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Ice cream

Banana “Ice Cream” with Toasted Coconut, Almonds, & Dark Chocolate

Google has the answer to everything.

I mean, have you ever wondered why old people love butterscotch candies so much? I did and I googled it… here is the answer. Please read the entire explanation.

I think the best part is the last sentence. Spot on, right?

I’ve discovered that my soul must be about 70 because some of my favorite sweets include butterscotch candies, Fig Newtons, peppermint patties, and Almond Joys. Simplicity is good in the candy world. The sweet and salty versions and contrasting textures that make up a good bar.

Almond joys are great examples: coconut, almonds, and dark chocolate. I mean, it’s kind of just simple perfection. Or perfect enough for me to want to put the ingredients on top of my ice cream anyway.

When you dream and work in the food world — you always want to experiment with what you create. To be wild and explorative makes things interesting. Adding bourbon to sauces and cookies, baking with brown butter, adding green chile to eggs. These things are totally what I’m about–keeping it fearless and sassy.

Like what about cake? Sometimes baking cakes can be complete experiments. No fear. Upside Down Salted Caramel Apple Pecan and dark chocolate raspberry are so much more fun–to eat AND make. In fact the other day I got some wonderful news regarding my Chocolate-Coconut and Pumpkin Marble Bundt Cake that won a recipe contest last fall. Nordic Ware contacted me and asked if they could use the recipe in their new cookbook coming out this Fall… of course I said yes! There’s even a chance it might make it on the cover.. yay!

Anyway my point is that applying more spontenaity to my actual life could be beneficial. These days I tell myself to pursue the projects I think I might enjoy. If they don’t work out, then it’s not meant to be. Right now, I’ve got A LOT of thing I’m working on… including a guest post from someone VERY special this week!

Opportunities are endless.

Can ice cream be endless too?

Without a doubt. Especially when it’s healthy and vegan. Although I will admit that this really isn’t ice cream — it’s a one ingredient guiltless summer treat. All you need is a couple of frozen bananas and a food processor (or a blender). Once the frozen banana are processed, they turn into a creamy treat that mimicks your favorite soft serve! Make sure you use ripe bananas to ensure sweetness and an irresistable texture. You’ll be surprised by this one.

I’ve even thought up some outrageous toppings to add. Head on over to the Food Network’s Healthy Eats and check it out!

 

Banana “Ice Cream” with Toasted Coconuts, Almonds, & Dark Chocolate

To make the banana ice cream:

Start with 2-4 ripe bananas. Peel your bananas and cut them into small chunks. Freeze for just 2-4 hours on a plate or in a plastic bag. Place into food processor and process (you can use a blender as well), making sure to scrape down the bowl when they stick. Again process the bananas until they create a creamy puree. Serve in a cold bowl or in a cone. Each banana will make ½ cup of “ice cream.”

To make Almond Joy version:

Add 2 tablespoons of toasted coconut, 1 tablespoon of chocolate chips, and 1 tablespoon of chopped almonds to a medium bowl. Sprinkle on top of banana ice cream.

 

Blackberry & Chocolate Greek Frozen Yogurt Cones

Wayyy back before my obsession with yoga, shopping for shoes,  and the Food Network, I was a child who loved the following:

-barbies

-baking

-drawing pictures of ballerinas

-reading mystery books

My mom says that I was usually happiest when I was being creative… but she’s so wrong. There was something else that made me completely happy. Uhhh no, it wasn’t a margarita… or Nick Carter from the Backstreet Boys. It was something much much better.

 

Ice cream! Had you guessed by the giant picture of the ice cream cone?

Back up. Let me just fill you in for a sec. I pretty much ate ice cream in any form possible.

Bubble gum push pops.

Neapolitan ice cream sandwiches.

Snickers ice cream bars.

Moose tracks.

Bowls of vanilla bean.

Sundaes. (I always asked for more hot fudge and peanuts.)

Peanut butter cup DQ Blizzards.

Wait… Banana split? Happy for weeks.

I mean seriously what’s better than ice cream when you’re a kid?

Absolutely NOTHING.

My favorite way to have ice cream was every Sunday with my Dad. We sort of had this ridiculous tradition which consisted of eating everything my Mom wouldn’t give me. So at the end of each weekend in the summer we’d go to Dairy Queen. I’d get a vanilla cone with sprinkles on it; sometimes even dipped in butterscotch or cherry. Mom always told Dad to stop bringing me, but we just laughed about it and kept showing up at the house with ice cream cones bigger than our faces.

I totally miss the days where I could eat anything I wanted. Last summer I looked up the calories in dipped cones at DQ; let’s just say I now reserve those for special days. When I’m craving ice cream, I opt for frozen yogurt and even make my own that tastes just as good as the real thing. It doesn’t require an ice cream maker (although you can use one) and it’s perfect for the single girl (or guy).

This fro-yo is made with plain nonfat greek yogurt (good for you), cocoa powder (antioxidant), and stevia (all natural sweetener). I have a berry and chocolate obsession so that’s what happened here.

All that on top of a sugar cone? #freakingdelicious

Yep I just hashtagged in this post. Time to go eat a cone.

