bananas

Completely Board Post #2: Banana Maple Walnut Chia Pudding

Veg-am's Completely Board - Vegan Month of Food 2014

As I mentioned in my last post, I did some menu planning testing earlier this year. One of the things I became fond of (read: addicted to) during that was chia pudding. Before that, I had always been a little afraid to try it. Little did I know it would become one of my favorite breakfasts. So, when I started looking through my Pinterest boards to decide what to try for MoFo, I jumped at this one. I pinned it from Don’t Get Mad, Get Vegan last year during MoFo and, like most of my other pins, I kinda forgot about it…until now.

If you’ve been afraid to try chia pudding before, fear no longer. It’s really super simple and it’s delicious. If you’re afraid of the texture, try taking MamaChandra’s advice to run it through the blender after setting…it really does give a creamy pudding texture. I actually don’t mind the texture, but the look of the black chia seeds in a white pudding is a little gross to me. I can usually find my way past it, but the blender took care of that problem too.

My favorite chia pudding up until now has been a chocolate one with strawberries, nuts, and coconut, but this banana maple walnut pudding may have knocked that one off its pedestal. Sweet, but not too sweet. Creamy with a little crunch from the walnuts (and the few cacao nibs I added). It’s like banana nut bread in a glass. Nom nom nom.

Banana Maple Walnut Chia Pudding

The only thing I think I would do differently next time is a little more chia or a little less milk because it was just a little thinner than I like.

In case you are wondering, yes, I do always put my chia pudding in a cocktail glass. What better occasion to break out the glasses than a healthful breakfast on a brand new day?

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To get the original recipe from “Don’t Get Mad, Get Vegan”, just click on the image of my pin below.

Banana Maple Walnut Chia Pudding

 

Breakfast Bowls: Buckwheat Banana Almond Cereal

In case you don’t already know this, I love breakfast. I’m not always so set on it being traditional breakfast fare though. If I ate it for dinner yesterday, I’m ok with having it for breakfast this morning. Because of the nature of most traditional breakfast foods, that kind of attitude is especially helpful when you’re vegan and gluten & soy free.

Of course, I like traditional breakfast and brunch foods as much as the next person. Waffles, pancakes definitely happen on some weekends around here. But, during the week, I don’t have time for that. So when I want something more breakfast like but more nutritious than boxed cereal, I make my own breakfast bowl.

I think I first got the idea for using cold whole grains in place of cereal when I was reading Thrive by Brendan Brazier.

I use different combinations. Sometimes it’s warm, sometimes it’s cold. But the basic template is this: a grain (cold or warm) , a nut, a fruit & any other flavors you might want to add. Then, I top it all with unsweetened almond milk.

Because I typically eat mine cold (except for the very coldest mornings), I like to keep a grain or two (or three) in glass jars in the refrigerator. I cook enough for a few days and then they’re ready each morning before work.

I’ll try to post some of my other combinations, but this is a favorite:

Buckwheat Breakfast Bowl

Cold buckwheat, 1/2 banana, almond slices, coconut flakes, a sprinkle of cinnamon. Top with cold almond milk and enjoy!

Classics are Classics for a Reason: Banana Puddin’ Pie

Continuing with the thought that classics are classics for a reason… While it’s true that we like things that have stood the test of time, it doesn’t hurt to mix it up.

Take “10 Things I Hate About You” for example. Same basic ingredients as “Taming of the Shrew”, but with a new spin on it.

It was no longer Shakespeare, but a classic in it’s own genre.

With that in mind, I give you …

Banana Puddin’ Pie

I don’t know if banana pudding is a classic in the rest of the world, but in the American south it is everywhere. So whip up this pie the next time you’re serving up burgers and slaw (more on those later in the month) or take it to your next picnic or potluck.  And if you’re in the south, by all means, drop the “g”.

