Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Breakfast Banana Split (and Oatbox Review)

Sue and I were excited to be chosen to review Oatbox breakfast cereals. According to their website (link HERE) "Oatbox cereals are made in Montreal from natural, healthy ingredients." Another fantabulous thing about this Canadian company - they have partnered with Breakfast Club of Canada and every time they ship a customer a box "a child will be given a full breakfast at school." 
How great is that? (You can read more about it on their website - HERE.) 
Oatbox ships their product in these adorable boxes...

And your first order comes with a free glass jar as shown in the photo below.

If you are interested in ordering you can click here - http://oatb.co/1ZybzzB for a $5.00 discount off your first order. (P.S. - this is an affiliate program so we are compensated if you order via this link.)
You get 2 delicious flavors (we got Banana, Pecan & Walnut Granola AND Coconut, Kiwi & Almonds Granola for this month!) and a cute glass jar PLUS you are helping to provide a healthy breakfast to a child who may otherwise be going without PLUS, by clicking the link to order, you get $5.00 off!! 
But... "how does it taste?", you ask. 
It's pretty darn fantastic. 

FYI - While we did receive the product to sample at no cost and we are part of an affiliate program - the opinions expressed here are strictly our own. 
Sue enjoyed both. She can't wait to make pineapple muffins with the Coconut, Kiwi & Almonds Granola as streusel. As we know though... unless it contains bacon and/or garlic and/or cheese Sue isn't going to go crazy over anything.
Myself though.... I went a little crazy. I loved the Coconut, Kiwi & Almonds Granola mixed into my Greek yogurt for a snack. 
And then I tried the Banana, Pecan & Walnut Granola and had a brilliant idea. 
Breakfast Banana Split. The dried banana pieces really spoke to me in the granola. I wanted to share the recipe for that with you because..... well.... it's a healthy banana split you can eat for breakfast. Need I say more?

Breakfast Banana Split

1 banana
3/4 cup 0 fat Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla) - Frozen
1 Tbsp peanut butter
2 1/2 Tbsp Oatbox Banana, Pecan & Walnut Granola

Cut banana in half and place on plate. Top with scoops of frozen Greek yogurt. Warm peanut butter in the microwave briefly, about 10 - 15 seconds, then drizzle peanut butter over the bananas and Greek yogurt. Sprinkle with the granola.

As such, according to Myfitnesspal, this is - 390 calories, 55 carbs, 10 fat, 25 protein. 
So amazing for breakfast. So filling and tasty and crunchy and melty and ridiculous. 

So. What is our opinion of Oatbox granola?
Sue and I are definite fans. 
Me, more so than Sue, but that's just because Sue is so odd. 
Going hiking? Throw a bag in your backpack for a tasty and healthy snack. Or... you know... use it to make healthified banana splits for breakfast. 
Remember - click here for $5.00 off your first order: http://oatb.co/1ZybzzB 
Or... click here to check out the Oatbox website - https://www.oatbox.com/en/
We're sharing at these fab linky parties - Dizzy Busy & Hungry, Adventures of Mel, Barnabas Lane

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Overnight Banana Peanut Butter Baked Oatmeal

In my never ending quest to find new ways to eat oatmeal I have developed this overnight almost-like-cake version. It is a combination of several recipes from around the web and my cookbook collection of oatmeal, baked oatmeal, and cake. 
First impression.... I like it.
It's a little crumbly but I may have over baked it a touch. Next time I make it I will take it out a few minutes earlier just to be sure. 
If you are an oatmeal eater then I am pretty sure you will like this. It has no added sugar so is not sweet at all, is kind of like a cake in texture but drier and crumblier, and is overall a pretty healthy choice. You could definitely add in some sugar or honey or maple syrup if you want it sweeter BUT I find drizzling a little of the peanut butter syrup on top solves that problem. 
It is super-de-duper awesome that you whip it up the night before and just pop it in the oven in the morning. Perfect for when you have company or you have to get the kids off to school early. 

