Monday, November 29, 2010

Apple Banana Chocolate Awesomeness

I love banana bread.  

I love nearly everything about it.  And if you add pumpkin to it, I'm gone.  It's lovely.  After my unsatisfying coffee shoppe (I like spelling it that way) experience this morning, I got inspired and made the following recipe.  The company at said coffee shoppe was fabulous, but the coffee shoppe itself not only didn't have a single thing I could eat freely, but the girl also sort of pretentiously suggested I go to Portland to find a coffee shop who did in fact provide for such a picky person as to need low sugar or low carb for my health.  But I don't live in Portland, I live in Beaverton, so I ended up with a bran muffin that I paid $1.95 for and of which I was only able to eat half.  So, while the company more than made it worth going, I felt the need to make myself a coffee shoppe-related goodie once home.  And my son is going on a cave tour/field trip tomorrow and will appreciate the nice banana bread in his lunch.    

I've made the base banana bread recipe many times, and it's by far the best I've found.  Easily tweakable, moist and without oil;  it's healthy and yummy; and when I replace the sugar with extra bananas and some splenda; perfect for my diabetic self.  And it smells awesome.  And it is awesome, because there's  chocolate.  I'd put up a pic, and I took one, but our computer is out so I have no way to upload.  So I'll just leave this to your diabetic imagination.  Moist, dark banana bread, with a hint of chocolate and cinnamon.  mmmmmmmmmMMmmm

I got the original recipe from the net, but haven't been able to find it again, so if I've re-used your recipe, let me know and I'll give props where props are due, this is the best recipe I've used, by far.  I almost always double it and it works fine.  And if you feel the need to add some oatmeal perhaps, just add a couple teaspoons of milk extra and some extra baking powder.  This current tweak is never before tried, so I'll comment to review it once done, but it sounds and smells awesome and like I said, I've made this base recipe many, many, times, and I've yet to have it truly suck.  Some times it's been maybe not as good as it could have been, but that's my fault, not the recipe.    

I'll list the base recipe then my tweaks in red: Remember:  I doubled the recipe, so what's listed here are the single batch ingredient lists, with my add-ons and tweaks. 

Nana's Banana Bread

The dry squad:
1 3/4 cup flour  *1 3/4 cups wheat flour, 1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour and 1/4 cup almond flour this time
1/2 tsp baking soda *1 tsp
1 1/2 tsp baking powder * 3 tsp for double batch, a little more if using oatmeal
3/4 tsp salt *I still use 3/4 tsp for a double batch
I added 1/4 cup unsweetened chocolate to the dry squad here

The wet stuff:
3/4 cup sugar *I doubled the recipe, so used 5 bananas and 1/2 cup splenda here)
1 beaten egg *2 eggs
1 cup mashed bananas *I use 2 more bananas here, sorta mushed up with my fingers
1/2 cup milk 

The fun stuff:
about a half cup cranberries
a good handful of dark chocolate chips
a cored, peeled and chopped apple

Yes I do indeed use 7 bananas altogether.  But if your banana experience is anything like mine, I'm tossing these things into the fridge regularly.

Put in all 5 mashed bananas (ones you've tossed in the freezer and then thawed work the best) and beat the life out of them.  If you've beaten them long enough then they get all lovely and frothy and yummy.  Then add in the splenda and the eggs, beating some more.  

Then, mix your dry squad together in a bowl, stirring well to get all the baking powder and soda and salt mixed in.  Cuz that's just yucky to bite into a giant bite of baking soda.  Especially if someone else made it and you can't say it's bad...  

You know that look you make, like when your kids make you something and you have to eat it, or break their little hearts in pieces.  "Wow, this is great!  Thanks, I love it!"  meanwhile your taste buds are trying to murder each other.

But I digress.  Once you mix the dry squad, alternate it with the milk about a third each at a time, until it's all mixed and happy.  You want it all to mingle, but don't kill it.  

Then using some big spoons, you can spoon it into prepped cupcake cups, maybe do 12, and still have enough for a second batch AND a loaf.  Or, if you have those cute little mini loaf pans, then go for like half an hour, maybe checking at 20 minutes.

350 degrees for about 15 minutes, for muffins or until the middle just barely depresses, but isn't gooey.  And for those of you who don't stick your fingers into hot from the oven muffins, just use a tooth pick.  If you have sort of moist looking crumbs, that's good.  If you have batter, then maybe let that go for a couple minutes or more, just for grins.

If you do a loaf, then go for 45-50 minutes, or until the above mentioned toothpick test is completed and passed.  Mini loaf pans take from 20 to 30 min.

Then let it cool off, and eat.  I have 2 boys and a hubbs, and this stuff never lasts for long.  Makes a great snack, like when you get up predawn to drink a cup of coffee before the hooligans come down to eat and get ready for school.  It's healthy so you don't die (ideally) but just decadent enough to satisfy your need for Apple Banana Chocolate Awesomeness.  Because it is...Awesome...really....try it...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Two in one day?!

we pretend it's chocolate crust

This was a request, so I'm putting up my diabetic pumpkin pie recipe. Just in time for Thanksgiving.

I'm a pumpkin-holic.

There, I said it.  I love pumpkin, anything pumpkin. Pumpkin soup, pie, scones, latte, painting pumpkins, gutting them and roasting their seeds, and the list goes on and on. In fact, as I'm penning these words, I'm eating pumpkin pie for breakfast. Life is good when you have to test out your recipes before the big day.

