Chocolate Cookies + Cream Milkshake
This milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, I could teach you, I won't even charge.
Alex has been craving a milkshake for days. I crave milkshakes on ALL days, so we decided this week to make it happen. I used to consider any softened ice cream essentially a milkshake. Alex, an aficionado, taught me otherwise. A good milkshake is a thick, creamy treat that is blended just to the point of perfection, then topped with cookies.
The perfect milkshake requires the right ratio of ice cream to milk. With this recipe, we nailed it. Our preference is 3:1 for ultimate creaminess.
This milkshake is 100% percent organic. Use the stuff we did and yours could be, too. On that note, while double-stuffed Oreo’s are technically vegan, they’re also filled with way more junk than anyone needs. Do yourself a favor and use Newman’s Own organic cookies like we did, your favorite organic brand, or homemake your own. Oreo’s are seriously nasty little cookies. Okay, lecture over.
Back to the milkshake.
Milkshake Makin’ Tips:
Freeze your glass first. This allows the temperature of the glass to cool down and keep your drink colder, longer. It also gives you that delicious looking frosty glass to pour your milkshake into. Bloggers: it makes your photos look better.
Let the ice cream soften before you use it. I usually pull it from the freezer about 5-10 minutes before I actually scoop into it. Its easier to scoop that way and won’t turn your milkshake to a block of ice, forcing you to add too much milk and dilute the flavor.
Never add ice to your milkshakes. Milkshakes are all about creaminess; adding ice is for smoothies.
Use a 3:1 ratio. Or a 2:1 ratio, for thinner milkshakes. For instance, 1 c. ice cream + 1/3 c. milk. For whatever reason, the liquid vs. solid in a milkshake works best with this formula.
If you’re mixing up your milkshake in a blender, use a very low blender speed to start. I made this particular milkshake in my Vitamix, and I always start it on the lowest speed, increasing the speed just enough to crush the cookies and gently blend the milkshake. You don’t want to whip it into submission, just a thick, creamy treat.
When adding cookies to a milkshake, I would recommend adding no more than four small or two medium-large sized cookies. Too many chunks turn a milkshake into a blizzard and make it hard to use a straw.
Add extras if you like, but a milkshake is about simplicity.
Creaminess is key.
-2 cups organic chocolate vegan ice cream
-2/3 cup organic unsweetened almond milk
(you can use up to 1 cup of milk if you prefer a less thick shake)
-4 organic cream filled chocolate cookies
(3 in the blender, one crumbled on top)
If you have access to a milkshake wand, throw your ingredients in a tall metal cup and froth away.
For the rest of us: Let your ice cream sit for 5-10 minutes. Scoop 2 cups into a blender. Add the almond milk and 3 cookies and start the blender on a very low speed until ingredients combine and cookies are just crushed, about 15-30 seconds. Pour into a tall, icy glass straight from the freezer, top with that last crushed cookie, and share with someone you like. Or don’t, and eat it all up yourself. I won’t say a word.
Banana Cinnamon French Toast
We've been in Maine for about a week now, and its been lovely. Catching up with cousins, hiking with our puppy, watching the wild turkeys in the field outside our cabin every morning with Alex; its been idyllic and relaxing.
But now that we're settled in? I want to cook.
I offered to make breakfast Sunday morning and wanted a simple meal that was sure to please, especially since I was feeding a breakfast table full of non-vegans.
It turned out perfectly, hearty and sweet.
A crunchy cinnamon crust leading into warm, gooey banana bread.
Topped with some earth balance and a little of Dad's homemade maple syrup? Oh man.
My Dad makes his own maple syrup from the sugar maple trees on his land. It tastes phenomenal. Its lighter, naturally sweeter, and darker in color than even the most raw, organic syrups you find at the grocery store.
It is liquid gold on warm, fluffy french toast.
After mixing my batter, I always like to pour it into a wider, more shallow dish for dipping. A pie pan or casserole dish works great, and makes dipping, flipping and coating your french toast slices super easy.
The bread is really the secret to a great french toast. Thin, soft bread makes for soggy frech toast; too thickly sliced and it will be too dry in the middle.
