Tag Archives: frozen yogurt

I’m in love…

24 Jul

alton brown

…with this guy:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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…and also with this stuff.

 

 

Now, there is a link between the two, allow me to explain.

 

For those of you who don’t know, the guy at the top is Alton Brown, host of Food Network’s Good Eats, and Iron Chef America. Now, if you know me, you know that I choose odd people to have crushes on. People like Alton Brown, my dentist, random characters from made-for-television musicals, characters from audio dramas I listened to as a child, and Cory Matthews from Boy Meets World (I still have a crush on him and the series ended over 10 years ago). Don’t question, don’t judge, just indulge me, ok? I love me some Alton…I just love his dry sense of humour, food knowledge, and, of course, his recipes.

Which brings us to our second photo. By now you may have guessed it, the lemon ginger frozen yogurt you see above is a recipe from Alton Brown. Ladies and gentlemen, I must proclaim that this is my favourite recipe made so far with my new ice cream maker (after one spoonful, my mom agreed). It is perfectly tart and refreshing, and even if you don’t like lemon, I’d give this a try, as the lemon is present, but not overwhelming. I’ve only tried it on the day it was made, so I’m not sure how hard it will freeze, so I’ll have to report back on the texture. But oh, I just love this stuff so much! Here’s how you make it (my adaptations noted).

***Update: It DOES freeze pretty hard, but after softening up/a bit of microwaving to help things along, the texture is just fine, better than the other light ice creams/yogurts I’ve made.

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Adapted from Alton Brown (from Good Eats).

  • 8 cups plain yogurt (I used mostly fat-free, but a bit of 1 %)
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup (I didn’t have enough, so I used 1/4 cup corn syrup, 1/4 cup agave nectar…worked fine)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (original recipe called for 3/4, but I found 1/2 produced the nice tart frozen yogurt taste I like, but was still sweet enough for me)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup sliced crystallized ginger

Place yogurt in a cheesecloth-lined colander (I used paper towels because I didn’t have cheesecloth – worked A-OK) set over a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours. At end of 12 hours, discard the liquid and cheesecloth.

In a bowl combine the drained yogurt, corn syrup, sugar, lemon juice, lemon peel, and fresh ginger. Transfer mixture to ice cream maker and process per manufacturer’s instructions, about 25 minutes, adding in the chopped crystallized ginger about 5 minutes before it finishes churning. Transfer frozen yogurt to an airtight container and freeze for 2 hours.

Alton says it makes a quart, but I had a little more than that (because I love you Alton, I’ll for give you).

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The yogurt and paper towel-lined colander over a bowl, ready to see action. FYI, 8 cups of plain yogurt is almost exactly 3 containers.IMG_2260

 

 

The yogurt begins its overnight transformation in the fridge. This is where I became very thankful for our extra fridge in the garage so I didn’t have to re-arrange all our miscellaneous condiments to make room for this in the kitchen fridge.

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The two photos above show what the yogurt looked like the morning after. From 8 cups of yogurt came almost 4 cups of liquid! Just for kicks, I tasted the liquid. It tasted like (gasp!) yogurt. Shocker.

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I just wanted to show you how thick the strained yogurt was (that’s a spatula standing straight up in it). I got between 4 and 5 cups I think. Essentially, you are making Greek yogurt at home. I’ve read about doing this before. I haven’t done a full cost analysis yet(sorry for the financial-speak, my mom’s an accountant/financial planner), but I think this may be cheaper than buying Greek yogurt, and really, it’s not that hard.

 

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On the left we see all the ingredients (minus the crystallized ginger) in the bowl before mixing. On the right, it’s all mixed together.

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Tip time! If you don’t have a microplane zester/grater, you’re gonna wanna get one before making this recipe. Trust me, it will make your life a lot easier. If you are still living on the dark side and grating lemons on a box grater (I’ve been there, I know), buy a microplane and step into the light. They’re not that expensive, and they do so much more than zest lemons and grate ginger. They also do Parmesan cheese, make chocolate shavings and grate fresh nutmeg. Really, I wouldn’t use fresh ginger without having one of these. Being as it’s so potent, you want it really finely grated.

Speaking of fresh ginger…tip # 2: (for this one, I give credit to my brother-in-law and Rachael Ray) When using fresh ginger, peel it, grate what you need, and put the rest in a resealable bag in the freezer. It’s actually much easier to grate this way (not as tough and fibre-y as fresh) and you won’t waste any. There you go!

