Tag Archives: coconut

Vegan Chocolate Coconut Almond Ice Cream

ice-cream-3

Recently, we discovered that our son has become lactose intolerant. This is not really a surprise, as I’ve had this condition since my early twenties and it runs in my family. Lactose intolerance isn’t the same as an allergy – we just don’t produce enough lactase, the enzyme which breaks down lactose found in milk. An easy way around it if we still want to eat things with milk and cream in it is to take a lactase pill at the same time.

Another way is to just substitute non-dairy items into our diet. I love coconut milk and almond milk and often drink that instead. And we both drink lactose free milk.

My son also loves the flavor of coffee and he really wanted to make a coffee flavored ice cream. We decided on mocha, since I didn’t want to go overboard with the coffee flavor — even decaf. And we both wanted to add almonds and chocolate chips, because – why not!?

I based this recipe on a vegan one from thekitchn.com and altered it. To flavor it, I used Trader Joe’s Sipping cocoa, but I’m sure other cocoas would work. This is a seasonal item that we always buy and stock up on in the winter. It has a wonderful chocolate flavor and is not too sweet.

The result is a delicious, dairy-free dessert which is not too sweet, but very creamy and rich. The chopped almonds and chocolate chip add another layer of crunchy texture. Next time we make it, we want to add mini marshmallows and make it a Mocha Rocky Road number!

ice-cream-2

Vegan Mocha Coconut Almond Ice Cream

2 14 oz. cans full fat coconut milk

1/4 cup agave syrup

3 tablespoons Trader Joe’s Sipping Cocoa or other cocoa mix

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon decaf instant coffee

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped roasted salted almonds

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

  1. Shake the cans of coconut milk very well. Measure out 1/2 cup of the coconut milk and set aside.
  2. Heat the rest of the coconut milk, agave, instant coffee, and cocoas in a medium saucepan on the stove. Whisk constantly until completely dissolved, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add cornstarch to remaining coconut milk and whisk until fully incorporated. Add to saucepan and cook stirring constantly for about 6-8 minutes until mixture is thickened. It should to thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add vanilla extract.
  4. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Cover with saran wrap, pressing to surface of chocolate so that a skin doesn’t form. Chill over night.
  5. Churn mixture in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s directions until you have a soft ice cream texture. Stir in chopped almonds and chocolate chips.
  6. Transfer to a freezing container and freeze for several hours to harden and serve.

Makes about one pint

ice-cream-1

 

 

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Filed under Children, Desserts

Chocolate Coconut Avocado Ice Cream

avocado ice cream

In the comments section of my last post, Trixie Pin of Almonds Are Mecurial mentioned an Avocado Ice Cream recipe found at Oatmeal with a Fork.   I’ve always heard of ice cream made out of avocado and I’ve been wanting to try it for some time.  I ended up basing my recipe on this Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip recipe at Detoxinista, which is actually very similar to the Oatmeal with a Fork one.  All three sites have fantastic healthy recipes and beautiful photography, so check them out!  (I’m definitely going to try the Mint and Chip one soon — love that it’s green naturally!)

I only had 1/2 an avocado to work with and I didn’t want to wait until my other two ripened before I made the Chocolate Coconut Avocado Ice Cream.  I was woman obsessed.  The other 1/2 of avocado I had used to make a half portion of my Creamy Avocado Dip, which I was also craving because I had some homemade pita chips on hand….!  You see, I have both a sweet AND savory tooth!

First off, this is how I ripen my avocados — I throw them in a brown paper bag with bananas or plantains and fold the bag closed.  In a few days, they are perfect.

An unripened avocado and a ripe one, with an unripened plantain cozying up to them.  The ripened bananas were cut up and frozen.

An unripened avocado and a ripe one, with an unripened plantain cozying up to them. The ripened bananas were cut up and frozen.

Avocados are amazing fruit. They are full of more than 25 essential nutrients, fiber, protein, good fat, and beneficial antioxidants!  Read more about the benefits here, if you are curious.   I am so glad I like to eat them now.  As a kid, I hated them.  I’m happy Jamie loves guacamole.  My mom eats avocados only one way:  Mashed with brown sugar and spread on her morning toast.  I guess it’s a Hawaiian thing….  This is a savory breakfast that sounds good, that I will try soon — an egg baked in half an avocado!

