Coconut Gelato with Caramelized Stone Fruit


(Pura Vida Coconut Gelato topped with fresh figs)

Summer is in full blast here in the Northern Hemisphere. Although we have been lucky in Vermont with many days this summer in the mid-70’s with very little humidity, there are some days like today for example where it is just miserable to be outside.
Summertime means ice cream! I can eat ice cream any time of year, but summer is its heyday. I have been making ice cream at home for the past 5 years. I find that it is so much cheaper than buying high quality ice cream at the grocery store (if you can even find it!) and by making it at home you are fully in charge of every ingredient that goes into it and you can be creative with the flavors!

My good blogging friend Mare from Just Making Noise: Sound Bites From a Deaf Mama put out an amazing ice cream e-book last year called Just Making Ice Cream: Over 70 Delicious Recipes Made With Nourishing Ingredients.  The most recent post on her blog actually features some of her recipes from the book.  You don’t want to miss that, so check it out! I like Mare and her blog because all of her recipes include wholesome, real food and she doesn’t stop when it comes to ice cream either. Her book is great because she walks you through the best ingredients to use, how to choose an ice cream maker that is best for you and also how to make ice cream if you don’t want to buy an ice cream maker. Her book includes recipes for ice cream, gelato, frozen cultured milk (like yogurt and kefir), sherbets, sorbets, toppings and extras. Her book features recipes using whole food and organic ingredients and it is also allergen friendly.

I have mentioned before on the blog that Roberto is lactose intolerant, so I often make ice cream using coconut milk. Recently we have found a local farm that sells raw goat milk (which will tide us over until our own goats are in milk, next spring) and so I have been making ice cream with that. Both are delicious alternatives to cow milk. I asked Mare which ice cream she thought would be the best using coconut milk, and her first response was Pura Vida Coconut Gelato. Mare and her family used to live in Costa Rica and they had a favorite Italian style ice cream shop there. The shop made an amazing coconut gelato using all fresh ingredients and this is Mare’s take on it.

This coconut flavored ice cream is absolutely creamy, rich and delicious. We loved it so much I made it twice in one week! This ice cream is perfect on its own, but this is also stone fruit season and there is nothing like topping some delicious caramelized stone fruits with some amazing homemade ice cream! For our stone fruit we used plums and apricots. It is easy to caramelize fruit and I will give you a recipe for it as well! We also topped the ice cream with fresh figs. The possibilities are just endless!

Pura Vida Coconut Gelato (from Just Making Ice Cream)


1 cup whole milk or cream (I used coconut milk)
2 cups coconut milk
½ cup turbinado (I used coconut sugar)
¾ cup shredded coconut (more or less)
1 egg yolk
½ tsp vanilla
pinch of sea salt

METHOD: Whisk together the egg yolk and coconut milk in a bowl and set aside. Mix together milk/cream, raw sugar, sea salt and coconut in a saucepan. Turn heat on low, stir until sugar dissolves and milk is comfortably hot to touch. Turn off heat, cover and let it infuse for an hour.

Pour infused milk into the coconut milk mixture, stir in vanilla and let it cool if still warm. Cover and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator for a few hours or (preferably) overnight.

Once chilled, pour mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions or use one of the no maker methods listed on page 26 (you’ll have to get the book!).

When the ice cream is done churning, quickly scoop ice cream into a container or bowl. Serve right away or let it firm up in the freezer for a couple hours before serving.

Fast Technique: You can skip the first step and just mix everything together & churn, but the coconut flavor won’t be as strong!
Pour into your ice cream maker or use one of the no-maker methods (make sure the base is cold!).

Tips: Stay close by while the ice cream is churning… it might be done churning sooner than what your instructions say. The coconut milk naturally becomes solid much quicker in colder temperatures.

You can make toasted coconut gelato easily by spreading the coconut flakes on a baking sheet and toasting it in the oven at 350 for about 10 minutes or until the flakes become a light golden brown.

Extras: For a little kick, add ¼ cup of rum!

