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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Banana Bread and Muffins

Did you know you can freeze bananas? Literally just drop them into the freezer, peel on. Then when you have enough bananas, simply take them out and let them defrost. The bananas will be the perfect texture (use the liquid that comes out of them too).

So now you don't have to worry when you  have just one or two bananas beginning to brown; stock the in the freezer until you have enough to make a banana bread (you could however, make a banana semifreddo with just one or two) - but either way, there is no need to throw them out.

The recipe below is versatile enough that you can make a banana bread or a banana muffin. Fold in nuts or chocolate chips for a fun twist, which I love. Know your eaters though - some of these muffins were for my friend Heather, who is allergic to walnuts. So I made the nut-less muffins in the photo for her.

Freeze your next left over bananas and make some banana bread or muffins today. You'll love them just out of the oven and you'll have a fat and happy breakfast and afternoon snack.

Tips and techniques: Top the banana bread loaves with chopped pecans and brown sugar or turbinado/raw sugar.

Nutty Chocolate Chip Banana Bread and Banana Muffins

5 ripe bananas

Add in:
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/4 cup + 1/2 tbls milk
1 tsp vanilla

Sift together, and mix in with the wet ingredients:
3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt

fold in:
1/2 cup crushed walnuts or pecans (optional)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

If your using the classic loaf pan- pour into your well greased loaf pans, place in preheated oven (375 degrees) for about 45 minutes- or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

If your using muffin pans: fill each well-greased muffin pan about 1/2 full; add a dollop of the extra banana filling mix (recipe below) into the center of each, and then top with another layer of the main mix (of feel free to just top each muffin instead of hiding as a filling). This extra filling will boost the banana flavor and help keep these little muffins moist!

Banana Cinnamon Filling:
1 ripe banana

whisk together:
1 Tbls flour
dash of cinnamon
1 Tbls of raw sugar
1-2 Tbls melted butter

Monday, March 2, 2009

Healthy Applesauce Granola

Oats aren't just for breakfast anymore- it's a snack, it's a dessert topper, a pie crust bottom, can leap tall buildings in a single bound.

But even with this versatility- why ignore one of it's best uses- Granola! I've made up a fabulous Pumpkin Granola and a Sweet Brown Sugar Granola, so clearly I like oatmeal. This particular granola is a simple and yet a healthy granola. The recipes are all similar, but little variations make big differences!

Of course this pairs well with yogurt, but it's a great snack on it's own and a great topper on ice cream. I've also used this as a base for a cheesecake crust- outstanding! You'll be fat and happy just from the aroma the baking granola fills your house with. Try all three of my granola'll find oats are your friend an you'll never buy store bought again.

Healthy Applesauce Granola

Toss in a big bowl:
6 cups of old fashioned oats
1 cup raisins
1 cup almonds

1 cup applesauce
1/2 Tbls vanilla
1 tsp almond
1/2 Tbls cinnamon
1 scant tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup (heaping) brown sugar
pinch of salt

Whisk all the wet ingredients (from applesauce to brown sugar). Then use your hands to mix the sauce into the oat mix; be sure everything gets coated but don't over mix and do squeeze some clumps if you like the clumpy granola.

Spread out on between two cookie sheets, lightly greased. Bake in the oven at 200 degrees for about 2 hours; toss about every half hour and to check for doneness.


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