Updated every Tuesday for your culinary convenience!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Healthy Banana Bread

I LOVE this banana bread! It's moist, dense, and delicious, just like banana bread should be! And since it's made with whole wheat flour, brown sugar, and yogurt, I don't have to feel guilty if I finish off half a loaf!

So here's what you'll need:

That's a couple overripe bananas, 2 eggs, 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, 1 1/4 cups brown sugar, 2/3 cup plain yogurt or applesauce (I use applesauce now because of Felicity's allergy), 1/3 cup canola oil (you could try substituting the applesauce here, and do a yogurt and applesauce combo!), 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and about 3 tablespoons flaxseed meal. If you don't have flaxseed meal, you don't need it, but it sure is a nice healthy thing to sneak in there!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

If you have a toddler, this is also a good time to get out another bowl, a spoon, and some inexpensive ingredients. Look at the joy on that face!

Mash up 1 1/2 cups worth of banana with a fork. If you have less than 1 1/2 cups total, add some applesauce until it makes 1 1/2 cups.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, then add the other ingredients. If you want to stir them one at a time, you can, but you can also just dump them all in together and stir them all at once, since the batter isn't terribly thick and is easy to stir thoroughly.

Line two 8-inch loaf pans with a generous amount of foil, because that's SO the way to go, and pour the batter into them.

Don't make the blonde mistake of pouring all the batter into one pan, because that makes a huge, inedible mess in your oven. At least, that's what somebody told me once. I really wouldn't know.

Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick yada yada yada. Pull them out of their pans to cool completely, then slice. Or, if you're doing muffins, bake them for 20 minutes.

Yum! How scrumptious is that??

I am a total butter fiend (it's the only dairy product I can have while breastfeeding Felicity), but I don't put butter on this, because it's so moist all by itself. Butter would be a redundant waste of calories.

Now get in the kitchen and start baking!

Healthy Banana Bread

1 ½ cups mashed very ripe banana
2 eggs
2 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 ¼ cups brown sugar
2/3 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons flaxseed meal

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 8-inch loaf pans with foil.

Stir together all ingredients until blended. Pour into pan.

Bake 50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes, then remove from pan and place on wire rack. Let cool completely before slicing.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Indulgent Chocolate Energy Bars

Well, aren't these fabulous?

I love these bars! They're easy to make, uber-chocolaty, and they satisfy hunger better than any store-bought energy bar I've ever had! Read on to make them for yourself!

You will need:

That's 1/3 cup honey, 2/3 cup peanut butter (I've tried this with grind-your-own peanut butter and it ended up too dry and flaky, so I'm sticking with Skippy. Be sure to let me know if you come up with a healthier alternative!), 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 cup coconut flakes, 1/4 cup dry milk powder, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, 1 1/2 cups of rice cereal (if you can find brown rice cereal, that would be better than Rice Krispies - I just can't find any), 1/3 cup chocolate chips, and 2 T flaxseeds or flaxseed meal.

Keep in mind that any of these ingredients can be substituted for anything as long as you keep consistency and proportions the same. No peanut butter? Try another nut butter. Vegan? Use molasses. Feel free to omit the milk or cocoa powder. Replace the chocolate chips with whole nuts (or raisins if you're a pervert). Do whatever you want, just be sure to choose foods with similar textures and flavors that will complement.

Start by warming the honey, then mix in the peanut butter, creating a smooth paste.

Add the other ingredients, one at a time. Generally, it's easiest to start with the finest foods, like the milk, cocoa powder, and flaxseed meal, and then work up to the more chunky foods, like the cereal and chocolate chips.

By the time you're done stirring, your arm may be feeling the burn!

Press the mixture into an 8x8 pan, or, if you double the recipe, a 9x13 works well. I like to line the pan with aluminum foil, to make it easy to remove the bars later.

Place them in the refrigerator to harden.

After a few hours, remove and slice into bars.

It's best to store these in the fridge, since they are messier at room temperature. If you want them to be portable, wrap each one on a small piece of plastic wrap.

Mmmmm! Chocolate goodies that I don't have to feel QUITE so guilty about eating up!

Chocolate Energy Bars
1/3 cup honey
2/3 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup coconut flakes (trust me)
¼ cup dry milk powder
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 ½ cups brown rice cereal
1/3 cup chocolate chips (or carob if you’re a masochist)
2 tablespoons flaxseeds
Heat the honey in the microwave to make it easier to stir, pour in a large bowl, and then stir in the peanut butter. Add each item in order, stirring after each addition. Line a 8x8 baking dish with foil or waxed paper. Put the mixture in the dish and press it down into the pan. Place in the refrigerator to harden, then cut into bars and wrap with plastic wrap to make them portable!

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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Old-Fashioned Bread and Tomato Rice Soup

It would be wrong of me to try to steal the glory on a night like tonight, because I just finished serving my family a delicious meal from recipes found online.

I have a bunch of organic crushed tomatoes that will expire soon, so I googled "crushed tomatoes," and up popped this recipe. Dan declared it to be the best tomato soup he had ever eaten.

I needed something to pair with it, so I decided to attempt this bread, which RaeAnn told me about (she reads Cafe Mama, and now so do I!), and it turned out fabulous. I used whole wheat flour.

I didn't think to take a pic beforehand, but here's the aftermath.

Notice how Dan's bowl has been scraped clean?

Ariel seems to think it's finger lickin' good!

Another Makeshift Meal gets a gold star from the test panel!

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