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December 2014

matcha-mint grain-free ice cream sandwiches

Christmas may be over, but i’m not over the flavors it brings.  mint?  yes!  matcha?  yes!  dark chocolate?  yes!  there are some slightly-strange-but-addictive flavors here. this matcha mint ice cream is herbaceous (yes, i did just use that word), and bright, and oh-so-creamy all at once. stuffed between deep, dark, decadent triple-chocolate grain-free cookies, it’s way, way, waaaay over the top. put it all together and it makes matcha mint grain-free ice cream sandwiches that will knock your socks off.




i admit, the past few months of actually sticking to my new dairy-free, egg-free, grain-free regimen has at times induced whining been painful.  my kids have lovingly called me on the carpet and encouraged me to be positive and not negative, dwelling on what i can create, source, and enjoy, instead of becoming defeated at what i cannot.  the cool thing about this dessert is that it’s made of (mostly) healthy ingredients, so it will fit right into a new-year-healthy-eating plan… as a little splurge that won’t do you in.




the holidays are the perfect time to get creative with indulgences that are still allergy-friendly, or those that honor your nutritional choices to become a healthier you.  and because i’m a daredevil, i also think they’re the perfect time to try out those recipes on friends and family!




somehow, for me, creating recipes that don’t just wow me, but those i love, but still don’t give in to the way of eating that was causing me so much difficulty, is a sort of battle-cry – a victory over the lack of control that used to, well, control me.  somehow, each time i say no to something i know isn’t best for my body, i am amazed and i know that it is my Papa giving me courage to do so, and it makes me even more daring to make wise choices and creative options for us all.




it’s a bit of work to create this recipe – it’s not a “whip-it-up-in-a-few-minutes” dessert.  for me, taking time to enjoy the process of creating, not just rushing headlong into the eating, is part of the process.  i’m learning to make moments of creating.  if you like, make the ice cream in advance.  be careful not to let it get too soft before stuffing (coconut milk tends to do that, in my experience), and be sure to let the “sandwiches” refreeze before serving. it’s worth the wait, i promise!


Matcha Mint Ice Cream Sandwiches
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Bright, herbaceous notes in a coconut-based ice cream meld into deep, dark chocolate cookies in an egg-free, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free dessert.
Recipe type: dessert
  • Matcha Mint Ice Cream:
  • 2 cans full-fat coconut milk (from a can)
  • 4 tablespoons matcha powder
  • 1 handful fresh mint
  • ¼ cup honey
  • pinch of salt
  • Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies:
  • 8 ounces dairy-free chocolate chips
  • 1½ cups almond flour or cashew flour
  • ½ cup dark cocoa
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 8 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 large eggs (or flax egg equivalent)
  • 1 teaspoon mint extract
  1. For Matcha Mint Ice Cream:
  2. In a high-speed blender, combine coconut milk, matcha powder, mint, honey, and salt.
  3. Blend until doubled in volume, about 45 seconds.
  4. Pour into prepared ice cream maker, and follow ice cream maker instructions.
  5. (For best results, once ice cream is made, set in freezer to harden slightly before making sandwiches).
  6. For cookies:
  7. Melt ½ chocolate chips in a microwave-safe glass container.
  8. Set microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring after each time, checking carefully not to burn chocolate.
  9. Combine almond flour, cocoa, baking soda, and sea salt in a food processor.
  10. Add coconut oil and process lightly.
  11. Add melted chocolate, coconut sugar, egg equivalent, and mint extract.
  12. Process briefly to combine ingredients into a loose dough.
  13. Stir in whole chocolate chips, and drop by rounded teaspoons onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  14. Bake at 325 degrees until just set (about 12 minutes).
  15. Allow to cool completely on baking sheet, so that cookies will set.
  16. Cookie Sandwiches:
  17. Place a heaping scoop of ice cream on a cookie, and top with an additional cookie.
  18. Allow to harden in freezer before serving (if not serving right away, wrap each ice cream sandwich in wax paper and store in a zippered storage bag for up to one week).





share your favorite somewhat-healthy treat for us to try in the new year!  (leave the details in the comments below.)


