Category Archives: Recipes

Banana ‘Cookies’

Good morning, everyone!  I’m glad you enjoyed hearing about my Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn.  Cupcakes are always a good idea, right?

Speaking of sweets, I have a quick and simple recipe to share today.  Actually, it’s barely a recipe with only two ingredients:  Banana “Cookies.”

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I hoard bananas, so I had quite a few that needed to be used before they became too brown.  And when I saw Skinnytaste’s original recipe, I knew I had to give it a shot.

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I stayed true to the basic concept of oats and recipe bananas, but altered it based on the contents of my cupboard.

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Chewy like normal cookies, these banana alternatives taste best eaten straight from the oven—and topped with a drizzle of peanut or almond butter.  They’d also make for tasty pre-workout energy bites.  Just try not to eat five in one sitting like I did!

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Banana Cookies

Ingredients:

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1 cup uncooked old-fashioned oats

Cinnamon to taste, optional

1/4 cup chopped nuts of choice, optional (I’ve used peanuts and omitted the nuts–both ways taste great!)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.  Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil and coat with non-stick spray.

3.  Combine mashed bananas and oats in a bowl.

4.  Add chopped nuts and cinnamon.

5.  Place a tablespoon-sized of each on cookie sheet.

6.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until oats become crisp.

Spicy Black Bean Quinoa

Happy Tuesday, friends!  I hope your week is off to a great start!  As promised, I have a recipe to share with you today—spicy black bean quinoa.

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There’s so much to love about this recipe:  it’s healthy, nutritious, delicious, and above all, easy to prepare.  It’s a no-fuss dish that calls for less than 30 minutes in the kitchen, yet lasts the entire week.

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As you can tell from the Tupperware, I’ve gotten in the habit of preparing a batch every Sunday to have on hand for weekday lunches.

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Here’s a tip:  Wilt spinach in the microwave for 30 seconds and then layer the quinoa on top.  More veggies for the win!

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Spicy Black Bean Quinoa

Inspired by Anne P.’s Vegan Mexican Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked quinoa

1 cup water

1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 red pepper, chopped

1 orange pepper, chopped

1 yellow pepper, chopped

1 cup salsa

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon Tabasco

pepper to taste

1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped

1 ripe avocado (optional)

Directions:

1.  Combine quinoa, water, and vegetable broth in a pot.  Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook 10 to 12 minutes (until all liquid is absorbed).

2.  Let quinoa cool, then combine in a large bowl with other ingredients.

3.  Cut avocado and top portion with a few slices.

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Happy National Peanut Butter Day, friends!  How are you celebrating this creamy, crunchy, and always delicious holiday?  If you answered baking, then I have a tasty recipe for you.

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Although I considered making cookies or peanut butter granola, I decided to pay homage to one of my favorite food combos—PB and banana.

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And quite fittingly, three bananas in my basket turned brown, signaling they’re ripe for picking baking.

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The secret to this recipe is the chopped peanuts; I can’t believe I nearly nixed them!  Their crisp crunch balances the moist banana and creamy peanut butter.

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Here’s to you, peanut butter!

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Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Adapted from Joy the Baker

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas

1/3 cup plain fat free Greek yogurt

1/3 cup creamy all-natural peanut butter

3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

2 large eggs

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup chopped dry roasted peanuts

Directions:

1.  Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan.  Set aside.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk together flours, flaxseed meal, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon.

3.  In a medium bowl, whisk together mashed bananas, Greek yogurt, peanut butter, and melted oil.  Whisk in eggs and sugars.  Blend mixture until smooth.

4.  Pour wet mixture into larger bowl with dry ingredients.  Fold together with a spatula until no more flour bits remain.  Fold in chopped nuts.  Pour batter into prepared baking pan and bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

5.  Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 20 minutes before moving bread onto a wire rack to cool completely.

You knew this question was coming–crunchy or smooth?

Paleo Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

When life gives you one too many ripe bananas, you could make banana bread.  But if your cupboard lacks the necessary ingredients, and it’s 8 p.m., and you don’t feel like taking a trip to the grocery store, then you’ll have to get creative with what you have.

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So out of laziness resourcefulness, this Paleo chocolate chip banana bread was born.

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Thanks to the coconut oil, there’s a hint of creamy, tropical flavor.  And from a non-coconut lover, I’ll say it’s perfect—not too overpowering.

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Feel free to add more or less chocolate chips based on taste.  But when is more chocolate ever a bad thing?

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Paleo Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Ingredients:

2 very ripe bananas, mashed

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 tbsp. honey

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

2 cups almond flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2+ c. chocolate chips

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Coat loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.

2.  Use food processor or hand-held mixer to combine bananas, eggs, vanilla, honey, and coconut oil.

3.  Add in almond flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.

4.  Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake for 55-65 minutes, until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

5.  Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan.

