I shared a tasty recipe for slow cooked apple butter on Sofab Foods. This super simple recipe infuses classic apple pie spices into one of my very favorite homemade preserves. Visit Sofab Food for the recipe!
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and The Coca-Cola Company. All opinions are mine alone. #NewWayToSparkle #CollectiveBias
There is something special about kicking up one's heals with a glass full of something sweet and bubbly. For those who choose to forego the typical fizzy libations the holiday season can present somewhat of a challenge. Creative soft drinks, like the recipe I'm sharing today, are a great way to include guests of all ages and all beverage preferences to participate in the revelry of holiday parties, social gatherings, and simple celebrations.
It's a new way to sparkle.
This recipe combines Lime flavored DASANI® Sparkling with a sweet and tart homemade cranberry lime sorbetto. DASANI® Sparkling has a mild natural flavor, plenty of peppy carbonation, and most importantly for this recipe, no added sugar. That gives you the ability to modify the drink to your own taste as far as sweetness goes. Add as much or as little sorbetto as you please to craft a quick custom mocktail that is light, refreshing, and completely party-worthy.
I've included a recipe for handmade sorbetto but store bought sorbetto or sorbet will work nicely too. Try making this recipe your own by using a different flavor of sorbetto or another flavor of DASANI® Sparkling.
Cranberry Lime Sorbetto
Makes about 3 cups
- 1 10-oz (284g) bag frozen whole cranberries
- 4 cups water, divided
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 cup sugar
- Combine cranberries with 3 cups water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Remove cranberries and cooking liquid from saucepan and set aside to cool.
- Add remaining 1 cup water and sugar to saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer, stir, and cook for 5 minutes.
- Let ingredients cool for about 15 minutes. Place cranberries with cooking liquid in blender and puree for 2 minutes, or until smooth.
- Push pureed cranberries through fine mesh strainer to remove seeds and solid portions. Discard solids and combine liquid with water and sugar mixture (simple syrup).
- Chill mixture in refrigerator for at least one hour before pouring into ice cream maker. Churn 45 minutes, or according to machine directions.
- Freeze churned sorbetto for at least 4 hours before using/serving.
Cranberry Lime Sorbetto Fizz
Makes two small servings
- 2-4 scoops cranberry lime sorbetto
- 1 12-ounce can DASANI® Sparkling Lime
- 2 slices lime, for garnish (optional)
- 6 fresh cranberries, for garnish (optional)
- Scoop 1 or 2 scoops cranberry lime sorbetto into highball glasses. 1 scoop will lend mild sweetness. Add 2 for a sweeter drink.
- Pour 6 ounces DASANI® Sparkling Lime into each glass.
- Garnish with lime and cranberries. Serve immediately.
I purchased the ingredients for this recipe at my local Target. You can find plenty of flavors of DASANI® Sparkling in their soft drink section. Dasani recently added a 20-ounce can of DASANI® Sparkling to their line which you'll find over near the checkout. That's the perfect size for grabbing on your way out the door.
C and I spend quite a lot of time at Target these days. Being able to make one stop to pick up groceries, go clothes shopping, or even scope out art supplies is pretty key to our existence right now. It helps that C loves exploring the store too - so it isn't a battle to get him to come with me.
Getting him to leave the toy section? That's another story.
Have fun with your mocktails! I hope this recipe will help make your celebrations a little sweeter! You can find even more fun recipes using DASANI® Sparkling here.
Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FarFromOrdinaryMilk #CollectiveBias
At least that's what my 2-year old tells me. At first I thought my little one invented his own holiday, but after a little investigation I found out that Apples Day is a real thing! Or, to be more exact, Johnny Appleseed Day is a real thing. September 26 is celebrated as Johnny Appleseed's birthday and his preschool class has been learning about apples all month.
CC has demanded an Apples Day party to honor the occasion. Being the overly-indulgent parent that I am, I quickly agreed and have had apples on my mind ever since. We're planning to host a family potluck for Apples Day later this month. I can't wait to see what apple-themed recipes our friends and family bring to the table.
To tell you the truth, I haven't thought about Johnny Appleseed much since I was a kid. He was a famous pioneer during the early 1800's and was known for his generosity, dedication to conservation, and of course, his love of apples.
I love apples too, so old Mr. Appleseed and I have that in common. Apple-flavored dairy products were something I fell in love with while living in Beijing. Apple yogurt, smoothies, and ice creams had an unexpected, but extraordinary taste that I quickly fell in love with. I've been meaning to work on an apple ice cream ever since. Our Apples Day celebration inspired me to finally make it happen!
Apple Cinnamon Ice Cream is sort of like taking the best flavors from pie ala mode and concentrating them into one rich and creamy dessert. This ice cream has a dense texture that works wonderfully with crispy cones, crunchy granola, and salty caramel sauce. Don't forget to include a nice dollop of whipped cream too. That's an Apples Day sundae you won't forget.
I used homemade apple butter in this recipe but you can save some time by using store-bought apple butter instead. Look for something with a little cinnamon to give your ice cream plenty of warm spicy flavor.
The other key ingredient in this ice cream is, of course, the milk! I used Promised Land Dairy's Homogenized Milk to make my Apple Cinnamon Ice Cream. This unique brand of milk gets it's extra rich and creamy flavor from Jersey cows, a breed that hails from the British Isle of Jersey. (Not the state of New Jersey!) According to Promised Land, extraordinary flavor comes from extraordinary cows. I couldn't agree more!
These special brown cows only make up about 10% of the milk produced in the United States. The majority of our milk comes from the classic black and white Holstein breed. I was surprised to discover a noticeable difference in the texture and flavor of Promised Land's milk. Not only does it have an exceptional flavor, it is actually higher in protein and calcium than other varieties of milk.
When it comes to making ice cream, the flavor of the milk used can make a huge difference in the final product. Promised Land has turned out to be an excellent choice. I noticed a thicker and creamier ice cream custard as soon as I started experimenting with it.
Try using Promised Land milk in creamy cheese sauces, chowders, bisques, and custards to showcase it's extraordinary flavor. I've also found it to be an ideal drinking milk - if you should find yourself with some cookies to nibble. My hubby, Scott Bobleo, who is pretty much a chocolate milk expert is a huge fan of Promised Land's Midnight Chocolate flavored milk.
