Monday, May 18, 2009

Best Banana Bread. EVERRRRRRR

Sooo, i got this recipe off of MSN one morning. I'm telling you, if God made banana bread, he'd use this recipe.
First, i love making banana bread, it makes the house smell sooooooooo good. I've tried dozens of recipes, some better than others, but NEVER have i found one this FAB! Not only is it to die for delish, but it is soooo pretty. You MUST make this. Make it for your family or friends because as soon as the bite into it, they will know how much you adore them :)
Nutty Banana Bread
Yields 6 to 8 servings
2 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. kosher salt
1/2 c. sugar (recipe called for 1 cup - don't do it. You don't need it, and lets think about not getting diabetes later in life, shall we?)
1/2 c. canola oil
2 large eggs
1 t. pure vanilla extract
1/2c. buttermilk
3 medium bananas, mashed
1/2 c. walnuts, finely minced (about 2 oz.)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan.
In as mall bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
2. In a medium bowl, beat together the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanillauntil well combined. Alternately add the dry ingredients and thebuttermilk in three additions. Gently stir in the bananas and nuts.
3. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the bread cool in the pan for 5minutes. Carefully turn out the loaf to finish cooling on a wire rack.
FYI - i end up baking mine a bit longer - like 1 hour and 5 minutes - the bread is super moist so be careful not to underbake.
Enjoy :)

Blueberry Crumb Cake

From: Cooking Light Annual Recipes, 1999, page 30
You will Need:

Cooking Spray

1/3 cup sugar (recipe called for 2/3 cup, but i mean, come on, lets not go into sugar coma over here)

1/4 cup stick butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup lowfat buttermilk
1 cup blueberries

3 tablespoons sugar (or splenda)
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350.
Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Line bottom with waxpaper, and coat wax paper with cooking spray. (i dont use the wax paper, its your choice)
Beat 2/3 cup sugar and 1/4 cup butter at medium speed of a mixer until blended (about 5 minutes).

Add vanilla and egg; beat well. Lightly spoon 1-1/3 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
Stir in blueberries.
Pour into prepared pan.

Combine 3 tablespoons sugar and remaining ingredients in a bowl; stir until mixture resembles coarse meal.
Sprinkle sugar mixture over batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutesor until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on awire rack.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Spinach and spice and everything nice soup. mmm!

Gigi says: If this soup were shoes, it would be a sexy pair of stilettos. It is fabulous in every way, simple, healthy, full of love, low cal and delish!

FYI: this soup should hang out until the next day before being served because the flavors continue to develop.

1 package of Italian Tofurkey sausage (if you are a meat eater, feel free to use chorizo here or spicy chicken sausage or spicy turkey sausage – whatever you like)
1 large or 2 small yellow onion – diced
4 cloves of garlic – crushed
1 can chickpeas – drained and rinsed
2 cans of northern beans – drained and rinsed
1 can of light kidney beans – drained
4 cans of chopped tomatoes w/juice
3.5 cups of fat free chicken broth (about 2 cans) – (or vegetarians use 2 cups of water plus additional 1.5 cups of vegetable broth to what is already listed)
1 cup of vegetable broth
¼ cup Italian parsley – chopped
6 oz baby spinach leaves
1 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
1 TBS cumin
1 tsp chili powder
if you like heat, add a dash or 2 of red pepper flakes
(you can adjust the seasoning while it is cooling off)
****to make the soup a bit thicker, i ALWAYS dilute 1 tsp of cornstarch with a bit of the broth or some water and add it to the soup while it is simmering.***
( I freaking LOVE cornstarch. It is like magic!)

Chop up the tofurkey or sausage in a large soup pot that has a lid. Cook for about 5 minutes or until its browned. Add the onion and sauté for another 10 minutes. Add the garlic, chickpeas and beans and cook together for a minute. Add the tomatoes, broth, juice and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and add parsley and spinach. Simmer for an hour with the lid on. Season with salt and pepper and cumin.

Allow to cool and refrigerate overnight. Reheat the next day and Presto!
(This also freezes beautifully)

Chicken and Vegetables in Coconut Curry Sauce

Chicken and Vegetables in Coconut Curry Sauce
You will need3-4 chicken breasts (whatever comes in 1 package) Or 1 package of Extra Firm Tofu for the vegitarians

1 green bell pepper (the original recipe called for red, but i only had green, although i'm going to try red next time because i think it would look so nice)
1 white onion
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 pckg of white button mushrooms
1 pckg pea pods(feel free to add whatever vegies you like, i bet broccoli, cauliflower or anything crispy would be great!)
1 can chicken stock1 can lite coconut milk
olive oil to coat pan
1.5 tsp curry powder (or less if you dont like a strong flavor)
1 tbsp flour
1tsp corn starch - dissolved in a bit of water. (this is optional, but i dig cornstarch as a thickening agent to about everything i make :)
salt and pepper to taste
red pepper flakes are optional

Chop up all your veg's, except the pea pods.
Cut the chicken into bite size chunksSaute chicken, pepper, onion and garlic.When they are nearly done cooking sprinkle with the curry and flour, saute and additional 1 minute to let the flour cook off and add the mushrooms and pea pods and whatever other veg's you like.

Saute an additional minute and add the the chicken stock and coconut milk.
Add diluted corn starch.
Let it simmer for about 15 minutes and let the delicious aroma fill your home.
Serve over rice or rice noodles

Gigi's Glam trail mix cookies!!

I love making cookies. LOOOVE. They make people happy. All people, kids, grown ups and they are great for bringing to parties. These cookies are so super fab. Sustaining, easy, and yummy. I used cranberries and sunflower seeds instead of raisins and walnuts like the recipe called for, but feel free to use whatever you like. The cookies end up being a bit sweet, a bit salty but absolutely irresistible!

1.5 cups firmly packed brown sugar (feel free to use less sugar about about ¾ cup because the chocolate and cranberry add plenty of sweetness)
¾ cup butter flavor Crisco (or 1 stick of sweet butter or margarine)
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
2 ½ cups quick oats, uncooked
1 cup flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 cup milk chocolate chunks
1 cup dried cranberries
½ cup sunflower seeds

(if you are a vegan – add soy milk instead of regular and use egg beaters instead of eggs)

1. Heat oven to 375. Grease baking sheets

2. Place brown sugar, shortening, egg, milk and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat at
medium until well blended.

3. Combine oats, flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add to shortening mixture. Beat at low speed until blended. Stir in chocolate and nuts.

3. Drop cookie dough by the tablespoon full an inch apart of cookie sheets.

4. Bake one cookies sheet at a time about 10 minutes. Keep a close eye on these, do not over bake. Remove to a cooling rack and let them cool for an hour. mmmmm

Black Bean soup

This is one of my absolute favorite recipes, first because it is superdelish and always a crowd pleaser, and second, because its pretty much the easiest thing on earth!

1 pound of ground turkey (you can use beef if you eat red meat, or nix the meat for vegetarians and maybe add barley for texture)

5 cans of diced tomatoes
2 cans of black beans
2 cans of kidney beans
1 can of corn
1 tbs black pepper
2 packets taco seasoning
2 packets of ranch seasoning
1 tbs chili powder
1 can green chilis
1 tbs cumin
First, brown the turkey by itself.In the meantime, in a slowcooker add all of the ingredients.Add the turkey when it is done and set your timer.If you don't use a slow cooker, I'd let this simmer for 45minutes or so, so that the flavors marry and Viola! A fabulous dinner awaits :)

This also freezes beautifully.