Diced! Dessert Bracket: Guinness Chocolate Ice Cream

Sounds good

Rantings of an Amateur Chef

I announced earlier that in honor of March Madness, I decided to create a dessert bracket with 16 styles of desserts. I’ve invited 16 great chefs to each take a category and make a recipe to enter into battle. I ranked the 16 based on my view of which was the favorite and like any bracket, the favorites are matched against the lower seeds. I won’t give you my seeding because I do not want to artificially impact your choices.

I will post a pairing each week on Wednesday and Thursday and open the polls for voting. The polls will be open from Thursday until the following Wednesday (before the next pair posts). The winner of each matchup with the most votes will move on to the next round and the chef will produce another recipe for their new matchup. The overall winner will receive any prizes I can acquire…

View original post 698 more words

A Hot Summer Day Screams For A Frozen Treat

A Hot Summer Day Screams For A Frozen Treat

A Hot Summer Day Screams For A Frozen Treat
9 May 30, 2012



Is anyone else craving something cold? Man, it was hot this weekend and I all I could think about was beer POPSICLES.

Popsicles are SO easy to make. All you have to do is mix some 100% fruit juice with some fruit and put it in a popsicle mold or a cup. You don’t need fancy equipment and popsicle sticks can be found at your supermarket or crafts store.

You are using the natural sugar found in the fruit juice to sweeten these popsicles and they turn out plenty sweet.

When I was a kid, we made popsicles with KoolAid and about 10 cups of sugar. I LOVED those 🙂

Below I have featured a book called “Pops” which is an amazing collection of ideas for making popsicles. Truly, you will be disturbed by the detail and beauty of these recipes and photos.

Since, I am lazy, I like to keep it simple. Some easy ideas for popsicles:

pureed watermelon
vanilla almond milk for a non-dairy popsicle
apple juice and crushed strawberries
flavored yogurt (just put in the stick and freeze)
I made these “Grape Pops” (above) with popsicles sticks that I bought from a craft store (I also saw popsicle sticks at a Dollar Store) and Dixie Cups. Place plastic wrap or foil over the cup before you put the stick in so it stays up.

You will save money if you make your own popsicles versus the packaged ones and yours will have real fruit and less sugar. (I’m not talking about those colored sugar water pops – but the ones with real fruit.)

If you want to get fancy you can buy popsicle molds. I have included a link to the most popular popsicle molds on Amazon. I bought some EL-Cheapo ones ($4) at the grocery store and couldn’t get the popsicles out of the molds, argh. If you think you are going to make a lot of popsicles, I say go with the top.

Ever attempted to make your own popsicles? Please share!

Grape Pops Recipe

(from Pops! Icy Treats for Everyone by Krystina Castella (Quirk Books, 2008))

(makes eight 6-ounce pops)

1 1/2 cups seedless red grapes, cut in half
4 1/2 cups white grape juice

1. Divide the grape halves among the pop molds. Pour in the grape juice and insert the sticks. Freeze for at least 6 hours.
2. Remover from the freezer; let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes before removing the pops from the molds. Enjoy these pops as you would a fine wine.

66 calories, 0.2 g fat, 15.7 g carbohydrates, 0.8 g protein, 0 g fiber, 2 mg sodium, 1 PointsPlus

Baked Apple-Cinnamon French Toast

Baked Apple-Cinnamon French Toast

This baked apple-cinnamon French toast can be prepared in advance and then simply popped in the oven for a leisurely and luxurious weekend morning. By using nonfat instead of whole milk and eliminating the egg yolks, the calories are cut by half and the fat is reduced by nearly 80 percent in our griddle-free version.

Serves 12

Prep Time 25 min

Total Time 570 min.


3 cups nonfat milk
2 cups pasteurized liquid egg whites, such as Egg Beaters
3 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1-pound lo sliced whole-wheat bread
1 cup chopped dried apples, (3 ounces)
1/2 cup raisins
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

Cooking Directions

Step 1

Whisk milk, egg whites, honey, vanilla and salt in a large bowl.

Step 2

Trim crusts off 8 bread slices and set aside. Cut the crusts and the remaining bread into 1-inch pieces. Toss with dried apples, raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg in another large bowl.

Step 3

Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Transfer the bread mixture to the pan. Lay the reserved crustless slices evenly on top, trimming to fit. Whisk the milk mixture one more time, then pour evenly over the bread. Press the bread down with the back of a wooden spoon, making sure it’s evenly moist. Cover with parchment paper, then foil, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.

Step 4

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Step 5

Bake the casserole, covered, for 40 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until puffed, set and lightly browned, about 20 minutes more. Let stand for 10 minutes; dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve.

Papaya Smoothie

Papaya Smoothie

Beat the winter blues with a taste of the tropics; this papaya smoothie has an added buttermilk tang.

Serves 2

Prep Time 10 min

Total Time 10 min.


