Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Frozen Fruit Ice Cream

Strawberry-Banana makes me think of eating yogurt on my Grandparent's deck when I was a kid during the summer months. And just like that yogurt was a refreshing summer snack, so was this Strawberry Banana Mango "Ice Cream" that my brother and I made on a summer afternoon.

This "ice cream" came about kind of on accident, because we were originally making smoothies...but we had A LOT of frozen fresh fruit on hand, and well...there just wasn't any more room in the blender for more orange juice or milk.
And hey, eating a smoothie out of a bowl and with a spoon is more fun anyway.

Freezing fresh fruit is a great way to store it if you can't use it before it starts to go bad. In the late summer months I always have that problem of over-buying because it looks so abundant and bountiful in the market, and then not using it up in time. Freezing has become my go-to way of saving the fruit (or making compotes!) and this way it stays good well into the fall and winter months when it isn't as readily available.

This "ice cream" is refreshing and sweet, and don't have to feel too bad about eating it. Of course to make banana ice cream you really only need bananas and don't need any other add-ins, but if you feel like jazzing it up, this Strawberry-Banana version is wonderful!

It looks just like the soft serve fro-yo that is becoming ever-so popular now-a-days! Delicious!

Strawberry Banana Mango "Ice Cream"

2-3 frozen bananas
2 Cups frozen strawberries, or any other berry
splash of milk/orange juice, start with 2-3 Tablespoons
Scoop of yogurt (optional)
Ice cubes (optional)

Add all ingredients into a blender, adding only a few splashes of juice/milk at first. Blend until smooth. The mixture should still be quite thick, add more liquid if necessary until the desired consistency is reached.
Scoop into a bowl and enjoy!

Have you ever used frozen frozen? What did you make?

I really like using frozen bananas, I use them all the time in smoothies like my Favorite Green Smoothie, and frozen mangoes are great too! I love frozen mangoes in Mango Lassies, like this one here.
Both bananas and mangoes get sweeter after having been frozen, making them all the more fun to eat!


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mango Lassi, Sunshine in a Glass

Did you know you can eat the skin of a mango?  You can! I happen to like the taste, quite a bit actually. I found out that the skin was edible in high school when my friend who spends her summers in India told me you could. I was cutting one up as a snack to have with tea, a favorite pass time after school (weren't we classy!?), when I served her just the sweet orange inside, and she gave me a funny look. She then told me how in India people will eat mangoes like apples, skin and all. Of course I immediately had to try it and was soon gnawing on the tough, bright green, red, and freckled-yellow peel. I am so glad that she informed me of this, I always felt bad throwing away so much of the mango because a good portion of it is the outer skin. And now it makes cutting them up SO much easier, no need to take the time to peel them beforehand.

For this recipe however, there are no mango skins involved, so you can munch on those while you blend up this refreshing cool drink!

I'm already a fan of smoothies, but a lassi is special. It is so rich, smooth and creamy, sweet and tangy. I have seen Aarti make them on her cooking show, Aarti's party on the Food Network, and am always charmed by the sparkling golden beverage. I quick blended one up, using ingredients I had on hand, and used spices I read were traditionally used in lassies and I knew I would like.

When I tasted it I couldn't help but smile, it was so good! The color is gorgeous and reminiscent of the sunshine. This slightly sweet smelling, cool drink is absolutely a keeper recipe, and I look forward to making it again soon!

Mango Lassi

Serves: 2, or 1 if you are like me:)

1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt (plain/vanilla/honey will all taste good)
1 mango, frozen if possible
1/4th teaspoon ground cardamom
Handful of ice cubes
Splash of milk, until desired consistency
More cardamom for garnish

Blend all ingredients in a blender and garnish with sprinkling of spice.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

S'more Cupcakes

These cupcakes are a real treat. Don't let the length of the recipe be intimidating, the end result is worth every bit of work and when taken step-by-step the assembly isn't too difficult. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the whole thing turned out, and on my first try too!
If you are wondering how to go about eating these, ie., with a fork and knife, face-first, one-bite-wonder (not possible), ...roasted over a fire and on a stick... I say to opt for the face-first variation. 
Just like a kid at a hesitation. 

