Sunday, September 12, 2021


Well, sort of healthy. Everything is relative. My friend, Brenna Reilly's husband is vegan and I wanted to make him a treat. I found this recipe for vegan ice cream online. They called it Vanilla Vegan Ice Cream. The coconut flavor is so pronounced that you really don't taste much vanilla. I have re-named it Creamy Coconut Vegan Ice Cream. This is a no-churn recipe, which works for me since I don't have an ice cream maker here in Ireland (yet!). The health aspect of this recipe is that it includes a whole zucchini plus 1 cup of raw, organic unsalted cashews. Those ingredients sound so unlikely, but they work. You sweeten the ice cream with Maple Syrup. 

My Dad used to give my husband, Jerry, a gallon of Maple Syrup every year for Christmas from Putnam's farm in Charlestown, NH. It is the best Maple Syrup I've ever tasted! The coconut milk and coconut oil make the ice cream rich, creamy, and delicious.


1 (13.5 oz.) can full-fat coconut milk; white solid coconut cream only.
1 cup raw, unsalted cashews, soaked in advance, drained and rinsed
1 large zucchini, ends removed, peeled and chopped (about 2 cups)
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 1/2 tbsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt

The night before you plan to make the ice cream, put the can of coconut milk in the refrigerator. This will harden the solid white coconut cream, which is all you are using. Do not add the liquid milk. Next day, using a slotted spoon remove the coconut solids from the can. You should have about 1 cup of solids. Soaking the cashews in advance gives the ice cream a smoother, less gritty texture. Either soak overnight or do a quick soak by pouring boiling water over the cashews for a couple hours. 

Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender or food processor. Slowly begin to blend and when it looks like the ingredients are coming together, blend on high speed for 60 seconds. I knew I was going to be close with the amount of ice cream in my high-speed blender and should not have put them all in at once, but I did. When I moved into high speed mode, the contents starting spewing out both the top and bottom. Quite a mess! Coconut ice cream everywhere! I then cleaned up the mess; cleaned out the blender (only lost about 1 inch of the ice cream) and blended in smaller batches until the right consistency was formed. 

Pour the ice cream into a container. Cover and freeze for 8 hours or overnight. Before serving, remove from the freezer for about 20 minutes so the ice cream becomes scoopable. 

Our dinner with Brenna and John unfortunately got postponed so I will make it again when we get together! Jerry and I had to eat it ourselves. 
Jerry enjoying his ice cream with JoJo fast alseep.



I found this recipe in my new Nigella Lawson cookbook-Simply Nigella. I don't know if she came up with this recipe, as there are tons of the same recipe online, but these cookies were simply delicious, very peanut-y and the chocolate turned the entire concoction into a Reeses peanut butter cup taste and texture. The cookies are delicate. I had planned on freezing them to eat them frozen from the freezer, but they never made it to the freezer! Why are they healthy? Peanut butter, in the right amount, is good for you. Tons of protein. Dark chocolate is also good for you. I am not one who is concerned about consuming flour, but for those who are, there is none in this recipe. And, finally, very little sugar. 


3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter, such as Skippy*

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 tsp. baking soda

pinch of salt

1 extra large egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips or break up 1/2 of a good quality chocolate bar.

*Skippy is not available here in Ireland so I used Kelkin, which has no sugar added. I am sure any smooth peanut butter would work.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, beat together the peanut butter, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract, but not too vigorously. Just mix them. Stir or fold in the chocolate chips or pieces. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place heaped tablespoons  of the cookie dough onto the lined sheet, placing them about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes until they are slightly darker around the edges. They will look undercooked, but will be the perfect texture once cooled. Leave on the baking sheet for 10 minutes as they are quite fragile when first coming out of the oven. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. This takes another 10 minutes. Nigella says, "I tend to cave in after 5"; we did, as well!

Our son, Justin and his new wife, Alison were just here for a lovely visit. We stayed pretty close to home, but did take some nice long, drives. Here they are in front of a very cool pub, just west of us in Beal an Daingean. In Ireland a hooker may not be what you think.

In this case it is a pub. Galway Hooker is also the third oldest brewery in Ireland making a variety of great quality craft beers, ales, and stouts. An artisan brewery nestled in the stunning surrounds of the Wild Atlantic Way, which is where our house is located. 

The original Galway Hooker is a traditional fishing boat, designed for its sturdiness in rugged seas. 

We have only a few weeks left in Ireland 
and it's with tears in our eyes 
that we are getting ready to leave 
this beautiful country!

But lots more food, fun, and cooking ahead!

Until next time...
Justin, Jerry, and me overlooking the back 40 and Galway Bay.

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