Tag Archive for 'Illina Ewens'

Hearty (Heart + Healthy) Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

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Thanks to my friend Illina, banana chocolate chip cakies have become a house hold favorite over the past few years. With the combo of banana and chocolate chips at the top of the ‘regulars’ chart this recipe is a new twist on a family favorite. One of the things I love most about this recipe is that it is diabetic friendly and dairy free.

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Hearty Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Muffin Ingredients

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1 cup Almond Coconut milk (or can substitute vanilla almond milk)

2 eggs** (vegan substitution below)

1 TBS baking powder

3 cups old fashioned oatmeal

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 TBS sugar, optional

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (vegan variety are dairy free)

Muffin Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix together all ingredients except the chocolate chips. Allow to rest for 10 minutes, then mix in chocolate chips.

Coat muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray or use liners.

Fill 12 muffin cups to the brim.

Bake 20-30 minutes, until the edges start to brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. If using cooking spray, loosen the muffins from the pan by tracing around the edges with a blunt knife to release. Serve warm.

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Vegan Egg Substitute Adaptation:

Flax seeds contain properties that are ideal for replacing eggs in vegan baking. It is important to use GOLDEN flax seeds which are the light colored ones as the brown flax seeds will alter the color of baked goods. If you are just looking to mix it up a bit and are not necessarily vegan here are some flax seed 101 facts on this alternative goodness: the seeds contain protein, fiber and are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids which makes this binder a healthy alternative to other egg replacers. Below are the ingredients to make the equivalent of 1 egg. (Remember for THIS recipe you will need to double the amounts below.)

Flax Seed Meal Ingredients

3 TBS water

1 TBS golden flax meal (to make meal follow directions given)

Flax Seed Meal Directions

Using a blender, food processor or a spice grinder, grind the flax seeds into meal. If opting to grind a larger amount it can be stored in an air-tight container, in the freezer, for up to one year. Equivalents: 1 cup of flax seeds equals about 1 1/3 cups of flax meal.

Add the water to a small bowl, then add the flax meal combining with a whisk or fork. Let the mixture set-up for 5-10 minutes so it develops a raw egg-like consistency. If trying to expedite the process, warm water will speed things up.

Cyber Dinner Par-tay & Peruvian Minestrone

A food bloggers nirvana – invite a few of your all time favorite bloggers to share a Sunday night dinner with you. The challenge, we all live in different cities. The next best option was to host a virtual pot luck. The invites were sent and I couldn’t be more honored than to have had this group of ladies join me for a night of foodie fun as they sampled recipes from Taste This! The Delicious Sequel. While I hate the expression “It’s a win, win!” I do believe this is just that. Here’s why. Each of us made a dish to share for this virtual dinner party. Those that feasted on a new recipe enjoyed the spoils (WIN), those of you reading this post get sneak peak at a few more recipes from my new cookbook (and new wine pairing suggestions) along with the chance to win a copy of the cookbook (WIN). Add it up and you’ve got the recipe for a WIN WIN. Now let’s get down to business >ahem, I mean cooking!<.

MENU AND BLOGGER (Note: each blogger has book to give away, to find out how to win take a gander at the links below)

Cocktails- Cuban Mojito blogged by Illina Ewens

Appetizer- Gorgonzola Cheese Ball & Olive Tapanade blogged by Ana Picazo

Wine- Carmenère, Malbec, and Sauvignon Blanc Pairing Selections blogged by Stacy DeFino

Main Course- Peruvian Minestrone blogged by ME/see below

Dessert- King’s Cupcakes blogged by Stacy Libby

I’d like to introduce you to the faces behind the blogs.

Cocktails- by Illina Ewens at Dirt and Noise

Appetizer- by Ana Picazo at BonggaMom

Wine- by Stacy DeFino at Wineobee

Dessert- by Stacy Libby at LapTopTVMom

The recipe I made for my special group of friends is one that my dear friend from Peru, Rosa, made for me many years ago. While the shopping list for this recipe is a bit longer than many of the recipes in Taste This! The Delicious Sequel it is worth the little bit of extra time it takes to make this dish.

Peruvian Minestrone

Pesto Ingredients

4 cups basil leaves, stems removed

¼ cup olive oil

¾ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1/3 cup ricotta or Queso Fresco

salt and ground black pepper to taste

Soup Ingredients

2 cups (13 oz) pasta (penne, rigatoni, fusilli or bow ties)

½ tsp garlic, crushed

2 lbs top sirloin, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 TBS olive oil

10 cups water

1 cube beef bouillon

salt and ground black pepper to taste

1 cup carrot, diced

1 ½ cups green cabbage, chopped

½ cup leek, cleaned and chopped

½ cup peas

1 cup zucchini, diced

2 large cobs of corn, cut into 1 ½ inch sliced rounds with cob included

2 medium white potatoes, diced

Blend together all pesto ingredients until smooth.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and sprinkle with olive oil. Mix well so that it does not stick together while the rest of the dish is being prepared.

In a large pan, sauté garlic in oil, and brown sirloin. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large soup pot, over high heat, add water, beef bouillon, sirloin, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil, cooking meat until tender. Turn heat to medium and add all vegetables EXCEPT potatoes and corn.

Add potatoes and cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add corn and cook an additional 5 minutes on medium-high. Before serving, add pasta to warm it, approximately 2-3 minutes. Finally, add pesto and season to taste.

Serve with grated Parmesan cheese on top.

Note: To save time, a ½ cup high-grade store bought pesto sauce can be substituted in place of basil, olive oil, salt and pepper.

While serving corn rounds in the soup is the tradition for Peruvians, some diners are uncomfortable reaching into the soup with their fingers to eat the corn. If diners are up for the challenge, encourage them to eat the corn last, allowing it to cool. Alternatively, substitute fresh corn kernels cut off of the cob, as opposed to frozen or canned corn, which tend to be too soft.

Serves 6-8

Thank you Ilina, Ana, Stacy D. and Stacy L. it was so much fun having dinner with you this past weekend.