Bananas and fresh strawberries make a great combination in this summery muffin! They’re so moist and full of delicious chunks of fresh strawberries. I love how the sprinkling of coarse sugar gives these muffin tops a little sparkle and crunchiness, too! I just did a light sprinkling, but you can do a heavier sprinkle if you want a real sugary top.Continue reading
This smoothie has kind of a long name but it sounds good, doesn’t it? I found this recipe in a cookbook called Eating Clean in Costa Rica. The instructions for the recipe included amounts measured in grams, milliliters, etc., so I converted the amounts and adjusted some amounts slightly. Continue reading
I’ve noticed lots and lots of recipes for overnight oats in the last few years and have been wanting to try making some. I finally got around to doing that after receiving some complimentary breakfast coffees from Community Coffee. They sent me one of their new products, Amber Sunrise Blend, along with their tried-and-true Breakfast Blend.
Amber Sunrise Blend has a smooth, bright, pleasant flavor and smells wonderful as you’re brewing it. As one of my friends said, “It’s a coffee you want to wake up to.” The light roast Breakfast Blend also has a nice smooth, mild flavor–a great coffee to start your day with.
So what do overnight oats and coffee have in common? Well, I came across an overnight oats recipe on the blog at the Community Coffee site that includes coffee as one of the ingredients–along with oats, cocoa powder, banana slices, and other yummy ingredients. I made a few tweaks to the recipe and added some chopped dark chocolate on top. It’s a special mocha-flavored treat for breakfast–or you can have it later in the day as a healthy snack!
MOCHA BANANA PECAN OVERNIGHT OATS by NancyC, adapted from Community Coffee
Makes 1 serving
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/3 cup vanilla Greek yogurt (or substitute the same amount of milk)
- 1/4 cup strong brewed Community Coffee (I used the Amber Sunrise blend)
- 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 banana, sliced
- 1 Tablespoon chopped pecans (toasted or untoasted)
- 1/2 Tablespoon chopped dark chocolate (72% Cacao works well in this)
In small jar or bowl with tight-fitting lid, combine oats, yogurt or milk, coffee, honey, cocoa powder, vanilla, and cinnamon. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Top with banana, chopped pecans, and chopped dark chocolate just before serving.
I used 72% Cacao dark chocolate when I made these overnight oats–it gives the oats a good rich cocoa flavor without making it too sweet. I can see now why overnight oats are such a popular breakfast item–they’re so easy and convenient to make! Have you tried making overnight oats yet?
One of the things I love about this DIY face cream is that it’s so simple and easy–and has just 2 ingredients that just about everyone has on hand–a banana and some milk! I found this recipe in my review copy of The Complete Guide to Natural Homemade Beauty Products and Treatments (Robert Rose, softcover). This book includes 175 easy-to-follow recipes for a variety of skin and hair care items. And all the ingredients in these recipes are chemical-free, using natural ingredients like aromatic and medicinal plants, flowers, fruits, and essential oils. For example, there’s a Rejuvenating Bath recipe that includes dried sage, thyme, and eucalyptus leaves, along with patchouli and sandalwood essential oils. And a Lemon Hand Cream that’s made with shea butter, apricot kernel oil, castor oil, and lemon essential oil.
I decided to try the Nourishing Banana Cream for the face because it was such a simple recipe that we all could try without having to buy any special ingredients. This is actually more like a mask than a cream, because you just keep it on for 3 to 4 minutes. It really does make your skin feel nice and soft after you wash it off–it felt so refreshing, too! If your skin is dry, you’ll probably want to apply your regular moisturizer after you rinse this banana face cream off.
Here’s what the book says about bananas: Bananas are good for beauty, both inside and out. They contain a host of vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, vitamins A, C, and E and potassium. So pamper your face and try this out when you get a chance! 🙂
NOURISHING BANANA CREAM from Natural Homemade Beauty Products and Treatments
Makes 1 application – works best for normal skin
- 1/2 ripe banana
- 3 Tablespoons milk
Slice banana. In a small bowl and using a fork, mash banana with milk to form a paste (I actually found it easier to mash by putting the ingredients in a baggie and mashing it with my hands)
Using fingers, spread banana mixture over face and neck. Let stand on skin for 3 to 4 minutes.
Rinse off banana mixture with lukewarm water. Gently pat face and neck dry with a towel.
Isn’t that easy? I used a medium-size banana and it made plenty of “cream” to apply; in fact, I had some extra. So I saved the rest and used it in a smoothie!
Have you made any DIY beauty products with simple, natural ingredients?
I think this just may be the hottest week of summer. And that calls for a smoothie–even better, a chocolate smoothie! There’s a soy and non-soy version for this recipe, so you can take your pick. The smoothie I made pictured here is the soy version. I’ve never made a smoothie with tofu before, and it does give the smoothie a nice creaminess. It’s not super-thick, though, so if you’re expecting a smoothie like that, you’ll be disappointed. But it has a lightly creamy texture from the tofu and banana, and the unsweetened cocoa powder gives it a rich chocolate flavor. The honey gives the smoothie a light sweetness that’s just right–not too overly sweet. But if you do want it sweeter, you can always add in a little more honey!
COCOA BANANA SMOOTHIE by NancyC, adapted from EatingWell.com
Makes 1 large or 2 small servings, about 14 to 16 ounces
- 1 medium size banana, cut into slices or chunks and frozen (for about 3 to 4 hours or overnight)
- 1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon soft silken tofu (for a non-soy version, use plain or vanilla Greek yogurt)
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup soy milk (plain or vanilla–for a non-soy version, use regular milk; use 1/3 cup for a slightly thicker smoothie)
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 4 ice cubes
Slice banana and freeze until firm (about 3 to 4 hours or overnight). Blend tofu (or greek yogurt), soymilk (or milk), cocoa, and honey in blender until smooth. Add in the frozen banana slices and blend; then add in ice cubes and blend until mixture is smooth.
Smoothies always sound good to me on hot summer days! What’s your favorite healthy warm-weather treat?