Monday, July 29, 2013

Coconut Banana Sorbet

I have this problem with bananas:  I hoard them.

They're great for baking, so I like to have a bunch on hand all the time.  I wait for them to turn brown, then freeze them so they're ready whenever I could possibly need them.

The problem is, during that ripening time I get really cranky and don't let anyone eat any.  By now, my dad knows better than to even ask.  Although, I'm convinced he sometimes sneaks down in the middle of the night to steal a banana.

Things have gotten a bit better lately, because I've taken to buying 2 bunches of bananas, one for me and one for everyone else. That way, my dad can have his precious bananas, and I can have my brown and mushy bananas for baking.

It's a win, win situation.  Banana for all!

Anywho, I dipped into my banana stash to make this Coconut Banana Sorbet.  Sometimes I get so caught up in baking that I forget about simple summer desserts like ice cream and Popsicles.

Im beginning to fix that with this Coconut Banana Sorbet.  It's super easy and super delicious.  I know you're gonna love it!

Coconut Banana Sorbet
  • 1 1/2 cups light coconut milk
  • 3 large bananas, mashed (about 1/2 cup mashed)
  • 2-4 tbsp honey (start with 2, then add more)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Place all ingredients in a blender.  Blend until combined.  Taste to check sweetness, and add more honey if needed.  Pour mixture into an ice cream maker.  Let sorbet churn until it as reached a thick ice cream consistency.  Pour into a container and freeze until compeltely frozen.  Scoop into bowl and serve cold.  Make 4-8 servings.

Revisited Recipe of the Day:

Coconut Ginger Cookies

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ginger Peanut Sauce Baked Tofu

Peanut sauce could probably convince me to eat a stick.  Sadly, that's actually true.

A good peanut sauce is just so darn good.  Whenever I make peanut sauce  (because homemade is always better), I have to resist the urge to douse whatever I'm eating with it.  Chicken?  A waterfall of sauce on top.  Pasta?  There goes a lot more.  Greek yogurt with fruit?  Er... no.  But I actually did think about it.  And no, I'm not kidding.

The peanut sauce used in this recipe is some of the best I've ever made.  It's got your typical peanut flavor, which is already amazing, but then there's also the hidden zing of fresh ginger.  It takes it to a whole new level!

So I made said Ginger Peanut Sauce, and then was left with the tough decision of what exactly to do with it (because as much as I'd like to, simply pouring it on top of everything I ate didn't seem appropriate).  There is no food that's more of a blank canvas than tofu, so I figured tofu would be the perfect vehicle.

Here's what you do:  break open a package of extra firm tofu and slice it thin.  Next, you're gonna want to press the tofu to remove moisture and make the texture less spongy.  If you've got one of the fancy tofu presses, use that (I think you do that before cutting, so ignore that first step).  I, on the other hand, have no such contraption and was forced to make my own tofu press for the time being.  No problemo.  Whip out two baking sheets, a bunch of paper towels and some cans/cookbooks/heavy stuff.  Put some paper towels on one of the baking sheets, put the tofu on that, top with more paper towels and the second baking sheet.  Throw all that heavy stuff you collected on top and viola!  You're done!

Let that press for as long as you like, about an hour should be good.  Then all you've gotta do is slather you're tofu with peanut sauce, stick it in the oven, and enjoy!

Major peanut sauce love = satisfied.

Ginger Peanut Sauce Baked Tofu

  • 1 package extra firm tofu
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger

Preheat oven to 400F.  Remove tofu from package and thinly slice.  Press tofu for at least one hour to remove moisture (directions on how to do it above).  In a cereal bowl, mix together remaining ingredients until a smooth sauce forms.  Take pressed tofu slices and dip then in peanut sauce to coat both sides.  Place coated tofu on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.  Serve Peanut Sauce Baked Tofu with grains + veggies (I served it with a grain mix and some sauteed onions, pepper, and squash)

Revisited Recipe of the Day:

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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Quinoa Granola Bars

Is it really already July 21st?  We're one month into summer folks!  How does it feel?

Personally, it's going a bit fast for my liking, but at least it feels like the summer.  I don't know about where you live, but the temperature has be absolutely soaring here. Thank god for cool drinks (link that), pools, and air conditioning.

