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Friday, August 22, 2014

Salted Caramel Cookie Butter Ice Cream

I sort of feel like I don't have to type anything about this ice cream, because as soon as you read how quick and easy it is to make, and then when you taste it and your eyes widen and your pupils dilate, you'll just GET it. Eat it alone. Don't bother with a bowl. Nobody did in this house. Or make it into waffle ice cream sandwiches with a sprinkling of sea salt. That's how I liked it because its so darn pretty looking, but the truth is it doesn't need anything additional.

My kids and I had a lot of fun doing this together. We made it right before bed time (IN 10 MINUTES) and the next morning it was good to go! I was feeling very nervous about it at first because the mixture is soft when first mixed and I was hesitant about what the consistency would be like. So the next morning I took a spoon and tried it straight from the freezer and then quickly refrained from having more! With giddy excitement I texted my family that we were having an ice cream sandwich party at my house that afternoon!!! I even served this to my husband's nephew as breakfast one morning :)

This was my first attempt at making ice cream. I've never felt like I would use an ice cream machine enough to want to add another bulky piece of kitchen equipment to my collection...then I came across a picture on pintrest and immediately went to Trader Joe's to get the stuff. Then I waited and waited until I knew I'd have a captive audience in my home who could eat this quickly enough so my husband and I wouldn't gain 10 pounds enjoying it on our own. The day this opportunity came we didn't bother with then I waited and waited again for another opportunity to remake it and take some shots for you guys. And here it is, my dears. I hope you enjoy!


Adapted from
Makes about 1 1/2 quarts of ice cream

 -2 cups very cold heavy cream
-1 14-ounce can (fat-free!) sweetened condensed milk
 -2/3 cup Cookie Butter
-1 cup speculoos cookies broken in half
-1 tablespoon vanilla extract
-about 1/2 jar of fleur de caramel from Trader Joe's (1/2 cup)

-In the large bowl of an electric mixer with whisk attachment, beat cream and vanilla on high speed for several minutes, just until stiff peaks form
-While whipping cream, in a separate large bowl, stir together remaining ingredients (condensed milk and cookie butter)
-Once cream is ready, fold it into cookie butter mixture. Stir in broken cookie pieces.
-Pour 1/3 the amount of ice cream into a large sized tupperware. Pour out a layer of the caramel. Don't mix. Scoop another 1/3 of the ice cream over caramel and then pour more caramel. Repeat a third layer using remaining ice cream and caramel. Using a butter knife, give a VERY LIGHT swirl to the caramel on top. Cover with saran wrap and then tightly seal with the lid of container.
-Freeze for 8 hours or overnight
-To make into sandwiches use the butter waffle cookies from Trader Joe's.

I'd love to connect with you! Follow me on instagram as savvy_chef and tag #savvychef in your creations :)

The cookie butter/condensed milk mixture alone is amazing

Ready to be covered and frozen


Double Chocolate Zucchini Bars

This stuff...I don't know whether to call it a cake, bread, bar or brownie....but it's incredible! The flavor is so amazingly rich, deep and decadent you'll feel like you're cheating with every bite you take. And that's the best part. It's so secretly healthy you almost want to scream that out loud with every morsel you inhale. Zucchini is filled with nutrients, and this recipe is a way to sneak it in without anyone knowing. I was so pleased with this cake that I couldn't help myself and told everyone who tried it all about the zucchini despite my best efforts not too ;)

Since I'm a chocolate fanatic, I really load it up with cocoa powder (woohoo, another guilt-free factor...extra anti-oxidants!)  I'm really in love with the intense dark color of this cake...the darker the color, the deeper the flavor.  If you use Greek yogurt instead of applesauce it will lighten the color of the cake, but the flavor is the same. Since the chocolate chips are mini, they add little soft bites of chocolate that don't harden even when cooled, mmm! I've baked it in mini loaf pans, as cupcakes with colored marshmallows, as gifts in loaf trays and brownie style in a baking pan. My favorite way...and the fastest...was in the 9x13 pan because that's when it was the most moist and fudgy.

I've tried different frostings on these bars and my top favorites were my chocolate ganache from my salted caramel chocolate tart and a cream cheese peanut butter frosting (I'll post that recipe soon!) Most of the time I eat the bars unfrosted but if I'm treating them like a dessert instead of a side to my morning coffee or midday snack I'll heat a piece up with the ganache and really savor the soft chocolate bar with the hot and smooth chocolate ganache.