Recently, I heard on a podcast about a study done which showed that eating avocados tripled a woman’s chance of getting pregnant through IVF.  I’m not trying to get pregnant but found it intriguing.  There are several lists of fruits and vegetables that look like the human organs they are good for floating around the internet–not surprisingly avocados look like a woman’s womb!

For the Chocolate Coconut Avocado Ice Cream I made, I threw into my Vitamix:  1/2 avocado, 2 tablespoons lite coconut milk from a can (you can use the extra in curry, or freeze in an ice cube tray like this for future smoothies), 2 tablespoons of agave syrup, 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil, 2 tablespoons of raw cacao powder (my new love), and 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla.  If you have a whole avocado or two, just double or quadruple the amounts.  After blending to a creamy smooth consistency, I poured it into my ice cream maker and let it roll.  It only took about 5 minutes due to the small quantity — basically the time it took to clean the dishes!  You could also pour your mixture into ramekins and chill and eat as pudding. It is SOOO good!

So creamy!  I garnished with some dried coconut and toasted almonds

So creamy! I garnished with some dried coconut and toasted almonds

This ice cream is so creamy and rich.  I only eat one scoop at a time (not three) because it is very filling!  Out of curiosity I plugged in the nutritional values for the ingredients and came up with this for 1 oz. of Chocolate Avocado Ice Cream:  78 calories, 6g fat, 1.7 g sat. fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4 mg sodium, 8.6 g carbs, 2.1 g fiber, 5.6 g sugar, and .8 g protein.  Happily, my vegan and gluten free friends can enjoy it as well! 🙂

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In other news, I just want to give a shout out to people in the New Jersey area!  This Saturday (September 20), I will be at the 2014 Princeton Children’s Book Festival signing books with my husband, Denis (and author of Hush Little Monster), and Anne Rockwell (author of numerous books, including  Truck Stop). We are so fortunate to be included in such an amazing gathering of authors and illustrators.  Favorites, such as Brian Floca (2014 Caldecott Winner), Brian Lies, David Kirk, Sophie Blackall, Fiona Robinson, Peter Brown, Pseudonymous Bosch (one of Jamie’s favorites), Jon Scieska, Mary Rose Wood, and a whole boatload of others will be there.  Check out the list here.  If you do make it out, be sure to stop by our table and say “hello”!

Chocolate Coconut Avocado Ice Cream

1 ripe avocado, halved, pit removed

1/4 cup lite coconut milk from a can

1/4 cup agave syrup

 1 tablespoon coconut oil (in liquid form)

1/4 cup raw cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  Put all ingredients into a blender or food processor and puree until completely smooth and creamy.

2.  Pour into an ice cream make and churn according to manufacturer’s directions.  Alternatively, pour into a metal bowl and put in freezer and stir every 15 minutes until thick and creamy.

13 Comments

Filed under Books, Desserts, Vegan, Vegetarian

Green Recipe Fail and Success: Perfect Green Coconut Chocolate Protein Ice Cream

My attempt at a green dosa

My attempt at a green dosa

I’m sharing with you a recipe (semi) fail today.  Sometimes life is not perfect.

I ate my first dosa from Dosa Royale eaten at the Brooklyn Smorgasburg.  I wish I had a photo to show it — it was huge and delicious!   A dosa is a savory crepe made from a fermented batter of rice flour and black lentils.  I was inspired to try making a savory zucchini one at home

zucchini batter

Zucchini batter

I don’t have a crepe pan — but that shouldn’t be the cause of my fail because I’ve made many crepes on a regular non-stick skillet.  Bu this time, nothing stayed together when I tried to flip it. 😦   Maybe I need a new skillet?  Or perhaps there wasn’t enough oil?   Wanting the salvage the remaining batter, I decided to try baking it in the toaster oven.  I had better luck with this, but who bakes a crepe!?  Anyway, here is the result.  It is crepe-like and similar to the dosa I had, but with a nice tea green shade:

zucchini crepe

I used it to make a breakfast burrito (with beans, egg, cheese, salsa, and onions).  The flavor is wonderful, even though it is not very “pretty”.

burrito

These days, I am so busy with my artwork, I don’t have as much time to noodle around experimenting in the kitchen, but it is a nice way to procrastinate!  For breakfast, I’m sticking with my perfected Green Coconut Chocolate Protein Ice Cream.  It is similar to my Green Coconut Chocolate Spinach Smoothie, but instead of psyllium husk (I know, I’m losing out on the extra fiber…!), I use a pinch of xanthum gum which I picked up at the health food store.  It gives it a really nice smooth and creamy ice cream feel.