Apple Cinnamon Ice Cream
Makes about 2 pints
This dense and creamy ice cream tastes delicious over granola, graham crackers, or coffee cake. Serve with fresh whipped cream and caramel sauce to make a delicious apple cinnamon sundae!
- 1 3/4 cups whole milk
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2/3 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3/4 cup apple butter, divided (recipe here)
- 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) cream cheese
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- In a small bowl, mix 3 tablespoons of milk with cornstarch and set aside.
- Combine the remaining milk, heavy cream, sugar, corn syrup, and cinnamon stick in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
- Remove the pan from heat, then whisk in the cornstarch and milk slurry. Return the pan to burner. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cook for 3 minutes.
- In a large heat-proof mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and salt. Remove the cinnamon stick from the hot milk and cream mixture, then pour over the cream cheese. Whisk gently to combine the melted cheese with the hot custard. Add 1/2 cup apple butter and whisk to combine thoroughly.
- Pour the custard into a large ziplock bag, then submerge the sealed bag in a bowl filled with ice and water. Cool the custard completely.
- Churn the custard in your ice cream machine for 30-40 minutes, or until the ice cream thickens enough to pull away from the sides of the barrel.
- Scoop the soft ice cream into pint-sized containers, adding a spoonful of the reserved apple butter between every few scoops of soft ice cream.
- Freeze the ice cream for at least 2 hours before serving.
I purchased my Promised Land milk at my local Target. Right now you can save an extra $0.75 on your purchase of Promised Land products using Ibotta. Click here to learn how you can earn rebates on Promised Land products and many other everyday purchased using Ibotta.
It's really true what they say about not knowing what you've got till it's gone. This isn't always a bad thing, of course. Sometimes something you think you enjoy as-is can become even better when it loses something.
Take cold-brew coffee, for example. I've always been a coffee lover, but it wasn't until I started drinking cold brew that I realized how burnt and bitter the coffee from my electric coffee maker tasted. When my coffee lost that particular layer of flavor my eyes opened to a whole new world of deliciousness.
Cold brew coffee is incredibly smooth and mellow. It has the rich flavor of coffee that I love but it's missing a certain quality that I have since come to loathe. Some might call it "toasty", but personally I have come to love my coffee tasting less acidic and less, well, overheated. The smooth flavor of cold brew also makes skipping the sugar and sweeteners a little easier.
All I need is a splash of milk to fall in love with my hot morning cup of java or my afternoon treat over ice. It's a far cry from my previous Italian syrup habit which was definitely racking up my daily sugar intake.
Oh, and did I mention that cold brew typically has about 3x the caffeine of conventionally brewed coffee? Yowza. It's a good idea to treat your cold brew as concentrate and to dilute it accordingly but the truth is that I indulge in the occasional full-power cup.
It makes me feel alive.
So, if you have never tried cold brew coffee I would highly recommend checking it out. It's been my "new" favorite thing for a couple of years now. The only big drawback is that a cold brew habit can get a little expensive - that is if you buy your concentrate online or at the grocery store.
Luckily, making your own cold brew at home is really easy - like stupid easy.
The best part? Cold brew makes coffee taste so good that you can even use the cheapest, most generic, store-brandiest coffee and STILL have it taste good. Thrifty people rejoice!
All you need to get going is a quart-sized mason jar with a re-usable lid and something called a nut milk bag. This same method will work just fine with cheesecloth or another type of strainer - just make sure the mesh is very, very fine or you will wind up with cloudy (possibly even gritty) coffee. I've actually used this kind of metal mesh strainer with great results.
Tip: If you are grinding your own beans go with a coarse grind to help make the cold brew even easier to strain.
I hope you give this recipe a try! Trust me when I tell you that you won't miss the expense of fancy store-bought cold brew OR the burnt acidic flavor from your electric coffeemaker once those things are gone. For once, parting won't be such sweet sorrow.
Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate
Makes almost 1 quart
- 1/2 cup ground coffee (or 3/4 cup beans)
- 1 quart water
- Fill a nut milk bag with ground coffee and tuck it inside of a quart-sized mason jar. Fold the top edges over the rim of the bottle so that they remain dry.
- Add water to the jar until it is completely saturating the ground coffee and filling the jar.
- Screw a re-usable cap onto the jar - right over the edges of the nut milk bag. You should be able to see the very edges of the bag peeking out from beneath the tightened cap.
- Place the jar in your refrigerator for about 48 hours.
- Strain the coffee from the jar by pulling out the nut milk bag and squeezing the contents gently.*
- When you are ready to enjoy your concentrated cold brew make sure and dilute at a 1:3 ratio. That means 2/3 cup water for every 1/3 cup of cold brew. The remaining concentrate should last for at least one week in the refrigerator.
*Alternatively, you could add the grounds directly to the water (sans bag) and then strain the whole jar through the bag after the grounds have finished soaking. It doesn't really make much difference which order you do this in. It's a personal preference thing and if you try it both ways you will quickly discover which method you find less messy or troublesome.
Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EffortlessPies #CollectiveBias
Effortless mini pies made with frozen Oikos® Key Lime Greek Yogurt, Keebler® Ready Crust® Mini Graham Cracker Pie Crust, and Reddi-wip®.
We're always up for a celebration at our house. Whether we are kicking our heels up to honor a special accomplishment or simply congratulating one another on making it through an especially harrowing day, our revelry often includes dessert. While I am all for taking on elaborate recipes for holidays and big family parties, our everyday celebrations call for something more simple. By keeping my kitchen stocked with a few select shortcuts, like Keebler® Ready Crust® Mini Graham Cracker Pie Crust or Reddi-wip® I can throw together a celebratory snack in minutes.
This simple no-bake recipe uses fun-flavored Greek yogurt, a simple homemade blackberry sauce, and Keebler® Ready Crust® Mini Graham Cracker Pie Crust to create adorable ice cream pies. These little cuties can be stored in your freezer and served any time a cause for celebration arises. Just pull them from the freezer, top them with a dollop of Reddi-wip®, and some fresh fruit and it's party time.
