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Archive for the ‘dessert’ Category

Hey, all! I’m more sporadic (the week has FLOWN) but I’m still here! The good thing about my work is the days go by so fast. The bad thing about my work is the days go by so fast! I’ve really learned to appreciate life with all that’s gone on.

Anyway–there are three hundred trillion recipes for “single-ingredient ‘ice cream'” and “banana soft-serve” out there. A few months ago, I decided to try it, myself. Used to be that when I had a banana that was… overly mature, I’d make banana bread. Not only was that more time-consuming than what you’ll see here, but more sugar- and fat-filled as well!

Here’s the quick “recipe” for
Banana “Soft Serve”
1. Peel, slice, and freeze a slightly overripe banana. It should be ready within a day of freezing. I actually like using multiple bananas, since I have a bigger food processor and the blade has more food to work with.
2. Put the banana chunks in your food processor, and whirl away! You may have to stop and scrape down the sides occasionally, but the texture ends up almost… creamy.
**I like adding cinnamon to this. Oops, that’s two ingredients!

Now, as for making it a sundae, I recently made homemade Magic Shell. I remember when this came out (sigh, dating myself)… you know what I’m talking about? The chocolatey sauce that turns hard when you put it on something cold, like ice cream? (I admit, when I was younger, to putting it on spoons, freezing the spoons, and eating it straight….)

Homemade Magic Shell is easy. You’ll need coconut oil, which you can get at Trader Joe’s these days, or any Whole Foods type store. Coconut oil has just the right melting point for our desired effect.

To Make Magic Shell
Over low heat or in a double boiler, melt
2 parts chocolate of choice (dark, milk, white, a combination….)
1 part coconut oil (refined or unrefined, doesn’t matter. Unrefined has a very slight coconut flavor)
Any flavorings, optional (mint extract, cinnamon, chipotle powder, orange extract, be creative….. I’d love to hear what you do!)

Stir until combined. You now have Magic Shell in liquid form. Pour into your desired storage vessel and, depending on your air temperature, it will either be solid or liquid as you store it. No worries if it solidifies, just melt a bit before you use it.

And now, the fun part: pour Magic Shell on your banana soft-serve….. oh, YEAH!

For additional chocolate, put cocoa powder in the soft-serve (and maybe some maple syrup or agave to keep it sweet, to taste). Come up with your own combinations, and let me know!

Howdy!

OK, I’m back and recovered from Thanksgiving. I made an Indian feast (worthy of many Recipe Friday posts)… it included:

Papads with tamarind chutney

Minted lamb patties (wow, these were so good)

Baked spicy chicken (almost tandoori-ish)

Homemade chai

Stir-fried red lentils

Garlic naan (storebought….)

Kheer

 

And we shared it with a friend who worked part of the day. Good stuff! The lamb dish will certainly be happening again… I’ll admit that it was my first time cooking lamb!

 

<i>Did you all have a great holiday weekend? Did you cook anything out of the ordinary?</i>

 

I’m prepping for another big holiday adventure, coming up here in a few weeks, but meanwhile, here’s a few fun holiday links:

 

1. Easy gifts for the holidays, or just fun things to share: holiday cake pops and candy apples.

 

2. The perfect Christmas gift for the cat.

 

3. This sweet minty Chex mix looks promising…. not healthy, but use a good quality white chocolate like Callebaut, and you’re set!

 

4. Make your house smell like the holidays! Boil a pot of water, add some orange peels and a few cinnamon sticks.

 

5. And to balance out the less-healthy eats above, here’s a good-looking recipe for curried sweet potato soup. It’s been soup weather for a while here, so why not make a big pot?

 

It’s December in a few days… can you believe it? I made a great red lentil and potato soup a few days ago, and I’ll share it with you all on Friday–big-time comfort food. Healthy, too!

 

Have a great rest of the week, everyone!

Happy Post-Halloween!

Unfortunately, we live on a long dead-end (bwa-ha-ha… appropriate) and get no trick-or-treaters. I went to a few events, both yesterday evening and Saturday night, though, and rocked my punny costume: I bought a bag of Smarties and taped some to my pants, making me… wait for it… Smartie Pants! Ha ha!!! (Best of all, it was a cheap costume, and one we could eat afterward!)

