Baked Banana Oatmeal Cups


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Pinterest just opens up a whole new world of recipe collecting, doesn't it?  You log on, see pins from people you know and many you don't of images linking to sites with topics ranging from home decor to DIY projects to travel, to fashion, to food.  I shied away from the food pins for a while, thinking that any pinned recipes would just be too much of a gamble, but after getting over that nonsense, I have something like 168 pins in my Edible Givens- Food to Try board.  This particular recipe was a Pinterest find, and quite a good one.

Don't expect a muffin here.  I did, and though I wasn't disappointed, what I was left with was more akin to baked oatmeal cups, a new trend I've seen in coffee shops and cafes.  It's dense and moist, and keeps its freshness for a couple days.  It's tasty and adaptable with different mix-ins.  It's easy, and it used ingredients I already had.  Insert "yessss!" here.  I am of course linking to the wonderful originator of the recipe in the recipe title.

Banana Oatmeal Cups with Chocolate Chips
from Greenlitebites via Pinterest

3 mashed bananas (the more ripe the better!)
1 cup vanilla Almond milk (any milk should work)
2 eggs
1 tbsp Baking powder
3 cups (240g) Old Fashion or Rolled Oats
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp (42g) mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Mix all ingredients except the chocolate chips together, and let sit while you prepare the muffin pans.  Spray a muffin pan with with non-stick spray or use liners.  Stir the chocolate chips into the oatmeal batter.
Divide batter into 15 muffin cups. They should be just about filled.  Bake 20-30 minutes, you’ll see the edges just starting to brown and they will be firm to the touch.
The muffins may stick when hot but are removed easily when cooled for a bit.

  • I used my potato masher to mash the bananas.  I find it makes good, quick work of the task.  You can also use forks.
  • As with many banana baked recipes, this is a great one for some very ripe bananas.

Peanut Butter-Banana-Chocolate "Ice Cream"


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I know a woman who follows a very unusual diet.  From what I understand, she developed it after years of research and trial and error.  She invited my aunt and uncle over to her house and promptly fed them day lilies and a frozen banana, which my aunt described as being like ice cream but the only ingredient was this frozen banana that she put into one end of the machine, and out the other end came this ice cream like substance, and it was delicious.

Fast forward a few years, and I find this recipe on Pinterest, using nothing but bananas, peanut butter, and cocoa powder to make an ice cream like treat that uses no dairy and no added sugar.  We had some aging bananas and we decided to use some of them to make this "ice cream" and we loved it!  There is still a place in my heart for other ice creams, but this one is so tasty, and hits all the flavor notes I care to hit.  

I used Trader Joe's Cocoa Powder for this; Hershey's Special Dark would also work!

If you have a food processor and are looking for a new treat that just happens to be a lower fat/lower sugar/no dairy option, this is it.  It's creamy, full of flavor, and takes all of 5 mins or less (minus banana freezing time).

From the Use Real Butter Blog

4 bananas, just slightly overripe (brown spots good, completely black not so good)
2 tbsps creamy peanut butter (optional – thus 2 ingredient ice cream)
2 tsps cocoa powder (Dutch process preferred), (optional – thus 2 or 3 ingredient ice cream 
depending on peanut butter)

Peel the bananas and slice them up into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick disks. Place the banana 
slices in the freezer for about an hour or until they are frozen solid. 

Put the frozen slices in a food processor and pulse. First they will start to resemble gravel, but keep going. 
The bananas will soon turn into a frozen mush – at this point, start scraping the sides 
down (you will do this a lot). Or you could add a dash of milk since the liquid will help 
the blending. When the bananas look like whipped ice cream, you can add your mix-ins like peanut butter and/or cocoa powder, chocolate chips, toffee, raspberries, anything goes! Straight out of the food 
processor, the ice cream is like soft serve. You can also freeze it for a firmer texture. I 
find it’s pretty hard (and therefore, brittle) when I scoop it immediately after removing it 
from the freezer. Just give it a minute or two to soften up. Makes a pint.

  • Just passing this along from the original author- do not freeze the banana whole; doing so will make it almost impossible to get the banana broken down without it melting entirely
  • The Kitchn is the originator of this recipe (I think), and here's a link to the blog post where they made this little treat, as well as other variation ideas: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-creamy-ice-cream-w-93414

Our State Magazine's Chicken Salad


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I wasn't entirely sure what to call this post, because the chicken salad was featured in an issue of Our State magazine and was originally published in the Hopewell Heritage Cookbook.  I want to make sure that credit is given where credit is due.  Still, I don't suppose you need the proper name; just the recipe.

