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Banana whip

July 19, 2013

Banana Whip

Our family vacation was last week and, for the 14th summer in a row, we spent some time in our favorite beach town.  Every year we look forward to seeing if there will be any new offerings on the boardwalk to add to our can’t-wait-to-have-that-again list of foods.  We were definitely not disappointed, but our new love came in a completely unexpected form.  Bananas.  Just bananas.  We fell head-over-heels in love with a tiny little spot along the boardwalk called Freaky Fruit.  Their motto is “It’s halfway good for you.”  I love that!

My husband kind of stalked the place trying to figure out what they were really doing to make his banana whip taste so much like ice cream.  I’ve seen this pop up on other food blogs over the past few months and I tried to convince him that it really was made with bananas, and only bananas, but he just couldn’t believe it.  And in his defense, it truly is so darn good that it’s hard to believe there’s nothing to it but a couple of frozen bananas.

We’ve been buying bananas every time we stop by the store now and we’ve got a nice stash in the freezer.  It’s so simple to drop some into my Ninja blender and in a couple minutes (and with a little bit of scraping down the sides) we’ve got frozen banana whips that totally rival the boardwalk shop.  Our new motto is that we’ve gone bananas for banana whips!

Recipe:  Banana Whips

frozen bananas… that’s it!

Peel and freeze chunks of bananas.  When you’re ready for a banana whip, drop a few pieces into your blender and blend until smooth and creamy, scraping the sides occasionally.  No need to add anything else, but be adventurous with them.  You can add a spoonful of peanut butter, Nutella, or chocolate to the blender.  They’re also tasty with a dash of vanilla extract or a sprinkling of cinnamon.  Be creative!

Root beer float fudge

July 15, 2013
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Root Beer Float Fudge

My daughter and I have a special sort of deal when it comes to caring for her super curly hair.  On braiding days, she gets a root beer.  It’s as simple as that.  No matter how many hours it takes to unbraid, wash, and restyle her gorgeous locks, all she expects for her unending patience is a can of root beer.  Needless to say, my girl really, REALLY loves her root beer.

We were at market a couple weeks ago and bought some root beer concentrate.  I thought Claudia would love the idea of making her own root beer, but then I saw this fudge recipe and we decided to try that instead.  None of us are fans of the over-sweet taste of white baking chips, so I looked around until I found some real white chocolate morsels.  (You could also used chopped white chocolate, if you can’t find morsels.  Or if you don’t mind the flavor of the white baking chips, then just use those.)

When it was all said and done, we liked how the fudge looked with the different layers, but it we thought it would have been tastier if it had all been flavored with the root beer concentrate.  Obviously, that’s a personal preference, because we have some special friends who liked it just fine the way it was.  (Heyyy, Catie and Ashley!)  The recipe makes A LOT of fudge, so make sure you have some friends to share it with too!

Recipe:  Root Beer Float Fudge

(from Shugary Sweets)

3 cup sugar
¾ cup butter
1 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt
3 cup white chocolate morsels
1½ cup marshmallow cream
3 tsp. root beer concentrate

In a large saucepan, heat sugar, butter, salt, and cream until combined.  Bring to a boil and stir continuously for 4 minutes, until it reaches the “soft ball” stage on a candy thermometer.
Remove from heat.  Quickly stir in white chocolate and marshmallow.  Stir vigorously until smooth.
Pour half of mixture into a parchment paper or foil-lined 13×9″ baking dish.  (If lining baking dish with foil, give it a light spray with nonstick cooking spray first.)  To remaining fudge, stir in root beer concentrate. Stir until combined.  Pour over white fudge.  Using a knife, swirl the two together.  Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.  Cut into bite size pieces and enjoy chilled.

 

Cookies and cream popsicles

July 11, 2013

Cookies and Cream Popsicles

After I made the Oreo Bowl Cake, I hid the few Oreo cookies that were leftover way in the back of the cupboard so the kids wouldn’t find them.  I had been wanting to make these popsicles and since I only needed a couple cookies, those two chocoholics of mine needed to be kept away from them.

This was a fun treat to make with Claudia.  Even though she’s never heard of pudding pops and has never seen a Bill Cosby commercial for them, I knew she would be crazy about these.  She loved whisking them up and getting the pudding into the molds.  It’s a great kid-friendly summer recipe and she’s already asking to make more.

Recipe:  Cookies and Cream Popsicles

(from Tatertots & Jello)

1 4.2 oz box of Oreo Cookies ‘n Creme Instant Jell-O pudding
1 1/2 cups of milk  (I used whole milk.)
4 Oreo cookies

Whisk together pudding mix and milk until it thickens up.  Chop Oreo cookies and place a few pieces in the bottom of each popsicle mold.  Transfer pudding to a large plastic baggie and snip off a corner.  Squeeze pudding into popsicle mold from baggie.  If you’d prefer, it is also easy enough to just spoon the pudding mixture into the popsicle molds.  Tap popsicle mold onto counter top to even out pudding mixture and get rid of air bubbles.  Insert popsicle sticks and freeze for 2-3 hours, or overnight.

(Made 4 popsicles so double or triple recipe accordingly.)

Zucchini taco boats

July 6, 2013

Zucchini Taco Boats

I love the idea of using zucchini as a shell for a fun take on dinner.  And I love love LOVE these taco boats!  They were absolutely delicious.  Trust me, for my husband to eat squash, it has to be stellar, and he loved these as much as I did.

Anything you like on your taco will work in these boats, so go crazy.  You can make them in the oven if you’d prefer, but we liked the grilled flavor and those perfect grill marks made me kind of happy.  It was as nice to look at as it was to eat.

