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Archive for September, 2012

September 26th is National Pancake Day!

I love pancakes! If I am in a restaurant that offers chocolate chip pancakes, that is what I order- and it doesn’t matter what time of day it is! Smeared with butter and drenched in maple syrup (go big or go home!), it might be sugar and carb overload, but that’s the way I like it!

So, as you can tell, for National Pancake Day, plain pancakes just were not going to cut it for me. Oh no. If I’m making pancakes, they are going to be just as sweet as the chocolate chip ones. Well, I found it. The perfect recipe that puts pancakes over the top. Cinnamon Roll Pancakes by the Recipe Girl! Swirls of cinnamon filling, baked right into each fluffy pancake. Then as if the decadent pancakes weren’t enough, a rich cream cheese glaze gets poured over the top, creating the perfect cinnamon roll pancake. These should come with a warning- they are definitely not to be eaten on a regular basis. They are for special occasions or that dreary weekend morning, when everyone needs a pick-me-up (or a nap after all the sugar!)!

I’m going to send you to the Recipe Girl for the recipe, as she has a very detailed description (and pictures!) of the pancake making process. Be prepared to drool!

Made with love, not calories!

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I think summer has gone by too quickly. Here we are, almost at the end of September and Ice Cream Sunday’s. Sadly, only 2 weeks left.

Nick likes banana ice cream, so I decided that would be this weeks flavor! However, I didn’t want plain banana ice cream, and I didn’t want to add chocolate to it. You know I love chocolate, but I thought I had already done enough ice cream recipes with chocolate in it- at least for one summer!

What came to mind was Bananas Foster. But without the rum. I know that some of you are booing me right now- no rum? But wait- even though I don’t like it, doesn’t mean that you can’t add it in! Either flambe the bananas with the alcohol, like in a real bananas foster, or add rum extract to the ice cream mixture*. See- problem solved!

Anyways! With or without the rum, this is a great tasting ice cream! The brown sugar sauce balances the taste of the bananas nicely. The ice cream would pair well with a piece of toasted (or grilled) pound cake!

Banana Brown Sugar Ice Cream

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 1/2 cups half and half
6 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
4 peeled bananas, ripe but not mushy
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

To make the ice cream base:

In a medium-sized saucepan, whisk together the heavy cream and half and half. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring continuously.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar, until the mixture is well combined and smooth.

Once the cream mixture comes to a simmer, pour 1/3 of it into the egg yolk mixture and whisk quickly to combine. Repeat this step 2 more times, until all the cream has been incorporated into the egg yolk mixture. Pour this combined mixture back into the saucepan. Over medium-low heat, stirring slowly and continuously, let the mixture come up to 175 degrees (using a candy thermometer). Once the ice cream base has come up to temperature, remove from the heat and strain through a sieve into a heat-safe bowl. Let cool to room temperature.

For the bananas:

In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add in the brown sugar and stir to combine. Slice the bananas in half width-wise, then in half length-wise. Lay the bananas, cut side down, in the brown sugar mixture (you may need to do this in 2 batches). Cook for 1 minute, then carefully flip over the bananas and cook for an additional minute. Remove only the bananas from the skillet and place in a heat safe container. Repeat with the remaining bananas (if needed). Once all the bananas have been cooked, remove the pan from the heat and let the sauce cool for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, pour the sauce into the container with the bananas and set aside to cool. Once the mixture is cool, place in a food processor and pulse until the bananas are in small pieces (but not totally pureed). Pour into the room temperature ice cream base and stir to combine. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

After 4 hours, give the mixture a quick stir, then process the ice cream according to your ice cream machine manufacturers instructions. Once the ice cream is ready, scoop (or pour- the ice cream should be a thick milkshake consistency) into a freezer-safe container. Cover and freeze for 4 hours. Serve and enjoy!

Notes:
1. If you want to add rum flavor to the ice cream, I suggested two ways to do so (above)*. Alcohol lowers the freezing temperature, so you have to be careful with how much you add. If you flambe the bananas, it will impart the alcohol flavor without affecting the freezing point as much, because you have burned off a good amount of the alcohol. The other way to achieve the rum flavor, is to add rum extract. I would do this at the time of adding the bananas to the ice cream mix.
2. I had to churn my ice cream in two batches. I have a 1.5 quart canister for my ice cream machine, so keep this in mind. If your machine holds more, you may be able to just run 1 batch (your canister may hold all the ice cream base, but you want to leave room for the mixture to expand).

Made with love, not calories!

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Weekly Running Recap

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Another week…another weekly running recap!

Sunday: River Run half-marathon (#11…recap coming soon)
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: 25 minute run
Friday: 20 minute incline walk
Saturday: 5 mile run

I needed a few rest days for recovery from the half-marathon, and I don’t beat myself up over taking those days off. I always have that “pleasant” sore feeling for a few days. Nothing really hurts, but the muscles are sore. I think this happens when I have done a lot of treadmill running versus running on the road (or it is just another confirmation that I am getting old!!). Anyways, after a few days off, it actually feels good to run again.

I finally bought a foam roller (waiting for it to arrive)! I have had issues with my IT band for a few years now, and while I have read that foam rolling is beneficial, I thought it wasn’t necessary. Well, I can’t ignore it any more. Now I need to learn how to use it properly! Runners- any suggestions? Are there any videos or books that you recommend?

