Primal Living

Banana Treats – Take 2

When I told Don last night that I’d received a couple of comments about these yesterday, his response was, “let’s make more! I know we can do better.” LOL  So, here’s take 2 on the tasty banana treats.

Ingredients: 

  • bananas
  • nut butter of your flavor – almond butter, peanut butter, meenut butter (I have not tried this yet but want to soon)
  • bacon
  • cinnamon
  • chocolate – we also added a little raw honey and almond milk to the melted chocolate to add sweetness and to thin it out for drizzling

Don had the forethought to cut the bacon into bite size pieces before cooking it. If you are frying in a pan on the stove I think this would be a hassle but we bake it in the oven and it worked out great. The pieces were more uniform rather than baking it as a long strip and then trying to break it into pieces later. (My previous method.) Our bacon pieces went into the oven on parchment paper at 350 degrees, for about 25 minutes.

While they baked, Don cut up two bananas. He went with a different configuration.

IMG_8283

Into the freezer for a few.

Adding nut butter.

IMG_8285

Added bacon. Somewhere in here he dusted them with cinnamon too.

IMG_8288

Back into the freezer.

Melted chocolate.

Drizzled Blobbed on the bites.

IMG_8299

IMG_8301

So pretty… Back into the freezer with you!

IMG_8303

IMG_8306

Second round verdict? So much easier to eat. Perfect size. Don LOVES them. Me, eh…it’s too much chocolate. Whoa! I know. I’m a freak. They are good. I can appreciate that they are good. I just don’t like chocolate much. So, Don can have his chocolatey treats, and I can have something with vanilla, or strawberries, or just about anything else. 🙂

The superiority of chocolate, both for health and nourishment, will soon give it the same preference over tea and coffee in America which it has in Spain.
~ Thomas Jefferson

A Frozen Banana Treat

I came across these Chocolate Bacon Almond Butter Bananas at Civilized Caveman Cooking a couple of weeks back and I thought they would be fun to try. Not the easiest thing to make. Bananas get a little slippery.

For my first attempt, I thought one banana each would be enough. What if we didn’t like it? I didn’t want to waste all that banana and bacon. Although, honestly, when there’s bacon, you can hardly go wrong.

First I sliced up the two bananas and cut them into what I thought would be bite-sized pieces. Hmm…more on that later. That turned out to be 4 pieces for one and 5 for the other. I placed all the pieces in the freezer (on parchment paper) while I fried up some bacon. I only needed two strips. I made more of course and we enjoyed the bacon à la carte while I worked on the rest of the treats.

Once the bacon was cool, I pulled out the banana pieces and attempted to smear a little bit of almond butter on each one and top it with bacon. This is not easy to master however I persevered.

IMG_8209

Then I sandwiched them together and placed them back in the freezer to firm up.

IMG_8210

Next I used two pans to make a double broiler and I melted some organic dark chocolate chips. Maybe about a 1/2 cup; I was totally just eye-balling it all. When the chocolate was melted, I grabbed my bananas and ran them through the chocolate, coating one end.

IMG_8211

Then, back in the freezer. That night we dusted them with cinnamon and tried a couple after dinner.

IMG_8217

The verdict? Good flavors. Not so good execution. The “bites” are too big to eat in one bite and if you try to eat them in small bites, they tend to make a mess. Not so much for me but Don just couldn’t handle the small bites. LOL  He was encouraged by the combination though and wants to try again, making the pieces small enough to pop all in one bite.

Don’t live life like it’s another day, but live life like it’s your last day. 
~ Anthony Liccione

Nutty Noodle Salad

If you like spaghetti squash, here’s a new dish you might not have tried before, courtesy of Cat at Things My Belly Likes. I could not come up with a new name, so forgive me Cat for naming my post Nutty Noodle Salad as well.

Ingredients

  • 1 small spaghetti squash
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chives, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup almonds, sliced

Dressing

  • 1 tbsp sunflower seed butter
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 tsps sesame oil
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsps lemon juice

This was the first time that I roasted a spaghetti squash in the oven rather than microwaving it. It takes longer, but we really like how it came out. The flavor is slightly different, it’s not watery like when microwaved, and the texture even seemed slightly different. Thumbs up for roasting. I think we’ll take the extra time, when possible, to roast from now on.

I roasted the squash for 60 minutes at 375 and then let it sit for about 15-20 minutes to cool.

IMG_8201

Cut in half, brush with olive oil, and place face down on a baking dish.
We like to use parchment paper over a cookie sheet.

IMG_8202

Once cooled, turn over, remove the seeds, and then use a fork to remove the squash.
It comes out easily.

