Tag Archives: banana

Tyler Florence’s “Family Meal” Banana Bread

10 Oct

First, before I delve into the beauty that is Tyler Florence’s banana bread (seen above, in all of its bready, banana-y glory), I want to thank all of YOU! My blog has almost reached 3,000 page views, and I want to say a serious and sincere thank you to everyone who’s supported GKG since it launched in June. You guys — friends, family, fellow bloggers — are the best. I love you for reading, eating, commenting, and peeking. Thank you!

Now, where was I? Oh, right … the most decadent banana bread I’ve ever made. True story. (Cue Barney Stinson?)

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Healthyish Morning Muffins

23 Aug

I shall call thee … STUDMUFFIN. Clearly, breakfast should be sexy. Duh.

Quick: What’d you have for breakfast this morning? If you can’t remember, that probably means one of three things:

  1. After noshing on your tasty breakfast, you were abducted by aliens, and Will Smith has already wiped out your brain with that white-laser-thingy.
  2. You didn’t eat breakfast – like the History Teacher tends not to do, tsk tsk! – and were too busy being in the opposite state of a diabetic coma all day to remember, well, anything
  3. Your breakfast was probably really, really lame. Or, at least, kind of forgettable, which is just as tragic.

We’ve played around with breakfast ideas before here at GKG, and while I love me some quinoa oatmeal and basic banana muffins as much as the next not-vegan-or-vegetarian-but-still-into-health-food person, it’s time to branch out into the wide world of Health Food. Based on Better Homes & Gardens’ master banana bread recipe (which I’ve virtually memorized by now … signs I could never go low-carb? Um, yes.), these muffins are packed with extra nutritional surprises – nuts, raisins, wheat flour, and even flax seed*. Depending on how fully you pack your muffin tins, this recipe will make 14-18 muffins. Enjoy!

*Flaxseed – ground into meal for this recipe by the lovely folks at Bob’s Red Mill – has loads of health benefits. They contain excellent doses of fiber, lignans (fancy term for a type of antioxidant) and omega-3 fatty acids. If you’re not sure how you feel about flaxseed, try this recipe; you’ll barely taste that nutty flavor. If you’re feeling daring, sprinkle a tablespoon onto your morning bowl of cereal (like I do), and see how you like it.

Here’s what the package looks like, if you get lost in a health food store and find yourself in a forest of alfalfa sprouts and tempeh.

Healthyish Morning Muffins, adapted from Better Homes & Gardens – makes 14-18 muffins

*Note: Extra tips for healthy ingredients are in parentheses.

Image sourced from simplyrecipes.com. Not an exact replica, but yours will look pretty close to these beauties. NOM NOM NOM.

You’ll need:

  • 1 ½ cups white all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup wheat flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed meal (you can skip this if it’s too hard to find)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 ½ cups mashed ripe banana (2-3 bananas)
  • 1 cup sugar (or ½ cup sugar and ½ cup Stevia In The Raw)
  • ½ cup cooking oil / melted butter (or applesauce)
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts or almonds
  • ¼ cup raisins or other dried fruit (cranberries or blueberries are particularly good)

Here’s what you do:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare muffin tins by spraying with Pam or greasing with oil / butter. In a large mixing bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices, and flaxeed meal in a bowl. Leave a small well in the center.
  • In a medium bowl, combine beaten eggs, mashed banana, sugar, and oil / applesauce. Add all at once to flour mixture, stirring until just combined (should still be lumpy). Fold in walnuts and raisins. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins using a ¼ cup measuring cup or a large serving spoon.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the muffins are nicely browned. Cool in muffin tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then, remove muffins and allow them to cool completely on wire rack. Enjoy!

These are delicious when topped with butter or margarine and strawberry or blueberry jam. They’re also delicious if you split and broil them briefly (no more than five minutes), then top with peanut butter for a PB-and-banana kick.

What are your favorite breakfast baked goods? Are you guys muffin people, or are you happy with a classic bagel & shmear? Or is the best breakfast of all a simple, steaming hot bowl of … nothing?

Pinterest Challenge: Banana Chips

20 Aug

Alright, my cutie Pinning patooties – it’s time for another Pinterest Challenge! (Thanks again to John & Sherry at Young House Love for inspiring this series of posts – y’all are the best, even if I wish John would write a post about cooking!) After last time’s slightly-dry-but-rather-attractive Cinnamon Braid coffee cake, I thought I’d branch out a bit and try my hand at something I’d never, ever made before. You know, something exotic, like curry. Or Twinkies.

Image sourced from simplymathbakery.com. Yep, people do this. Check out Joy the Baker for an amazing-looking recipe.

And what did I find? Homemade banana chips. Here’s the original pin, posted by a high school friend of mine from an original Nuts.com image.

How good do those look?

