I have a passion for Bananas. You might say I’m a connoisseur. We usually have one or two large bunches in the house at all times. I love them on their own, sliced over warm oatmeal, mixed in with cool cereal, over ice cream (even banana ice cream), in cookies, as a substitute for butter in many baking recipes, and even in brownies. You might say Banana’s are one of my favourite fruits. I think they’re tied with apples. I feel like apples and bananas are just a given staple in our house, we’re never without either of them. Ok, well maybe not true for this week.
Adam sold his truck last week, so he’s been taking my car to work (since I’m only at school a few days a week). This means during the day I have no car. Although, we live right across from an outdoor shopping centre/mall that I can easily walk to if we actually needed anything. It’s funny, I thought I’d be over there everyday when we first moved in, and much to Adam’s surprise, and probably relief, I don’t go over that often. Maybe once every two-three weeks I’ll walk over and shop (it’s not as hard as I though it’d be to live across from an H&M haha.) This is probably because I’m so busy anyways to even have time to stroll over and peruse.
I have been trying, and I mean trying not to go overboard with buying groceries. I was feeling like we were throwing away a lot of produce at the end of the week because it wasn’t getting eaten. And I wasn’t happy about it (although we do compost all organics.) I tried to blame Adam, because really he won’t make himself food unless I’ve already prepared it. He only eats breakfast at home, lunch at work, and then I make dinner. However, if there is produce etc in the fridge and he’s hungry, he’d rather not go to the hassle of making an entire meal, and opt for something like an apple or bowl of cereal if I’m not making something. He’s not a fan of cooking. So, a lot of the food doesn’t get eaten. And I’m home most of the day now that school is out, and my classes are later in the day. I only really eat a small breakfast and a smoothie, so I’m not making a huge meal other than dinner. But when it comes to dinner it is always heavy on the veggies. But still, I was finding I was throwing out some bad lettuce or even kale, tomatoes, cucumber etc. that I had bought too much of in anticipation of eating it during the week.
I think it’s also our schedules. Lately, I’ve had baseball Monday night, Tuesday and Wednesday I have classes until late, and then Thursday I might have baseball again. So, we’re not home for dinner a few nights each week. Which means, lots of veggies get left. Weekend are usually ok, because we’ll make dinner Friday, Saturday and Sunday at home.
In the end, I’ve realized I have to buy less groceries. Even though Adam can eat a lot. Usually we’ll just go up to the produce market or the butcher shop that night if we want to make a specific meal. Now, I do love meal planning, and I always have some idea of what I want to make that week, but I won’t buy all the items just in case we actually don’t get around to having time for dinner that week.
I have to say, it’s actually nice not to have to go on a big grocery run, or think I had ‘better go buy that.’ It’s against my usual habits, but I think I’ll get used to buying less. And hey – even better, less money, and no money/food wasted, which was my biggest concern, wasting food.
Do you do a big grocery shop at the beginning of each week? Or do you buy-as-you-go for meals, and pick up that day?
One thing I never worry about really is fruit. If it’s starting to brown, it goes in the freezer. And when it comes to Bananas, you can never waste them. If they’re really brown/starting to brown, they either get sliced up for banana ice cream, whole for banana bread, or for smoothies and put in the freezer.
And even better – 2-Ingredient Peanut Butter Banana Ice cream. My new favourite combination.
It’s super easy, and can be prepped well in advance, and kept in the freezer for up to a month. For summer I think I’ll have a batch in the freezer each week for a quick healthy, yet satisfying, sweet frozen treat to beat the heat.
2-Ingredient Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream
*Wheat-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, vegan*
- 4 Medium ripe bananas
- 1-2 Tbsp. All Natural Peanut Butter
Slice your bananas, and place into a plastic freezer bag. Make sure they are in a single layer, and lay flat in the freezer. Allow to freeze overnight, or up to a week.
Remove frozen banana slices from freezer and place in food processor.
Turn food processor on and blend bananas, stopping to scrape down when needed. This will take about 5 minutes. Pulse if you need to, and stop to scrape down the sides so the chunks all get mixed int.
