Friends, this morning I achieved the unthinkable: I ate a different breakfast than usual. On any other day, I would have happily sauntered down the stairs, whipped out my frozen bananas, fresh fruit, and sprouted granola, and had a blast. But what so happened to stare me directly in the face when I opened the refrigerator this morning? Chocolate barley pancakes. Inner monologue: “It would be a crime not to fill these with a something delicious for breakfast.” And here’s where Choosing Raw’s Banana Soft-Serve Ice Cream comes in.
“Vegan ice cream? That’s impossible!” No, no, silly naive dairy-lover, there is indeed a way. Many ways, in fact. Vegans now have a wide array of creamy frozen treats from which to choose, including soy ice cream (such as Turtle Mountain), hemp milk ice cream (such as Tempt), coconut milk ice cream (my favorites are Luna and Larry’s Coconut Bliss Lunaberry Swirl and So Delicious’ Green Tea), and rice milk ice cream (such as Rice Dream). Not to mention sorbets, of course! However, while all these options satisfy the soft serve craving, most of them are chock-full of sugar which I prefer to avoid as much as possible. You can imagine my ecstaticism (real word? I hope so.) when I discovered ice cream made from one completely natural ingredient: bananas.
Banana Ice Cream (Raw, Gluten Free, Soy Free, Nut Free, Oil Free)
- 2 frozen bananas
Slice the bananas to fit inside a food processor. I used my adorable mini one.
Pulse until bananas have turned into a creamy mess of heaven (you’ll have to scrape down the sides along the way).
And just when you thought this post couldn’t get any more ground-breaking or tempting…
Yes. Filled with banana ice cream and sprinkled with Ekekiel granola, the chocolate barley crepes served as a perfect breakfast vessel. I easily could have eaten eleven more of these with a huge grin on my face.
Breakfast Checklist: Protein–glass of soy milk and granola. Whole Grain–granola. Fruit–banana and apples in pancakes.
After perhaps the greatest breakfast improvisation in the history of food-kind, the rest of my meals paled in comparison. For lunch, I accompanied Yassmine to the Sunprint Cafe in Downtown Madison. I chose the restaurant because I had never eaten there before and it is one of REAP’S Buy Fresh Buy Local partners. Therefore, I came with some high expectations.
Bright and sunny from walls completely made of glass, Sunprint Cafe’s interior offered a welcoming and joyous atmosphere.
The menu featured traditional cafe fare: soups, sandwiches, and salads, with special vegetarian markings and a couple vegan options. A slightly better-than-average salad bar stood watch between the ordering counter and the carry-out refrigerator case. Without much debate (which is not a very good restaurant sign seeing as it means that the menu does not offer many particularly tantalizing dishes), I settled on the Vegan Club: grilled portobello mushroom, eggplant, avocado, lettuce, tomato, and hummus on an Italian bread roll with a side of roasted potatoes. I also ordered a cup of the soup special: farmer’s market greens and beans.
Meal Checklist: Protein–hummus and beans in soup. Whole Grain–UGH. None. White bread and white noodles. Vegetables–avocado, eggplant, tomatoes, lettuce, potatoes. Leafy Green–green in soup.
Yassmine opted for the Greek Sandwich: spinach, feta cheese, tomatoes, and peppers on French bread with a side of potato salad and a pickle.
While I suppose that not requesting my sandwich on whole wheat bread may have been my fault, the menu did not offer any bread options nor did I spot whole wheat bread anywhere else on the menu. Strike one. While I expected all the produce to reflect the high farmer’s market quality, the floppy tomatoes in the sandwich offered nothing more than insipid watery-ness. Strike two. While I probably wouldn’t have ordered the soup had I known I would find white-flour noodles floating in it, the menu did not distinguish this addition. Strike three and Sunprint Cafe is out! Yassmine also added a strike four and complained that while her potato salad tasted fine, she would have liked to choose her own side rather than have one automatically given to her.
On the plus side, my potatoes were satisfyingly crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside, the soup had a good flavor (I also appreciated the addition of my favorite leafy greens!), and the rest of the vegetables on my sandwich besides the tomatoes tasted up to my farmer’s market standards. All in all, Yassmine and I both agreed that the Sunprint Cafe recieves a 7 on our scale.
After volunteering at Slow Food UW’s Concert on the Square Picnic Basket assembly for 2 1/2 hours, returning home at 5:30, and preparing to jet off to gymnastics at 7:30, a speedy dinner was in order. I blended up some of Choosing Raw’s Spring Pea Soup with the pre-shelled green peas I bought at the Saturday farmer’s market from the Green Barn Farm for an astoundingly green, thick, almost raw soup (I blanched the peas for about two minutes since green peas are debateably toxic raw). Into a salad bowl I threw some butter leaf lettuce, sungold tomatoes, garbanzo beans, and liquid gold dressing to complete my soup and salad meal.
Meal Checklist: Protein–garbanzo beans and soymilk in soup. Whole Grain–none because I munched on whole grain bread all throughout my Slow Food volunteering. Vegetables–lettuce, tomatoes, green peas. Leafy Green–lettuce (not the best, but oh well).
My mother also sliced up the first canteloupe of the summer which turned out to have a good flavor and juicy texture! I had incredibly low expectations seeing as the Italians grow the best canteloupe and I did not want to be disappointed after spending 5 weeks in Italy only to return to flavorless U.S. melon. A pleasant surprise.
Until next time, Ali.