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Homemade Vegan Strawberry Banana Ice Cream and Giveaway Update!

28 Jul

I will admit, before becoming vegan, I had an addiction to ice cream. Even as I transitioned and discovered all of the yummy alternatives to dairy ice cream, I would keep a constant stock in my freezer. For the past month or so, I have really been focusing on reducing all of the extra sugar and processed items from my diet, as well as exercising daily in preparation for my trip to Puerto Rico tomorrow, so the ice cream has not made it home with me. That doesn’t mean that I’m not still craving it! To ease my cravings in a healthy way, I came up with this quick and easy recipe – and it did NOT disappoint! You don’t need an ice cream maker – I did this all in my food processor (a strong blender would work, too).

 

Homemade Vegan Strawberry Banana Ice Cream

Makes about 2 servings

Ingredients:

1 frozen banana, cut into small slices

3 or 4 large half frozen strawberries

approx. 1/2 cup of non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)

Process:

1. If your strawberries are completely frozen (mine were), submerge them in a bowl of warm water – they didn’t process well in a completely frozen state.

2. Chop up banana pieces in a food processor/blender – you will have tons of tiny banana pieces.

3. Add half-defrosted strawberries and a small amount of almond milk and process – as the fruit processes, continue to add in the milk to the desired consistency. Here’s what mine looked like:

Ice cream in food processor

4. To get more of a soft serve consistency, stick the ice cream in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes before serving.

5. Add a pretty garnish and enjoy!

YUM!

You can definitely vary this recipe by adding different fruit combos, making sure that the banana is the base. I LOVE the strawberry/banana combo (remember my healthy breakfast shake?), but I am excited to try mango, raspberry, and maybe even blueberry! Like the shake, you could also add a spoonful of cocoa, or even use chocolate non-dairy milk for a different taste. Go nuts!

Giveaway Update:

The SlimKicker Kitchen Scale Giveaway has ended! The people at SlimKicker will look over the entries to pick their favorite challenge idea, and I will post the winner as soon as I can! I will be leaving for Puerto Rico early tomorrow morning, so the announcement may have to wait until Thursday night when we get back….can’t wait to try all of the fresh fruits and veggies that they have there! Adios!  =)

Our resort in San Juan – La Concha

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App Review: SlimKicker and Digital Kitchen Scale GIVEAWAY!

20 Jul

Thanks to my plant-based diet, my energy level has been through the roof! Before my diet change, I didn’t have the energy or the drive to exercise. I would come home, nap, eat, and sit around. Now, I wake up with no caffeine or sugar and start my day energized – sometimes I even exercise twice a day!

Along with getting in better shape overall, my long-term goal is to run a 5K (I ran my first full mile without stopping on Wednesday – super excited). In order to keep myself on track and motivated, I have been trying out different fitness apps that I can use on my phone. I came across an app called SlimKicker that not only tracks your exercise sessions, but also lets you track your meals/calories and gives you challenges to work towards to gain points. The more points you rack up, the closer you get to your reward – and YOU get to pick what you will reward yourself with. To keep you motivated, you can upload a picture of your reward (whether it’s that new pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing, or a book you’ve been dying to read) and they will remind you to reward yourself when you reach your goal. It’s colorful, easy to use, and really helpful when it comes to seeing your progress. They even have recipe ideas! SlimKicker is available for Apple and Android phones and is FREE! Take a look at the different areas of the app:

First, you have your personal profile page.

Profile Page

Your profile page shows everything involved in the app – points, rewards, and achievements. Your leaderboard shows how you rank among your friends.

The Diet page lets you log your food and you gain points by eating healthy calories like fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

On the the Body page, you can log your weight, set a weight loss goal, and log your exercise in order to gain points toward your rewards. They have a great selection of exercise types that even calculate the calories you burned for you!

That brings us to the Challenge page and the topic of our GIVEAWAY! SlimKicker encourages its users to complete challenges, like giving up soda for a week or eating a salad a day, to earn points towards their chosen reward.

