Archive for the ‘recipes’ Category

Recipe: Mini Banana Ice Cream Pies

For The Kid’s birthday, I made a small variety of healthy fare. Living in the Phoenix area, it’s still plenty warm out in the afternoons, so banana ice cream would have been fine. I decided to attempt single-serve banana ice cream pies in muffin tins — they’re delicious! They have The Big Man’s Tasty Healthy Recipe stamp of approval 🙂

(As it turns out, we had enough other food that we didn’t actually serve these at the party, but we have been making and eating since then ;))

The crust recipe I took from a recipe for vegan “cheese”cake that I saved a long time ago, without attribution 😦  The plan was to make the mini crusts in muffin tins, then pop them out and fill with ice cream made on the spot … but the crusts don’t solidify to be handled like that, so I bought a couple of sets of little glass bowls that probably have a fancy name. Anyway, they were the perfect size 🙂 You could, of course, use a regular pie tin and cut this thing, but the bananas are pretty creamy and probably won’t slice very well. I haven’t tried refreezing them after blending. If you try it, let me know how it works out.

Mini Banana Ice Cream Pies

Crusts (makes about 12 muffin tins or two 9-inch pie tins)

  • 2 cups raw pecans
  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup soaked dates

Combine all ingredients except dates in food processor. Add dates and blend until sticky.

(These work with just walnuts — no pecans — as well.)

Banana Ice Cream

For each mini crust, use 1 to 2 bananas (depending on their size and how full you’d like your cup) and 1/8 to 1/4 cup liquid. I used almond milk, but regular milk, any non-dairy milk, or water would also do the trick.

Put in a high-powered blender and mix until thick and creamy.

Spoon into crust and enjoy!

You can also add other ingredients to the banana if you’d like — pretty much anything that tastes good to you with banana. Keep in mind that regardless of what you add, it will taste like bananas. That said, The Big Man is not a fan of bananas but really likes this recipe.

What might you add to it?

Recipe: Green Banana Ice Cream

Today’s recipe is really just a combination of two things I’d been doing already anyway: green smoothie + banana “ice cream”

It does take a bit of advance planning — you need frozen bananas. I used to simply take bananas that were passing their prime, peel them, break them into chunks and freeze them. But now I eat a lot of frozen bananas (expected to decline in number as cooler weather is finally starting to make hints of coming around). The grocery store sells “ripe” bananas in bags for 29 cents per pound. Good deal! So I buy a bag of those, peel ’em, break ’em up, freeze them on a cookie sheet. Once they’re frozen, transfer to a jar or bowl.

Anyway, for today’s treat, I took roughly the equivalent of two bananas, a handful of baby spinach, maybe a quarter cup or so of almond milk, and a dollop (tablespoon? two?) of peanut butter, tossed them all into my VitaMix (have had it for about a month—love it!) and blended until everything was chopped up and creamy — peanut butter banana ice cream! I don’t taste the spinach. The Big Man does. The Kid doesn’t care.

Of course, you could add anything to it that might go well with banana. If I had almond butter, I would have added that instead of peanut butter. A bit of cocoa powder makes it chocolately, but it’s easy to add too much.

Refreshing and healthy! These would also make good popsicles.

Recipe: Baked Potatoes for Phoenix Summers

OK, so it’s not much of a recipe, but I learned two fabulous tips from the depths of Pinterest and thought I’d share them with you.

First — you can make baked potatoes in a crockpot! No hot kitchen! You can wrap them in foil if you want, but you don’t even need to do that.

What I did:

  1. scrub the potatoes clean
  2. rub in olive oil
  3. put in crockpot
  4. sprinkle with a touch of salt
  5. cook

On low, 6-8 hours; on high, 2-3 hours.

I don’t know if you even need the olive oil, and I know you don’t need salt. (To apply the oil, I put a bit of oil in a small bowl, dipped the end of the potato in it, then rubbed it all around. There are probably ways that keep your hands cleaner, but I didn’t really care.)

I almost never add salt to my cooking, even when a recipe calls for it, but the tiny bit (really, I’m guessing under 1/8 teaspoon) really adds something to these.

