Greek Yogurt Banana Bread

Going Greek is in. I’ve stopped buying Activia which was my yogurt of choice until I came across Chobani Greek Yogurt. In this transition I’ve realized I prefer Greek yogurt above regular yogurt due to the tangy (acidic) taste, less sweet and creamier consistency. One of my favorite uses to incorporate Yogurt in my cooking is through Indian cuisine such as Chicken Tikka. I’m trying to find other ways beyond curries and Indian food in which to use Greek yogurt. I thought why not add one of my favorite snacks to one of my childhood favorite desserts and see what happens. Sometimes I do good work.

Growing up, my Grandma always had a hobby of cooking and baking. I swear that’s where I get my motivation from. For as much as I try, there is no way any of my cooking will out do Grandmas. I love everything my Grandmother makes even if its a BLT. She always had a love for making banana nut bread and I was repeatedly her biggest fan when she did. I would eat it up faster than she could bake it. With bananas always being a staple in my house, I have no problem when I see the yellow skin getting brown spots on it. In fact it excites me a little bit because I know I can freeze them and use them for a rainy day in some fun adventure of baking. After 24 years I finally asked my Grandmother for her recipe so I could make what I’ve been aching for the past month to make. I made some changes to her recipe because i wanted to add in Greek yogurt. The only change it made in the final product was a moist bread. Adding yogurt didn’t change the flavor at all because I used plain yogurt. It did make the bread a bit more solid, not as dry. I loved the results and I think you will too.

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Total Time: 40 Minutes

Ingredients:

-2 Cups AP Flour

-1 Cup Granulated Sugar

-3/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda

-1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt

-1/4 Cup Butter, melted

-2 Each Eggs

-3 Each Bananas, mashed

-6 Ounces Plain Greek Yogurt

-1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

-1 Cup Chocolate Chips

Method of Prep:

-Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.

-In a stand mixer combine butter, and sugar. Mix until well incorporated.

-In a large bowl mix flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

-Add in bananas, vanilla, eggs, and yogurt into butter and sugar mix. Stir until incorporated.

-Slowly add in flour mixture and continue to mix on medium speed.

-Lastly stir in the chocolate chips.

-Spray a bread pan and pour in mixture. Fill pan halfway. Use 2 pans if you have to.

-Place in oven for 20 Minutes. Rotate.

-Leave in for another 20 minutes, remembering to check every 10 minutes until golden brown on top and a toothpick or knife comes out of the center clean. The cooking will take anywhere between 30 and 40 minutes.

-Serve with fresh fruit or ice cream.

Enjoy!

***Note: If after 2 days I still have left over bread, I will make banana bread french toast πŸ™‚ Yum!

Pickles!

Since I was 8 years old I’ve been in love with pickles. Honestly, I’ve never liked bread and butter pickles, they’re too sweet for my liking. I’ve always preferredΒ  pickles that are acidic and salty making me a dill pickle gal all the way. The strong garlic, salt, and dill flavor keeps me salivating for more. My mouth waters just thinking of them now. In case you were wondering I would also drink the pickle juice. Many folks think that’s disgusting, personally I think it’s delicious.

I stopped buying pickles when I was in college. There wasn’t any reason why I guess I just grew out of always wanting to buy them. Eventually I started making my own because lets be honest, its quick to do and effortless. I enjoy adding dried red chiles into my pickling liquid for a nice kick. Please try this recipe it’s one of my favorite things to snack on and its delicious!

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Total Time: 15 Minutes

Ingredients:

-1 Each Cucumber, sliced 1/8 inch thick

-1 Each Garlic clove, sliced thin

-1 Cup Sugar

-1 Cup White Distilled Vinegar

-4 Each Peppercorns

-2 Each Parsley sprigs

-1 Each small Rosemary Sprig

-2 Each Dried Red chiles

-1 Mason Jar

Preparation:

-Combine sugar and vinegar in a pot and bring to a boil over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.

-While pickling liquid is cooking, place all other ingredients in the mason jar.

-Pour hot liquid into mason jar covering cucumbers and aromatics.

-Leave the lid off and set at room temperature for 1 hour before putting in the refrigerator

– Make sure liquid is completely cool before placing lid on the jar. Hold in the refrigerator for 24 hours before eating.

Enjoy!

**Note: Pickles will float to the top of the jar. To keep them submerged in the hot liquid, make a ball out of plastic wrap and place on top of pickles until ready.

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad.

I may sound a little weird when I say I appreciate left over food from a previous day. There are several days where I fail to push myself and get inventive in the kitchen, which I now refer to as my man cave. That period of time is commonly on the 9 hour plus workdays. Leftovers to me are a a constructive start to taking what has already been cooked, seasoned, and fabricated to eliminate time, and from the excess food I can use my skills and creativity to then create another meal with these leftovers, therefore I am not wasting food.

