Chocolate-chia-raspberry popsicles recipe

chocolate chia raspberry popsicles | pamela salzman

This is the last hurrah before school starts and then the recipes start getting more serious.  Throughout the summer, I’ve assembling more than cooking, presenting meals at irregular hours, winging it a bit.  But with the first day of school looming, I know I have to get my act together and have a plan for three well-balanced meals a day.  But until then, we’ll keep eating these popsicles for breakfast or to cool off in the afternoon.

chocolate chia raspberry popsicles | pamela salzman

I’ll let you in on a little secret:  my weakness (beside guacamole and chips) is ice cream.  I hardly ever eat it anymore, even the clean recipes I have on my site for dairy-free, refined sugar-free cashew ice cream.  Once I start, it’s hard for me to stop, so I try to stay away from ice cream altogther.  But I still crave it, especially ice cream with chunks of something tucked inside like chocolate chips, nuggets of banana, a swirl of peanut butter or a salty almond.  Now look what I’ve done.  I’ve gotten myself all worked up.

chocolate chia raspberry popsicles | pamela salzman

A homemade popsicle is my answer to an ice cream craving.  It’s sweet, cold and creamy.  It takes a little longer to eat.  It’s a reasonable serving size and therefore an acceptable calorie count.  And I can make it the way I want.  My kids and I have been devouring these chocolate chia pudding popsicles.  I got the idea from seeing Martha Stewart on The Today Show.  She took a small container of plain yogurt and swirled some fruit into it and then stuck a popsicle stick into it and froze it.  I thought that was a clever breakfast to-go for the warmer first days of school.  We eat a lot of chia pudding for breakfast and snacks.  My son prefers the chocolate version which I make with raw cacao powder and the next day we’ll add in fresh fruit or shredded coconut and the like.  Chia seeds are really high in protein, fiber and good fats, so they make a great breakfast or substantial snack.  So I took some leftover chocolate chia pudding, stirred some fresh raspberries into it and poured it into popsicle molds.  Voila!  Delicious and a truly healthful treat!

chocolate chia raspberry popsicles | pamela salzman

I think these are like a chocolate popsicle with texture.  I kept the sweetness pretty low, but if you want this to feel more like a dessert, it would be super easy to make it sweeter.  Just add a little honey or maple syrup to the pudding before freezing and you’ve done it.  Or use more dates if that’s how you’d like to go.  I love the combo of chocolate and raspberries, but you can keep these straight chocolate or add coconut or chopped cherries or strawberries or even raw cacao nibs if you’re a hardcore superfood junkie!

chocolate chia raspberry popsicles | pamela salzman

One message I am always trying to get through to my students is that so many recipes are just formulas that you can tweak into dozens of other recipes.  Chia pudding is one of those.  Once you know the basic ratio of chia seeds to liquid to sweetener, you can change it to any number of flavor combinations, like strawberry-basil, blueberry-almond or mango-coconut.  You can blend fruit into the almond milk if you don’t want chunks.  Or just stir pieces into the pudding if you want the texture.  Or mini chocolate chips would be nice.  And then there’s peaches and raspberries.  Or lemon.  Or banana.  I can do this all day.  Savor these popsicles in case they’re you’re last ones until next summer!

Chocolate Chia Raspberry Popsicles | Pamela Salzman

Chocolate-Chia-Raspberry Popsicles
Serves: 5-6 popsicles
  • 1 ¼ cups unsweetened almond milk or a combination of coconut milk and almond milk
  • 3-6 pitted dates or sweetener of choice, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2-2 ½ Tablespoons raw cacao or unsweetened cocoa powder, depending on how chocolaty you like it
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • ¾ cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 4-6 popsicle sticks
  1. Place almond milk, dates, vanilla and cacao in blender and process until dates are pulverized. A Vitamix does a great job with this. If your blender leaves the dates too chunky, you can strain the mixture before adding it to the chia seeds.
  2. Pour chia seeds into a medium container and add almond milk mixture. Stir immediately to combine otherwise you may end up with blobs of chia seeds. Allow to sit on countertop and stir every 5 minutes. After 15 minutes, it should have thickened.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  4. When the pudding mixture is completely thickened, stir in the raspberries. Divide the pudding into popsicle molds and insert a stick in the center of each. If your molds hold 3 ounces of liquid, you should be able to get 5-6 popsicles out of this recipe.
The sweetness is to taste, so taste the mixture before refrigerating and adjust accordingly. If you don't want to use dates, try Grade A maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar or whatever you prefer.


