Banana Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

Breakfast for both my husband and I are usually on the  go in the mornings. I tried these muffins a couple of weeks ago after a friend tried them and let me sample. These muffins pack in oatmeal, along with bananas and blueberries for a hearty, easy to eat on the run morning treat! The recipe and picture come from http://www.domesticadventure.com/2011/02/tasty-tuesday-banana-blueberry-oatmeal-muffins/

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 TBS unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pint fresh or frozen blueberries

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Combine the flour, oatmeal, baking soda and salt, and set aside. In your mixer, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. While mixing, add one egg at a time and combine well.  Then add in milk, vanilla and banana; mix well. Stir in flour/oatmeal mixture with as few strokes as possible and then add blueberries. Divide the batter evenly in your well-greased muffin pans. Bake for 25 – 28 minutes at 375 degrees, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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Banana Ice Cream

We do not eat ice cream very much in our home, but this healthier version is allowing us to enjoy it more often. The great thing about this is that it can be adapted for whatever taste you might have…we usually do bananas with peanut butter, but I am planning to do bananas with vanilla bean soon. You can top with any of your favorite ice cream toppings, we like to do chocolate chips. You can even throw in some of the energy bites posted previously which is reminiscent of cookie dough ice cream (my favorite…). I think you could sub peaches or strawberries for the bananas for an even more refreshing summer treat! The base recipe along with the picture comes from http://userealbutter.com/2010/08/12/single-ingredient-ice-cream-recipe/

 

4 bananas, just slightly overripe (brown spots good, completely black not so good)
2 tbsps creamy peanut butter (optional – thus 2 ingredient ice cream)
2 tsps cocoa powder (Dutch process), (optional – thus 2 or 3 ingredient ice cream depending on peanut butter)

DO NOT FREEZE THE WHOLE BANANA, you’ll have a heck of a time blending that beast.

Peel the bananas and slice them up into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick disks. Place the banana slices in the freezer for about an hour or until they are frozen solid. Put the frozen slices in a food processor and pulse. First they will start to resemble gravel, but keep going. The bananas will soon turn into a frozen mush – at this point, start scraping the sides down (you will do this a lot). Or you could add a dash of milk (or yogurt) since the liquid will help the blending. So after a few minutes of stopping to scrape the sides down, the banana begins to blend into a creamy texture. When the bananas look like whipped ice cream, you can add your mix-ins like peanut butter and/or cocoa powder, chocolate chips, toffee, raspberries, anything goes! Straight out of the food processor, the ice cream is like soft serve. You can also freeze it for a firmer texture. I find it’s pretty hard (and therefore, brittle) when I scoop it immediately after removing it from the freezer. Just give it a minute or two to soften up. Makes a pint.

 

Barley Risotto

We love risotto as a side dish in our home. Recently, in an effort to vary the grains we eat, I decided to try barley instead of Arborio rice as the base and boy was this a great idea! It makes the dish a little more guilt-less and changes things up a bit, without sacrificing taste or the creaminess of a regular risotto. Here’s how it’s done:

  • 1/4 cup of diced onions (I have used yellow, sweet, and green and you can also use shallots)
  • 1-2 tbsp. olive oil or 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup white or marsala wine
  • 1 cup barley
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
  • salt, pepper, garlic, and herbs of your choice  to taste

Sauté onions with oil or butter until translucent, then deglaze the pan with your wine. In the meantime, warm chicken stock in a separate pot and keep on low heat. After deglazing your pan, add the barley and toast for 1 minute or so. Then, gradually add in the chicken stock. I only add about 1/2 cup at a time, allow it to simmer with the barley mixture for a few minutes until most of it is absorbed, and then add another 1/2 cup or so. Remember that the key to good risotto is to go slow and add the liquid in bit by bit, the entire process may take 30-40 minutes. It is well worth it! Add in your salt and pepper to taste during this time. We like to add in dried parsley and oregano, or rosemary. When you have finished adding in the liquid, and you have let the  risotto soak up most of the broth, then add parmesan cheese and stir. You can also top with mozzarella cheese if desired.

Add ins for the risotto, if desired, include mushrooms (I would add these in with the onions), sundried tomatoes, peas, diced zucchini or squash…pretty much anything you want!

Zoodles!

