Tag Archives: banana

Bread and Muffins Breakfast Gluten-Free

Gluten-Free Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins…and some EXCITING news!

Hey guys! Sorry, I know I was completely M.I.A. last week, but I have a REALLY good excuse!

Travis and I got engaged last weekend in Philadelphia! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK! (—> That’s really the best way to capture all of my emotions.)

Rachel and Travis Got Engaged!

I am so excited and happy and aaah, #somanyfeelings! I promise I will share our engagement story with you later this week. I’ve been trying to put all of my thoughts concisely together into one post, but at this point I have a novel written and I don’t think you want to read that…

 

But for now, I think we should dive into these Gluten-Free Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins.

What do you think?

Moist & Delicious Gluten-Free Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins ll Gluten-Free and Refined Sugar Free ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

If you or anyone you know is gluten-free, then you MUST get this Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour! Neither Travis or I follows a G-F diet, but we definitely try to be conscious about the amount of gluten we eat. If we’re out at a restaurant and we see a G-F option available (like pasta or pizza crust), we usually opt for that.

Of course, I want to make it clear that “Gluten-Free” doesn’t necessarily mean “healthier”, but removing some gluten from our diets has definitely had positive effects on both of our skin and stomachs.

Moist & Delicious Gluten-Free Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins ll Gluten-Free and Refined Sugar Free ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

When Bob’s Red Mill sent me this baking flour, I was beyond excited. I’d heard such great things about it and I couldn’t wait to experiment. The whole idea behind this flour is that you can substitute it for your favorite all-purpose or whole wheat flour exactly 1 to 1.

Often with other gluten-free baking flours you have to add xantham gum or play around with the proportions to get the ideal texture and density, but that’s not the case with this 1 to 1 baking flour! It makes gluten-free baking SO easy!

Moist & Delicious Gluten-Free Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins ll Gluten-Free and Refined Sugar Free ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I made two versions of these gluten-free banana muffins before perfecting the recipe. The first version was really good, but I felt it needed more banana. The key to making the best banana bread or banana muffins is making sure your bananas are really ripe — the browner, the better!

As bananas ripen, the sugars begin to caramelize, which results in a sweeter, more flavorful muffin or bread.

Moist & Delicious Gluten-Free Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins ll Gluten-Free and Refined Sugar Free ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

For these muffins, I also used Bob Red Mill’s Organic Coconut Sugar, which is a great substitute for regular sugar. Coconut sugar is unrefined and has a low glycemic index, which means it doesn’t cause your blood sugar to spike and then crash right after.

The best part is, you really can’t taste the difference in your baked goods.

Moist & Delicious Gluten-Free Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins ll Gluten-Free and Refined Sugar Free ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I know you guys are going to LOVE these Gluten-Free Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins. If you make them, definitely let me know in the comments below!

 

Gluten-Free Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 3 large extra-ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • 2 cups Bob's Red Mill 1 for 1 Gluten-Free Flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup dark chocolate chips (low sugar if available)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with muffin liners and spray the insides of each liner lightly with cooking spray to prevent as much sticking as possible.
  2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Whisk in the eggs, canola oil and vanilla. Stir in the coconut sugar and mix well.
  3. In a separate large bowl, combine the gluten-free flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix to combine. Slowly pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir until there are no dry lumps. Stir in the dark chocolate chips and mix.
  4. Pour the batter into the lined muffin cups, only filling each cup about ¾ of the way. Bake for 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool for 2 minutes. Then remove each muffin from the tray and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
 

Disclaimer: I was provided product for this post from Bob’s Red Mill, but the recipe and all opinions are my own. 

 

 

Moist & Delicious Gluten-Free Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins ll Gluten-Free and Refined Sugar Free ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com
Breakfast Smoothies Vegan

Vitamin-Packed Green Smoothie

Monday night I came home from work and our apartment was HOT. I knew Travis wanted a “real” meal for dinner, but cooking was the last thing I felt like doing. I had just picked up lots of fresh produce at the grocery store, and the only thing that sounded appealing to me was a cold, fresh smoothie.

I know, that is so unlike me. I typically would consider a smoothie a pathetic dinner, but I really wanted something refreshing and my body could use the greens.

 

Vitamin-Packed Green Smoothie Recipe l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I threw lots of leafy greens, part of an avocado for creaminess, and fresh fruit into the blender along with some almond milk to get things moving.

