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Going Bananas for Banana Bread

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So this lovely Saturday morning, I had the worst leg cramps and thought, “I’m going to make banana bread!”

I must say, it was the best batch, ever.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 all purpose flour
  • 5 semi ripe bananas(mashed)
  • 3 eggs (I only used 1 yolk)
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon of bourbon vanilla extract
  • 3 Ferraro Rocher chocolates (roughly crushed)
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda (or 3 teaspoons of baking powder)
  • Nuts (optional)

Directions:

  1. Mix mashed bananas with maple syrup.
  2. In a bowl, mix brown sugar with eggs and banana mixture.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda (or baking powder) and spiff into the mixture of brown sugar, eggs, and bananas. *note that it’s very important that you spiff your flour, or the texture of the batch will come out uneven.
  4. When the mixture is smoothly blended, add vanilla extract.
  5. Pour onto a baking tray (I usually cover mine with foil to save cleanup time)
  6. Sprinkle a handful of brown sugar over the mixture and the crushed Ferraro Rocher chocolate pieces (add any kind of nut mixture if you like)
  7. Bake for 60 minutes at 350 degrees F.
  8. Let it cool before serving.

Bon Appetit!

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10 Ways to Cut Back on Sugar


Americans are consuming way more sugar than they should — 22 teaspoons a day. It’s clear we need to cut back, but it’s hard to break old habits. The American Heart Association (AHA) is urging people to aim for no more than 100 calories of sugar a day (six teaspoons). Here are some easy things you can do to lighten up on the white stuff.

1. Cut back slowly. A gradual switch is ideal to avoid the chances of regressing back to sweets.

2. Try to ween yourself off of the sugar you add to foods. Stir less sugar into your cup of joe and sprinkle less sugar on your cereal or oatmeal.

3. Choose your sugar vice for the day. Limit your daily sugar intake. Keep in mind that one soft drink, a small candy bar, a few plain cookies, or a small portion of light ice cream or frozen yogurt is equal to 100 to 150 calories of added sugar.

4. Don’t be fooled by natural sugars. Brown sugar, molasses, Sucanat, and turbinado sugar are still sugar. 5. Avoid liquid sugars. A 12-ounce can of coke contains 40 grams of sugar, and a 20-ounce bottle of Vitamin Water contains 32 grams.

6. Buy plain yogurt instead of flavored yogurt. Either sweeten it with fresh or frozen fruit, or mix half plain yogurt with half fruit yogurt.

7. Don’t be fooled by healthier versions of treats. An oatmeal raisin cookie and strawberry ice cream are still made with sugar. So are many energy bars.

8. Get fruity. To satisfy your sweet tooth, choose naturally sweet foods like fruit, dried fruit such as dates or apricots, fruit smoothies, carrots, sweet potatoes, and homemade popsicles.

9. Check labels on fruit products. Fruit is naturally sweet enough, but some companies choose to make it sweeter by adding sugar. Choose jams and juices that are sweetened with nothing but fruit.

10. Check labels on other foods and look for hidden sugars. If a label says sucrose, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, cane juice crystals, evaporated cane juice, dextrose, molasses, or malted barley extract, it contains sugar.

{FitSugar}

French Quiche


A French quiche is one of the simplest dishes you can make and good results are nearly guaranteed… Quiche is a savory baked tart or custard filled with meats, cheese, and vegetables, and thickened with eggs. It is always served open face and baked in a pastry crust, and is regarded as the savory equivalent of a custard tart or pie.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 9-inch refrigerated pie crust
  2. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  3. 2 medium onions, chopped
  4. Kosher salt and black pepper
  5. 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  6. 4 large eggs
  7. 3/4 cup half-and-half
  8. 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  9. 8 ounces Gruyere, grated
  10. 4 cups mixed greens

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 375° F. Fit the crust into a 9-inch pie plate. Place on a baking sheet.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the parsley.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, nutmeg, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir in the onion mixture and the Gruyère.
  4. Pour the egg mixture into the crust. Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes. Drizzle the greens with the remaining tablespoon of oil and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Serve with the quiche.

 

10 Strange Pineapple Facts


I bet you have never thought about these interesting things when picking out a pineapple at the grocery store or eating one. These are just 10 strange pineapple facts, of course there are plenty more out there!

