Pomegranate Frozen Yogurt

Last weekend’s warm weather got me so excited to post this recipe, along with a sunny blog about how it feels like spring is just around the corner.

And then Snowpocalypse 3.0 happened.  Yeah, snow is pretty.  Yeah, I got a much needed day out of the office.  But I hate the cold.  And I hate the snow.  And this was all preceded by two days of walking around in a city-flavored slushy, while the heavens poured Slusho mix all over our heads.  Gross.

But I still made the yogurt, and ate every bit of it.  It’s yogurt, so it’s healthy, right?

The thing about frozen yogurt….Forget TCBY, and Häagen Dazs.  That stuff is just like ice cream, and if you’re eating frozen yogurt to replace ice cream, calorie-wise, it’s not gonna do the trick.  Check the carton.  Most store bought fro-yos have only 20-50 less calories than their non-dieting sisters.  It’s true.

And anyhow, frozen yogurt should not just be a heavy woman’s ice cream.  It’s a completely different tasting beast when done properly.  It should be tangy and not overly sweet, and invite a fruit (or granola!) accompaniment as though it were it’s long lost twin.  If you’ve been fortunate enough to try Pink Berry, you know what I’m talking about.  That stuff was a revelation.  A realization of all that stuff I just said. If you haven’t, making this frozen yogurt will be as close to a life-changing event as you’ll get in the kitchen.

Pomegranate Frozen Yogurt

Ingredients

1 quart of Greek yogurt (roughly two cups) strained, or 1 quart of strained plain yogurt (NO FLAVORS – THIS IS IMPORTANT; however you may use whatever fat content you like.  I used low-fat because my store was out of non-fat at the time)

1/3 cup sugar

2 tsp vanilla

3 tbsp pomegranate jelly

Method

  • Whisk ingredients together and allow to cool for at least one hour.  This is important.  Skip this step and you will not achieve creamy frozen heaven.
  • Start ice cream maker and pour mixture in.  Let machine run for about 20-30 minutes.  With ice creams it will stop itself and you will hear a clicking noise.  This did not happen with the yogurt.
  • Once mixed, eat immediately for soft-serve consistency, or chill in freezer for up to 3 hours for one more ice-cream.

teeny mint leaves for a pretty garnish

This will refill the yogurt container to a little under half, if you’re storing for later snackage, but I’d be really surprised if it lasted that long.

If you want to mix in fresh pomegranate seeds, wait until the very end of the cycle and then toss them in.  I think that would be delicious, but I’m broke and can’t afford these things.  I also think a little lemon zest would be delicious and pretty.

Granola

So I have a new kitchen obsession, and it’s granola.  I have never been able to find a granola in the store that I found was worth the money, not to mention the calories.  Oh yes, don’t be fooled.  That stuff in the fancy packaging has some serious sugar and packs a lot of calories into quite a small amount.

clumpy

Admittedly, this recipe is not as healthy as the last one I made.  But it is so much better.  I enjoyed the last one.  It was crunchy, nutty, not too sweet, and delicious by itself or with yogurt.  But this takes that and cranks the volume to 11.  Full disclosure, I had a really hard time sharing this with my neighbors.  I did, but it was an inner battle for me.  Also, while I was home I got a lot of compliments on the photography on here, but my neighbor Tim takes the photos you guys are oohing and aweing and drooling over.  His granola was much deserved.

Olive Oil Granola

Makes about 9 cups.

adapted from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/15/dining/151arex.html

Ingredients

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 C roughly chopped pecans

1 C pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)

½ C slivered almonds

3/4 C pure maple syrup

1/2 C extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tspish kosher salt

1/2 tspish ground cinnamon

1/2 tspish ground ginger

3/4 C chopped dried apricots

1 C dried cranberries

Method

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine oats, nuts, pepitas, maple syrup, olive oil, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Spread mixture on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

2. Allow to cool a bit and then break up the clumps to whatever consistency you like, then toss in the apricots and cranberries.

Resolution Friendly Peanut Butter Cookies

As much as I love being home, spending with family and old friends, it always comes as somewhat of a relief to return elsewhere.  The holidays are crazy for everyone, but especially those who have to travel during them.  A week home is often a marathon of drinking, baking, catching up, drinking, gift-wrapping, drinking, shopping, and drinking.  It’s exhausting and can wear a gal down.

I was fortunate enough to return home with something I picked up from an old friend (probably) and was bed ridden for a week.  Too sick to bake, too sick to work, and too sick to enjoy being back at my own place.  I was also too sick to do anything for New Year’s in New York, for the second year in a row.  I’ve never been a giant fan of New Year’s, but I would like to have at least one in New York that I don’t spend on the couch watching movies, asleep before midnight.

I’ve also never been much for resolutions.  Nobody really keeps them and they just make you feel bad about yourself.  Instead, I like to set small, reachable goals for myself throughout the course of the entire year.  This is especially helpful for avoiding crowded gyms.  However, I know a lot of people who do make resolutions, and they’re usually along the lines of ‘eat healthier’ and ‘exercise more.’  So folks, this one’s for you.