I used Oikos® Key Lime Greek Yogurt in this recipe but you can create a strawberry version simply by swapping this yogurt for Dannon® Light & Fit® Strawberry Cheesecake Greek Yogurt. Try freezing other flavors of yogurt for an almost endless variety of mini ice cream pies.
Miniature Key Lime & Blackberry Ice Cream Pies
Makes six mini pies
This easy make-ahead recipe uses flavored yogurt as an easy ice cream base. Try swapping the Oikos® Key Lime Greek Yogurt for another flavor, like Dannon® Light & Fit® Strawberry Cheesecake Greek Yogurt, to create your own unique recipe. The type of berry in the sauce can also be substituted. Try using raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries instead.
- 4 5.3-oz. packages Oikos® Key Lime Greek Yogurt
- 1 package Keebler® Ready Crust® Mini Graham Cracker Pie Crust (6-count)
- 1 cup blackberries (plus 1/2 cup more for garnish)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 13-oz. can Reddi-wip®
- 6 slices lime and 6 mint leaves (optional, for garnish)
- Turn on your ice cream maker, then add the contents of all 4 packages of Oikos® Key Lime Greek Yogurt to the tumbler. Set a timer to churn the yogurt for 30 - 45 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and pulls away from the sides of the tumbler. (If you are using an ice cream maker with a freezer tumbler make sure it has been frozen for at least six hours before use.)
- Combine the blackberries, sugar, water, and lime juice in a small sauce pan. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low when it begins to boil and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove the cover and increase the heat to medium. Simmer, uncovered, for 3 minutes before removing the pan from heat. Allow the pan to cool for 5-10 minutes before pushing the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Place the strained liquid in the refrigerator to chill. Discard the solids or refrigerate in a separate container to use as jam.
- When the ice cream has finished churning, stop the machine and set out the pie crusts. Spoon 1-2 teaspoons of blackberry sauce into each crust followed by a scoop of ice cream. Press the ingredients down with the back of a spoon or spatula, then repeat until you've used up all the ice cream. Place the pies on a small dish and cover with plastic wrap. Place the dish in the freezer and let the pies harden for at least 1 hour.
- The frozen mini pies can be stored in the freezer in tightly covered saran wrap for several weeks. If you plan on storing the pies for more than one day it is best to re-wrap each of them individually in saran wrap. This helps keep them from becoming freezer-burned.
- When you are ready to serve your pies remove them from the freezer and remove the plastic wrap. Top each pie with a generous amount of Reddi-wip, then top with berries, lime, and mint leaves.
I let my little CC help add the toppings when we enjoy these pies together. He loves to "help" in the kitchen. Anyone who has ever cooked with a toddler can tell you that it tends to be an extremely messy venture, but this recipe isn't so bad. Since these little pies come out of the freezer almost ready-to-go I can satisfy CC's urge to help by letting him place the berries on top of the pie.
He usually sneaks a little extra Reddi-wip® while he's at it. It's an indulgence I don't sweat too much considering that the dessert we're enjoying is a slightly healthier option than most ice cream - or most pie for that matter!
I shopped for the ingredients in this recipe at my local Walmart. CC and I always have a grand time speeding around that particular superstore. I like the low-priced groceries and he likes trying to grab everything off of the colorful end-caps.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Randall's and White Wave Foods. My opinions are my own.
Like many almost two-year olds, my little CC can be a challenge to shop with. His fierce curiosity, unbridled enthusiasm, and tendency toward a rather LOUD form of self-expression can often leave me feeling exasperated. It makes something as simple as a quick stop for milk feel more like running a gauntlet than running an errand.
We're learning though. And I've discovered that there are some things that make the task a bit easier - like shopping carts with little cars attached to them. Our neighborhood Randall's always seems to have one of these wonder-carts available, which makes it a favorite place to do our weekly grocery shopping.
On a recent trip, my crafty little tot managed to escape his car and make a run for it. I thought I would have to chase him across the store but as I watched him hurdle his tiny body across the shiny linoleum I realized that he was on a very specific mission.
CC made a bee-line for a display we'd just passed, grabbed a package of Horizon cookies, spun around, and then returned triumphantly to the cart in order to drop them inside. He then got back in his car, buckled himself up, and honked his horn with delight.
"I need cookies!", he shouted.
This was a clear sign that my little boy had learned an important lesson; what goes in your grocery cart ends up in your body. While he hopes to fill our cart with snacks and treats, his Mama has a different set of priorities. When I go shopping I certainly want the products I'm bringing home to be delicious, but it's also important to me that they are healthy for my family and good choices for the environment. One easy way to help make sure we stay on track is to try and meet these goals one cart at a time. Every cart counts, so I try to fill each one with care.
I don't believe that there is one perfect diet or lifestyle, but I do think that it's possible to make a better choice today than I did yesterday. Instead of trying to make perfect choices I focus on making better ones. It's a perspective that helps keep me feeling inspired without getting hung up on whether or not I'm doing it right.
Whether your diet is paleo, omnivorous, vegan, or somewhere in between there are always opportunities for improving the healthfulness or sustainability of what lands in your grocery cart.
Eating fruits and vegetables is obviously a healthy choice, right? When I reach for a strawberry instead of a chocolate bar I'm on the right path and that's something to celebrate. The next day I might take it another step forward by making that strawberry organic or washing it down with some almond milk instead of dairy milk.
When you take that extra step to choose organic or try out a plant-based alternative to a traditionally meat or dairy-based product you are not only making a wonderful choice for your own health but also promoting a healthier environment. Here are a few examples of what I mean:
- Earthbound Farm makes use of over 50,000 acres for its organic farming operations, keeping synthetic chemicals out of the environment.
- It takes an average of 77% less water to produce one half-gallon of plant-based beverages versus conventional dairy milk.
- Brands like Silk and So Delicious participate in the Non GMO Project's Product Verification Program which helps provide transparency for consumers who choose not to consume genetically modified ingredients.
And just by choosing brands that promote and enact environmentally responsible practices you are supporting those ideas - making them more popular and more attractive to other companies and consumers. When you think about it, every grocery cart you fill is an opportunity to influence the world we live in. Those of us who have the privilege of having this kind of food choice available can make a real impact, one cart at a time.
