Maple Ginger Chocolate Bread Recipe & #R3Summit Recap

Maple Ginger Chocolate Bread - TheFitFork.com Whew, things have slowed down enough that I can share with you the great experience I had at Prevention’s R3 Summit. Happy to say that I “R3’d” the day away – relaxing, refreshing and reinventing! Jennifer & Mom at Prevention R3 SummitSome of the highlights for me were getting to spend some quality time with my mom – even though she lives in Austin, most of the time we’re together it’s with all my kids in tow. We enjoyed ourselves at the reception Friday night (I actually drank an entire glass of wine, so it we’re talking wild times) and caught the screening of Resistance, a documentary about antibiotic resistance being perpetuated the medical and agricultural industries.

R3 Summit Cartwheel

HA! Cartwheeling at the R3 Summit LAST year!

Saturday we spent the entire day listening to panels on topics like eating clean, loving your age, and more – Andie MacDowell was the featured speaker and she seemed just as lovely on the inside as out. Prior to the event, I was able to “ask” her a question about getting older and it was published in an article on Prevention.com . In that interview and in-person, she mentioned that she likes to do handstands and cartwheels – a lady after my own heart.  I would like to challenge her in a handstand-off! Henna Tattoo R3 Summit AustinBetween speakers, Mom and I got our chakra cleared, had our stress reduced with Reiki healing and took part in a few fun workouts. Again, this year, one of my favorite appointments was with the henna artist who painted me up with a beautiful tattoo – I was sad to see if fade away a couple weeks later.

TheFitFork Wild Planet Cook Off R3 SummitOf course there was food – healthy, healing, good-for-you food. Quinoa salad, yogurt and fruit, almonds, green teas and – fish! One of the companies on site was Wild Planet Foods – they sell sustainably caught seafood (think canned tuna, sardines, anchovies – but YUMMY!) while supporting the conservation of wild marine ecosystems.  They were sponsoring a Food Network-style “Chopped” competition using their canned tuna — oh, you know I was SO up for this. Ten of us battled it off to come up with a tuna recipe using a provided array of ingredients – in 10 MINUTES from start to finish.  In my mind, I hatched my recipe, execution and plating strategy before we even started (that’s the competitor in me) – my finished product was Tuna & Quinoa Salad with Creamy Lemon Gremolata Dressing . . . . served in scooped out lemons. I must say, it was lovely. When I have time to sit down and recollect my thoughts, I’ll be sure to share the recipe!

So, SAVE THE DATE – I don’t know exactly when, but I imagine the 3rd annual R3 Summit will be in October 2015 in Austin (editors told me they love, LOVE the health and fitness scene here).  Meanwhile, start reading Prevention Magazine – not just the website but a good old-fashioned paper version that is mailed straight to your house! I have conveniently provided you a link to subscribe here and at the bottom of this post. This month’s issue was packed with good stuff – including a bunch of healthy chocolate recipes including this Maple Ginger Chocolate Bread (they called it cake, but I’m not going there) which I recreated with some minor tweaks for you!

Maple Ginger Chocolate Bread = TheFitFork.com Maple Ginger Chocolate Bread Recipe

  • 1 ½ cup flour
  • 1 cup maple sugar (or regular sugar)
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¾ cup milk (or milk substitute)
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup crystalized ginger, chopped
  1. Heat oven to 350 F degrees. Lightly coat three mini loaf pans with baking spray. Actually, I think lining the pans with parchment paper worked better.
  2. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and ginger.
  3. In another bowl or large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, olive oil and vanilla extract.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix together with spatula until just combined. Gently stir in chocolate chips and ginger pieces.
  5. Bake on center rack for approximately 35 – 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center pulls out clean.
  6. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Prevention provided me free admission and products to attend this event. However, all opinions and commentary are strictly my own.

Did That Cheesecake Make My Butt Look Big? Healthy Dessert Recipes & Pole Dancing

cheesecake butt big

I woke up an hour early today – partly because I had a dream I was spinning around a pole (fully clothed, people) and got motion sick and and partly because I didn’t want to miss a minute of National Cheesecake Day. Yup, that’s right, I have no shame in saying I recently had a crash course in pole dancing (see below) nor that I like to celebrate a frivolous and, as some might assume fattening food holiday. Down at yonder Cheesecake Factory, (where you can get ½ price slices of cheesecake July 30 & July 31, if you dare), a single slice of their most indulgent cheese cake, the Adam’s Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple, contains a muffin-top making 1,320 calories while a Splenda-sweetened version of their Original Cheesecake trims the treat down to 570 calories. Wow, it might be hard to hang onto a pole, run or do any CrossFit WODs with too many servings of either of these!

