Tag Archives: banana

Parade of the Olympians

In Olympics news yesterday snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg won the men’s slopestyle event, putting the first gold medal of the 2014 Sochi Olympics with the U.S. team.  Norwegian Marit Bjoergen won the cross-country skiathlon, and Sven Kramer of the Netherlands took home the gold in the 5000 meter men’s speed skate.

Today’s installment of the Olympics feature brings us to the 1960 Squaw Valley Winter Games.  For the 1960 Winter Olympics, organizers selected Walt Disney to be the Head of Pageantry for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.  Men’s biathalon and women’s speed skating made their debut as Olympic contests, while organizers refused to build a bobsleigh track because only nine nations planned to send athletes for bobsleigh events.  When officials asked to view a tape from CBS’s coverage to determine whether or not a skier had missed a gate, the concept of “instant replay” was born.

The Squaw Valley ski resort on Lake Tahoe did not exist when the bid was put in for Squaw Valley to host the 1960 Winter Olympics.  As such all of the housing and all of the buildings for various contests had to be built.  What is now the Plumpjack Squaw Valley Inn was originally built as housing for Olympic delegates.  Currently, it operates as a hotel and is home to Plumpjack Cafe where you can get roasted banana muffins just like the ones I’m sharing with you today.  Roasting the bananas is so simple, yet it really takes the flavor beyond your ordinary banana muffin.

squaw valley roasted banana muffins

Roasted Banana Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 C. all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 C. sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 C. milk
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 4 Tbsp. butter, melted

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cut a three-inch slit down the peel of each banana and place the banana onto a baking sheet.

Roast for about 10 minutes until the skin turns black and juice starts to show in the slits in the peel.

Remove the bananas from the oven, leaving the oven on at 400 degrees.

Allow the bananas to become cool enough to handle and remove the peel, placing the banana into a small mixing bowl.

Mash the banana with a fork and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, combine the milk, beaten egg, and mashed banana.

Mix the banana mixture with the flour mixture and stir to blend well.

Grease the cavities of a 12-cavity muffin pan (or spray with non-stick cooking spray).

Spoon the batter into each cavity, filling each cavity 3/4 full.

Bake 15-20 minutes, until the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Makes 12 muffins.

Source: The PlumpJack Inn

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Happy Earth Day

Happy Earth Day!  I like to think that we’re pretty environmentally conscious around here.  We have CFL and LED lighting pretty much everywhere, and I’m the crazy “turn that light off, we don’t own the electric company!” lady.  We do our laundry in cold water using our high-efficiency washer, and we wait to run the dishwasher until it is bulging full.  This attitude translates to the food we eat as well.  Using meal planning, I plan meals with produce that I can obtain locally and in season whenever possible.  Reusable shopping bags help me reduce the number of plastic bags we use, and make it possible for me to load myself up like a pack mule and carry the groceries into the house in one trip.  I love home canning things like apple sauce when apples are locally abundant and sending it to school for snacks in reusable containers instead of buying it at the store and throwing away those little plastic cups with foil lids.  Making our own bread eliminates the packaging and the food waste.  I make stale bread into croutons, or French toast, or bread pudding instead of tossing it into the trash now that we have bread that I love in the house).   Making things like tortillas and refried beans at home eliminates a lot of packaging waste as well.

So what happens when despite my best meal planning efforts, I have bananas hanging around, forgotten in the fruit bowl?  Throwing them out wasn’t an option (even if these were mere hours from that or composting really being my only options) because not only is that wasteful, it’s not necessary. There are plenty of delicious things to make with over-ripe bananas, so I got out my mixing bowl.  Banana bread seemed like a great idea, until I also saw the doughnut pan I had to have hanging around also forgotten while I rummaged around for the loaf pan.  Peanut butter bananas sounded like way more fun for breakfast than banana bread, although banana bread slathered in butter or turned into French toast tops my list of favorite breakfast foods.  After making these banana doughnuts, studded with peanut butter chips and topped with peanut butter frosting, those two items might have to move aside.  O ate two of these for breakfast, two days in a row and Lane ate two of them before I told him they’re made with whole wheat flour.  He almost didn’t believe me, and if I hadn’t made them myself I wouldn’t have believed it either.  These are delicious even without the peanut butter frosting, but I can’t think of many breakfast foods I don’t love when peanut butter is involved.  You can make these without a doughnut pan by either piping the batter onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet, or heaping a few tablespoons of batter on a parchment lined baking sheet and using your fingers or a spoon to make the hole in the center.  They won’t be as pretty, but they’ll be every bit as tasty.