The Best Pizza (Crust) Ever

Hiya—Happy Thursday!  Not only is it almost the weekend (woohoo!), but it’s also almost December—how is this possible?

Dinner

In yesterday’s post, I briefly mentioned my dinner plans—a healthified pizza.  Holy cow, talk about a huge success!

A few days ago, Tina posted a recipe for gluten-free, Paleo-friendly pizza, and since I had all of the ingredients on hand, I decided to give it a try.

The crust tasted perfect–flavorful and filling.  Here’s the original recipe, which I doubled.

Gluten-Free, Paleo-Friendly Pizza

Ingredients:

1/2 cup almond flour/meal

1 tbsp liquid egg whites

1 tsp ground flaxseed meal

1/2 tsp EVOO

1 tsp garlic powder

pinch of salt

Directions:

1.  Combine all ingredients in a bowl and blend well.

2.  Roll batter into a ball.

3.  On a baking sheet, layer a piece of aluminum foil and coat it with non-stick cooking spray.  Spread batter into a round disk; keep batter intact (no holes).

4.  Top crust with your favorite toppings.  I used sauce, spinach, turkey, and Swiss cheese.

5.  Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 15-18 minutes until crust cooks all the way through. Remove pizza from oven.  Eat and enjoy!

I heated up the leftovers for lunch today, too—mmmm.

If I didn’t have dinner in the crock pot already, then I would totally make this pizza again tonight.

What’s your favorite kind of pizza?  Your go-to toppings?  And the age-old question—Chicago or New York-style pie?

Tofu Vegetable Soup

Remember my Hurricane Sandy preparations?  Well, I devoted part of the day to making red lentil and this tofu vegetable soup.

Full disclosure:  I had only one bowl of this vegetarian-friendly soup before Sandy killed the power, which forced me to part with the leftovers.  Quite sad, I know.

That being said, though, I will definitely make this dish again.  Chockfull of veggies—tomatoes, plus green and yellow peppers—this recipe can easily feature seasonal farmers market finds.

Also, if you’re just joining the tofu-party, what took you so long? this soup makes the transition to a meatless meal seamless.

Tofu Vegetable Soup

Ingredients:
1 tbsp minced garlic

1 tbsp olive oil

4 cups chopped vegetables
 (I cut up zucchini, green peppers, and yellow peppers)

two, 14-oz. cans fire roasted and diced tomatoes

One package of firm tofu

2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

2 cups water

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp basil

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions:
1.  In a big pot, cook the chopped onion and the garlic in olive oil about 3 minutes at medium-high.  Add the chopped vegetables, stir and cook for 5 more minutes.

2.  Add the diced tomatoes, the low-fat chicken broth and all the spices.  Stir. Cover and cook for 15 minutes at medium-low.

3.  Add all the diced tofu.  Stir.

4.  Cover and cook for 15 more minutes.

5.  Let cool for 10 minutes and serve.

Red Lentil Soup

During stressful times, everyone copes differently.  As Hurricane Sandy loomed overhead this weekend, I ran my emergency errands—I am now a proud owner of a flashlight, boom box with AM/FM radio, and Bath and Bodyworks aromatherapy candles—and relieved my anxiety through exercising.  And cooking.

There’s something therapeutic about spending time in the kitchen, and although I really wanted to bake cookies, I figured whipping up a batch of soup would be a smarter–and healthier–decision.

Vegetarian- and vegan-friendly—and inspired by this recipe—this is a basic, no-frills kind of soup.  It’s tasty on its own, but it won’t overshadow extras you want to add.

I’m already thinking about adding a can of chilies and maybe some sausage next time.

Until then, though, I’ll be slurping my soup and waiting out Hurricane Sandy.

Red Lentil Soup

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 carrots, diced

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil

1 (14.5 ounce) can diced and fire-roasted tomatoes

2 cups dry red lentils

2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

8 cups water

1 cup fresh spinach, rinsed

2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1.  In large stock pot over medium-high heat, add oil and cook carrots, and celery.

2.  Stir in garlic, oregano, and basil.  Cook for 2 minutes.

3.  Stir in lentils, broth, tomatoes, and 8 cups water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes.

4.  Just before serving, stir in balsamic vinegar and spinach; cook until it wilts.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

NYC Biking Breakthrough and Blackened Tofu

Happy Friday, friends!  This week seemed to pass slowly—probably because time doesn’t exactly fly when you’re looking for a big-girl job—so I’m glad tomorrow’s Saturday.  Not that my weekends look significantly different from my week at this point, but it will be nice to take a break from writing cover letters and sending job-related emails.

Breakfast

When I woke up this morning, I needed almond butter.  Not wanting or craving, but absolutely needing it, so I toasted two Van’s Power Grains and topped them with plenty of the nutty stuff.

