Jul
20

I want to declare my love for this banana bread in some sort of outrageous way.

Hmmm maybe I should call Oprah and ask her if I can come jump on her couch like Tom Cruise did when he proclaimed his love for Katie Holmes?

Probably not a good idea. After all this bread is Scientology free and I don’t want people to think I’m nuts. Plus there’s absolutely no way to fall out of love with this bread.

We’ll just have to think of another way to tell the world about the best banana bread I’ve ever made.

In the case of banana breads, the saying ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ is completely true. I hadn’t baked banana bread in over a month and was dreaming of a unique recipe for you. Luckily the lovely people at Driscoll’s sent me some coupons for raspberries. I knew right away what had to happen. Raspberries and dark chocolate are a combination I can’t resist, but putting them into a banana bread was like an epiphany.

Since I’ve been trying to eat less wheat lately, I decided that I would use oat flour in my recipe (yes, it’s gluten-free). Can I just say WOW?! The oat flour brought a hearty, incredible flavor to the banana bread! Thankfully oatmeal is naturally high in fiber and protein, which means it’s not only good for you but also super filling. I surprised myself when I didn’t inhale the entire loaf right when it came out of the oven.

Oh and by the way, did you know that making your own oat flour is really easy? Simply throw rolled oats (oatmeal) into your blender and blend until they oats are ground into a fine flour. Done!

I don’t know if it’s biting into the sweet tartness from the raspberries and the creamy bittersweet notes of dark chocolate, or if it’s simply this whole oat flour thing going on, but this banana bread just tastes like heaven. I plan on falling in love with it all over again this weekend.

So here’s what I’d really like to happen: You make this bread and inhale it. Or share it. Just tell everyone you know about it!

Here’s why:  Raspberries are good for your health. And a little bit of dark chocolate won’t hurt you; it’s an antioxidant! There is also zero butter or oil in this recipe, minimal sugar, and the only dairy is from the two egg whites (if you want to make it vegan, try it without them)!

I freaking love everything about it. From the way it smells to the way it tastes. Completely devour-able.

Have a great weekend!

 

5.0 from 2 reviews
Dark Chocolate Raspberry Oatmeal Banana Bread
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Banana Bread, Healthy
Ingredients
  • About 3 cups oatmeal {gluten-free oats}
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup smashed raspberries
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 9x5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. Make oat flour: Place oatmeal into blender and blend for 1-2 minutes until oatmeal resembles flour. You may need to stop blender and stir oats a couple of times to ensure that all oats have been blended.
  3. Measure out just 2 cups of the oat flour and place in a medium bowl. Whisk in baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  4. In a separate large bowl, beat mashed bananas, dark brown sugar, vanilla extract, and eggs for 1-2 minutes until the consistency is smooth and creamy. Slowly add in flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  5. Gently fold in raspberries and dark chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean. Cool 10-15 minutes, then remove from pan and place on wire rack to finish cooling.
Notes
It typically takes 2 1/2-3 cups of oatmeal to make 2 cups of oat flour, so you may have some leftover. This recipe only calls for 2 cups.

To ensure recipe is gluten-free, use gluten-free oatmeal when making your oat flour


Jun
21

I’ve been a bad girl.

…in the food blogging world.

I’ve neglected one of my favorite things: writing and cooking for you!

It’s been so beautiful that hot summer days and beach sunsets are getting my grocery shopping obsession a little bit off track. I just can’t help but soak up the sun and ocean every chance I get.

I’m also the girl who can never turn down breakfast, which is why I’ve been brunching around LA quite a bit. Brunching for hours is good for the soul. And quite tasty too! Fresh squeezed orange juice, dirty chai tea lattes (a must-try!), gorgeous fried egg-avocado sandwiches, acai bowls, blueberry buttermilk muffins; these things make me overjoyed.

I mean, you just know it’s been a good weekend when you can go to brunch and chow down on chocolate chip pancakes bigger than your face. Double points if you’re eating to cure a headache. Come on and laugh… you know it’s true.

