Sleek Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

Frozen Yogurt sounds like summer. And with fall bearing down on us, I want to hang onto summer – at least the tastiest parts.

As I was strolling through the frozen food section of my store, trying to understand the logic frozen toast (really! an entire section of it), I noticed that we now have frozen Greek Yogurt offerings. Greek yogurt – the thick yogurt with the high protein hit. And now it’s offered in desserts. Cool!

Slushy fro yo

However, the store stuff had an ingredient list that was a question mark, so I thought I’d see if I could concoct my own, minus the unpronounceable ingredients. And YUM! It’s doable and delicious. And very quick. If you have ten minutes, you can whip up a few quarts of dessert that will delight your senses.
I naturally experimented with different ways to make this treat. The first time I made it I put the simple syrup, and all the ingredients, including the strawberries into the food processor. It was good, but I wanted it to have the feel more of frozen yogurt – with added strawberries, rather than strawberry sorbet with a bit of yogurt. Not sure this makes sense to anyone else, but the pictures show the difference. The first picture looks more like a slushy frozen yogurt, which was still wonderful. But in the end I wanted chunks of strawberry frozen into my fro yo and check it out! Looks and tastes fabulous.

The next time I made it, I folded in the chunks of strawberries at the end and then froze the tasty treat.
cut berries

Ingredients for Strawberry Greek Frozen Yogurt
4 cups strawberries, washed and hulled and cut into bite sized pieces (Sure, frozen are fine.)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sugar substitute of choice
1 cup water
3 six-oz pots of lowfat Greek yogurt, no flavors or sugars added
1/2 tsp lemon
1 tsp vanilla
add yogurt

blender or food processor

blender or food processor


Directions
Start with a Simple Syrup just like Maddy, my clever granddaughter taught us with her Strawberry Sorbet.
fold in berries
Mix the sugar and sugar substitute with water.
Bring it to a boil and boil one minute. Remove it from the heat.
Add the yogurt and whisk to blend.
Add lemon and vanilla.
Fold in the strawberries and pour into a freezer container.

Ahhh, this is summer in a bowl.Frozen yogurt

Sexy Acorn Squash

I got your attention with the title, right? Can acorn squash be sexy?
acorn feature

Well just look at it.
Such a cute little shape – mimicking the tiny acorn nuts. But when you make it up with a few tasty accoutrements, you turn cute into…sexy. Lush flesh, a bit spicy with an earthy undertone. Irresistible. Such a great side dish.
acorn s

acorn prepped

acorn sprinkled

Acorn squash is considered one of the many “winter squashes” which always confuses me because it’s ready each fall. Yes, it can last in a cold storage for most of the winter, but the look of it screams fall. As in “bring on the pumpkin and bring on the squash.”

It’s a great addition to a weeknight meal because you can pop it into the oven with a lasagna, meat loaf or pork loin and dinner is ready in 30 – 35 min. Meanwhile, you can put your feet up – or deal with mail or the kids’ homework.

Directions to Fool Proof Sexy Acorn Squash
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Scrub the outside of the squash to remove any bacteria.
Cut off just the tip of the pointy side so that it will sit flat in a baking pan.
Carefully cut the squash in half.
Scoop out the seeds and strings.
Place the halves in a baking pan.
Cut slits about 1/4 inch deep in both directions of the bowl of the squash.
Dab with a bit of butter – 1 tsp each is plenty.
Add 1 tsp brown sugar or coconut sugar in each squash half.(or maple syrup, agave, or honey)
Sprinkle with cinnamon. (Nutmeg and ginger are also good.)
Pour 1 cup water into the baking pan, being careful not to get water on the squash.
Carefully place the pan in the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, if a knife goes into the squash easily, it’s done. If your squash is larger, it may take longer.

That is it, my friend. You can serve the squash half as either one or two servings. If there are left overs, put it in the fridge and warm in the microwave. A drizzle of maple syrup will perk it right up.
acorn bite

The flavors of fall – earthy and uncomplicated.

