Category Archives: DIY

Healthy Chocolate Banana Ice Cream (Dairy Free)

Well hello there.  I know, I haven’t posted in a long time.  Sorry about that, I have been working on redesigning the site and haven’t had as much time for new posts…  But no worries, I have been baking up a storm and have some recipes lined up for you!

Anyway, I wanted to share a quick, healthy, and easy recipe that a friend of mine gave me the idea for.  Make healthy, dairy free ice cream out of frozen bananas!  I thought it sounded weird at first, but it’s really tasty!  So tasty you won’t even know you’re eating healthy 🙂

Just a quick note; I recommend freezing your bananas peeled and sliced.  This will help them blend better.  If you freeze your bananas with the peels on, simply run them under some warm water until the peel softens a bit, then scrape the peel off with a spoon.  Make sure your bananas are very ripe before freezing them.  They should have some spotting, but not be all brown and mushy.

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Doesn’t it looks delicious?!

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Enjoy!

Healthy Chocolate Banana Ice Cream (Dairy Free)

Ingredients:

  • 6 Frozen Large Bananas
  • 1 Cup Homemade Almond Milk (or store-bought original unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1 Tbs Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Tbs Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

First place the almond milk, vanilla extract, and cocoa powder into a large blender.  Next add in the frozen bananas.  Blend until smooth; you may need to stop the blender and stir the mixture by hand a few times to get everything to completely combine.  Serve immediately (freeze no longer than 2-3 hours for more of a soft-serve consistency.  If you freeze its longer, you may need to let it sit out of the freezer for a while before you can scoop it out of the container.  Makes 6-8 servings.

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Homemade Irish Cream (Bailey’s) – Happy St. Paddy’s Day!

Whenever St. Patrick’s Day comes around, one of the first things I think of is Bailey’s Irish Cream.  I am not big into drinking, but I LOVE Bailey’s!

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It’s good in mixed drinks like a Bailey’s Milkshake, Chocolate Martini, Mudslide, or all by itself…  Just pour some in a glass and enjoy!

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Who would have thought it would be so incredibly easy to make?!  This recipe will probably only take you about 10 minutes tops!  Bottle it in a nice swing-top bottle and you have a great gift to give to someone special!

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Just a few notes:  Make sure your main ingredients are cold (cream, sweetened condensed milk, whiskey).  Do not over blend, you don’t want to make Irish Whipped Cream!  Store this in the fridge for up to 2 months.  It is normal for some separation to occur, so make sure you shake the bottle before each use.  Also, the mixture will become a bit frothy from blending.  This “froth” will solidify a bit in the bottle and cause a blockage if you use a bottle with a slim neck like the one in the photo above.  I recommend leaving some extra space in the bottle to make sure you have enough room to break up this “froth” when you shake it.  (You could also use a container with a wider opening, like a mason jar, instead.  You still want to leave a little room for shaking.)

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Enjoy!

Irish Cream (Bailey’s)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Irish Whiskey
  • 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk (14 oz)
  • 2 Tbs Chocolate Syrup (I used Hershey’s)
  • 1 Tbs Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1½ tsp Instant Coffee Grounds

Place everything in a blender and pulse a few times until everything is combined.  This shouldn’t take more than 20-30 seconds (do not over mix or you could end up whipping the cream).  Be sure to chill your whiskey and sweetened condensed milk before blending to prevent any curdling.  Store in an airtight container.  Should keep in the fridge for about 2 months.

Almond Meal (Flour)

So…  you just whipped up a batch of homemade almond milk.  What do you do with all that pulp that’s left over?  Throw it away?  NO!  You can turn it into Almond Meal/Flour and use it in place of some of the flour in your favorite recipes!

This is super easy to do and makes it so you don’t waste any of the almonds you purchase to make your almond milk.  Why pay $8-$12 per pound to buy almond flour at the store when you can just make it yourself?

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Spread the almond pulp evenly over the entire sheet.

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Dehydrate the pulp in the oven.  Mine took roughly 3 hours.  After the first hour start stirring up the pulp and then spread it out again about every half-hour to ensure it dries out evenly.  Once it’s dehydrated, throw it in your food processor (or if you don’t have one, you could use a personal sized blender like I did) and pulse it a bit to break up the bigger chunks.

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That’s all there is to it!

Almond Meal/Flour

Ingredients:

Preheat your oven to the lowest temperature.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Spread the almond pulp out over the entire baking sheet.  Bake in the oven until pulp is completely dehydrated.  After the first hour, begin stirring up the pulp and then spreading it out again every half hour to ensure it dries out evenly.  Once it’s completely dehydrated and cooled, transfer the pulp to a food processor or blender and pulse a few times to break up the bigger chunks.

Lemon Chicken (Copycat Buca di Beppo Chicken Limone)

I have been trying to eat a little healthier lately, however yesterday I found myself craving Buca’s Chicken Limone really badly.  I used to live in Wisconsin and we had a Buca di Beppo there in Milwaukee.  A year ago I moved to Portland, Oregon and the closest Buca is in Seattle, so I couldn’t exactly just run and pick up some to satisfy my craving…  so why not make my own?  This is WAY cheaper than paying over $20 for 3-4 pieces of chicken there.