peanut butter banana doughnuts

Peanut Butter Banana Doughnuts

Ingredients:

for the doughnuts:

  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 3/4 C. packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 C. whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. white sugar
  • 1/2 C. peanut butter chips (or chocolate chips, optional)

for the frosting (optional):

  • 1/2 C. peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp. milk
  • 1/4-1/2 C. confectioner’s sugar (depending on how thick you want the icing)

Directions:

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Beat the bananas, egg whites, oil, and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until smooth.

Add the all-purpose flour, wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon, and mix to completely combine.

Stir in the peanut butter chips, if using.

Let the dough stand for 5 minutes.

To use a doughnut pan or to pipe the batter onto parchment lined baking sheets, transfer the batter to a large resealable bag and snip off a medium-sized piece of the bag’s corner.  Spray the doughnut pan with non-stick cooking spray if using.

Pipe the batter into the cavities of the doughnut pan, filling each cavity approximately 2/3 full (you will have to complete this in batches if you have a 6 cavity doughnut pan), OR pipe approximately 3 Tbsp. of batter into circles on the prepared baking sheet.  You can also pipe 3 Tbsp. of batter onto the baking sheet in piles and then use a buttered knife and your fingers to form doughnut holes in the center of each pile and smooth it into a round doughnut shape.

Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the tops of the doughnuts.

Bake for 7-8 minutes until edges are golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed.

Remove to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, whisk the peanut butter, milk, and 1/4 C. of the confectioner’s sugar together until smooth.  Add additional confectioner’s sugar to reach your desired consistency.

Makes 12-15 doughnuts.

Source: adapted slightly from Oh She Glows, originally from Best Loved Whole Grain Recipes

peanut butter banana doughnuts unfrosted

 

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Missing Pieces

Today is World Autism Awareness Day, and you may remember from last year that autism research is a cause I am incredibly passionate about.  Autism is the fastest growing serious developmental disability in the U.S. and receives less than five per-cent of the research funding of other childhood diseases.  There is no one single cause of autism, nor is there one single type of autism.  As you may remember from last year, Autism Speaks hosts an event for World Autism Day called “Light it Up Blue for World Autism Awareness Day.”  Various businesses and landmarks will be illuminated with blue lights today and tonight to shed light on autism spectrum disorder.

We have our blue light bulb ready to go on the porch for tonight, but I’m going to show my blue early today.  I considered various blue things I could make, but since there are very few naturally blue foods I decided on blueberries, because they at least have blue in their name (scientific selection process around here, I know).  A blueberry banana smoothie was a great start to my morning, and as easy as “dump it all in a blender, push button, and drink.” Okay, I recommend drinking this out of something other than directly from the blender, but I won’t judge either way.

blueberry banana yogurt smoothie

Blueberry Banana Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium banana, peeled
  • 1 C. frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 C. milk (anything from skim to whole)
  • 5 oz. blueberry Greek yogurt

Directions:

Place all ingredients into the jar of a blender.

Puree for about 30 seconds, until all ingredients are smooth and combined.

Pour into a drinking glass.

Makes 1 serving.

Source: Diana Dishes original

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Academy Award

The 85th Academy Awards air tonight from the Dolby Theater in Hollywood and before I settle in to catch all of the red carpet action, I want to share a round-up of the film-inspired recipes I’ve shared over the previous twelve days.  It wouldn’t be a round-up without some Oscar trivia:

Nine-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) is the youngest actress ever nominated for Best Actress in a Lead Role, taking the distinction from actress Keisha Castle-Hughes who was nominated at thirteen for her role in Whale Rider.  She competes against Emmanuelle Riva (Amour), who at eighty-five is the oldest nominee in the category.

The youngest actor ever nominated is Justin Henry, who at eight years old was nominated for his role as Billy Kramer in the 1979 film Kramer vs. Kramer.

Silver Linings Playbook is the first film since the 1981 film Reds to earn nominations in all four acting categories as well as Best Director and Best Picture.

