Creamy Banana Smoothie

Creamy Banana Smoothie

This smoothie, invented by my brilliant friend Jake, is so creamy and rich it borders on milkshake. My partner actually said that he prefers it to a DQ cookie dough blizzard (after eating both back to back in the same day). What?! How?! I’ll tell you: frozen bananas and whole milk. Blended together they make an ice-cream-like base to which you can add any number of healthy treats. And Jake, in all of his wisdom, adds peanuts for crunch, kale for kicks, and oatmeal to fill his belly after one of his crazy 100-mile bike rides. The resulting creamy banana smoothie makes the perfect breakfast or post-workout treat. So go ahead, treat yourself to a breakfast milkshake. I mean smoothie.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 banana sliced into chunks and frozen
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp. salted peanuts
  • 1 large kale leaf (stem removed)
  • ½ tsp. of honey (or less if banana is quite ripe)
  • Pinch of salt

INSTRUCTIONS
Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

SERVES
1 person

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Rhubarb Cake

Rhubarb Cake

In Minnesota we make great use of the abundance of summer rhubarb. The tart stalks are particularly tasty chopped fine and added to desserts such as cakes, pies, and sweet jams. My mom’s rhubarb cake is a great example for how to highlight rhubarb and it is an all-around family favorite. Since I no longer crave super sweet desserts, in this version I tone down the sugar and substitute with honey. I also use whole-wheat flour for a more filling, wholesome treat. The leftover cake is great for breakfast, especially when accompanied by a cup of coffee or hot tea.

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup butter (softened)
  • 1 and ½ scant cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. allspice
  • ¼ tsp. cloves
  • 1 and ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups finely chopped rhubarb
  • ½ cup chopped nuts
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • About 3 tbsp. honey

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, blend the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Incorporate the egg, vanilla, and buttermilk. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, allspice, cloves, and 1 tsp. of the cinnamon. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and combine. Stir in the chopped rhubarb. Pour the cake batter into a buttered baking dish.

Pour the nuts, coconut, and remaining 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon into a mixing bowl, drizzle with honey, and stir. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the top of the cake. Bake for about 40 minutes.

SERVES
16 to 24 people

Coconut Cinnamon Granola

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I have always considered yogurt parfaits to be a totally decadent breakfast reserved for special occasions. But when I learned how to make my own granola I started eating yogurt parfaits several days of the week. By now I have experimented with granola quite a bit, and this is my favorite way to do it. The combination of coconut, cinnamon, and honey is nutty, rich, and subtly sweet. Serve over yogurt with fresh raspberries for a tasty treat!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ¼ scant tsp. salt
  • 1 ½ cups rolled oats
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup dried coconut flakes
  • ½ cup pepitas
  • 1 ½ tsp. cinnamon

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Using a medium mixing bowl, melt the coconut oil in the microwave until it becomes liquid. Whisk in the honey, vanilla, and salt. Mix in the oats, sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, pepitas, and cinnamon. Pour the granola mixture on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread the granola evenly in a ¼ inch thick layer. Bake for about 25 minutes, depending on how crunchy you prefer your granola. Less than 25 minutes will produce relatively blond, chewy granola, where as more than 25 minutes will produce a crunchier granola. If you leave the granola in for longer than 25 minutes keep an eye on it to ensure that it does not become overly brown (burnt).

SERVES
6 – 8 people

Poached Eggs in Smokey Garlic Tomatoes

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This tomato and egg dish is a favorite weeknight dinner and weekend brunch in my household. It is easy, filling, and between the tomatoes, garlic, feta, smoked paprika, and cumin has a great balance of flavor. It’s also packed with vitamins (C, K, A, B, E, D) protein, potassium, fiber, folate, calcium… the list goes on. I highly recommend for any time you’re craving a dish that is both healthy and satisfying.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 – 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small or medium onion
  • 4 – 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large jalapeño
  • 1 large russet potato *
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 3 tsp. smoked paprika**
  • One 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup of feta cheese crumbles
  • 5 – 6 eggs
  • Chopped parsley for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a deep-sided 12-inch skillet (we love to use cast iron for this) over medium-high. Meanwhile, finely chop the onion and add it to the pan. While the onion starts to cook, chop the garlic and jalapeño, add to the pan, and stir. Peel and chop the potato and stir into the aromatics.

Let the potato cook for a few minutes until brown on one side before stirring. Continue to brown the potato for a few minutes longer before adding the cumin and paprika. Stir the mixture and allow it to cook one minute. Then add the tomatoes and simmer for 15 minutes to reduce and allow flavors to develop. Be sure to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan upon adding the tomatoes.

After reducing the sauce gently incorporate the feta cheese. Then, create 5 or 6 divots in the sauce in which to crack the eggs. Carefully crack the eggs into the prepared divots and place the whole pan in the oven. Cook for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes the eggs might appear to be undercooked, but really should be cooked through with soft or partially runny yolks (I always second guess whether or not they are done, but that’s just because I am not used to seeing them cooked this way). Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

SERVES
5 – 6 people

* Some versions of this dish call for one 14.5 oz. can of garbanzo beans (drained) in place of the potato. I like both versions but my partner prefers potatoes, so that’s what we tend to use.

** You can also use mild or sweet paprika, but the smoky stuff gives the dish a wonderful flavor