Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Cardamom Spiced Ice Cream - No Ice Cream Maker Required!

melty goodnessI scream for ice cream.

I used to not like cardamom. I didn't get it. It tasted weird to me - strangely minty and sweet and overpowering. Then I made this tres leches cake, and all of a sudden...I got cardamom. It was meant to be paired with oatmeal and cinnamon and coconut and almonds and mangoes and peaches and OH MY GOD I HAD TO MAKE ICE CREAM. And I did.

Sometimes ideas come to you abruptly and fully formed, and this ice cream was like a god-given vision, brought upon by Joy's To Die For tres leches glaze.

But as I was salivating over the ice cream concept, I realized another thing: this ice cream needs something to make it happen. PIE.

Simply put, pie and ice cream are soul mates. Warm pie with a scoop of melty ice cream? YES. YESYESYES. So I bought some peaches (out of season, yes yes yes I know, HUSH UP, the voices told me to) and announced to my friends that peach pie and ice cream were going to happen, and they had better show up with their mouths. Or else. (I...don't know what that 'or else' would entail. Probably me eating an entire pie and then laying on my bedroom floor, sending angry text messages to my friends that would essentially amount to: "I hope you're happy staying skinny, assholes!") Nobody, however, refused the call of pie and ice cream, and so I was not left to eat it all by myself and then reenact that scene from Free Willy 2 where the entire pod of whales gets beached and spend a good portion of the film moaning and wriggling their gigantic blubbery selves ineffectually.

To say the least, the ice cream and pie were a major hit. The most articulate response was: "Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh. My. God." Perhaps one of the best compliments my cooking has received in a while, because sometimes inarticulateness speaks more clearly than actual words.

But in all truthfulness, this ice cream is awesome. Not to mention simple and easy and full of so much potential. You could flavour it just about any way you like: instead of spices, stir in orange or lemon zest, pour in a dash of almond extract, stir in crushed oreos, spike it generously with Bailey's - oh, the possibilities!

Before I move on to the recipe, however, dieters, be warned, this ice cream is probably not for you. It is so rich, and so indulgent...and insanely addictive. Believe, I know. It will destroy your will to eat salad and proper meals. But it will be so delicious, you might not care.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Peanut Butter Oat Snack Bars

a little morning sweetness peanut butter oatmeal bars

I may have mentioned this once or fifteen times, but I have a peanut butter obsession. I've tried living without it in the past, but such attempts never last long. At first I try to stay strong, try to snack on things like carrots, sunflower seeds, and apples. But none of them satisfy. The cravings begin. I start to have peanut butter fantasies. Sometimes they involve chocolate. And so eventually (i.e. two days, max) I cave. I buy the peanut butter. I feel like a whole person again.

So I am maybe a little pathetic and OCD when it comes to peanut butter. It rules my life. I don't understand how normal people operate, how a jar of peanut butter lasts for weeks - even months - in their house. How is that possible? If a jar of peanut butter lasts me more than two weeks, I feel like I get to throw myself a congratulatory dance party for exercising an abnormal amount of self control. (Note: Whenever I use the phrase "dance party," I am not referring to an actual, organized party with people, strobe lights, a dj, and drinks, I am referring to my version of a dance party. Which is essentially me, alone in my bedroom, blasting music and flailing and hopping around in what I conceive to be a relatively coordinated manner. It probably more closely resembles a squirrel having a seizure in time to techno music.)

In my defence, however, I would say I use peanut butter a lot more than the average person. Peanut butter is not something just to be smeared onto toast. (In fact I rarely put it on toast.) In addition to putting it on just about everything that isn't toast, I almost always inevitably make energy bars with peanut butter. They are easy, cheap, delicious, and transportable. During my library-dwelling days, these things are pretty much essential to my ability to function as a cognitive being. When my energy starts to ebb in the middle of the day, or I need a pick-me-up morning snack, these are my go-to. They're made from whole, natural ingredients, with no refined sugars, so they won't cause your blood sugar to spike and crash, perfect when you need a little something to keep your energy up while studying.

Also, they basically taste like peanut butter cookie dough.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Silky Chocolate Pudding

bottom of the bowl

So I fell off the face of the blogosphere for a while, and I apologize. April was a weird month. It was final paper season. Paper season...is a strange time. It turns us students into hermitic, caffeine-consuming, library/apartment dwellers. We retreat from the world, shy away from the sun and stare at computer screens for hours. And watch cat videos on youtube.

And so, for the month of April, I turned into a hobbit: I lived in the dark with the blinds down, barely left the apartment, and ate almost constantly. So I guess I was more like a well-fed Gollum. In the beginning, I attempted to maintain some semblance of normalcy. Groceries were bought. I put on pants. But these things lost importance. Pants lost importance. Pajama pants became infinitely preferable.

Exercise? A thing of the past. If I ran up the stairs in my apartment energetically once or twice I felt like I had put in a good day's worth of cardio.

My sleeping schedule went crazy. My diet went crazy. I made experimental crepes. I ate said crepes. Many of them. My coffee intake increased. One night, during a particularly long night of paper writing, I ate an entire bag of tortilla chips. But they were pretentious organic tortilla chips claiming they were nutritious. Which makes consuming them totally okay. Right?

But this period of my life is over, thank god. A whole month of procrastination and ridiculously late nights. And chocolate pudding. Did I mention I made a lot of chocolate pudding? Because I did that too. Only it was a lot more nutritious than a bag of tortilla chips. Even pretentious tortilla chips.

This version of chocolate pudding is no-bake, vegan, and healthy. And it's extremely simple to make and delicious. I swear - I even have multiple testimonies to back me up! It will fool even the biggest sugar junkies. And if you whip up a batch - or two - it won't be completely terrible if you eat it all.

the mighty date nature's candy