real food. real life.
If you haven't caught the ripe banana train yet, you best get on board soon! Seriously, where have you been? What are you doing? Take those brown bananas, peel and chop them up and freeze those suckers! They're like gold!
I am convinced they are by far my most useful and delicious staple ingredient in the kitchen. Well, that and coconut oil. And nut/seed butter. And dates. Okay, I have many ingredients that are essential in our eating routines, but ripe bananas are definitely top of the list. They are cheap, easy to use, perfect frozen, and turn many ordinary things into extraordinary. Pure, natural banana. And, it seems grocery stores have started to catch on, selling bags of 'baking bananas' they call them. However, as we've doing for years, buying the old brown bananas from a local market or corner store, you can normally get them half price, easily. The cashier may look at you kind of strange - but, you just gotta remind yourself, 'oh the things they are missing out on!'
Using bananas, ripe bananas, is a great way to make sweet, delicious treats full of nutrients without needing a bunch of refined sugars to make it taste good. Similar to using apple sauce, however bananas aren't as liquidy and are sweeter. They commonly appear, more than once a week, in our home in the form of banana ice cream (or our new favourite Chocolate Banana Ice Cream - post coming soon on that one!), frozen banana pops, or creamy smoothies or milkshakes.
So, this stack of brown bananas on my counter calling fruit flies galore were staring me down one day. I thought about sending them to the freezer but then I had a revelation. I was already trying to make blueberry muffins. But not boring old regular blueberry muffins. Healthy but DELICIOUS blueberry muffins. So, after perusing my cookbooks and favourite recipe sites online, I adapted to come up with this one - naturally sweetened, dairy-free, and another fantastic use for ripe bananas! Oh, and did I mention easy? I made these in 30 minutes exactly, start to finish. Baked to perfection in exactly 25 minutes and prep time was minimal as I just blended it all together step by step. Bananas = easy peasy!
I'm going to go eat the last one right now. Sweet banana bread and blueberry pops. Hello. Don't mind if I do!
And, in case anyone is wondering, yes Life is nutso as I attempt to open my own school! Reason why the posts are minimal. My apologies, I swear I'm still cooking, just living a whirlwind as well! It's going great though! I promise Chocolate Banana Ice Cream and Frozen Banana Pops will be posted soon! If you're interested, check out the school Via Vita Academy - we teach cooking.... :)
Maple Banana Blueberry Muffins
Total Time: 30 minutes
3 large ripe bananas
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 egg (or flax/water egg replacer)
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup blueberries
What to do:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
2)Using a mixer, blend bananas until smooth.
3) Add sugar, maple syrup, egg, and coconut oil. Blend until combined.
4) Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl and mix into banana mixture.
5) Gently fold in blueberries.
6) Spoon into 12 well greased or lined muffin cups. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!
Yes, that's a mouthful, I know.
Maple Blueberry Walnut Oatmeal Cookies.
But it's a delicious mouthful... ! Haha ha.... ha ... ha... K, sorry, I had to say it.
Seriously though. I couldn't resist leaving out any of those delicious ingredients from the title. And that title in itself was hard enough to narrow down! There's still some other yumminess I left out of the title.
Sunflower Seed Butter for one! It's really what holds these cookies together. Of course, you could use peanut butter, but the sunflower seed butter adds a different taste and makes it school-friendly!
Also, these cookies are gluten and dairy free, as well as refined-sugar free. They taste delicious - crunchy and sweet on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. You CAN'T eat just one. I promise you. Sorry. They are addictive. Did I not mention that? :)
I haven't posted in a while, and was going to take a break to work on an exciting new endeavour in my life. Of which I am very much deep into.... but while baking up Christmas cookies, I tried a batch of these and they turned out amazing! I've since made many variations and just had to post this one to the blog. I'll still be taking a break from posting... unless of course I come across a super awesome recipe to share... And I'll share my big news soon... I promise... in the new year. It's been a busy few months and will be a very busy year to come!!
Stay tuned. But in the meantime, here's a great recipe for a sweet treat!
Maple Blueberry Walnut Oatmeal Cookies
Total Time: 5 min prep + 14 min baking
2/3 cup sunflower seed butter
2/3 cup maple syrup
3 tbsp melted coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup oat flour (process oats in a food processor for a few seconds!)
1 1/2 cups oats
Handful Dried Blueberries
What to do:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Grease baking sheets or line with parchment paper.
2) Process 1 cup oats in food processor to turn into a 'flour'. Remove from food processor and set aside.
3) Using a food processor or mixer, combine sunflower seed butter and maple syrup. Add coconut oil and then egg until combined. Then vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, and oat flour. Mix thoroughly until smooth and sticky.
4) Switch to using a large spoon and add oats, walnuts, and dried blueberries. Stir to combine.
5) Spoon onto lined/greased cookie sheet about an inch apart from each other. Bake on middle rack for 12-14 minutes, until crisping up just on the edges. Remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack. Eat 'em up or freeze them. They are delicious straight out the freezer, too! :)
I consider myself a pretty healthy eater. We eat mostly organic and local. I am super adamant that every meal have at least half a plate's worth of veggies/fruit. We have meatless meals quite often, and because of my dairy deal, we often eat vegan food and try lots of new veggies with our CSA. There hasn't been white or brown sugar in the house in years and stocking the cupboards with sweets is out of the question. I also have a crazy amount of will power, which means we totally stick to our meal planning and all that lovely stuff. I'm crazy headstrong when it comes to things I set my mind to. Eating healthy is just one of them. And boy do I take it seriously!
But, you know, sooner or later you're going to want cookies.
This week I wanted cookies
And not just regular cookies, I wanted chewy soft oatmeal raisin cookies. The kind that are normally made with copious amounts of butter and brown sugar.... yeah... problem there!
So, I tweaked a couple recipes to satisfy both my craving for something sweet and cookie-like and my desire for a somewhat healthier version without the dairy and refined sugar. After a few attempts, and some definite fails, I give you this recipe.
Sweetened with apple sauce and maple syrup, it has a good sweetness (add more if you want it sweeter) but soft centre to keep it chewy. My tip - don't let them bake too long. They will dry out! Also - try, if you have time, to soak your raisins in a bit of warm water for about 10-15 minutes before using. They will become juicier and not dry up your ingredients. Be sure to drain the water, of course.
Makes approximately 24 cookies
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups flour of choice
3 cups oats (rolled or quick-cook)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup raisins (soaked, if possible - see note above)
What to do:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit. Grease cookie sheets with a little oil or butter, whatever you have.
2. Mix eggs, applesauce, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla together in a large bowl.
3. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt together in another bowl. Then, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir to combine.
4. Lastly, add oatmeal to the mixture, followed by raisins. Fold mixture together until sticky and cookie-doughy :)
5. Drop rounded spoonfuls onto the greased cookie sheets. Press down a bit to flatten. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or when cookies are slightly browned. Remove and cool on wire rack. Store in an air-tight container to preserve chewiness!
We really cooked these things. From scratch. On weeknights. And we even had time to do the dishes.
They have real, simple ingredients that you'll find in your cupboards. They're healthy and delicious. No lies.
Thanks for reading. Leave a comment below!
Here's a pic of me and my babies. Just because.
A Bit About Me...