Throughout my time in school it was difficult for me to make friends that “stuck”. I spent many lunch breaks in the library alone, and weekends hanging out with my mom (but she is the coolest and I think you would have hung out with her too). This began in grade school and lasted through college. It wasn’t until after college that I grasped a better understanding of “why” this had always been. I can’t say I’ve ever been able to click with the majority of the people around me. They weren’t interested in me, I wasn’t interested in them. We could pretend, but those fragile relationships would shatter to pieces in no time. Every time. I can’t blame the people I went to school with, or even myself. We were just different. Minus one girl, who was my complete opposite in all of the ways that didn’t matter, but the same in all the ways that do. She and I were independent enough to do our own things, pursue our own passions, be driven and creative in our own realms, and then crash on the couch together from time to time and watch movies while eating spoonfuls of peanut butter from the jar with chocolate chips sprinkled on them (I’m looking at you, Staci <3). She was the first person I met that “got” my differences, and I “got” hers. We could go months between talking, and then meet up like it was yesterday. Our friendship continues to this day, and in the same way. She helped me realize that I wasn’t going to get along and fit in with everyone. And that was okay. But sprinkled throughout this big ole world were people like her, people who would naturally gravitate towards one another and just “click”.
This was the case for when I first met Virpi. We sat next to one another during the workshop day at the Saveur Blog Awards this past June. Within moments of striking up conversation, I knew, this was one of my people. Virpi is the kind of person who never makes you feel as if you are boring her, and lets you make mistakes in how you talk. You can be weird, say something different or jumbled, just let loose and be yourself. Because she already loves you. You didn’t have to earn it or do a darn thing. We kept finding ourselves gravitating towards one another throughout our time there, and were side by side the whole night at the awards. Thank goodness we had each other to push the other up on stage when they won, because we were both stunned silly we couldn’t even move! I remember many heartfelt conversations with her over those few short days that I will cherish forever. I’m so happy to have a new friend in her, even if she lives far away in Finland. If its one thing I love about the blogosphere, its how much it shrinks our world. In honor of Virpi and her beautiful work, I bring you today a creation based on the recipes out of her newest e-book “Kind Ice Cream for You”! Her e-book (co-written with her friend Tuulia Talvio) contains some of the most inspiring, drool worthy ice creams I have ever laid eyes on. They are all made using the most wholesome ingredients (no dairy, gluten, or processed sugar) and I get to give away a copy to two very special people today! (See below for the details on the contest.)
I could easily have made any of the sixty recipes in this book for you today. Flipping through I found myself literally drooling and considering eating nothing but ice creams for months. (There is a snickers ice cream cake in there, for crying out loud.) What is extra special is how Virpi and Tuulia give you more than just the recipes. They outline the different ingredients used in their ice creams, the effect they have on the outcome, and the different methods explored in the book. Thats right, not all require an ice cream maker – there is a whole section on “instant ice creams”! Its from this section that I bring you these little sundaes today. I took her instant Coconut Sundae and added strawberries to the batter to make it strawberry flavored – and then made her cake crumble, coconut whipped cream, and chocolate sauce to take it to cheesecake status! Oh my goodness-golly-gosh. All you need is a food processor or high speed blender to whip this ice cream together – its so simple, and perfect for summer.
THE CONTEST >> To win a copy of “Kind Ice Cream for You”, leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite frozen summer treat is, and who “your person” is that you would like to share it with. This is open to everyone in the world!
The contest will run through next Tuesday, August 4th (holy shenanigans its going to be August already!). (Contest is now closed.)
Ps. My reason for creating this specific flavor for you today is because it just so happens to be a very special person’s birthday. My dad. And I know one of his favorite ways to treat himself is to go to Barnes & Noble, get a cup of coffee + a slice of cheesecake, and just relax. So here is a little cheesecake for you today daddy, make sure to take a moment and treat yourself this weekend – you deserve it! xo
STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE ICE CREAM SUNDAES
Makes four small (pictured above) or two good sized sundaes.
Strawberry Ice Cream
2 frozen bananas
1 can full fat coconut milk (refrigerated overnight)
1 cup fresh sliced strawberries
1 tablespoon raw honey (or maple syrup)
a few drops vanilla extract
1 cup raw macadamia nuts
2 fresh dates (I used 3 dried)
1/2 teaspoon cardamom (I used cinnamon)
pinch of sea salt
Coconut Whipped Cream
1 can full fat coconut milk
a few drops vanilla extract
optional teaspoon of honey or maple syrup
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
2 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
2 tablespoons brown rice syrup*
*Using all brown rice syrup will create more of a chocolate frosting consistency. If you wish for the sauce to be runnier, substitute pure maple syrup. If you want the sauce to fall somewhere in the middle of the two, use one tablespoon brown rice syrup and one tablespoon maple syrup.
Begin by making the cake crumble. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor, and pulse until it resembles a crumble. If you wish for it to clump together more, feel free to add a teaspoon of honey or maple and pulse a few more times. Place a few spoonfuls of the crumble at the base of your serving glasses. Transfer extra crumble to an airtight container, which can be stored in the refrigerator for a week, or the freezer for one month.
Next make the ice cream. Wipe out the bowl of your food processor and add the frozen bananas, fresh strawberries, honey (or maple), and vanilla. Open the can of refrigerated coconut milk and scoop out the thick cream that has separated from the water. Add the cream to the processor bowl, and blend until smooth. Divide the ice cream batter between your serving glasses, cover, and place in the freezer to set for at least two hours.
When ready to serve, make the coconut whipped cream by scooping out the thick layer of cream from the refrigerated can. Add this to a bowl with a few drops of vanilla. Add the sweeter now too, if using. Whip with a hand mixer until thick and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Cover and refrigerate if not using right away.
Whisk the chocolate sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. Remove the sundae glasses from the freezer (if they have been in the freezer for longer than four hours, give them 10 to 20 minutes to thaw a bit on the counter). Add a scoop of whipped cream, a drizzle of chocolate sauce, and a few more cake crumbles for good measure (fresh strawberries are a nice touch too) and dig in!