Healthier Banana Coffee Cake with Maple Oat Topping

A quick cake for when you need something a little bit on the healthier side.

bananacoffeecake

 

I had a rough morning a few days ago.  Then I gave myself a pep talk and remembered that being healthy is something I have to consciously do everyday. For me, being normal means eating three meals a day, focusing on eating a lot of vegetables and protein and NOT eating 3 slices of cake after lunch.   Pretty simple right?

The reality is I’m always going to want dessert, and eating dessert is ok in moderation. Eating a donut, chips and ice cream all in the same day (aka this past Sunday) is a little too much for me .  There is definitely a balance.

Somedays I want to embrace it and make real, delicious desserts, because I love baking.  But then other days, I want to make healthier alternatives with a little more consideration for the ingredients, like this cake:

bananacoffecake3

It’s lower in sugar than traditional cake and gluten-free (if that matters to you).  It only uses whole oats so you don’t have to worry about processed flours.

Healthier Banana Coffee Cake with Maple Oat Topping

1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup rolled oats, ground*
1/2 cup almond flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 medium ripe  bananas, mashed
1/2 tbsp powdered sugar (optional, for dusting)

For Topping:

1/4 oats
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp maple syrup

Pre-heat oven to 350F.  Grease 6 inch baking pan (I used a springform pan).

In a bowl, mix together oil, maple syrup, egg and vanilla.  Set aside.

If you haven’t done so already, grind your oats in the food processor (or blender like a vitamix). *use gluten-free oats if you’re gluten intolerant

Add dry ingredients to oil mixture.  Stir to combine.  Lastly, fold in the mashed banana.

In a small bowl combine ingredients for topping.

Pour batter into baking pan, sprinkle oat topping on top and bake for 30-40 minutes or until cooked through (I think might took about 40 minutes).

Allow to cool.  Dust with powdered sugar if you’d like (optional).

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This turned out great, but doesn’t any type of banana cake/bread always turn out amazing? I think next time I’d try reducing the maple syrup some more.

If you’re curious about the nutrition information on this, here it is:

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 3.17.17 PM

This does not include the topping and each serving is 1/8th of the cake (a small ish piece).

Not the best and not the worst.  I guess that’s what it’s about overall, right?  Balance.

 

 

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Avocado Pesto Hummus

I’m loving the fact that it’s now light out until about 7pm.  What I’m NOT loving is that it’s still dark out when I go to the gym.  There’s nothing less motivating than waking up when it’s still dark out.

So while it’s still light out, I had all these hopes and dreams for magical creations I was going to make after work, photograph, enjoy and blog about.  Then I remembered that more cooking means more washing dishes and that suddenly sounded unappealing.  As much as I wanted to hit up Trader Joe’s for a box of Puffins for dinner, I decided to make something quick and easy.

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And seriously guys, this was all sorts of amazing.  You really need to make this, spread it on toast and stuff your face off.  That’s what I did.  Why should you?

Top 5 Reasons You Need to Make This:

    1. It’s healthy!  Lots of good fats from avocado
    2. It’s vegan! Let’s love the Earth a little bit more and eat less meat (especially if you’re in California.  There’s a drought folks!).  This spread still packs in the protein.  This whole recipe (which serves 4) has about 29g of protein!
    3. It’s crazy delicious.  Seriously.  So good.
    4. Avocado. Enough said.
    5. It’s ready in about 3 minutes, and you’re hungry so what are you waiting for?

BONUS REASON: It’s a great excuse to eat bread, not that you need one. Avocado Pesto Hummus 3

Avocado Pesto Hummus

1 can (15oz) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 avocado, pitted and peeled
1 clove of garlic
1 tbsp nutritional yeast, heaping
1 small handful of fresh basil leaves (I used about 7 large leaves)
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or Vitamix (which is what I used).  Pulse until combined.  I wanted mine a little bit chunky so I didn’t pulse it too long, but if you want it smooth you can do that too.

Avocado Pesto Hummus 1

Spread on your favorite bread or serve with pita chips or raw veggies and enjoy!

Do you need any more convincing?  I’m not sure how else to tell you this is basically delicious and awesome for you.  Eat it up!

Are you an avocado lover? Please tell me you are!

Discovering Indoor Exercise and Roasted Vegetables

As much as I hate to admit this, being at my parent’s house was driving me crazy.  For some reason, being there makes me the most sedentary person on the planet.

Example: I watched every episode (5 1/2 season) of How I Met Your Mother in the nearly 3 weeks I was home.  Hilarious show! But that’s wayyyy too much TV.

The truth is, I feel better when I’m more active.  I like walking places and working out.  It just makes me feel better about myself.

