3-Ingredient Mango Frozen Yogurt

Mango frozen yogurt

I’m gonna come right out and say that Disneyland is missing a major opportunity.

Anyone who has been to Adventureland knows that you absolutely cannot have a complete Disney experience there without enjoying some Dole Pineapple Whip. You know, from the thatched-roof stand next to the Tiki Room where the line always stretches back to the I-10 (or at least to Sleeping Beauty’s Castle). I enjoy Dole Whip, with its cool, creamy texture and tropical sweetness, but I’m not quite as fanatical about it as some people I know. People go NUTS for this stuff.

So when I say Disneyland is missing an opportunity, here’s what I mean: there are other tropical fruits they haven’t experimented with that can be made into whips. Like mango! In this foodie’s humble opinion, this mango frozen yogurt (aka Mango Whip) is at least as tasty as the pineapple version served in Adventureland. It’s a zippy fresh fruit treat that, with only three ingredients, is ridiculously easy to make and surprisingly low in added sugar. If Disneyland tapped into this, the tiki stand could have lines that stretch all the way to the Pacific! Wouldn’t THAT be fun?

Mango frozen yogurt

Or, instead, you could just make it at home.

Mango frozen yogurt

Frozen mango + yogurt + powdered sugar + a blender, and in 5 minutes you’ve got the definition of refreshment in a bowl. So who needs Disneyland? (Ok, I do. I need Disneyland. When can we go back again???)

Adventure land

 

Print Recipe
3-Ingredient Mango Frozen Yogurt
A refreshing mango frozen yogurt with minimal added sugar.
Course Dessert, snack
Servings
(generously)
Ingredients
Course Dessert, snack
Servings
(generously)
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender or the bowl of a food processor and blend/process until smooth. Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes

Adapted from Eating Well.

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White Bean Hummus

White Bean Hummus

We need to talk about beans. If I’ve never mentioned it before, allow me to say right now, standing tall with my hand over my heart, that I believe beans may be the perfect food. I say this not only because it will earn me points with other nutrition professionals (though they are pretty unanimously also in love with beans, as far as I’ve seen), but because beans are…

– High in fiber

– Low in fat

– Plant-based protein

– High in iron

– Super versatile

And, if you ask me, they taste pretty darn good, too. So I generally try to include them in my diet on a frequent basis. Casseroles, soups, tacos, salads, and even certain pasta dishes are great food items to drop some beans into. And I do mean that literally, not euphemistically.

White Bean Hummus

Lately I’ve been on a homemade hummus kick, but since I balk at buying any actual tahini (have you ever bought tahini? You have to buy like gallon at a time and it’s hella expensive!) I’ve been experimenting with recipes that don’t call for it, like this garlicky version with plenty of my dear wonderfood, beans! With two full cans of cannellini or Great Northern beans, this recipe makes a big batch, perfect for sneaking off into a closet with the bowl clutched to your bosom so no one else can eat it. I mean, for parties. PARTIES is what I meant to say.

White Bean Hummus

Seriously, though, this white bean hummus is my new favorite snack/appetizer/side. Even though I’ve scoffed in the past about how hummus and pita chips is everyone’s go-to, last-minute, classier-than-chips potluck contribution, the deliciousness of this version kicks it up into “bring this any time” territory. Mild white beans mixed with punchy garlic, lemon juice, cumin, pepper, and parsley creates the perfect edible yin and yang.

And finally, because beans didn’t have their own theme song, here is Brak from the ’90s Cartoon Network show Space Ghost to sing you a very special tune about them:

 

 

Print Recipe
White Bean Hummus
Mild white beans mixed with punchy garlic, lemon juice, cumin, pepper, and parsley make for a uniquely delicious hummus!
Course Appetizer, snack
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings
Course Appetizer, snack
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, cook garlic in olive oil over medium heat until garlic begins to brown. Remove from heat. With a slotted spoon, scoop garlic into the bowl of a food processor.
  2. To the food processor bowl, add drained beans, lemon juice, cumin, parsley, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Process until smooth.
  3. Carefully pour in reserved olive oil while the machine is running and process until well incorporated.
  4. Serve immediately or store refrigerated in an airtight container. Enjoy with pita chips or fresh veggies!
Recipe Notes

Adapted from Bush's Beans.