Check out Fit & Fruity Cheesecake Ideas for Summer Dessert

by The Fit Fork at Foodie.com

I’m not knocking Cheesecake Factory in particular; most cheesecakes have an abundance of calories, carbs and fat. But I have rounded up some HEALTHIER cheesecakes and inspired-by-cheesecake treats (like smoothies and froyo) for Foodie.com that feature less sugar, less fat and more wholesome goodness. Some of the cheesecake inspiration recipes are nutritious enough to eat for breakfast!

Included in the collection of Fit & Fruit Cheesecake Ideas for Summer Dessert, is my super simple but simply sublime recipe for Cheesecake Protein “Ice Cream” – the perfect frozen base for your favorite fresh fruits of summer, such as blueberries, strawberries, pineapple and more. Crumble up a crushed graham cracker or sprinkle some granola on top for an authentic New York cheese cake taste!

frozen cheese cake treat with protein powder

Cheesecake Protein Ice Cream Recipe

  • 3 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 cup vanilla protein powder
  • 4 ounces Neufchatel cheese, softened
  • Stevia, to taste
  • Optional garnish – fresh fruit and graham cracker crumbles

Puree all ingredients together in blender. Pour into ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions until done (mine takes about 20 – 30 minutes). Serve with desired toppings and immediately freeze leftovers. Makes four 1-cup servings.

pole fitness jennifer fisher

photo credit: ATXfoto.com

And, finally, I have more cheesecake for you –pole dancing. Yes, I tried my hand at the “sport” at the Naturally Fit Games in Austin this past weekend. Actually, it was fun – except for the crowd that gathered at the Straight Up Pole Fitness  Expo booth caught me off guard as I learned a few tricks of the trade. Actually, I really liked the challenge of “pole fitness,” as I’ll call it – requires a lot of strength and self-confidence, of which I have both!

jackie and jen at beef booth naturally fit 2014

Jackie and I were the fueled-by-beef babes manning the Texas Beef Council booth – if you didn’t know, I am a fan of all the lean beef cuts (there are now 38 lean cuts!!) and eat beef at least every other day as a way to recover from my workouts and remain a lean, mean , running machine!

any way beef jar salad 250This summer, my Any Day, Any Way Beef Salad (in a jar) made with top sirloin steak has been my go-to meal.

Answer me this:

  • What would you put on top of plain cheesecake?
  • Have you ever tried pole dancing? If not, would you?
  • What’s your go-to summer meal?

 

This post is sponsored by Foodie.com. However, all opinions are my own. 

Strawberry Margarita Baby Bundt Cakes (Lightened) & Mixer Giveaway!

Baking cakes with thefitfork.com

I have a lot of love for kitchen gear . . . it ranks right up there with my passion for fitness gear. On birthdays, Mother’s Day, Christmas and special occasions, I will be over-the-moon giddy with excitement if you gift me with the latest in running shoe technology or a shiny, new kitchen gadget that I “absolutely must have” and will probably only use once. But the great thing about being a food and fitness blogger is that I can rationalize all these frivolities in the name of workout research and recipe development – it’s a tough job, but someone has to suffer losing toenails because she wore the wrong compression socks during an endurance event or got “too cold” in the winter because she insisted on making smoothie after smoothie in search of perfection.

A couple pieces of kitchen gear I never grow tired of are my mixers. Hamilton Beach recently sent me two of their mixer models to try out – the 6 Speed Stand Mixer (Model 3326) and the SoftScrape™ 6 Speed Hand Mixer with Case (62637) (and another pair of these mixers are available in my giveaway at the bottom of this post).  Whoohoo, I was so excited because I have had some pretty traumatic mixer distress over the last year. First, my cheapie hand mixer received as a wedding gift bit the dust in the middle of party preparations. To be fair, I had used this mixer quite a lot in the 20+ years of its life. Although, it was very convenient to have a hand mixer available for quick baking projects, I never replaced it since I had the highly-coveted Kitchenaid stand mixer begging to be put into use. But, let me tell you what happened next –  the horror!  One day, I was mixing the ingredients for a (I can’t believe I’m admitting this) Paula Deen-esque Truffle Pie, I turned my back on the machine while the machine did its thing. Then all of a sudden, a “clank” followed by a hideous, grinding noise and then total silence fell over the room.   Apparently, the Kitchenaid logo metal piece-a-part (where the big attachments screw in) had become loose and the continued vibrations from the beating shook the entire thing loose. The big screw thing, fell into the bowl, got jammed between the beaters and broke a mechanism in the engine. I was so upset, I cried.

