Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Frozen Banana Pops

The only thing more fun than eating these frozen banana pops is actually making them.
Toppings galore.  Endless flavour combinations.  Oh so satisfying.

I'm not sure who had more fun today, the kids or me?  But then again, sprinkles and chocolate chips seem to have that effect on us.

Frozen Banana Pops

spreads - chocolate, peanut butter, yogurt, etc.
toppings - sprinkles, graham cracker crumbs, coconut, nuts, chocolate chips, oats, crushed cereal, etc.
Popsicle sticks or other sticks

Peel banana and cut pointed ends.  Cut bananas in half.  Insert stick.
Spread or dip in melted chocolate, peanut butter or yogurt.  Once coated, immediately roll into your toppings of choice.  
Place on parchment lined baking sheet and freeze for 3+ hours.  
Serve and enjoy.

Note:  These treats can also be enjoyed without freezing them, equally as delicious.  Alternatively, if you do freeze them, try removing the stick and mashing it up in a bowl as a low cal ice cream treat.

Check out our flavour combinations:

Dark Chocolate - Coconut
Dark Chocolate - Sprinkle
Strawberry Yogurt - Graham Cracker Crumb
Peanut Butter - Dark Chocolate - Oat

More Banana "Ice Cream" Recipes

Choco-Nana Ice Cream
Peanut Butter & Banana Ice Cream
Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Pumpkin Ice Cream

Monday, 28 January 2013

Strawberry & Peanut Butter Tart

It's time to buckle down, seriously buckle down.  Game on, if you will.

My trip to Hawaii is fast approaching, which also means bathing suit season is only weeks away.  I'm pretty sure I've now tried on 30 swimsuits only to come to the conclusion there is nothing I hate more.  Between the lighting, those dreaded 360 mirrors, and my pasty/ghost-like complexion, it's a fail on all accounts.  So in an attempt to make myself feel better and momentarily forget about the Lycra one pieces, I've turned my attention to tarts a la mode.  My swimsuit dilemma is officially on the back burner until tomorrow, but for now I'm going to enjoy a classic, grown-up slice of peanut butter heaven.

Dear PBTart,

I'm sorry to say that you and I will be parting ways for the next month.  Don't feel too bad, I'm cutting out most desserts.  It's not you, you were great, it's the beach.  The beach is calling, oh and so is my treadmill.  Please take comfort in the fact that I enjoyed our short time together, but you and your leftovers have to get out of my house.  Not too worry I've sent you to a good home.

Yours Truly,

Strawberry & Peanut Butter Tart

2 1/4 all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
12 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
1 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup strawberry jam

vanilla or strawberry ice cream for serving

Preheat oven to 350F.  Generously butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.
Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.  Beat the butter, peanut butter and both sugars in a separate bowl with a mixer until smooth.  Beat in the egg and vanilla.  Add the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until combined.
Press half of the dough into the prepared tart pan.  Spread the jam over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch order around the edge.  Drop about half of the remain dough over the jam by the tablespoonful; lightly press the rest of the dough into the pan around the edge to form a crust.  Bake until golden, 40 - 45 minutes.
Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool.  Remove the ring and transfer the tart to a plate.

Serve with ice cream.

Serves: 10- 12
recipe courtesy: Food Network Magazine September 2011

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Mini Pancake Muffins

Pancake?  Muffin?  Pancake?  Muffin?


No spatulas required for these pancakes.  Baked in the oven, you can feed a hungry crowd without the carpal tunnel injury from excessive flapjack flipping.  Genius, I'm on board 100%.
The only thing I enjoy more than a pancake, is a portable pancake.  A pancake I can take with me on a walk, on a car ride, on a date (don't judge.)  Assuming of course that I also have a portable bowl of syrup.  These guys are destined for syrup dunking, yes dunking.  Double dipping completely necessary.

Your welcome fellow pancake lovers.  Love JS.

