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Desserts & Ice Creams

(Homegrown) Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Did everyone enjoy their Holiday yesterday??  It was rainy all day long here in Columbus, but the rain didn’t put an end to any of the festivities.  There was still a great parade, many outdoor BBQs, and plenty of wonderful fireworks all day and night.  I love the Fourth of July, even with rain and all.  You know what else I love?  Being off two days in a row, and….Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.

(Homegrown) Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream 2

We’ve got mint growing like crazy in our garden.  In fact, we’ve got many things growing like crazy in our garden, and I’ll be posting about our “backyard farmer’s market” soon.  We’re thinking of opening our doors around mid-August, to the public, you know….compete with all the local farmer’s markets. haha, jk.  But seriously, you should see our garden!  My husband has turned into not only the manager of people, but also the manager of a small farm in Columbus, Ohio (aka our backyard). He’s so talented

(Homegrown) Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream 3

Homemade Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, on the Lighter Side

Serves: 10 (~1/2 cup servings)

Ingredients

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond or soy milk (or skim milk)

3/4 cup sugar

1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint

2 cups chilled half and half

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions

  1.  In a blender mix the first four ingredients until well blended (pulse for about 60 seconds).  Pour into a large bowl and add the chilled half and half.  Whisk everything together until you no longer feel the grittiness of the sugar, and it’s dissolved all the way.
  2.  Add the mixture to a prepared ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s directions for making the ice cream. Once the ice cream is finished churning, mix in the chocolate chips.
  3.  Serve cold, and garnished with fresh mint if you desire.

**NOTE:  If you are following a low FODMAPs diet this recipe is safe unless you are really sensitive to lactose.  Most people with lactose intolerance will be able to handle about 12 grams of lactose in a sitting (especially when the lactose is consumed with protein and/or fat, which slows down the digestion). The amount of lactose in one serving of this ice cream is ~2 grams (that is assuming you use almond or soy milk) so it should be fine!(Homegrown) Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream 4

Estimated Nutrition Facts for 1/2-cup
Source: CalorieCount.com

Nutrition Highlights: Under 150 calories, Less fat than most ice creams you find on the shelf, plus all-natural ingredients (yeah, I said it, all natural. Let me define: No artificial colors, additives, or preservatives).

What was your favorite flavor of ice cream when you were young?  For me it was….mint chocolate chip.  Of course, it was the artificially colored green mint chocolate chip that I liked best.  Not anymore.  Now I can get fresh mint from my backyard, so who needs green food dye and peppermint extract?! Not me!(Homegrown) Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream 5

Other than mint chocolate chip my favorite flavor of ice cream now is peanut butter chocolate chunk, or almond joy gelato (our candy department sells it at work and it’s amazing). What about you?

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Desserts & Ice Creams

Vegan Nut Butter and Banana “Ice Cream”

I have an ice cream maker, but sometimes I want to make an even more simple “ice cream”, one which doesn’t involve the heavy cream, milk, sugar, a frozen canister, etc.  And it’s nice to have a vegan version of “ice cream” on hand in case you ever have a friend who is vegan or intolerant (or allergic) to dairy.   One day as I was perusing my favorite blogs, I found this great recipe from Teri at Managed Macros.  I quickly recreated it and was more pleased than I ever would have imagined!  Not only did this “ice cream” taste amazing, but it was very simple with only three ingredients.  It’s also a great way to use any bananas that are about to go bad.  Don’t let them go to waste, put them in the freezer and make this recipe!Vegan Nut Butter and Banana "Ice Cream" 7

In Nick’s words; “This stuff tastes like peanut butter, banana whipped cream!”

Vegan Nut Butter Banana “Ice Cream”

Source: Managed Macros

Serves: 2

Ingredients

2 frozen bananas, sliced into ~1-inch thick pieces

3 Tbsp. of your favorite peanut butter or almond **

~1/4th cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

 Directions

  1. Make sure your sliced bananas are nice and frozen (they should be in the freezer for a few hours, at least).
  2. Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend away!
  3. Stop and scrape the sides as needed, and continue blending/pureeing until it’s nice and creamy.
  4. Top with extra peanuts/almonds if you wish.

