Grilled Bananas

Seriously, I must have had my thumb up my butt for a while because I’ve never heard of or thought to try making grilled bananas. This is coming from a girl who LOVES herself some tostones and sweet plaintains. LOVE! So, when I was flitting about on Pinterest and I saw a post on this, my eyes grew into saucers.

I read a few “recipes” and tips on how to make them so I decided to throw some stuff together and get a little creative.

I started off with two bananas. I didn’t wanna go overboard since this was a first time and I wasn’t sure how the kids would like it. They love bananas but kids think any slight change to anything is means for stoning.  I had just bought these green ‘ol bananas. I think they make sure the organic ones are extra green so that people eat the pesticides.  ANYWAYS, I cleaned them, patted dry and then cut the ends off, just so it looked a little more uniform. I, then, carefully cut the bananas down the middle.

This is where I got a little creative. First, I brushed some coconut oil on my cast iron pan and grabbed one of the baby’s bowls. I put in about a tbsp agave nectar, tsp cocoa powder, 1/4 tsp apple pie spice and mixed it into a watery paste. I got my brush and coated the inside of the banana in these amazing concoction.

I arranged the bananas in my pan, which I had heated to medium, insides down. I let them sit about 5 minutes and then flipped them onto the peel side and cooked an additional 5 minutes. I then carefully removed them and placed them on a place, insides gloriously up. I think the most important part of this is having a well oiled and well heated pan so that you get that lush sear of the sugars.

The ‘meat’ of the banana was so soft and sweet. The choco-cinnamon flavor really popped. I think the hardest part was peeling the banana out of the half peel…I think I broke every one of them, so if you want to serve these, I’d say keep them in the peel and let the guest deal with the problem!

HA!

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Pepper Hearts

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I made a SUPER delicious and quick lunch today. Baby McDorkin, soon to be 2, annihilated his and then stole mine. I almost went into a fit of depression.

Fried Rice

1 cup water

1/2 cup brown rice

olive oil

1 tablespoon+ each of carrots, onion, pepper

1 clove garlic diced

1 teaspoon ginger, diced

1/2 tablespoon soy sauce

1 egg

garlic powder and black pepper to taste

You can adjust all of the amounts to how much you are making. This came out to one cups worth, so if you want 2 cups of fried rice, double the rice recipe and add extra vegetables. Easy peasy. First, cook your rice until tender. In wok, put a little olive oil and all of the diced veggies. Sautee until nice and soft and the house smells like you could eat it. Add the rice right into the pan and soy sauce and mix it through. Push all of the rice to the side and crack your egg into the pan and scramble it. Once it’s cook through, mix it all together. Add garlic powder and black pepper to taste. Uh-mazing.

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I took a side by side of a piece of bread from the super market and a slice of bread from a loaf that I made. The loaf I made is 100% whole wheat and it’s super yummy, though I have been refraining and I make it for my little one who is addicted to peanut butter and jellies.

These were toasted for the same exact amount of time but the grocery one turned into a burnt up brick while my slice was perfection. (Mine is the left, store bought is right)Image

Homemade bread is superior. Especially when that aroma fills your house.  /drool

Killer Meatballs and Homemade Pasta Sauce

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I have come to the realization that store bought pasta sauces are just…Meh. All salt and indigestion and not even that tasty.  We’ve been using just diced tomatoes in our pastas for a couple of weeks and I’m actually pretty happy with that. The flavor is there but it’s not overwhelming and I don’t feel like I will vomit tomato bile.

I did decide to try out making a pasta sauce the other night to go with meatballs I had been craving like a wild beast.  I wanted to keep it simple–

Simple and Clean Pasta Sauce

2 tomatoes, diced

half medium onion, diced

a few cloves of garlic, your preference as to how many( i used 3)

1/4 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp dried basil

garlic powder and black pepper to taste

sprinkle of red crushed pepper, to taste

 I put about 3/4 of the mixture into my processor and gave it a few pulses and left the rest whole, because I like the chunks. If you prefer a smoother sauce, process the whole thing.  Put everything in a pot and cover, let it simmer for about 20-30 minutes or until you are ready to serve your meal. You can add olive oil if you prefer, I didn’t because I was putting meatballs that I had cooked in olive oil straight into the sauce to simmer.

You can remove the skin from the tomato if you prefer to. You just need a pot of boiling water, lightly slice an X with a knife into the bottom of the tomatoes and carefully put them in the hot water. Leave them in there for only 10 seconds and then immediately remove them and dunk them into an ice bath, to stop the cooking process. Then you can very easily peel the skin off of the tomato. Neat-o!

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I better not eat my Wheaties.

“Wheat and milk: The main allergic response to wheat and casein in milk products is possible brain inflammation, which can cause hostility.”

 

Oh. I thought I was making it up when I was mentally tying my ailments to wheat.  I had been dipping back into my wheat eating ways. Of course, nothing like before, but I was more lenient about what I ate.

