My Attempt at One Ingredient Ice Cream (Bananas are the Secret Ingredient!)

My sweet tooth has always been very picky – that is, until I cut out most sweets as I go through my AdvoCare 24-day Challenge. I’ve made it to day 17 and feel amazing, but I’d be lying if I said there were no cravings during the past few weeks.

Ice cream has never been a big temptation for me. I’ll take a waffle cone any day, but I usually scoop out most of the ice cream and toss it. I’d much rather enjoy a cupcake or fruit tart, although milkshakes are my weakness. I’ve learned to make smoothies feel decadent and am just as happy with low fat frozen yogurt.

The warmer weather came in the middle of my challenge, and for some reason a craving for rich and creamy ice cream came with it. When I do splurge on the real thing, I like a high quality ice cream with limited ingredients. Something I can have a few bites of and be totally satisfied without any guilt. Hagen Das Five is a great example of a brand with simple, real ingredients.

Back to what to do in the middle of the challenge when dairy and sugar are no-nos. Lucky for me, I stumbled across an awesome blog with an even more awesome recipe for one ingredient ice cream. That one ingredient just happened to be bananas – score! Since I’m not the best at following recipes (especially healthy ones) I didn’t get my hopes up too much. Since I’m not a chef or a food expert like the creator of the recipe, I decided to share my attempts with you.

As advised, I started with really ripe bananas.

making advocate challenge friendly one ingredient banana ice cream

I cut them before I froze them, which I realize now may have been backwards. Oh well! At least I followed the instructions and cut them into fairly small pieces.

frozen chopped bananas for healthy one ingredient ice cream

My food processor still wasn’t entirely happy. Not sure what I missed on this step, but it took a lot more than 45 seconds for me to have anything other than an odd, clumpy mess. But with patience and a little vanilla extract, this…

using my food processor to turn frozen bananas into healthy ice cream

…turned into this. It’s hard to tell from the picture; I know it looks like pancake batter as much as it does ice cream.

frozen banana chunks finally blended into an ice cream like consistency

But when dished into a ramekin (like my favorite ice cream – perfect portion control), it looks a lot like the real thing!

banana "ice cream" looks just like the real thing

The One Ingredient Chef didn’t lie! It was easy to make and a phenomenal ice cream substitute during the challenge. His site offers some different ways to flavor the ice cream for those who want to get adventurous beyond banana.

Personally, I’m thinking a little of the  AdvoCare chocolate meal replacement shake could be yummy and I could even see throwing in or topping it with raspberries or strawberries. Staying with the AdvoCare kick, I’m also picturing a frozen coffee treat by mixing in some Coffeccino. The possibilities are endless – unsweetened coconut flakes, lavender and lemon juice/zest, the juice of an orange and a little vanilla extract or even a splash of Baileys or Kaluha. For a sundae feeling, topping it off with chopped nuts would be healthy and fun. With summer’s heat and humidity ready to descend on those of us here in Virginia, I can see this becoming a favorite summer treat long after the challenge is over!

My NOT To-Do List

A couple of weeks ago, Danielle LaPorte posted an idea that really struck a chord with me – a stop doing list. As a Type-A, control needing, constantly planning and list loving individual, the to-do list and I are best frenemies. I have lists in my journal in my nightstand, on post-it notes on my desk, on the ottoman in the living room, in my planner, in my work notebook and in my random crap notebook. I have actually made lists of lists to make (it’s very important to be organized). You get the point.

The stop doing list appealed to the list loving side of me, but it also piqued the curiosity of the side of me that wants to rebel against any kind of routine or regimen. Without further fanfare, here is my personal stop doing list:

1. I will stop working until I’m interrupted by Mike arriving home – my inbox (and to-do list) will still be there in the morning. Trust me, I’ve tried…

2. I will stop impulse shopping. Quality over quantity. No buying without trying. Think through the purchase.

3.  I will stop leaving tabs open on my laptop. One and done. If I need to do it, buy it, read it or whatever, I will do it then and close out the window. No more hanging out for days. Same with mail, files and anything else. One touch.

4. I will stop ignoring my diabetes. Whether or not I take my blood sugar, take my medicines or watch my diet I am still diabetic. I have a disease that I am fortunate enough to be able to turn around.