Turmeric latte recipe

turmeric latte | pamela salzman

My friend Alex sent me an email a few weeks ago with the subject line: “new obsession”.  Alex and I have very similar tastes in food and she is also not one for melodrama, so I knew this was an email I was interested in reading.  She proceeded to write: ” I have a new obsession.  Full out obsession” with the recipe for a delicious-sounding “Turmeric Tea.”  Thank you, Alex!  Right up my alley.  Print!

turmeric latte | pamela salzman

I don’t know what has taken me so long to wind down an evening, any evening, with a cup of warm, anti-inflammatory turmeric tea or latte.  It’s everything I love — soothing, nourishing, delicious and might even help me sleep better to boot.  The same day I received Alex’s email, a text came through from another girlfriend, whose husband was instructed to follow and anti-inflammatory diet.  “Can you tell me what foods are anti-inflammatory?  Need to get on this pronto!”  First thing I wrote back was … turmeric.

turmeric latte | pamela salzman

I love turmeric in curries, stews, juices and I even add it to my homemade taco seasoning.  Because turmeric runs bright, flaming yellow, I also use it in place of saffron sometimes (like in Mediterranean fish stew and paella.)  It is truly one of the most healing, powerful foods on earth.  I already mentioned turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties, but it is also an antioxidant, wound healer, digestive stimulant, liver detoxifier, helps to lower cholesterol, and has a warming thermal nature.  I use fresh turmeric in juices, and ground in everything else for practical reasons.  Turmeric has a very distinct, but mild flavor.  Since it is related to ginger, it does have a faint hint of ginger, but also a bitter, tart, chalkiness, too.  A little is nice, but a lot can be offensive.  It also stains like crazy — from clothing to countertops — so be careful!

turmeric latte | pamela salzman

Since Alex’s email, I have made this beverage many, many times and guess what?  I’m OBSESSED!  It’s my new favorite drink, just in time for winter when I don’t really drink cooling juices as much.  However I’m calling this a Turmeric Latte, since the base of it is milk.  I use almond milk, because it’s my go-to and I always have homemade on hand.  Of course you can use regular milk or your favorite alternative milk, or a combo of milks.  I recently started playing around with adding a little cashew milk to almond to add a thick, creamy richness.  More on that another time!

turmeric latte | pamela salzman

This turmeric latte is beyond delightful and the perfect way to settle into a restful evening.  It is also quite easy to prepare and you might even have all the ingredients on hand.  I would start with the basic recipe below and then change it to suit your taste/needs.  For example, it would be perfectly easy to use a few drops of stevia to sweeten instead of the maple syrup.  Or a couple pinches of ground ginger instead of fresh.  If you love turmeric, feel free to add more.

turmeric latte | pamela salzman

As we near the end of 2014, I know many of you have resolutions of better health and adopting new habits on the brain.  I hope this post catches you in time, as I think drinking a turmeric latte a few times a week is a resolution I can stick to.  How about you?

turmeric latte | pamela salzman

turmeric latte | pamela salzman

turmeric latte | pamela salzman

turmeric latte | pamela salzman

4.0 from 1 reviews
Turmeric Latte
Serves: 1
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric (or more if you like it)
  • ½ teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • pinch cayenne (optional)
  • pinch freshly ground black pepper (helps absorb up to 2000% more curcumin)
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into chunks or ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 8 ounces warm unsweetened almond milk (or half coconut milk-half almond milk, regular milk or cashew milk)
  • other possible add-ins: pinch of ground cinnamon, drop of pure vanilla extract, spoonful of unrefined coconut oil, chai spices
  1. Place turmeric, maple syrup, cayenne, and ginger in a mug. Pour in warmed almond milk. Stir and allow to steep for a minute. Enjoy!
Feel free to use this recipe as a base for your latte, then add other spices or more/different sweetener to taste.

