Have you ever heard of dessert stomach? Where it doesn’t matter how full you are, you always have room for dessert? Yeah, well I have an ice cream stomach. There is never such a thing as ‘no room for ice cream’.  A few months ago I was given this ice cream maker for my birthday. I was also given tall sundae bowls & spoons, an ice cream scoop and special ice cream tub to store homemade ice cream. It was a pretty ice cream focused birthday, especially considering the fact that I traveled about an hour and a half to eat some of the best ice cream ever. 

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I learned the hard way on that one and a half hour trip home from getting ice cream, that my body does not do will with heavy cream or whole milk. Before that weekend, I cannot even tell you the last time I ingested any milk other than in the form of cheese or yogurt. I guess my twenty-five year old stomach is a lot more sensitive than when I was younger. Looking at tons and tons of ice cream recipes and seeing the quantity of heavy cream, half & half and whole milk literally made my stomach churn. Sure, it’d probably make the most sinfully delicious ice cream ever, but eating more than a scoop would be painful. 

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Since then, I’ve been trying to come up with a good ice cream made with greek yogurt and almond milk. While I’ve gotten close a few times, the result was always too icy and not creamy enough — that is, until I came up with this Caramelized Banana Ice Cream. It’s super creamy and the caramelized bananas help give it a unique richness that is usually lacking in other yogurt based ice creams.

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Caramelized Banana Ice Cream
(makes about 3-4 cups)

- 3 bananas, chopped
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 (16 oz) tub greek yogurt, plain
- 3/4 cup milk (I used 1%)
- 3/4 cup almond milk
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. cinnamon

In a pan or skillet on the stove, melt butter over medium heat. Immediately add bananas and brown sugar to the pan; stir occasionally and let cook for about 5-7 minutes until the bananas begin to caramelize. Remove from heat and seat aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the greek yogurt and the sugar. Add in both milks, vanilla and cinnamon. Mix well.

Take half the caramelized bananas and pour into the yogurt base. Using an immersion blender or regular blender, blend the bananas into the yogurt well. Place this mixture in the fridge for at least 20 minutes, this helps with the ice cream texture. 

When ready, pour the ice cream base into your ice cream maker and churn as directed. During the last 5 minutes of churning, add in the remaining caramelized bananas.

Mine took about 12 minutes to be fully churned; serve immediately for a softer texture or scoop into a freezer-safe container and place in freezer for a firmer texture.

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I need some ice cream now.

 

What’s the difference between jam and jelly? Is there really a difference or is it kinda like soda and pop?

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Okay, so a quick google search told me that there is a difference. Jelly is typically made with the juice of the fruit, while jam is made of smashed fruit. Please don’t hold me to that, as I only read like the first two sentences of the first link that popped up — sorry, but I’m too excited to share this with you. If good ‘ol google is right, though, this is definitely a jam and it is delicious. 

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I’m not ashamed to admit that I have been eating this jam on everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. Of course I’ve been using it on toast and PB&Js, but it’s incredibly tasty on top of greek yogurt. I’ve never once thought about putting any kind of jam/jelly on my yogurt until I made this. This jam is so thick and chunky, it’s almost like topping your yogurt with the insides of a blueberry pie (and come on, everyone loves pie). 

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There are a few things you need to know about this jam, though, that make it even better. (1) It can be made in under twenty minutes flat (and no, I won’t judge you if you eat it by the spoonful right off the stove…because this stuff is good hot too). (2) It makes just enough to fill a 16 oz mason jar, so you won’t have SO MUCH jam that you don’t know what to do with it. And (3) it has little to none added sugar, depending on how sweet the blueberries are. I mean, isn’t fruit sweet enough already?!

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Blueberry Lemon Chia Seed Jam
(makes about 16 oz)

- 3 heaping cups blueberries
- 2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- Lemon skin/peel from one lemon
- 2 tbsp chia seeds

In a large, non-stick pot combine blueberries and maple syrup. Cook on low-medium heat until they begin to boil; stirring frequently. Add in the lemon skin (we’ll remove it later).

