Blackberry Basil Jam

Blackberry Jam 3

When Kroger has blackberries on super cheap sale, you buy all of them and figure out what to do later. Here’s what I did …

Blackberry Jam 6

I am mildly obsessed with combining fruit and herbs, so when I decided to make jam I naturally had to think about what herb would go well with it.

Blackberry Jam 4

I was torn between basil and thyme, and don’t think I could have gone wrong either way, but basil turned out to be just perfect.

Blackberry Jam 5

Toast with salted peanut butter and blackberry-basil jam. :::drool:::

I found a good Giada recipe, but cut the sugar down because I enjoy the tartness of blackberries. This jam is perfect with peanut butter, on a cheese platter, with a spoon or on crackers, a la Joey Tribbiani style (:45).

Blackberry Basil Jam 

Recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

Ingredients:

  • 3-6 oz. cartons of fresh blackberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 oz. basil leaves (or as much or as little as you like)
  • Juice from 1 large orange
  • Juice from 1 medium lemon

Preparation:

Place fresh blackberries in a medium saucepan and turn to medium heat. As the blackberries warm and soften, mash them lightly (and carefully) with a fork. In a food processor, combine the basil, sugar, orange and lemon juices. Blend until smooth. Stir the mixture into the blackberries and bring to a slow boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until the mixture is thick, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes.

Remove from the heat and allow the jam to cool for 1 hour. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to a week. Serve on bread, with cheeses, on top of peanut butter, layered in desserts … the opportunities are endless.

Banana Sweet Potato Bread

Banana Sweet Potato Bread 4
Some things you just get a gut feeling about. When you have too many bananas, and too many sweet potatoes and get that gut feeling about a sweet potato banana bread, you go with that feeling.
Banana Sweet Potato Bread
I had no reason to believe that this recipe would turn out even mediocre, because I was sort of making it up as I went, but it turned out marvelously! I love naturally sweetening by using sweet fruits and veggies. Nature has so many options. Sweet potatoes, apples, carrots, beets … the list goes on and on. Can’t wait to see where the next surplus of produce takes me.Banana Sweet Potato Bread 2
Banana Sweet Potato Bread
Recipe heavily adapted from The Minimalist Baker
Ingredients:
  • 2 large very ripe bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup oat bran
  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 3/4 cup sweet potato puree (I just bake mine whole until tender and scoop out the flesh)
 Preparation:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease or spray a loaf pan with nonstick spray. I like to put a strip of parchment paper that extends above the top of the pan for an easier removal at the end.
  2. Mash bananas and add all of the ingredients except the oats and flour, whisking to thoroughly combine.
  3. Add flours, oats, bran and flax. Stir to combine.
  4. Pour batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top. I added chopped pecans on top. Feel free to do the same, or chocolate chips stirred in would be wonderful.
  5. Bake for about 1 hour, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool on a rack. Then slice and serve.

Banana Sweet Potato Bread 3

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding

In the UK, pudding is a synonym used to denote the dessert course of a meal. When I served this dessert after dinner last night, I think my friends were a little confused by use of the word “pudding” for what is clearly a cake. I don’t think they were disappointed after tasting it though.

Sticky Toffee Pudding 3

I first had this pudding at the Schlafly Taproom in St. Louis and fell instantly in love. I have made it on several occasions since, usually in the winter months when everyone is less concerned about butter and sugar, but it’s good any and every time.

The cake is light, spongey and lovely. It’s almost magic how the dates dissolve into the cake during the baking process and become indiscernible from the rest of the ingredients. The toffee sauce though, is the real star of the show. I like to serve this dessert in a bowl, so everyone has a nice pool of sauce to be soaked up by the cake. I’m pretty sure you can spoon a brown sugar, butter, and cream sauce over anything and it would be incredible; but it’s especially good here paired with a light cake and freshly whipped cream. Enjoy!

