Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Homemade reese's & vegan ice cream

 Even though The Boyfriend didn't want to do anything big for his birthday, and work obligations prevented us from skipping town for a few days, I still wanted to do something to show my appreciation for him and let him know just how special he is to me. He didn't want to think up anything or request anything, so I took it upon myself to start the day out with our favorite breakfast and then just see where the day took us!

  So like I mentioned, I treated him to breakfast at our favorite bagel place called Owens Bagels.
Inside, we love the rocking chairs around the tables and all the graffiti on the walls. I didn't have a marker, but I inscribed a little birthday message on the wall for him to mark our place in history :)

We sat outside because the weather was so beautiful, per the usual here in North Carolina :)

 I had the Urban Gardner: hummus, bean sprouts, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, banana peppers. Delicious. 
The Boyfriend had a cinnamon raisin bagel with peanut butter, cinnamon, and banana, warmed. 

After breakfast/lunch (because it was one in the afternoon by this time) and because we had brought Sophie, The Boyfriend felt inclined to walk around the south-end area, where the bagel place is. We decided we would move to this area when our lease was up because we've had our eye on it for awhile. It's close to things we like, it's small and cute, and it's affordable.

And this is the house we chose.

How cute is this old southern looking house with a beautiful white tree, just right off the main road, making my life so beautiful?

 We like the clean atmosphere, the classic look, and the modern feel of the south-end area. In general, we have found all areas of Charlotte to be very clean, so this is no exception. But it's more reasonable for us than Uptown considering our main goal in life isn't drinking.

 After walking around the south end area, we felt like going to our favorite relaxing spot, Freedom Park.
This park is always so beautiful and reminds us of last fall, when we would take a blanket with us and relax in the sun. We didn't have a blanket on us this time, so we relaxed on the benches after taking a few laps around the park.
  We found a hidden bridge with a path that went all the way Uptown

But eventually went back to the main part of the park. Some of the trees still hadn't bloomed, but most had baby buds on them.
 This one was in full yellow bloom!

The love of our life, Sophie Lynn

We could have stayed there all day, soaking up the sun and staring at our beautiful babygirl (pictured above).

But eventually we trekked back to the car. I love this walkway, because the baby trees make an archway to walk through (more prominent once they have bloomed).  Whenever we come here, we can usually observe engagement pictures being taken here.. How romantic!

 Once home, I wanted to make homemade reese's peanut butter/chocolate squares, since it was The Boyfriend's birthday and all. Neither one of us have a sweet tooth, but it's his birthday, and I felt like baking. This happens about once a year, so I went with it. This might be the only sweet post I ever do, seeing as how we hardly ever eat sweets.
 Homemade reese's peanut butter squares:
 1 pack of graham crackers. (pack, not box)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
 1/3 cup of butter (vegan earth balance)
 two tablespoons peanut butter
 chocolate chips
 toffee chips (I added these tonight just for some reason)

 I blended the graham crackers in my food processor

Melt the butter, and add powdered sugar and butter to graham crackers. Press into a baking dish

 Melt the chocolate chips, peanut butter, and toffee chips together. I usually melt mine over the stove but was feeling ultra lazy after being at the park all day, so in the microwave they went:

 Spread on top of graham cracker crust.

 Then put in the freezer for it to set. After half an hour or an hour, take out and cut into squares. Try not to eat the whole tray all at once!

 To go with our little dessert, I made homemade vegan ice cream.

Vegan banana soft serve ice cream:
  1 banana, cut into chunks and pre-frozen
 1 cup almond milk
 1 teaspoon chia seeds (you don't have to add these. I never used to use them)
 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring

 Pre-freeze a banana that you have cut into chunks. I usually have a banana or two in the freezer at all times for whenever I want to make a smoothie with them. You must peel, then cut into chunks, then freeze. Placing a banana in the freezer with the peel on it will turn it black in a few hours.
 Place in blender with all other ingredients and blend.
 I used to put peanut butter, chocolate chips, extra sugar, strawberries, whatever I wanted. You can add whatever you are feeling like. The banana makes it thicker and make it stick together, as do the chia seeds. The almond milk makes it sweet, and the result is vegan soft serve! Everyone in the blog world has been making vegan soft serve like this for years.  I only started last fall. Try it and be amazed. It's healthy & animal-free!
 This is a look down into the blender.
And this is how thick and delicious it was in a bowl

So there you have it.. dessert & ice cream, both in under 5 minutes and both dairy free!

 After The Boyfriend got home from coaching this evening, we set out on the final leg of his birthday  celebration: a little night-cap at a fun hot spot!

 We went to this cute bar called taco mac's. They have beer taps ON each table!

 And that concludes our eventful, fun, beautiful birthday celebration!

 Not a lot of healthy food pictures today, but it was a special occasion, so I guess we're allowed to eat ice cream & chocolate every once in a while ; )

 Goodnight from Charlotte!


Mama G said...

Happy birthday Neal! And we LOVE Bagel & Deli too :)

Michele said...

Yay! We should go there for breakfast or lunch one day!

Andrea said...

I love how you guys get out and do so much exploring! That's what moving to a new city is all about! You make me want to go out and tour the city and I lived here for 3 years!:)

P.S. Anytime you want to go thrifting/garage saling just let me know! ;)