This is definitely a healthy version of a taco.  Not only does the zucchini replace the taco shell, but I also like to sneak some farro into dishes where I’m using ground beef.  (If you aren’t familiar with farro, check out this New York Times article.)  I actually just buy the microwaveable pouches of farro at Target and in 90 seconds it’s ready to be added to my skillet with the cooked ground beef.  I use it in tacos, chili, and hamburger barbecue.  No one is really ever the wiser, since it blends in well with the hamburger and takes on the same flavors it’s seasoned with.  I like the idea that I’m replacing a little of the meat with a healthier grain that’s loaded with vitamins.

As we were finishing dinner, I was already planning the other things I want to try in a zucchini boat…  pizza… buffalo chicken…  I need to get back to the farmers market and pick up some more zucchini!

Recipe:  Zucchini Taco Boat

small zucchini squash (1/2-1 zucchini per person, depending on your appetite and the size of the squash)
olive oil
taco meat, cooked according to package directions or your favorite recipe
sharp cheddar cheese
taco toppings, such as shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, guacamole, salsa, sour cream (or my favorite substitute, plain Greek yogurt)

Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and use a teaspoon or melon baller to scoop out the seedy part of the squash to create a boat to fill later.  Brush zucchini with olive oil.  Grill, cut side down, for 10 minutes over medium-high heat.  Take the zucchini off the grill and fill the boat with cooked taco meat.  Top with cheese.  Return to grill, until the cheese melts.  Serve zucchini with your favorite taco fixings and enjoy!

(If you’re making your taco boats in the oven, cook them in a 375 degree oven just as you would on the grill.)

Basketball cake

July 1, 2013
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Basketball Cake

I am SO addicted to Pinterest.  The ideas that come across my computer screen make me want to cook, bake, craft, and redecorate my house.  I love being able to pin other people’s great ideas and try them myself.  Some have been real winners and a few have definitely been placed into the sarcastic “nailed it” category.  Not everything works out, but I’m very happy that this basketball cake was one of the winners.

I  had the perfect occasion to make this cake last week for Claudia’s basketball camp party.  I tried to find the original source to give credit where credit is due, but every pin I found just led me to a photo and none took me to it’s source.  So whoever you are, thank you!  It was a huge hit with the kids and their parents!

Recipe:  Basketball Cake

(original source unknown)

your favorite boxed cake mix or homemade cake
canned or homemade frosting  (I prefer chocolate frosting.)
Reese’s pieces candies – 2 bags

Prepare 2-layer cake according to package directions or recipe.  Cool and frost cake.  Using the photo as a guide, place brown Reese’s pieces on the cake first, then fill in with orange Reese’s pieces.

Oreo bowl cake

June 28, 2013

Oreo Bowl Cake

I am constantly being harassed by my extended family because I blog about treats that they never get to try.  (You know who you are and your names might sound like MOM and BEA.)  It’s very unfair of them, frankly, since when they are visiting me they run me completely ragged.  I taxi them to and fro throughout the county and they still have the nerve to fuss at me for not baking for them.  I know!  I’m never even in the house and they still expect delicious dinners and desserts.  That just isn’t logical to me, which is why we pretty much exist on hot dogs, pizza, and Starbucks when they’re here.

But during their last visit, I thought I’d take pity on them, so to speak, in the form of this Oreo bowl cake.  There are 3 ingredients and no cooking required, which makes it a winner in my book.  Plus,  it was easy to assemble during the fleeting moments we were actually home.  And it was SO GOOD.  By the time we got near the bottom of the bowl, we were each huddled around it with our own spoons.  We were absolutely not eager to share those last few bites, let me tell you.

Recipe:  Oreo Bowl Cake

(from Cookies and Cups)

2 packages of Oreo cookies
2-3 containers of Cool Whip
1 1/2 c. milk

Using whatever size and shape bowl you prefer, begin by quickly dipping Oreos into milk and placing them in a single layer in the bottom of your bowl or baking dish.  Spread a layer of Cool Whip over Oreos.  Repeat layers until you get to the top of your bowl or baking dish, being sure to end with a Cool Whip layer.  Sprinkle the top layer of Cool Whip with Oreo crumbs or decorate with whole Oreos.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.  Scoop and serve.

 

Chocolate chip cookie dough frozen yogurt

June 19, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frozen Yogurt

Through a crazy match made in taste bud paradise, chocolate chip cookie dough and yogurt came together to make the creamiest, yummiest summer treat ever.  EVER.  I am not exaggerating here one bit.  This is A.MAZ.ING.  And guess what?  You don’t even need an ice cream maker!  What you do need, however, is patience, because it takes a couple hours (or overnight) for the frozen yogurt to firm up in the freezer.  That was really the hardest part of the whole recipe.  Well, right after not eating it all in one sitting.

I know when you see the words “frozen yogurt,” you’re probably thinking that this is going to be a lighter version of your favorite ice cream, right?  Well, sadly, it’s totally not.  In fact, the creamy yumminess can probably be credited to the whole stick of butter that’s in here.  So while it isn’t necessarily something I can endorse for your waistline, your belly will be very, very happy.

Recipe:  Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frozen Yogurt

(slightly adapted from Anna at Tasty Kitchen)

1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c. packed dark brown sugar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. vanilla Greek yogurt
3/4 c. mini chocolate chips

In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and both sugars together until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla and beat until combined.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.   Add the flour mixture to butter mixture and stir to combine. Add vanilla yogurt and stir again.  Add the chocolate chips and stir until evenly distributed.

Place in a container and cover with lid.  Freeze until set, preferably overnight.

(Cookie dough recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Bridal Edition Cookbook.)

Makes about 2 cups.

 

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