The other tidbit I learned: you can substitute plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream when you eat these fabulous potatoes. Delicious!

Go try it!

Recipe: Amazing (Vegan) Refried Beans

I love refried beans and had always considered them a mystery. Why are they called “refried”? Still don’t know. The beans in this recipe aren’t fried at all, but they sure are good.

While I do eat refried beans in restaurants, the only other way that I know of to get them is in a can, and I’ve long since given up food in cans. I was very excited that this recipe turned out so well!

The beans will take a while (mostly soaking), so this isn’t a “let’s have these for dinner tonight” recipe. We soaked them for a super-long time to reduce cooking time. You could soak them just during the day (8 hours or so) but it will roughly double the cooking time. As we finished doing the dinner dishes, we just set the beans out to soak for the next night’s meal.

The original recipe called for three times as much of everything, and thankfully mentioned that it would make the equivalent of approximately ten 16-ounce cans of beans! I don’t want that much of an untested recipe (I’d make that much now and freeze it!), and my food processor certainly won’t hold that much. Cutting it by 2/3 was easy math/measuring, and it still made plenty!

I forgot to take a picture, but when we make these again (very soon!), I will take a picture and add it and probably re-share 😉

Amazing (Vegan) Refried Beans


  • 2 cups dry pinto beans
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder


Rinse dry beans, put in a large pot and add enough water to cover the beans by a few inches. Soak 20-24 hours.

Drain water. Return the beans to the pot, and add onions and garlic. Add fresh water to cover beans by about three inches. Cover the pot, but allow air to escape. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 45 minutes, until beans are tender.

Reserving the cooking water, remove the cooked beans, onions, and garlic. (Strain over a pot or use a slotted spoon.) Put all three in a food processor until beans are a creamy consistency. If the beans are too thick, add some of the cooking liquid until you’re happy with the consistency.

Stir in remaining ingredients.


Recipe: Very Tasty Quinoa-Based Salad-Type Dish

The Big Man and I were at a potluck; one of the dishes was a very tasty quinoa-based salad-type dish. I happened to be talking to the woman who brought it and mentioned that it was really good (which is when I learned that she was the one who brought it!). She rattled off the recipe — and I actually remembered it! We’ve had this a few times, and I’ve modified it slightly from the original.

When I cooked it up earlier this week for lunches, The Big Man had a bite and said it was “an explosion of flavors.” It’s also one of those dishes that is so easy to modify and add what you like.

You could, of course, make it with rice or couscous instead of quinoa, but it would have less protein and the cooking time would change.

Very Tasty Quinoa-Based Salad-Type Dish


  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • ½ teaspoon tumeric
  • 3 cups water
  • 1½ cups quinoa, well-rinsed
  • ¼ cup yellow raisins
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries (craisins)
  • ¼ cup chopped almonds
  • ½ tablespoon minced garlic
  • ¾ cup cooked peas
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans

In a large pan, saute onion and carrot in a bit of oil.

Add water, quinoa, tumeric, raisins, craisins, almonds and garlic. Stir to mix.

Cook over medium heat until water is absorbed, 20-25 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in peas and pecans.


This is probably the nicest food pic I have ever taken for this blog!

Recipe: Southwestern Quinoa Wrap

I have been holding out on posting new recipes until I could take decent pictures of them, but it’s starting to look like I might never post another recipe again if I stick to those parameters, so I am using the picture from Epicurean Mom, where I got the recipe, and moving on 🙂 (She also has a recipe at that link for dressing that we didn’t use.)

This wrap was delicious and easy and filling. And for anyone who asks where vegetarians get protein, this wrap has tons of it! Quinoa, black beans, and avocado all have plenty of protein, and most whole wheat tortillas have a sizeable amount as well. And fried onions are delicious any day!

Southwestern Quinoa Wrap

1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
2½ cups veggie broth
15 ounces black beans
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 avocado, sliced
1 cup of corn
4 whole wheat tortillas

Heat veggie broth and quinoa in a small saucepan until just boiling.  Turn to low-medium and simmer for 25 minutes, or until just tender.  Fluff with a fork and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat, add the onion.  Cook until browned and caramelized, about 10 minutes.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place corn on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.  Bake until just browning, about 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Take a tortilla and load it up!