win a stand mixer

You could win this Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer to help you with your healthy baking!

I’m over it, especially now that I have these two new mixers! The big stand mixer is awesome and does pretty much everything the brand-that-shall-not-be-mentioned does, from what I can tell. It features that same single paddle of the “other guys” that spins while rotating around the entire perimeter of the 3.5 quart stainless steel bowl. There are three attachments for a variety of recipe needs (the paddle, the whisk and the dough hook). There are also six speeds as well as a special, slower folding setting. I could go on and on, but you can read more for yourself about this reasonably priced ($129) yet powerful Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer.

Win a mixer

You’ll love how this hand mixer stands upright when not in use.

I also got to test a really cool hand mixer, the SoftScrape™ 6 Speed Hand Mixer.  Love, love, love this easy-to-use mixer that retails for just $39. It has 6 speeds, so it can tackle a range of different tasks.  It comes with regular beaters, a whisk attachment and also (drumroll) these really genius “SoftScrape” beaters that are coated in silicone (like a flexible spatula) to promote thorough mixing while keeping bowls and nonstick pots from getting scratched up. Another super practical feature of this hand mixer is that it comes with a storage case that attaches to the bottom and accommodates all the attachments and power cord.  It also props up really nice on the counter when between tasks too, without toppling over and leaving a sticky mess.

Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer and SoftScrape Mixer details.

Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer and SoftScrape Mixer details.

If you’d like a chance to win one of these fantastic Hamilton Beach mixers, head down to the bottom of this post and complete the instructions in the Rafflecopter app. Meanwhile, let me tempt you with the recipe I made while I tested my new kitchen gear out – “Lightened-Up” Strawberry Margarita Baby Bundt Cakes. I used a sugar substitute baking blend and no-fat milk to take some of the guilt out of this fun dessert – oh and the strawberry sauce isn’t much more than pureed berries and lime juice with a little splash of tequila!

Mini Strawberry Margarita Cakes Lite

“Lightened-Up” Strawberry Margarita Baby Bundt Cakes Recipe

  • 1/2 -cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar substitute baking blend with 1:2 replacement ratio*
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 1/3  cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • ½ cup chopped fresh strawberries

* if using regular sugar, double the amount to 1 1/3 cups

For the Sauce:

  •  1 1/2 cups chopped fresh strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon tequila
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour 6-count mini-Bundt pan. In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar substitute until fluffy.
  2. Beat in the lime juice, lime zest, and eggs until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl stir together the cake flour and baking powder. Add alternately with the milk to the egg mixture. Beating just until combined after each addition.
  4. Sprinkle scant amount of coarse sea salt into to bottom of each mini Bundt pan, distributing the 1 teaspoon equally across Bundts. Next divide approximately ½ cup chopped strawberries equally among the bottoms of each cake (about 2 teaspoons each). Add the batter to prepared pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  5. Remove from oven and let the cakes sit in the pan for 5 minutes. Run a knife between the cakes and the pan, if needed, and remove to a baking rack to cool completely.
  6. Meanwhile, make sauce by blending remaining 1 ½ cups chopped strawberries with 3 tablespoons lime juice, 1 tablespoon honey and 1 tablespoon tequila in blender until pureed. Transfer mixture to small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Serve sauce over cakes and garnish with fresh strawberry, if desired.

skinny strawberry lime cake

Disclosure: Hamilton Beach has provided me with product to review and giveaway. However, all opinions, recipes and commentary are my own.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Strawbetterberry | Greek Yogurt Tart & More Strawberry Favorites