I know, I know – “But Galley Kitchen Gal. Why bother spending potential hours of your life concocting something that you can buy in a gas station convenience store for, like, 99 cents? Isn’t there some quote from Thoreau about the value of your time and what you spend it doing? I bet he never tried to dry bananas in his cabin in the woods. Plus, dried mangoes are WAY better.”

Or maybe that’s just my internal monologue. Eh, at least she’s well-read.

Anyhoo; the little buggers just looked so darn tasty, I had to give ‘em a try.

The directions, according to the pin’s description, are pretty simple:

  • Slice a banana.

  • Dip each slice into lemon juice.
  • Spray a cookie sheet, and lay out the banana slices.

  • Bake for 2 hours at 200 degrees; then, flip the slices and bake another 1.5-2 hours.
  • Allow the chips to cool and harden; then, nosh upon their tropical goodness.

Sounds easy enough, right? After following the recipe (almost) to a T, here was my end result:

Here, chippy chippy chippy

My verdict? 2.5 out of 5 Pinterest Ps.

Check out those sick MS Paint skills. Boomskies.

Why? First – and perhaps I simply cut some too-skinny slices – the chips were a little too thin, resulting in them almost over-browning during the second half of the cooking process. Secondly, they still were a bit too chewy, even after cooling completely. It felt a bit like I was chewing some strange banana-flavored caramel, which – while tasty-ish – didn’t seem like the original objective. However, I also overzealously sprayed my cookie sheet with Pam (as my little sister would say, “Um, aggressive…”), so that could just be the cooking spray talking. Er, tasting?

Here, you can see their slightly … space-dried nature.

If I made ‘em again, I’d change the following things:

  1. Cut the slices a bit thicker; maybe ¼ an inch?
  2. VERY lightly spray the pan
  3. Make sure my oven rack is centered; I placed the baking sheet on a lower rack, and that could have influenced how they turned out.

Oh well. Off to keep pinning and patrolling the Interwebs for pretty images with matching recipes. What Pinterest successes (or miserable failures) have you all experienced lately? Any fun new pins to share?

If you’d like to follow my Pinterest food board, “Nosh,” there’s a link on the sidebar that you can click. Check it out!

Quick Dessert: Vegan (or Not) Banana “Ice Cream”

16 Jul

This might be, by far, the easiest recipe I’ve ever tried. A coworker recently told me how his wife uses overripe bananas to make “ice cream.” The technique, he said, was simple:

  1. Freeze the bananas
  2. Blend them in a blender or food processor
  3. Eat

It can’t be THAT simple, I thought to myself as I visualized the 3 overripe bananas in a basket on my counter. Normally, my attack strategy is to make banana bread or banana muffins out of those bad boys. This time – with DC heat waves hitting some absurd highs a week ago – I decided to forgo any baking and give this “ice cream” a shot. And oh, how richly were my taste buds rewarded!

So creamy and delicious. And so, so easy!

Banana “Ice Cream” – 2 variations. Serves 1-2, or more if you have more bananas.

For the vegan version …

You’ll need:

  • 2-3 overripe bananas
  • 1-3 tbsp cold water

Here’s What You Do:

  • Slice the bananas into small chunks. Place the chunks in an ice cube tray (one chunk per “cube”), and freeze for an hour (or until fully frozen).
  • Add the chunks to a food processor or blender. Add 1 tbsp cold water to help the mixture blend. Blend or process on full strength (or “Puree” / “Liquify” on your blender) until the mixture is smooth, adding another 1-2 tbsp water if necessary.

  • Serve with a drizzle of agave nectar or real maple syrup and chopped walnuts. (Or, try a scoop of natural peanut butter if you’re feeling decadent!)

For the not-quite vegan version …

You’ll need:

  • 2-3 overripe bananas
  • 2 or 3 tbsp vanilla Greek yogurt (optional)
  • 1-2 tbsp milk

Here’s what you do:

  • Slice and feeze the bananas just as you would in the vegan version.
  • Add the chunks to a food processor or blender. Add your yogurt and 1 tbsp of milk to help the mixture blend. (The yogurt adds extra flavor and richness, but the bananas are just as creamy on their own – adding the yogurt is entirely up to you.)
  • Blend or process on full strength (or “Puree” / “Liquify” on your blender) until the mixture is smooth, adding another tbsp milk if necessary.
  • Serve with drizzles of your favorite sundae sauces (caramel sauce sounds particularly delicious), chopped walnuts, or chocolate sprinkles. Mine was delicious with a drizzle of honey and handful of walnuts.

As Ina Garten would say, how easy is that? I haven’t tried this technique with other frozen fruit, but I assume the effect would be sorbet-like. (Which sounds lovely and summery to me!) The bananas have such a natural creaminess, though, that they’re really ideal for this kind of preparation. You can also use leftover banana chunks for smoothies!

What are your favorite easy summer desserts? Any tips for more frozen treats?