Whole Wheat Banana Bread

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A basic banana muffin (or bread if you bake it as a loaf), made with 100% whole wheat (plus flax) and a touch of honey. These don’t taste nearly as healthy as they are. They’re soft and plenty sweet and lightly spiced (add the cinnamon!!). Enjoy them warm and then freeze the leftovers- they’ll stay fresh much longer and you can pull one out of the freezer for a snack anytime!

Whole Wheat Banana Bread/Muffins

INGREDIENTS

2 ¼ cups whole-wheat flour (I replaced 1/4 cup flour with ground flaxseed)
¾ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
3 ripe bananas, mashed
¼ cup plain yogurt (I used nonfat plain Greek yogurt)
¼ cup honey
2 eggs
⅓ cup oil (I used melted coconut oil)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon (optional)

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 F and light coat a muffin pan with cooking spray.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt (and cinnamon if using).

3. In a separate bowl mix mashed bananas with yogurt, honey, eggs, oil, and vanilla.

4. Fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture until blended. Do not overmix.

5. Pour batter into prepared pan.

6. Bake in preheated oven for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove muffins from the pan to cool on a wire rack.

NOTE: This recipe can be made into a loaf. Bake in a loaf pan for ~50 min.

*high altitude adjustments (~7000 feet): increase oven temperature to 375 F, halve baking soda

Makes 12 large muffins.

(Adapted from 100 Days of Real Food)

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Salmon Rice Bowl with Maple Lime Glaze

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We love a good rice bowl. (One of my favorites is the salmon- with veggies- teriyaki bowl at Whole Foods. Clara and I have shared a dozen of those over the last few years.) So I was excited when I found this recipe. The maple-soy-lime glaze is what really makes it awesome! Steam some rice. Saute spinach and whatever other vegetables you desire. Simmer a quick glaze to brush on the salmon before roasting and drizzle atop before serving. I added some steamed broccoli on the side. Healthy and delicious.

p.s. Serve it with brown rice if you prefer. Or try rice noodles. I bet chicken or shrimp would be equally delicious. (Shrimp you can roast- it’ll cook quick!- but chicken I would grill or cook in a skillet.) Or tofu. Or just go crazy with the veggies.

Salmon Rice Bowl with Maple Lime Glaze

INGREDIENTS

1 cup jasmine rice
2 tsp. unsalted butter
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
3 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. cornstarch
3-4 salmon fillets (12-16 oz. total), skin removed
1 tsp. canola, coconut, etc. oil
2 5- oz. packages baby spinach (and/or a mixture of vegetables to saute- I added green beans, shallot, and bell peppers)
2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
chopped green onion or chives, for serving (optional)

DIRECTIONS

1. Heat oven to 400 F. Cook rice as directed on package (I use 2 cups water and 3/4 tsp. salt for 1 cup white rice).

2. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Sauté garlic and pepper flakes until garlic is lightly golden, 1 minute. Add syrup, juice and soy sauce; cook until bubbling, 3 minutes. In a bowl, combine cornstarch and 1 tsp. water; stir into garlic glaze. Cook until slightly thick, 1 minute.

3. Arrange fillets on a foil-lined baking sheet. Spread 1 tsp. glaze over each fillet. Roast until just cooked through, about 12 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, warm oil over medium heat. Add 1 package spinach; sauté until just wilted. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remove from pan; set aside. Repeat with second package spinach. (At this point you can sauté any other vegetables you want to include.) Divide rice among bowls; top each with spinach/veggies and salmon. Drizzle with remaining sauce, sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onion/chives (optional), and serve.

Serves 3-4.

(Adapted from Self)

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Vanilla Birthday Cake

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Clara’s birthday cake. I almost made her this funfetti cake but decided last minute to try a new recipe for vanilla cake with a buttery cream cheese frosting and just add some sprinkles between the layers and on top. Simple and elegant and just whimsical enough for a 3-year-old. I was truly wowed by how delicious this vanilla cake turned out to be! Soft and tender and moist. The frosting (which I added a little more cream cheese and used a little less sugar in) was just right. Creamy and not at all too sweet. We all LOVED it!

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When I’m deciding whether to try a recipe from another blog, I always read through the comments. Besides rave reviews, many people wondered if they could use whole eggs instead of whites. The answer is that no, not in this case. It would change the texture, color, and final result. And the cake would probably take on a yellow hue. Save those yolks and make some ice cream too! I made a few slight adjustments for high altitude, which I’ve detailed below*. We had a bit of cake leftover, which I froze and then devoured the following week. It was just as amazing the second time around.

