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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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Operation Oatmeal (cookie)

 

Tonight I decided to take a big step.  I walked into my kitchen prepared to make my very first batch of cookies with a recipe I created. *gulp!* I did some research, looked up some recipes, and pulled bits of information from them to create my very own Frankenstein…in cookie form.

Back when I was deciding on a name for this lovely blog, I figured that at some point I would have to blog about a complete and utter failure.  I decided on “Between a rock & a hobby” so I would have 2 labels for my different “experiements”.  We’d have the hobby for those things that went well and could happen again (thus creating a “hobby”) and we’d have the rock for the things that just didn’t turn out so well.  I was convinced these cookies would be my very first rock.  Dan says I’m wrong.  Whoo hoo!

Ingredients:
3/4 cup coconut oil
1 TBSP honey
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups oats
3/4 cup craisins
1/4 cup white chocolate chips


 Directions:
1.  Heat up about 2 cups of water and pour over craisins.  The internet told me this will make them much more plump.  I would assume this is a desirable trait for craisins in cookies.
2.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
3.  Measure out the coconut oil and heat in microwave for about 20 seconds. 
4.  Stare into the microwave because you have no clue if this was a good idea. 
5.  Notice that 20 seconds was long enough to soften up the coconut oil and make a bit of it liquidy…perfect.
6.  Combine coconut oil, brown sugar, honey, eggs, baking soda, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and 1 TBSP of the water from the craisins. (Also contemplate if that was a good idea.)  Blend with mix master until smooth.  FYI the consistency of this is different from other cookies I have made.
7.  Slowly add in flour.  Continue blending until mixed in.
8.  Add in the oats, craisins, and chips. 
9.  Try mixing in with a spatula, but give up and use your hands instead.
10.  Drop spoonfuls of mix on to greased cookie sheets and bake for about 15 minutes.

Verdict:
Me:  I think something is missing…but I can’t figure out what it is.  Part of me thinks it’s the butter.  I replaced the butter with coconut oil because I was aiming to make a “healthier” cookie.  Don’t get me wrong, they are still good.  In fact, I’ve had three already…and they came out of the oven only an hour ago.  It just leaves me wanting…something.  More cinnamon?  Some nutmeg?  I’m not sure.  If you figure it out, feel free to let me know.

Dan:  He’s raving about them.  He loves them.  Apparently they are really soft and have a great consistency.  I was pleading with him to help me figure out what was missing.  He looked at me, shrugged, and said “more chocolate chips?”  Somehow I don’t think that would help the “healthy” factor, but more power to you if you’d like to add more.

**Note:  I was able to make 42 cookies from this recipe.  Each cookie is approximately 98 calories.

***EDIT:  I change my mind.  I really like these cookies.  Like really, really.  I do have a plan to try and make these cookies with the addition of  cinnamon flavored applesauce.