Love Bananas? Try These Waffles

Banana Bread WafflesI love to make banana bread and banana muffins and chocolate-covered bananas and banana cream pie, well, you get the idea – anything with bananas! So I thought why not use my banana bread recipe, change it up slightly, and cook it in my waffle iron. Voila, I had Banana Bread Waffles! Cool!

Banana Bread Waffles

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs (you can whip egg whites for fluffier texture)
  • 1 6-oz. vanilla yogurt (I use fat free)
  • 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 cups milk (can use almond milk as well)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 cups flour, sifted (I use 1 cup white, 1 cup whole wheat)
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • Pecans, chopped (optional)

Directions:

Crumb sugar and shortening together. Add the eggs, yogurt, milk and vanilla. Mix well. Stir in mashed bananas.

Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Mix into banana-egg mixture.

Spray waffle iron with non-stick spray or, using pastry brush, brush on a small amount of shortening. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, fill waffle iron with batter. Cook until desired doneness is reached. Remove  and top with maple syrup and pecans.

Batter can be stored in refrigerator for up to one week. Stir before using.

You may also cook up all waffles and heat again in toaster for quick breakfasts. The kids might even like eating them as they are or place ice cream in-between two and let them enjoy a delicious waffle ice cream sandwich.

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Thirsty Thursday – A Limeade with a Punch

With the warm weather upon us and school almost out we will begin to see little entrepreneurs with their lemonade stands in abundance. Of course you won’t find this particular punch for sale there but it is one that will certainly appeal to all your adult friends. It is easy to make either on the rocks or as a frozen drink and provides a refreshing cooler for summer getherings.

Vodka Limeade

Ingredients:

  • vodka limeade12-oz. can frozen limeade concentrate
  • 6-oz. orange juice
  • 6-oz. water
  • 9-oz. vodka
  • 4 cups crushed ice
  • 2 sprigs fresh mint
  • lime slices for garnish (optional)

Directions:

In a large pitcher or jug, mix together all of the above ingredients except garnish. Pour into 5-6 glasses and garnish each with lime slice.

Serves 5-6.

Note: If you are making at home, you can add the mixture, except for mint sprig, to a blender and make more of a slushy drink. Garnish with lime slice.

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Wine Wednesday – 2010 Sketchbook Cabernet

2010 Sketchbook Cabernet SauvignonWhile dining at the lovely Brio Tuscan Grille in Boca Raton, Florida I saw a very interesting bottle of wine on the counter of the bar. It was a Sketchbook Cabernet Sauvignon with hand-drawn sketches of Mendocino County California on the labels. I later learned that these labels were sketched by artists Bill Shedds and Randy Grochoske and are meant to reflect the beautiful Mendocino countryside and the free-spirit of the winemakers.

Sketchbook Cabernet is a lush, full-bodied, velvety wine with complex aromas and appealing layers of sweet cherry, plum and black currant flavors accented with hints of  mocha & toasty cedar. The wine has a wonderful balance with a long fruity finish enhanced by oak overtones. Truly a wine I enjoyed with my Italian pasta dinner and one I would purchase to enjoy at home.

Food pairing: Pair with red-sauced pastas, red meats, lamb, rich cheesy vegetable dishes, aged cheeses and, my favorite, dark chocolate.

Price Range: $17.99-$21.99

Rating 4 out of 5

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Lemonade Rice Crispy Treats

Here’s a twist on a classic that you and your little ones are sure to enjoy this summer!

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Lemonade Rice Crispy Treats

Lemonade Rice Crispy Treats – Total Time: 15 minutes – Makes: 15 squares

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
  • 6 cups Crispy Rice
  1. Melt butter over low heat in saucepan.  Add marshmallows & stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.
  2. Add  white chocolate chips and lemon zest to marshmallow mixture and mix thoroughly.
  3. Add Crispy Rice to mixture and stir until all ingredients are well combined.
  4. Spray a 13×9-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray and pour mixture into pan.  Spread out evenly with hands or spoon.
  5. Let cool completely and serve!

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Memorial Day Cookout – Blue Cheese Zucchini Burgers

Blue Cheese Zucchini Burgers

What’s on the menu? Blue Cheese Zucchini Burgers! But don’t let the name fool you as these burgers are plenty beefy. I know zucchini sounds like an odd thing to add to a hamburger but  adding zucchini to the mix not only helps make the burgers more moist but you can use leaner beef as well to make them healthier. Oh, and your kids won’t even know that you are helping them eat their veggies! Of course, the most important thing is how do they taste. Well, once you bite into one of these beauties you will find them both rich and hearty and, to make them reach the over-the-top mark, pile on toppings of grilled onions and crisp bacon. I served mine with coleslaw and grilled corn on the cob but for a Memorial Day BBQ to remember serve them on a toasted whole wheat bun with all the trimmings!