AH... dessert for breakfast! I garnish it with toasted unsweetened coconut and sliced almonds and chia seeds.

AH… dessert for breakfast! I garnish it with toasted unsweetened coconut and sliced almonds and chia seeds.

This is the perfect light breakfast on a hot summer day.  If you can find xanthum gum, try it out — a little goes a lo..o.o…o..ng way!

 

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In other news, my son, Jamie and his friend have recently started blogging.  For a peek at what ten year old boys and girls are writing, check out their blogs at:

http://storiesonclouds.wordpress.com/ and his friend, P’s http://hefordandmelly.wordpress.com/ blogs.  Both are creative writing blogs. It is pretty obvious which one is written by the boy and which is written by the girl!

Perfect Green Coconut Chocolate Protein Ice Cream

2-3 ice cubes

1/4 frozen banana (I slice them and freeze, so this is about 4 slices)

1 cube of frozen coconut milk (or 2 tablespoons)

About 1/2 cup frozen fruit — I use blueberries and strawberries often

1 pinch of xanthum gum

1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

a little less than 1/4 cup milk

teaspoon of toasted coconut and almond for garnish (optional)

1.  Crush ice cubes and coconut milk in blender.

2.  Pour in remaining ingredients and blend. Use a tamper to press everything down — I use a Vitamix.  If you don’t have a tamper, I would just keep stirring it every now and then by hand to remove clumps, and blend again.

3.  Pour into a  bowl and top with crunchy toasted coconut and almond topping if you desire!

Here is my semi-fail recipe if you are interested — still needs work!

Zucchini “Dosa”

1 medium sized zucchini

1 egg

2 tablespoons pancake mix (I used TJ’s multigrain)

1 tablespoons grated parmesan

salt to taste

about 2 tablespoons water to thin batter

non-stick spray

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Cut eight  5 x 5 inch squares out of parchment paper and lay four of them on top on baking sheet.  Spray paper with nonstick spray. Set aside.

2.  Blend ingredients in a blender.

3.   Spoon batter onto parchment and spread into circles or squares.  Bake for about 10-12 minutes.  Cover each square with paper then flip pancake so that the cooked side is down.  Bake for another 5-7 minutes until pancake is done.  Cool and store in refrigerator or eat immediately.

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Filed under Breakfast, Desserts, Uncategorized

Coconut Chocolate Chia Pudding and Almond Chia Pudding

Coconut Chocolate Chia Pudding

Coconut Chocolate Chia Pudding


This is my newest obsession:  Instant Chia Puddings!  I have seen chia puddings all over the web, and this Vanilla Chia Seed Parfait with Fresh Berries and Tsubuan (Japanese Red Beans) made by my friend, Judy, at Bebe Love Okazu really stands out.  I haven’t made it yet because I need to go to a special store to get the red beans, but it looks amazing.

While shopping at our local Trader Joe’s recently, I was compelled to buy a bag of chia seeds on display strategically near the cashier stands.

chia bag

On the bag, there was a recipe for a simple pudding:  Chia seeds, milk, and agave syrup.   I thought it would be fun to make a coconut chocolate one since I had a lot of lite coconut cubes in the freezer (for my morning Coconut Chocolate Spinach Smoothies).  I defrosted two cubes in the microwave and added a tablespoon of chia seeds, cocoa powder, stevia, vanilla and a pinch of instant coffee (to bring out the chocolate flavor).

 

 

chia in cup

I don’t know if it’s because I used coconut milk or because when I defrosted it in the microwave, it was slightly warm, but the chia pudding set in literally 2 minutes!

chocolate chia

Right after mixing….

