Banana Chocolate Smoothie

When there is chocolate in my smoothie I know I’m having a great day. You could tell me that I smell bad or that my shoes look like 1990’s high tops, but I won’t care – because hunny, I’ve had a wicked awesome smoothie today for 5 times cheaper than your shotty Starbucks frappuccino (yes, I had to google that spelling).

I’m really enjoying this whole smoothie-week thing. I’m making fun and fabulous smoothies every morning and have been feeling amazing at work! They have totally been carrying me through my day.

This smoothie in particular is filled with chocolate, banana and greek yogurt. Try it out! No disappointments possible! All you have to do is throw all ingredients together in a blender and give them a whirl! Easy, peasy.

OH! And don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a $50 Amazon gift card! Contest ends on Saturday. Good luck!

Banana Chocolate Smoothie
Yield: 2 servings
Recipe taken from Annie’s Eats

Ingredients:
3 frozen bananas, peeled
2 tbsp. chocolate syrup
¾ cup plain greek yogurt
1 tsp. espresso powder (optional)
1 tbsp. flax seed (optional)
½ cup milk, plus more as needed

Directions:
Throw all ingredients together in a blender and give them a whirl! Easy, peasy.

Banana Bread Green Monster Smoothie for Smoothie Week {and an Amazon Giveaway}!

Giveaway Closed

I hate to point out the obvious, but summer totally came early. It’s completely acceptable to wear a bathing suit under your dress and it’s totally acceptable to avoid your black kitty on these crazy hot days. My evil feline has become even more of a cuddle bug when the weather is hot out…yeah, she has a sense of humour.

So naturally, I’ve been making a lot of smoothies and thought I’d share a bunch of wicked awesome blended (and healthy) treats with you this week. This is big for me. Since I started this blog I have never (ever ever) posted for five days straight – but baby, I’m all yours from today until Friday! And I’m giving away a gift card. Awesome.

To make this smoothie combine the ingredients in your blender, with the light stuff on bottom (spinach, oats, cinnamon, walnuts). Then add your frozen banana and pour the milk over the top.

Blend until everything is nice and smooth.

Enjoy!

Banana Bread Green Monster Smoothie
Serves one (or two small servings)
Recipe lightly adapted from Full Measure of Happiness
7 Weight Watchers Points plus per recipe

Ingredients:
1 ripe banana, frozen
1 cup milk (I used vanilla almond milk)
2 handfuls fresh spinach leaves
1/8 C walnuts
1/4 C oats
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions:
Combine the ingredients in your blender, with the light stuff on bottom (spinach, oats, cinnamon, walnuts). Then add your banana (and ice, if your banana isn’t frozen), and pour the milk over the top.

Blend until everything is nice and smooth.

Amazon Giveaway Details:
Now that we’ve made this delicious treat, I thought I would ask YOU! Yes, you, to tell me your favorite smoothie recipe! That’s all you have to do to be entered to win a $50 Amazon gift card!

For three EXTRA entries:

Just let me know you did the following (and if you follow me on Facebook and Pinterest already, let me know!)

1. Twitter Follow Warm Vanilla Sugar and then tweet the following:
“I entered to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card from @katrinadingle! Check it! http://bit.ly/NF2Nvb #smoothietime”

2. Like Warm Vanilla Sugar on Facebook

3. Follow Warm Vanilla Sugar on Pinterest

NOTES:
-Contest ends Saturday, June 23, 2012 and winner will be chosen randomly.
-Open to everyone world wide!

Peanut Butter and Banana Breakfast Cookies

Whew, only two days after my marathon and I’ve been reading through webpage after webpage trying to decide on what run to do next…I’m obsessed, and super excited about racing to say the least.

I had an amazing day. The weather hovered at about 15*C (59*F) for the first half and then went up to about 22*C (72*F) by the time I finished. Spirits were extremely high too, and I knew from the beginning that the race would be a personal best for me. I finished in 3:41:36! And I firmly believe it was the fans that kept me going. The cheering really amps up my adrenaline and pumps me up big time. Along the way I saw some fun things…

I ended the race off with a big, delicious cookie. I had one for breakfast too. I love these cookies because they are chalk full of all the good stuff I have before a race anyway. Like bananas and peanut butter…my classic pre-marathon meal.

I like having breakfast cookies on regular days too. They’re light and chewy and make me feel happy. And isn’t that what life is all about??

To make these bad boys, preheat your oven and cream butter, brown sugar, banana and applesauce together in an electric mixer until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs and mix until combined.

Add vanilla and peanut butter and mix well.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

Add flour mixture to butter mixture and mix just until combined.

Stir in rolled oats, chocolate chips and other add-ins.

Mmmm…

Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop out 1/4 cup portions and place two inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat. Press down on each cookie to slightly flatten.

Bake for 13-18 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned.

