Tag Archives: homemade

Coconut Vanilla Ice Cream

The past week has been rough.  And when things get rough, I tend to crave comfort foods such as fresh chocolate chip cookies from the oven, a homemade roast chicken with mashed potatoes, even something as simple as scrambled eggs on toast.  But this time I found myself wanting vanilla ice cream.

coconut vanilla ice cream close upMy grandfather passed away last week after a debilitating stroke.  It’s been awhile since there has been a death in our family, so this hit all of us pretty hard.  I consider myself very lucky to have had as much time with him as I did, and I am thankful he got to meet my fiancée a couple of times as well.

One of my fondest memories of my grandfather was his love for ice cream.  He never had that much of a sweet tooth so you wouldn’t find him eating cookies, or cakes or brownies, but he loved a bowl of vanilla ice cream with some fruit on top after dinner.  And if it was the holiday season, then it would be peppermint ice cream.  My parents would joke that when he came to visit from Colorado they would need to get him his own carton of ice cream because he ate so much.

As luck would have it, one of my lovely friends recently gifted me with an ice cream maker for my birthday, so I decided to make my first ice cream a vanilla one in his honor.  Only I decided to change it up a bit and make a coconut vanilla ice cream instead.

This coconut vanilla ice cream is super easy to make and requires minimal ingredients.  Just coconut milk, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar.

Coconut Vanilla Ice Cream

coconut vanilla ice cream spoonIngredients:

3 cups coconut milk (I used Trader Joe’s brand)

3/4 cup powdered sugar

2 tbsp vanilla


Combine your coconut milk, powdered sugar and vanilla in a blender or food processor and pulse 2-3 minutes.  Pour your mixture into your ice cream maker and follow according to your manufacturer’s directions.

I have the Cuisinart Ice Cream maker so I left the mixture in the ice cream maker for 15 minutes.  Place your ice cream in the freezer for at least 6 hours so it can firm up a bit, and then enjoy.

coconut vanilla ice cream close upSince my grandfather loved to have fruit with his ice cream, I topped mine with fresh berries.  And although it wasn’t quite the same as the vanilla ice cream he always enjoyed, I think he would’ve really liked this.

Thanks for the recipe inspiration grandpa.  I will miss you.



Open-Faced French Onion Soup Sandwiches

If there was one food dish I missed the most from my LA days, it would be the French Onion Soup from Little Next Door.  That soup was always cooked to perfection, the onions were nicely caramelized and I loved the thick sourdough baguette on top with melted Gruyere cheese.  Even if it was 80 degrees out, I would always order the French Onion Soup at Little Next Door.

I have yet to find a french onion soup as good as that one in Orange County (although Vie de France has a quality version), and somehow never got around to making the soup myself.  I was scouring the internet for a good french onion soup recipe when I stumbled upon a french onion soup sandwich recipe on Joy the Baker.  It had all the classic elements of french onion soup, only in sandwich form.  Color me intrigued.

The Englishman and I made this recipe and put a few of our own touches on it, and it came out delicious.  I think it’s safe to say that this recipe will now be in our current dinner rotation.

Open-Faced French Onion Soup Sandwiches (adapted from this recipe)


2 yellow onions, peeled and cut into semi-circles

3 shallots, chopped

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon sage

1 teaspoon cracked pepper

2/3 cup red wine

1/2 cup shredded cheese of your choice (we did an Italian blend of provolone and mozzarella)

4 slices bread or baguette of your choice


Place a stock pot on the stove over medium heat.  Add your butter and olive oil and stir until butter is completely melted.  Add in your chopped onion and shallots and stir gently.

Cover your pot and cook the onions for about 5 minutes, then add the salt, pepper, and sage.  Cover your pot again and let the onions caramelize.  Be sure to open the lid on your pot ever so often and stir the onions to prevent them from burning.  The onions should turn brown and soft and look like some onion jam.

While your onions are cooking, place a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil.  Add your chopped carrots (this will help soften them before being added to the onion mixture.  Once carrots are softened add to the onion mixture and stir gently.

Once carrots and onions are mixed, add in your mushrooms and wine and stir together.  Be sure to scrape any burned parts off the bottom of the pot.  Remove the pot from heat after about 30 seconds and set aside to rest.

Butter your bread (or omit butter if you so choose) and add a sprinkling of cheese on top.

Place bread under a broiler with the cheese for a couple of minutes while the cheese melts.  Top with the onion soup mixture, and enjoy!

It may not be the most photogenic dish I have ever made, but it sure is tasty!


Morning Glory Muffins

Back when I lived in LA I used to treat myself to a Morning Glory muffin and a latte from Mani’s Bakery nearly every weekend.  The Morning Glory muffin was always my favorite, and I would be disappointed if I didn’t get there in time and Mani’s was sold out.  Mani’s Bakery has unfortunately closed since then, but I always told myself one of these days I would attempt to recreate those delicious muffins.

After browsing a few blogs and cooking websites, I decided to come up with a Morning Glory combining elements from a few different recipes.  These muffins are hearty, delicious, and full of good things (carrot! almond flour! applesauce!) and make your house smell amazing.  Seriously, my mouth was watering so much as these baked that I had to distract myself by watching old episodes of The Hills and painting my nails.  But once I bit into one of these muffins, I knew it was worth the wait.

Morning Glory Muffins (inspired from this recipe and this recipe)

*makes approx. 12 muffins


1/2 cup oats
1 cup almond flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
3/4 cup shredded carrot
3/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped dates


Mix almond flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt and vanilla together in a large bowl.

Shred your carrot and put in a separate bowl and add applesauce and egg.  Mix well and fold wet ingredients into larger bowl with dry ingredients.  Stir in coconut and dates.

Pour mixture into either paper muffin cups or a muffin tin sprayed with cooking oil.  Place in oven and bake 25-30 minutes, depending on how fast your oven cooks.

Once muffins are done baking, leave them in their tins for an additional 20 minutes while they cool, then dig in and enjoy!

A couple notes:

– These muffins don’t have any added sugar so if you want something a little more sweet, I recommend adding in some honey, maple syrup or brown sugar.

– Definitely watch your baking time – these bad boys cook up quickly!

– These muffins are delicious with some jam.  Raspberry jam to be exact.

Chicken-Less Chicken and Vegetable Soup

I’ve been feeling under the weather the past few days and nothing says comfort food more to me than a warm bowl of chicken noodle soup.  I actually prefer Chicken Matzo Ball soup, but since Canter’s Deli is over an hour away, I decided to go the homemade soup route.

Somewhere in between watching the Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations Marathon and taking a nap, this soup was born (due to the ingredients in my house).

And yes, this is two recipes in a row!  That’s gotta be some kind of record for Sweet Potato Bites.

Chicken-Less Chicken Soup (for 4 servings)


1 carton organic chicken broth

4 cups water

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 russet potatoes

1 cup chickpeas

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped carrots

1 yellow onion

1/2 cup yellow squash

3 sprigs of fresh dill

salt and pepper to taste


Chop your onion and place in a large stock pot with the tablespoon of olive oil.  Place pot on the stove and turn on low heat so the onions can begin to cook.

While the onions are cooking, cut up your potatoes, carrots, celery, and squash into small pieces.

Add chicken broth and water to the stock pot, stir slowly.  Add in the potatoes, carrots, celery and squash and continue to stir.

Add in the chickpeas (if from a can, dump right in, if the beans are dry, you want to soak an cook them first.)

Reduce heat to a slow simmer.  Add sprigs of dill (if from a garden, even better!)

Let soup simmer on the stove for an hour.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Ladle into bowls and enjoy!