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Gone Bananas!

Welcome to my very first post as a 26-year-old.  That’s right folks, I’ve gone and gotten older on you…

This afternoon I was sitting at work contemplating my plans for dinner.  At this point I had none…No clue.  I ventured over to one of my favorite websites, A Year of Slowcooking.  Let me just start by saying that I just might be obsessed with this website (and my crockpots).  My coworkers actually laugh when I mention that our supper, once again, came from the slow cooker. 

Before I discovered the beauty of the crockpot my husband and I pretty much stuck to three meals:  Spaghetti, Chicken Patties & French Fries, or Cereal.  I wish I was joking… 

Cooking was terrifying new territory for me.  I could follow recipes to the letter and somehow they would still always turn out tasting like cardboard.  Dan attempted to convince me that I was overreacting, but being the perfect wife I am… I told him to shut it.  So, back to the three meals we’d go.  I decided that I hated cooking, and I wanted to do as little of it as possible.  Enter, the crockpot.  It seemed like the perfect fix for me.  I could whip a bunch of crap into a pot and walk away.  Seriously, how hard could that be?  Thanks to the slowcooker, my dinners starting tasting good!  I gained more confidence in the kitchen, and now I have a blog!

So today when I was at a loss for dinner plans I, of course, leaned towards my crockpot…and A Year of Slowcooking.  (PS – If you have not yet had the pleasure of reading Stephaine O’Dea’s blog I would highly suggest it!)  I came across her posting for “Clean out the Pantry Minestrone Soup” and decided to give it a go.  With all of my rambling, I bet you’d guess this is going to be a blog post about making soup in the crockpot.  You’d be guessing wrong.  I just ramble.  Just ask my husband…  To tell you the truth I couldn’t even give you a recipe for the concoction I made today.  I whipped so many random things in that pot I wouldn’t even know where to start.  But, it tasted good and I have a cleaner fridge and freezer.  This is the part where I finally get to my topic.  You see, when I was rummaging through my freezer I found a bag of frozen-so-long-I-don’t-even-remember-freezing-them bananas.  I grabbed them out of the freezer and decided tonight would be a blog and wine kinda night.  (Aren’t those just your favorite!?)

Okay, down to business.  I had 4 bananas so I made 2 different recipes.

Recipe #1:  Banana White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
I thought I was a genius today.  I have never had a banana oatmeal cookie, so naturally I thought I invented it.  Turns out that’s not the case.  Darn it…  I did add white chocolate chips, though!  I made the recipe up using my recipe for Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies as a guide.

Ingredients:

Plus 2 overripe bananas


2 overripe bananas
2 TBSP honey
3/4 cup cinnamon flavored applesauce
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup egg replacer
2 1/3 cup oats
1/4 cup milled flax seed
1 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup white chocolate chips

 
Directions:
1.  Beat together the bananas, egg replacer, honey, applesauce, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt.
2.  Stir in the oats, flour, and flax.
3.  Drop 32 spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets.
4.  Bake in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.

Verdict:
I don’t love banana nearly as much as Dan, and I found these cookies to have a bizarre texture.  They are actually kind of spongey.  You can squish them, and they’ll bounce back.  Dan found this texture to be amazing.  He said “I don’t know what you’re talking about.  I wish all cookies were like this!  It’s like mixing a cookie with a muffin top!  It’s perfection!” 
Then I couldn’t stop thinking about Seinfeld.

32 cookies at 96 calories a piece

 

Recipe #2:  Cranberry Banana Bread
I found this recipe at The Fresh Loaf and just made a few changes.

Ingredients:

And 2 overripe bananas

1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup egg replacer
2 overripe bananas
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 TBSP milled flax seed
1/2 cup dried cranberries (soaked in hot water to plump up)
Directions:
1. Blend together the top four ingredients.
2. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
3. Pour batter into greased loaf pan.
4. Bake in 350 degree oven for 50 minutes.

Verdict:
I’m actually surprised at how moist it is without the butter.  It’s pretty darn tasty, and I think it will be perfect for a morning snack.  Dan likes it too.  He didn’t rave about its texture like he did with the cookies, though. 

Each of the 12 slices will be 176 calories

 

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*Proceed With Caution!*

I had to warn you.  This might be the most dangerous recipe I have ever tried:  Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies.  They are made with things that are GOOD for you…and they TASTE good!… Seriously! 

Okay, there’s no turning back now….Run for the hills!!
Are you still here?….okay….whew!  I have to tell SOMEONE about my discovery!

Now, to start things off, I want to inform you that I am not a Vegan.  In fact, big greasy cheeseburgers are one of my FAVorite foods.  I.just.can’t.help.myself.  BUUUUUT… I keep the grease eating to a minimum, when I can, and I am more than willing to try a new recipe.  It just so happens this one is Vegan.

The recipe calls for 3 things that the average, run-of-the-mill home may not have on hand.  I understand that running out to the store to buy these ingredients isn’t going to top your priorities list, but I want to give you a few small facts about them just in case it is beneficial to you.  (All these comments can be found on www.webmd.com.  Feel free to click on the links to read more about it.)
Flaxseed –  “Research indicates that flax’s possible health benefits include reducing the risks of certain cancers as well as cardiovascular disease and lung disease.”
Coconut Oil – Coconut oil is a good substitute for those who have a butter/dairy allergy. “Coconut oil is better than butter and trans fats but not as good as liquid vegetable oils.” 
Whole Wheat Flour “A diet rich in whole grains has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some forms of cancer.”

On to the recipe!!!  (I received the original link to the recipe via tweet from @Snack_Girl_ )

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons coconut oil
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon flaxseed
6 tablespoons warm water
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 chocolate chips

Directions:
Go ahead and turn your oven on to 375 degrees. 
In a medium bowl add the coconut oil, water, flaxseed, and vanilla and beat together.
Stir in the dry ingredients.
Drop spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet and bake.

THAT’S IT!  It was suuuper easy!  So easy, in fact, that I even cleaned up the kitchen and washed all my dishes RIGHT away.  Aren’t you proud, Mom? 🙂

Verdict:
Me:  I think you can gather from my ranting and raving that I like these cookies.  I’m all for finding sweets and treats that won’t cause my “diet” to crash and burn.  More power to the sweets if they can get work some healthy foods in there!

Dan:  He says they’re really not too bad.  They aren’t all buttery and amazing like NORMAL chocolate chip cookies, but he likes them!

Mom:  For a “healthy” food, she finds them pretty tasty.  I think she might have even said “Wow!”

Dad:  He likes them, but not nearly as much as normal chocolate chip cookies…but he’d keep eating them anyways.