Banana Ice Cream with Honey Cinnamon Almonds

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds

Hope your Friday is going well and you’re ready for the weekend!  It’s been getting pretty warm out here and I am finding myself wanting something cool and sweet later in the day.  Since I am trying hard to limit sweets I needed to come up with a healthy way to curb my craving.  This 4 ingredient treat does just the trick!  Since I always have banana pieces frozen in the freezer this sweet treat comes together in just moments.

 

Banana Ice Cream 2

 

Ingredients

  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cocoa
  • Blue Diamond Honey Roasted Almonds (crushed)
  • Blue Diamond Unsweetened Almond Milk (splash)

 

Directions

Place bananas and cocoa in a food processor (I just my Nutri Ninja!) and pulse until smooth.  Use as much almond milk as you need to reach your desired consistency.  Top with crushed almonds and enjoy!
Banana Ice Cream 3

The entire family loved their banana ice cream.  Emmie thought it was “nummy in her tummy” and Bryn licked the spoon clean :)  I felt good knowing that the “ice cream” they were eating was really just bananas!  This is a trick I have been wanting to try for awhile and I have to say it was a huge success :)

 

I hope you have some fun plans for the weekend.  I will actually be on call tomorrow and working but I have plans with my BFF to hit Target for the new Lily Pulitzer collection on Sunday 😉

 

How do you enjoy banana ice cream?

 

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Beth’s Cookies

There are a few things that just scream CHRISTMAS to me.  One of them is our Christmas tree and the memories it brings.  Another, is the taste of Beth’s cookies.

 

Beth's Cookies

Beth was my mom’s best friend.  She was tragically killed in a car accident before I was born.  Her husband and sons though have been a part of our family for as long as I can remember.  Every year my mom would make these cookies in honor of Beth for all of us to enjoy.  Not only are these cookies delicious, they also serve as a beautiful reminder of the kind of life Beth lived … a pretty sweet one.

Beth's Cookies

 

Although I never had the opportunity to meet this incredible lady, her memory is a big part of all of my holiday memories.  With permission from my mom, I am sharing her recipe, and story, with you today.  Enjoy.
Beth's Cookies

Beth’s Cookies

by Madeline G.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 Minutes

Ingredients (3 Dozen)

  • 1 stick butter (I used Smart Balance)
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 3 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 12 ounces of crunchy peanut butter
  • 24 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the melted butter and powdered sugar.

Add the Rice Krispies and peanut butter.  Stir until well combined.

Work together with your hands and form small balls.  I use a cookie scoop for this.  Pack them tightly.

Put them in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.

While cookies are hardening, melt the chocolate chips using a double boiler.

Dip the balls into the melted chocolate until well covered.

Place them on a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

These keep for a long time in the freezer!

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Holiday Family Traditions

When I was grocery shopping yesterday I suddenly realized that Christmas music was playing over the loud speaker.  I got a warm and fuzzy feeling and immediately wanted to be snuggled up on the couch with hot cocoa.  Thanksgiving is coming upon us fast and Christmas is right around the corner.  The Christmas season starts immediately following Thanksgiving in the G house, as it has my entire life.

 

Christmas Tree

 

Growing up I could count on one thing the morning after Thanksgiving … my mom blasting “Mary’s Boy Child” through the house to wake me up to begin decorating.  Out would come the tree, the advent wreath, and we would wrap every hanging picture in our house as a present.  I have carried some of that goodness forward with me as I have started my own family.  Mary’s Boy Child will be playing loud and proud next Friday and Chris will be putting up our tree.  I can’t wait.

 

Christmas Cookies

 

Another holiday tradition in our house is the baking.  My sister and I would make elaborate sugar cookies every year and decorate them as gifts to family friends.  It was an all-day affair.  Even though we are too many states to count apart, our sugar cookies live on.  I even made them for Emmalyne’s first birthday party as an excuse to make them twice this year.

 

This year I had the opportunity to partner with Smart Balance to help make my sugar cookies a little healthier.  Smart Balance has tons of products including better butters, milk, cooking oils, peanut butter, and popcorn!  You can see everything they offer HERE.  For my sugar cookies, I used the Blended Butter Sticks which are a prefer 1-1 swap with regular butter.  They are made with real butter and canola oil with the added bonus of plant sterols and omega-3s.  The plant sterols actually help block the cholesterol in the butter.  All Smart Balance products are gluten free and they even have vegan options available.  After my dad’s heart attack and Chris’ family history of heart disease, cholesterol and heart health has become a very important priority in our house.

 

The best part about using this healthy swap?  You can’t taste a difference :)  See for yourself …

 

 

Christmas Sugar Cookies

by Madeline G.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Keywords: bake dessert

Ingredients (3 dozen)

Dough

  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup Smart Balance blended butter sticks
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (I use Chobani)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For the Frosting

  • 1/3 cup Smart Balance blended butter sticks
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Instructions

For the Dough

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Using a sifter, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium sized bowl.

Using a stand mixer, cream together the sugar, butter, and egg.

Add the Greek yogurt and vanilla to the mixer.

Slowly mix in the dry ingredients.

Cover with a wet towel and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick.

