Homemade Chocolate Banana Bread

Homemade Banana Bread
Homemade Banana Bread


CHOCOLATE CHIP BANANA BREAD

Every week I buy bananas and I usually have a few  that end up going brown.  Trying to commit to less waste in 2016 I immediately freeze the brown bananas so I have them at the ready when I have time to make banana bread!

This banana bread recipe is moist and full of chocolate chips!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour (I use the one for one gluten-free mix from Costco)

1 cup sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs lightly beaten

3 bananas, mashed up

1 cup chocolate chips or walnuts if you want something less sweet!

Ingredients
Ingredients

Recipe:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Grease and flour 8 1/2 inch by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan (I use butter and then shake some flour around) DO NOT skip this step as it will make life easier when trying to get the banana bread easily out the pan.

In a large bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.  In a separate bowl stir together oil, bananas and eggs.  Combine the wet and dry ingredients, stirring by hand, do not over mix!  Bake 60 to 80 minutes, depending on your oven.  Around 60 minutes check with a toothpick and go from there.  When banana bread is finished take out of oven, let sit for 10 minutes and then eat!

TOTAL COST:  $2.50 (since I am buying most of the ingredients in bulk)

I can usually get 8 pieces of banana bread from one loaf so that works out to be 31 cents per piece!  Huge savings compared to a coffee shop or bakery and you know exactly what is in the recipe!

Cranberry Spiced Granola Bars

Granola bAR

I really think buying baking supplies and nuts in bulk is key!  You always have a great supply and can easily whip up a recipe at a moments notice.

With all the rain lately I was craving a snack with a little more flavour.  I found a recipe online that I altered slightly, it turned out really well, and tastes like a gingerbread granola bar.  Yummy!

Homemade Cranberry Spice Granola Bars

1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 1/2 cups pecan halves
1 cup dried sweetened cranberries
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups brown rice crisp cereal
3/4 cup rice syrup
1/4 cup Grade B maple syrup
2 Tbsp Molasses
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
pinch ginger

Preheat the oven to 325°. Spread the almonds and pecans on a cookie sheet and toast them in the oven for 6 – 8 minutes, or until they start to brown a bit.

In the meantime, line a 9X13 pan with parchment paper.

Mix the oats, rice cereal, cranberries and toasted almonds and pecans in a big bowl.

In a small saucepan, heat the syrups, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger and vanilla extract over medium-high heat, stirring to avoid burning. Once the syrups come to a light boil, continue to cook for an additional 3 – 5 minutes until the syrup begins to thicken, then pour it over the oats and nuts. Mix together so that the syrup evenly coats everything in the bowl.

While it’s still warm, pour the contents of the bowl into your prepared baking dish. Pat everything down so it’s nice and compacted. I like to place some parchment paper over the top and really press down so that the bars don’t break apart when you eat them.

Let cool to room temperature. You can also put them in the fridge for a bit since this’ll make cutting easier. Cut them into square or rectangles as you please.

Makes about 12 square granola bars.

 

You can store in the fridge for a week or freeze if you like.

 

Granola Bars

 

The Power Cookie

The Power Cookie

I have a pretty busy week and needed something on the go!  These power cookies were the perfect fit.  Great for a snack or lunch with yogurt.  Plus the batch made 22 cookies which worked out to be 40 cents per cookie, now that’s frugal!

I found this recipe on Oh So Pretty!

