My name is Ashley McLaughlin and this is my blog, Edible Perspective. To learn more about my journey head on over to my about + FAQ pages. I'm thrilled that you stopped by. Enjoy!


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vanilla bean coconut shamrock shake

vanilla bean coconut shamrock shake // edible perspective

Sometimes I question what the heck it is that I’m doing.  You know, with this whole photography, recipe-creating, writing thing.  When you work from home by yourself, it’s easy to start overthinking things. You have a lot of alone time.  A lot of time for the mind to wander, question, second-guess, etc.  I never really planned for this to happen.  I planned to be an architect.  I planned to work in a firm, hoping to specialize in small-scale sustainable design, and possibly one day open a firm of my own. 

But when you’re 25 [4yrs ago – just finishing up my thesis work in grad school] how can you really know what’s ahead?  Hiiii recession, I’m talking [partially] to you!  How can you really have a set plan?  Okay, I’m sure it’s possible.  I’m sure it happens all the time.  Maybe your plan is going according to, uhh, plan.  But now looking back I kind of laugh at myself.  And I’m sure in 5 more years I’ll be laughing even harder. 

The great thing is that I don’t wander/question/second-guess if what I should be doing is architecture.  When I stopped looking for architecture work about a year ago it felt absolutely right.  I currently love what I’m doing.  I feel fulfilled.  The work week goes too quickly and never really ends, more often than not.  I put in more time, energy, and dedication with what I currently do than ever before.  But I’m still very much trying to make it all work.  And by that I mean turn this into something I can truly call a career.  Something that is not only mentally and creatively fulfilling but also works financially.  I’m not only referring to the blog, but also my lifestyle photography business, food photography, cookbook writing, etc.  All of which I would like to do more of.

It’s been a slow + steady process with successes and opportunities trickled along the way, but in the near future I want to without a doubt be able to say, “Yes! This is working!”  I feel like I’m headed there and just need to find my way through a dense layer of fog.  I’m following a loose plan, and luckily, have full support from my husband.  We’re both nose to the grindstone right now and have been for the past few years.  While our paths/plans have gone a windier way, we are happy.  Sometimes it’s easy to forget with the day-to-day happenings and stresses, but we are trying to recognize it more + more.  Things are good.  We are happy.  We will make this work.

vanilla bean coconut shamrock shake // edible perspective

A few weeks ago I mentioned I was going to start talking about more than just food.  So there it is, slowly coming out, fumbling along the way I’m sure.

Perfect light reading for a Friday morning, right?

vanilla bean coconut shamrock shake // edible perspective


Introducing the new + improved Shamrock Shake! 

Even though I’m a fan of mint ice cream I thought I would change things up a bit with this version.  It’s better than a beer or a glass of wine after a long week, it’s way more delicious than the original from Mc-whatever-it’s-called.  This is filled with creamy coconut milk, a million vanilla beans, and the color GREEN.

I am a vanilla freak, if you were unaware.

vanilla bean coconut shamrock shake // edible perspective

Before you go questioning my actions for putting spinach in your milkshake, I of course have to tell you there is not even the slightest hint of vegetable-taste in this.  I 100% promise.  It is not there for the health, it is there for the color!  If you tell me you can taste the spinach, I am going to come over and examine the taste buds on your tongue. Gross, no I’m not.

And while you could make this a night time snack, it can also be a suitable breakfast.  The coconut milk makes this extremely satiating and it’s light on the sweetness, which you can always tweak for your taste buds.  No ice cream needed!  Just an ice cube tray.

vanilla bean coconut shamrock shake // edible perspective

However, this part makes it a little more dessert-esque.

vanilla bean coconut shamrock shake // edible perspective

Introducing, chocolate coconut butter magic shell! 

vanilla bean coconut shamrock shake // edible perspective

Print this!