**NOTE:  If you are following a low FODMAPs diet you are better off using peanuts, as they contain much less FODMAPs than almonds, and the number of peanuts in this recipe should be tolerable for most FODMAPs sensitive individuals.

Estimated Nutrition Facts for 1-serving (half the recipe)
Source: CalorieCount.com
Using peanut butterVegan Nut Butter and Banana "Ice Cream" 8

This summer I tried the recipe with almond butter.  Almond butter tends to be a bit healthier than peanut butter simply because it’s a higher content of magnesium and vitamin E (And a few other properties, which you can view here).  Did you know that both vitamin E and magnesium are good for preventing, or reducing symptoms of PMS?  Yeah, ladies, stock up (or gentleman….).

Estimated Nutrition Facts for 1-serving (half the recipe)
Source: CalorieCount.com
Using almond butter

As you can see there are slightly more calories and less calcium and iron in the peanut butter version.  And there is also more vitamin E and magnesium in the almond butter version, as I mentioned, but neither of these nutrients is required to be on the label.  I would honestly say this could be a hearty snack, a really healthy dessert, or even a pretty decent breakfast (perhaps with some type of whole grain crumbled on top, such as homemade granola, cereal, popped amaranth and/or toasted wheat berries, or raw oats.Vegan Nut Butter and Banana "Ice Cream" 9

QUESTION:  What do you like better, peanut butter or almond butter?

Thanks for reading!

The Candid Rd

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Desserts & Ice Creams

Basil and Coconut Ice Cream (on the lighter side)

I tried some basil coconut gelato at work the other day, and felt like I was in heaven.  Yes, it was the perfect combination of flavors and I knew I had to try to make my own version of this dessert at home.  Nick and I bought an ice cream maker a few years ago because, well, we’re obsessed with ice cream.  You can see more of my ice cream recipes on the side of my blog under “Desserts”, and I’ll tell you what, getting an ice cream maker was the best move we’ve made as a couple.  haha, but seriously, smart.  Only $50 and we can make whichever ice cream flavor we want!  Of course it’s never as creamy and smooth as what you might find in the store (for a couple reasons, first we don’t add gums and fillers to make it creamy, and second I try to reduce the fat and sugar in the ice creams I make, and both fat and sugar add to the creaminess of ice creams).Basil and Coconut Ice Cream (on the lighter side) 11Sometimes it takes a little experimenting to make the perfect ice cream, other times I get it right the first time.  The blueberry ice cream you see on the side of my blog is Nick’s absolute favorite (and you’ll get another great blueberry FRO YO recipe later this week!) but my first trial with this recipe was in Nick’s words “too basily”.  I liked it.  Basically I had used a full cup of basil (a lot…. but I love my basil!) so this second time I cut down on the basil a bit, and voila!  Perfection.Basil and Coconut Ice Cream (on the lighter side) 12Basil and Coconut Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chilled half and half
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond-coconut milk (I used Almond Breeze)
  • ½ cup loosely packed basil
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 T sweetened coconut shreds **
  • 3 T unsweetened coconut shreds **
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl mix the half and half, milk, and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Add the mixture to a blender with the basil, vanilla, and coconut.  Blend for about 30 seconds to one minute, on and off, or until basil is chopped sufficiently.
  2. Add the mixture to a prepared ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s directions for churning.
  3. NOTE:  If you don’t have an ice cream make you could also pour into a large bowl and put in freezer, mixing every thirty minutes for about 2 hours, or until frozen. I haven’t tried this myself, but it typically works with mixes such as this.

Notes

** If you follow a low FODMAPs diet be aware that coconut contains FODMAPs.  This small amount of coconut didn’t seem to bother me, personally, but you may want to reduce the amount especially if you are sensitive to polyols (the “P” in FODMAPs).  According to the Monash University phone app, however, there aren’t enough polyols in coconut to really have an effect at levels of ¼th cup or less, so…..you should theoretically be fine with one serving of this ice cream.Basil and Coconut Ice Cream (on the lighter side) 13Yum, almond coconut milk, so delicious.Basil and Coconut Ice Cream (on the lighter side) 14

Estimated Nutrition Facts for one Serving (~1/2 cup)
Source: CalorieCount.com

Nutrition Highlights:  Under 150 calories, good source of calciumBasil and Coconut Ice Cream (on the lighter side) 15

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 QUESTION:  Ok, it’s almost summer, go ahead and tell me, what’s your favorite flavor of ice cream??  For me it’s anything with peanut butter.  I especially love peanut butter ice cream with chunks of Reece’s Peanut Butter cups!