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Adding the chopped, crystallized ginger right before the end of churning. Make sure you chop this stuff finely, it’s pretty potent!

 

 

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It’s ready! Now into the freezer you go to firm up for a little while.

 

 

 

 

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This last step is completely optional but highly recommended: enjoy your first scoop on the front porch while reading a magazine and listening to your “Summer Day” playlist on your ipod. Have most of it finished by the time “Soul Sister” by Train is done playing.

 

If you have an ice cream maker, MAKE THIS NOW! If you are lactose-intolerant, my sincere and deepest apologies. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, come over and enjoy some with me (Katie, (and anyone else) I’m sorry if this feeds your and Jeff’s ice cream maker envy).

It’s summer. And Sunday. Seize the day, blog friends (although I confess, I’m hoping it rains, as I am feeling rather shackled to the hose these days).

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My New Toy

5 Jul

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Last week, I bought myself something I’ve been wanting for a couple of years now, a desire that has popped up the last couple of summers. Something that makes cool, creamy treats at the flip of a switch, without needing loads of ice and rock salt (like the super-old school model in our basement from back in the day). In case you haven’t guessed, I bought myself an ice cream maker?

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Why now? Well, in case you missed it, I’ve been wanting one for a couple of years. And, I wanted to celebrate my first end-of-the-school-year as a teacher. And, I still had a bit of tax return money saved, and wanted to spend it on something fun that I would remember. What says fun more than an ice cream maker?!

Now, while I do plan to test out some decadently delicious recipes with this baby. My first two attempts were from my Biggest Loser Dessert Cookbook. I know, I know, what a killjoy – I’ve got this new machine that can make amazing ice cream and I am making HEALTHY desserts first?!?! Seriously though, this stuff was pretty darn good. Better still, only 4 ingredients in the vanilla frozen yogurt and 3 in the chocolate ice cream – doesn’t get any better than that.

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From the Biggest Loser Dessert Cookbook

Makes 5 (1/2 cup) servings, 120 calories, 9 g protein, 21 g carbohydrates, 0 g fat, 0 g fibre per serving

2 cups plain fat-free Greek yogurt

3 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons light agave nectar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir well to combine (I just did it in the container I planned to freeze it in to save clean-up). Spoon the mixture into the bowl of an ice cream maker that holds at least 2 quarts. Make the ice cream according to the manufacturer’s directions. Serve immediately or freeze for harder ice cream.

*Note: the recipe says that the consistency and flavour are best when fresh, and that the yogurt becomes harder and less creamy over time. The day after, this stuff was HARD AS A ROCK, and needs to be softened, either in the microwave or on the counter, before serving again, and even then, it’s pretty hard and a bit tricky to eat – still delicious though.

Super Simple Chocolate Ice Cream

IMG_1972From The Biggest Loser Dessert Cookbook

Makes 5 (1/2 cup) servings, 100 calories, 6 g protein, 20 g carbohydrates, less than 1 g fat, 1 g fibre per serving

1 can (12 oz or 370 mL) fat-free evaporated milk

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3 tablespoons light agave nectar

Pour 1/4 cup of the evaporated milk and the cocoa powder into a medium mixing bowl (or just use container you’ll freeze it in). Using a whisk, mix the ingredients until very well combined and no lumps remain. Slowly whisk in the remaining milk followed by the agave until well-combined and smooth.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an ice cream maker that holds at least 2 quarts. Prepare the ice cream according to the manufacturer’s directions.

* Note: This ice cream took longer to freeze than the frozen yogurt ( I think because it was thinner and not as cold to begin with as the yogurt) but didn’t come out rock-solid the next day. IMG_1974

I also made some chocolate “fudge” sauce from my Biggest Loser book. All you do is whisk together 1/2 cup agave nectar with 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder. The longer this stuff sits, the thicker and fudgier it gets.

 

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Mixing ice cream ingredients: vanilla yogurt on the left, chocolate on the right.

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Finished and ready to go into the freezer! Vanilla on the left, chocolate on the right!

So…all this ice cream and sauce. What to do? Have a Biggest Loser-style sundae party, naturally (trust me, it’s better than it sounds, I promise!).

