My Top Ten

Monday, November 28, 2011

those bananas are going, going.....

Herein are my top 5 favorite things to do with bananas that are going, going....soon to be gone.
Once they start collecting those speckled black spots, you've got two, three days max before they are "past their potential" in my opinion.

1) Pancakes.

We eat these delicious pancakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Yes, it's completely acceptable to have breakfast for dinner. Haven't you ever seen the Notebook? You can have pancakes any darn time you want.

Banana Spelt Pancakes

Dry ingredients:
1 cup spelt flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 to 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (optional, but oh boy - delish!)

Wet ingredients:
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk     (I have used soy, rice, coconut & almond milk. Almond is my favorite.)
1 Tablespoon Sucanat OR Maple Syrup
1-2 well mashed bananas (Yes, this recipe is that flexible. Pure awesomeness!)

Slowly whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Stir to incorporate & cook!

Add chocolate chips and you've got a perfect dessert.

2) PB&H

A peanut butter, banana and honey sandwich.
Spread on the pb nice and thick, layer banana slices all across the pb, and drizzle with honey.
Blueberries also work really well with this method.


This is really Garrett's specialty. He makes an exquisite bananas flambee. It involves brown sugar, cinnamon, Grand Marnier and vanilla ice cream. Yum. It's worthy of blog post on it's own though, so I will post it soon.

4)Banana Bread


Peel, cut into chunks and freeze. Frozen bananas are amazing. You can make "ice cream"with frozen bananas and you don't even miss all that cream & sugar in store bought ice creams. Amazing. They also make a mean smoothie!

There you have it, my top 5 things to do with bananas that are going, going....... (better catch 'em before they're gone!)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours......
 We have greatful hearts today for the many blessings our family enjoys. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Organic Pumpkin Spice Latte

I made this organic Pumpkin Spice latte this morning. It is the perfect fall indulgence. It's a bit of a production without an espresso machine and kids running around, but I will tell you this - it is absolutely worth it.

I changed the recipe ever so slightly; I increased the sugar to 1.5 Tablespoons and reduced the vanilla to 1 Tablespoon. I reduced the vanilla because I have pure Tahitian vanilla, not imitation vanilla. I also used almond milk instead of cow's milk.

I brewed extra (as in quantity) extra-strong Swiss Water Process Decaffeinated espresso so I can repeat this luxurious beverage tomorrow without the additional step of brewing coffee.

If you are feeling extra frisky, whip up a batch of my Dougnut Muffins to compliment your Pumpkin Spice latte.

Monday, November 14, 2011

de-Frenched Chicken Cordon Bleu

How do you de-French Chicken Cordon Bleu? Well, for starters, it's not fried in butter, half and half, or white wine. I also added vitamin & iron rich green leafy spinach. Don't get me wrong, I adore a good Beurre Blanc sauce. Seriously, don't get me started on French cuisine - I dream of Nutella stuffed croissants, creme brulee, crepes drenched with Grand Marnier, crispy & chewy perfectly baked french bread as well as all of their amazingly rich and decadent sauces, not to mention their cheese! Yum. However; French cuisine is not the type of food my family eats on a regular basis. So we press forward in our quest to eat well and still enjoy some kind of French influence in our meals. Because if there is one thing the French know how to do with flare and finesse: it's eat.

How to make de-Frenched Chicken Cordon Bleu:

Filet as many chicken breasts as needed & open the breast to receive the goodness.
Lay a thin slice of deli ham, one slice of swiss cheese and a healthy stack of fresh spinach leaves.
Close the breast. Drizzle with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, parsely, sage. Next, pile on the veggies, any veggies will do.

We added onion....

Add chopped carrots....

And peeled, cubed potatoes.

Drizzle with evoo again and seasonings again.

Bake @ 425 degrees for 30-ish minutes - perhaps longer if the potatoes are still crunchy.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

cookie fail & bread dreams

I was all too excited to try and make chocolate chip cookies a teensie bit healthy by using freshly ground wheat. I lovingly hand cranked the 2 1/4 cups of flour. Giddily watching the hard red wheat kernels turn into flour perfection. Then it happened - cookie fail. What's worse than the anticipation of homemade chocolate chip cookies that don't turn out? Nothing really. (I might be slightly dramatic, but it is devastating after the taunting aroma of them baking). I don't have a photo to share, why would I subject myself to all of the laughter that would ensue due to said photo. Besides, we ate the cookie mush fail.....

I was perplexed, and feeling a bit silly. How could I not produce a chocolate chip cookie? I decided to blame it on the wheat. I did some investigating. I asked my experienced wheat grinding sister-in-law, Tara, and turns out - my hunch was right. Thank goodness, because that would be a large blow to my aspiring Chef skills if I couldn't pull off chocolate chip cookies.

You see, it all started with Garrett attending a preparedness class series at our local church. One of the classes was about food preparation in the event of a national disaster or city wide emergency. They discussed heating, cooking methods, food preparation and water purification. None of the above mentioned are new topics to my man.  

 hut-to-hut snow shoe trip

fly fishing

standing atop his Ice Box Igloo 

 Red Rock Canyon

 hiking the Crags with baby Bodhi in tow

successful elk hunting = lots of fresh meat all year long

Garrett in his natural state; backpacking in the wilderness

Roped in, fixing the roof leak with his little helper

Cross country skiing the Continental Divide

I am married to Mr. Backcountry, as you can see in the photos. Garrett is the most prepared person I have ever met in my life. I say that un-baised (honestly).  If you are going to spend the amount of time outdoors that Garrett does, you must know how to fend for yourself with the clothes on your back and little else in case of emergencies. All that to say, there was a competition at the preparedness food class for the person who could properly cook a MRE (military issue meal-ready-to-eat) the fastest. Garrett was pretty much a shoe-in. He won a Back to Basics grain mill! Hurray. This was a most exciting day in our home.

Grinding my own grain is something I have been interested in doing for awhile now, but have refrained due to the initial investment required to start baking all of your own bread. The health benefit of freshly ground grain is deserving of a blogpost on it's own, but for now; let me direct you to an informative website that explains why one would grind their own wheat. It is worth your time to be informed about the history of wheat and the lacking nutritional value in all shelf bought bread & flour today.

Anyhow: The moral of the story is; when baking with freshly ground grains and the recipe involves yeast it's fine to use hard grain kernels. However; when baking muffins or COOKIES or something else that doesn't require yeast, you must use soft grain kernels. Duly noted.

Let me say that I am so happy to have the little grain mill in my posession, and as Gru would say in Despicable Me, "Light Bulb". Why I ever thought I had to go all or nothing on the wheat grinding is beside me. The Back to Basics grain mill has been a great way to introduce our family to the taste of fresh bread and myself to the method of using freshly ground grains. I am now empowered to work my way up to baking all of our bread from freshly ground grains. Once I know what I am doing (clearly, I don't know what I am doing concerning grinding grains as of yet!), I aspire to purchase a high quality grinder, such as the Country Living Grain Mill and a handy-dandy Bosch to make my bread dreams come true!

p.s. I blame this whole cookie fail fiasco on Shonni. The woman who makes perfect, absolutely PERFECT chocolate chip cookies. Her cookies are amazing. Ever since I tasted one of her cookies five years ago, I have strived to make a chocolate chip cookie like hers. Though I toil & labor over endless chocolate chip cookie recipes (slight embellishment), I cannot make a cookie that is even worthy of sitting next to her cookies, or below her cookies, or in the same room as her cookies. I think that God has blessed her cookie making skills. I really do. You are awesome Shonni!