Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Mini Golf + Sweet and Salty Banana Nut Ice Cream

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Tuesdays are typically my rest days, days off from intense exercise , when I can head straight home after work, do things I've been meaning to do, sit by the pool and read, cook dinner early and just relax.  It's important to give your body a break on a regular basis. Doing so allows your muscles to repair and gives your bones, joints, and nerves a needed rest. Yesterday, Jon and I cooked a casual dinner consisting of Bacon & Blue Turkey Burgers, Grilled Local Sweet Corn and Summer Squash and a Black Bean Quinoa Recipe I was trying out.  After that we had the rest of the night to do what we wished and we wished for - Mini Golf!

We are both extremely competitive people. Jon can and will turn anything into a race, game, test or bet. Mini Golf is no exception - when we play, it's reminiscent of a greek olympic tournament - an absolutely merciless, winner takes all showdown. We always go when we're down the shore but since we've yet to take our vacation this year, we were long overdue for hitting the miniature links and - IT WAS ON! We had a great time goofing off between holes and being fiercely competitive on the greens for an hour or so. Naturally, I won. No surprise there! He didn't bring his A game. Or his B game. I still love him though. 

The Final Score Card
The course is attached to a dairy farm-esque establishment. Not one I would ever purchase dairy products from, but nonetheless one that remains very popular with the local high school crowd and families with children. It is known mostly for the milkshakes and ice cream seen being consumed after bouts in the batting cages and games of mini golf. However, our visit would not take on that same ending. To do my due diligence, I went into the dairy building and read the labels on their milk products, ice cream cakes and other similar items. Jon could tell I wasn't happy with what I saw. In the past, he would have been all over those milkshakes - in the largest cup size possible. Last night, though, he said he wasn't even tempted. I don't know if all of my blabbering has really sunk in or if he's just a really great guy. But we left with nothing but our scorecard in hand. I new deep down he would have really liked a treat, especially since he just LOST. (haha) I felt bad, so as soon as we got home, while he was outside with our dog, Olive, I whipped up my better-than-that-hormone-laden-crap, Sweet and Salty Banana Nut Ice Cream treat! Does that sound delicious to you? Does it sound even better when I tell you it takes less than 5 minutes to whip up? 

Before we get into the recipe, I just want to remind you why I avoid dairy products that aren't, at the very least, certified Organic. In addition to being chock-full of injected hormones, they also contain traces of antibiotics and pus. Yes, pus! You do not want to put this stuff in your body, guys! It is one of the very first swaps I suggest making in my original Swap It Out Guide. Side effects of continued exposure (i.e., your cereal every morning, in your coffee, the glass of milk with your son's cookies) include reproductive issues, inconsistent hormone levels, prostate, colon and breast cancer, resistance to antibiotics, and more. My personal preference and recommendation is to consume only grass-fed pastured eggs, and grass-fed raw milk and cheese. These products come to be as nature intended. They maintain all of their beneficial nutrients and are free of toxic chemicals, hormones, antibiotics and pus. 

Now, back to ice cream. You're craving it but can't really stomach the thought of eating that pint of Ben & Jerry's in the fridge after all this talk about pus & hormones. That's why I'm here! This is my go-to recipe when I've got ice cream on the brain. It combines freshly blended banana ice cream with a warm, sweet and salty topping - a combination that hits the spot every.single.time. 

The great thing about this recipe is it is 100% dairy free, uses zero refined sugar and is completely customizable to your tastebuds! Sometimes I swap the sweet & saltiness for tangy fresh fruits or decadent coconut and cacao. Regardless of the combo, Jon still gets an incredibly delicious consolatory treat, and we both maintain piece of mind knowing he isn't ingesting toxic elements that would wreak havoc on his body and health. The main component here is frozen banana. When lightly blended the result is a beautifully rich ice cream-like texture. Nutritionally, bananas are full of potassium, an important electrolyte, and fiber, stats that have been contributed to their effect on lowering blood pressure,  reducing cardiovascular issues, promoting bone health and strength, promoting kidney health and more. So, enjoy this treat guilt-free :)

Sweet and Salty Banana Nut Ice Cream

Sweet & Salty Banana Nut Ice Cream Treat
FYI: you can make a bare bones but equally delicious version by simply blending a frozen banana or two and adding any topping you like! You can also substitute fresh or frozen fruit, and spices like vanilla bean and cinnamon instead of the almond butter. I use the splash of almond milk only when I find necessary. My Banana Nut recipe achieves a taste similar to a nutty ice cream, like peanut butter, and goes well with the sweet and salty nut topping, crushed pretzels, fresh fruit, or all by itself!

  • 2 Organic Bananas, cut up and frozen
  • 1 Tbsp Raw Organic Almond Butter
  • Splash of Organic Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • Small handful of raw organic nuts (I used almonds and hazelnuts)
  • 1 Tbsp High Quality Maple Syrup
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Place small sauce pan or skillet over medium heat. In a small baggie or bowl, mix together a handful of raw nuts, a pinch of salt and the maple syrup (or honey). I use a little baggie to really coat the nuts. Drop the nuts into the ban and let them brown (3 minutes). Hit with another tiny pinch of salt.
  • While they heat, drop your frozen banana, almond butter and splash of almond milk into your blender. Give it a couple good pulses until the bananas are pretty pulverized. At first, it might seem like the bananas aren't blending well, but give it a minute and they will soften ever so slightly and form a beautiful ice cream. Give it on last pulse. Your mixture should have a soft-serve consistency. 
  • Remove nuts from heat. Crush, chop or leave whole. Serve over your ice cream mixture.
  • Voila! 

It was ready before Jon was finished tending to our pup and he LOVED it - he didn't even offer to share! I asked him this morning for some feedback to share with you guys. He said that you'd swear you were eating typical dairy-based ice cream and the combination of the chopped maple nuts with the salt tasted like something straight from a gourmet restaurant. Those toxic milkshakes were the last thing on his mind!! 

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do! Please share with friends and family looking for ways to indulge without being exposed to contaminated dairy or refined sugars.

Keep it Real,


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