Our “fixins” were the two ice creams, fudge sauce, a fresh batch of stewed IMG_1979rhubarb (which I have started making in the microwave, a bit quicker and easier, FYI), fresh strawberries and fresh raspberries. I had a little bit of everything in my cute bowl purchased at the new Anthropologie (love that store) in the Walden Galleria on last week’s excursion.

 

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Next day (same bowl, slightly different contents): hard vanilla frozen yogurt, raspberries and strawberries, just a touch of light chocolate syrup, a fat-free biscotti purchased in Buffalo and a squirt of fat-free ReddiWhip (if Chef Devin Alexander, author of the BL book was reading this, she’d probably be horrified to see that I topped her beautiful, pure, natural desserts with a processed aerosol product….sorry Chef Devin)!

All in all, good recipes, and great ice cream maker. You just store the bowl part in the freezer (it has some sort of gel or something that freezes inside of it, hence why there’s no need to add ice) and then pop it out when you’re ready to use. I’m just storing mine in the big freezer so I can make ice cream at a moment’s notice.

This is where I ask for your expertise. Anyone with an ice cream maker have any tips or tricks? Any favourite recipes (healthy or not)? Please share!

Recipe for a Super Saturday and a Delightful Dip

19 Jun

June 18 2011

Recipe for a Delightful Summer Saturday

1. Go to Military Tone that is (finally) not cancelled.

2. Get all prettied up and go on an hour and a half road trip to London, city that you loved and lived for five years. Eat carrots, cucumbers, fresh strawberries IMG_1827and a fibre one 100 calorie bar on the way there.

3. Go shopping and successfully use your first groupon at Old Navy, buy coconut sugar to use in recipes in your new Biggest Loser dessert cookbook and fancy sea salt at Winners, and a grad gift for your cousin and impulse-buy fancy mints at HomeSense.

4. Meet up with a university friend (and feel old for meeting up with a university friend) at Loblaws to follow the President’s Choice Summer Tour, be a little disappointed that Galen Weston wasn’t there, but enjoy your free (adorable) mini pink lemonade ice cream cone, sparkling cranberry pomegranate juice and mini sausage on a bun, and have an amazing time catching up.

5. Decide that it’s a hot day and that the mini cone just wasn’t enough and go for AMAZING tart frozen yogurt with loads of fruit, some cool passion fruit juice ball thingys, and just a few Reese’s Pieces, 1 piece of chocolate, and one slice of chocolate-covered banana.

6. Say good bye, drive home, and be hungry when you get there. Don’t know what to eat because you feel like you’ve sort of been eating all day, but yet haven’t really had a full meal. Decide on this:

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7. Even though you’ve had fro yo already, clearly, you still need dessert, so make a relatively healthy but refreshing banana chocolate smoothie (1/2 frozen chopped banana, ice, 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, cocoa powder and Splenda).

8. Sheepishly admit you got sunburned, berate yourself, and tell yourself to do better next time.

That was the Saturday recipe, now onto the dip. IMG_1829What I am about to share with you my friends, has to be pretty much my favourite dip of all time. It’s always a huge hit whenever I make it. It may take a little time (chopping the onions and then caramelizing them), but it is SO worth it! If you like the kind of dip you make with Lipton Onion Soup Mix and Sour Cream, you will LOVE this…it is 10 000 times better (that is a fact)! And waaaay better for you than Helluva Good French Onion Dip (although that stuff is pretty tasty).

Surprise, surprise, this is a Hungry Girl recipe….so you know it’s gotta be good! I made it last night for today’s family Fathers’ Day BBQ. I’m planning a mostly make-ahead menu since we’re going to a concert in the afternoon then coming back here for a BBQ. The only thing we’ll have to do is throw the meat on the grill. Like all dips, it’s better if you can make this one ahead to let flavours blend. It’s great with veggies, crackers, chips, or by the spoonful (I won’t tell)!

Hungry Girl’s Sweet Caramelized Onion Dip

2 large sweet onions, chopped
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1/2 cup fat-free mayonnaise
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. fat-free cream cheese, room temperature
1 tbsp. light whipped butter or light buttery spread (I used Becel light)

1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Heat butter in a large pan over medium-high heat on the stove. Once butter has coated the bottom of the pan, add onions, salt, and cayenne pepper. Onions may be piled high in the pan, but they’ll cook down. Sauté for 10 minutes, stirring often.

Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for an additional 25 – 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are browned and caramelized.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine sour cream, mayo, and cream cheese. Whisk until smooth. Then refrigerate.