Crust (using the instructions from the Old Fashioned Chocolate Pie at the ppk)

1-3/4 cups Vanilla Wafer crumbs (about 24 of the cookies)
4 Tbsp melted soy-free Earth Balance
3 Tbsp turbinado sugar
1 Tbsp almond milk

Combine all and press into a 9″ pie plate>  (I used a deep dish so there would be room within the crust for the cream topping, but a shallow dish would work too.)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Bake the crust for 10 minutes, remove from oven and let cool.

Filling
2 cups almond milk, divided
2-1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup white sugar
pinch salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
a couple dashes of turmeric, optional (just for color)
2 large, ripe bananas – sliced

In a small sauce pan, combine 1 cup of almond milk and cornstarch with a fork until cornstarch is dissolved.  Whisk in the remaining milk, the sugar and salt (and turmeric if using).  Whisking occasionally, bring mixture to a boil over medium heat.  As soon as the mixture boils, reduce heat to low and begin whisking continuously until the filling has thickened.  this should take about 7 minutes.
Stir in vanilla.

Form a layer of bananas in the bottom of crust, pour in half of pudding filling.  Then repeat with another layer of bananas and the remainder of the pudding.

Let cool for about 15 minutes, then top with a circle of parchment paper to prevent a skin from forming on the pudding.  Refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours.

Serve with your favorite whipped topping .

I used the sweetened coconut cream from Vegan Pie in the Sky – though this batch didn’t thicken like usual.  Ideally, it would have been thick and I would have just spread a layer of it on top of the pie.  Either way, it was delicious!

1 food 5 ways, Bananas, Way #5: Curried Chickpea Patties with Banana-Pineapple Chutney

My original plan for way #5 for bananas was to make banana-coconut short stacks as a sweet breakfast. But – I can’t believe I’m saying this – I was getting a little tired of all the sweet! So I decided to go the savory route for yesterday’s brunch.
The perfect savory/sweet combo? Fruit chutney and just about anything curried. I’m pretty new to the curry powder world, but it was love at first bite. My main use of it so far has been the curried frittata from Vegan Brunch. Unfortunately, it calls for tofu. While it works with the chickpea based Burmese tofu, that takes a lot of pre-planning and sometimes I don’t want to wait that long.
What’s a girl to do? I used the flavors from that frittata and came up with these little curried chickpea patties to go with the sweet, but not-too-sweet banana-pineapple chutney. Served with some roasted cauliflower that was lightly seasoned with nutmeg and salt, this was a great little brunch that saved my taste buds from sweet overload.


Bananas-Pineapple Chutney

Makes about 2 cups
Make this ahead so it has plenty of time to cool and let the flavors marry
Ingredients:
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp dry mustard powder
3/4 cup pineapple tidbits
1 cup water
3 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp Agave Nectar
3 medium bananas, cut in 1/2″ cubes
Directions:
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, saute the onion in the olive oil until onions are translucent and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the ginger and dry mustard powder until the onions are well coated. Stir in the pineapple and cook another 2 minutes. Add the water, lemon juice, agave and bananas. Stir until all well combined. Turn up the heat to bring it to a boil. After it boils, reduce heat to low. Let it simmer, uncovered, until the bananas have broken down to the consistency of mashed bananas and most of the liquid has cooked out. Stir occasionally (This will probably take about 40 minutes, but I wasn’t thinking about the fact that I was trying to evaporate the liquid and left the lid on for a while first, so it took me an hour). Chill until ready to serve.
Curried Chickpea Patties

Ingredients:
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for cooking patties
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1 tsp crushed garlic
1-1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1-1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp curry powder (you may need to adjust this depending on the heat of your curry powder and your tolerance for the heat)
1 medium carrot, grated
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup nutritional yeast

Directions:

In a skillet over medium heat, saute the onion in the olive oil until onions are translucent and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
Add the onion mixture and all the other ingredients into the food processor. Process until the mixture is smooth. There will still be some texture from the rice, but no recognizable chickpeas. Taste for salt and curry powder and add if necessary.
Form 12 small patties from the mixture. (This mixture was perfect for me for forming, but if it’s a little too moist to stay together, add a little chickpea flour. If it’s too dry, add a little water.) Using the same skillet you cooked the onions in, over medium heat, add a little more oil (2-3 tsp) and cook the patties until golden brown, about 5 minutes on each side. I do this in two batches so there’s plenty of room to turn the patties. If using a smaller skillet, you might have to do it in 3 batches.