It’s unfair that we can’t eat french fries and pancakes all the time, but with incredibly delicious vegan soups like this I don’t even miss them. That’s just a lie; I actually LOVE french fries all the time (especially with these homemade dipping sauces)!

Nevertheless this soup still is exceptionally good. The ingredients make the perfect combination of sweet and savory. It just reminds me of all things summer. Garlic! Onion! Carrots! Chickpeas! Tomatoes! Sweet Potatoes! Cumin! Fresh Basil!

I felt extremely satisfied after finishing off a bowl. In fact, I even told myself that it canceled out all that weekend eating and margarita downing. I only wish that were true.

This soup was inspired by a recipe for tomato-chickpea soup from one of my favorite new vegetarian cookbooks, Herbivoracious. A few weeks ago, I attended a book signing and cooking demonstration by Michael Natkin, author of the cookbook and blog Herbivoracious. The book if FULL of gorgeous vegetarian photos. I can’t wait to try out more recipes; some are even vegan and/or gluten-free too!

Michael sampled delicious stuffed polenta (a recipe in his book) at the event, signed my cookbook, and even told me he LOVED my blog name! Awwww.

One last thing. I’m excited to announce that I’ll be giving away this cookbook to one of my readers!

All you have to do is leave a comment below and tell me your favorite brunch spot (and what you eat there, obviously)! Also, be sure to like my Facebook page; where I’ll announce the winner a week from today!

 Don’t forget to make this soup! You might love it as much as french fries.

 

Vegan Tomato, Chickpea, and Sweet Potato Soup
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup, Vegan
Vegan Tomato, Chickpea, and Sweet Potato Soup -- healthy, easy to make and delicious!
Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 1 orange pepper, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1-(16 oz. can) chickpeas
  • 1-(16 oz can) diced tomatoes (I prefer fire roasted)
  • 2 cups vegetarian broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • salt and pepper for seasoning
  • fresh chopped basil, for garnish
  • 1 sliced avocado, for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in  a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and salt; saute for 2 minute. Add the diced orange pepper and carrots to the pot and saute for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the entire can of tomatoes to the pot. Next add the chickpeas, vegetarian broth, cumin, basil, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, and salt. Bring to a simmer; reduce the heat to medium, add diced sweet potatoes. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
  3. Serve, garnished with additional basil and/or avocado slices if desired. Serves 4.
Notes
Adding things like quinoa, chicken, pork, or turkey would make this dish higher in protein

Feel free to add parsley or cilantro instead of basil

You can use fresh tomatoes if you prefer.


Jun
10

How was your weekend?

I was really hoping to catch Snowwhite & the Huntsman, but didn’t get around to it. Have you seen it? Charlize Theron looks unbelievable in the previews. I hope I look that good when I’m 35. If I keep running like I have been I might get there.

On Friday my friend and I were supposed to get up at 6am for a 6-mile run. We’re attempting to train for a marathon… or just run really long distances as I haven’t decided if I’ll actually do it. Anyway neither of us could get out of bed so we opted for an evening run instead… which was awful. Miserable even! I thought I was going to die; the sun was beating on my face and I was literally sweating waterfalls. It was 90 degrees out and instead of 6 miles, we decided to run 9. I thought someone was going to have to scoop me off from the pavement and put an IV in my arm. But we made it!

Even though at times running can be torture, I always feel great afterwards; like I could run another 9 miles… or at least bake some pretty unbelievable banana muffins like these.

Baking muffins seems like the only appropriate thing to do with all the leftover ripe bananas just sitting on the kitchen counter. It happens on a weekly basis. Probably because they’re only 19 cents at Trader Joe’s — and I’m never one to pass up a good deal (especially when you grocery shop as much as I do). It’s why I make an obscene amount of banana bread, banana cupcakes… oh, and my new favorite? Banana Ice Cream. Baking things with bananas just makes my heart beat.

I first made these a month ago when visiting my grandparents. I wanted to bake something special for my grandpa–who happens to LOVE everything banana. I mean, we’re obviously related.