Bircher Muesli with Hazelnuts and Golden Raisins Recipe

Bircher Muesli with Hazelnuts and Golden Raisins | Pamela Salzman

I had no intention of posting this recipe today because I already have a muesli recipe on my site.  But that was from so, so long ago and I know I don’t even remember what I posted on this site back in the beginning so I don’t expect you to!  Plus this one is better and ironically I made it up on the spot.  I threw this muesli together on a whim on Sunday night because 1. it’s my favorite summer breakfast, 2. Mr. Picky was starting day camp on Monday and I needed one less thing to do in the morning, 3. it has actually been very warm and summerlike here in Manhattan Beach which never happens in the summer, just in September and October when everyone has gone back to school and resumed soccer on the weekends, and 4. I was a little naughty this holiday weekend which involved a homemade cherry pie, a new favorite rosé (did you see my instagram?) and some (a lot of?) mozzarella.  Ooops.  And that was after 9 days at my parents’ house which always involves too much pasta, pizza, wine and mozzarella.

Bob's Red Mill gluten-free oats


grate 2 green apples, skin and all

I always say breakfast will set the tone for the rest of the day’s eating, so you want to start off right, eat a good breakfast.  I had a good sized bowl of this muesli with some blueberries in the morning at 7:30 after a quick workout and then a little green tea at about 10:00 and I was completely fine until lunch at 1:00.  That just about never happens.  I am usually looking for a snack of some kind around 10:00 or 10:30.  If you have issues with sugar and sweets, try making this without any added sweetener or add a couple drops of stevia.  Of course, feel free to sub your favorite nut or seed for the hazelnuts and any good unsulphured fruit for the golden raisins (remember: sulphur dioxide is a preservative for dried fruit and it is not healthy for you, especially for people who have sensitive lungs.)

kefir or yogurt + almond milk

I actually think this muesli tastes more like the ones I have had a hotels both in the states and in Europe.  Although it is not technically the original bircher muesli which uses condensed milk (eeek!), it is very similar in taste and texture.  In my previous muesli, I used yogurt, water and orange juice to soak the oats with a little lemon zest.  Decidedly citrusy, which I love, but not necessarily uber authentic.  This one I used half almond milk and half kefir, although a nice think yogurt like Straus Family Creamery would be just as ideal.  (Did you know Trader Joe’s European style yogurt IS Straus?!?)  I still add shredded green apple which is a must, but for this batch I also included golden raisins and chopped hazelnuts and I was in heaven.  Yum, yum, and YUM!  Creamy, crunchy, lightly sweet.  Perfect. I am dreaming of being in a European hotel for breakfast.  And then I had to take Mr. Picky and his buddy to baseball camp. Wake up!

muesli in the morning

Bircher Muesli with Hazelnuts and Golden Raisins | Pamela Salzman

Bircher Muesli with Hazelnuts and Golden Raisins
Serves: 4
  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 apples, unpeeled, grated (I like using green apples)
  • juice of half a small lemon
  • juice of half an orange
  • 1 ½ - 1⅔ cups unsweetened almond milk (click here for instructions on how to make your own)
  • 1 ½ - 1⅔ cups unsweetened kefir or yogurt
  • ½ cup unsulphured golden raisins or dried fruit of choice
  • ⅔ cup chopped hazelnuts
  • Toppings: fresh berries or sliced bananas, extra chopped nuts, raw honey or maple syrup
  1. The night before: In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients, except toppings, in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next morning: add sweetener to taste, if necessary. Divide the muesli among four bowls and top with favorite nuts or fruits.
  3. Keeps for several days covered in the refrigerator.
I don't sweeten this ahead of time because I prefer it unsweetened. Since my kids like a little honey, they add it to their own bowls in the morning. But feel free to add 2 Tablespoons or so of honey or your sweetener of choice.