This chicken salad is delicious, and, aside from chopping some ingredients, comes together easily and quickly.  Here is one recipe where a mise-en-place is a huge help.  I think it's my favorite recipe so far.  I made it as is, and the one thing I may change is to not put as much celery in next time, but it's a great recipe, and it makes a ton, so it's great for parties, food gifts (provided you can keep it refrigerated), or just eating on all week.

Chicken Salad
from Our State Magazine (April 2012 issue) and Hopewell Heritage Cookbook

1 (4- to 5-pound) chicken
2 cups celery, chopped
¾ to 1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
¼ cup pickle relish
2 tablespoons minced onion (optional)
1 apple, chopped
¼ cup toasted almonds or pecans
½ cup seedless grapes, halved
½ teaspoon celery seed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Boil chicken; then bone and chop it. Combine chicken and celery. Combine remaining ingredients, stirring well. Add ingredients to chicken mixture, and toss well. Cover, and chill. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

  • Instead of a raw chicken, I used a rotisserie chicken.  They are PERFECT for this since they're already cooked.  Huge time saver!
  • I used a fuji apple because it's what I had on hand.  I'm sure almost any kind would do, but my favorites are gala and granny smith.
  • Didn't have celery seed- left it out and still good.  I did decrease the salt and used celery salt- that is an option
  • Forgot the lemon; had bottled lemon juice.  Not recommended, but it worked!
  • Didn't have and didn't want to buy pickle relish.  I just chopped up some pickles.  Worked!
  • Definitely start out with just 3/4 cup or maybe even less of mayo.  I started with 3/4 cup and didn't add any more.  

Easy Lunch: Italian Turkey Wrap


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I hesitated on whether or not to post this, because it just seems so easy; it's more of an idea than a recipe, really, but since we all get stuck in food ruts and sometimes get inspiration from other people, restaurants, etc, I decided to share.  You know, in case you were a little tired of a turkey sandwich.

Pick a tortilla or wrap of your choice.  I used a sun-dried tomato wrap.  Layer turkey, baby spinach or mixed baby greens, roasted red bell pepper strips, shredded parmesan cheese, and pesto.  Wrap up like a burrito and enjoy!

Italian Turkey Wrap
by me!
Serves 1

1- 10 inch or larger tortilla/wrap
3-4 slices deli turkey (depending on the amt of meat you like)
Handful of baby spinach of mixed baby greens (about 1/2 cup loose)
3 Tb roasted red bell pepper strips (cut into strips if whole)
1 Tb Parmesan cheese, shredded
1-2 Tb pesto

Layer all ingredients in a tortilla and wrap, folding in two ends and rolling up like a burrito.  Enjoy!

Another Meatless Monday Selection: Smoky Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos


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In case you don't follow a lot of food blogs and like to nerd out with at least some of the facts, Meatless Mondays is a movement created by these guys, encouraging people to eat meatless at least one day a week (particularly Monday) for better health, and a lot of food bloggers blog about it with a near religious fervor.  I ate a chicken salad croissant for lunch today, so I'll let you guess my level of commitment.  Nevertheless, I do eat a lot of meatless meals; partially because of the amazing variety cooking without meat gives, partially for health, and partially for economic purposes.

I ran across these tacos from the How Sweet It Is blog on the website/cooking community Tasty Kitchen and pinned them to my board.  I have developed a thing for sweet potatoes cooked with a Southwestern/ Latin flair, and I don't see this thing letting up anytime soon.  Drew and I really enjoyed these tacos, and they'll likely make another appearance in the Edible Givens household.

They're quick (30 minutes-ish, tops), easy, and cheap.  Oh, and most importantly- they're tasty!  They're pretty healthy too.  I'm going to link to the blog using the recipe title to where I got the recipe/idea for these tacos, but will post as I made them.  Enjoy!

Smoky Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos
from the How Sweet It Is blog

Makes 8 tacos (2-3 servings)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 (15 ounce) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
8 corn tortillas, toasted
3 tablespoons greek yogurt
1/4 cup half and half
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1 avocado, sliced

chipotle lime crema
1 tsp hot sauce
juice of half a lime
zest of half a lime
1/8 teaspoon salt

Season chopped sweet potatoes with salt, pepper, cumin and smoked paprika. Heat a large skillet oven medium heat and add olive oil. Add onions and garlic, tossing to coat, then add sweet potatoes and stir. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, until sweet potatoes are just softened and cooked through.
While potatoes are cooking, combine yogurt, half and half, hot sauce, paprika, lime juice and zest and salt, whisking well to combine. Set aside.
Once sweet potatoes are cooked, add in black beans and toss well. Cover and cook again for 5-6 minutes until everything is warmed through. Heat tortillas and serve sweet potato mixture topped with avocado and the crema!

  • If you want to use flour tortillas, that is fine, but you can really get some cool points as a cook by taking corn tortillas and placing them either over the open flame of a gas range or in a flat pan/skillet over medium-high heat.  Warm the tortillas until they get some dark brown spots on both sides.  NOTE- you do not need any oil/butter for this!

