Healthy Banana “Ice Cream”

photo-344Last weekend was the autumnal equinox which means bye, bye summer, welcome autumn, fall, bright colored leaves, pumpkins and… snow? Yup that’s right it was snowing in the mountains today! photo-341 Big fluffy flakes, which we are all hoping means its going to be a great ski year. I am still trying to hold on to a few last pieces of summer and nothing says summer like ice cream. Unfortunately, I have a slight intolerance to classic ice cream, which is a HUGE bummer, because its so unbelievably delicious. Then I found out you can make “ice cream” from frozen bananas and my whole life changed. I wish that I was brilliant enough to come up with this idea because it actually is brilliant. photo-343It’s creamy, thick, and tastes like real ice cream, you’d never know it was just frozen whipped bananas. Yup that’s it- ONE ingredient. Which means its vegan, dairy free, sugar free, low calorie but it tastes like the full fat, total guilty pleasure stuff… I promise! This recipe falls into my favorite category of should I eat it for “breakfast or dessert?” It’s so healthy you could eat if for breakfast sprinkled with your favorite granola or put a scoop on pie, peach crumble or chocolate cake for an unbelievable topping. photo-342Add your favorite ingredients to make it your own: peanut butter, chocolate chips, Nutella, maple syrup, almond butter, even a few strawberries and you’ve got a totally different treat! All those ripe bananas you’ve been saving for banana bread but haven’t gotten around to it- this recipe requires less time, effort and is more delicious! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 3 frozen bananas

Optional:

  • 3-4 Tablespoons peanut butter, almond butter or Nutella
  • 1/2 Cup chocolate chips
  • 3 Tablespoons Maple syrup or honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Cup frozen strawberries

Directions:

  1. Slice bananas (like you would for cereal- pictured above) and freeze for a minimum of 3 hours or overnight, on a flat cookie sheet, baking dish or Tupperware.
  2. Place bananas in a food processor with desired ingredients (peanut butter, syrup, strawberries etc). I did peanut butter chocolate chip! Add bananas and 3-4 Tablespoons peanut butter (depending on how much you love peanut butter add more or less) and pulse until fully combined, use a spoon or spatula to break up large chunks of frozen banana.
  3. Once mixed, stir in chocolate chips at the last minute with a spoon (otherwise the food processor will chop them up.)
  4. Scoop into bowls and top with chocolate sauce, sprinkles, pretzels or your favorite ice cream sunday toppings or put a scoop on pie, cake or another delicious dessert and enjoy!
  5. If your bananas don’t seem to be mixing as easily as you’d like, add 2-3 tablespoons of almond milk or soy milk which will speed up the mixing process.
  6. Looking for more ideas to mix with your banana ice cream? Dark chocolate chunks and sea salt, strawberry banana, peanut butter and honey, Nutella banana, 2 teaspoons mint extract and dark chocolate chunks… mint chip! the options are endless… get creative!
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In a Pickle: Classic Dill or Spicy Garlic?

photo-110It has been an unusual couple of weeks here in Utah- It has rained almost everyday consistently for more than a week. Rainy weather = movie days and new kitchen experiments. I have a bizarre love for pickles. Mostly dill pickles, but I’m also not picky when it comes to pickles, I love them all. photo-106I also love weird combinations of pickles- If you’ve never tried a pickle and peanut butter sandwich, you’re seriously missing out (I know your intrigued now…so just try it.) photo-112Fall is harvest time for the mini pickling cucumbers, so I decided to attempt my first ever pickling adventure. It’s easy to find the mini cucumbers at the farmers markets or local market… but the hardest part? Figuring out which kind of delicious pickle to make! photo-108So I decided to test out two different recipes- the Classic Dill and the Spicy Garlic Dill. Both turned out amazing! If you love the classics go for the Dill but if your looking to spicy things up, the spicy garlic packs a punch- or go my route and make both! Fresh pickles all winter long- what could be better? photo-109 Spicy Garlic Dill Pickles

Ingredients:

  • 8-12 small pickling cucumbers (kirby) (approximately 3 pounds)
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons pickling salt (or Kosher Sea Salt)
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 teaspoons dill seed
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 4 half pint mason jars

Directions:

  1. Wash mason jars with hot soapy water or disinfect by putting them through the dishwasher or boiling water bath prior to canning for shelf storage. (you don’t need to do this if you plan on keeping the in the refrigerator.
  2. Wash and dry cucumbers. Cut off ends and depending on your preference, cut into chips, spears or leave whole. I used my mandolin with the ruffle edge blade to cut my cumbers into ruffled chips!
  3. Combine vinegar, water and salt in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. (If you don’t have pickling salt be sure to use Kosher sea salt- table salt does not work for pickling).
  4. Combine dill seeds, pepper corns and chili flakes together in a bowl. Divide mixture and garlic equally among the 4 mason jars. Pack cut cumbers as tightly as you can into the jars without crushing them.
  5. Pour brine into the jars leaving 1/4″ of room at the top of the jar. Remove any air bubbles by tapping the side of the jars. Wipe the rims of the jars and apply lids and bands.
  6. If processing jars for shelf stability, lower jars into your processing pot. When water returns to a boil, set a timer for 10 minutes. When time is up, remove jars from canning pot and allow them to cool. When jars are cool enough to handle, check seals.
  7. If you choose not to process your jars, let them cool before putting them into the refrigerator. Do note that your jars may seal during the cooling process. However, without the boiling water bath process, that doesn’t mean they’re shelf stable. Still refrigerate.
  8. Allow pickles to marinate for at least one week in the fridge before eating. Enjoy! photo-111Classic Dill Pickles