The 21st of the month means one thing around here: the Recipe ReDux.  This months theme?  Travel snacks.  Foods that you're sure to have on hand whenever you go away.  Ideally, they travel well, can pass through airport security, and won't go bad after hours in a car.  All that is easier said than done, but I came up with a winner recipe this month, I can promise you that.

Whenever I go away the one thing I'm sure to bring is a protein bar.  I wish I could say I'm cool enough to make my own, but that really isn't the case.  I just pick up some packaged bars from the store and throw them in my bag.  I like that they're easy to pack, have enough substance to satisfy me, and also taste pretty yummy.  Basically, I wanted to incorporate all that into a homemade travel snack.

With the result being these Quinoa Granola Bars, my mission was accomplished.

Lets go over my three goals.

1.  A snack that's easy to pack.

I knew instantly that I wanted to make a bar.  You can throw them into a plastic bag, wrap them up in aluminum foil, or do whatever else to package them before simply throwing them wherever.  Bars typically don't need a specific temperature and they done require a ton if space either.  As far as these homemade granola bars go, they're a bit fragile, but you can treat them however you would treat another granola bar in terms of packing for a trip.

2.  A snack that keeps you satisfied

More protein bars use protein powder to pack in some punch.  I don't have protein powder, and have no desire to buy s big jar just to make some granola bars.  I thought hard for a replacement and finally came up with using quinoa.  It adds a bit of protein and also some fiber to keep you full.  I ended up using cooked quinoa in the final granol pa bar recipe.  It sounds a bit strange, but it works like a charm.

3. A snack that tastes awesome

Of course these bars taste great.  They're flavored simply with cinnamon and a nut butter of you choice. I used peanut butter and it worked great.  The simplicity of the bar leaves plenty of room for you to customize it for your liking.  Add chocolate chips, nuts, or dried fruit.  It will all be awesome, I promise.

Quinoa Granola Bars

  • 1 cup quick oats (make your own quick oats by quickly blending rolled oats until they break down a bit)
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (see package for cooking instructions)
  • 1/4 cup oat flour (grind oats in a coffee grinder until they reach a flour-like consistency)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup nut butter of choice (I used peanut butter)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • optional: add-ins like chocolate chips, nuts, or dried fruit
Preheat oven to 350F.  Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper.  In a large bowl, mix together oats, quinoa, oat flour, and cinnamon.  Add honey, applesauce, nut butter, and vanilla.  Mix until a sticky mixture forms.  If you want to use any add-ins, throw in a handful now, and mix them in.  Press mixture into prepared pan.  Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Once cooled, cut into 8 bars.  Store in an airtight container.  For traveling, put bars in a blastic bag or wrap in aluminum foil.

Revisited Recipe of the Day:

Chocolate Quinoa Fudge Bars

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Watermelon Juice

I'm going to tell you something weird about me, and you have to promise not to laugh.  It's about watermelon.  See?  Weird.  I bet you're laughing already.  

But anyway, I've always had this weird preference when it comes to that red fruit.  In fact, I have lots of weird fruit habits, but now is not the time for all of that (If there's ever a recipe with grapes though, I'm sure you will hear more).  Basically, my favorite part of watermelon is the white part that's right next to the rind.  I know, I know, I'm a weirdo. (Look at the bowl in that picture below.  Those pieces with the rim of white = my absolute favorite)

The thing is, watermelon is just so much better when it's partly white.  When you eat that bright red stuff right in the middle it has seeds and is mealy, but when you eat the watermelon near the rind it's all crisp and crunchy and almost like flavored water that you can chew.

Does that make any sense at all?  It does to me, but I'm not so sure about you.  Whatever, I like what I like.

Just thought I'd share that fun fact with you.  Now you know I'm crazy and like the white part of watermelon more than the red.

Moving on to today's recipe...

I'm not sure I can really call it a recipe.  It's more like a 3 minute I'm-so-thirsty-I'm-gonna-die drink.  Made with only two ingredients (you read that right, TWO), this beautiful juice is simply the best way to cool down on a summer day, while still being healthy, of course.  I call it Watermelon Juice, and it's totally delicious, whether you use the white part of the watermelon or not.

