I’m always learning from my friend and mentor, Terri Lange. She’s also known as the Godmother of DDPYOGA and in the nearly five years I’ve known her, she has generously imparted countless tips and strategies that have helped me get my life back, drop 185 pounds, and actually enjoy the ride. The 185 pounds are long gone, but being healthy and staying that way doesn’t have a finish line. And she’s been an amazing example of staying the course in the face of busy schedules, culinary temptations, and plain old stress.
Still, when Terri shared with me one of her favorite tricks of the staying-svelte trade, I was skeptical. Her go-to food when she craves ice cream? Frozen bananas. I know. Sounds tremendously decadent, doesn’t it? So much so that I simply dismissed it as an overly zealous way to avoid the perils of ice cream. If my alternative was frozen bananas, I’d rather have nothing.
Terri and I are both dairy-free, and for a time, we both got our frozen dessert needs met via pints and bars of ‘ice cream’ made from almond or coconut milk. Tasted fantastic, but they were loaded with sugar and still pretty caloric. When Terri gushed to me one day that a few frozen bananas chopped and whirred for several minutes in a food processor sent her to the moon with pleasure, I was happy for her. But I had no desire to try something that sounded so boring. I tend to get irritated with products and recipes claim to closely mimic the taste and texture of something I love, only to have the rug pulled out from under me when push comes to shove.
So I left that particular tip from Terri in the dust. Until today. Call it the effects of being crazy from the heatwave (s), but I’ve found myself fantasizing about walking up to the window of my neighborhood soft-serve and ordering a giant…oh, nevermind. You get where I’m going. I was even starting to rationalize that I deserved it and the calories wouldn’t count anyway because the northeast had been crippled for weeks by a barely tolerable and bizarrely prolonged mercury spike.
They were quite crafty, these invisible, whispering demons that beckoned me to the land of sugar cones capped with puffy white frozen vanilla cream. That’s when I knew it was time to freeze a few bananas and give them and Terri’s remedy a whirl in my food processor. That’s really the only other key ingredient you’ll need for this concoction. Some unsweetened cocoa powder if you’re in need of a chocolate ice cream fix. That’s it, no sugar, no cream, no emulsifiers, nothing but bananas.
Did I like it? Uh-uh…I LOVED it. Taste and texture of this dessert are superb. But I won’t toy with you and say it’s JUST like ice cream. It’s close…but there’s no throat coat. No cream means a cleaner, lighter taste. The absence of fat is noticable in terms of how it sits in your stomach. There’s no, ‘gee, I’ve gotta rest and regroup now” feeling that comes from eating something densley caloric, but that’s OK….it’s an easy feeling to get used to.
Banana “Ice Cream”
2 frozen bananas, cut into 1-inch chunks
splash of vanilla (optional)
Place half the banana pieces in a food processor. Pulse for several minutes, stopping every so often to scrape sides and distribute evenly. When thoroughly blended, add remaining bananas and repeat the process until the entire batch has pureed into a smooth mixture with a texture similar to soft ice cream or gelato. If desiring chocolate, add a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder to banana mixture and puree thoroughly until evenly distributed. Pour into two dessert dishes and eat immediately. May also be frozen in Tupperware and stored for up to a week.