Culinary Cousins: Homemade Chocolate Syrup

My chocoholism strikes again.

(Help.)

Read all about it: Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Homemade Chocolate Syrup | Culinary Cousins

The analysis paralysis of eating.

The Internet is good for so many things. News. Information. Connection. But some days, the Internet is evil. Access to so much information can give you just … too much information, you know? At least that’s where I am this week. I’ve read no fewer than five articles lamenting the health or safety of more than 18 foods I eat. So now what do I do?

Here are some of the things I’ve learned:

Now, you may scoff at any of these statements, and the articles I’ve sourced, and totally dismiss them as fear-mongering  But I’m concerned. It scares me that it’s cheaper to eat a fast-food hamburger meal with a large soda or a microwave frozen pizza than it is to buy a pint of fresh blueberries. Clearly our food system is broken, and we’re making ourselves sick with the food we choose. But I’m busy like the rest of us and can’t live beyond my means, so I fall down on the job and eat something cheap, plastic and disgusting when I’m in a pinch. It’s easier. I certainly notice that I feel better when I eat better, though. 

veggies

The only thing I can think to do is follow Michael Pollan’s mantra. I haven’t read any of his books, but I really want to — well, I need to. He says:

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

That sounds like a decent start.

So, this week, ladies and gentlemen, I’m a vegetarian. Well, most of the time.

Also this week, I discovered Lisa Leake’s blog, “100 Days of Real Food.” I don’t know where I’ve been, since she’s really popular and right here in my own hometown. But I’m encouraged by her philosophy and dedication — and her family is following the same path.

I think it’s going to be okay, since I actually really like vegetables, and I’m already on the organic, locally-sourced bandwagon.

We’ll see, kids.

Cooking Spree: Skinny Banana "Ice Cream"

Consider my mind blown.

A few weeks back, when I was still on the wagon and trying to eat sensibly, Stephanie told me about skinny banana ice cream. You just blend a frozen banana in a food processor, she said, and voila! You have a dessert-like treat with the consistency of soft serve. Nah, I doubted. There’s no way a measly frozen banana can trick my brain into believing I’m eating ice cream.

Then I tried it.

The result is everything she promised — smooth, creamy, sweet, icy. You totally feel like you’re eating banana ice cream, but with zero guilt.

I heard recently that bananas and mangoes are the only fruits that maintain a creamy consistency when frozen, so the science does make sense. And I suppose that means frozen mangoes are next on my shopping list.

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Skinny Banana “Ice Cream”

1 frozen banana
1 tablespoon milk
Honey or sugar, to taste (if you’d like)

Equipment: small food processor or blender

Peel a medium banana (or a few bananas) and place it in a large ziploc bag. Freeze for a couple of hours until solid.

Remove a banana from the plastic bag and, (carefully!) with a sharp knife, chop it into chunks.

Note: I stress again — be careful! The banana may be hard to chop while frozen. You could chop the banana before you freeze it but I didn’t because I wanted to easily see a one banana portion. You could portion banana slices into different bags or bowls before freezing, though. Hey, I’m lazy. 

Add the banana to the bowl of a food processor or blender. Add the milk. At this point, you could add sweetener — a touch of honey, sugar or sweetener packet, though I didn’t. I suppose you could also add some yogurt — plain, vanilla or Greek — but you do need the liquid of the milk to help the banana blend.

Blend the banana and milk in the food processor/blender for about a minute. The consistency will change and it will become smooth and soft, like frozen yogurt or soft-serve ice cream. Working quickly, pour the “ice cream” into a bowl and eat.