Tag Archives: Walnuts

Joyous Vegan Mango Banana Bread

I have a confession to make: Joy the Baker has been a major inspiration for me as a blogger and baker. If you’re into baking and food and whatnot and haven’t yet visited Joy’s blog, you seriously need to. In addition to great recipes, she adds little life stories that make them fun to read and styles them up with some awesome photography.

One fateful day, I saw this Mango Banana Bread recipe on her site and I decided I must make it as soon as possible. I went out and bought some mangos and made the bread the very next morning, if I recall correctly.

So….it was amazing. And I’m gonna share the love.

I tweaked the recipe just a teensy bit by using white whole wheat flour and walnuts. Because I love whole wheat and bread with nuts.

First, you’ll want to find yourself a ripe mango and cut it into cubes–which was trickier than I thought it’d be, so if you’ve never cubed a mango before, you can learn right here. Set aside.

After that, get yourself a large mixing bowl and some ripe bananas. 3 medium or 2 large ones will do.
Then…mash those suckers up.

 Add:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Whisk these “briskly.”

Sift in:
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
rounded 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
rounded 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix together with a wooden spoon until the wet and dry ingredients are just combined. (I meant to add the walnuts in later, oops.)

Fold in:
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 ripe cubed mango

Pour into a prepared 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. I recommend lining it with parchment paper.

Sprinkle with granulated sugar or maybe some shredded coconut if you desire so.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes.

Resist the temptation to eat it fresh out of the oven–let the bread cool for 20 minutes before taking it out of the pan. Let it cool a little more on a wire rack, and then enjoy it. Enjoy, enjoy.

Oh, and by the way…this recipe’s vegan. Yeppers.

Joy’s recipe: here.


Date everything cookies

Let’s enter in the daydreams of Jenn for a moment here–the by-myself-staring-at-a-random-object sort of daydreaming–kay?

So, I’m a college girl, and what does a college girl think about all the time? Her future husband…of course. I’ll be all like staring at a tree and then wondering Geez, I wonder what he’ll be like? And then I go through the possible options; Maybe he’ll be a surfer-longboard type of dude,or one of those artsy-photographer types, or a rocker band guy…man, I really like rocker band guys…And then, of course, I analyze enough to wonder what it would be like to have to choose between a surfer-longboard dude, arsty-photographer man, or a rocker band guy if each one of them came up and stuck a ring in my face. And then I have to get myself to stop thinking…

But, apparently I’m the same way with cookies. There are SO many things I could put in a cookie; walnuts…peanut butter chips…M&Ms…Dark chocolate…white chocolate…apples…Geez, so many choices! Why can’t I have it all?

So this is what happened–do you remember that Oatmeal Date Cookie recipe I posted a while ago? Well…I took that recipe and decided to shovel my whole pantry in it. Well…maybe not all of it. Because there are definitely not pita chips in these. But just about everything else is in there.

Dates. Shredded coconut. Bananas. Unsweetened chocolate bits. Walnuts. And OH MY GOODNESS, oatmeal!

Oh, and guess, guess, guess how much sugar is in these? 3/4 a cup of brown sugar. That’s it. Half of what a normal recipe would have. And guess how much butter? Only 1/4 a cup. Which is a quarter of what normal oatmeal cookies have. No, I’m not lying! Geez. Why would I lie to you?

Best part? These cookies are just…amazing. Haha, yeah, I know! Who needs sugar when you have dates? Talk about candy that grows on trees…

Okay! Full recipe, right here, right now–

Cream:
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup dark brown sugar

Beat in 2 eggs

Blend in:
1/2 cup ripe mashed banana
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup lowfat plain yogurt
3-1/4 tsp. vanilla

Add in:
1-1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
heaping 1/2 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. cinnamon

Mix in 2 cups of white whole wheat flour (aka whole wheat pastry flour)

Stir in 3 cups of oatmeal

Now for the fun goodness stuff! Stir in:
heaping 1/2 cup of shredded coconut
1 cup chopped dates
rounded 1/2 cup of chopped unsweetened baking chocolate
1 banana, split into thirds and then cut into pieces
1 cup walnuts

Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes.