From April 6 - 26, Randall's and White Wave Foods are celebrating Earth Month with the Every Cart Counts Promotion. Lucky shoppers nationwide will be randomly selected to have their carts paid for by White Wave Foods when their orders include one of the following products.
Participating items for the Every Cart Counts promotion:
- Earthbound Farm 5 oz. Salads (5 oz. Kale Italia/ 5oz Spinach)
- Earthbound Farm Frozen Fruits (10 oz. blueberries)
- Earthbound Farm Frozen Vegetables (8 oz. Frozen Kale)
- Silk Half Gallons (Almond Unsweetened Vanilla)
- Nutchello (Caramel Almond Cashew)
- Silk Dairy Free – Yogurt Alternative (Blueberry)
- Silk Creamer
- So Delicious Dairy Free Yogurt Alternative (Strawberry)
- So Delicious Ice Cream Pints (Coconut Vanilla)
- So Delicious Almond Milk (Unsweetened)
- So Delicious Creamer (Vanilla)
- Simply Pure Creamer (Vanilla)
- Mac and Cheese (Classic)
- Cookies (Cinnamon Graham)
- Cracker (Peanut Butter Sandwich)
- Aseptic Milk (Chocolate 6-pack or 12-pack)
- Essentials US (Vanilla)
- Clean Protein US (Vanilla MD)
- Protein & Greens (SM US Vanilla)
- Clean Energy US (Berry Infusion)
White Wave and Randall's asked me to share some recipes showing you how to utilize some of the participating products. Lately CC and I have been savoring our Saturday mornings together so for this post I decided to make breakfast!
Yogurt pancakes are one of my favorite ways to sneak protein into my carb-worshipping child. Their flavor and texture are a little different than traditional pancakes. Instead of a light and fluffy bite, these are made with a thick batter that yields something much more dense and chewy.
I like off-setting that texture with juicy fruits and berries. I used blueberry and banana in this recipe but feel free to experiment with other fruits like peaches, strawberries, or apples. A dollop of something cool or creamy would be a nice addition as well. Ice cream? Whipped cream? Coconut cream? You see where I'm going with this, yes?
Vegan Berry & Banana Yogurt Pancakes
Makes about seven medium-sized pancakes
These dense and chewy pancakes are packed with plant-based protein and sweet, juicy fruit.
- 1 tablespoon flax seed meal
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 4 5.3-ounce containers Silk Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternative (Blueberry)
- 1/4 cup So Delicious Almond Milk (Unsweetened Vanilla)
- 1 banana, peeled and diced
- 1/3 cup Earthbound Farm Frozen Blueberries
- Combine the flax seed meal and water in a small dish and let it soak for at least five minutes.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and baking powder.
- In a second mixing bowl, mix together the Silk Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternative, So Delicious Almond Milk, and the flax seed and water mixture.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet, creating a thick batter. Fold in the banana and blueberries.
- Heat a frying pan on the stove top over medium-low heat. When the pan becomes very hot grease it with a small splash of cooking oil.
- Scoop about 1/2 cup of batter onto the pan and gently spread it into a circle using the back of a spoon. Cook for 2-4 minutes on each side, until the crust is golden-brown and the center of the pancake becomes firm.
- Transfer to a plate and serve immediately with whipped cream (find a vegan recipe here), syrup, or applesauce.
I also whipped up a protein smoothie for those mornings when breakfast goes a little more quickly. This recipe is a favorite with my husband who prefers drinking his greens to eating them. While I am pleased as can be with a bowl full of steamed kale, Scott Bobleo doesn't really get down with green veggies as often as he should. So while I would love for him to start chowing down on kale salads he would much rather start the day with a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich. I'm glad to see him making a better choice by heading to work with a green smoothie in-hand.
Vanilla Coconut Protein Smoothie
Makes two 10-oz servings
This sweet shake is loaded with protein and nourishing vitamins. It uses a sweetened nut-milk beverage called Nutchello, which provides a dessert-like flavor with a relatively modest amount of sugar. For a less sweet version of this smoothie, try substituting the Nutchello with Unsweetened So Delicious Almond Milk.
- 1 frozen banana, peeled and sliced
- 1/2 cup ice cubes
- 1/4 cup Earthbound Farm Frozen Kale
- 1 scoop Vega Essentials Protein Powder (Vanilla)
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
- 1 1/2 cups Nutchello (Caramel Almond Cashew)
- Place the frozen banana, ice cubes, and kale into a blender followed by the Vega Essentials Protein Powder, shredded coconut, and Nutchello.
- Blend on low for 30 seconds, then on high for 1 minute.
- Pour into a glass and enjoy immediately.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Albertsons Safeway. The opinions and text are all mine.
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Whole Foods Market
Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day but if you ask me, it is equally the most challenging. That is, it becomes challenging when you try to make sure it meets all of your very particular requirements for nutrition, speed, and taste. I actually have a very easy time eating breakfast - as long as it involves cream cheese and excessive carbohydrates. I know! I KNOW!
So I need to do better at breakfast. Another area that could use improvement is my overall nutrition. In my pre-baby life I ate well - like REALLY well. So well that I knew without a doubt that my nutritional needs were being met regularly and in the best possible way - through real food. These days I don't eat so well. I'm still adjusting to my new life as a mother and well, to be frank, still struggling to get my recently widened rear-end back in the kitchen!
Enter supplements, modern life's little shortcut to making sure that I DO get everything I need on a daily basis. I was invited to my local Whole Foods earlier this week to discuss what supplements might help get me back on track. With their resident Whole Body expert, Terri, I found a brand new probiotic and a solid multi-vitamin before delving into the world of fatty acid and antioxidant supplements, which are available in both pill and liquid form, and are present in food ingredients like flax oil and chia seeds.
If you'd like to create or revamp a supplement regimen I highly recommend visiting your local Whole Foods and speaking with someone in their Whole Body section to help get you started. It just so happens that this weekend is a great time to do so as Whole Foods is having a huge 3-Day sale on supplements. Between Friday, January 8 and Sunday, January 10 Whole Foods will be offering their entire selection of supplements at 25% off. I even have a $25 gift card to get one lucky reader started. (Giveaway widget below.)