Sticky Toffee Pudding 2

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Recipe from Daily Candy via The Schlafly Tap Room

Ingredients:

For the pudding

  • 1 lb. dates, chopped in food processor
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 5 oz. unsalted butter
  • 1 lb. sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch salt

For the sauce

  • 1 lb. dark brown sugar
  • 1 lb. butter
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream

For the whipped cream

  • 1 c. heavy cream (or whatever is leftover from sauce)
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan with butter or non-stick spray.
  • Combine dates with hot water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add baking soda. Set aside to cool.
  • In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar on high speed for 3 minutes.
  • With mixer on low speed, add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla, flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • When fully mixed, add the dates and their liquid.
  • Pour batter into greased pan and bake until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean (30-45 minutes).
  • Cool on a baking rack before removing from the pan.
  • For the sauce, stir together the brown sugar, butter, and vanilla extract on low heat until blended and brown sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat.
  • Whisk heavy cream into the brown sugar-and-butter mixture.
  • To make whipped cream: pour leftover heavy cream into a bowl and add powdered sugar and vanilla. Honestly, I don’t really measure ingredients in whipped cream, it’s hard to mess up. Using a hand-mixer (or Kitchen-aid, or whisk) whip until firm peaks form.
  • Spoon warm sauce over a serving of the pudding and top with a dollop of whipped cream.

Black Bean Brownies

I’ve been wanting to try black bean brownies for a long time now. Everyone says you can’t detect the beans at all, and gee whiz, now that I’ve had them I can say … they’re right! I created this brownie recipe after researching tips from other recipes online and struck gold.

They taste even better than they look, and I’m fully aware of how good they look.

Black Bean Brownies 3

Dense and fudgy with an intense cocoa flavor, these brownies are incredibly addicting and that’s ok – because they’re good for you too. If you’re like me, and always seem to have a can of black beans and bananas on-hand, make these immediately. This is not a drill. Go!

Black Bean Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cover the bottom of an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper or spray with non-stick spray.
  2. Put all of the ingredients except the chocolate chips into a blender or food processor. Process until a smooth batter forms.
  3. Add the chocolate chips and fold into batter.
  4. Pour the batter into prepared pan and sprinkle more chocolate chips on top.
  5. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out mostly clean and there are cracks in the top of the brownies.
  6. Cool the pan completely and then refrigerate until chilled. If you used parchment paper, you should be able to lift the brownies out of the pan easily. Cut the brownies as you like. I got 16 squares out of my pan.

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Black Bean Brownies 4

Black Bean Brownies

Strawberry-Banana Spelt Muffins

This is a guest post from a talented chef with a great recipe for a unique twist on banana muffins.

Banana Strawberry Spelt Muffins

From Chef Thomas:

“I love eating bananas raw, but I am very specific about my raw bananas. They have to be all yellow, or yellow and green; no spots! Once the brown spots start to form, I just don’t like the flavor. But I can’t throw spotty bananas away, so what should I do? I guess I could make some sort of baked good… *twist my arm!*

But baked goods typically have a ton of butter and sugar … what about my diet? I decided to take a basic banana bread recipe and try to put a healthy twist on it.

As I started to throw ingredients together, I became bored with the idea of just plain old banana bread. I started to think of things that are usually combined with bananas and it hit me. Strawberries!! My first go at it, I used almond flour, strawberries, bananas, maple syrup, honey, coconut oil, etc. I used the measurements from an online recipe I found. I had really high hopes. I put the mix in the oven for sixty minutes. I was so excited as I paced back and forth, waiting for the bread to be done. The buzzer went off and I strutted to the oven, confident I would find an amazing loaf of strawberry-banana bread! I swung the door open and was greeted by a goopy mess. Disheartened, I left the loaf in for several more minutes before giving up…for the day. I would make this work!

