Ice Cream Lovers Annonymous

Yep, if there was an ICLA group, I’d be a member. I like to say that I don’t have a sweet tooth, but I do have an Ice Cream tooth. There’s just something about the smooth, cool, refreshing spoonful of chocolatey/minty/strawberry-y/nutty/etc.etc./(insert favorite ice cream flavor here), that I simply cannot resist. And I grew up in a household where homemade desserts were always at arms reach. (My mom is an amazing baker AND cook, a double positive and something I’m very grateful to have grown up exposed to-even though I’m the only vegetarian in the family, her love of being in the kitchen made me into a brave, inventive, experimental cook!) So, when it’s the end of a long day and I just need a little dessert-like boost, ice cream will always be my go-to.

That being said, I must now deliver the painful truth to you…Ice Cream is not actually the healthiest thing for you to eat! I know! I was shocked too. BUT there are quite a few recipes out there that make it more “acceptable” and even-GASP!-a healthy dessert option!

Here are a few recipes I’ve found and personally approve of both in the taste-bud region, and in the health region:

Mixed Berry Frocho Pops

Ingredients: 

  • 1 C fresh or frozen mixed berries (instead of mixed berry, you could do chocolate, or any other fruits you so desire)
  • 1 C (8 oz) Plain 0% Chobani Greek Yogurt (or any brand will do, and you can get creative with flavored yogurts too)
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • Freezer-Pop Molds (handy, but you could probably do it with a large ice cube tray)
 Prep:

Puree fruit, Chobani and honey in food processor until smooth.

Fill 6 freezer-pop molds or 3-oz paper cups 3/4 full. Insert sticks and freeze until completely firm, about 6 hours. Dip molds briefly in hot water before unmolding.
http://chobanikitchen.com/recipes/detail/mixed-b

Dairy-Free Chocolate Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • Bananas! (Sliced into disks, THEN frozen overnight)
  • 2-3 heaping teaspoons Cocoa Powder
  • Swirl of Maple Syrup/Agave Nectar/Honey
  • You can get creative with toppings! Almond slivers, shredded dark chocolate, fresh fruit, etc.)

Prep:

All you need is a blender or food processor. Drop the frozen slices of banana in, and blend until nice and creamy smooth texture is reached. Scoop in the cocoa powder, blend again. Swirl in desired amount of Syrup/Nectar/Honey, blend until it’s all evenly blended. Serve and enjoy! Simple as that.

http://www.thelondoner.me/2011/09/dairy-free-chocolate-ice-cream.html

Yogurt, Honey & Cinnamon Ice Cream (Makes 4-6 Servings)
Ingredients: 

  • 16oz Greek Yogurt (I use Fage Total Whole Milk Greek Yogurt)
  • 1/4 Cup Honey
  • 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon

Prep:
1. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.
2. Pour the yogurt mixture into an ice cream maker and chill according to manufacturers directions (The original poster has a Cuisinart ICE-50BC Supreme Ice Cream Maker and it took 30 minutes-see note!).
3. Place the mixture in the freezer to firm up, about 1-2 hours.
4. Serve.
*If you don’t own an ice cream maker, no worries, this mixture can be poured into popsicle molds and frozen for 6 hours or longer.

http://weelicious.com/tag/pazzo-gelato/

Also! Something I didn’t know about until recently, the Greek Yogurt brands Chobani (http://chobanikitchen.com/recipes) and Voskos (http://www.voskos.com/recipes/) both have recipe sections on their sites. Check them out! It’s interesting and something I definitely want to test out in place of traditional recipe ingredients.

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Oh to vent…

There are times when I simply need to talk to someone. Tell them my woes and worries, my troubles and angsts, my wants and needs, and if it’s a good day, my excitement and joy. And every time these times pop up, my mom seems to be the only one who can bring me back to reality and encourage me to “ac-CEN-tuate the positive,” like Johnny Mercer demonstrates in his famous little tune (link attached above).

I think there’s something to be said about that! I can’t describe how grateful I am for my parents, how much I love and appreciate them and how much they mean to me. I know that there are times I take them granted, and I always kick myself when I realize that I have done so, because honestly, where would I be with out them!? Literally and figuratively!

