When I’m having a bad day or am in a bad mood, there’s three things I crave: chocolate ice cream, Kraft mac & cheese, and cheesecake. Those three foods got me through an eating disorder (paradoxical, I know), four awful breakups, eight sets of final exam weeks, and lord knows what else. Today, I was suffering from what Lana Del Ray would call “Summertime Sadness” (or, as it’s more commonly known, summer-onset Seasonal Affective Disorder), and I was desperately in need of some comfort food. Of course, I wasn’t going to cram myself full of sugar and gluten and processed nonsense just because I was feeling blue! So I set out to try some healthier recipes for two of my go-to foods. Today, that meant ice cream and mac & cheese.
First things first: ice cream. About two weeks ago, I tried a recipe for an avocado-based vegan ice cream, which was absolutely delicious. I didn’t have an avocado (or four hours worth of patience!) to repeat that mix, so I decided to try something else. I’d heard about banana-based ice cream, and thought it sounded yummy. I had three bananas in the fridge, and went for it. So here’s my recipe for vegan banana-based mint chocolate ice cream:
- 3 medium frozen bananas
- 1 tsp of pure mint extract
- 1 and 1/2 TBSP of unsweetened cocoa
- 3 TBSP of non-dairy milk (I used almond)
Chop up the bananas in the a food processor or blender. Add in the mint, milk substitute, and cocoa powder. Blend until smooth. The consistency will come out like soft-serve, and you can eat it immediately! Freeze the rest of it in a Tupperware container. When you want to eat more later, let it sit on the counter for about 3-5 minutes to soften. I loved this ice cream just as much as the avocado ice cream I had earlier, and this one is much simpler and faster to make. I ate a huge bowl of it 🙂
For dinner, I found this awesome recipe for gluten-free Mac & Cheese, and decided to try it out, with a few modifications, of course 😉 I used gluten-free egg noodles, because I like them better than macaroni elbows, and they taste the best out of any gluten-free pasta I’ve ever tried. I’ll list out my substitutions, since there’s several of them:
- Red Mills all-purpose flour instead of amaranth
- Almond milk instead of coconut milk
- Sea salt instead of regular salt
- Goat cheese instead of the Gruyere/Swiss
- Extra sharp cheddar instead of the Provolone/Havarti
- Extra hot sauce and cayenne, because I love spice food
And, of course, where would I be without my Parmigiano-Reggiano!
So anyway, I made a smaller batch than the recipe recommends since I’m only feeding myself, and it baked in 25 minutes. But I do have plenty left over for lunch tomorrow! And it’s a good thing, too, because this Mac & Cheese was absolutely fantastic. The sauce was creamy and the hot sauce/cayenne mix gave it a lovely kick. It was everything you could want in a Mac & Cheese, but without all the gluteny guilt. Goat cheese and Parmigiano-Reggiano make a wonderful addition – it elevates the dish and adds a really nice tang you don’t get in a regular cheddar sauce. New favorite comfort food here! No more reaching for the Kraft box.
Now I have a few healthier cheesecake recipes to try (a couple of them are even vegan!), and the my comfort food trifecta will be complete. No more bingeing on foods that make me sick and broaden my waistline. I get all the comfort, with extra flavor, and a healthy body to go with it 🙂 Now that’s what I call a cooking success!