Using a potato masher or wooden spoon, smash the berries to desired consistency. Reduce the heat to low and continue to stir for about 5 minutes before adding in the lemon juice and chia seeds.

Stir until the chia seeds are distributed. Let the fruit mixture cook for about 10-15 minutes until thickened. Remove the lemon rinds and discard. Pour jam into a glass jar or air-tight container. Store in fridge for up to 3 weeks.

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I made this two days ago and I’m already halfway through the jar…oh well, I guess I’ll have to get some more blueberries this weekend and make a double batch.

 

Eek, I really didn’t plan on disappearing again. I haven’t been home much which means I’ve been eating a lot of take-out and grilled cheese sandwiches; which is all delicious, but not very interesting in the cooking/recipe department. I hope you can forgive me…I’ve got a KILLER breakfast recipe to share if that helps!

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My favorite breakfast growing up was french toast. I would order it almost every time my family would go out for breakfast. Diner french toast is just too good. The bread is always so thick and crispy, and it’s super sweet topped with powdered sugar. You know, almost to the point where you don’t really need to use syrup…but you do anyway because it makes it even more delicious.

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This french toast is just like that; it’s sweet but not overly decadent and is absolutely perfect for a relaxing Saturday or Sunday morning breakfast. It is a tad bit messy, though, so if your plans are for breakfast in bed…then I’d make some pancakes or be ready to do some laundry. While the recipe below really is only one serving, it can be easily doubled (or tripled) and is perfect for those lazy weekend mornings when you want to make yourself something a little special – which, let’s be honest, should be every weekend.

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Cannoli Stuffed French Toast Roll-Ups
(serves 1)

- 3 slices bread, any kind
- 3 tbsp vanilla cream cheese (regular is fine)
- 1 1/2 tbsp chocolate chips
- 1 egg
- 2 egg whites
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tbsp milk
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, divided
- 1 tbsp sugar
- powdered sugar, for topping

Using a rolling pin, flatten the bread a bit to make rolling them up easier.

In a shallow bowl or dish, gently whisk together the egg, egg whites, vanilla, milk and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Set aside. In another small bowl, mix together the sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, also set aside.

Spread each slice of bread with one tablespoon of cream cheese. Arrange chocolate chips along the short side of the bread in a straight line. Starting at this edge, carefully roll up making sure to keep the chocolate chips tucked inside. Once rolled up, place them one at a time in the egg mixture, rolling around to make sure the bread is coated on all around.

Heat a griddle or pan to medium-high heat, spray with non-stick spray. Place the roll-ups on the pan and sprinkle the tops with the cinnamon sugar. Cook for about 4-5 minutes, until the bottom is browned. Flip and cooked for another 4 minutes. Depending on the size and thickness of the bread, it may be necessary to flip the roll-ups to be cooked on the sides for about 1-2 minutes.

Remove from griddle, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

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The chocolate oozes out of these and it is just so GOOD.

 

Can someone please explain to me how it is almost July?! The month of June flew by.

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In approximately two weeks, I will be running a 4-mile ‘freedom run’ on the fourth of July. It’s become a tradition within my family to run this before the parade and our huge festivities that day. I’ve run two half marathons and I’ve dabbled in a few 5k races but this race? This one is seriously the worst. Every year, without a doubt, it’s always the most hot and humid day ever. It’s the kind of weather that makes you feel like you’re swimming the 4 miles not running. 

Oh, and there are hills. The first one is short and STEEP, the second is a loooong gradual hill. I can’t decide which one is worse but they both seriously kick my butt each and every time. The one saving grace is that people who live along the route stand in their front yards spraying everyone with water from hoses. It helps for about 2 seconds and then you’re hotter than before. 