Tomorrow: Moving on to food #5 – Navy Beans!

1 food 5 ways, Bananas, Way #4: Banana Nut Bread Cookies

You thought I still wasn’t going to post these, didn’t you? Actually, my Saturday has been chock full. I got the pleasure of celebrating the big 5th birthday of the ever-adorable Livi. Her equally adorable mommy (Sarah from I’m Vegan and No I’m not Starving) spoiled me by making gluten free/soy free pumpkin cookies, a hummus & veg plate and a fruit plate. And her Daddy, who probably wouldn’t appreciate being called adorable, even put forth the effort to go find some soy-free chocolate coconut-milk ice cream! BTW, if you saw Sarah’s post yesterday both her rainbow cupcakes and her fondant were amazing! But now I am back home and ready to post…
After 2 tries trying to make these agave sweetened and ending up with less than stellar-results, I went back to my old standard: turbinado sugar. This version was a hit with family and friends that tried them. Some game night friends were very happy to have some left behind for this morning’s breakfast. After I offered to leave some, I found out that one friend was prepared to request (read: nearly demand) just that. The cookies went especially well with a nice dark cup of French Roast Coffee (Thanks, H, for being a great barista!)

These are not your typical cookie. You’re going to think the batter is too thin to give you a decent cookie. But they have a nice banana nut bread consistency with a little crispy edge, almost like a thin muffin top.

And, as a bonus for you xanthan gum haters, there isn’t any!! Bananas are a great binder so I didn’t need it to keep the cookies from falling apart. Without further adieu, I finally present to you…

Banana Nut Bread CookiesMakes approx 3 Dozen

Ingredients:Group 1

1/4 cup rice milk (I used unsweetened, double check that it’s gluten free – some brands use barley)
1/2 cup canola oil
1-1/2 cups mashed bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup turbinado sugar
Group 2
3/4 cup garfava flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup arrowroot
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Other: 1 cup chopped walnuts
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper (this is one case where the paper is probably necessary. Because it’s a thin batter, I think it would really stick).
In a large mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients from group one with a wooden spoon until well combined. Don’t overmix and don’t use beaters, it will make the combination of bananas and arrowroot really gummy.
Using a fine mesh sieve, sift the ingredients in group 2 into the banana mixture. Sift in about half, mix with a wooden spoon, sift in the other half, mix with a wooden spoon.  Fold in the walnut pieces.
Drop the dough (really more like batter) onto the parchment paper by rounded measuring tablespoon. Leave at least 2 inches of room for them to spread. I found that it worked better to put 9 on the pan at a time than my usual 12. When I tried 12, I ended up with conjoined cookies both times.
Bake until golden brown and the edges are just a little darker than golden, about 16 minutes. Leave on the pan for 5 minutes after removing from oven. Place on wire rack to cool completely.
Voila! Banana nut bread taste in a convenient cookie form!
Personally, I don’t eat my baked goods warm. But if you roll that way, I have the sneaking suspicion that these would be good warmed and topped with a little soy-free Earth Balance.
As always, if you have any questions about the directions, feel free to ask. And if you try them, report back and let me know what you think!
Tomorrow, for the last banana post, we’re moving back into savory territory :)

1 food 5 ways, Bananas, Way #4 Banana Nut Cookies

Banana Nut cookies are under construction. I made the first batch and while not a complete failure, they are too dry. If I can get myself to the grocery to get more bananas and nuts, I’m gonna give it another go. Just didn’t want you to think I went AWOL today!