Vanilla Birthday Cake

INGREDIENTS

Cake Batter:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
12 Tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
3/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract

Cream Cheese Frosting:
12 Tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar (to taste)
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
Pinch salt

DIRECTIONS

1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Spray two 8 or 9-inch cake pans with nonstick cooking spray. Cut two 8 or 9-inch rounds of parchment or wax paper and line the bottom of each pan; spray the paper with nonstick spray. (To measure the parchment paper, just trace the bottom of the pan.)

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

3. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for about 5 minutes, or until very soft and light. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts.

4. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg whites and milk by hand in a medium bowl until just combined.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in one-quarter of the flour mixture, then one-third of the milk mixture, stopping and scraping down the bowl and beater after each addition. Beat in another quarter of the flour, then another third of the milk mixture. Scrape again. Repeat with another quarter of the flour and the remaining milk mixture; scrape. Finally, beat in the remaining flour mixture.

5. Scrape the bowl with a large rubber spatula. Don’t worry if the the batter looks a little grainy. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and smooth the tops.

6. Bake the cakes for about 30 minutes, until they are well risen and set on top and a toothpick inserted into the center emerges clean. Cool the cakes in the pans on rack for 5 minutes, then unmold onto rack to finish cooling right side up (keep parchment paper underneath cake layers so they don’t stick to rack).

7. When cake layers are completely cool, transfer to cake plate and frost with vanilla buttercream.

8. To make the frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese until creamy and well combined. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, then beat in the vanilla and salt. If the frosting is too thick, add 1-2 tablespoons of milk or cream.

for high altitude (~7000 feet): increase baking temp to 375 F, decrease baking time to ~25 min., + 3 Tbsp. flour, halve baking powder, + 2-3 Tbsp. milk, -1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar

(Adapted from Once Upon a Chef)

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Whole Wheat Waffles with Flax

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If you’re looking for a healthier waffle recipe, here it is. These waffles are whole wheat (or whole grain if you want to mix up the flours, add some flax or oat, etc.) but still light and fluffy. King Arthur suggests replacing a few tablespoons of the liquid with orange juice to tone down the intensity of the whole wheat. I’ve tried it and not noticed much difference, but it you’re using regular whole wheat (as apposed to white whole wheat which has a lighter texture and flavor) I’d suggest it. You can use butter or vegetable or coconut oil. You can replace with milk with buttermilk (might need to thin it a bit with some water) or a diary-free substitute like almond milk. And the recipe works in a regular or Belgian waffle iron. I always add a bit of vanilla and cinnamon for extra deliciousness.

Whole Wheat Waffles with Flax

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (I replaced 1/4 cup flour with ground flaxseed)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk (can replace 2 Tbsp. milk with orange juice for a milder wheat flavor)
1/3 cup melted butter or oil (canola, grapeseed, coconut)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (optional)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (optional)

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat your iron while you make the waffle batter.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and cinnamon (if using).

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, and butter or oil, and vanilla (if using).

4. Mix together the wet and dry ingredients, stirring just until combined. The batter will be a bit lumpy; that’s OK.

5. Cook the waffles as directed in the instructions that came with your waffle iron.

Makes about 4 large Belgian waffles, more if using a regular waffle iron.

(Adapted from King Arthur)

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Smoked Paprika, Lemon, and Thyme Marinated Chicken

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The cookbook this recipe comes from calls this dish “Morning Chicken” because you can throw the chicken in the marinade in the morning and come dinnertime it’s ready to go. Into the oven to roast or onto the grill and in 30 minutes or so dinner is served.I didn’t get around to making my marinade until closer to lunchtime but no matter the chicken was still so flavorful. Smoked paprika is a must here. Regular paprika is NOT a good substitute (rarely is). Fresh thyme would be wonderful but I like that this uses dried thyme for the sake of cost and ease. (Or if you’re like me and a cruel May hailstorm took out all the herbs on your porch yesterday.) You can roast/grill some vegetables alongside the chicken and serve with potatoes or quinoa, etc.

Smoked Paprika, Lemon, and Thyme Marinated Chicken

INGREDIENTS

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
2 cloves garlic, smashed
3⁄4 tsp. dried thyme
juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3-4 lb. chicken, cut into 8 pieces (I’ve also used bone-in chicken breasts and thighs)

DIRECTIONS

1. Place all of the marinade ingredients (mustard through pepper) into a large bowl or Ziploc bag and stir to combine. Add in chicken and marinate, covered, in the refrigerator for 8 to 12 hours, turning the bag a couple times, if possible.

2. To roast: Preheat the oven to 450 F, with a rack in the middle position. remove the chicken from the bag and allow the excess marinade to drip off. Place on a sheet pan and season with salt and pepper. Arrange skin side down and roast until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Flip the pieces over and roast until cooked through, about 10 minutes more. To grill: Preheat outdoor grill or indoor grill pan to medium-high heat. Grill, turning occasionally until cooked through.

(Adapted from Keepers)

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