Applesauce Banana Bread

Applesauce Banana Bread
This delicious recipe came to me as I clasped on the brink of brainstorming on how I can enjoy a warm, flavourful breakfast bread, but steer clear of a dry taste. As I was making this batch, I thought to myself, “What can kick this up a notch, and make it more savoury without compromising moisture?”. Then it came to me. Like a kick in the face as I opened up my fridge to fulfil my curiosity – old fashioned applesauce. Considering most of this week considered of soft and soluble foods as my intake due to my illness, I had a whole batch whipped up. Good luck, or a series of unfortunate events? Either way, applesauce is what took my usual banana bread over the edge and extra tasty!

Applesauce Banana Bread

3 ripe bananas
1 cup of applesauce
3/4 cup of white sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup of melted, salted butter (if not salted, add a pinch of salt)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup hemp seeds (hemp seeds are a healthy alternative to nuts – swap out with almonds if desired)
1 tsp cinnamon
A loaf tin

Serves: 1 loaf of banana bread

1. Mash ripe bananas in a medium size bowl. Add melted butter and mix.
2. Add sugar, egg, applesauce, hemp seed, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Mix.
3. Mix in baking soda and flour until fully combined – should have the consistency of thick cake mix.
Mix dry ingredients.
4. Lightly grease loaf tin, and pour in batter.
5. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.
Let cool.
6. Let cool for 10 minutes, then run a butter knife along the edges and flip over onto tea towel.
7. Serve, and enjoy!

Tip: Best when served fresh and still warm. If your making this in advance for the week like I do, wrap in plastic wrap and keep it in a cool place to lock in the moisture. Slice, and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds when you want a quick and warm breakfast meal!

Advertisements

Roasted Tomato Crustini

Roasted Tomato Crustini

Hello all! I’ve been super busy lately with work, writing, and planning a beautiful trip to Europe! Oui, it is true! I am finally travelling overseas for my first trip to Paris and London. And with such cities as architecturally beautiful as Paris and London, one must also equip themselves with new accessories to capture these moments…like a new camera! Yes, on top of a trip to Europe (which my wonderful boyfriend has planned), I have ventured into the world of photography with my first DSLR camera, the Nikon 3100. Not only will I now be capable of capturing the lush green pasture of Paris’ Jardin du Luxembourg, but I will now have higher quality pictures for all of you readers to better present my delicious and fun recipes for you to view! On that note, I bring to you a little appetizer I created today in the midst of my daily mayhem – my Roasted Tomato and Buk Choy Crustini with Tzatziki Dressing.

Roasted Tomato and Buk Choy Crustini with Tzatziki Dressing
1 Large Roma tomato, thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
12 pieces of thinly sliced baguette bread
12 Baby Buk Choy
1/2 cup Tzatziki Dressing
Handful of Basil
Handful of Thyme
Olive Oil
Sea Salt

Serves: 12 Crustini

1. Lay out the bread on a cooking sheet, and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle minced garlic evenly over pieces.
2. Preheat oven to 350F.
3. Next, dollop a small spoonful of Tzatziki Dressing onto each piece of bread.
4. After rinsing the Buk Choy, chop off ends and arrange leaves evenly on all pieces of bread.
5. Place 1 slice of tomato on each piece of bread; next, finely chop basil and thyme.
6. Sprinkle freshly cut herbs over bread and dash each piece with a pinch of sea salt; drizzle with olive oil once again.
7. Cook for about 10 minutes, then broil for about 2-3 minutes on 500F
8. Plate, and serve!

Bon Appetit!

Wine-Poached Peach French Toast

peachfrench

So this is what a computer looks like! I must apologize for my absence – between work, summer festivities and lack of access to a working computer, I’ve gotten a case of lazy-blogger. But I’m back, and filled with more fun summer recipes and fantastic Eats and Beats news to post about!

My next recipe comes to me with the inspiration of a juicy fruit dish that reminds me a little bit of Autumn mixed with sweet summer taste! Delicious just by themselves, topped over ice cream, coconut pie, or in this case, warm french toast – poached peaches are an aromatic dream full of spicy herbs and red wine goodness that is sure to be a crowd-pleasing accent to any outdoor party!

Wine-Poached Peach French Toast

Peaches:
6 ripe peaches, quartered
4 cups wine of your choice (I used a Rosé wine)
1/2 cup of sugar
2 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks /OR 1 table-spoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
aluminum foil
optional: 3 mint leaves, preferably chocolate

French Toast Assembly:
4 slices thick, texas-style toast
4 eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons milk
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon butter

Serves: 4 slices delicious french toast!