IMG_8203

While the squash cooked, I made the dressing by combining the sunflower seed butter, garlic, sesame oil, honey, balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice.

IMG_8193

Then I chopped by chives.

IMG_8199

And prepped the almonds. When the squash came out of the oven, I set the oven to broil and toasted the almonds for about 5-8 minutes, checking them frequently so they didn’t burn.

IMG_8196

While the almonds toasted, I added the dressing and chives to the squash.

IMG_8204

We had a quick taste, topped with almonds. Then placed the rest in the fridge to chill. We did like it better chilled the next day.

IMG_8206

This was a success for us. The only thing we might change next time is to try a little less sesame oil. The sesame flavor was just a little too strong for us. But overall, we enjoyed it and the leftovers certainly didn’t go to waste. Thanks again Cat for another great recipe!

You can’t just eat good food. You’ve got to talk about it too. And you’ve got to talk about it to somebody who understands that kind of food.
~ Kurt Vonnegut

To Juice or Not to Juice

That has been a question in our house for some months. Our blender makes very yummy green smoothies we enjoy for breakfast regularly.

Nut Butter Banana Smoothie

  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1 tbsp nut butter (peanut, almond, sunflower…)
  • a giant handful of spinach (maybe 4 cups worth?)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup coconut milk

*Makes enough for 2 people

But we haven’t ventured very far into the realm of smoothie and juice drinks yet. We want to but we just aren’t quite there yet. In an effort to step up our juicing game, I did try two new green smoothie recipes this past week. One was pretty good…Creamy Green Apple Smoothie courtesy of Juli at paleOMG. It was lighter and crisper than our usual mix above.

The second attempt at a new combination bombed horribly.

  • 1.5 frozen banana
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup goji berries
  • 3 cups spinach (slightly smaller handful; I really don’t measure the spinach)
  • 1 cup of coconut water

This would not convince anyone that green smoothies are yummy despite their green coloring. I do not suggest you try it. We almost threw it out but then decided to choke it down rather than waste the food. The cocoa powder just made it too bitter.

So after much continued debate, we decided to take the plunge and buy a masticating juicer to enhance our blending and juicing power. (There are like 3 or 4 different types of juicers, not to mention a bazillion brands to choose from!)

After many youtube reviews, we decided on the Omega VRT350. Not the most expensive option out there but not inexpensive by any means either. We better LOVE it. (I think we already do.)

It arrived last night. We ran some oranges and apples through it right away, just to play with our new toy.

IMG_8243_2

IMG_8244

IMG_8245

I am so impressed with how quiet it is. It makes about 1/10 of the noise that the blender makes. The blender sounds like a jet engine taking off and lasting for a good 5 minutes. Often at 6 am. I have a feeling our neighbors will unknowingly appreciate the juicer.

A few other quick observations so far…

  • it has a small footprint (which is awesome)
  • it’s heavy
  • and it’s relatively easy to clean (hopefully even easier once I become more familiar with it.)

I hope to write some follow up posts to highlight our juicing and blending exploits down the road.

Oh, and lastly, the juice above was not anything fancy but it was amazing.

All great changes are preceded by chaos.
Deepak Chopra

Cauliflower Avocado Soup

I know, sounds weird. Who doesn’t think that when reading my blog? 🙂

Thanks to Cat for posting this on her blog and making it sound interesting enough to try.

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 sweet onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 ripe avocado, roughly chopped
  • a little EVOO to saute the onions
  • salt to taste

Using a large saucepan, I sauteed the onion for about 5 minutes and then added the cauliflower, parsnip, and chicken broth to the pan.

IMG_8169

I brought it to a boil and then let it simmer for about 25 minutes (until the veggies were soft.)

Then I moved it to the counter where I added a little salt, added the roughly cut avocado, and used my KitchenAid Immersion Blender to blend it all to a smooth, creamy texture. (After Don watched me trying to put it all in the food processor, seeing that it wasn’t going to fit, and asked why I wasn’t using the hand blender. sigh. At least he was there to catch me before I made too much of a mess.)

IMG_8172

We dusted our bowls with a little cayenne for a little pizzazz.

IMG_8176

I liked it. I think it was fun for something different. It lacked meat and made the meal not feel rounded but it was filling so I figured it wasn’t so bad to go without meat for a meal. I think it was a little lacking for Don but he ate it and said it was good. And then went back to the kitchen for something more later. LOL

You can do almost anything with soup stock, it’s like a strong foundation. When you have the right foundation, everything tastes good. 
~ Martin Yan