ice cream sandwiches (gluten-free + dairy-free)

Happy Friday! I don't know if it was the grey weather, but this week felt long, not bad long just long. Lucky for me I had these ice cream sandwiches to remind me it was still summer. I have been determined for quite some time to make ice cream sandwiches that are gluten-free and dairy-free. Done and done! Though it was a lengthy process to make both the ice cream and the cookies (spanned over 2 days) it was so much fun and totally worth it. You know those rectangular ice cream sandwiches that come wrapped in paper that you devoured as a kid? These taste exactly like that (and without the stomach ache)! The cookies are so soft that they stick to the ice cream perfectly so and are easy to bite into. I would also like to announce that this was my first time making ice cream and I can't wait to try it again. I'm not gonna lie, while I was churning the mixture I had doubts. That stuff freezes quickly in the ice cream maker!! So turn it fast! It's made from coconut milk, hence dairy-free, and has vanilla beans in it. It tastes pretty close to good old vanilla ice cream!

Ice Cream Sandwiches
(8-10 sandwiches plus extra cookies)

For the ice cream (recipe adapted from Food52):
1 or 2 vanilla beans
2 cans full-fat coconut milk
1 tbsp arrowroot starch
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup pure cane sugar

1. 24 hours before you plan to serve the ice cream, freeze the ice cream maker canister. Your ice cream maker instructions may say a shorter time.
2. Slice open the vanilla bean using a sharp knife and scrape out the beans with a dull edge (like a small spoon or butter knife). Try not to get the seeds on your fingers - I did that and wasted some beans :( Measure out 1/4 tsp beans.
3. Pour both cans of coconut milk (all contents) into a medium-sized pot. Spoon out 2 tablespoons of the coconut milk liquid and whisk with the arrowroot starch in a separate, small bowl.
4. Add the starch mixture back into the pot, along with the honey, cane sugar and vanilla beans.
5. Heat the pot over medium heat and whisk together all ingredients until combined.
6. Add the vanilla bean pod(s) to the pot and bring all to a low boil. Whisk every minute or two.
7. Pour the mixture into a medium sized bowl and let sit to cool for 3o minutes. Then cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge over night or for 8 hours.
8. Once well-chilled, remove the vanilla bean pod and give the mixture a good whisk.
9. Pour mixture into the ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions.
10. Transfer ice cream to a loaf pan. Pack it down and spread out evenly with a spatula. Press a piece of parchment paper overtop and cover with saran wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

For the cookies (recipe adapted from Gourmande in the Kitchen):
4 ounces dairy-free bittersweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup coconut oil (solid)
1 cup coconut sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
2. Melt chocolate in a bowl fitted into a pot with 1/2 inch of water.
3. In a food processor, combine the almond flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and sugar. Pulse until combined.
4. Add the coconut oil and process until the dough resembles coarse cornmeal. Add the eggs, vanilla and melted chocolate and process until the dough is smooth. It will look more like brownie batter than dough.
5. Drop tablespoons of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet so that there are 9 cookies evenly spaced out.
6. Bake for 9-10 minutes. You don't want them too soft that they fall apart but not too hard that they crumble.
7. Transfer cookies to a wire rack until completely cooled. Then place into fridge for 1 hour to chill.

To assemble:
1. Take out the ice cream and make sure it is soft enough that in can be squished between 2 cookies without breaking the cookies. If it's too hard, let sit out for about 10 minutes.
2. Scoop out ice cream onto one cookie and lightly press down and spread out. Place a second cookie on top.
3. Eat right away or place into a plastic container and store in the freezer. Enjoy!