Strawberry-Cucumber Smoothie Recipe

strawberry-cucumber smoothie | pamela salzman

Thank heavens for the smoothie. When one of my teenage daughters oversleeps and has “no time” for breakfast, I can throw in the blender an assortment of fruits, vegetables and things that don’t normally go with fruits and vegetables (like hemp seeds or almond butter) and we’ve got a balanced meal in seconds. The smoothie is something even a 10-year-old like Mr. Picky can make by himself, and he does almost daily. His favorite is a combination of frozen banana, strawberry, pineapple, yogurt, coconut water, coconut butter and a squirt of Barleans Mango Omega Swirl. He even makes smoothies for his friends when they come over. So cute.

ingredients for smoothie

I love making smoothies at home, because I can control what goes into them, especially the sweetener. I rarely order smoothies in restaurants because I find them to be too sweet. And I’m not falling for what Jamba Juice considers a smoothie. Anything blended with frozen yogurt or sherbet is basically a fruity milkshake and it is not breakfast material.

I saw this recipe on Joy the Baker a while back and it made me think of flavored waters which I like to have on hand in the summer. (Just take a pitcher of water and toss in some cucumber slices or strawberries or watermelon or even pineapple rinds. Mint is fun to add in, too.) I loved this smoothie instantly. It felt like something I would have at a spa, and I sure don’t go to spas often enough!  There isn’t an overwhelming flavor of cucumber, it’s so subtle.  The smoothie feels lightly sweet and super refreshing.

I prepare this several different ways. Almond milk makes it creamy, and coconut water keeps it light and fresh, more like spa water. I don’t usually add extra sweetener to mine, but the kids like it a tad sweeter. Honey or even pitted dates work beautifully. And if I have fresh ginger on hand, I love to add a little for an extra special kick. Ginger is incredibly anti-inflammatory and so great for digestion. Cucumber is one of the most alkalizing foods and terrific for the skin.  And strawberries are rich in Vitamin C and other powerful phytonutrients.  Total beauty smoothie here!

The only missing from this smoothie is protein, so I wouldn’t consider this a meal.  But if you did want to include protein, I would throw in protein powder (keep in mind most are sweetened), hemp or chia seeds, or use yogurt instead of the almond milk.  Yogurt is more tart than almond milk, so you might need to add a little sweetener to balance it out.  If you’re tired of your same-old-same-old smoothie, give this one a try and get glowing!

strawberry-cucumber smoothie | pamela salzman

Strawberry-Cucumber Smoothie
Serves: 2, but if you are serving younger kids, you could get 4 smoothies out of this
  • 1 cup cold coconut water or unsweetened almond milk (click here for how to make your own)
  • 1 ½ cups frozen strawberries (click here for how to freeze fruit)
  • 1 Persian cucumber, unpeeled, cut into large chunks or ½ an English (hothouse) cucumber, seeds removed, cut into large chunks
  • 1 Tablespoon raw honey or sweetener of choice (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon minced, peeled ginger (optional)
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
  2. Add more almond milk as necessary, depending on your desired consistency.
Note:  you can substitute frozen blueberries or blackberries and add ground flax meal, hemp seeds or protein powder.


Overnight Refrigerator Oat and Chia Porridge Recipe

overnight refrigerator oat and chia porridge | pamela salzman

I know not all my dear readers and cooking class students have children, and therefore are not likely submerged chin-deep in back-to-school chaos right now.  You lucky ducks.  I have three kids in three different schools and I can’t keep track of all the back-to-school nights and picture days.  And it’s only September!  I’ve got my priorities straight though.  Mr. Picky hasn’t had a haircut in three months, but I’ve got a freezer full of blueberry-banana bread and vegan oatmeal chocolate chip cookie dough.  Yes, ma’am.

chia seeds, then rolled oats

The point I was actually trying to get to is that these most recent posts aren’t just meant for those whose Monday-Fridays are considered “school days.”  I’d like to think all the recipes I post are relevant to anyone trying to eat well.  And one thing we all have in common these days, whether you have kids or not, is lack of time.  Unfortunately, I don’t think little old me is going to change that.