Check out Sweet Pickings! My Favorite Berry Recipes

by The Fit Fork at Foodie.com

Is there anything that a strawberry doesn’t make better? Not only do these beautiful berries make both sweet and savory dishes sing with the flavors of the season, just the smell of them lifts my mood for the better. I love strawberries so much and cherish a strawberry pendant that my mom gifted me with on a mother-daughter Broadway show boondoggle in New York City — a trip so fun and amazing, I couldn’t imagine it to be any better, except with this strawberry sparkler on top! strawberry necklace Strawberry PosterNot only are strawberries delicious, they are extremely nutritious and make my diet better — low in calories and high in vitamins C, B6, K, fiber, folic acid, potassium and amino acids. And, here’s a strawberry fact that even makes my fitness better – the high levels of nitrates in strawberries increase blood and oxygen flow to my muscles which researchers believe may improve endurance. So, what do I have to do to sell YOU on the straw-better-berry? Probably not much since the California Strawberry Commission reports that 96% of Americans eat strawberries, with at least half of those enjoying the juicy goodness at least once per week. The gallery of strawberry recipes (above) I’ve collected for Foodie.com will get you inspired to eat strawberries at least once per DAY as part of a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner routine! Chocolate Yogurt Tart with Strawberries   Here’s one of my new strawberry recipes to get you started; it’s a show-stopping Strawberry Greek Yogurt Tart in Coconut-Almond Crust. I made it for a family Easter celebration and will be making it again very soon – as you can imagine, pairing strawberries with chocolate is a win-win!  I love the fact that the crust is grain-free and gluten-free while the filling packs a nice punch of protein thanks to the Greek yogurt. The only sweeteners used were a bit of honey in the crust and a touch of stevia in the yogurt – the rest is nature’s candy! strawberry yogurt pie   Strawberry Greek Yogurt Tart in Coconut-Almond Crust Recipe For the crust:

  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the filling:

  • 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups no-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon liquid Stevia, or to taste
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
  1. steps for strawberry tart makingPreheat oven to 350 F degrees. In a food processor, pulse together shredded coconut, almond meal, coconut flour and salt until finely ground. Melt together coconut oil and honey and add to crust mixture. Pluse until coarse crumbs form and dough holds together when squeezed between fingers.
  2. Grease 11-inched fluted tart pan with removable bottom. Place dough into prepared pan and use back of measuring cup and fingers to evenly press dough into bottom and sides of pan.
  3. Bake in center of oven for approximately 15 minutes or until turning golden brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle crust with chocolate chips; return to oven for approximately 2 minutes, or until chocolate chips soften.
  4. Using the back of a spoon, spread melted chocolate chips around bottom and sides of crust. Place on wire rack to cool completely, approximately 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, make filling by sifting cocoa powder into yogurt and stirring until completely incorporated.  Mix in stevia to achieve desired level of sweetness.
  6. After crust has completely cooled, spoon in chocolate yogurt mixture. Top decoratively with slice strawberries. Serves 12.

Plenti Greel Yogurt by Yoplait has 12 grams of protein and makes a satisfying, healthy snack.

I also want to share with you a Greek Yogurt I’ve been loving just to eat as a snack — it’s already filled with all the wholesome mix-ins I often put in. Plenti Greek Yogurt  from Yoplait. It’s substantial AND satisfying with 12 grams protein to keep my energy going through the morning or afternoon — also a great bedtime snack. Pumpkin seeds, whole grain oats, fruit and flax seeds make this healthy snack really interesting — and so much variety with eight flavors  (Black Cherry, Blueberry, Coconut, Peach, Raspberry, Spiced Apple, Strawberry and Vanilla). Please check out Plenti Greek Yogurt today!

Plenti Greek Yogurt by Yoplait is packed with wholesome goodness and makes a satisfying breakfast, snack or healthy dessert.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Plenti Greek Yogurt and Foodie. com. All opinions are my own.

What’s your favorite strawberry dish or memory? Please share in the comments!

Football Food | Healthy “Team Colors” Pudding Pies Recipe

Protein Pudding Pies

Even though the Super Bowl is just hours away, it’s not too late to put together some healthy snacks. Did you know that the amount of food scarfed down by Americans on Super Bowl Sunday is second only to Thanksgiving Day, according to the US Department of Agriculture.  Most of the country’s pig-out party fare isn’t the most nutritious; included in the collective smorgasbord of snacking is 324 million gallons of beer, 1.23 billion chicken wings (BILLION!), 11 million pounds of potato chips, another 8 million pounds of tortilla chips and countless millions of pizzas –the Domino’s chain, alone, estimates they’ll deliver 11 million slices!

