Friday, June 21, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

You know when you let your bananas ripen too much and they turn just a shade too dark to eat? This happens all the time at my house!  I can almost guarantee to you that no matter the time, day, or week if you walk into our kitchen there will be a rotting banana on the counter.  Don't get me wrong - we love bananas! We love them so much that whenever one of the 3 adults that lives at the house goes out we stop and buy them.  So many times we will all buy bananas on the same day.  One day we will figure out a better system, but until then we will make do.

I never throw away the bananas that are too ripe.  I throw them into the freezer instead.  Then I use them for  2 things.  1 - banana bread - just take them out of the freezer and let them defrost.  Or 2- I make them into a smoothie.  For this I cut the skin off the frozen banana, cut it into chunks and blend.

Now that the hot weather is upon us I find myself craving this smoothie all the time!  It is so delicious, simply sweet, and refreshing!  The key to a good smoothie is a good blender! I recently bought this blender and have been very pleased with it!  I decided to go with Kitchenaid - since I love their stand mixers, and also because it had good online reviews.  Before this blender we had a cheap one that was terrible - it took forever to make a smoothie, and it never did really blend everything - there were always chunks left.  No bueno.

Haha...just realized I grabbed the coconut sugar for this picture and not the cacao get the idea though...right? 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie
For one - or 2 smaller portions for 2

1 frozen banana - skin peeled off and cut into a few large chunks
1 TBS Cacao Powder or cocoa powder
1 TBS ground flax seed
1 TBS honey - or less if you don't like it this sweet
1-2 TBS of peanut butter (depends on how strong you want the PB flavor) Can also use any nut butter you like
1 cup almond milk...or whatever milk you use
handful of ice

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth!

 Make this smoothie, go sit out by the pool, soak up the sun, and listen to this song!

Eat your heart out!


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Super Simple and Super Scrumptious Doughnut Holes

I had a perfect weekend this past weekend.  I had a double date brunch with wonderful friends and good food.  Ran some errands, napped a lot, exercised, watched some TV, went to Mass, stayed in on a rainy afternoon with my man and made a brunch of doughnuts, bacon, and fresh orange juice, and just chill-axed.  Exactly what I needed!!!  Life has been crazy busy and it was so nice to have an uncommitted weekend...especially since I am going to busy for the next 100 weekends in the foreseeable future! : )

I was just talking to a friend of mine about how important it is to take a step back from your regular crazy routine of life every once in a while to rest, relax, and re-evaluate.  It is so easy to get caught up in the chaos of life that you don't even realize how tired you really are.  I honestly believe everyone should take one hard core relaxing week of vacation a year...and then one day of doing nothing once a month.  How nice it would be if we could all afford that luxury!  I am trying to get better at saying no to invitations and obligations when I know I just can't manage to squeeze it all in.  I have to do what I can with what I have been given, and I want to do what I can in the best possible way - and if I am spread to thin then all areas of my life suffer.  Oh the balanced life - how you taunt us so!

I suffer from this weird disease of wanting people to always have the best possible food at every moment.  I hate going to something knowing there will not be snacks and there should be.  I honestly believe that if people are hungry they will not have a good time, and they will not stay somewhere.  For this reason I lure my guests with too much food with the hopes of them having the time of their life and wanting to stay among friends as long as possible.  I guess I should call this disease "extreme Southernhospitalityitis".  I realize this is not a normal mindset to have, and am trying to overcome it by buying a bag of fake food every once in a while when I am in a time crunch...but is painfully hard for me to do this.

If you decide to have people over last minute for brunch - this recipe is a fun and quick thing to serve.  Have you ever made doughnuts before?  If you haven't then you are missing out!  This doughnut recipe is so simple it is shocking!  We had fresh doughnuts on the table in less than 20 minutes!  The important thing to monitor is the correct oil temperature.  If the oil is too cold the dough will just absorb the oil like a sponge and you will have a super heavy and greasy nasty doughnut.  If the oil is too hot the outside will burn and the inside will be raw.  I made the mistake of having the perfect temperature for the first batch, then didn't check the temperature for the second batch - forgetting that once you put the cold dough into the hot oil the first time the oil temperature will you have to wait a few minutes and bring that temperature back up.  When you scoop the dough into the oil they will quickly form these pretty perfectly round little doughnut holes magically before your really is fun to watch!

This was the first recipe that popped up when I google searched for "doughnut hole recipe"...Thanks to Girl vs. Dough for this winner!