Coconut Chocolate Chia Pudding

Coconut Chocolate Chia Pudding

…and two minutes later!

 

I loved it so much, I started making them every afternoon for a snack.  The texture is similar to a rice pudding.  The chewiness reminds me of tapioca pearls in bubble tea.  And I love the coconut chocolate flavors.

Then, I thought I would experiment a bit and try making it with regular milk (I use Lactaid) and almond extract.

The consistency was a lot thinner:

almond chia

This one took a lot longer to set — about three hours (which is what it says it will take on the bag).  The texture is lighter and less dense than the one made with coconut milk.  But it is equally delicious!

almond chia set


There are so many health benefits to eating chia because they are high in protein, fiber and omega-3s as well as other nutrients.  So if you want to try something different and a lot healthier, try making some chia seed pudding!

 

Note:  I’m happy to make my single servings of chia pudding, because it is so easy to make, and I prefer to eat it the day I make them.  But the recipes I have here can easily be doubled and quadrupled to make 2 – 4 servings.

Coconut Chocolate Chia Pudding

1 tablespoon chia seeds (15 g)

1/4 cup coconut milk

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon cocoa powder

stevia or other sweetener of choice

pinch of instant coffee (I like decaf VIA from Starbucks)

1 teaspoon dried coconut

Serves 1

1.  Mix all ingredients together.
2.  Chill until set.  EAT!

 

Almond Chia Pudding

1 tablespoon chia seeds (15 g)

1/4 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

stevia or other sweetener of choice

Serves 1

1.  Mix all ingredients together.

2.  Chill until set — about 3-4 hours.  EAT!

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Filed under Desserts, Gluten Free, Vegetarian

Green as a Coconut, Spinach, Chocolate Smoothie

Topped with toasted coconut and sliced almonds

Topped with toasted coconut and sliced almonds


So this is only day 2 of my weaning myself off of caffeine, and I feel like this:

Copyright Melissa Iwai 2005

Copyright Melissa Iwai 2005

All I want to do is sleep.  Which probably means I am sleep deprived.  Which is why I decided to stop drinking coffee in the first place.  I have been struggling with insomnia and stress, and hopefully this will help with that.  Unfortunately, I have a lot of work to do, and my daily coffee seemed to help make me so much more productive!  Have any of you dealt with this issue?  Any advice or tips you can give?

In the meantime, I’m still trying to keep a healthy lifestyle.  I’m still drinking my smoothies.  Jamie too.  Remember this one?  It’s his favorite Chocolate Banana Smoothie (with Secret Ingredient).

These days, I drink one daily and it’s a riff on Jamie’s Chocolate Banana Smoothie and my Strawberry Bliss Smoothie.

Strawberry Banana High Fiber Smoothie

Strawberry Banana High Fiber Smoothie

It has the frozen fruit, spinach (whoops! there goes the secret!), and pysllium husk that those have, but I’ve also added protein powder and coconut milk as well.  I often try to make it as thick as possible so I can eat it with a spoon.  I top it with a little toasted coconut and almonds, and it makes me feel like I’m eating a soft serve ice cream for breakfast.  This is especially nice in these hot summer months!

I toast unsweetened coconut and sliced almonds on foil in the toaster oven.

I toast unsweetened coconut and sliced almonds on foil in the toaster oven.

I keep frozen banana, various fruits, frozen spinach in a bag, and frozen coconut milk in the freezer at all times.

One can of Trader Joe's Light Coconut Milk fills one ice cube tray. How convenient!

One can of Trader Joe’s Light Coconut Milk fills one ice cube tray. How convenient!

I freeze the coconut milk in an ice cube tray.  One cube equals 2 tablespoons, if you are curious.  When it hardens, I transfer the cubes to a ziploc freezer bag and store for future use –i.e. almost every morning.

This is what I put in the blender:

ingredients

The fruit I used this time was nectarine, but that varies.

Frozen Coconut Milk, Banana, Nectarine, and Spinach

Frozen Coconut Milk, Banana, Nectarine, and Spinach–pretty!

I know it looks green and icky, but it is SOOO good!

I know it looks green and icky, but it is SOOO good!

Here's a more Martha Stewart photo for ya!

Here’s a more Martha Stewart photo for ya!

