Coconut Vanilla Ice Cream


I am excited to introduce you to my friend Andrea from Loubies and Lulu!  She is a fitness, fashion and healthy lifestyle blogger and always challenges me to come up with the fun, healthy and paleo alternatives to desserts!  

Ice cream is an all around favorite of so many people and everyone should be able to enjoy a scoop of this frozen treat. When Andrea and I were talking about her favorite desserts for summer she expressed how much she loved ice cream but would love an alternative to all the dairy and sugar that is in a traditional recipe. As I was developing this recipe for Loubies and Lulu, my goal was to keep it classic and a great base for a variety of ink-foods-paleo-ice-cream-1786ink-foods-paleo-ice-cream-1425

The beauty of Coconut Vanilla Ice Cream is the rich custard flavor and the endless toppings that can be added to make your favorite ice cream sundae. Strawberries, raspberries, pecan, almonds, dairy free chocolate chips and toasted coconut are just a few of my favorite topping to add as well as a rich dairy free chocolate ink-foods-paleo-ice-cream-1560 ink-foods-paleo-ice-cream-1388

Thank you Andrea for making and enjoying this perfect summer recipe with me. Head over to Loubies and Lulu for additional toppings and suggestions for the perfect Ice Cream Sundae ink-foods-paleo-ice-cream-1777


Coconut Vanilla Ice Cream
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  1. 4 Cups Coconut Milk*
  2. 1/2 Cup Honey
  3. 4 Egg Yolks
  4. 1 Vanilla Bean
  1. Prepare ice cream maker and freeze bowl for 24 hours before using
  2. Slice the vanilla bean length wise and scrape out the seeds
  3. In a medium saucepan, heat coconut milk and vanilla bean seeds until simmering
  4. Whisk egg yolks and honey in a medium bowl
  5. Once coconut milk is heated, slowly add the milk to the egg yolks while continuously whisking
  6. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and heat until custard starts to thicken and coats the back of a wood spoon
  7. Strain the custard into a bowl and press plastic wrap to the top to avoid a crust from forming
  8. Once the custard has reached room temperature, refrigerate until chilled ( at least two hours)
  9. (the coconut milk might separate slightly while cooling, just whisk until smooth and comes back together)
  10. Pour the chilled custard into the frozen bowl attachment for ice cream maker
  11. Use ice cream maker according to manufacturer instructions
  12. Remove the ice cream from the bowl and place in an air tight container and freeze until firm, approx. 2 hours
  13. Serve coconut ice cream with dairy free chocolate sauce and toppings of your choice!
  1. *There are several varieties of coconut milk, but the one that I have found to be the best tasting, most versatile and best for Ice Cream is Native Forest Unsweetened Classic Coconut Milk
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Dairy Free Chocolate Sauce
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  1. 1 Cup Dairy Free Chocolate Chips (I used Enjoy Life Semi Sweet Mini Chips)
  2. 1 Cup Coconut Milk*
  1. Heat coconut milk in a small saucepan until it comes to a simmer
  2. Slowly whisk coconut milk into a bowl with chocolate chips
  3. Whisk slowly until chocolate is fully melted and milk is combined
  4. Allow the sauce to slightly cool before using (reheat if sauce is made in advance and needs to be warmed)
  1. *There are several varieties of coconut milk, but the one that I have found to be the best tasting, most versatile and best for Ice Cream is Native Forest Unsweetened Classic Coconut Milk
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Some of my favorite ingredients for this recipe:
Native Forest Unsweetened Coconut Milk
Enjoy Life Semi Sweet Chocolate
Unsweetened Coconut Flakes

Equipment Needed:
Ice Cream Maker
Ice Cream Scoop
Acrylic Ice Cream Sundae Serving Bowls
Red and White Disposable Ice Cream Cups
Ramekins for toppings
Loaf Pan

All photos by Stephanie Drenka

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Chocolate Bark

bark 3As you are preparing for one of the most chocolate-filled months of the year, when everyone is trying to buy or make something extra special for their loved ones, a no-bake and no-recipe treat will be your new best friend. Chocolate bark is not only one of the most beautiful chocolate treats you can package up, but it is also so decadent with its pure flavors. As you prepare to make chocolate bark, it’s imperative you select a high quality chocolate, whether it be white, milk or dark. Once you have decided on the chocolate you would like to use, you need to decide how to top it. For dark chocolate, I prefer nutty and dried fruit flavors such as cranberries, almonds, candied ginger, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, dried figs and dried apricots. The options are endless for chocolate bark, you can nearly put anything your taste buds desire.bark 1