Caramelized Stone Fruit (adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s Healthy Appetite)


1 plum
1 apricot
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
3-4 TBS runny honey
generous splash of Frangelico

METHOD: Heat oven to 375 F. Cut fruits in half and remove pits. Slice fruits into wedges and arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Add spices, and drizzle over the honey and Frangelico. Bake fruits for 10-20 minutes until tender and slightly caramelized around the edges. Remove from oven and let cool, slightly. Serve with ice cream. Serves 2.

Frozen Tapioca Pudding


How about a delicious frozen twist to an old classic? I am sure many of you have enjoyed some delicious frozen custard this summer, so why not frozen pudding? This is best served right after the initial churning in the ice cream maker – kind of like a soft serve. I like to sweeten my tapioca with maple syrup and a little cinnamon. This extra little flavor adds a lot of dimension to this tasty frozen treat!

We are busy enjoying summer here on the homestead with a lot of out of town visitors. Hope everyone is having a great summer!

Fruits and Nuts of the Forest Kefir Ice Cream

Kefir Ice Cream

We have had some really scorching days lately! The past several of them have been in the 90’s! I thought I left Florida to get away from the heat, but it looks like it must have followed my mom up here. She arrived on the coolest day we’d had in weeks, lending credence to her idea that we live in The Great White North, but in less than 48 hours, it became an absolute inferno. She loves the heat, so she’s not complaining, but the rest of us are lethargic, even the pets!

So naturally this kind of weather calls for ice cream! But really, we love ice cream and have it quite often no matter what the weather. When I was in Italy, I fell in love with what I called my perfect combination of gelato – one scoop of Frutti di Bosco and one of Nocciola – “Fruits of the Forest” or mixed berries and hazelnut. Such a dreamy combination. Light yet rich at the same time. So I decided to make my own perfect flavor at home, using kefir, a fermented, probiotic dairy drink as the base. We make kefir here at the homestead fresh every day and I love finding new uses for it, beyond a glass straight up for breakfast! So I can now confirm it makes a really delicious ice cream! Next time I will probably add an egg or two to the mix, for a more creamy consistency. But there was nothing lacking in the taste department here! So if you are as hot as we are, or just looking for a different kind of ice cream flavor to cool off on a hot summer day, give this one a try! I promise you will love it!


4 cups of plain whole organic dairy kefir
1/3 cup of fresh organic heavy cream
¼ cup Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur)
½ cup of raw hazelnuts, toasted
1 cup frozen or fresh organic raspberries
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 tsp ground cinnamon


I have a Vitamix, so I placed all the ingredients, in order listed into the Vitamix and blended just until the nuts were pulverized. I was looking for a creamy consistency. Then I placed all of it, in my ice cream maker and made it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. You can serve it before placing in the freezer for a more “soft serve” texture, or freeze for a harder consistency. I have also found that adding a ¼ cup of alcohol also lends to better scoopability.

My Sweetie’s Birthday – Lasagna Rolls and Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake


Ooey Gooey Cheesy Lasagna!

In this household we like to indulge in The Birthday Week(TM). This means that when either Roberto or I are celebrating a birthday, each day of our birthday week, we get to pick out some little thing to do – whether it is to go to the movies, to the beach, out for ice cream or a treat of some kind, and one of those days, have a special meal made. Not expensive things, just fun little things to keep the celebration going. For Roberto’s actual birthday, I took him to a favorite restaurant here in Saint Augustine and gave him a very special and personal gift – after almost 2 years of marriage and a very long story, I am now officially Mrs. Campus!


Roberto and I with Mom at Easter – at the table where we were most of the weekend! EATING.

So to close out the week of birthday festivities, this past weekend, my mom came to visit and so we of course had to have another celebration for Roberto. I asked him for his menu of choice, and not surprisingly he came up with Lasagna. It is his favorite, after all.

As for a cake, he was looking for something Tiramisu inspired. I know Roberto is a huge fan of ice cream, so I asked him if he’d like me to make him a Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake – and he was game!


Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake

I spent a few days looking online for Tiramisu flavored ice cream, and a sponge cake or lady fingers to make the cake. We happened to be celebrating his birthday with my mom the day before Easter, which meant we would be baking with my mom too. So I had to plan ahead to make sure all this baking wasn’t going to wreak havoc on me with my wheat issues. Therefore, I modified some Easter bread recipes to include my soaking techniques, and looked for recipes to make cake and bread that was more eggs and less flour. The sponge cake recipe I found for the ice cream cake ended up being more like a big crepe than a cake due to my egg whites not cooperating, but it was perfect for the cake.


