July 12, 2011

Vegan banana ice "cream"

It has been ridiculously hot in Chicago.

Borderline unbearable - but the thing is, this is what we endure the long hard winters for. Yes, it's hot - very hot. Yes, it's humid - too humid. But it's also unbelievably lovely still, and it's worth all the sweat and frizzy hair to wake up every day in such a wonderful city.

I'm really proud to be say I have still been running outdoors to prepare for my 8k race on Thursday night. I wanted to do one last long run of 5 miles on Sunday, but I couldn't make it - I did 3.6 miles, and even that was intervals. I'm hoping Thursday night goes well - it should be a little cooler since it's in the evening, and if nothing else, at least the sun won't be beating down like it does mid-day. I'd ideally like to finish in a better time than the last 8k, but given the heat and the fact that I've never done a race that wasn't in the morning, I'm not expecting any personal records. Just need to finish!

In order to beat the heat, I've been hanging out in air conditioned places like the library and the gym. I've been taking extra showers to keep cool. And I've been eating a few frozen treats, like this:

Oh my. This creamy, delicious goodness is vegan, free of added sugar and oil, and has only 110 calories. How so?

It's just a banana.

Frozen bananas, when chopped up in a food processor, get a creamy consistency just like soft-serve ice cream. Who knew?! A lot of folks, actually - once I searched for it, I found about a million websites and blog posts dedicated to people having their own revelation about it. So, I guess I'm late to the hey-bananas-make-great-soft-serve bandwagon, but I'm totally okay with that. I know better now. And I'm going to share it with you.

First, slice up a banana into coins (not too thick) and freeze them until solid - a few hours, at least. Then, put them into a food processor...

And start processing. After a few seconds, it looks like little pebbles; after 3-5 minutes, it's as creamy as The Real Thing.

Scoop it into a bowl (or don't!) and enjoy! So easy. You could totally jazz it up with some mix-ins (chocolate chips or walnuts would go great), but then, of course, you're adding calories. And really, it doesn't need it. There's something really delicious and motivating about the fact that what you're eating is just fruit.

I've been experimenting with this a bit the past couple of days. I tried banana with peach for 210 calories - Matt loves peach and is lactose intolerant (and I made him lasagna! Mamma mia! He must like me or something.), so I hoped this would prove to be a good replacement for Italian ice and sorbet, which are very high in sugar.

It was a little grainier than the plain banana because the peaches froze more solidly, so the "grains" were little ice chunks. But it totally copied the sorbet texture, so I'll call it a win. (We'll see what he thinks, picky eater that he is.)

I also tried 125 calories of plain figs, because if I could only pick five foods to eat for the rest of my life, figs would always, always, always make the cut.

Same icy texture as the peaches, but I loved it. Next time, I won't freeze them as long, though, because they were a bit too solid and I was a little worried that the motor in my food processor was going to die.

What about you? What are your favorite low-calorie cool summer treats? Have you ever done an evening race before? If so, how do you prepare differently than for a morning race?


Caron said...

I love frozen seedless grapes. I just wash them, measure them out into one cup portions, put them into baggies and put in the freezer. You get to eat for quite a while and they cool you off too. Yum. :)

Scrumpy said...

Thanks for reminding me about this. I keep meaning to try it. Lots of bananas on the Peapod list this week.

Amanda said...

I would love to have temps in the 80's!! Ours has been 104-107 lately in the afternoon/evenings. It makes you not want to do ANYTHING!!

I love bananas! Will definitely be trying this!!

Chubby McGee said...

Great job on the running. Just you going out in running in the heat/humidity makes you my hero. :)

Thanks for the tip on the bananas. I bet my boys would love it. I just got them into kale chips yesterday. Any chance I can get to get them to eat fruit/veggies that they'll enjoy: I'll take it. Thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

Ben is always hinting that he thinks we need to get a food processor...I guess finally you won the argument for him, that looks so absoloutely delicious, and we ALWAYS have tons of bananas in the house (I do love my bananas!). Thanks for sharing this awesome revelation with us!

Anonymous said...

That last one looks like granita. YUM! I love figs too! I top them with a little honey and broil them. Sometimes I put a tiny tiny bit of goat cheese on top after broiling. No goat for Matt natch!

Roasted figs would make lovely fauxscream. You could add in a few chopped toasted walnuts for interest.

I will be sorta doing an evil laugh thinking about poor Matt eating that lasagna. Of the troubles he must have had later that night. Puts romance on shakey - holdy - inny ground. LOL

Unknown said...

Banana 'ice cream' is on the no no list for me because I am not able to make/eat a single serving, at least not right now but I'm so glad you were able to try it and adding in the peaches was a brilliant idea! I like figs but only in very small doses. I love the color and consistency of your frozen figs though!

Meghan said...

I don't have a food processor but I might try it in a blender! looks sooo yummy!

K Meyer said...

My husband loves frozen grapes. I love making popsicles out of Crystal Light. I am so going to try the frozen bananas! A little low cal chocolate syrup might be nice...

Hyla said...

Frozen Grapes

Angry Fat Mom said...

Such an awesome idea! Thanks for sharing!

marisol said...

I wondered what that white disc was when you posted the picture on twitter and now I realize that it's part of your food processor. I wonder if this would work for a blender or if the frozen banana is too much for it. I will be trying this soon.

My favorite treat has been flavored water or agua fresca. This week I blended maybe 20 strawberries and added water. Then put it in a pitcher and filled it to the top. I add a bit of splenda to sweeten up this refreshing drink. You can do it with any fruit.

Cat said...

When I saw this I was sad because I don't have a blender/processor but then decided to try anyway.

I mush the banana up with a fork before freezing and it seems to work though I don't know if it's identical.

I also like experimenting by adding some vanilla essence or bit of coffee to get other flavours.

Frozen grapes sound good. I tried freezing golden berries and they were quite disgusting.