{MM} thin mint & dark chocolate ice cream bars, bluebonnets, & books


This weekend was spent mostly in bed.

I’ve had a sore throat & fever (not strep, just a stubborn viral thing going on).

Joseph & I didn’t go out to a movie, like I’d hoped, but we did finally get around to watching Frozen. We loved it (who didn’t?).

And yesterday, we went out for a walk.

And took pictures of the bluebonnets, which are everywhere in Texas now.




Also, I got a chance to go to Barnes & Noble.

I try to stay away from that place. Not just because it’s massively overwhelming for my brain (so, so many books–it’s dizzying) but also because, if I have any money at all, I must spend it on books. I have no choice. (Hi, my name is Janae & I’m addicted to buying books.)

Joseph wasn’t with me, but I did call him when I wanted to buy a book.

“Honey, I want to get this book. It’s pretty fantastic–The Best American Essays of the Century. The best essays. How can you top that? I think I’d better get it.”

“How much is it?”

“It’s only $20!”

“Alright, then get it.”

I wasn’t calling to ask his permission, we just like to converse before either of us makes a purchase more than say, $10.

Later that evening, over dinner I said, with a sly grin,

“I got a book for you too.”

“Okay. That’s fine, as long as you only got two books.” Pause. “HONEY! You didn’t.”

I did. I bought three books. Which I’ll admit, is not the wisest use of money when you’re on a tight budget. But, I’d say it’s not the worst weakness to have, is it?

One of the books I got is this one.

mm-books I’m only a third in, but it’s my new favorite book. The personal essay is my favorite form, & Annie Dillard is queen.

Just to show you what I mean, here’s one lovely passage:

“These are the few, floating scenes from early childhood, from before time & understanding pinned events down to the fixed & coherent world. Soon the remembered scenes would grow in vividness & depth, as like any child I elaborated a picture of the place, & as my feelings met actual people, & as the interesting things of the world engaged my loose mind like a gear, & set in forward motion. A young child knows Mother as a smelled skin, a halo of light, a strength in the arms, a voice that trembles with feeling. Later the child wakes & discovers this mother–& adds facts to impressions, & historical understandings to facts.” (from An American Childhood, by Annie Dillard, page 35)

It’s the kind of soothing reading that feels effortless & calms the mind. The chapters are short, the writing is the kind that makes you feel more alive, more aware of what you’ve felt, & are feeling.

So, about that sore throat.

It’s been a bummer. And ever since I got a copy of Leanne’s amazing smoothie cookbook, I’ve been wanting to try at least one of her smoothies every day. (I could use her natural bug killer juice right about now.) But, my blender jar broke as I mentioned last week on fb. The good people at Blendtec are sending me a new jar. In the mean time though, I had Joseph go out & buy me a few Naked juice smoothies to pull me through until then.


Buy a few of these, & the cost alone will be enough to get you to start thinking about getting yer hands on your own smoothie making machine. I could not imagine paying $3 or $4 every time I wanted a smoothie. I need my Blendtec back, NOW!

(Angela from OSG’s, just posted a recipe for a smoothie that looks a lot like the Naked protein & greens smoothie, you can find it here.)


I have a little recipe for you today.

I thought I have so many to share & just not enough time to devote a whole post to many recipes, so I’ll try to share one every Monday as part of the {MM} goodness.

It’s heating up here in San Antonio. In the 80’s these days. Which heat, to me, means ice cream & mint.

Hence, thin mint dark chocolate ice cream bars.

thin-mint-&-dark-chocolate-ice-cream-bars-vegan-glutenfree-bring-joy These can easily be made grain-free, using almond flour, but since I’m using coconut oil, agave, & coconut milk, this recipe is already on the pricier side of things, so I opted to use oatmeal flour, made from old-fashioned rolled oats, which is a more frugal flour (you know how I like to weigh my opportunity costs with these things).

Also, I’m not a fan of artificial dyes, & I didn’t have any natural dyes on hand, so to color the mint filling, I used…spirulina! I know–spirulina makes me want to gag too. But I only used a teaspoon, & unless you have super sensitive taste buds, I don’t think you’ll be able to taste a hint of spirulina at all. If you don’t have spirulina or don’t want to use it, you can use few drops of natural dye or omit it all together (that’s what the peppermint patty folks do!), but I think the green adds a nice touch.

You’ll need to make these a few hours in advance–they need a few hours to firm up.

I know I’ve said this before, but my recipes always make a lot, because, well, I always make a lot. I have a family of 7 & often when I make dessert we have friends over. So, if you’re just cooking for a few, feel free to halve the recipe & use an 8″ x 8″ pan, which I think would work, the the bars may be thicker.

thin mint & dark chocolate ice cream bars -- vegan + gluten-free

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours

Yield: 24

Serving Size: 1 square

Calories per serving: 259

Fat grams per serving: 17

thin mint & dark chocolate ice cream bars -- vegan + gluten-free

a frozen minty treat sandwiched in between a chocolate crust & dark chocolate topping -- vegan + gluten-free


    for the thin mint "ice cream"
  • 1 can coconut milk (full fat)
  • 1/4 c. cornstarch + 2 TBS. water
  • 1/4 c. agave
  • 2-3 tsp. mint extract (per your preference for "minty-ness")
  • 1 tsp. spirulina powder | or a few drops natural green food coloring
  • 2/3 c. shredded unsweetened coconut
  • for the base
  • 3 c. old-fashioned rolled oats | or 3 c. almond meal, to make grain-free
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 c. coconut oil
  • 2/3 c. agave
  • for the topping
  • 3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp. mint extract


