[Recipe] Easy Banana Almond Butter Ice Cream

banana almond butter ice cream | sunshine & the bear Sometimes you just need something sweet. Sometimes that something sweet needs to be ice cream. Just don’t question it…it’s science.

Recently I discovered an incredibly easy recipe for making ice cream right at home! No churn needed. No random ingredients needed. Truthfully, you only need one thing…BANANAS.

Yes. All you need is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

Although this is new to me, many people in the health food world know this magical secret. I found out from a great post by The Kitchn and I’m all for passing on knowledge, so I want to share it with you! DIG IN…

Banana Almond Butter Ice Cream
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 serving
  • 1 ripe banana (or however many you want to make)
  • 1 t almond butter
  1. Peel the banana(s) and cut them into coin-sized pieces.
  2. Put the bananas in an airtight container and freeze the bananas for at least 2 hours (but ideally overnight).
  3. Remove the frozen banana(s) and blend them in a small food processor, pulsing the frozen pieces.
  4. Keep blending — the banana will look crumbly. Scrape down the food processor.
  5. Keep blending — the banana will look gooey. Scrape down the food processor.
  6. Keep blending — the banana will look like oatmeal. Scrape down the food processor.
  7. Watch the magic happen! Suddenly, as the last bits of banana smooth out, you'll see the mixture shift from blended banana to creamy, soft-serve ice cream texture!
  8. Blend for a few more seconds to aerate the ice cream.
  9. Add in your almond butter (or any other mix-in ingredients you decide to include).
  10. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until solid.
  11. Top with whatever you want (I chose fresh strawberries!) and enjoy!

katekatebear homemade ice cream | sunshine & the bear

Have you tried it yet? No? Go do it right now. Yep, I’ll wait right here. :) 

[Recipe] Apple Pie with Cheddar Crust

YEP. You read that correctly…Cheddar crust.
As if having a delicious pie wasn’t enough, you had to make it more tasty by adding cheese. haha 

apple pie with cheddar crust | sunshine & the bear

One of my coworkers recently hosted a ‘friendsgiving’/housewarming party and I wanted to bring something tasty, besides the obligatory bottle of wine. Since finding the amazing salted caramel chocolate chip cookies on Spoon Fork Bacon, I’ve been obsessed with their recipes! I looked and found this tasty looking fall recipe and thought I’d take a stab…

I haven’t made many pie crusts from scratch, so this was definitely stepping out of my comfort zone. BUT it was super easy! Instructions are below – keep in mind, the crust mix and the filling mix need to sit for at least an hour before you start working them together, so just prepare your timing! :)

And yes, my pie plate has my name on it. Because my mother-in-law is awesome and got me this super cute gift for Christmas last year! You can get one too from Red Envelope – totally a perfect gift for a foodie, chef or just someone who really loves pie.

Apple Pie with Cheddar Crust

Courtesy of: Spoon Fork Bacon 
Needs: Mixer, pie plate(s)
Ingredients (crust):

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    1 teaspoon pure cane sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, frozen and grated
    3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
    2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons ice water

Ingredients (apple filling):

  • 4 granny smith apples, peeled cored and thinly sliced
    4 golden delicious apples, peeled cored and thinly sliced
    juice of 1/2 lemon
    2/3 cup light brown sugar
    1/3 cup pure cane sugar
    1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    3 tablespoons of tapioca starch or cornstarch
    1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted browned butter, cooled

Ingredients (additional):

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
    2 tablespoons water


  1. For the crust, first place flour, sugar and salt into a mixing bowl and whisk together.
  2. Add butter and gently incorporate into the flour mixture until a fine mealy texture forms.
  3. Fold in cheese until just combined and stir in water.
  4. Turn mixture onto a clean, lightly floured surface and gently knead the mixture into a disc. Cover dough disc with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  5. For the filling, place all ingredients, except for the butter into a large mixing bowl and fold together until well combined. Set aside and allow mixture to sit for about 1 hour.
  6. Once crust has sat in the refrigerator, divide in 1/2. Cover 1/2 and set aside.
  7. Sprinkle a little flour onto a clean surface and roll dough until about 1/8 inch thick.
  8. Gently lace the dough in your pie dish. Press dough into shell, cutting off any excess around the perimeter. Crimp the edge using your fingers and knuckles.
  9. Add melted/cooled butter to your pie filling and mix well.
  10. Pour filling into pie crust, forming an even layer.
  11. Roll other half of dough until about 1/8” thick and cut into 10 strips of 3/4″x 11”.
  12. Gently lay 5 strips of dough across one direction of the pie, spacing them each even from one another. Form a lattice by arranging the remaining strips through the first strips. Trim the edges and gently press the ends into the crust of the pie.
  13. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and water then brush the egg wash over pie.
  14. Refrigerate pie for 30 minutes.
  15. While your pie is setting, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  16. When you’re ready, place the pie onto a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
  17. Reduce temperature to 375˚F and continue to bake for about 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling.
  18. Remove pie from oven and cool for at least 1 hour. Serve warm if you can!
  19. Enjoy! :)