Did you have a nice weekend?  Nick and I got so much done this weekend, it was great.  Plus we still had time to relax.  Isn’t that the best combination?!  Today I get to meet my new OBGYN (again, no, I’m not pregnant!).  Stay tuned for a post coming soon all about what I’m doing to get my body primed for carrying a baby, because yes…it will hopefully be happening soon (and from what I hear from other women, “soon” means like 6-8 months…. haha, I guess we’ll have to be patient!).

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Desserts & Ice Creams

Chocolate Teff Pudding (Experimenting with Gluten Free Grains!)

I have become more aware of what I’ve been eating lately, since Nick and I have been thinking about having a baby (yes, the cat’s out of the bag if it wasn’t already).I know I’m healthy, and my diet is prety stellar (if I do say so myself), but before getting pregnant it’s important to make sure you’re in tip-top shape both physically and mentally.  I had quite a scare the other day when my doctor told me my liver enzymes were high, and of course I went right to WedMD and saw that it could mean I have Celiac Disease (but that was of course the only thing I saw out of a list a mile long of possible reasons).  I was tested last year, but only via the blood antibiody test (ie: not the gold standard) but thankfully my doctor assured me that my results weren’t high enough to warrant any concern. Phew!  Either way, I’ve been trying to do as little gluten as possible, as I do know that I’m mildly gluten sensitive, and if my body needs to be ready to house a baby for 9 months, well, I better start eating to make it the healthiest it’s been!  And yes, that means little to no alcohol, and very little caffeine (I won’t lie, that caffeine one has been tough.  I’m down to 1.5 cups a day from about 3).  So in mid-March I made a late resolution, of sorts, to start experimenting with new gluten free grains this year.  I’ve tried amaranth, different colors and varieties of quinoa, and now it’s teff time.

What’s teff?  It’s a gluten free whole grain, duh! And here’s a little more from the Bob’s Redmill website;

Source– Bobs Red MillChocolate Teff Pudding (Experimenting with Gluten Free Grains!) 17

Teff. Raw. Beautiful
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I can see how this could be “polenta-like”….it’s the same exact consistency of polenta once it’s cooked.  Kind of funky if you ask me.Chocolate Teff Pudding (Experimenting with Gluten Free Grains!) 18When Jessie suggested I make teff pudding, I was…..confused.  This stuff can turn to a delicious pudding?  Yes, she said she makes teff pudding often and really enjoys it. I didn’t quite understand.  But after making the following recipe, I understood the obsession.  Brace yourself.  This polenta-like cooked grain can indeed turn into something wonderful and heavenly.

Chocolate Teff Pudding

  Ingredients

2 cups water

1/2 cup raw teff grain

3 T cocoa powder (unsweetened)

2 T maple syrup

2 t vanilla extract

pinch of salt

NOTE:  This recipe is Low FODMAPs and gluten free

Directions

  1.  In a small pot, bring water and teff grain to a boil, then cover and simmer over very low heat for 15-20 minutes or until water is absorbed, stirring occasionally.  Let cool to room temperature.
  2.  In a blender or food processor, blend cooked teff and remaining ingredients until smooth and light.  Add additional water if it’s too thick (**I liked it extra thick, but you may not!).
  3.  Pour into serving bowl, chill, and serveChocolate Teff Pudding (Experimenting with Gluten Free Grains!) 19When I showed the picture of this pudding to my mom, she sort of winced a bit.  I insist, it’s amazing.  I actually ate this alone or with a little PB2 on top.  I also found myself adding it to my morning fruit and yogurt “parfait”.  I think I’m done experimenting with teff because I’ve found its calling! Jessie, you were right, this is fantastic!Chocolate Teff Pudding (Experimenting with Gluten Free Grains!) 20Chocolate Teff Pudding (Experimenting with Gluten Free Grains!) 21Estimated Nutrition Facts for 1-serving

Source: CalorieCount.com

Nutrition Highlights:  Excellent source of fiber, good source of protein (hey, for a dessert, that’s pretty cool, right?!)

