Tag Archives: Coconut

PB&B(anana) Chocolate Chip Cookies

We brought our rapidly browning bananas home with us, only to find that M&D also had a stash of hastily ripening bananas of their own.  Some might call that a baking crisis; others–a baking heaven.

Plus, one of the many things that I love about being home is that the cabinets are stocked with three times as many ingredients as mine is (“Mom! Do you have chocolate chips?  Coconut?  Peanut butter? Old-fashioned oats? Madagascar bourbon vanilla?  A one-person soup crock that I can take pictures with and then eventually sneak into my laundry to take home without your knowledge?  Yes!!?!”)

So yes.  I love baking at home.

Also, I’ve been taking pictures with Mom’s Canon–you’ll probably be able to tell, because even though I’m only using the most basic auto setting, the pictures still look a million times better.  We might be buying our camera really soon!

PB&B(anana) Chocolate Chip Cookies (original recipe here)

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 C old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 C peanut butter
  • 1/4 C canola oil
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 1/2 t vanilla
  • 1/3 C shredded coconut
  • 3/4 C semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mom kept sneaking small objects into my ingredients picture until it looked like an I Spy book.  What can you find?

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium-sized bowl, mash the banana with the canola oil and peanut butter.  Add the baking powder, salt, and cinnamon and mix.

Add the remaining ingredients (oats, chocolate chips, coconut, and vanilla) and combine thoroughly.  Lick the spoon/beaters/rubber spatula.

Peanut butter, banana, coconut, and chocolate?  Yes, please.

Lay a piece of parchment paper over the baking sheet and drop spoonfuls of batter closely together.  The cookies don’t rise or spread much during baking, so press them into the shape you want (and don’t worry about them running into each other).

Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 15 minutes or until browned.  I underbaked them because I wanted them to be ooey-gooey banana-y bites (and since there’s no egg in these, you can do that).  They are warm, cosy, oozy perfect cookie bites.

So comforting.

Get your milk ready, because between the peanut butter and the chocolate chips, you’re gonna need it.

That’s the soup crock I’m stealing (look away, Mom).

These are also just the thing to recover from a cold workday outside:

Even Henry was found peeking around corners looking for a cookie.

And avoiding the wolfhound.

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Filed under Desserts

Buckwheat Breakfast Bowl

We are out of steel-cut oats.

It’s a horrible, awful, no good, very bad breakfast situation!  No creamy yet crunchy warm bowl of oat-y and banana-y goodness to fill me up every morning.

Luckily, it is spring break soon and I know my mom is just dying to take me to a bulk health food store she’s discovered–and their steel-cut oats are only $1/pound!  So I’m holding out.

That means I’ve had to start playing around with other breakfast grains.  And that’s where buckwheat comes in.

Buckwheat Breakfast Bowl

  • 1/2 C raw buckwheat groats
  • 1 C water
  • toppings: I used frozen strawberries and pure creamed coconut, but you could do anything–let your imagination run wild!

Using the standard 2:1 ratio of water to grains, I brought the buckwheat to a boil and let it simmer for 20 minutes or so until the water had been fully absorbed.

I chopped up three or four frozen strawberries and tossed them in, and then grated some pure creamed coconut over the top.

The smell instantly reminded me of our honeymoon in Antigua, where everything was coconut and strawberry and tropical and warm…

I want to go back.

Mix it all up:

Let it sit for a second and watch something magical happen.  As the strawberries defrost and release liquid, the shaved creamed coconut soaks it up and transforms before your very eyes:

So creamy!  I did not expect that to happen, but it makes sort of obvious sense and I was very pleased with the results.  Oh so very pleased.

Who needs steel-cut oats, anyway?

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Thai Coconut-Lime Peanut Sauce

Girls’ night.

What a great invention, right?.

Combine girls’ night with a lot of wine, a strawberry spinach salad, make-your-own Thai food buffet, and strawberry shortcake, and it’s heaven.  I don’t remember the last time I ate (or gossiped) so much.