Vitamin-Packed Green Smoothie Recipe l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

You really don’t taste the kale and spinach in this smoothie because they’re masked by the sweetness of the banana and mango. If you feel the smoothie isn’t sweet enough for you, try adding two pitted dates – they add a delicious sweet flavor.

Vitamin-Packed Green Smoothie Recipe l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

This smoothie was SO good – I know I will be making it regularly throughout the summer. It’s healthy, vitamin-packed, filling, and so tasty.

Vitamin-Packed Green Smoothie

 

This “Easy as Breeze” post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk. For more “Easy As Breeze” recipes made with five ingredients or less, visit Almond Breeze on Facebook. As always, I thank you for your support with sponsored posts.

 

Vitamin-Packed Green Smoothie
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: 1-2
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • ½ cup fresh kale
  • ¼ cup fresh spinach (optional)
  • ¼ cup avocado
  • ½ frozen banana
  • ½ cup frozen mango
  • 2-3 dates (optional for added sweetness)
  • 2 ice cubes
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high for 30 seconds, until desired consistency.
 

 

Breakfast

Challah French Toast

Sometimes there is nothing better than comfort foods, especially comfort foods that evoke wonderful memories.

Challah French Toast Recipe

Growing up, my mom always bought challah (a traditional Jewish egg bread) from a store in Brookline, MA called Cheryl Anns’. Their challah is THE BEST in the world. I swear to it! We love it because it is particularly eggy, soft, and sweet. I have such fond memories sitting with my mom around the the island in our kitchen, slicing piece after piece of Cheryl Ann’s challah and filling our happy bellies. (Mom – I blame your side of the family for my crazy carb obsession!).

Challah French Toast - Little Chef Big Appetite

Good challah will always have a warm place in my heart. Since living in Los Angeles, I have yet to find any challah that even comes close to my beloved Cheryl Anns’. However, when Travis and I were at the Whole Foods in Venice recently (a great place to spot celebrities, by the way!) he eyed a loaf of Whole Wheat challah bread. Now, I’ve had whole wheat challah before (and I’ve even made my own), but it just never comes close to the real thing. However, when I picked up this particular loaf of challah, it felt so soft and I had a pretty good feeling that it was going to be delicious.

Challah French Toast - Little Chef Big AppetiteSo we grabbed a mini loaf and decided to make challah french toast the next morning. I suddenly realized that the last time I’d made challah french toast was during college for a brunch I hosted for girls in my sorority in my off-campus apartment. For that brunch I purchased around 10 huge loaves of challah and cooked over 100 pieces of french toast on four different skillets in my tiny college kitchen. It was a hit, though, because not a single piece of french toast went uneaten!

Challah French Toast - Little Chef Big Appetite

Every time I make challah french toast I change the recipe ever-so-slightly. I think this time I really nailed it (if I do say so myself!). One of my key tips is to use day-old or slightly stale challah for this recipe. It may sound surprising, but the bread actually soaks up more of the egg mixture this way.

We ate our french toast with powdered sugar, caramelized bananas, and real maple syrup, which was an absolutely delicious combination! Feel free to experiment with different fruits and toppings, though. I think this french toast would be delicious with fresh jam!

Challah French Toast - Little Chef Big Appetite

Challah French Toast
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 loaf challah, sliced into 2 inch thick slices (day old challah will work best here)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk (any kind)
  • 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Cooking Spray or Butter
  • Maple Syrup
  • Bananas, Berries, Chocolate Chips (optional toppings)
Instructions
  1. In a large shallow dish, whisk together the eggs, milk, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Soak the challah pieces in the egg mixture for 60 seconds on each side (depending on the size of your dish, you will likely have to do this in batches).
  2. Preheat a large skillet to medium heat and grease the skillet. Add a few pieces of challah to the pan in a single layer and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. After cooking the first batch, transfer the french toast to a warm oven (about 200 degrees F) until all of the pieces are cooked.
 

Breakfast Smoothies

Basic Protein Shake + Variations

On weekday mornings I am always in a rush because I work out in the morning before work. I’ve been doing the same routine for about a year now, so from the moment my alarm goes off at 5:00AM, I have my morning schedule locked down to the minute. I have to squeeze in my workout, shower, getting dressed, and breakfast all before I rush out the door to hit the road (read: traffic).

Given this mad dash to get out the door in the morning, I try to minimize my time making breakfast to as few minutes as possible.

IMG_3103

I’ve already shared with you two of my favorite protein-packed breakfasts: Overnight Oats and Protein Pancakes. Another one of my go-to breakfasts, especially when I am crunched for time, is a protein shake.