Vanilla Bean Coconut Shamrock Shake gluten-free, vegan // serves 2

  • 1, 14oz can full fat coconut milk
  • 3/4-1 1/2 cups light canned coconut milk
  • 2-3 large handfuls baby spinach
  • 3-4 tablespoons honey/agave/maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped + seeded pod discarded [a little over 1/8 teaspoon beans]
  1. Vigorously shake the canned coconut milk until the cream and liquid are fully combined.  Or whisk in a bowl.
  2. Pour the can of full fat coconut milk into an ice cube tray and freeze until fully solidified.
  3. Place the ice cubes in a high speed blender [one that can handle ice] with 3/4 cup light coconut milk, spinach, sweetener, vanilla extract, and vanilla beans. 
  4. Turn on and blend until creamy, adding more milk and sweetener if desired.  Use the least amount of light coconut milk as possible to keep the mixture thick.
  5. Serve and top with cooled chocolate coconut butter sauce.

notes/subs: If using dairy, sub half + half creamer or whipping cream for the full fat coconut milk and whole milk for the light coconut milk.  Coconut milk has a very mild coconut flavor.

Chocolate Coconut Butter Sauce

  1. Melt the coconut butter and dark chocolate in a small bowl for 30 second increments in the microwave.  Stir and heat again until smooth.  Or melt on the stovetop using a double boiler method.  Let stand on the counter until it’s no longer hot.

vanilla bean coconut shamrock shake // edible perspective

Another idea?  Turn this mixture into creamy shamrock popsicles!

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender [using 1/2 cup light coconut milk, instead of 3/4- 1 1/2 cups] and blend until fully smooth.
  2. Pour into popsicle molds or even small paper cups and freeze until fully hardened.  Leave in the mold until ready to eat. 
  3. Once frozen solid and ready to eat, remove from mold and coat with melted [but lightly cooled] chocolate coconut butter.  You can coat from the top down or vice versa.  The coconut butter will solidify in about 30 seconds.

vanilla bean coconut shamrock shake // edible perspective

vanilla bean coconut shamrock shake // edible perspective

Hope your weekend is filled with delicious food + lots of green!  Whether it’s green beer, spinach, or this milkshake.  Enjoy!


And if you’re still reading, a new engagement post is up on the photography blog!

laural + chris {engagement} // ashley mclaughlin photography

laural + chris {engagement} // ashley mclaughlin photography

Reader Comments (36)

I think that so many people are going to be able to relate to where you are coming from - with the wondering, questioning, second-guessing yourself. And you're totally right about it happening when you just have too much thinking time. It's happened to me quite a bit! But the important thing [to me, anyways], is that you are doing something that you truly love and are passionate about, and the fact that you are really shows through your blog and your words. Keep it up girly! Your photography and blogs are very impressive. Anndddd so is this shake! YUM.
March 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea
I continue to admire and be inspired by you. You rock! (And while my cooking has decreased since moving to London I may have to try this shake!!!)
March 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKirsti
Wow, that first paragraph could literally have been written by me, and judging by the subsequent sentence we're also exactly the same age! Have a great weekend :-)
March 15, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjo @ including cake
It's refreshing to hear a blogger that's totally honest and enjoys it when their life doesn't totally go to plan! Keep enjoying it and "Do more of what makes you happy".
Can't wait to suck up this gorgeous shake x
March 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIbbs @ LaLangostaYMI
Mmmm this is so awesome!! I want this noooow!
Thank you for sharing! As a graduate student who is about to leave school behind and who is struggling with the job market, I relate to many of the thoughts and feelings you voiced. I appreciate when people tell their stories--the good and the bad and the wonderful and the hard--rather than present them only as flawless and shiny. Real life is much messier, and it's nice to have others affirm that and remember that I am not alone.
March 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEmily
I can really relate to this post, I second guess/question what I am doing all the time. I just keep telling myself that I am happy and working the hardest I have ever worked and that things will work out! These shakes look so good, I want to make one now!
March 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTieghan
I am definitely going to try that shake! What a great idea for the holiday weekend! :)
March 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJacquelynn
Oh girl, you did that! I'm so happy about the greens in this, will be rushing home to make this tonight : )
Well, if you PROMISE there is no taste of greens in it, I will have to try it. My first reaction when I saw this was "What?" Actually I much prefer fruits to vegetables, so this could be a good way of getting some much needed greens while enjoying one of my favorite thinks - a milkshake!
March 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle
Yum! This just reinforces my need to get a better blender. What type do you have?
March 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMeg D
I've only just started reading your blog but I love the warmth and honesty that comes out on these pages.
As for the shake? I love the frozen coconut milk idea - I'm going to buy a can and freeze it tonight for this very purpose!
March 15, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterthelittleloaf
This looks amazing. I recently learned that I am a vanilla freak too... who knew? The color on this is beautiful, and even better because it comes from leaves!
March 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterErica {Coffee & Quinoa}
THIS IS AMAZING...had it for breakfast this morning! Thanks Ashley for constantly churning out delicious recipes!
March 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer S
@Andrea - Thank you so much. It's comforting to know you can relate to the feelings I have and I truly appreciate your cheering. :)

