Smoked Broccoli Bake

2 01 2011

While trying to plan a healthy meal and use up the broccoli and tomatoes I had recently bought I remembered an old family recipe – some sort of nutty broccoli bake that I loved to make before moving to San Francisco. Somehow I forgot the recipe over the years and could not find it written down anywhere.

When I called my mom she remembered not only exactly what recipe I was talking about but also exactly what cookbook it came from – Victory through Vegetables – a cookbook she has had since before I was born which she purchased for $1.25. Today you can find used versions on Amazon for  up to $15.00. The book covers even have the price of $1.25 printed on the front cover. Amazing. I’m purchasing one of the used copies today for $2.50 plus $3.99 shipping.

Smoked Broccoli Bake

4 cups Broccoli
2 medium tomatos
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup smoked cheese – gouda or provolone are my favorite
1 cup blanched almonds

Place all ingredients in a baking dish and back for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees, stirring once about halfway through.

It’s so good! Crunchy, nutty, smoky… fantastic!


Banana’s Foster Bread – Yum!

1 01 2011
Banana's Foster Bread

What is left of the bread after two days...

I’m beginning the year by baking fresh bread – Banana bread! I had been eyeing a classic banana bread recipe from Cooking Light, but while I was at the store shopping for the eggs and butter I noticed a variation – Banana’s Foster Bread. OMG. I was sold. And I was not disappointed. It was fairly easy to make and tastes amazing… The only thing I changed is that I used Brandy instead of Cognac or Rum. I think brandy is a lighter flavor than Rum or Cognac would have been. I actually could not keep away from it in time to take a good picture before it was cut into. This just shows how good it is and how quickly it goes!

Banana’s Foster Bread


Yield: 16 servings (serving size: 1 slice)


  • 1 1/2  cups  mashed ripe banana
  • 1  cup  packed brown sugar, divided
  • 6  tablespoons  butter, melted and divided
  • 1/4  cup  cognac or dark rum, divided
  • 1/3  cup  plain fat-free yogurt
  • 2  large eggs
  • 6.75  ounces  all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4  cup  ground flaxseed
  • 3/4  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1/8  teaspoon  ground allspice
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/3  cup  powdered sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Combine banana, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 5 tablespoons butter, and 3 tablespoons cognac in a nonstick skillet. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to bubble. Remove from heat; cool. Place banana mixture in a large bowl. Add yogurt, remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar, and eggs. Beat with a mixer at medium speed.

3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through allspice) in a small bowl. Add flour mixture to banana mixture; beat just until blended. Pour batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan; place on wire rack.

4. Combine remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter, remaining 1 tablespoon cognac, and powdered sugar; stir until well blended. Drizzle over the warm bread.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 194
Fat: 5.8g (sat 3g,mono 1.5g,poly 0.9g)
Protein: 2.9g
Carbohydrate: 31.1g
Fiber: 1.5g
Cholesterol: 34mg
Iron: 1.1mg
Sodium: 181mg
Calcium: 32mg


Day 52 – Banana-Maple Oatmeal Cookies

21 02 2010

Glorious Sunday! The city, however, was gray and rainy. But, I was in good spirits and headed yoga, Trader Joes, and Whole Foods… on a mission to make my first ever batch of Fat Free Vegan Cookies. Yup!

I found them on them on another blog and they are delicious!

So these cookies include no egg, no butter and no white sugar. They have banana, rolled oats, wheat flour, lemon juice, cinnamon and vanilla plus a few other regular ingredients. The odd ones for me were Chai seed and Organic Maple Syrup (not the same a Log Cabin… well, not nearly as nutritional). I headed to Whole Foods to track down the last few items, and after an odd fight over a parking space (I was waiting for a spot and another lady tried to grab it. I honked, and SHE GOT OUT OF HER CAR! The car behind me was even arguing with her. Finally she gave in saying that I was a bad person and she was a good person. Really?)

