Banana Nutella “Ice Cream”

Banana Nutella "Ice Cream"

About a year ago, I bookmarked the popular one ingredient banana ice cream recipe. I usually don’t let bananas get super ripe in my house, because we go through them fairly quickly, but a couple of weeks ago, we forgot that I purchased a bunch to eat, and they were far too ripe to just eat on their own. I was about to make banana bread when I remembered this idea.

If you’re on a diet and you miss ice cream, I can tell you the texture is spot-on. It’s soft, creamy, frozen and very sweet, since the bananas are ripe. Since I’m a dieting rebel, though, I added a few tbsp. of nutella to the soft serve mixture. It was like eating marbled ice cream…very yummy and not too too bad for you!

If you have ripe bananas and a few extra minutes on your hands, definitely try this banana “ice cream”. It’s just too easy not to!

Banana Nutella “Ice Cream”
Source: adapted from The Kitchn

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 very ripe bananas
  • 3 tbsp. nutella

Directions:

  1. Slice bananas into small bites and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  2. Freeze the bananas for 2-3 hours or overnight.
  3. Place the banana slices in a food processor and pulse until smooth.
  4. Place the “ice cream” in a bowl and swirl in the nutella.
  5. Freeze for a couple of hours until set, if you’d prefer a scoop-able ice cream. Eat immediately if you prefer soft serve.

Strawberry Orange Frozen Yogurt

Strawberry Brown Sugar Yogurt

This past weekend, I bought a flat of strawberries. Since it’s the peak of the season, how could I not? It took me about an hour to slice up a flat of strawberries, and as delicious as they are on their own, I figured I had to make SOMETHING with them!

Well, a couple of weeks ago, one of my awesome food blogger friends, Serena of Big Apple Nosh, filled me in on a new challenge that she’s doing on her blog: The NoshGirl Chef Challenge! The challenge features two common ingredients, and each blogger has to come up with a recipe idea using those ingredients. The two ingredients for the challenge were plain yogurt and brown sugar. Since I had these strawberries on hand, I definitely wanted to also feature them in my recipe.

I really didn’t come up with the idea until this morning. Talk about last minute! I was debating between a coffee cake, a cookie or something frozen. Well, it’s already feeling like summer out here, so I had to do the frozen idea. I was worried about using brown sugar instead of regular sugar, but it really goes well with the strawberries. The addition of orange zest and juice also brings out the flavor of the strawberries really well. I really love how this turned out!

Strawberry-Orange Frozen Yogurt
Source: an original

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. strawberries, chopped and hulled
  • 1 5 oz. container of plain greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • 1 tsp. orange juice
  • 1 tsp. vodka

Directions:

  1. Place the chopped strawberries and brown sugar in a bowl, stir the mixture together and allow to chill in the refrigerator for about an hour for the sugar to sort of dissolve into the strawberries.
  2. Place the strawberry mixture, yogurt, heavy cream, zest, juice and vodka in a blender and blend until pureed.
  3. Pour the mixture in an ice cream maker and mix according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Let the frozen yogurt set in the freezer for a couple of hours, and enjoy! (Note: If you serve this a couple of hours out of the freezer, it will be the perfect texture. I found that the longer I left it in the freezer, the icier the frozen yogurt became, because strawberries tend to contain a lot of water and can contribute to an icier texture when pureed.)

Strawberry Sorbet

Strawberry Sorbet

I’m so excited about the Spring! The gorgeous flowers, extra daylight (hello, natural light!) and of course, strawberry season. Strawberry is my favorite fruit–hands down. Give me a bowl of strawberries and I’m a happy woman (ok, and perhaps a bowl of chocolate to dip them in?). Here in Louisiana, the strawberries are just amazing. They are super sweet and absolutely perfect.

A few weeks ago, the hubs and I went to Houston for a mini vacation and to see family. We ended up at this make your own frozen yogurt place, and the hubs went crazy over this strawberry kiwi sorbet that they offered. So of course, I had to show him that we could easily make our own sorbet at home. If y’all have an ice cream maker at home, seriously consider making sorbets. You’d be surprised at how quickly it comes together and how few ingredients you need!