@Kirsti - Thank you, love. Wish you were closer!

@Jo - xo :)

@Ibbs - Thank you! And, enjoy the shake!

@Emily - I definitely agree with what you said and am in the process of trying to learn how to write about it. This was a huge step! I always find things like this difficult to write about as I never want to come off sounding ungrateful or whiny. I have a lot to feel good about and be lucky for but am still very much trying to figure all of this life stuff out. Thank you for your sweet words!

@Teighan - Keep it up! It will definitely pay off!

@Meg D - I have an old Vita-mix passed down to me from my Grandpa. :) I know there are other more affordable blenders out there that can handle ice + spinach, though. Check reviews on amazon!

@thelittleloaf - Thank you. So much.

@Erica - Va-nill-aaaaaaaaa for the win! :)

@Jennifer - That is the fastest recipe testing turnaround time ever! haha I'm thrilled you enjoyed it!! :)
March 15, 2013 | Registered CommenterAshley
You`re so creative- this looks great! Anything with chocolate sauce is a must have for me :-)

<a href="">Some Snapshots Blog</a>
March 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJess
Love the green cocktail ! Having some irish friends coming round later on in the week so this is one I am going to try. Thanks for your inspiration
March 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLou
This shake is absolutely gorgeous! I'll definitely be making some shamrock shakes for me and the hubby. Thanks for sharing :)
March 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa
Ha! I'm quite related to your thoughts. Being an accountant, I'm no where near to my actual profession. Though, I'm not active like you, still not clear what to do in my life. I'm super glad to see your all progress [been following you and your blog since couple of years :) ]. It's not easy to find your actual and hidden passion within you and it's even more hard to chase it. It's very important to figure out what you want to do in your life, right? Your photography site's pics are truly beautiful! Keep going Ashley! :-)
Here, the shake is looking very yummy and creamy.
March 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSonia
I giggled at your comment about the recession :) I graduated college about a year and a half after the recession hit; I am nowhere near where I thought I'd be even 2 years ago! But it's funny how you seem to end up where you need to be anyway :)
How cute are those popsicles! I love the bright green hue.
March 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKatie @ Blonde Ambition
Getting to the point where you can say "Yes this works!" and be totally satisfied is so hard with creative work. There is a constant push to aim higher and do more. It's tough in terms of consistency, but very satisfying because you know you're putting every speck of your effort and resources into it. Love that you opened up about that here.