Quick Super-Duper Peanut Butter GF Cookies

cookie perfectionWhen I say quick, I mean you can stir these up in the time it will take your oven to heat up. Then bake, cool, for maybe a minute and you have cookie nirvana.
almond butter

It started when I learned a neighbor had surgery and I felt the need to rush a baked item to her door to speed the healing. She needs gluten-free items, so I whipped up my 3 ingredient cookies and raced a plate to her door.

cookies2

Then I thought – wouldn’t they have been better with chocolate chips? Well, duh, isn’t everything?
So I made another quick batch to test that theory. (Luckily, this only makes about 12 cookies per batch and I have friends who help me devour them.)

cookies1
Next my hubby said he would prefer these made with almond butter, so more experimenting ensued – and I added a few more ingredients.

cookies with oats

more cookies 012

We loved these, but my healthy angel sat on my shoulder and suggested adding oats. So yes, another batch with chewy perfection.
more cookies with oats

Ahh, my she-angel said, but couldn’t we improve on the sugar? Well OK. A batch of coconut palm sugar proved equally delicious.

Finally, instead of adding the chips to the batter, I tried dipping half the cookies in melted dark chocolate. You know I do this only for you right? So that you can go right to my final recipe and bake with confidence.
dip in chocolate

Original Peanut Butter GF Cookies (but wait for my final recipe below.)
1 cup peanut butter (I like extra crunchy)
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg.
Mix until blended. Plop onto cookie sheets and bake in a 350 degree oven about 12 minutes. Makes 12.

But wait!

Clare’s Quick Super-Duper Peanut Butter (or almond butter) Cookies
1 cup nut butter of choice (Still prefer extra crunchy.)
1 cup coconut palm sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 tsp vanilla (or almond if you are using almond butter)
pinch salt
1/2 cup Chocolate chips for dipping. (or you can press them into the batter.)
Mix everything (except the chips)in a small bowl until blended.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 12 minutes. Makes about 12 heavenly cookies.

When they are out of the oven, microwave the chocolate and then dip the cookies in the chocolate.
If you are in a big hurry to eat one, put them in the fridge to set up.
(But it will leave tiny bubbles on the chocolate. Don’t ask me how I know this.)

Bonus:
nut clusters

If you have extra melted chocolate in your bowl, toss in some nuts and drop by spoonfuls for nut clusters.

Zucchini Coconut Chippers

Every summer I go through an obsession with zucchini.

So far, I’ve made zucchini cinnamon muffins, zucchini brownies and now these chocolate chip cookies – with zucchini, naturally.

It’s not because zucchini has such a great taste. This is one vegetable that’s easily influenced. It jumps on the bandwagon of the flavors around it. Unlike the bossy onion or self-important pepper, the zucchini is not memorable; you can hide it in all types of goodies and no one realizes they’re eating vegetables.

I do feel sorry for zucchini. First they look like cucumbers, so people are always confused about them. And it’s hard to tell the head from the tail – who would want that? Then there’s the waxy skin and the odd little seeds inside. Both are edible, but are they palatable? Question of taste.
For me, I peel the skin, but leave the seeds and then shred them in the food processor. So you do see little shreds of green in the cookies. But with the coconut, walnuts and – dark chocolate chips – no one notices the modest zucchini.

I also used coconut palm sugar instead of white sugar. It doesn’t taste like coconut and has a brown color, so these cookies look a bit darker because of it. But the palm sugar is not supposed to spike blood sugar, so it’s a better choice than regular refined sugar. It has a rich, caramel flavor and I adore it in coffee!

coconut palm sugar

coconut palm sugar


The original recipe was on allrecipes.com, but I altered it quite a bit and cut it in half. I like to experiment, so small batches are more practical.

Note about the zucchini, remember to let it rest in a little hammock to get rid of some of the moisture. See this former post if you need more help.

doughballs

Ingredients for about 2 dozen small cookies
1 stick butter – 1/2 cup
3/4 cup sugar (I used coconut palm sugar)
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup grated zucchini
1 1/3 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon (or more)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup coconut
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
cookies 2

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Put parchment paper on two baking sheets – or grease
Cream butter and sugar together – either by hand or with a mixer.
Add egg and vanilla.
Whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
Add them to the batter and fold in by hand.
Fold in zucchini, coconut, nuts and chocolate chips.
The batter may seem a bit dry but the zucchini will release it’s moisture as you stir.

Bake about 15 minutes until they are lightly browned. They do take a bit longer because of the raw zucchini.

They go together very quickly. The cookies are chewy and satisfying with so many flavors.
cookies done