Coconut Banana Bread

 

It’s been so long since I published any recipes.  I have to say, I haven’t tried any new recipes as well for a while.  It’s been hectic with a new job and then a lay-off, looking for a job etc.  Finally I thought, I have to get back on my normal life and start cooking and baking.  But I didn’t want to make anything complicated and came up with this banana bread.  I found this recipe in the “Better Homes & Gardens” website and modified a little bit.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup mashed banana (2-3 bananas)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup lite coconut milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • ½ cup macadamia nuts
  • 2 tablespoons shredded coconut

 

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350F. line a 9×5 loaf pan with lightly greased parchment paper.
  • Chop ¼ macadamia nuts into fine pieces and chop the other half roughly into big pieces.
  • In a large bowl sift together flours. Mix in baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice.  Set aside
  • In a separate bowl lightly beat the egg. Add coconut milk, sugar, cooking oil and mix well.  Fold in mashed bananas in incorporate it well into the coconut milk mixture
  • Slowly fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  • Add dried ingredients in to the banana mixture and mix well.  Do not over mix
  • Add ¼ cup of roughly chopped macadamia nuts and mix
  • Pour batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the coconut and reserved almond and bake for about 50 minutes.
  • Half way through baking, cover the top of bread with an aluminum foil to avoid any browning of coconut and macadamia nuts.
  • Cool on wire rack until it becomes room temperature.
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Vegan Stuffed Peppers

stuffed_PepperPlate

A few years back when we went to Greece, I had the opportunity to try some awesome Greek food. Me being vegetarian I had no problem finding vegetarian food.  One of the items I enjoyed was the stuffed peppers (and of course stuffed tomatoes).  I had been thinking of making this so delicious food, some how it went to the back seat all these years.  Finally, with the holidays coming in I thought to give it a try so that I can share it in my blog.  I hope you will enjoy this delicious and full of nutritious dish.

Note: In Greece, they were using brown rice but I thought to give it a twist and use Quinoa since Quinoa is so nutritious and no carbs.

stuffed_Peppers

 

stuffed_PeppersCheese

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Quinoa
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 cups sliced mushroom (like button or portabella)
  • 1, 14 oz can diced tomatoes drained
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 large red bell peppers (you can use orange or yellow as well)
  • 1 ¼ cups vegan (soy based) cheese

Method:

  • Bring quinoa and vegetable broth to a boil in a covered saucepan and reduce heat to low and simmer until all liquid is absorbed – about 10-12 minutes. Let stand covered
  • Preheat oven to 400 F.
  • Add oil to a skillet and add onion and garlic and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté for another 5 minutes until mushrooms are tender.  Stir in tomatoes, spinach, salt and pepper and cook for another minute or 2.  Add quinoa and ¼ cup of cheese, stir to combine.
  • Cut bell peppers lengthwise. Carefully remove and discard seeds and membranes.  Keep the stems intact if possible
  • Sprinkle a little bit salt inside each half and fill with quinoa mixture.
  • Place in a baking tray and cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 30 minutes. Remove baking tray from oven divide and top stuffed peppers with remaining cheese and bake uncovered for about 10 minutes or until peppers are crisp and tender and cheese is browned.

Banana Oat Cookies

bananaoatmealcookies

Every time I buy bananas they become so overripe very quickly.  Most of the time I make banana bread.  This time I thought to give it a different twist.  These cookies came out pretty good but would not beat chocolate chip cookies.  You have to make sure to store them in the refrigerator to keep them fresh.  These cookies will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

bananaoatmealcookies1

 

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup almond butter
  • ½ cup butter softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 medium banana mashed (yields ½ cup)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup flax seed slightly ground
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.  Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets and set aside
  • in a large bowl combine almond butter and butter and beat with an electric mixture until smooth.  Add sugar and beat until well mixed.  Now add egg, vanilla and beat in.  Mix in mashed bananas.
  • Sift together the flours, baking soda, and salt.  Add ground flax seed to the flour.  Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture and mix well.  Stir in oats and dried cranberries.
  • Drop mounds of dough onto the cookie sheet about 4 inch apart.  slightly press cookies with back of a spoon.  If the dough sticks to the spoon, dip spoon ice cold water and wipe with a cloth and press the cookie dough.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes or until edges are set and lightly browned.  Cool on cookie sheet for one minute or until the edges are set and lightly browned.  Transfer to wire rack and cool completely.
  • Yields about 20 cookies.

Blueberry Orange Muffin

blueberryOrangeMuffin

Blueberries are in season now and I I love them. I eat them as is, add them to salads and of course use them in a lot of baked goods.  If you search my website for blueberries, you will find a lot of recipes with them.  These blueberries are little gems packed full of vitamins and antioxidants.

I read somewhere online that “Amaranth” flour is quite nutritious packed with vitamins.  So why not use it in baking – it does not alter the taste or texture of the muffins.  But raw Amaranth flour has a distinct earthy smell which when used in baking does not show off that smell.  But if you don’t have Amaranth flour handy, you can always replace it with all purpose flour.

