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Use up that jam! Easy Homemade Jam Ice Cream.

30 Aug

I have to say, for a little bit there I was on a strawberry jam kick. It was easy to whip up and can a batch of it and be able to enjoy that one batch the whole year. But then I got chickens, which means I have lots of eggs. Which means my most favorite way to enjoy those eggs is over medium. What does that mean for my jam? It means it doesn’t get to make its debut on a buttery english muffin quite as often since strawberry jam coated english muffins do not go well being dipped into egg yolks. Maybe it’s just me, but that’s not my thing. So my strawberry jam has been collecting a little dust, going unloved on the canning shelf.

Then Northwest Edible Life throws me a recipe that is simple to whip up and use some of that jam! This ice cream recipe is so simple to use. No cooking a custard base, no cooling. Just your ice cream maker and 4 ingredients and you’ll have a batch of homemade ice cream with homemade jam for sweetness and flavor. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it!

It’s a great way to use up some surplus jam. Don’t have any homemade jam? You could give it a try with store bought. Not quite as good in my opinion, but it will still be quick and taste amazing. After tasting this easy ice cream, I plan on making a large batch of jam – strawberry and apple pie – so that I have it on hand for a quick batch of this ice cream! And to smear on homemade bread and english muffins of course.

strawberry jam ice cream

Homemade Jam Ice Cream

Adapted from Northwest Edible Life

1 cup cold milk – I used 2%

2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled

1 pint jar jam of your choice – I used strawberry

Put all your ingredients into a mixing bowl and combine using an immersion blender. Pour mixture into your ice cream maker, following the manufacturers directions.

Since this will be a soft set, I like to place it in a freezer safe container and firm up overnight. The lovely thing about this recipe? It doesn’t get rock hard. My ice cream scoop easily cuts through it and I serve it up with a little chocolate sauce for dessert. It’s rich, so one or two scoops will satisfy.

A healthy dessert alternative – Dark Chocolate Frozen Coconut Bites

19 Aug

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but I love me some coconut. And not just food, coconut everything. Coconut oil, candy, body wash, body spray, shampoo, soap, candles, beverages. You name it. I haven’t met something with coconut anywhere in the description that I didn’t like. Seriously. As many of you have picked up, I am working to lead a healthier lifestyle. That doesn’t mean I don’t eat well or live a good life. I still enjoy food, and the whole act of eating. I just choose to make better choices. Organic as often as I can, growing and preserving as much food as possible, and doing much of my cooking from scratch. I have cut back on my beer consumption since that and too large portions are what contributed to my weight gain (fall beers are starting to arrive though, so I’ll have to be strong!!!) I don’t follow any particular diet or eating fad. I’m not gluten free, paleo or vegan. I like meat. I like dairy. I like bread. I don’t stop myself from eating the things that I like, I just limit myself to how much I’m eating. I’ve stopped boredom snacking. When I have a craving for something that may not be the healthiest food choice, I wait a few days. If I still have the craving, I indulge in a small bit of whatever it is I have a hankering for. Like a slice of pie, or a piece of cake. If the craving goes away, it was just a random craving. I certainly don’t exercise as often as I should. My days have been pretty busy as of late with cleaning, gardening, and taking care of my 10lb back surgery dog. So I’m not sitting around. I have actually lost 10lbs of the 30 that I want to lose, and that is mostly with diet changes. It’s amazing how great it feels when a pair of pants that had previously not fit FIT. Like you can button them up and not struggle to breathe. There is no muffin top or unsightly bulge. It’s a total victory. I’m not FAT, but I’m certainly not at my healthiest weight. So this lifestyle change is working, and I can see results. Therefore I choose to continue making healthy food choices. BUT…that doesn’t mean this girl doesn’t want something sweet from time to time. And I don’t think it’s too much to ask to have it be a healthy sweet treat. Enter in the Dark Chocolate Frozen Coconut Bites – aka Coconut Klondike. Coconut is a healthy fat to ingest. Coconut oil has so many benefits I won’t even go into listing them all here. Dark chocolate is also beneficial. One of these little Coconut Bites satisfies a craving without blowing your daily progress and on a hot day, the frozen texture of them helps give you a mini cool down. I love that they are a 2 bite treat (on if you are a man and toss the whole thing in your mouth), there are no added sugars, no processing, no ingredients that can’t be pronounced or identified. They are actually a HEALTHY treat!!!  Go figure!

