them apple, blueberry or whatever kind of muffin it is. Though I do admire her, as all her recipes are original, tried and true; I like a little more variety in my muffins, which is why I search out other recipes to try. Regardless I do have to say even though her base is the same, I have never gone wrong with one of her recipes. They are always delicious!

Either way I would recommend either recipe if you are looking for a gluten free apple muffin, though the Apple Cinnamon one is the favorite at our house (I used coconut milk for our non-dairy milk, though you can use rice or almond milk if you prefer).

I still have a huge basket full of apples and am not sure what to do with them next as I am really looking for something that will use them up in large amounts! If you have any apple recipes to share please post them in the comments for everyone to try, especially me.

In the meantime go whip up one of these and then sit down for a few minutes and enjoy, savor, maybe grab a cup of coffee, while the kids play quietly….ha ha oh I’m dreaming again!

Regardless enjoy!

Sugar Free Powdered Sugar (replacement for regular icing sugar)

1 cup nonfat dry milk (for dairy free use powdered coconut milk)

1 cup cornstarch

2/3 cup Krisda Stevia for baking

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and whip until blended and powdered. Store in an airtight container.

This replacement can be used in any recipe calling for icing sugar.

Banana Muffins, Coconuts and Play Doh

Yesterday was a blissful day at home. Monday, it was snowy, we didn’t have to go anywhere or do anything. It was lovely.

I had just had a fabulous weekend to myself “sans kids”, enjoying some great social time an amazing day at work and some time for me. By Sunday night I was singing!

It nicely carried over to Monday morning, so when they day started with the twins crying for one reason or the other from the time they got up, it really didn’t phase me. I just got them what they needed and carried on. I didn’t “buy in” to the drama and by the time breakfast was over they were both content and playing on their own. And I mean separately on their own, which is unusual as they are usually playing (or fighting) together. Chloe was content in the kitchen organizing markers into plastic cups, pretending to do the dishes in our Fisher Price sink, Luke was in the living room builiding a train track with his Thomas the Wooden Railway. Both totally content and happy to be where they were.

Gluten Free Banana Muffins

I was happy to putz around in the kitchen, cleaning up from breakfast, enjoying my green smoothie and experimenting with new recipes. I had even put dinner into the slow cooker and was basically ‘free’ for the day (ha ha). I had decided to bake, intending to try out a gluten free banana muffin recipe as well as making ginger cookies.

We are not completely gluten free at our house but I have been experimenting a little. I have found that though we are now sugar and dairy free that after eating a homemade muffin I become immediately tired. Deducing that the only thing left was gluten I decided to try out a gluten free muffin recipe. So I made some gluten free pumpkin muffins, had one and did not feel tired. Ah ha I was onto something here.

I buy rice pasta as much as possible and don’t consume a lot of bread. I have found that a little gluten is ok but have to be careful if I have too much. I would say that I am likely sensitive to it as opposed to intolerant. I have a sneaky suspicion though that my youngest son is intolerant to gluten. Just from various things that I have observed when he has it.

Vanilla Bean Cake

Besides everyone benefits; as when I do things like that I do them across the board. I am not making 4 different meals  and I find that we all feel better overall. So I have slowly started to gather a number of gluten free recipes such as Vanilla Bean Cake, Chocolate Dream Pie, Pumpkin muffins, Blueberry muffins and the Banana muffins I tried yesterday.

A fantastic website for gluten free recipes is Karina Allrich’s Gluten Free Goddess. All of her recipes are her own, tried and true. Many of them are dairy free as well but not necessarily sugar free, but I am familiar enough with what to do I simply make the sugar substitution and we are off to the races! This was the Banana muffin recipe I used yesterday and it was delicious. Moist and yummy! The kids loved them. In fact Luke and Chloe were hanging over the counter while I was making the batter, liking the bowl and waiting for them to bake.

I used coconut sugar in place of the brown sugar and boy were they yummy! I did not have any chocolate to add in or her other suggestions but it did not make a difference (and I might do that next time).

All in all it turned out well, even surviving Chloe putting Playdoh in her nose, and having to pause the baking to tend to that. (Yes seriously she did, and she screamed for 10 minutes, reminded me of the time my sister put a tiny doll shoe up her nose – what is it with children and putting small items where they shouldn’t be?)

So if you’re venturing into the world of gluten free try out some of these recipes. Many of them are dairy and sugar free too, yet you wouldn’t know it. (I have a friend who is salivating over the Chocolate Dream Pie and patiently waiting for me to make some so he can have a piece). I have found that there are enough resources and options out there these days to easily live gluten free, etc. without having to sacrifice taste or the treats that we love. True it is a bit of an adjustment but once you get your head around it, it is easy. And I have found that more and more people are going these routes for one reason or another.

Chocolate Dream Pie

If you have found any great gluten free recipes please share them by commenting below. I love to try new things and I am sure other people will benefit as well!