The Calorie Control Council, an industry group representing low-fat and sugar-free food and drink companies, reports that the average Super Bowl snacker will consume 1,200 calories and 50 grams of fat in snacks alone  — that’s not even including a meal! While one day of salty-fatty-carby indulgence probably won’t harm you (especially if you exercise regularly), but it will probably cause you feel sluggish and icky if you’re not used to the diet.

Sugar Free Pudding Pies with Fruit

So, I have some healthy ideas for Super Bowl snacks that are also quick and easy to make. I’m expecting my “Team Colors” Pudding Pies (made with Core Power High Protein Shake) to score big with party guests. Each little mini pie is made with sugar-free pudding and a protein-packed vanilla shake; dress the tops with fruit in your favorite team’s colors – kiwi and blueberries for the Seattle Seahawks or mandarin oranges and blueberries for the Denver Broncos! These are no-bake pies; anyone can do it – even those kitchen-avoiding guys! Head over to Core Power to check out their high protein shakes and if you’re watching the big game on Sunday then use the hashtag #CPBowl for live tweets and to post pix of your own Core Power inspired dips and snacks!

Mini “Team Colors” Protein Pudding Pies Recipe
• 1 box sugar-free vanilla pudding mix
• 1 (11.5-oz) bottle vanilla protein shake
• ¼ cup plain, 0% fat Greek yogurt
• 6 mini graham cracker crumb crusts (I used Keebler brand)
• 1 (6-oz) can mandarin orange slices, drained
• 1 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced
• ¼ cup blueberries
In a medium bowl, whisk together pudding mix, Core Power, and yogurt until free of lumps and starting to thicken. Pour mixture equally into 6 mini crusts. Arrange fruit decoratively on top of pies. Chill for 30 minutes. Serves 6.

 

 

 

baked-sweet-potato-chipsIf you must eat chips, why not do baked chips? Store-bought baked chips are a healthier swap than the full-fat versions, yet still loaded with sodium. Make your own baked chips at home in the oven and keep control over all the ingredients – no guilt, no clogged arteries. Check out my recipe for Baked Spicy Sweet Potato Chips – you can dunk them right into one of America’s favorite dips (guacamole).  Did you know that more than 80 million avocados will be enjoyed Sunday, I say YUM to that!

Gluten free chocolate chip cookies

My Gluten-Free Quinoa Almond Chocolate Chippers are ready to tackle even the most hard-core sweet tooth. The quinoa in there packs a little extra protein punch which may help put a stop to your linebacker-sized appetite.

Also, check out Cooking Light – they have made-over five iconic foods eaten at football game viewing parties from coast to coast.

Healthy super Bowl Snacks

Jennifer & the Giant Peach Obsession – Bourbon Peach Frozen Yogurt with Caramel-Pecan Swirl

jennifer fisher litehouse peach pecan caramel frozen yogurt closeup_wm

Okay, this is my last peach post for the summer, I promise. Maybe. After I prepped and put up most of the peaches in the freezer and we ate all we could, I still had plenty of ripe peaches begging for love. A couple nights ago I made a Pecan Peach Crisp for my gluten-free guests, served with vanilla ice cream melting at just the right speed to fill in every nook and cranny in the almond meal and oat crust. The rich, decadent ice cream got me thinking about a lighter version for “every day” indulging. So, I hauled out the electric ice cream maker, threw in a carton of plain, no-fat yogurt sweetened with a bit of Stevia and blended with a couple of those juicy peaches I had sautéed earlier with a splash of bourbon.  I snuck a spoonful in for quality control and my hunch was confirmed – to-die-for delicious! But what if I swirled in a few ribbons of low-fat caramel sauce and a sprinkling of sugared pecans? Oh my! Find out every luscious detail and how to make the recipe yourself on my recent blog post for Living Litehouse, “Sublimely Summer, Bourbon Peach Frozen Yogurt with Caramel-Pecan Swirl.”

jennifer fisher litehouse peach pecan caramel frozen yogurt pan and product

Don’t forget to visit the Litehouse Foods blog, Living Litehouse for more photos.