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Oranges with Vanilla Syrup

Orange Salad with Vanilla Syrup

January in Phoenix brings many things: the Phoenix Open, the famous Barrett Jackson car auction, citrus fruits up the wazoo, and of course, snowbirds…

snowbird-7

But let’s get back to the citrus (because it’s not even February and I’ve already had enough of snowbirds).

As I always say, whenever this time of year comes around, Arizonans will do almost anything to offload their overabundant citrus fruits. Neighbors don’t want them, schools have had enough of them, and the food banks refuse them, because even the poor and needy will balk at lemons, oranges, and grapefruit breakfast, lunch, and dinner after awhile. We get to the point where we start looking around for a Citrus Drop-off Safe Haven, like they do for babies.

citrus-safe-haven

NO QUESTIONS ASKED!!!

So yesterday when the guy who takes care of our lawn all too eagerly handed me a shopping bag brimming with oranges, I knew I’d have to form a plan. Thankfully, the stars aligned and a way to use up my newly acquired citrus gift presented itself almost immediately: our church’s annual picnic. With my “G” last name, the church bulletin assigned me and the other A-L’s to bring a side dish to go along with the hot dog lunch being served at the picnic. I *could* have been a lame-o and simply dropped off the Little Orphan Oranges on the buffet table in the hopes that the good people of the church would find them all their forever families, but I decided to be a bit more responsible and make them into an actual side dish.

Orange Salad with Vanilla Syrup

This fresh and different stacked orange salad is the result. Sprinkled with almonds and coconut and drizzled with a sweet vanilla syrup, it’s a hybrid side dish/snack/dessert that disappeared fast from the sea of chips and same ol’ veggie trays at the church picnic. And since it came together quickly, easily, and attractively with minimal ingredients, I know I’ll make it again–especially when I have oranges to use up.

Orange Salad with Vanilla Syrup

Print Recipe
Oranges with Vanilla Syrup
A fresh and easy orange side dish for brunch or lunch.
Course Side Dish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Servings
Course Side Dish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Servings
Instructions
  1. Slice peeled oranges into equal pieces and arrange on a platter.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring sugar, water, and vanilla extract to a boil over medium-low, stirring constantly. Simmer 5 minutes, then let cool.
  3. Sprinkle orange slices with almonds and coconut, then drizzle with the cooled syrup. (If you have extra syrup, save for another use--I'm sure it would taste great in coffee!)
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Kid-Friendly Banana “Sushi”

Banana Sushi

Today is the last day of my kids’ Christmas break. I won’t lie, there have definitely been times in the last two weeks when I’ve heard the Christmas carol lyrics “and mom and dad can hardly wait for school to start again” and been a little too much like…

jinkx-monsoon-rupauls-drag-race-can-i-get-an-amen-song-gif

But there have also been good times. Like the reading together, restoring the dollhouse my grandpa built for me when I was 7 for and giving it to my daughter, and playing with this bizarre toy that defied all logic to become the hit of our Christmas. Today, being the last day of all-kids-all-the-time for a little while, I decided to make it a day of Fun Foods. (Cause food is my love language.) In the morning, I made my kids breakfast in bed, then for lunch we had Hawaiian pizza, and at snack time, it was time to roll out this goofy thing I’d seen on Pinterest months ago…Banana “Sushi”!

Banana Sushi

My middle child actually really likes real sushi, but to my other two kids, I’m pretty sure sushi is an alien creation that’s about as edible as elephant hide. This reimagined version of sushi, however, even my 5-year-old was stoked to try. It’s essentially just a cereal, yogurt, and fruit parfait in a different package that’s a lot more fun to eat than smooshed together in a cup.

Banana Sushi

And a whole lot cuter, too!

Banana Sushi

Banana Sushi could make a unique breakfast, a fun finger food with lunch, or just a made-with-love healthy snack–perfect for a chilly, cloudy last day of Christmas break. (Cause Lord knows this kind of thing is NOT getting packed in my kids’ school lunches.) Give it a try and see if your little ones enjoy it as much as mine did! Or try it yourself–you might realize how fun it is to eat bananas with chopsticks.