Zoodles have been rocking the Benard household for the past couple of months. Meaning zucchini that have been spiralized into a noodle shape, zoodles are a favorite healthy addition to our dinner table. We have done zoodle marsala (shown in the picture), zoodle stir-fry, zoodle scampi, zoodle pesto, and zoodles with alfredo sauce, but we (i.e. – my husband the zoodle eating expert) really feel zoodles pair best with tomato sauces.

Zoodles are actually the healthy finding that made me start thinking about doing a blog, they were such a hit the first time we tried them that I wanted to share them with the world! Here’s how we do them:

We usually use 4-6 medium sized zucchini for a meal for 2 people plus usually one lunch the next day. Spiralize with your spiralizer of choice (I have the attachment for the KitchenAid Mixer, but friends of mine have the Vegetti and report it works great also). Many recipes that I have looked at recommend letting the zoodles sit for 15-20 minutes to dry out a little, I normally do this although I’m not sure it’s entirely necessary. Then, drizzle a little bit of olive oil or put a little pad of butter in a skillet with some salt, pepper, garlic, and/or minced onion (really anything you want to throw in) and put your zoodles in. Saute for 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, and then voila! As you can see from our above list, you can pair these with pretty much anything.

We recently also took zucchini and cut them long-ways to replace lasagna noodles. Needless to say, “zoodle lasagna” is a new favorite for dinner…pictures to come 🙂

 

 

No Bake Energy Bites

So let’s get started with the healthy eating efforts!

This first recipe comes to us from Gimme Some Oven and is one of my favorite snacks. You can find the recipe at http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/no-bake-energy-bites/

One thing I have noted when I have bad migraines is that not only do I crave certain foods, I also crave certain textures. Cookie dough is one of them, which of course wreaks havoc on dieting efforts. That’s where these come in, their texture is very similar to cookie dough and they have a great flavor while containing healthy ingredients like oatmeal and flax seeds. The sweetness comes from honey, peanut butter, coconut, vanilla, and chocolate chips (which are optional but I always like the little bit of chocolate they give). They are a great afternoon pick-me-up. I like to make a large batch of these (triple or quadruple the recipe) and then freeze the extras in an airtight container for a readily available snack to take to work.

Variations on this recipe include adding mashed bananas, cinnamon, more peanut butter if you want them to be more gooey, or heath toffee bits for a sweeter, crunchier texture (although that admittedly sort of defeats the whole healthy thing…), here’s my tweaked base recipe with the original listed on the website above. This makes about 20-25 one-inch energy bites:

  • 1 cup oats
  • 2/3 cup coconut flakes (you can toast or use untoasted – I usually do untoasted just because I throw all of this together in  hurry)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (or whatever nut butter you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup flax seed (I use them whole although the recipe says to ground them)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional – you could also use vanilla flavored or peanut butter flavored, milk or dark chocolate chips – whatever you prefer!)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix all above ingredients together and let chill for about 1 hour, then roll into bite-sized treats! These stay in the fridge for about 1 week (but I doubt they will last that long…) and can stay for a couple of months in the freezer, just pull a few out as needed.

 

**UPDATE: Cranberry-White Chocolate Energy Bites! OK, so in attempt to switch things up a bit, I did some substituting:

Add 1/2 cup cranberries and 1/4 cup white chocolate chips in place of the 1/2 cup of chocolate chips before, throw 1-2 tsp of orange zest in and mix…delish!

You can also do a combo of dark chocolate chips and cranberries.

You can also substitute 1/2 cup white chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate chips in the original recipe and add 1 tsp (more if you really like lime) of lime zest for coconut-lime white chocolate energy bites

 

Hello!

Well hello there! Welcome and thank you so much for taking the time to visit my blog. I am super excited to share this journey with you all.  You may be asking yourself why I made yet another diet food blog to share with the world. I will readily admit that most of the recipes I intend to share are not my originals, and most if not all of them I have found via Pinterest. I do promise to give credit to those who created the original recipe.

The reason for this blog is that in my husband’s and my quest to eat healthier, I have looked at a lot of recipes that claim to be delicious and easy but in reality the recipes have not panned out (my husband and I both remember the cauliflower Alfredo sauce with great disdain…) or required ingredients I had never heard of or weren’t readily available. I wanted to share recipes that we have tried and truly deemed to be delicious as well as recipes that I have been able to make with basic ingredients found at any grocery store (or our garden 😊). With many of these recipes, I have added my own spin or tweaked it a bit to make it work better for us. I hope you enjoy them and find them helpful in your own journey to be healthier.