Once onions are caramelized, add mustard and vinegar to the pan. Continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Once cool, add onions to the large bowl and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to combine.

Serve at room temperature with your favorite veggies, chips, and/or crackers for dipping.

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This is what the onions should look like when you add the balsamic and Dijon….and they smell AMAZING right now!

 

 

 

 

With summer BBQ season coming up, this is a great recipe to have in your roster. Make it….seriously! DO IT!

Happy Father’s Day to all the great Dads out there!

Summer…is that you?

12 Apr

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The weather here was so unbelievably nice on Sunday. I went to church and came home, and it was nice out, but I actually ended up spending most of the afternoon inside. So when I went outside to light the BBQ for supper, I couldn’t believe how nice it was outside….WOW! And I believe there is no other meal better for warm weather than burgers. Sunday’s Mediterranean chicken burger was an original creation, but one that I DEFINATELY want to make again! Just look at the bad boy…so many layers of flavour! Read on for the 411 on how to make one for yourself. I was home alone, so increase your quantities accordingly if you’re cooking for more than one person.IMG_0720

In my patty were the following ingredients: about 3 or 4 ounces lean ground chicken, garlic salt, pepper, Pampered Chef Greek seasoning (I’m sure you could substitute Italian seasoning or oregano/basil), 3 finely chopped sundried tomatoes, 1/2 ounce crumbled light feta cheese and a bit of Dijon mustard. I used my hands to mix it all together – gotta get down and dirty!

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I grilled the patty on high heat, along with 2 slices of eggplant (I would have used one, but it was a small eggplant), sprayed with PAM and then seasoned with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. I flipped the burger/eggplant slices once, reduced heat slightly, and grilled until cooked through.

 

But the party’s just getting started with that patty – check out all the goodness that I have to top it off with! I’ve got a nice big slice of tomato, somIMG_0723e sliced onion, the grilled eggplant of course, arugula (sidenote: I need to eat arugula more…I love the peppery bite! Sadly, it’s not consistently available at my grocery store, so I’m glad summer’s coming up so I can plant some in my garden) and PC Blue Menu Tzatziki dip. I’ve been meaning to blog about this stuff for a while now…I have a mild obsession. It is SO good as a dip for veggies (or chips/pitas) and it was absolutely divine on my Mediterranean buIMG_0721rger. Get some for yourself ASAP so you can try it out!

I also made beet chips on the side. Oh…beet chips, the saga continues. On the bright side, I didn’t burn them this time.However, even though I rotated the pans…half of them got brownish (a touch more than I wanted) and the other half weren’t crispy. Made beet chips and I aren’t meant to be? They still tasted yummy though, so I ate them all.

You can see in the photo that I also made a slaw on the side – it was sort of a smoky ranch slaw. It was good but not GREAT, so I’m not going to bother with all of the details – the dressing hat ranch dip mix, plain yogurt, Miracle Whip, vinegar, jalapeno pickle vinegar and cumin (I think that’s it) and it was a broccoli slaw base with some other veggies added.IMG_0725

As soon as I stepped outside to grill I came to one conclusion: I must eat dessert outside, and it must be ice cream. I was going to be bold and pull out a piece of lawn furniture or two, but then I opened the shed and saw the tall piles, and I decided the permanently-hanging front porch swing would be just fine.

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The ice cream in question? Well, it was a sundae made with half a cup of PC caramel pecan crunch fro yo, half of a banana sliced up, a crumbled low-fat biscotti-type cookie that had been in my cupboard for WAY too long, sugar-free chocolate syrup and topped off with a generous squirt of my Buffalo-bought fat-free Reddi Whip. Oh yeah! This was good….actually better than I was expecting….I was kind of indecisive when deciding what I wanted for dessert, and this was DEFINATELY the right decision. You know what made it even better (besides that fact that I was eating it outside on the front porch swing in April? I brought my ipod along and listened to some Jack Johnson. I love Jack. And his music just screams (well, as much as Jack can scream in his wonderful mellow ways) summer to me, do you agree?IMG_0729

Sadly, all good things must come to an end. And my sundae glass was empty all too soon. It was good while it lasted though, and I know there will be more sundaes, burgers and Jack Johnson as the weather keeps getting warmer. Summer, come soon!