5. I will stop saving my vacation time until something “fabulous” comes up. Life is fabulous and exciting. To quote Katy Perry ...all we have is this moment, tomorrow’s unspoken. Yesterday is history…”

6. I will stop associating green or eco-friendly with tree huggers – there are a ton of companies out there providing green luxury and I intend to enjoy my quest to find them.

7. I will stop eating and buying food I don’t like because it’s healthy or I should like it. Life’s too short and my checkbook is too low.

8. I will stop keeping score in my relationships. That’s the quickest way to become a loser. Otherwise, both are winners. That’s the beauty of love.

Those are just a few things that I’m going to cut out of my life.
What do you want to stop doing to start enjoying your life more?

My Weekend (and what I ate)

Recap of my weekend:

We were supposed to run a few errands this weekend and spend a little time at the casino, but with doggy care and feeling lazy, we opted to stay home and have a Criminal Minds marathon with a little Reign thrown in for good measure. I did feel a little guilty about not grocery shopping, but it felt so good to cuddle up on the couch, enjoy some healthy treats and engaging TV and just let my mind wander. Besides, I hadn’t finished my list, and there was no way I was going to Whole Foods and realizing I forgot something – an hour is a long way to drive back for one thing, and with my luck it would be the one ingredient I needed to make the thing I was most excited about.

Criminal Minds Season 1 starring Shemar Moore CW's Reign

For those of you following my progress on the AdvoCare challenge, here’s a brief recap of what I ate:

  • Brown rice pasta with organic, sugar-free spicy arrabbiata sauce.  I mixed in some grass-fed ground beef and hid shredded carrots and chopped mushrooms in the sauce. Everyone loved it.
  • I’ve been doing meal replacement shakes the past few mornings to keep things simple. My favorite was definitely the vanilla meal replacement shake with pineapple and a mandarin orange Spark. It would be good any time of the day – like a healthy pina colada. I also did the vegetarian dark chocolate shake with frozen cherries and cucumber (minus the seeds and skin). Trust me – you cannot taste the cucumber, and if you’re like me it’s an easy way to get in an extra veggie.
  • One of my favorite meals over the weekend was a frittata/omelette type dish. I used mostly egg whites with one or two yolks thrown in and stirred with a whisk until it was mixed. I then poured that into the pan until it seemed to be set and sort of swirled the pan around to let some of the uncooked eggs on top seep to the bottom.
  • I found that Nut Thins with fresh salsa and brown rice cakes with organic peanut butter and a drizzle of honey are great snacks. Mike has been loving his Clif bars. In place of my coffee I’ve been drinking yerba mate tea – I have a chai one and a chocolate one – both are delish! At night I like the Tazo Rest tea with a tiny bit of stevia.
**PS – I prefer to do as much of my shopping as possible online, especially since specialty items are hard to find where I live, so I’ve linked to some of my favorite products. Some may be affiliate links, but know that has no effect on my picks**

AdvoCare Challenge Day 2 and Challenge Friendly Cookies!

Wow! At the end of day 2 already, I can’t believe it! I thought the first day would be the hardest, but today was actually a bit tougher than yesterday, but that just gave me incentive to get more creative.

Breakfast: I love a savory breakfast and after yesterday’s minute muffin didn’t turn out quite as expected, I wanted something tried and true this morning. I opted for a slice of organic whole grain artisan bread (complex carb), a thin layer of goat cheese (protein) and sliced tomatoes mixed with onions, garlic and seasonings. This is similar to a recipe I posted before, but I opted for goat cheese instead of ricotta since limiting dairy is a goal in days 1-10.

Lunch: We had taken chicken out for dinner but forgot about lunch, which was ok since we were both working from home today. I made chicken breasts with southwestern seasoning (salt-free), a little bit of whole wheat pasta, onions, red peppers and zucchini. I cooked everything in low-sodium broth and added a small spoonful of fat-free greek yogurt after mixing it all together to fake a creamy/spicy Alfredo sauce.

Dinner: Since we hadn’t planned another dinner, we went for clean dining out. We picked up Chipotle and stuck with brown rice, chicken, fajita veggies, pico de gallo. I didn’t miss my cheese and sour cream to much and was able to resist the chips (for the most part!). Of course, we only ate a portion of our bowls – those things are way more than a person needs to eat in one setting anyways. This was also the first time I had tried the brown rice and it was just as delish as the white rice. I guess the cilantro and lime make a huge difference. If we did this again I would probably slice some avocado at home to throw on top and add some lettuce.

