Category: Fruit

The Pretty One wants an ice cream cake for his birthday and I don’t have any room in the freezer. So…it’s time to clean it out. The choice was bananas or blueberries – I have way too much of both in there.

I toss aging bananas in the freezer. I simply can’t throw them away. I have no idea how many are in there; I just know that I must keep them for later use! In fact, right now there’s a banana on my desk that should be perfect for freezing when I get back to the office. I can’t wait.   

Yesterday I ran across a recipe for Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies. Click for recipe. I’ve made banana bars, banana bread, banana muffins and banana cheesecake but I’ve never made or eaten banana cookies, so that swayed my decision to clean some bananas out of the freezer.  

These cookies are addictive! Trust me, I’ve had several – but all in the interests of taste testing, of course.  The banana flavor is present but not overpowering. The cookies are very moist, and the texture is soft, light and pillowy. They’d make as good a breakfast as dessert  — think oatmeal, bananas and nuts, but easier to eat while driving.

I took most of the batch to the dojo this morning because I was afraid I’d eat them all myself! Someone described them as “like little banana muffins” and someone else told me to put them away so he wouldn’t eat any more. All who tasted them had good things to say, so I’m calling them a success!

My freezer is still too full. I’ve got more bananas hiding in there, but maybe tomorrow I’ll clean out some of those blueberries.

I first had this at a progressive dinner party for our youth group’s Christmas celebration. It was love at first taste! I instantly fell for the contrast of sweet & salty flavors and creamy & crunchy textures.

This can be served as either a salad or a dessert. It’s sweet enough for a dessert, but is also a nice cooling food if you’re serving something spicy. It makes a good compliment to a simple cook-out menu such as brats & burgers, and is a good buffet item. The slightly salty pretzel crust, sweet cream cheese middle, and fruity topping might seem like an odd combination, but it works! Click for recipe.

I’ve only made this with strawberry jello and strawberries, but one recipe I found calls for strawberry-banana jello. I’ve been wondering about making it with chopped frozen peaches and peach jello instead of all the strawberries. I’ll have to try that variation one of these days – I think it sounds like a good summer treat!

I made this last weekend for a family dinner and was surprised that only my daughter and I liked it. The Cutie Patooties and The Pretty One didn’t want anything to do with it, unless you count TPO scraping the jello layer off the top and eating only that! Once Tish and I got over the surprise of being the only ones who would eat it, we quickly decided that was good news for us — because we had it all to ourselves!

I was never a fan of cranberry sauce, but I had only been exposed to the canned goop. I always thought I didn’t like cranberries, but I do like craisins, so I must like them on some level, right? Last year I “needed” to make fresh cranberry sauce. Why? Who knows! Maybe it’s because they look so pretty and festive in the produce aisle. Anyway, much to my surprise, the fresh cranberry sauce was incredibly simple to make, and really quite good! 

This year I bought 2 bags of fresh cranberries and tossed them in the frig waiting for inspiration to hit. I finally decided on cranberry sauce again, to be used for sauce and for a dip. If we had eaten turkey for Thanksgiving, this would have been our cranberry sauce. We had Honey Peach Pecan Pork Roast instead, so no extra sauce was needed. But I wanted cranberries anyway, and since I was the chef du jour, we were having cranberries!

I put my son-in-law to work stirring the sauce (click for the recipe), and told him to try a bite of candied ginger. If you haven’t tasted it, candied ginger is quite strong, with a heat that creeps up on you. He wasn’t so sure he liked it (but I enjoyed his reaction!) so I trimmed down the amount I put in the sauce. Now that the family has been “baptized” with candied ginger, I’ll add more next time!

Between the cranberries and the blueberries, the result was a beautiful, dark berry mixture with orange and ginger accents. To serve it as an appetizer, I poured it over softened cream cheese, and put out some crackers.

This sauce works well as a condiment to turkey, chicken or pork; as a dip with cream cheese and crackers; or as a schmear for bagels or English muffins.

Get yourself some of those beautiful berries and let me know how you like it!

Try it as a condiment for turkey or pork; as a dip over cream cheese; or as a schmear for bagels or English muffins.

If you don’t notice the ground flax seed and toasted wheat germ in the dessert, I don’t have to point it out, right?

I made apple crisp for Thanksgiving. I know I’m supposed to be all excited about pumpkin stuff this month, and even made a Pumpkin Spice cake for some friends. But pumpkin’s not my flavor. I prefer gooey chocolate desserts, but since we’d planned a heavy meal I was looking for something lighter. I considered pie, but I don’t like crust. I like filling and topping, though, and apple crisp is just that – filling and topping! Mom’s in for the holiday, and she bakes a mean apple pie so I knew making a healthier version could be a challenge. 

I started with a Better Homes & Gardens Fruit Crisp recipe and added my own touches. Because I’m tweaking to my taste, it’s a little different every time I make it, but it’s basically the same – if that makes sense. (Click for the recipe.)    

Because I love the topping so much, I doubled that part of the recipe. The more, the merrier when it comes to the good stuff, I say! The recipe doesn’t call for any spices mixed with the apples, but I like a lot of flavor so I added plenty of warm spices.

Fruit crisp doesn’t require much flour, so I used the recommended amount. I considered switching the white flour for wheat, but crisp topping is dry enough with white flour so I left that alone.  

Instead of adding all the oatmeal the recipe calls for, I substituted some ground flax seed and toasted wheat germ. Both provide an extra nutritional boost and a nice, nutty flavor. Toasted wheat germ is vitamin- and mineral-rich and high in protein, a good addition to yogurt or many baked goods. Ground flax seed can be a bit grainy, so it’s best used in something that has texture such as a crisp topping or things with oatmeal in them. One of the main components of flax is lignan, which has plant estrogen as well as antioxidants.

Warm apples, fall spices, pecans & coconut. Mmmmm...

Did my version pass the test? It looks, smells, tastes and acts like a “normal” crisp. In fact, it’s delicious! Mom liked it, too! Did Mom notice my sneaky ingredients? Nope. Will I tell her? We’ll see!

Now if you’re still stuck on the fact that I made a fruit dessert instead of something super chocolaty, don’t worry – I’m still me! This weekend I’m making Eggnog Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (that would be the full fat eggnog, not that lightweight stuff). And as I write this, I’m staring at a picture of a caramel and pecan covered chocolate cake. Dessert #2 for Saturday? Perhaps…