Coconut, Spinach, Chocolate Protein Smoothie

2-3 ice cubes

1/4 frozen banana (I slice them and freeze, so this is about 4 slices)

1 cube of frozen coconut milk (or 2 tablespoons)

a handful of other frozen fruit — I use nectarines and strawberries often

1 teaspoon psyllium husk (if you want more fiber — also it acts as a thickening agent.  You could also use Chia Seeds)

a little less than 1/4 cup milk (or almond milk if you want to keep it vegan), depending on how liquid you want the final to be

teaspoon of toasted coconut and almond for garnish (optional)

1.  Crush ice cubes in blender.

2.  Pour in remaining ingredients and blend. If you make it thick, like mine, you need a tamper to press everything down — I use a Vitamix.  If you don’t have a tamper, I would just keep stirring it every now and then by hand to remove clumps, and blend again.

3.  Pour into a wide rimmed glass or bowl and top with crunchy toasted coconut and almond topping if you desire!

19 Comments

Filed under Beverages, Breakfast, Vegetarian

TRUCK STOP Book Release and Baked Buttermilk Donuts

Coming soon May 2013!

I’m thrilled to announce the release of TRUCK STOP, written by Anne Rockwell and illustrated by moi!!  The official Viking pub date is this Thursday, but we are kicking off our blog tour today.  TRUCK STOP is a fun picture book for young kids that celebrates all the different trucks and their drivers who gather for breakfast every day at the young narrator’s family’s truck stop diner.

When I first was offered the manuscript in 2011, I was so excited to see it was written by Anne.  I’ve been a big fan for a long time.  She`s written over 100 children’s books for all ages, on topics ranging from boats, history, mythology, to the first day of school, bugs, to the seasons.  Go check out her collection of books here!  Needless to say, I didn’t need much time to think it over and said “yes” to my editor immediately.

Most people don’t realize it, but usually the author and illustrator don’t meet or collaborate at all on the book.  Exceptions are made, of course, if they are married, related, or perhaps have worked together in the past.  So it was such a pleasure last week when I finally had the opportunity to meet Anne in person.  We had been corresponding via Facebook  for the past year after I turned the artwork in (yes, it takes a year for a book to be printed!)

Last year, during our trip to California I did research and took a lot of a reference photos at a truck stop near my hometown.

Truck Stop in Santa Maria

Truck Stop in Santa Maria

A large portion of the story takes place in the truck stop diner. I took a lot of photos inside.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I love that TRUCK STOP has the food component–yummy breakfasts bringing people together.   Here is the narrator (the son of the owners) helping to make breakfast and opening the truck stop diner:

making breakfast

One of their first guests is Maisie and her Milk Truck.  Maisie orders donuts and coffee for breakfast:

masey

Note plates of collaged donuts:

plate-donuts

I cut each coconut shred and sprinkle by hand!

I cut each coconut shred and sprinkle by hand!

Inspired by Maisie,  I decided to make Baked Buttermilk Donuts to celebrate the TRUCK STOP release.

Plate o' real donuts.

Plate o’ real donuts.

sprinkles close 2

Anne and I will be doing book events in the area.  If you are nearby, please stop by and get a signed copy!  We will both be at Book Court in Brooklyn at 11 am on June 1.  I will be alone at Greenlight Bookstore participating in some “Artists Battles” (I’m a little nervous since I’ll be “competing” against Sophie Blackall and Sergio Ruzzier and Melissa Guion….!) this coming weekend, May 18 at 11 am.  Come cheer me on!

In the next two weeks, Anne and I will also be doing a blog tour.  Our book will be reviewed and given away on several blogger’s sites.  I will be tweeting about it and will also be hosting a give away of a signed book here on The Hungry Artist, so stay tuned.

Here are some giveaways already going on if you want to try and win a copy!

Just A Little Creativity

Kid Focused

A Mom’s Take

The Children’s Book Review

Five Minutes for Books

Susan Heim on Parenting

Kid Lit Frenzy

For some fun free downloadable games, puzzles, and coloring sheets based on TRUCK STOP, please visit the Activity Sheets section of my website here!