So, back to breakfast. I know enough about health to realize that popping a few pills every morning is not enough. I need breakfast! I took advantage of this supplement education to work on a breakfast recipe that would be filling, nutritious, and most importantly really quick and easy to make. What better vehicle for protein, antioxidants, and soluble fiber is there than the great and powerful smoothie? And just to mix things up a little, this particular smoothie is meant to be enjoyed hot.
Hot smoothies. It's a thing.
Being new to protein powders I took Terri's recommendation to try out Whole Food's new Plant-Based Fit Protein in the Vanilla Cinnamon flavor. It's unsweetened and contains a few extra goodies, like green coffee extract, in addition to the totally vegan protein. I also used my own homemade Almond Milk in this recipe. When heated, it thickens the smoothie nicely and, of course, tastes way better than almond milk from the store. You can, however, use plain or sweetened store-bought Almond Milk and whatever variety of protein powder you like to make your smoothie.
Vanilla Almond Hot Breakfast Smoothie
Makes one 10-oz serving (or two 5-oz servings)
This hot smoothie recipe is packed with protein, antioxidants, and deliciousness. It can be enjoyed cold but in my opinion is much much better served hot. Try making a double or triple batch to keep in the fridge and heat on demand for instant breakfasts all week.
A note on sweetness: This was very sweet (like a dessert) when I added five dates along with my homemade Almond Milk which is also mildly sweet. You can add more or less dates and sweet or unsweetened Almond Milk to suit your own personal taste.
- 10 ounces (1 1/4 cup) Vanilla Almond Milk (recipe here)
- 1 scoop Whole Foods Plant-Based Fit Protein in Vanilla Cinnamon
- 2 to 5 pitted dates
- 1 tablespoon filtered virgin flax seed oil
- Combine ingredients in a blender and puree until very smooth. (About three minutes)
- Transfer mixture to a saucepan and heat to taste. This drink can also be microwaved in a heat-safe mug in quick 30-second bursts until heated through.
I have a $25 gift card to share! Use the widget below to enter.
I'm not one of those people who obsessively makes every ingredient in their pantry from scratch.
Don't get me wrong. I'd LIKE to be one of those people. I've even tried to be. Unfortunately, that kind of 100% total from-scratch lifestyle just isn't in the cards during this particular stage of my life. At this point, if I can cook a meal at home instead of driving through some god-forsaken window somewhere I call that a win.
So you might be surprised to know that I prefer making my almond milk at home, from scratch. There are a few reasons I do this. The most noble would be to avoid drinking all kinds of wacky stabilizers and preservatives added to commercial almond milk. The less virtuous motivation (and possibly the more pressing of the two) is that homemade almond milk tastes AMAZING. It's seriously so much better than anything you can buy at the store.
Is it an extra step? Yes. Is it a little slow and sometimes even a bit annoying? Sure. Is it worth the trouble? You bet your sweet bippy it is.
To make a very basic, non-sweetened, non-flavored almond milk simply omit the vanilla beans and dates from this recipe - then go home to your pristine lair of virtue and judge me. I need some sweetness in my life. I figure dates are not the worst variety. This recipe yields a very mildly sweet milk. If you want it to be extra sweet just add a few extra dates.
By the way, squeezing the milk through a questionably named device - the nut bag (ahem), is the best way to get a really smooth, pulp-free milk. The second best method is to strain through cheese cloth. That's very effective, but it does take a while with all the dripping and waiting involved. I don't know about you, but I haven't got all day to spend milking nuts.
The fastest method is to strain through a fine mesh strainer, but there is a drawback. This method allows much more pulp to get into the milk. Whether or not that bugs you is really up to personal taste. As long as you are using unpasteurized almonds to make your milk (see *note below) it shouldn't result in a big difference in flavor. I've tried it both ways, and you can see the difference in the following photo. The milk made with cheesecloth is on the left and the milk made with a mesh strainer is on the right.
Vanilla Almond Milk
Makes about 3 1/2 cups
- Soak the almonds and vanilla beans in water for 24-48 hours.
- Transfer mixture to a blender and blend on highest setting for 3-5 minutes or until the mixture is fairly smooth and frothy.
- Strain the mixture through a nut bag, cheesecloth, or a fine mesh strainer.
- Refrigerate for up to one week.
*I've seen these available at Whole Foods, Amazon, and occasionally at other hippie-dippie type grocery stores. Thrive Market also carries them. There is actually a huge difference (to my taste anyway) between pasteurized and unpasteurized almonds. The latter being far more bitter than the untouched variety.
Perfect for the holiday by-week, this quick and simple smoothie provides a boost of vitamins A, B5, C, and E, along with a little Zinc. I always find that my body needs a bit of extra love during this awkward stretch of days between Christmas and New Year's.
This time of year has its perks, but the cookies, presents, and general revelry are often accompanied by health busters. Stuff like emotional overload, physical exhaustion, cranky tummies, germs germs germs abound. Between travel and indulgence there is a pretty good chance of getting dehydrated to boot.
Bottom line? Too much fun can be tough on your body so it's good idea to boost your defenses in between feast days. Smoothies to the rescue!
Bells & Berries Smoothie
Makes about 16 ounces
This vitamin-packed smoothie is on the mellow side, sweetness-wise. It has a thick and creamy texture which can be thinned out by adding a little extra coconut water (up to 1/4 cup extra). When measuring the diced peppers and frozen raspberries make sure to include a little extra to make up for the empty space in your measuring cup. Heaping measurements of each usually work out just right.
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup coconut water
- 1 tablespoon lime juice (can be squeezed from about 1 lime)
- 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper (about 1/2 a pepper)
- 1/2 cup ripe avocado (about 1/2 an avocado, medium soft)
- 1 cup frozen raspberries
Add the orange juice, coconut water, and lime juice to the blender. Next add the bell pepper and avocado. Finally, top it off with the frozen berries. Blend until smooth (about1-2 minutes). Enjoy immediately!
One year ago: Jack Gilmore's Shrimp & Cheesy Grits
Two years ago: Twelve Root Veggie Recipes that Rock
Three years ago: Meyer Lemon & Pomegranate Ceviche
Four years ago: Creamy Chipotle & Quinoa Sweet Potato Casserole
I'm probably not the only one whose most ingrained memories of the holiday season revolve around food. There are certain recipes that bring me right back to a lifetime of crowded Thanksgiving tables and bustling Christmas Kitchens. My Grandfather's lobster bisque, my Mother's eggnog sugar cookies, and my Dad's Belgian waffles are just a few that come to mind.