  1. Place coconut milk & 1/4 cup agave in small saucepan.
  2. Whisk cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water, plus 2 tablespoons of the coconut milk.
  3. Bring the coconut milk to a low boil (on medium-high). Make sure to continually stir, so milk doesn't burn.
  4. Add cornstarch mixture & stir for a minute or two, until thickened. Remove from heat. Place mixture in a food processor or blender & add spirulina. Blend or process on high for a minute or two, or until color is blended. Place mixture in a small container & place in freezer to cool.
  5. Now it's time for the base of the bars. Place oats in clean, dry food processor. Using "S" blade, process until you've got a fairly fine flour. Add cocoa, coconut oil, & agave. Process until blended. Mixture should be very thick.
  6. Press mixture into a greased 13 x 9 glass pyrex dish. Set aside.
  7. Return to the thin mint mixture. Stir in mint extract. Place mixture & unsweetened coconut next to pyrex dish.
  8. Now for the topping. Place a small amount of water (about 2 cups) in a medium saucepan. Make sure you have a ceramic bowl to fit in the pot without it falling in. Heat the water on medium heat. Add chocolate chips & slowly melt the chips (takes about 5 minutes & gentle stirring every minute or so). Once chips are all melted, remove from heat & add 1 tsp. mint extract.
  9. Using a spatula, gently spread mint filling over base.
  10. Evenly shake unsweetened coconut over mixture.
  11. Gently spoon melted chocolate over mint filling/coconut.
  12. Cover & freeze for a minimum of 2 hours.
  13. When ready to cut, remove from freezer. Wait 10 or 15 minutes before cutting.
  14. Cut into squares & place back in dish or other container.
  15. Store in freezer, in air-tight container until ready to use. For best taste, eat within a week.

Additonal nutrition info: 28 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 1 g protein, 24 g sugar; 7 WWP points

 And now, for some {MM} goodness: 

♥ Though I have a least a dozen baby blankets, I have no decent swaddle blankets (except for the various ones compassionate friends have lent me). But turns out, they’re very easy to make. Tyndale still loves to be swaddled–I would love to make these easy DIY swaddle blankets.

♥ DIY natural herbal mouthwash & paste for healthy teeth & gums

♥ Emma explains all about fabulous chickpea flour (which I make my own from dried chickpeas, using my trusty Blendtec).

♥ In case you missed it, I posted 10 tips for frugal fitness & a slim + slender recipe: cheesy siracha cauliflower bowl, on Friday’s post. Check it out, here.

to pin: 
all recipes vegan + gluten-free unless indicated

Mediterranean lentil, fennel & broccoli skillet w/ tomatoes
(light, filling, & protein rich)

easy homemade coconut milk yogurt
(finally, a yogurt I can actually make!)

southern comfort food tacos
(bet you’ve never seen chard in tacos)

peanut butter caramel bars
(you’ll likely have all the ingredients to make these)

one bowl vegan chocolate cake
(could easily be made gf, using gf all-purpose flour)

the ultimate vegan banana split
(I die.)

Happy Monday friend.


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  1. jessica
    on June 3, 2014 at 8:51 am said:

    I clicked through a pinterest link to find your recipe and now i’m more tempted to make it because I discovered another Annie Dillard reader. If you like American Childhood, read Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. It changed my life. She’s such a good writer!

    • Janae Wise
      on June 5, 2014 at 9:58 am said:

      I love Annie too! Pilgrim is on my to read list now. Thanks for the recommendation!


  2. Gabby @ the veggie nook
    on April 3, 2014 at 1:00 pm said:

    so gorgeoud janae 🙂

  3. Carla
    on March 31, 2014 at 9:47 pm said:

    Thanks so much for linking to my swaddle blankets, I love your site!

  4. Marilyn
    on March 31, 2014 at 7:07 pm said:

    I’ve got a major book weakness, so I sympathize. 🙂 Feel better.

  5. Meg@ Beard and Bonnet
    on March 31, 2014 at 1:54 pm said:

    So sorry you have been sick:( I too am a book hoarder…my obsession is cookbooks. I am pretty much banning myself from Amazon these days because I have NO self control when it comes to buying cookbooks. HA! I love those thin mint “ice cream” bars…OMG! YUM!
    Thanks for the link love friend:)

  6. Laurie
    on March 31, 2014 at 12:47 pm said:

    “…because, if I have any money at all, I must spend it on books. I have no choice….” Ahhhhh, me, too! I somehow can always justify spending money on books, and my husband–who feels the same way about books–is my enabler. I’m pretty good about checking my library’s catalog to see what I can get for free instead of buying…but that just means more money for titles the library doesn’t own!

    And what an excellent use for spirulina! A little bit tastes slightly nutty to me, but it’s so easy to add too much and then…yuck 😛 …it’s like the sea seeped into my smoothie. I’m going to try spirulina as a coloring the next time I make pistachio ice cream.