Blue Cheese Zucchini Burgers

Ingredients:

  • ½ lb.or about 1-1/2 cups zucchini, peeled & shredded
  • 1 lb. extra lean ground beef
  • ¼ cup red onion, chopped
  • 1-2 jalapenos, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2-4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Whole wheat buns
  • Garnishes: Grilled onions & bacon (optional)

Directions:

Shred zucchini and place between paper towels and squeeze out excess moisture.

Place all ingredients other than buns and garnishes in a bowl and mix with your hand. Form into 4-6 hamburgers. Place in refrigerator for 2-4 hours to firm so they hold their shape during cooking.

Preheat grill. If grilling onions, slice in thick slices, spray grill with nonstick cooking spray, sprinkle rings with a little olive oil and cook alongside hamburgers. Cook hamburgers for 5-7 minutes per side. If you are topping with additional cheese slices, place slices on top of the burgers in the last minute or two and wait until melted. Serve on whole wheat buns topped with grilled onions.

Serves 4-6.

memorial day flags

May everyone have a wonderful Memorial Day and remember those that fought for the freedoms we enjoy!

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Celebrate National Wine Day – 2010 Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio

2010 Santa Margherita Pinot GrigioI have to be honest and say I am not much of a Pinot Grigio fan but this fares better than most and is the favorite of my daughter (who has great taste).

The 2010 Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio is a wine grown in the Alto Adige region of Italy which is known for producing the best high quality pinot grigio grapes. It was interesting to learn that the Pinot Grigio grapes are actually the white variety of the red grapes used to make Pinot Noir wines.

This particular wine is pale in color with a fruity aroma reminiscent of citrus, pear and golden delicious apples. It is a dry, crisp and refreshing wine that is perfect to pair with a summer meal. This casual drinking wine is a definite one to stock up on. Serve well chilled.

Food Pairing: Pairs well with fish, chicken, quiche, soufflés, Thai and Chinese dishes as well as soft cheeses, oysters and, surprisingly, pizza.

Price Range: $9.99 – $19

4 and one half out of 5

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A Memorial Day Thirst Quencher – Watermelon Pineapple Splash

Memorial Day is around the corner and, with the warm days ahead of us, this refreshing cool drink is the perfect remedy. You can make this drink in 2 versions, one for the adults with alcohol and one for the kids without. We first tried this while having lunch at the Green Turtle Inn in Islamorada ,Florida Keys and every time we make it for guests it’s a big hit!

Pineapple Watermelon SplashWatermelon Pineapple Splash

Ingredients:

  • 1 6-ounce can frozen pineapple juice concentrate, thawed
  • 4 cups seeded watermelon – cubed
  • 12 oz seltzer or club soda
  • Lime or lemon slices (garnish)
  • 4 oz vodka or rum (optional)

Directions:

In a blender, combine pineapple juice concentrate and watermelon. Cover and blend until smooth. Pour into four goblets. Divide the sparkling water among the four goblets and stir to combine. Garnish each glass with a sugared rim and a twist of lime or lemon.

Serves 4.

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Memorial Day Toppings

cheyenneburger

Cheyenne Burger by Bobby Flay

Memorial Day Weekend is fast approaching and just as luck has it – May is National Barbeque & Hamburger Month!  Everyone has their favorite way to prepare a burger, so today, we bring you 10 homemade condiments to compliment them!  Have a wonderful holiday weekend and please take a moment to give thanks to those brave soldiers that lost their lives while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

  1. Bloody Mary Ketchup – Mix 3/4 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup horseradish, 2 teaspoons hot sauce, 1 teaspoon celery salt and 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce.
  2. Roasted Garlic Mustard – Wrap 8 cloves garlic in foil; roast 30 minutes at 400 degrees F. Squeeze the garlic out of its skin and puree with 1/2 cup dijon mustard, 1/3 cup maple syrup, and salt and pepper.
  3. Pico de Gallo – Mix 3 chopped tomatoes, 1 diced seeded jalapeno, 1 diced red onion, 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, and salt to taste.
  4. Reuben Sauce – Cook 1 chopped onion, 1/2 cup chopped sauerkraut and 1 teaspoon caraway seeds in a saucepan with olive oil until browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons each mayonnaise and ketchup, 2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish, a dash of Worcestershire sauce and 1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese.
  5. Root Beer Barbeque Sauce – Combine a 12-ounce can of root beer, 1/2 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup each lemon juice and orange juice, 2 tablespoons each barbecue sauce, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon molasses and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger in a saucepan. Simmer until thick, stirring, 45 minutes.
  6. Spicy Beer Barbeque Sauce – Combine a 12-ounce bottle of beer, 1 cup barbecue sauce, 1 seeded habanero chile, 1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapenos, 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder and 1 clove garlic in a saucepan. Simmer until thick, stirring, 30 minutes. Remove the garlic and chile.
  7. Herb-Ginger Chutney – Puree 1/2 cup each fresh basil, mint and cilantro, 1 tablespoon chopped peeled ginger, 1 seeded jalapeno, 2 tablespoons each chopped onion, lime juice and water, 1 teaspoon each ground coriander, sugar and salt, and 1/4 cup vegetable oil until smooth.
  8. Bacon Onion Relish – Cook 3 slices diced bacon until crisp; remove and reserve. Add 2 sliced onions to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and cook over low heat, covered, 10 minutes. Uncover and cook until golden, 30 more minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons chopped parsley and the bacon.
  9. Olive-Anchovy Mayo – Mix 3/4 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives, 4 chopped anchovies, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley and 2 teaspoons dijon mustard.
  10. Avocado-Chile Spread – Spread Puree 1 avocado, 1/2 cup sour cream or crema, 1/4 cup canned chopped green chiles, the juice of 1 lime and 1/2 clove garlic until smooth. Season with salt.