Baguettes and boules, cut into about 1/2 inch slices, are best. Having air pockets in the bread allows trapped batter to get gooey and gives you pockets of warm, melty cinnamon goodness. Mmmm.
This recipe has been approved and officially dubbed by my sister:
Banana Bread French Toast.
Its her new favorite.
2 ripe bananas
3/4 cup hemp milk
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
6-8 slices of crusty vegan bread
1/2 tsp. orange, lemon, or almond extract
1/4 cup chopped nuts
2 T. powdered peanut butter
(I just discovered powdered PB. It adds a nice, light PB flavor to things without being overwhelming. Great in baked goods and oatmeal!)
Mash bananas in a medium mixing bowl with a fork. Whisk in milk, cinnamon, & vanilla until combined.
Pour mixture into a shallow dish- a pie plate works great. Dip bread into the wet mixture, flipping to coat the whole slice evenly.
Place dipped slices onto a pre-heated and greased skillet and let cook about 3-5 minutes on each side, until the edges no longer bubble and both sides are golden brown and crispy.
Enjoy while warm with maple syrup, agave nectar, or fresh fruit!
Makes 6-8 pieces of french toast.
Peach Ginger Smoothie
After my recent discovery of a giant bag of organic frozen peaches on sale at Sprouts, I went a little crazy. I've made three of these smoothies in three days...and yes, all for myself. There's no sharing when you find a drink that is this delicious. There just can't be! Trust me, one sip and you're sucked into the world of peachy spring goodness, with just a hint of ginger for snap. It is so, so good...
And healthy! All you need for this smoothie is pictured below. The peaches are filled with Vitamin C and potassium, and the ginger is great for digestion and is an anti-inflammatory, which is wonderful if you have sensitivities to food that lead to digestive flare-ups and tummy troubles.
We use our homemade hemp milk in this recipe and it adds such a great flavor to the smoothie!
1 cup hemp milk
1 large banana
1 cup frozen peaches
1 in. chunk (1 tablespoon) of fresh ginger, finely chopped or grated
1 tablespoon ground flax
1 cup ice
Add everything to a blender or food processor, giving a quick blend between the addition of each two ingredients to ensure perfect mixing. Mix entirety of ingredients for 1-2 minutes. Pour entire smoothie into a large glass and enjoy.
(It tastes like a light, sweet peach-ginger cloud!)
Best served with a side of sliced peach and a thick straw for slurpin'!
Homemade Hemp Milk
Alex and I used to go through almost 4 containers of store bought hemp milk a month. He used it on his cereal and oatmeal, and I used it in almost every recipe for baking.
Eventually, we started paying closer attention to the labels of the kind we were buying, and that freaked us out. What the heck was tricalcium phosphate? And carrageenan...does that need to be in there too?
We made the very easy decicion to start making all of our own hemp milks. We like the idea of being able to make a quality, good for you, sugar free milk replacement. Plus, either because you have a deep sense of accomplishment from making it, or from the lack of yucky additives, it makes everything taste like SUCCESS! And unsweetened vanilla hempmilk...
1 cup hemp seeds (shell on)
3 cups filtered water
1 teaspoon vanilla
Throw all of your ingredients into your high speed blender or food processor. I hear a lot of people braggin' about their Vitamix blenders, but we use this one and it does the trick for us every time.
Blend on high for about 1 minute, or until the liquid is a milky white color.
Next, like shown in the picture below, cover the container or jar you will be storing your hemp milk in with cheesecloth for straining. (We put the cheesecloth over the jar opening and secured it with a hair elastic before straining.) We get our cheesecloth from CheeseclothFabric.com 'cause they offer great discounts when you buy in bulk.
Slowly pour the contents of the blender over the cheesecloth, allowing the milk to filter through and the leftover seeds and yuck to collect in the cheesecloth.
Once the blender liquid is gone, remove the cheesecloth, lid the container, and place in the fridge. Simple as that!
The milk will last 4-5 days in the refrigerator.
Yields about 4 cups of milk.
P.S. The hemp seed leftovers from the blender make a GREAT addition to your compost!