Peanut Butter Coast

After traversing up the west coast from my childhood home in Oregon, over and through beach and mountain and park and forest and water and snow, we’re sitting in a small restaurant in Seattle where we order real Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream for dessert.

“Do you think that when we get home, you could add chocolate to the peanut butter ice cream you make?” he asks.

Why, of course. Chocolate goes very well with anything naturally vegan and gluten-free. And while I shockingly haven’t yet incorporated chocolate into this recipe as requested in the few days since our return, I will. Very soon.

In stark contrast to the oppressive heat and humidity of Ohio in July, Oregon and Washington offered a good chill — cold, even. Coupled with layers of athletic clothes, peanut butter + chocolate = comfort food and part of the camping experience, the hiking experience, and finally the downtown experience.

In Ohio, during less climate-oppressive months, combatting the chill means having a crochet experience. Crochet is warm and comforting too, like peanut butter. Is it any wonder that I crochet in peanut butter ? Or vanilla, for that matter? What food reference is this color — wheat? Whoops, that blows the gluten-free deal.

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But back to ice cream. As stated before, I almost never exactly follow a recipe. I’ve had great success with making one or all of the following substitutions in this Peanut Butter Coconut Ice Cream recipe (Vegetarian Times):  Brown sugar for maple syrup, almond milk for the soy creamer (add a little more vanilla than the recipe calls for if you go this route), full-fat coconut milk instead of light, and creamy peanut butter instead of crunchy. I’ve always used the ice cream maker method. And while I haven’t yet blended liquid or powdered chocolate into the batter, throwing chocolate chips on top of the ice cream upon serving is a no-brainer yes.

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Peanut Butter Coconut Ice Cream
“A heavy-duty blender (such as a Vita-Mix) makes quick work of this frozen treat, but a regular blender will get the job done if you just keep turning it off and pushing down the ice cubes. Or you can simply blend all the ingredients, chill, and process in an ice cream maker.”
  • 1 13.5-oz. can light coconut milk (1 ½ cups)
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup French vanilla soy creamer, divided
  1. Purée coconut milk, maple syrup, peanut butter, and vanilla in blender until smooth. Pour mixture into 2 ice cube trays, and freeze solid. Transfer to resealable plastic bags if storing for more than 2 days.
  2. Place half of ice cream cubes and 1/2 cup soy creamer in blender, and process until smooth and creamy. Repeat with second tray of cubes and remaining ½ cup soy creamer.000_2169

This is perfect for when:

Your parents and your significant other’s are going to meet for the first time in just a few days.
You’ll be with a new client in your renovation-pause home exactly 12 hours from now.
You’re internally and externally challenged about turning on the air conditioning. In a big way.
The fish bowls need cleaned.
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Another imperfect post, accompanied by:
Melissa — the Allman Brothers
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The other blog.

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Sensitive Cookie

When you sit alone under the Arizona starry sky and quietly tell the Universe, bring it on, I’m ready — ready for the good stuff, to learn, to move forward, to make it all real — you probably don’t anticipate the added challenge of suddenly becoming sensitive to certain foodstuffs. An elimination diet might help, but you have residual emotional baggage from when you did that in a different way decades ago and ran into trouble. So you resort to your own type of experimentation.

Like wheat elimination. Enter the Heart Healthiest Chocolate Chip Cookies in the World (Vegetarian Times). No denial necessary, good for breakfast, lunch, and sometimes dinner, snacks between, and gig accompaniment. I knew someone who swore that eating raw cookie dough late at night helped him maintain and/or lose weight. He would step on the scale the very next morning and see a lower number. What do you call that kind of diet? Perhaps The Salmonella Special.

No raw eggs here (vegan, gluten-free if you’re careful with your oats). And baking is instant gratification — thoroughly smashing stuff up followed by warm gooey comfort. Here, a food processor, plus chocolate, confirms that cookie baking helps you work through, and have, it all.

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I almost never follow a recipe exactly. I will say that using brown sugar here instead of white is definitely preferable taste-wise. To make oat flour, process the same measurement of oats into a semi-powder, i.e. one cup oats = one cup oat flour. You’ll probably want to make your oat flour in the food processor before you start making that yummy awesome walnut butter paste, as above. All photos in this post represent HALF of the recipe below.

Heart Healthiest Chocolate Chip Cookies in the World
Makes 30 cookies
30 minutes or fewer

  • 3 Tbs. canola oil — (I typically use coconut oil)
  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups oat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 3 3.5-oz. bars bittersweet vegan chocolate, chopped, or 1½ cups vegan chocolate chips (12 oz.)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray, or line with parchment paper.

2. Blend walnuts in food processor 30 seconds, or until ground into a fine meal. Add canola oil, and blend 2 to 3 minutes more, or until mixture has the consistency of natural peanut butter, scraping down sides of food processor occasionally. Transfer to bowl.

3. Whisk together brown sugar and ½ cup water in small saucepan, and bring mixture to a boil. Pour brown sugar mixture over ground walnut butter, add vanilla extract, and stir until no lumps remain.

4. Whisk together oat flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in separate bowl. Stir oat flour mixture into walnut mixture. Cool 10 minutes. Fold in oats, then chocolate chips.

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5. Shape cookie dough into 2-inch balls, and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Flatten cookies with bottom of drinking glass dipped in water. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until cookies begin to brown and tops look dry. Cool 3 minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

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These are perfect for when:

You want something semi-healthy and sweet, but not cloyingly so.
You are power-planning a trip to the other side of the country.
You need something to hold you over until gluten-free pizza time.
Your heart aches. But make sure you include a long walk, too.
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Another imperfect post, accompanied by:
New snippets-in-progress from Andrew Bird’s Measure for Measure (NY Times) May 2013 post
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The other blog.