Your yield for these can vary depending on how much you fill up those muffin liners. I got 30, but know I could have gotten less if I would have packed in the coconut. I also chose to add in some more of the shredded coconut – probably 1/4 cup more so I got a larger yield. The original recipe called for making these in the standard size muffin papers but I chose to do mini so having 2 would feel like a real indulgence.

If you like coconut, are trying to be healthy, or both definitely give these a try. I’m so glad I did!

Dark Chocolate Frozen Coconut Bites

Dark Chocolate Frozen Coconut Bites

Yield 20-30

Adapted from PaleOMG

 

Ingredients

1 ½ cups unsweetened shredded coconut

½ cup coconut butter

½ cup organic coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of salt

1 bag dark chocolate chips

In the bowl of your food processor, add all of your ingredients with the exception of the dark chocolate chips. Blend it until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed and you have a silky texture with bites of coconut.

Line your mini muffin pan with paper liners, adding a scoop of coconut mixture smashing down the mix with the back of a spoon to level it. You will fill your liners ¾ of the way full, leaving room for chocolate.

After filling all of your muffin cups, melt your chocolate chips. To melt, I used a double boiler, but you can also use the microwave if you want to do it quicker.

Top each coconut cup with melted chocolate until tops are completely covered.

When done, place muffin pan in the freezer for 20 minutes until coconut cups are set and firm. Remove from freezer, transfer to an air tight container and store in freezer.

When you want to eat one, remove it from the freezer and let sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes to let the coconut and chocolate soften a little.

When the garden gives your zucchini, make Chocolate Zucchini Bread!

12 Aug

 

 

One of the joys of having a vegetable garden is that you know exactly what went on in the growing of those veggies. The other joy is getting virtually free food, right from your own back (or side) yard, from space that would otherwise be grass or weeds. This year, I planted about 10 total squash plants.  A mix of crookneck, zucchini, and what I THOUGHT were yellow squash but turned out to be mislabeled croocknecks. Production was going pretty good once the bees started pollinating the flowers, but the plants are all now starting to die and will need ripped out and replaced with a second crop of squash – the butternut variety! But for right now, I still have a bin full of the zucchini and crooknecks, so I decided to whip up another batch of Chocolate Zucchini Bread. The first batch was delicious, and since it was such a hit, I decided to make another batch. Hopefully this round lasts a little longer.

This bread is moist and has a nice crumb without being soggy like some zucchini breads. The chocolate flavor from the cocoa powder is rich and deep without being overpowering. All in all, I’d say this bread is a winner in my book and will probably be made just one more time before I run out of zucchini.  The picture doesn’t do it justice. Seriously. You should make it just so you can see the loveliness that is this bread with your own eyes.

Enjoy!

chocolate zucchini bread

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

makes 2 loaves

adapted from Simply Recipes

  • 4 cups shredded zucchini
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour – I use King Arthur brand
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups Zulka Morena Pure Cane Sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup butter, melted

Place your shredded zucchini in a colander or sieve placed over a bowl and let drain for 30 minutes.

While your zucchini is draining, preheat your over to 350 degrees. Grease 2 loaf pans with butter and a little flour to prevent sticking

In a small bowl, add your flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and kosher salt. Whisk together until well blended, with no lumps.
In a large bowl, add your eggs and sugar, whisking until smooth. Add your vanilla extract, whisking until incorporated. Last, add your butter, and whisk until smooth.

Add your shredded and drained zucchini to your wet mixture, stirring to combine. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, stirring to combine completely after each addition.

Spoon the mixture into your 2 loaf pans, evenly divided between the two. Smooth out the tops with the back of your spoon so it’s level.

Place pans in oven for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely before slicing. Try not to devour it.

I don’t know how long this bread will last, other than a week since that is all the longer it took for the hubs to devour both loaves. Since it makes 2, you can store one in the freezer for later consumption. Just wrap in a double layer of plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn and store. To thaw, remove from freezer and place in fridge overnight.

German Pancakes with Wine-y Strawberries

18 Mar

Have I ever mentioned that I am a big fan of dessert? No? Well let me clear the air – I am a big fan of dessert. I feel so liberated now. Whew. So, on to the german pancake. I have been eyeballing this treat for some time, but never gotten around to making it.There are SO many recipes out there. Some that are super simple with few ingredients, others that are multi-layered, therefore making something that should be simplistic complicated. It’s called a pancake for goodness sakes! I had a hankering for dessert one day and figured what better time to try one out than right now? But wait. I would totally need a topping of some sort. What a surprise – I had frozen chopped strawberries portioned out into 2 cup servings from when they were fresh and on sale. Ta-da! And I wanted them to be juicy and warm on my warm german pancake. So Wine-y Strawberries were born!

