Tag Archives: banana

Rainy days and Sundays always get me down

Standard

Well, unfortunately I think I may have spoken too soon. After pressing the publish button on Friday to post my last blog installment, the skies opened up and it’s been pouring down rain ever since. The blue skies have turned back to gray and the warm temperatures have cooled way down and I’m back wearing my knitted sweaters and furry slippers (oh yes, I have furry slippers). I guess that silly groundhog was right, and it really is going to be closer to April for it to be officially Spring-time. Some days I think I should just pack it up and move down to the Virgin Islands to be with my Tio Tony. From what I hear, days down in the islands are spent sunbathing on the beach, staring out at the clear turquoise-blue waters of the Caribbean, all the while sipping fruity concoctions with little umbrellas in hollowed out pineapples… sounds muy bueno to me. Not at all like my typical day up here in Oregon which mostly consists of shivering profusely under a pile of blankets, staring out the living room window at the howling winds and rain, all the while praying for mi papa to come home soon so I have a warmer lap to sit on and a bowl of plain old tap water to drink… with no little umbrellas, of course. Not exactly living the dream. So if you’re reading this, Tony, I’ve checked my schedule and I’m pretty much free and available to come visit you anytime in the near future… seriously, anytime. I don’t shed much and I eat very little. My poops are fairly small and I sleep a good portion of the day. I’m sort of like a furry, mute newborn, except I can cook meatloaves and bake cupcakes and lick my own eyeball with very little effort. Now if that hasn’t sold you on the idea of my coming down for a visit, well then I don’t know what else will.

Actually I may have one more thing up my sleeve in order to persuade you. I promise if you let me come visit you, I will make you this incredibly delicious breakfast bread every day of my visit. Or at least until you get so sick of it that blueberries and bananas are beginning to seep out through your pores and you beg for some homemade strawberry doughnuts instead. Or a cranberry-pecan coffee cake, perhaps. Or maybe even some apple-cinnamon muffins. Seriously, Tio Tony, whatever you want hombre. Just send me an invite and we can make this happen. In the meantime, drool a little over this lovely baked beauty.

Alright, that’s all the begging asking politely I can handle for right now. My paws are getting cold from typing and I think mi papa is home to warm me up before bedtime.

Hey, I’m down here Big Guy.

Advertisements

Protecting your heart, one little muffin at a time

Standard

 Hip hip hooray! Tomorrow is National Organ Donor Day! What are you doing to help celebrate? Donating some bone marrow? Giving your significant other one of your kidneys? Or baking some deliciously tasty muffins? Well, given the fact that I’m a Chihuahua and not quite a match for mi mama or papa when it comes to organ or tissue donation, I have to celebrate with the last of those suggestions and will be baking up some decadent little muffins. The good thing is, they contain three very important ingredients when it comes to maintaining one’s heart health so in a way, I’m still doing my part. I may not be donating my heart to someone in need but I am doing what I can to keep everyone else’s most vital organ in tip-top shape.

These muffins are really special, if I do say so myself. They contain bananas, chocolate (mmm, chocolate) and the not-your-typical-muffin-ingredient… avocado. Avocado?!?! Yes avocado! The mother of all green fruits. Avocados sometimes get a bad reputation for being high in fat and calories, but the truth of the matter is, the fat contained in an avocado is of the heart-healthy mono-unsaturated variety. As in, the kind that help lower blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol inside the body. So don’t fear the avocado, people. Love the avocado. And then spread the love by baking these healthy little baked treats.

ABC (Avocado-Banana-Chocolate) Muffins

2 large ripe bananas

1 large ripe avocado

1 tsp lemon juice

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup canola oil

1 egg or 1/4 cup egg substitute

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.

2) In a large bowl, mash the bananas and avocado until creamy but still somewhat chunky. Add the lemon juice, sugar, vanilla, oil and egg. Mix well.

3) In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

4) Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined. Gently fold in the chocolate chips. Do not overwork the dough.

5) Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, about 3/4 full.

6) Bake 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.

7) Allow to cool 5 minutes before removing muffins to a wire rack. Enjoy!

Now if only I had a heart-shaped muffin pan, these would be totally perfect… hint hint, mama or papa. Just putting it out there in case you hadn’t figured out what present to get me for tomorrow’s big holiday. I’ll even settle for a bag of heart-shaped baby carrots. Your choice.

As for me, I better be going now. I’m performing my magic tricks this evening at a black-tie affair and I need to go practice a bit before I leave. First up, making my wooden rolling-pin magically disappear.

Abra-cadabra

Oops!