He’s also had a couple of heart attacks so I didn’t want to give him something unhealthy (like the bacon and muffins-the-size-of-my-head my grandma makes him EVERY MORNING). I’ve included the nutritional information for these at the bottom of this post.

Seriously even healthy banana muffins never disappoint.

I don’t know about you, but some mornings I want to enjoy a baked good and not feel guilty about it. These better-for-you banana muffins make that happen with simple swaps to cut fat and calories.

Using very ripe bananas provide natural sweetness for the muffins (meaning you don’t need to use as much sugar). Dark brown sugar is also slighty sweeter compared regular brown sugar, so I opted for that. I swapped out the butter for non-fat greek yogurt (mega protein), which makes the muffins moist and deliciously appealing. Adding egg whites vs. whole eggs reduces the fat and calories.

A brown sugar-walnut crumble was completely necessary though. The walnuts add a touch of good fats and the crumbly topping… DIVINE!

My grandpa gobbled them up in less than two days and my competitor grandma even asked me for the recipe. That says something since she makes everything delicious from scratch.

I don’t think I need to tell you that these are especially good for midnight snacking. Warm them up and spread with creamy peanut butter. Muffin heaven!

But then again, when isn’t a muffin good?

Better-For-You Banana Muffins with Brown Sugar-Walnut Crumble

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

3 large ripe bananas, mashed

2 tablespoons butter, melted*

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

2 egg whites

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup non-fat plain greek yogurt

2 1/2 tablespoons milk of choice (skim, soy, almond, coconut, etc)

For walnut crumb topping:

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon butter

 

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and line 12 muffin cups with paper cups or spray with nonstick spray.
  2. In a large bowl mix flour, baking soda, and salt together. In a separate bowl combine bananas, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, non-fat greek yogurt, egg whites and melted butter. Stir banana mixture into the flour mixture just until combined and add milk. Batter will be thick. Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full.
  3. In a small bowl mix brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, walnuts and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon of butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the muffins. Place into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of muffins comes out clean.

Notes

  • *Instead of butter, you can use a vegan friendly alternative, or a healthy oil such as coconut
  • Muffins freeze well, simply wrap individually in plastic wrap and stick in freezer
  • You can also sub 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour in for the regular flour, just add another tablespoon of milk

 

Nutrition Information

Servings Size: 12 Servings
Amount Per Serving
Calories 177 Calories from Fat 37 (21%)

% Daily Value *

Total Fat 4g

6%

Saturated Fat 2g

6%

Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 6mg

2%

Sodium 228mg

10%

Potassium 222mg

6%

Total Carbohydrate 29g

10%

Dietary Fiber 1g

6%

Sugars 13g
Protein 7g

14%

 


Feb
28

 

Hi. I love you. I really do. I even had to make you a healthy banana bread to say so. Fresh blueberries, thick rolled oats, and a whole lot of soul went into making this bread.

Plain and simple, you people have made me incredibly happy! Ambitious Kitchen now has over 20,000 views thanks to you. And, just look at all these pins on Pinterest from my blog. Like, Holy crap! I’m totally blushing. 

Read more.


Aug
25

I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking about the title of this post.  But before I can explain it, I have to tell you something.

I’m completely jealous right now. Like green eyed full of envy jealousy.

The blogger that inspired me to create my own blog, Emily from SugarPlum, is doing something that food bloggers only dream about… She’s cooking with Giada De Laurentiis! Big congrats Emily, you deserve it!

I love Giada. She’s authentic, adorable and she puts Italian words into English conversation. Plus she’s an amazing chef.  I’ve been watching her religiously on the Food Network.  Ridiculously addicting.

The Food Network is taking over.

Sandwich King, Giada, Bobby Flay, Paula… oh and Cupcake Wars! What a great show. I even emailed the people from Cupcake Wars to see if I could compete on the show, but they said you need to have your own business. Well guess what, my ‘business’ is baking ridiculously amazing cupcakes. Just ask my mom, friends, or my dog.

What? Animals have rights. And Lucky loves cupcakes. Point is, the Food Network is missing out on my lovely cupcakes.

