Did you know Scott Patterson, ie: Luke Danes, started his own coffee company? Being the theme-oriented gal that I am (ie: a should-be Stars Hollow resident), I ordered my own package of the breakfast blend. Logically, I decided the best way to try this brew was in true "Gilmore Girls" fashion. That meant a healthy mocha milkshake paired with a very Luke Danes meal: a cheeseburger, sweet potato fries and steamed broccoli. It's a diner style meal I could eat daily, but it's also the meal Luke cooked for his daughter, April, when she announced she was going to her first boy-girl party. Where you at "Gilmore Girls" fans?
“If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?”
“Sandwiches” he said with gumption, as if he had played the what-if game correctly.
My hand snapped to my hip bone, my head tilted, my eyes rolled, I leaned in, and each syllable I spoke dripped with sarcasm. “Oh, so you would choose to eat food for the rest of your life? Is that what you are telling me?”
I’m a stickler for rules when it comes to games, a weird fluke of my perfectionism that somehow doesn’t always manifest in real-life rule situations. No turning from 3pm-6pm, even if no other car is in sight? …optional…. “Narrow” down your one and only food source to “SANDWICHES?”
In this hypothetical game of sacrifices, my roommate Dan had not sacrificed a thing. While the rest of us would be chomping on french fries or cheese until the grease or lactose did us in, he’d be converting his every inkling of a craving into sandwich form- pizza sandwiches, egg roll sandwiches, breakfast sandwiches, taco sandwiches, smoked salmon sandwiches… ice cream sandwiches.
Foul, I cried, FOUL!
Though Dan was a complete and utter cheater, he was onto something- sandwiches are awesome (I didn’t say he was onto anything profound, just something). Whoever decided to stack ingredients between layers of bread- so smart! Whoever decided to swap that bread for cookies, and fill the space with ice cream? Genius! In the spirit of my college roommate not sacrificing a damn thing in a game of sacrifice, I bring you a recipe for wholesome peanut butter cookies. They make delicious bookends for ice cream, so you can eat sandwiches for every meal!
Here’s to you Dan Cohen!
p.s: If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
Sprouted Spelt Peanut Butter Cookies for Ice Cream Sandwiches
About This Recipe: These cookies are soft and chewy- perfect for pairing with ice cream and withstanding a bit of freeze if you prepare the sammie ahead of time. However, the truly exciting element in this recipe is the flour. I just discovered One Degree Organic Foods’ Sprouted Spelt Flour, and so far I’m hooked! I couldn’t agree more with the company’s tagline “Every ingredient has a story.” It’s more than a tagline though. Each package includes a picture of the farmer responsible for that grain. Meet my farmer, (well, not my farmer, but my flour farmer) and maybe he’ll become your farmer too!
“You can do anything for 20 seconds,” he shouts while leaping up and down like a frog. His springiness is comical, but his ‘give your all’ approach triggers the reserves inside the three people leaping in front of him. I watch this video, over and over again, while I sit and twist my spine. It’s all part of my new chiropractic routine, but that physical trainer’s message started to echo in my head long after I left the doctor’s office.
As I write this, I’m snuggled in a flannel and sipping a hot coffee, but my skin is still bronzed, and the forecast insists there will be days of sweaty inactivity. However, these flagship fall temperatures lead to a lot of universal grumblings, “where did summer goooooo?” the protesters wine. “Ugh…. I’m not ready,” they say while wilting into a pile of defeat (myself sadly included). This is the moment, like that last 20 seconds of grueling physical exercise, when we have to dig deep, commit and eek out every last drop of summer we can!
Summoning our last summer reserve might mean grilling more hamburgers, finally kayaking on the river, sleeping under a blanket of stars, taking a hike, or quite simply allowing more tan lines to form. It might mean the drive-in movie theater, a picnic on a sunny hillside, a last pencil-dive into the deep end or an impulse sunglasses purchase. Whatever it means for you, when you dig deep and truly try to appreciate this last leg of summer, I hope your plan includes popsicles.