Snacks: I was loving our snacks today! Between the two of us we had apple slices sprinkled with pink Himalayan salt (be sure to choose organic as apples are on the dirty dozen list), Nut Thins, ½ serving of tuna mixed with celery and spring onions and lean & clean cookies (recipe below). I’ll probably indulge in a brown rice cake with a bit of organic peanut butter, maybe some bananas and a drizzle of stevia, honey or agave.

Drinks: I miss my coffee and I miss my milk, but I’ve found some great sparkling waters to replace soda and yerba mate to replace my coffee. Herbal tea has been great at night for me. With the Fiber Drink and the Sparks throughout the day, its been really easy to get half of my weight in water – and I am NOT a water drinker. I even had an extra Spark today! I also doctored up my morning fiber with some helpful tips I got from the group yesterday. I added the juice of a lemon, used a little bit less water and a splash of organic pure cranberry juice. This may be cheating but it made the drink much, much better.

My Lean & Clean Cookies
These are super easy, even for a non-baker like me!

AdvoCare 24-Day Challenge Cookie Recipe

Ingredients:

This really is a simple recipe. The riper the bananas, the easier they are to mash. Once they’re mashed, just mix in the oatmeal and meal replacement powder. It will be a little bit thinner than the cookie mix you’re used to, but that is ok.

The best part is that you can mix in any challenge friendly foods you want! I chose some crushed almonds, unsweetened dried cherries, unsweetened coconut flakes, cinnamon, nutmeg and flax seed. Normally I would use coconut milk or almond milk if the extra mix-ins made it too thick, but today I used coconut oil. I sprayed the cookie sheet with this organic baking Pam-type spray to avoid sticking, and cooked them for 17 minutes on 350.

Here’s the finished product! They smelled, looked and tasted yummy. The edges and bottoms were just perfectly crisp and the center slightly chewy. Who says you can’t have sweets?

my clean and healthy AdvoCare Challenge Phase 1 cookies

AdvoCare – Challenge Accepted

Day 1 and look how we made it! I wasn’t sure how well I would do, but before even beginning I had decided I would take it one day at a time. No pressure, no perfection, no punishment. I’m pleasantly surprised and proud of how well I’ve done today and I know Mike had an awesome day too.

Day 1 of what you ask? The AdvoCare 24-day Challenge! If you’re like me just a few weeks ago and have no idea what that is, there’s a super short video below that explains it better than me.

I know many may think something like this goes seems to go against everything I believe about weight loss, but that’s actually not the case.

    • I don’t consider it a diet, and while I don’t quite consider it a lifestyle I feel it is a great stepping stone towards one.
    • I do consider the encourage clean eating, nutrition, emphasis on real food and portion control without drastic measures closer to the way I feel I should eat on a regular basis.
    • It is a great opportunity for me to give and get support from my friends and family as we all work towards the same goals, something I don’t get a lot in this arena.
    • It can be the jumpstart I need to get the junk out of my system and get rid of the cravings.
    • It is NOT a diet pill! (I thought that at first too).

The first 10 days of the Challenge are a cleanse. It’s not some crazy fad cleanse or fast, so I’m comfortable with the guidelines. In fact, I think it’s a fabulous idea to limit dairy, to eat your veggies and to stay away from processed foods and refined grains. Can anyone really argue that or drinking more water? It’s simply clean eating and supplementing wisely. Those are some of the reasons I picked AdvoCare, but there were a few others. A dear friend had amazing success with the brand and I knew this was a legit success story, not a made up one. I liked that there was a vegetarian meal replacement shake option – it’s made with pea and other plant proteins and is dairy free. It’s realistic because everything is focused on real food, not faux diet foods like other programs; and while the challenge is short term, the nutrition lessons learned are not.

I can’t wait to see where I am on day 24 and I’ll be sure to share my progress with you along the way! If you’re doing or have done the challenge, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

**In interest of full disclosure, I have since become an AdvoCare Independent Distributor and the links above are my own. However, this post is entirely my true and unbiased thoughts, opinions and experiences with the products.**