Puppy Chow Ice Cream

Happy Fourth of July! Time to celebrate with ice cream!

There are times in my life when I have an epiphany. Often when I cook or bake, my epiphanies come when I mix up leftovers together. Sometimes they come when I’m just sitting at the pantry, staring into the abyss. I was at my computer, staring into the abyss at this particular epiphany, but I knew immediately that it would change my life.

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OK, maybe that is a bit hyperbolic. But if you have a background like mine, specifically the St. Louis Catholic all-girls high school background, then you know the importance of puppy chow. Puppy chow has many other names, like muddy buddies or monkey munch. It’s essentially a snack mix originally made of Chex cereal, coated in a chocolate peanut butter mixture, then tossed with powdered white sugar, often with other add-ins like candy or nuts. This is obviously not Paleo in the slightest, so my version of puppy chow has a different texture, plus the flavor of coconut, in addition to the chocolatey, nutty, sweet taste. I find it very delightful, and I’m sure you will too!

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This recipe needs time to cool and freeze, and it takes several steps, so this is not a quick dessert choice. I break it into 5 main steps: making the puppy chow, cooling it, making the ice cream base, cooling it, then churning them together. I think it makes the most sense to make the puppy chow first, refrigerate overnight, then make and freeze the ice cream the next day, while adding in the puppy chow. Just don’t add the puppy chow into the ice cream while it’s hot – it will definitely melt the ice cream, and make a slushy mess in the ice cream machine!

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Puppy Chow Ice Cream

This recipe has a few steps with waiting and cooling periods, but it is SO worth it. First, toast your coconut flakes, then mix up your melted chocolate/nut butter mixture, place the flakes and mixture in a plastic bag and shake it up! Then coat the flakes with maple or powdered coconut sugar. After it has cooled, mix in with a vanilla ice cream base, and you’ve got one of the best desserts of all time.

  • Paleo Puppy Chow:
  • 2 cups toasted coconut flakes (instructions to follow)
  • 1.75 oz dark chocolate, or approximately 1/8 cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
  • 1/8 cup almond or other nut butter
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup maple or powdered coconut sugar
  • Vanilla Ice Cream:
  • 1 (13.5 oz) can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups almond or cashew milk
  • 1/2 cup pitted Medjool dates
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar

First, toast the coconut flakes by spreading them out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and baking them at 300 degrees for about 5 minutes, or until they are a nice golden brown color. Let cool.

While the flakes are baking, gently melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave on low (on power level 4 or less), stopping to blend at 30 second intervals. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't seize up. After about a minute, add in the nut butter and continue to gently melt together. Once it is a smooth liquid, add the vanilla extract last and stir together.

Take the cooled flakes and scoop them into a plastic bag. Pour the chocolate mixture into the bag and gently shake it until the flakes are fully coated. This is a delicate process, because you can easily smash the flakes into crumbs, but since they're going into ice cream, you can just aim for evenly sized pieces.

Next, pour in your powdered sweetener and gently shake until everything is coated. Unfortunately, since powdered maple and coconut sugars are translucent, the puppy chow will not have that characteristic bright white of powdered refined sugar, but I promise, it's just as delicious. Place the bag in the freezer for 20 minutes or refrigerator for an hour.

Next, place all ice cream ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until fully incorporated. Place ice cream base into a freezer-safe container and place in freezer for 30 minutes or into the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Once chilled, place the ice cream base into your ice cream machine and follow instructions to make vanilla ice cream. Add the cooled puppy chow near the end of the freeze cycle, reserving several handfuls to sprinkle on top. Enjoy!

  • Preparation time: 30 minutes to 4 hours
  • Cook time: 5 minutes
  • Total time: around 1 hour 30 minutes

Mongolian Beef with Cauliflower Stir-Fry Rice

I’ve always had an interest in Mongolia. It seemed like a mysterious country, full of beautiful landscapes and nomads. Even better, they have barbecue, which is one of the greatest things on Earth.

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My husband loves beef, and since I like to have it as a rare treat in our house, I decided to give this a try. I like to eat beef sparingly because of the expense (grass-fed steak is not cheap!), the environmental impact, and…I’m going to be honest here….I’m not the biggest fan of the taste. I know, I know…what kind of Paleo eater doesn’t enjoy beef? Me, is the answer. I like the occasional beef dish, but I don’t make a habit out of it, and I think the world thanks me for it. If you have any questions about the environmental impact of cattle, here’s a good link.

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Anyway! Here is my recipe for Mongolian Beef with Cauliflower Stir-Fry Rice. I am working on this recipe so that the sauce gets more of that dark, rich color. I think the key may be adding more molasses, and subtracting some honey. I’ll keep you posted.

Mongolian Beef with Stir-Fry Cauliflower Rice

This is my personally developed version of Mongolian Beef. It may not have that characteristic dark brown sticky sauce that they have in Chinese restaurants, but it’s still good, I promise (and way healthier for you)!

Yields: Serves 2

  • Sauce:
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 1/8 cup coconut aminos
  • 1/8 cup beef broth
  • 1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • Stir-Fry Cauliflower Rice:
  • 1 head of cauliflower, riced with a food processer
  • 1 tbsp of unrefined organic coconut oil
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup minced white onion
  • 1 large crown of broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • a sprinkling of crushed red pepper
  • 1 lb. grass-fed beef strips (flank or sirloin steak are ideal)
  • 1 tbsp of unrefined organic coconut oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

First, start the sauce. Pour all sauce ingredients into a saucepan over medium heat. Once all ingredients have been blended together and sauce is simmering, turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer while you prepare the rice and beef.

You can choose to either start the beef or rice next, but honestly, I would cook the beef first. In a wide skillet over medium-high heat, melt the coconut oil and stir in the beef. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, continually stirring, until no longer pink (approximately 8-10 minutes). Set aside.

Next, get a large stock pot for the cauliflower rice. I would just place it right on the same burner previously set at medium heat for the beef, and melt the next tablespoon of coconut oil. Once the stockpot is heated, add the garlic and onions and saute for 3 minutes. Then add the riced cauliflower, and cook for 7 minutes. Add in the remaining stir-fry vegetables and seasonings and cook until broccoli is bright green, approximately 6 more minutes.

Check on the sauce and see if it's the right thickness for you. If it's too thin, then you can make a thickener of 1/2 tablespoon of arrowroot starch mixed in with 1/4 cup of cold water to add to the sauce. Otherwise, you can wait for it to boil down and reduce.

Mix in the beef with the cauliflower rice, and top with the sauce (or mix it all together, which is what I always do). Enjoy!

  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 15-17 minutes
  • Total time: 37 minutes