Baked Buttermilk Donuts (inspired by TRUCK STOP) 

This recipe is based on this one at Heather’s French Press.  I omitted the nutmeg and used different toppings in place of the cinnamon sugar.  Also I would advise rolling dough out to 1/2″ (instead of 1/4″ as directed) and cutting out donuts with a 3″ cookie cutter or glass and holes with a 1″ cutter.  I love that these are baked instead fried!

Also, I love that you also get donut holes!

Aren;t these cute?  They look like mini profitroles.

Aren’t these cute? They look like mini profiteroles.

Toppings:

White Glaze- just pour about 1/3 – 1/2 cup powdered sugar in a bowl.  Add a little bit of milk at a time and stir.  Keep adding 1/4 teaspoon or so at a time until consistency is opaque but thin enough to pour over donuts.  Decorate with sprinkles, chopped nuts, or shredded coconut.

Chocolate Glaze – Melt chocolate chips (I used about 1/4 for two donuts) in a microwave safe bowl at 20 second intervals.  Watch closely.  Stir until smooth, the coat donuts.

For filled donut:  I used the dough scraps and made a solid donut.  I filled it with raspberry jam and dusted with powdered sugar.

sprinkles close cropped

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Filed under Art Related, Breakfast, Children, Desserts

Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter Protein Bars

up close

I did a fasting blood sugar test the other day.  I knew I was going to be out and about until lunch.  I knew I didn’t want to grabbing something along the way after the test, so I made these protein bars before I left the house.

You can pretty much put whatever you want in them, but this is what I used:  Chocolate Protein Powder (I used Double Chocolate Designer’s Whey because my husband uses it every day), peanut butter, oats, and almond milk.

in bowl

I mixed the ingredients together in a bowl.

on coconut

Then I divided the mixture into four parts and shaped each one into a log and coated it with coconut so it wouldn’t be too sticky.

shaped bars on coconut

Then I wrapped them up in saran and threw them in the freezer until I was ready to leave.

wrapped

I ate two after my test, and they held me over until lunch several hours later. 🙂

They would be good with nuts or seeds or dried fruit added.  You’d just need to adjust the almond milk (or other liquid) to get the right consistency.  I think these taste WAY better than store bought protein bars, which I think taste either too sweet, artificial, or chalky.  Try it next time you need something on the go!

These are the general values (general because I didn’t weigh the coconut before and after coating — you will have a pile of leftover coconut):

For one bar-

Calories:  106  Fat: 7.4 g  Protein:  14 g   Carbs:  4.4 g  Fiber:  1 g  Sugars:  1 g

With a penny to give you an idea of the size

With a penny to give you an idea of the size

Coconut Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars

1 scoop protein powder (I use Double Chocolate Designer’s Whey) (32g)

2 tablespoons peanut butter (64 g)

1 tablespoon rolled oats

1 tablespoon almond milk or other liquid

¼ cup dried unsweetened coconut (you will have leftover)

  1. Mix protein powder, peanut butter, rolled oats together.  Add almond milk and stir until mixture is a thick paste.
  2. Spread dried coconut on a plate and dump mixture on top.  Divide into 4 pieces (if you want mini bars) 2 pieces (if you want 2 small bars) or shape into one large log (if you want a large bar).
  3. As you shape log, roll in dried coconut (it will help to keep the chocolate from sticking to your fingers) and shape into flat rectangles.  Wrap each piece in saran.
  4. Store bars in freezer or refrigerator depending on whether you want them on the crunchy or chewy side.  Note, they will still be somewhat chewy after 24 hours in the freezer, especially if they are larger.  After that though, they get crunchy.  I like to store mine in the freezer so that when I pack them for on the go, they thaw a bit and are ready to eat when I am!

16 Comments

Filed under Books, Breakfast, Snack, Vegetarian

Jamie’s Trailmix and Blog

Well, it’s happened:  My eight year old son asked me if he could have his own cooking blog.  I guess I should have been flattered, but my first thought was, “Oh nooooo!”

To buy some time, I told him he’d have to come up with three original recipes and posts first.  I should have listened to my husband who said he would have made the requirement at least ten posts!

