Tag Archives: banana

Healthy Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

One day I was perusing Pinterest (addict that I am) when I came across a recipe for breakfast cookies. Read that again. Breakfast. Cookies. COOKIES YOU CAN EAT FOR BREAKFAST.

Naturally, I had to adapt them for my own. I added coconut for a little more sweetness, and nuts for crunch, but this recipe is easily altered to satisfy your tastes. I’m going to add peanut butter to mine next time. They make as good of a dessert as they do breakfast, too.

Healthy Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies:
Makes about 2 dozen
1 1/2 cups of rolled oats
2 ripe, mashed bananas
1 cup of unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
1 tsp cinnamonto taste cinnamon
1/8 cup chopped pecans or almonds (optional)

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
2) Spoon out teaspoonfuls of batter onto a baking sheet and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
3) Let cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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Banana Pudding

It’s difficult to say exactly when Southern culture wooed its way into my heart and spread, like kudzu, straight into my stubborn Yankee soul. Born in New York and transplanted before I could even start school, I felt like a vagabond. A Girl Without a Region. So, I clung to the only identity I thought I had, knowing that any real Southerner would pronounce me a fraud the moment I opened my mouth and produced any word with a short “o” sound. (“D-aw-g,” “aw-fice,” and “c-aw-fee” were all dead giveaways.)

For much of my adolescence, I fought valiantly against any influences that hailed from below the Mason-Dixon line. In my earliest years in North Carolina, I argued with countless other children that “y’all” was merely a contraction and not, in fact, a real word. I refused to participate in our high school tradition of wearing camouflage and neon orange to football games. For that matter, I refused to acknowledge football, period. I always chose Dunkin’ Donuts over Krispy Kreme during “which is better?” doughnut debates.

Over the years, I made a few concessions. I went to Bojangle’s for lunch, on occasion. I began saying “ma’am” when I got my first job. I learned to slow down. (Or, rather, I tried to learn. I’m not entirely sure I am capable of the task.) Sometimes, I ate Krispy Kreme donuts. And liked it.

As I’m sure you can guess, I learned to love the South through food. Maybe it was the cold, crunchy fried chicken my middle school friend always shared with me at lunch. Maybe it was the smoky dry ribs I devoured in that iconic basement barbecue restaurant, Rendezvous, in Memphis. Or the pimento cheese on soft, pale bread. Or the grits, shiny with bacon grease and sprinkled with grilled shrimp. Or the cornbread, which speaks for itself.

All I know is, one day I was criticizing the number of Confederate flags stuck to pick-up trucks and flying from flagpoles, and the next I was correcting the misinformed people I met in D.C. who still subscribed to antiquated Southern stereotypes. And then, one night, I said “y’all.” And meant it.

I’m not suggesting that I have become a Southerner. I’m not sure it’s an identity you can adopt, particularly when I’m still harboring a decidedly non-Southern accent. Rather, I like to think I’m a hybrid. I can appreciate the best of both worlds, and recognize the worst, too.

One of the best things about the South, by far, is the banana pudding. (Or banana puddin’. Your choice.)

I cannot recall the first time I indulged in what was likely more than one serving of this layered delight, but my most fond memory of banana pudding is on a summer evening in Beaufort, eating banana pudding by the bowlful, often adding a spoonful of hot fudge or two. (We had no concept of restraint that summer.) A close second in the memory department is eating banana pudding in Munich last year, when the Icelandic volcano left me “stranded” in Germany.

My hostess loved it so much, I thought I’d take another stab at the creamy, Southern classic, served up for a European audience. And this time, I made the pudding completely from scratch. And I will also acknowledge Paula Deen for her contribution, as much as it pains me. Her original banana pudding recipe is here.

Banana Pudding:
Serves 8
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 cups milk
4 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
4 medium bananas, sliced
1 (12-ounce box) vanilla wafers
1 cup whipped cream

1) Heat a double boiler (or create your own with a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of water) on the stove. Meanwhile, mix together sugar and cornstarch in a bowl. Add sugar and cornstarch to the pot and slowly stir in milk. Let thicken slightly.
2) Take a few spoonfuls of the pudding and stir into the bowl containing the beaten egg yolks to heat (temper) the eggs so they won’t overcook in the pot. Then add the egg mixture to the pot and stir for another 2 minutes. Pudding should coat the back of the stirring spoon. Remove pudding from heat and let cool.
3) In a baking dish (9×9 works best, but I used a more rectangular baking dish and it was fine), alternate pudding, bananas and wafers, beginning and ending with pudding. Be generous with the banana slices–slices should be touching.
4) Top the pudding with whipped cream. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Do you identify yourself regionally? If so, from what region? Do you think it’s possible to “become” Southern?

Bananas Foster Cheesecake

Forget banana bread. From now on when I have bananas lying on my counter on the verge of disgusting, they’re going into cheesecake.

I’ve never been impassioned by plain cheesecake, preferring to drown mine in cherry topping or fresh strawberries. The fruit makes the dessert healthy, right? I also enjoy throwing fruit into the cheesecake itself and opting to drown the cheesecake in caramel sauce, apparently.

This recipe is especially wonderful because the cheesecakes are in individual containers–no fighting over who gets the bigger slice.

This recipe comes from Tasting Table. When it arrived in my inbox, I swooned. Audibly.

Bananas Foster Cheesecake:
Cheesecake
8 ounces cream cheese
1 and 1/4 cups banana purée (made from 3 very ripe bananas)
1 teaspoon gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or, in a pinch, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Graham cracker, for garnish

Sauce
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons dark rum

1. In a large, heatproof bowl, combine the cream cheese with the banana purée and place the bowl above a saucepan of simmering water. Stir the mixture until the cheese melts. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let it bloom for 1 minute.
2. While the cream cheese and banana mixture melts, use another bowl to combine the cream with the sour cream, sugar and vanilla seeds. Whip until medium peaks form, about 3 minutes. (You could do this by hand, but using a mixer helps a LOT.)
3. Whisk the gelatin into the banana mixture until well-combined. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and add the salt. Whisk in half of the cream mixture, then, using a rubber spatula, fold in the remaining cream mixture.
4. Divide the batter among six glass cups. Gently tap the glasses to settle the filling and whip any excess from the sides. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
5. To make the sauce, in a medium saucepan, combine the sugar with the water and cook over medium-high heat, without stirring, until dark amber, about 8 minutes. Turn off the heat and carefully whisk in the cream. Whisk in the butter, then the rum. Transfer the caramel to a heatproof container, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
6. To serve, drizzle the cheesecakes with the caramel sauce and garnish with graham cracker.

By the way, there will be leftover caramel sauce. It tastes good on a spoon or on ice cream. How versatile.

Banana Bread and a Desperate Plea

Apparently I’m not yet over the concept of breakfast week. Or, more accurately, the bananas that ripened all too quickly in my pantry wanted in on the early-morning action.

Speaking of action, this blog has been seeing a lot of it recently. If you’re new here, or even if you’re an old friend, I’d love for you to leave a comment and tell me about yourself–why you’re here, what you like to eat, whether you live in the Triangle and want to be Real Life friends… let me know!

Pretty please?

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart’s. I added chocolate chips because there was no reason not to.

Banana Bread:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chocolate chips, if desired

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9–inch loaf pan and set aside. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl for several minutes, until fluffy. Add eggs and beat to combine.
2) In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture, and mix until just combined. Add bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla. Stir in nuts (and chocolate chips, if you want) and pour into prepared pan.
3) Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of bread cake comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Let rest in pan for 10 minutes, then place on a rack to cool.