The other day I could feel my body needed something packed full of good nutrients and protein … I didn’t have much time to cook, so I quickly whipped up this delicious smoothie. I like how the kiwi adds a little “zing” to the taste, along with being a nutrient powerhouse. According to a study at Rutgers University, the kiwi is the most nutrient dense fruit, ounce for ounce. It’s high in vitamin C and one study showed that eating 2-3 kiwi fruits a day can reduce the potential for blood clots and decrease triglycerides. Yet another study cited the kiwi’s ability to protect and repair the body from DNA damage, which could protect against cancer. (Source: Super Kids Nutrition)
All of that, plus it makes a really yummy smoothie.
Strawberry Banana Kiwi Smoothie
- 2 small kiwi fruit
- 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
- 1/2 of a frozen banana
- 3/4 cup vanilla yogurt
- 1/4 cup lowfat milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- A few fresh mint leaves
Cut the kiwi in half and scoop out the fruit from the fuzzy skin. Put the flesh of the kiwi along with the rest of the ingredients in your blender and blend everything till smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy!
Since my first baked oatmeal turned out so good, I wanted to try another version. I meant to make this one banana pecan, but once I got into the kitchen, well, I couldn’t help but add chocolate. In the end, I’m glad I did … this oatmeal is SO deep dark chocolate decadent. I almost want to try making it again without the banana … or maybe use berries instead? Yeah, it’ll happen.
This could be breakfast or dessert. Mid-afternoon snack. After dinner treat. Whenever you eat it, it’s delightful.
Chocolate Banana Pecan Baked Oatmeal
- 3 very ripe bananas
- 1 cup (100g) old fashioned oats (not instant oats)
- 1/3 cup (30g) pecans, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup (60g) brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 Tablespoons unsweetened quality dark cocoa powder (such as Ghirardelli)
- 1 cup (250ml) milk
- 2 Tablespoons of Chocolate Chia Pudding or 1 large egg white
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 Tablespoon Frangelico (optional)
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons pecans
- 1/2 Tablespoon or so of raw (Turbinado) sugar
- A few chocolate chips
- A few banana slices
- Pre-heat the oven to 375 F. Spray a small casserole dish or 8×8 inch square baking dish with cooking spray and make a layer of banana slices on the bottom.
- In a small mixing bowl, mix together the oats, chopped pecans, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Sprinkle half the oat mixture over the bananas, then add another layer of bananas and cover with the remaining oats.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, chia pudding (or egg white), vanilla, and Frangelico. Pour this liquid mixture over the oats, trying to coat all the oats with liquid. Sprinkle the top with the toppings, then set in the oven.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until the dish has set. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
(a.k.a. “Healthy Muck”)
So far, I have a total of one smoothie on this blog. One. I guess if you count this one, that’s two, but it’s really the same smoothie (this one is a health-ified version of the other one), so does that count? I think it’s still just one.
I do really love smoothies … but I realized a while ago that many smoothies are packed with enough calories for a meal for a petite little middle-aged person like me. I like to maximize the enjoyment of my limited number of calories, and I tend to drink fast … so smoothies are not normally such a good dietary choice for me. I would much rather have a salad I can munch on for a long time … it satisfies my palate much better than a quickly-downed smoothie. For my son on the other hand, he is well over six feet tall and still growing … he loves smoothies and I’m quite glad to oblige him.
Anyway, the ONE smoothie that I do have on my blog is the cream of the crop. It’s my son’s favorite smoothie … AND the only smoothie I would choose to have to replace a meal, and I would enjoy every drop of it. My dad invented it. We used to call it “Grampa smoothies” up until my son’s friend said it looks like muck. So it was re-named “Muck”.
Anyway, I got a couple new ingredients to try out. First I won a bag of chia seeds from Lauren at Nutri-Savvy and Ruth’s Foods. I had never used chia seeds before, but I’ve heard they are a nutritional powerhouse: packed with Omega-3s, plus protein and fiber, they are even better than flax seed or quinoa. AND then a friend was telling me how wonderful PB2 is. It’s powdered peanut butter with most of the fat removed. I used to think that sounded just totally gross, but after talking to my friend, I thought what they heck: I’ll give it a shot. And did you know they have a CHOCOLATE version of PB2? Who can resist chocolate and peanut butter? Only 45 calories in two tablespoons? Um, yeah. I’m in. I found it in the health food section at our grocery store, but if you can’t find it there, it is available on Amazon.