This combo served as a perfect pre-bike ride meal.

Workout – Biking

Not to jinx myself, but I think I hit a milestone in terms of New York City biking.

As I made my way to the West Side Highway bike path, I didn’t feel nervous.  Yes, I rode cautiously and remained extremely alert, but my heart wasn’t pounding and making its way to my throat as I pedaled in traffic.  It was the same on the way back, too; zero nerves.  Awesome!  Anyway, once I got to the path, I warmed up for 10 minutes before doing some intervals.  Nothing too fancy, just adding gear and going hard for three minutes, recovering for one, and repeating.  After 40 minutes, I cooled down and headed home.  Also, knock on wood, I think I reached a new high point:  Since joining the triathlon world, I pushed myself the most during this outing than any previous training ride (minus my time trial on Thursday).  Obviously that’s because I had a clear workout plan (doing intervals instead of straight up riding for TK minutes), and I’m also feeling more comfortable in the saddle and on the bike path.  That being said, I’m really looking forward to getting a trainer from Syracuse Bicycle; even though I completed the intervals, I faced an added challenging of dodging runners and pedestrians, and I think it will be easier logistically to do this type of ride on a trainer.

Post-Workout Snack

Even though I wasn’t hungry when I got back, I made a small yogurt bowl with frozen strawberries, plain Greek yogurt, and a dollop of almond butter.

Need to refuel those muscles!

Now, time to share a new recipe—Blackened Tofu.

It’s no secret I eat a ton of tofu, and although I like this vegetarian-friendly protein, the spicy seasoning makes me love it. (You know I love my spicy foods!)

If you’re not a tofu fan, you can use this mixture on chicken and tilapia.

Be warned, though—it packs some serious heat.

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. paprika

2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. lemon pepper

1.5 tsp. garlic powder

1.5 tsp. ground red pepper

1.5 tsp. dried, crushed basil

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. dried thyme

Protein of choice

Directions:

1.  Drain tofu. (Wrap several paper towels around tofu and place in between two plates.  Let stand for 15 minutes.)

2.  Coat pan or skillet with extra-virgin olive oil or non-stick cooking spray.

3.  Mix all seasonings in a bowl.  Cut tofu into strips and coat with seasonings.

4.  Cook until tofu is warm and blackened, about five minutes.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Protein Bars

Although I’m a huge fan of baking, especially during the holidays, preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit doesn’t always sound appealing.  Baking usually involves multiple bowls, countless measuring cups, and too many ingredients; don’t even get me started on the clean-up process.  One thing that always sounds appealing?  These peanut butter protein bars.

I found Blonde Ponytail’s original recipe on Pinterest a while back, and when Sunday midmorning rolled around, I walked into the kitchen, checked the cabinets, and celebrated because I had every component in stock.

Perfect to refuel post-workout, these bars contain two of my favorite things:  peanut butter and protein powder.

In order for your batch to turn out tasty, you must love your protein powder.  Plain and simple.  Chalky, tasteless powder will yield subpar bars.

I used Jay Robb egg white protein powder, and I would really, really appreciate it if you tried chocolate protein powder.  Chocolate and peanut butter?  Done and done.  In the meantime, though, these will more than suffice.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Protein Bars

Ingredients:

1-3/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter
1 cup organic honey
2 cups protein powder
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup chia seeds

Directions:

1.  In a microwave-safe bowl, combine peanut butter and honey.  Microwave for 90 seconds.

2.  Add protein powder and mix well; incorporate oats and chia seeds.  Mix well.

3.  Scoop mixture into pan and refrigerate. (I waited 1.5 hours.)

4.  Cut up and store refrigerated.

Makes about 24 bars.

Almond-Crusted Tilapia

Hi, friends!  Happy Monday!  Thanks for your thoughtful comments on yesterday’s post; I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s in a funk these days.  Although, I must admit, last night’s dinner helped restore my spirits.

If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ve seen this dish appear may times before.

Honestly, I was waiting to share the recipe until the tilapia photographed well, so today’s the day!

I have to give credit where credit is due–it’s my mom’s recipe.  Our mothers really are the best cooks, aren’t they?

Ingredients:

1/4 cup whole natural almonds

2 tbsp. dry breadcrumbs

1 tsp. Montreal steak seasoning

1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

extra-virgin olive oil

dijon mustard

Two, 6 oz. tilapia filets

chopped fresh parsley (optional)

lemon wedges (optional)

Directions:

1.  Place first four ingredients in blender or food processor; process 45 seconds or until finely ground.

2.  Transfer crumb mixture to shallow dish.

3.  Brush mustard over both sides of filets; dredge in crumb mixture.

4.  Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add fish to pan; cook 4 or 5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, or until desired degree of doneness.

5.  Sprinkle with parsley if desired.  Serve with lemon wedge.