1. In a medium size pot, bring water, wine, sugar, cloves, and cinnamon sticks (and mint leaves) to a slight boil. Turn down the heat to medium.
2. Add in peaches, stir to coat. (I like to leave the skin on, but your more than welcome to peel the peaches)
3. Cover pot with tinfoil, and poke a couple small holes.
4. Let poach for about 20 – 25 minutes.
5. Remove foil, and transfer to a bowl to cool down.
6. Set aside in the fridge to save for a dessert or to snack on later! If not, read on : )

poachedpeach

7. In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs and add the salt, cinnamon and milk
8. Melt butter in a medium skillet until it just starts to bubble on medium heat.
9. Cooking two at a time, coat slices of bread in egg wash mixture. I like to leave mine soaking for about 20 – 30 seconds.
10. Cook both sides of bread in the skillet – adding more cinnamon on top if you prefer – until golden brown.
11. Transfer desired slices to plate and top off with handful of poached peaches! I love the peach juice to coat mine, but a dollop of maple syrup and whipped cream is a sweet touch to your dish!

Happy Eating!!

Frozen Banana and Peanut Butter Bites

Frozen Peanut Butter Sandwiches

Happy May! Finally, the warm weather is here, and what better way to cool off then with a crispy, cold, healthy snack! Everyone loves bananas. Everyone loves peanut butter. When you combine the two in a frozen bite-size snack – ultimate goodness! These are my Frozen Banana and Peanut Butter Bites : ) Topped with cinnamon and brown sugar, this makes the perfect sweet, and healthy, summer-time snack!

Frozen Banana and Peanut Butter Bites

2 Ripe Bananas
2 Tablespoons Cinnamon
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 1/2 cups Smooth Peanut Butter

Serves: 12 Sandwiches

1. Slice the bananas into thin pieces – this should amount to about 24 slices.
2. Place half the banana slices spread out on a baking sheet.
3. Dollop about half a teaspoon of peanut butter onto each slice. I use a piping bag for a more accurate effect, but to each their own.
4. Top off each banana slice with another to make a perfect little sandwich! Sprinkle each bite with cinnamon and brown sugar.
5. Place uncovered in the freezer for about half an hour, or when ready to eat. Placing these in the freezer will not cause the banana to freeze, but to simply harden. This is much less messy, and far more delicious!

Enjoy!

Peach Champagne Bellini

Peach_Bellini
(image courtesy of wikimedia.org)

Any woman, or man who loves frozen cocktails, knows that if there is one drink that makes us giggle a little, reminisce about hot vacations, and remind us of how fabulous it is to be a woman – it is a Bellini cocktail. Ohhhh those were the nights you would sit for hours with your girlfriends at some cozy corner table in a dimly lit bar, gossiping until your stomach hurt from laughing so hard. Or those were the nights that you couldn’t remember because you had so many frozen cocktails, you passed out on your beach towel. Either way, a perfect party drink for parties with your friends or just the cocktail you need when you want to relax and chit-chat with your closest partner-in-crime, this frozen Bellini will surely become of your favorite go-to drinks! Any sweet fruit will do, but here is my recipe for an all-time favorite: the Peach Bellini.

Peach Champagne Bellini

2 cans of peaches in juice
3 bottles of Champagne of your choice
1/2 cup of any berry liquor (I like the Raspberry Sourpuss)
3 teaspoons lemon juice

Serves: 10 – 12 champagne glasses

Now, there are two ways of doing this. If making ahead of time, follow the FIRST set of instructions. If making to serve immediately, follow SECOND set of instructions:

AHEAD OF TIME
1. Pureé peaches and lemon juice. A blender will work just fine.
2. Use a sifter, or fine strainer, and strain the mixture into a freezer-safe bowl. I like to have fine chunks of fruit in my drink, but if the liquid is all you really want, you can sieve it through a thin cloth into the bowl.
3. Freeze the mixture.
4. When ready to serve, fill half a glass with champagne, add a splash of liquor, scrap off desired amount of peach mix from the bowl and top off glass. Stir if desired.

MADE TO SERVE
1. Blend to a pureé the peaches, lemon juice and 1 1/2 cups of ice.
2. Fill half a glass of champagne, add a splash of liquor, and pour in desired amount of frozen peach mixture. Stir if desired.

Voilà!

Bacon, Broccoli and Shrimp Ricotta Stuffed Lasagna Rolls

555711_10150767950708217_1058247067_n

Do not let the title of this next recipe fool you..this is one of the easiest dishes I have ever made, and by far one of the most delicious! Perfect as an appetizer individually, or paired with a nice side of roasted vegetables, my Bacon, Broccoli and Shrimp Ricotta Stuffed Lasagna Rolls are just the perfect amount of cheesy goodness to satisfy your baked pasta craving…and who doesn’t love bacon? No one.

For the vegans and vegetarians, the great thing about baked and stuffed pasta is that the ingredients are always interchangeable! Instead of ricotta, shrimp, and bacon, a great alternative would be soy cheese and some delicious cooked vegetables that pair well with starch like butternut squash, sweet potato or asparagus. As for the pasta itself, most wheat pastas are actually vegan-friendly because they are made from Duram Semolina, which is essentially wheat flour. Only egg pasta noodles (like Gnocchi) contain dairy ingredients. So remember, any pasta that is made with Duram Semolina is vegan-friendly – just make sure to check the ingredients on the back of the box if your buying the noodles, just to be safe.

