about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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    What’s Cooking?

    Personal Bests

    5K - 23:28

    10K - 52:35

    15K - 1:38:14

    1/2 Marathon - 1:57:39

    Marathon - 3:50:58

    A Look Back.

Strawberry Picking (& Homemade Vegan Strawberry Ice Cream)!

Two weekends ago, we took off on an adventure in the countryside!  It was the day after my half marathon, and the boys woke up painfully early for a Sunday morning (kids do not believe in weekends!).  I had been gone for a lot of the previous two days with all the race events, so I was itching for a fun family activity.  A bit of google searching led us to Monroe, Washington – east of Seattle, and out to Bolles Organic Berry Farm!

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Since we’ve lived out here we’ve picked blueberries, apples, and pumpkins – but never strawberries.  One thing Casey and I both really loved about this farm is that it was the real deal.  While I love a good family-friendly activity, some of the local farms can be a bit over the top with all the kiddie rides and entertainment, and feel a bit…staged?

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This was a tiny farmhouse way out in the middle of nowhere, with nothing but local honey for sale and a giant field of berries ripe for the picking.

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They gave each of the boys a small empty pint, and the parents were given an empty flat to fill.  Cullen and I have gone blueberry picking every summer since he could walk, and in the past every berry has gone straight into his mouth.  I was hopeful that this year he’d finally understand the idea of saving a few to take home.

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He was really into it, and he loved finding the big juicy red ones to fill up his basket.  He still ate his fair share, but he also found a lot to add to the family box.

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Graham, on the other hand, was determined to eat the whole field (as expected).

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He is at such a wonderful, fun age (20 months <—HOW?) and he has such a hilarious personality.  He is a total mama’s boy and I secretly love it.  I sat back and just watched him explore and pick berries, and stuff his mouth until juice dripped down his chin.

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And for as much as I love Graham in this older toddler stage, the older Cullen gets I see how awesome it is to have bigger kids!  For so long I feared my kids growing up and not being babies anymore, and of course now that we are baby-less I see all the freedom and fun that a few years can bring.

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Not that he doesn’t have his fair share of three-year-old moments and meltdowns and a level of defiance that makes me question my sanity on a daily basis.  But most of the time he’s like hanging out with a buddy, and it’s pretty incredible to see how quickly those babies turn into real people.

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The boys were super focused on the task at hand, and Casey and I pretty much just watched and helped and enjoyed it all.

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We spent the car ride home talking about what we should make with all those delicious berries.  We considered a pie or a crumble, but given the ridiculous heat we’re having so far this summer, we landed on the only thing that sounded truly refreshing – ice cream.

So a few days later, while Graham was napping (he’s not quite at the ideal sous chef age just yet) – Cullen and I set out to make the best vegan strawberry ice cream ever.  And I’m pretty sure we did!

We based ours off of this recipe, which I found through a bit of googling.  We used the following ingredients (and used her cooking instructions!):

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans full-fat coconut milk (we used Thai Kitchen brand)
  • 1/2 cup amber honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3-4 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1/4 cup natural cane sugar
  • 5 full sheets graham crackers, crumbled

One of the reasons we chose to make ice cream is that these berries are really best immediately after picking them.  They were so juicy they were basically falling apart, and I thought cooking them down would be the best way to maximize that flavor.

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Cullen picked out all the best ones and handed them to me while I trimmed the tops and icky parts off.

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Then we mashed them with a potato masher and cooked them down with just a bit of cane sugar.  We used way more strawberries than the original recipe called for, because too many strawberries isn’t a real thing, right?

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The ice cream base was made from full fat coconut milk (which also included a coconut milk slurry made with cornstarch), vanilla extract, and a 1/2 cup of honey.  So simple and SO tasty.

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We’ve had our ice cream maker for years (we have this model) but we don’t use it all that often anymore.  Cullen was SO excited to watch the ice cream come together, although the whole “wait and let it freeze” concept was quite stressful for him.

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Once Cullen and I made the base and the strawberry sauce, we put both in the refrigerator to cool for a few hours.  After dinner, we busted out the ice cream maker to watch the magic happen!  The boys shared the stool and very patiently watched it churn, begging for tastes as it got colder and colder.  While it was churning, I decided it needed a bit of crunch and texture, so I put a few sheets of graham crackers in a baggie and let the boys go to town on them with wooden hammers.  Best idea ever.