Les Miserables is the first musical nominated for Best Picture since Chicago in 2002, and prior to Chicago no musical had been nominated in the Best Picture category since Oliver! in 1969.

Composer John Williams, nominated this year for his work on Lincoln, still holds the record for the living person with the most nominations at forty-eight.  Next in line is Woody Allen with twenty-three.

Three of this year’s Best Actor nominees: Bradley Cooper, Denzel Washington, and Hugh Jackman, have previously been named People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive.

For this year’s 12 Days of Oscar feature, I selected four movies that have been nominated for but did not win Oscars, four films that have won at least one Oscar, and four films hoping to win an Oscar this year.

salisbury steak

Pleasantville, Salisbury Steak

ihop sweet crepes

I Am Sam, Crepes

chef salad

When Harry Met Sally, Chef Salad (with oil and vinegar on the side!)

roasted chicken salad

My Week With Marilyn, Roasted Chicken Salad

banana ripple ice cream

The Aviator, Banana Ripple Ice Cream

cream puff

Marie Antoinette, Cream Puffs

chicago deep dish

Chicago, Deep Dish Pizza

chicken lyonnaise

Titanic, Chicken Lyonnaise

lemon butter pollock

Moonrise Kingdom, Lemon Butter Pollock

french bread

Les Miserables, French Bread

crabby snacks

Silver Linings Playbook, Crabby Snacks

mary lincoln apple bread pudding

Lincoln, Mary Lincoln’s Apple Bread Pudding

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Howard Hughes

Today’s 12 Days of Oscar feature shifts us into films that have won at least one Academy Award.  Nominated for eleven Oscars, the 2004 film The Aviator won five.  In addition to winning Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Cate Blanchett won Best Actress in a Supporting Role, making her the first actress to win the award for her portrayal of a previous Oscar winner.  In The Aviator, Leonardo DiCaprio portrays film maker and aviator Howard Hughes.  The film follows Hughes from his work on Hell’s Angels, through his relationships with Catherine Hepburn (Blanchett) and Ava Gardner (Kate Beckinsdale), his ownership of Trans World Airlines and his development of the “Spruce Goose” which led to investigations for war profiteering.  The film also depicts Hughes’ continually worsening obsessive compulsive disorder, and shows a period in which Hughes took to living in is screening room due to severe depression and pain caused by a terrible flying accident.

aviator dinner scene

The movie ends before Hughes moves into and later buys the Desert Inn in Las Vegas.  During his time there, Hughes took a liking to Baskin-Robbins banana ripple ice cream, and his aides arranged to purchase 200 gallons of the discontinued flavor, only to have Hughes get bored with it and take a liking to chocolate marshmallow instead.  Left with a surplus of banana ripple, the Desert Inn distributed free banana ripple ice cream to its customers.  I couldn’t find out anywhere what exactly the banana ripple flavor was like, and so I decided to make a vanilla ice cream rippled with a banana puree mixture.  M and O graciously volunteered to try out the results of my experiment, and rated it a huge success.  To ripple fruit or other sauces into ice cream, the ice cream and sauce are made separately and then layered together.  I mashed bananas with a little bit of brown sugar and vanilla extract, then pureed the mixture until it was smooth and layered it with a simple vanilla ice cream.  The banana flavor is there but doesn’t overpower the ice cream, you get two distinct flavors throughout which is nice.

banana ripple ice cream

Banana Ripple Ice Cream

Ingredients:

for the vanilla ice cream:

  • 2 C. heavy cream, divided
  • 1 C. whole milk
  • 3/4 C. sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract

for the banana ripple:

  • 1 1/2 C. banana slices (3-4 medium bananas)
  • 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 C. of the heavy cream and the sugar.

Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the pot and add the empty pod to the pot as well.

Heat over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.

Remove from the heat and add the remaining cream, whole milk, and vanilla extract.

Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.

When the mixture is ready to churn, remove the empty vanilla bean and freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions (for my ice cream maker, this took about 25 minutes).

While the ice cream is churning, make the banana ripple by mashing the bananas, vanilla extract and brown sugar together with a fork or immersion blender until the mixture is smooth (some small chunks of banana are fine).

Spread 1/3 of the ice cream mixture into a 2 quart, lidded, freezer safe container.