Chocolate Bark
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  1. 1 pound dark chocolate, finely chopped
  2. 1/4 cup almonds, lightly chopped
  3. 1/4 cup candied ginger, chopped
  4. 1/4 cup pistachios, shelled
  5. 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  6. 1/4 cup dried figs, chopped
  7. 1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
  8. 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  1. Prepare a half-sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Place three-fourths of the dark chocolate in a microwave safe glass bowl.
  3. Microwave chocolate on high for 30 seconds, remove bowl and stir chocolate.
  4. Place chocolate back in the microwave for 30 second intervals until the chocolate is melted.
  5. Remove the bowl from the microwave and add the remaining one-fourth of chocolate into the melted chocolate and stir until fully melted.
  6. Pour chocolate onto prepared sheet pan and spread until even in thickness.
  7. Sprinkle dried fruit and nuts all over chocolate (add as much or as little as you like).
  8. Allow the chocolate to cool and harden at room temperature or refrigerate if you want the chocolate to set up quicker.
  9. Once the chocolate is cooled, crack the bark into medium size pieces.
  10. Keep in an airtight container or package up for gifts.
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bark 5


Berry Passion Fruit Pavlova

pavlova 1Each new year, it is tradition to make resolutions and look for opportunities to set new goals, be inspired, try new things and travel to new places. While most people try to cut food out, I challenge you to invite new flavors in for the new year. Bringing one of my favorite recipes to your table will be a perfect way to start. Pavlova is loved in so many countries, but the debate continues whether it originates from New Zealand or Australia. This light and crisp meringue is garnished with fresh whipped cream, seasonal fruits and flavors and will be loved by all. Happy new year and happy baking!
pavlova 2

Berry Passion Fruit Pavlova
Serves 6
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  1. 4 Egg Whites
  2. 1 Cup Sugar
  3. 1 Tbsp Corn Starch
  4. 1 tsp Vinegar
  5. 1/2 Cup Strawberries
  6. 1/2 Cup Blueberries
  7. 1/2 Cup Raspberries
  8. 1 Passion Fruit
Sweet Whipped Cream
  1. 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  2. 2 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
  3. 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F
  2. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a sheet pan
  3. Place the eggs whites in a bowl of an electric mixer with whisk attachment
  4. Beat egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks have formed
  5. Slowly add in sugar and whisk until egg whites are shiny, about 2 minutes
  6. Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in sifted cornstarch and vinegar until combined
  7. Pile the meringue onto the parchment paper and smooth it to form a circle, approx. 8”-9” round
  8. Bake meringue for 1 1/2 hours and then turn off oven and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven
  9. Place the meringue on a serving dish and spread whipped cream in the center
  10. Arrange fruit covering the top of the whipped cream (add more or less if needed)
  11. Cut the passion fruit in half and drizzle the juice and seeds on top of the berries
  12. Serve Immediately
  13. Sweet Whipped Cream
  14. In a large bowl of an electric mixer with whisk attachment beat the whipped cream until it starts to thicken
  15. Slowly add the sugar and vanilla extract and continue beating until firm
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Dried Fruit and Nut Granola Bars + Back to School Pantry Must-Have

granola 4It is hard to believe that summer break is coming to an end. With so many obligations to worry about as we approach the start of a new school year, it’s important to focus on our home and pantry. Stocking up on simple pantry staples will keep your meals healthy, balanced and quick.

Homemade granola bars are one of the many recipes for which oats will come in handy. Mixed with assorted dried fruit, coconut and chocolate chips you will have a quick on-the-go breakfast or snack.

Whole grain pasta
One of the most versatile dry ingredients is great for busy day dinners and left over lunches. Garnish with fresh pesto, cheese, homemade tomato sauce or fresh veggies.

Nut butters and spreads
Easy to spread on pancakes, tortillas, or apple and banana slices for a satisfying snack or the perfect addition to any smoothie.

A great substitute for sugar and sweeteners, honey is also the perfect ingredient to start your morning routine. Squeeze half a lemon and 1 tbsp honey into hot water, for a caffeine-free boost. It might even kick your coffee cravings.

Dried fruit and nut granola bars are one of my favorites and can be made with a variety of ingredients that you have in your pantry!  granola6granola 3

granola 2

Dried Fruit and Nut Granola Bars
Yields 12
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  1. 2-1/2 cups old fashion rolled oats
  2. 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  3. 1/3 cup honey
  4. 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  5. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  8. 1/4 cup dried pineapple, chopped
  9. 1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
  1. Combine oats and slivered almonds on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees or until lightly toasted.
  2. Combine butter, honey, brown sugar and vanilla extract in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until butter and sugar are melted.
  3. Pour butter mixture over the toasted almonds and oats; add all the dried fruit.
  4. Spread mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and spread evenly.
  5. Refrigerate until firm and ready to be cut.
  6. Cut granola into 12 bars and store in airtight container or wrap individually.
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 Recipe featured in Advocate Magazine
Photography by Megan Weaver 


Almond Butter & Jelly Bars

SONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSCFeeling very excited over here…I have come up with a recipe that I love as much as my kids do and it can be eaten at breakfast or dessert and I don’t feel bad about it!  