Anyways, my adventures in Whole Foods Bulk Food area were great! I found Organic Maple Syrup, Chai seeds and the flour which I was able to buy all in the exact right quantity. Let me tell you, there are more types of seeds out there that I have never heard of.

With my newly found ingredients in my bag, I headed home to make my first batch of vegan cookies. It was surprisingly easy to make and bake. Below is the recipe, although I omitted the raisins.

Banana-Maple Oatmeal Cookies
(Courtesy of FatFree Vegan Kitchen)

Because they contain no fat, these cookies are softer the day they are made and chewier the next day. If you prefer them soft, warm your day-old cookies in the microwave for a few seconds.

1 teaspoon ground chia seeds or 2 tsp. egg replacer powder or 2 tsp. ground flaxseed
2 tablespoons water
1 cup regular or quick oats
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup raisins (optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 banana, mashed
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 375.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the chia seeds (or egg replacer or flaxseed) with the water and set aside until thickened (no waiting is necessary if packaged egg replacer is used.)

Mix the oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a medium mixing bowl. Add the raisins.

Add the maple syrup, vanilla, mashed banana, and lemon juice to the chia/flax/egg replacer mixture and combine well. Pour into the dry mixture and stir well but don’t overmix.

Drop by heaping tablespoons onto a baking sheet lined with a silicon mat or parchment paper. Flatten each cookie slightly with a fork. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until bottoms and sides are lightly brown. Cool for a few minutes on a wire rack before serving.

Servings: 18

Yield: 18 cookies (I got 22 from my batch)

Day 44 – One Sad Cocktail Party

13 02 2010

On the eve of St. Valentines day I was invited to a cocktail and canape party by a friend of mine. Each person is asked to bring a cocktail of their choosing with an appetizer to pair. I love this concept! And, being the perfectionist who hates to fail, I spent all day looking for drinks and recipes. I wanted to find something that wouldn’t be too complicated to prepare, or too expensive (after all, it wasn’t my party!).

I finally settled on a Canadian Club and Ginger recipe for the cocktail, in honor of the Olympics, plus the host if originally from Canada, so I thought that worked well! It only took me 2 stores before I found Canadian Whiskey – apparently it’s not that common here in SF… For an appetizer I varied between Roasted Almonds with Rosemary and Caprese Salad on skewers (both recipes below). So, I made both to test them, because who wants to show up with an appetizer that even you won’t eat?! Both were FABULOUS! In the end, I opted for the Caprese not just because they tasted and looked wonderful, but also because if I didn’t bring that dish, I would be left with a large quantity of fresh tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese that I would have to eat myself.

After spending another hour trying on a variety of outfits, I packed my car with the drink ingredients and my Caprese skewers and headed over about an hour after the start of the event… and I was first, not counting my friends boyfriend. About 10 minutes later one additional person showed up. That was it. It was not only a let down for me as I was hoping a few specific people would show up, I’m sure it was also a disappointment to the host as she had been cooking all day!

Anyhow… here are the recipes:

CC and Ginger

CC and Ginger with Lime

CC and Ginger

  • 1½ parts Canadian Club Whisky
  • 4 parts Ginger Ale
  • Lime

Caprese Skewers

Caprese Skewers

Caprese Skewers

  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Fresh Mozzarella balls (roughly the same size as the Cherry Tomatoes)
  • Olive Oil
  • Fresh Basil
  • Balsamic Vinegar (optional – I omitted)
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Skewers

Warm Almonds with Rosemary

Almonds with Rosemary - serve warm - they are so addictive!

Roasted Almonds with Rosemary

Adapted from “My Own Sweet Thyme” blog.

  • 2 cups unskinned whole almonds (or plain marcona almonds)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat.

Add the almonds and rosemary. Cook, stirring constantly, until they are fragrant and toasted, approximately 1-2 minutes.

Remove from heat and sprinkle with sea salt.

Breathe in. Smile.