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Don’t get me wrong, it is kinda fun and exciting (at least in the beginning) and it’s probably a good thing to get a few miles under our belts before we start downing some cheeseburgers and potato salad…but there is almost no way to cool down after that kind of physical exertion in that kind of heat. We all kind of melt into the sidewalk as we watch the annual parade, eating sticky tootsie rolls (that are thrown) and ginormous soft pretzels that cost about $10 each. But I’m sure the only thing we are thinking of is jumping fully clothed into the pool – because that is the fastest way to cool off. 

I’m thinking that we should have a game plan this year and bring some ice pops to have post-race. This sorbet would actually be ideal. Let’s overlook the fact that the race is at 9:00 in the morning, it’s never too early for ice cream, popsicles or sorbet. This Pina Colada is so refreshing and I’m sure if you were feeling a bit rebellious (and if it isn’t 9:00 in the morning) you could totally add some alcohol to this. Don’t worry, I won’t tell if you do…

Pina Colada Sorbet (3 Ingredients)
makes 2 servings

- 3 cups pineapple, diced & frozen
- 1 banana, frozen
- 1/2 cup canned coconut milk

In a food processor or high powered blender, add the frozen pineapple and banana. Pulse about a minute, stopping occasionally to scrap down the sides. Pour coconut milk in gradually while blending. 

Continue to pulse/blend until the mixture is smooth. Serve immediately, or place in a container and freeze for an hour if a firmer consistency is desired. 

*Optional add-ins: chocolate chips, almonds, coconut flakes (Just fold in after the mixture is smooth)

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Now that I think about it…I think a little rum should definitely be added to this. 

So, I missed National Donut Day by a few weeks…but I think that any day that starts with donuts will be a good day, don’t you?

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These don’t look like regular donut holes because they’re baked in a mini muffin pan; but that doesn’t mean they don’t taste like donuts. Because completely 100% do. Since the chances of you owning a mini muffin pan are waaaay more likely than owning either a donut hole maker or pan, then you’ll be able to make these too and won’t have to run out to the store to buy something you’ll only use once. That being said, if you DO have a donut pan/maker, then by all means this recipe will work with that do.

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I really like mini donuts because I can eat like 12, and these are the perfect size for just popping them right into your mouth! They’re also delish dunked in hot coffee or tea and since it’s a million degrees this week, hasn’t really been happening. But I think I would totally make a cup of tea just to dunk cookies or donuts in, am I crazy? I recently mentioned how I’m slowly starting to get on the iced coffee train by mixing 25% coffee to 75% vanilla almond milk. It’s so good, but of course, the second I start liking coffee just a smidge, our coffee machine decides to explode. 

Okay, it didn’t really explode…but I was washing dished while a cup was brewing yesterday and I looked over to see coffee seeping from EVERYWHERE; from cracks in the machine that I did not even exist. It was such a pain to clean up and I’ve decided it’s lived a long enough life and it’s time for us to invest in a new one. 

donuts3Glazed Blueberry Donut Holes
makes about 2 dozen

 - 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 tbs vanilla
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3/4 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (if frozen, thawed)

For the glaze:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 tbs milk

Pre-heat the oven to 375°. Either line a mini muffin pan with paper liners or spray generously with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add in the eggs and vanilla; mix well. Sift together the flour and baking soda, slowly add into the butter/sugar mixture alternating with the milk. Add in the blueberries and mix well. 

Scoop about one and a half tablespoons of batter into each well of the muffin pan, filling about half way. Bake for 15 minutes until browned around the side and a toothpick comes out clean when pressed in the center. Let sit in the pan for one minute before removing onto a cooling rack.

For the glaze, mix all ingredients together in a bowl. If the glaze is too thick, add more milk 1/2 tablespoon at a time until it reaches desired consistency. Once the donuts are cool, drizzle glaze over top and let sit until glaze is firm, at least 2-3 hours. If it’s hot/humid, this may take longer.

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I really, really want a donut right now. What’s your favorite kind of donut? I’m torn between glazed, creme or anything with sprinkles.