If you are like our family, we have a serious love for “PEANUT BUTTER AND  jelly” (we like to sing it around here:) and sometimes it is a battle to get Sophie to want anything else for lunch.  So I have been working on a recipe that she will love just as much, but could be a healthy addition to her breakfast routine…and I did it! Yay!  Although, for this recipe I have removed the peanut butter and replaced it with almond butter for so many more wonderful benefits.  

After teaming up with and learning all the  health benefits that go along with almonds (and they taste amazing as well), these bars got even better.

The addition of almond butter, to replace peanut butter and almond flour, to replace all purpose flour,  you are treating yourself to a high protein and gluten free treat…and your kids will love it as well!!

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Almond Butter & Jelly Bars
Yields 15
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Bar Recipe
  1. 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter
  2. 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  3. 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  4. 1 large eggs
  5. 1 cup almond butter
  6. 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  7. 1/2 tsp baking powder
  8. 1/2 tsp salt
  9. 1 cup strawberry jam (or flavor of your choice)
Crumble Recipe
  1. 1 cup almond flour
  2. 2 tbsp sugar
  3. 1 tsp salt
  4. 4 tbsp butter, melted
  5. 1/3 cup almonds, slivered
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper
  3. In a large bowl with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy
  4. Add vanilla extract, eggs and almond butter and mix until combined
  5. Slowly add almond flour, baking powder and salt to almond butter mixture and mix just until combined
  6. Spread the 3/4 of the batter evenly into prepared pan with a spatula
  7. Spread the strawberry jam over batter
  8. Drop small globs of the remaining dough over the strawberry jam
  9. Make the crumble topping and sprinkle to cover top of jam
  10. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden
  11. Cool in pan before cutting into squares or hearts
Crumble Topping
  1. In a small bowl combine the almond flour, sugar, salt and melted butter and stir until it comes together
  2. Stir in the slivered almonds
  3. Sprinkle over jam
  4. Make crumble topping and sprinkle to cover the top
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Grain Free Dairy Free Red Velvet Cupcakes

 ll6There are many reasons I love that I am pastry chef, but one of the main reasons is that you get to help celebrate all the wonderful events going on in someone’s life.   A few weeks ago, when I was asked to create a dessert for the 2nd birthday of Loubies and Lulu’s, I felt very honored, but I also felt the pressure to come up with a special dessert that encompassed everything Loubies and Lulus is about.  With two dessert options for the party, I chose one of my favorite clean sweets, Coconut Banana Chia Pudding and  Drea challenged me to create one of her favorite desserts, a healthy version of the very popular red velvet cupcake. This was a fun one for me to play around with and I was able to create a delicious and moist grain free and dairy free cupcake for her event. I have used some of my favorite ingredients for this clean sweet and everything that can be found in your local natural grocery store; almond flour, coconut oil, and coconut sugar. I hope you enjoy this recipe and I want to congratulate Loubies and Lulu’s for a wonderful two years of blogging!ll3 ll1

Grain Free Dairy Free Red Velvet Cupcakes
Yields 12
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  1. Red Velvet Cake
  2. 2 ¼ Cups Almond Flour
  3. 1-Cup Coconut Sugar
  4. 1 tsp Baking Soda
  5. ½ tsp Salt
  6. 2-½ Tbsp Cocoa Powder
  7. ½ Cup Coconut Oil, melted
  8. ½ Cup Coconut Milk
  9. 2 Eggs
  10. 1 tsp Red Food Color, Natural
  11. 1 tsp White Vinegar
  12. 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  13. Honey Meringue
  14. 2 large Egg Whites
  15. ½ cup Honey
  16. 1 tsp Ice Water
  1. Red Velvet Cake
  2. 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line cupcake pans with paper cups.
  3. 2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until combined and batter looks smooth.
  4. 3. Scoop batter into cupcake papers, filling them half way.
  5. 4. Bake cupcakes for 25-30 minutes, rotating them at 15 minutes.
  6. 5. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before piping the honey meringue icing.
  7. (if you are not eating the cupcakes the same day, store them in an airtight container and ice with meringue when ready to serve)
  8. Honey Meringue
  9. 1. Bring 2 inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan.
  10. 2. In a heatproof bowl, combine egg whites and honey
  11. 3. Place the bowl with egg whites over the simmering water and whisk consistently until they are warm to the touch.
  12. 4. Remove the bowl from the heat and transfer to mixing bowl that attaches to your mixer
  13. 5. With the whisk attachment, start whipping your egg whites and honey on high
  14. 6. Add the teaspoon of water to your egg white and whisk until thick and glossy
  15. 7. Once cupcakes are cooled and ready to serve, pipe the meringue onto the cupcakes
  16. 8. Using a kitchen torch, lightly brown the meringue
  17. 9. Refrigerate if you are not serving them immediately
  1. Makes 12 regular size cupcakes or 24 mini cupcakes
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Chocolate Cherry Granola Balls


