Aquafaba Mango Ice Cream

Aquafaba is a miraculous ingredient.  The liquid from a can of chickpeas that you normally dump down the drain can be whipped into meringues, baked into cookies, and frozen into ice cream.

What’s normally thought of a waste product is actually one of the greatest egg substitutes that’s ever been discovered and it seems that there is almost no limit to what it can do. (Well, don’t try to make an angel food cake with it, but that’s another story.)

Aquafaba whipped into stiff peaks

At only 5 calories per teaspoon, with a touch of carbs and protein and almost no fat, it makes the lightest, creamiest, and impossibly delicious ice cream!  And, no, it does not taste like chickpeas at all.

Each enormous serving has less than 100 calories!

Even if you are not vegan, you’ll want to try this just for the sheer magic of it.   It really is that amazing.

And no ice cream maker required!

I love mangos and when they are on sale, I like to grab a big box of them.  And they make perfect ice cream.

But you can substitute any fruit you like with this recipe.  It really is that simple.

Scoops easily even without using an ice cream maker!

Just 5 ingredients (or fewer if you omit the lime and salt) and four hours in the freezer and you’ll have your own delicious treat that hits the spot after a hot summer run!

I swear, this recipe is so good, even my non-vegan husband loves it.

Yields Makes 4 HUGE servings

Aquafaba Mango Ice Cream

Light, creamy, low-fat mango ice cream with less than 100 calories per each enormous serving!

15 minPrep Time

4 hr, 15 Total Time

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Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (180g) aquafaba, or about the amount from a standard can of unsalted chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup (about 50g) powdered sugar (more or less to your taste)
  • 1 cup (about 165g) sliced fresh or thawed frozen mango
  • 1 teaspoon (about 5g) lime juice
  • dash table salt

Instructions

  1. Beat aquafaba on high in a stand mixer until stiff peaks form. This can take up to 12-15 minutes, so be patient!
  2. Meanwhile, blend the rest of the ingredients in a blender on high until liquified.
  3. Add mango sauce to whipped aquafaba and mix slowly until just incorporated.
  4. Pour into a freezer-safe container and let freeze for 4 hours or more.
  5. Scoop and enjoy!
Cuisine: Dessert |

Notes

Each serving has 93 calories, 23.3g of carbs, 0g fat, 0.9g protein.

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http://theplantedrunner.com/aquafaba-mango-ice-cream/

How to Make One of Nature’s Finest Post-Run Foods Taste Amazing

I don’t like watermelon.

There’s something about its weirdly sweet flavor which is just, well, so watery.

But my kids love it.  They beg for it.  They would eat nothing but watermelon for dinner if I let them.

So every summer, I buy watermelon, cut it up for the kids and I eat none of it.

Then the other day, I got the latest copy of Nutrition Action, an awesome monthly publication created by the dedicated people at the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

You know, the food lobbyists for the people, yo!

CSPI created scores for fruit by calculating the percentage of the recommended daily intake of seven major nutrients plus fiber and carotenoids.

What are carotenoids? you might ask.  Carotenoids are phytonutrients that give fruits and veggies their bright colors.  They act as antioxidants in the body fighting inflammation and protecting against disease.  Well-known carotenoids are lycopene, beta carotene, and lutein.

Watermelon was scored second highest on the Nutrition Action list, right behind guava (which amazingly was twice as high).  Two cups of watermelon has a score of 302, while an apple only weighs in at 34 with a difference of only 10 calories.

The publication makes it clear that all fruits are good for you so it isn’t necessary to only eat guava and watermelon while shunning apples, but adding a few more fruits that are higher on the list is probably a good idea.

Watermelon, in all its watery voluminousness, is also great for helping you feel full without costing a lot of calories.

But I don’t like watermelon!

So maybe I’ll try to find a guava.

Okay, I didn’t try too hard to find that guava, because I came home with a watermelon.

Later that night, my husband cut it up for the kids as usual and I decided to figure out a way to like watermelon.

At a dinner party years ago, some friends served mango for dessert dressed with a little lime juice and salt.  It was a delicious combination so I thought I’d try it with the watermelon cubes.

Complete transformation!

The salt cut the sickly sweet taste of the watermelon and it became fresh and tart with the lime juice.  I ate my 2 cup serving and then went back for seconds!

It’s the perfect combo to eat cold out of the fridge after a hot, sweaty run.  Two cups of watermelon provides 23 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of protein, and almost no fat.

But the vitamin and mineral content is where watermelon is a superstar for runners.  It provides 34% of your RDA of vitamin A, 42% of vitamin C, plus calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium.  And when you sprinkle a little salt on top, you are helping to replace the sodium you just lost in your sweat.

Natural glycogen and electrolyte replacement at its finest!

The carotenoid content of watermelon is also quite high, providing more than 20% of what you need in a day for optimal health.  So it’s not just great after a run, but any time of the day.