Banana Sushi

My 5-year-old taking a nibble. Giraffe chopsticks from World Market.


Print Recipe
Kid-Friendly Banana "Sushi"
A fun, healthy way to eat "sushi" for breakfast or a special snack!
Course snack
Servings
banana sushi roll
Course snack
Servings
banana sushi roll
Instructions
  1. Coat the surface of a peeled banana with yogurt. Place crushed cereal in a shallow bowl and dredge the yogurt-covered banana through it until covered. Slice and top with blackberry pieces.
Recipe Notes

From an idea seen on Raising Whasians.

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Gluten Free Halloween Candy Bark

Gluten Free Candy Bark

Tonight some friends of ours came over for what has come to be a tradition in our house around Halloween time: a creepy movie night. For years my husband and I hosted a Hitchcock movie night, then we tried a Twilight Zone Party, and this year, in honor of Gene Wilder’s recent passing, I really wanted to have a bunch of people over to watch the Mel Brooks classic Young Frankenstein. For those who have never seen the movie, it’s a screwball comedy with a dark twist, starring Wilder as the tortured grandson of Transylvania’s most famous mad scientist. Despite his insistence that he has no intention to replicate his grandfather’s experiments in reanimating corpses, history repeats itself and the younger Frankenstein returns to the family castle, where he ends up with a 7 1/2 foot raging monster on his hands …all suffused with the cheesy humor you’d expect from Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder. I grew up watching the movie with my mom and brother and thought it would be fun to enjoy it in the company of friends.

Gluten Free Candy Bark

The thing is, though, October always somehow gets filled up with events, Halloween parties, school work, and other commitments, and my best-laid movie night plans kept getting shoved aside. Before I knew it, we were halfway through the month and I hadn’t officially invited anyone–just had mentioned the possibility to one friend. I’m not one to give up on an idea where a party is concerned, though (see my Entertaining page for evidence), so as the days went by and we got closer and closer to Halloween, I thought, hey, even if we just have that one friend and her family over for the movie, it’ll still be a good time! This particular friend and her husband have two kids who go to the same school as ours and are great friends themselves, so it was a natural fit to have them join us.

Since this friend of mine has Celiac disease, I decided it would be nice to take the “What Can I Eat?” question off the table, so to speak, by making all gluten-free treats for us to enjoy during the movie. Cider bourbon cocktails for the grownups, caramel apple popcorn, and this gluten-free version of Halloween candy bark were on the menu. I typically make a regular Halloween candy bark after my kids go trick-or-treating, but now that they’re getting older, I have a feeling they’re not going to let me steal their candy this year. Guess I’d better really enjoy this pre-Halloween version, then.

With peanuts, M & Ms, and candy corn sprinkled over hardened melted chocolate chips, this rich dessert/snack couldn’t be simpler. Try it with any gluten-free candy on top for anyone in your life who needs to stay away from gluten. The Celiac Disease Foundation has a helpful list on their website of Halloween candies that are gluten-free.

And finally, a question…what’s your favorite creepy movie to watch this time of year? Or if you love Young Frankenstein like I do, what’s your favorite part? I have to go with the “Puttin’ On the Ritz” dance routine, hands down.

Gluten Free Candy Bark

Gluten Free Halloween Candy Bark
A Love Letter to Food Original Recipe

Ingredients:

1 24-oz. bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (you may need to check packaging to ensure they are gluten-free)
Lightly salted peanuts, coarsely crushed
M & Ms
Candy corn

Directions:

  1. Line the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 inch rimmed cookie sheet or baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Place chocolate chips in a large bowl and microwave for 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until chocolate is completely melted. Spread melted chocolate evenly over parchment paper.
  3. Sprinkle with any amount of peanuts, M & Ms, candy corn (or other gluten free candy) you like.
  4. Refrigerate at least one hour or until chocolate has hardened.
  5. Remove from parchment paper and place on a large cutting board. With a chef’s knife, cut into pieces or wedges. I’d recommend slicing pieces fairly small, as the richness of even a small amount goes a long way.

Makes 1 9 x 13-inch pan.