Allow to blend until smooth. When it is all blended, add in the Peanut Butter. Pulse again until completely mixed.
You can eat it like this, soft serve, or, transfer ice cream to a plastic tupperware container and return to freezer. Freeze at least 3-4 hours, or longer before serving. Keep leftovers in the freezer.
This weekend is Mother’s Day, and I thought I would share some things that my mom has taught me. I’ve seen other bloggers post about what they’ve learned from their mother over the years and I started thinking about all of the things she has said to me, taught me, and continues to teach me in life.
My mom and I are close – really, really close. People confuse us for each other on the phone (we sound a lot alike). We are often mistaken for sisters (I’m sure she’ll love hearing that, again), and we have become even closer as I grow older, when the big stuff happens and real life begins. Many people comment to her asking ‘how’d you get so lucky to have two good kids?’ – well, I think I’m a little better than my brother, Nick ;) but, I think she is a pretty lucky mom to have us too. We’re incredibly lucky to have such a loving, crazy, funny, caring, and strong mom.
After losing my dad when we were younger she had to become two parents in one, and I want to thank her for being there for us through the hard times, and the really hard times, and never ceasing to love and support us in all our of endeavours.
She is the first person I tell important news to, and the not so great news to, the first person I look to for advice, even if I don’t always want to hear it (ahem, the couch
), the first person to know when I’m sad, upset or something is bothering me just by the tone in my voice over the phone, the person who encourages me that everything will be alright, not to stress and the first person to forgive me when we have a fight (i’m pretty stubborn).
Things my mom has taught me
- There’s no excuse for rudeness
- Manners matter, always say thank you
- Don’t hold a grudge, life is too short
- It’s better to be overdressed, than underdressed
- Saying sorry is one of the hardest things to do, and admit your wrong
- Always be the bigger person
- How to be a good friend
- Any education is a good education
- Never leave the house without making the bed (this one is still a work in progress..)
- How to host a family dinner
- Advil and Zantac cure all
- How to properly fold sheets
- How to cook a roast
- How to make a roux
- How to make a good chili, and simple tomato sauce
- If you don’t want to have a drink, just order a coke with lime
- Don’t stress, everything will work out
- Always be kind to animals
- Do what makes you happy
- Trust your instincts
- How to be strong
People ask me where I got my love for cooking and baking. While my dad was my biggest influence, my mom always made really great cookies, without a recipe – and really good cinnamon buns.
I made these brownies last week when I wanted to use up some ripe bananas on the counter. I wanted to make something other than Banana bread. I decided to make 1-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream, recipe here
- but then I had more bananas to use up. So, I thought about what I could make with them, or what recipe I could add them to. I decided to make brownies, with the addition of Bananas. Some people don’t like certain combinations of chocolate and fruit, but Bananas and Chocolate are one of my favourites. The bananas make the brownie super dense and rich, like fudge. The banana flavour is certainly there, but it’s not as strong as say banana bread. The chocolate takes over, which makes it deep and rich.
And then I went a step further, and topped the Banana Brownies with Banana Ice cream.
Let’s just say I couldn’t eat it fast enough. Plus, there’s no guilt in adding the ice cream because it’s just Banana.
These are also gluten free, I made them with Rice Flour. You can sub regular flour as well. I recommend refrigerating them for a couple hours, or even overnight. I always refrigerate my brownies because it allows them to become more dense and fudge-like.
Fudgey Banana Brownies
recipe by Bakeaholic
6 tbs. Butter
3/4 Cup Chopped Dark Chocolate (can use chocolate chips)
2 medium Ripe Bananas
1 Tsp. Vanilla extract
½ Cup Sugar
1 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 Cup Cocoa
1 cup Rice Flour
1/2 cup walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8×8 inch baking dish with cooking spray.Heat butter and chocolate in a small saucepan, stir until everything is melted. Set aside to cool.
Whisk together the flour, cocoa and baking powder. Set aside.
In stand mixer with whisk attachment, or medium bowl and blender, mash the bananas, vanilla extract, and sugar. Add the egg and blend again.
Add in the melted butter-chocolate mixture and mix well.