Pie Day Friday: Frozen Turtle Pie- dairy OR dairy free!


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If you happen to be reading this on the day it was published, you're probably thinking, "uh, Lauren, it's Thursday.  Is that a Freudian slip?"  Not this time!

Last week, Christy Jordan of Southern Plate posted her first "Pie Day Friday" post, and I tried it out that same night/very next day.  Last weekend was when we celebrated my dad's birthday, and the poor man has developed lactose intolerance or an allergy to dairy to the point that he can't have anything containing dairy much at all.  For those who have ever cut dairy out of their diet, you realize how daunting this is.  It cuts out A LOT of foods, including desserts made with butter, milk, cream, etc.  How sad is a birthday without a birthday cake?  When I saw this recipe, a light bulb went off about trying to make the pudding with almond milk rather than cow milk.  I lightly researched it, and discovered that you CAN use pudding mix with almond milk, and it works great in this recipe.  My dad loved it, too, so bonus!  Tasty, easy, quick, and economical, this was a great kickoff to Pie Day Friday, so thanks Christy Jordan!

I'm posting the recipe as I made it (with the almond milk), but you can click on the recipe title to be taken to Southern Plate and the recipe as it was originally posted.  Enjoy!

Frozen Turtle Pie
adapted from Southern Plate

1- 3.4 oz box Chocolate Instant Pudding
1 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
1 lg container whipped topping (16 oz)
1- pre-made chocolate cookie pie crust
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 jar caramel topping
1 bottle Magic Shell (you'll use for garnish only)

In a large bowl, combine the pudding mix and the almond milk.  Add in 8 oz of the whipped topping and fold with a rubber spatula/scraper until well combined.

Pour approx. 1 cup of the caramel topping in the bottom of your pie shell, until it completely covers the bottom of the pie shell.  Spread about 1 cup chopped pecans, almost completely covering the caramel layer. Pour pudding-whipped topping mixture over the pecans and cover pie.  Freeze until firm, about 4 hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, spoon or pipe a border of whipped topping around the edge of the pie.  Drizzle Magic Shell and caramel topping over pie.  Sprinkle with additional pecans.

(potentially) Meatless Monday: Pan Seared Polenta With Tomato Sauce


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Hi!  As we transition from spring into summer, I naturally want to cook less.  This usually translates into making a lot more salads and using the grill.  Here's a recipe that you can make for another couple weeks while it's not too warm:  pan seared polenta.

I can remember my first polenta experience was in college, in the vegetarian line in the cafeteria (I went to a small school whose dining options were cafeteria or to-go counter).  While I wasn't then and still am not a vegetarian, there are a lot of times meatless dishes can be more interesting than meat-centric dishes, and in the cafeteria at my school, the vegetarian line was usually one of the most creative and tasty lines.  This dish recalls those days, when you're looking for something just a little different.

For those that are from the South and have never tried polenta, polenta is basically grits made from yellow corn rather than white.  It can be cooked to a softer consistency like grits, or it can be cooked and cooled to firm up, as in this recipe.

The recipe takes some prep and planning, but is mostly passive prep time, and the active prep is easy.  I am linking to the original recipe on epicurious.com as it was out of the January 2010 issue of Bon Appetit, but I am posting as I made it.

Pan Seared Polenta
to serve 4 adults

4 cups water
4 Tb. olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 cup polenta (coarse yellow cornmeal)
Freshly ground black pepper
Tomato based sauce of your choice

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place 8x8x2-inch glass baking dish on rimmed baking sheet. Combine 4 cups water, 1 tablespoons olive oil, and 1 teaspoon salt in dish. Gradually mix in polenta.
Place baking sheet with polenta in oven. Bake polenta 1 hour. Add pepper and stir to blend. Bake 20 minutes. Stir again and spread evenly. Bake until polenta is very thick, about 20 minutes longer. Cool polenta to room temperature, 1 to 2 hours (polenta will become firm). Using metal spatula, press polenta all over to even thickness. 

DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover with plastic wrap; chill.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Cut polenta lengthwise into 3 strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 3 or 4 squares. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add polenta squares. Sauté until crisp and beginning to color, about 8 minutes per side. Transfer polenta to small baking sheet; place in oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining polenta, adding oil to skillet as needed.

  • I usually bake the polenta the night before and then will pan sear it the day I want to actually cook it
  • The Bon Appetit recipe link (recipe title) also gives the recipe for a spicy tomato basil sauce.  If you promise not to judge me, I'll confess that I usually use a doctored-up jarred sauce.  Here's where you can add meat if you want.
  • Serve with a nice green salad and you've got a great, lighter meal!