It took me awhile before I found a protein powder and shake consistency/texture that I really enjoyed. I try to avoid dairy in my diet, so whey protein powders were never an option. My favorite protein powder is Jay Robb’s Egg White Protein Powder (which I use in my Chia Protein Bars). I love the Vanilla and Chocolate flavors. Both taste delicious (just like a milkshake), and they mix very well so there are no gritty bits or strange aftertastes like you can get with other powders.

IMG_3124

I like my shakes thick, so I add lots of ice and half a frozen banana to get this consistency. The shake comes together in under 3 minutes, so it is perfect for a fast weekday breakfast or to enjoy after a workout to refuel.

IMG_3108

If you guys have any other non-dairy protein powder recommendations, I would love to hear them! I am always looking for great-tasting protein powders with as short of an ingredient list as possible.

 

Basic Protein Shake

Ingredients

1 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk

3-4 Ice Cubes

1/2 Frozen Banana

1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder

Instructions

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth, about 30 seconds.

 

Variations

Peanut Butter Banana Protein Shake: Add 1 Tablespoon of all-natural peanut butter to the mixture.

Strawberry Banana Protein Shake: Add 4-5 frozen or fresh strawberries to the mixture.

Mocha Protein Shake: Substitute chocolate protein powder for the vanilla. Add 2 teaspoons of instant coffee to the mixture.

 

 

Bread and Muffins Breakfast

Healthy Banana Bread

I love banana bread. But you probably knew that already.

Here is my problem with banana bread:

EVERYONE has a recipe. And EVERYONE claims that their’s is the best. So how are you supposed to know which one to make?

Well, that’s why I’ve tried them all. Now, I’m gonna go ahead and call myself a Banana Bread connoisseur. Yup, I like the sound of that. Makes me sound real official. I’ve made sour cream banana bread,  banana bread with lots of butter, lots of oil, banana bread with none, low fat, fat free (blech!) — you name it, I’ve made it. As expected, it’s the ones with all the sour cream and butter that taste the best, but when you want to eat half a loaf yourself, all that fat isn’t really ideal (especially when you have that adorable navy blue ruffled J Crew bikini staring in your face).

So here is my healthy solution to The Banana Bread Problem. I use whole wheat flour in place of all-purpose flour and greek yogurt in place of sour cream for moisture. Look at me – I’m sneaking fiber and protein into your banana bread and still making it taste delicious. You can thank me later.

Oh yeah, these are the bananas I used:

Those are ugly bananas.

Unlike these:

These are pretty bananas.

Pretty bananas don’t belong in banana bread. Brown, squishy ones do.

DON’T STOP READING. I know what you’re thinking: ”What, I’m going to take cooking advice from the chick who uses rotten bananas?”

Well, gosh you should because I’m the banana bread CONNOISSEUR, remember? You forget so quickly.

Banana fact: Bananas get sweeter and more flavorful with time, so by using overly-ripened bananas you can use less sugar in your recipe and you get a fuller taste of banana goodness in each bite.

Tip: When your bananas get to this point put them in the freezer and then you can pull them out to defrost and use at any time. That way you don’t have to bake with them right away and you don’t have to worry about those pesky little fruit flies attacking your fruit basket.

Healthy Banana Bread Recipe

It smells soooo good while it’s in the oven.  You’ll be so tempted to slice into it as soon as you take it out.

Healthy Banana Bread Recipe

But be patient, or else you’ll burn that pretty little mouth of yours.

Healthy Banana Bread Recipe

I better put that knife away, or I may keep cutting off pieces for myself.

In terms of spreads, it tastes really darn good on its own. But you should probably spread some peanut butter on it if you’re really lookin’ for a good time. But, that’s just me…

 

Healthy Banana Bread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 1 loaf
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup light brown sugar (firmly packed)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 VERY RIPE mashed bananas (about 1.5 cups)
  • ¼ cup Greek Yogurt (I used Fage 0%)
  • ¼ cup honey (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9” x 5” loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the vanilla, baking soda, salt, bananas and greek yogurt. Beat until well combined. Next, beat in the honey and eggs. Then add the flour. Stir until smooth.
  3. Spoon the batter into the greased loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes and then lay a piece of aluminum foil across the top to prevent it from further browning. Bake for about another 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  4. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove it and set it on a rack to cool completely.
  5. Slice and enjoy!