• Dairy Free,  Dessert,  Drinks,  Gluten Free,  Recipe,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

    Cherry Vanilla Bean Soda Ice Cream Floats (Vegan+GF)

    I haven’t had a float since…well forever ago. I think the last time was when I was a little kid sitting in a Sonic drive-in parking lot, my short legs dangling from our car’s backseat that was too tall to allow them to reach the floor. I probably had straight-across bangs and pigtails too if you want the whole picture.

    I’ve had this recipe on my list for months now and I’ve been dying to share it before summer is over. I love that you can switch out the fruit with other kinds like berries, peaches, pineapple, oranges….. Endless possibilities here.

    I could have chosen one of those fruits but it was too late. I had already got it stuck in my mind that I had to have a big old, brilliantly red, wonderfully fizzy, and just a little bit (okay a lot a bit) messy, cherry vanilla float! I confess, this was purely stubbornness on my part, but really, look at this beauty! Can you blame me? I’ve always wanted to make my own pop and ice cream floats. I feel like together they just scream vintage Americana in the summertime.

    Oh, and did you guys know that making soda pop at home is one of the easiest things ever? Really, pretty much all you do is make a syrup, add some seltzer water, and stick a straw in it! Then to take the next step and upgrade to a float, (which obviously needs to happen every time, duh!), you just drop in some generous scoops of vanilla ice cream and kick back to enjoy your work of artful and delicious genius!

    Cherry Vanilla Bean Soda Ice Cream Floats (Vegan+GF)

    Nothing says Summer like a refreshing frozen treat like a float and these cherry ones are just the thing to enjoy this season!

    Prep Time 5 minutes
    Cook Time 20 minutes
    Cooling Time 30 minutes
    Total Time 25 minutes
    Servings 6 - 8 servings

    Ingredients

    Cherry Vanilla Bean Soda:

    • 2 cups pitted pureed cherries
    • 2/3 cup brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
    • 1 vanilla bean split in half
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 6 - 8 cups seltzer carbonated water

    Floats:

    • 1 pint of your favorite non-dairy vanilla ice cream

    Instructions

    1. In a medium saucepan, pour in the cherries, sugar, lemon, salt, and add vanilla bean. Simmer over medium heat until it starts to thicken, it should be about 15 to 20 minutes. If desired you can strain out any cherry bits for a perfectly smooth syrup (I leave it as is). Let it cool completely for at least 20 minutes.
    2. Once it's cooled, add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the syrup to 1 cup ice cold seltzer water (you can adjust with more or less to taste) and fill desired number of glasses using this ratio. Also, you can add some ice to each glass to get them extra cold.
    3. Immediately after adding seltzer, drop in desired amount of vanilla ice cream scoops, add straws and/or spoons and enjoy!

  • Dairy Free,  Dessert,  Drinks,  Gluten Free,  Recipe,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

    Butterbeer Ice Cream Floats with Coconut Caramel Ice Cream (Vegan+GF)

    Okay, you got me. Yep, I’m a Potter fan.

    Once upon a time, I enjoyed reading books. Of course, that was when I had tons of free time. These days, the thought of sitting down to a good book for hours and hours is a dim fantasy, and yet somehow it’s not as appealing as it used to be. I don’t think I could concentrate that long anymore, but there was a time when I could, and one of my favoreites was the Harry Potter series. What is it about that those books that’s so captivating when your young? I loved the way Rowling connected everything at the end and how she kept the ending a surprise for everyone. She also had all these little clues and details in the plot that connected at the end and you didn’t even see them coming, or at least I didn’t the first time.

    Butterbeer is something that is mentioned throughout all the books and I remember imagining what it would taste like in great detail every time I reached one of those parts. When I first started brainstorming for October recipes a few months ago I knew I wanted to make my own version. I know there are a bunch of recipes out there from fans. They even sell it at the theme park in Orlando, but all of the recipes I’ve looked at vary a bit.

    What I’ve found as a common ingredient is to add either carbonated water or cream soda. Okay, so some cream sodas do have dairy products but as it happens Jones “cream” soda doesn’t in fact contain cream. Now is it healthy, not really but this is for a special occasion, right?

    I also found that most of the recipes were overly complicated for my taste. I kept the butterbeer itself very simple. Basically it’s caramel soda, oh, and it’s amazing. Although, I suppose making homemade ice cream isn’t the most simplistic thing, But it’s amazing! I wanted to make butterbeer floats because, growing up, one of my favorite ice cream treats was a rootbeer float. Plus, floats are so much more fun than just plain soda.

    There are hints of so many different flavors that come together into a drink that totally exceeds my childhood dreams of drinking a butterbeer! It’s amazing and everyone loved it. I think one of my favorite things about these, is that once you’ve made the caramel and ice cream, they take all of 5 minutes to throw together and serve. I put the recipe for the butterbeers in a per cup ratio so that you have the option of how many you want to make. Yay, for instant October treats!

    Oh, and if you want to simplify you can use a store bought non-dairy ice cream.

    Butterbeer Ice Cream Floats with Coconut Caramel Ice Cream

    For all the big time HP fans you're dreams are about to come true in a majorly OTT way! 