Dang, there’s a party going on in those cookies.

So, eat these warm, eat them out of the freezer, or do what I’m going to do and take them with me on a backpacking trip (who needs Clif bars?) and try not to worry about the fact that I can’t do the same thing with men that I can do with cookies.


Frozen cookie dough balls

I’m about to tell you how to do something that you really shouldn’t do. Especially since it’s still summer and everyone’s trying to fit into their swimsuits. And since human beings are not known for their steely self-control.

So…I’m sorry. Ahead of time. I’ve told myself I’m sorry, too.

I’m going to show you how to make your own frozen cookie dough balls so you can put them in your ice cream, eat them dipped in chocolate, or sneak them out of the freezer after breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

I told you, I’m sorry! But at least they’re made with whole wheat…

Yeah, the funny thing is, as addicting as these sweet little deals are, they aren’t quite as bad for you as regular cookie dough. Only because I used white whole wheat flour, substituted half the butter with yogurt, and took out a portion of the sugar. So you don’t feel as guilty when you can’t stop eating them.

Recipe!

Cream:
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar

I beat in 2 eggs…but that’s because I’m not very raw-egg-aphobic. If you are, which is totally cool, I’m fairly certain you can leave out the eggs and still get the same result, since you’re not gonna bake this dough.

 Add in:
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt

Mix in:
1 tsp baking soda (trust me, it adds flavor)
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 white whole wheat flour (aka whole wheat pastry flour)

Stir in 1 3/4 cup chocolate of your choice. I split it half-n-half with semi-sweet chips and a chopped 72% bar.
I also added in 3/4 cup chopped walnuts. I highly recommend. Unless walnuts give you sores in your mouth. Then I don’t recommend.

Form bite-sized balls and place on wax paper-lined tray-thing. An hour or two in the freezer should do the trick.

Well there you have it! Make these and eat them. You can come back later and tell me how you can’t stop walking back to the freezer…but don’t tell me that I didn’t try to warn you…


I Go to the Barn Because I Like the Oatmeal Date Cookies

Band of Horses has this song called “I Go to the Barn Because I Like the.”

Now, I love this song, it’s one of those “let’s go sit on a swing tied to a tree in the middle of a moonlit field” sort of songs. Melancholy, sad, chill, nostalgic.

But, to be honest,  I can’t help feeling kind of bothered that I’m not really told why the writer likes to go to the barn. “Because I Like the”…what? What is it? Why won’t you tell me?

I was listening to this song while I was baking today, though, and I think I figured it out.

Band of Horses is hiding something…in the barn, I mean. Cookies. They’re hiding cookies in the barn.

Bear with me here.

I was baking cookies, trying out a new recipe, and I used butter, eggs, yogurt, and buttermilk. Everything that comes from a barn, hence…Band of Horses goes to the barn because they like cookies.

And you would go sneaking off to the barn too, if you found these cookies there.

These cookies are just whoa. Think coffee cake meets granola bar. Dates, oatmeal, cinnamon, vanilla, coconut, allspice…secretly whole wheat and reduced fat…sounds good? Chya, that’s what I thought.

Cream together:
1/4 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar

Beat in 2 eggs

Add in:
3-1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk

Mix in:
1-1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

Stir in:
3 cups oatmeal

Finally, add in:
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped dates
rounded 1/2 cup shredded coconut

Optional: 1/2 cup bits of unsweetened baking chocolate (which will compliment the spicy sweetness with a dark, earthy flavor )

Bake at 350 degrees for about 16 minutes or until the cookies have slightly browned edges.

 Do eat these warm. Do eat them with milk. Do take them with you on a hike or a picnic. Do continue to wonder what it is in the barn that Band of Horses likes so much.