But because they are so far away (8 hours!) we decided that we would embed what we call “Sunday Morning Walk and Talks” into our schedules. Every Sunday morning around 8:30-9AM, we tie up our gym shoes, hit the trails, and merge our iPhone calls together so the three of us can chat and catch up, and yes, of course, vent! It’s really the best therapy a girl could ask for! I highly recommend it.

Who do you go to when you just need to let it all out?

A few pics that make me smile:

HA!

 

The Most Obedient Dog. Ever.

 

Oh the cuteness…!

 

 

Simple, Nutritious Whole Wheat & Spelt Bread

So, yesterday I broke out my bread making skills for the first time in quite a few years. I used to love making bread, pizza dough in particular. But, due simply to life in general, I haven’t had the time or energy to whip up any dough. Then, I started reading about the benefits of Spelt Flour. Spelt is an ancient grain, used well before the modern day, enriched flour that we see on grocery shelves. It offers a lot more nutrients and benefits too, and you can easily sub it into any recipe that calls for any type of flour. It’s high in fiber, antioxidants, and protein, and it normally won’t cause sensitivities in those with wheat intolerances! I thought that was an interesting fact… not to get off on a tangent here, but I have always wondered if the many “intolerances” that we Americans seem to have these days are actually caused by the sheer amount of “fake” food that we eat? Think about it, instead of eating perfectly delicious and healthy whole-grains, the average person will just reach for a whole-processed package of this or that, providing us with empty calories and leading to a number of ailments (i.e. intolerances, allergies, inflammation, digestive issues, etc. etc.). What do you think about the way our world has developed these unhealthy eating habits?

(If you want to read even more about Spelt, check this site out! http://bakingbites.com/2008/04/what-is-spelt-flour/)

This nutritious Spelt flour most certainly inspired me to check out just what Spelt tasted like (as opposed to whole wheat flour) and thus lead me to a quick Google search for simple Spelt Flour Bread. That’s how I came across this insanely simple recipe:

SPELT BREAD

  • 2 tablespoons yeast (Rapid Rise)
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 2/3 cups warm water
  • 1/4 cup honey (I bet that Agave or Maple Syrup could be subbed in)
  • 1 tablespoon salt (I always ere on the light side of salt, and put in a bit less than this)
  • 9 tablespoons oil (any oil will do- I normally choose Olive Oil, but went with Canola this time)
  • 9 cups spelt flour (I ran low on Spelt Flour and had to do 5 cups Spelt Flour, 4 cups Whole Wheat Flour-it still turned out great!)
  1. In a cup, combine 3/4 cup of warm water, 1/4 cup of honey and 2 tbsp of yeast. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 2 2/3 cup of warm water, salt and oil.
  3. Add half flour and yeast mixture.
  4. Stir well.
  5. Add remaining flour and knead for about 8 to 10 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 200 degrees and then turn off.
  7. Grease an ovenproof bowl and place dough in it. Let rise in oven. Punch dough down.
  8. Divide into three, place into three greased loaf pans, poke holes in loaves and let rise again.
  9. Bake 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes. (My oven burns hot, so I tweaked it to 400 degrees for only 15-17 mins)
And the verdict? YUM. I think it’s best when I toast the slices after cutting them-otherwise it seems just a bit too dry. Maybe I’ll up the oil content next time? We shall see. Also, being the genius that I am, I neglected to read the last step of the recipe in which it says to “divide into THREE.” Meaning, you’ll be making THREE loaves of bread! HA! So I accidentally made a bit more bread than I had intended upon making, and therefore decided to play around with the 2nd and 3rd loaves. In the 2nd loaf, I added Cinnamon, Sugar, and Cranberries; and in the 3rd loaf I added Mediterranean Blend Herbs and Spices (purchased from a local Herb & Spice seller). I froze each of those loaves so we’ll see how they turned out in the next month to two months or so. I’m actually more excited to try them than this original recipe loaf!
Have you ever added your own personal tweaks or ingredients to bread? If so let me know your tasty tips!!

Namaste.

“The divine in me, bows to the divine in you.”

That is the definition of “Namaste,” a popularized-by-yoga-fiends phrase.  The phrase actually got it’s start in the cultures of Eastern countries who use it regularly the same way that we Westerners would use “Hey, what’s up?” Something about “Namaste” is so much more, well, divine, than that!

