Sunday, July 31, 2011

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

I found this recipe on Gina's Skinny Recipes. She used Better'n Peanut Butter instead of real peanut butter. I've never heard of it. But I just used Jif, the real stuff. We like peanut butter at our house. A lot. These were a big hit. They are very fluffy and creamy. Just make sure you have plenty of milk when you are eating them because you'll need it!

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins
· 3 ripe medium bananas
· 1 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour (I used whole wheat)
· 3/4 tsp baking soda
· 1/4 tsp salt
· 2 tbsp butter, softened
· 1/3 cup light brown sugar
· 1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
· 1 large egg (her recipe called for 2 egg whites instead)
· 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
· 1/2 cup peanut butter (plus 2 tablespoons)

Preheat oven to 325.

Mash bananas and set aside. Combine flour, soda and salt in small bowl. In large bowl, cream butter and sugar with hand mixer. Add applesauce, egg, vanilla, bananas and peanut butter. Once combined, add flour mixture.

Grease muffin tin. Pour batter into muffin tin until halfway full. Then scoop 1/2 tsp peanut butter in each muffin and then add remaining batter until full. Bake for 25 minutes.

The peanut butter in the middle was kind of fun, but quite rich. Next time I might just skip that step altogether.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Quinoa with Dried Cranberries and Toasted Pecans

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) was introduced to me by my mother-in-law. It was one of those foods that I was interested in, but it was too unknown for me to try. Like a lot of the stuff Amy eats :) Wish I could visit Amy and have her make some kale or amaranth for me (really am going to try that sometime soon). Quinoa has a sort of nutty flavor and is really yummy. This little seed packs a mighty punch. It's high in all sorts of vitamins and minerals including, but not limited to: manganese, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, fiber, folate, etc. But the best part is that it's a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids. I'm pretty sure you could live off nothing but this and be perfectly healthy. Unfortunately, it's not cheap like rice. If you ever see this on a really good sale, let me know! I'd love to stock up with some for food storage. This is a Williams-Sonoma recipe (some of their recipes can be complicated and seem like more work than their worth, but I sure do love them. This one is not very complicated.)

Quinoa with Dried Cranberries and Toasted Pecans

1/4 C coarsely chopped pecans (I didn't use them)
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 C quinoa, rinsed well in a sieve and drained well
1 garlic clove (or 2), minced
2 C water
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 T dried cranberries, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Spread pecans in a small baking pan, place in the oven and toast until they are fragrant and have taken on color, about 15 minutes. Pour onto a plate and let cool. (I left the pecans out because I'm lazy and I don't love nuts in my food because they hurt my teeth. It was still delicious).

Meanwhile, in a large, deep fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until a quinoa seed dropped into it sizzles upon contact. Add the quinoa and cook, stirring until the seeds are seperate and golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the water and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, cover and cook until the liquid is absorbed, 15-18 minuts. Uncover and continue to cook until any excess moisture is cooked off, about 1 minute.

Spoon the quinoa into a warmed serving dish (unless you're a normal person... (insert eye-roll)). Top with toasted pecans and cranberries, and serve. Serves 4. The first picture is from Willimas Sonoma, the second one is mine. No, I'm not a food photographer.

A variation of this is to replace the pecans with pine nuts and the cranberries with broccoli. Yum! If only I could eat broccoli (without having a major reaction to it) I would definitely try it. Someday hopefully.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Peanut Butter Bars

I think this is Jaclyn's recipe. I have two recipes that are very similar and I know I got one from Jaclyln, but I don't know which and I have no clue where the other one came from. This little dessert is one of our favorites. My husband was deprived of peanut butter all growing up because his brother is allergic to peanuts. Now he can't get enough. I made these last week for a neighborhood BBQ and I am not allowing myself to make them again anytime soon because I don't have enough self-control. Wish I had taken a picture but I was running a bit late. I promise they were pretty :)

Peanut Butter Bars

1 C butter, softened
1 C sugar
1 C brown sugar
2 eggs
2/3 C peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 C quick oats

semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 C powdered sugar
½ C peanut butter
¼ C milk

Cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs, peanut butter and vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, soda and salt. Add flour mix and oats to peanut butter mix. Press in bottom of greased pan. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and allow them to melt and then spread them. Let cool completely (or place in fridge or freezer to help cool). Once chocolate is cooled and hard, frost with frosting mix.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Avocado Salad

The first time I had this type of salad was at Sunny's house a few years ago. I got the recipe from her, went home and made it, and it wasn't nearly as good. You know how everything tastes better when someone else makes it? Well, a couple of weeks ago, my sister-in-law brought this to a family dinner. It was so good! Again I got the recipe, and I decided to change things to my taste a little, and I nailed it! Here's my version. I don't measure anything, just add as much or as little as you like. I love avocados and peppers so I go a little heavy on those and less on the corn and tomatoes (though once my garden tomatoes are on, I will be going very heavy on those!) The original recipe is for a larger group so I have cut it down. This recipe will feed 2-4 depending on the portion (or it will feed just me if I eat it as my lunch :))

Avocado Salad

1 large ripe avocado (or 2 small ones), chopped
1 medium size tomato, chopped and salted
1/4 of a red pepper, chopped
1/4 of a yellow pepper, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
1/4 of a jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
1/2 can of black beans (more or less), rinsed and drained
1/3 cup corn (I use the canned corn, but frozen mexican style corn is good too)
juice of 1 full lime
1/4-1/3 package of dry Italian salad dressing mix, to taste

Mix all the veggies together in a medium size bowl. Stir in lime juice. Sprinkle the dry dressing over the top to your taste. Stir well. Serve with "scoops" tortilla chips so you can get tons of yummy dip in every bite. Tostitos now has multi-grain scoops and I would highly recommend them.

Other recipes have you put the oil and vinegar in that the salad dressing mix calls for, but I don't like the oily taste. And I prefer the lime juice to the vinegar. Also, any kind of bean will work, I just prefer black beans. And if you have cilantro, it would be really yummy in it as well. The salad will last a couple days in the fridge.