Healthy “Ice Cream” Sandwiches

These are Turner and my favorite summer treats. We love our ice cream over here, so I tried to think of a healthy alternative that I wouldn’t feel guilty about eating and feeding to my toddler. I even let Gracie taste them! These aren’t actually made out of ice cream. But they’re JUST as tasty. I promise! They’re made out of frozen fruit, almond milk, and a splash of agave nectar. That’s it! I use graham crackers as the “cookies”. There are a few steps, so bear with me. Once you get the hang of it, they’re really easy to make!

  1. Start off with frozen fruit of your choice (I used bananas and strawberries). Be sure to let them sit out at room temp for about 5 minutes before blending. Pulse in the food processor until the fruit looks like sand (scrape down sides as needed).
  2. Add in a splash of agave nectar and then pour in the almond milk while the processor is running. Scrape down the sides and keep processing until you have a mixture that resembles ice cream!
  3. Line a baking dish with 12 graham cracker squares and spread the ice cream over the graham crackers. This is the part that takes patience. I usually put my hand on one side of the grahams and spread the mixture towards my hand to keep the crackers in place. You end up with something like this:
  4. Top the ice cream with the remaining 12 graham cracker squares
  5. Run a sharp knife between the crackers to score the ice cream so they’re easy to cut after you freeze them.
  6. Place the dish in the freezer for up to 2 hours. Remove the dish and cut over the scored lines to separate the sandwiches.
  7. Store sandwiches in a ziplock bag in the freezer. Let me know what you think!
Not So "Ice Cream" Sandwiches
Yields 12
So delicious and addictive! These ice cream sandwiches will satisfy your sweet tooth without leaving you feeling guilty!
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups frozen sliced banana
  2. 2 cups frozen strawberries
  3. 1 tsp agave nectar
  4. 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  5. 12 honey graham cracker sheets (24 squares)
Instructions
  1. Place frozen fruit in the bowl of a food processor fitted with blade attachment. Let fruit sit for 5 minutes.
  2. While the fruit is sitting, line a baking dish with 12 graham cracker squares
  3. Pulse fruit until it resembles coarse sand. Scrape down sides with a rubber spatula as needed.
  4. Add agave nectar and pulse once to combine.
  5. With the food processor running, pour in almond milk. Pause to scrape down sides and pulse again. Keep scraping down sides and processing until the mixture resembles ice cream.
  6. Use the spatula to place dollops of ice cream over the graham crackers. Use an icing spatula or rubber spatula to evenly spread the ice cream over the crackers (I put my hand on once side of the crackers and spread the ice cream towards my hand. This helps hold the crackers in place).
  7. Place the remaining 12 graham cracker squares on top of the ice cream.
  8. Score with a sharp knife between crackers so the sandwiches are easy to cut.
  9. Place dish in the freezer for up to 2 hours.
  10. Cut sandwiches into squares and store in a ziplock bag in the freezer.
Notes
  1. Try mixing up graham cracker flavors (cinnamon, chocolate, chocolate on one side and honey on the other, etc). Also, play with flavors. Use chocolate grahams with a banana and peanut butter "ice cream" mixture. These are so fun and great alternatives to the sugar packed ice cream sandwiches!
Little Baby Watson http://littlebabywatson.com/

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Peppermint Bark

I discovered Peppermint Bark when I was about 2 months pregnant. I know it’s existed a lot longer than that, but that’s when I fell in love! My mother-in-law bought us a tin of it when she was visiting last year. I don’t like white chocolate, so I never bothered to try it. OH.MY.GOODNESS…delicious! The only problem is, it’s pretty darn expensive! My solution? Save the pretty tin, and make my own! Here’s my version of peppermint bark. Try it! I promise, you won’t miss the store bought version, and you DEFINITELY won’t miss spending $20 on it!


Peppermint Bark

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 ounces white chocolate chips
crushed candy canes

Put a few candy canes into a ziplock bag and pound with a meat mallet until crushed. You can also buy the pre-crushed candy cane pieces. Set aside.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 20 to 30 second increments. Stir with a rubber spatula after each. Repeat this until MOST of the chocolate chips are melted, NOT ALL. Stir with the spatula until all chocolate chips melt. This process makes the chocolate silky and shiny.

Pour the chocolate onto your parchment lined cookie sheet. Use an icing spatula to smooth it out into a rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. Set aside to cool and harden.