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Full list of 50 homemade all-purpose condiments found HERE.  Photo courtesy of FoodNetwork.com and Bobby Flay.  Recipe for Cheyenne Burger HERE.

Wine Wednesday – 2011 Maple Ridge Chardonnay California

2011 Maple Ridge ChardonnayI love Wine Wednesday since I get to taste several wines so that I can pick a favorite to post about. Lucky me!

This wine was featured in Total Wine the week before I went on vacation so thought it would be a nice white to try while soaking up the warm tropical sun of Key West. And indeed it was! It was an instant hit with all members of the family, not only the Chardonnay drinkers but the Pinot Grigio ones as well. It is often hard to find a wine that will please both palates so I am one happy camper.

This wine is very light and crisp with a wonderful blend of pear, apple and honey flavors. It has a touch of vanilla from the oak barrel and delivers a smooth, refreshing taste. I would recommend this one heartily for summer dining and plan on stocking up on it while it is still available. A great wine for the price!

Food Pairing: Pair with seafood, lightly sauced pastas, green salads, especially those highlighted with fruits like this delightful Spinach & Strawberry Salad, and creamy to mild cheeses.

Price: $7.99

4.5 out of 5 ratingRating 4.5/5

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Top Super Foods!

Super Foods

, foods naturally found in nature, are a special category of foods found to be beneficial in achieving good health. They are usually low-calorie and rich in nutrients and pack a lot of punch in relation to their weight. You will also find that they are some of the best sources of anti-oxidants and essential nutrients. Discover 5 of these super foods with recipe suggestions below.

Sweet PotatoSweet Potatoes are one of the best vegetables you can eat. They are full of carotenoids, a plant pigment that the body can turn into Vitamin A, and are a great source of antioxidants that may help prevent certain cancers and heart disease as well as strengthen your immune system. Sweet potatoes are also a good source of Vitamin C, potassium and fiber. Try this recipe that hits a sweet spot – http://www.shecooks-hecooks.com/259-recipe-of-the-day-sweet-potato-casserole/

Mango

Just 1 cup of Mangoes can supply 100% of your daily requirements for Vitamin C and 33% of your requirement for Vitamin A. It also has potassium, known for helping lower blood pressure and 3 grams of fiber. Here’s an easy smoothie recipe that is sure to please on a hot summer day – http://allrecipes.com/recipe/basil-strawberry-mango-smoothie/detail.aspx

broccoli Everybody knows that Broccoli is great for you but do you know why? It has tons of Vitamin C, carotendoids, Vitamin K, which provides an essential nutrient needed to promote blood clotting, and folic acid, which helps the body make healthy new cells. Vitamin K for pregnant women is really important in that it can prevent major birth defects of her baby’s brain or spine. Here’s a simple & quick broccoli recipe that you can throw on the grill with your meal – http://www.shecooks-hecooks.com/336-recipe-of-the-day-grilled-broccoli/

watermelon

Summer will be here soon and watermelons will be seen at almost every picnic. Feel good about snitching a piece because it has plenty of beneficial nutrients for your body. About 2 cups provides your body with 33% of your daily requirements for Vitamins A & C as well as some potassium and lycopene. Lycopene may decrease the risk of heart disease as well as lowering levels of LDL or bad” cholesterol. Just eat it like nature intended!

butternut-squash

You probably don’t think of Butternut Squash very often but it is chock full of Vitamins A & C as well as providing lots of fiber. Check out this recipe for your next meal – http://www.food.com/recipe/caramelized-butternut-squash-106627

For further information on superfoods check out the article on foodmatters – http://foodmatters.tv/content/superfoods

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