Monthly Archives: November 2011

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Cookies

Shhh….come over here and let me tell you a little secret…

These cookies are…vegan!

What?!

Look, Ma! No dairy!

Yep. You are scared now aren’t ya?

Don’t be. I have totally been inspired by these healthy cookies that I have been making lately from Mama Pea and Joy the Baker. I love the idea of letting The Dude have a cookie whenever she wants, not worrying about how terrible it is for her, and actually getting something healthy in her as a bonus. We have been enjoying these cookies so much lately that I decided it was time to try to whip one up of my own. And I really like the results.

If you just give these a try I think you will really like them too. They really are somewhere in between banana bread and a cookie. Soft and slightly chewy. I am kind of on the fence as to whether or not to call these healthy because they do have a good bit of sugar in them (it’s a cookie for crying out loud!), but they have some redeeming qualities with the oats, whole wheat flour, flax, and bananas. And dark chocolate actually is better for you than milk chocolate (Bonjour, antioxidants! Enchante!).

So I’ll let you make the decision as to whether or not to call them healthy. You will definitely call them delicious.

First mash your banana. Then stir in the flax seed and wet ingredients. Set it aside.

Then mix up the dry ingredients.

Why yes, it was a tutu kind of day. Why do you ask?

Then stir the wet in with the dry and fold in the chocolate chips.

Did I mention the best part of making vegan cookies?

Frankly, we were lucky that we had enough dough left to make cookies at all.

Now that you have stirred the dough together, preheat the oven so that the dough has time to set up and bind for a couple of minutes. Then once the oven is preheated, place little balls of dough onto a greased cookie sheet.

Try to let them cool down enough so you don’t burn yourself before you eat these okay?

Vegan Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Cookies

1 banana
3 T flax seed
1 tabelspoon vanilla
1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup (overflowing) dark chocolate chips

In a medium bowl mash banana with a fork until smooth. Stir in flax, vanilla and syrup. Set aside

In a separate bowl stir together flour, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar.

Combine wet and dry ingredients.

Fold in the chocolate chips.

Preheat the oven to 350 after mixing the dough. This gives it has a couple of minutes to set up.

Place little mounds on a cookie sheet a couple inches apart and bake for 20 min.

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Open-faced Turkey Sandwiches

I don’t know about you guys, but I think I have just as many big plans for my Thanksgiving leftovers, as I do for the meal itself.

The leftovers are kind of the best part aren’t they?

Here is one of the ones I am currently dreaming about.

It’s an open-faced sandwich kind of thing.

Open-faced sandwiches just seem more hearty. Which is weird because they are missing a whole piece of bread. But I don’t know. You put two pieces of bread around some turkey and cheese, and it feels like a light lunch. But you take away a piece of bread, spoon on a little more gravy, use a fork and knife, and suddenly it feels like a hearty weeknight supper.

This starts off with a thick piece of sourdough bread that you place under the broiler for a couple of minutes until it gets super crispy and brown on each side.

Then you pile on the turkey as high as you please, a generous dribbling of gravy, and a thick slice or two of a sharp cheddar cheese.

Then back under the broiler it goes for a few minutes more until the cheese starts to bubble and run all over the pan with the hot gravy. Definitely scoop up that gravy and cheese overflow and put it back on your sandwich, or tear off another hunk of bread and rake it up before someone sees you and tries to take some for themselves (Hey, it is a well known fact that The Dude and The Hubs are food thieves).

I’m not going to give you an exact recipe because I’m pretty sure you know how much turkey, cheese, and gravy you would like on a slice of bread. Now go on out to the store and pick up a loaf of sourdough so you can have this on Friday before you go Christmas shopping.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!


Saturday Selections: Pizza Fritter Bites

Here are a few fun facts about life at our house.

1. Sometimes The Dude wears jammies until nearly lunchtime.

2. Sometimes those jammies that she wears are boy jammies. (Hey! Girls like dinosaurs too! Can someone please make girlie dinosaur clothes? Thanks.)

3. Sometimes she likes to help cook up food for Mommy’s blog that would not be considered a normal snack for 9:00 in the morning.

4. Sometimes Mommy lets her eat those crazy snacks that she helped stir up and add “greadients” to.

5. Sometimes that is all we need to make a great day.

These are the little snacks  we were eating earlier this week.

It was as simple as mixing up a thick pancake batter.

Then we stirred in our pizza topping choice, and fried them up.

I would recommend only dropping in about half teaspoon sized balls though. They will puff up some as they cook and they get brown pretty fast, so you want them to be small enough to cook all the way on the inside without burning on the outside (…this never happened during my test runs…).

You have to serve them up with a little smooth marinara sauce. It really completes the whole pizza-esque experience.

I hoe you will have fun with these. The Dude and I kept it simple with pepperoni only, but you could add any of your favorite pizza ingredients. In fact, I think that the more you added, the better they would be.