UPDATE 8:00PM : Third time’s a charm. But it’s Nertz night, so I don’t have time to post the recipe until tomorrow. Until then, I’ll leave you with a picture.

1 food 5 ways, Bananas, Way #3: Banana Corn Fritters

When I was trying to decide what recipes I wanted to try for bananas, I came across this one from Eating Well. It wasn’t vegan. It wasn’t gluten free. I couldn’t resist trying to fix that.

My version (presumably similar to the original) was lightly sweet and lightly hot. If I were serving it with something mild, I’d up the chipotle. Then again, I really like a good kick. But if you’re serving them with something spicy like chili or spicy greens and beans, it’s a good balance as is.
Banana Corn Fritters
Pictured here with some spicy greens & beans. I so wish I had written the measurements for that down for you.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1-1/4 cups roughly mashed bananas (about 3 medium)
2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp canola oil, divided
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with canola oil.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, chickpea flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt and cinnamon.
3. In another medium bowl, mix banana, water, Tabasco
4. Add the cornmeal mixture to the banana mixture and stir until just incorporated.
3. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, using 2 Tbsp batter for each (I used an 1/8 cup measuring cup to dish it out), space 5 fritters evenly in the pan. Cook until golden brown, 30 seconds to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Cook a second batch with the remaining oil and batter, adjusting heat to prevent burning. (I had a few extras for a third batch. The Eating Well recipe said it made 10, I got 13. The pan was oiled enough from the previous batches that I didn’t need to add any oil for the 3rd batch.)
4. Transfer the fritters to the oven and bake until puffed and firm to the touch, 8-10 minutes.
Notes:
1. I mis-read the directions and didn’t turn the heat down to medium after the oil was heated. I also used my cast iron skillet that really holds heat. Therefore, mine were much darker than golden brown. They weren’t burned though. All that to say: read the directions, and if you’re using cast iron you might want to turn the heat down a little more.
2. Although I didn’t measure anything, the spicy greens and beans consisted of the following: frozen spinach, black beans, nutritional yeast, garlic salt, and more chipotle Tabasco. I heartily recommend it with the fritters.
3. It’s great to find a recipe that’s gluten free and vegan, but I’ve learned the most from people that tell me WHY they do certain things, so I’m going to try to quickly tell you why I made the changes I made in hopes that it will encourage someone who has previously been afraid to convert their own recipes:
  • Using Cream of Tartar/Baking Soda instead of baking powder: I used to have a corn sensitivity and just got used to doing it. I don’t even think I have any baking powder. So you don’t have to do this, but it works. A 2:1 ratio of Cream of Tartar: Baking Soda is a great sub for baking powder.
  • Using canola oil instead of cooking spray on the pan: Besides the fact that it comes out of an aerosol can, cooking sprays have soy lecithin in them. I don’t even keep it around.
  • Using Water instead of Milk: This didn’t seem like a recipe that needed any creaminess or flavor from milk, especially in that small of a quantity. Besides, I didn’t have an open rice or almond milk.
  • Leaving out the egg: The egg was apparently in this recipe to hold everything together. Bananas are frequently used as a vegan egg substitute and there was enough banana to hold it together. The egg was completely unnecessary.
  • Using the Tabasco instead of ground chile: I had Tabasco. I didn’t have ground chile. And I definitely wanted the chipotle taste instead of just cayenne.
  • Using chickpea flour instead of all purpose flour and using half as much: I don’t substitute with chickpea flour often, but it has a little bit of an egg-y flavor and I was leaving out an egg. Just seemed like a natural substitution. I used half as much because without the egg, there wasn’t as much liquid in the recipe so I didn’t need as much dry

1 food 5 ways, Bananas, Way #2: Banana Split Ice Cream

I love ice cream. I especially love ice cream that you need to chew. I like it to be hard and have other stuff in it. When you are a soy free vegan who doesn’t own an ice cream maker, there aren’t a ton of choices out there that fit that description. One of my favorites growing up was a banana split ice cream. Not a real banana split, but the banana flavored ice cream with the fruit and chocolate mixed in. Lucky for me, Dreena Burton made a cashew banana ice cream that I was able to adapt to replace this childhood favorite.