One thing to remember is that carotenoids are fat-soluble, so sprinkling some sesame, hemp, or sunflower seeds on your frosty, limey, salty cubes is a great addition to make sure that all of those micro-nutrients are being absorbed well in your body.  It’s also a good idea to get some protein with your carbs post-run, so those seed sprinkles are doing double-duty!

So often we runners like to over-analyze and over-complicate things.  We buy gels and powders and goos and gadgets that are supposed to make every facet of our fitness optimized to the nth degree.

Yet sometimes, we just need to take a step back and look for the simple choice right in front of us: whole, unprocessed food straight from nature.

 

Quick Holiday Recipe: Spiced Candied Nuts

How did Christmas sneak up on me so fast?  It’s almost here!

With the temperature in Asheville rising into the 50s and 60s, it’s hard to remember that it’s the holidays.  I’m not a fan of the cold, so I am loving the mild weather.

But there are presents to wrap and delicacies to be prepared.  I tried out a great, easy recipe that I adapted from Minimalist Baker that will fill your house with deliciousness.

It’s easy and addicting and it’s the perfect snack for a quick appetizer of last-minute gift (it’s about last minute, isn’t it?)

About to go in the oven

A couple things I changed from the original recipe:  I don’t think the coconut oil particularly adds anything.  It’s extra fat and calories and doesn’t produce much more crispness to the nuts. So I tossed that out.

It also calls for coconut sugar.  I don’t stock fancy sugars in my pantry, and plain ol’ brown sugar is a great sub.

One detail that takes this recipe  over the top is to use freshly grated nutmeg.  The pre-ground stuff will work, but grinding it yourself makes a huge difference!

Fresh ground nutmeg is key!

After baking in the oven for about 15 minutes, stirring once, they are ready!  The entire house smells like the holidays.

You might want to remember if you are thinking of giving these as little gifts, you’ll have to double or triple the batch.  They are so good that they might not make it into the jar!

Yields 2 cups

Spiced Candied Nuts

2 minPrep Time

16 minCook Time

18 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup (100 g) raw pecans
  • 1 cup (120 g) raw walnuts
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp (24 g) brown sugar, plus extra for finishing
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Sprinkle (or more) cayenne pepper
  • Freshly ground nutmeg (about 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spread the nuts out on a plain baking sheet or line it with parchment paper.
  3. Drizzle maple syrup over the nuts and sprinkle with remaining ingredients.
  4. Bake for 6 minutes, remove from oven and stir.
  5. Bake for an additional 6-10 minutes or until your entire house is fragrant.
  6. Remove from oven and top with additional syrup and spices to taste.
  7. As they cool, the nuts will become more crisp.
  8. Try not to eat them all straight from the pan!
Cuisine: Holiday snacks |
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http://theplantedrunner.com/quick-holiday-recipe-spiced-candied-nuts/

Simple Cereal Bars

To improve at a sport that requires little more than a decent pair of shoes, runners tend to find a way to complicate things.  From $600 multi-data-point watches, to scientific socks that squeeze the blood out of your calves, to space-age food that could be straight out of an episode of the Jetsons, there is always something new and better and shinier that promises to make you a better runner.

But sometimes simple is better.

Don’t get me wrong:  I’m addicted to my GPS watch, own lots of compression socks, and eat strange space-age goos on long runs (homemade, of course).  But I don’t like to rely on packaged food and prefer to make my own.

There are lots of whole-food bars out there and they are undeniably convenient.  But they are also incredibly easy to make.  One of my favorite bars is  LaraBars.  Their cashew cookie bar is made of two ingredients:  dates and cashews.  Throw some dates and cashews in a food processor and shape into bars.  Done.

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But, of course, as a runner, I need to complicate things a little bit, right?  So I came up with a new variation that you can’t buy in stores.  My motivation?  Cheerios.  Too many Cheerios, to be more specific.  Cheerios were on sale a few weeks ago and I bought several oversized boxes, precisely at the time my kids started not wanting to eat Cheerios anymore.  So now we have enough Cheerios to last through the apocalypse and no one will eat them.

Time for a new recipe.

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The Cheerios in the homemade LaraBars add a nice little crunch to each bite, not to mention a few vitamins and minerals.  The bars are easy, iron-rich, portable, and delicious!

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A double batch of cereal bars

 

Serves 12

Simple Cereal Bars

10 minPrep Time

10 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 10 soft medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 cup peanuts, cashews, or sunflower seeds
  • 2 cups dry cereal
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste, more if nuts are unsalted)

Instructions

  1. This recipe works best when your dates are soft and squishy. If yours need a little help, soak the pitted dates in hot water for ten minutes, then drain.
  2. Pulse dates in a food processor until they are finely chopped.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients until they become a fine crumble.
  4. Taste and adjust salt, if necessary.
  5. Shape into 12 balls or press firmly into a lightly greased 9x9 inch pan and cut into bars. These can be individually wrapped to take on the go or simply left covered in the pan in the fridge.
Cuisine: Energy Bars |

Notes

The peanut version with Cheerios has 122 calories, 23.1g carbs, 3.2g fat, 2.5g protein. This is also great for those wanting to increase iron with a whopping 10.3% of RDA!

