Healthier Banana Split

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Happy Monday! The day that follows the best day of the week, in my opinion, Sunday, when we recognize the importance of relaxation. No work is to be had on Sunday. I wish I could say I was better about obeying that commandment, but I’m not.CC Pics 035

What I am good at doing on Sundays is caring for myself however I see fit. Usually, this means some time spent talking to my higher power in church or alone, watching 60 minutes, relaxing before the week to come, and spoiling myself with something really delicious for dinner and dessert.

People like the cute “Sundaes on Sunday” idea. Me, too. But I like mine wholesome and nutritious. I’m not saying that’s for everyone, but let me send a little divinely delicious inspiration your way.

You’ve probably heard by now that frozen banana chunks are so sweet and smooth it’s like biting into ice cream. If you follow this blog, you’ve read about my successful experimentation with this and with freezing yogurt for homemade froyo. Both have major yum factor.

So I started putting them together.

With some fresh strawberries, of course–and in another instance, dark chocolate chips–and just made an all frozen, holistic banana split I like quite well.

IngredientsCC Pics 037

1 banana

2-3 T chopped strawberries

1/4 cup yogurt of choice ( I like vanilla coconut)

optional: chocolate chips, nuts, etc.

Directions

Slice the banana to your likely. For a split classic, I split mine down the middle and then in halves to fit in my dish. You might also chop or chunk them and layer your yogurt on top.

Next comes the yogurt. Top or drop as you like on your banana split slices or chunks.

Last is the berries. Sprinkle as desired.

 

Mint-Chip Ice Cream

Turning green with envy?

Or green with disgust?

Hopefully, it’s the former. This pretty little green ice cream–pretty by my standards, at least–might turn some away in disgust, but true lovers of the mint-chocolate combo will crave.

And feel free to crave away, because your craving need not be accompanied by guilt. Why?

It’s made with bananas! And the green coloring doesn’t require food dye, although you’re welcome to use that if you like.

Makes one big serving of mint-chip ice cream

Ingredients

1 large, frozen banana, chopped into small rounds

1/4 cup frozen spinach (or food coloring)

2-3 drops peppermint extract

splash of vanilla

dash of stevia

1-2 T dark chocolate chips

Directions

In a small blender, mix banana rounds, spinach, extract, vanilla, and stevia ’til smooth cream forms.

Remove from blender. Shape into ice cream if need be and top with chips.

If any of the banana melts down or gets too runny, simply freeze for a few minutes.

Would you have ever guessed those were bananas just by looking at them? I certainly wouldn’t.

Hope you think this recipe is as cool as I do… and find it as tasty, too!

Healthy Frozen S’mores!

A really neat idea was pitched in the “Let’s Do Lunch” section of Parenting‘s September issue. For picky eaters, parents might approve of “PB & Banana S’mores: “Stack graham crackers with peanut butter and banana slices.”

This sounded delicious and fun. So I tried it. But I only had frozen banana slices left. So I made this recipe a little more “a la mode.” No, there’s no ice cream. I’ll explain.

You’ve probably seen or read my postings on the deliciousness of frozen banana ice cream. By freezing bananas in little slices, you get the consistency of ice cream and all the sweetness with out undesirable sugar additives.

So then I decided I wanted my peanut butter chilled, too.

And then I thought it would be tasty to do a layer of chocolate fro-yo (simply mix 1/2 t cocoa powder with a pinch of stevia and vanilla to 1 T or more plain organic yogurt).

And then I added a little dark chocolate.

I couldn’t help myself.

And if you’re worried about finding a healthy alternative to graham crackers, consider making your own with this recipe or buying my health market favorite, Back to Nature Grahams.

Enjoy!

Banana-Berry Smoothie Pies

Need a frozen treat fix?

This recipe can satisfy so many sweet cravings. It starts with a super sweet bottom crust, moves up to a sugary-blueberry filling in the middle, and is topped with a little banana froyo.

So if you want ice cream, pie, frozen fruit, whatever, really. This dessert delivers.

Makes four mini treats.

Ingredients

Layer one: 5-6 dates, 2 t rolled oats, 1 t applesauce

Layer two: 30-35 blueberries, 1 t stevia or honey

Layer three: frozen banana slices (about 1/3-1/2 of a banana), optional: dash of stevia and vanilla

Directions

-In a good food processor, pulse dates and oats. Add in applesauce. Pulse once more. Press into a mini muffin tin (or all into one large muffin slot). Set in freezer ’til next layer is ready.

-Blend ingredients for layer two. Spoon onto the top of layer one. Return to freezer.

-Blend layer three ingredients until smooth, ice-cream-like texture forms. Use this layer as the topping.

-Freeze until solid. Serve as soon as you pull out of the freezer because they will melt after a few minutes of exposure to room temperature.

