Tag Archives: banana

Baby Banana Crumble

19 Jun

I’ve gotten into a rut when it comes to breakfast foods.  Every morning I sling one of the following, based on what my audience wants on any given day: toast, oatmeal, cereal, or eggs.  For the most part, the kids are pretty happy with this functional and fast breakfast style.  But me?  I’m bored.

This morning I tried something new, which honestly was pretty risky for a Tuesday (but sort of a Monday since the kids were gone yesterday).  The recipe is very simple – smashed banana with a crumble topping, and then baked.  The prep is very simple, and the hands-off baking time leaves me free to make lunch/prep bags/yell like a drill sergeant to GET GOING PUT ON PANTS WHERE ARE YOUR SOCKS BRUSH YOUR TEETH.  Basically, this recipe is perfect for those mornings when you want something hot and sweet but are short on time.  I made ours in individual ramekins, but if you were cooking for a crowd simply increase the recipe and place the whole thing in a baking dish that can contain the number of servings you need.

The critics say:

“This would be good with some maple syrup on top.” – Martin

“This would be better if it were toast with French dressing on it.” – Sophie

Baby Banana Crumble
Serving size: 1 serving
Serves: 1

1 ripe banana
1 T. flour
1 T. oatmeal
2 t. brown sugar
1 t. non-dairy margarine
Dash salt

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a ramekin or small individual baking dish, smash a banana until it is creamy.  In a separate bowl, mix together remaining ingredients.  Spoon topping over banana and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove, let cool a bit, and serve.

Estimated calories:  210 cal/serving

Print it: Baby Banana Crumble

Notes:
– Feel free to substitute the non-dairy margarine for regular margarine or butter.
– I used frozen and thawed bananas in this recipe.  If you haven’t frozen super ripe bananas before, I’d highly recommend it.  They thaw quickly, and after snipping off one end, you can squeeze the mushy banana right out of the peel like squeezing a tube of toothpaste.  The banana is basically pre-mashed and ready to go.  If you don’t have a freezer filled with black, ripe bananas like I do, any really ripe banana will work in this recipe.

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Stealthy Banana Muffins

9 Nov

When you’re staring down the options in a baked goods display, it is pretty easy to rule out those items that are obviously higher in calories.  Blocking out the pastries, anything chocolate covered or filled with custard, bagels topped with cream cheese – you are left with the muffins.  The healthiest of the choices available?  Maybe.  But low in calories?  Unlikely.  More than once I have been duped into thinking that by choosing a muffin I would end up with a low-calorie breakfast, only to find out later that for the same amount of calories I could have had the more enjoyable doughnut.  Neither option gives me the low-calorie and tasty breakfast I was hoping to have.

This morning I made a batch of healthy, flavorful, and low-calorie muffins that really hit the spot.  They were delicious and about half the calories of a muffin from a bakery or coffee shop counter.  There are three major factors that make this recipe lower in calories than those you will find on the outside:
1. Portion size: this is just a regular sized muffin.  Not a jumbo.  Not a giant.  Just a regular.
2. I left out some high calorie culprits – nuts, lots of butter, oil, chocolate.
3. By leaving out some of the fat often added to muffins to make them moist, I decided to boost the moisture by adding in a little sour cream.  Totally worked, totally healthier.

With a healthy and tasty recipe in hand, I faced the second obstacle in making breakfast – cooking without waking up the kids.  I love having mornings to myself to do whatever I want, and if I use a mixer or make a lot of racket in the kitchen, it is guaranteed that everyone will be up and suddenly starving for the food that is not yet ready.  Leaving behind the mixer, this batch can be made by mixing and mashing with a fork.  Quiet preparation makes these muffins stealthy, which allows me the time I need to knock back plenty of coffee before anyone needs me.

Stealthy Banana Muffins
Serves: 12

1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 T. non-dairy margarine
2 super ripe bananas
1 egg
2 T. non-dairy sour cream
1 c. flour
1 t. baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Place liners in a muffin tin and spray with cooking spray.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, add ingredients one at a time, mixing and mashing with a fork between each one.  Divide muffin batter between each liner, about 1/4 c. in each.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until they are lightly golden.

Set on rack to cool for a few minutes, then eat.

Estimated Calories:  139 cal/serving

Print it: Stealthy Banana Muffins

Notes:
– As always, you can use dairy ingredients for the non-dairy counterparts used in this recipe

Salted Caramel Banana Bread

20 Oct

Encouraged by Sophie, who tells me that I offer her THE SAME THINGS EVERYDAY, I made some banana bread this week for the kids to have for breakfast.  I have a few banana bread recipes I like, but they are kind of high in calories. I like to keep the amount of calories I consume for breakfast pretty low, mostly to save them for the foods I know I’d rather consume later in the day.  I made one recipe that was pretty good and reduced the calories, but it was a bit on the dry side.  I made a few changes and boosted the flavor by adding a little salted caramel sauce.  The result was terrific – moist, lighter in calories, and flavorful.  So good, it didn’t even need any added butter.

Although caramel sauce is not hard to make, it can be a little temperamental if you don’t do it properly.  The first batch I made hardened immediately and could not be salvaged.  So, I decided to reduce the steps and make a modified version of a traditional caramel sauce.  As a result, the sauce is lighter in color (more of a blonde than a caramel) and more liquidy – BUT, it takes much less time and does not require any real skills or equipment.  It is a great way to add the flavor of salted caramel to the bread with less effort.  And since it is used IN the bread and not as a topping, it is a shortcut well worth taking.