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spicy sausage sweet potato bake {primal main dish recipe}

one of my dearest friends introduced me to this recipe that nearly killed me. well, ok, in the interest of full disclosure, i nearly killed myself eating too much of it. this spicy sausage sweet potato bake is so easy to make, and it’s equally easy to make for a crowd.  as i get my feet under me a bit with allergy-friendly cooking again, i’m starting to build a repertoire of primal main dishes, and i think the key to not having a panic-night for dinner is to have at least a few of these no-thought-needed dishes ready to go.




it holds well if you need to delay serving, and it is perfect to reheat for leftovers (if there is ever any left over).  we make this dish at least once every couple weeks; it’s so easy to buy sausage when it’s on sale and freeze it, and it’s so fast to prepare on those “we’re-starving-what’re-we-gonna-eat” nights.  plus it reminds me of my friend when we do.  🙂




the original version of this dish called for Yukon Gold potatoes, and it was, indeed, delicious. if you tolerate white potatoes, by all means, go for it. we’ve recently discovered white sweet potatoes, and i really like the slight sweetness contrasted against the puckeringly-tart-taste of this recipe.


for even faster eats? prep this full dish the day before and simply pop in the oven just in time to serve.






spicy sausage sweet potato bake {primal main dish recipe}
sweet and spicy, comforting and EASY sausage bake with sweet potatoes, peppers, and onions.
Recipe type: main dish
Cuisine: comfort food {paleo}
  • 3 white sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges (may use regular sweet potatoes)
  • 2 sweet or red onions, peeled and quartered
  • 2 pounds all-natural smoked sausage or kielbasa, sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 small jar pickled banana peppers
  • 4 tablespoons chimichurri sauce (may omit)
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning or garlic seasoning
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • olive oil, to grease pan
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Lightly oil a 9x13 glass baking dish.
  3. Add sweet potatoes, onions, sausage.
  4. Pour entire jar of pickled peppers over ingredients.
  5. Sprinkle with seasoning, drizzle with chimichurri, and top with pats of butter.
  6. Cover tightly with foil and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until ingredients begin to brown.



what’s your absolute favorite serves-a-crowd dish?


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give {tuesday at ten link-up}

it’s a well-known fact in my little home… gift-giving to daddy each year causes me no small amount of grief.  he’s a wonderful man, and he loves to give good gifts.  but he is notoriously difficult to give to… he’s very picky thoughtful about what he likes, and when he chooses to purchase something, he analyzes every facet of what makes any thing the thing.  and to make matters worse, making a list comes hard for him, so sometimes, he just doesn’t offer up a clue (and makes me know i need to become an even better student of this man…).




and so each year, i agonize about how to find the thing that will make him light up like i would, blown away by what he’s received.  and each year, i let the fear of disappointing steal a little bit of my happiness at the sweetness of this time of year.  and this year, stuck once again, i found some little things that would make him smile (and they did), and then setting aside my pride, i wrote him a letter, saying all the things i wanted to give, and then giving him cash to choose for himself.


to some, it may seem a cop-out.  to me, it was a dying to my need to “get-it-right,” and a truer gift of choice, and of acknowledging who he is.  and that i may not always know.  and do you know, he smiled, and said what he’d buy, and was pleased.  and so with a sigh, i relaxed into the giving.  but meanwhile,


i watched my children.  with utter abandon, they dove into the hunting, the thinking, the procuring of gifts for each other.  with no thought for themselves, they gave to each other, some a little and some a lot.  some to all of us and some to each of us, and some to only one or two siblings, as they felt led and as they were able (and sometimes with help from mom to foot the bill).  i watched with my heart in my throat as they plotted and planned, whispered and swore to secrecy, and then as they watched each other in anticipatory glee, opening those gifts.  some cried at what they received, and some were moved at the receiver’s reaction.  some were surprised with giggles to discover they’d been given the very gift they’d considered giving to the other.  as the mama, i was amazed at how they know each other, and at how they surprised me, some of them, with their resourcefulness and their sometime-sacrifice.




the idea was, they gave.  and their focus was not just on the giving as opposed to the receiving, but the giving with knowing.  they know one another, and they gave according to that knowledge.  i do treasure all these things, because i’m keenly aware that all too soon this sharing will stretch to include spouses and Lord willing, babies, and then children with their own quirks and callings.  and while it will bring its own new joy, it makes these moments all-the-more dear.  and it makes the me in the equation so very, very small.


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