Preparing Lasagna Rolls

As for the lasagna, I decided to make baked lasagna rolls, so I didn’t need to use as many noodles. I used whole wheat noodles and I used a mixture of mascarpone, homemade goat cheese, parmigiano, basil paste and spinach as the filling and I made a simple sauce using a jar of organic tomato sauce, a can of tomatoes, some wine and spices. Roberto loved these rolls, and declared it the best lasagna he has had in the US. So I was pretty happy with that! We served it with a nice bottle of Cannonau, a Sardinian wine, known for its beneficial antioxidant properties 🙂

This weekend was a very Italian food centered time, which is always great.

To see our Sicilian Easter Dinner with my mom, please check out her blog for the recipes and photos.

Lasagna Rolls:


Cheesing it UP!


1 package of whole wheat lasagna noodles (12 noodles)

8 oz. mascarpone cheese
4 oz. homemade raw milk goat cheese
2 inch piece of parmigiano cheese, grated
3 oz. fresh baby spinach
3 TBS fresh basil paste
salt & pepper to taste

2 TBS olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
28 oz. can of fire roasted tomatoes
½ jar of organic tomato sauce
¼ cup red wine
oregano, thyme, and basil to taste

12 round pieces of fresh mozzarella


Bring water to boil for pasta, and cook according to package directions, except cut the cooking time by half. Drain and set aside.

Prepare the sauce. Sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil, until translucent. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, wine and spices. Mix together and cook over a medium-low heat for about 35-40 minutes.

While sauce is cooking preheat the oven to 350F. In a bowl mix all the filling ingredients together. Then divide and spread the filling over the length of each noodle, and roll up. Place noodle rolls into a prepared baking dish – place a little of the sauce on the bottom of the pan before laying the rolls on top. Then place a piece of mozzarella on top of each roll, and pour the rest of the sauce over top of the whole dish. Then grate extra parmigiano on top. Bake for 45 minutes, and then remove the foil, and bake for another 10-15 or until cheese is browned. Serves 6.

Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake


One recipe of Tiramisu Ice cream from Desert Candy Blog
(the only thing I changed about the recipe, is that I used a tub of tiramisu marscapone, and 8 oz. of sour cream, as well as sweetening with maple syrup instead of sugar)

One recipe of Sponge Cake Roll Recipe
(again I sweetened with maple syrup)



Preparing Components for Ice Cream Cake

Prepare the ice cream base the night before, so it has a chance to chill. In the morning, bake the cake according to the recipe – don’t forget to roll it in a towel before it cools. While it cools for about 20-30 minutes, churn the ice cream according to the manufacturer’s directions.


Rolling Ice Cream Cake Roll

Smear the cooled cake with the soft, just churned ice cream, and sprinkle with cocoa powder. Roll up and place in the freezer. After about an hour, sprinkle the cake with some more rum, and then let freeze for about another hour. To serve, slice, and sprinkle with cocoa powder and powdered sugar – and extra maple syrup for those with a sweet tooth. Serves 10

Pasqua Night 032_pets_1

Cute Pets, thrown in for good measure! Everyone deserves a treat!

Real Food Irish Feast for St. Patrick’s Day…Better Late Than Never!


United Irishmen Flag

Well it’s better late than never, I say. Just think of this post as a jump start to next year’s celebration!

These last few months have been very exciting for me. I recently discovered that along with my new found English ancestry (and a few other Northern European ancestries) and in the company of millions of other Americans, I may have some ancestral roots in Ireland. I am still learning about where it comes from, which has been a very fun process for me and has revived in me my love of anthropology and population migrations. I am not sure how much I will ever really know about my heritage, being adopted with no ancestry history, but it looks like there is a strong Northern Irish connection from all my research so far. So this year, I decided that I want to explore these cultures in my ancestral line through the foods of these lands, and St. Patrick’s day seemed like a good place to start, in good company.