I might be mildly obsessed with these little bitty bite size treats.  I actually cannot stop eating them and I made them as a snack for my girls…well maybe a little for me (I do LOVE peanut butter)!  I have been focusing on healthy snacks in our house, to close out the summer and start the new school year fresh and these are on the top of my list.  

Summer is kind of a party for our family, no schedule, no routine and a lot of special treats (it helps us get through the day).  With only a  few more weeks left before school goes back, I want to prepare myself with the perfect afternoon snacks that are healthy, easy to make and the whole family loves. These peanut butter granola balls are the perfect refuel treat after a long day at work or school.  The hardest time of day, 4pm-5pm, when the whole family is hungry and I can’t make dinner fast enough, this is when we need these healthy snacks ready to go.  

I created thes bite size granola balls because I wanted something quick and easy that I can whip up any time with no oven needed.  I actually think these healthy treats taste more like dessert to me…and I am ok with that!   Enjoy these for breakfast, snack or as an after dinner treat and you won’t feel guilty about it!  

Feel free to change out some of the ingredients for your favorites!

Other Options:
Almond Butter —>Peanut Butter (makes them have a drier texture, but still good)
Raisins or Dried Cranberries—>Dried Cherries
Sliced Almonds—>Shredded Coconut

Chocolate Cherry Granola Balls
Yields 20
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  1. 1 cup oatmeal
  2. 1/2 cup peanut butter, creamy
  3. 1/2 cup dried cherries
  4. 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  5. 1/4 cup coconut flakes, unsweetened
  6. 2 Tbsp honey
  7. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  8. pinch of salt
  9. pinch of cinnamon
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl
  2. Mix until totally combined
  3. scoop a heaping 1 Tbsp of the oatmeal mixture and roll into balls
  4. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to eat!
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Fruit Leather

Peach + MangoSONY DSC

This is the perfect snack with the perfect ingredients and my girls loved it! They always seem be eating some type of fruit snack (which sounds really great and healthy) but when you actually look into the store bought fruit leather or fruit by the yard, there is so much added sugar and other unknown ingredients that totally takes away from the FRUIT in fruit snack. In this homemade, all fresh ingredient fruit leather, there is no added sugar and can be made with a large variety of fruits, fresh or frozen.  I have made two flavors that our family has enjoyed; Peach+ Mango is one of my favorites with flavors that make you feel like you are eating a pie and Strawberries+Mint will provide a refreshing taste for both kids and adults.  I love adding herbs and spices into snacks, allowing our girls to be familiar with other flavor profiles.  I hope you enjoy these easy clean sweets as much as we have!   


Peach Mango Fruit Leather
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  1. 1 1/2 cups fresh peaches, sliced (skin removed)
  2. 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen mango, cubed
  3. 1 Tbsp honey
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F and prepare sheet pan with silpat
  2. In a blender combine the peaches, mangos, and honey
  3. Blend until perfectly smooth
  4. Pour pureed fruit onto the sheet pan
  5. Bake at 200 degrees F for 5-6 hours
  6. Allow the fruit leather to cool completely
  7. Cut into 1 1/2" strips and roll with wax paper
  8. Store in air tight container
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Strawberry + MintSONY DSC

SONY DSCStrawberries + Honey + Mint are the flavors that I chose for this recipe, but it can be made  with a variety of different fruits.  Peach, Mango, and  Mixed Berry are the next flavors on my list to make.  Hope you enjoy these easy clean sweets as much as we have! 


Strawberry Mint Fruit Leather
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  1. 3 cups fresh strawberries, stems removed
  2. 1 Tbsp honey
  3. 4 mint leaves
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F and prepare sheet pan with silpat
  2. In a blender combine the strawberries, honey and mint leaves
  3. Blend until perfectly smooth
  4. Pour pureed fruit onto the sheet pan
  5. Bake at 200 degrees F for 5-6 hours
  6. Allow the fruit leather to cool completely
  7. Cut into 1 1/2" strips and roll with wax paper
  8. Store in air tight container
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen
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