Spread 1/2 of the banana mixture on top of the layer of ice cream.

Spread another 1/3 of the ice cream mixture on top of the banana layer.

Spread remaining banana mixture on top of the ice cream layer.

Finish by spreading the remaining ice cream on top of the banana layer.

Cover and freeze until ice cream has hardened, about 2 hours, before serving.

Makes about 1 1/2 quarts.

Source: vanilla ice cream from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz; banana layer Diana Dishes original

 

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Don’t Let Me Down

As we count down to this year’s Academy Awards ceremony, the second film is 2001’s I Am Sam.  I Am Sam‘s Sean Penn was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role for this film, but lost to Denzel Washington.  In the film, Sam Dawson (Penn) is a single father to seven-year-old Lucy (Dakota Fanning).  Sam is well-adjusted and provides a loving home for Lucy despite his developmental disabilities.  When a social worker takes Lucy from the home during a birthday party, Sam turns to attorney Rita Harrison (Michelle Pfeiffer) to help him secure parental rights.  In the process Sam helps Rita with her own family problems.  I won’t tell you how it all ends but I will say that if you haven’t seen this movie, I highly recommend doing so.

iamsam

Sam and Lucy go to IHOP every Wednesday, but one Wednesday Lucy convinces Sam to go to Big Boy instead.  Sam becomes irritated and Lucy becomes embarrassed when Big Boy doesn’t have “French pancakes.”  The server tries to explain that they don’t have French pancakes, while Lucy tries to explain that what he wants are “those thin pancakes.”  The server correctly asks if he means “crepe pancakes,” and Sam exclaims that he wants French pancakes with fruit topping on the side and that the customer is always right.  What Sam wants are in fact crepes, his favorite breakfast at IHOP.

I made crepes with a sweet cream cheese filling, topped with bananas and strawberries.  They are similar to the strawberry banana Danish fruit crepes on the IHOP menu, and they are amazing.  There are a few keys to crepe success.  Use the correct pan, it should be non-stick and large enough for you to comfortably get a spatula under the crepe.  Use plenty of butter/ oil/ or non-stick spray to spray the pan in between making each crepe (I used a Misto olive oil sprayer) so the flipping is easy.  Also, watch the crepes because they cook up fairly quickly (about two minutes per side) and burnt crepes aren’t anyone’s favorite breakfast.  In order to keep them all warm until serving time, I suggest warming the oven to the lowest temperature possible and placing the crepes in the oven on a baking sheet until all of the crepes are made and you’re ready to fill them.  The filling isn’t overly sweet, which is perfect because the fruit gives this enough sweetness.  As far as fillings go, I love this one but there are really no limits.  Nutella, or whipped cream, or fresh fruit, or jam are all favorite crepe fillings for me.  Oh, and if you forgot that Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and you want to make your sweetheart a fancy breakfast, I strongly suggest this one!

ihop sweet crepes

Crepes with Sweet Cream Cheese Filling and Strawberry Banana Topping

Ingredients:

for the crepes:

  • 1 1/2 C. flour
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 C. milk
  • 2 tbsp. melted butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • Additional butter (or non-stick cooking spray)

for the filling and topping:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 C. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 C. strawberry slices
  • 1 C. banana slices

Directions:

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Add the milk, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla and whisk until smooth.

Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat and add a small pat of butter or spray with non-stick cooking spray to make sure that the crepe doesn’t stick to the pan.

Pour about 1/2 C. of batter into the pan at a time and turn the pan to spread the batter evenly and thinly into a 6-8 inch diameter circle.

Cook for 1-2 minutes until the batter no longer looks shiny.

Run a rubber spatula around the edges of the crepe, then use the rubber spatula to flip the crepe and cook the other side for 1-2 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.

Repeat until all batter has been used.

To make the filling, beat the cream cheese for 3-4 minutes, then add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until combined.

If desired, mix the strawberries with 1-2 tsp. of sugar (optional, but if the strawberries need some sweetness this is recommended).

To assemble, spread about 2 Tbsp. cream cheese filling (or more or less, depending on your preference) down the center of the crepe.  Fold the sides of the crepe over onto the center, and top with fruit.

Makes 10-12 crepes.

Source: adapted from The Crazy Apron

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