Category Archives: Dessert

The way to finish up a good meal.

Meet my new addiction: Smoothies

(No picture this time, sorry. But to make up for it, there’ll be two recipes at the end of this article.)

A good friend from Dell City recently had a yard sale, and he saved us an excellent old blender. Most newer blenders are victims of the throwaway mentality- they’re light, cheap, and flimsy. This one feels as though it was a tank in a former life.

Long ago, while Reagan was in office, I was free to roam upstate New York in the summer before my senior year in high school. There was a juice bar/farmer’s market on the side of the road. Woodstock doesn’t have a lot of entertainment for a mostly urban teenager, so I checked them out one day.

Among their offerings was the creamsicle, and since I already liked the ice cream bar by that name, I tried it. It was perfect! Crisp citrus flavor cut through the sweetness, with a yogurt tang and just enough brain freeze to make you slow down and enjoy it.

I tried to recreate the recipe a few times, but was young and impatient, and my results never really matched the genuine article that I knew they could, so I gave up on it and went back to my ‘normal’ life of being me in my late teens.

Many years passed. I mean, lots of them.

Now, with a blender, a lot more experience and not quite so much hair as the last time I had a creamsicle, I decided to recreate the smoothie. This time, I had patience, and I had Google.

Many of the smoothie recipes out there start with a banana. That’s nice, if you like bananas, but I really don’t. Once you add a banana, its flavor cloys through everything else I’ve tried. I suppose I could try stronger masking flavours but it’d take something like cayenne to really kill the banana flavour and I’m not looking for quite so, um, exciting a smoothie as that. To un-digress, though, it seemed as though about three recipes in four started out with a despicable banana, so were immediately rejected.

Vitamix (a great blender, which I do not currently own) had a recipe that looked promising. It has mango, which is not one of my go-to ingredients, but at least it eschewed the terrible yellow smilie fruit.

I had to shop a bit, as my fridge did not contain most of the ingredients; not that they are exotic, I just don’t usually keep coconut water on hand, for instance.

I’m not much for sweet tropical fruits, so I’d never opened a mango before. I found a video on BBC’s cooking page and followed it. Cut off the ‘cheeks,’ then cut a cross pattern on the inside of each, then turn the fruit inside out and cut away the fruit hedgehog that results. I’m pretty sure I wasted a lot of the fruit, but for a first time, it was not the worst I’ve done. I froze the resulting jagged chunks of bright fruit.

The rest of the recipe is pretty straightforward. I blended it, rejoiced at the pastel orange colour that I had remembered, and, upon tasting, was transported back to the sunny days of the late eighties. The recipe was a success.

Emboldened by this success, I decided to make  an iced coffee smoothie. I’d hoped to pretty much just substitute coffee for the OJ concentrate, but my son had seen me making creamsicles and had made his own, using up most of the remaining ingredients, so I had to go back to the improv table.

My normal iced coffee recipe (which I will post soon) seemed like a good place to start. So I blended two cups of frozen strong cold-brewed coffee, Splenda, ice cubes, and evaporated milk.

I discovered that evaporated milk foams. A lot. I nearly overflowed the blender. The recipe shows how to avoid this fate. Despite the huge head of foam, the recipe was quite a good eye-opener.

Creamsicle Smoothie (adapted from the Vitamix recipe)

  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 mango, cubed and frozen (optional)
  • 1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 2 cups ice cubes

Put everything in a blender, blend at medium-low speed for a minute until the grinding ice noises subside, then 30 seconds on the highest speed. Makes two servings.

Eye Opener

  • 2 cups of strong coffee, chilled
  • 1/4 cup sugar (or equivalent in Splenda, xylitol, stevia, or other sugar substitute)
  • 1 cup ice of ice cubes
  • 1 (12 oz) can of evaporated milk

Add everything but the evaporated milk and blend at medium-low speed until the grinding ice noises subside. Blend for 30 seconds on the highest speed.

Add the evaporated milk and pulse the blender a few times to just combine. If you add the milk before the blend, you will fill your blender with foam! Tasteless foam that has no caffeine. Bleah.

Paleo brownies. With BACON.

My twin brother is on the Paleo diet. Since neither of us is terribly rich, he has started his own rabbit farm, to provide him with the healthy organic meat that the Paleo diet emphasizes.

One thing that the diet absolutely nixes is refined sugar. These brownies are sweetened with maple syrup. Maple. If it has corn syrup, it is not Paleo friendly, and it really doesn’t taste the same.

These brownies will not taste like the blandly cloying sugar bombs that show up at elementary school bake sales. They are strong, with an espresso bitterness and a startling (but excellent) cargo of bacon. If you are one of the folks who take your coffee light and sweet, they may be a wee bit too bitter for your liking, but give it a try.

  • 4 ounces dark chocolate, chips or chopped finely
  • 3 medium eggs (organic if possible)
  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup bacon fat or butter
  • 1/2 cup of real maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons fine coffee grinds (dry form, not instant coffee granules)
  • 2 tablespoons very strong coffee (liquid form)
  • 6 slices of baked bacon chopped (drained and patted dry)


  • Preheat oven to 375F
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the melted dark chocolate, oil, syrup, and eggs.
  • Slowly sift the cocoa powder over the wet ingredients, whisking it evenly.
  • Add the coffee and the coffee grinds, and stir until well combined
  • Line a 9×9 inch square pan with parchment paper, and fill the pan with the brownie batter. Top the batter with the chopped bacon pieces (drained and patted dry), and bake for 30 minutes
  • Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the batter (clean toothpick means brownies are done – crumbs sticking to the toothpick means keep cooking)

Slow Cooker Lava Cake

If you want to ruin the diet of everyone in the whole party, this should be your go-to recipe.

Chocolate lava cake is like a chocoholic’s dream. Chocolate cake, with melted chocolate chips, so moist that it needs a bowl. And it’s dangerously easy to make.

The one problem is that lava cake is only really good when it is first served. Leftovers, if there ever are any, aren’t nearly as good as the fresh dish.

Slow Cooker Chocolate Lava Cake

  • One box of chocolate cake mix
    • 1/3 cup oil
    • 1 egg
    • water (per instructions)
  • one box of instant pudding, chocolate flavour
    • 2 cups milk
  • one bag of chocolate chips
  1. In the crock pot, milk up the cake mix per the instructions (they usually take one egg, 1/3 cup of oil, and some amount of water).
  2. Mix the pudding mix and milk, and pour onto the cake batter.
  3. pour the chocolate chips on top of the batter and pudding.
  4. stir briefly, four or five strokes.
  5. Turn the crock pot on high, cover, and ignore the scent of chocolate for two hours, then start checking it every twenty minutes or so. When the cake is just starting to pull away from the edges of the crock but the center still looks wet, serve with a soup ladle and vanilla ice cream.