Sunday, February 27, 2011

Banana "Nice" Cream

Here is something for you to try ... Banana Nice Cream.

I found the recipe in a Whole Foods publication from a store near our house.

And it's so good!

(dairy-free, gluten-free, low-sodium, vegan, vegetarian ~ How about dem apples!?) 

Banana Nice Cream
Compliments of Whole Foods.
Serves 2-4

Easy as 1-2-3, this creamy, sweet and cool snack or dessert proves that added sugar and oil are not always necessary to satisfy your cravings. Keep some peeled bananas in your freezer so they'll be ready when you are.

2 bananas, sliced and frozen
1 cup unsweetened soy milk
2 tablespoons smooth almond butter

1. Put bananas, milk and almond butter into a blender.
2. Puree, turning off the motor and stirring the mixture two or three times, until smooth and creamy.
3. Pour into two bowls and serve.

- Use almond milk or rice milk instead of soymilk.
- Use cashew butter or peanut butter instead of almond butter.
- Top with chopped nuts or fruit, coconut shreds, ground flaxseed, chocolate chips, etc.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Banana-Banana Bread

I found a great banana bread recipe! I call it banana-banana bread because I thought sliced bananas on top would be nice (idea came from ATK) but the original recipe comes from Elise (once again, my hero).

Before baking
The best part about saving a small batch of bananas is watching them become perfectly brown and spotty ... until they are just right for banana bread. I usually have to fight Chad off to make sure he doesn't try to freeze them "before they get too brown"! UGH! You can smell the ripeness when they are perfect.

This banana bread has a crusty top and a moist center, just perfectly delicious! 

Oh, the goodness!
Below is a slightly altered version of some darn good 'ol banana bread. The only thing I changed is the added walnuts and sliced banana on top. Oh, it's so good. I have to stop myself from eating the whole loaf ... and Chad even said it's the best he's EVER had!!! ;-)

Banana-Banana Bread
Adapted from Elise's blog Simply Recipes.
Makes 1 loaf

3-4 ripe bananas, smashed 
1 banana, thinly sliced, set aside
1/3 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. Using a wooden spoon mix butter into the bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix. Add the flour and stir until incorporated. Fold in the walnuts. Pour into a buttered 4x8 inch loaf pan. Add the sliced bananas along the long side of the pan on top of the batter. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a rack and remove from pan. Slice and eat!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Carrot Soup With Fresh Thyme and Zucchini Dill Muffins

Boquet Garni tied with parsley sprigs (for doubled batch)

The last time I made these two recipes were for some friends of ours in the mountain community who just had their baby ... that was a few years back and my friend loved it ... So, I decided to make it again. It's a mild soup but delicious and nutritious! And especially good for baby and mama with all those carrots.

This recipe originally came from the Colorado Country Life monthly publication but I don't have the magazine any longer and couldn't find the recipe on the website. Oh well, I'm glad I wrote it down! Be sure to buy organic or local produce whenever possible (or grow your own); they always taste better and are better for you.

P.S. My boys didn't complain about eating this at all!!! ;)

serves 4-6
If you are substituting dry herbs for fresh, remember to use one teaspoon of dry for every tablespoon of fresh since dried herbs have a stronger taste than fresh herbs do.

2 lbs. carrots, chopped
1 med. onion, diced
4 Tbs. butter
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Bouquet garni* (6 parsley sprigs, 3 thyme sprigs or 1 Tbs. dried thyme and 6-8 black peppercorns)
Freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated nutmeg
1 Tbs. thyme leaves or blossoms, chopped fine
2 Tbs. parsley leaves, chopped
1 cup cream*, optional

1. In a soup pot, melt the butter and saute carrots & onions, covered, over low heat for about 10 minutes. Add the stock and bring the soup to a simmer.

2. Add the bouquet garni. Simmer about 20 minutes or until the carrots are tinder but not mushy. Remove the bouquet garni and puree the soup in batches in your blender or food processor. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Reheat soup over low heat and serve in warm soup bowls garnished with chopped thyme and chopped parsley.

3. For a richer soup, add cream before reheating. Also, serve with Zucchini Dill Muffins ... recipe follows.

* Boquet garni (French for garnished bouquet) is a bundle of herbs tied together with string or gathered in a small sachet or net. These are mainly used to prepare soup, stock and various stews.

* Taste the soup after you blend it and before you add the cream. I had some handy and went ahead and added only half of what it called for. It doesn't need much if any at all!

makes 12 muffins

1 1/2 cups flour
2 Tbs. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh minced dill
1/4 cup milk or cream
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
2/3 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded zucchini

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease muffin tins or line with baking cups.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and dill. Mix well.

3. In medium bowl, combine milk, butter & eggs. Stir in cheese and zucchini. Beat well. Add to dry ingredients, stirring until just moistened. (Batter will be stiff.)

