Posts tagged bananas

Monkey smoothies

Our scheduled has rampedScreen Shot 2013-01-17 at 9.29.32 PM up lately with basketball games, play practices (x2), homework projects–oh, and I’m squeezing in a little kitchen renovating. To fill in the gaps when it comes to snacks (uh, and sit-down meals) I’ve been making these smoothies for my kiddos. They’ve now dubbed them “monkey smoothies.”

 

The smoothies are packed with protein courtesy of the peanut butter and Greek yogurt. I’ve found that if my kids fill up on protein it gives them the energy they need to make it through our sometimes crazy schedule.

 

Recipe

Prep time: I’ve got it down to 5 minutes

Servings: 2-3 depending on the size of your glasses

 

Ingredients:

1 cup crushed ice

1/4 cup peanut butter (smooth, creamy, take your pick)

2 tablespoons Nutella or chocolate syrup

1/3 cup Greek yogurt

1 banana

1/2-3/4 cup milk

 

Directions:

  1. For the right consistency (another way of saying “so the peanut butter doesn’t get glued to the side of your blender), put the crushed ice, peanut butter, Nutella, and banana into your blender first. Pulse briefly.
  2. Add in the milk and pulse until smooth, then add in the Greek yogurt.
  3. Finishing touch–pour in the chocolate syrup or Nutella for a little sweetness. You can add more if you’ve got a child with a real sweet tooth, or skip it entirely.
  4. Serve in a glass with a lid on the way to volleyball/piano lessons/theatre class…

 

 

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Elvis ice pops

We call these Elvis pops around out house. See iced-banana-chocolate-peanut-pops just seemed too long. Yes, these snacks combine some of Elvis’ favorite flavors all into one icy treat.

I tried to solve a couple problems with our family’s version of banana pops: first, cutting a banana in half and then dipping the whole thing in chocolate means that once you bite into the iced pop all the chocolate starts to crack. Gone goes the chocolate and your last few bites of banana are chocolate-less. Not cool. But if you cut up the bananas into pieces it’s easier for kiddos to help with the dipping and (equally importantly, really) you get plenty of chocolate in each bite. Second problem, as much as I like the combo of bananas and chocolate, there’s no crunch. Crush a few peanuts, problem solved.

Note: I’d recommend using popsicle sticks, not plastic knives and toothpicks (pictured). My middle daughter fessed up that my 500-count wooden popsicle stick stash had disappeared. Not to worry, they’re now houses for her Littlest Pet Shop family.

Recipe

Servings: about 30 pops

Prep time: 15 minutes + 20 minutes freezing (twice)


Ingredients

3 large bananas

1 cup chocolate chips

3/4 cups chopped peanuts

Wooden popsicle sticks

Directions

  • Cut each banana into 8-10 slices, then insert a popsicle stick into each slice.
  • Place the slices onto a baking pan covered with waxed paper and freeze for 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in the microwave until smooth. (With my microwave I set it at half power then cook the chips for 2 minutes; stir.)
  • Dip each banana slice into the melted chocolate and then into the chopped peanuts. Return to the pan and freeze again for 20 minutes.

Kids’ reaction:

They loved these mini banana pops that were drenched in chocolate and peanuts. My middle child–who normally avoids all things peanuts–even had one peanut-coated pop. She did prefer those that were peanutless, she said. What I liked about these easy treats is that my kids could do every part of this recipe on their own.


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Triple chocolate coconut banana muffins

Sometimes my kids won’t eat bananas around our house just waiting for them to get ripe enough so that I’ll make these muffins. I’ve been meaning to pass along this recipe for awhile, but I do the batter just a little bit differently each time–sometimes I mix up the kinds of sugar I use, other times it’s the flours that get tweaked.

But I made a batch this week that was so good I had to pass this recipe along. So if you have some bananas that are getting ripe and you love the combination of chocolate and bananas, these muffins are for you!

Recipe

Ingredients

3 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or 1 1/2 cups all-purpose, 1 1/2 cups wheat flour)

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder (if available, or regular cocoa)

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup coconut flakes (unsweetened preferred)

1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt

2 eggs

3 ripe bananas

8 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup chocolate chips

1/2 teaspoon almond or coconut extract

2/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together in a small bowl.
  3. In another bowl, beat the bananas until smooth and then add the yogurt, eggs, and extract.
  4. Melt the butter and chocolate chips together in a glass measuring cup in the microwave (I usually set it for half power for a minute, then stir.)
  5. Stir the dry ingredients into the yogurt mixture just until blended.
  6. Gently blend the chocolate-butter into the yogurt mixture, then stir in the mini chocolate chips.
  7. Fill 24 muffin cups 2/3 full.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

*Tweaked from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook recipe for Big Beautiful Muffins.