Watermelon Juice
  • 1 1/2 cups watermelon, cut into cubes
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
Place watermelon and lime juice in a blender.  Blend until a thin juice forms.  You will not have to add any extra liquid.  Pour into glasses and serve.  Recipe makes one large serving, or two smaller ones.  To make a larger amount at one time, you can easily double, or even triple, the recipe.

I bet everyone will be jealous of you and your fancy shmancy Watermelon Juice.  You just watch.
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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Asian Avocado and Snap Pea Salad

Well, would you just look at this bowl of summer deliciousness.

Who else loves sugar snap peas in the summer?  They're one of my favorite veggies ever this time of year.  'Cause when snap peas are good, they're really good.

I swear, it's like candy that grows on a vine.  Crunchy and sweet and just all around perfect.  I could eat them for dessert!  I guess they don't call 'em sugar snap peas for nothing, huh?

A few days ago I decided to take some of my wonderful sugar snap peas and throw together a quick salad with them.  It was a very good choice on my part.

  The creamy avocado compliments the crunchy snap peas, and the tomatoes add a nice pop of color.  I threw together a quick dressing with soy sauce, vinegar, and sweet chili sauce.  Oh, how delicious it was.

Summer is the time for light meals, fresh produce, and no use of the oven at all.  This salad delivers all of that.  Use it as a side at dinner or the main focal point during the lunch.  It's even easy enough to prepare as a quick snack.

Last but not least, how beautiful is this thing?  My mom was looking at the un-edited pictures and she asked if I had brought up the saturation.  No, mom.  That's just nature being all beautiful and amazing.

It's crazy what nature can do!

Asian Avocado Snap Pea Salad

  • 1 small, ripe avocado
  • large handful sugar snap peas (about 15 peas)
  • large handful grape tomatoes (about 10 tomatoes)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sweet chili sauce
  • 1/2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp orange champagne vinegar or orange juice
Slice avocado into small chunks.  Place in a medium sized bowl.  Chop snap peas and add to bowl.  Cut tomatoes in half and add to bowl as well.  Measure all remaining ingredients into a small bowl.  Whisk together until completely combined. Add dressing (soy sauce mixture) to chopped vegetables in bowl.  Mix together to coat veggies with dressing.  Divide into two serving dishes.  Serve immediately or store in fridge until serving time.  Makes two side salads.

Revisited Recipe of the Day:

What I'm Eating: February 2013
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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins

I hope you don't mind more muffins.  I certainly don't.  After all, muffins are basically cupcakes you can eat for breakfast.  What's not to love about that?

And these particular muffins are chocolate.  Chocolate!  Are you getting all this?  So far we have a recipe that is essentially a chocolate cupcake that's ok to eat for breakfast.  Now who's complaining about two muffin recipes in a row?

But I'm not done yet.  Oh no, not even close.

As if little guys don't have enough going for them already, I also made them, you guessed it, healthy!

Instead of using all spelt flour, which is what I would normally do, I decided to switch it up with a half whole wheat, half spelt flour mixture.  Let me tell you, you cannot tell there's whole wheat in these guys.  The texture is just perfect!  None of the dense and gummy stuff that sometimes comes along with whole wheat flour.

The awesomeness continues with the fact that these muffins are 100% fat free.  There aren't even any chocolate chips it them to ruin that claim (although if you'd like to add them I won't complain).  But like with the flour, you can't tell.  PERFECT texture.

Can you tell I just love these muffins?

It's just so much fun when you find a recipe that's healthy, but doesn't taste it at all.  And it's even better when said recipe entitles you to chocolate "cake" before 9am.  Hey, these muffins do have pumpkin, whole wheat flour, and no fat.  Totally breakfast acceptable ;)

Fat Free Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins

  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup honey (if you like things really sweet, you may want to add more)
  • 1/3 cup egg whites
  • 3/4 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease a muffin tin well (!!!).  In a medium sized bowl, mix together pumpkin, honey, egg whites, yogurt, and vanilla.  In another large bowl, combine cocoa powder, flours, baking soda, and baking powder.  Min until incorporated.  Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture.  Mix until a smooth, but thick batter has formed.  Your batter should be almost like brownie batter, it's so thick.  Scoop batter evenly between 12 muffin tin cups.  Bake for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool before removing from pan and storing muffins in an airtight container.  Muffins will keep for 3-4 days on the counter, and can be frozen as well.