The next gluten free grain on my list is millet.  We’ll see if it can top teff and amaranth! Any suggestions for millet recipes?  I’ve already been given a few, but I’d love more!

Thanks for reading everyone, and enjoy your weekend!  Tomorrow I get to ride in a 30-mile bike race for the Tour De Cure (a bike race put on by the American Diabetes Association).  I’ll admit it’s been a while since I’ve ridden a bike, but I think my legs are in great shape so I’m pretty pumped (pun intended).

Categories
Desserts & Ice Creams

Blueberry and Lime Frozen Yogurt

As a part of my store tours at work, we always stop by the gelato shop to taste samples of fresh homemade gelato. I proceed to explain that gelato typically contains less fat than ice cream because it’s made with milk instead of heavy cream. But, does that mean gelato is always the best choice? Not necessarily. These days you can find gelato loaded with everything from chocolate chip cookies to chunks of peanut butter to pieces of cake (yes, I’ve seen it). So the truth is, there isn’t a “right answer” to the question; “Which is better for you, gelato, ice cream, sorbet, or frozen yogurt?”With all of these varieties of frozen novelties you can find some that have been turned into something that’s not so healthy. For example, these fro yo (frozen yogurt) stores that are popping up everywhere……

Blueberry and Lime Frozen Yogurt 23INSTAGRAM

Many of them say “healthy” on their window and on their website, and even their calorie counts look really low because (look closely!) many of them use 1-ounce as the “Serving”. HAHAHAHA, I’m rolling around laughing right now. I called one company about this 1-ounce serving size once, and they said “we choose 1-ounce because typically people take an ounce of several flavors, so with the 1-ounce serving size they can easily add up their calories”. Once again….HAHAHAHA!!! Sure, soft serve yogurt is typically lower in fat, but it also typically contains more sugar compared to ice cream (and thus very comparable to ice cream when it comes to calories). Not to mention the endless opportunities you have to load up your large bowl with extra sugary goodies (I’m always reminded of that Seinfeld episode…you know, the one with the “fat free yogurt shop”. We still haven’t learned!).

Bottom Line: Ice cream typically has more fat, and less or the same amount of sugar compared to gelato. Sorbet is typically fat free (and lactose free, by the way) but contains more sugar than gelato and ice cream. And fro yo? It’s somewhere in the middle, and it depends on what type of fro-yo you’re getting. Soft serve fro yo tends to have more sugar than ice cream and gelato, and the harder versions (ones you might find in the freezer at your supermarket) tend to have about the same amount of sugar. But of course, there are always exceptions to these “rules” … I mean, have you seen all the varieties of ice cream, fro yo, gelato, sorbet, etc. in your supermarket?! There are tons!!!! So here is what I try to look for in all varieties of frozen goodies:150 calories or less, 15-18 grams of sugar, and 3-6 grams of fat per serving. And of course, stick with 1 serving (most of the time….). Want more info? This website (with a nice sexy man on the page) explains the more technical differences between each of these treats, and provides a nice conclusion at the end.

Can you tell this topic is one that I get asked quite often? I wish everyone would just go out and buy an ice cream maker, because they are so easy to use and fun to experiment with. But since I know most of you don’t have an ice cream maker, I’m providing a recipe that doesn’t require one. All it requires is a little arm strength (and by little, I really mean a little). And the great part about this recipe is that the ingredients are all pronounceable. That’s something that is hard to find these days.

Blueberry and Lime Frozen Yogurt 24

Blueberry Lime Frozen Yogurt

Serves: 6 (1/2 cup each)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Chill Time: 2 hours

Source:  Dietitians and Recipe Developers at Giant Eagle

Ingredients

12 oz. bag frozen blueberries

1/4 cup honey**

1 tsp. vanilla

Zest of 1 lime

Juice of 1/2 lime

2 cups nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt**

Mint sprigs for garnish

Directions

Place berries, honey, lime juice, lime zest, and vanilla in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture reaches desires consistency (you may need to add a dash of water to help if you are using a blender). Add the yogurt and then pulse until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl and place in freezer for 1-2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes, until set. Serve garnished with fresh mint if desired.

