Category Archives: other goodies

Roasted Banana Breakfast Cookies

I was lolling around the house this afternoon, trying to talk myself into productivity, when I realized it was time for a cookie. True, I call these gems “Breakfast Cookies” in the title of this post but what’s to keep me from eating them at all hours of the day? It’s not like I respect food-related social norms when it comes to regular breakfast (I like toast for lunch and pancakes for dinner).

I made these cookies yesterday and was disappointed in them as soon as I started mixing the batter…or rather dough. Truthfully, this started as a banana bread recipe. I’ve made the recipe before and remember it being on the bready side for my banana bread taste. It was good, though, and I like the recipe’s simplicity. It seemed like a good testing around for my roasted bananas.

Did I say bananas? I meant apple bananas. You can see from the picture that these short, stubby fruit don’t look like normal bananas. That’s because they came from a little grocery store down the street that sells Latin American products. I used to buy bananas like these when we were sailing in the Bahamas. Apparently they’re called apple bananas and their flavor can resemble that of apple or strawberries when they are very ripe, which they pretty much have to be to be sweet enough.

I thought some roasting might do these three some good and I was right! It was all I could do to keep from eating the hot, gooey banana goodness before baking the bread, er, I mean cookies.

Back to my disappointment upon mixing my ingredients. The intended bread batter was more like a dough – thick and threatening to dry out upon baking. I thought I struck out with yet another recipe (I’ve been doing that a lot lately) but I decided to shape the dough into giant cookies and bake it anyway. The smell while the cookies baked alone was worth it and the result was a huge surprise.

These babies stayed moist and soft after baking and the roasted banana flavor did not disappoint. Even with only a scant amount of honey these cookies, as I’ve become more and more comfortable calling them, are perfectly sweet. The nuts seem to have roasted as the cookies baked and taste better than any nut I’ve ever had in a cookie before.

Since yesterday I’ve staved off evening munchies with a cookie, refueled after a run with yet another cookie, and will probably quell my dessert cravings with another cookie tonight.

This recipe is adapted from the Banana Bread in The Yoga Cookbook

Roasted Banana Breakfast Cookies

Ingredients

  • 3 very ripe apple bananas or regular bananas
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup barley flour (or another flour of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup oat bran
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/ teaspoon each nutmeg and cardamom
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted, or oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts and pecans)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil (this could get messy) and place bananas, peel on, onto the foil.
  3. Prick peels with a knife to avoid explosions.
  4. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.
  5. Remove bananas from oven and allow to cool.
  6. Meanwhile, combine flours, oat bran, salt, baking soda, and spices in medium bowl.
  7. Place butter in a heatproof dish and put it in the oven to melt.
  8. When bananas are cool, peel them and mash them in a large bowl.
  9. Add honey and mash thoroughly to combine.
  10. Add dry ingredients and butter, mixing completely.
  11. Divide mixture into 8-12 equal pieces, depending on how large you would like your cookies to be.
  12. Arrange them on an oiled or otherwise nonstick baking sheet and bake at 350 for 20 minutes, or until golden brown
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Home

We have a home – four walls around us and a roof over our heads – a brick fireplace and rooms filled with musty old house smell. Moving, like so many big, exciting things in life, is hard work. Backs hurt at the end of the day a empty living room floor looks like a great place to collapse. We’re mostly moved in now, at least as much as we can be without things like dressers and bookshelves in which to put things away.

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Persimmons from a friend were the star of Thanksgiving weekend.

Thanksgiving was the perfect break from schlepping stuff and swabbing floors. Lee and I spent the holiday with my aunt, mom, brother, and brother’s girlfriend at my aunt’s house in Carmel Valley. It was beeeeeautiful, needless to say, and the food was the kind of food you look forward to eating leftover meal after meal. We ate. We talked – caught up on old times and made plans for the future. We ran, hiked, swam, played with dogs, played cribbage, and watched wildlife.

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There was a lot of this.

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And this.

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The table was lovely and the food didn’t even make it in front of the camera. There was turkey, lentil loaf for the vegetarians, roasted root vegetables, endive + persimmon + pomegranate seed salad, mashed potatoes, tabasco + asparagus quinoa, pumpkin cheesecake bars, and apple-pumpkin delight.