I soon started to correlate my relationship with my family and how I would seem to explode, mentally, after eating wheat. It didn’t seem so obvious at times, especially since it seems like my gut has healed a lot since quitting gluten for a while, but emotionally and maybe even physically, in over ways, I was being effected by this. Each time, though, I caught myself at the end of the night, having a melt down. Uncontrolled rage and crankiness, basically. Last night I was ready to cry because my almost 2 year old wanted me to go insane and was torturing me on purpose.

Now I don’t know if my link is exactly what is quoted above or if it’s related to the fact that wheat can cause spikes in your blood sugar and then crashes. Something in it, either way, is making me an emotional roller coaster and I think I am going to switch back to eating as gluten-free as I can manage.

And let me tell you, when I was making cornbread muffins for my little one day, I wanted to scream when I flipped it over and wheat was the first ingredient.  I know I can’t be perfect about it, but I want to not feel like that ever again and now, after those weeks without gluten, I feel like I know what clarity is actually like. It’s beautiful.

Marmalade

I have been reading a lot about canning and jams and jellies and all of that. I have a few mason jars but that is where my supplies end. I need to purchase a deep pot and all of the other items for removal and such. I’m really excited to give it a try when I get around to it.

I am also excited by the fact that the salt and sugar in the recipes are only there for taste. You can easily cut down or completely omit them from your recipes. The taste, of course, will be altered, so don’t expect the same outcome. (This doesn’t work for pickling, you need the salt in that otherwise it isn’t pickling)

We ran out of jelly for Baby McDorkin the other day. He is a total peanut butter and jelly addict. He squeals in pleasure when I grab the jar of peanut butter and then he tries to open the refrigerator to get to the jelly inside.   Since I was out, I decided that maybe I can use his new love for clementines to my advantage and make my first ever attempt at a marmalade, rather than making a store run for just jelly.

 

I was actually surprised at how easy this is!! I only made a very small amount- 3 clementines worth. You only need a couple things to make it, 2 are from the citrus fruit itself, the zest and the inside wedges. I don’t have a zester, so I used a peeler and then scrapped any access pith off. Then I tossed my zest in a pile, grabbed a knife and started chopping and chopping until it was pretty fine. Then I put the wedges in my processor, giving it a few whirls. Put those both in a sauce pan with a 1/2 lemon’s worth of juice(more if you are making a larger batch) and then sugar to taste. I got up and stirred it every 5 or 10 minutes as it simmered at a low heat with no lid. When it was done, I just used a recycled jelly jar, let it cool and then put it right in the fridge.

It made my house smell so good I want to make this every day just for the amazing scent!!

 

Chicken Scampi

I have been eating gluten lately and it doesn’t seem to bother me so much as before. Maybe my gut healed a bit, maybe it really was just dairy, maybe I have IBS or something like that. At the end of it, though, I have decided that I like how I feel after eating a meal free of gluten. I don’t have that bowling ball in my stomach. I actually feel light and my stomach seems more comfortable.

Maybe it’s just a light intolerance but I don’t think I will stress out if I’m out and want a sandwich. I do want to try and keep the food I make at home as gluten-free as possible. I won’t deprive my kids of bread, especially since my youngest only seems to only eat grains when they are in bread form. Pasta is too gushy and rice is too mushy.

Last night, I want to focus on keeping dinner gluten free, low sodium, and to use lemons, since I have a great big bowl of them.  We had a lemon pepper chicken recently so I didn’t want to repeat it, so I decided, what is more lush than a scampi? I didn’t use a ton of lemons, only 2, but that is 2 I won’t be wasting.

This may not be the healthiest dish, depending on your views on food, but if you are on the paleo side of the crew and believe saturated fats are good for you, this is actually a great dish, other than the pasta, of course!

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A peek under the foil in my cast iron pan

Chicken Scampi

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 5 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2lbs boneless chicken breast halves, cut how you prefer(I cut mine like tenderloins)
  • 2 cups frozen french cut string beans
  • 2 cups uncooked brown rice pasta

Get a good sized pan with some depth and turn the heat to medium. Place the stick of butter and olive oil in the pan and let the butter melt. While it is melting, measure out your dried herbs, slice your garlic, juice your lemons, fill a pan with water and start heating the water. One everything is melted, add the herbs, garlic, salt, and lemon juice and mix it thoroughly. Gently place your chicken into the pan so you do not splash yourself. Let the first side cook and then flip and cover your pan. Remember to add your pasta as the water comes to a boil. You want your chicken to simmer for 15 or so minutes to really get that flavor. after 15 minutes have passed, add the frozen string beans, stir and recover until the beans are no longer frozen and cooked through. Once the pasta is done, strain and add to the mix along with the fresh basil. Give it all a good stir and let it sit a couple minutes just to make sure the flavor seeps into the pasta.

Seriously, one of the best dinners I’ve had in a LONG time. I wanted seconds but I’ve been practicing this self-control business. I just actually ate the left overs for lunch and this dish reheated very nicely, I just placed it in a lidded pot with a little bit of water, gave it a few stirs and kept the heat to medium-low and the lid on. Delicious!!

Only 10 more pounds until my pre-pregnancy weight!! I’ve officially lost 30lbs in the last year!! It’s only taken me two years to get here….