I just can’t help myself. Maybe it is because I spent all summer out of the kitchen, but baking is reigning supreme over my recent days. Today it was this beauty.
Banana Bread is such a comfort food. Still working on the bag of vegan chocolate chips, this became a walnut, dried cherry, and chocolate chip Banana Bread. Instead of Amanda’s delicious Blissful Banana Bread that I made (and loved) before, I went with a classic favorite from Veganomicon. If you want to find the recipe and are without the wonderful cookbook, check out The Baking Bird post here where Kylie also raves about the recipe. I am pretty sure I remember VeggieGirl being a fan as well. Always opting for more banana than less, I went with three incredibly ripe ones on my counter top. The recipe differs from Amanda’s because it incorporates applesauce to lower the fat, but you can’t tell because it still has 1/4 cup oil. For my flour, I used Whole Wheat Pastry until I ran out. Luckily, I had some lingering quick oats to make up the last 1/2 cup of dry ingredients.
So really, make this Lower Fat Banana Bread recipe. I promise you will love it. If you are like me and prefer to have a moist (ick, I know it isn’t a choice word) loaf, only cook it for 45 minutes and use 3 small to medium-sized bananas. Oh, and please don’t forget about the molasses. Not only do they add some warmth and unique flavor, but they provide much-needed calicium, iron, and other grand nutrients (read about it here).
With the Veganomicon cookbook open and some already cooked chickpeas in the fridge, I turned to the Chickpea Cutlets page and whipped up a batch uber-quick. Here is a photo of them formed, but before I pressed them down to form cutlets with my palms.
Although the recipe claims to make four cutlets, I always end up with more. The only thing I swapped up from the original was using our fresh rosemary instead of the dried thyme that was called for.
I swear these aren’t baked goods. Apparently V thought they were tasty with peanut butter, but I wouldn’t recommend it. They are a savory snack or meal component that taste superb with bbq sauce, marinara, gravy, etc. I made a sandwich to go with some freshly made pesto, tomatoes V picked today, and baby spinach on sprouted bread.
Other things happening in my kitchen today:
I made a double batch of Ashley’s Roasted Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter. YUM!
They key to making your own nut butters is definitely patience. I wanted to make coconut butter as well today, but my patience just wasn’t there.
I did make Coco-Cashew Hazelnut Butter though.
Coco-Cashew Hazelnut Butter
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup raw hazelnuts
- 2 T maple syrup (organic grade b is best)
- 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder)
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/2 t vanilla
- T coconut oil or coconut butter (optional)
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread your nuts throughout. Roast nuts for 10-15 mins, stirring frequently to prevent burn. Let cool 10-15 minutes. Pour nuts into food processor with remaining ingredients. Process for about 10 mins, frequently scraping down sides to evenly mix.
This recipe still needs some tweaking, maybe some more cocoa. As a former nutella addict (hello, netherlands 2006), I really hope to create a vegan chocolate hazelnut spread. There are a few recipes throughout the web (like this one) but they all seem to use confectioners sugar. Maybe I should just buy some Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut butter already…
-What is your favorite kind of quickbread? Pumpkin, banana, zucchini, etc? I’ve always been the biggest banana bread lover, but this pumpkin gingerbread by Angela looks completely drool-worthy. I am thinking that must be next and what a coincidence that miss Kelsey made it today.
-What is your favorite kind of cross-training? I am getting back to running right now and it seems like I am known for doing too much too fast. I am aiming to incorporate in more cross training but get bored with the elliptical. I did just sign up for 10 Bikram Yoga Classes and am pretty excited considering it has also been much too long since I’ve let myself go with the flow with yoga.
The brief stint my family and I spent living in Laguna Beach, California was filled with an abundance of Mexican food. Since those preteen years I have been searching far and wide for anything remotely close to the freshness of authentic Mexican food, especially like the Adolfo’s I frequented those two years. Converting from the chicken and cheese tacos I consumed weekly back then, I have ventured towards bean filled burritos and grown to love homemade salsa’s and guacamole. Summer is the time of the year I become increasingly nostalgic for those tastes. I am not one to turn up my nose at a veggie filled burrito a la Chipotle, since reading an article in Time magazine about the owners desire to keep their menu ethical (no antibiotics, humanely raised livestock). However, I become a little more disappointed passing more and more Qdoba’s and Taco Bell’s. Today I was lucky enough to be introduced to a new vegetarian friendly joint, The Purple Cactus in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.
The classic rice and bean burrito is always delicious but I opted for the tofu burrito with the former ingredients and guacamole on a whole wheat tortilla (and no cheese or sour cream with this recent vegan adventure). This really hit the spot and I will be sure to return after taking home a menu and browsing the list of choices. Here are some knock-outs: a squash and corn burrito; fajitas (with your choice of protein, even tofu); a thai wrap with fresh broccoli, shredded carrots, bean sprouts, jasmine rice & thai peanut sauce (choice of protein); vegetarian chili; an abundance of sides-squash and corn, brown rice, simmered black beans, and marinated tofu. Other things that were brought to my attention were the juices and smoothies (my personal favorite-carrot apple with celery or ginger) and the many different options of tortillas (spinach, red chile, whole wheat or even none-just a burrito in a bowl). This will be a regular pit stop for me once I move to the outskirts of Boston come September. Oh, and how can you not love a kid-tested-and-approved menu with the famous pb&j wrap.
How great is she. Since she often forgets I steer clear of some ingredients she prefers, I suggested she get her own and she still decided on the special of the day: a lentil soup with cilantro. Here she is too distracted by the stone ground tortilla chips and soup to smile for the photo. Gotta love her.
A few hours later I was still in the foodie mood and Cooking Light happened to be right on the counter when we got home. An article from the August issue caught my eye. Sometimes I worry that I am not getting my money’s worth by purchasing organic over conventional produce but I am happy to admit that this article proved me wrong.
I actually really enjoy how this image turned out…it was just a photograph of the article, not a scan. The article didn’t forget to mention the common list of the dirty dozen, those certain produce items you definitely should buy organic because they are most likely to have the highest amount of pesticides. The most useful information was regarding tomatoes and a study proving that organic ones have more vitamin C and antioxidants including flavonoids, the naturally occurring compounds linked to reduced risks of heart disease and certain cancers. The article went on to say that heirloom tomatoes may be naturally higher in certain nutrients than a hybridized variety simply because of the genetic info contained in the seeds.
I am ashamed to admit that my love for tomatoes didn’t develop until my late teens. Preceding this article was one focusing on the aforementioned heirloom tomatoes and here is a small glimpse into what you should be buying off the newsstands.
Some of the names of tomatoes are so silly. There is an Abraham Lincoln, Mr. Stripey, and the hilarious titled, Mortgage Lifter. Along with the details of shapes and sizes of heirlooms is Cooking Light’s specialty, recipes to play with your tomato tastebuds.
Enough of the food speak for today, on to other things capturing my attention these last few days:
The countdown to the Olympic Games via Runner’s World’s viewer’s guide. This makes me love my sport more than I already do.
Even more protection from the sun, like Red Carter’s big floppy hat at Miami Fashion Week.
Last but not least is fashionista’s opinion on how the athletes will be outfitted at the Olympic’s, a little of two things that make me happy.