Once the chocolate hardens, repeat the melting process with the white chocolate chips. Pour onto the chocolate rectangle, and smooth out until it covers the chocolate in an even layer. Sprinkle candy cane pieces over the entire white chocolate layer. Press gently so the candy cane pieces stick to the white chocolate. Set aside to cool and harden.

Use a sharp knife to cut unto pieces. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Serve at room temperature.

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Healthy Birthday Cupcake

Our little Turner is ONE! It’s hard to believe it. I feel like he was just born yesterday! He has made this the best year of our lives! I planned a construction party to celebrate and made him his very own “healthy cupcake” (I’m not quite ready to give him sugar). He absolutely LOVED it! He didn’t miss the sugar at all!

Cupcake
Makes 3 cupcakes

1 cup almond flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup grated zucchini
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 Tbsp coconut oil, warmed to liquid
1/2 tsp vanilla

Chocolate Avocado Icing
1 ripe avocado at room temperature
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 Tbsp maple syrup
3 Tbsp coconut oil, warmed to liquid

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all cupcake ingredients in standing mixer and mix until combined. Line three cupcake molds with paper liners. Use an ice-cream scoop to drop the batter into each cup. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool completely. Either store in airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, or leave at room temperature to eat the day of.

In the meantime, add the avocado flesh, cocoa powder, maple syrup, and coconut oil to a high speed blender (or food processor). Blend until well combined. Add to piping bag and store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Take out the morning of to soften. Once the cupcake is cooled, decorate with icing. Enjoy!

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The Pumpkin Patch

I’m back! My blog has been down for the past few days! Luckily, I’m employed by a website guru (don’t get a big head now!). Anyway, he  got my site back up and running!

I would have posted this last week, when we actually went to the pumpkin patch, but better late than never 😮 I’ve been waiting forever to take our little munchkin to the pumpkin patch! He wasn’t that excited. He was more interested in playing drums on the pumpkins than picking them. That was ok though. It made for some great pictures! And this post is ALL about the pictures. Who’s ready to get some pumpkins??!!





When we got home, Turner was ready for a nap, and I was ready for some apple cider donuts. So, I found this yummy recipe and decided to put my own spin on it! I switched out the flour and used a mixture of spelt flour and almond meal. I also swapped the sugar out for coconut sugar. They came out tasting more dense, like muffins, because I used the Doughnut Maker. But they had great flavor! I’m sure they would be just as delicious fried the old fashioned way. I stored them in a tupperware and they were even better the next day! Here’s my recipe.

Healthy Apple Cider Donuts

1 cup apple cider
2/3 cup Coconut Palm Sugar
2 Tbsp Coconut Spread
1 cup Almond Meal
1 3/4 cup Spelt Flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp pumpkin spice
1 Tbsp cinnamon

Plug in the doughnut maker to heat up. Boil the cider until it reduces to about 1/3 cup (6-8 minutes). Turn off the heat and whisk in the sugar and coconut spread. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a standing mixer and set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, sift together the almond meal, spelt flour, salt, baking powder, and spices. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in two additions. Mix until just combined.
Do a test donut to check the heat and timing. It took me about 5-7 minutes to cook through my donuts. Scoop about 2 Tbsp into each donut well and close the lid. Cook for 5- 7 minutes until cooked through the inside. Serve with a steamy beverage and enjoy!

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Sea Salt and Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

AKA Heaven! So there is nothing healthy about this recipe. However, sometimes you just have to give in to a craving for a GOOD chocolate chip cookie. And I mean, these are GOOOOOD. The best part is that by the time I realize I feel like making chocolate chip cookies, I haven’t let any butter come to room temp. But with this recipe, I don’t have to! I adapted this recipe from a Nutella Stuffed Sea Salt Cookie. Don’t get me wrong, those look delicious. However, I was just wanting a plain chocolate chip cookie. So this is it…officially the best chocolate chip cookie recipe EVER!

Now, you might be thinking, but can’t I just sprinkle some sea salt on top of my own chocolate chip cookie recipe? And I’m sure you can! But there is something to the brown butter. It’s nuttier tasting. And the yogurt adds a bit of fluffiness to the batter too! When you mix the dough, it will feel really soft (because of the brown butter) so make sure you chill it for AT LEAST two hours. And if you chill it longer than that, just take it out and let it sit at room temp until you’re able to scoop the dough. You might not be able to wait, but trust me, it’s worth it!