Can I get a second opinion?

Standard

Hola, mi amigos! I’m going to share a little story with you today. It dates back to the summer of 2006 when I was still just a wee little pup, before mis padreas were married and mi mama and I were living by ourselves in Texas. While she was spending her days attending the university and working as a retail specialist at a local beauty store, I was spending my days watching Telenuvelas and cooking shows and perfecting my culinary skills in our tiny apartment kitchen. One sunny day after a long walk around our neighborhood, we returned home to settle in and figure out what our plans would be for the evening. While mi mama was busy doing some sort of painting and drawing on her face and winding her hair around some sort of hot circular stick, I decided to lay down and take a little snooze. All of a sudden out of nowhere, I began sneezing… and sneezing… and sneezing… and sneezing. I could not stop sneezing. And these weren’t just any old ordinary “ah-choo” kind of a sneeze. No no. These were a “holy frijoles I’m going into an epileptic seizure, my brain is about to explode, and my nose is going to blow off my snout” type of sneeze. In other words, not normal and very very scary. Mi mama, of course, was running around like a crazy woman, asking me what was wrong, and calling various people and doctors on her phone. After about 15 minutes of this and feeling like my nose was on fire and going to burst, she wrapped me up in a blanket, threw me in her car and off we zoomed to the dreaded veterinary clinic. Now I didn’t always fear going to the vet. Quite the opposite really. Back in the day I found it a real treat. I would be greeted with big smiles by all the kind ladies behind the counter, and receive not only big hugs and kisses, but also tasty little cookies shaped like bones. I would often times see some of my other puppy friends and we’d catch up on life and spend our time waiting in the reception area licking the floor and sniffing each other’s butts. Yeah, it was always a joy going to the vet. Unfortunately, all that changed the day I got jumped and attacked by mi abuelo’s evil cat, Monty, and had to spend the day in the emergency room, screaming in pain while the vet technician stapled up the gaping wound Monty managed to slice down the middle of my back with his claws. Definitely not pretty and not something I’ve ever been able to forget. Devil Kitty…

But anyway, back to that summer day back in Austin when mi mama and I were frantically racing down the highway to the veterinary clinic. The entire car ride I was sitting in the passenger seat, sneezing and shaking and hyper-ventilating and just wishing all this craziness would end and I could just go back to my taking a nap and dreaming of drowning kitties in a bathtub. Well, we finally got to the vet and were immediately hurried in to an exam room. The vet came in, poked and prodded me all over, asked mi mama a few questions and diagnosed my condition as Bordetella (aka: Kennel Cough). Somewhat peculiar since I hadn’t been around many others sickly dogs in awhile nor had I ever been boarded at the Pet Hotel. Nonetheless, he said I had this horrible illness,  gave mi mama a prescription for some medicine, asked for her credit card, and away we went $300 poorer and me still sneezing like a crazy-caged animal. Mi mama put me in the passenger seat of her car, strapped me in for the ride and started heading for home. About 10 minutes into the car ride I began to sneeze harder and more forceful than I had the entire afternoon. Mi mama pulled the car over to the side of the road at the same moment that I gave one ginormous sneeze and Bam! out of my nose came a huge blade of fresh green grass… of which I quickly licked up with my tongue and swallowed before mi mama could take it away from me. The sneezing stopped, all was well again and away we drove home.

Moral of this story: The next time you go to the doctor/vet, thinking you may have some sort of serious medical condition, check first to make sure you don’t have a blade of grass stuck up your nose.

Oh yeah, I also have a recipe for you today. It does not involve grass or snot or really anything to do with my story. It does, however, have to do with delicious and nutritious ingredients like blackberries, bananas and oats all baked into little small breakfast cakes.

Blackberry-Banana Breakfast Bake

1/2 cup oat flour (just grind steel-cut or rolled oats in a blender until powdery)

1 tbsp rolled oats

1 tbsp ground flaxseeds

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 egg white, whipped

1/4 cup milk

1/2 banana, mashed

1/2 cup blackberries, cut in half

1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) Grease 2 small ramekins or 4 muffin cups with cooking spray.

3) Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Do not over-mix.

4) Spoon batter into prepared cups. Bake 30-35 minutes or until edges are browned and breakfast bakes are set and not gooey.

6) Allow to cool 5 minutes, remove from cups and put onto serving plate. Top with honey, peanut butter or a small pat of Earth Balance and enjoy! Hooray for breakfast!

Well compadres, it’s been a long day and I think I may need to finally make up for that nap I missed all those years ago. Buenos noches!