WHOLE FOODS POWER COOKIE HACK

Wet Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup butter (or can substitute coconut oil)
  2. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  3. 1/4 cup honey
  4. 1/4 cup molasses
  5. 1 egg
  6. 1/3 cup milk (I used almond milk)
  7. 4 tsp vanilla extract
Dry Ingredients
  1. 1 1/4 cups spelt flour (whole wheat flour works too)
  2. 1/2 tsp sea salt
  3. 3/4 tsp baking powder
  4. 1/4 tsp baking soda
  5. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  6. 2 tbsp flax (I used hemp hearts)
  7. 1 cup large-flake rolled oats
Extras
  1. 1/3 cup crushed almonds
  2. 1/3 cup walnuts
  3. 1/3 cup pecans
  4. 4 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  5. 4 tbsp sunflower seeds
  6. 1/2 cup raisins (I hate raisins so I used dried cranberries)
  7. 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
  8. 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 375°F (190° C).
  2. Melt your butter/coconut oil in the microwave and let it cool to room termperature.
  3. Add the brown sugar, honey and molasses to the butter and mix.
  4. Whisk in the egg and add the milk and vanilla extract.
  5. Mix everything to combine evenly.
  6. Add the dry ingredients (spelt flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, flax and oats) to the wet ingredient mixture.
  7. Mix to combine evenly.
  8. Add all your extra ingredients (chopped almonds, chopped walnuts, chopped pecans, coconut, raisins, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and chocolate) to the mixture.
  9. Mix to combine fully
  10. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out large clumps of the batter onto your baking sheet.
  11. Using a fork dipped in water, gently squish down your cookies until they are about 1/2 inch thick.
  12. Bake your cookies in the oven for 15 minutes or until the batter no longer looks wet on top and the bottom is slightly golden.

These cookies freeze really well, if they last that long!

Enjoy!

The Power Cookie

 

Easy Energy Balls

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This year I wanted to commit to making more food at home, including snacks. We all know how easy it is to grab something on the go and it will give us short term energy but won’t really last.

I found a recipe online for a great energy bite and adjusted it according to what I had on hand! Cheaper than Whole Foods and it’ll give you energy to get through your morning or afternoon when you need a pick me up!

Peanut Butter Energy Balls

Ingredients

1 & 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats (I really think you can use whatever you have on hand, but the old fashioned oats are denser and higher in fibre so they’ll probably give you more ernergy!)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut (or sometimes I use organic puffed rice)
1/2 cup walnuts toasted (or any nut really) I put the half cup in a sandwich bag and used a rolling pin to ground finely
1/4 cup chocolate chips (you could also substitute cranberries here)
2/3 cup of smooth organic peanut butter (or almond butter if you prefer) -no sugar filled peanut butter here!
1/3 cup honey (or you could substitute agave)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

* Place all ingredients into a large mixing bowl, stir to combine! Use a spoon or get in there with your hands.
* Cover bowl and place in fridge for 15 to 30 minutes so it’s easier to form into balls.
* Scoop out mixture with hands or small spoon, form into balls
* Place on parchment paper on baking sheet (I didn’t want to waste the parchment so placed them directly on the baking sheet)
* Chill in fridge 1 hour or until set
* Place in air tight container, store in fridge – I froze half, as I am trying to have less waste this year and make sure we are eating what we have.

TOTAL COUNT: 24 Energy Bites

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COST:

Really hard to break this down as these were ingredients I already had in my baking items. Looking at the cost of each item I could estimate how much I used of each to get the cost.

17 CENTS per energy bite! Now that’s a deal. Why would you spend $4 on 4 granola bars filled with preservatives and sugar when in 30 minutes you could have healthy, homemade energy bites!

Signature Cocktail for a Party

Signature Cocktail

When I host dinner parties or have friends over I hate getting stuck in a different room trying to prep food or get items ready and miss out on all the good conversation.  For the last little bit I have started prepping before everyone arrives, I realize this is not a new concept, but it was for me.  I would make sure all the food was prepped and ready as well as creating a signature cocktail.  Sometimes I make more than one cocktail!  It’s a way to keep it simple and  offer a few options.  Occasionally I have the wine decanter out with a signature cocktail, depending on the crowd.

Here I have prepped a delicious grapefruit and rosemary cocktail, that’s great for any party, brunch, dinner, girls night, you name it!  It’s light, not too sweet and really refreshing.