So now that I’m in Ithaca, I’m trying to find ways to feel better about myself and my health… despite this:

I won’t lie.  The weather here can be terrible.  I walked to meet up with some friends and my toes were numb even though I was wearing tights, thick socks and snow boots.

But to keep myself moving, I present to you, my home gym:

Real state of the art, right?

Lately I’ve taken to doing circuits while watching episodes of last season’s The Biggest Loser.

Circuit 1: 25 Step ups
Circuit 2: 20 crunches
Circuit 3: 25 jumping jacks
Circuit 4: 20 bicycle crunches
Circuit 5: 25 bunny hops (back and forth over my computer charger)
Repeat

Not the most exciting work out ever but definitely better than sitting and doing nothing.  I’ve also recently discovered ExerciseTV online!

I made another discovery.  It’ll revolutionize lunch (or dinner… for me, at least).  Okay so I didn’t really discover it.  Rather, it’s new to me.

Roasted Broccoli

Who knew it could be so delicious.

What you need:

  • Broccoli, Carrots, Onions, etc.
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • baking sheet
  • oven preheated to 400F

Combine broccoli, other vegetables, olive oil, balsamic vinergar, salt and pepper.  Put it all on a baking sheet like such:

Roast at 400F for about 25 minutes.

Makes a wonderful side dish.  I’m so pleased!  Last night I went and bought more broccoli just so I could have it again.

Definitely recommend it if you haven’t tried it.

Off to try to get some work done, or at least move myself a bit.  Have a wonderful day!

Food Snob

I don’t like to consider myself a food snob.  Some people wear that card proudly.  Not me.  I like fresh, whole foods but would be willing to enjoy some Pillsbury product if someone made me something.

That being said, I’ve had a box of Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancake Mix sitting in the cupboard since August 2009.

Now this pancake mix is supposed to be on the healthier side.

The ingredients are: Whole Wheat Flour, Whole Grain Yellow Corn Meal, Buttermilk solids, Dextrose, Leavening (monocalcium phosphate, baking soda) and salt.

I’ve made pancakes and waffles numerous times, always refusing to use the mix.

Why? I’m not entirely sure.  I guess it was the food snob in me turning my nose up at the box, reassuring myself that my own combination of flour, eggs, milk and baking soda would surely be a million times better.  This morning I decided to get over that silly attitude and use the box mix to make some waffles.

Because I can never keep things simple, I added blueberries to one and a tablespoon each of unsweetened coconut and white chocolate chips to the other.  Obviously they were topped with bananas.

Tasty enough.  I like the grainy texture.

At the risk of sounding like a food snob, I like mine better.  For some reason I always think box mixes taste salty!  When I was little I hated pancakes because my mom used to make them with Bisquick (and it wouldn’t surprise me if that box of Bisquick she used was expired), and they always just tasted REALLY salty.  Then I tasted non-Bisquick pancakes and fell in love.

Oh and I used Wegman’s Butter Flavored Light Syrup.  How’s that for not being a food snob?

What do you think of pancake/waffle/box mix?  Do you use it?  Do you like it?  Is it unhealthy?

Lentil Chili over Sun Dried Tomato Cornmeal Waffles

Ever since my friend Liz left me her waffle iron for the summer, I’ve had waffles on the brain.

It sits in the living room next to my basil plant and mini rose bush, because there’s no where in the kitchen to put it.

I basically think about waffle ideas all the time. In the shower.  On runs.  During movies.

Today was no exception.  It was kind of cold out today (low 60s), something warm and tasty was in order.

Lentil Chili

1 onion, diced
1 tsp garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 can of diced tomatoes
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne
1 cup lentils
2 cups water or vegetable broth
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt (optional)
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1 smart dog (or real hot dog if you eat meat), diced, optional
1/2 bunch of kale (about 7 leaves), cleaned, stemmed and finely chopped

Heat oil in a pot.  Add onions and cook for a few minutes.  Add garlic and cook for an additional minute.  Add can of  tomatoes, spices, lentils, water and corn.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add kale and smart dog and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until lentils are tender.

Serve over savory sun dried tomato cornmeal waffles

Sun Dried Tomato Cornmeal Waffles

1/4-1/3 sun dried tomatoes (about 10 pieces), rehydrated or packed in oil
1 cup buttermilk (or the old trickeroo 1 tbsp of vinegar + enough milk to fill up 1 cup, let sit for 10 mins)
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 egg white
3 tbsp olive oil

Blend together rehydrated sun dried tomato and milk until smooth.  Add eggs pulse.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking soda, baking powder, salt, parmesan cheese.  Gradually pulse in dry ingredients until just combined and smooth (make sure to scrape the sides of the blender).  Pour into a hot waffle iron, bake for 3 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.  Makes 2 huge belgian waffles and probably a few regular waffles.  Enough for 4 people.

