Ode to Moms

Happy (belated) Mother’s Day to all you moms out there, and to everyone who wants to honor their mother. Talk about a tough job! 

Sometimes, thoughts of our mothers bring up painful memories. Sometimes holidays like this one are dark spots in the course of the year. For those for whom that is the case, I’d encourage you to both seek out mentorship from older, wiser folks, and to be a little ‘motherly’ yourself. Practice the art of nurturing and nourishing. You can start by taking care of yourself, then move on to making copious amounts of chocolate chip cookies and grilled cheese sandwiches for friends 🙂


My amazing mother and her 3...unique children

My amazing mother and her 3…unique children

I am blessed to have an amazing mother. Over the years we have grown into a deep friendship. Indeed, she is one person who probably knows me better than I know myself. She has been my constant cheerleader, counselor, teacher, and we have switched back and forth the roles of chef de cuisine and sous-chef.

This Mother’s Day, I wanted to honor her in my favorite way: by cooking her a heartfelt meal. As I will discuss more in future posts, she and I have taken on an 8-week sugar free challenge together, based in Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar program. FRUCTOSE free, in fact, which means no refined sugars, fake sweeteners, fruits, dried fruits, juices, or sweeteners of any kind (including honey, agave, etc), besides stevia and brown rice syrup.** So this posed a challenge, especially when it came to dessert.

Mother's Day Barbecue Celebration!

Mother’s Day Barbecue Celebration!


The weather was perfect for an outdoor barbecue so dad and I whipped up some organic barbecue chicken (homemade slow cooker barbecue sauce!) and grilled veggies with a spinach-walnut pesto spread (a Peacemeals favorite!)

And then came dessert. I bent the fruit-free rules a bit to make a blueberry quinoa crumble and – the piece de resistance – Carmel cashew coconut ice cream. Oh MAMA! This ice cream needs no introduction except that you must make it at least once this summer. So here it is, also adapted from Sarah Wilson’s recipe:



Caramel Cashew Coconut Ice Cream

Blending the ice cream in my thrift store ice cream maker. Best $6 I've ever spent!

Blending the ice cream in my thrift store ice cream maker. Best $6 I’ve ever spent!



  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked 4 hours or more (I used roasted cashews, which took a little longer to soak, but gave it a nice ‘caramel’ flavor)
  • 1 can (14 oz.) coconut cream, chilled
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup brown rice syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  1. In a high-powered blender or food processor, blend all ingredients until completely smooth. This may take a while – be patient!
  2. Chill thoroughly in a refrigerator then process in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Chill again in the freezer to harden. Thaw a bit just before serving. NOTE: Because of the coconut cream, this ice cream gets VERY hard in the freezer, then melts quickly. You’ll just have to eat it quickly in the sun!

NOTE: If you don’t have an ice cream maker, pour the mixture into a large freezer-safe container and place it in the freezer. After 1 hour, mix with an immersion blender, then return to the freezer for another hour. Blend again, wait an hour. Blend one more time, then store in the freezer until ready to serve.  

Nothing says "thanks Mom!" like...

Nothing says “thanks Mom!” like…

**According to the I Quit Sugar program, stevia and brown rice syrup are ok in moderation because they are fructose free, which doesn’t impact metabolism in the same way as fructose. “Rice malt syrup is made from fermented cooked rice, it’s a blend of complex carbohydrates, maltose and glucose…It’s fructose free, it’s slow releasing and doesn’t dump on the liver like pure glucose…This doesn’t mean we can eat glucose in excess, at the end of the day it’s still a sugar and will still impact our blood sugar levels, but it doesn’t have the same metabolic effect on our liver as fructose.” And as for Stevia: “…is a plant-based sweetener. It’s completely fructose free and 300 times sweeter than sugar.”

See more at: http://iquitsugar.com/we-ask-sarah-wilson-to-clear-things-up/#sthash.662dCtX8.dpuf and http://iquitsugar.com/sugar-substitute-worse-than-sugar/#sthash.G8H0BSs9.dpuf



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