A few years ago a friend and I had a way of making lemon chicken at home, and while it was tasty it used a lot of oil in the sauce and didn’t look or taste quite like Buca’s.  A couple of months ago I decided to experiment with making the sauce again, and this is what I came up with.  Just a note; Buca’s Chicken Limone has capers and this recipe does not.  If you like capers, I don’t think it’d be that difficult to just add them to the dish.

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Lemon Chicken

Ingredients:

  • Olive Oil (approx. ¼ Cup)
  • 3-4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (trimmed of any visible fat)
  • Flour
  • Salt
  • 3 Tbs Heavy Cream
  • 2 Tbs White Cooking Wine
  • 2½ Tbs Lemon Juice
  • ½ Cup (1 Stick) Butter

For the Chicken:

Take a large skillet and add enough olive oil to cover the bottom completely, roughly ¼ cup.  Preheat the skillet over medium heat.  Place some flour on a plate.  Rinse each piece of chicken and season each side with a little salt.  Place the chicken on the plate and pat to coat with flour.  Turn the chicken over and pat to coat the other side.  The chicken needs to be just covered, you don’t need a thick crust.  Place the chicken in your preheated pan and cook each side until is golden, about 3-5 minutes each side depending on how thick it is.  Check to make sure it’s done by cutting a slit in the thickest piece and look to make sure there is no pink.

For the Sauce:

Pour the wine and lemon juice in a small saucepan and heat on medium.  Once it comes to a light boil, let it simmer until the liquid has reduced by a third.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and then mix in the cream.  Next add the butter, one tablespoon at a time untill it’s fully incorporated.  At this point you can reduce the heat to low or warm if your chicken is not done yet.

Place the chicken in a serving dish and pour the lemon sauce over the top.  Serve immediately.

Homemade Almond Milk

I’ve done a lot of reading over the past year on eating an “anti-inflammatory” diet.  I figure I should try anything that can help ease the symptoms of my Rheumatoid Arthritis.  One thing I found out is that lactose can contribute to inflammation, so I decided I would try almond milk.  I absolutely loved it and I now use it for everything from drinking it straight to using it in my cooking and baking recipes.  The problem with almond milk is its expensive, and even if you buy “organic” almond milk it seems to have additives and preservatives.  One quart of almond milk costs around $3.  Compare that to buying dairy milk…  Would you want to pay $12 per gallon?!  Me either.

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It turns out making your own almond milk is super easy and a lot less expensive than buying it at the store.  As a matter of fact, I plan to explain how to turn your almond pulp into almond flour that you can use for your baking recipes in a later post.  If you’ve ever purchased almond flour before then you know how expensive it is.  I think the last time I bought it I paid about $8.99/pound in the bulk section.  I have seen the pre-packaged stuff sell for around $12/pound.  This is what I love most about this recipe…  I paid $3.99/pound for some whole almonds and I get fresh, homemade almond milk that is healthier and tastes better, plus I get about a cup of almond flour per batch of almond milk, making this a no-waste recipe.

First, you will want to soak your almonds overnight for about 8-12 hours.  If you are in a pinch and need to make it ASAP, 2-4 hours should be just fine.  Add enough water so that there is about an inch over the top of the almonds.  I used filtered water, covered the bowl with plastic wrap and stored it in the fridge overnight.

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After you are done soaking the almonds, strain and rinse the almonds really well then pour them into your blender.  Next, take a fine mesh strainer, place it over a large bowl (I prefer to use a mixing bowl with a pour-spout) and line the strainer with 3-4 layers of cheesecloth.

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Add the filtered water to the almonds in your blender and blend on high for 1-2 minutes.  The milk will be all frothy.

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Pour the milk into the cheesecloth-lined strainer and let it sit for 30-60 minutes.

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Take the strainer off of the bowl and set it aside.  If you would like to make almond flour you will want to keep the pulp that is left over in the cheese cloth.

Take a funnel and pour your almond milk into a bottle or jar and you’re done!

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You’ll end up with around 3 cups of almond milk (possibly more if you try squeezing the pulp in the cheesecloth over the bowl) and it should keep in your fridge for about 5 days.  It’s normal for it to separate, so you will want to shake it well before every time you use it.  If it’s been a few days and you are worried that the milk has gone bad, simply smell it.  If it smells bad, then it is.

Eventually I want to experiment with flavoring and sweetening the milk.  What are some ideas you have for accomplishing this?  Let me know in the comments below!

Homemade Almond Milk

You will need:

  • Bottle or jar
  • Funnel
  • Large bowl
  • Fine mesh strainer
  • Cheesecloth
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 4 cups filtered water, plus extra for soaking

Place the almonds in a bowl and add enough water so that it is about an inch over the top of the almonds.  Cover and let soak in the fridge over night (8-12 hours).  Next, strain and rinse the almonds well and place them in a blender.  Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and line it with 3-4 layers of cheesecloth.  Add the 4 cups of filtered water and blend on high for 1-2 minutes.  Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth and let strain for 30-60 minutes.  Remove the strainer and set it aside, saving the pulp for later to make almond flour.  Pour the milk into a bottle or jar using the funnel.