This recipe actually came about because my brother started dating a vegan, and I got to meet her over the holidays.  She’s a pretty cool chick, and I like the idea of cool chicks reading my blog and making my brother happy.  So without further ado, I present to you: no butter, no flour, no oil, no egg, no gluten, but still AMAZINGLY delicious, 4 step

Resolution-friendly Peanut Butter Cookies 18ish cookies

Adapted from http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/dessert/internet-sensation-the-noflour-nobutter-peanut-butter-cookies-revisited-080693

Ingredients

1 C peanut butter (see note)

3/4 C turbinado, or raw sugar

1/4 C brown sugar

Half a banana (if you’re not vegan and don’t like bananas, use 1 egg)

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp vanilla

6 ingredients

Method

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees°F.

2. Mix all the ingredients up in a bowl.

3.Roll walnut-sized pieces into balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Feel free to flatten slightly with a fork in a crisscross pattern, as is customary for peanut butter cookies. I forgot to do this, and it did not affect the taste.

dough!

4. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool before removing from baking sheet.

healthy cookie!

Note: Peanut butter comes in all kinds of configurations and the kind you choose will influence your outcome. Some peanut butters are very sweet, some have been hydrogenated, some have a whole lot more in them than peanuts! Then there is the chunky versus smooth debate. I used a natural smooth version that literally was just peanuts and salt.  If you use a peanut butter like Jif or Skippy, your cookies will be sweeter but your waste line will not.

Seriously, these cookies are too easy, too delicious, and too healthy to pass up.  Give them to someone on a diet as a helpful little gift.  It allows them a sweet treat without feeling too indulgent.

Also, since I was sick last week and did not post, I’m doing two this week.  Next up, another delicious granola!

Wyatt’s Granola

When I come home to Memphis I like to take advantage of my parents’ enormous kitchen (which is approximately the size of my entire apartment) and willingness to buy ingredients.

I originally intended to come home and bake up a storm – a buttery, flour-y, sugar-fueled storm.  Then I baked one batch of cupcakes (which is a whole ‘nother post) and became immensely frustrated when I realized how spoiled I have become from owning a stand mixer.  Hand mixers certainly serve a purpose in some applications, but not for cupcakes, frostings, or anything else that requires creaming tons of butter and sugar to light, fluffy cloud of happy.  So I’m opting for the easy way out – no special hardware required, and healthy upon request of a quite amazing young artist currently residing in the Chicago area, Wyatt Grant.  I suspect you will see him on the cover of Art News one day in the not too distant future.

My parent’s house is also pretty close to a pretty amazing ‘gourmet’ grocery store armed to the teeth with fancy pants food-stuffs.  I got most of the ingredients for this granola here, except for the Costco-sized bottle of honey and vegetable oil.  Generally I would say get whatever brand or quality level your budget allows, but for a recipe with so few ingredients, it really is more tasty when you have the good stuff.

the good stuff

Wyatt (Earp)’s Granola

Except for the stirring, this is a ridiculously easy recipe.  I suspect you could even forgo the 15 minute intervals and stirring while cooling if you prefer clumpy granola, which I do.  For anyone who prefers a lighter Christmas morning breakfast, this recipe is it!  Slightly sweet with a hint of cinnamon and a harmonious ratio of nuts to fruit, this granola is sure to be a crowd pleaser, or selfishly coveted over Greek style or plain yogurt.

Ingredients

4 c toasted whole grain cereal with raisins, dates, and almonds (such as Mueslix – I used some fancy pants organic brand from Fresh Market)

3 c old fashioned oats

1 c coarsely chopped walnuts

1 c sliced almonds

¾ c coarsely chopped hazelnuts

½ c honey

¼ c vegetable oil

1/3 c dried blueberries

1/3 c dried sweetened cranberries (Craisins, unless you’re shopping at Fresh Market)

1/3 c golden raisins

1 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ c turbinado (raw sugar)

Application

  1. Preheat oven to 275F.  Throw the cereal, oats, and nuts together and mix them up on a big sheet pan, preferably with sides.
  2. Put the honey and oil in a saucepan and bring it just to boiling; drizzle it over the soon-to-be delicious granola mixture and toss to coat as evenly as you can get it.  Stick this in the oven and bake until golden brown and dry, stirring about every 15 minutes.  It will be about an hour and a half, so there’s about 6 fifteen minute intervals.

    drizzled and ready for some oven lovin

  3. Remove from oven and scatter the dried fruit over the oats and sprinkle cinnamon and turbinado over the whole shebang.  If you think the sugar will be too sweet, feel free to omit it.  I sampled it pre-sugar and it wasn’t as sweet as I like, but I have a sweet tooth.

    dried things

    I could not believe how big the raisins were - that's my pinky. Seriously, get the good stuff for this recipe.

  4. Cool completely in pan, stirring occaisionally to prevent clumping…or, you know, not, fifteen minute intervals is kind of a lot.
  5. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks, but I doubt it will last that long.

    coolin off

    The great this about any granola recipe is that if you don’t like one of the ingredients, you simply swap it our for another you do like.  I would like to try this with dried cherries, pecans, apricots…the possibilities are really pretty endless.

Enjoy!

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