Monthly Archives: May, 2015

Flourless Chocolate Sundae Brownies

cherry jam vanilla froyo brownie with rainbow sprinkles

A geologist would have quite a time with these layered brownies. After tasting the snowy vanilla surface and taking some samples of the lusciously fruity cherry swirl, shoveling deeper reveals dense, rich brownies without a trace of flour. Colorful fossilized sprinkles abound, making this journey to the center of the dessert a real celebration.

If you’d like to participate in this fascinating excavation, come along and make this brownie frozen yogurt sundae creation! Start with the decadent brownie base…

brownie with nonpareils, ready to be topped with frozen yogurt

…And layer the frozen yogurt “snow” on top, with a swirl of cherry jam in lieu of maraschino cherries!

brownie sundae cherry vanilla rainbow sprinkles frozen yogurt brownies

I might recommend adding some edible foliage, such as fresh strawberries or pitted cherries, just before serving. Enjoy!

vanilla cherry fro yo chocolate brownie rainbow sprinkles

Click here for the full recipe: Celebration Sundae Brownies

sprinkles cherry vanilla frozen yogurt brownie

 

Be A Yogurt Missionary

peanut butter chocolate pudding yogurt cookie pie

Yogurt is one of those foods that gets quite a wide range of reactions across the population. I was brought up on yogurt with my pb&j every day, so to me the creamy, smooth sweetness of a good yogurt is a natural pleasure I try to enjoy daily. I have a friend who likes fruit smoothies with yogurt, but can’t bear to watch the yogurt as it is poured into the smoothie or to catch a whiff of the pungent dairy aroma. As a kind of therapy for her yoguphobia, we filmed a horror movie together with the main antagonist being an evil tribe of yogurts bent on world domination. My mom isn’t such a big fan of any kind of dairy, but she’s happily consumed yogurt whenever I’ve made a chocolatey dessert she likes that happens to have yogurt as an ingredient. And this tart and sweet, salty and chocolatey, chewy and smooth Peanut Butter Cookie Pudding Pie made with Greek yogurt was no exception.

chocolate peanut butter cookie yogurt pie half baked cookie

If you know someone like my friend who loathes the y-word, you probably won’t convince them to plunge their spoon straight into a bowlful of alabaster plain yogurt. But if you gave them the chance to taste a half-baked cookie crust paired with a smooth chocolate filling that’s tart, yet just sweet enough to tempt the senses, you might just convert them from yoguphobe to yoguvore. Someone on the fence about yogurt, like my mom, is pretty much guaranteed to make their conversion official if only to taste this winning combination of flavors one more time.

yogurt pie peanut butter cookie chocolate

So take this pie on your journey to be a yogurt missionary! With minimal baking (that can probably be omitted altogether if desired), powerful protein and calcium, and a gluten-free ingredients list (if you use certified gluten free peanut butter chips) , this is a recipe you can feel righteous about as you travel the land, encouraging the poor lost souls who don’t care for yogurt to reap the benefits of probiotics, calcium, fueling protein and a delicious afterlife. Make this recipe and save the world!

A few notes about the recipe: I made it as a whole pie, and it was very hard to cut slices neatly. I would recommend making individual servings in ramekins or cupcake liners to avoid a pudding-y mess. This will also mean probably a shorter bake time for the cookie crust. Actually, I wonder if the crust really needs to be baked at all – I wanted a half-baked texture, but if you want to refrigerate longer and not bake the crust it would probably taste good as well and then this would officially be a “no-bake recipe!” Whichever path you choose, I hope you and your new yogurt converts savor this scrumptious pudding pie.

Peanut Butter Cookie Pudding Pie

makes about 12 servings

peanut butter cookie chocolate yogurt pie

Ingredients:

for crust

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup Truvia Baking Blend
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or replace with chunks, etc. if desired)

for filling

  • 1 container (5.3 oz/150 g) Greek nonfat plain yogurt (I used Chobani brand)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup

for topping

  • 1/4 cup Reese’s brand Peanut Butter Chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Line a pie pan with foil (RECOMMENDED: use mini ramekins or cupcake liners in a muffin tin instead to make individual servings.)

In a large bowl, combine the cookie ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Place cookie dough in baking dish, distributing evenly to form a thin layer across entire dish.

Bake at 350 Fahrenheit for 5 minutes, if you want that half-baked taste. (Otherwise, you could try not baking and refrigerating for longer.) Refrigerate baking dish with crust for some time (I did less than 10 minutes, but the longer it chills the firmer it will be.)

In another large bowl, mix together the filling ingredients thoroughly.

Pour yogurt mixture into baking dish(es) with crust. Sprinkle peanut butter chips on top.

Refrigerate until chilled to your liking (I did overnight.) Serve cold.