I told Maggie what had happened and we began to brainstorm about how to make this recipe work. She told me not to use only almond flour because it well make for a very wet bread. Maybe we could put some oatmeal in there to soak up some of that moisture. Maybe add a bit more flour. Sunday she came over and we began to put our recipe together. We added a bit of lemon zest and some oatmeal to the banana mixture. We  used two cups of spelt flour instead of a cup and a half of almond flour. We put some chopped cashews in there for some texture. The mixture looked great, we had high hopes. Then we started talking about how we would cook this mixture. While banana bread is great, it is not the most practical form of food for those of us on the go. We decided muffins would be perfect! We threw them in and enjoyed a beer while we waited. As we swung the oven door down we were met with an intoxicating smell and the sight of perfectly cooked muffins. We put the muffins on a cooling rack and they taunted us, daring us to take a bite …

The next thing I knew, our friend Ruth was taking a bite of one and her face said it all. Maggie and I joined Ruth in pure muffin bliss. We had done it! We came up with an amazing strawberry banana muffin recipe. I hope it brings you all the same amount of happiness that it brought us!”

Strawberry-Banana Spelt Muffins

Yield: 20 muffins 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 7 strawberries, diced
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 cup raw cashews (or any other nut you prefer)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease muffin tins.

In a small bowl, combine bananas, strawberries, lemon zest, and oatmeal. In a large bowl, combine coconut oil, honey, and pure maple syrup in a stand mixer and blend together for one minute, or until creamed. Mix in eggs, salt, vanilla, and then add oatmeal mixture. Slowly, add dry ingredients into the wet ingredient, mixing only until combined. Fold in cashews.

Pour batter into greased muffin tins, about 3/4 way full. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 mins, but keep an eye on them. The muffins are done when the tops spring back when touched.

Sweet Potato Brownies

Happy National Brownie Day!

Sweet Potato Brownies 3

This yummy holiday also happens to fall right smack in the middle of final exams, so there was NO way I was going to miss celebrating this.

Sweet Potato Brownies 2

This recipe for sweet potato brownies is truly one of my favorite recipes ever. Plus, I love the blogger that was the inspiration behind it! She has a ton of wonderful recipes, many of which I’ve tried, many of which are on my “to bake” list.

Since my obsession with healthy remakes of classic indulgences began, I really don’t enjoy the originals as much anymore. With sweet potato, dates, brown rice flour, almond meal, and raw cocoa, these brownies are not only insanely good for you, they taste absolutely incredible. There is so much nutritional goodness in these treats!

Sweet Potato Brownies 4

Please enjoy the holiday with these brownies! You’ll feel happy, indulged, and amazing.

Sweet Potato Brownies

Recipe adapted from Deliciously Ella 

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium to large sweet potatoes
  • 2/3 cup of ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup of buckwheat or brown rice flour
  • 14 medjool dates (no sugar added)
  • 5 tablespoons of raw cacao powder (unsweetened)
  • 3 tablespoons of pure maple syrup
  • Flaked sea salt to sprinkle on top
  • 1/2 cup semi or bittersweet chocolate chips (optional, though not, in my opinion)

Preparation:

If you haven’t cooked your sweet potatoes, obviously do that first. You can peel and steam them, or, do as I do, and throw them in the oven unpeeled at 400 for 45 minutes and scoop out the roasted potato and discard the skin.

For the brownies, set your oven to 350 degrees.

To a food processor, add the cooked sweet potato and the dates. Blend together until combined fully. This mix alone is truly delicious and can probably be made into breads, cookies, muffins … everything.

In a large bowl, combine the sweet potato-date mixture with the remaining ingredients.

Fold in the chocolate chips until combined. Note: if you cooked your potatoes right before making the brownies and your batter is warm as a result, you will need to chill it first so the chocolate chips don’t melt.

Line an 8×8 baking tin with parchment paper and spread the brownie batter evenly. Sprinkle salt over the top for a little extra pizazz. Bake for 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out dry when inserted. Remove from oven and let cool for AT LEAST 10 minutes. This step is very important so the brownies can properly set up.

