Tag Archives: banana

pb & spinach

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before… but I really like peanut butter.

DSC_7367I probably haven’t really mentioned it too much, because it’s kind of alarming how much peanut butter I eat. I’m talking a jar a week. Possibly more. Definitely more if I am trying to cut down on my chocolate consumption. It’s a give and take, ya know?

Well… anyway, my peanut butter habits are OUT of control. but I’m starting to get things under control, kind of. I’m not cutting back or anything but I have stopped spending my grocery budget on ‘Organic’ peanut butter and I’m starting to make my own. 1 Ingredient Peanut butter. This is where its AT.

I cannot even put into words how much better it tastes. I’ll give you a hint though… it tastes like PEANUTS. And if you decide to do a taste test and try your homemade pb along side your store bought pb you will realize that store bought one actually mostly tastes like nothing. It’s shocking but true.

Anyway. I started making peanut butter and it was alarmingly easy. I’m talking ridiculous. So ridiculous that I called Sean over during my second batch so he could watch the magic. And watch he did. He then insisted I put it on my blog because he was pretty pumped about the whole thing and was convinced that every one else in the world is missing out on how easy it is to make. Easy and FASCINATING. I mean it’s JUST peanuts in a blender and then boom: It’s practically liquified.

DSC_7364Granted, I think the Vita mix makes things faster and easier. But this can be done with any food processor for sure. Annnnd… if you want to spice it up by adding, say, maple syrup, or coconut oil… then I would say that is a damn good idea.

So follow this super specific recipe:

Start with as many peanuts as you want. I usually start with about 500 – 1000 grams and just add them as I go depending on how much pb i want to make. It’s not a science and you can’t screw it up cause there is only ONE ingredient.

DSC_7353Put peanuts in a food processor or blender and blend until desired consistency. Extra smooth? or Super thick? The choice is yours. In a regular food processor it may take a couple minutes (5-10mins) but you’ll get there eventually. Trust me. A bit of oil or liquid will speed up the process. You can scrape down the sides every minute or two as well to help it along. I store this in a jar and keep it in the fridge, cause ya know… no preservatives or anything.

So once you’ve made the peanut butter you should definitely eat it with a spoon. But when you’re done with that, maybe add it to a smoothie?

DSC_7331My favourite flavour combination is banana-chocolate-peanut butter. So that is what this is. A Banana/Chocolate/Peanut butter smoothie. And it’s what’s for breakfast. To make me self feel good about eating chocolate it the morning I added Spinach. Which is why it is that really appetizing colour of green-brown. Hmmm.

Life is all about balance. Spinach in Chocolate. You can’t even taste it, but you’re insides will love it.

DSC_7320Top with some coconut or more peanut butter and you’re good to go.

Amazing.

xxx

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banana bread muffins

I’ve been in kind of a creative rut. And when I say creative rut, I mean more of a life style rut.

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Since I arrived home from my travels about a month and a half ago, life has been a little upside down. House guests (which were actually the best), new jobs, semi-new homes, lots of dining out and not a lot of time for thinking or baking. I’m not exactly complaining… I’m just sayin’. It’s been crazy.

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Even now, a week after my house guests departed, I still can’t seem to find a rhythm. I guess this might take a while.In the meantime, I’ll make muffins. It seems to be what I do when I’m having trouble re-adjusting.

DSC_6956-Edit

Chocolate Banana Bread
Adapted from Daily Garnish

1/2 c brown sugar (loosely packed)
1/4 c maple syrup
1/4 c coconut oil
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 c oat milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 c chocolate chips
1/4 c walnuts

Add sugar, syrup, and coconut oil to bowl and beat until well combined. You can do this manually, or with a mixer.

In a separate bowl, combine oat milk with the apple cider vinegar. Add this mixture as well as the mashed banana and vanilla to the sugar/syrup/oil bowl and combine.

In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients and slowly combine them into the wet. Fold in the walnuts & chocolate but don’t over mix.

Spoon the mixture into muffins cups and bake for 20ish minutes at 350 degrees or until a toothpick comes out clean.

DSC_6969xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Muffins

granola cruncher

Granola is a happening thing. Not just for tree huggers and hippies anymore. Not just for women who wear bucket hats with a ying yang patch on the front, using walking sticks and wearing hiking boots with their socks pulled up to the mid-calf.* Not just for those hooligans who don’t shave their  legs or wear deodorant. Those people are on to bigger and better things. Like hemp seeds and acai berries.