Good luck on your yoguvore conversion!

A Masterful Treat: Baked Apple Baked Oatmeal

To celebrate mother’s day and my birthday which coincided with it, my mom and I took a girls’ day the eve of May 10th to visit the Natural History Museum. (You can get some insight into both our personalities here by our idea of a girls’ day out!)

Natural History Museum fin whale skeleton

There was a special exhibit called Grandes Maestros: Great Masters of Iberoamerican Folk Art, displaying sculpture, ceramics, textiles, wood carvings, and more from traditional, contemporary artists throughout Central and South America, Mexico, and the Iberian Peninsula. We were encouraged to take photos so hopefully it’s all right for me to post some here…

Grandes Maestros exhibit at Natural History Museum

A room overflowing with artwork.

NHM Grandes Maestros mask

We both really liked this mask.

musical instruments at Grandes Maestros NHM

I was surprised to see musical instruments on display, and wondered if anyone would ever play them?

All the descriptions of items were in both English and Spanish, and as a linguistic enthusiast who knows little Spanish I was getting really excited by the few words I was able to match up and understand phrases in Spanish. But nothing made me more proud than the billboard I was able to translate on my own on the train ride over to the museum: “Aqui viven las bebidas de un dolar” (or something like that) means “Here live the $1 drinks!” I guess it was a McDonald’s ad. It helped prepare me for the language I was about to be semi-immersed in at the museum.

baked oatmeal baked apple raisin chocolate hazelnut

Unlike a $1 drink, grabbed on the go at a fast food restaurant, the recipe I’m about to share with you takes some care and time to prepare. In fact, you might even say it is a work of art – created by yours truly, the grand master of kitchen exploration.

Well, it’s not really all that hard… I bet there are some talented individuals reading this who could replicate my success with this recipe nearly as deliciously as I was able to craft it.

Who am I kidding? I’m no master of cooking, and have about as much fluency with making baked fruit as I do with Spanish (little to none.) But, following this makeshift recipe based on a culinary dream that struck me several weeks ago, I was able to toss together an innovative new breakfast dish that tasted great! I encourage all mediocre cooks to get their artist’s palette on and try variations on this recipe for basic baked apple baked oatmeal. Translation: A soft, warm green apple boat filled with soft-baked, sweetly spiced oats emblazoned with chewy raisins and swirled with a chocolate hazelnut butter kiss.

baked oatmeal in baked apple cinnamon raisin chocolate hazelnut butter

Try baking longer than I did for crunchier/firmer oats and softer apples, or bake the amount listed below for softer oats. Furthermore, go ahead and get creative with adding different mix-ins or even using a different fruit puree to flavor the oats. Your masterpiece will be a splendid, balanced breakfast when topped with some delightfully cold frozen yogurt of your favorite flavor. Whether you follow my recipe exactly or go all Picasso on it, I wish you a good morning and a lovely, hearty breakfast. Provecho! (That’s bon appetit in Mexican Spanish according to here.)

Baked Apple Baked Oatmeal: Apple Cinnamon Raisin Chocolate Hazelnut

inspired by Chocolate Covered Katie and Simply Recipes

Serves 1-2

chocolate hazelnut butter apple cinnamon raisin baked oatmeal baked apple

Ingredients:

baked apple/oatmeal

  • 1 large Granny Smith apple
  • splash of nutmeg
  • dash of ginger
  • 1 packet of Safeway brand Regular Flavor instant oatmeal
  • 1 Tree Top brand single serving container of Cinnamon flavor applesauce
  • 1 single serving box of Sunmaid brand raisins
  • 2 tbs chocolate hazelnut spread

optional topping

  • one container Greek vanilla yogurt (I used Dannon brand Light & Fit Toasted Coconut Vanilla flavor)

Directions:

Freeze yogurt for at least an hour, or until it has the texture of soft frozen yogurt.

Preheat oven to 385 Fahrenheit. Line an oven-safe dish with aluminum foil, and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a small bowl, combine oats, applesauce, and raisins. Mix thoroughly.

Cut apple in half around core. Use sharp knife and spoon to lift a half-sphere of apple out of each half.

Place apple halves in baking dish, cut-side up. As for the remaining apple surrounding the core, cut it into slices, and halve the slices. Arrange them in baking dish around apple halves.

Sprinkle spices on apple pieces, and spread any leftover applesauce on them to help sweeten them in baking. Then, spoon oatmeal mixture into and around the holes in apple halves. Spoon leftovers over apple slices.

Swirl chocolate hazelnut butter into oatmeal.

Bake at 385 Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes or until oatmeal is as firm as you desire and apples are soft.

Remove from oven and place apples into serving dish(es.) Scoop frozen yogurt on top, if desired.