what it looks like before refrigerating

I used to think that it was silly for me to post recipes with 3 ingredients, that take 30 seconds to make, and that have probably been pinned more than a certain VMA performance has been viewed.  (Sorry for the reminder.)  But then my students plead with me, “we want more 30 second recipes!”  So if you haven’t been introduced to raw chia and oat porridge, and at least one person on instagram asked for the recipe last week when I posted a picture of my breakfast, here it is!  I probably eat this 3-4 times a week from July through October, because it is a refrigerated dish and slightly cooling so it’s better for you during the warmer months.  It is super healthful since the oats are soaked overnight, which makes them much more digestible.  On its own, this is a well-balanced breakfast with protein, fiber, complex carbs and high quality fat.  But we usually add either fresh or dried fruit to it.   And like I said, it is a cinch to make, almost disappointingly easy.  But this time of year, I’ve got nothing to prove.  Enjoy!

overnight refrigerator oat and chia porridge | pamela salzman

4.5 from 2 reviews
Overnight Refrigerator Oat and Chia Porridge
Serves: serves 2-4 (this amount is perfect for my two girls and me)
  • 2 Tablespoons chia seeds (I like Barleans)
  • 1 cup rolled oats (look for certified gluten-free oats to make this a gluten-free recipe)
  • 2 cups almond milk, preferably homemade, or milk of choice
  • sweetener of choice to taste, if desired
  1. Place chia seeds and oats in a 4-cup container. Pour almond milk and sweetener, if using, over mixture and stir to combine, making sure to break up any clumps of chia seeds.
  2. Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight so the mixture has time to thicken. Stir before serving.
  3. This will last as long as your almond milk, meaning if you use homemade almond milk, this porridge will only stay fresh a few days.
I usually use date-sweetened almond milk and no other sweetener, or unsweetened almond milk and a couple drops of stevia.

Individual baked oatmeal cups

Individual Baked Oatmeal Cups by Pamela Salzman

I’m down one child for the next six weeks since I dropped Daughter #1 off far, far away in upstate NY for a summer college program.  There were some tears before I left.  I know how most of you think, but no, those tears were not mine.  I love my daughter to pieces, but hear me out.  If you were 16 years old and had the opportunity to study architecture at one the best universities in the US, on one of the most beautiful campuses, meeting interesting kids from all over the world, without your parents telling you what to wear or eat or when to go to bed, would you CRY?  Hell-oooooo?  I am so excited for her!  I think back to when I was 16, and I would have given my right eye to get the heck out of sleepy Stony Brook, Long Island, where I am from and do what she’s doing.  Cry tears of JOY maybe.  I guess Manhattan Beach, California is much more fun than Stony Brook when you’re 16.  But just so you’re not worried about her, a mere 24 hours later there were no more sad texts, only pictures of cute boys, usually South American.

dry ingredients

Ironically, I am with Mr. Picky visiting my family in Stony Brook, the place I lived for basically my entire life, but the place that I thought was the most boring town on the face of the planet.  It is about 60 miles away from New York City, arguably the most exciting place on the planet, although I didn’t get there too much, and especially not without my parents.  Stony Brook is absolutely darling, but there was not much going on here when I was a kid, except for a few small beaches which are also very quiet, a lovely (and quiet) duck pond, a carriage house museum (totally true) and a cute ice cream shop.  So of course when it was time for college, I needed excitement!  A big city!  So I left for Philadelphia where I attended college and then moved to Los Angeles after graduation.  Many, many years later, after much excitement, I cannot believe I am saying this, but I so look forward to my visits to Stony Brook.

mixed with the wet ingredients

Have I mentioned how quiet it is here?  I woke up in the middle of the night last night because I didn’t hear anything.  How weird is that?  Perfect silence.  Actually, it’s AMAZING.  I am thrilled beyond words to be in a quiet, sleepy town for the week where I don’t have to battle traffic or stressed out motorists or all the noise that goes with them.  And the fresh air is a huge bonus.

It's so hot here, the coconut oil is liquid at room temperature!
It’s so hot here, the coconut oil is liquid at room temperature!