A budding writer (he’s working on a chapter book — part of a trilogy– as well), three posts was a breeze for him.  And he’s always coming up with his own creations when he helps me cook anyway.  Here’s a favorite from the past:

Jamie’s green bean sushi he named “Bean Bean Sushi”

A couple months ago, he and I were standing in line at a store near a display of trail mix meant to encourage an “impulse buy”.  Not surprisingly, he wanted me to buy a package.  To put him off, I told him it was too expensive–that it would be cheaper to make it and it would probably be better because we could put whatever we wanted into it.

Of course when we got home he wanted to make some.  So we did.

This is what he put into his mix: peanuts, roasted salted almonds, cashews, dried cranberries, chopped dried persimmon (from my mom’s trees in California and dried in her dehydrator), dried apricot, dried coconut, and some chocolate chips.  He made a label for the mix:

The good thing about this activity is that he made a healthy snack for himself for the rest of the week.  Also, it tasted really great.  Kids are more likely to eat whatever they make, so it’s a good opportunity to make nutritious food that will get eaten.  Trail mix is the easiest thing in the world to throw together and so much cheaper when you buy the pantry staples in bulk.  Try it!

Back to Jamie’s blog idea— it’s called Food Cultures and is under my name (so all comments come to me), but it’s all him.  He will write and type his own posts, and the only editing I will do is correct some spelling.  He even came up with his own header.

I digitized his sketch and we colored it together in Photoshop.

His first recipe is Reese’s Yogurt.  You can view it here. 🙂

We’ll see how long his food obsession lasts….


Easy Trail Mix

Throw into a mixing bowl:

Various nuts, such as almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, peanuts, etc.

Various dried fruit, such as dried raisins, cranberries, apricots, pineapple, coconut,  mango (chop bigger pieces of dried fruit into raisin sized pieces), etc.

You can add extras like chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, even mini marshmallows, depending on how “junky” or “healthy” you want to skew it.  Have fun!

www.melissaiwai.com
www.thehungryartist.wordpress.com

25 Comments

Filed under Children, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Monster Cookies

Our book was released by Simon and Schuster yesterday!

back of postcard info

It’s written by my husband, Denis, and inspired by our son, Jamie.

Jamie and Denis recreating the cover of the book

We got a starred review in Publishers Weekly. 🙂

To celebrate, Jamie helped me make Monster Cookies, inspired by the Mommy Monster’s snacks in the book.

Copyright Melissa Iwai 2012

Another example of life imitating art…

I definitely wanted “worms” in them so I decided on gummy worms which I cut in half and pressed into the cookies right after they came out of the oven (obviously I wasn’t going to bake them, as they would have turned into a puddle of goo).

Instead of sticks, we used broken up pretzels. We also threw in some chips for the saltiness and crazy monster factor.

For sweet add-ins we used chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, and dried coconut.

half-way full

This recipe was based on Everything But the Kitchen Sink Cookies found in The Cookiepedia by Stacy Adimando. It’s pretty straightforward and easy to make with kids. Coming up with the salty and sweet add-ins is part of the fun.  I reduced the amounts by 1/3 because I didn’t want to make a huge amount of cookies.  This version makes a cool one dozen large cookies.

Sweet and savory additions in the mixing bowl

I was surprised at how much they spread and got so huge! But they are monster cookies, after all… so the size is appropriate.

They taste really great. You can’t perceive the potato chips, but the saltiness surely adds to the overall flavor.  The pretzels give it good crunch.

The gummy worm addition actually works with the flavors! But I think next time we make these, we’ll add old fashioned oats for more texture.

If you get a chance, please check out Hush Little Monster! It is a perfect book for a monster loving child– or a little monster of your own. 🙂

Monster Cookies

adapted from Everything But the Kitchen Sink Cookies from The Cookiepedia

1 1/2 sticks butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg

1/2 egg white (I used 3/4 tablespoon liquid whites)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used a combination of white and whole wheat)

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup mixture of peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and dried coconut

1 cup potato chips and pretzels broken into pieces

6 gummy worms cut in half

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Cream butter and sugars until fluffy.  Add vanilla and eggs. Mix to incorporate, scraping down sides of bowl.

3.  Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in another bowl.

Slowly add to butter and sugar mixture while mixer is running.