Mini Pancake Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup, plus more for serving
1 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla

frozen blueberries (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray mini muffin tin with non-stick spray, set aside.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a medium bowl. 
In a separate bowl, stir buttermilk, egg, maple syrup, melted butter, and vanilla together.  Add to dry ingredients stir until just combined.
Transfer batter to prepared muffin tin, adding 2-3 blueberries to each mini pancake, if desired.  Bake for 8-9 minutes.
Remove from pan and serve immediately with maple syrup.

Yields 24 mini pancakes
slightly adapted from Bakerella

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Vanilla Yogurt & Apple Compote Parfait

You would think growing up in Canada, I'd be accustomed to cold wintery weather.  Sadly, that is not the case.  I think I dislike the cold more and more every year.  Hmmm, can you say retirement in Arizona?
The only way to beat the cold is with a warm apple compote.  Take that winter, I'll figure out a way to live with you yet.  So with the windchills in the minus 20's, I'm heating up the skillet for a yummy breakfast parfait.  An apple compote, vanilla yogurt and granola parfait to be exact.  Some days I surprise myself;  warm apples, cold yogurt, and the crunch of granola.  Ahhh, this is what dreams are made of...or at least what Wednesday mornings in January are made of.

Vanilla Yogurt & Apple Compote Parfait

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled & diced
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup granola

In non-stick skillet over medium heat, cook apple, brown sugar, cinnamon and water, until softened.
Layer 1/3 of apple mixture into bottom of glass, top with yogurt, remaining apples, and granola.  Enjoy.

Serves 1

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Healthy Banana Chips

You've more than likely seen banana chips in the bulk food section of your local grocery store, and although banana chips sound healthy, these little fellas are actually deep fried and filled with unwelcome fat and calories.  So in every attempt to eat healthy and save my splurges for things like cheesecake, pizza, and wine, I prefer to bake my chips instead.  Although time consuming, the result is a guilt-free snack that will appeal to all the banana lovers in your house.  Add them in with your granola, trail mix, or grab a handful and eat them straight up.  Any way you slice them, these crunchy little chips are sweet.  Yes, sweet.

image courtesy: Homemade Simple

Baked Banana Chips

2 Bananas, peeled and sliced 1/4" thin
2 Tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 200F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Dip banana slices into lemon juice and place on prepared baking sheet.
Bake, turning every 30 minutes, until golden brown and crispy, about 2-3 hours.  Watching carefully as to not burn them.

slightly adapted from Homemade Simple

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Lemon & Thyme Buttermilk Biscuits

Homemade biscuits (eaten within 3-5 minutes of baking) are a favourite of mine. But because my love for them runs deep and my will power runs low, I have to limit myself to making these only on occasion.  Luckily for me this Tuesday qualifies as such, if for no other reason than I think they are long overdue.

Today I decided to put some added love (aka lemon & thyme) into my favourite buttermilk biscuit recipe.  The flavours of lemon and thyme always reminds me of spring, and the weather outside today is also reminiscent of that.  Who doesn't love plus-like weather in January?

Lemon & Thyme Buttermilk Biscuits

4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
4 tsp white sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 cup unsalted butter
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups buttermilk

Whisk together first 6 ingredients.  Add butter and work in with pastry cutter until mealy in consistency.  Beat eggs into buttermilk in separate bowl.  Add the wet mix to the flour/fat mixture and just bring together (do not knead or overwork dough)
Drop the dough onto a greased or parchment lined baking tray with a spoon (should be around 2 1/2 inches in diameter) and bake a 400F on the middle rack until golden brown

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Peanut Butter Buttercream, Oh My.

It's hard for me to believe my mom turns 55 today.  Although to be fair, it's probably harder for her to believe it.  She now refers to herself as double nickels, but you would never know it by looking at her.  She still runs half marathons, goes out for girls nights, and can keep up with my very energetic kids (something even I find exhausting.)  Here's hoping her good genes find their way to me someday....in the very distant future of course.

Anyone who knows my mom knows full hand that she loves Reese Peanut Butter Cups and the only thing she likes better than a RPBC are frozen RPBCs.  So because it's her birthday and I'm always looking to score brownie cupcake points, I'm making her favourite chocolate bar into a cakey-frosted treat.


Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes w/ Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting

You're welcome Mom, now go ahead have a second, you've earned it.  Happy Birthday! 
Love you.

Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting

1/2 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
4 cups powdered sugar
4-6 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla 

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and peanut butter until smooth.  Add in vanilla.  Add in sugar, one cupful at a time, beating well in between.  Once all sugar has been added, add in milk one tablespoon at a time, beating until light & fluffy and desired consistency has been reached.  

Yields: Approximately 3 cups.
adapted from Wilton.com

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

Today's breakfast comes to you 5 days early because of my inability to wait for the weekend to make it.  I typically reserve pancakes, frittatas, and baked oatmeal for Saturday & Sunday mornings.  Mornings, where the days begin lazy, music filled and PJs driven.  However, given my own strong desire to have this for breakfast today, I gave in, and decided to live on the edge.  All aboard the baked oatmeal train....toot, toot!

I've been on somewhat of an apple cinnamon kick as of late, so that was my flavour combination of choice on this fine Tuesday morning.  The smell reminds me of my Grandma and home baked pie.  I want my house to smell like this always.  Really, can you blame me?  Fragrance aside, I think this breakfast will be a regular on the menu for the next couple weeks, I'm truly smitten.

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 cups old fashioned oats
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 Granny Smith apple; cored, peeled, & diced
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Butter an 8-inch square baking dish.
Combine oats, walnuts, raisins, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl.
In separate bowl, whisk milk, applesauce, egg, 1 tablespoon butter, and vanilla.
Add wet ingredients to dry and combine till mixed.  Fold in diced apple.
Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish.  Drizzle with remaining butter.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until top is nicely golden and oat mixture has set.  Allow to cool slightly.

Yields: 4-6 servings
Adapted from my Baked Berry Oatmeal

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Healthy Snacks | Oatmeal, Coconut & Graham Cracker Snack Bites

Today I stumbled across a healthy snack on Pinterest; in between all of the pies, cakes, cookies and other sinful treats of course.  You can tell it's January, since I completely ignored those desserts in my attempt to stick to a 'no cookie/pie zone' for a couple weeks.  All I can say is 1 week down...

My cookie vacation turned into a no-bake energy snack bite.  Healthy, kid-loved, and almost cookie like.  A winner all around.  Oh and we all know how much I appreciate 'no bake' recipes.

See you in a couple weeks dear cookie, in the meantime, I found a more than suitable replacement.  LOVE, JS.

Oatmeal, Coconut & Graham Cracker Snack Bites

1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/3 - 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs, ground
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup almond butter
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla

In large bowl combine almond butter, honey and vanilla, mix well.  Add in oats, coconut, graham cracker crumbs (start with 1/3 cup) and combine.  (if mixture is still too wet add in a little more graham cracker crumbs) Fold in chocolate chips.
Refrigerate mixture for 30 minutes.  Once chilled roll into balls.
Store in air tight container in fridge.

Yields 15-25 balls depending on size

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Antioxidant Rich Breakfast Smoothie | Green Tea & Blueberry

Hello & Welcome 2013.
I think it's safe to say you've snuck up on me this year.  But that's okay, with a new year comes a clean slate, a time to restart, and recharge.
I've dedicated my first post of 2013 to a healthy, antioxidant rich, breakfast smoothie...

Green Tea & Blueberry - don't mind if I do.

I'll be the first person to tell you that come winter time, I'd rather eat a huge bowl of oatmeal or some peanut butter toast, however, it's been pretty mild here weather wise so I've given in and opted for a chilly treat.   At least I'm wearing my comfy wooly slippers and flannel pj bottoms, so I'm toasty as can be.

Cheers to a healthy and happy 2013.  

Green Tea & Blueberry Smoothie

3/4 cup green tea, chilled (made with 2 tea bags and steeped 5 minutes)
1 small banana
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup blueberry yogurt
1 scoop protein powder (optional)

In food processor or blender add in all of the above ingredients, except ice.  Whirl till smooth.  Add in ice and blend further.

Note:  you can also add in unsweetened almond milk to achieve your desired smoothie texture

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