Bacon, Broccoli and Shrimp Ricotta Stuffed Lasagna Rolls

5 Lasagne Strips (As discussed in Pasta 101, lasagne is a singular noodle, lasagna is the dish when there are multiple noodles)
2×500 ml tubs Ricotta Cheese
1 bag of de-veined, de-shelled shrimp
10 – 15 strips uncooked bacon (depending on your bacon craving)
1 head of warm-blanched broccoli (slightly boiled for about 2-3 minutes)
4 cloves garlic, pressed and chopped finely
1/4 cup chopped parsley
3 tablespoons butter/margarine
3 cups of your choice of pasta sauce!
20 toothpicks

Serves: A meal for 3 – 5

1. Preheat oven to 375°F
2. In a large pot, bring unsalted water to a boil and place in lasagne noodles.
3. Meanwhile, in a separate skillet heat butter on low to a sizzle and toss in chopped garlic and shrimp.
4. With your lasagne noodles, you want to cook them until soft enough that they are flexible, but not to the point of mush. I usually leave them in about 4 minutes. I you still feel they are too al dente, don’t worry – the pasta sauce will soften them more. When the noddles are ready – take them out and lay them in casserole pan to dry and assemble, and then cut them in HALF – this means you will have TEN noodles.
5. Cook the shrimp until pink and no longer transparent. Adding more butter to the skillet for flavor is always an option : ) Once done, place shrimp in food processor.
6. Cutting off LARGE chunks, place the blanched broccoli in food processor as well.
7. Next, cook bacon in the same skillet as your buttered shrimp until well done. Once cooked, remove and immediately place strips in food processor.
8. Pulse the ingredients in the food processor JUST A LITTLE BIT – you want small chunks..not bacon, shrimp and broccoli dip.
9. In a separate bowl, fill with ricotta and parsley. Mix together.
10. Next, combine ricotta mixture and bacon, broccoli, and shrimp mixture.

526dd448949b11e2a3ff22000a1fb762_6

11. In the casserole pan where the noodles lay, roll each noodle into a small tube about 1 inch in diameter – secure and PIN with two toothpicks.
12. Using a small spoon, fill the pasta tubes with the filling mixture until slightly heaping, and then place each roll an inch apart in the pan.
13. Coat with sauce of your choice (I LOVE a good blush sauce), and bake for about 20 minutes or until mixture starts to bubble.
14. Serve, remove toothpicks, and Bon Appetit!

TIP: The reason why the seasoning is so minimal in this dish, is because I think there is so much flavor jam-packed into the filling with the shrimp, butter and bacon, that no extra herbs is necessary. It will only take away from the filling flavor. But, like all foodies, I have my preferences so feel free to add what YOU like!

Creamy Shrimp and Vegetable Salad

shrimpsalad
(image courtesy of madeinkitchen.tv)

I will be the first to admit, no advocate, that I despise any type of cream-based salad. Potato salad, macaroni salad.. not my cup of tea. But when I came across a seafood salad at a local hotel, it completely changed my perspective on my controversial opinion. I still distaste potato and macaroni salad…but I LOVE this version of shrimp salad that I conjured up, and I hope you will to!

Shrimp and Vegetable Salad

1 bag frozen de-veined and de-shelled raw shrimp
Half of a lemon
1 cucumber, peeled and diced into cubes
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup fresh dill (3 teaspoon dried dill works fine too)
4 tablespoon light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sugar
1 small carton cherry red tomatoes
Pinch of cayenne pepper

1. In a small skillet, slowly cook the shrimp. No olive oil, no butter. Just water. It seems odd, but it leaves the shrimp light, crisp, and fresh.
2. As the shrimp is slowly cooking, squeeze all the lemon juice you can from the halve over the shrimp. Save the the skin for later, as you will need about 2 teaspoons of grated lemon zest.
3. As the shrimp loses its transparency, take off the heat – the shrimp is nearly done.
4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix the mayonnaise, sugar, and cayenne pepper until blended together.
5. In a separate bowl, add the diced cucumber, carrots, and cherry red tomatoes.
6. Combine shrimp with the vegetables, then add the creamy mayonnaise mixture and blend well. After blended, add the parsley, dill and the lemon zest.
7. After everything is combined, refrigerate for a couple hours and then serve! Best served chilled : )

Serves: 2

TIP: You can replace/add any shelled seafood you would like to this dish (cooked properly beforehand of course). Shredded crab meat is also delicious in this recipe! For some extra fill, sometimes I use this mixture in a grilled tortilla with some sliced avocado as well.

Superb!