**NOTE: If you are following a low FODMAPs diet, use maple syrup instead of honey. Also, be sure to choose a vanilla Greek yogurt that is free of honey or HFCS. If you’re lactose intolerant, you may be surprised at how well you can tolerate this small amount of Greek yogurt (Greek yogurt contains less lactose than regular yogurt).Blueberry and Lime Frozen Yogurt 25I really enjoyed this dessert, a lot. I could taste the honey throughout each bite (and since I typically avoid honey, it was glorious to taste it again!). So refreshing, and it (almost) meets my recommendations for nutrition facts from above;

Blueberry and Lime Frozen Yogurt 26Estimated Nutrition Facts for 1/2 cup
Source: CalorieCount.com

Ok, so I did recommend sticking to 15-18 grams of sugar per serving, but let’s be honest, most of this sugar is from the delicious blueberries! So, we’ll let that “rule” slide in this case (as should you, if the main ingredient in your frozen treat is fruit!). Check out the other Nutrition Highlights: Under 150 calories, low fat, low sodium, good source of protein and vitamin C

Blueberry and Lime Frozen Yogurt 27

So there is no need to fear if you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can make this with the strength of your hands and a wooden spoon! But, of course, I still recommend the $50-$60 it takes to buy an ice cream maker…..that is, unless you aren’t as obsessed with ice cream as Nick and me. But come on, who doesn’t love ice cream?? Especially when it’s 90 degrees with 100% humidity!Blueberry and Lime Frozen Yogurt 28I’m curious, what’s your favorite summer ice cream treat? I can still remember the ice cream truck pulling up in front of our house when I was young. I always got the blue popsicle with the gum ball on top (BORING!). Now I would say my favorite summer treat is a bowl of cookies and cream, mint chocolate chip, or chocolate peanut butter chunk.

Off to my cousins wedding now. Going as a single lady because Nick has to work, yet again. Oh well, I’m still excited!! I love love love weddings (and you know what I love more than ice cream? Wedding cake!!).

Categories
Desserts & Ice Creams

Valentine’s Day Chocolates (Under 100 Calories!), Lighter Ice Creams, and Dinner for Two

If you are sitting at home, or at work, loveless, hopeless, and just hating Valentine’s Day, you’re not alone.  In fact, even some married women (myself included) really despise Valentine’s Day. Yep, it’s true, I really don’t like it.  I never have. It all started in elementary school when I would get my hopes up that the boy I had a massive crush on would get me a special Valentine, and….he never did.  I still take a moment of silence each year to reflect on those sad days.  But now, as a married thirty-year-old, I figure why not try to be a little positive?  Today I will reflect on a couple of reasons why I can look forward to this gag-worthy “Hallmark Holiday”.  For starters, it’s an excuse for Nick to cook…..Valentine’s Day Chocolates (Under 100 Calories!), Lighter Ice Creams, and Dinner for Two 30

Yes, he will be preparing this.

We are sharing the love with a Valentine’s “Dinner for Two” from a local supermarket.  It’s two filets and two lobster tails.  Although to be honest, I want his lobster tail too, I don’t want to share the love. HA!  He could eat both filets and I could eat both lobster tails.  Although…I suppose that wouldn’t be nice considering I care about his heart (and, I love filets too….darn it. Can I have both meals??).Valentine’s Day Chocolates (Under 100 Calories!), Lighter Ice Creams, and Dinner for Two 31

Source: iStock Photo

Another reason I remind myself that this holiday isn’t so bad after all is because it’s an excuse to eat chocolate and serve chocolate at work to unsuspecting customers. It’s so fun to do chocolate for a change!  The recipe below was found on a kefir website recently and I thought it sounded amazing. Let me know if you try it, I haven’t yet (and I have no clue how many calories are in it, or how many truffles it makes, but I wanted to share it!).  I’ll probably never make these either unless I can find an alternative to agave (it’s certainly not low FODMAPs).