    Prep Time 15 minutes
    Cook Time 15 minutes
    Freezing Time 4 hours
    Total Time 30 minutes
    Servings 4 -6 servings

    Ingredients

    Dark Butterscotch Caramel Sauce:

    • 1 3/4 cups dark brown sugar
    • 1 13.5 ounce can full-fat coconut milk
    • 1/4 cup vegan "butter"
    • 2 tablespoons molasses
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt
    • 2 tablespoons scotch whisky
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    No-Churn Coconut Caramel Ice Cream:

    • 3/4 cups sugar
    • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
    • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2 tablespoons vegan "butter"
    • 2 tablespoons prepared caramel recipe above
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 cup coconut cream *see note

    Butterbeer (per cup):

    • 3 1/2 tablespoons prepared caramel recipe above
    • 2 bottles Jones cream soda
    • 1 teaspoon strong black coffee
    • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

    dash of:

    • salt
    • nutmeg
    • cinnamon
    • ginger

    Instructions

    Caramel:

    1. Combine brown sugar, "butter", coconut milk, molasses, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium low heat. 2. Bring to a soft boil and stir occasionally, scraping sugar from sides of pan, for about 10 minutes or until it starts to get thick and develops a dark amber color. Add bourbon and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 5 minutes until sauce is thickened, then stir in vanilla and cool. Store any extra caramel in an airtight container until in refrigerator.

    No-Churn Coconut Caramel Ice Cream:

    1. Whisk almond milk and sugar in a large bowl until frothy. Add almond milk, cornstarch, and salt and pour into a medium saucepan. Stir for about 8 minutes over low heat until it starts to boil, stirring constantly. Once boiling continue stirring for about a minute until it coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and add "butter", vanilla, and caramel. Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a sealable container. Cool for about 30 minutes then cover and place in refrigerator for about 4 hours until very cool. Pour coconut cream into bowl of stand mixer and place in refrigerator to chill also.
    2. After 4 hours, whip the 2 cups of chilled coconut milk for 2 to 3 minutes until fluffy. Remove ice cream mixture from fridge and fold in coconut cream. Pour back into a sealable container and place also in freezer for 8 hours or overnight.

    Butterbeer Floats:

    1. Combine all ingredients for butterbeer, except cream soda, in the bottom of a glass or beer mug and stir well. If the cinnamon doesn't seem to be mixing well try warming it slightly until it's smooth. Fill cups with enough cream soda so that you're leaving about 1 1/2 inches of space below the rim. Stir a little if necessary and add 1 to 2 scoops of caramel coconut ice cream to top. Serve immediately.

    2. You can save the rest of your caramel and ice cream for future floats.
  • Breakfast,  Dairy Free,  Drinks,  Gluten Free,  Recipe,  Snacks,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

    Watermelon, Pomegranate, & Mint Slushies (Vegan+GF)

    I got a haircut a few days ago and it has taken me until now to decide that it’s too short. I’ve always hated when my hair is in between. You know, when it’s too short to be considered long but too long to be considered short. Medium hair is like the sad middle child in a family. The one that doesn’t automatically inherit the identity of being the oldest or the youngest. Basically, I’m feeling like my hair should just go home and rethink it’s life.

    Maybe I should do that too. Actually I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately and my head hits overload every once in a while. I think it’s just this age, or at least I hope it is and that I’m not the only person who feels this way. There is just so much pressure and unknowns to consider and the future is like this eerily blank canvas that I have no choice but to paint on. It may end up a big blob or it could be an art piece, but either way I’m holding the brush and it’s up to me. Please tell me everyone has these kind of days.

    Well, on days like those it’s nice to make simple recipes that don’t require much difficulty but still take up my time and keep my head busy. Sometimes I just need that to keep from over-thinking everything.

    These slushies are kind of like my hair right now. They have a bit of summer fruit, a bit of winter fruit, and some spring fresh mint so I guess they are kind of an all season drink. They will cool you down if it’s summer or they’ll make you think of summer heat when you make them during the winter.

    I took way too long trying to photograph these because, that’s right, I was over-thinking things and all of the beautiful slush melted into a flat looking drinks. Just imagine them with mounds of slush on top for me because that’s what they did look like.

    I made them with raw sugar and even used that to make pretty rims on the cups. I also used frozen watermelon that I froze over the summer. It was mostly seedless but not quite so I still had a few seeds in these slushies but the kids didn’t mind just spitting them out. I heard a rumor once that watermelon seeds are poisonous so I looked it up and found some people that actually recommend eating them because they are healthy. I’m not really sure about that but I promise that you won’t grow a watermelon in your belly if, like me,  you fail to catch all of the seeds. My brother-in-law said that I should spike these and I thought I’d mention that you can if you want to I just don’t live around people who are big on drinking and I’m not old enough yet. 

    Cheers!

    Watermelon, Pomegranate, & Mint Slushies

    Next time the heat is overwhelming, try this refreshing and easy slush recipe. It'll be sure to make you the hero of the party!

    Prep Time 10 minutes

    Ingredients

    • 4 1/2 cups seeded watermelon cubes frozen
    • 1 cup pomegranate arils about 1 large pomegranate
    • 1/2 cup sugar in the raw plus more for cups
    • 2 cups cold water
    • handful of fresh mint leaves

    Instructions

    1. To make the sugared glasses, dip the rims of chosen glasses into warm water and then into a shallow bowl of raw sugar. Allow to dry for at least 30 minutes
    2. Pour arils and water into a blender or food processor and blend for about a minute. Pour through a mesh strainer and press as much liquid out of seeds as possible then discard seeds.
    3. Pour juice back into blender and add watermelon, sugar, and mint and blend until smooth but thick like a slushy. If you 'd like it thicker you can add some ice as well.