Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Banana Chocolate Chip Protein Muffins

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Old, brown bananas...you probably have them right now on your counter, don't you?  Sometimes I can buy bananas and they'll last me a good 3-4 days before they turn, but lately it's like they are only good for 2 days before they're browning up on me.

I hate to throw them out because I know they are so versatile, but I have bags and bags of frozen bananas in my freezer so this time, I thought that I'd better actually make something with them.  I perused the internet for some ideas and took a few different recipes into consideration.  I'm always looking for protein-y ideas for breakfast besides my staple egg white omelette.  I've even made muffins in the past that were great but still a little high in calories for my liking.  These were the perfect combination of calories and protein (11g!) and the great part is that they make full-size muffins; these ain't no itty-bitty muffins.

Now, before you go and make these and freak out that the middles sink in - don't worry - the middles will sink.  I even added an extra teaspoon of baking powder but it didn't make a difference.  So, just go with the flow, they aren't the most perfect muffins you've ever made, but they are pretty freakin' tasty!

2 1/2 small old bananas, about 1 cup mashed
3/4 cup egg whites
1/2 cup plain Greek Yogurt - I used Fage 2% 'cause it's soooo yummy!
3/4 cup steel cut oats (you can also use regular oats, but not quick cooking)
2 scoops vanilla protein powder - I used Trader Joe's Vanilla Whey
1T honey
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 T mini carob chips or mini semi-sweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Spray a muffin-tin with non-stick spray or use silicone cupcake liners - don't use paper, otherwise these will stick like CRAYZAY.
In a food process or blender, add the steel cut oats and pulse to get it down to a powder.

Add the rest of the dry ingredients, except chips, and pulse again.
Now add the wet ingredients, including the banana and pulse to combine.

Pour the batter into the greased tin, then sprinkle an equal amount of chips on top of each.  These will sink, don't worry.

Bake for 16-17 minutes and remove from the oven.
Let cool for about 5 minutes, then using a spatula, carefully remove the muffins to a cooling rack.  Some of mine still stuck to the tin a little, so good luck with that...again, they are super tasty so isn't that what it's all about?
Note:  These are not super sweet muffins.  If you like sweeter muffins, add more honey (up to 1/4 cup).  I like to spread a little bit of almond butter, homemade jam, or a little honey on top of them; they are perfect like that!
Serves 6 (Two muffins each)
Calories 195 / Carbs 32g / Fat 2g / Protein 11g / Fiber 3g / Sodium 371mg
Adapted from:  Dashing Dish

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Blackened Seasoning

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Recently, I was looking for a great rub/seasoning for the halibut I was making for dinner and instead of buying something that was pre-mixed, I decided to see what I could come up with using the ingredients I already had on hand.

So, I perused the web and decided that I’d make a blackened seasoning and I’m here to tell you that it was better than any premade mix you could buy in the store. AND, the options could be endless! I have a friend who has been making her own taco seasoning for years and she swears by it.
I love that I have control over the ingredients that are going into the seasoning; there are no fillers. In addition, the cost is much less than purchasing a blend of spices and I already have so many on hand. I like to buy a lot of my spices in bulk so I have them in abundance.

And the taste?? Amazing! Try making your own seasoning blends today!

1T paprika
2tsp ground pepper
1tsp cayenne pepper – if you prefer a less spicy version, cut this back to ½ tsp
1tsp garlic powder
1tsp onion powder
1tsp sea salt
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried oregano

Mix all of the ingredients together and store in an airtight container.

Use as a rub for chicken, pork, or fish like Hubs and I did.

Makes about 3T of seasoning mix.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Gluten-Free Apple Peach Crisp

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Recently, we had dinner at our friend's home and we brought dessert.  My girlfriend is highly gluten intolerant so I took this upon myself as a challenge.  Of course, I'm a terrible friend and ran out of time and had to throw something together at the last minute, cuz that's how I roll.  Thankfully, she doesn't hold that against me.

Of course, as everyone knows:  there's gluten in everything!  What in the heck was I going to come up with in 2 hours that wouldn't make her ill for days??  This sounded like a job for Pinterest.  I perused a few GF recipes and decided on this variation of a few.

