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Vanilla Blueberry “Ice Cream”

As promised, here is another spin on my banana ice cream obsession.  This was good and completely nutritious.  I can’t say one bad thing about the ingredients in this “ice cream.”  I encourage you to use this on picky eaters that don’t like eating whole fruit, because unlike juice, it will give you the benefits of the antioxidants and fiber even though it’s not in its whole fruit form.

I also used blueberries that I had frozen from the 5 lbs of blueberries we picked back in July.  I would highly recommend doing so because it’s such a refreshing bite of summer in the middle of a dreary, cold winter!  If not, frozen from your local grocery store or fresh will work just fine.

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Vanilla Blueberry “Ice Cream”

Serves: 1 pint (or four 1/2 cup servings)

4 ripe bananas, sliced and frozen

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup frozen (or fresh) blueberries

Instructions:

  1. Slice bananas into 1/2 inch slices and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Place in freezer for about an hour until bananas are frozen.
  2. Put sliced, frozen bananas into a food processor and blend until it becomes creamy.  This will take a few minutes, and you’ll have to wipe the sides down with a spatula a few times.  Be patient, it will get there!
  3. Once bananas are creamy, add vanilla extract and frozen blueberries to food processor.  Mix another few minutes until blueberries are mostly broken up and well blended.
  4. Remove “ice cream” from the food processor and serve as soft serve or freeze for a later time.

Nutrition Facts (per 1/2 cup serving): 130 calories, 1g fat, 33g carbohydrate, 1g protein.

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Thin Minty Hot Cocoa

When I think of Halloween, I think candy corns.  Easter? Peanut butter eggs. Christmas? Mint.  York peppermint patties, Andes mints, even Junior Mints… get in my belly!

I’m not sure how or why this happened but mint = Christmas to me.  Here’s a quick easy recipe that gives you that delicious taste of a cocoa without a heavy whipped topping or full fat milk base.  It’s still a splurge rather then an every day drink, but it’s the holidays after all!  If you don’t happen to have 10 boxes of thin mints lying around because your boyfriend has no control when it comes to girl scouts, you can substitute for grated chocolate.

Unfortunately with the lack of a whipped topping, it doesn’t make for such a pretty picture.  In order to not discourage you, I’ll leave the picture up to your imagination this time, but trust me when I say it was very tasty!

Thin Minty Hot Cocoa

Serves: 2

1 cup skim milk

1 cup Silk Dark Chocolate Almond Milk (you will have to buy the whole 64 oz carton, but you can re-use for thin minty hot cocoas for up to 10 days)

2 thin mint girl scout cookies, finely grated

8-10 junior mints

1/4 tsp. peppermint extract (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Heat skim and almond milk in a small pot over medium heat.  Stir in peppermint extract, junior mints, and grated thin mint cookies until melted and warmed through.
  2. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 185 calories, 4.3g fat, 31.5g carbohydrate, 5.5g protein

 

Also.. this is my 100th post!  It still surprises me that a fun project I decided to start actually turned into something that people read.  If you’re one of them, thank you!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip “Ice Cream”

Did the title entice you?  Do me a favor and scroll down to the picture.. does it look like ice cream to you?  Well…it tastes like it too!  Allow me to geek out for a second.. it’s made of bananas.. a FRUIT!  Now, I know what you might be thinking, “Oh, I don’t like bananas.”  I hear you, I can take them or leave them and certainly wouldn’t consider eating them for dessert if I had the choice.  As a test.. I made this ice cream for my innocent victim boyfriend and didn’t allow him to see me cooking it.  I handed him the bowl and asked what he tasted..

Him: Peanut butter?

Me: What else?

Him: Umm… Greek yogurt?

I win!!

The bottom line is, it’s not a scary banana flavor.  Unlike real ice cream, this “ice cream” will actually leave you full after the 1/2 cup serving because you’ve got fiber from the bananas that you wouldn’t have in your typical peanut butter chocolate chip ice cream.  Another selling point is that there’s less fat, which is mostly unsaturated fats from the peanut butter.  I’m very excited to try this out with some frozen berries for an even healthier spin in the future.