See that texture up there?  You must make these!

Revisited Recipe of the Day:

More muffins for you: Nutella Swirl Banana Muffins

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Oat Flour Blueberry Muffins + Some Info on Oat Flour

I want to take some time to talk about oat flour.  Maybe you've noticed some recipes on this blog using it, and maybe you haven't.  Either way, oat flour is one of my new favorite ingredients.  I was going to dedicate a whole post to it, but instead I decided to just shove everything I want to share into one big post with a recipe for blueberry muffins at the end.  Sound good?  Good.

So for starters, what is oat flour?  It really is as simple as rolled oats ground into a fine flour.  I've read that you can use a blender, food processor, or coffee grinder to make it, but I've really only had success with a coffee grinder.  Sure, a food processor or blender will break down the oats, but if you really want a fine constituency, one that's like other flours, a coffee grinder is the way to go.

Once your oat flour is made you can store it in a container until its time to use.  I usually don't think that far ahead, though, so most of the time I make just as much flour as I need for a certain recipe right before baking said recipe.  Oat flour is easy enough to make that this isn't a huge hassle.

Made with gluten free oats, oat flour can be made completely gluten free, which is great if you don't want to use a bunch of funky flours.  I'm also 90% sure that's it's lower in calories than other flours, bt you'd have to double check on that one.  My favorite part about using it, however, is the taste it lends baked goods.  Oats have this slight sweetness which comes though when you bake with oat flour, especially if the recipe doesn't have any super strong flavors to cover up the oats.  I love the taste and it also means I don't have to use as much sweetener which is always a plus in my book.

Sooo, that's about it.  Hopefully you'll consider using oat flour in some recipes in the future now that you know a bit more about it.  Maybe a delicious oat flour blueberry muffin recipe will help motivate you?  I'm thinking that's a definite yes.

Oat Flour Blueberry Muffins

  • 1 1/2 cups oat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot starch/flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or another mild tasting vinegar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Preheat oven to 350F.  In a large bowl, mix together oat flour, baking powder, salt, and arrowroot.  In another bowl, combine milk and vinegar.  Let sit 5 minutes.  Add vanilla, honey, and egg white to bowl with milk.  Add wet ingredients to dry.  Mix until a smooth batter forms.  Mix in blueberries until incorporated.  Divide batter evenly between 12 greased muffin tin cups.  Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and muffins are firm.  Store in an airtight container.  Makes 12 muffins.

Note:  These muffins do not rise very much, so they're more like bluberry cakes.  That does not, however, make them any less delicious!

(Sorry for an weird formatting on this post.  I'm travelling right now and am using a different computer than normal)
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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Banana Yogurt, Cherry, and Blueberry Parfaits

There's something you should know about me:  I'm really bad at holidays.

Not as in that I forget them, or that I don't buy presents or something.  It's just that I'm so bad at being holiday-ish.  You know, like wearing green on St Patricks Day or remembering to make up some elaborate prank for April Fools Day.  I just flat out forget that stuff.

But this year I think I may be improving!  I made Cookie Dough Eggs for Easter, and Gingerbread Cake in November, and now these gorgeous Red, White, and Blue Parfaits just in time for the 4th of July.

These are super duper simple.  Remember what I said about simple being my friend?  That continues today.  

This right here is a 5 minute recipe.  It's perfect for summer, with no oven needed and fresh cherries and blueberries joining the mix.  I love fresh fruit in the summer!

Whip these parfaits up Thursday afternoon, or simply enjoy them any other day this summer.  I know I'll be making them again!

Banana Yogurt, Cherry, amd Blueberry Parfaits

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • chopped cherries
  • fresh blueberries
Combine yogurt, vanilla, and banana in a blender.  Blend until fully incorporated.  Layer banana yogurt with cherries and blueberries in small glasses to make parfaits. Grab a spoon and dig in!  Recipe makes 2-4 servings, depending on size of parfaits

Revisited Recipe of the Day:

Cheesy Star Chips

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