Remove and cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy!

Peanut Butter and Banana Breakfast Cookies
Makes approximately 18 hefty cookies
Recipe lightly adapted from Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 medium ripe banana, mashed
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup peanut butter (I used smooth, but chunky would be really nice too!)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup brown crisped rice cereal (regular Rice Krispies would be good too)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (or any other additional add-in)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Cream butter, brown sugar, banana and applesauce together in an electric mixer until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs and mix until combined.
3. Add vanilla and peanut butter and mix well.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
5. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and mix just until combined.
6. Stir in rolled oats, chocolate chips and/or other add-ins.
7. Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop out 1/4 cup portions and place two inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat. Press down on each cookie to slightly flatten.
8. Bake for 13-18 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned.
9. Remove and cool on a wire rack.

Note: Cookies will keep up to three days in an airtight container, or up to one month in the freezer.

Banana Walnut Oatmeal

Breakfast is one of those meals where I usually stick to the same thing. I love smoothies, and tend to have one every day of the week (and make them while my darling boyfriend is trying to sleep). It’s a habit.

Now don’t get me wrong, I looooove breakfast foods, I just don’t seem to make enough of them. My bookmark list of breakfast items is exploding and I have decided that from today on, I’m going to try new and exciting breakfasts a few times a week. Starting with this oatmeal. It’s simple, it’s delicious, and it’s something that makes me want to start a new breakfast habit of only oatmeal…but I won’t. I WILL be making this again though. It’s so scrumptious, and I know you’ll like it too!

To make this, mash up your banana.

Then place water, milk, banana, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and brown sugar (or maple syrup) in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Stir in oats.

Simmer over medium heat for 8 minutes or until desired thickness. Stir in walnuts just before serving.

Enjoy!

Banana Walnut Oatmeal
Recipe taken from Kitchen Simplicity
Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk (I used 1%)
1 banana, mashed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
pinch salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar (or maple syrup)
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Extra brown sugar for topping

Directions:
Place water, milk, banana, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and brown sugar (or maple syrup) in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Stir in oats. Simmer over medium heat for 8 minutes or until desired thickness. Stir in walnuts just before serving.

Huevos Rancheros Wraps

I have to tell you about this woman that lives on the first floor of my building. You see, I haven’t actually met her, but I HAVE met some of her cats. Well, kind of.

My parking space is just outside of this woman’s apartment and pretty much every day I can see a kitty sleeping in the window – it’s always such a pleasant surprise. Today I saw cat number 7. I am not kidding.

SEVEN cats! First I saw a short haired black kitty, then a long haired black kitty, then 4 more and then today I saw lucky cat number seven. A white fluffy kitty was sitting in the window. Is this allowed?? Who knew crazy cat women actually existed?? I’m here to tell you that they do. And am unsure if I need to call the pet shelter…but that’s another matter. On to these wraps!!

To begin, heat butter over medium high heat. Add eggs and fry until cooked through (I scrambled mine).

Mmmm….

Heat the tortillas in a frying pan.

Layer the black beans on the warm tortilla.

Add fried eggs and cheese.

Top it off with cheese, salsa, slices of avocado and cilantro. Be careful to leave room so you can wrap up your tortilla!

Enjoy!

Huevos Rancheros Wraps
Recipe taken from Eat Live Run
Serves 4

Ingredients:
4 large whole grain tortillas
8 eggs
1 avocado
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 bunch cilantro, minced
Salsa
Vegetable oil to fry eggs

Directions:
Heat oil or butter over medium high heat. Add eggs and fry until cooked through (you can either scramble or keep the yolks whole).

Heat the tortillas, then layer black beans, fried eggs, salsa, slices of avocado and cilantro in each. Be careful to leave room so you can wrap up your tortilla!

To make a closed end wrap (like mine), fold both the right and the left edges over the filling and roll from the bottom. Then cut the wrap in half with a sharp knife and enjoy!

Gingerbread Granola

As much as I love trying out new things, I know what I like in granola. I like oats (obviously), almonds, honey, and sometimes raisins. It works for me.

But I recently stumbled upon this recipe for gingerbread granola and it caught my eye right away! It packs a spicy punch that reminds of of Christmas morning. Interesting choice with this warm weather we’ve been having, but I knew I needed to try it.

This goes great with plain or vanilla greek yogurt, milk, or ice cream. It’s such a nice switch-up to my regular granola and I love having it as a snack after a run. Speaking of which, I JUST finished a 10 km race! I finished in 46:48 – a personal best for a short 10 km race, so I’m ecstatic!

Anyway, back to granola! To make this whisk together molasses, brown sugar, honey, and oil.

In a separate bowl mix salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, oats, raisins, coconut and nuts until evenly mixed.

Stir in molasses.