Mr. Picky and I are having a ball with my parents and my sisters and their kids.  I am always appointed head of the kitchen when I’m here which is fine as long as someone else is head of dishwashing.  Honestly, I don’t mind cooking for a crowd every day.  It’s actually easier than cooking for two.  And my sisters’ kids which range in age from 3-7 are all fantastic eaters which makes my life very easy.

mixture in the muffin liners

top with your favorite fruit, nuts or chocolate chips

I heard that all the kids liked the baked berry oatmeal recipe I posted a few months ago, so I thought I would do something a little different and bake the mixture in a muffin tin to make individual portions.  Also, my sister’s son leaves early for lacrosse camp every day, so it’s nice for him to be able to take a couple for the road.  I made the oat mixture with a few nuts, but then used different “toppings” for each cup just to mix it up a bit.  I used blueberries, strawberries &  mini-chocolate chips, and mini-chocolate chips & walnuts.  The kids all gravitated towards the ones with chocolate, naturally and I’ll admit, a few of them were wondering why there were no chocolate chips throughout the cups and only on top.  Next time I’ll throw a few into the mixture as well.  The oatmeal cups were popular enough that they were finished off in the afternoon after the kids worked up an appetite after a few hours in the pool.

ready to be baked!

Keep in mind, these oatmeal cups are the equivalent to having a portable mini-bowl of oatmeal.  They don’t have the light, tender texture of a muffin, so don’t expect that.  I ate two blueberry ones and felt very satisfied until lunchtime.  Remember that oats have a lot of fiber, both soluble and insoluble, making you feel full for a good long time.  But I do find that I need to have some good fat with my oats, so the addition of walnuts was perfect for me and also added some nice crunch.  No doubt you and I will have some fun with this recipe and find a way to add apples or pumpkin in the fall or bananas, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  My summer just got started and I plan to make it go as slowly as possible.

individual baked oatmeal cups | pamela salzman

individual baked oatmeal cups | pamela salzman

update 7.3.13:  I just made these again, but with my own muffin pan which only yielded 9 cups instead of the 12 I originally wrote.  I think my mom’s pan is smaller than mine, which is standard, so I updated the recipe to 9 oatmeal cups which I think is more accurate.


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5.0 from 3 reviews
Individual Baked Oatmeal Cups
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (look for labeled gluten-free oats to make this a gluten-free recipe) - Do NOT use steel cut oats
  • ¼ cup walnuts, almonds or pecans, chopped + extra for topping (optional)
  • ⅓ cup 100% pure maple syrup (I like ¼ cup is just fine, but my family preferred ⅓ cup)
  • 1 ½ cups milk of choice (cow, almond, hemp, etc.)
  • 1 large egg or ½ cup mashed banana or ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons melted unsalted butter or unrefined coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • toppings: fresh blueberries, sliced fresh strawberries, chopped nuts, mini-chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a standard muffin pan with 9 unbleached parchment liners.
  2. Combine baking powder, salt, oats and nuts in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate medium bowl whisk together maple syrup, milk, egg, melted butter and vanilla (or combine them in a blender.)
  4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir to combine. You can certainly add chocolate chips or fruit to this mixture if you want all the cups to be the same.
  5. Ladle the oat mixture into the prepared muffin tin, filling each cup about ¾ full. Sprinkle any additional nuts, berries or chocolate chips over the tops of each.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until set and wet ingredients are fully absorbed. Eat warm or at room temperature. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator and eaten straight away or warmed in a toaster oven at 350 until heated through.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Smoothie Recipe

chocolate peanut butter banana oatmeal smoothie by Pamela Salzman

Most of the time we just call this the Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie.  Mr. Picky says it’s his new favorite and he is usually the one to make it.  You should see how many bananas I have to buy to keep up with the acai bowls, banana “ice cream” and the new favorite CPBBO Smoothie.  Most cashiers at the grocery store either look at me funny or can’t resist asking me what I am going to do with 6 bunches of bananas.