Me, I always liked granola. Especially from Rube. Rube is an older gentleman who works at the St. Lawrence market in Toronto. He has a little stand that sells rice and dried beans and quinoa, (he sold Quinoa before quinoa was cool, back when we were all pronouncing it Quinn-oh-ah), and also Granola. He sells lots of Granola. Out of huge tubs with metal scoops and into small brown bags wrapped up with a red elastic.

Ahhh Rube. He sold me granola every Saturday morning for most of my childhood. He let me weigh my own bag on his little scale… and then I would bust open the brown paper and eat all the raisins and apple pieces, those rolled oats were for suckers. I still do that, eat all the fruit that is. Just ask my dad the day after he buys a box of granola or muesli. Or ask my boyfriend. If you buy a breakfast cereal with fruit bits, you better believe that when you go to have a bowl in a couple days, there won’t be any fruit bits left. That’s just how I roll.

This granola is very unlike Rube’s Granola. But I would never even dream of trying to replicate his, cause I would never succeed. It’s the best granola ever.

This one is good too, it’s banana bread granola. It tastes like a big loaf of banana bread, but crunchy and in a bowl with some fruit and milk. yum.

Banana Bread Granola
adapted from here

Ingredients

3-4 c. old-fashioned oats

1 c. puffed millet (or puffed rice whatevs)

2 ripe bananas

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

pinch of sea salt

1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 cup banana chips
Granola is pretty basic. Smoosh the bananas up – Mix the wet, mix the dry (excluding the banana chips), mix together and spread on a baking sheet (or two). Bake for 25-30 minutes at 325*C. Stir in Banana chips

Eat warm. It will harden as it cools and become very crunchy!

It’s not Rubes, but it’ll do for now.

xxx

*that woman is not fictional. She is all too real- A woman from my neighbourhood who I met on many walks on the Scarborough bluffs. She once stopped me to ask if my puppy was a ‘bitch or a dog’.  I was 11 years old. I knew only of bitch being a bad word, not meaning female dog, so needless to say I  was taken aback. When I told my mom, my mom replied with… “Oh she’s a Granola cruncher” and so now when I think of Granola crunchers I think only of that woman and her stupid ying-yang bucket hat.

And FOR the RECORD. you do not need hiking boots to walk around the Scarborough bluffs. Ok? It’s just unnecessary. Not exactly mountainous terrain…

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happy one year

Autumn is here! The cool, windy weather is making me giddy and has me itching to buy scarves and wooly sweaters. Although this autumn will never turn into a proper winter… not here in Sydney anyway. I’m still excited and sort of surprised to look at the ground and see fallen leaves in hues of burnt orange and red. I didn’t think that happened in this country. So ill informed, I am.

And here we are. It’s been a year. A year since I started writing this little blog and a year since I moved to Australia. (In fact I just checked and tomorrow marks exactly one year since I first posted here. It’s somewhat of an anniversary I suppose…)

It seems odd to me, that it’s been that long. Even as I write this, it seems wrong. Where has the year gone? Has it really been that long since I’ve been home? Since I’ve seen my puppy? Since I’ve slept in my own bed? I suppose it has. Sometimes It feels like eons ago and sometimes not so much. Either way, I have mixed emotions. I’m very happy at this moment in time, in this lifestyle. I get to live in a beautiful country with a beautiful man. I get to sip delicious coffee and eat delicious food, and I get to gallivant about Sydney. And there are Palm trees. PALM TREES everywhere! But I do miss my Canadian home, my friends and my family. Some days are harder than others…

I won’t be gone forever… but I think that somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought that I might be back for a visit around now. Well, life is life. And it would seem that I won’t be visiting home just yet. Still, the weather is making me nostalgic for Canada. I am half expecting some winter winds and frosty mornings.

Now before I start tearing up over my keyboard (ooops, too late) let’s move on to a sweeter subject. Banana Bread! Cause who doesn’t need a little comfort food when the cold weather hits (bringing with it just a dash of reality…)

so dense and delicious

Well, I sure needed it this week. And I might need a little more right now. In fact, as I sit here typing this, there is a second loaf of bread baking in the oven. Yes, cause the loaf I made last night is nearly gone. (this recipe is REALLY yummy)

raspberries look sooo sophisticated when cooked.