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In short, I’ve been busy and blogging time has been just out of reach. This week, though, I’ll be back. I can’t miss out on writing about my favorite food season!

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Fresh or Frozen?

Freezers are wonderful things. They hold ice cream, home cooking put by for later, and frozen convenience foods. Some might say there’s no place for the latter in a the healthy, local, sustainable kitchen. Just look at the ingredients and nutrition label on a frozen lasagna…yeah, they have a point.

Still, I buy things from the frozen foods aisle and I consider myself a relatively healthy shopper/eater. Sometimes, you just need something easy and the freezer is one of the best places to find real food with a longer shelf life than a head of lettuce. Here are a few frozen foods I love:

    1. Veggie burgers: While I’ve dabbled in homemade veggie patties and enjoyed my creations, I still like to have store-bought veggie burgers on hand. They’re one of my favorite go-to easy, fast dinners and make great hot lunches too. Recently, I’ve been buying a big package from Costco, which cuts down on excess packaging and makes the price a little more attractive.
    2. Ice cream, of course: I’m actually trying to cut down on my ice cream consumption. It got a little out of hand when we moved ashore from the boat and I was just so thrilled to have ice cream at my fingertips again! Don’t take this frozen treat for granted!
    3. Frozen spinach: This is my new favorite thing to put in smoothies. With a bag of frozen spinach in the freezer I know I can always make a green smoothie, even if I don’t have fresh greens on hand. Frozen chopped greens also make the smoothie colder and thicker than fresh greens. My favorite combo these days is frozen spinach, frozen mango, whey protein powder, and almond milk. It makes for a wonderfully thick smoothie that I like to eat with a spoon.
    4. Frozen edamame: snacking heaven. I don’t know how else you’d keep edamame around.
    5. The occasional frozen dinner…I feel kinda guilty about this one but I can’t help myself. My indulgent, lightning-fast comfort food for nights when I just don’t feel like cooking or don’t have time is frozen mac and cheese. I try to buy the natural/organic brands. It makes me feel better to know I have one of these in the freezer in case of a dinner emergency.
    6. Misc. frozen veggies: I’m a sucker for brussels sprouts and, lately, lima beans. I have a favorite tofu/lima bean spread/dip recipe that I’ll share here eventually.

Recently, the Foodbuzz Tastemakers program sent me a coupon for a Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers frozen vegetable + sauce dish. Normally I’d steer clear of any sauced vegetable in the frozen food aisle. I was happy to see that the ingredient lists aren’t too weird – there’s mostly just veggies in there! I was also thrilled to find macaroni and cheese with broccoli among the selection. While that doesn’t exactly qualify as enough vegetables for a meal to me, it is a great example of how to incorporate more green stuff in normally not-so-green meals (even my guilty pleasures!).

The Steamer I tried tonight was good! It served Lee and I as a side dish. The sauce was light and with the addition of eggs tortillas, and a few more vegetables (since I cannot get enough of them) made a tasty dinner. I do wish there were more veggies in the bag. The whole thing was about as many veggies as I normally eat in one sitting.

Simple dinner: scrambled eggs and Garden Vegetable Medley + some

additional vegetables + whole wheat tortillas to stuff = sort of egg and veggie fajitas

(This would make an awesome breakfast too!)

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Maple Cinnamon Rolls for a recipe swap birthday

I’m going to start referring to my recipes as “Engineer-Tested”. It’s true. I usually deliver a substantial amount of baked goods to my husband’s work. Shut in their tiny warehouse office, the engineers, designers, and whoever else is around always seem happy to eat whatever I bring them. I like to think that I’m contributing to the incredible things these super smart people do.

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This week the engineers tested a very special recipe for me. I brought over half my celebratory Maple Cinnamon Rolls, baked in honor of the Recipe Swap’s first birthday. This may only be my second month in the swap, but a talented group of bloggers has been putting unique spins on retro recipes for a whole year! I’m so glad Christianna of Burwell General Store had the brilliant idea to start the swap last year and I hope it will keep going for years to come. I just got started!