At this point, I like to cut myself a brownie to eat because, well, who could possibly resist a warm brownie? But then, I place the brownies in the fridge to chill so they cut more easily. This is especially important if you use chocolate chips because they will be very ooey gooey 🙂

Sweet Potato Brownies

Just look at that flaked Himalayan salt …

Sweet Potato Brownies 5

Pack up and place in fridge for a healthy dessert anytime you want.

Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies 3

These cookies have revolutionized my late-night sweet cravings. I have made a batch of these every week for (muffled sound) weeks now, and I don’t feel guilty at all because they are super healthful!

The original recipe I began with used pumpkin puree as the fruit base, which was good, but not nearly as sweet as bananas. The sweetness is important because I have omitted sugar from the recipe (except what’s contained within the dark chocolate chips). I have also tried sweet potatoes which work just as well as bananas. These little goodies are the perfect way to indulge in something sweet, but still get some nutrition in too.

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies 2

They’re also very forgiving. I have been sloppy with measurements more times than not and they always turn out perfect. It’s important to know though, that these cookies will be soft when you take them out of the oven, and remain soft even after they’re cooled. They definitely need a few minutes to set up on the baking sheet after they’re cooked, but will hold their shape just fine thereafter.

I am obsessed with these babies at the moment and no one can stop me. So soft, so yummy, and so decadently chocolately.

You’d be a fool not to make these immediately.

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe adapted from Chelsea’s Messy Apron 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup mashed bananas (or cooked and mashed sweet potato)
  • 2 tablespoons honey (more or less to preference)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (optional, but I like the spiced flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup oat flour (oats that have been blended)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (I like Ghirardelli semi-sweet or bittersweet 60%)
  • Note: I’m usually heavy-handed with the chocolate chips 🙂

Preparation:

In a bowl, mix together the banana, honey, and egg. In another bowl, stir together the cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and oat flour.

Note: Oat flour is made by blending old-fashioned or quick oats in a blender or food processor until they resemble a flour consistency.

Combine the wet and dry and mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Chill the dough for 30 minutes and then preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Using a cookie scooper, portion the dough out onto a cookie sheet. I usually get around a dozen cookies. Press the tops down to flatten slightly. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until set.

Devour and feel great about it!

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins with Brown Butter Glaze

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins 3

After a veryyyy long day, I needed to do some baking to clear my mind. Not having made as many pumpkin things as is my duty in the Fall time, I reached for the pumpkin puree I had in my cupboard and thought of what to do …

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins 2

I decided on muffins.

The website where I found this recipe insisted these were the “BEST pumpkin muffins” ever. With a claim like that I was skeptical at first, but they looked great, so I tried them out …

I withdraw any previous skepticism because these muffins are quite frankly, the bomb diggity.

The streusel really makes these muffins. It provides a buttery, flaky surprise on top that adds a nice complement to the hearty pumpkin cake below. The glaze is the icing on top, both because it is literally the icing on top, and because it makes the muffin soo much better. The browned butter in the icing provides an interesting savory element because it’s nutty and a little salted. Really works well with the pumpkin and spices.

Pumpkin Muffins with Brown Butter Glaze 

Recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod 

Yield: 12 muffins 

Directions:

For the muffins:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the streusel topping:
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans

For the brown butter glaze:
4 tablespoons salted butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 or 4 tablespoons milk

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat and continue to cook, swirling occasionally, until butter turns golden brown and has a nutty aroma. Pour butter into a small bowl and set aside to cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, spices, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, sugar, browned butter, eggs, and vanilla. Stir until smooth.

Gradually add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture, and stir until just combined.

Divide the batter among the 12 lined muffin cups.

To make the streusel, in a small bowl combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Cut the butter into the mixture using your fingers until mixture is coarse and crumbly. Stir in the pecans and mix until combined. Sprinkle streusel topping evenly over each unbaked muffin.