The mystery basket game is always fun to play. What meal can I generate using a random 5 ingredients I have hanging out in the refrigerator. Today’s lunch wasn’t that hard to figure out. I had left over black beans that had already been cooked and seasoned from when my boyfriend Brandon made enchiladas for dinner a few nights ago. My original idea was to make black bean burgers then I decided I wanted quinoa involved which I also had leftover. If you haven’t cooked with or eaten quinoa, you should really start. Quinoa is considered to be a whole grain but it technically a seed. I love Quinoa for 3 main reasons: 1.) It cooks quickly, 2.) It tastes great on its own, and 3.) Quinoa provides all 9 essential amino acids making it a complete protein. Quinoa is a cholesterol free and gluten free whole grain, is kosher for passover, and is almost always organic. I mean seriously, whats not to love?!? Plus you can do almost anything with it in terms of cooking serve it cold or hot and it goes great with fruit and vegetables mixed. Do whatever you want, your the boss!

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Total Time: 20 Minutes

Ingredients:

-1 Cup Quinoa, cooked according to package directions

-1 15 oz Can Black Beans, rinsed

-1/2 Yellow Bell Pepper, small dice

-1/2 Yellow Onion, small dice

-1 Clove garlic, minced

-1/2 Bunch Cilantro, chopped fine

-1 Teaspoon Cumin

-TT Salt & Pepper

Directions:

-Rinse and cook Quinoa according to directions if you haven’t yet done so.

-Saute garlic over medium heat in a small pan until light brown. Add in onions and pepper and saute until translucent about 5 minutes.

-Place quinoa in a medium mixing bowl. Add in beans and cooled down vegetables. Season with cumin, salt, and pepper. Stir until combined.

-Mix in cilantro last. Taste and season more if needed.

Enjoy!

Source: What is Quinoa?

Pickled Peaches

I’ve got Georgia on my mind, well peaches that is. There are road signs scattered throughout the freeway here in Florida screaming “Fresh Georgia peaches, exit now!” I’m seeing bins filled to the top at the Publix as low as $0.88/pound just for peaches. If that’s not my sign to buy peaches and do something with them then I don’t know what is!

Peaches are certainly at the top of my list for favorite fruits to eat. Not only do peaches have the capability to pair with just about anything in cooking from bourbon and chili peppers to creams and vinegars but there are many different recipes and techniques you can use to cook with them. When I think of peaches the first thing that comes into my head is cobblers followed by ice cream. I get excited just thinking about what recipe I can come up with next using peaches as the main ingredient. I prefer to eat my fruit fresh. The last time I purchased fruit in a can was at least 10 years ago. There is 1 exception to this, Greenbrier peaches. When I worked at the Greenbrier in West Virginia last year I started working in the pantry for a few months just to get my feet in the water before diving onto a hot line I had no experience with. One of the menu items that was a well liked favorite was the peaches. I didn’t understand why because they came straight out of a can that was kept frozen and thawed out the day of service. My supervisor assured me that I had to try one peach and I would understand the enigma. Mind blown. I still to this day don’t know what it is about those canned peaches that have become a historic item on the Main Dining Room menu but I do know that those peaches make damn good peach milkshakes with peach ice cream of course, and excellent smoothies.

With peaches being in my budget, which makes me a very happy girl, I’ve been able to have them on hand as a staple for the moment. Today I decided I wanted to do something with peaches I haven’t done before. One thing that came into my mind was pickling. I’ve never pickled fruit before but i see a lot more blogs where people are doing just that. The last fruit related thing I came across that seemed bizarre to me was pickled watermelon rind. I’ve always thrown that part away but if you think about it in a smarter sense it could be a good way to save on food cost. A good way to get the most out of your product before tossing it. Needless to say that project is on my list of things to try, be on the look out for that post in the near future. The original recipe made 4 quarts, I only needed enough for one jar so I cut back on the recipe by half.

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Total Time: 20 Minutes

Ingredients:

-2 Peaches, peeled, and cut

-1 Cup Granulated Sugar

-1 Cup White Vinegar

-1 Cup Water

-2 Cinnamon Sticks

-2 Star Anise

Preparation:

-Combine the sugar, vinegar and water in a large pot, and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes.

Pour liquid over the peaches to 1/2 inch from the rim. Put one cinnamon stick into jar. Wipe the rims with a clean dry cloth, and seal with lids and rings. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes to seal.

<–Have a hot water bath waiting as you begin the pickling process.

-Let sit in refrigerator at least 4 days before trying.

Enjoy!

**Note: If your peaches aren’t quite ripe you can cook them in the vinegar solution, after your boiled that for 10 minutes, until tender. Spoon peaches into a jar first and then add the liquid.

-Cloves also work well for this recipe instead of using Anise.

2012 Olympic Games

We are already 2 weeks away from the start of the 2012 summer Olympics. During the course of theΒ  Olympic games there will be more than 14 million meals served across 40 different locations. The challenge in terms of food quantities: 25,000 loaves of bread
232 tons of potatoes
More than 82 tons of seafood
31 tons of poultry items
More than 100 tons of meat
75,000 litres of milk
19 tons of eggs
21 tons of cheese
More than 330 tons of fruit and vegetables

The guide below provides the vision for catering to sustainable games, the challenge of feeding more than 14 million people, commitments for food sourcing, and the approach to making it all happen.

London 2012 food vision

Go Team USA!