So healthy? All fruit? You could easily get an ice cream fix for breakfast with this recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Banana Breakfast Popsicles

If any type of ice cream had the “best summer ever,” it had to have been banana ice cream. This very healthful option was featured in every magazine I read and every e-newsletter I subscribe to. If you haven’t heard of it, you might live under a rock. I’m teasing, of course, but seriously if you haven’t tried it, check out this recipe from Yummly.

Interestingly, toward the end of the summer this banana pop recipe started popping up more and more. I tried it. Loved it, too.

I especially love this one because you can roll it in whatever healthful ingredients you want. I opted for granola and dried blueberries, rolled in organic, Greek vanilla yogurt.

I also think these would make an adorable treat surprise for kids, either before school or on a weekend morning. Who wouldn’t love a breakfast popsicle?

Breakfast Banana Pops

  • 1/2 bananas
  • yogurt of choice
  • granola of choice or even crumbled s’mores
  • add-on ideas: mini chocolate chips, coconut shreds, cinnamon-stevia mix, raisins, etc.
  • popsicle stick or silverware to insert into the banana

Directions

-In a small bowl, sprinkle out the granola and toppings you’ve selected.

-Carefully (and securely) insert the stick into the halved banana.

-Holding the banana over another small bowl, coat one side with yogurt.

-Sprinkle granola over the freshly-coated side. If it doesn’t stick as well, simple roll or press the yogurt-coated side in the granola mix.

-Repeat ’til banana is coated all the way around.

-When finished coating, place the pop on wax paper and freeze.

You can store in the freezer for a while, but I wouldn’t recommend longer than one day.

And why would you want to wait 🙂

Cantaloupe-Yogurt Sundae Bowl

I got this idea from one of my favorite foodie bloggers, Snack Girl.

I didn’t make many modifications to her breakfast version of this cantaloupe bowl.

Ingredients

1/2 to 1/3 cantaloupe, filled with your favorite yogurt and topped with blueberries or other fruit.

But I have a frozen little secret I’ve been sharing with friends for quite a while that turns this breakfast bowl into a sundae one!

A few nights a week, I pop a cup of Greek yogurt in my freezer, churning it with a spoon every 20 minutes or so until it reaches a frozen consistency similar to ice cream.

Pretty smart, right? It’s lower in sugar than most frozen treats you’d buy in store, plus it’s got more protein, too!

I often mix in fresh fruit as a topping. Blueberries are a regular feature in this frozen yogurt design.

But if you go for this sundae bowl, you could have a bit more fun with it…

Idea: Freeze the bowl (the cantaloupe bowl), too!

Idea: Add in a frozen banana for a real sundae effect.

Idea: Freeze into several chunks and mix with frozen fruit in a blender for a smoothie-like consistency.

Idea: Ditch fresh fruit and indulge in richer toppings (think chocolate…)

Idea: Try other frozen fruit bowls by carving out all or part of the center (of apples, oranges, pear, peach, etc.)

Fruit really does make for a delicious dessert. It’s naturally sweet, naturally the best choice.

Mini Cheesecake Bites

I’m going to share a secret with you. A secret that once revealed will make me seem “unwomanlike” to some–whatever that means. I don’t really like cheesecake. I used to say I did, and I’d oblige others by indulging, but … Continue reading

Monkey Bars

Every once in a while you bite into something that makes your insides melt.

Or maybe that’s the melted chocolate chips?

No, I think this monkey bar recipe is just that good. I adapted it from one I found a few years back in Woman’s Day. The recipe yielded 40 small bars! 40? Really?

I just wanted to try one, so I created this single-serving version. But I’m also going to post the original ingredient portions in case you want to make this recipe for a potluck or the folks at work. Just be sure not to tell them it’s healthy lest you turn them off immediately.

On second thought, tell them afterwards. With a recipe this good, people need to know that healthy desserts are just as good as regular desserts. Although in my opinion, they’re much, much better. Share the goodness!

Ingredients

1 heaping T/ 1 & 2/3 cups ripe mashed banana (about 5)

1 t/ 3/4 cup light brown sugar

1/2 t/ 1/4 cup applesauce

1/2 t/ 1/4 cup almond milk

1/2 t/ 2 large eggs (mixed)

pinch/ 2 t pure vanilla extract

pinch/ 1 t baking soda

1 t cinnamon (can’t have too much!)

pinch/ 1/4 t salt

1 T & 1 t/ 1 and 3/4 cups whole wheat flour (I subbed in coconut flour, though, so 2 t of ww flour and 2 t coconut flour)

1 T/ 1 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If you’re making the single-serving version, lightly grease a cookie sheet. If you’re making the full version, use nonstick foil to coat the baking pan, letting the foil extend about 2 inches above the pan for easy removal later.

-Except chocolate chips, combine all dry ingredients (not bananas). In a separate bowl, combine all wet (bananas are considered a wet ingredient). Combine wet and dry together.