INGREDIENTS:

Ruby red grapefruit juice (freshly squeezed approx 3 large grapefruits or buy a nice quality all natural product from the store)

Vodka (hosts preference)

5 Lemons

A bunch of rosemary

Maple syrup

Sea Salt

Ruby Red & Rosemary Signature Cocktail (Makes 10 cocktails)

*Firstly don’t be afraid of the numbers!

20 ounces of fresh ruby red grapefruit juice

15 ounces of vodka

5 lemons freshly squeezed

3 large sprigs of rosemary

A splash of maple syrup (or you can simple syrup)

A dash of sea salt

Garnish:

Rosemary Sprigs

Diamonds of Ruby Red Grapefruit

INSTRUCTIONS:

1) If you decide to go the extra mile, start juicing those grapefruits!  It’s really simple, the clean up is the hard part.

2) Measure the grapefruit juice, vodka, lemon juice, splash of maple syrup and dash of sea salt into a nice pitcher.  Stir and add in the 3 sprigs of rosemary, since we are not using a shaker, having the rosemary in the cocktail will still give it a nice flavour.

3) Set up your signature cocktail station!  Have fun!  I chose little glasses, added the garnish, some flowers for display and a nice little calligraphy sign that said “Grapefruit & Rosemary”

4) Enjoy!  Visit, sit, relax and sip on your signature cocktail at the party!

Signature Cocktail

Easy Skillet Brunch

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A simple way to use leftover veggies from the week! There’s no recipe involved, simply get out your ingredients and start cooking.

Here’s what was used:

Half an onion chopped
1 clove of garlic
1/2 pound of bacon chopped
Handful of marinated mushrooms
Handful of chopped cherry tomatoes
5 small red potatoes chopped
5 eggs beaten
Salt and pepper for taste

Most of these items were from recipes earlier in the week. Great way to clean out the fridge and make a delicious skillet.

Have fun making your concoction for breakfast or dinner.

Easy Apple Chips

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I hate wasting food, for so many reasons. I always try to use what I have and be creative with recipes.  Today is simple! A bag of apples into Apple Chips. These apples were not going to be used and after Easter everyone was craving something sweet, apple chips are a healthy option.

This is so simple! Why didn’t I think of this before and how have I been spending $5 on a small apple chip bag at the farmers market!

Ingredients:

1 bag of apples ($5 at Costco)
A dash of cinnamon

Directions:

Core, cut and peel your apples. Some people like the peel as it is a great texture.

I made an investment of $25 for this apple peeler. It cores and peels your apples at the same time and saves you hours!! I finished a large bag if apples in less than 10 minutes.

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Next I simply cut the apples in half, laid them evenly on the dehydrator trays and sprinkled with cinnamon.

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Dehydrator directions: set temperature to 135 degrees,  leave for 4 to 6 hours depending on the crispness you prefer.

Oven directions: line a bake sheet with parchment paper, set temperature to 200 degrees, cook 1 to 2 hours turning occasionally, again cook until desired crispness is reached.

I was lucky to use my mom’s dehydrator and will try the oven recipe next!

Storage: Keep apple chips in airtight container, in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.

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This was really simple and the apple chips taste great!  For a $5 investment the bag of apples yielded 3 ziploc bags of apple chips!

Enjoy!

Simple Sunday Breakfast!

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Needed something healthy to kick off this Sunday as I’m helping a friend move! Here’s a breakfast that’ll give you energy and takes less than 5 minutes!!

Simple Steps:

1. Crush avacado in a bowl, your decretion as to how much you use.

2. Preheat a pan with a dash of olive oil.

3. Pop toast into toaster/toaster oven/oven,  whatever you have available.

4. Crack one or two eggs into pan, again diners choice.

5. Take a lid that fits the pan, pour some water into lid, add that to the pan and cover.

6. Watch those eggs!! I like them soft and runny so as soon as the yolk clouds over take the pan off.

7. Get your toast and spread the avacado on the toast, add the eggs and a garnish, I chose some cherry tomatoes.

Enjoy! This breakfast is simple, frugal and delicious.