Truffles!

SOURCE OF RECIPE: Natalie Slater

But I did make this chocolate truffle from EatingWell.com and I highly recommend them (as do the more than 100 customers who tried them last week!).  They are only 64 calories and truly delicious.  Let’s be honest, how can pretzel, peanut butter, and dark chocolate not be delicious?  And if you want more chocolate treat ideas for under 100 calories, check out the rest of Eating Well’s recipes. Valentine’s Day Chocolates (Under 100 Calories!), Lighter Ice Creams, and Dinner for Two 32

Three ingredients….Valentine’s Day Chocolates (Under 100 Calories!), Lighter Ice Creams, and Dinner for Two 33

Literally, a very simple pleasure that even the non-chocolate lovers where I work enjoyed!Valentine’s Day Chocolates (Under 100 Calories!), Lighter Ice Creams, and Dinner for Two 34

So, for those of you love Valentine’s Day, and looking forward to a dip in your heart-shaped jacuzzi later with your love, please enjoy it. Valentine’s Day Chocolates (Under 100 Calories!), Lighter Ice Creams, and Dinner for Two 35

For those of you sitting at home alone, please, have no fear, your day of snuggles, flowers, and heart-shaped jacuzzis will come one of these days.  Have no fear. Meanwhile, Nick and I will be enjoying some chocolate (and homemade ice cream, see below!), filets, and lobster tails, while watching our Thursday night shows on TV. Romantic, eh?  Maybe we’ll light a candle, or two.  Hmmm..maybe not.Valentine’s Day Chocolates (Under 100 Calories!), Lighter Ice Creams, and Dinner for Two 36

I made blueberry ice cream for Nick, check out the recipe here.

I also made peppermint cookies and cream ice cream, which is a modified version of this recipe. Just omit the cinnamon, nutmeg, and walnuts, and replace them with some crumbled Oreos and a dash of peppermint extract.Valentine’s Day Chocolates (Under 100 Calories!), Lighter Ice Creams, and Dinner for Two 37Valentine’s Day Chocolates (Under 100 Calories!), Lighter Ice Creams, and Dinner for Two 38

Instagram shot from last night, yes, we dug in one day early….I saved the blueberry surprise for today!

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Desserts & Ice Creams

Chocolate, Almond, and Dried Plum No-Bake Cookie Bites

I was perusing The Lean Green Bean’s blog one day and came across a recipe for no-bake cookies that caught my eye. I’m a sucker for no-bake cookies (let’s face it, I’m a sucker for anything that combines peanut butter or almond butter and chocolate). On my day off a couple weeks ago I decided to make them, but I didn’t want to spend $5 on dried cherries, so I used the dried plums I already had (which served as a double win for me because that meant Nick wouldn’t touch them, muahaha).

Chocolate, Almond, and Dried Plum No-Bake Cookie Bites

Ingredients

  • 5 cups oats **
  • 
1/2 cup dried plums, chopped
 **
  • ½ cup almond butter
 **
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chips
  • 
2 T chia seeds

Instructions

  1. Combine the oats, chia, and dried plums in a medium bowl. Mix to combine.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt together the almond butter and chocolate. Mix to combine.
  3. Add the melted almond butter and chocolate to the dried ingredients. Mix to combine.
  4. Drop about 16 cookies/bites on a cookie sheet. Put in freezer for about 15 minutes, or longer (until they start to get hard).

Notes

** If you are following a low FODMAPs diet, just stick to one of these cookie bites at a time. The prunes and almond butter both have FODMAPs (especially when consumed in larger amounts), but the amount in this recipe shouldn’t be an issue if you just have one cookie bite at a time. Also, buy gluten free oats if you are following a gluten free diet.