Joshua Tree Date Nut Bread

I am now convinced of two things: dates are amazing and great things come from Joshua Tree.

Not only do dates make amazing milkshakes, give cause for an awesome harvest festival down in Indio, or have 50 references in the Bible (according to Wikipedia), but they also make amazing bread.

Not only is Joshua Tree a funky-lookin’ tree…

(Photo credit not mine)

…or the name of an incredible U2 album…

…but it is also the place where my great-grandmother lived, who made fame in my family for her Date Nut Bread. So when I received a surprise care package from my aunt that featured a fine-lookin’ box of dates, I decided I must try my hand at the recipe.

The first time I made it, I ate it in four days. By myself. I wish I was joking.

I made it for the second time last Saturday, and worked up enough self-control to get it to last through the week. There’s still one piece left and I had actually shared some this time.

Fortunately for my conscience , this bread is full of natural ingredients and rather nutritious as a result of a few changes I made to my great-grandmother’s recipe. I used whole-wheat pastry flour, which adds some hearty fiber, and I substituted half of the sugar with unsweetened applesauce. The dates are the key ingredient of the bread, acting as a natural sweetener and giving it a very exotic flavor…if there is such thing as an “exotic” flavor…

First, crank the oven to preheat at 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine:
1 cup chopped dates
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup boiling water
After stirring mixture, set aside and let cool.

…don’t worry, it’s supposed to look like something you might encounter in a college boy’s dorm room…

In a large bowl, beat together:
2 eggs
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened natural applesauce

Stir in the date mixture. If it hasn’t cooled enough, the eggs will coagulate…and that’s bad. Frowny face :(

Hand-mix in:
2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
2 Tbsp. melted butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Pour into greased loaf pan and bake from 45 minutes to 1 hour.

And check it out! Look at that fine bread!

Let’s get some natural lighting on that bad boy…oh yeah!

Just a little suggestion: I ate this for breakfast with hot Breakfast tea and a bowl of sliced banana with granola and plain yogurt (mixed with a few drops of agave nectar to sweeten it a bit)…and the combo was to die for. The experience might even have been further maximized if I had listened to U2’s The Joshua Tree at the same time…


Keep the Party Alive in a Hippie Salad

Sometimes I feel like such a hippie. In the I’m-obsessed-with-vegetables sort of way. Almost every mealtime is overflowing with veggies from a salad or soup or stuffed in my sandwich or even dominating the toppings on my pizza.

Really, I don’t know what happened–I was that kid who liked to have her steak, and leaves and other green stuff were always eaten with some mayonnaise-based product. Somewhere along the way, though, red meat completely lost my interest, and ranch dressing pretty much grosses me out now.

Not to say that I would never eat one of those fresh-from-the-grill pulled-pork sandwiches dripping with tangy barbeque sauce…

But here we’ve got the mother of hippie salads, a bowl full of green goodness that will make you feel wonderful as much as it tastes wonderful.

First, you’ll need lots of spinach–the greener the leaf is, the more nutrient-packed it is. A small amount of iceberg lettuce is good for adding some crunchy texture.

The key to making an amazing salad is thinking of the lettuce as being bored and wanting to have a party. But not just any guests can be invited; the party has to have a theme, otherwise weird ingredients that no one wants to party with–like sardines–start showing up, or foods that have issues with each other–like apples and tomatoes–start a nasty fight.

Tonight’s salad party is hosted with a theme that includes the delicious flavors of sweet, rich, tangy, nutty, and earthy.

The guest list includes: half of a diced green bell pepper, half a shredded beet, a good handful of crumbled feta, about a whole avocado cut up into pieces, two or three sliced mushrooms, two medium shredded carrots, a small handful of chopped walnuts…

…and about half a cup of diced cherry tomatoes. Shall we dance?

And just like Family Force 5‘s “Keep the Party Alive” gets the people groovin’, a couple dashes of Trader Joe’s Fat Free Balsamic Vinaigrette kicks this hippie salad into a full on veggie party!


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