Total cost for two eggs, two toast, avacado and cherry tomatoes $1.50

Chocolate Strawberry Footballs

Super Bowl XLIX
Super Bowl XLIX

If I’m going to host a Superbowl party there has to be at least one themed food!

These chocolate covered strawberries were inexpensive and look great!

Ingredients:

1 box Strawberries (I tried to pick a box with smaller strawberries as I find them easier to eat and you get more!)
1 cup Semi Sweet Chocolate
1/4 White Chocolate

Directions:

* Take the strawberries out of the fridge about an hour before. I find this lessens the condensation and allows the chocolate to harden nicely.

* Take a heavy bottom pot, place on the stove at medium heat.

* Add the milk chocolate to the pot, stir constantly,  it’ll melt fast! When the chocolate is about halfway melted, take off stove snd continue to stir, the heat of the pot will melt the remaining chocolate.  You don’t want to leave it on too long or the chocolate will burn.

* Hold the pot with one hand on an angle so the chocolate pools, then with the other hand dip the strawberries by holding the stem.

* Place dipped strawberries on a plastic cutting board,  this saves the waste of parchment paper or waxed paper.

* When the chocolate on the strawberries is firm, melt the white chocolate in the same way as the milk chocolate.

* When the milk chocolate is melted add a small amount (ie a couple drops) of canola oil.  This helps the white chocolate to stay soft.

* After its cooled take a ziploc bag and spoon the white chocolate into the bag.  Push the white chocolate into one corner with your hand.

* Cut off the top of corner, make sure it is very small or the white chocolate will come out too fast.

Voila! You are ready for a Superbowl  party with some sweet and easy treats!

Chocolate Strawberry Footballs
Chocolate Strawberry Footballs

TOTAL COST:

$2.50 for the strawberries

I always have chocolate on hand for last minute baking or parties! I buy in bulk as it saves money and time.

$2 estimate for chocolate I used.

30 chocolate covered strawberries works out to 15 cents per strawberry!

Moist Banana Nut Muffins

Banana Nut Muffin

I am constantly on the search for great muffins as I like to make them weekly for easy on the go snacks.  I always have some beat up bananas on hand or in the freezer ready to go. **Don’t forget if you have some bananas that are turning black, put them in the freezer for future use!

Found this great recipe via the Food Network and I altered slightly.

This recipe is really easy, hardly any clean up and you will have all the items on hand. I also liked this recipe because it made 12 muffins exactly so you can clean up while they cook and then you are done!

INGREDIENTS

2 cups flour (I used gluten free flour that’s one to one)

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

4 overripe bananas (if they are simply ripe them make sure you mash them really good!)

1/2 cup brown sugar (it calls for a cup for that seemed like too much)

3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) of unsalted butter, melted and cooled.

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup nuts (it called for pecans but I used walnuts and it was delicious), chopped

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and light butter muffin tins.

Melt butter so it can cool while you complete the next few steps.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.  Mash 2 of the bananas with a fork in a small bowl so they still have a bit of texture.  With an electric mixer (it asks for one with a whisk, I didn’t have this so simply used regular beaters), whip remaining bananas and sugar together, like you mean it, for a good 3 minutes.  Add the melted butter, eggs and vanilla, beat well, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice.  Mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated, you don’t want to over mix!  Fold in the nuts and the mashed bananas with a rubber spatula.  Spoon the batter into the muffin tins, I filled them right to the top as I wanted large muffins.

Bake until toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes.  Let cool and turn out.  Serve warm.

COST:

Ingredients: $4.10 (approx amount of ingredients used)

Made: 12 Large Muffins

Works out to $0.34 per muffin!  A steal and they are delicious!