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The other day I was a baking fiend! Ice cream, cookies, quick breads, more cookies. I just couldn’t stop!

Nick was checking out all the baked goods on the kitchen table and remarked that everything either had chocolate or nuts in it.

Chocolate? Well, duh!!!

So after making zucchini bread (with chocolate in it), I decided to make some cookies with the leftover zucchini. Cookies without chocolate or nuts in them! I chose to add dried cherries instead (though you could easily add chocolate and nuts too!).

These are cakey cookies, so if that’s not your thing, you might not want to make this recipe. However, I like the taste and texture- they almost remind me of baked muffin tops.

Cherry Zucchini Cookies
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup dried cherries, finely chopped
2 1/2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugars. Add in the egg and half and half and mix well. Stir in the salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. Add in the zucchini and dried cherries. Stir in the flour, just until incorporated.

Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop the dough onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, leaving 3 inches between each cookie. Bake in a preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until the cookies are set and lightly golden. Remove from the oven and let set for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, move cookies onto a cooling rack and let cool completely. Enjoy!

Made with love, not calories!

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I went back to the basics with this weeks Ice Cream Sunday recipe. Rich vanilla ice cream mixed with homemade chocolate chips!

That’s right, I made my own chocolate chips- and they Are Great (you are supposed to say that in a Tony the Tiger voice- though I guess I should have typed it GRRREAT) Ok, long week, lack of sleep- sorry))!

Anyways, getting back to the homemade chocolate chips. They are so easy to make. Melt some good quality chocolate, add a little bit of oil. Spread it out, freeze it, break it, put it in ice cream! Adding the oil lowers the melting point of the chocolate, so when you eat the ice cream, the chips melt quickly on your tongue!

Vanilla Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Chocolate Chip recipe from Sweet Cream & Sugar Cones

Ice cream:
2 cups half and half
2 cups heavy cream
7 egg yolks
1 1/4 cups vanilla sugar (regular sugar works fine)
1 /2 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

Chocolate Chips:
4 oz. bar of 60% dark chocolate (I used Ghirardelli)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

To make the ice cream base:
In a medium-sized saucepan, whisk together the heavy cream and half and half. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring continuously.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar, until the mixture is well combined and smooth.

Once the cream mixture comes to a simmer, pour 1/3 of it into the egg yolk mixture and whisk quickly to combine. Repeat this step 2 more times, until all the cream has been incorporated into the egg yolk mixture. Pour this combined mixture back into the saucepan. Over medium-low heat, stirring slowly and continuously, let the mixture come up to 175 degrees (using a candy thermometer). Once the ice cream base has come up to temperature, remove from the heat and strain through a sieve into a heat-safe bowl. Let cool to room temperature and stir in the vanilla bean paste. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

To make the chocolate chips:
Melt the chocolate according to your favorite method (I like the microwave). Once the chocolate is melted, add in the oil and stir well. Spread this mixture thinly and evenly over a cookie sheet that has been lined with silpat or parchment paper. Freeze until hardened (about 20 minutes). Remove from freezer and working quickly, peel up the chocolate and break into small pieces. Return the chips to the freezer until you are ready to add them to the ice cream.

After 4 hours, process the ice cream according to your ice cream machine manufacturers instructions. Once the ice cream is ready, scoop (or pour- the ice cream should be a thick milkshake consistency) into a freezer-safe container, stirring in the chocolate chips. Cover and freeze for 4 hours. Serve and enjoy!

Made with love, not calories!

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Another week…another weekly running recap!

Sunday: Rest
Monday: 5 mile run
Tuesday: 30 minute HIIT
Wednesday: 20 minute run
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Rest

So I would like to say that I did better this week, but eh, not so much. The week started better, but finished poorly. On Sunday, I will be running a half-marathon (#11), and I can only hope that the running I have done all year (excluding these last few weeks), will get me over that finish line! This will also be my last half of the year. I will be backing off on the long runs (out of necessity- you think?!) and trying different workouts. Though maybe a few lower-mileage road races will work their way into the weekly recaps!

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I don’t really like vegetables. They very rarely end up on a weekly meal plan. I know that they are good for me, but eh, not my favorite thing to eat. Give me protein, starch, and dessert, and I’m good!

That said, I am trying to add vegetables into my meals. Little by little, I am finding that I can tolerate some of them. Zucchini is one of them. I have found that with small zucchini’s, they work well as the “crust” for pizza. Of course, maybe that’s cheating, as I am burying the zucchini under pizza sauce, pepperoni, and cheese. Baby steps!

If you have a large zucchini, use it to make this chocolate zucchini bread. And feel safe sharing it with your favorite non-vegetable eater, as the cocoa powder (and chocolate chips) in the batter does a wonderful job at hiding all those green specks of zucchini!

Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Recipe adapted from Joy of Baking

1 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan by greasing it or lining it with aluminum foil and then greasing the foil. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add in the eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract and mix well (the batter will be thick). Stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips. Pour into the prepared loaf pan and bake in a preheated oven for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the loaf from the pan and place onto a cooling rack, then let cool completely. Enjoy!

Made with love, not calories!

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