Not-so-bad-for-you Banana Pancakes

I don’t get a chance to drift into deep sleep very often with a toddler and a newborn around the house, so I have tons of dreams (that is, if dreams could be measured in weight).  I normally dream about a TV series that I’m watching since when I do get to watch a TV series it’s normally catching up with the first half of the season by watching 6 episodes in one day. I also dream about books that I’m reading. I happen to be reading A Chicken in Every Yard: The Urban Farm Store’s Guide to Chicken Keeping and also catching up on Black Sails.  So my dreams last night were pretty interesting. No joke, chicken pirates. Yep.

Anyway, that has nothing to do with the banana pancakes I made this morning. I just felt like giving Milo a little treat. He likes for me to cut the pancake into four sections, then make little peanut butter sandwiches with the sections.  Not quite as messy as syrup, and much better for him.

Banana Pancakes Recipe

 

I decided to call these “not-so-bad-for-you” because this recipe uses coconut palm sugar and coconut oil, as opposed to regular sugar and butter or vegetable oil.  Of course, you could sub those ingredients in, however, you would then just have banana pancakes instead of my awesome version.  Okay, so here goes…

Not-so-bad-for-you Banana Pancakes

1 cup self-rising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar

2 bananas

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg, beaten

1/3 cup whole milk

1 tablespoon coconut oil (liquified) 

Heat cast iron skillet (or pan of your choice) over medium-high heat.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and coconut palm sugar together. In a smaller bowl, mash bananas and mix in vanilla extract. Add egg, milk, and coconut oil to banana mixture, mix well, then add to dry ingredients, mixing only until incorporated.

Using a 1/4 cup measuring spoon, measure a little less than 1/4 a cup of batter and pour into skillet. Smooth out with back of spoon. Cook until bubbles form on top of pancake. Flip and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Serve with syrup or peanut butter!

Banana Pancake Recipe

 

These pancakes are nice and fluffy, not flat like normal pancakes, so make sure to wait for those bubbles to form on top so it gets cooked all the way though. You might need to play with the heat settings if it’s getting too brown before the bubbles form.

Enjoy your weekend!

 

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cake

I wish I could blame my chocolate-peanut butter addiction on pregnancy, but alas, I have been plagued with it all the days of my life! I love salty/sweet combinations in my dessert, just like I love sweet/savory combinations in my dinner entrees.  

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This recipe is a good balance of sweet and salty, especially with the addition of salted, roasted peanuts crumbled on top! The frosting is a peanut butter cream cheese frosting. Yum! You will definitely need a big glass of milk to wash a piece of this down. 

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I used a basic chocolate cake recipe, so if you have one that works for you, then use it! If not, keep this one handy!

Chocolate Cake

1 3/4 cup flour

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

1/2 cup neutral tasting oil (I normally use grape seed, but you can use canola or vegetable)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup of freshly brewed coffee (you won’t taste it!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 8- or 9-inch baking pans by spraying with baking spray or greasing with shortening, then flouring.  Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, combine the wet ingredients, then, with the mixer set on low, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. Add the 1 cup of coffee and mix until just combined, scraping to bowl to make sure you got it all. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until cake is done (test with a butter knife or toothpick).

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

8oz softened cream cheese

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

1 tablespoons milk

handful of salted peanuts, chopped

In your standing mixer, mix peanut butter and cream cheese on high for about 3-5 minutes.  Turn the mixer off {or don’t and see what happens} and add the sugar, one cup at a time. Add the vanilla and milk. Taste and feel the frosting to make sure it’s the consistency of normal cake frosting. If it’s a little dry, add another tablespoon of milk. If it’s a little wet, add another cup of sugar. I sprinkled my cake with a tiny bit of cocoa powder and a handful of salted peanuts. 

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Enjoy!

Sweet Potato & Vanilla Risotto

Fall weather is setting in for most of the US, but it’s still pretty warm here in Arizona.  I’m okay with that because I can still turn my AC to 65, put on a sweater, drink some hot tea, and make yummy Fall meals like this one!

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This recipe was adapted from Giada De Laurentiis’s Giada’s Kitchen cookbook.  I loved her Butternut squash risotto, but I love sweet potatoes and carrots, too! Also, I needed to add some meat to the dish for my husband, so I added shredded chicken and exchanged the vegetable broth for chicken broth.