Ingredients

2¼ cup all-purpose flour

1¼ teaspoons baking soda

¼ teaspoon of salt

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter

1¼ cup packed dark brown sugar

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk

1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1 tablespoon plain greek yogurt

1 cup dark chocolate chips

Coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. The butter will begin to foam. Make sure you whisk consistently during this process. After a couple of minutes, the butter will begin to brown on the bottom of the saucepan; continue to whisk and remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to brown and give off a nutty aroma. Immediately transfer the butter to a bowl to prevent burning. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
  2. With an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk, vanilla, and yogurt until combined. Add the dry ingredients slowly and beat on low-speed just until combined. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
  3. Chill your dough for 2 hours in the refrigerator.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Once dough is chilled use a small ice cream scoop (or spoon out about 1½ tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball) to scoop dough onto the cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.

Bake the cookies 10-12 minutes or until the edges of the cookies begin to turn golden brown. They will look a bit underdone in the middle, but will continue to cook once out of the oven. Sprinkle with a little sea salt. Cool the cookies on the sheets at least 2 minutes. Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets after a few minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Fruity Frozen Yogurt

As Stew and I wandered around Whole Foods the other day, eating all the samples we could get our hands on (there’s really no need to eat lunch when you’re going to Whole Foods), we stopped at the Vitamix man for a chat (and free samples). As a vitamix owner myself, I love hearing his spiel on it because it’s ALL TRUE!  I can’t even say enough on how amazing this thing is. I know $500 is expensive for a blender, but it’s like a food processor and blender all in one! And it lasts FOREVER! It’s definitely worth putting some money aside to start a Vitamix Savings Fund. The reason I am talking so much about the vitamix (no I’m not being paid) is because I wouldn’t make this recipe in a regular blender because it will burn the motor out. You can try it in a food processor if you don’t have a vitamix though.

Now, back to the FroYo. The other night Stew and I were watching TV, and I was wanting some sort of dessert. I was going through my options, then BAM, Vitamix Man came into my mind. He had made this “ice cream” at Whole Foods that had spinach, pineapple, bananas, apple juice and strawberries. It was so good and refreshing. I didn’t have most of those ingredients so I came up with a frozen yogurt of my own! Hence my fruity frozen yogurt. It was SO good! I felt satisfied and definitely guilt free after that dessert.

Fruity Frozen Yogurt

Serves 1-2 (depending how hungry you are)

1 frozen banana

1/2 cup frozen strawberries

1/4 package unsweetened acai smoothie pack*

1/4 cup nonfat greek yogurt

2 Tbsp mango juice

2 teaspoons agave nectar

Place all ingredients into your vitamix. Start out on slow, and turn the power up to high over the next few seconds. Use the tamper to constantly push down the corners until you have a soft serve texture and everything is combined. Serve as is for soft serve, or place mixture into the freezer for about 3 hours. Scoop out with an ice cream scoop. Top with fruit of your choice and enjoy!

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Classic Key Lime Pie

Growing up, my mom always made the BEST key lime pie! Stew and I went to our supper club the other night and the theme was “A South Carolina Supper”. Annie and Jeremy were the hosts and they prepared a Lowcountry Boil with tomatoes and okra as a side dish. I thought my mom’s key lime pie would be the perfect refreshing dessert! I never realized how easy it is to make! Personally, I think the secret is Nellie and Joe’s Famous Key West Lime Juice she uses. You can get it in every grocery store. It’s so delicious!

Start with the crust. Combine the pecans and graham crackers into the food processor. Pulse until small crumbs form. Then pour the melted butter in as it blends. The mixture will come together nicely. Pour it into your greased pie dish and bake at 350 F for 10 minutes. It will look like this.

While that cools, make the filling. Combine the condensed milk, egg yolks, lime zest, and key lime juice. Mix until smooth and creamy. Pour into the crust and bake for another 25-30 minutes. The outside will be set, but the center will still move. That’s ok! It will set as it chills.

Let that cool completely. Then, cover it and chill it in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Decorate with homemade whipped cream and serve chilled. It’s sure to be a crowd pleaser!