Did I sell you on it?  I hope so!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip “Ice Cream”slightly adapted from use real butter

Serves: 1 pint (or four 1/2 cup servings)

4 medium bananas

2 tsp. Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tbsp. natural peanut butter (I used Smart Balance)

2 tbsp. dark chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Slice bananas into 1/2 inch slices and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Place in freezer for about an hour until bananas are frozen.
  2. Put sliced, frozen bananas into a food processor and blend until it becomes creamy.  This will take a few minutes, and you’ll have to wipe the sides down with a spatula a few times.  Be patient, it will get there!
  3. Once bananas are creamy, add cocoa powder and peanut butter to food processor.  Mix another minute or so until well blended.
  4. Remove “ice cream” from the food processor and stir in chocolate chips.
  5. Serve as soft serve or freeze for a later time.

Nutrition Facts (per 1/2 cup serving): 193 calories, 7g fat (3g saturated), 35g carbohydrate (4g fiber), 3g protein

Grandma Rita’s Pumpkin Bread

I need to start by saying that this recipe is not healthy, and I’m not going to pretend that it is.  Is it delicious? SO delicious.  Usually when I have a recipe like this, I alter the crap out of it.  In this case, it is something I always look forward to at this time of year and it was my grandmothers recipe.  Since I wasn’t fortunate enough to meet her, her pumpkin bread in October makes me feel like I have a little piece of her, and I just can’t bring myself to alter it.  Living a healthy life is all about moderation, which means choosing some indulgences once in a while.  This, is one of mine.

Grandma Rita’s Pumpkin Bread

Makes: 3 loaves (about 10 slices per loaf)- the loaves freeze well so enjoy one and freeze the others for later in fall!

2 cups 100% pure pumpkin

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup water

1.5 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cloves

1 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

cooking spray

3- 9 x 5 aluminum loaf pans

3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

Ingredients:

  1. Combine the salt, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and flour in a bowl.  Stir together with a wire whisk and set aside.
  2. Blend the pumpkin, sugar, eggs, oil and water in a mixer on medium for a few minutes until combined.  Set the mixer on low and slowly add the dry ingredients.  Turn the mixer back up to medium until all is combined.
  3. Dust the loaf pans with cooking spray, then add a little flour to coat the inside of each pan.
  4. Pour the batter evenly between the three loaf pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for anywhere from 55 to 75 minutes. Cover each bread very lightly with aluminum foil after 45 min., so the top doesn’t burn, then continue cooking.
  5. The breads are done when the toothpick comes out dry after testing from the middle of the loaf.  Cool on a rack and take loaves out of pans 5 minutes after taking out of oven.

Nutrition Facts (per slice if 10 slices per loaf):  182 calories, 8.2g fat (.8g saturated), 25g carbohydrate, 2.5g protein

No post on Monday due to a conference I will be at in Philadelphia!

Cookie Dough Ice Pops (slimmed down)

Now this is a healthy living blog, but everyone needs a treat every once in a while.  Especially on these early fall nights where you can still take advantage of the warmer weather as a reason to enjoy an ice cream.

I decided to post this recipe because it’s frustrating to me that some brands of ice cream pops can run you about 15 grams of fat or more per pop!  That doesn’t have to be the case, and I think these pops prove that coming in at only 1.3g of fat.  When comparing the sugar content to a regular brand of ice cream pop, these are about the same.. but it IS still ice cream after all.  This is a treat, not a daily staple, but at least it’s a treat that’s cheap and easy to make and will result in you consuming a lot less fat than a run to Cold Stone.

You will also notice at the bottom of this post that I am starting to include the nutritional information.  I got this request from a few people recently, and since it is a healthy living blog, it makes sense to tell you what you’re getting in each dish. There are a few other changes I’m hoping to put in place in the near future, one being adding a tag that will separate my meals into two categories.  One being the quicker to prepare meals (for week-nights) and the other the more labor intensive meals that may be better left for the weekend.  I hope this will help people to navigate the site better.  I love the feedback so if there’s something else you would like to see please let me know!