Cut out your cookie shapes.

Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheets and cook for 8-10 minutes or until edges are just golden brown.

Cool on a wire rack until completely cooled.

For the Frosting

Beat the butter and gradually add 2 cups of powdered sugar.

Slowly beat in the milk, vanilla, and almond extract.

Add remaining sugar.

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For directions as to how to frost the sugar cookies you can refer to this post.  I used royal icing in that one but the same trick applies to this icing.

 

This holiday season Smart Balance is trying to #HelpSanta be a little healthier.  You can follow along by following @SantasCookies and @SmartBalance on Twitter.  When making your own cookies for Santa, think about swapping in Smart Balance butters and products for a little extra oomph.

 

What’s your favorite family holiday tradition?

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Fitfluential LLC compensated me for this campaign.  All opinions are my own.

WIAW

Oh hello there middle of the week … fancy seeing you already.  Happy Wednesday!  You guys …. my legs are SO SORE from my workout at D1 Sports Training on Monday.  Yesterday morning I felt great.  Then I went for a run and realized that my calves, hamstrings, and gluteus were all sore.  As the day progressed it got worse.  And today is awful.  Time for a date with my foam roller 😉

 

Since it’s Wednesday, it means it’s time for another “What I Ate Wednesday” with the lovely Jenn of Peas and Crayons!  I did a MUCH better job photographing some snacks.  These are my eats from yesterday and I got everything except lunch … oops.  One of these weeks I will remember everything and not feel like a tool haha.

 


BREAKFAST

Scrambled eggs, bacon, and waffle #WIAW

1 egg+ egg whites scrambled with spinach and nutritional yeast, shared with Emmie.  I also had a piece of nitrite free bacon, a Vans power protein waffle with PB, and half a grapefruit.  Seriously delicious.

 

WORK-OUT

 

I did a treadmill workout from Julie and loved it.  I did the gradual increase in speed workout.  It was a good mix of incline walking and running.  The inclines are what told me that my legs were killed from the day before.  I toughed through it and I am glad I did!  I followed this up with 20 minutes of weights following Tamara’s upper body boot camp.

 

SNACKS
#WIAW Snacks La Croix Water, Peach

 

WORK-OUT #2

I met my new friend Alex at J.F. Gregory park to take our kids walking.  We did 3 miles in 54 minutes bringing my total miles for the day to 6.7.  After walking we hit up the farmer’s market for our weekly produce.

J.F. Gregory Park, Richmond Hill GA

 

DINNER

#WIAW Dinner

 

I had book club with Victoria last night to talk about books 2 and 3 of The Fifty Shades of Grey series.  LOVE those books.  Literary genius?  No.  Seriously entertaining?  Yes.  (On that note … mom and friends, I don’t want to know if you read them).  Our amazing hostess Jessica put together this amazing spread.  Chicken in mushroom and cream sauce, roasted potatoes, salad, croissants stuffed with cream cheese, chives, and bacon, and a chocolate chip cookie cheesecake dessert.  YUM.

 

I seriously think I will be stretching out my legs for the rest of the morning today.  Haha.  The workout #proof is in the DOMS right?  :)  Have a happy day!

 

Have you read Fifty Shades of Grey?  I have to admit … it made me pretty uncomfortable at times.

WIAW

Woo!!  Half-way through the week already.  I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to have everything ready for Friday.  Today I have to go to base for a meeting, do some shopping, and wrap up a couple projects after hitting the gym.  Wish me luck :)  Since it is Wednesday that means it’s time for another ‘What I Ate Wednesday‘ post thanks to the amazing Jenn of Peas and Crayons.

 

BREAKFAST

Two scrambled eggs with spinach and cheese on top of whole-wheat toast and topped with salsa.  I have really been digging this lately and I like it because I can just give Em some of the scrambled eggs so both our breakfasts are covered.

 

WORKOUT

Easy 20 minutes run/walk on the treadmill followed by 10 minutes on the stair master.  Seriously, the stairs get me every single time.  I also lifted heavy on legs and shoulders.

 

LUNCH

 

I am STILL congested in my chest so soup sounded good for lunch.  I had Amy’s organic Southwestern something soup.  I don’t eat a lot of canned soup because of the high sodium content but this was perfect for today.  On the side I had a salad of spinach, kale, arugula, black beans, avocado, pepper, and tomatoes.  It was a delicious and filling lunch.

 

SNACKS

Half a whole-wheat with flax Rudi’s organic English muffin with some watermelon strawberry jam I bought at the farmer’s market on Saturday.  I seriously love this stuff.  It’s so darn good!

 

Super delicious smoothie … spinach, strawberries, pineapple, Trop50, banana, and Chobani.

 

DINNER

Sausage, arugula, and tomato pasta.  Favorite meal of the day by far.  This was definitely a win and I plan on sharing the super easy recipe with you all soon!  Chris and I both scarfed it down and Em even liked the noodles.

 

DESSERT

These bars are seriously SO good!  AND they are full of probiotics.  WIN.

 

EMMIE-LOU-WHO

Because I know you all love her more than you love me … and I don’t blame you because she is just so darn cute!

 

What was your favorite meal this week?  Did you link up with WIAW?