It's Secret Recipe Club time again! This month, I was assigned A Spoonful of Thyme. I enjoyed the story she tells about her grandmother and the pies, and how she talks about mealtime being an important bonding time. I can tell that family is very important to her!
I went in this month with a mission, because I was hosting a game night and needed an appetizer or snack. I considered this Zahtar Flatbread and these Bar Eggs, and was even distracted by a couple of desserts - Coconut Cream Bars and Poached Figs. But in the end it could only be the recipe that hooked me immediately - Cheesy Pull-Apart Bread. I'd seen this floating around the internet and hadn't tried it yet; this was the perfect opportunity!
I ended up going shopping at 1:00 AM (long story) and there was no working the bread counter. So when I saw that all of the crusty breads were pre-sliced, I ended up having to go with a baguette. It worked out okay, but I would have preferred a regular loaf. Anyway, cut the bread in a crisscross pattern (but not all the way through the bottom) and stuff with cheese slices. This is a bit of a process, but I found it relaxing - kind of like meditation.
I recently moved to a new house about 35 minutes from my old one, but I still have a gym membership near my old place because I need to use up some training sessions before I quit. So I've been driving over there twice a week to train. I'm used to drinking a protein shake on the way to the gym, working out, then getting lunch. But now with the extra drive (and waking up earlier), I'm getting hungry by the time I get to the gym - and that is no good for working out! So here is where these (vegan, paleo, gluten-free) date and nut bars come in handy. I throw one in my bag straight from the freezer, and by the time I get to the gym they are thawed, so I eat it before heading in. They fill me up and give me a boost of energy - perfect!
These are also great for healthy homemade snacks or desserts, and especially for people with food allergies (other than nuts, obviously). I bet kids would love them.
The crust is made from nuts, date, and coconut - most of which is pressed into the bottom of a pan, and the rest is sprinkled on top later. The original poster is a big fan of soaking and drying nuts before eating them to remove the phytic acid that can make them difficult to digest. I tried it for this recipe and it took quite a bit of time (I dried them in the slow cooker overnight), but if that is too much work for you it's okay to just use raw nuts. The original recipe also calls for brazil and macadamia nuts, but these are a bit hard to find and a little expensive. I recommend raw cashews as a replacement.
The filling is made from dates, dried figs, and orange zest - yum.
My friend Melissa (you know her by now as Smells Like Brownies) threw a Curious George themed birthday party for her 1 year old. She wanted to have some kind of banana snack at the party (cuz duh - monkeys) but really hates bananas, even the smell of them. So I volunteered to make something for her. These banana pops could not be easier, and they ended up being a huge success!
Start by cutting bananas (however many you want to use) in half and carefully insert popsicle sticks. Pop them into the freezer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make your chocolate dip. Place chocolate chips into a microwaveable bowl - you can use either milk or dark, I prefer dark. 8 oz of chocolate will cover 2 bananas (4 halves). Next, mix in some oil or butter - this makes sure the chocolate melts evenly and that it is shiny. I used coconut oil for the health factor and because it tastes great with chocolate. The ratio is 1 tbsp oil to 8 oz chocolate. Stir to coat the chips evenly with oil, then microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the chocolate is just melted. Do not overcook it - once you burn chocolate, you can't take it back.
While the chocolate is still warm, take the partially frozen bananas and dip them into the chocolate to coat. You may need to use a rubber spatula to ensure that the entire banana is coated. Allow any excess to drip off. Working quickly (the chocolate will harden quickly on the frozen banana), sprinkle with or roll in whatever toppings you want to use. I used sprinkles, walnuts, and toasted coconut. Return the bananas to the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Allow to soften for about 5 minutes at room temp, or longer in the fridge, before you serve them so that they won't be rock hard. The banana inside should be the consistency of ice cream.
I used a 32 oz bag of chocolate chips to make 16 banana pops (from 8 bananas). These are super fun to make - I bet kids would love to get involved. And there is not a lot of sugar, depending on what kind kind of chocolate and toppings you use, making it a healthy snack/dessert. So go bananas!
Ugh - sorry folks, I've been bad about posting this last week! And this post is going to be pretty short, too. We are finally on our way into Fall, but the transition has been slow and there is still some stone fruit to be had. I am still really into tartines at the moment, so I paired sliced nectarine with goat cheese, prosciutto, and basil for a quick lunch.
Then the store finally had some burrata in (this is a seriously random occurrence, you never know), so I paired that with some ripe peach, basil, EVOO, balsamic, and sea salt.
We are finally getting into some Spring weather here but I am way behind on my posts, so I'm sorry if the cold weather stuff drags on a bit! I actually made this Pumpkin Cream Cheese Loaf all the way back in October - yikes! Put it uses canned pumpkin, so you can make it whenever that is available. I found this recipe through Pinterest which advertized only 500 calories for a WHOLE LOAF!(!!!) Oh-em-gee! Can it be true? Delicious and healthy? The unicorn of pumpkin loafs?! EDIT - Well, no in short - it is not. It actually has more than 1000 calories per loaf and it doesn't taste that great. But I will leave it on here in case someone has a use for it. EDIT
Okay, I wouldn't really call it healthy. It's low calorie and low fat due to the use of low-fat cream cheese, egg whites vs whole eggs, and applesauce vs oil. And it uses half fake sugar and half real sugar, but I'd still call that a sugary snack.
As for deliciousness? I'd call it okay. You can definitely taste the fake sugar and it isn't as dense and luxurious as the real thing, but it's a pretty good substitute. So all-in-all I'm going to call this decent but not amazeballs.
I am a little bit behind on posting, so to tide you over until I can get myself organized I will show you this super simple and and super tasty snack/dessert. All you have to do is spread one slice of bread with peanut butter and another with Nutella, then top with some banana and strawberry slices.
Press the slices together and dip each side of the sandwich into a combination of beaten egg, milk or cream, and a little cinnamon. Cook in a hot pan with melted butter and you are done! Great for a late night snack, or breakfast with the kiddos - enjoy.