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Homemade Banana Bread Larabars

YES. You read correct. THIS HAPPENED.

Larabars are one of my favorite things in the world. It’s snack food that’s healthy (no added sugar, salt, or anything that you can’t pronounce) and DELICIOUS. For a while I went through a serious Larabar phase – picking one up every evening after work, eating half of one, and then saving the other half for post yoga/run/wherever I was going. The only (tiny) problem with this obsession is that it’s expensive! While $2 a bar doesn’t sound like much, it definitely adds up, especially when you consider that they’re only made from a handful of ingredients. Enter “Do It Yourself” Stephanie.

My favorite bar is the Banana Bread flavor. This one consists of only three things: almonds, bananas, dates. Lucky for me, I had all of these on hand, so I gave it a whirl. The results were AWESOME. They tasted as good if not better than the original.  I plan on making way more of these, AND in  other flavors too (blueberry muffin? coconut? peanut butter and jelly?!)

What You Need – Makes Two Bars:

1/4 cup dried banana

1/3 cup raw almonds

1/4 cup chopped dates

Food processor

What You Do:

First, you have to dry out your bananas. Pick a small banana that’s over ripe (the more brown spots the better), slice it, lay the slices on a baking sheet with parchment paper, and place in the oven at 175 degrees for about 2.5 hours.

In the  meantime get your almonds ready. Process them in a food processor until well blended, but NOT a powder. You definitely want pieces! Remove from the food processor. When the ‘naners are done (see pic below), add them into the FP with the dates and process. This will take a while, but keep at it. Everything will come together into a thick paste.

Remove this mixture from the FP, and mix by hand with the almond crumbs in a small bowl. Mix everything really well, until it’s all sticking together easily.

This is when it gets (sort of, but not really), tricky. Lay a piece of saran wrap out on the counter and place the blob that you finished mixing, in the center. Fold over the saran wrap. You can use a rolling-pin, but I used my hands to flatten the date/almond/banana mush and eventually formed it into one long Larabar. It took a bit of prodding and sculpting, but I did it! I sliced it into two pieces and voila! Store these in saran wrap and enjoy them as snacks, pre work out, dessert, WHATEVER.

Enjoy!

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Banana + PeanutButter + Chocolate “Ice Cream”

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**First, I will preface this post by saying I can’t believe no one told me about this stuff sooner. Where has it been all my life!? This is a major post, and I urge you to MAKE THIS. Make it make it make it. Okay, on to my normal ramblings…**

WORLD! I am back! Apologies for my prolonged absence. I wish I had an original excuse as to why I’ve been MIA for the past week (sailing, bungee jumping, on a safari), but the truth is I haven’t gone to the grocery store in over two weeks and I have NOTHING, I repeat NOTHING, edible in my fridge. This, of course, has meant a lot of eating out, no cooking, and therefore no blogging. BOO!

BUT, I’ll be soon forgiven because I am about to change your lives with this post. Meh, okay, that may have been a sliiight exaggeration — this might not change your lives, exactly, but dessert will be forever changed.

Blame it on the past few really, really hot weeks we’ve been having in NYC, but banana ice cream/soft serve has been popping up all over the blogosphere! Everywhere I look, someone else is blogging about their adventures with frozen bananas and the delicious concoctions they come up with. WELL. Not being one to miss out on the party (especially when this party involves DESSERT), I finally gave this a shot a few nights ago and OH MAH GAWD, guys. This stuff is CRAZY GOOD. It’s SO easy to make, and it’s one of those things that when you make, you will be literally blown away at the flavor AND the texture. This is as close to ice cream as you can possibly get.

I’ve already made a few iterations of this, but here is my absolute favorite version so far. Three simple ingredients: frozen bananas, peanut butter, chocolate chips. Whip it together, and what have you got it? (Bippidy, boppidy boo?) Nope – banana ice cream.

What You Need (2 servings)

2 frozen, over ripe bananas, sliced

2 tbsps unsalted, all natural, peanut butter

handful of vegan chocolate chips

food processor

What You Do:

First, I peel the un frozen bananas and slice them up into chunks (probably 6 per banana), then place them in a zip lock bag and freeze them overnight.