1 papaya, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped (1 1/4 cups)
3/4 cup bottled fruit nectar, such as papaya, mango or peach
1/2 cup buttermilk, (see Tip)
2 1/2 tablespoon sugar, preferably superfine
2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
5 ice cubes

Cooking Directions

Step 1

Combine all ingredients in a blender; cover and blend until very smooth and frothy. Pour into 2 tall glasses and serve.

Raspberry Smoothie

Raspberry Smoothie

Raspberry Peach Smoothie


2 cups (raw) cashews, soaked 4-8 hours, discard soaking water
2 cups water
1 cup raspberries (frozen)
1 cup peaches (frozen)
2 tablespoon agave nectar or honey
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 ice cubes (if you want it colder)

1) Place cashews and water in a vitamix and process on high speed until creamy, about 1 minute
2) Add raspberries, peaches, agave and vanilla and blend until rich and smooth
3) Blend in ice cubes if desired
Serve in tall glasses

Serves 2

Better without the Cashews

Strawberries-and-Cream Parfaits

Strawberries-and-Cream Parfaits

To celebrate spring’s fresh strawberries, our Test Kitchen jazzed up old-fashioned tapioca pudding. Grinding the tapioca in a blender makes the texture creamier, maple syrup adds seasonal sweetness and whipping cream gives these airy parfaits a luxurious finish.

Serves 6 Prep Time 25 min. Total Time 210 min.

Nutrition Profile: Gluten Free Diet Healthy Weight Heart Healthy High Calcium Low Calorie Low Cholesterol Low Sat Fat Low Sodium


1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca

3 cups low-fat milk, or unsweetened plain soymilk

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 pints strawberries, hulled and sliced

1/2 cup whipping cream

6 sprigs fresh mint, for garnish


Step 1
Grind tapioca in a blender or coffee grinder until it is a fine granular powder.

Step 2
Whisk milk (or soymilk), maple syrup, egg and the tapioca in a small heavy saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture comes to a full boil. Remove from the heat, stir in vanilla and transfer to a medium bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface. Refrigerate until chilled, about 3 hours or overnight.

Step 3
Whip cream using an electric mixer or whisk in a chilled bowl until soft peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the tapioca mixture using a rubber spatula.

Step 4
Spoon 1/4 cup strawberries into each of six 8-ounce parfait glasses or wineglasses. Top each with 1/3 cup tapioca cream. Repeat with another layer of strawberries and tapioca cream. Garnish with the remaining berries and a sprig of mint.


Prepare through Step 2 up to 1 day ahead. Once assembled, serve immediately or cover and chill for up to 2 hours.

Mango-Passion Fruit Smoothie

Mango-Passion Fruit Smoothie

Tangy passion fruit pairs well with mango in this tropical-flavored smoothie.

Serves 2 Prep Time 5 min. Total Time 5 min.

Nutrition Profile: Healthy Weight Heart Healthy High Calcium High Potassium Low Calorie Low Cholesterol Low Sat Fat Low Sodium


1 ripe mango, peeled and diced (1 cup)

2/3 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt

1/3-1 cup frozen passion fruit juice concentrate

1/4 cup water

2 ice cubes, crushed


Step 1
Combine mango, yogurt, 1/3 cup juice concentrate, water and crushed ice in a blender; cover and blend until smooth and frothy. Add more concentrate, if desired. Serve immediately.

Strawberry-Raspberry Sundaes

Strawberry-Raspberry Sundaes

Nothing says summer like fresh berries. Try this simple sundae sauce over frozen yogurt for a scrumptious summertime treat.

Serves 4 Prep Time 10 min. Total Time 10 min.

Nutrition Profile: Gluten Free Diet Healthy Weight Heart Healthy High Calcium Low Calorie Low Cholesterol Low Sat Fat Low Sodium


1 cup strawberries, plus more for garnish

1/2 cup raspberries, plus more for garnish

2 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

2 cups nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt


Step 1
Puree strawberries and raspberries with sugar and lemon juice in a blender. Serve over frozen yogurt and top with sliced strawberries and raspberries, if desired.

Strawberry-Mango Margarita Compote

Strawberry-Mango Margarita Compote

Mangoes and strawberries make a magical marriage. Splashes of tequila, Triple Sec and lime add a subtle kick to the mix. For a nonalcoholic or kid-friendly version, substitute fresh orange juice for the tequila and Triple Sec.

Serves 4 Prep Time 15 min. Total Time 35 min.

Nutrition Profile: Gluten Free Diet Healthy Weight Heart Healthy High Fiber Low Calorie Low Cholesterol Low Sat Fat Low Sodium


2 cups halved or quartered hulled strawberries

2 cups diced mango, (2 small or 1 large)

2 tablespoon sugar, or to taste, plus more for dipping

1 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest

2 tablespoon lime juice

1 1/2 tablespoon tequila

1 1/2 tablespoon Triple Sec, or other orange liqueur


Step 1
Place strawberries, mango, sugar, lime zest, lime juice, tequila and liqueur in a large bowl; toss gently to combine. Let stand for 20 minutes for the flavors to meld. If desired, serve in margarita glasses: rub the rims with additional lime juice and dip in sugar, then spoon in compote.


Cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.