Nutrition Information

Serving size: 1/18th of batch Calories: 88 Fat: 5.4 Carbohydrates: 8 Sugar: 1.4 Fiber: 1.6 Protein: 3Chocolate, Almond, and Dried Plum No-Bake Cookie Bites 40I don’t know what it is about these, but they are addicting and I can’t stop eating them. They might be a replacement for my old favorite homemade granola recipe…..I haven’t decided yet. I keep them in my freezer at all times, and pretty much nibble on them through the day.Chocolate, Almond, and Dried Plum No-Bake Cookie Bites 41Can you beat a snack that is less than 100 calories, contains basically zero sodium, plus chocolate, and provides close to 2 grams of fiber? Yes, you probably can, but still…the stats are pretty great. You can make this snack even more filling and nutrient-packed by eating it with a cup of almond breeze or even crumbled in some plain Greek yogurt.Chocolate, Almond, and Dried Plum No-Bake Cookie Bites 42QUESTION: What do you crave in the middle of a long day?! I tend to crave salty snacks like salted cashews on some days and sweet snacks (like these no-bake bites) on the other days.

Categories
Desserts & Ice Creams

Cinnamon Walnut Ice Cream

I had some cinnamon ice cream this weekend at Nick’s mom’s house, and fell in love. When I got home I set out to make my own, and must say I was pretty successful!

Cinnamon Walnut Ice Cream

INGREDIENTS
(Makes about 12-half cup servings)

2 cups chilled half and half
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts

DIRECTIONS

  1. Mix the milk and sugar together in a bowl until sugar is well blended. Add the half and half and the spices, mix well (I use a whisk).
  2. Put in an ice cream maker (after it’s been frozen according to directions) and churn for about 20 minutes.

** If you don’t have an ice cream maker add it to a popsicle mold and make cinnamon popsicles! Or you could make this into a milkshake by adding some vanilla frozen yogurt, pre-made, and blending. Yum, right?!**

  1. Once the ice cream is done, add the chopped walnuts and blend well.Cinnamon Walnut Ice Cream 44Nutrition Facts

(Serving Size, 1/2 cup)

Ok, so it’s loaded with calories, but you could lighten it up by doing the following;

  • Use fat free half and half
  • Use a calorie free sugar, such as NuNaturals
  • Simple use a bit less sugar (maybe 2 T less)
  • Omit the walnuts
    Or you could just ENJOY! We all need a splurge every once in a while, and it’s nice when your ice cream splurge is made with only seven ingredients, all of which you can pronounce

QUESTION: What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream this time of year? Another of my favorites is this butternut squash ice cream, which can also be made with pumpkin.

Did you see my butternut squash fries I posted on Saturday? We just picked the last of the squash from our garden so I have 2 or 3 more recipes to post, including butternut squash pizza and butternut squash spoon bread. Enjoy your Monday!

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Desserts & Ice Creams

Butternut Squash Ice cream and This Week’s News

Here are some health and nutrition highlights from this week;

Really? The Claim: Drinking Green Tea Can Help Lower Your Cholesterol

(Like most green tea claims, this one is slightly off.)

Saturated Fat Reductions Not As Effective For Cholesterol Reduction, Study Says

(The title makes it sound like eating a low saturated fat diet isn’t effective for reducing cholesterol, but in reality this study showed that a diet high in fiber, soy, plant sterols, and nuts, all of which are known to help reduce cholesterol, work better at reducing LDL cholesterol than a low saturated fat diet alone. You can read more information about this study here.)

Ban on Using Food Stamps to Buy Soda Rejected by U.S.D.A.

(What’s your opinion on this issue? Personally, I think it’s ridiculous that people can use food stamps to buy soda, but at the same time, is soda any worse than half of the other food/drinks that food stamps can be used to buy, such as Gatorade and Twinkies?? Not so much.)

Maggie Goes on a Diet the Sensible Way in Children’s Book

(There is a new children’s book out, which tells the tale of a young and overweight girl who goes on a diet. The premise sounds harmless and even helpful for some children, but the title has got to go. The word “diet” just makes me cringe, especially when used in this context.)

Antibiotic Use Has Grown Along With Obesity; Coincidence?

(Antibiotics are prescribed often, and they are killing beneficial bacteria in our gut. While this has been known for a while, new research suggests that by killing certain bacteria we may be promoting other problems such as heartburn and even obesity!)