Strawberry Sorbet
Source: The Perfect Scoop

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. kirsch (optional)

Directions:

  1. Slice the strawberries and toss them in a medium bowl with the sugar and kirsch (if you’re using it), stirring until the sugar begins to dissolve. Cover and let stand for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  2. Puree the strawberries and their liquid with the lemon juice and salt in a blender (or food processor) until well blended and smooth. If you’d rather not deal with the seeds, you can strain them out at this point.
  3. Chill the mixture and freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.

Foodbuzz 24×24: The Best Things We Ever Ate

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Summer officially started last Monday. However, being in Louisiana, we’ve been feeling summer-like weather since May. With the heat index hitting 110 degrees sometimes, we wanted to throw a summer party that was most definitely indoors!

I watch entirely too much Food Network. If it wasn’t for Food Network and reading food blogs, I’m fairly certain my husband and I would be living off of Hamburger Helper and take-out. One of my favorite shows lately has been The Best Thing I Ever Ate. Every show has a theme, and it features the cooks/hosts on Food Network and their favorite eats in that theme. So, when Foodbuzz emailed about this month’s 24×24 proposals, I figured it would be a fun party to feature the best things our families have eaten! Thanks so much to Foodbuzz for sponsoring this party! :)

To come up with the menu, I sent out an email to our families asking for their favorites in each category.

  • On the Grill (recipes that are done on the BBQ)
  • Dangerously Cheesy (major cheese in a dish)
  • No Utensils (finger foods/apps)
  • Keep it Comfy (comfort food)
  • Frozen Treats (any dessert from the freezer)
  • Mix it Up (a food that requires using a mixer—doesn’t have to be a sweet)
  • Louisiana’s Best (Louisiana food)
  • Cold and Colorful (like a salad or cold app with lots of veggies or fruit)
  • Under the Sea (favorite seafood dish)
  • Classic American (with 4th of July approaching, tell me a dish that screams American)

After getting many responses, here is the menu we came up with:

Drinks:
Strawberry Lemonade
Strawberry Daiquiris

Appetizers:
Cheese Fondue with Vegetables/Bread*
Bruschetta*
Boudin Balls

Entrees:
Steak Skewers with Chimichurri, Onion Cheese Sauce and Compound Butter*
Spicy BBQ Shrimp Skewers*

Sides:
Crawfish Fettuccine
Macaroni and Cheese
Vegetable Skewers*
Grilled Corn
Lettuce Greens with Honey Lime Vinaigrette

Desserts:
Strawberry Cake*
Assorted Cupcakes
Cinnamon Crumb Apple Pie
Fresh Berries with Ice Cream

* recipes will be featured in the blog in future posts

I will admit, I’m still getting the hang of entertaining for a large number of people. Despite doing a lot of prep, I felt fairly stressed in the last hour. Since the party was for family, though, I had loads of help at the last minute. :) Whew!

The fondue was an absolute hit. I was nervous to make this myself, but this recipe came together beautifully! I served the fondue with day old po’boy bread, carrots and broccoli.

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We purchased the boudin balls at a local joint, since they are pretty much my husband’s favorite. The bruschetta was a lighter alternative to the other appetizers. I was super excited to use basil from our garden for this dish!

Appetizers

I need to thank the hubs for braving the sweltering disgusting heat to cook up this magic on the grill. The steak, especially was a real winner to family!

kabobs

We made 3 sauces available for people to dip/cover their skewers in: a chimichurri, onion blue cheese (not pictured) and a worchestershire chive butter. The chimichurri ended up being a huge hit (and I used parsley from the garden for it)!

Steak Butter/Chimichurri

Here is some lovely grilled corn that survived a few flare-ups on the grill. :)

Grilled Corn

Here is a semi-decent picture of the crawfish fettuccine before everyone digged in. The hubs’ parents made this dish and it was delicious. Perfect flavor with a little Louisiana kick!

