Tag Archives: banana

Sorry for the Delay Readers. Have a Cupcake, I Insist.

Oh readers, I am TERRIBLE. I mean that. I never intended to leave you hanging for as long as I did.

That being said, life got a little rough for a little while, and a break was necessary. I hope you understand. It is my intention to keep this as regularly updated as possible, and I’m going to do my best. I can’t promise I won’t go off the grid again, but I can promise you that we have at least another two months before my next scheduled freak out. 🙂

Still, I missed you, and I know a few of you missed me. I’m sorry. As penance, I give to you a recipe. No, no, it’s none of that health food nonsense. They’re cupcakes. Sweet, yummy, delicious…

…fruity?
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Cupcakes.

I call them “Kellycakes” since they were created for my coworker, Kelly (duh), who left for bigger, greater, and significantly more Korean things. I wish her well, but miss her terribly. As a goodbye, I prepared to bake up a fresh batch of those delicious raspberry cupcakes I made for Olive’s birthday. Then I noticed that Mike had eaten all the raspberries. Naturally, I punched him. Hard. Sadly, he is not some magical, fruit filled pinata, and I couldn’t get so much as a single raspberry out of him.

Strawberries are probably just as good, right?

As those were cooking I prepared the rest of the ingredients. I reached into the fridge for the applesauce. Hmmm…I don’t seem to have any applesauce. These cupcakes were almost a disaster!

I did, however, have one super ripe banana. Guess that has to do?

See, whenever I tell you to use applesauce instead of an egg, you can actually substitute the words, “pureed fruit” for the applesauce. The only reason I insist upon applesauce is because everything else will alter the flavor of the final product. Don’t get me wrong, I like bananas, but they have a time and a place, and a German Chocolate cake is neither the time, nor the place for banana flavoring.

So Kelly got Strawberry Banana cupcakes, and I got a new recipe.

Kellycakes
Makes 12 cupcakes
2 c white whole wheat flour
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c + 2 tbs sugar
1/2 c canola oil
1 ripe banana, mushed
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c unsweetened almond milk
1/2 lb fresh strawberries, rinsed and quartered
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs vegan margarine
2-3 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F

Before you do anything else, place the quartered strawberries in a pan over a medium heat. If the berries are tart, throw a pinch of sugar in with the berries. Otherwise, you can just let them cook down until they go from this:

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to this:

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You should be able to get that consistency just by mushing the berries with a fork as they cook. However if you are an impatient spaz (guilty), you can throw them in the blender after they’ve already broken down significantly, just to even out the texture.

The next part’s simple. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, blend the oil with the mashed banana.

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Does this remind you of your old high chair? It should.

Add 1/3 cup of your strawberry “reduction” (we’re using that term loosely because I’m lazy and totally blended the bajeezus out of the strawberries) to the banana and oil and mix well. Stir in the vanilla and almond milk.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir only to combine. Scoop the batter into muffin tins and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a fork comes out clean.

While those are cooling, feel free to make/taste/start dipping pretzel sticks into the strawberry icing.

In a bowl using a hand mixer on a medium speed, combine the margarine, remaining strawberry reduction, and lemon juice. Slowly add the powdered sugar until the consistency is firm enough to pipe with (or at least be able to slather it on carelessly without leaving too many puddles).

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Yum!

After your cupcakes are cool, simply ice them and share them with your favorite Kelly. Or some chick you know whose name is Kelly. Or just someone who looks like they could use a treat. It all works out in the end.

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The camera doesn’t do this justice at all. First off, the icing is an adorable pink color. In fact, I first decided to use berries because my daughter wanted a Pinkalicious themed birthday and I don’t much care for food dyes. Second, since I was impatient and iced these warm, you can’t tell how well the icing actually piped. Pity, since before the heat overtook the frosting it had been quite pretty. Finally, you can’t lick this picture and expect it to taste quite like the real thing. Sadly, you’re going to have to make these yourself.

Admittedly, strawberry Banana is a pretty offbeat flavor for a cupcake. It’s ok though, because Kelly is kind of an offbeat chick. Are they a little weird? Sure, but it didn’t stop me from eating three of them.

So readers, I have returned, and I came bearing cupcakes. Thanks for your patience. I hope you can have a few of these as consolation for my bad blogging practices.

Enjoy!

***NOTE: I have received feedback from multiple sources about my zucchini muffins not setting in the center. My best answer is because the zucchini needs to be drained first, however, I need to test the recipe a few more times to see what is going wrong. I am so sorry for anyone who had a less than stellar muffin on account of me, and I’m working to fix the recipe immediately! Thanks!***

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Money Saving Monday–Hungry? Ask For Your Kid’s Advice.

I’m not always a very good parent, readers. Sure, I get it right enough most of the time, or at any rate I haven’t done anything that would alert Children’s Services, but a good portion of Olive’s life has been me going, “Oh God!”