Banana mania

I was going to wait a while before I posted another banana recipe, but Mr. Picky asked if I would put up this smoothie so his friends’ moms could have it, too.  Cute.  Smoothies and acai bowls are his favorite after-school snack.  I taught him how to safely work the blender and the Vitamix and as long as I’m in close proximity, he’s welcome to give it a go.  As opposed to his teenage sisters, who think making a smoothie is too much work.  Yawn.  I told my daughter who is a junior in high school that she needs to change her attitude that spending 5 minutes to make a snack is hard labor.  What is she going to do when she’s (we hope) living away from home in college?  And then I said those awful words that made me sound like my parents.  C’mon, all together now, “when I was your age…”  Yeah, anything that comes after that is going to get the big old eye roll.  But really, wouldn’t you have DIED to have a Vitamix when you were a teenager??  Or frozen acai puree??  Or an iPad which pulled up thousands of recipes AND videos?  Can we just talk about smart phones for a second?  What about the fact that I went to college with a typewriter.  A typewriter.

frozen bananas

Yep, and that’s why it’s usually just Mr. Picky and myself in the kitchen making smoothies and acai bowls.  Which is fine, because I’m soooooo annoying.  OMG.

raw cacao powder

What’s cool about smoothies is that you really don’t need a recipe.  We completely eyeball it every time.  And Mr. Picky has no idea that I am so on to him that he uses chocolate syrup instead of cacao powder in this smoothie when he thinks I’m not looking.  I’m annoying and flexible at the same time.  I really don’t care if he squirts a little chocolate syrup in his smoothie if it’s for an after school snack, although we all know that the same antioxidants in raw chocolate don’t apply to Hershey bars or chocolate syrup.  Just saying.

everything into the blender, ice on top

But if you did want this for breakfast, I think it’s a perfectly good way to start the day, provided that it’s not the middle of winter.  I have a thing about not giving the kids or me really cold stuff first thing in the morning, especially if the weather is cold.  It’s just too hard on the digestive system and kids have weaker digestion than adults.  But back to nutrients, there’s great protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates in this smoothie so you could use this as a meal replacement.  Feel free to adjust the flavors to your liking or add protein powder or spinach or ground flax seeds.  This is just a guideline.  Normally, Mr. Picky and I taste whatever is in the blender and then add a little extra peanut butter or sweetener or chocolate.

chocolate peanut butter banana oatmeal smoothie by Pamela Salzman

chocolate peanut butter banana oatmeal smoothie by Pamela Salzman

Also awesome if you like to plan ahead, make this smoothie the night before and you’ll be sitting pretty come morning!


Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Smoothie
Serves: makes 1 large or 2 medium smoothies
  • 2 ripe bananas, peeled, cut into large chunks and frozen (click here for how to freeze fruit)
  • ½ cup almond milk or milk of choice*
  • 3 Tablespoons creamy, natural peanut butter (or raw almond butter for a more neutral flavor)
  • ¼ cup old fashioned rolled oats (use oats labeled “gluten-free” for a gluten-free smoothie)
  • 2 Tablespoons raw cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder or chocolate syrup
  • Sweetener: add your preferred sweetener to taste, such as honey, dates or coconut palm sugar. With unsweetened almond milk and natural cacao powder, 3 pitted dates seems to be perfect for us.
  • ½ cup - 1 cup ice, depending on how icy you want it
  1. Add all ingredients to a blender with the ice on top. Blend until very smooth. Smoothie may be refrigerated overnight or frozen.
*If you use sweetened almond milk, you may not need additional sweetener.

If it's not too obvious, omit the chocolate for a Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie.  Omit the peanut butter or substitute raw almond butter for a Chocolate Banana Smoothie.  Omit the banana for a Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie.


Banana “ice cream” sundaes recipe

Banana "Ice Cream" | Pamela Salzman

Although I recently became dairy-free, I haven’t been able to eat ice cream for quite some time.  It’s a pretty hard-to-digest food even if you make it from scratch, and not one that has agreed with me in many years.  But when I got married, I used to eat ice cream every day and for several years afterwards.  At any given time, I think we had at least a dozen different pints in our freezer into which we would dip every night after we put the babies to sleep.  My mother-in-law thinks I can’t digest ice cream anymore because I OD’d on it all those years.  Perhaps.