Pizza Fritter Bites

Serves 8

1 cup Bisquick

1/3 cup mozzarella cheese

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

dash of cayenne pepper to taste

1/4 cup milk

1 egg

Add about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of oil to a large skillet and preheat on medium-high heat.

In a medium bowl stir together Bisquick, cheeses, Italian seasoning, and cayenne pepper.

Stir in milk and egg.

Fold in desired pizza “toppings”: pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, olives, tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc.

Drop 1/2 teaspoon sized balls into hot oil and fry for approximately 1 1/2 minutes per side.

Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese if desired.

Serve warm with marinara sauce.

Dinosaur jammies are optional.

Cornbread Dressing Pops

Seeing as I came in to the food blogging thing only a few months ago, I am admittedly quite late to the whole cake pop party.

Which in a lot of ways, I am so grateful for. Can you imagine the mess The Dude and I would have gotten into if we had attempted to make cake pops?

…on second thought that actually sounds like a great time. I’m gonna file that away for a cold, rainy day activity for us.

So hopefully this isn’t totally awkward that I am bringing these little guys to the table even though cake pops are like so over. But once I had the idea in my head, I just couldn’t let go of it.

Here’s the thing though, I am totally NOT giving you my dressing recipe. Oh no. I’m not even going to go there. Cornbread dressing is kind of a sacred thing down here in the South. And it’s not that I am trying to keep it some big secret, I just don’t want anyone to cry foul because it doesn’t taste like their Grandma’s. I’m pretty sure every cook has there own unique way of doing it that they and their family thinks is superior to anyone else’s anywhere in the world.

So yeah, this is just a serving suggestion for the cornbread dressing recipe that you already have. Notice I keep mentioning cornbread dressing. I am not so sure this would really do with what I consider “stuffing” or the side that looks more like a savory bread pudding with hunks of bread in it. There is nothing wrong with that dish, I just don’t think you could really mold them into balls.

Oh and did I mention that you can make these with leftover dressing as well as the “raw” mix?? I tried it both ways and it worked well each time.

If you decide you want to make them into little pops before you ever bake it, all you have to do is add a little less broth to the mix. You just want it to be slightly drier so that you can easily fold them into little balls in your hand.

If Grandma makes a bit too much dressing this year, and you decide you want to get cutesy with your leftovers, all you have to do is pick up a handful of cold dressing and press and roll it into little balls. Nothing to it.

Place the walnut sized pieces on a greased cookie sheet, and bake them at 375 for about 20 minutes or so until they are golden and crispy on the outside.

Then when they are still warm, insert your little sticks. And voila! Cornbread Dressing Pops! They are so cute, and if you are a crunchy, corner piece taker, you are going to love these balls. They are crunchy on the outside, but still soft on the inside. Seriously, it’s like every bite is a corner piece! How great would these be dipped in gravy or cranberry sauce?

I think they would make a darling presentation dolled up around the turkey. It might also be fun to go ahead and make a pan of dressing like normal, but maybe set aside a little of the mix before hand into balls, and then stick the pops directly into the dressing pan, just for fun. Send me some pictures if you try it out.

And on a completely unrelated note, my little Monkey started walking, and she turns one tomorrow. So this is kind of a big week. Just thought I would share and brag. Thanks.

Saturday Selections: Piggy Bread

This one is for those early games.

A couple of years ago, it seemed like Bama had quite a few morning games. And every Saturday an 11 o’clock game was scheduled, our friends would come over around 10:30 or so and we would brunch it up. You know…breakfast casserole, monkey bread, fruit, cinnamon rolls…that kind of thing.

I really wish I had thought these up back then. We probably would have eaten them every weekend.

That’s right people, Mama just made Pigs in a Blanket like Monkey Bread.

Now before you go turning your nose up at the Monkey Bread/Pigs in a Blanket combo, try to tell me you have never “accidentally” swiped your sausage or bacon through your pancakes’ maple syrup, or put jelly on your sausage biscuit, or eaten like 8 million of those cocktail smokies cooked in the jelly and barbecue sauce.

Mmmm hmmm. Yeah. You know you do it.

So maybe this doesn’t sound so crazy after all huh?

I literally just combined the two ideas behind Pigs in a Blanket and Monkey Bread. You get the sweet, buttery cinnamon bread, but with a little surprise piece of salty sausage in the middle.

And you know these are easy to put together.

You roll up your little piggies.

Then cover them in butter and sugar and place them in the pan.

Now low-cal these are not. But you need your strength right? You have a full day of football ahead of you and your team is up first. So go on ahead and eat three or four. No judgement.

Piggy Bread

1/2 packet of vanilla instant pudding mix

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 14 oz package of cocktail smokies

2 8 oz tubes refrigerated crescent roll dough

1/2 cup butter

In a small bowl combine dry pudding mix, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a separate small bowl melt butter. Set aside.

Roll out crescent roll dough and cut each triangle in half.

Roll one sausage in each triangle. Starting at the large end, and working your way down.

Dip each roll first in butter and then in the sugar mixture to fully coat.

Lay each piece in a greased bundt pan.