An F’in Friday

9 Apr

Before you get any ideas, let me IMG_0677explain my title to you. I had an absolutely fabulous day yesterday….and it just involved a lot of things with the letter f…friends, food (fajitas and fro yo) and fun…so I decided to have some fun with it for my title (but I do NOT mean for f’n to replace an expletive…FYI.

So I was on the road early yesterday. Once of 2 school boards I work for had paid professional development for supply teachers…and it just happened to be in London at my alma mater (haha, LOVE saying that).IMG_0678 You’ve already read about my love for London..and why not get paid to learn all day? The one downside was that I had to leave the house at 7 AM. I was up at 5:30 for a run, and, since I was going to the “big city” (aka somewhere there is a Starbucks), I decided to do one of my favourite breakfasts on the road: fruit (a bag of grapes in this case) a deep chocolate Vitatop and a skinny latte (yesterday’s flavour was hazelnut). I ate the grapes as soon as I was in the car, but saved the muffin until I had my latte (which was over an hour’s drive…my tummy was rumbling)!

My morning workshop was really good…a speaker named Rob Nickel, who is a former police officer (he started his career in my little town, oddly enough) and is now a cyber security expert. After that, we had about an hour and a half for lunch…I opted to bring my own since I knew I was going to be going out for supper…so I could save cost and calories.IMG_0679

I needed to get outside after being in a dark, windowless auditorium all morning (memories of teacher’s college…sigh) so I sat on the sidewalk and read a magazine for a few minutes. As much as I wanted to dine al fresco, it wasn’t that warm, and the sidewalk was HARD! I couldn’t resist snapping this cute lunch photo though (don’t you love my rainboots? I am kind of obsessed). You can’t see it too well, but lunch is a salad with lots of veggies, capers and goat cheese (obviously the highlight) and homemade dressing (I added a bit of ranch dip mix…really getting into this stuff lately) and a fibre one 100 calorie bar. I’ll admit, this lunch didn’t totally satisfy me…I was sort of hungry for most of the afternoon (and my session wasn’t as interesting, so my mind was kind of wandering). Thankfully, I was going out for an early dinner. Smile

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I met my friend Anna, who is just finishing up teacher’s college, at one of my absolute FAVOURITE restaurants in London: Under the Volcano, a fabulous Mexican restaurant. Of course, there were the free chips and salsa to start…I tried to just nibble and not take too many.Winking smile

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My entree was delicious…I ordered the chicken fajita salad, with a few modifications. First, I asked for no cheese. As much as I love cheese, I knew it wouldn’t be low-fat, that there would probably be too much of it, and that I would have a hard time not eating it all if it was on my plate…so I just avoided it all together. Second, instead of dressing on the side, I asked for salsa instead. I knew that the chicken would likely have seasoning/oil, so I figured the salsa would be fine. I cut up the chicken, onions and peppers, and mixed everything together. I did not even miss the dressing…seriously…with the salsa and the flavouring from the chicken, dressing would have been totally unnecessary! Since this was a fairly light option, I ate the whole plate, guilt-free.

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Another great thing about Under the Volcano is that they have a lot of vegetarian, Vegan and gluten-free options. Anna’s vegetarian, so she got the smaller version of “The Big One” burrito (so does that make it medium?) with a veggie filling. It was great to catch up with Anna and swap teaching stories, and to go back to one of my favourite restaurants.

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We ate an early dinner, as Anna had another event to go to, so we were done a little after 6, but I couldn’t go home just yet. Oh no, I had to go for Fro yo at Yo-yo’s. Mmm…so good…my bowl this time had just one piece of brownie at the bottom, blackberries, mango (since reading all about Katie’s adventures with her case of mangoes, I’ve had a serious craving), strawberries, and for the crunch factor, small dashes of Oreo crumbs, Skor bits and granola…and the addition of 6 m&m’s and a piece of a Sweet Marie chocolate bar. Three words: YUM, YUM, YUM! And see the magazine in the background? I had brought some mags in my bag for if I had free time, and since I was going solo on the fro yo, I read my Food Network Magazine (another F, see?) while I ate.

After the fro yo, my F’n Friday was complete and I headed home. I think the 2 meals of salads didn’t really do it for my hunger, so I snacked on a few frozen grapes when I got home and then made a nice big bowl of popcorn. What a fit and fine Friday…I got to visit one of my favourite cities, dine at one of my favourite restaurants with one of my favourite people and finish it off with some fantastic fro yo. Did you have a fabulous Friday?