Posted in Blog

Friday Fav: Nice Cream

Move over, banana bread. You had your time to shine during this pandemic. Now it’s time for nice cream!

What is this deliciousness? It’s a non-dairy ice cream alternative made with bananas that hits the spot without all of the added sugar.

There are tons of flavors and varieties that you can find online, like here and there. My favorite is Cherry Garcia, made with only frozen bananas, frozen cherries, and chocolate chips all thrown together in a food processer until creamy. I think I lean toward this flavor because it is not one of my preferred ice cream flavors. (I mean, I’d never pick it if there was anything with chocolate ice cream available. Let’s be real.) Since I’m not comparing nice cream with its ice cream step brother, it stands alone and provides a guilt-free dessert that satisfies.

Based on this picture, I’m clearly not a food blogger.

The links above provide some recipes, but I don’t really follow a recipe anymore. After my mother showed me how to make nice cream, I just eyeball it based on the number of servings I want to make.

This is by no means a food blog, so you won’t find a traditional recipe blog post here. The directions are to literally put all of the ingredients into the food processer and blend until creamy.

However, here are a few tricks I’ve learned.

Image courtesy of Mr.-4-Year-Old
  1. Ripe bananas provide the best flavor. I just plop the entire unpeeled and brown bananas into the freezer and wait for the urge to strike for dessert. When I’m ready to make nice cream, I leave the bananas on the counter for a few minutes, then use a knife to peel away the skin.
  2. You can just drop the cutup frozen bananas, some frozen dark and sweet cherries, and a small handful of chocolate chips into the food processer and have dessert in a matter of minutes. If you want to get fancy, add a splash of vanilla.
  3. If you find the ice cream is too thick, add a bit of non-dairy milk. I use almond milk, but any milk or its alternative would work. Oftentimes, I don’t have to add anything extra.
  4. We have used semi-sweet chocolate chips in the past, but I found these Hu dark chocolate “gems” at Costco that are on point. I highly recommend them.
  5. Speaking of Costco, there you can also find a large bag of frozen dark sweet cherries, which is helpful when you plan on making lots of nice cream like our family.
  6. Personally, I think it’s best eaten the day it’s made. You can freeze leftovers, but I don’t like the ice crystals that form in the nice cream at that point.

So there you have it! I share in the spirit of giving during a time when many people likely have New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier. It’s not only my Friday Fav but one I share with my entire family.

Happy Friday!

Posted in Blog

Christmas Cookie Recipes

One tradition my family loves to partake in during the holidays is cookie baking. Who are we kidding though. I’m the baker, and my family taste tests. These cookies become desserts for the month and gifts for family and friends. Here are links to the recipes for the cookies I made this year.

Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies – These are a classic cookie and one of my husband’s favorites. They always make it into the yearly rotation.

Grinch Cookies – These cookies are delicious and extremely easy to make! I love their presentation too. I found the heart sprinkles at Walmart when I couldn’t spot them in my local grocery store.

Nestle’s Chocolate Chip Cookies – This is the standard issue recipe that’s one of my favorite cookies year round. I love them warm and right out of the oven, and I like them chilled right out of the refrigerator.

Oreo Truffles – These are a fan favorite, even if they aren’t technically still in cookie form. Over the years I’ve learned a few tricks for making these truffle candies. For instance, you can also add flavor the the Oreo filling by adding a teaspoon of vanilla or an extract like peppermint. Hershey’s chocolate bars melt best. I have a Little Dipper warmer that came with my crockpot that is PERFECT for melting the Hershey bars before dipping the Oreo filling. I end up making three batches of this deliciousness to share every year.

Whoville Cookies – These pinwheel sugar cookies remind me of reading Dr. Suess’s The Grinch with the kids. The red and green don’t have to be equally distributed or a perfect pinwheel. Actually, the more off they are the better!

Cream Cheese Butterflies – Butterflies aren’t Christmasy to me, but they are a Christmas cookie my husband grew up with and always loved. Here’s a close recipe to the one I use, though I substitute the lemon zest for orange zest and use a bit of red food coloring to make them pink.

Reindeer Bellybuttons – These are the easiest “cookies” to make that only require pretzels, Hershey’s kisses, and M&Ms. I usually grab a bag of kisses from Costco plus two bags of mini pretzels and a large bag of M&Ms from the grocery store. I have learned the hard way though that you need to read the pretzel bag closely. Don’t get the unsalted pretzels for this treat!! You need the salt to play against the sweetness of the chocolate.

Dipped Gingersnaps – Every year I have to add and try a new cookie, just to change it up a bit and see if I can find a new classic. This year I made the dipped gingersnaps. They are….okay. I think I would have liked them better if I used a different oil that the canola oil it calls for here. I’m also not personally a huge fan of white chocolate. They were worth a shot, but I won’t be making them again.

That’s it! Though that’s a lot! Eight different cookies was a commitment, but I spaced it out this year doing one cookie a day and then dedicating one weekend day to making the remaining.

Happy baking!

Posted in Blog

Friday Fav: Apple Recipes!

Sure, I love me a PSL on occasion. (It’s actually one of the few Starbucks drinks I enjoy.) But, I much prefer apple treats in Fall, rather than pumpkin spice. This works out well because we recently took a trip to a local orchard to go apple picking, which left me with 1/2 a bushel of fruit. I’ve been spending the past week cooking up a storm to get through them all.

In today’s Friday Fav post, I want to share my favorite apple recipes. I leaned into recipes that required loads of fruit so I could tackle my huge bag.

  1. Instant Pot Applesauce – Both of the boys liked this applesauce, especially with added cinnamon. I liked that the apples cooked so quickly in the instant pot and that I was able to use up a bunch of apples at once. Bonus, no added sugar!
  2. Dutch Apple Pie – I cheated and bought store-made crusts, which meant that my pie crust was not as deep as it should have been. I ended up with two pies instead of one, but was missing depth in the pie. No complaints from the family though as they gobbled it up! I now have one pie in the freezer for Thanksgiving.
  3. Homemade Apple Cider – I never would have thought of making this until a friend recommended it. We love apple cider in this house and always pick up some in the Fall. This year I got to make it at home. It was SUPER easy. My favorite part was, for once, I didn’t have to peel and core the apples. Just cut them into quarters and throw them into the stock pot to cook for several hours. The aroma throughout the house while it cooked for three hours was almost as good as the drink itself.
  4. Air Fryer Apple Chips – This was another recommendation from a friend. I tried using the air fryer, and it works. I think mine is too small though because even with just one apple’s worth of fruit, the slices would overlap each other. It made it difficult for them to get crispy. I’ll have to try baking them in the oven instead.
  5. Chucky Apple Pumpkin Bread – I always like a bit of banana bread in the morning with my coffee. This time I subbed in an apple bread instead. It turned out well! Next time I may try it as muffins instead of bread so they bake faster.

And I still have 20 or so apples left. Of course, we’ve been snacking on them at lunch. I may need to make more applesauce or cider too, since those were so good. I was given some tips for using the apples for games and crafts with the kids too, so I may tackle some of those ideas as well.

Happy Friday!