CreativEating

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Archive for the category “Dessert”

Banana Bites (and holiday food tips)

Alright people, it’s the season of desserts and snacks. As such, you really probably won’t be eating many meals. Seriously, I don’t think anyone eats one full meal between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and if you try, it’s foiled by dips, charcuterie (I love this word), and four types of cheese cake that you try to ‘plan for’ as you eat. So, instead of fighting this, let’s work with it, shall we? Here are my holiday food solutions:

  • Bring it: If you’re going to a party, bring something with fresh fruit/vegetables or healthy nuts etc involved that you can much on without feeling too terrible about yourself
  • (Dis)Own it: Unless at the threat of physical violence, do not bring home food from events. On the flip side, if you’re hosting, demand your guests take home leftovers (I fully endorse this double standard). The only time this should be reversed is with wine. Seriously, keep the wine you gain from hosting – that’s the best way to get through the post-party cleanup. 
  • Try it: Plan to try everything. Don’t load up your plate with one thing thinking that you’ll get full of that healthy option and not be tempted by other treats. You will be, so just try to keep it all balanced. And try a few new things that look weird to you – you can always leave them on your plate and no one will really know.
  • Move it: No, I don’t mean exercise (though clearly this IS a good idea, this is not my point here) I mean, step away from the food table. Everyone loves to hang out in the kitchen right next to the food. It’s inevitable. But when I stand next to the island covered in finger foods chatting away I can easily down 1/2 a plate of sausage and cheese (crackers be damned, I go right for the bad for me delicious parts) and really this is no good for anyone. So move towards the sink area, or even towards the drinks. It’s much easier to continuously eat bite sized snacks than to end up with 5 drinks going.

Alright, now that we’re done with that… a 10 minute (max) yummy desserty snack you can make at home when you have a little craving or to take with you to a party. Quick banana bites (none of that pesky freezing thing) I threw these together last night when I wanted dessert I didn’t really need and they were very satisfying.

What you need:

  • 2 bananas (I just did one last night and bagged up the toppings so I can make another easily tonight if I want… sneaky)
  • peanut butter
  • chocolate chips
  • shaved coconut
  • some type of nut (I used raw almonds but really any kind are good)

Step 1: Slice the Banana

This sounds more violent than I intended but it kind of made me chuckle, so we’ll keep it. You need to first slice the banana in half length wise.

mmm nanners

Then cut each of these halves into 3 or 4 bite sized pieces (depending on the size of the banana). The original recipe I saw for something similar had you cut little troughs in the banana pieces here. I tried it on one half last night… it’s not very easy, especially if you have greener bananas. That being said, if you want to endeavor to cut little troughs lengthwise in your banana peices for your toppings to set into, by all means, get out a mini melon baller or grapefruit spoon (yes, I tried both of these things) and go nuts.

Step 2: Smear Peanut Butter

Pretty easy really. Just take a knife and put a dollop of peanut butter right on the banana bit (if you’ve carved out a little crevice, put it in there)

See? No need to be neat about it. Why bother? Just get it on there.

Step 3: Chop up Chocolate, Coconut & Nuts

Get out your trusty food processor if you have one. If not, you can crush the nuts in a plastic bag (think about like muddling fruit or something – use a tenderizing mallet or a rolling pin to crush). But if you have one, get that out. Toss in 1 to 2 tablespoons of nuts, 2 tablespoons each of coconut and chocolate chips. Pulse until the mix is fine, but not so fine you can’t recognize any of the ingredients.

There is no artistic way to photograph stuff in a food processor…. trust me, I really tried

Step 4: Sprinkle

Yup, that’s it. Just sprinkle the chopped up toppings right onto the peanut butter’d bananas. Press the toppings in a little so they stick, and then plate. You can freeze these if you like your bananas cold/frozen, but I just keep them room temp. You can layer them in a tupperware with wax paper and take them to parties too. Always delicious, not too guilty, snack or dessert.

*Alternate strategy is to melt the chocolate chips & peanut butter together in the microwave, just put the nuts and coconut in the food processor and then blend those together. It doesn’t look as pretty but it sticks to the banana pretty well and gives a bit more chocolate flavor since it’s melted throughout the topping. This does create a slightly more sticky fingers eating adventure however. Your call. Both are delicious obviously.

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Chia Seeds: Sesame Seeds or Bubble Tea Tapioca Balls? Both?

I was cruising facebook a few weeks ago, seeing what my ‘friends’ were up to (we really need a special word  for facebook friends… frienooks? faciends?). Anyway, one friend had posted a fruit parfait thing she’d made. But where I expected there to be yogurt there were weird gray blobs in it. See?

It reminded me a lot of bubble tea by appearance (which never was my cup of tea… pun intended), but it wasn’t tapioca. I was intrigued. She’d described it as a ‘chia seed parfait.’ So I looked into chia seeds some more. And ya know what? They’re definitely the new hip superfood we should all be eating that Myans and Aztecs ate all the time and we’ve ignored for a few thousand years. Now, while the Mayans and Aztecs didn’t fair so well, from all out accounts it’s not because of Chia.

According to health food experts, we should be eating this. Flax seeds? Meh – has to be shucked to get to the Omega-3 fatty acids. Not so with Chia seeds. Additionally, Chia has a plethora of anti-oxidants, fiber, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper (who knew my body could use this?), iron, B3, and zinc. As a bonus Chia can be stored dry for a long time without losing it’s oomph. All pretty excellent news, so I decided to give this stuff a try.  But two questions remained — where can I get it and how do I eat it?

I searched the local health food section at the generic grocery store – no luck. I could have driven out to a whole foods or something I’m sure, but instead I decided Amazon was my friend. So I ordered a pound of chia seeds. They arrived a few days later in a small box, and inside was a zippered bag like I was buying health food drugs (or at least what I imagine that might be like from watching The Wire, I’m too squeaky clean to know personally). Though I bought a different ‘brand’ of seeds, they all look about the same I think.

Ok, now onto eating!!! How do I eat these things? Two ways:

1)   Sprinkle them a tablespoon at a time onto anything right before eating. It adds a little crunch like sesame or poppy seeds. This is great with stir fry (even tofu stir fry if you go with the CreativEating blog thing). Also good on sauteed veggies if you throw them on as you serve, or tossed in with the granola you top yogurt with. See how chiaseedme.com shows these cute things on stir fry.

But be aware, when these little buggers soak in ANY liquid for about 20 or 30 minutes they morph like transformers from crunchy bits to gelatinous monsters.

2) Ok, not monsters. But they would be weird in stir fry or sauteed veggies. I did try this gelled method though and it was kind of fun (I bet kids would love this weird gooey transformation)!

I soaked about 6 tbsp of seeds in some orange/peach juice in cup overnight in the fridge. Then in the morning I scooped this weird seed-laden jello on top of some cut up bananas and strawberries. My friend’s parfait up top used almond milk (I believe) in place of the juice. A few other places out on the interwebs use soy milk or almond milk, fruit, AND greek yogurt for a breakfast cup. All in all, I bet they’re all good. My juice/chia seed goo was scrumptious though visually unappealing. See?

I will say that if you can, stir it a few times over the first 20 minutes so it doesn’t get set in clumps. But if not, it’s not the worst thing that’s ever happened – you can pick them out if you want. You don’t notice them too much if you have a good balance of fruit.

I’m not sure how much I’ll use chia seeds as a normal part of the diet – as flavorless texture transformers they seem a bit risky. But I do have a pound to go through so I may be won over. I’ve heard chia pudding and chia muffins are pretty yummy and their gel can be a good egg substitute. Stay tuned for my explorations.

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