It's not just the memories, or even the flavors that designate certain recipes as holiday foods. It's also the time and care involved in the preparation of these treats. It's not everyday that we spend hours working on a meal for our loved ones. (At least it isn't for me.) In a world where almost anything can be delivered to your door the act of cooking something from scratch is truly an act of love. That's what the holidays are all about, right?
Over the years I've noticed a few new recipes making it into the holiday rotation. I guess that's a sort of rite of passage in our family - making your own mark on the family table. I wonder which recipes my son will remember when he grows up? Maybe his mama's Almond Cake?
Nut cakes, like this one, have become coveted holiday treats in our household over the past few years. My husband is especially fond of them so I make sure to bake one for him every Christmas. They take a little extra effort and the cost of ingredients is on the dear side, so this isn't the kind of cake I throw together for just anything. It is a decidedly celebratory confection, and with over a full pound of almonds in every batch it is more than gift-worthy!
One step in this recipe that may be new to you is blanching almonds. It is a little bit time consuming, but like I said, this is holiday baking, so pour yourself a nice little glass of something, roll up your sleeves, and get ready to embrace the extra effort. The result will be well worth the extra ten minutes this step will take you.
How to Blanch Almonds
- Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil.
- Drop the almonds into the water and boil for three minutes.
- Drain the almonds into a colander and rinse with cold water until they are cool enough to handle.
- Pick up a small handful of almonds and rub them between your palms. The peels should slide off easily.
- Separate the peels from the naked almonds and repeat until you've disrobed them all.
I used Organic Whole Wheat Flour to bind this cake. Bob’s Red Mill Organic Whole Wheat Flour is stone ground from organic hard red wheat and has all of the nutritious bran and germ still intact. Nothing is lost in the process of grinding the flour! I often replace all or part of the flour in my baking recipes with Whole Wheat Flour. It's robust flavor does a great job of toning down baked goods that are overly sweet and adds a boost of vitamins, minerals and protein to my recipes.
If you are new to using Organic Whole Wheat Flour in sweets and desserts, fear not. The rule of substitution is fairly simple. In most cases you can swap Organic Whole Wheat Flour for the entire portion of All-Purpose Flour in a recipe. Using the Organic Whole Wheat Flour will result in a slightly nuttier, and somewhat heartier final product.
In my opinion, this added nuttiness often improves things like fruit cakes, quick breads, muffins, and chocolate chip cookies. For more delicate recipes, like cupcakes or sugar cookies, try substituting only half of the All-Purpose Flour with Organic Whole Wheat Flour. Bob's Red Mill is offering a printable coupon so you can give this a try with your next batch of baked goodies.
After you are finshed making these cakes you will have plenty of Organic Whole Wheat Flour leftover to experiment with. It is perfect for bread-baking. I highly recommend blending it into your pretzels, pizza crusts, and stromboli.
Whole Grain Mini Almond Pound Cakes
Makes five mini loaves
This rich, buttery pound cake is made with whole wheat flour and blanched almonds. Try replacing all or a portion of the almonds with another nut such as pistachio, hazelnut, or pecan. This cake is delicious the day it is baked but reaches its prime about three days after baking. The nut oils condense the cake, making the texture extra dense. Serve alone, or with a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of fresh whipped cream.
For the cake:
- 16 ounces blanched almonds
- 1 cup Bob's Red Mill Organic Whole Wheat Flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- the grated zest of 1 lemon
- 3 sticks (3/4 pound) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 6 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
For the topping:
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- the grated zest of 1 lemon
- the juice of 2 lemons
- 1 cup sliced or slivered almonds
- Preheat the oven to 325 F.
- Grease and flour five mini loaf pans then set them on top of a baking sheet. Set aside.
- Finely chop the almonds using a food processor. They should be chopped until they reach a uniform, sand-like texture.
- Combine the whole wheat flour, baking powder, and salt in a small mixing bowl. Whisk together.
- Mix the sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Once blended, add the butter and cream on medium-high until light and fluffy (about three minutes).
- Reduce the speed of the mixer then add the eggs one at a time. Follow with the extracts.
- Add the chopped almonds followed by the flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
- Scoop the batter evenly into the five loaf pans.
- Bake for sixty minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of one cake. The toothpick will come out dry when the cake has finished baking.
- Allow the cakes to cool on the pan for about fifteen minutes. After that, turn them out onto a cooling rack to finish cooling.
- To make the topping, combine the sugar, lemon zest, and juice in a small saucepan. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat, stirring well to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to low and allow the syrup to simmer for ten minutes. Turn off the heat, add the almonds, and stir to coat them well.
- Spread the coated almonds over the tops of the cooled cakes.
It all started back in 2011 after Japan was struck by a devastating tsunami. A handful of home bakers and food bloggers felt for the people suffering in the wake of this natural disaster and put together a massive citywide bake sale to raise money for their relief. I was still pretty new to Austin so I thought volunteering at one of the sales might be a good way to meet new people while helping out a good cause.
This was one instance where I really struck gold. I ended up meeting several people that day that are now among my closest friends in Austin. But the bigger picture went far beyond me and my social circle. Austin Bakes has since continued to raise funds for disaster relief, growing from a few tiny tables to an event that spans our entire city. This plucky little band of volunteers has helped out people all over the world and here in Texas.
Since their first bake sale in 2011, Austin Bakes has raised over $50,000! That, my friends, is a lot of cookies.
So you still might be wondering what that figure has to do with THESE cookies. Austin Bakes is where I fell in love with pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. I'm not sure who bakes the cookies that stole my heart, but I can tell you that I went through quite a few recipes looking for one that captured the soft cake-like texture and mild spice I loved so well. When I think of these cookies I think of Austin Bakes, and how marvelous it is to see people coming together to do something good.