After a tiny bit of stress about the cross-contamination of my quick oats in processing, I remembered that I had purchased some Bob's Red Mill steel cut oats a while back and crossed my fingers that it was good to go...and it was!

I actually really enjoyed the texture of the steel cut oats as the topping for this and I tossed a bit (about 2T) of GF granola on top just for prettiness.

There's nothing in this dessert that would make it taste any different from your typical apple crisp so don't be afraid to try it!  It came together so quickly, too!

3-4 large Granny Smith apples (really any apples would work, I just like the tartness of GS), peeled and diced
2-3 fresh peaches, peeled and diced
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
4 tsp cinnamon, divided
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 cup almond meal
3/4 cup certified gluten free steel cut or regular oats
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2T coconut oil (the room temperature cold coconut oil; in it's "hardened" state)

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a large bowl, combine apples, peaches, sugar, cornstarch, 2 tsp cinnamon and nutmeg.  Toss to coat fruit.

Coat a pie plate or other baking dish with nonstick spray and add fruit.

In a separate bowl, add almond meal, oats, brown sugar, the rest of the cinnamon, and the coconut oil and mix by hand until crumbly. 

Cover the fruit with the crumb topping.

Bake for about 45-50 minutes until browned.

Remove from oven and serve warm or at room temperature.  Enjoy!

Serves 8
Calories 249 / Carbs 35g / Fat 9g / Protein 5g / Fiber 6g / Sodium 0mg

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Corn and Black Bean Salad

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Updated from original post in August 2012:

Ahhhhh...sweet, sweet Summertime!  Time for family reunions, BBQ's, warm nights and lots and lots of friends!

I have been making this salad for about 5 years now and it’s one of my favorite Summer salads.  I LOVE using the tomatoes from my garden and this year I have parsley and a friend with peppers in her garden to use!
I could eat this salad by the spoonful and because there isn’t any fat (no oil!), I certainly can and not feel guilty.  I have also added diced avocado in the past which is delicious AND adds healthy fats.  My favorite ways to have it are with Late July Mild Green Mojo Tortilla chips, or on top of a big ol’ green salad with grilled southwestern chicken.  Make it a day ahead and bring along to your next potluck!  Make if for your 4th of July picnic or cookout!!  However YOU decide to have it is all up to you, but I think you’ll really enjoy it!

This is the dish that my friends ask me to bring DEMAND when we have BBQs...or basically, any other get together where we are eating...which is pretty much most of the time.

2 – 15 oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 – 15.25 cans corn, drained
1 red pepper, diced (you can use any color pepper you like, I like the added color of using three different types)
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 orange pepper, diced
2 small fresh jalapenos, deseeded and deveined
1/3 cup sliced jarred jalapenos, chopped, and some of the juice from the jar
2 large shallots, minced
¼ cup flat leaf parsley (you can also use cilantro but I am not a fan), chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 pints cherry tomatoes, diced (I used the cherry tomatoes from my garden and sliced them in quarters)
3 limes, juiced
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar1 tsp of ground cayenne pepper2 tsp sugarSalt and Pepper, to taste
Additions:  diced avocado (add these right before serving)

Look at the pretty colors!  Chop/dice these babies up by hand or using your handy food processor...I like the relaxation of cutting veggies, but when I'm short on time, I just throw them in there and wham!  All done!

In a large strainer, drain and rinse beans. 

Once the beans are rinsed, drain the corn into the same strainer.

In a large bowl, combine the beans, corn, peppers, jalapenos, onion, parsley and garlic and mix to combine.

Add the lime juice, apple cider vinegar, cayenne pepper and sugar and stir.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cover and place bowl in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.  Stirring occasionally.  I like to make this a day before which adds even more time for the flavors to come together.

Before serving, mix in the avocados if you're using.  Stir again to meld the flavors.

Serve with tortilla chips or as a side dish to chicken, fish, or beef.  Try to share…it’ll be hard…but try.  I will add this stuff to EVERYTHING.  It's great as a lunch in a wrap, on a burger, in your salad...anything I can add it to, I do.

Serves 12 (approx. 3/4 cup each)
Calories 121 / Carbs 26g / Fat 1g / Protein 5g / Fiber 5g / Sodium 385mg

Happy Birthday, America!!  Have a safe and wonderful 4th, everyone!

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