It's quite a comprehensive book that covers everything from the ingredients in the Love Fed Pantry (*note there is honey in this book, but vegan alternatives are given), Kitchen Essentials that covers the tools, and Basic Recipes that will be used throughout the book (basic chocolate sauce, chocolate bar, caramel sauce, cashew cream, nut milk and butters, etc). The main recipes themselves are divided into chapters that cover everything from cakes and pies, to shakes and smoothies, to candy and ice cream and more.
One note about the ingredients - Many of the recipes make use of cacao butter, coconut butter and fresh coconut meat - three ingredients can be hard to find locally if you're like me and don't live in a big city, but the first two are accessible online and all 3 should be a breeze to source in bigger cities. Also, with a good food processor (and a lot of patience!) you can even make your own coconut butter at home.
There are a LOT of raw dessert recipes in here - so many so that I really didn't know where to start.
So I took the practical approach and I decided to start with what we needed after Woodrow woke up from his nap: a smoothie. Based on ingredients we had on hand, together we made the Scrubby J's Peanut Shake. It was really thick and even my Blendtec was having a hard time with the frozen banana and frozen blueberries so I added a bit more almond milk to get it moving. The resulting smoothie was super thick with a nice PB flavour. Even using half the medjools it called for it was a little too sweet for me so next time I'll leave out the dates and it will be perfect.
Then it was Woodrow's turn to choose a recipe. He flipped through the book and quickly stopped at an image of brownies. "We need to make these Mama!", he declared. His finger was pointing markedly at the Mini Mint Chocolate Brownies. Who am I to deny a child? So we set about making them. (Actually, Woodrow played in the garden while I made them.) They were a breeze to make, and came together really quickly. I had only half the amount of pecans the recipe called for so I filled in with almonds. In the future I'd choose walnut or cashews (or simply all pecan) because I found the texture of the brownies a little dry with the almonds. Still very yummy though, and even with the minty chocolate topping Woodrow loved them up!
Aside from the amazing recipes, part of what I love about this book is that Christina's glowing personality really shines through in her personal recipe intros. The book is full of sweet stories and anecdotes and gives you a glimpse into the joyous person she obviously is. If only we didn't live so far away, I feel we'd definitely hit it off and eat delicious food together with our vegan littles!
Next up on my hit list are these beautiful Blueberry Coconut Dreamsicles. They are screaming summer good times to me! I'm thrilled to be sharing the recipe with you all today, AND I'm even more excited to send one of you home with your very own copy of the book! (Scroll down for details.)
Blueberry Coconut Dreamsicles
Yield: 5 dreamsicles
Prep time: 5 minutes, plus 2–6 hours freezing time
When my local Whole Foods Market sponsored a Blueberry Blast-Off Blog Challenge, I was excited—I have a ferocious appetite for all things blueberry. The contest specified using only ten ingredients, a breeze for me, since I tend to keep things simple anyway. The hard part was deciding which blueberry recipe to go with. In the end, nothing called to me more than the humble elegance of homemade Blueberry Coconut Dreamsicles. A dreamsicle is my version of the creamsicle, which, if you grew up in the 1980s like I did, will probably be familiar. They’re usually orange flavored, a pairing of sweet cream and citrus nectar. I thought the idea would translate well to blueberry and coconut cream (and be even more delectable, hence the name dreamsicle), and it did. I can guarantee kids of all ages (aka everyone) will appreciate these blueberries and cream pops. If you like, replace your pop mold’s sticks with 6” twigs for a rustic look.
1 c. blueberries
2 tbsp. coconut nectar or sweetener of your choice (optional)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 ½ c. coconut cream
In a medium bowl, combine the blueberries, coconut nectar (if desired), and lemon juice. Mix lightly to coat the berries.
Place the coconut cream in a second medium bowl. Adding the blueberry mixture a few spoonfuls at a time, whip with a handheld electric mixer or whisk until thickened. Some of the berries will break down, releasing their juices and creating texture. If you want the berries whole, gently hand mix them into the cream using a rubber spatula. If you prefer a quicker method and a more vibrant purple pop, simply blend all the ingredients together in a blender.
Pour the mixture into pop molds. Freeze for 2–6 hours or until completely firm. Run the mold under warm water for a few seconds and gently remove the pops. Serve immediately or store in the freezer.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Love Fed by Christina Ross (BenBella Books, March 2015).
Photo credit for Brownies and Dreamsicles, Christina Ross.
Many thanks to the generous folks at BenBella for supplying a copy of Love Fed to one lucky Cupcakes and Kale reader! To enter, please use the gadget below. This giveaway is open to residents of Canada and the US, and will run until May 27th. Good luck!
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