Doughnut Holes

adapted slightly from the original 

  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar or brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1  egg
  • 1/2 cup milk (or almond milk-can probably use coconut and rice milks as well)
  • 2 tbsp melted butter (can probably swap coconut oil here)
  • vegetable oil

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg and salt. Add in milk, egg, and melted butter, and mix until well combined.
  • Fill a large skillet or medium pot with vegetable oil, about 2 inches deep. Using a fry thermometer, heat oil to about 375 degrees F. Make sure it stays around that temperature each time you fry the dough.
  • Set out several stacked paper towels next to the stove for drying the doughnut holes, along with a cooling rack with parchment paper underneath.
  • When oil is ready, place about 5-6 teaspoonfuls of dough at a time in the oil and fry on each side for about 1 minute (2 minutes total). I used a small ice cream scoop for this and it worked great!  Remove from the oil and place on paper towel to soak up excess oil. Then, using a fork, roll doughnut in glaze or powdered sugar. Then place on cooling rack to cool slightly before serving warm.

  • Glaze:
    8 oz powdered sugar
    3 TBS milk, water, or almond milk
    1/4 tsp vanilla

    Whisk together until smooth.

  • We were all set to go see one of my favorite bands this week, Mumford and Sons, but one of the guys in the band got really the concert is postponed.  Say a prayer that he recovers and that they reschedule the concert for when I am in town! : ) 

    Go on vacation, sleep in, listen to this song and make these doughnuts when you wake up and be sure to share them with someone!

  • Eat your heart out!
  • Dagny

Friday, June 7, 2013

Homemade Sno Cone Syrups...yum

Nothing says summer like a refreshing sno-cone!  Sno cones are awesome, but sometimes they are too sweet and sugary for my taste.  My church group hosted a big Parish Wars event this weekend - 8 Parishes came up with teams of Young Adults and we played sports all day in the hot sun...and we had a sno cone machine!  Needless to say the sno cone machine was put to good use - the machine was running all day long, and people loved them!  Being the nerd and stickler for quality food that I am - I decided to make homemade sno cone syrup for this big event.  I was surprised at how easy it was, and how delicious it was!

I just bought a bunch of condiment bottles at Target and relabeled them.  I really wanted the clear bottles, but couldn't find any.  This is what the bottles look like after being handled by 80 people for many many hours - they are pretty weather beaten.  The most popular flavor was coconut, raspberry, and then the mango lime.  Don't think anyone wanted the root beer flavor -  which is my family's favorite! Make sure you strain out any seeds or fruit skin/pulp - otherwise they will clog up the spout - like they did with the blueberry flavor...and then no one will try it because they can't get to it! : )  You can make these syrups ahead of time and store them in the fridge...not too sure for how long, but I imagine they will last a while since they have so much sugar in them!

Root Beer Sno Cone Syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Root Beer Extract
  • Brown food coloring - optional

  • Bring the water and sugar to a boil, stirring continuously until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add the Root Beer Extract and food coloring, stirring until well blended. 

  • Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Pour desired amount over shaved ice or into container and store in refrigerator.

Lemon-Lime Sno Cone Syrup

1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup lime juice
2 cups granulated sugar
Drop or 2 of green food coloring or chlorophyll

Bring to a boil sugar and juices. Add a drop of green food coloring.  Then, let cool until completely cold.  Pour over shaved ice or ice blended in a blender.

Raspberry or blueberry Sno Cone Syrup

1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1 bag frozen raspberries or blueberries (10-12ounces)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

  • Bring to a boil sugar and water. Then, let cool until completely cold.
  • Defrost raspberries or blueberries and combine with lemon juice. Blend until very smooth in a blender. Strain through a sieve to remove seeds or skins..
  • Combine cooled syrup and raspberry mixture and pour over shaved ice or ice blended in a blender.

Coconut Sno Cone Syrup

3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup canned coconut
2 tsp coconut extract

Bring sugar, water, and coconut to a boil until sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat and add the coconut extract.  Add blue food coloring if you want.  I added it because at this pint the syrup  was clear and if people can't see what they are pouring they just keep pouring.

  • Mango Lime Sno Cone Syrup
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen mango pieces
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 8 limes)
  •  Boil sugar and water. Then, let cool until completely cold.
  • In a blender, mix mango pieces and lemon juice to a very smooth puree.
  • Combine cooled syrup and mango-lime mixture. Pour over shaved ice or ice blended in a blender.