Sweet Potato & Vanilla Risotto

4 cups chicken broth

1 vanilla bean

2 cups sweet potato, chopped into 1 inch cubes

1 cup chopped carrots

2 chicken breasts, cooked (I boiled), then shredded

2 tablespoons butter

1 small sweet onion

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice

1/2 cup dry white wine

3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons chopped chives

salt and pepper

In a large saucepan, heat chicken broth over medium-high heat. Split vanilla bean down the middle, remove seeds with a small knife, then add seeds and bean to the broth. When the broth comes to a boil, add the sweet potatoes and carrots. Turn the heat down to medium, and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender (carrots will still be firm to the bite).  Remove vegetables with a slotted spoon, but keep the broth simmering over low heat.

In the meantime, grab another large saucepan and heat the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the chopped onion an cook for about 3 minutes.  Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Pour in the wine and simmer until the wine is almost evaporated.  Add 1/2 cup of the simmering broth and simmer until the liquid is almost completely evaporated (3 to 4 minutes). Continue to do this, while stirring the rice, until the broth is gone (discard the bean pod).  The rice should be tender and the mixture should be nice and creamy! If you like your rice a bit more tender, you can heat a little more broth and keep adding until the risotto is to your liking.

Gently stir in the vegetables, chicken, parmesan cheese, and chives. Taste to see if you need to add salt and pepper. Top with another sprinkle of parmesan cheese and a little bit of chives. Enjoy!

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You can totally leave the chicken and exchange the chicken broth for some vegetable broth to make this a meatless or vegetarian meal. Have a great Tuesday, everyone, and tune in tomorrow for a delicious dessert!

Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal

Monday through Friday I am really good about breakfast. I normally have a protein shake or fruit and eggs. Saturday and Sunday mornings are reserved for, what I call, a good breakfast. I always have something sweet for breakfast on Saturday and Sunday. Sunday is normally “pancake Sunday” but I have been skipping the pancakes and reaching for the oatmeal container instead.

Growing up, oatmeal was a totally different experience for me. Mom bought the instant packs and her favorites were the fruit n’ cream ones. So we grew up on packaged strawberries n’ cream or peaches n’ cream oatmeal. That is what I thought oatmeal was. Packages of instant deliciousness.

Of course they were too good to be true.

Not only are those wonderful little packages loaded with sugar and salt, they also contain some kind of powered cream and weird, dried up fruit and doesn’t look or taste anything like normal dried fruit. I don’t know about you, but I believe cream is best kept refrigerated and fresh…not powered, sitting in a package on a grocery store shelf for months and months.

Anyway, I knew my time with instant flavored oatmeal was up when I decided to ditch the process foods. Thank God, because this homemade version of Maple and Brown Sugar Oatmeal is way better than the packaged kind and it doesn’t use any sketchy ingredients!

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Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal

Serves 1. Double for 2 servings!

1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill thick rolled oats (or your favorite oats)

1 cup water

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon maple extract

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon real maple syrup

*optional Butter and Milk

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil, add oats, vanilla extract, maple extract, and cinnamon. Stir and cook on med-low heat for about 10 minutes. When the oatmeal starts looking they way you like it (I like mine a little watery) then turn the heat off and cover for a few minutes.

Transfer to serving bowl and sprinkle brown sugar and maple syrup over the oats. Add butter and milk if desired! Enjoy!

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Simple and sweet stir fry

I love to cook stir fry. It’s so easy, takes a small amount of time, and only uses one or two dishes! I also like a sweet sauce along with something sweet in the stir fry, like pineapple!

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I used pineapple, water chestnuts, broccoli, sweet onion, and baby bella mushrooms, but you are more than welcome to use whatever combination of veggies you love. Sam has been gone for the past few days (due back tonight, yay!) so I went meatless but you can add meat if that’s your style. Me? I’d be happy if I never saw meat again!

Simple & Sweet Stir Fry

Serves 2

1 cup Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced

Half of a sweet onion, sliced thin

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup broccoli florets

1/2 cup pineapple, chopped, about 1 inch cubes

small can of sliced water chestnuts

Olive Oil (to cook veggies in)

1/4 cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons raw honey

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon sirracha *or more if you like it spicy*

1 teaspoon corn starch mixed with 1 tablespoon warm water

1 cup cooked brown rice *I like to cook mine in chicken or vegetable broth for more flavor*

For the sauce, mix soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sirracha, & cornstarch mixture together in a bowl and adjust sweet or spicy flavors if needed. Make sure you mix the cornstarch with the water separate from the sauce and then add that mixture to the sauce. Otherwise, you’re going to have clumps of cornstarch floating around your sauce.

Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan and cook the mushrooms and onion on medium-high heat until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, broccoli, water chestnuts, and pineapple and cook for 5 more minutes or until the broccoli is tender.  At this point, I like to add some soy sauce to the cooking veggies, about 3 tablespoons.  Add the sauce to the veggies and cook and stir for about 2 minutes or until the sauce starts to get thick and bubbly.

Serve the vegetables over the rice, making sure to spoon some of that yummy sauce over it!

Enjoy!

Blueberry cornmeal pancakes

It sure has been nice having my other half home with me and Milo. We are all unpacked and cozy in our new home in Yuma, and we are finally falling into place as a family. Of course, that will all be thrown up in the air and run over by a semi truck when Sam leaves for a few weeks to go back to Okinawa to check out! Just when we were getting comfortable…

I am getting used to running my own household again, only this time it’s so much more fun because we have this little person running around here. I’ve had tons of fun cooking every day for my little family! For Pancake Sunday I decided to make corn-cakes since I’ve been dreaming about the ones I had at Cafe Vida when I went to visit my sister-in-law a few weeks ago.  Sam normally doesn’t like sweet things for breakfast, but he LOVED these, so I have decided to make them, at least, a monthly thing in this house.

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I used the recipe on the backside of the Bob’s Red Mill Blue Cornmeal bag, since I’ve used many of these recipes and they have all turned out amazing. Regular cornmeal can certainly be used, I just thought this blue cornmeal would be fun since I was adding blueberries.

Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes

3/4 cup cornmeal

1 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. sugar

1 cup boiling water

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup milk

2 tbsp. butter, melted

3/4 cup whole grain flour (or white)

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Mix cornmeal, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Stir in the boiling water until all of the ingredients are wet, then cover and let stand for a few minutes. In a small bowl combine egg, milk, and melted butter. Stir milk mixture into cornmeal mixture. Combine flour and baking powder, then stir into cornmeal mixture until just incorporated. Don’t over-mix it! Fold blueberries into batter. If the batter is a little stiff, add more milk until it flows off of the spoon thickly, but smoothly.  Heat cast iron skillet over medium heat, grease with oil or butter, and spoon about 1/4 cup of the mixture into the pan.  You know to flip when the whole surface is covered in bubbles. Serve with pure maple syrup or fruit or peanut butter! Yum!

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I think I love corncakes more than I love regular flour pancakes. They have a little crunch from the cornmeal and a little more saltiness too, which pairs perfectly with sweet maple syrup!

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Next post will be about the new home, promise! Have a great Tuesday!

Delicious and easy banana pudding

I stumbled upon a recipe that could be the death of my size 2 jeans. I was cleaning out my closet, trying to get rid of clothes and purses that I didn’t use anymore and in the pocket of one of the clutches I was giving away I found the recipe for the amazing banana pudding that a nice lady named Mrs. Ruth from Gethsemane Baptist Church always makes.  I knew she had given me this recipe at my bridal shower, but I wasn’t sure where I had stashed it until then. Why was it tucked away in some random purse? I have no clue…probably to protect myself from it.

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Anyway, I decided to make it despite the danger it could possibly do to my waistline. It is day 5 of the banana pudding occupation and I am still managing to fit into my jeans. I have decided to share the recipe with the rest of the world..or at least with my readers. I got to looking around and it turns out that this is a pretty basic recipe for banana pudding. I am thinking of adding cream cheese to the next batch…which won’t be anytime soon..probably 3 years from now.

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Mrs. Ruth’s Banana Pudding

Serves about 12

3 packages instant vanilla pudding (the regular size, not the jumbo boxes)

5 cups cold milk

8 oz. container of cool whip

8 oz. container of sour cream

3 – 4 bananas for layering

1 box of vanilla wafers for layering

Mix vanilla pudding and milk in mixing bowl for 2 minutes on medium speed. In a separate bowl, mix sour cream and cool whip together and fold into the pudding. Layer the pudding with the bananas and wafers. I like to start with a layer of wafers, just so there is a solid bottom. Then, refrigerate until ready to serve!

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