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The ice cream maker got it nice and cool and creamy, but it needed to be put back into the freezer for a bit to really firm up.  But the boys were not capable of waiting any longer, so I spooned them each a small bowl before letting the rest finish freezing.  Cullen picked out his mini Reds hat so he could make a “helmet sundae” like they serve at the baseball games.

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And Graham, well, I think this says it all…

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It was a really neat experience to share with the kids – from the berry field to our own kitchen, and Cullen keeps asking what kind of ice cream we will make next.  I didn’t get any good pictures of the final frozen product, but I did snap a quick one for Instagram.

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It was some of the best vegan ice cream I’ve ever had, and we’ll definitely be making more again soon.  Super creamy without that icy effect that non-dairy ice cream tends to get, and the graham crackers really put it over the top.  Beyond delicious!

I’m thinking about making a s’mores ice cream this week to share with friends who are coming in for the fourth!  Happy Monday!  

Sunbutter Energy Bites (Allergy-Friendly!).

I’ve been meaning to type up this recipe for you guys for weeks now!  I’ve been making these for a while, and have served them at a bunch of our playdates.  They are always a hit, and I am always both amazed and alarmed at how quickly 25 snack balls can disappear.

One of my favorite snacks to make for the kids are the coconut date energy bites I came up with a few years ago.  They are easy to pack and store, and anything bite-sized is usually a hit in my house.  But while there is not necessarily anything bad about them, they aren’t exactly a nutritional powerhouse.  Especially when my three year old wants to eat five of them at a time.

So I set out to make a new variation – one a bit lower in sugar and a bit higher in good stuff like nuts and seeds that I can never get them to eat otherwise.  At the time I was making these, I was getting ready to host my moms group over at our house and I wanted a snack for all the kids.

But there was one catch.  We have a little guy in our group who has a whole host of food allergies.  And while his mom certainly never expects anyone to go out of the way to make snacks especially for him, I always feel sad offering muffins and other delights to the other kids and seeing his big wide eyes full of disappointment when he is offered the grapes. 

I was determined to make something that all the kids could enjoy together.  And so a nut-free, wheat-free, nutrient-dense snack ball was born!  Of course, there might be someone allergic to coconut or oats or something else – so make sure to always check out all the ingredients!  But for the most part, I think these are free of common allergens, and I KNOW that they are delicious.

Sunbutter Energy Bites (Allergy-friendly!)

by Emily Malone

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Ingredients (25 bites)

  • 2 cup dry old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons shelled hemp seeds
  • 2 tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 6 to 8 pitted Medjool dates
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup sunbutter
  • pinch of salt


Add all dry ingredients to a food processor and pulse for about 30 seconds — just enough time to grind the oats and coconut down a bit and mix everything up.

Add the dates, water, melted coconut oil (you want it to be liquid!), and sunbutter, and pulse for another minute or so. The mixture will still seem pretty dry and crumbly — scrape it down a few times with a spatula and pulse in between.

Once it is all mixed together well, scoop a little bit out at a time and form into round balls. I find the best method for this is to wet my hands and form them by hand, but you can also use a cookie scoop if you want to stay clean. Just make sure the balls are well formed so that they hold together.

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That’s it! No cooking, baking, drying, or anything else — they are ready to eat!

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Store in an airtight container in your pantry or in your refrigerator – up to you!  If you store them in the refrigerator, they get a bit firmer due to the coconut oil hardening, but they are still just as good. 

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These have become a regular part of our snack rotation, and they even work as a dessert bribe in our house.  Cullen is much more willing to polish off a plate of lentils and carrots if a sunbutter ball is promised at the end of the meal!

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I also like that I can pack them in his school lunches, since his classroom is nut-free.  And when I ask him after school what was in his lunch he always responds with, “Moooooooooom, you packed it, you already know!”  And then eventually he tells me that the sunbutter ball was the first thing he ate.  And half the time it is also the only thing he ate, so I’m happy to know he at least got a few good bites in his belly before nap time. 

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And I should add that these are definitely not just for kids.  I pop them in between breakfast and lunch, or during that (awful) late afternoon stretch.  And Casey has been using them for running fuel as he finishes up training for the LA Marathon!  Something for everyone and that doesn’t last long in our house.

As always, enjoy – and happy weekend!!

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