We’re still on the homemade instant oatmeal train. I find it’s quicker to make individual portions in the microwave then one pot on the stove and I like being able to make the kids portions first so they have a bit of time to cool down before we all dive in together. When the kids come bounding into my room in the morning we enjoy some snuggles for awhile and then, to cries of desperate hunger, I climb out of bed and try to get breakfast on the table as quickly as possible. Obviously I’m not as much of a morning person as I would like to be.
Now, give me a bowl of comforting oatmeal sweetened with maple syrup, a mashed banana and a sprinkling of blueberries and I will perk up considerably. Blueberries and bananas go together like chocolate and peanut butter for me. There is something about that combination that I find irresistible. Add some crunchy pecans and a pinch of cinnamon and Mommy is ready to start the day with a happy attitude. The happy full-tummied kids help a lot too. :)
This has been my breakfast of choice all summer long. It may seem a bit strange to crave oatmeal during the summer but I can’t resist fresh blueberries and this combination is such a delicious, comforting and healthful start to the day.
Place banana in a microwave safe bowl, mash with a fork. Add oats, water, cinnamon and salt. Microwave for 2 minutes. Stir. If needed continue microwaving in 30 second intervals until desired consistency. Top with maple syrup, pecans, blueberries and milk just before serving.
Did you know that you can easily make your own chocolate for dipping without having to buy the expensive baking chocolate at the store? Did you know that it’s way healthier because you can control every ingredient that goes into your chocolate? Did you know it’s super easy and tastes delicious? Well, all of these things are true. You can make your chocolate and eat it too.
On these hot summer days there’s a constant supply of popsicles in my fridge. They’re so easy to make and are a much healthier option to ice cream and slurpee’s. I always try to make them healthy enough that they can be enjoyed every day if we want. A cooling treat is just needed on a scorcher of a day.
These particular pops are still healthy but taste surprisingly like an ice cream Drumstick. You break through the crisp layer of chocolate and peanuts to the creamy centre of banana. Just like with healthy banana ice cream, it’s easy to forget you’re eating a banana, with the custard quality that bananas take on after freezing.
I made an easy homemade chocolate with a little peanut butter and maple syrup stirred in. It has a very dark chocolate taste, but offset against the sweetness of the banana I think it’s perfect. My kids gobbled it right up and were excited to be able to have chocolate and “ice cream” at snack time. It’s so easy to make your own chocolate, it’s kind of ridiculous (and fun!), but of course you can swap it with melted baking chocolate if you prefer.
Frozen Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Pops
2 bananas, peeled
2.5 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
3 teaspoons maple syrup
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped
Cut each banana into 4 equal pieces. Stick a toothpick in the end of each one, place on a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze for at least 2 hours.
Place coconut oil and peanut butter in a small bowl or saucepan. Melt in the microwave or on the stove top. Stir in syrup, salt and cocoa powder until evenly mixed. Dip frozen bananas into chocolate mixture, using a spoon to help if needed. Let excess drip off. Roll in peanuts. Set back on parchment to harden. Eat immediately or store, covered in the freezer. If you store them in the freezer you may want to take them out 5-10 minutes before serving.
Green smoothies have been a “thing” for quite a while now, but I didn’t get it for the longest time because every recipe I tried tasted just too, well, green. But, I finally found one that tastes like a proper smoothie – cold, creamy and delicious. Your first thought will be “tropical” not “green”.
There’s a lot going on in this smoothie to make it just right. The banana, avocado and yogurt keep it creamy, the ice cubes keep it cold and refreshing, the orange juice gives it a tropical flavour, and the honey sweetens it up. I don’t normally put this much honey in a smoothie but I feel like it’s necessary to take away the “green” flavour that tends to make these types of smoothies taste like a blended salad. *shudder* I like to eat my salad with a fork, thank you very much.
This smoothie gets it’s green from two veggies, avocado and spinach. But, I don’t think that either are distinctly noticeable. In fact, Max doesn’t like avocados one bit “except for in smoothies” he now proudly proclaims, because he loves this smoothie so much. Mommy win!