I found the german pancake recipe in one of the old church cookbooks from my Bubba’s collection that were saved and given to me. It was as simple sounding as I was looking for and fairly quick to whip up. I cheated and didn’t sift the flour or really measure out any of the other ingredients. It turned out to be delicous as is. I don’t know the name of the cookbook since the cover has long since been MIA. But it’s got some good old fashioned recipes in it. Along with some weird sounding ones that I wouldn’t feed to an enemy. The recipe makes 2 pancakes, but hubs and split one because I didn’t want to force myself to eat a whole one. He had the other one the next morning for breakfast. Said it tasted great all by itself at room temp and a day old.

This pancake is a nice canvas to add anything you want as a topping, from the sweet to the savory. Just omit the vanilla for a savory dish. It would be good topped with some goat cheese, spinach and artichokes. Mmmm.

German Pancake

Serves 2

adapted from an old church cookbook

4 eggs

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon sugar

2/3 cup milk

2/3 cup flour

2 tablespoons butter, divided

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a food processor or blender, add the eggs, salt and sugar and process/blend until a light yellow color. Add the milk, vanilla and flour and process/blend again until combined.

Grease 2 8 or 9 inch cake pans and divide the batter in between them. Add a tablespoon of butter to the center of the pancake.

Cook for 20 minutes. At 20 minutes, rotate your cake pans and turn down the oven to 350 degrees, cooking another 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and plate up, topping with Wine-y Strawberries. You could also top these with some jam or preserves, fresh berries and whipped cream, or just eat them like a pancake and douse it in maple syrup.

Wine-y Strawberry Topping

2 cups frozen strawberries, chopped (if using fresh, see note)

2 tablespoons sweet read wine

1 tablespoon sugar

In a small saucepan, place the berries, wine and sugar, stirring to combine everything together. Over medium-high heat, cook the berries until the are bubbling and the juices & wine start to cook off and thicken a little. Turn off heat and place the hot berries on top of your german pancake. These would also be a good topping for regular pancakes or even a chocolate sheet cake. Yum!

Note: if using fresh berries, chop them and place them in a small bowl. Add the 1 tablespoon of sugar, stirring your berries to coat and let sit for 10-15 minutes. This will get the juices in your berries to come out, helping you increase your sauce to berry ratio. Then just add the juicy berries to your pan with your wine and cook as directed above.

Pumpkin Pie….Smoothie!

5 Nov

Ah pumpkin. And my new addiction to smoothies. Because they offer a sweet treat, without all those pesky calories that usually convert to fat that goes right to my ass, hips and thighs.

I love pumpkin pie, but let’s be honest – that crust is a killer when it comes to calories. And I just can’t bring myself to eat just the filling on a pumpkin pie, leaving behind the crust to be tossed or fed to birds. I blame my childhood. I was raised to clean my plate, and wasn’t permitted to leave the table until my plate was clean of all food. So, ya.

Since the fall starts the pumpkin food obsession in my house, I figured I needed a smoothie option. Hubs and I aren’t the only ones eating pumpkin. The chickens and ducks are enjoying a whole pumpkin. It’s helps keep them from getting bored when they are in their run, and it’s a great nutrient booster to their eggs! It will also supposedly help fend off intestinal parasites, which is always a good thing if you are a chicken. Plus, we’ll get nice orange yolks from all that pumpkin ingestion! Yay!

For us humans, pumpkin is also super beneficial. It’s loaded with fiber, so it’ helps you feel fuller longer, which in turns helps aid in weight loss. It contains beta-carotene, which helps our body prevent cancer, as well as help to keep us looking wrinkle free. 1 cup of pumpkin contains 564 milligrams of potassium, which is a great way to refuel after a workout. They also contain vitamin c, which can help ward off colds. Oh ya, and pumpkin tastes great, sweet and savory!

This recipe tastes decadent. The key is blending it for a longer period of time to get that creamy ice cream like richness without all the fat. Don’t get lazy and only blend it for a minute. Go for 2-3. It makes ALL the difference! For those calorie conscious folks, this recipe is only 114 calories per serving. If you were to drink the whole recipe, that’s still only 228 calories – and you will be so full I don’t think you’ll be ABLE to finish it!