I am not Christian, so for me, my St. Patrick’s celebration is not religious or political, but more of a general Celtic heritage and cultural celebration. It should be no surprise that I have Celtic ancestry, as I have always loved Celtic music (even teaching myself to play the fiddle) and culture, and Scottish and Irish desserts have been among my favorites for years. So I felt like even with its religious roots, this would be a good a time as any to celebrate the rich culture and heritage of Ireland with so many others!


Some Irish Feast Ingredients: Fresh Organic Eggs, Organic Cream and Guinness plus Homemade Buttermilk and Whiskey and Aquavit Soaked Raisins

I wanted to celebrate by cooking some semi- “traditional” dishes, and to challenge myself by cooking with Guinness! So the menu is as follows :

*Guinness Stew
*Sautéed Cabbage in a Mustard Glaze
*Brown Soda Bread
*Guinness Ice Cream

Everything is made from scratch, including the buttermilk in the soda bread. The meal turned out great, and I would certainly make any of these dishes again, for St. Pat’s or any other day.


Brown Soda Bread

I was inspired by several different recipes for this meal, and it all started with Jenny’s Brown Soda Bread Recipe .

As many who follow this blog know, I have been tweaking various bread recipes these past many months, so that the flour can be soaked for at least 12 hours before baking ( to find out why click here ). Jenny is a master at this kind of cooking, even recently being featured on CNN for her Real Food Challenge . When I saw her soda bread recipe, I knew I had to make it.


Guinness Stew

From there, the idea for an Irish feast began. I didn’t have a lot of time this year to research “corning” my own beef brisket , so to speak (maybe next year). So I decided to go with something a bit more in my comfort zone – beef stew with a beef and Guinness broth.

I love sautéed cabbage, and since it was on sale at the grocery store, I decided to grab a head and figure out what to do with it later. As I was cooking the stew, an idea for a delicious spicy mustard and honey glaze was concocted in my mind! I will definitely be making cabbage this way again!


Creamy Guinness Ice Cream without white sugar

I had also been wanting to try this recipe for Guinness Ice Cream for about 2 years. However, I did modify it, to make it more healthy by omitting the 2 cups of sugar called for in the original recipe and using date sugar and maple syrup to sweeten it, instead. I also omitted the brown bread, however I may have to add it in the future, because it sounds yummy!

This was a wonderful celebration to begin to connect with some of my ancestral roots and share it with my awesome and supportive family. Thanks Guys! 🙂 Hope my readers enjoy this menu as much as we did! Recipes under the cut…


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Pumpkin NOGshake


Has an amazing flavor combination ever come to you in a moment of revelation, that makes you stop and wonder if you can actually crave something that you aren’t sure even exists? If you have had this experience, you know what I am talking about!

Right before we left for our trip to New England, I got an amazing craving for a Pumpkin Milkshake. I love milkshakes, I love pumpkin and I have an obsession for delicious dairy treats. So I got on this pumpkin milkshake kick. However, I wasn’t even sure if they existed. I had never had one, or seen one to my recollection – which amazed me! I am sure they exist somewhere, but they should be everywhere!!!

I was leaving for New England in just a few days, and wasn’t prepared to go out to the grocery store and get the ingredients to satisfy my craving. I bought myself a Pumpkin Spice Frappucino, in vain, it wasn’t quite IT.

Flash forward: I bought several extra cans of organic pumpkin at the store right before Thanksgiving. I am famous for roasting actual pumpkins, but I love the stuff so much, it is convenient to have it in a can to add to whatever suits my fancy! So last night I remembered my desire for a Pumpkin Milkshake. I had just recently purchased egg nog as well, for Egg Nog Lattes (check out Alice’s recipe ) and I thought that would be the perfect combination for my NOGshake!

These Pumpkin Nogshakes are delicious. Even more decadent would be adding a bit of booze – maybe baileys, maybe rum, perhaps a little whiskey. I will leave that to you and your discretion. But have yourself a Pumpkin Nogshake and be of good cheer!