But this isn’t about cupcakes or Giada.

This is about potatoes. Sweet ones. With a little bit of spice. Okay, okay and everything nice. Just cause I made them for you. ha.

Spicy sweet potato fries.

Super easy, super healthy. And they are super super yummy. Wait, what? Super is a weird word.

But listen, if you want to eat healthy and you crave fries, these babies will welcome you with open arms.  Sweet potatoes have lower carbs and they are complex, meaning your body takes longer to digest them. That equates to you feeling fuller, longer.

That also means you won’t be going back for that second piece of pie… or third.  And I’m sure you like making healthy choices.

Or maybe you don’t?

If that’s case, we should become friends.  Because you’ll choose these over Mickey D’s fries any day.

 

Alright…  I’m getting to the blueberry part.

No silly it’s not tomato ketchup, it’s blueberry ketchup. It’s sweet, but salty… and it’s good.  

 

Spicy sweet potato fries and blueberry ketchup: A match made in heaven.

 

 

Where are your favorite french fries from? Do you make your own? Buy them? Are they from a restaurant/fastfood place? 

For Blueberry Ketchup, see recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie

5.0 from 1 reviews
Spicy Sweet Potato Fries with Blueberry Ketchup
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Side Dish, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Spicy sweet potato fries paired with a cooling delicious blueberry ketchup.
Ingredients
  • 4 Medium Sweet Potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon of chili powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and spray pan with non stick cooking spray.
  2. Cut sweet potatoes to resemble French fries.
  3. Combine sweet potato strips, salt, olive oil, cumin, and chili powder in bowl. Toss with hands so sweet potatoes are fully coated.
  4. Place potato strips on pan.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, then stir and bake another 15 minutes or until fries are crispy and golden.
  6. Serves 4

Aug
22

 

How many times will you drive in your car, laugh at a joke, or hold someone’s hand?

How many sunsets will you watch, thank you notes will you write, or hot chocolates will you drink?

How many times will you fall in love, kiss a stranger, or dance in front of the mirror?

How many lattes will you order, glasses of wine will you drink, or pizza will you eat?

How many nights will you live to remember?

AND How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop? Does anyone have the answer?

Truthfully, I always wondered as a kid how long it would take to get to the center. I think I tried it once but gave up after 100 licks and ate the pop in one bite. What delicious little tootsie roll pops they were though.

But really, do you ever wonder what life will be like in the future for you? What you’ll be doing? If you’ll have the same people in your life?  The same opinions? The same choices? Who you’ll meet? Where you’ll live? What you’ll be known and remembered for?

I do. 

Sometimes I think I should have gone to culinary school.  Yet sometimes I don’t want to cook at all. Sometimes I wonder if I’m making the right choices; choosing the right path for myself.  Sometimes I like going to movies and other times I like reading magazines.  Sometimes I feel like oatmeal instead of pie or red velvet cupcakes instead of broccoli. Sometimes I want to run, sometimes I prefer yoga.

But sometimes I really want ice cream.  Like big time cravings. It’s as though pints of ice cream dancing around my head.  It was like that for a weeks, so I ran to Target and bought an ice cream maker.  Now I’m content.  No more wondering.

In fact, I’ve learned that giving up something isn’t as hard as it seems.  Little changes create big results.  That goes for anything, really.

….that’s exactly why they make frozen yogurt, right?

Tastes just like ice cream, except you can have more and it’s healthy for you! Simple swap.

 

Ooo lala, I know you just fell head over heels in love. Or you will after you try this.

I made this using raspberries, fat free greek yogurt, honey, and dark chocolate chips.  It was creamy irresistible love at first bite.  I can’t get enough.  I’ll be making this again and again.

What’s your favorite ice cream/frozen yogurt flavor or brand?  Please share in the comments and like me on Facebook here.