Ingredients:

  • 8-12 small pickling cucumbers (kirby) (about 3pounds)
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons pickling salt
  • 4 heads fresh dill or 4 teaspoons dill seeds
  • 4 small cloves garlic
  • 4 half pint mason jars

Directions:

  1. Use the same processes as above to clean mason jars. Combine vinegar, water and salt in sauce pan, bringing to a boil. Divide dill, garlic and pickles equally between the 4 jars. Follow steps 5-8 above.
  2. Enjoy!

Sweet & Savory Tomato Jam

photo-336It has been a very busy end of the summer with lots of travel to see friends and family for weddings and vacations! I just returned from 4 beautiful days on the Vineyard and I’m only home for a week before I’m off traveling again! I realized I haven’t been in my kitchen much at all this month. I tested out this recipe in Utah over Labor Day weekend and it was so fantastic when I arrived home last weekend I robbed my mother of all her tomatoes from her CSA to make a batch for her to keep!  photo-333 Fresh, plump tomatoes are one of the sweetest rewards of Fall. Heirlooms, beefsteak or cherry- you can’t go wrong – they are all so delicious and in season! With the Farmers market bursting at the seams with fresh tomatoes I’ve been looking for new and different recipes to enjoy them!  photo-335The classic Caprese salad is always a delicious treat however, I usually max out after eating it three nights in a row. This tomato jam is the perfect balance of sweet and savory- I love spreading it on a French baguette with some goat cheese or a delicious creamy cheese like St. Andrea or Brie.  photo-340It also pairs perfectly with pork tenderloin, beef and is great for jazzing up fish or chicken. There is nothing better than preserving fresh produce and pulling it out of the cupboard in the dead of winter when you’re craving a little taste of summer! photo-339It also makes a really great house warming or birthday gift… but this recipe only makes 1 1/2 pints of jam so it better be a very special (and lucky) someone because once you try it you’ll have a very hard time giving it away! Enjoy!

Sweet & Savory Tomato Jam (Original recipe from Food52)                                                  Makes 1 1/2 pints

  • 3 1/2 pounds tomatoes, coarsely chopped (red or yellow or mixture of both)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • juice of 1 lemon

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients in a 2-quart pot. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until thickened to a jam-like consistency, about 3 hours.
  2. Transfer to 3 sterilized 1/2 pint glass jars and store in refrigerator or use a hot-water canning bath for 15 minutes for long-term storage. (See here for canning 101 basics).

Here are a few other delicious and inspiring tomato recipes I am dying to try!

Almond Crisped Peaches

photo-326Holy smokes- its September. I actually have no idea where my summer went. But September means a lot of great things: kids are back in school, fall foliage, peach season and most importantly…Football season! The peaches are in full swing in Utah and they are so delicious! photo-320This recipe is a fun and healthy spin on the classic peach crumble or crisp. The individual peach halves make a beautiful presentation if you are entertaining. The crunchy almond crisp topping is light enough that it allows the sweetness of the fresh peaches to shine through – so you’re actually enjoying the peach instead of a lot of sugar. photo-321Crunchy sweet perfection. Originally, I topped the dessert with ice cream- turns out, it doesn’t need it, they are amazing au natural! And… They are gluten free! Come to think of it a dollop of plain yogurt on these peaches would make a delicious breakfast…drool.photo-324This recipe calls for such basic and simple ingredients you’re bound to have some variation on hand at all times- which makes this a perfect last minute sweet treat! Sub peaches for plums, nectarines, apples or pears. Switch up the almonds for your favorite nut- the options are endless! photo-325I’ve eaten (and made) many different kinds of peach deserts but this one might be my new favorite and definitely the easiest! Enjoy!

Almond-Crisped Peaches (Original recipe from Smitten Kitchen)

Ingredients:

  • 4 ripe peaches, halved and pitted
  • 1/3 cup whole almonds (roasted or raw)
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar (raw sugar)
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • pinch of sea salt (optional)
  • 3 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place peaches cut side up in a baking dish.
  3. In a food processor, combine almonds and sugar until coarsely ground (till only a few pebbles remain).
  4. Add oats, cinnamon and salt if adding them, and butter, pulsing until they are blended.
  5. Scoop almond mixture into the center of each peach and press flat to coat the whole top of the peach.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour (baking time will depend on peach size) till the top is brown and the fruit is soft enough to cut with fork or spoon.
  7. Serve warm with fresh whipped cream, ice cream or with a drizzle of fresh maple syrup. Enjoy!

If you don’t have a food processor, use finely chopped almonds and combine them with other dry ingredients. Melt the butter and mix with dry ingredients until thoroughly combined. Scoop mixture into peaches as directed above.   photo-327