Crawfish Fettucine

This is some macaroni and cheese that is my mother-in-law’s favorite. It was definitely pretty tasty (not to mention, cheesy). :)

Mac and Cheese

After enjoying some serious eats, we waited a good while before putting out desserts and just chatted, watched TV and played some games.

I will say the desserts were absolutely amazing.

Fresh berries (and ice cream, not pictured)

berries

Strawberry Cake (inspired by a local bakery). I would have just purchased one, but I had no idea an 8″ cake was over $30. What the heck?! I guess I’m just used to baking my own cakes to realize how expensive cakes have gotten!

Strawberry Cake

This was a welcomed surprise. A local cupcake bakery occasionally has giveaways on Twitter, and I won some cupcakes! They were seriously delish! Thank you Sweet Wishes Cafe!

Cupcakes

Here is the cinnamon crumb apple pie. This is one of those frozen pies you can find in the grocery store, but has quickly become a favorite with my hubs’ family.

apple pie

Of course, our puppy was very excited to get all of the attention she got at the party, and thanks to my mom, she tried a piece of steak for the first time. I think she enjoyed it. :)

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And of course, it wouldn’t be a party without family! Here are some pictures of our family.

Mom and Sis

family

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It was a great time to be had by everyone, especially in the milder indoors. Thank you so much to Foodbuzz again for the party! Everyone had a blast! :)

Kiwi Pineapple Sorbet

Kiwi Pineapple Sorbet

I love summer. The fruit is just so gorgeous, delicious and heck, dirt cheap. Last weekend, I raided the produce stand for fruits. I had some leftover after snacking on a good bit, and thought about a sorbet. I had mango, pineapple and kiwi left, but I was pretty sure the color of that would be unattractive.

So, I asked my friends on Twitter what they thought. Mango/Pineapple or Kiwi/Pineapple? Mango/Pineapple won BIG time. However, upon coming home, I cut into the mango and it wasn’t ripe at all. :( So, I ended up making Kiwi/Pineapple instead. I’m not sad about it, because I think this sorbet is really cute with the little kiwi seeds in it.

This is the first sorbet that I’ve had that is creamy in texture, and really soft to scoop straight out of the freezer. It’s also a delicious flavor combination, so don’t let the neon green highlighter appearance deter you away.

Kiwi Pineapple Sorbet
Source: adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients:

  • 1 small pineapple, cored and cut in chunks
  • 2 kiwis, peeled
  • 1 cup sugar
  • juice of one lemon

Directions:

  1. Place pineapple, kiwi and lemon juice in a food processor; process until smooth. Add sugar; process 1 minute or until sugar dissolves.
  2. Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and let the machine run for 25-30 minutes. Freeze for 1-2 hours to set the sorbet.

Cake Batter Ice Cream

Cake Batter Ice Cream

I have a sad addiction to ice cream. I usually have a bowl a few times a week, even in the freezing winter. Even on my pseudo diet (kinda sorta trying to lose weight), I’ll have a small cone. When the weather warms up, I feel like my ice cream maker is constantly working through the week. With fresh fruit ripening and feeling the cravings rise when I pass up heavy cream in the grocery store, I just can’t let my ice cream maker sit alone, unused. :)

This time, I’m making an old favorite. I love cake batter ice cream. It reminds me of those days I spend baking and licking the batter bowl clean. It’s just so delicious, and for the people who hold aversions to raw egg, this recipe has NO raw eggs in it! It’s probably the quickest ice cream batter to put together too! If you are a beginner with the ice cream machine, definitely start off with a recipe like this.

Cake Batter Ice Cream
Source: Carrie’s Sweet Life (through Delicious Meliscious)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole milk, well chilled
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream, well chilled
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup yellow cake mix (I used Funfetti because I like sprinkles!)

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the milk and granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla.
  3. Stir in cake mix, making sure there are no lumps.
  4. Pour mixture into the freezer bowl of your ice cream maker and let mix until it has thickened (about 25-30 minutes).