Bake muffins for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out with just a few crumbs. Let cool to room temperature.

While the muffins are cooling, make the brown butter glaze. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat and continue to cook, swirling occasionally, until butter turns golden brown and has a nutty aroma. Pour butter into a small bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, browned butter, vanilla, and 3 tablespoons of milk. If the glaze is too thick, add an additional tablespoon of milk.

Generously drizzle cooled muffins with glaze.

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins 4

Gooey Blondies with Chocolate Chips

Blondie Brownies 2

What happens when you buy a can of sweetened condensed milk on a whim without a plan? Pinterest happens. Then things get crazyyyy …

Blondie Brownies

Everyone knows Halloween is the time for gluttony. You’re literally not doing it right if you don’t have at least 5 different types of candy in the course of the evening. And for some reason, Halloween candy just tastes better. Seriously, is it just my imagination that the pumpkin-shaped Reese’s taste better than the regular ones?

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These blondies aren’t exactly candy (feel free to throw some in though!) … but they’re as sweet and indulgent as a confectionary. The blondie itself is all sugar and butter, so obviously it’s awesome. The sweetened condensed milk on top gets all bubbly, caramelized and delicious.

These are rich and perfect for a group … don’t make when you have no one to share with, or bad things might happen.

On second thought, go ahead and make them when you’re alone. Just get to the gym on Monday.

Blondie Brownies 3

Gooey Blondies with Chocolate Chips

Recipe from Bakerita

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks butter), melted
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9-by-13-inch pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray; set aside.

In a large bowl combine the melted butter, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk to combine, then add in the flour and salt. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing lightly with a spatula or offset knife.

Pour the can of sweetened condensed milk evenly over the top of the batter.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. The edges will be browned and slightly pulling away from sides of pan. The sweetened condensed milk should be bubbling and turning light brown. Allow bars to cool for at least 2 hours before cutting into squares. Refrigerating the bars help.

Banana Granola Bars

Banana Granola Bars 2

This picture should tell you how good these bars are. I forgot to snap a pic before I started eating!

Banana Granola Bars cooked

These granola bars are my own creation and they are awesome. No sugar, no butter, no unhealthies.

At about 150 nutrient-dense calories each, these bars are nutritious, tasty, and filling. Perfect for an anytime snack. I love to slather one with natural peanut butter and devour. ❤ Enjoy!

Banana Granola Bars 4

Banana Granola Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats 
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour 
  • 1 tbsp flax meal 
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans 
  • 1/3 cup raisins or dried cranberries 
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/4 cup molasses (or honey, pure maple syrup, etc.), more or less to preference 
  • Scant 1/4 cup natural peanut butter (or almond butter)
  • 1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, optional

Preparation:

Toast oats and pecans for about 10 minutes at 300 degrees. Watch carefully so they don’t burn.

In a large bowl mix the coconut flour, coconut, flax, cranberries/raisins, salt, and cinnamon. Add the toasted oats and nuts and mix all together.

Microwave bananas for 2 minutes until broken down and all sweet and liquidy. Add molasses (or other sweetener) to hot banana puree and stir to combine. Then add the peanut butter and vanilla to the banana mixture and stir until well combined.

Pour wet mix into the dry ingredients and incorporate completely.

Line an 8 x 8 inch pan with parchment paper. Pour the mixture into the pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top if you so desire! Press mixture firmly into pan.

Bake in 350F oven for about 30 minutes. Let bars cool completely.

When completely cool, remove from pan by pulling up by the parchment paper.

Place parchment and bars on a cutting board and cut into bars or squares. They will keep for several weeks in the fridge.

Banana Granola Bars 5

Banana Granola Bars 3

Banana Granola Bars

Banana Granola Bars cooked 2

Calorie count: 1,745

# of bars: 12

Calories per bar: 145 calories