Anything fun that you all did for Halloween?

I continue on my rehab path… (which one? you ask. recovering from the hip surgeries is the most straightforward one.) I set a pretty lofty running goal at the beginning of October, and I met it on Saturday! Go, me! I remember at the beginning of September, I hadn’t even tried running (post-op) at all, and I didn’t even know if it was an option anymore. Now, after only 6 weeks back at it, I’m able to finish 30 minutes of run 4 minutes/walk 1 minute intervals!! It’s not easy, but I also imagine I’ll be able to run 30 minutes nonstop before the end of the year… just set your mind to it, and you can do it!!!

The holidays are soon upon us!! (for better or for worse…) My link list today is all food-oriented, but with a healthier spin. Let’s all vow to not gain the Holiday 10!

1. This is a Mark Bittman article that I have printed out as a reference on my cookbook shelf… 101 Simple Salads. It also teaches you to cook by eye and by taste, as he doesn’t give precise proportions. Trust your brain and tongue!

2. Halloween may be over this year, but this is one I’ll have to remember for next year, because it’s so darn cute: Frozen Boo-nana Pops

3. Can’t avoid pumpkin spice lattes during the holiday season? This healthy pumpkin spice latte looks yummy!

4. It’s totally soup weather (just went for an 11am run, and it’s in the high 30’s outside!), so here are a few healthy soup recipes.

5. And I’m intrigued by this one. If someone tries it before me, let me know what you think… ??? 100 calorie moist chocolate cupcakes It looks like they’re bigger than a thimble, so that’s not how they get away with the calorie count.

Finally… for those who have done any traveling like me, if you have been to the Cinque Terre in Italy, sadly, two of the towns were devastated by flooding last week (see photos here). I’m thinking the restaurant and the market were ones I visited and enjoyed. One more reminder to go out and see the world while we still can.

Stay strong and healthy!

Howdy!

I’m finally resurfacing from reading the virtual piles of Steve Jobs articles, here to see you all again. As a business owner, I very much admired his keen sense of really knowing his clients, and especially knowing what his market wanted before they themselves knew. He truly changed the consumer electronics game especially in the past 15 years.

I read an anecdote on a site in the past week, where an author described having visited a big box electronics store in 1999, when the iMac came out (you know, the ones that came in different colors). The author overheard a customer expressing her disappointment that the store was out of the tangerine-colored iMacs, since they would best go with her drapes. Now… that’s design innovation.

Enough of the business chatter–but before I move on, I’ve used these events as motivation to expand my corporate fitness clientele. One seems like it’s going to be a sure bet (though lots of paperwork on my end) while the other may take some convincing. But–stay outrageous, my friends, in this one precious life that we have. What one step are you going to take today to change your life?

(It can be simple… eating one more vegetable serving than normal, exercising when you didn’t feel like doing so… trying a new exercise class and maybe making it a part of your ongoing routine… calling up an old friend that you haven’t talked to in ages…)

Here are some ideas to get you started, including some healthy and not-so-healthy recipes: (hey, you gotta just have fun sometimes)

1. Healthy crockpot recipes at Skinny Crockpot

2. And now, for something less healthy: cookie dough recipes that are safe to be eaten raw.

3. Awwww! Totally cute.

4. Ohhh, so many fun indoor Halloween decorations! (You didn’t think I was done with Halloween last week, huh?)

5. Recipes for homemade condiments (ketchup, mustard, mayo, chipotle sauce)

OK–now, it’s time to go and do something outrageous with your life! What’s it gonna be?

I just read the following quote:

Someday, everything will all make perfect sense. So for now, laugh at the confusion, smile through the tears, and keep reminding yourself that everything happens for a reason.

Yesterday, I spent some time at a clinic specializing in voice disorders, since I’ve spent the past 2 1/2 months unable to speak. These folks are the first to come up with a workable solution, as it’s already started to solve my problem. Apparently between a bad June illness in which I experienced heavy bouts of coughing plus intubation from my February surgery, the musculature in my throat got out of whack… and pulled my larynx out of alignment. Just a minor adjustment made it so that I could produce some (quiet, hoarse) sound. Still isn’t much, but it’s promising! And I’m hoping for more progress soon.

