Hey friends!

How are ya today? I’m going to skip the usual intro chat because I’ve got lots to say about this week’s new thing. But first, can we talk about ice cream?

1. Recipe of the Week. Pineapples have been disappearing like woah in this house these days, in the form of smoothies, fruit salads, grilled kebobs, salsas, and ice cream. On the weekend, I found some on sale – 3 for $5 – and I made this:

fruit salad in pineapple

But that’s not today’s recipe.

sliced pineapple

peeled banana and pineapple

Over the past couple of months I’ve been creating new “ice cream” – as in, non-dairy, banana-based soft serve – flavours like Banana Walnut Matcha and Dark Chocolate Cherry. Actually, dreaming up new ingredient combos is becoming one of my favourite games to play when I’m running on the treadmill in the morning. Seriously, it makes the time fly! Just try coming up with one that starts with every letter of the alphabet and before you know it, you’ll have run for miles. Meet the latest:

Vegan Pineapple Ginger Ice Cream - Eat Spin Run Repeat

This Pineapple Ginger Ice Cream was inspired by a cooking segment on Steven and Chris (my entertainment of choice at the gym), a commercial for all-inclusive trips to the Bahamas, my desire for something cold to eat or drink, and a mental note to remember to water my herb garden when I got home. It reminds me of being at the beach without a care in the world, and it’s one of my favourite homemade flavours so far.

Vegan Pineapple Ginger Ice Cream - Eat Spin Run Repeat

A word about the coconut in this recipe: I know not everyone loves it. If you’re not a fan, feel free to leave it out entirely. Alternatively, if more is more and you dig it, either increase the quantity of flaked coconut from 1/4 cup to about 1/3, or blend in 1/3 cup coconut milk. Both will do the trick!

Vegan Pineapple Ginger Ice Cream - Eat Spin Run Repeat

Click here for the recipe.

Vegan Pineapple Ginger Ice Cream - Eat Spin Run Repeat

2. Western Creamery Pressed Cottage Cheese. I’ll preface this one by saying it took me a long time to jump on the cottage cheese bandwagon – or fromaaage cottaaage as I like to refer to it now. A few years ago, I randomly decided to give it another shot and pretty much fell in love. The only problem is that aside from eggs, my skin doesn’t love dairy so much and punishes me with acne when I eat it. Because of this, I enjoy it occasionally, mostly in the form of cottage cheese and Greek yogurt. As far as other cheeses go, they bloat me up like a blowfish… and that’s really not fun for anyone.

(Source)

(Source)

There’s heaps of banter around the internet about whether or not dairy products actually do cause acne, and while I’m by no means an expert on the topic, I’ve been doing some experimenting. Last year, it seemed that whenever I had regular name brand cottage cheese (we’ll leave it nameless because brand bashing isn’t nice), I’d break out within a day or so. This year, I’ve been focusing on food quality a lot more – hormone-free meats, wild caught fish, cage-free eggs, and organic dairy. My skin has been pretty clear for the last couple of months (knock on wood) so I’m pretty sure it’s those hormones that are added to conventional dairy that were causing me problems.

western creamery pressed cottage cheese

I came across Western Creamery in a Google search for organic cottage cheese one morning while lying in bed, mentally preparing my grocery list. I discovered that they’re a brand under the Liberte umbrella, a name you might recognize if you buy Greek yogurt in Canadian grocery stores. Liberte manufactures all natural, organic and specialty dairy, and Western Creamery is located pretty close to me in Brampton, just outside Toronto. They make natural yogurts, cream cheese spreads, sour creams, and yes, cottage cheese. I read a bit more about them, and although their products do not appear to be certified organic, I liked what I read, so I bought a block of their pressed dry cottage cheese over the weekend.

western creamery pressed cottage cheese

Pressed cottage cheese is something totally new to me – the only kind I’d ever seen prior was in a tub, resembling yogurt with clumps in it. Western Creamery’s comes in a sealed plastic pouch and had a texture that reminded me a bit of firm tofu or feta.

western creamery pressed cottage cheese

Before taste testing it, I thought it would be interesting to do a comparison against the conventional name brand cottage cheese I’ve purchased in the past. In the table below, the top highlighted row shows the Western Creamery pressed cottage cheese I bought, and the highlighted row beneath that one is the other brand. (Other white rows are stats for other varieties from Western Creamery.)

Cottage Cheese Nutrition Comparison Table

The most interesting things I noticed here had to do with sugar and sodium content. Both are much lower for Western Creamery, and the pressed cottage cheese offers 9 additional grams of protein in a 125g serving. While the number might be fascinating to those of you who like data (myself included), what was more impressive was the ingredient list comparison.

For the conventional name brand plain fat-free cottage cheese:

Modified milk ingredients, modified corn starch, colour, guar gum, mono and diglycerides, salt, citric acid, carrageenan, bacterial culture, microbial enzyme, carbon dioxide, vitamin A palmitate*, vitamin D3*. *Made with vitamin A and D fortified skim milk.

And for Western Creamery Pressed Dry Cottage Cheese (no salt):

Skim milk, bacterial cultures.

I’m always a big fan of short ingredients labels, and Western Creamery won by a landslide on this one! But what about taste?  I would have baked it into protein pancakes or something like that, but figured that would change the flavour too much. So, to make it fair, I tried a serving the way I usually eat cottage cheese – mixed with a big bowl of fruit for breakfast yesterday.

fruit salad topped with cottage cheese

Wanna know what happened after I took these photos? I dropped the bowl. Face down. On my beige bedroom carpet. Most of the contents were salvaged but I’m cleaning my carpet for the second time today in hopes that the raspberry juice will come out. So far, we’re lookin’ good.

fruit salad topped with cottage cheese

After cleaning up and crumbling some more cottage cheese to make up for what was lost in the breakfast photo shoot catastrophe, it was time to eat. At first taste, I wasn’t so sure I loved it. However, a few bites later, I reached a verdict: this cottage cheese is great! I loved the different texture it added, as well as the way it balanced the sweetness of the fruit. I’m thinking I’ll add it to a salad of some sort next – maybe as a substitute for feta which I’ve never been a big fan of. And, if I can get my act together in the next couple of days, protein pancakes just might happen. As far as acne goes, so far there are no signs of breakouts. If this is still the case in a couple of days, I’d say Western Creamery has a new loyal customer!

So tell me…

  • Do you notice acne flair ups when you eat dairy, and does organic/hormone free dairy have the same effect as conventional?
  • What’s your favourite ice cream flavour?