4. Fill cups 2/3 full. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

These are savory muffins and go really well with the carrot soup. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Caldo Verde (green soup)

Here is an amazing and easy soup that my family LOVES! It incorporates garlic, kale and potatoes which are just a few ingredients that I can't get enough of. The flavor is great and you just can't go wrong with it ... one time I used garlic powder because I forgot to grab some fresh bulbs from the grocery (and I ran out of my dad's home grown) and it was still very good!  My midwife from Fort Collins, printed out this recipe for me when I was pregnant with Ean ... over 6 years ago. It comes from Madhur Jaffery's World of the East Vegetarian Cooking cook book (which I just got in the mail from Amazon!!!! AND IT ROCKS!!!) Caldo Verde means green soup because it is typically blended smooth (until it's green) but personally, I like it chunky and broth-y (but boys like it pureed).

This is a great way to get in your "greens." My friend, Kelly, made this soup last month and she said it reminded her of french onion soup (only with kale and potatoes) ... And I agree - just without all the cheese. Kelly added garam masala and said it was a great addition. Garam Masala is a spice mix common in Indian cuisine. Here it shows you how to make it homemade or you can find in your health food store's bulk section. I like to add 1 tsp. dried rosemary and grated parmesan cheese for garnish. It gives the soup a great flavor and goes well with a French Boule (crusty french bread).
Tell me how you like it! 

Caldo Verde Soup
Madhur Jaffery's World of the East Vegetarian Cooking 
Slightly altered by Elisha
Serves 4-6
4 medium sized potatoes, chopped into 3/4-inch dice
1 medium sized onion, coarsely chopped
1 tsp dried rosemary or any other herb you enjoy
2 cups coarsely chopped kale leaves, firmly packed
12 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon olive oil 
6 cups vegetable stock 
Freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese, grated (for garnish)
Warm the olive oil in a large soup pot over med-high heat. Add the onions and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and saute for 10 minutes more, stirring often. Add the garlic and rosemary and stir for a minute until fragrant. Next, add the vegetable stock and salt. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer gently until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Test a potato to see if it is soft. Add kale, stir and remove from heat and let sit for 15 minutes to soften the kale.* 

If desired, blend the soup to your desired consistency.*

Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with grated Parmesan cheese and french bread.

*Many recipes instruct cooking kale for long periods. However, kale is very nutritious and is best eaten only slightly steamed (in my opinion). You can cook it longer if you like.
*We blend this soup for our young boys but my husband and I enjoy it chunky and broth-y.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Soul Food of India ~ Kitchari

Welcome to my food blog and my very first posting!

Hello all of you lovely people! 

I subscribe to an herbal website who sends out a monthly newsletter always containing great tips, info and ideas on using herbs. Last month, the featured recipe was called Kitchari. Have you heard of it? I hadn't but it piqued my curiosity after reading it was a common dish in India. I made it yesterday and immediately realized why they call it comfort food or the "chicken soup" of India! Everything checked out on my mental rating system - great flavor/texture combination, ease of preparation,  packed with nutrition, and at least one of my boys ate it!! YAY!! This recipe for Kitchari earned a high standing place in my FAVORITE RECIPES folder! I can't wait to make it again, not to mention eating it tonight (and maybe for lunch too!) It's pretty dense and definitely made to be eaten as comfort food on a cold winter night or if you are recovering from sickness. Since I don't eat chicken soup (anymore), I am delighted to find this alternative!

Endy enjoying his bowl of kitchari.
Apparently, there are many ways to prepare Kitchari .... Perhaps my friends who have lived in  India will chime in on this. I made this exactly as instructed and didn't add any of the variations suggested on the website. But, I plan to make this again, so there will be plenty of opportunity for that. All the ingredients in this recipe are extremely beneficial to your health ... especially good for digestion ... you can read all about that here. And if you think you might have trouble finding these ingredients, try your local health food store.

A close up.
Please post your comments below! I'd love to hear your input or suggestions.


1 cup of basmati rice (I used brown)
1/2 cup of mung beans (or lentils)
2 Tablespoons of whey or plain yogurt (I used plain, Greek style yogurt)
2 1/2 cups of water
1-2 onions, chopped
2-4 Tablespoons of coconut oil or ghee (clarified butter) (I used olive oil even though its not highly recommended)
1 Tablespoon turmeric
1 Tablespoon coriander
1 Tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste


1. Inspect the beans and remove any rocks or ugly beans and rinse. Put them in a bowl and cover with water and add the yogurt. Soak over night or the morning of - for 5-7 hours. This increases the digestibility of the beans
2. When you are ready to start cooking, strain the beans in a mesh colander, add the rice, and rinse well.
3. Place the rinse rice and beans in a pot with 2 1/2 cups of water.
4. Heat on high until it starts to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes (for high altitudes, increase simmer time 10-15 minutes).
5. Before the rice and beans are finished cooking, heat the oil in a large pan and saute the chopped onions until translucent. Do not over cook the onions, they should be just soft ... this adds to the wonderful texture of the kitchari.
6. Add the spices and saute for about 30 seconds - just until you can smell the aroma!
7. Add the cooked onions & spices to the mung beans and rice. 


The possibilities are endless!
Try adding cinnimon, cardamom, cayenne, ginger, bay leaves, etc.
Try quinoa instead of basmati rice.
Add a variety of vegetables like potatoes, carrots, or kale.
Add fresh cilantro!
Use broth instead of water for added flavor ... or add more liquid to make it more of a soup.
Coconut milk or coconut flakes would be a great addition as well!

Experiment to your own taste and enjoy!