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

1/2 cup organic pumpkin puree

1 tablespoon molasses

1 gram of Stevia sweetener

1tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup non fat milk

1 cup ice

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until about double in size. You want to blend it for about 2-3 minutes. This will create lots of air bubbles and make the smoothie taste rich and creamy like a milkshake! Serve immediately and enjoy!

Double your fun dessert: Strawberry Cake Pie

5 Sep

Nope. You aren’t seeing things. The title of this dessert is in fact Strawberry Cake Pie. The bottom layer is cake which you bake in a pie pan. You then top it with strawberries that have been coated in sugar and let to sit and get juicy for a bit. Then…wait for it…you top it with lattice patterned pie crust. YES! It’s a delicious trick. Because it LOOKS like a strawberry pie. But cut into it and you’ve got that yummy cake layer that has soaked up the juices from the strawberries during round 2 of baking. Bliss.

Now, my crust job doesn’t look that fabulous…and I could totally try to blame it on the fact that I was making this dessert at 7am on the 4th of July. But I won’t. Because when it comes down to it, I don’t put a whole lot of time into making things look bakery quality fantastic. I don’t want to fuss and fret that I’ve made the fork pressed edges of the crust perfectly even and didn’t overlap the fork at all on the way around. So what if it doesn’t look like it’s ready for its glossy magazine cover spread. If it looks decent enough and tastes good, I’m a happy girl. I did use boxed cake mix and *gasp* store-bought pie crust due to time constraints. Next time, I’ll double the strawberries and do homemade pie crust. Skip the lattice top and just use mini cookie cutters to let the berries show through. Whether you make it with from scratch ingredients or punk out and use store bought, it’s still a crowd pleasing dessert. I can see making it with apples in the future…or a blackberry top. Yum.

Strawberry Cake Pie

adapted from Food Network Magazine  July/August 2012

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1lb strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup sugar + 1-2 teaspoons for sprinkling crust
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 rolls of refrigerated pie dough (or homemade)
  • Flour for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9in pie plate. In a medium bowl, add cake mix, eggs, water, oil & vanilla. Beat for 2-3 minutes until all ingredients are combined and no large lumps remain. Pour all of the batter into your greased pie plate (or ¾ full) and bake for 25 minutes, until the edges are set and the center is slightly wobbly. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

While your cake is baking, make the strawberry filling – in a small bowl combine the strawberries, ¼ cup sugar and pinch of salt. Stir to coat and let sit for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle cutting board with flour. Unroll your pie dough and slice into 1in strips and set aside.

Drain your strawberries and top your slightly cooled cake with them, pressing into the cake as you add them. Increase your oven temp to 450 degrees.

You will now top your strawberries with the strips of pie dough, spacing 1in apart. To create a lattice design, lift every other horizontal strip and place a strip of crust vertically. Lay down lifted strips and continue in an alternating pattern. To make the edges of the crust, use the leftover pieces, pressing the ends together to bind them. Use a fork to press the edges. Brush crust with the butter and sprinkle with 1-2 teaspoons sugar.

Bake for 15 minutes in your 450 degree oven.

Let cool and serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Recipe Test: Joy the Baker’s Strawberry Upside Down Cake

13 Aug

I love Joy. From her wittiness in her posts to her down to earth recipes with a little twist. When I saw her post a recipe for a Strawberry Upside Down Cake, well I was just smitten. And HAD to make it ASAP. So I did. It was FANTASTIC. Really. I followed her recipe with the exception that I did not use any Cardomom, because I didn’t have any to use. I increased the amount of vanilla in mine from 1 teaspoon to 2 teaspoons. Also, I increased the brown sugar from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup for the topping. It turned out wonderfully. Took it to a cookout and shared it with family and friends. They very much enjoyed it. It was very easy to make and took only a small amount of time to whip up.

I’m noticing an obsessive pattern here with me and strawberries lately. I can’t help it! Every sweet treat I make has these ruby red beauties and the fruit portion. I may need an intervention.

These photos below were taken just after it was freshly popped out of the pan. The strawberries didn’t stay that bright red. Once they are exposed to the air and cool down they turn from bright red to a dark shade of mauve. Don’t worry. This happens with all recipes that cook strawberries. They can’t keep that brightness once all the juices soak into the cake. So don’t worry if yours goes from BLAM! Bright Red to Meh Mauve. It will still taste fantastic. I promise.

Get the recipe HERE, straight from Joy. Drool over my pictures. Ya. That’s right. You know you want a piece of this cake. I sure want another one.