Salted Caramel Banana Bread
Serves: 10

1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. soy creamer
1 t. non-dairy margarine
1/2 t. fleur de sel
2 T. non-dairy margarine
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. applesauce
1 egg
1/2 t. vanilla
2 large bananas, very ripe and lightly mashed
1-1/4 c. flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray bread pan with cooking spray.

In a sauce pan over medium-low heat, add first three ingredients.  When it starts to bubble, reduce heat to low and stir until sugar melts and the mixture turns a light golden color.  Add fleur de sel and margarine, stir until everything is well mixed.  Turn off the heat, but keep the pan on the burner to just keep the caramel sauce warm.

In a large bowl, mix remaining margarine and sugar.  Add applesauce, egg and vanilla, mix until well combined.  Stir in bananas, mashing bananas with spoon if needed.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, kosher salt. In two batches, add to the banana mixture, stir until everything is well mixed.  Pour in caramel sauce and stir.

Spoon all of the contents into the prepared bread pan and bake for 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and set on rack to cool.

Estimated Calories:  153 cal/serving

Print it: Salted Caramel Banana Bread

Notes:
– As always, feel free to substitute dairy products for the non-dairy margarine and soy creamer included in this recipe
– For recipes like this, I LOVE using bananas that have been frozen and thawed.  I let the banana thaw in the refrigerator overnight or microwave it for a bit if I need it right away, snip one end off of the banana, and squeeze the contents into the batter.  It is perfectly mushy already, and is a great way to use super ripe bananas.  No matter how you thaw the banana, be sure to put it into a container, they leave behind a mess when they thaw.

Apple Banana Butter

16 Sep

This week my mom dropped off a bag of apples that she’d picked from the tree in their backyard.  Unlike apples purchased at a store or orchard, these apples would not win any apple beauty contests.  They look like a team of rejects – holes in some, dents in others, all sorts of sizes, mottled skin.  But, when it comes to flavor they are exactly the way I like them – tart, a bit sweet, crunchy, and not at all mushy.  They are delicious.  With a big pile of these flavorful but slightly haggard looking apples on hand, I decided to make a batch of apple butter. 

Traditionally, apple butter usually contains one or more of the following spices – allspice, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg.  These spices are a bit on the strong side for my kids, so I decided just to use only cinnamon.  In my continuous efforts to cut back on the sugar the kids eat and the calories I consume, I used about half of the sugar that is usually used in apple butter.  I was kind of worried that by cutting out so much sugar I might end up with a batch of super tart applesauce and wondered if I was making a mistake.  And then it hit me, I had the perfect solution to add a bit more sweetness without all the sugar:

Super ripe frozen bananas.  My freezer is full of them.  Whenever bananas reach full ripeness, no one at my house wants to eat them.  I stick them in the freezer and then add them later to smoothies, banana bread, and now apple banana butter.  To use the super ripe bananas, I pull them out of the freezer and set them on the counter to thaw.  When they are no longer solid, I cut off one end and squeeze the banana guts out of the peel.  It does not look good, but they are perfectly ripe and already smooshy, which means they are excellent for all of the uses above.  If you don’t have a pile of black frozen bananas in your freezer, any ripe banana will do in this recipe.  Just peel it and throw it in with the rest.

Apple butter is super easy to make.  The hardest part is peeling, coring and dicing some apples.  In this recipe I used 4 lbs of apples, and it took me under 15 minutes to prep them.  All of the ingredients are placed in a crockpot, then they cook all day.  You can stir it occasionally if you’re around, but if not, it is fine just sitting and cooking on its own.  Some recipes call for placing the apple butter in jars and then putting them in the freezer.  I wanted to be able to give away some of these jars, so I decided to can them instead.  You can place the apple banana butter in any size jar you’d like, I picked half pint.

There are two types of Half Pints:

The one on the left requires a rugged good-natured fiddle player named Pa and a handsome husband named Manly.  For this recipe, you’ll need the one on the right, and you’ll need about eight of them.

Apple Banana Butter

Makes: 8 half pints
Serving size: 1 T.

4 lbs apples, peeled, cored, and diced
4 ripe bananas
2 c. sugar
2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. kosher salt

Place all the ingredients in a crock pot and turn to low.  Cook for 10-11 hours.  Stir occasionally if you’re available.  You’ll know the recipe is done when everything is mushy and has turned a warm brown-red color.

Fill canning pot with water and bring to a boil.  In a large bowl filled with very hot water, place jars and lids.  Remove hot jar, wipe dry and fill with apple banana butter leaving about ½” empty at the top.  Place lid on top and secure very tightly with band.  Repeat with remaining jars.  Place in canning pot and be sure that they are all completely covered in water.  Cover and cook for 10 minutes.  Remove jars from canning pot and set aside to cool.

Estimated Calories:  23 cal/serving

Print it: Apple Banana Butter

Notes:
– A little apple banana butter goes a long way.  A single serving is enough for a thin layer on two pieces of toast, or a nice thick dollop on top of an english muffin.
– Great on all kinds of breads or crackers, especially tasty with peanut butter.
– Try it with pork chops or tenderloin, it lends some tasty sweetness. 
– Some people add this to banana bread or muffins, which I bet would be good, but I have not tried it.