And your shamrock shake rules. Those little vanilla bean specks made me so happy.
March 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaura
I am 46 years old and life continues to change and evolve. Nothing in my life right now is as I expected it to be when I graduated 23 (!) years ago. I celebrate the good stuff and am tweaking the not so good. I will get there too.
When I saw the magic shell on top, I said "you bad, bad girl". And that is a very good thing. Happy weekend!
March 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKel
Ahhh it's so interesting how life is transcending always from one stage to another, yet so many times we tend to wonder when that "aha" day will come. That's why I'm so glad that God has my life in His hands and guides me every step of the way, or else I'd be a mess! :P Trust me on that one. And Ashley, I have been and am so excited for you because it's been such a wonderful journey seeing your life go from one end to another through these years! You're a beautiful woman inside (and outside obviously) and have no doubt that you will succeed in everything you do because you're passionate and dedicated. :D Keep it up, girl! Oh and...that overflowing shake is making my eyes hurt, it looks too heavenly!!!
March 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEllie@Fit for the Soul
I remember sitting on the waterfront in San Fran and you telling me that you wanted to get more seriously into food photography and write cookbooks - and you've done it!! It's been so fun and inspiring watching you follow your heart, goals and dreams. And tasty too. :) thanks for all the amazing recipes! xo
I've read your blog for a long time, and I'm ashamed to admit I've never commented. But, I loved this post. I hope it was as refreshing to write as it was to read and relate to!
March 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStef
I am making this the instant my coconut milk is frozen. It looks irresistible!
I'm not going to question you putting spinich in it. Love my spinach and such a high source of magnisium. Loving the look of the shamrock shake!
March 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterYolan
Oh my gosh, a popsicle version?! This is epic. I can't imagine how fabulous this tastes with the vanilla bean and coconut milk! SO much better than the McDonald's version :)
March 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlexis @ Hummusapien
Longtime reader finally coming to comment--I agree it's hard to work from home and feel like you're getting things accomplished! Sometimes I'll work all day on my computer only to feel like I got one recipe written...or maybe not even that. A friend recently told me that at the end of each day to think of 3 things you've accomplished, and so far it really helps me to look at my days more fully (and have my mind stop racing at night!). It's also tough to measure success...for a long time I thought that would be a certain number of "likes" or downloads...but now I think it's more about putting something into the world that you're really proud of and that can help even just one person. It sounds like you're on a good path!
March 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAbby B, Delicion App
wow, this looks gorgeous. love how you froze the coconut cubes. i just had vanilla french toast today, so i'm totally on a vanilla kick. :-)
March 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterhoneywhatscooking
Can I still make the shamrock shake, even though St. Patrick's day is over?
March 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermary anne
@Sonia - Thank you for your thoughts, Sonia. Wishing you the best as well!

@Katie - I couldn't agree more. This seems so fitting even though it's been unexpected and challenging. Thanks. :)

@Laura - I completely agree. I just have to recognize any and all progress, even if it's slow and/or small, and keep working my tail off. So happy to have found you + your lovely blog recently. You are a definite inspiration! xo

@Kel - Thanks so much for your thoughts. I just love what you said about celebrating the good things and tweaking the not so good. Great way to think about it. :)

@Teri - I feel so lucky to have met you through all of this! You have been such a great friend throughout the years. Love you, girl!

@Stef - Thank you for saying hello and for reading. xo :)

@Abby - I appreciate your words + advice, Abby. Thank you! It's a great idea to think about what you've accomplished each day. It can sometimes feel like a blur by the end of the week. All the best to you!

@Mary Anne - Most definitely. :)
March 18, 2013 | Registered CommenterAshley
Well, looks like I chose the perfect post to pick back up on! I hate that I have been out of the blog-reading loop for so long...I miss my Blends so much and I'm SO grateful to have the time to catch up (even if it's not under circumstances I would originally choose). I love that you've chose to share more of your life on the blog. Your photography ceases to amaze me and your recipes never disappoint, but what I love most is learning more about the woman behind the words and the pictures! How strong and brave of you to make the decision to go in a direction completely different from the original "plan" you had for your life and to know in your heart that it was the right decision for you....isn't it amazing how many adventures we can welcome into our lives if we just let go of our reservations? And of course, it be silly of me not to make at least one reference to the downright "sexiness" of that milkshake...I mean serioulsy, I think I hear Marvin Gaye playing in the background...or is that just my tummy grumbling? ;)
Hi, I'm a new follower and just wanted to say hi, say thanks for the personalness (made up word) of this first post I've read- I totally relate. Also awesome pictures, makes me want to lick the screen. I'm looking forward to reading and seeing more of your delectable food.
March 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne
I really enjoyed reading all your posts. Actually, I am amazed by your creativity and talent in cooking. This one is a perfect addition to my diet. Not really heavy but can satisfy my cravings.
March 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPat Cobb
Great entry! Thanks for sharing.

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