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Raspberry Greek Frozen Yogurt with Dark Chocolate
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Frozen Yogurt
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Delicious, refreshing frozen greek yogurt with raspberries and a drizzle of dark chocolate. Easy to make and healthy too!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of fat free Greek Yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups of fresh raspberries
  • 3 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 packet of sugar substitute such as Truvia
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips, melted
Instructions
  1. Blend yogurt, raspberries, and lemon juice in blender.
  2. Taste and add honey depending on how sweet you'd like your yogurt and blend. Next, add Truvia if desired.
  3. Pour in ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions.
  4. Once frozen yogurt is done, melt chocolate chips in microwave for 20 seconds. Stir. Melt for another 15 seconds or until melted. Stir again.
  5. Place frozen yogurt in bowl and add raspberries and spoon dark chocolate glaze over the top. Serves 4.


Aug
16

Someone once told me that they didn’t like banana bread.

What? Everyone likes banana bread.

I think I stared at them in shock for a good 10 minutes. Because if you don’t like bread, then how can we be friends?  It’s the BEST bread on earth.  The bread that makes you remember what it’s like to be a kid and eat massive amounts of sweets when your mom wasn’t looking. It’s moist. It’s heavenly. It’s awesome. It’s in your face.

You know what else has been in my face a lot lately?  Reality TV.  Everytime I turn on the TV there it is. And you know what I think I secretly like it.  It’s addicting. Don’t judge.

In fact I kinda want to be Giuliana Rancic’s best friend. Mainly because I want to raid her closet.  But she seems nice and fun. And I bet she likes bananas. I’m going to tweet her and find out.

Ah the power of Twitter. You can find out if people like banana bread.

Speaking of social media…

Maybe I should have defriended the person that didn’t like banana bread.  Because that’s what you do these days. You go on Facebook and defriend the people who don’t like banana bread.

Only kidding. That would be rude. But I am going to hug them next time I see them.  They are missing out one of the best breakfasts in the world.  That makes me sad.

 

Okay but really, you want to know why this banana bread is so great?

Because it has coconut in it.

And toasted coconut on top.

It also has greek yogurt in it.

And a splash of orange juice.

Plus it’s made with love.

And because it will be your favorite breakfast ever.

 

Oh, and did I mention it’s healthy? Yep that’s right. 115 calories per slice. Yes, I will repeat that for you. 115 calories per slice. I calculated it out just for you.

Why is it healthy you ask? Because I use egg whites, greek yogurt, and minimal oil. It’s a lower fat, healthy option for you.  The coconut provides some good fats though.

It also provides a bomb of flavor goodness in your mouth. Moist, delicious tropical savory sweetness.

Flavor bomb. Bomb diggity flavor. …Sorry, I’ll stop now.

 

If you know of someone who doesn’t like banana bread, this will surely change their mind.

Healthy + coconut + banana = love.

Have a slice or two for breakfast.  Pack it for that 3pm snack.  Make it for people who don’t like banana bread.

Ps. Do you like when I post calories or healthy treats?

Leave a comment, would love to know what you are looking for!

1.0 from 1 reviews
Healthy Coconut Banana Bread
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serving size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 115
Recipe type: Banana Bread, Healthy, Low Fat
A healthy, low fat banana bread packed with coconut. Great for breakfast!
Ingredients
  • 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 Large ripe bananas, mashed
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons sweetened flaked coconut
  • ½ tablespoon olive or coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup of brown sugar
  • 3 egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons skim milk
  • ¼ cup fat free plain greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup orange juice
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda together in mixing bowl. In separate large mixing bowl combine mashed bananas, brown sugar, and vanilla.  Add egg whites and mix together until smooth. Next add oil.  Then, slowly add in flour and combine until moist.
  3. Next add greek yogurt and orange juice.  Depending on the consistency you can add 2 tablespoons of skim milk.  If you like your bread more dense than omit the milk, but if you like it more airy or lighter you can add it.
  4. Lastly fold in ½ cup of coconut into batter. Pour into greased 9x5 inch loaf pan. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of coconut on top. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and the bread is golden brown.
Notes
Optional: throw in ½ cup of walnuts to batter to help keep you satisfied all morning.
Another option: Substitute ½ cup of regular flour with whole wheat flour. Make 16 slices.

 
 
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