So, what does this have to do with the quote? Prior to this voice problem, I’d been out with a hip surgery… and a second hip surgery to correct what went wrong in the first one. Between the two, I relied heavily on my Pilates and anatomy background to get myself back on my feet again. While it didn’t prove 100% successful the first round–I still had plenty inside the joint that needed fixing–I’m doing great after the second surgery. I’m doing so well, in fact, that I’ve leveraged it into a few jobs doing rehabilitative Pilates work!

Sure, the whole time I studied Pilates, my focus was more rehab. But having spent so much time on my own body, I’m very passionate about using movement to make people feel more comfortable in their daily activities. So, while the two surgeries weren’t the best experience in the world… look what came out of it! (And just think… five years ago, I was teaching rinky-dink Pilates classes at the gym.)

I’m still trying to figure out the “reason” for all of my voice problems (other than forcing me to tap into my creativity a lot more, and appreciating life, and truly learning who and what are the most important to me)–until then, here are some interesting links of the day:

1. Who doesn’t go out now and then to show off their fit body? This is a great tutorial on an easy, casual up-do. I’m wondering if it would work with my almost-shoulder-length hair. I already have the waves, naturally…

2. Fun! Make a bell pepper octopus to put in your veggie dip.

3. If you can still find a few peaches or nectarines where you live, this recipe for cinnamon roasted peaches with yogurt sounds delightfully healthy!

4. Yes, I know. This is a Thanksgiving link. But I think I’d have to start now to set up this Thanksgiving veggie display (you have to scroll down a bit).

5. I’ve got your back!

Have a great week, everyone! We still have a few days of sun left… I’m going to go outside in a bit and appreciate it!

Hello hello! Well… forget about all those gloomy whines I logged earlier in July about “where’s summer?” It’s apparently showing up late to the party. I’m usually such a stickler for punctuality, but in this case, I’m not turning summer away!

We’ve had glorious, sunshiny days in the high 70’s around here for about a week now! Alert the media! (Wait… the media probably have been alerted. This is pretty darn unusual for us.)

A few of this week’s interesting and goofy links are even food-oriented. One–gasp–is healthy food-oriented. Can you believe it? (And it’s really full of useful information. I’ll be making good use of it!)

So, here they are:

1. Cute ribbony bookmarks!

2. Chalkboard menu wall! This blog author “menued” the side of a black armoire in her kitchen. Looks great!

3. These look cute! A healthier pizza in large portobello mushrooms.

4. What a fantastic list! Eighty healthy recipe substitutions, most of which look easy to find at regular grocery stores!

5. This is oh so true…. 🙂

OK, gang. I got up early so that I could be stationary biked, bodypumped, treadmilled, and Pilated (ack, I feel like I’m defiling his name without the S, but I can’t quite say Pilatesed?) before the bulk of the sunshine. And now, I have this post out to you all! Go out and enjoy!

Hidey Ho,

So, Tuesday Tidbits became Wednesday Widgets this week. Mea culpa! The husband and I spent a few days in Tahoe, seeing that big fireball in the sky and getting our hike on. (Oh, and adventures with rental car dying just before taking the twisty, turny road. It left us stranded, but in a safe place. Props to the Sunday staff of the Circle K in Incline Village, NV! They let us use their phone when our battery started dying, after several 20-minute chunks on hold….)

Several adventures later, and we’re back in 50-degree western Washington, with many good memories, and a recommendation to stay at the North Tahoe Lodge if you’re in the Truckee area. Very luxurious, great owners (who live in my hometown of Fremont, CA, when not at Tahoe), fantastic hospitality!

Enough reminiscing… onward to this week’s link collection!

1. Are you like my husband and allergic to nuts, but want Nutella? Try this recipe–you can make something similar, pureeing sunflower seeds with chocolate to make a similar spread.

2. Like playing Space Invaders? Well, get the Space Invaders Couch!

3. Still got summer? (no. I don’t secretly hate you. no.) As part of a website listing 50 frozen desserts from popsicles to drinks to ice cream, here’s a recipe for blackberry granita that looks mighty fine.

4. Check out this quote

5. I love these dipped strawberries for sports fans!

OK, y’all! Gotta go pick up family from the airport! Talk soon! I think it’s time for another fitness challenge… what say?


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