GIVEAWAY!

SlimKicker needs YOUR help to come up with some fun and creative ideas for their Challenges. To enter, leave your suggestion for a new diet or fitness challenge in the comment section of this post – try to keep it to a sentence or two. The contest will run for exactly one week – at that time, SlimKicker will choose their favorite idea and it will be announced in a post.

The winner will receive this Ozeri Epicurean Digital Kitchen Scale:

Ozeri Epicurean Digital Kitchen Scale

Pretty sweet, huh? So leave me your best ideas for a fitness or diet challenge in the comments below – you can only enter once, so be as creative as possible! Contest ends 8:00pm EST on Friday, July 27th.

Good Luck!

App Review: Animal-Free

27 Apr Animal-Free Icon

As a brand new vegan (I made the decision last week to cut out fish, my last big item…WOOHOO!), one of the most frustrating parts of shopping is looking at a label and not understanding half of the ingredients in a product. What is that 7-syllable word? If I can’t say it, how am I supposed to know if it is an animal product? That’s where my new favorite app, Animal-Free, comes in!

Animal-Free Icon

Animal-Free Icon

Animal-Free is designed for those of us that can’t memorize all of those crazy words but are still trying to live a plant-based life without too much hassle. The app contains alphabetical lists of both vegan and animal based products, with an in-depth explanation of each item. Animal-Free even divides animal ingredients into lists that are always animal based (such as bone char) and those that are sometimes animal based (like sugar – cane sugars are not vegan while beet sugars are). There’s even an option to scan a barcode and find a product in the database!

Here is a run down of how to use the app and some screenshots so you can see for yourself:

When you are looking at the animal ingredients in Animal-Free, you have the option of scrolling through on your own or skipping through the list using the letters on the right side of the screen. When you click on a specific ingredient, you get a screen much like the one on the right panel – the app gives you a detailed definition of how each item is derived (the one I picked has been in the news recently because of its use in Starbucks drinks). I really like that the app gives you some background instead of just a yes/no when it comes to whether an ingredient is animal derived. Learning is a HUGE part of this process for me and I appreciate that the creators took the time to include that information.

Animal Ingredients Collage

Animal Ingredients

When you hit the “V” at the bottom of the screen, the app takes you to a list of vegan ingredients that you may find on labels. Again, it’s all alphabetized and you get the great description when you click on the item. I’m a big fan of the color scheme that they chose to use – the green really pops and helps convey the fresh and healthy vibe that vegan eating really stands for!

Vegan Ingredients Collage

Vegan Ingredients

Another great feature of Animal-Free is its ability to search the database by both ingredient and product. I found searching by product to be the most helpful – you can type in whatever item you are looking at in the store (I used Daiya cheese as an example) and the app will locate any items that fall into that category. Once you click on the specific item that you want, the app provides you with a screen full of information about the product, as well as if it is vegan or not (ratings are according to user votes). You also have the option  to vote to increase reliability of the database in the app.

Product Search Collage

Product Searching

Lastly, Animal-Free gives you the option to scan the barcode of an item. While this is a great idea and could potentially be very useful, the database is not very large as of yet, and I could not locate the test items that I scanned before writing this post. I also really liked that they give you the option to shine your camera’s flash on the barcode to make for easier scanning. I would love to see the barcode feature and database in the app improve in the future because I do think it will be extremely useful to many consumers.

Barcode Scanner

Barcode Scanner in action

Overall, I really liked the functionality of Animal-Free and what it offers to people of all walks of life. Beginning vegans and those that have been at it for a while can benefit from the information found in this app, making it an excellent resource. Currently, Animal-Free is available for the iPhone (there is not an iPad version of the app, but the iPhone version can still be downloaded onto it) and is FREE! If you try it out, please let me know what you think in the comments below!

What is your favorite vegan-related app? Please share your finds in the comments section!

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