freeze bananas peeled

homemade almond milk and pure vanilla extract

Last week I needed a little comfort food and I craved a quick, sweet pick-me-up while I watched the television in total disbelief of all that chaos.  I was really close to snagging the remains of Mr. Picky’s favorite Three Twins vanilla ice cream, but I know that I would have felt even worse afterwards, for many reasons.  Because we make so many acai bowls and smoothies around here, I  always have frozen bananas on hand.  One thing I’ve never posted is banana “ice cream.”  I’ve always figured by now most people have seen this on Foodily or Pinterest.  If you haven’t, it’s just frozen pieces of banana, blended in a Vitamix or a food processor with a touch of almond milk or regular milk and maybe a little sweetener to taste.  It comes out the consistency of soft serve ice cream and really hits the spot if you’re in the mood for a frozen treat.  But it’s really just bananas, so it’s a million times better for you than regular ice cream or (blech) popsicles made with food coloring.  I told my mother-in-law about banana ‘ice cream” and she offered to buy me a Yonana machine which basically does the exact same thing.  She’s so thoughtful, but you can really do this no problem in your food processor or high powered blender.

blend bananas and almond milk and vanilla

Banana "Ice Cream" plain and simple | Pamela Salzman

So why am I posting this “recipe” when I assume everyone has heard of banana “ice cream?”  Because apparently, not everyone has!  At least Gwyenth Paltrow doesn’t think so.  I am a huge Gwyneth fan and I just received her new book, It’s All Good, which looks fantastic.  Low and behold, there’s a recipe in there for banana “ice cream” with roasted almonds.  If Gwyneth can put it out there, so can I.

Banana "Ice Cream" with Cacao Nibs and Roasted Cashews | Pamela Salzman

I do want to emphasize that you can’t really follow a recipe here since there are a few variables which can affect the outcome of your ice cream.  First of all, you must start with ripe, well-speckled bananas.  Ripe bananas are much, much sweeter than pale yellow-skinned ones and will allow you to make this with a minimum amount of added sweetener.  That said, the amount of sweetener will vary according to the sweetness of your bananas.  I’ve made this many times without any sweetener at all, but sometimes a smidge of raw honey adds just the right amount.  So it’s best not to follow a recipe and just “sweeten to taste.”  Keep in mind however, that this recipe uses 4 bananas.  So don’t eat the whole thing unless eating 4 bananas is a normal thing for you.  I always add stuff to it like chopped nuts, raw cacao nibs or granola to make it a little more substantial and keep it healthy.  But you can have fun and put out a “sundae” bar with toppings like chocolate sauce, mini-chocolate chips, toasted coconut or honey-roasted peanuts.  This is a truly guilt-free treat!

Banana "Ice Cream" by Pamela Salzman

Banana "Ice Cream" Sundae
Serves: 2-4
  • 4 ripe bananas, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces, about 2 ½ cups (if you’re using a Vitamix or another high-powered blender, you can cut bananas into larger pieces)
  • ¼ - ½ cup unsweetened almond milk or milk of choice (you can use the smaller quantity if you’re using a Vitamix)
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • sweeten to taste with a few teaspoons (more or less) of raw honey, Grade A maple syrup or a couple drops of stevia
  • Toppings: granola, raw cacao nibs, mini-chocolate chips, toasted coconut, chopped walnuts, chopped toasted and salted cashews, chopped honey-roasted peanuts, chocolate sauce
  1. Arrange the banana pieces on a baking sheet or a plate and freeze until frozen. Click here for a step-by-step on how to freeze fruit. Place individual bowls for the ice cream in the freezer.
  2. When the bananas are frozen, store in a container for later use or place in the bowl of a food processor or Vitamix or other high-powered blender. Add almond milk, vanilla and sweetener to taste. Process until smooth and creamy. I find that the food processor needs a little more liquid and a few more seconds to achieve the desired consistency, which is like soft serve ice cream.
  3. Transfer the ice cream to the frozen bowls and serve immediately with toppings, if desired. You can also store the ice cream in the freezer for another time, but you’ll need to allow it to sit on the countertop to soften up for a few minutes before eating so that it’s scoopable.
Sweeten to taste with raw honey, Grade A maple syrup or stevia according to how ripe your bananas are.  You may not need to add any sweetener at all!