Remember how I wanted to hold onto summer? Well summer didn’t want to hold on to me. Around the same time I was professing my love of summer and how I was going to hold onto it and my garden forever, it decided to frost and kill half my garden. And, it was just about to start bearing all sorts of deliciousness. Boo. Ever since then there’s been a chill in the air and its never quite warmed up again. Ha ha. Serves me right for thinking I had control of the seasons. :)
I decided I better start embracing fall in all it’s glory because winter lasts about 8 months out of the year here in Alberta and I just needed to buckle down and face the facts. I usually love all the seasons when they come but I haven’t lived in Canada for almost 4 years and I’m not conditioned to these cold, long winters anymore. I’ve become a winter wimp and once fall hits here you know that winter is really only a month away. Despite my anxiety over what’s coming, right now it’s fall, so here I am embracing it with some warm fall spices.
After making this recipe I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to go back to my regular banana bread. I took my go-to recipe, made it a little healthier by adding whole wheat and added some chai spices for a fall spin. The result was one of the most delicious banana breads I have eaten, and I’ve made my share of banana bread. Even my not-so-banana-bread-loving husband was raving about how good it was. I think it has to do in part with the fact that the spices are strong enough to overpower that distinctive banana bread flavour and the whole wheat keeps it from becoming too sticky, as a lot of banana breads seem to be. The crumb is tender and soft, hearty yet light, and the spices are the perfect combination to ring in the new season.
Chai Spiced Banana Bread
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup mashed bananas (about 3)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup sour cream (full fat)
Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs. Stir in mashed bananas and vanilla. Sit together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Add to banana mixture in three additions, alternately with sour cream, starting and ending with the flour mixture, until evenly combined. Pour into 2, greased, 9×5 inch loaf pans. Bake at 350ºF for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool 10-15 minutes before removing from loaf pans and transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
I’m a smoothie kind of girl. Not just any smoothie though. It has to have the right ratio of ingredients and lot’s of fruity flavour. The most important thing to me in a smoothie is that the fruit shines through. If there’s too much yogurt, or other added ingredients, I find there’s too much going on and I don’t get that pop in my mouth – that burst of flavour – that I crave.
This Blueberry Banana Smoothie is the simplest of the simple and also happens to be my absolute favourite. It contains no dairy and no ice, which means the flavour is nothing but fruit, fruit, fruit. I can’t handle too much dairy, so I was looking to make some smoothies without, and discovered that a banana does a lot in lending smoothness and creaminess (much like in the Five Minute Chunky Monkey Ice Cream). It also has no added sugar because the apple juice has enough natural sweetness. The only non-fruit going in here is vanilla, which I think is a must – it gives that creamy taste and brings all the flavours together.
Me and Max drank this pretty much every day in the summer. We wanted a light snack that would cool us down and help us get our intake of fruit. You can swap out the frozen blueberries for other berries as well, which is also delicious, but the blueberry is my personal fave. It has so much flavour and is such a gorgeous colour. I make sure to always have the ingredients on hand so I can whiz one up at any time.
If you’re like me and like your smoothies to be all-fruit flavour while still being creamy and smooth then I encourage you to give this a try. And, if you want to add a scoop of yogurt nobody with judge you for it. ;)
Blueberry Banana Smoothie
1 banana, peeled and broken into large chunks
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup apple juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Place all ingredients in a blender. Process until smooth. Serve immediately.
Now that my family has gotten into a fairly regular routine, breakfast has become a family affair. It”s one more chance for us to spend time together and connect before the day begins. The tastier and quicker it is to throw together, the more likely we”ll be to make the time to sit and enjoy each others company.
The nights are cold – in our apartment we have no control over the heat and it has yet to come on, so I”m bundling the kids up in layers of clothes before they go to bed. We”re all waking up hungry and in need of extra warmth and comfort. Nothing sticks to your ribs and warms you from the inside out, like a big bowl of oatmeal.
This Banana Walnut Oatmeal is even more comforting because as it simmers it fills the house with the smell of baking banana bread. If that doesn”t get the family flocking to the table I don”t know what will.
Sitting around the table with a warm breakfast, fall spices wafting through the air, surrounded by your family, talking about the day ahead – what could be a better start to the day?
Banana Walnut Oatmeal
1 cup water
1 cup milk
1 banana, mashed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons brown sugar or maple syrup
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Place water, milk, banana, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and brown sugar (or maple syrup) in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Stir in oats. Simmer over medium heat for 8 minutes or until desired thickness. Stir in walnuts just before serving.