May be made ahead of time and kept covered in the refrigerator.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Gently loosen edges with a knife and turn out onto a large platter.

Serve warm.

Cranberry Pesto Swirled Pumpkin Bread

Well here you go, guys. I submit to you my dutiful pumpkin bread recipe.

And it is pretty darn great if I do say so myself.

The bread is everything you would expect — warm, spicy flavors with a moist, tender texture. But the pesto is what really make this special. It is slightly crunchy from the pumpkin seeds, and a little sweet and slightly tangy from the cranberries. Then there is the zip and kick of the orange juice and zest. You are just not going to believe what it all tastes like together.

I am so in love.

To begin, you need to blend cranberries, pepitas, the zest and juice of an orange, and a little bit of olive oil in a food processor.

If Bing Crosby’s Christmas music had a smell and taste, this would be it. I know that seems like a weird thing to say but I think you will agree once you make it. It’s something about the orange. It just gives the whole thing this warm flavor and smell that is totally amazing. I wouldn’t blame you at all if you decided to just eat all of the pesto by itself on some graham crackers (Dude and I definitely didn’t almost do that) and said to hell with the bread.

But if you do decide to set aside the pesto and go on with the bread, first you will want to stir together your dry ingredients.

My little sous chef may be getting a little full of herself. She kept asking me to taste it and then pointed toward the pantry, demanding that I bring her more “greadients.”

Blend together all of the wet greadients except for the eggs in a mixer until smooth. Once it is well blended, stir in the eggs. Then dump in all of the dry ingredients, and let it come together.

Pour half of the batter into the loaf pan. I made the batter all uneven and higher in some places than others, just to enhance the swirled effect once it is sliced. Then dollop on half of the pesto mixture, and swirl it in with a knife.

Now spoon on the remaining bread batter and pesto using the same process.  When it was swirled to my liking, I sort of pressed it all down with the back of my knife just to make sure that the pesto was down in the bread.

I am so excited for this to perfume your whole house like it did mine while it is baking. Incredible. And I apologize if it gets you in a premature Christmas decorating kind of mood.

So check it out, even though it has a lot of flavor going on, it is still delicious to a three year old.

This would be a fantastic bread to serve up for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning (this bread + coffee = heaven). It would also be a great way to knock the socks off of your family on Thanksgiving evening for those who aren’t quite ready to step back up to the turkey and dressing leftovers. And if you can’t wait until Thanksgiving, I happen to know it tastes delicious whilst blog writing on a random weekday as well.

Cranberry Pesto Swirled Pumpkin Bread

For the pesto:

1/2 cup roasted, salted pepitas

1 cup dried cranberries

1/2 teaspoon orange zest

1/2 tablespoon orange juice

1/2 teaspoon olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

For the bread:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ginger

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cayenne, allspice, cinnamon, and ginger. Set aside

In a mixer blend together pumpkin, butter, honey, and vanilla on medium speed until smooth.

Stir in eggs.

Fold in dry ingredients.

Spoon half of bread batter into a well greased loaf pan. Swirl in half of pesto mixture.

Repeat the process with the remaining batter and pesto and bake for 1 hour.

Saturday Selections: Fruity Guacamole

Sometimes, we like to do things a little differently in this house.

Sometimes we like to do things that may seem a little crazy at first, but if you are willing to be open to the idea, you might just find that you like it a lot.

Take this example brought to us by The Dude.

Now here she is playing in a toy that is clearly made for her sister’s enjoyment. A little strange and weird. But when you stop and think about it, it’s pretty darn cute and funny. When she first saw me watching her, she totally froze like she thought she would get in trouble. And I’ll be honest, my first instinct was to get mad at her and tell her to get out of there. But after I thought about it for a second, I thought she certainly isn’t hurting anything. Why not just let her stay? She is just a little kid trying to mix things up a little bit and have a good time.

When I get in the mood to mix things up, I don’t usually contort myself into Monkey’s toys…usually.  No, if I’m feeling funky I will shake things up in the kitchen.

Take this sweet and fruity guacamole for instance.

The avocado gets all sweetened up with a banana and a touch of honey and vanilla. Then you fold in some strawberries and mangoes. Serve it up with some cinnamon sugar tortilla chips, and bam. Delicious.

It took no time to put together, and the chips are a no brainer too. You remember back when we made Cuban Nachos? Well I used the exact same method to make the chips only I sprinkled them with cinnamon sugar before I popped them in the oven. I used a two to one sugar/cinnamon ratio and put in just a pinch of salt.

Fabulous.

So if you are in the mood to shake things up a little this Saturday, I suggest you try out this sweet and healthy dip… it’s only slightly more fun than playing in baby activity centers.

Fruity Guacamole

2 medium avocados

1 medium ripe banana

1 small lime

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup chopped strawberries

1/4 cup chopped mango

Mash avocados and bananas together with fork or in a food processor until smooth.

Stir in lime, honey, vanilla, and salt.

Fold in strawberries and mangoes.

Serve chilled with cinnamon sugar tortilla chips.