Recipe: Green Grilled Cheese

I am a fan of grilled cheese. My usual grilled cheese is bread, cheese, sliced tomato, cheese, bread, but this recipe intrigued me.

It came through Pinterest. The original included an herb pesto, but we were lazy and skipped it.

If you are not a huge fan of goat cheese, use it sparingly. If you really hate it, skip it. I’m not a fan (though I love the vanilla blueberry from Trader Joe’s!), but on this sandwich, it added a nice kick. I’m sure the pesto would have rounded this out nicely. So would tomatoes. Or salsa. Mmmmmm….

Green Grilled Cheese

  • 2 slices bread
  • 2 slices mozzarella cheese
  • handful fresh baby spinach
  • ¼ avocado, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled
  • olive oil or butter


On one slice of bread, stack 1 slice of mozzarella, avocado, goat cheese, spinach, second slice of mozzarella; top it with second slice of bread.

Press together gently.

Heat olive oil or butter in a frying pan over medium low heat.

Add the sandwich and cook until bread is golden brown.

Press down on the sandwich lightly, then flip the sandwich over and cook until second side is golden brown.

Recipe/Book Review: Falafels with Asparagus Hummus

I received a review copy of Muffin Tin Chef — a book of 101 recipes cooked in various sizes of muffin tins.

Unless books are labeled vegetarian or vegan, I am wary. It is amazing how many things people will add meat to! But I figured, it’s a review copy. If it’s bad, I just won’t review it!

The book is written by Matt Kadey, a dietician. According to the introduction, the pros of cooking in muffin tins:

  • shorter cooking times
  • built-in portion control
  • good for kids
  • easy to pack
  • conversation topic for entertaining

I flipped through the book — breakfast, appetizers, main dishes, side dishes, desserts — and added a sticky note to about two dozen recipes that looked good that we could try. (Good = tasty + not too complicated + no weird-to-our-pantry ingredients) I passed the book off to The Big Man and asked him to move the stickies on the ones he was willing to try — and he moved all of them!

So far, we’ve tried three recipes from the book. I’m going to share our favorite: Falafels with Asparagus Hummus.

I confess: we failed the first time we made these, but not because the recipe is complicated. It calls for dry chick peas to be soaked overnight. We glazed over that part, saying, “We already have soaked and cooked chick peas in the freezer. We can use those.” Except the recipe does not call for them to be cooked, just soaked. So our falafel were gooey in the middle. Texture fail, but they tasted good, so we gave them another shot, actually following the directions this time…


We made the accompanying hummus, which neither of us were huge fans of (I thought it was too lemony, but most hummus recipes are too lemony for me; The Big Man didn’t tell me what he didn’t care for), but the falafel were so good that this is still our choice for which recipe to publish. (Broccoli Bean Cakes with Garlic-Lemon-Butter Sauce came in second.)

These were listed as an appetizer, but falafel is definitely a meal in a vegetarian home!

I did take photos, but their photo is so much nicer…

Falafels with Asparagus Hummus

Very popular in the Middle East, falafels are often fried in copious amounts of oil. This baked version saves a bunch of calories but retains all the flavor. You could also use a store-bought hummus.


  • 1½ cups dried chickpeas
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ½ cup tightly packed chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • juice of ½ lemon


  • ½ bunch green asparagus (about ½ pound), woody ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest juice of ½ lemon
  • a dash or two of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and black pepper

For the Falafel: Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight or at least several hours.

Drain and rinse the chickpeas, and transfer to a food processor along with the remaining falafel ingredients. Process until the mixture is grainy but not a paste. You want a texture similar to bottled minced garlic. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 2 hours. This helps the falafels hold together during baking.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Divide the chickpea mixture among 24 mini muffin cups, making sure to firmly pack each muffin mold to ensure they hold together during cooking. Bake until set and golden on top, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before unmolding.