Sublimely Summer, Bourbon Peach Frozen Yogurt with Caramel-Pecan Swirl

  • 3 ripe peaches; peeled
  • pitted and sliced
  • 3 Tbsp bourbon
  • 3 cups unsweetened no-fat plain yogurt
  • 6 packets Stevia*
  • ½ cup Litehouse Foods Low-Fat Caramel Dip (room temperature)
  • 1/3 cup honey pecans (or plain pecans) coarsely chopped

Directions

1. In a small skillet, add peaches and bourbon over medium-high heat. Continue stirring for approximately 3-4 minutes until the juices are browning and the alcohol has burned off. Allow to cool to room temperature.

2. Place the peach mixture, yogurt and Stevia in a blender; puree until smooth.

3. Transfer the peach mixture to work bowl of electric ice cream machine and process according to manufacturer’s directions (usually about 20 minutes).

4. Spoon peach frozen yogurt (still soft-serve) into 9”x 9” pan and drizzle the room-temperature caramel dip into large ribbons across the top. Sprinkle evenly with pecans. Drag back and forth across the pan with a dull knife to gently redistribute some of the caramel and nuts.

5. Serve immediately or transfer to a container and allow to firm up for an hour or two in the freezer.

*If you prefer, skip the Stevia sweetener and substitute vanilla-flavored non-fat yogurt for the plain yogurt.

living litehouse button

Peach-a-Palooza | Healthy Ideas + Gluten-Free Peach Pecan Crisp Recipe

I am so sweet on summer. All the delicious, ripe fruit puts a big smile on my face and I’m grinning ear-to-ear thanks to a windfall of peaches and nectarines. This week I’ve been gobbling up the seasonal treats faster than a greedy squirrel in an orchard. But that’s just fine because peaches are much better for me than M&Ms. Peaches can add nutritional heft to any meal or snack, offering significant amounts of vitamins (especially vitamins A, C and Niacin), more than 10 percent of daily fiber needs, and lots of potassium. Oh, and peaches are 89 percent water, so they help with hydration, too!

peach stand

Since I ended up with 40 pounds of fruit on my latest haul, I decided to wow the family with some healthier desserts made with peaches. After flipping through my copy of The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook, I was drawn into the chapter titled “Fruit Desserts & More.”  With all the drool-worthy food photos, it was hard to decide which dessert to make. Should I break out my springform pan for the Plum-Peach Upside-Down Almond Cake or try out the Peach Shortcakes. Within this 500+ page resource of healthy recipes, there is also a simple recipe for Pan-Roasted Peaches that would be sublime served with a little drizzle of caramel or vanilla ice cream (or both!).  So many choices, it’s a good thing I have a lot of peaches and willing taste-testers.

For last night’s dessert, I decided to prepare it Jennifer-style and just make up the recipe as I went along. I’m calling it Gluten-Free Peach Pecan Crisp in a Skillet.  Inspired by the Pear Oat Crisp from The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook, I tweaked it up a bit by adding some Jack Daniels (ahem) and swapping out the flour in the topping for almond meal. And, substituting peaches for pears. And, adding pecans. Okay, I made the whole thing up. For my gluten-free guests, I would like to point out that most experts say that people with celiac disease can safely drink distilled alcoholic beverages, even those that are made with gluten grains (which includes whiskey). That’s because distillation supposedly removes all of the gluten protein molecules responsible for the bad reactions, rendering the drinks gluten-free. However, if whiskey disagrees with you then you can swap it out for dark rum (non-gluten grain) or simply omit. No biggie.

jennifer fisher - thefitfork.com - gluten free peach pecan crisp 

Gluten-Free Peach Pecan Crisp {In a Skillet}

Filling:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ¼ cup bourbon whiskey
  • 1 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 pounds fresh freestone peaches (approximately 7), pitted and sliced into wedges
  • ½ cup pecans, coarsely chopped

Topping:

  • 2/3  cup all-purpose almond meal
  • 2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ¼ cup honey

For the filling, heat the oven to 400 F degrees with rack in the middle position. In a 12-inch cast iron skillet, melt butter and stir in the whiskey and lemon juice until combined. Mix in peach slices until coated and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes to cook off alcohol. Stir in chopped pecans.

For topping, mix together almond meal, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt until blended. Add melted butter and honey and mix until incorporated.