Makes 24 bars

-2 eggs
-1 cup sugar (plus up to 1/2 cup more for a sweeter cake...the kids definitely prefer it sweeter. If you're not frosting it, use a total of 1 1/2 cups of sugar)
-1/3 cup melted coconut oil
-2/3 cup applesauce or Greek yogurt
-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
-2 cups grated zucchini (don't use a zester to grate zucchini or your cake will stay too mushy, and don't use a grater with large holes because you will be able to see the zucchini pieces. Medium sized grater is best)
-2 squares melted semi-sweet baking chocolate (or 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, to be added with dry ingredients)
-2 cups flour
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 cup cocoa powder
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1 to 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

To make
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 inch pan with coconut oil spray (I buy mine from Trader Joe's, or use another non-stick cooking spray)
-Using a mixer, beat the eggs, sugar, coconut oil, applesauce and vanilla until well combined, about 2 minutes. Then add the grated zucchini and melted chocolate squares.
-In another bowl combine dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, salt and cinnamon. Mix together and add to dry ingredients while mixing together. Mix until everything is well combined but don't over beat the batter or it will get tough as it bakes. Fold in chocolate chips and pour into pre-greased pan.
-Bake between 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool before you slice.
-Enjoy the bars plain or top the with powdered sugar, chocolate ganache or peanut butter frosting

I'd love to connect with you! Like SavvyChef on facebook and follow Savvy_Chef on instagram. Tag Savvychef in your creations and pin the recipes on pintrest :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Mediterranean Turkey Wrap

Today I bring you an easy but unique turkey wrap. This can easily be made into a vegetarian sandwich if you prefer. I make a lot of things that are either too complicated to post (grape leaves, kibbeh, etc.) or too easy (using shortcuts like a boxed mix or ready sauce) and this falls into the 'too easy' category.  A lot of you have reached out to me for these easy recipes, so here is a good one :) My 4 year old surprised me and had a whole wrap!

You can grab everything from one store for this (Hi, Trader Joe's!) and it takes minutes to assemble. I use the yogurt and cilantro dip for various things, and I especially love it in this wrap because its a healthier and more flavorful alternative to mayonnaise. Be careful not to layer the dip as the first ingredient because it will make your bread go soggy faster.

Makes one wrap

-1 lavash wrap
-1/4 cup arugula or spinach leaves
-1 slice of Havarti cheese
-3 slices deli style turkey breast (omit this for a veggie sandwich)
-2 tablespoons cilantro and chive yogurt dip
-3 strips roasted red pepper
-3 slices avocado
-black pepper to taste

-Place lavash bread with the long edge spread horizontally. Lay out cheese in a row about 1/4 of an inch from the edge of the lavash bread.
-Layer ingredients over each other in the order listed: arugula, cheese, turkey,  ONE TABLESPOON of cilantro and chive yogurt dip, roasted red pepper, avocado and black pepper.
-Spread remaining one tablespoon of the cilantro and chive yogurt dip lengthwise along the end portion of the lavash bread. This will help seal the sandwich together.
-Carefully wrap the sandwich over three times. Cut horizontally and serve.
-Enjoy :)

This are some of the ingredients that specifically come from Trader Joes

Follow me on instagram @ savvy_chef and tag me in your creations, I'd love to see what yumminess you cook up :)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Balsamic Fig and Arugula Pizza

When I enjoy something, I can't just 'like' it, I have to 'LOVE' it.  And when I love it, I think about it constantly, talk about it annoyingly and just let it consume me completely. The 'it' I keep referring to in this case is my current obsession: fresh figs! I heart them with all my heart. So much so that I refuse to look up the calorie count for figs because I want to eat them without mentally calculating anything.

Since I'm obsessed (rightfully so) I try to figure out how to incorporate them into every food category possible. Fig jam has been a long time favorite of mine, and if you haven't tried Trader Joe's fig butter, I suggest you run over there now and grab a jar.  Fig balsamic vinegar came next, found in specialty shops and farmer's markets. Dried figs are a must in my home, and soon I'll share my fig truffles recipe with you guys.

But, I bring you my latest and greatest.  I thought about this recipe and researched "the internets" long and hard for the best combination. There's nothing like this out there, I'm very pleased to admit ;)  The sweetness of the honey blends perfectly with the softness of the figs, and the balsamic glaze is a tart and sweet combination to the figs. The smoked mozzarella adds another dynamic of flavor that is mellowed out with the creamy ricotta. The crunch of the nuts, the tang of the red onion...this pizza is a culinary delight to your taste buds!