Austin Bakes is gearing up for another sale soon - this time to help out with the refugee crisis currently going on in Europe. Mark your calendars for Sunday, November 14, and follow Austin Bakes on their site and on Facebook to keep up with news, or to find out how YOU can volunteer. Bakers of all skill levels are invited to donate goodies, and eaters of all skill levels are needed to help run tables, shop, and spread the word.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe shared courtesy of Sandra L. Oliver via the Bangor Daily News (with a few small tweaks from me)
Makes five to six dozen small cookies
These little beauties are more cake than cookie, with a soft, pillowy bite and an almost too-sweet flavor. I like to balance their sweetness by using dark chocolate chips and going a little heavy on the salt. Depending on the size of your cookies the bake time may vary a little. In my experience they can tolerate being over-cooked a bit so when in doubt let them brown up a bit more.
- 1 15-ounce can of pumpkin or about 2 cups of roasted pumpkin puree (recipe here)
- 2 teaspoons milk
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil (or any mild tasting oil like coconut or grape seed)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 4 cups all-purpose (or whole wheat) flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 12 ounces dark chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Grease cookie sheets lightly or line them with silpat or parchment.
- Stir together the pumpkin, milk and baking soda.
- Add eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla and mix very well.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and spice and add to the pumpkin mix.
- Fold in the chocolate chip.
- Drop by large teaspoonfuls on the cookie sheet. The cookies do not spread very much so you can place them very close together.
- Bake for 12 - 15 minutes of until the edges begin to brown and the cookies appear dry and firm.
After I had CC I was blessed to be surrounded by friends and family bearing delicious baked goods. If you've never gone through it, let me tell you, birth is utterly exhausting. It wipes you out - and for most mamas it is just the beginning. From there it is a long and arduous (though in its own way magical and wonderful) season of life. And I do, literally, mean season. The first three months of life with a baby is pretty intense. Whether you are breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, or feeding through a combination of the two, your body and soul needs tons of support to make it through in one piece.
Enter the lactation cookie. These little nuggets are meant to combine nutrition and pleasure into one pretty little snack. I ate quite a few different kinds of cookies while I was postpartum (no big surprise there - hehehe) and this recipe was created using my favorite parts of each one. I opted to make these into bars instead of traditional drop cookies seeing as they were exceptionally thick and hearty. Plus, to me, a bar feels a little less like a dessert and a little more like a power food - which these certainly qualify for.
Before I dive into the recipe I have an announcement to make! I am working with Spring House Press on a brand new book! This time around I will be focusing on natural and DIY solutions for Mama and Baby during pregnancy and Baby's first year. It is a subject near and dear to my heart and I can't wait to start trying out all of the fun projects I have planned.
Like The Natural Beauty Solution, my second book will include recipes for natural skin and hair care - but this time it will also include recipes for the kitchen and simple sewing and craft projects to indulge your creative side. It's going to be a bit longer and more involved than The Natural Beauty Solution - with tons of input from experts including midwives, pediatricians, herbalists, and yoga teachers! I want this book to be a helpful companion to every mother who wants to incorporate natural solutions into her and her child's life.
The book won't be coming out for a while, but you can keep up with news on The Natural Beauty Solution AND The Handmade Mama by subscribing to my book news email list. In the meantime, I am giving you this recipe as a little preview of what's to come. Creating the ultimate postpartum cookie was my top priority for this book and I am happy to have finished the recipe at just the right time for sharing my news. Yipee!
Baby Mama Postpartum/Lactation Cookie Bars
Makes about 28 bars
The cookie starts off with a classic sugar, flour, and butter base, with a dose of iron-rich molasses. Whole oats, flax seeds, hemp hearts, brewer's yeast, and almond flour give the cookies a rich array of protein and nutrients. Dark chocolate chips are added for the shear pleasure of them. If you prefer, try swapping out the chocolate for raisins or another type of dried fruit.
I jokingly forbid Scott to eat these as he is NOT lactating, but these cookies do make an awesome snack for any postpartum mama - lactating or not - and for anyone else helping to care for baby during those early months (or years). Be sure to make and freeze extra so there will be plenty for Daddy, Grandma, Aunties, and anyone else who is down there in the trenches with you.
One more thing: I made this recipe in a large baking dish - the kind of thing you would use for a lasagna or casserole. I haven't experimented with other pan sizes yet, so if you use a smaller pan or dish just keep an eye on the cookies as they bake. They may bake quicker or take extra time if you use a different sized pan as the thickness of the bars will change. Just watch them carefully as they bake - keeping an eye on the color and hardness of the cookies. You are looking for a noticeably darker bottom (deep golden-brown, but not burnt) and a consistent top. To check the bottom, carefully lift the edge of the parchment paper to peek beneath the cookies. When the cookies are finished baking the top of the pan will have a uniform appearance. The inner part of the cookie will look almost as dry as the outer edges.
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
- 4 tablespoons water
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup molasses*
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour or all-purpose gluten-free flour
- 1/4 cup almond flour/meal
- 1/4 cup hemp hearts (hulled)
- 4 tablespoons brewer's yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 cups old fashioned oats
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
*Use blackstrap molasses for a richer flavor that goes great with raisins!
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Combine the flax seeds and water in a small bowl and set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugars together in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat for ten minutes - or until fluffy.
- Add the soaked flax seeds, eggs, molasses, and vanilla and mix until well blended. (Scrape the sides down before blending to make sure everything mixes evenly.)
- Whisk together the whole wheat flour, almond flour, hemp hearts, brewer's yeast, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.
- Add the dry ingredients in two parts while mixing continuously on a slow speed. Mix until just combined.
- Add the oats and chocolate chips in on a slow speed. Mix until just combined.
- Line a 10" x 15" inch (4 quart) baking dish with parchment paper. Drop the cookie dough into the dish and do your best to spread it evenly across the dish - touch each side and corner. It doesn't have to be completely even. It's OK if it is a bit lumpy.
- Bake the bars for about 30 minutes or until the bottom of the bars are a deep golden brown and the middle of the pan appears to be thoroughly baked. Rotate the pan about halfway through cooking. (You may need to bake for an extra 10-15 minutes if using gluten-free flour.)
- Remove the dish from the oven and allow the bars to cool for one hour before slicing them into bars. Fully cooled bars can be frozen for up to three months in airtight packaging.
This holiday season was kind of a crapshoot for me when it came to DIY. It seems like every recipe or handicraft I tried went wildly wrong on my first attempt, so I found myself having to go back and try things over and over to get them right. I'm not really the most patient person, so when my first batch of coconut macaroons came out of the oven with puddles of condensed milk leaking from the bottoms I was ready to chuck them out the window.