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http://theplantedrunner.com/simple-cereal-bars/

 

Chocolate Hummus

For my kids who have a year-round calendar, it’s already back to school.  So that means the struggle to make healthy, tasty, nut-free lunches is on.  One kid likes sandwiches, the other doesn’t.  One kid loves avocados, the other hates them.  One will eat last night’s leftovers, the other won’t touch them.  It’s almost enough to make me just shove a few dollars in their backpacks and have them just eat the weird, processed school lunch.  Except I tried that and they hated it.  After one week of school lunch, my daughter asked, “Mama, could you make me lunch again please?”

This morning, my son announced he wanted a blueberry bagel for lunch.  My husband had brought a big bag of fresh bagels from a great place near his grandmother’s house after a recent visit and I needed those to be out of my reach as soon as possible!  When I asked what he’d like on top, he said nothing.

“How about some sunbutter?” I inquired.

“No.”

“Hummus?” I tried.

“No.”

“Nothing?!  You gotta have something!” I was practically pleading with him at this point.

Then I remembered seeing a few chocolate hummus recipes online and decided to throw something together before school.  After several taste tests and adjustments, we had a hit.  It was almost as good as chocolate frosting, but not quite as sweet, and certainly much healthier.  I think if I tweaked it even more, I could make a really good cake frosting out of it.

I think this will be in the lunch rotation for a long time!

Serves 2 tablespoons

Chocolate Hummus

10 minPrep Time

10 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups of homemade chickpeas or one can of store bought, drained (save the liquid for later, known as aquafaba)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup seed or nut butter (optional)

Instructions

  1. Put everything in the food processor and blend until smooth. Use the aquafaba (or water) to thin as you go, adding it slowly as you process being careful not to add too much.
  2. Taste and adjust sweetness to your liking.
  3. Spread on bread, bagels, or use at a dip for fruit and veggies.

Notes

adapted from Greatist.com

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http://theplantedrunner.com/chocolate-hummus/

Urban Foraging: The Delicious Serviceberry

On my long run a couple days ago, I noticed the serviceberry trees in town were loaded with ripe fruit.  I stopped and snacked on a handful (okay a few handfuls!) and plotted out my return to come harvest as many as possible.

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I had never heard of serviceberry before coming to Asheville.  Apparently, not many people know what they are since the trees around town are mostly ignored by people walking by.  If you’ve never had one before, they taste like a cross between a nectarine and a blueberry and grow on short, easy-to-harvest trees.  Also called juneberry, wild plum, sugarplum, and shadblow, the trees are in the rose family and are related to peaches, plums, and cherries. No wonder they’re so good!

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So yesterday, I packed up  the kids with a few bags in our packs and walked down to the roundabout down the road from us.  The kids had never tasted a serviceberry before and I promised it would be worth the walk in the hot sun.  “Mama, you were right!” (Best words ever spoken.)  “Can we eat as many as we want?”

We got to work picking, eating, climbing, and filling our bags.  There are about 6 trees in this spot and we maybe got 20% of two trees before we had a gallon of berries.

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People walking by looked at us in curiosity and we just smiled like we were in on this big secret.  Sure, there are a lot of plants with red berries that are poisonous, and I imagined people were thinking I was a crazy lady picking poison berries with my kids. One group of tourists looked at us as they walked by and only one guy of the four was brave enough to ask what in the world we were doing.  I told him how great they were and he took a taste and exclaimed, “they taste like nectarines!”  He picked an handful and brought them over to his clearly suspicious friends.

Once we brought our bounty home, making serviceberry ice cream was the top priority.  This is definitely a treat with a good bit of sugar, but so worth the indulgence!

Serves 1/2 cup

Serviceberry Ice Cream
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Ingredients

  • 2 cans coconut milk (full fat will be richer than lite, but both work fine)
  • 1 cup serviceberries
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Instructions

  1. It's best if your coconut milk has been refrigerated. If not, room temperature will work, but you will have to wait longer for the ice cream to harden.
  2. Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth and add to your ice cream maker, following the manufacturer's instructions. Blend for 20-25 minutes, and transfer to a freezer-safe container. Freeze until firm.
  3. If you don't have an ice cream maker, this recipe makes amazing popsicles!
Cuisine: Vegan Ice Cream |

Notes

Adapted from The Full Helping

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http://theplantedrunner.com/urban-foraging-the-delicious-serviceberry/