A birthday deserves a cake, of course, so our starting recipe this month is for Maple Syrup Cake.

“Maple molasses”, aka, maple syrup (I googled it), sugar, butter, spices…why mess with a good thing? Well, I guess that’s not the point. According to the rules of the recipe swap, I had to change something. Believe me, I’ll be making this cake straight up at some point. For this post, I turned the typical birthday dessert (cake) into my family’s typical birthday breakfast (cinnamon rolls).

My mom denies this, but she used to make cinnamon rolls for my brother and I to eat on our birthday mornings. She claims it was only my brother that got cinnamon rolls and maybe she’s right. The point is, I associate cinnamon rolls with birthdays, almost more so than white-iced cakes topped with plastic toys and candles. I love the smell of spice and layers of soft bread swirled with sweet, sticky cinnamon.

My mom made her birthday breakfast cinnamon rolls from the tube, which is perfectly fine with me. Last year, though, I found a cinnamon rolls recipe that I will probably make for the rest of my life. It comes from the Horn of the Moon Cookbook by Ginny Callan, which I found in a thrift store. These rolls were actually my first post in MuffinEgg, making them especially appropriate for this blog-related birthday. The bread is light and fluffy and the filling, made according to the original recipe, is not too sweet. If you’re after that really dark, sweet cinnamon swirl, there is nothing stopping you from putting a few spoonfulls of brown sugar on your dough before rolling it up.

Only three left by the time I took my pictures. They’re that good.

Of course, this time I had maple syrup cake on the brain so my favorite cinnamon rolls got a maple-y twist. There’s maple syrup in the dough and between it’s layers. In fact, maple syrup is the only sweetener in these cinnamon rolls. As an added bonus, I threw in a vanilla bean (not literally. I scraped the seeds out and threw them in). I have a huge package of vanilla beans and keep forgetting to use them. Cinnamon roll dough with vanilla beans…yum. If you have some, try it!

The original instructions suggest doubling the recipe and freezing half the cinnamon rolls before baking. I think this is a brilliant idea. I can’t really imagine a situation where you would want to make only 8 cinnamon rolls and not even put more away for a rainy day. I doubled the recipe for you here, so if you really want a small batch you can halve the ingredients or check out my first cinnamon roll post.

Maple Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted from Horn of the Moon Cookbook by Ginny Callan

Dough

1/2 cup milk (I used vanilla soy milk)
1/2 cup mashed peeled sweet potato
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons maple syrup
3 teaspoons yeast
4 tablespoons warm water
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups unbleached white flour
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
Optional: seeds scraped from one vanilla bean

My Free-Form Filling

2-4 tablespoons coconut oil
2-4 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4-1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Bring milk to a boil in a small saucepan. When it reaches a boil, turn off heat and add potato, butter, and maple syrup.
Next, combine yeast and warm water in a medium bowl. Stir to dissolve.
Add the potato mixture to the yeast and water.
Beat in egg, salt, and vanilla bean.
Add 1/2 cup unbleached white flour, mixing well. Then add the remaining white and wheat flour.
Knead until smooth and elastic.
Cover and leave someplace warm to rise until doubled in size (this takes about 1 hour).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Punch down dough and knead on lightly floured surface. Then let it sit for another 10 minutes.
Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness in an approximately 9×15 in. rectangle-ish shape.
Spread coconut oil over the dough. My coconut oil was soft enough that I could spread it around with my fingers.
Drizzle with maple syrup and spread the syrup around with the back of a spoon
Sprinkle with cinnamon and walnuts.
Roll dough up from the longer side so you have a long roll.
Cut into 1 inch thick slices (or whatever size gives you 16 rolls) and set rolls in a baking dish or two (you can put one in a plastic bag and then in the freezer for later).
Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

I like to top my cinnamon rolls as needed. The engineers got a simple powdered sugar glaze on theirs. I ate some rolls plain and sprinkled others with powdered cinnamon sugar. You could also spread more coconut oil or butter and maple syrup over warm rolls before serving (like pancakes but maybe better).

 


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