I expected that my health-ified version wouldn’t really be as good. And really, I can’t say it has the same rich decadence as the original, but it was pretty darn close. The chia seeds added a slight bit of crunch … but they didn’t change the wonderful chocolate peanut butter banana taste. And the Chocolate PB2 did EXACTLY what I wanted it to do: gave it all the chocolate peanut butter taste without all the fat, sugar and calories of peanut butter and chocolate syrup.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Chia Smoothie (a.k.a., “Healthy Muck”)
- 1 1/2 bananas, frozen
- 1 cup lowfat milk (I used 1% milk, but you can use skim or I am sure almond or soy milk would work well too)
- 2 Tablespoons Chocolate PB2
- 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Put all ingredients in blender and blend till smooth. Pour into a nice tall glass (or two smaller ones) and enjoy! Drizzle with a tiny bit of real chocolate syrup if you like …
Just for fun, I put it in the Calorie Count Recipe Analyzer on About.com and it gets an “A” for a Nutrition Grade!
With 10.6 grams of fiber and 17.1 grams of protein, not to mention 39% of your day’s needs for calcium and 26% of your vitamin C, it’s a fantastic way to start your day.
I was in dire need of some sumptuous chocolate today … and didn’t have much time … so I whipped up some chocolate crostini … so yes I confess, I did just make up a fancy name for “chocolate ganache frosting on toast” … but we’re talking about that dreamy whipped chocolate ganache I made for my daughter’s cake … oh my it is so good. Rich, decadent, creamy chocolate taste. And it’s really pretty healthy when you think about it … there are only 2 tablespoons of butter in the whole recipe. And a whole bunch of egg whites. Excellent source of protein!
You see, there was some ganache left after I frosted the cake and I just couldn’t let it go to waste … and this ganache really does elevate toast to fancy dessert status. Besides, having it on toast has to be healthier than cake, right? I added a little extra healthy goodness by adding bananas and walnuts. That counts, right?
Okay, so it’s not total health food, but it’s not THAT bad for you. And it satisfied my chocolate craving. That’s the important part. Because who knows what I would have eaten if I hadn’t made that nasty craving go away … see that’s the trick to staying skinny. Not avoiding your cravings, but satisfying them without over-indulging. To satisfy a craving, you need something that TASTES totally decadent. (It doesn’t have to actually BE totally decadent, but it has to TASTE totally decadent.) Don’t settle for anything less. That cheap chocolate will just leave you longing for more. And you know where THAT goes …
Chocolate Dessert Crostini with Banana and Toasted Walnuts
- French bread, sliced thin
- Whipped Chocolate Ganache (recipe here)
- Banana slices
- Toasted walnuts
Toast the french bread lightly, and spread each little toast with a good thick layer of ganache. Top with banana slices and a few toasted walnuts. Serve immediately. Seriously, this is so simple, but it works! The crunchy toast with the creamy decadent chocolate and then the sweet bananas and toasty walnuts on top … mmmm.
I really need to ditch the purple nail polish from the birthday party sleepover … it’s so distracting …
I am SOoooo into homemade granola! I love love love love LOVE it! Ideas for different granola flavors are bouncing around in my head like crazy. The idea for this tropical granola sprung from a peanut butter trail mix cookie I used to make with tropical trail mix (come to think of it, I need to make those cookies again sometime for the blog …)
But not today … nope no siree bob … Today it’s time for GRANOLA! The perfect sweet healthy snack to munch on when you need a little boost of energy. That wonderful crunchy mix that is so welcome sprinkled on yogurt … or in a bowl with fruit and milk. This granola is chock full of tropical fruits, so you don’t need to even add any more fruit … unless, of course, you want to. It is awfully good with a couple fresh strawberries tossed in.
You are going to love this stuff. I just know it.
Tropical Trail Mix Granola
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 3/4 cup peanuts
- 3/4 pecans
- 4 cups old fashioned oats
- 1/4 cup flaxmeal or flax seeds
- 1/4 cup wheat bran or wheat germ
- 1 very ripe banana
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt (optional … you can lower the amount of salt or leave it out for a low-sodium granola)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 cups mixed dried tropical fruit pieces (pineapple, coconut, mango, banana chips, etc.)