Enjoy!

baked oatmeal in baked apples with frozen yogurt

Quick Breakfast Pita Pizza

breakfast veggie pizza cream cheese pita

My English class had to take an AP test last week. I had to rise at the eerie hour of five in the morning to dress my aching body before the birds were even awake to proclaim the glorious Wednesday. Upon arriving at school, all the AP students were congregated around the locked door to our test room, groggily soaking in the dawn light and discussing their terrible mornings (in between last-minute studying, of course.) Many had not eaten breakfast, which to me would be getting the first question wrong on the test. (I’m sure they still did okay. However, a healthy breakfast is important every morning – even the accursed morning set aside for you to rise before the sun and tramp down cold hallways to a locked gymnasium to take a test. 🙂 )

Mornings can be tough. Make yours better by having breakfast and fueling your day with macronutrients and great savory taste! I made this pita pizza as a quick breakfast with whole grains, protein, veggies, and less sugar than the sweet breakfasts I typically have, to increase the length of time I’d stay energized. I microwaved frozen veggies, but feel free to use any already-cooked leftovers you may have lying around, or if you have the time get fancy and cook them from scratch.

Quick Breakfast Pita Pizza

serves one

breakfast pizza pita laughing cow cheese veggie pizza

Ingredients:

  • one personal-sized whole wheat pita round
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • 1 Laughing Cow cheese wedge, any flavor – I might suggest Creamy Swiss or Mozzarella, Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil
  • 1-2 cups cooked vegetables (Use your favorite types and cooking method; lots of colors!)

Directions:

Cook vegetables if they aren’t already cooked.

Place sauce in a small, microwave safe bowl. Cover with a paper towel and warm up for about 30 seconds. Heat up pita.

Spread cheese on pita. Pour on sauce, and top with warm veggies.

Enjoy!

breakfast veggie pita pizza

Breakfast Banana Split with “Caramelized” Banana

breakfast banana split coconut vanilla strawberry chocolate pudding caramelized banana cranberry cherry

I have never tried a conventional, ice cream shop banana split. However, I was once attracted to a certain recipe in a kids’ recipe book I had years ago, claiming it held the key to discovering “Breakfast Banana Splits.” However, upon reading over the ingredients, I was disgusted to find that this recipe claiming to be a dessert-like breakfast, was full of gross “health food” such as cottage cheese in place of ice cream. Really, who would be satisfied with lumpy regurgitated yogurt instead of a creamy vanilla frozen concoction? So I never made that recipe.

breakfast banana split with caramelized banana

Still, the idea of a banana split that was healthy enough for breakfast was tempting. While this one I made recently strives to include only healthy ingredients that one might eat for breakfast (pudding being the only questionable one here) there is no cottage cheese to be found. In other words, it strikes the proper balance between great taste and texture, and great nutrition packed with protein and calcium. The banana is “fried” in pure, organic honey for a cheater’s “caramelization” method that’s easier and less fat than the traditional butter and sugar.

I found the flavor of this dish to be classically delicious, however to vary things up a little I might suggest adding crunchy cereal as a topping, trying pineapple chunks instead of/as well as strawberries, and maybe trying chocolate yogurt instead of pudding for a possible sugar reduction.

This recipe makes a lot, so I might suggest sharing with some friends!

Breakfast Banana Split with “Caramelized” Banana

serves 1-4

caramelized honey banana split

Ingredients:

  • one medium-large banana
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1 container Greek vanilla yogurt (I used Dannon Light & Fit Toasted Coconut Vanilla yogurt)
  • 1 single serve container chocolate pudding
  • 8 fresh strawberries
  • 1 tbs chocolate nut butter of choice
  • 1 tbs cherry jam
  • 1 tbs sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 tbs dried cranberries

Directions:

Freeze the yogurt and pudding for 30-60 minutes.

Once yogurt and pudding are frozen, but still somewhat soft, prepare all ingredients: wash strawberries and remove stems and leaves, then cut them into small pieces; peel banana and cut in half lengthwise, then cut each piece in half if desired; measure out/prepare all other toppings.

Spray a pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place banana on pan. Heat to medium. Spread some honey on one side of each banana piece. Rotate and spread honey on the other side. Rotate again after cooking a few minutes. When both sides of each banana piece have browned, remove from heat.

Place bananas in bowl/bowls. Scoop frozen yogurt and pudding on top. Add strawberry pieces. Top with a drizzle of honey, a swirl of chocolate nut butter, a spoonful of cherry jam in lieu of maraschino cherries, and a sprinkling each of coconut and cranberries. (Note: imaginative topping or yogurt/pudding flavor variations welcomed!)

Grab your family for a satisfying and balanced dessert/breakfast/hot day refreshment!

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