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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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Wild Rice, Mushroom, and Tempeh Dressing

In my family, dressing is serious business. It breaks into our conversations and then onto our dinner table every holiday season but it will never be the same as my grandmother’s Cornbread Dressing.

Truthfully, Helen’s cornbread dressing was never the same from year to year. I hear it started out in her Texan family with giblets, hard-boiled eggs, and celery in it. None of those ingredients remained by the time I came around. The key to Helen’s dressing was the cornbread and biscuits she would make several days ahead of time and crumble in a paper bag to dry. Lots of butter, salt, and onion went into the final product. It was simple but it was good.

This dressing never went in a bird. Helen always baked it separately in a Pyrex dish and it took on the consistency of dense coffee cake when cool (must have been the butter). She often made two dishes worth for Thanksgiving so we could eat the leftovers with gravy for days afterwards. I think leftover dressing might be my dad’s favorite breakfast.

I immediately thought of Cornbread Dressing when I saw this month’s recipe for the Burwell General Store Recipe Swap. Over the past few months, this swap has become my favorite blog activity. I love the wacky inspiration we bloggers get from the recipes Christianna sends!

With very specific taste and high standards as far as dressing goes, I set out to make something that was neither the original Wild Rice Dressing from the Pine Tavern in Bend, Oregon, nor Helen’s Cornbread Dressing (I’ll make that for you some other time). I thought about what I might do with this recipe on-and-off for a month. Then yesterday came around and I realized I needed to make something, asap!

I bought wild rice. I bought tempeh. I had baby bella mushrooms in my fridge and a lonely fennel bulb. I knew I would not be including a cup of bacon drippings, as the Pine Tavern did. Although, I have had bacon-brain ever since the side of Brussels sprouts I ordered in a Napa restaurant arrived smelling strongly of the bacon grease they had obviously been cooked in (I ate them and boy were they tasty). Slip-ups in my vegetarianism aside, I knew I could make a delicious, meat-free dressing for any winter night.

 

I used a pressure cooker for my rice so the recipe below provides instructions for that method. For other wild rice cooking instructions, check this website.

Wild Rice, Mushroom, and Tempeh Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 cup wild rice, uncooked
  • 1 1/2 cups water (for cooking rice in pressure cooker)
  • 12 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 package tempeh, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning of choice (I used an organic, salt-free, all-purpose seasoning but lots of things would be good!)

Instructions

  1. To cook the rice in a pressure cooker, place rinsed rice and water in a heatproof bowl and cover bowl tightly with aluminum foil.
  2. Place bowl on trivet inside pressure cooker. Make sure there is about 1 cup of water in the pressure cooker itself.
  3. Secure lid on pressure cooker, place weight on top of lid, and heat over high heat until weight begins to rock.
  4. Reduce heat slightly so weight rocks gently and start timer for 22-25 minutes.
  5. While rice is cooking, saute garlic, fennel, tempeh, mushrooms, and seasoning in a large skillet. I added them to the skillet in that order.
  6. Turn off heat and set skillet aside.
  7. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and lightly oil the inside of a large baking dish.
  8. When time is upon the rice, remove cooker from heat and allow pressure to come down on it's own.
  9. Remove lid, remove inner bowl, and add rice to ingredients in skillet. (You could just eat it now but I baked mine for a little while to crisp up the top a little...and keep it warm till Lee got home)
  10. Pour or scoop dressing into baking dish and place in oven for 15-20 minutes.
  11. Remove from oven and heap dressing onto plates.
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Vegan Lemon Chia Seed Muffins

It’s raining in San Francisco today. We’ve been mourning the lack of moisture all over the West this winter, which is nothing like past winters I’ve spent in the bay area. I remember walking the length of campus in the pouring rain to get to a midterm. The class was held in a frigid basement room of the old women’s gymnasium, next door to the anthropology collection, and I thought I was going to freeze to death before finishing that midterm. My pants and feet were soaking wet and I’m sure my toes turned blue. I remember not really caring about the test any more. I just wanted to finish it and get out of there! Ah, those were the days.

The fool in me thinks You should go back to school! You’re certainly not getting a job so you don’t have anything better to do! Ha. No way. The smarter part of me remembers that I promised to never repeat the thesis-writing experience.

What can I do instead, now that I’m without employment, internships, or medical crises to keep me occupied? I’m thinking about learning to sing or dance (I’ve been watching way too much Glee on Netflix). Or maybe I’ll through myself headlong into organizing and decorating the house, something that might never get done otherwise.

Before I get to whiny, let me get to the point: These muffins are bright sunny spots on this grey day and on my recent dark mood. The solutions to my boredom and idleness are of cooking and blogging, of course. A job would help too. I have at least one really, really incredible prospect in my sights.

Meanwhile, I’ll be making these muffins over and over again until I get tired of them. They are undoubtedly the best thing I’ve made in a long time. I knew they would be as soon as the idea hit me. What about lemon poppy seed muffins but with chia seeds instead! They could be vegan!

Lemon poppy seed muffins have always struck me as the most dainty, sophisticated muffin. They don’t have much substance and often toe the line between cupcake and muffin. With chia seeds, though, and whole wheat pastry flour, these muffins are like undercover spies in the world of frivolous pastries. A modest amount of honey adds the perfect sweetness and the lemon flavor is surprisingly strong, in a good way.

If you have not tried chia seeds I encourage you to get some. As gross as this may sound, their coagulating abilities are just so…cool. I mostly use them in hot cereal and overnight oats but now that I’ve baked with them once I think they will join flax seed meal as an essential part of my vegan baking.

Lemon Chia Seed Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds + 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sour non-dairy milk + juice from half a lemon
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a muffin tin with silicone or paper cups.
  3. Combine chia seeds with water, whisking them together. Allow them to sit for 5-10 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, blend flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine lemon zest, soy milk, and lemon juice.
  6. Add honey and chia gel to soy milk mixture, stirring until honey dissolves and is thoroughly blended.
  7. Stir in vanilla extract.
  8. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir gently till barely combined.
  9. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin and bake for approximately 20 minutes.
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In lieu of food, I give you islands

I haven’t had much time to bake and blog recently.  Going without internet for a week was both difficult and fabulous! While I did make bread when we ran out (not quite a failure but not quite right) and scrumptious banana brownies (boxed mix plus surplus ripe bananas) I didn’t take any pictures of either!

Here, instead, I have pictures of our Bahamian travels so far! These are also on my sailing blog.

Great Bahama, Berry Islands, Nassau

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