First course was my friend Brianna’s salad–spinach, sliced strawberries, fresh mozzarella, and candied pecans with a light balsamic vinaigrette.  I didn’t take any pictures, but I did eat two bowls.  I’m not (yet) a huge salad lover, but next time I have to impress someone I know exactly what I’m making.  I would have been okay finishing dinner here.

Instead, the rest of the girls put together the dinner–pad Thai noodles, with cauliflower, bok choy, and shrimp, chicken or steak cooked in coconut milk.  I made two sauces that we tried out and they both went over really well.  If you’ve never had Thai food, I strongly suggest you go out and have some tonight.  My favorite of the two sauces was the coconut-lime peanut sauce.

Thai Coconut-Lime Peanut Sauce (original recipe here)

  • 1/2 C light coconut milk (I actually used pure creamed coconut and dissolved it in 1/2 C warm water)
  • 1/2 C natural peanut butter
  • 1 T Thai red curry paste (mine was hot so I used a little more than half a T)
  • 2 T lime juice
  • 1-2 T fish sauce (you can use soy sauce too)
  • 2 t tahini
  • 1 t honey
  • 1/4 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t black pepper
  • salt to taste

Combine all the ingredients into a big bowl and stir or whisk until combined.  Soak pad Thai (or other rice noodles) in a bowl of warm water for 30 minutes, then quickly fry for a few minutes until cooked.  The way we served it, we warmed the sauce and spooned it over the cooked noodles once we had picked our toppings, but you could also toss the sauce in with the noodles while you are frying them. 

this is actually a picture of leftovers--bad lighting the first time around!

Peanutty, spicy, and with the mellow flavor of coconut.

Perfection.

And we couldn’t end the meal (though we did have to take a long break) without dessert–which another friend of mine named Brianna made: strawberry shortcake birthday cake.  Filled with a layer of strawberries and topped with fresh whipped cream, it was so good.  Sometimes I forget how good it feels to indulge.

Happy birthday to Lola!

Happy April Fool’s Day (no jokes here, sorry)–new month, new grocery budget.  Hello grocery stores!  I also found out that I am going to be the proud new owner of a hand-me-down ice cream maker from my good friend Jenny’s mom–so many cold and sweet ideas in my near future.

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Filed under Sauces

Coconut Date Banana Bread

I’ll be honest.  I didn’t make this today.  I actually made it a few days ago, but I saved the blog post for this week because I knew I’d be busy (I’m home in Syracuse for the week for Thanksgiving).  I was right!  Mom, Dad, Fritz and I did a lot of shopping for the big meal tomorrow (and some thrift store shopping too, just ’cause we wanted to), and then Jordi and I did a lot of cooking.  I’ve also done about 5,632,396 loads of (free) laundry and basically made my parents’ once-clean house a giant mess.   We’ll have to fix that tomorrow before our guests come over.

But for now, while my vast quantity of food pictures from today are downloading, I’ll take advantage of my previously saved and edited pictures.  And this banana bread is delectable.  I’ve come a long way from Bisquick banana bread–and I’m glad.  It’s a good change.

Coconut Date Banana Bread (adapted from Coconut-Banana Bread from Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads)

  • 1 C flaked unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 C Smart Balance
  • 2/3 C sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 3 T skim milk
  • 1 t lemon juice
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 C whole-wheat flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t each baking soda and salt
  • 1 C mashed ripe bananas (about 2 bananas)
  • heaping 1/3 C dates, chopped

Grease a large loaf pan and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  First order of business is to toast the coconut.  Spread it into a thin layer on a baking sheet.

Toast in the oven for five-ten minutes, checking periodically because you don’t want to let it burn!  They go from brown to black really quickly, so keep an eye out!

How good does that look?  Your kitchen will begin to smell amazing at this point.  Leave the oven on.

In a large bowl or mixer with the flat beater, cream the butter and sugar together.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the milk, vanilla extract, and lemon juice.