Pumpkin NOGshakes

(1 – 6 oz. serving)


2 oz. egg nog

¼ cup of vanilla bean ice cream

¼ cup of plain pumpkin puree

dash of both cinnamon and nutmeg

optional: ½ jigger of booze of your choice


Stick it all in a blender, or use an immersion blender to mix throughly. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Decadent Chocolate Cake and Goat Milk Ice Cream


How good does that sound? Unfortunately I did not serve these items together, but I wish I had! They would have been perfect together. I have been meaning to post the cake recipe for over a month now. I made it for my cousin Michelle’s birthday. She is a well known chocoholic, and so I knew I wanted to make a super chocolate birthday cake for her to celebrate! Sweets for the sweet!

The recipe was based on one from Peanut Butter and Julie’s Blog (thanks Julie!).


The recipe calls for melting chocolate in hot strong coffee! What a revelation! This was a perfect way to really up the ante and flavor profile of the cake. I used nothing below 75% cacao chocolate and I substituted extra virgin coconut oil and blood orange salt to add to the underlying flavor as well . I made a 9-inch round cake and layered the cake with leftover cream cheese icing that I had frozen when I made too much for the wedding cake and then topped it with crushed hazelnuts. It was totally a success! I am not much of a chocolate lover, but I really loved this cake. I reduced the amount of sugar from 3 CUPS to 3/4’s of a cup – resulting in a deep chocolate flavor without an overly sweet taste.


As for the ice cream, I mentioned in my last post that I have switched over almost exclusively to goats milk. My friend Judy at No Fear Entertaining told me a long time ago that she had made an awesome chocolate pudding using goats milk, so it inspired me to try goats milk in my desserts. Normally when making ice cream, I don’t put eggs in the base as a shortcut and time saver. But this time I decided I really wanted a creamy custard, so I used both goats milk and cream, as well as eggs. I added a bit of crushed cardamom pods while the vanilla bean was steeping in the milk/cream. It added a really rice flavor and I think enhanced the vanilla flavor of the ice cream. The consistency was good, but it was very rich. I think next time, I will skip the cream and just go with the eggs and goats milk.

Recipes below the cut…

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Perfect Summer Peaches and Some Foodie Events!


We recently received another box from a producer. This time it was a dozen beautiful ripe peaches. When I opened the box the sunny aroma immediately hit my nose. I knew these peaches were ripe and so we decided to get to work.


That night for dessert I made a wonderful and simple Peach and Cherry Cobbler. My version was about as easy as you can get. I sliced about 3 peaches into rounds, laid them, overlapping in a spiral in an oval baking dish. Then I halved some fresh cherries and dotted the peaches with them. Then sprinkled the top with cinnamon. My topping was simple – just mix some oatmeal, brown sugar and butter in a bowl and sprinkle on top. I baked it in the oven at 350 F for about a half an hour. Served with vanilla bean ice cream, it really hit the spot.


A few days later we decided to make Fresh Peach Ice Cream. I love ice cream and it had been a long time since I had fresh peach ice cream. So we chunked up 2 peaches and pureed them in the food processor. Then in a bowl we mixed 3 cups of whole milk, 1 cup of heavy cream, about 2/3 cup of sugar – raw and brown mixed, and vanilla together. Then stirred in the peach puree. Then we turned the ice cream machine on, and poured in the mixture – and soon we had yummy ice cream.

The rest of the peaches we enjoyed in our morning fruit salads and also stirred into vanilla yogurt, topped with cinnamon! Peaches are one of summer’s delicious treats, what do you like to do with your bounty of peaches?

In Foodie News:

Three Books and a Whisk:

My friend Elle, from Elle’s Kitchen HAS MOVED, and is running a great giveaway to promote the new movie, Julie & Julia . Her blog is featured as a “Featured Blog of the Day” on the official movie website! Way to go, Elle! And to celebrate she is giving away 2 cookbooks and a cool retro whisk! So go check it out.

America’s Next Top Cookie:

How would you like to win a gift certificate for Starbucks or Peet’s Coffee? Well Tiffany from The Cookie Blog, who was featured on FFF  last week is giving away a gift certificate (winner’s choice). She is running a cookie contest called “America’s Next Top Cookie”. All you have to do is bake a cookie and photograph it! The contest is based solely on the beauty of a cookie. Any foodies who would like to compete, can find more info at The Cookie Blog.