And now for some butternut squash news! As I said last weekend, my plan is to try to come up with a different way to use butternut squash each week from now until the winter. Some of you gave me some great ideas and recipes and I’ve saved them all and am looking forward to doing some work in the kitchen. This week I found two new ways to use the butternut squash….

Smoothies!

(cooked butternut squash, banana, mixed greens, and frozen blueberries mixed with unsweetened vanilla almond milk and a bit of juice)Butternut Squash Ice cream and This Week’s News 46Ice Cream!

In a blender mix 2 cups half and half (chilled), 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 3/4 cup sugar, 1.5 cups cooked/cooled butternut squash, 1 tsp nutmeg and 1 tsp pumpkin spice. Put into an ice cream maker and churn for ~20 minutes.Butternut Squash Ice cream and This Week’s News 47Oh

My

CREAMINESS!Butternut Squash Ice cream and This Week’s News 48

Thanks for the idea, Meghan!!!

And, butternut squash wedding cake!!! haha, jk. This is random, but I had to share it with you. Nick and I went to a wedding last weekend and this was the cake.Butternut Squash Ice cream and This Week’s News 49I’ve been taking note of great cakes lately, and this one was right up my alley. The design was simple, yet elegant. Nick and I both took one look at this cake and said, “oh man, that’s fondant, what a bummer”, because it looked too perfect to be butter cream (and we both hate the taste of fondant). But no, it was butter cream, my friends, and it was amazing.

Categories
Desserts & Ice Creams

Avocado Ice Cream and Perfiteroles

Nick’s sister, Meghan, is not only a surgeon but also a master chef. A few weeks ago she made dinner for Nick, Nick’s mom, my family and me, and of course it was amazing. As I usually say, the best part was the dessert. She made profiteroles (fancy name for cream puffs). If I would have made these, I would have used this recipe (Rachael Ray’s easy version), but Meghan did it the hard way and followed this recipe.Avocado Ice Cream and Perfiteroles 51The “cream” inside this profiterole is actually gelato. She offered us one of three flavors; vanilla, coffee, or caramel. I chose vanilla and coffee, because….I wanted to  If you’ve never made profiteroles (or cream puffs) I suggest that you do. Even if you use the simple recipe, it’s a great way to impress guests. And of course, they taste amazing. I think if I ever do make profiteroles for a dinner party, I will fill them with Avocado Frozen Yogurt. Yes, you read that right, Avocado Frozen Yogurt!

I based the following recipe off of this recipe for Avocado Ice Cream, but I’m calling it fro yo because there is zero cream in this recipe (and zero added sugar!).

Gina’s Avocado Frozen Yogurt

Serves ~8

Ingredients

3 ripe avocados
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
~6 tablespoons Truvia (or any natural, sugar-free sweetener)
8 ounces plain yogurt ( whichever kind you prefer, but I used Stonyfield)
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth. Transfer to a a bowl or ice cream maker. If not using an ice cream maker, freeze in an airtight container for at least 2 hours. When ready to use, let it thaw slightly, giving it another stir.Avocado Ice Cream and Perfiteroles 52** If you want this to be a vegan recipe, use soy or coconut yogurt instead of regular cow’s milk yogurt. **

Since the frozen yogurt is sugar free, it did freeze rather fast, and became really hard. In fact, it turned into a frozen ROCK in the freezer.Avocado Ice Cream and Perfiteroles 53After letting it sit out for about three hours, we were finally able to “chunk” it out (not scoop, it wasn’t smooth enough). While the end product wasn’t so pretty, it was the best frozen yogurt I’ve ever tasted (and Nick’s mom agreed!).Avocado Ice Cream and Perfiteroles 54I will be making this at least ten more times this summer. It was tasty even before it was frozen!

Nutrition Facts (estimated)

Serving Size: 1/2 cup

QUESTIONS: Do you like avocado? Have you ever tried it frozen in fro yo?! I actually made this recipe for work, but didn’t put it in the ice cream maker. In other words, I made the fro yo base, but gave it out and called it “avocado yogurt”, not fro yo, because it wasn’t frozen. I added some granola on top for a nice crunch. Some people loved it, others hated it….it was interesting. I loved it. What can I say, I’m an avocado FREAK!