For the Hummus: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and fill a large bowl with ice water. Add the asparagus to the pot, return the water to boil, and cook until the asparagus is tender, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the asparagus to the ice water and let sit for 5 minutes. This helps keep the asparagus bright green and prevents it from going mushy. Add the edamame to the pot of boiling water, return to a boil, and cook until the beans are tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and transfer the edamame to a food processor. Drain the asparagus well, pat dry with a paper towel, and add to the food processor along with the garlic, tahini, lemon zest, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, if using, and salt and black pepper to taste. Blend until the asparagus is broken down. With the processor running, pour in the olive oil through the feed tube and process until smooth and the asparagus is no longer fibrous, 1 to 2 minutes. Add more oil if needed to reach the desired consistency. Serve with the falafels.

Meatless Meals (I Wish) My Mother Made

I must admit that for new recipes, I’m diggin’ Pinterest. That’s where I found today’s little bit of healthy tastiness: watermelon frosty!

The recipe actually comes from Healthy Happy Life, where they also give instructions for making it a margarita. No ‘ritas here.

I bought a watermelon and had planned to just snack on half of it and freeze half of it for this recipe, but turned out not to be a great melon, so I chopped and froze the whole thing. Learn from my mistake: if you chop up a watermelon, put all the pieces in a bowl and stick it in the freezer, you end up with one large block of watermelon pieces all frozen together.

That said, this was so easy:

  • 2-1/4 cups frozen cubed watermelon
  • 1/2 cup water (I bet coconut water would be good, but I didn’t actually try it)
  • juice from one lemon
  • 1 fresh banana

Put it all in a blender. That’s it! The original also suggested that juice from two limes would also be tasty. I’d like to try that.

Obviously, if you don’t like watermelon, you’re not going to like this recipe. I didn’t taste any banana, but I like bananas. If you really don’t like bananas, you might be able to taste it? I also tried it the other day just watermelon and water, and this recipe was far superior.

Also, unrelated, today’s post is the last one with “Meatless Meals…” as the title. In the future, I’ll include the title of the recipe in the title of the post. More user-friendly. If I have insomnia and need something mindless to do, I’ll go back and change the rest of them … but don’t count on it.

Recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites

Today’s recipe is for dessert. It is delicious. And amazing. And, depending on what falls under your umbrella of “healthy,” these could reasonably fit the bill.

The original recipe suggested mini muffin pans. If you have them, I’d recommend them. I don’t have those, so I just made this in a 3-cup rectangular Pyrex dish. (I made them again in mini-muffin tins and remembered to take a pic!)

I thought there wasn’t enough chocolate (and ended up making another 1/2 batch of chocolate*), but once I cut into the final product, I realized that the peanut butter just hadn’t frozen and a lot of the chocolate had worked its way into the peanut butter. So if you’re making these in one large container, leave a lot more freezer time for the peanut butter before adding the chocolate.

Also, it’s a little difficult to cut. So yeah: individual servings would be ideal.

Regardless of the few little troubles I had, this recipe is delicious! Everything else I’ve tried that is sweetened with honey tasted like honey … and I’m not a big fan of honey. This is sweetened with honey but doesn’t have a honey taste. Hooray!

*When I made these again, I just doubled the chocolate and it was perfect 🙂

Without further ado, the recipe for chocolate peanut butter bites!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites

the peanut butter part:

  • 3/4 cup natural creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Mix ingredients. The coconut oil is easier to mix if it is melted. It has a VERY low melting point (it’s liquid in our kitchen cabinet for half of the year). Use the stove top with low heat and not the microwave for this endeavor.

Pour into container of your choice. If using individual serving containers (mini muffin trays, silicone trays with fun shapes, etc.), fill roughly half way.

Put in the freezer while making the chocolate part. If you’re using one dish, you’re going to need more time in the freezer. (I haven’t tried it again yet, but I’m estimating an hour or so?)

the chocolate part:

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Using the same low heat, melt the coconut oil and the butter. Melting them together is fine (and easier). Add the cocoa and honey. Mix until smooth. Pour over frozen peanut butter. Return to freezer until solid.


%d bloggers like this: