……………………………………………………. Baking our mark

Recipe Flash: Frozen Banana Bites June 21, 2012

It’s day number two of nearly 100 degree weather in Philly.  I think this is the worst thing in the world.

Even the flowers don’t like it.

And, with the clarity of a corporate blackberry camera and the photojournalism skills of a writer, I give you a heat tour of my walk from work to home in Philly.

Everyone’s using the fountain as a pool

But no one’s in the park, which is usually overflowing with small children

Which means that no one wants to cook. Or eat anything other than ice for that matter.

The home-made solution to this predicament?

Frozen banana bites

Frozen Banana Bites (idea stolen from BA)

Basically, melt some chocolate with a little bit of oil. (Ratio:  1 cup chocolate to 1 Tbs. vegetable oil)

Dunk in a slice of banana and coat it. Fish it out with a fork and let some of the excess fall off.

Then, roll it around in something that goes well with chocolate and banana (i.e., coconut, oreos, peanuts, skor bits, etc. ).

Put the completed slices onto some parchment paper, then pop them in the freezer for a few hours. (Put them in a sealed container after you’ve frozen them if you intend to store them in the freezer for any length of time.)

…you’ll need more than two…

They taste like summer, but are lovely and cold. Can’t think of anything better for dinner tonight.


Who needs camping? Indoor banana boat alternatives March 13, 2012

Growing up, I was obsessed with camping. Not so much the hike-until-you-drop side of things – more the recreating-your-house-in-nature side. My father sadly recalls the day he realized that my sister and I would have had just as much fun in a tent in the backyard as we did in places like Arches.

Today, still growing up, I am mostly just obsessed with trying to create an actual home for myself and actually be (not just pretend to be) a real adult. Plus, a lack of camping gear makes it difficult to march into the great outdoors for a weekend of unshowered fun. But, that doesn’t stop me from craving a little camping food now and again.

And so – I present to you with utmost deliciousness….indoor alternatives to banana boats. (In case you are a camping-deprived person or if your parents insisted you only eat healthy things, a banana boat is a dessert that involves partly peeling a banana, slicing it lengthwise, then filling it up with chocolate chips and marshmallows. Then you wrap the whole thing in tinfoil and put it in the embers of a campfire until it turns into a sticky, melty, delicious mess.)

These options, banana chocolate chip cookies and a banana s’more sandwich, are not so messy. But with all that chocolate and banana and sweetness, they come pretty close to fixing a craving for the real deal.

Banana-Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies from Martha

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 or 2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (preferably bordering on black)
1 cup old-fashioned oats
8 oz chocolate chips or chocolate chunks
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 375. Blend dry ingredients first and set aside. In an electric mixer, blend sugars and butter. Then, on a lower speed, blend in the egg and vanilla. Then add the banana. Slowly add in the flour mixture until everything is just combined. Stir in the oats, walnuts and chocolate.

Place scooped out cookie dough balls onto a greased cookie sheet (or use parchment or silpat) – the dough will be sticky. Bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating the rack position half way through. Let cookies cool on baking sheets for 3-5 minutes before letting them cool completely on wire racks.

Banana S’more Sandwich

Yeah, it’s not complicated, but you should still take this idea and run with it. 🙂
Spread some marshmallow fluff on some bread, then put some banana slices and chocolate chips on top. With the sandwich open on both sides, put under the broiler so everything starts to melt. When things are appropriately toasty, you can put the top on the sandwich and munch away.

Yes, both of these are acceptable breakfast foods because they have fruit in them.


Ricotta Frozen Smoothie March 18, 2011

Blender, ca. 1975, courtesy of my mother

This recipe is something I sort of made up as a substitute for frozen yogurt, which I am seriously craving today. Ricotta is kind of a nice change of pace from regular yogurt, especially as an alternate version of the Greek variety in terms of flavor and consistency.  It’s probably not something I’d eat all the time because the protein count is higher in yogurt, but whatever.  It’s gorgeous outside (crocuses sprouting in the neighbor’s backyard!), and there are lots of blackberries lying around in this house.

This takes a little planning, as the fruit needs about a day to freeze (or you could just buy frozen fruit if you prefer). You could pretty much add any fruit you like, I just happen to be obsessed with blackberries.  However, the bananas are non-negotiable– they provide the smooth and creamy consistency.

For the smoothie:

3 bananas, cut into pieces and frozen

2 cups blackberries, washed and frozen

1/2 cup blueberries, washed and frozen

3/4 cup frozen strawberry puree (this will be the one time I mention a brand: Goya puts out nice un-sugared frozen fruit purees at the local grocery store… they have some interesting flavors (i.e., prickly pear) that I intend to try soon.)

1 cup soy milk (or regular)

3/4 – 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese

1 tablespoon honey (I actually didn’t use this, but in retrospect it seems like it should be included in the mix.)

Start by letting things sit out of the freezer for a little bit (like 2-3 minutes) to at least get things more pliable, especially if you’re using a blender. (If you’re using a food processor you can probably jump right in.) Puree the bananas and strawberry puree together and add the milk slowly as they start to get clumpy. Then add the blueberries and blackberries (or your fruit of choice) in shifts (about 2). The mixture will start to get thick as the bananas become liquefied, so lots of stirring is important.  I ended up separating the mixture into two batches (put one in a bowl until I was ready for it) and continued to blend in the rest of the milk.  Add the ricotta and puree further.  Then mix the two batches together as best you can (this isn’t a big deal as long as things look about the same color, in my case a mauve-ish light purple– how delightful, right?)  Store in an airtight container in the freezer or eat immediately (highly recommended).

For next time: a spiked version of this would be awesome… I’m not really a cocktail/girly drinks person (weißbier and g&t’s, please), but a touch of vodka would definitely make this more fun……….. is it summer yet?


Almond-Banana Smoothie January 5, 2011

Filed under: Breakfast,Dessert,Snack,Vegan,Vegetarian — krandle @ 6:00 pm
Tags: , , ,

Ok, I know that if you’re going to exercise in the morning, you should eat a low-glycemic breakfast. It’ll help you burn more fat and stay more full. But, I don’t work out before work! So I can have wonderful things like a delicious smoothie. It’s quick enough to make before rushing out the door in the morning…though it might be worth investing in a travel cup instead of carrying a red plastic look through the city past the homeless crew. (People give you odd looks when you walk into a high rise wearing a blazer and carrying a red plastic cup.)

I also made this for dessert–healthier version of a banana milkshake, anyone?

Almond-Banana Smoothie from Bon Appetit, suggested for day 4 of The Food-Lover’s Cleanse

If you cut this recipe in half, it’ll make 2 servings (or 3 smaller, more calorically responsible servings)

2 large ripe bananas, peeled, sliced
2 cups almond milk or whole milk Go for the almond milk – it’s really creamy and has much less fat
2 cups ice cubes
2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar   Use riper bananas and a bit less sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Ground nutmeg  Unless you love nutmeg, skip this – it doesn’t seem necessary

Blend first 5 ingredients in blender until smooth. Divide smoothies among 4 small glasses. Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg.

Per 1 cup serving, 357 calories, 259 calories from fat, 26.7 g carbohydrates, 4.4 g dietary fiber, 3.5 g protein

This is about $1.50 for the whole recipe. Probably a bit less than that. How much does 2 Tbs. brown sugar cost?