But then Scott came over and popped one into his mouth, declaring them fit for eating. Still slightly annoyed and utterly baffled by my macaroon mishap I went ahead with the rest of my recipe - drizzling dark chocolate over the sweet sticky nests of coconut. Then I sprinkled chopped almonds, sea salt, and cayenne powder over them and was pleased to see that despite their gooey beginnings the cookies had actually become quite pretty.
Of course I still have to solve the mysterious melting issue before sharing a macaroon recipe with you all. For now, I'm going to point you toward my friend Rachelle's recipe over at Blinded by the Bite instead. She swears by this recipe and I can tell just by looking at it that it is bound to work out better than the one I started out with.
So, if you'd like to make some of these killer confections, start off by whipping up a batch of Rachelle's macaroons (click here for the recipe).
Once you are finished, melt about half a bag (6 ounces) of dark chocolate in a double boiler. I like to heat the chocolate until about half of the chips are melted, then remove it from heat and stir until the remaining chocolate melts. It's kind of a cheater method for tempering, which is a bigger deal in fancier, more advanced chocolate making.
Chop about 1 cup of almonds, then toss them in a frying pan over medium heat until you can just begin to smell them. Don't stop moving them or they will burn - and burnt nuts are just about as bad as they sound. Yucko.
Next, lay down a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper to protect your countertop, (or put a baking sheet or silpat down - that works too), then set up some cooling racks over it. Place your macaroons on the cooling racks, then use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate all over the cookies. Don't be shy. The more chocolate the better.
Now place a small cluster of chopped almonds atop each macaroon. You can either be dainty or clumsy with this part. It doesn't much matter so long as the nuts stick to the chocolate. If you make too big a mess, just drizzle a little more chocolate across the cookies. Then noone will care.
Now it's time to sprinkle salt over them. Use the fanciest salt you have handy. Sea Salt is just fine, but something like Fleur de Sal or Himalayan Pink Salt would be even better. If you only have plain salt or kosher salt on hand, that's OK too - but would be my last choice.
Finally, dust the cookies with a very tiny amount of cayenne pepper. A little bit will taste amazing, but too much might upset eaters with too delicate a sensibility. (IE: Grandma)
That's it! I hope you'll have more luck with your version than I did with mine. Since the gooey, misshapen batch I made tasted pretty killer I imagine this would do even better on pretty macaroons!
Behold, the goop! By the way, if you are wondering what on earth would have caused my macaroons to melt into crud-puddles, I think I figured it out. The recipe I used to start off with didn't include sugar or butter - two ingredients which seem to be present in every macaroon recipe that comes well recommended. These kinds of mishaps didn't used to make it onto the blog but these days I don't have much time for do-overs. So there you have it. My family eats goopey macaroons and you lucky people get to read all about it.
By the way, Happy New Year! We rang in the season by trying to drown out the sound of neighborhood fireworks with white noise. I also made it through half a beer. Better than nothing, right? It was Shiner's new Birthday beer, their take on Chocolate Stout. It's pretty good but I wish it was a little less sweet and a little more heavy. In fact, I think I just wish it was a porter - or a Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout. That shiz is the shizzzzz. Anyway, cheers and best wishes in 2015!
I've got some good news for you, and some bad. The good news is that I'm sharing a formula today for the greatest banana flavored ice cream on God's green earth. The bad news is that this recipe involves a process that takes about three days to complete. So while you now have the power to create mind-bendingly good banana ice cream, you'll have to wait three days to eat it.
<insert sad trombone sounds. waah waaaaaah.>
The key to giving this ice cream the most intense banana flavor possible is freezing and thawing overly ripe bananas. When you freeze a ripe banana it almost ferments, transforming into a caramelized goopy banana slop - chuck full of concentrated banana goodness.
I learned this little nugget of genius from Christina Tosi of Momokuku Milk Bar during an episode of PBS's The Mind of a Chef. In the episode titled "Rotten", Tosi uses frozen overripe bananas to make an epic cream pie.
Starting a batch of ice cream two days in advance might seem a little extreme, but trust me on this one. If you are thinking of skipping the rotten banana bit, don't even try it. (I'm watching you.) This recipe deserves your full cooperation.
Besides, what is it they say about a life half lived? That's nothing compared to an ice cream half bananaed.
Banana Pudding Ice Cream
Make about 1 1/2 quarts
- 3 overly ripe bananas
- 1 1/4 cup whole milk
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
- 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/8 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 package of Chessman cookies (or another shortbread cookie), smashed into chunks
- 2 cups Cool Whip
- Freeze the bananas (with their skins on) for at least 24 hours. They should turn dark brown or black. Thaw them in a bowl in the refigerator for another 24 hours. Once they are thawed, poke a hole in one end of the banana peel and squeeze the innards out into a small bowl. It will look pretty gross, but trust me, it tastes amazing!
- Stir the cream cheese and salt together in a large heat-proof bowl. Set aside.
- Combine the cornstarch with 1/4 cup milk and set aside.
- Combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for five minutes.
- Remove the pan from heat, and add the banana mixture. Use an immersion blender to puree the banana completely into the custard. (You can also use a regular blender, but beware hot liquids.)
- Whisk in the cornstarch mixture, and bring back the pan back to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, then cook for three minutes.
- Slowly pour the mixture into the bowl with the cream cheese. Whisk continuously to make sure the cheese blends in evenly.
- Add the vanilla, and mix well.
- Cool the custard as quickly as possible. You can use an ice bath or transfer it to a large shallow dish. When the custard reaches room temperature move it into the fridge (covered) and let it chill for at least four hours. Chilling it overnight is ideal.
- Churn the ice cream according to your machine's directions. You want to churn the custard until it is very thick, and is pulling away from the sides of the barrel.
- Set out the container (or containers) you plan to use to store the finished ice cream. Shake some cookie chunks, and place a dollop of Cool Whip into the bottom of each container. Now add a layer of ice cream, tapping it down to make sure it settles. Add another layer of cookie and another dollop of Cool Whip. Repeat until the container is full.
- Freeze your packed ice cream for at least four hours before digging in.