Honestly, this might be one of the best things I’ve ever made.  Sort of like a better version of corn bread and chili, right?

Who knew savory waffles could be so good!

Not only was it ridiculous quick and easy, it’s pretty healthy!  The lentil chili is vegan and all sorts of healthy (because I put kale in everything) and the waffles… well we all need a little bit of carb and fat in our life.  We especially need sun dried tomato!  You could probably blend in some spinach or kale to sneak in some more vegetables.

You can also freeze the waffles if you have leftovers then pop them in the toaster oven when you’re ready to enjoy them again!

Try it.  You won’t regret it.

Well, I’m headed to the middle of nowhere NY to do some stuff for my internship then I’m headed out of town for the weekend!

Have a great 4th of July!!

Lentils, Quinoa and Kale

I swear the weather in Ithaca has terrible mood swings! It’s cloudy and gross out today.

The day started off with more World Cup and waffles, but I’ll spare you that.  I’m sure your tired of hearing about waffles and the World Cup (not that I’m going to stop talking about it… more on that later).  In between games, I went for a run.  It was great!  5 miles that flew by! It probably helped that it was pretty cool out.

For dinner, I decided I should probably finish up the kale I got last Saturday before it goes bad.  This ensued…

Lentil, Quinoa, Kale Sautee

1 tsp olive oil
1 shallot, sliced
1 bunch of kale, cleaned and chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1 cup cooked lentils
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup tomato sauce (aka pasta sauce, or sautee some fresh tomatoes and herbs with the shallot if you have them instead!)
3 eggs

Heat the oil in a pan, add shallot and cook for 2 minutes.  Add kale and cook down for a few minutes.  Stir in pasta sauce, quinoa and lentils.

While kale is cooking, boil some water to poach eggs.  Once water starts boiling, slowly slide in raw eggs and poach for 3 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon.

Serve quinoa, lentil, kale mixture on a plate, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and top with poached egg, because really everything tastes better with a runny yolk.

I like this because it’s quick, easy and healthy, but also because you can easily adjust the measurements to feed as many or as few people as you need.

Not gonna lie.  I’m a little bummed the US lost today (although I’m not completely surprised).  Sort of put a damper on my night.  Although I will say I’m looking forward to tomorrow!

Germany vs England in the morning.
Mexico vs Argentina in the afternoon.

My guesses:  Germany beats England.  Argentina beats Mexico.

I hope I don’t jinx them!

What do you think?  Not that into it?

I think I might do some baking tonight since 1) I’m a little bummed and 2) it’s not that hot and 3) I really have nothing else to do!

Have a great night!

Quinoa and Black Beans on Lemony Kale with a Tangy Spice Sauce

Holey Moley it’s hot today!   Luckily, the apartment I’m living in this summer is very well ventilated!  It’s always about 15 degrees cooler than my friend’s apartment across the street.  But enough about the weather… Lunch… Remember the three bunches of kale in my CSA this week?

I ate an entire bunch for lunch!

Quinoa and Black Beans on Lemony Kale with a Tangy Spice Sauce

1 tsp olive oil
1 bunch of Kale, washed, stemmed and chopped
1/2 lemon
salt and pepper
1 cup cooked black beans (I boiled mine with an entire onion, a bunch of cilantro and garlic)
1 cup cooked quinoa (boiled with onion powder and garlic powder, or cooked with vegetable broth)
Tangy Spice Sauce (recipe below)

Heat oil in a pan.  Add kale and garlic.  Sautee for a minute.  Add lemon juice, salt and a pepper and sautee for another minute or two.  Serve kale on a plate, top with quinoa and black beans.  Drizzle with tangy spice sauce and enjoy!  Serves  2-3.

Tangy Spice Sauce

1/4 cup greek yogurt
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp paprika
few shakes of cayenne (optional)
Pepper to taste

Just stir it all together!

Sounds like a weird combination right?  But it worked!  Pretty tasty and pretty healthy!

In other news, guess what arrived in the mail yesterday!!

A 50mm f/1.8 lens!!

Woo!  I’ve been taking pictures of random things all day but mostly of my toes and basil.  I’m going to need to find a better subject because my toes aren’t cute and my basil will probably get eaten soon.

Lastly, Sara and I made donut holes using Smitten Kitchen’s recipe, except we were our usual selves  and added cinnamon and cayenne to both the dough and the glaze.  Highly recommended.

Yes, they were deep fried.  That was a first for me.   I won’t lie.  I’m not sure I want to do that again…

Have you ever deep fried something?  What was the last thing you deep fried?