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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Banana Bread

























No matter how hard I try to, I just don't love bananas. But I really do keep trying, and so I am regularly buying bananas, "just in case" I might want one...which I rarely do...and then they go bad...

I have been making this bread for years, and it's always a hit. It seems that it's another "mom recipe", as every boyfriend I have ever had...their mom has this exact recipe. It's eerie. Kind of like the meatballs that every mother in the world makes for parties...anyways...I wanted to make sure I could find this recipe on the world-wide-web, and share it with those of you I have already gifted said banana bread. I also wanted to share a deviation of the banana bread...

If you follow my blog, you know that I have started experimenting with cleaner eating, cutting out refined sugars and flours, and testing how to incorporate healthier options (the Paleo Chocolate Pie comes to mind...). Although the original banana bread recipe is one that will continue to live as gifts and possibly a treat now and then, I have found a gluten-free and cleaner option. I actually made these as muffins instead of bread, to make them more convenient and easier to grab on the go, so I'm not sure how they would turn out as a bread. Using turbanado raw cane sugar actually makes them less sweet, so I plan on making them for Thanksgiving as a bread option, but I love them for a small breakfast option with my coffee in the morning. They almost have a corn muffin flavor...some sweetness, but not enough to be considered sugary. 

I have added both options to this post, so you can go the tried and true route, or the new-fangled...either way, thanks for joining me on my journey!

Original Banana Bread
In a bowl, cream:

1 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter, room temperature

Add:

3-5 bananas, as brown as you can stand it

In a separate bowl, combine:

2 c. flour
1 tsp baking soda

Slowly add to the butter, sugar, banana mix, but don't over beat it. Lastly, add:

2 eggs, beaten separately 

Combine and add to a bread pan, sprayed with some cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. 

Note: I have also done this as smaller bread loafs. Just start checking the loafs for "doneness" after about 30 minutes and then periodically after that. 

























Clean Banana Muffins (Gluten-free) 
In a bowl, cream:

1 c. turbanado raw cane sugar
1/2 c. butter, room temperature

Add:

3-5 bananas, as brown as you can stand it

In a separate bowl, combine:

1 c. oat flour
1 c. brown rice flour 
1 tsp baking soda

Slowly add to the butter, sugar, banana mix, but don't over beat it. Lastly, add:

2 eggs, beaten separately 

Combine and add to a bread pan, sprayed with some cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. 

Original Banana Bread Ingredients
3-5 bananas, as brown as you can stand it
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter, room temperature
2 eggs, beaten separately 
2 c. flour
1 tsp baking soda

Clean Banana Muffins (Gluten-free) Ingredients
3-5 bananas, as brown as you can stand it
1 c. turbanado raw cane sugar
1/2 c. butter, room temperature 
2 eggs, beaten separately 
1 c. oat flour
1 c. brown rice flour 
1 tsp baking soda

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Butternut Squash Leek "Soup"





























Why do I call this "soup"? Because, the reality is, it doesn't have to just be eaten as soup. It can be, and you can even add chicken to it, or maybe cubes of potatoes. But the beauty of this "soup" is it can also just be used as a puree, then be used for other dishes, like, the beginning of a pasta sauce. Now, don't get me wrong, it's great as it is: I have been making this dish as soup since college. However, as I have been making it long, I have also experimented with other uses for it, including the two I mentioned above. This is a great base for anything that needs a butternut squash puree (hmmm, next idea, butternut squash mac & cheese?) or all alone as a soup. Experiment yourselves and enjoy!

Butternut Quash Leek "Soup"

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove papery skin from:

1 whole garlic head (do not peel or separate the cloves)

Wrap head in foil. Bake for 1 hour. Meanwhile, quarter:

1 medium butternut squash

Scoop out the seeds and 'hair'. Drizzle with:

olive oil
salt & pepper

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes to 1 hour, based on the size of the squash. The goal is to peel the skin off as easily as possible. 

Pull out garlic from the oven, let garlic head cool. Separate cloves, squeeze to extract garlic pulp into a small bowl. Discard skins. 

Pull the butternut squash out of the oven. Peel the skin off the squash. Cube the squash into 1/2 inch pieces. Try to keep them uniform, if possible.

Heat:

4 tsp. olive oil

in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add:

6 c. Thinly sliced leeks (about 4 large leeks), washed and drained to remove any dirt

sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in:

roast garlic pulp
cubed butternut squash
4 c. chicken broth
salt & pepper to taste

bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer 15 minutes or until squash is tender. Blend the soup in batches in a blender or using an immersion hand mixer until smooth. 

























If using a blender, make sure you remove the center opening and cover with a towel to let steam out.

Garnish with roasted sunflower seeds, chicken, parmesean cheese, homemade croutons, creme fraiche...the toppings are endless!

























Ingredients
1 whole garlic head
1 medium butternut squash
4 tsp. olive oil
6 c. Thinly sliced leeks (about 4 large leeks), washed and drained to remove any dirt
4 c. Chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Broccoli Cheese Soup


























I used to hate fall...HATE IT! Maybe it was because that was when school started, and I wasn't the biggest fan of school. Actually, that was most likely exactly what it was...which may surprise some people now, since I was an outgoing cheerleader in high school and graduated college with an engineering degree, but, yeah, I wasn't a fan...that being said, now I LOVE FALL! I love how good my house smells with food cooking in the crockpot all...day...long...! I love the changing colors, the leaves crunching under my feet. I love that hot chocolate weather is coming, but not yet here, and I no longer have to worry about what I look like in a bathing suit :-) I love that it is okay to start eating more luxurious foods, and soups and stews are abundant! Yup, I love fall :-) 

A short time ago, a family member had an accident and couldn't eat solids for a while, so I made several soups and brought them over. This one was the biggest hit at their home, and my husband was actually a bit disappointing that I hadn't made more. It is definitely a repeat, making it a successful dish for the Schneider household! Keeping with cleaner eating, this is a hearty dish with very little salt, and no heavy cream (just a tad of butter to cook the veggies) and absolutely no sugar (although I am surprised how many soups want you to add sugar into them!). 

Add: 
1 Tbs. olive oil
3 Tbs. butter
1 cup onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic
into a pot. Add:
2 cups fresh broccoli, chopped
1 cup shredded carrots
Cook until softened. Add:
3 Tbs. flour (1 Tbs. each until combined) 
Combine thoroughly, so no flour is visible. Add:
3 cups chicken stock or veggie stock 
Simmer for about  30 minutes, covered. Add:
3 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat for another 30 minutes. Add:
1 cup Cauliflower puree (as made in my Healthy Fettuccine Alfredo)
4 oz. cream cheese
1 cup sharp cheddar
1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese
Heat another 30 minutes until all cheeses are melted. Top this off with some homemade croutons, some extra broccoli or cheese, or even crumbled bacon, curl up under a blanket and enjoy!

Ingredients
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 cups fresh broccoli, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic
3 cups chicken stock or veggie stock
1 cup shredded carrots
3 bay leaf
3 Tbs. butter
3 Tbs. flour
1 cup Cauliflower puree (as made in my Healthy Fettuccine Alfredo)
4 oz. cream cheese
1 cup sharp cheddar
1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
salt and freshly ground black pepper