First thing when I woke up this morning, I popped in my Rainbeau Mars Yoga for Beauty, Dawn Edition. (Find it here:  http://www.rainbeaumars.com/browse-products) It’s one of my favorite at-home yoga videos. In it, Mars emphasizes the importance of letting go of the walls that we have built up over time; all of the stress, the pain, the heartaches of life, that have caused us to build up a multitude of negative energies in our bodies, have a multitude of negative side effects like upset stomach, acne, digestive issues, that feeling of being worn out, etc.

Now I’m not saying that yoga is the be-all, end-all cure for these common ailments, but it certainly leaves you feeling refreshed, revived, and ready to take on the day! (Or take on the night if you do tranquility/dusk/nighttime yoga) And, personally, when I do yoga, my whole body feels more centered, more balanced. I don’t know if it’s the Yogi mindset that influences me and makes me feel like theres a mini Buddha sitting on my shoulder the rest of the day, but I swear I make better choices in attitude, meals, activities, and so on, the rest of my day.

So, in short, you should check out some yoga videos! Even if it’s just a quick ten minutes, your body just might thank you…

Check these out to get you started!
http://www.rainbeaumars.com/browse-products

http://video.seanecorn.com/

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/life/energy-yoga-0

http://www.self.com/flat-abs-guide/jennifer-aniston-flat-abs-yoga-moves-slideshow#slide=1
(**This one is apparently used by Jennifer Aniston!)

Namaste my Blogger peeps.

My First Home Made Veggie Burgers

Imagehttp://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com/2012/02/easy-sweet-potato-veggie-burgers-with.html

Today, I slaved away in the kitchen for about 3 hours. Something I haven’t done in quite awhile, instead opting for simple, 20 minute meals when hunger struck. But not tonight! I, like half the human population, have a Pinterest PinBoard, bursting with amazing looking and inspiring recipes. One such recipe came from a fellow blogger and is entitled “Easy Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers.”

I have been a vegetarian from the time I was around 5 or 6 years old. Now, nearly 18 years later, I am finally mustering up the courage to make my very own veggie burgers! I’m not entirely sure why it took me this many years to do it, but I always thought that it would be so much more difficult than it is, and therefore opted for the simple frozen veggie burger.

THE LOW DOWN:
Well, I was first drawn to this recipe due to the fact that it wasn’t just plain ole beans. On top of that, mixed into the burger-batter, are Sweet Potatoes! A food that I would have to consider a superior potato. A great source of beta-carotene, Vitamin A, B6, & C, and fiber among many other important nutrients; Anthocyanin and other color-related pigments in sweet potato are great for anti-inflammatory purposes; unlike their starchy counter part-the Idaho potato-sweet potatoes are actually a blood sugar regulator. When mixed with a healthy fat/protein (such as Almond Butter, Olive Oil, or any number of other healthy food friends), this is the perfect little meal! Lets face it, I love me some sweet taters!

This recipe has changed my ways for certain. The ingredients…:

2 cans cannellini white beans, drained
1 large sweet potato, baked/peeled/mashed (about 2 cups)
2 Tbsp tahini
2 tsp maple syrup/agave/honey
1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning OR Cajun seasoning (or another fave spice!)
1/4 cup wheat flour (instead, I did 1/4 cup, half whole wheat flour and half Panko crumbs)
Plentiful Panko Crumbs

…are all incredibly healthy, tasty, and easy to find at your local grocer. I especially like toying with new ideas for the next time I make them. For instance, I think any type of bean will work here. I also think you could do three cans of bean and exclude the sweet potato, even mixing three different beans, etc. And, as said in the original post, you can get creative and add your own spices. On top of that, I think you could chop up veggies and throw them in as well as maybe add a touch of olive oil to moisten them overall. And adding a bit of cheese, avocado, tomato, etc., to a slice or two of your favorite whole grain bread, adds to the tingles of delight when you bite into this burger!

Next up on the Sweet Potato route? Sweet Potato & Chickpea Hash. I’ll keep you posted! And, no worries, I have quite a few more favorite foods to provide this blog with some awesome recipes, tips, and inspiration!