Stir in the flour mixture and blend just until combined. Stir in all of the walnuts, you can save a few and sprinkle on top too.
Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. You want it to be slightly gooey when you check it, not completely dry. If it needs another couple minutes increase baking time.
** These brownies are best after they are refrigerated! **
I always refrigerate my brownies – it makes them extra dense and fudgey. I recommend letting them come to room temperature on the counter, and then cover and transfer pan to fridge for a couple hours, or even better, overnight. Of course, if you can’t wait feel free to eat them immediately =)
Store leftover brownies in the fridge for up to a week, or, freeze.
You can sub AP flour for rice flour also.
Even Better Topped with Banana Ice Cream!
If you live in the Vancouver area, you can’t help but notice the gorgeous summer weather we have been experiencing this week. The rainy spring weather had had the past month has lifted, and the sun is shining. I actually got a sunburn on mother’s day, as we were enjoying our brunch on the backyard patio. I blame my mother, as she is a red head with light freckled skin, which I unfortunately inherited. You wouldn’t guess I was also European, as my skin doesn’t quite soak up the sun in the same way my Nonna and brother can turn a deep olive brown in the summer.
Speaking of Europe, I am very excited to have booked my trip. I have been planning this trip for as long as I can remember. I even had a conversation saved in my Facebook messages planning this trip with a friend in 2008. I think four years later, I should probably make it happen. I complained for a while that I was the only one in our family who had not been to Europe, or more precisely, Italy. The reason being is that my father’s family is from Italy, and it was where he was born. As you know from previous posts, my father is no longer with us, but I still desperately wanted to make the trip to Europe and visit out heritage, along with stops to the gorgeous hospital, that looks like a cathedral, that my father was born in, the town he was raised in, the tiny, I mean TINY, town my Nonna grew up in, with likely <100 people living there I’m sure, and of course the other historical monuments in Italy. My brother was lucky enough to go twice, although he was 18 months old the first time. He went again when he was 15, for 6 weeks, my Nonna took him with her. I’m doing a tour for 16 days around Europe, and then my Nonna is actually going to fly and meet me in Rome and then show me the ‘true’ Italy, the small tiny towns and areas off the beaten path from the tourist attractions. My Nonna has lived in Canada now for longer than she has lived in Italy, and lives only minutes from our house, but still visits Italy every year. She actually told me she wasn’t going back this year, but after I informed her of my travel plans, she decided she would fly and meet me so she can show me where our family is from. It’s been a trip I’ve wanted to take for a long time, and this year after Graduation I planned to go, as a Grad present from my mom, and now I am just counting down the days. My Nonna keeps informing me how crazy I am to want to go in July, as it is so hot. She usually likes to go in August/September.
Speaking of heat, when the temperature rises the best way to cool down is usually with a cool treat. I saw this unique ice cream recipe online, from a new-to-me food blog, Girl Cooks World, which I’ve been perusing daily.
It is my new favourite, instead of vanilla. It is so subtly sweet, and the taste is just heavenly. I added a half cup of cream instead of the 1/2 cup of milk, cause I had one cup of milk left, and I think it made it even better. It is so good, it is like whipped ice cream. A definite favourite for cooling down in the hot weather. It keeps well in the freezer, and still comes out like soft serve once frozen. It’s really delicious and light tasting. Adam ate most of it, as I try and stay away from dairy with my allergy, but I didn’t want to try and substitute Almond milk this time, so I went with the original version.
It tastes even better with frozen raspberries.
Honey Ice Cream, From Girl Cooks World, Adapted from The Soul of a New Cuisine
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1 & 1/2 cups heavy cream
* 1 cup milk
* 4 large egg yolks, slightly beaten
* 1/3 cup honey
Combine the sugar, heavy cream and milk in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
When the mixture is smooth and the sugar is dissolved, temper the eggs yolks by whisking in about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture into the eggs. Pour the tempered yolks into the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon.
Remove from heat and place the entire saucepan into a shallow ice bath, and mix in the honey. Stir frequently until the custard has cooled. Pour the custard mixture into a container, cover, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Freeze in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Are you planning on going anywhere this summer?
What do you do to cool down in the heat?