Spread onto two large rimmed baking sheets sprayed with baking spray. Bake at 325ºF for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until oats are golden brown (if cooking both sheets at once, swap positions half way through baking time).

Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container, and enjoy!

Gingerbread Granola
Makes 10 servings
Recipe lightly adapted from Kitchen Simplicity

Ingredients:
1/3 cup molasses
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup brown sugar (optional for extra sweetness)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup pecans (or walnuts), chopped
1/2 cup raisins

Directions:
Whisk together molasses, brown sugar, honey, and oil.

In a separate bowl mix salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, oats, raisins, coconut and nuts until evenly mixed. Stir in molasses.

Spread onto two large rimmed baking sheets sprayed with baking spray. Bake at 325ºF for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until oats are golden brown (if cooking both sheets at once, swap positions half way through baking time).

Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Banana Sweet Potato Bread

Guess what I got for Easter?

A KitchenAid stand mixer!! Yes, for Easter. My man is full of surprises, and decided to take me on an Easter egg hunt to find it. Not your normal Easter egg hunt though. I had to solve a clue that lead me to the next clue, and so on. Here are some examples of the clues I got:

CLUE: The wavelength of light between 300 MHz and 300 GHz.
ANSWER: Microwave
The next clue was in the microwave, and yes, I had to Google this answer.

CLUE: “Turns out they were all dead the whole time…”
ANSWER: Lost.
The next clue was in the DVD box.

CLUE: “What ingredient fo all of these recipes have in common? 1. Jamie Oliver’s Crunchy
Garlic Chicken, 2. Joy The Baker’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Ball Cookies and 3. Pioneer Woman’s Fancy Mac & Cheese”.
ANSWER: Flour
The next clue was in the flour bag.

As you can tell, this hunt wasn’t easy. I EARNED that stand mixer! Not only did I have to use the internet for half the clues, but each clue came with an envelope with a letter on it, and I had to “unscramble” the words at the end. It ended up saying “My Closet”. The stand mixer was waiting for me in there. HURRAY!!

So naturally I baked in the stand mixer the next day, and can’t believe how easy it is to use! I’m in love with a machine…I’ve heard warnings of this happening.

I made bread. Are you as obsessed with banana bread as I am? I can’t get enough of the stuff and I love trying new combinations of flavours with it. This is certainly a new favorite of mine. It’s filled with bananas and sweet potato puree that meld together like a puzzle piece. Who knew these two were meant for each other? I dig it.

To begin, make your sweet potato puree. First roast 1 large sweet potato for about 1 hour in a 350*F. After the sweet potato is soft and cooked, let it cool for about 20 minutes. Peel the sweet potato and place it into a food processor until smooth and has the consistency of canned pumpkin. Add banana and puree again.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with baking spray.

Put the puree in a bowl, add the sugar and oil and beat together until fluffy.

Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until fluffy.

In a separate bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and combine into a batter.

Add the milk and mix in.

Aww, yeah.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan.

Bake the bread for 1 hour 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Enjoy!

Banana Sweet Potato Bread
Recipe adapted from Heather Christo
Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients:
1 cup very ripe banana, mashed (2 1/2 bananas)
1 cup sweet potato puree (1 large sweet potato)
1 cup sugar
½ cup oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 ¾ cups flour
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ginger
1/4 cup milk

Directions:
To make your sweet potato puree, roast 1 large sweet potato for about 1 hour in a 350*F oven. After the sweet potato is soft and cooked, let it cool for about 20 minutes. Peel the sweet potato and place it into a food processor until smooth and has the consistency of canned pumpkin.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with baking spray.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat together the banana and sweet potato until smooth and fluffy.

Add the sugar and oil and beat together until fluffy.

Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until fluffy.

In a separate bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients.

Add the dry ingredients to the mixer and combine into a batter. Add the milk and mix in.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan.

Bake the bread for 1 hour 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Slice and Enjoy!

Peanut Butter, Banana, and Oat Breakfast Milkshake

Who gets excited for breakfast?! Lordy, before bed every night and sometimes a week in advance I plan my breakfast out, and become extremely excited for morning to come. My typical breakfast rotation includes: steel cut oatmeal, granola and greek yogurt, soft boiled eggs and smoothies.

Smoothies are definitely my breakfast favorite, even though I rarely blog about them. I think it’s because I wake up when it’s still dark outside…I’m an early morning wild child (I don’t know what that means). This smoothie is filled with so much goodness. Honey + Oats + Ground Flax + Banana Goodness. Yes, please!

To begin, grind flax and oats together with a mortar and pestle (or with a spice or coffee grinder).

In a blender combine your choice of milk (I used 1% for this), banana, peanut butter, ground flax and oats.

Add in your delicious honey. Blend until no banana chunks remain, and the mixture is thoroughly incorporated.