This recipe is not Vegan, but dairy free.  I have used almond milk instead of regular milk.  When replacing regular milk with any non dairy alternative, you have to make sure the consistency is same.  For example the soy milk I buy is much thicker.  I have tried adding a bit water to thin it but no luck.  Almond milk works very well especially light almond.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup amaranth flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 4 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup milk/almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon candied orange peel
  • 2 tablespoons crushed slivered almonds

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 375F. Line a muffin tin with 8 paper cases
  • Sift together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon
  • In a large bowl combine together egg, light brown sugar, oil, milk, and vanilla extract
  • Add the flour mixture into the egg mixture and mix until there are no lumps
  • Mix in blueberries, orange peel, and almonds until just combined
  • Spoon into muffin paper cases and bake for about 25 minutes.
  • Makes 8 medium/regular size muffins

Note: If your muffin tin has more than 8 cups, pour water for about ¼ inch into the empty cups.

Spicy Vegan Bulgur Pulav

veggiebulgurpulav1

 

It is so hot and the best thing to cook is a one pot meal instead of making multiple dishes and generating heat.  I have been eyeing on a recipe which is actually a chicken pulav with brown rice. I thought to make some twists and create it as a vegetarian dish since I am vegetarian.The closest ingredient to repleace the chicken was soy chunks.  Also I used Bulgur instead of brown rice.  It turned out very delicious and we enjoyed it as a meal.  I have posted Bulgur dishes before, but among all of them I think this is the best one.  Drizzling some lemon juice just before eating enhances the flavor.  You can serve this with a small side salad.

 

 

veggiebulgurpulav

 

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup bulgur
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 2 oz dried soy chunks
  • 1 medium carrot chopped
  • ½ cup chopped string beans
  • ¼ cup green peas
  • ¼ cup chopped tomatoes (seeds and juice removed)
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 small onion thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • Small piece of ginger finely chopped
  • 1 small green chili chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • Few curry leaves
  • Lemon wedges (optional)

Method:

  • Add dried soy chunks to a bowl and add hot water to completely cover the soy chunks. Cover and let stand for about 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a covered saucepan bring 1 ½ cups water to boil. Wash bulgur and add to the saucepan and bring to rolling boil.  Reduce flame and cook until all water is absorbed – about 10-12 minutes.
  • Squeeze out all the water from soy chunks (if it is still hot, run the bowl with soy chunks under cold water).
  • Add about one tablespoon cooking oil to a skillet and add the soy chunks and fry until lightly golden and crisp. Transfer to a dish
  • Add the rest of the oil to the skillet and add onion and garlic and sauté until lightly golden. Now add ginger, green chili, mustard seeds, ground coriander, chili powder, curry leaves and salt and cook for about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add chopped carrots, green beans, and green peas and sprinkle a little water and cover and cook on low flame for about 7-8 minutes or until carrots and green beans are cooked but crisp. If needed sprinkle more water little at a time.
  • Add chopped tomatoes to the skillet and cook for another minute. Now add cooked bulgur to the vegetables and mix well and cook on very low flame for a minute or two.  Season with salt.
  • Serve with lemon wedges
  • Yields: 2 main dishes.

 

Arugula Salad with Strawberries and Grape Tomatoes

Arugula_StwaberrySalad

 

It is summer and farmer’s market and groceries are full of fresh vegetables.  In this 90 degree temperature, I don’t think any one would enjoy standing in front of a hot stove or oven and cooking something for dinner.  Especially I don’t.  So I have been trying different salads and this came out to be one of my favorite and it so simple and easy to make with just a few ingredients.

arugula_StrawberrySalad1

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups baby arugula (rocket)
  • 3 medium sized strawberries halved and sliced
  • 6 grape tomatoes quartered
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vegan mayonnaise
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • Feta cheese (optional)
  • Sweet and spiced almonds roughly chopped

Method:

  • To make the salad dressing mix together the olive oil, mayonnaise, salt and pepper
  • Add arugula, strawberries, grape tomatoes to a salad bowl and add salad dressing and mix thoroughly
  • Divide salad into 2 bowls and top with almonds and feta cheese
  • See recipe here for sweet and spicy almonds.
  • Makes: 2 servings.

 

Vegetable Korma in Almond-Coconut Sauce

vegetable_inAlmond1

Lately I have been trying dishes that are way out of our traditional Sri Lankan method.  This is one of the recipes that I made over the weekend.  Traditionally we make mixed vegetable curries simmered in thick coconut milk.  For this recipe, I reduced the amount of coconut milk and added ground almonds which gives extra flavor.  Also I sautéed onion in coconut oil which gives a nice aroma.  But you can use any other regular cooking oil.  Enjoy this lightly spiced and fragrant dish with rice, Naan, Chappati or any other variety of Rotis.

Vegetable_inAlmond

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 small red onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped or crushed
  • ½ inch piece ginger finely chopped or crushed
  • 8 cardamom pods
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 cup cut green beans
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • ¼ cup ground almond
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • Salt to taste
  • Lemon juice to taste

Method:

  • Wash and split green beans length wise as much as possible. Then cut them diagonally into about 1 inch pieces.
  • Brush carrots and cut off the top and bottom ends. Split lengthwise and slice them diagonally
  • Separate cauliflower florets
  • Add oil to a covered saucepan and once hot, add onion and sauté for about 7 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.  Sautéing must be done in very low flame to avoid any burning/charring.
  • Add ground coriander, cumin, chili powder, and turmeric and sauté for one minute
  • Now add ground almond, carrots, beans, water, coconut milk and salt and cover and cook for about 7 minutes.
  • Add cauliflower florets to the saucepan and mix with the rest of the vegetables and cook for further 5 minutes.
  • Let stand covered for 10 minutes. Just before serving add lemon juice.
  • Serve as a side dish with rice, or Roti.