Because you have to.

Really, it's for the good of the family.

I should point out here, as I'm extolling the wonders of the pumpkin, that the pie I'm eating is in fact butternut squash, not pumpkin. My bad, it still rocks. Probably because I roasted the butternut and everything myself. But I'm in no way opposed to the tried and true can method. People say it's better if you grow, roast, scoop and blend your own, but really, I have 2 kids and an awesome hubbs and not enough time. BuuUut, I did the sunday morning cookoff this last weekend and had the squash so decided to use it. And I have a just-a-month-shy-of 13 year old, so I pressed him into squash scooping.  So in reality, while I did gut it and roast it;  by pressing my son into sous chef duties, I did very little work at all.  So it was very similar to using a can anyway.  The point is, do what works, it's all good.  As is pressing your children into kitchen duties.

I've put the recipe below for a single crust pie, although I did the double batch (big can) so I'm guessing a little on the exact measurements. I taste my filling prior to the great pouring to make sure things are good, even though it has raw egg in it. *insert gasp here.*  I don't taste much, just enough to make sure, so no freaking out, ok?  I'm not really condoning you eat anything with raw egg in it, but we're all grown ups here so just use common sense. You could mix everything but the egg and then taste, and this is a great idea, I just didn't think of it till just now. I also saw a recipe with just egg whites, so I think I'll try that next time I make this since who doesn't need a little less cholesterol?

'sigh, I guess I'll just have to eat you too...

I am going to start perfecting the lower-butter-so-I-can-have-more recipe, but haven't done so yet, it will morph, young one, do not worry.  For now, follow this:

I tried buckwheat which has next to no carbs, compared to wheat flour, and it's gluten free, but that's just a side benefit for me. I used the same recipe I always use (cholesterol!!  run!!) but will probably morph things over time.

Replaced the flour with buckwheat flour which I found at Winco in the bulk section. I think Bob's Red Mill grinds it too. I like to go local.

Added some vanilla seeds but next time would probably use the liquid and earlier in the process.  You have to work with that a little, get your hands in there.  Not a whole lot but some, just knead it a little and use regular flour when rolling out the crust. It needs a little extra moisture *insert vanilla extract here, like 1/2 tsp*, but it doesn't have any gluten so there's no time limit on how long you mess with it but let it rest just after you get all the wet/dry mixed up. I would put some nutmeg or cinnamon and some splenda in with the crust next time, buckwheat has a it and could use some help, plus I just realized I forget completely about putting the *sugar substitute* we use sucralose. All in all it was awesome.

And there is no more pie.  Except for the lonely piece pictured, whose days are numbered.

Once you get done mixing the pie crust, let it rest in the fridge, maybe use a zip top bag bc it's crumbly till you work with it. You can squish it around in there too, it's fun.  Almost as much fun as getting the cat ripped on catmint so I have some entertainment.

While that's resting, check this link: 

I also pasted the recipe below, with my tweaks:

1 (9 inch) unbaked deep dish pie crust
3/4 cup white sugar (use 2/3 cup splenda instead, or maybe a little less bc you can always add more)
**add about a teaspoon of honey to cut the bitter, or about a half teaspoon of sugar**
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon *extra is fine*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger *I use a smidge less here*
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves *use a smidge more*
**I add in about 1/4 or1/4 nutmeg here**
2 eggs
1 (15 ounce) can LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin, *or whatever you decide to use, about 2 cups*
1 (12 fluid ounce) can NESTLE® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk  *or whatever you have, could use coconut milk, mmmmm**

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs lightly in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar substitute *sucralose*/spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pie shell.
Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F.; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. (Do not freeze as this will cause the crust to separate from the filling.)

Feel free to ask any questions, I'm always close by.

In the beginning

There was food. And the food was good, and I ate the food and said "The food is good".

Now just for some back story, the D-word has been rampaging its way through my family for some time. So I've always had this thought towards complex carbs, protein, low carb, low sugar, and on and on and on. But I still made things full on sugar, didn't eat enough leafy greens and had portions that were way too big. And pumpkin lattes, and pumpkin scones, and pumpkin anything really. Starbucks made a mint off me for a while there.

And then there was diabetes, type 2 to be exact. Not all slam bang right in the face, but over time, the D-word crept up and wrapped its cold, non-sugar fingers around my pancreas. I had gestational diabetes with both of my boys, and was even on insulin with my youngest. When that happens, you have like a 80-150% chance of becoming diabetic yourself, later on. And with just about everyone in my fam having it too, my chances crept up to 315%. So in June of the fine year of 2010, about 2 weeks before I broke my ankle (another story, for another time). I got the diagnosis of....the D-word. Wheee!

Now this wasn't a surprise considering my fam and self history, but there was still a fair amount of pumpkin grief. And chocolate grief, and pasta grief, bread grief, potatoe grief, and just flat foodie grief. And while I'll never again enjoy the All-American Chocolate Cake from Costco, I've found lots of things, in my fledgling little D-word having life that are pretty darn good. And as time goes on, I'm finding more and more things to gratify the foodie in me and have decided to share.

The following posts will contain the recipes, tweaks, and info I find on the journey to health and well-eating. I am not and will never be a health professional. I am merely a fellow D-wordite on the path to yum. Always ask your health care professional health related questions. I'll be sharing tips, travails and perhaps funny things, as there is a dearth of them on the web. I hope you enjoy, and read and comment and give your own tweaks and tips and funny things. Nice to meet you!!