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Yogurt banana cake with chocolate chips

Shhhhh, don’t tell my kids but this recipe is simply a tweaked muffin recipe. Yup I just didn’t want to take the time to fill up all of the muffin tins so I poured the batter into a 9×13″ pan instead, called it cake, and my kids were hooked. Okay, the chocolate chips helped, but so did the hefty amount of Greek yogurt which makes this ‘cake’ moist and filling.

Recipe

Servings: 20

Prep time: 15 minutes + baking

Ingredients

3 cups flour (whole wheat flour would work well too)

1 cup brown sugar

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla

2 ripe bananas

1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt

2 eggs

8 Tbsp. melted butter

2/3 cup chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Using a hand-held mixer mash the bananas and then add the brown sugar, followed by the yogurt, then eggs and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together all of the dry ingredients.
  4. Blend the dry ingredients into the banana mixture. Stir in the melted butter and chocolate chips.
  5. Pour batter into a greased 9×13″ pan.
  6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Cool and eat for dessert, breakfast or snacks.

Kids’ reaction: Well, no surprise but this was a big hit with my crew. I’ve now made it twice this week and my kids are trying to keep from eating bananas around here so they’ll be ripe enough to use in this recipe. Originally, I was going to make a simple glaze for this using powdered sugar and maple syrup but it doesn’t need it.

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Banana buckwheat bread

Who else likes to experiment with different flours? Me too. Buckwheat flour has been on my list since I noticed a popular, local eatery, Crepes De Luxe, touting that they used it to make their nearly tire-sized crepes.

So buckwheat works to make hearty crepes, I wondered about using it in breads and muffins. The texture of buckwheat flour is noticeably courser then white flour and even whole wheat. I thought it might pair well with a recipe that tends to be moist anyway. Banana bread! I don’t like banana bread that gets too gummy. Have you ever had that happen where on day #2 of cutting into your banana bread the top is sticky? Buckwheat might just solve the problem.

As long as I was using buckwheat flour, which happens to be packed with nutrients, I wanted to keep all of the other ingredients as healthy as possible. I looked for a butter-free recipe that was also slim on sugar. But of course I added a few dark chocolate mini chips to the mix because they’re full of anti-oxidants. (Okay, it doesn’t take much for me to add chocolate to just about anything, but hey, dark chocolate is good for you.) I tweaked a recipe from Ginger Jen to come up with my version.

Recipe

Prep time: 15 minutes + baking

Servings: 4-6


Ingredients

1 cup whole wheat

3/4 cup buckwheat flour

1 3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup sugar (I used coconut sugar)

3 ripened bananas

2 eggs

1/3 cup oil

2 tablespoons milk (I used fat-free Greek yogurt)

1 tablespoon honey (optional)

1/3 cup chopped walnuts

1/3 cup mini dark chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, stir together all of the dry ingredients, except the sugar, chips, and nuts.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, mash the bananas using a handheld mixer. Add the eggs, then oil, then sugar, and blend until combined.
  4. Stir the dry ingredients into the banana mixture, just until moistened.
  5. Mix in the chocolate chips (if using) and walnuts.
  6. Coat one regular-sized loaf pan or two mini-sized ones (I prefer the smaller size) with cooking spray and pour the batter into the pan(s).
  7. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the loaf tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool before cutting.

Kid reaction: I honestly didn’t think my kids would go for this heartier bread. Admittedly, the mini chocolate chips helped but I kept asking my youngest if she thought it tasted any different from our regular, whole wheat banana bread. She didn’t seem to notice and even walked off with the pieces I was using to take pictures for this post! I did think the bread was a bit drier and tended to crumble more than my usual recipe, but I liked it, especially since the crust stayed crisp on day #2.

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Soothing Tummies: The BRAT Diet

Photo credit: Ntsiro

The tummy bug visited our house this week. So far, three down (two kids + hubby), one potential sick kid (plus mom!) to go. I’m doing everything I can, from wiping down every surface with Lysol to washing every towel–twice–to keep the rest of us healthy and to get everyone back to normal, soon.

Gone are the planned dinners for the week, and in their place, we’ve been keeping it bland. That’s where the BRAT diet comes in. No, this isn’t some Atkins-esque diet regimen, and it doesn’t have anything to do with unruly toddlers, the BRAT approach is all about keeping foods plain and simple–and your tummy woozy-free.

BRAT stands for bananas, rice, apples and toast. And that’s what we’ve been eating. Personally, I’ve always considered bananas a wonder-fruit anyway so I’m not letting my supply run low this week. Maybe the saying should be, “A banana a day keeps the doctor way.”

I’m just hoping that a banana a day can keep the tummy bug away–or at least get it to pass through our house quickly…

Anyone else have special remedies for soothing tummies?

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