let it rain

Let's do a rain dance! Some may be humbug-ing at the rain and cooler temperatures the past few days in Vancouver but I'm embracing it. Those people, trees, homes and animals up in Kelowna need some water asap to put out those forest fires! And for those of us lucky without fires to deal with, it just feels refreshing. I don't know about you but my lawn was getting rather thirsty. It feels nice to not feel like I have to go outside and make the most of the sun. I can be curled up inside drinking tea and drawing in my sketchbook and not feel guilty. But don't get me wrong, I'm getting excited for the sun rays coming our way this weekend. I think mother nature knew she had to do a little sprinkling over here for a couple days. So I just wanted to say, thank you mother nature!


top notch: dribbble shots

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

I'm new to Dribbble and just like when I started using Pinterest, I'm overwhelmingly inspired, don't know where to start and fear the hours I'll spend clicking through. What's great about Dribbble is that it's only design and it's not just about the finished product but more importantly the progress. It's easy to get caught up thinking that designers just came up with the final perfect piece in mere minutes. It's refreshing to see designers ask for others' opinions, share rejects and ultimately see the baby steps. It's like watching those juices flowing. The above is a peak of what is currently tickling my creative fancy.


lavender lemonade

Two weekends ago up in Naramata, we visited a lavender farm where I picked up a packet of culinary lavender. I learned that there are hundreds of varieties of lavender - who knew! The farm is quite lovely, a constant hum of bees can be heard and bundles of lavender can be seen drying out. When I got home I was anxious to make something fancy with my lavender, like ice cream, but the idea of lavender lemonade was all too tempting. The combination of honey, lemon and lavender made me think what it must smell like to be a bee, flying from flower to flower, drinking up nectar. That sounds ridiculous but I'm convinced this lemonade tastes exactly that. It was so simple to make and since the bottle has all run out, I'm going to need to make another this week.

Lavender Lemonade
makes 6 cups

5 cups water
1/2 - 1 cup honey to taste
1 tbsp. dried culinary lavender
1 cup (6-7 lemons) freshly squeezed lemon juice, refrigerated
Lemon slices and lavender sprigs to garnish

1. Bring 2 1/2 cups of the water to a boil in a medium pot. Remove from heat and stir in the honey until dissolved.
2. Add the lavender, cover the pot and let steep for 1 hour.
3. Strain the liquid to remove the lavender with a sieve into a pitcher.
4. Add lemon juice and the last 2 1/2 cups of water. Stir. Add more water if needed.
5. If pouring into a bottle, use a funnel to pour the pitcher into the bottle.
5. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to drink.
6. Pour lemonade into a glass and garnish with a lemon slice and lavender sprig.


summer reads

As a kid, summer meant books, books and lots of books. Every summer when school was out, the local public library had a summer reading contest. Each kid would get a booklet (a super cool booklet like one that folded out into a treasure map) with a special bookmark and for every book you read, you filled in a line. If you filled in all the lines, which I always did, you would proudly take your booklet to the librarian at the end of the summer and she would give you a book and a medal! Best feeling ever. So accomplishing. Over the years I've become less and less of a reader. I have a much harder time now getting into a book and focusing. But last weekend in Naramata I had no pinterest, blogs or instagram to steal my attention away. Instead I read a book, a really good book: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I was hooked first couple pages in and I was reminded how good it feels to just sit (or lie out on a beach towel) and read. I feel like I have recommitted myself to books and am now left with a need for a summer reading list. I don't have much time left so I've come up with just 4 books I want to finish by the end of the summer.

1. The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais : a novel about French and Indian food set in Lumiere, France. Need I say more (and it's about a lot more than that). It's also coming out as a film directed by Lasse Hallström who did Chocolat, so that's gotta be pretty good too.

2. The Orenda by Joseph Boyden : I read Boyden's book Through Black Spruce a number of years ago and I remember it being a great read. I've heard lots about this book so I think it's a good one to put on the list.

3. Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese : my mum and aunt were talking about this book last weekend and they gave it quite the high rating, along with everyone else on the internet.

4. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn : because I loved Gone Girl so much (still haven't finished though!), I'm ever so tempted to read another of her dark, twisted, murder mysteries. I love a good page turner.

Tell me, what are your summer reads?