The day I brought her home I couldn’t figure out how to put a onesie on her. I had her sitting upright while desperately trying to keep her obscenely floppy neck from snapping in half (which is, naturally, what I assumed would happen) when my Aunt came into the room and took over. It was incredibly embarrassing and I felt absolutely terrible for subjecting my infant to what must have been the most horrible kind of pain. I may have been a bit over dramatic.

A few months later she caught her first cold. Infants can’t blow their nose, so I had to use the suction bulb. Olive HATES the suction bulb. She began to writhe and scream as I attempted to force the little tube up her nose. When I pulled out, a small drop of blood came out of her impossibly tiny nostril. I was positive I’d hit her brain. The doctor, thankfully, assured me otherwise.

Over the years I’ve made many a bad parenting move from ignoring her to letting her accidentally lock herself into a closet. To be honest, I’ve even dropped her a few times. I’m pretty much an incredibly negligent parent.

Every now and then though, I’m able to pull my head out of my own butt enough to pay attention to my kid and have a moment that’s not marked with bad parenting. This is good, because from what I understand she’s now at an age where she will remember our interactions. When she’s a grown up, I want her to look back on this time in her life and say, “I remember that time I told my mom I wanted banana flavored energy bars and we came up with a recipe right then and there,” as opposed to, “Man, Mom dropped me. A lot.”

Banana Nut Energy Cookies
2 Bananas
1/4 cup nut butter (peanut, almond, or sunflower butter are great choices)
1/2 cup almonds, ran through a blender or food processor until it forms a crumbly flour
1/2 cup oats (buy uncontaminated oats to make a gluten free version)
1 tbs cinnamon
1/4 cup dried fruit

Preheat oven to 350F.

Put the bananas in a bowl and let your fabulous helper mash the crap out of them. This can be as dramatic a process as she chooses.

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Once it’s mashed, stir in the nut butter. Then stir in the oats and almonds.

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“Can it have raisins mommy?” “Oh, well I suppose it would have to, wouldn’t it?”

Stir in raisins.

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It’s ok guys, we’re going to bake them anyway. Also, I’m fairly certain she remembered to brush her teeth.

Add a little bit of the mixture to the bottom of 12 muffin cups. This is easier and less messy than trying to shape them on a cookie sheet…in theory.

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Again, I’m going to bake them. She may have even washed her hands.

On the plus side, I did manage to teach her a few good habits.

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Bake for fifteen minutes, or until they look kind of like this.

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They come out chewy, nutty, fruity, lightly sweet, and four year old approved.

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They even look like energy bars, and they cost almost nothing to make.

The best part about these bars though, is that they are little hand friendly. I don’t have to worry about her over stirring something to create a horrible glutoney mess (learned that lesson), nor do I need to be afraid that she’ll accidentally pull the mixer out too soon and I’ll spend the next hour washing the kitchen walls (learned that one too). Instead of the drama, we just squished a bunch of ingredients together and hoped for the best, and they came out just fine. With any luck, Olive will, too.

Unless I broke her from all those times I dropped her..

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Oh god…

Money Saving Monday–Eat it Starbucks

Readers, I’m not going to lie, I really, really like coffee.

I’m not one of those bloggers that’s going to tell you to abstain from God’s way of telling us he loves us and wants to wake up and have a good day…or afternoon pick me up…or a good study session…all nighter…etc… In fact, I love it exactly as much as I love tea, which says a lot because I ADORE tea! If I could find some hot water I’d be drinking some tea right now!

But this isn’t about tea. It’s not even really about coffee.

Starbucks has this creation that it calls a blended “coffee” drink. It’s not coffee. It might have a teensy bit of coffee, but it’s almost entirely not coffee. It is full of cream, chocolate, and other “goodies” that will set you back AT LEAST a meals worth of calories, fat, and sugar. It will also cost you AT LEAST five bucks. Boo!

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Yeah, that’s right, Frappuccino, I’m talking about you. You’re disgusting!

Guys, I don’t really care if you count your calories or sugar intake or any of that. I don’t and I’m much happier this way. But if you’re going to drink something that sugar laden and icky, you should at least get some nutrients. Or some coffee.

A Much Better Blended Coffee Drink
1/2 cup black coffee, room temperature or chilled
1 frozen banana, in chunks
1/2 to 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (some may need to dilute the coffee more)
4-5 ice cubes
maple syrup or other sweetener to taste (I used 1 tsp)

In a blender, add all the ingredients except the ice. Blend until smooth, then add the ice cubes, one at a time, until your drink has the desired consistency.

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Well would you look at that. I may have just put Starbucks out of business.

(I didn’t mean that Starbucks. I really like your soy vanilla lattes. Shhh. Don’t tell my readers.)

Seriously though, if you absolutely need something sweet and caffeinated, you can’t beat this. You’re getting the health benefits of coffee that all the doctors are raving about right now, the health benefits of cocoa (doesn’t get much darker than that), the health benefits of almond milk (hello readily absorbed calcium!), and the health benefits of bananas (potassium is a go)–and it’s DELICIOUS!

Go ahead, have a “venti” one. You’ll feel fancy and all your friends will be jealous of your barista abilities. And you’ll save yourself a few bucks, to boot.

Drink and be awake, readers!