Watermelon Sorbet

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I’ve been looking at watermelons in the stores a lot lately. It’s so hot outside (100+ degrees – heat index) and a nice, refreshing watermelon was what I was craving!

So, I went to the local produce stand and bought my first watermelon of the summer. I was having company over last night and wanted to end the meal on a lighter note. I was originally looking at The Perfect Scoop for inspiration, but I didn’t have limes. I was afraid to use lemons instead, but found this Alton Brown recipe on Joelen’s blog. It used lemons! YAY!

I’ve never cut up a watermelon, so I was sure that I was going to make a juicy mess. It wasn’t all that bad, but look at how GORGEOUS and ripe this watermelon was…mmm!
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The verdict? This was a light, refreshing sorbet and a definite MUST for the summer! Seriously make this for your 4th of July party! Your guests won’t be disappointed! Also, it’s (along with other fruit sorbets) VERY skinny, especially if you made this with Splenda, which I didn’t have on hand at the time. :)

I’m submitting this to Joelen’s monthly Tasty Tools event, which features the ice cream maker! I’m sure there will be a ton of great summer treats for this blogging event so definitely start following her blog if you haven’t already!

Watermelon Sorbet
Source: Alton Brown -  found on Joelen’s Culinary Adventures

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound, 5 ounces diced watermelon, muskmelon or honeydew
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons vodka (omitted)
  • 9 ounces sugar, approximately 1 1/4 cups

Directions:

  1. Place the melon in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Add the lemon juice, vodka, and sugar and process for another 30 seconds. Place the mixture into the refrigerator until the mixture reaches 40 degrees F; depending on the temperature of your ingredients and refrigerator, this could take 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. Pour the chilled mixture into the bowl of an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s directions. Transfer the sorbet to an airtight container and place in the freezer for 3 to 4 hours before serving.

Makes 12 (1/2 cup) servings.
(I added a little too much melon than stated, and it was overflowing in the ice cream maker, so I estimated based on 1.5 quarts yielded instead of Alton Brown mentioning this yields 1 qt.)

Calories: 112, Fat: 0.4g, Fiber: 0.5g
POINTS*: 2

Low Fat Cake Batter Ice Cream

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I told myself that I needed to find a WAY lower fat ice cream after making the cake batter ice cream last time. I didn’t calculate the nutritional facts until recently and I was shocked. Most low-fat ice creams calculate by the 1/2 cup so I decided to stay consistent with that to get comparative information.

Full Fat Version
Calories: 363.6
Fat: 24.8 g
Fiber: less than 1 g

Whoa! Look at the amount of fat in there! I will admit, it tasted dang good, but is 1/2 cup of ice cream worth THAT much fat and calories?

So, I went to Cooking Light to find some lower fat alternatives. I then found this recipe for Peppermint ice cream and decided to use the base to see where that would get me.

Low-Fat Cake Batter Ice Cream
Source: adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups of 2% milk, divided
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 14oz. can of fat-free condensed milk
  • 2/3 cup cake mix
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Take 1 1/4 cup of milk and mix with egg yolks in a heavy saucepan at medium heat for about 8 minutes or until thickened. Do not let the mixture boil. Let the mixture slightly cool.
  2. Mix remaining milk, vanilla and condensed milk together in a separate bowl. Slowly add the egg mixture to the milk mixture. Mix in cake mix until thoroughly combined. Refridgerate mixture for about 1 hour.
  3. Put in your ice cream maker for 25-30 minutes. Makes about 1 quart or 8 – 1/2  cup servings.

Here’s the nutritional information on this recipe:

Low Fat Version
Calories: 311.4
Fat: 4.4 g
Fiber: less than 1 g

Unfortunately, for this trial, I didn’t save much in calories. However, look at the fat difference! Wow!! So, I’m getting there in finding a good diet-friendly alternative for cake batter ice cream. :) I’ll continue to play with ingredients, though, to try to get the calories lower.