-For the single-serving version, you can form the dough into two small bars and press in chocolate chips. For the party-sized version, mix-in chips and spread in prepared dish.

-Allow 15-20 minutes baking time. The bars should be soft, but when you insert a toothpick it should come out clean, not covered with runny dough.

-If you baked the bigger version, gently lift the foil from the pan and allow to cool completely before slicing into bars (makes about 40).

-If you made a single-serving version, devour right away while the chocolate chips are still warm and melted!

Banana Breakfast Sushi

Are those chopsticks?

Yes, they are. My love for banana recipes led me to this idea, found on Pinterest. Just slice bananas, roll in nut butter, and then roll in rice crispies.

 

Ingredients

1 banana, sliced

2 T all-natural peanut butter

1/2 cup all-natural cocoa crisp rice

Directions

-Spread a thin layer of room temperature peanut butter around the outer edges of each banana slice, and then roll in the crispies.

-I rolled each sushi one at a time, so that way the peanut butter didn’t melt off and create a big sticky mess.

Creative Alternatives

You could also roll these in regular crisp rice if you don’t like cocoa, but you could be really adventurous with this recipe! What other nut butters or “rice” options could you roll the bananas in? I’m thinking dark chocolate chips, other cereals (crushed if large in size), shredded coconut, raisins, cinnamon-stevia mix.

Oh, yes. Will definitely be trying this sushi recipe again in a different way. Plus, it’s fun to dine with chopsticks in the early morning hours.

Plus, it’s so easy to make that I barely strayed from my breakfast routine. Normally, I have a big bowl of whole wheat cereal, organic peanut butter, sliced bananas, a teaspoon of cinnamon, and almond milk. 

Coincidentally, though, I’ve been mixing half a cup of these all-natural Choco Champ Crispies by Bear River Valley with half a cup of plain puffed rice because although they’re tasty, they’re a a little high in sugar. I like the mix very much, though. I highly recommend it.

Banana Pancakes

“Wakin’ up too early,

Maybe we could sleep in

Makin’ banana pancakes.

Pretend like its the weekend now…

We could pretend that all the time.”

I do. And I did last Tuesday night after a long day of work.

I threw on my comfiest lounge-wear and whipped up this batch of warm and delicious banana pancakes from my favorite nutritionist blogger, Healthful Pursuit. And as it just so happened, she had already provided single-serving measurements, plus a delicious maple cream drizzle to accompany a type of pancake I’ve always wanted to try!

And yes, they completely lived up to my expectations. I switched up Healthful Pursuit’s recipe a bit, though, adding in different flours+oats+cornmeal.

Cornmeal? Yes, Alton Brown, whom I adore because he explains the science behind cooking, swears that the best pancakes always feature a little cornmeal. I believe it, although I can’t tell you exactly why that is. He may have mentioned, but I may have forgotten.

That doesn’t matter though! Try this recipe out for yourself, either on a lazy weekend morning or for a yummy comfort meal after a hard day’s work.

Ingredients (5 small or two large pancakes, 1 serving)

Dry

  • 1 T coconut flour
  • 3 T whole wheat flour
  • 1 T oats
  • 1 tcornmeal
  • 1/2 t gluten-free baking powder
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 t ground nutmeg
  • pinch sea salt

Wet

  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup water
  •  1 t powdered stevia
  • 2 Tunsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/4 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 banana, mashed
  • Drizzle with Maple Cream

Directions

-Warm a flat skillet on medium-low.

-In one bowl, combine all dry ingredients. In another small bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Make sure banana is well mashed, unless of course you like to sink your teeth into a banana chunk every once in a while. If so, leave a few lumps. For thicker pancakes, omit 1 T water.

-Combine the two bowls of ingredients together. Blend well, but be careful not to overmix. For easy pouring (or pancake formation, really), you can transfer the batter to a small measuring cup with a pouring spout.

-Spritz the warmed pan with cooking oil. Pour pancakes into 4- or 6-inch rounds. Let the pancakes cook all the way through on one side before flipping. You’ll know they’re ready once you start to see bubbles forming on top, and when you can slide your spatula underneath without the cake falling apart. They should be golden brown in color. Each side takes about 3-5 minutes at a stable heat, but watch yours carefully.

-As each pancake finishes, remove the pancake and place on plate. I like to keep mine warm, so I’ll place another plate on top of the bottom plate. Don’t do this when they’re stacked, though, otherwise they’ll get smashed and you won’t have a fluffy stack to cut into later.

-Serve warm with your favorite syrup, maple cream drizzle (below), fresh fruit, or whatever toppings you like.

Maple Cream Drizzle

Ingredients (2 T, 1 serving)

  • 1 T full-fat coconut milk or almond milk
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1/8 t ground cinnamon

Directions

-Simply whip all ingredients together until well-blended. Microwave for 15 seconds if you like a warmer drizzle (this also helps the cinnamon blend better with the other ingredients, making it less chunky).