  1. There are a lot of foods that affect the taste of your seminal or vaginal fluids, but pineapple is one of the strongest. Eating a lot of pineapple makes you taste sweeter, and less ‘fishy’.
  2. When you cut up a pineapple at home, you normally chuck the skin, core and ends in the bin. The pineapple canning industry doesn’t though, these bits are used for making alcohol, vinegar and animal feed.
  3. Each pineapple plant only produces just one pineapple per year.
  4. Unripe pineapples don’t just taste vile, but can actually be quite poisonous. Eating it causes serious throat irritation and it has a strong laxative effect.
  5. Pineapples grow slowly, and can take up to two years to reach full size, so we pick and eat them when they are much smaller, but if they are left to their own devices they can reach up to 9kg (20lbs).
  6. If you want to speed up the ripening of a pineapple, so that you can eat it faster, then you can do it by standing it upside down (on the leafy end).
  7. Traditionally pineapple juice was used as a diuretic and to induce labour.
  8. The Bromelain enzyme in pineapples breaks down proteins. This means that you can use pineapple or pineapple juice as a meat tenderiser.
  9. The same Bromelain enzyme means that you can’t put fresh pineapple in jelly, because it breaks down the gelatine. You can stop this from happening by boiling the chunks of pineapple in their juice or in water for a few minutes, or you can use canned pineapple.
  10. In case you find yourself on a sailing trip in the tropics without any Ajax, you might like to know that pineapple juice mixed with sand is very good for cleaning boat decks and machete blades.

{Johnonfood}

Vanilla Poached Figs, Cherries and Pistachio Parfaits


I personally love the concept of figs – they taste amazing, have a ton of nutritional values, and take 3 seconds to devour (especially when they’re ripe!) Anyhow, I saw this recipe and it just looked absolutely amazing, try it out for yourself!
Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups / 10 oz / 300g  dried figs – stems removed and halved/quartered
  • 1 vanilla bean – seeds scraped and pod reserved
  • 1/2 cup / 3.5 oz / 100g dried cherries
  •  a large pot of Greek style yogurt
  • 1 oz (25g) pistachios – 1/4 cup
 Directions:
  1. In a medium saucepan over med-high heat, bring water to boil and stir in honey. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add both the seeds and the pod into the pot. Stir in the halved figs, top with a lid, and let softly simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Add in the cherries and simmer another 15 minutes. It should have thickened considerably, but still have quite a bit of liquid.
  3. Let cool a bit, pour in a bowl and then refrigerate three hours. Layer the figs and their sauce with yogurt in glasses to create the parfaits. Top with chopped pistachios.

{JosieLeeSuska}

Homemade Chocolate Granola Bars


They say there’s nothing better than home-cooked food, well it goes the same for snacks as well. Why buy overly sweet or cardboard flavored granola bars when you can make it at home? Try this recipe I stumbled upon on the web

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c. Oats, toasted and ground
  • 1/4 c. Almonds, toasted and ground
  • 1/4 c. Walnuts, toasted and ground
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 6 dates, room temperature, ground to paste
  • 1/4 c. Oats, raw
  • 1-2 tsp cacao nibs
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted

Directions:

  1. Start by removing the dates from the fridge and bring to room temperature, then toast the oats, almonds and walnuts sprinkled with cinnamon at 350 degrees in a toaster oven for 5-10 minutes. Be careful not to let them burn, as soon as I can smell them I take them out.
  2. Then just lightly pulse all of them in a food processor unttil you achieve a ground texture. Keep in mind you don’t want to make nut butter here, I emphasize the word pulse. Place in a separate bowl, to it, add the whole raw oats and cocoa nibs (or whatever other flavors you want.)
  3. In the same processor blend the dates until smooth, to it add back the oat nut nib mixture. Fork whisk together the cocoa powder and coconut oil then add that to the food processor and pulse until everything is combined.
  4. Turn out onto a parchment lined dish and using clean hands form into a rectangle or the form of the dish. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Remove from fridge and cut into 4 rectangles. Will keep refrigerated for 2-3 weeks. Enjoy

{TheTalkingKitchen}

Low-Fat Cheesecake


Who doesn’t love cheesecake? Now you can satisfy your sweet craving without sacrificing your waistline. This classic dessert offers what any other cheesecake offers at a fraction of the calories. So go ahead, indulge. Cheesecake never tasted so good.

Prep time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 1 hour,  10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 9 whole low-fat cinnamon graham crackers, broken in half
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 8-ounce packages Neufchatel cream cheese, softened
  • 2 8-ounce packages fat-free cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 2 large eggs plus 3 egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • Assorted toppings

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Pulse the graham crackers in a food processor until crumbled. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water and the butter; pulse until moistened. Wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan with foil to prevent leaks. Coat the inside of the pan with cooking spray and press the crumbs onto the bottom. Bake until browned, about 8 minutes. Let cool, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, beat both cream cheeses and the sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until smooth, 5 minutes, then beat in the sour cream on low. Lightly whisk the 3 egg whites in a bowl, then add to the cheese mixture along with the 2 whole eggs, flour, vanilla and lemon zest. Beat on medium speed until fluffy, 3 minutes. Pour over the crust.
  3. Place the cheesecake in a roasting pan and add enough warm water to come one-quarter of the way up the sides of the springform. Bake until the cake is set but the center still jiggles, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Turn off the oven; keep the cheesecake inside with the door closed for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove the cake from the water bath and transfer to a rack. Run a knife around the edge, then cool completely. Chill until firm, at least 8 hours. Top as desired.

{FoodNetwork}