[Recipe] Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies GF/DF/V

Hooray! I finally got around to putting together this post. I’m sure you’re happy too. I’ll give you a minute to drool…

gluten free dairy free chocolate chip caramel cookies | sunshine & the bear

Go ahead, take your time… 

I did the same exact thing when I first heard the name of these tasty morsels! I had just found the adorable blog Fork and Beans and I was instantly enamored with all of her recipes – but this one called out to me. They were perfect for my office team because some of us have gluten tummy issues and/or are vegan, etc. BUT we still want to have tasty treats! haha These worked out really well and were a crowd pleaser!

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies
From the kitchen of: Fork and Beans
Needs: Electric mixer; small pan; cookie sheets

  • 1/2 C non-hydrogenated shortening
  • 3/4 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 1 T flaxseed meal + 3 T warm water (mix and set for 5 minutes to be your “egg”)
  • 1 T nondairy milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 2 C gluten free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t xanthan gum
  • 1/2 t sea salt
  • 1 c nondairy chocolate chips (if you don’t care about these being dairy-free, you can use regular chocolate chips!)
  • 9 pieces of Sea Salt Cocomel’s Caramels, each cut into 4s (or if you don’t care about these being vegan, you can just use any caramels!)
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whip up the shortening and sugars together until well-blended. It’s best to use an electric mixer. 
  3. Add the flax “egg” and blend in.
  4. Add the vanilla and nondairy milk and mix until blended.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the other dry ingredients.
  6. Add half into the shortening mix and blend in well. Add the remainder of the dough and repeat. If your dough does not roll up into a ball and you find it crumbly, add another tablespoon of nondairy milk.
  7. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  8. Roll 1 tablespoon of cookie dough into a ball. Place 1 piece of the caramel into the middle of the ball and smooth over to ensure that it cannot be seen. Repeat for the remainder of the dough.
  9. Place on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart and bake for approximately 10 minutes (mine took about 12 minutes to get slightly brown because I was using a newer cookie sheet – so do what works for you but stay around 10 minutes!)
  10. Allow to cool down on the baking sheet for 1-2 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack.
  11. Some of your cookies will drool out caramel and that is completely okay! If that happens all you have to do is take a spatula and gently bring the caramel and cookie together and intact.
  12. Enjoy!

Cookbooking: A journey through 40 cookbooks!

Ok so I finally had time to get to the grocery store to get the ingredients for some of the new recipes I wanted to try! It was one of my New Year’s Resolutions to make at least one recipe from EVERY cookbook I own. I just counted – 40 total. Phew…

Anytime, so it’s time to START! I’m going randomly, so take them as you will…

Also, super side note, remember that time I always think I can make things better when it comes to recipes? Yea it didn’t stop with this project. There were a couple changes made (e.g. chicken/shrimp/sausage for a whole duck…) but pretty much everything is the same. ENJOY!

NBC Sunday Night Football Cookbook

Country Gumbo

Original recipe: NBC Sunday Night Football NFL Cookbook (yes, there is such a thing haha)
Cooking needs: Large pot, large pan

  • 2-4 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 C shrimp
  • 1 summer sausage
  • 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 C vegetable oil
  • 1 C mushrooms (chopped)
  • 1 C onions (chopped)
  • 1/2 C yellow/orange/red peppers (chopped)
  • 1/2 C celery (chopped)
  • 1 T garlic (minced)
  • 1 12-oz bottle stout beer
  • 3 C low-sodium chicken broth/water
  • 1/2 t thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 t cayenne
  • hot cooked brown rice

gumbo ingredients

  • In a large pan, cook your meats. Season with salt and pepper. Then set aside.
  • In a large pot, add oil and flour. Cook over medium heat, stirring slowly and CONSTANTLY. This takes approx. 20 minutes. Cook until it’s brown – like chocolate. It’s weird, I know. gumbo base
  • Add mushrooms, onions, celery, peppers and garlic and cook, stirring, for 4-5 minutes until the vegetables soften.
  • Add 3/4 of the beer and stir to incorporate.
  • Add broth, thyme, bay leaves, cayenne and 3 t salt. Stir well.
  • Raise the heat and bring to a boil.
  • Return your meats to the mix and lower the heat to a simmer.
  • Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally for approx. 1.5 hours. Be sure to skim off fat and foam that rises to the top.
  • Right before serving, cook rice (I used whole wheat brown rice).
  • Serve in a bowl with scoop of rice and gumbo!
  • Enjoy!