Makes 1 pizza

-1/2 cup cornmeal (optional)
-1 pound fresh pizza dough
-1/4 cup honey
-8 ounces smoked mozzarella log, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
-8 ounces ricotta cheese
-2 cups fresh figs, cut in half or quartered
-1/4 cup fig balsamic vinegar (or best quality, thick vinegar glaze you can obtain)
-2 cups arugula
-1/4 cup finely diced red onion
-1 tablespoon walnut oil (or olive oil)
-1/3 cup chopped walnuts
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/2 teaspoon black pepper

To make
-Preheat oven to whatever temperature you bake your dough. I usually bake mine at 400 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet or pizza pan with non stick spray and sprinkle cornmeal over the pan. Shake the cornmeal around and tap out the excess into a sink. Stretch out your pizza dough and bake halfway on LOWER rack in the oven, about 6-8 minutes for my dough.
-Remove half baked pizza dough from the oven and arrange sliced mozzarella diagonally on the crust, about 1 inch apart across the dough. Then spread ricotta in the gaps between the mozzarella pieces. Arrange figs, flesh side down, on top of the cheese. Sprinkle the pizza with black pepper. Return to the oven and bake about 10 more minutes on the MIDDLE rack.
-While pizza is baking, mix together arugula, red onion, walnuts, salt and oil in a medium sized bowl.
-When the mozzarella is melted and the figs look a little caramelized, remove from the oven and drizzle the balsamic glaze on top. Lightly spoon the arugula mixture all over the pizza, slice and serve. I sliced the pizza into 24 slices using a baking sheet.

Follow Savvy_chef on instagram and tag me in your posts, I'd love to see what you make :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Loaded Tea-Infused Granola

Granola all filled and pretty for my family

 I miss you guys! It's been 9 months since I posted and that pretty much coincides with when my life became insanely hectic...but thanks to instagram, I'm back and motivated to share a bunch of easy recipes with you. Just because I haven't been blogging, doesn't mean I haven't been cooking and I've got an archive of yummy stuff to share with you!
I really enjoy granola, but every time I look at the nutritional information I find it's loaded with fat...not my idea of a healthy food. When I consume a high calorie, high fat item, I like it to be sugary, gooey and hopefully full of chocolate ;) Making granola myself has given me the ability to incorporate all the flavors I love and remove the ones I don't.  I've made this a lot recently...for reasons I can't describe making granola makes me very happy! I love the process, I love the smell that fills up the kitchen, I love the quick cleanup, I love the way little alterations will make the texture go from soft and chewy to nice and crispy, and I really love that if stored properly this will sit around for a while.  I've been tripling this recipe the last few times I made it and the results are stellar every time!
Like everything I share with you guys, its easy to make and comes together fairly quickly. Don't be intimidated by the long list of ingredients, they're just spices and typical pantry staples. Feel free to switch out the fruit and nut combos (but if you don't like the results don't blame me for it!) to accommodate what you have on hand. 
We eat this alone, as cereal or as a topping to Greek yogurt and fresh fruit.
Adapted from Alice's Tea Cup
Makes about 7 cups
- 2 1/2 cups rolled or quick oats
-1 1/2 cups chopped nuts (I like to use at least 2 kinds. My favorite combo is the sesame honey cashews from Trader Joe's and chopped almonds)
-1 1/2 cups dried fruit (I use equal amounts golden raisins, orange cranberries, and apricots)
-3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
-1/4 cup sesame seeds
-1 tablespoon flax seeds (you can use up to 2 tablespoons)
-1 tablespoon chia seeds (you can use up to 2 tablespoons)
-1 tablespoon cinnamon
-1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 1/2 tablespoons ground flavored tea (This is the SECRET to this delicious granola, and you can play a lot with the flavors depending on what tea you use. I use my spice grinder, open about 3 bags flavored herbal tea and grind to a fine consistency. You can also just place the tea on the palm of one hand and rub your palms over each other quickly to crush the tea. I especially like ginger peach tea and honey vanilla chamomile).
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1/2 cup honey, plus more for drizzling
-1/4 cup melted coconut oil
To make:
-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil (for easy cleanup) and spray with non stick cooking spray (I use a coconut oil spray)
-In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (everything EXCEPT the vanilla, honey and coconut oil). Mix well
-Add the vanilla, honey and melted coconut oil and mix very well. I use my hands to make sure the honey isn't clumping and all the oats get wet and coated.
-Spread evenly on the greased baking sheet and pat down firmly with a spatula.
-Bake on the middle rack in the oven for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown.
-Remove granola from oven and flip over in sections using a spatula. Press down firmly and drizzle honey over the granola.
-Return to middle rack in the oven and bake for another 8-10 minutes.
-Remove from the oven and let it cool completely. Break it up into pieces and store in an airtight container.
-Enjoy :)
*To make crispier granola, drizzle less honey and spread into a thinner layer. Bake for the full 10 minutes.
*To make chewier granola, drizzle more honey, spread into a thick layer and bake for 8-9 minutes.
Check out SavvyChef on instagram #savvy_chef and tag me in your creations!
Greek yogurt, granola, strawberries and peaches

Prepping the granola...lots of ingredients but it comes together quickly
I've doubled and recipe and it still goes fast!

Making granola is a great recipe for kids! Just measure, dump and mix!