There! You’ve successfully completed the hardest part of this recipe. The rest is easy. Place the frozen bananas into the food processor and process away until you have a crumbly consistency. Next, add in the PB and Chocolate Chips and continue to process — you’ll see everything coming together like magic. You’ll know its done when it looks like the picture below.

If you’re in the mood for something more classic, just use bananas. I promise you will be amazed that this stuff ACTUALLY is like ice cream. This is no lie! You can also get creative and add any of the following:

  • Oreos
  • Graham Crackers
  • Nuts: macadamia, almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts
  • Strawberries
  • Cocoa Powder

The options are limitless. I’ve been making this every other night for the past week…it’s perfect after dinner, especially in my hot, sticky apartment. If I have some leftover (and rarely I do) I put it in tupperware, throw it in the freezer, and eat it the next night.

If you make ONE thing I blog about, please…MAKE IT THIS! Let me know what you think!

Enjoy!

Note: Sometimes, when I make this on a really hot night and my kitchen is exceptionally sweltering (see: most nights), the ice cream is a little too melty post processing — almost frozen yogurt like. If you’re a fan of more “ice cream” like consistency, put it in tupperware, and let it sit in the freezer for an hour to harden up. If you’re okay with it being softer, dig in!

Healthy Banana Blueberry Breakfast Loaf

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It’s Monday morning, I just rolled out of bed, and I have 30 minutes to be dressed and out the door. Going to happen? Meh, we’ll see. First things first, I need to make up for my blogging negligence from this weekend and give you guys a good one…so here it is: a healthy banana bread.

In the past, my banana breads have been known for being incredibly sweet, oily, and filled with chocolate. Not exactly suitable for breakfast (unless you’re 8 years old), they are usually enjoyed as dessert with a scoop of soy vanilla ice cream piled on top. I came across what looked like a healthy alternative: banana/blueberry bread with no oil, made entirely out of whole wheat flour and sweetened with nothing more than agave syrup. At first I was majorly hesitant to try making this stuff. What about the cup of oil? 2 cups of sugar? bag of chocolate chips?! How would this EVER compare?!

This recipe was ridiculously easy. It took me about 10 minutes to mix together in a bowl and then another hour or so to bake. The results were delicious! This is definitely what I would call a “breakfast” banana bread. Sweetened naturally by the bananas and blueberries, you won’t feel like you’re eating a slice of sugar for breakfast (ew!). I recommend eating it slightly warmed up in the microwave. So good!

What You Need (Recipe from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen):

3 large over-ripe bananas
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup vanilla soymilk
1/2 cup  agave nectar
2 cups white whole wheat flour (or regular whole wheat flour)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (240 ml) blueberries

What You Do:

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with oil.

Mix the soymilk with 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and let stand until it curdles.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas well, removing any big lumps. Add the remaining lemon juice, soy milk and agave. In a separate bowl, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and mix well. Add the dry mixture to the banana mixture and mix very well. Fold in the blueberries. Pour the batter into the loaf pan, place in the oven for 55 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out dry), and the end!

You can either let cool completely before slicing, or, if you’re inpatient like me, slice off one of the ends and have a taste.

Enjoy!

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

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Something about the combination of banana and chocolate is just TOO good. I know no matter what, anything that involves these two is going to come out delicious. My theory held up a few nights ago when I whipped these up. I was in the mood to bake and all I had laying around were a few bananas that were about one hour from being too ripe for even ME to eat, soooo I made them into muffins! They came out insanely delicious, and, like most of the things I post here were reaaallly easy to make! (I’m not just saying that – I promise!)

What You Need: (Makes 16)

2 cups all purpose flour
1 and a 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar

1/3 cup canola oil
4 ripe bananas, mashed – the riper the better!

1/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup vegan semi sweet chocolate chips

What You Do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease your muffin tins or use muffin liners.

In a bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, mix the sugar and the oil. Add the mashed banana to the sugar mixture, then add chocolate chips, water and vanilla. Finally, add the flour, and mix everything well.

Evenly pour the batter into the muffin tins. Place in the oven for about 30 minutes.

Enjoy!