To make the Marshmallow-Stuffed Graham Cracker Cupcake:
1 1/2 cups of gluten free graham crackers, ground to a fine flour using a food processor
1/2 cup gluten free flour blend (I used a mixture with ground oatmeal!)
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk
Marshmallows, the kind used for s'mores
Chocolate Frosting
Chocolate Squares
Extra GF graham cracker crumbs

To Make the Cake:
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a muffin tin with paper liners.
2. Combine the graham cracker flour, Gluten Free flour blend, baking powder, and salt.
3. Separately, cream the butter and sugar together until lighter in color and fluffy. Add one egg at a time, thoroughly combining before adding the second. Stir in the vanilla.
4. Slowly mix the flour mixture to the butter mixture, along with the milk until no lumps remain and all ingredients are combined.
5. Pour the batter into the lined muffin tins, about 1/2 full.
6. Place one marshmallow in the center of each muffin tin and gently push into the batter.
7. Bake for 20 minutes in the pre-heated oven, but please check your cupcakes and adjust time accordingly, they should be golden brown and the marshmallow should appear as though it has been roasted, and are a bit sunken within the cupcake.
8. Once you have removed the cupcakes from the oven, place ANOTHER marshmallow right in the crater that the first marshmallow created. Yup, you read that right. A whole second marshmallow stuffed right there in the middle of each cupcake. This one will get all warm and gooey, making for a welcomed surprise when you take that first bite!...and second, and third... 
9. You can frost the cupcakes that are brimming with marshmallows, once they are cooled. I used a large plastic baggie that was sealed and had the corner cut off, but feel free to apply the frosting however you like, as long as you pile it high!!

I used extra GF graham cracker crumbs and a chocolate square to garnish the already-over-the-top decadent cupcakes.

Please enjoy these cupcakes. They are by no means health food...but are completely delicious and worth sharing for special occasions.

Cheers,      Suzy

This recipe was constructed from a mish-mash of these adapted recipes:

Best Chocolate Frosting

Before going gluten free I didn't realize that most frosting contains a thickener, often flour. After making the realization, frosting just became an extra addition to the growing list of things that you have to look out for when eating. Among the sneaky places gluten hides, frosting is low on my list of concerns. Other foods that I eat more often, and are more relevant to my daily life such as roux in soups and thickeners and emulsifiers used in salad dressing, trump frosting. However, when I had an idea for these luscious cupcakes I knew I wanted to use the best frosting possible, and after looking into a couple recipes I was reminded just how prevalent flours are used in the creamy cake topper. After some research I came across this recipe and made modifications according to personal experience with gluten free flours and preferences.

The result was a frosting that is luxury at it's finest. It is silky, smooth, and chocolaty beyond belief. Much more rich-tasting than any frosting you might get out of a plastic container.

1 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup Gluten Free flour of choice (the finer, the better...I used sweet white rice)
3 T unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup granulated sugar (I used a less because I knew this cupcake was already going to be so sweet)
1 cup almond milk
1 cup butter, room temperature

To Make The Frosting:
1. Carefully melt the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second increments and stirring after each. 
2. In a small saucepan and over medium heat, combine the GF flour, cocoa powder, sugar and milk. Whisk to combine and remove lumps, allowing the mixture to come to a simmer for 3-5 minutes until thickened.
3. Remove from heat, transfer to a large mixing bowl (it is suggested to strain it into the bowl), and allow it to cool COMPLETELY in the refrigerator or freezer.
4. In a mixer (or in a bowl with a hand mixer), beat the butter until fluffy [2 min]. Add the cooled flour mixture and beat until fluffy [2 min]. Incorporate the melted chocolate chips and continue to beat until smooth and still fluffy [2 min].

At this point the frosting is ready to  pipe onto your cooled cupcakes, or you can go old-school (my personal favorite way of doing things) and smooth it on with a frosting knife.

Recipe for this S'more Cupcake HERE