big fat cookies cookbook

Pumpkin Butterscotch Chip Cookies

Original recipe: Big Fat Cookies

  • 2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1/2 C butter (I used Brummel & Brown)
  • 1 C canned pumpkin (make sure you get pumpkin not pumpkin filling!)
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 C butterscotch chips

pumpkin butterscotch cookie ingredients

  • Position your rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • In a medium bowl, stir flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until smooth and lightened in color.
  • On a low speed, mix in butter, pumpkin and vanilla until blended. DSC_1399
  • Mix flour mixture to incorporate it.
  • Fold in butterscotch chips.
  • Using a tablespoon or ice cream scoop with a 1/4 C  cup, scoop mounds of dough on to baking sheets. Keep cookies at least 1-12 inches apart.
  • Bake cookies for approx. 15 minutes until the tops feel firm.

I WOULD have posted a pic of the cookies all done, but they got eaten WAY too quick for that! haha 

TWO DOWN. 38 to go…


[Giveaway] #G2KHoliday

ONE WEEK UNTIL CHRISTMAS EVE! Want some presents now? (DUH.) I can help with that!

Anyway, I met some fun people from Unilever’s Good to Know team at Fitbloggin‘ (seriously, who did I NOT meet at Fitbloggin’ this year?!) and was very intrigued. I had been trying to get away from butter, but still hadn’t really found a spread I loved (aka one that Tom would eat regularly). Then, they introduced me to Brummel & Brown at their Fitbloggin’ event and I was hooked!

brummel and brown

Brummel & Brown is made with YOGURT and it’s less than half the calories of butter! And it tastes good. I Tom was SOLD. Also, it (and all the Unilever spreads)…

  • Have 0g trans fat per serving
  • Contain no partially hydrogenated oils
  • Have no cholesterol
  • Are 70% less fat than butter per serving!
  • Have 30% fewer calories than butter per serving!

All good things, right? Right. :)

For the holiday season, Unilever challenged people to make a holiday cookie recipe with one of their spreads to test how they stand up to traditional butter. Now their website says B&B may not be the best for baking but I wanted to challenge that! (I only have one speed…challenging hahaha)

The Unilever team provided me with some great baking essentials to complete the challenge:

  • Silpat baking sheet liner
  • Steel cooling rack
  • 17×11 Large nonstick cookie sheet
  • Stainless steel cookie scoop
  • $10 gift card to purchase baking ingredients


baking giveaway

And now I have the amazing opportunity to give them away to YOU!

To enter to win Unilever Baking Prize Pack:

Leave a comment below telling me, “What would be your “Good to Know” holiday cookie creation?” 

Extra Entries: 
Follow katekatebear on Twitter and tweet “Enter to win a #G2KHoliday Prize Pack from @katekatebear http://bit.ly/UDKjta

Post this giveaway link to YOUR personal or fan Facebook page and leave a separate comment here telling me you did so.

Subscribe to this blog by either email or RSS feed. Leave a separate comment telling me which way you did.

Deadline to enter is Friday, December 21, 2012, Midnight EST. Contest is open to United States residents ONLY. Winner will be chosen at random and contacted by email. Unilever will directly handle your “Good to Know” winnings. :) 

sugar cookies

Ok so here’s the good part – COOKIES!

I tested Brummel & Brown with my go-to sugar cookie recipe from the Southern Living Incredible Cookies cookbook.

Classic Sugar Cookies

  • 1 C Brummel & Brown spread
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 3 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 t salt

sugar cookie ingredients

  •  In a medium to large bowl, beat the spread with an electric mixer for approx. 2 minutes of until creamy.
  • Add sugar, beating well.
kate eating cookies

I mean if you want to try the cookie dough, I guess that’s ok…

  • Add egg and vanilla, beating well.
  • Gradually add flour (it may poof up if you add too quick!) and salt, beating until well blended.

cookie dough

  • Divide dough in half and wrap each in plastic wrap. Chill two halves for approx. 1 hour.


  • At this point, I would traditionally roll out the dough and use cookie cutters BUT because I just got this shiny new cookie scoop, I decided to make drop cookies with some extra toppings I had!
  • Scoop small sections of the dough onto baking sheet liner.

drop cookies

  • Smush each ball just a little to flatten out cookie.
  • Cover with your favorite toppings! I used chocolate chips, almonds and sprinkles!
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. With the baking mat, it threw my timing off a little because it seems to change the way the cookies are heated – so it was closer to 10 minutes.
  • Cool cookies on baking sheet for approx. 1 minute on baking sheet then transfer to wire rack.
  • ENJOY!

chocolate chip sugar cookies

Good luck to everyone entering the giveaway contest!