Utilizing the Peanut Butter Supply

Standard

As you’ve probably noticed by now, we have quite a lot of peanut butter hanging out in the pantry of our kitchen. And by “a lot” I really mean more than any normal human being could ever hope to consume in her lifetime. Not that I would put it past mi mama to try to lick those jars clean before their expiration dates (and boy, if given the opportunity I would definitely like to be there to help her out), but we probably have enough to supply a small village in Chihuahua. So yet again I was inspired by the huge surplus of peanut butter and got to work creating a new recipe that could utilize some of it. And by “some” I mean the amount I actually ended up using barely made a dent in the overall amount we have left. Oh well, at least it’s one less bowl-full she’ll need to eat as a midnight snack (and 11am snack, and 2pm snack and pre-dinner appetizer…).

So after scanning the rest of the contents of our fridge and pantry, I came across three freckled bananas that were just screaming to be used in some sort of bread or baked good as well as a package of unopened gluten-free all-purpose flour mi mama had purchased a few weeks ago on a whim. Apparently she thinks she may have an intolerance to gluten… I think it’s just that her stomach lining has now turned into peanut butter and can no longer function properly in order to digest anything else. Still, the idea of creating a gluten-free baked good really intrigued me so I set forth to concoct a recipe featuring all three of these items. Therefore, I present to you my “Use up some peanut butter and over-ripe bananas” gluten-free peanut butter banana bread.

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Banana Bread

3 ripe bananas, mashed

1/3 cup plain nonfat yogurt (I used Oikos Greek yogurt)

1/3 cup peanut butter (I used crunchy)

3 tbsp butter, melted

2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce

2 large eggs

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1 1/2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour (I used the Bob’s Red Mill brand)

1/4 cup ground flaxseed 

1 tsp xanthan gum (this is used to add volume and viscosity to gluten-free breads)

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/3 cup dry-roasted peanuts, chopped (optional but really adds some awesome crunch)

Glaze:

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1 tbsp milk (any kind will work)

1 tbsp peanut butter (I used creamy)

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×5″ bread pan with Pam

2) Mix first 5 ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. Add the sugars and blend well.

3) In a medium size bowl, combine all other ingredients except peanuts.

4) Add dry ingredients to wet and stir until just moistened. Add the peanuts to combine.

5) Pour mixture into loaf pan and bake for 1 hour. A toothpick should come out clean when it’s done.

6) Allow to cool 10-15 minutes before removing from pan onto a cooling rack.

7) Combine the glaze ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk until smooth. Drizzle over the bread.

8) Cut a slice, smear with more peanut butter, wipe the drool from your mouth and devour.

I’m pretty sure this is a bread that will satisfy not only those looking to go gluten-free but also those just looking for a yummy banana bread bursting with peanut butter-y deliciousness.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go figure out what I’m going to make for dinner this evening. I’m thinking soup….

Don’t wake me up, before you go go

Standard

I’m really not a morning person, err dog. I don’t tend to get up before 10:00am if I can help it, and then it’s really only to eat my morning breakfast before retreating back to my warm blanket for my first of many naps. Really what it boils down to is, I like to sleep. Sleep comes in a very close second to my love for creating culinary masterpieces for my friends and family. So even though I would have preferred staring at the insides of my eyelids this morning, I arose from my slumber at the ungodly hour of 9:00 in order to make breakfast for my beloved papa. He brings home the bacon, and I cook it… so to speak. No pork products were on the menu this particular morning, though. French Toast was the main course du jour. Carmelized Banana French Toast, to be exact. Don’t let the name fool you. It’s really not as complicated as it sounds, but tastes absolutely gourmet. At least that’s what I could tell based on the grunts and moans of happiness coming from mi papa as he ate his breakfast.

Carmelized Banana French Toast

2 slices slightly stale bread, the thicker the better

1 banana, sliced lengthwise in half

1 egg + 1 egg white

1 tbsp any type of milk (cow, soy, almond, hemp etc.)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

heaping sprinkle of cinnamon

Directions:

1) Mix egg, egg white, milk and vanilla in a shallow bowl.

2) Heat a large skillet over medium high.

3) Dip bread slices in egg mixture, soaking thoroughly.

4) Place on skillet along with banana slices.

5) When browned, flip over to the other side and allow to cook through.

6) Place one slice of bread on plate, top with banana slices and cinnamon, and cover with second slice of bread.

7) Top with maple syrup, peanut butter, honey, chopped nuts etc. and prepare to have your mind and taste buds blown away.

It’s now way past my third naptime. and I really need my beauty sleep.