Classic Key Lime Pie-Serves 8

1/2 C chopped pecans

2 C graham cracker crumbs

1/2 C butter, melted

2 (14 oz.) cans sweetened condensed milk

6 egg yolks

2 tsp. lime zest

1 C key lime juice

Whipped Cream

Lime slices (for garnish)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine pecans and graham crackers in food processor and pulse until crumbs are formed. Turn on food processor and pour melted butter through the feed tube until well combined. Give a few extra pulses to mix together. Spray a 10 inch pie dish with nonstick cooking spray. Pour the crumb mixture into the dish and press the bottom and up the sides with a spoon until an even crust is formed. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes until browned. Remove from oven and cool for 20 minutes.

In a standing mixer with whisk attachment, combine condensed milk, egg yolks, lime zest, and key lime juice. Whisk until well combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie crust. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until set around the edges. The center will not be set, but it will set up while it chills. Cool completely on a wire rack for 1 hour. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Decorate with whipped cream and lime slices. Serve chilled.

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Whipped Cream

This is a go-to recipe for any dessert or drink. It’s not too sweet but has great flavor. Keep this recipe on hand!

Whipped Cream

8 oz cold heavy whipping cream

2 Tbsp powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Pour COLD whipping cream into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Mix on medium speed until cream starts to get thicker (about 1 minute). Then increase the speed and whip until soft peaks form (about 2 minutes). Add the vanilla and powdered sugar. Beat on high for another minute until stiff peaks form. Don’t over mix or you’ll have butter! Once the cream stands up on the whisk attachment, it’s done. Chill until ready to use.

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Chocolate Frozen Yogurt

I came home for lunch the other day, and I was starving but didn’t know what to eat. This happens a lot lately! So I saw that I had an avocado that was starting to look pretty sorry….Avocado salad? No. Guacamole? No. Then I got to thinking that I really wanted ice cream. This brought me to my frozen yogurt concoction! I just threw all of the ingredients into my food processor, not knowing what to expect. And I was pleasantly surprised! I sat on the porch and ate my delicious lunch feeling quite pleased with myself that I was eating “frozen yogurt” for lunch without an ounce of guilt!

Chocolate Frozen Yogurt

1 cup frozen bananas

1/2 ripe avocado

2 tsp peanut butter

1 Tbsp coco powder

1 tsp agave nectar

2 Tbsp almond milk

Combine all ingredients, except almond milk, in a food processor. Pulse a few times to break up the bananas. Scrape down the sides with a spatula. Turn the food processor on, and slowly pour almond milk through the feed tube. You may not need all of it, so go slow. Stop occasionally to scrape down the sides. Continue to pulse until the mixture is smooth like a frozen yogurt. Serve immediately.

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Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

My husband and I bring our lunches to work everyday. Stew does it because he has no other choice in the construction world, and I do because I choose to spend my lunch hour at the gym! So the other day he said to me, “Can you make your chocolate chip cookies so I can eat them for lunch?” Keep in mind, these are completely full of butter and sugar and bad for you. But, being the loving wife I am, I gave in… just this once. I’ll eventually post those since everyone needs a go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe! So I made him his cookies and then made myself a healthier, but equally as delicious, version.

They do have quite a bit of brown sugar, so next time I would use less, probably 1/2 a cup. You could probably even substitute maple syrup or agave to get the sweetness instead of using sugar. I like to experiment with those as substitutions, because I don’t like eating too much sugar. So these are not really “guilt free” but they’re better than the buttery alternative! These are for those days that you reeeeaally want a cookie, but don’t want to blow your day by feeling really guilty. As far as the goodies inside, you can always substitute a different flour if you don’t like rice flour and any dried fruit. I’ve tried a combination of apricot, raisin, and craisins before but didn’t have those in the house this time. Let your palate decide!

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

2 Tbsp butter, softened

1/4 cup coconut oil, warmed to liquid

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 very ripe banana, mashed

2 egg whites

2 Tbsp peanut butter

2 tsp vanilla extract

1  1/3 cup rice flour

1 cup gluten free oats

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup craisins

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Combine butter, oil, and brown sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer and mix on high speed, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl, until mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the mashed banana, egg whites, peanut butter, and vanilla and mix to combine. Add flour, oats, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda and mix to combine. Fold in the chocolate chips and craisins. You can substitute other dried fruit and nuts as well. Spray two baking sheets with nonstick spray. Using a small ice cream scoop, place the cookies on the pan two inches apart. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until lightly browned but still soft. Remove the cookies from the oven and let cool for 1 minute. Remove from pan and let cookies cool on racks. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for about a week. If you’d like to save them, place in an airtight container and freeze. These cookies are delicate and fall apart easily so handle with care!

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