Add the baking powder and soda, salt and sugar.  Mix in the flour and blend thoroughly.

Work in the bananas–I cut them and let the beater fully mash them, but that’s because I’m lazy.  You should probably mash them first.

Next, fold in the dates and coconut.  Reserve some coconut to sprinkle on top.

Finally, pour the batter into the prepared bread pan and level the top.  Sprinkle on the reserved coconut and get excited! 

Bake on a middle rack until browned and a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about an hour.  Let the bread cool in the pan for ten minutes, then remove and finish cooling on a wire rack before serving.

May I suggest topping it with some pumpkin butter?  No, really.  Do it.

Fritz and I are dusting off our dancing shoes and going out on the town with my good friend Jamie from high school.  Hopefully I won’t be too sleepy early tomorrow morning because I am so excited for Thanksgiving!  I have no idea how I will document the day for this blog, but what happens, happens–I do know that I will have to awaken in the wee hours of the morning to catch Dad starting on the turkey.  I am playing only a small role in the actual cooking (a few side dishes), but I’ll make sure to photograph everything.  What are you in charge of for Thanksgiving this year?

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Filed under Breads, Breakfast

Good Mornin’ Granola

My sister Erin has mentioned to me that she wants me to post Tharrie’s muesli recipe because she has longed for a large Tupperware of nuts, fruit, oats, and honey to wake up to.  This morning I woke up early already thinking of something healthy and tasty to go with my yogurt this and thought to myself, “Maybe today is the day for muesli!”

Well, I’m sorry Erin. I looked up Tharrie’s recipe and I didn’t have the right ingredients–but I did have enough lying around to make a muesli-inspired granola!  Since we’ve started eating plain Greek yogurt (constantly), I like to add a little crunch on top to mix up the already thick texture.  We usually have granola in the house because Fritz is totally obsessed enjoys an occasional bowl, but there’s always a ridiculous amount of added sugar and other weird ingredients I don’t recognize that I can only assume are added to lengthen its shelf life.  Now that I’m trying to “eat food” (meaning whole, real food ingredients), I decided what better thing to do than make my own!

Also, why does granola cost about $39,568 a pound?  It’s probably much cheaper to make my own anyway.

Good Mornin’ Granola

(Please give me a little leeway with these ingredients–I eyeballed the measurements, and plus, I was just makin’ this whole thing up anyway)

  • 1 C old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 C raw almonds
  • 1/2 C  raw walnuts
  • 2 T ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 C shredded coconut
  • 1/4 C apple juice
  • 2 T honey

Pre-heat the oven to 275 degrees.  Pulse the nuts in a food processor until broken up into large pieces (don’t over process into crumbs–you want the texture of big chunks).

Next, combine all the dry ingredients.

Admire.  Then add the apple juice and the honey.  I started with one T of honey and drizzled a little more over until the ingredients were clumping together.

Mix the ingredients thoroughly, then spread out on a glass pan or metal baking sheet.  Leave some clumps for your own chewing satisfaction.

Bake on a middle rack for about half an hour, or until brown and crispy.  Every 5-8 minutes, use a spatula to check, turn and mix the granola–you don’t want the nuts to burn!  Remove and let cool in the pan.  You can then store in an air-tight container for a week…but it probably won’t last that long.

We sprinkled the granola over plain greek yogurt and added apple slices, raisins, and a bit of brown sugar (but the sugar is not necessary, it’s sweet enough to eat alone).  Fritz was very pleased with the results!

That’s the kind of breakfast you should eat before you spend the day in the city, meeting up with some of your favorite women for lunch and coffee (or tea).  What lucky girl gets to do that today?

Me! It’s me!  I’m going to take the train in about an hour to see my good friend Breanna for a few hours, and then I’ll even get to meet up with Eber on her hour break from work in Bryant Park for some delightfully hot beverages.  Which I probably won’t even want, because it’s supposed to be a high of 65 degrees today!

Might be the best day ever.

(Sorry Fritz).

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Filed under Breakfast