Spread topping evenly over the top of peaches; gently press down with clean hands or back of wooden spoon.

Place skillet on rimmed baking sheet (to catch any juices that might overflow) and bake in 400 F degree oven for approximately 20 – 25 minutes or until peach juices are bubbling and topping has browned. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Serves 8.

Recipe Update:  Do NOT store the leftover crisp in the cast iron skillet. Transfer to a glass or plastic storage container.

Peach Upside-Down Almond Cake - from America's Test Kitchen

Peach Upside-Down Almond Cake – from America’s Test Kitchen

Even though I winged it on this recipe, you should really check out the The American’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook from which it was inspired.  From breakfasts and lunches to dinner entrees and sensible sides (plus desserts!), this cookbook is a compendium of healthy classics that I feel great about serving my family. There are lots of cool things about the cookbook including the binder- style design that allows you to take the pages in and out, if you please. Plus, the recipes are very detailed, there’s no way you can mess one up. In addition to explicit step-by-step instructions, there are also tips on how to get many kitchen tasks done like blanching peaches or thawing out steaks quickly and also tests results and reviews on a lot of the current products on the cooking gadget and gear market.

I’m also excited to announce that I am a new member of the Cooking Light Blogger Connection (so new that my profile isn’t even up yet). I have loved this magazine for years and have so many dog-eared copies laying around to kick-start my kitchen creativity. Check out some of the favorite peach recipes from the editors at Cooking Light, the recipes for Peach and Brie Quesadillas with Lime-Honey Dipping Sauce and Golden Peach Soup with Crab and Shrimp Ceviche both caught my eye. YUM!

Golden  Peach Soup with Crab and Shrimp Ceviche - from Coolkng Light

Golden Peach Soup with Crab and Shrimp Ceviche – from Cooking Light

 

Peach and Brie Quesidillas from Cooking Light

Peach and Brie Quesidillas from Cooking Light

 

Summer Loving |Roasted Strawberry Coconut Milk Sherbet

jennifer fisher - thefitfork.com - roasted strawberry coconut mile sherbet 1Roasting strawberries, hmmm. Normally I would never have enough leftover strawberries in the fridge to consider getting creative with them, but after a trip to the market today I was blessed with a windfall of red, ripe strawberries that were just begging for an adventure. Since it’s been so hot here in Austin (and everywhere else, I’ve heard), I decided that a strawberry sherbet would be the ideal way to end the day. Actually, I think I have a thing for frozen strawberry treats, check out my recipes for Strawberry Lemonade Coconut Water Pops and ‘Whey Cool’ Frozen Strawberry Pie.

strawberry rinse

But, today my mind is going elsewhere with the strawberries; I’m looking to put a new spin on a sure-thing sherbet. In the past, roasting other fruits has worked well for me, magnifying the flavors and intensifying the sweetness. So, I decided to throw caution to the wind, turn on the oven, and give these beauties a blast of heat. I also used coconut sugar and unsweetened coconut milk (the kind from the carton, not the thick sweetened stuff from a can) in my recipe to keep it gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and paleo-friendly. Whoohoo, Roasted Strawberry & Coconut Milk Sherbet for everyone!

jennifer fisher - thefitfork.com - roasted stawberry shebet scoop

Roasted Strawberry & Coconut Milk Sherbet Recipe

  • 4 cups strawberries (approx. 1 lb), hulled and halved
  • 1 cup coconut sugar*
  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk (from carton)
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

 Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.

Combine strawberries and sugar on a rimmed metal baking sheet, tossing until all berries have been coated with sugar.

jennifer fisher - thefitfork.com - roasting strawberries

Roast strawberries, stirring occasionally, about 12 – 15 minutes until juicy and bubbling. Keep a close eye on oven to make sure sugar doesn’t start burning. Let mixture cool to room temperature.

Add strawberry mixture, coconut mile and sea salt into blender and puree for until smooth, approximately 1 minute.

Process sherbet mixture in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Transfer sherbet to freezer-proof, airtight container until ready to serve.

Let soften for 5 to 10 minutes before scooping.

Serves 6.

*Coconut sugar is actually dried sap from the coconut tree and has a lower glycemic index than conventional sugar. However, it does have a brown color which makes the sherbet have a darker color. If you want “pink,” you’ll have to use white sugar . . . uh, and maybe food color (eek)!