In my zeal for homemade, healthified fudgesicles, I went a little overboard, overshooting the capacity of my popsicle molds. Since you can’t have too many fudgesicles, only not enough fudgesicle molds, experimentation mode commenced. Like a middle-aged lunching lady, I grabbed for the vodka bottle. The result is what happens when a Vegan Fudgesicle gets a little sloshy, but in a crowd-pleasing sort of way, not a “miss, we need you to leave” sort of way.
As the season begins to turn, let’s all commit to dig a little deeper and relish what’s left of summer. Let’s also agree to stretch our fudgesicle “batter” a little further.
Here’s to Summer!
Avocado Fudgesicles & Boyd & Blair Vodka Semifreddo (Vegan)
About This Recipe: I’ve separated the kid-friendly, non-boozy and the after-hours, boozy version into two recipes below for ease of making smaller batches. Essentially, the vodka version is the same, but poured into a loaf pan. You could pour the mixture into popsicle molds as well. I recommend Boyd & Blair Vodka. Not only is it made from high-quality ingredients, but it adds a sweet notes of vanilla. Plus, the vodka keeps the mixture just shy of frozen, resulting in a more spoonable, frozen treat!
As a child of the 80s & 90s, I have vivid memories of sticking to the vinyl seats of the non-air-conditioned boat cars my parents drove. We made epic journeys, from humid Pennsylvania to the dry, great plains of Nebraska and South Dakota with the windows down and hot air blasting our permed hair across our faces. One road trip included a flat tire and a long, roadside “hang out,” while we relied on the kindness of a trucker’s CB and awaited a tow truck. The turnpike, in Nebraska, in mid-summer is a hot place to be. So is my kitchen.
In the winter, brunch and dinner parties are a necessity. The oven and bodies warm the home, but the summer is another story. I could install an a.c. unit, but a combination of shear laziness and a healthy fear of the unit plummeting, from my third-floor window onto an unsuspecting passerby, leave the magical cooling device in the box.
In an effort to entertain friends without baking them, the summer months require creativity in the form of no-bake desserts. After all, a girl should be able to have her chocolate, eat her cake, mingle and not melt into a puddle of humidity. This is the cake for summer!
No-Bake Cashew Chocolate Mousse Cake with Fresh Mint (Vegan & Gluten Free)
About This Recipe: This recipe is easy to make, but if serving guests, be sure to leave yourself enough time to soak the cashews overnight and to allow the cake to set in the freezer. The dates add a fruity note to the crust, and the peanut-butter, banana and cashew filling is like a milkshake. Top with fresh mint for flavor, fragrance and show. This dessert is great for summer gatherings.
Floral, salty, crunchy, icy, juicy, fruity, creamy, minty and mapley… this tart is all of those elements in one bite! This spring inspired tart is easy to make, can be made the night before a gathering, and when garnished with a mound of fresh berries and mint, this tart is quite the show stopper!
After you make this tart once, you’ll surely have new ideas and inspirations for different versions. I’m already dreaming of swapping the blackberries for pureed peaches in peach season and riffing off my corn popsicle recipe for a dessert with a surprising key ingredient and a pale yellow palette.
Whether for a crowd, or for your own, sweet, spring and summer indulgences, I hope this tart finds its way to your freezers!
Frozen Blueberry Tart with Lavender Coconut Crust
Gluten-Free with Vegan Option
About this Recipe: You’ll need a food processor or blender for the crust to thoroughly grind and blend the lavender. Use organic lavender buds for the crust (i.e.: food-grade/pesticide-free). Make the tart the night before to ensure it freezes, but if you’re in a pinch, a couple hours will suffice. Pull from the freezer a few minutes before serving (in summer months, serve directly from the freezer). The whipped cream I featured uses dairy, but I offer a vegan option below to make this recipe completely vegan.