4.  Add sweet and salty mixtures to batter and stir together.

5.  Spoon twelve round dough mounds  2-inches apart onto two baking sheets covered with parchment paper or Silpat mats.

6.  Bake for about 16-18 minutes, rotating pans halfway.

7.  When cookies are golden, remove from oven and press 2 halves of gummy worms onto each cookie.  Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool.

Makes 1 dozen very large cookies.

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Filed under Art Related, Books, Children, Cookies, Desserts

Individual Summer Fruit Crumbles

With vanilla ice cream–a perfect summer treat!

I’m right in the middle of finishing all the illustrations of my latest book project.  It will be published by Viking Press next year and is written by the amazing,  award winning Anne Rockwell.

I can’t show anything to you yet, but I can say that yummy breakfast food is a part of it. 🙂

Pancakes anyone?

Denis and I are also getting ready for the launch of our collaborative effort, Hush Little Monster, out next month.  More on that to come soon!

You would think with my workload I wouldn’t have time to make dessert on a daily basis.  But….

You would be wrong!

Here’s a  super easy and great summertime dessert that you can throw together without thinking.  The secret is to have a stash of topping already prepared.

Mix up a batch of crumble topping.  I use butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, some flour or oats, spices and chopped nuts.  Sometimes I also add coconut.  I’ve even made a sugar free one for a friend out of just butter (you could use coconut oil also), almonds, cinnamon, and oats.

Store this crumble mixture in the refrigerator and use as needed.

Leftover crumble in container I keep in the fridge

When you want to have some dessert, cut up some fruit — summer is wonderful for stone fruits and berries which work well here.   Mix with a bit of sugar and other flavorings if you like, such as lemon juice, zest, liqueur– have fun.

Blueberries and chopped cherries mixed with a touch of sugar

Then fill ramekins.  We use about 1/2 cup of chopped fruit mixture per ramekin.

My assistant spooning fruit into ramekins

Top with however much crumble you want.

Putting on topping

Bake at 375 F degrees.   Since it’s been so hot, I just use our Cuisinart toaster oven, aka Easy Bake oven, because it preheats so fast and doesn’t heat up the apartment.  It only takes ten minutes to warm the fruit up and brown the crumble.

Unbaked crumble

Baked crumble – after ten minutes in toaster oven

You could also use a larger baking dish and make a big batch at once time, but you’d need to bake it longer– about 40-45 minutes and use a regular oven.

I like the little individual ramekins because they are portion controlled, heat up fast, and are small enough to fit in our above mentioned toaster oven.

Also, they are cute.

This is a sugar free, dairy free version: Just fruit, oats and sliced almonds!

My son loves making these crumbles.  Serve with whipped cream or ice cream and enjoy!

Warm, crunchy, and creamy!

Individual Summer Fruit Crumbles

½ cup chopped summer fruit and/or berries per ramekin

½ – 1 teaspoon sugar, depending on how sweet you like it – or none at all

dash of liqueur (such as Kirsch or Cointreau) or lemon juice or zest if you like

Crumble Topping – use however much you like (see recipe below)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F degrees.
  2. Stir fruit and sugar (and liqueur, lemon juice, zest, if using) together.  Spoon into ramekins.
  3. Top with crumble.
  4. Bake for about 10-15 minutes until lightly browned on top.
  5. Serve immediately or cool to room temperature.

If you want to make one big crumble for 4-6 people, use about 2 ½ pounds fruit with ¼ cup sugar and stir together in a square baking pan or pie pan.  Top with crumble mixture.  Bake for about 40-45 minutes at 375 F degrees.

Crumble Topping:

6 tablespoons flour or oats or combination

¼ cup packed brown sugar

¼ cup granulated sugar

pinch of salt

cinnamon or nutmeg to taste

5 tablespoons butter, chilled, cut into pieces

¾ cup chopped nuts (I like sliced almonds)

Note:  you can also add in dried coconut, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds – use whatever strikes your fancy.

  1. Pulse flour, oats if using, with sugars and salt and spices in a food processor a couple times to mix together.  Add butter.  Pulse some more until mixture is sandy.  Then add nuts (and seeds and coconut if using) and pulse a few times more until mixture is clumpy.
  2. Store in a container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

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Filed under Children, Desserts