Blackberry & Chocolate Greek Frozen Yogurt Cones (with or without an ice cream maker)

Makes 1 serving

1 cup plain non-fat greek yogurt

2 1/2 teaspoons cocoa powder

1 packed all natural sweetener (I used Truvia-it’s less bitter))

6 berries (blackberries or raspberries)

1 sugar cone

 

Directions (without an ice cream maker)

  1. Mix yogurt, cocoa powder, and sweetener together in a small bowl. Next scoop yogurt into an ice cube tray. Cover and place in freezer for at least an hour or two.
  2. One yogurt is frozen, remove from freezer and let it thaw out for a bit until it starts slightly melting or becoming creamy around the edges.
  3. Once yogurt is a bit thawed, remove from ice cube tray and place the yogurt in a blender. Blend for about 5-10 second or until yogurt is slightly creamy, scooping down the sides if needed. Add berries and scoop out of blender and immediately place in cone.

Notes

  • If you are using an ice cream maker, simply mix all ingredients together then transfer to your ice cream maker
  • Feel free to omit the berries and add sprinkles instead
  • This recipe would make great frozen yogurt pops

 

Top Five Easy & Healthy Desserts + Tips

Let’s talk about eating healthy.

Well, I’ll be honest with you, it’s hard. Like really hard!

It can be difficult even knowing where to begin.  There are temptations everywhere you go! Especially when you’re waiting in line for your morning cup of joe at Starbucks.  Next to the register awaits buttery banana walnut bread screaming to be paired with a salted caramel hot chocolate. I’m totally guilty!  After munching on this, a headache and guilt ensues.  My eyes were bigger than my stomach. Again.

I’m here to tell you that eating healthy takes a lot of experimenting.  Some days you’ll eat beautiful colorful salads, quinoa, and everything labeled organic and natural.  Other days you’ll feel as though your car drove itself to the McDonald’s drive thru as you barely remember chomping on salty french fries.  You’ll eat these Poptarts for breakfast simply because you love them. You’ll give yourself excuses too. Maybe your boyfriend and you broke up and you ate a pint of Ben and Jerry’s plus six chocolate chip cookies. (Okay you might have good reasoning here– that jerk)!  Of course we all have that love/hate relationship with Chinese buffets.

I’m obsessed with Berets.

No matter what the case, we all have downfalls!  Most of the time we feel regretful and guilty, but learning from those indulgences and moving on is the only thing you can do. While giving into your cravings is okay every once in a while,  the trick is realizing that your body is happier eating eggs and oatmeal for breakfast. Chocolate chip muffins bigger than your face are awkward to eat and big no-nos.  Oh, and that inhaling that box of Oreo cookies isn’t going to solve a crisis.  Even though I really wish they would.

But where do you begin with this health chaos you’re in?

Continue reading

Raspberry Frozen Yogurt with Dark Chocolate

 

How many times will you drive in your car, laugh at a joke, or hold someone’s hand?

How many sunsets will you watch, thank you notes will you write, or hot chocolates will you drink?

How many times will you fall in love, kiss a stranger, or dance in front of the mirror?

How many lattes will you order, glasses of wine will you drink, or pizza will you eat?

How many nights will you live to remember?

AND How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop? Does anyone have the answer?

 

Truthfully, I always wondered as a kid how long it would take to get to the center. I think I tried it once but gave up after 100 licks and ate the pop in one bite. What delicious little tootsie roll pops they were though.

 

But really, do you ever wonder what life will be like in the future for you? What you’ll be doing? If you’ll have the same people in your life?  The same opinions? The same choices? Who you’ll meet? Where you’ll live? What you’ll be known and remembered for?

 

I do. 

 

Sometimes I think I should have gone to culinary school.  Yet sometimes I don’t want to cook at all. Sometimes I wonder if I’m making the right choices; choosing the right path for myself.  Sometimes I like going to movies and other times I like reading magazines.  Sometimes I feel like oatmeal instead of pie or red velvet cupcakes instead of broccoli. Sometimes I want to run, sometimes I prefer yoga.

 

but sometimes I really want ice cream.  Like big time cravings. It’s as though pints of ice cream dancing around my head.  It was like that for a weeks, so I ran to Target and bought an ice cream maker.  Now I’m content.  No more wondering.

In fact, I’ve learned that giving up something isn’t as hard as it seems.  Little changes create big results.  That goes for anything, really.

….that’s exactly why they make frozen yogurt… right?

Tastes just like ice cream, except you can have more and it’s healthy for you! Simple swap.

 

 

Ooo lala, I know you just fell head over heels in love. Or you will after you try this.

I made this using raspberries, fat free greek yogurt, honey, and dark chocolate chips.  It was creamy irresistible love at first bite.  I can’t get enough.  I’ll be making this again and again.

What’s your favorite ice cream/frozen yogurt flavor or brand?  Please share in the comments and like me on Facebook here.

 

Raspberry Frozen Yogurt with Dark Chocolate 

Recipe by Monique of Ambitious Kitchen

2 cups of fat free Greek Yogurt

1 1/2 cups of fresh raspberries

3 tablespoons of honey

1 packet of sugar substitute such as Truvia

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips, melted

Blend yogurt, raspberries, and lemon juice in blender.

Taste and add honey depending on how sweet you’d like your yogurt and blend.

Next, add Truvia if desired.

Pour in ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.

Once frozen yogurt is done, melt chocolate chips in microwave for 20 seconds.  Stir.  Melt for another 15 seconds or until melted.  Stir again.

Place frozen yogurt in bowl and add raspberries and spoon dark chocolate glaze over the top.

Serves 2.