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the oats, flax, wheat bran and nuts. Set aside.
- In a separate small bowl, mash the banana very well until it’s smooth (not too lumpy). Put the banana in a small saucepan with the maple syrup, and other wet ingredients. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is hot and bubbly. Stir in the honey and remove from heat.
- Pour the hot sweet sticky banana mixture over the nutty oat mixture in the bowl. Stir it all up until it’s well mixed.
- Spread all this wonderful stuff out into a thin layer on a large jellyroll pan (or other big flat baking pan with an edge to it). Set it in the oven and bake for about an hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. It should be browned to a lovely brown color and smelling fantastic. You can taste a little sample to see if it’s crunchy enough. If it’s not, bake it a little longer.
- Let the granola cool for a bit before stirring in the fruit. Store in an airtight container. It will keep for about a month or so. There’s NO way mine is going to last that long …
Chocolate, Peanut Butter, & Banana Muffins … with a Peanut Butter Filling
Okay, Elvis never really tried these muffins. But he should have! He would have loved them.
But then again, who wouldn’t love chocolate banana muffins with a peanut butter filling? Maybe my mother. She’s not into chocolate. I will never ever in a million years understand that. (But I still love you, Mom!)
Elvis’ Favorite Muffins
Chocolate, Peanut Butter, & Banana … with a Peanut Butter Filling
Makes 18 muffins
- 3 mashed ripe bananas (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup non-fat greek yogurt
- 2 Tablespoons oil
- 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
- 1/4 cup lowfat milk (I used 1%)
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder (add more or less, depending on how chocolatey you want your muffins)
- 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/3 cup peanut butter
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup plain non-fat greek yogurt
- Preheat oven to 325°.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the bananas, sugar, yogurt, canola oil, egg and vanilla until smooth.
- Add the dry ingredients and stir until the batter is thoroughly mixed.
- Mix the filling ingredients together. Add a little more PB or sugar according to your taste.
- Spray your muffin pans with cooking spray. Spoon a spoonful of batter into the bottom of each muffin pan to cover the bottom of the muffin. Top with a small spoonful (about a teaspoon) of the peanut butter filling, then cover the filling up with another spoonful of the chocolate batter.
- Bake at 325° for about 20 – 25 minutes or until the muffins spring back when touched.
Now … what should I do with these other three bananas? Hmm …
The other day I was cruising around the blogosphere when I saw some coconut ice cream … I’m not much of a fan of that dried shredded coconut, but I love the flavor of coconut … and I thought: wouldn’t coconut ice cream be dreamy? Or better yet, coconut RUM ice cream? Oh and then you could go a step further and make it pina colada ice cream.
I didn’t want all the fat and sugar from the recipe I saw so I made up my own. It’s fruity with that creamy coconut taste and an underlying hint of banana … because frozen bananas have a luscious creaminess to them that no other fruit can quite attain.
And just for good measure (and a little color!) I added some more fruit on top.
Banana Colada Ice Cream
- 2 cups fat free half and half
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 frozen bananas
- 1/2 of a can of light coconut juice
- 1/4 cup pineapple orange juice concentrate
- 3 Tablespoons of coconut rum
- In a medium saucepan, mix half & half & sugar. Heat, stirring frequently, until small bubbles form at the edge of the pan.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg with a whisk or mixer until frothy.
- Slowly drizzle a stream of the hot cream mixture (about 1 cup of it) into the egg, whisking or beating constantly.
- Gradually add the egg mixture back into the remaining hot cream mixture in the saucepan, whisking as you go.
- Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens slightly and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon–roughly 5 minutes.
- Pour the hot mixture into a blender with the vanilla, frozen bananas, pineapple orange juice concentrate and coconut rum. Blend until smooth.
- Put the mixture in the fridge until cool. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Serve topped with the honey spiced fruit compote
Honey Spiced Fruit Compote
This makes a small batch of fruit compote, just enough for about 2-3 servings, depending on how much fruit you pile on and how big your servings are. Mix up the fruits if you like — pineapple or mango would be wonderful too.
- 1 kiwi fruit, peeled and chopped
- 5 – 7 strawberries, tops removed and chopped
- 1/2 Tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- A dash of each: nutmeg and ground ginger
- 1 banana, peeled and sliced
Mix all the ingredients and let sit for 15 minutes or so or until the fruits start juicing a bit. Pour over the frozen ice cream.