Enjoy! This is so easy and delicious. I wish I had more…

Peanut Butter, Banana, and Oat Breakfast Milkshake
Recipe lightly adapted from Joy the Baker
Makes 1 large or 2 small portions

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups milk (soy, almond, or regular milk)
1 banana (frozen is ideal)
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 heaping teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon flax seeds, ground into meal
2 teaspoon old fashioned oats, ground fine

Directions
Grind flax and oats together with a mortar and pestle (or with a spice or coffee grinder).

In a blender combine your choice of milk (I used 1% for this), banana, peanut butter, honey, and ground flax and oats. Blend until no banana chunks remain, and the mixture is thoroughly incorporated.

Pour into a glass and enjoy immediately.

Rhubarb Muffins with Crumble Topping

When it comes to fruit muffins, I need a crumble topping. There’s something about the combination of melted butter, oats, brown sugar and cinnamon that makes me swoon. This topping alone will have you picking away at the muffins as they cool…trust me. It’s hard waiting!

I have quite a bit of rhubarb left over from last June still in my freezer, so recently I have been getting busy trying to use it up before this coming June gets here! There can never really be too much rhubarb though. It can be made into so many delicious things like cake, pie, spreads for toast, and other muffins. I adore baking with it, and you will too!

Tp begin, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Then, combine brown sugar, oil, egg, vanilla and buttermilk. Beat together well.

Add in rhubarb and stir. I used frozen rhubarb from last year.

Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Stir into the wet ingredients.

I love a good, thick, batter.

Fill greased muffin tins 2/3 full.

Mix together melted butter, sugar, oats, flour, and cinnamon. Press lightly on top of muffins.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack until the muffins have cooled completely.

Enjoy!

Rhubarb Muffins
Makes 18 muffins
A Warm Vanilla Sugar Original

Ingredients
Muffin Batter:
1-½ cup Brown Sugar
½ cups Vegetable oil
1 whole Egg
2 teaspoons Vanilla
1 cup Buttermilk
2 cups Chopped Rhubarb
2-½ cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
½ teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Powder

Topping:
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine brown sugar, oil, egg, vanilla and buttermilk. Beat together well. Add in rhubarb and stir.

Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Stir into the wet ingredients.

Fill greased muffin tins 2/3 full.

Mix together melted butter, sugar, oats, flour, and cinnamon. Press lightly on top of muffins.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack until the muffins have cooled completely.

Enjoy!

Note: If you do not have buttermilk, combine 1 tablespoon of vinegar and milk to make 1 cup. Allow to stand for 5 minutes, stir and add to recipe.

Also, don’t forget to enter my Giveaway! Winners for the kitchen scale will be picked next Tuesday, March 19th and announced Wednesday.

Apple Pie Muffins

Something unusual happened this week. Something that never happens…I didn’t bake.

Sure, I got up to my usual dinner cooking routine, but I can’t even remember the last time I went an entire week without baking. And now I want to eat something buttery and sweet more than ever! For the first time in a long time, I catch myself staring longingly at the cookies in Starbucks or the pastries at various shops in the mall I work in. It’s funny what a week without home baking can do to a girl. I don’t like it.

This week will be better. I have less school work, and really need to get some baked goods together so that my sweet tooth will not get the best of me when I’m out! I bought a cookie downtown yesterday for $2.75!!! Not. Freaking. Cool.

So, join me in baking our own treats! With crumble topping and butter and all the stuff my thighs hate that makes our mouths water!

To begin, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line 12 cup muffin cups with paper liners. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 1/4 cups flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, 1/2 cup melted butter, vanilla and 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar. Stir until sugar has dissolved.

Pour butter mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Gently fold in apples.

Use a large scoop to fill each muffin well, filling the cups to the top.

In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/3 cup flour, rolled oats, and cinnamon. Drizzle in 3 tablespoons of melted butter, mixing until well blended.

Sprinkle this over the tops of the muffins.

Crumble topping is the freaking bomb.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed…or look brown like these.

Cool on a wire rack until set. Then dig in!

Apple Pie Muffins
Yield: 12 muffins
Recipe taken from My Baking Addiction

INGREDIENTS:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 cups peeled, chopped Granny Smith Apples

For the topping:
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter, melted

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line 12 cup muffin cups with paper liners. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 1/4 cups flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, 1/2 cup melted butter, vanilla and 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar. Stir until sugar has dissolved.
3. Pour butter mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Gently fold in apples. Use a large scoop to fill each muffin well, filling the cups to the top.
4. In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/3 cup flour, rolled oats, and cinnamon. Drizzle in 3 tablespoons of melted butter, mixing until well blended. Sprinkle this over the tops of the muffins.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed.
6. Cool on wire rack. Store at room temperature.

NOTE:
– If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, you can make your own, or simply substitute 2 teaspoons of cinnamon.