I think it’s kind of fitting that I post a Banana-bread on the one year anniversary of this blog. When I first arrived in Australia Bananas were a whopping $14 a kilo… all I wanted in the world was to bake with them. Haha… Well this week I stumbled upon a bounty of bananas for just 99cents! So as fate would have it:

Raspberry-Banana Bread
to soothe your soul

1.5 c. whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 c. raw sugar

2 tbsp. ground flax (+ 1/4 c. water)

2-3 bananas (mushed up)

1/2 c. rice milk

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 c. chopped walnuts

3/4 c. raspberries (fresh or frozen)

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. whisk the flax seed with the water and allow to sit and thicken for about five minutes. Mix the wet ingredients and add in the flax seeds, then add the wet mixture to the dry and mix until just combined. Now fold in the walnuts and raspberries. Pour into a loaf pan(greased or lined) and baked at 350* for about an hour.

Eat warm, eat cool, eat at the coffee shop with a delicious cold coffee. Eat after it has been smushed in your bag by your ginormous camera, because honestly… it’s still good.

I guess a lot has happened in a year. I mean just browse through this little ditty. This here marks my 45th post. Almost one a week. Not too shabby Hicks.

For now I will just have to keep baking, it calms any storms a’brewing in my mind and reminds me of home. And to ease the pain of being away from my puppy, I snuggle up with this little guy.

Odin

He’s no dog.dog.DOG… but he’s as close as I’m going to get for a couple more months. And he is pretty cute.

hello adorable.

xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Breads

The (Baking) Bucket List

For the past couple months I have been making a real effort to post at least once a week. The posts usually revolve around my weekend and if I’m lucky, they involve some sort of baking or recipe. I have to admit though, sometimes my life isn’t as exciting as all that. Sometimes I have nothing to write about, nothing to report… and I’m left feeling a little bit empty, having no baked goods in my tummy, no pictures of food and no humorous anecdotes to regail you with. It’s a shame when this happens, but it happens. I am only human and my life can’t revolve around pictures of food. Not yet anyway, though that is the goal (!).

This week… is one of those weeks. I’m currently house sitting and dog sitting for a friend so it’s been a bit of a write off for me. I’m all turned around, I’ve barely turned on my computer, or even picked up my camera until now. Yeeesh.

With all this non-baking going on, I’ve had the chance to think about some of the things I’d like to try. I’ve browsed Foodgawker and Tastespotting, bookmarked way too many blogs and ordered a cookbook on amazon specifically for one recipe. You know… the usual.

With that being said, I’ve taken some ques from other food blogs and started my very own “Top 100″… Although, mine is not 100, yet. It’s kind of like a random Baking bucket list. I will add to it as I see fit… but for now it is just some things that I’d like to attempt or re-attempt and document here.

I think its a fine starting point. I’ll aim for one attempt per week… but I make no promises. My fast paced life may not allow it, what with all the going to bed at 9.30pm and watching 30 Rock in its entirety.

Anyhoo, I DID make a little somethin soemthin last Saturday for my boy. By request:

Mmm Saturday mornings.

Banana Porridge with Poached Apple
(Banana and apple doesn’t sound like the best combination to me, but each on it’s own? Delicious! So… I mean I geuss it’s all the same in your stomach)

2 small bananas (one chopped one mushed)

1/2 c. of rolled oats

1 c. oat milk

1 tbsp. chia seeds

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. cinnamin

pinch of ginger

pinch of salt

1 tbsp. maple syrup

2 tbsp. of coconut cream

Raisins for garnish

Coconut for garnish

1 Apple, peeled and sliced in quarters

water or juice for poaching

First, place the apples in a saucepan with the water or juice and bring to a boil. You can add sugar if you prefer a sweeter poached fruit, but I think the apples are fine on their own. Add a slice of lemon or cinnamon stick for extra flavour. Allow the apples to boil for about 20 minutes or until you can pierce them very easily with a fork.

Meanwhile, whisk together your oats, milk, banana, chia seeds, cinnamon, ginger, salt and maple syrup. Using a small saucepan on medium heat, heat up the mixture, stirring occasionally until almost all the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the vanilla and coconut cream, continue to heat until desired consistency.

Spoon oatmeal into a bowl, and top with some poached apple. Sprinkle with raisins and coconut and drizzle some maple syrup on top.

The combo was actually quite delish.

Sweet Saturday Mornings, you smell of overpriced Bananas.

xxx

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