Banana Split “Ice Cream”



“Ice Cream”:
5 very ripe bananas, cut into large chunks and frozen (1.25 lbs after being peeled about 4 cups frozen chunks)
1/2 cup salted all natural peanut butter (the stir-in-the jar kind)*
1/4 cup agave nectar

*If you have unsalted peanut butter add 1/8″ tsp salt

Add-ins
1/2 cup chocolate chips (Enjoy Life brand are vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free)
1/2 cup frozen pineapple, cut in 1/2″ dice
1/2 cup frozen strawberries, cut in 1/2″ dice
1/4 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts

Directions:
Mix the add-ins together in a large mixing bowl. Put bowl in the freezer while you make the ice cream base so you won’t end up with strawberry juice streaks in the “ice cream”.

Put the frozen banana chunks in food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. If you have a small processor, you might want to do that in stages. Even with my large one, it almost tossed the processor around a bit. Add the peanut butter and agave nectar and process until smooth.

Get out the add-in bowl and scrape the “ice cream” on top of the add-ins. Then fold in the add-in ingredients until they are evenly distributed.

Put the entire mixture in a freezer-safe container and freeze ice cream until hard, overnight-12 hours. I put that time on it because at 5 hrs after making it was too soft, when I woke up at the 12 hour mark it was perfect! If it’s too hard to scoop after refreezing, just leave it sitting out for a couple minutes and it should scoop perfectly.

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I kinda hate to admit it, but I ate this for breakfast as soon as it was frozen hard enough. I just couldn’t help myself. Then again, with all that fruit in it, I guess it’s not so bad.
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Liebster Award:

Thanks to Richa from Hobby and More , Mel from Veganise This! and Kelly from Three and a Half Vegans for each awarding me a Liebster. “Liebster” is German and means ‘dearest’ or ‘beloved’ but it can also mean ‘favorite’. The idea behind this award is to bring attention to bloggers who have less than 200 followers and show your support during Vegan Mofo!
The rules of winning this award are as follows:
1. Show your thanks to those who gave you the award by linking back to them.
2. Reveal 5 of your top picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Post the award on your blog.
4. Enjoy the love and support of some wonderful people on the www!
I’d like to award Liebsters to the following:
1. Amanda at In My Vegan Life
2. Celyn at Miso For Breakfast
3. Celeste at Growing Up Veg
4. Cara at Fork And Beans
5. VeggieAmanda at Newman Improved

1 food 5 ways, Bananas, Way #1: State Fair Style Frozen Bananas

I’ve grown up hearing a story about my older brother visiting my grandparents and asking for a piece of fruit. He was offered apples, oranges, grapes and probably some other varieties of fruit. But with a little pout on his face, he refused them all declaring they didn’t have any fruit because there were no bananas.

I’m pretty convinced that most of my family feels this way about bananas. I’d be willing to wager that not one of us goes longer than a day or two without bananas in the house. So it just seemed a natural choice for my next set of posts. (You can read more about bananas at World’s Healthiest Foods)
One of my favorite things to do with bananas is to wait until they get really ripe, cut them in chunks and freeze them. It’s good to have them ready for smoothies. It’s also good to just break off a few chunks and eat them as a not-too-sweet frozen dessert or snack.
But this week is state fair week in NC. Surprisingly, there are quite a few choices I have of things to eat at the fair. But I have to admit I really miss the frozen bananas (which are up to $3 at the fair now!!) So I decided to attempt my own and was pleased with the results.
My original plan was to use Enjoy Life chocolate chips and some coconut oil to get the chocolate coating on the bananas. I’m pretty sure that would be a quick, easy option. However, I made these on Saturday when my sister was over for a visit. She can’t do the cane sugar and also loves frozen bananas. That made me determined to find another option. If you can’t find vegan, soy-free chocolate chips where you are, my sister made it easier on you :)
State Fair Style Frozen Bananas
Makes 6

You will need:
A small saucepan
A freezer safe container, bottom lined with waxed paper (I used a 9″ metal cake pan)

6 Popsicle sticks – see note #6 (6″ lollipop sticks might work too, but I haven’t tried)
3 Large Bananas (about 8″), ripe but not mushy. You could try 6 small ones, but if they aren’t big enough around, they might crack from the popsicle stick.
4 Tbsp Coconut Oil (I didn’t use the extra virgin kind, if you do expect a little bit of a coconut-y flavor)
6 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3 Tbsp Agave
2 tsp arrowroot, mixed with a fork in 1 Tbsp Water
2 Tbsp water
Chopped peanuts, optional (I didn’t measure but probably had about 1/4 cup whole peanuts)

Directions:
If using the large bananas, cut them in half. If using the small bananas, cut one end off so you have a flat end to insert the sticks. (You can freeze those ends separately to save for a smoothie). Insert the popsicle sticks. Be as careful as you can not to crack the bananas. If you get some hairline cracks, it’s no big deal, just smooth them over with your finger. Put the bananas in the waxed paper lined freezer safe container, uncovered is ok. Freeze them for an hour or two before making the chocolate coating. They don’t have to be frozen hard, but the chocolate will work better if the bananas are really cold.

Chop peanuts, if using, and set aside.

Melt the coconut oil in the sauce pan over low heat. Using a fork, stir in the agave nectar and cocoa powder until combined. At this point, it will probably be clumpy in some spots and watery in others. Add the arrowroot-water mixture and stir until everything is well combined and smooth. Add the remaining 2 Tbsp water and stir until smooth. Immediately remove from heat and pour the chocolate into a plate.

Coat a banana in chocolate as well as you can and then use a spoon to fill in the missed spots. (I used a tablespoon – not the measuring kind) Over another plate, sprinkle on the peanuts. Return to waxed paper. Repeat with the remaining bananas. You can use the peanuts that have fallen on the plate to finish up the last banana.

Put container back in the freezer until bananas are completely frozen. 6 hours to overnight.

Notes:

1. The coating is not crunchy a la magic shell. At first I thought this wouldn’t be a good thing, but it ended up being better because it didn’t crack off the bananas when we bit into them.

2. There will probably be a little leftover chocolate. It will not freeze to become a candy (I tried). At first it looked like it was going to be gummy candy consistency, but leaving it in the freezer longer, it froze into a frosting/spread consistency. We ate it with our fingers, but in retrospect it would have been really good on apple slices or with almonds dipped in.

3. You can eat them before the bananas are completely frozen, but the chocolate gets a little melty. After they are completely frozen, that wasn’t an issue.

4. I haven’t tried it yet, but I think toasted coconut would be a nice alternative to peanuts.

5. I was totally discouraged at the clumpy/watery stage and was about to throw in the towel. I suddenly realized why so much chocolate has soy lecithin in it (emulsifier). Then my brilliant sister, knowing that eggs are an emulsifier, asked me what I use in place of eggs. Going down the list in my head brought me to arrowroot! Yay, B, for saving an almost-failure especially since you knew I had just thrown in the last of the cocoa!

6. You should be able to buy popsicle sticks at craft stores or craft sections of large discount stores. Or you can do what I did and rely on the kindness of a crafty home-school mom that can share a few. Otherwise, I may have felt obligated to make frozen bananas every week so I could warrant the purchase of all those sticks. Thank you, L, for saving me from myself 😉

7. I ended up holding the sticks with a paper towel because I kept getting chocolate all over the sticks. Would have tasted as good, but not looked nearly as pretty.

This was the first time I’ve made them, but I’m sure it wont be the last. Let me know how they go if you try them at home so if the recipe needs tweaking, we can.


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