Cookie Dough Ice Popsslightly adapted from girlichef

Makes: 4 pops

1 1/4 cup skim milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/3 cup brown sugar

4 tbsp. mini chocolate chips (milk or dark chocolate)

Instructions:

  1. Heat milk in microwave safe bowl for about 2 minutes or until warm.  Add in brown sugar and salt and mix until it dissolve.  Stir in vanilla.
  2. Place 1 tbsp. chocolate chips at the bottom of each popsicle mold.  Pour milk mixture into each until full.  Freeze until solid (I usually leave it overnight).

Nutrition Information (per pop): 92 calories, 1.3g fat, .8g sat fat, 1.5mg cholesterol, 22g carbohydrate (21g sugar), 2.6g protein

Summery Lemon Squares

So, I’ve already made this recipe twice this week (For two separate occasions, not just for me!).  A friend of mines grandmother makes a really delicious lemon square, and it was always such a treat to have one when they were shipped to our dorm in college.  When I saw this recipe in cooking light this month I decided it was time to give it a try. To make the traditional recipe healthier, they cut down the sugar by a lot and sub out a good chunk of butter for canola oil.  Both make for a happier heart, enjoy!

Summery Lemon Squares- slightly adapted from Cooking Light

Serves: 12-14 (depending on how big you cut them)

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup powdered sugar

3 tablespoons walnuts

1/8 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

2 tbsp. canola oil

Cooking spray

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. grated lemon rind

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (2-3 lemons)

2 large eggs

1 large egg white

2 tbsp. powdered sugar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, level with a knife.  Place flour, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, walnuts and salt in a food processor, pulse 2 times  to combine.  Add butter and canola oil.  Pulse 3-5 times or until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Place mixture into the bottom of an 8 inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray, press into bottom of pan.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.  Reduce oven temperature to 325 F.
  3. Combine granulated sugar and next 5 ingredients (through egg white) in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth.  Pour mixture over crust.  Bake at 325 F for 20 minutes or until set.
  4. Cool completely and cover at least 2 hours.  Sprinkle squares evenly with 2 tbsp. powdered sugar.

Blueberry Coffee Cake

This recipe comes from Ellie Krieger.  Ellie is inspirational to me because she is not only a successful chef but also a Registered Dietitian.  I love how she takes recipes and modifies them to be healthier without sacrificing flavor.  If you watch her video clips, she also tells you why certain ingredients are better for you then others, which I think can be motivating for people to hear as they are trying to improve their health.

I sought this recipe out after going blueberry picking and picking a whooping 5.5 lbs!!  I would encourage anyone to blueberry pick from mid-July to mid-August.  The blueberries are so juicy and delicious, and you can get them at a fraction of the cost of what you would pay at the supermarket.  We picked ours at a local place called Awald Farms that isn’t very commercially advertised so not very crowded which I love, and full of fresh berries.  If you live in the Buffalo area, check it out.  We got all 5.5 lbs for a little over $7…. the same price for only 2 lbs at the supermarket!

With such an abundance, I froze 2 lbs and used the rest for this recipe and a week of snacking :)

Blueberry Coffee Cake- slightly adapted from Ellie Krieger

Serves: 10-12

Cooking spray
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour or regular whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup vanilla nonfat yogurt
1.5 cups and 1/2 cup fresh blueberries, divided

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8-inch square cake pan with cooking spray. (*If you use a 8 inch glass dish it will take almost 1 hour to bake).
  2. Whisk together the all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, the baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar, cinnamon and walnuts. In a large bowl, beat the brown sugar, butter and oil until fluffy. If necessary, use the back of a spoon to press out any lumps in the brown sugar. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until fully combined. Beat in the vanilla and yogurt.
  3. Add the flour mixture in 2 batches, stirring until just combined.
  4. Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle half of the nut mixture over the batter and top with the blueberries, gently pressing them into the batter. Spoon the rest of the batter into the pan, smoothing the top. Sprinkle the remaining nut mixture over the cake, pressing gently.  Also sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of blueberries along the top, pressing down lightly. Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes.
  5. Let cool slightly and then unmold and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack. Cut the cake into 2-inch squares.