Overnight Banana Peanut Butter Baked Oatmeal
With Peanut Butter Syrup

3 ripe bananas (large), mashed
5 eggs
1 cup peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups milk
5 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup oat flour (or all purpose)
1 Tbsp baking powder

1 large banana, sliced

PB Syrup
1/4 cup peanut butter 
1/4 cup maple syrup (or corn syrup)

Spray a 9 X 13 pan with cooking spray, set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together mashed bananas, eggs, peanut butter, vanilla, and milk until well combined.
Add in oats, oat flour, and baking powder. Stir to combine.
Pour into prepared 9 X 13 pan. Place banana slices on top - if using. (FYI - you can also wait and put the banana slices on top just before baking, if you are using them.)
Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, up to overnight. 
**NOTE - FYI - you can also bake it now if you don't want to store it over night.**
In the morning - remove oatmeal from fridge and uncover. 

Preheat oven to 375. 
Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes. Turn oven down to 350 and continue to bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and top appears brown and dry - about 20 - 30 minutes more.

Remove from oven and let sit while you prepare peanut butter syrup.
To prepare syrup - in a small bowl place peanut butter and maple syrup (or corn syrup). Microwave for about 20 - 30 seconds to melt peanut butter. Whisk together. (Can also do in a small saucepan over medium heat if you don't want to use a microwave.) 
Serve oatmeal hot/warm drizzled with peanut butter syrup.

If you don't want the bananas on top because of how they go brown then you can simply stir the chopped banana into the oatmeal instead of pressing them on top. Again - totally optional. You don't need to add the 4th banana at all if you don't want to. 
According to Myfitnesspal the nutritional counts are:
334 calories, 46 carbs, 12 fat, 12 protein.
With 1.5 Tbsp PB Syrup on top - 394 calories, 57 carbs, 14 fat, 13 protein. (Both figured out with 4 bananas in the recipe)
That is for 1/12 of the recipe. Recipe makes 12 LARGE servings. How large? Well, the photos above are half a serving. I brought it to the office for my coworkers and cut it into 24 pieces. 
1/12 of the recipe is VERY filling. 
NOTE - if you use gluten free oats then this is gluten free - if that is something you are concerned about. Also - this freezes very well! Cut into pieces and freeze to pop in the microwave OR you can pop the whole dish in the oven at 350 to thaw and reheat. (Just keep an eye on it so it doesn't over cook and get too dry in the oven.) 

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Pretzel Bites With Honey Mustard Sauce

It has been quite some time since we've posted a recipe that uses yeast. I wanted to try something fun while we are stuck inside with all this gloomy, drizzly, cold, and downright yucky winter weather. 
These are definitely fun.
You use quick rise yeast so from start to finish these only take just over an hour. 
And... can we talk about that honey mustard sauce for a second? 
It's good... like... really good. I see it being used for just about everything in my house for the next little while. Pork, chicken, beef, bread - yup, that'll work just fine. 
If you are new to working with yeast then this is a great recipe to start with. It's one of the easiest I've tried. It can be a bit fiddly to boil all those little pieces but it goes by quickly!

Pretzel Bites With Honey Mustard Sauce

Honey Mustard Sauce
1/2 cup light mayo
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup prepared mustard

2 to 3 cups of flour
1 pkg quick rise yeast (about 3 tsp)
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup very hot water (about 120 degrees)
2 Tbsp oil

For Boiling
8 cups water
1/3 cup baking soda

1 egg white, beaten lightly
coarse sea salt

Prepare sauce - whisk together mayo, honey, and mustard until smooth. Cover and chill until needed.

Prepare pretzels - In a large mixing bowl combine 1 1/2 cups flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Add in the hot water and oil and stir until well combined. Add in enough flour to form a stiff dough. Knead by hand for 1 -2 minutes, until soft and pliable. 
Place in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel and set in a warm place to rise for 30 - 45 minutes - until doubled. 
Preheat oven to 425. 
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set side.
Punch down dough and turn out onto a very lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 8 pieces.

Roll each piece into a snake about 1 inch in diameter. 
Cut each snake into approx 2 inch pieces. 

Once they are all cut, leave them on the work surface and cover with a towel. Let sit about 10 or so minutes while water comes to a boil. 
Bring water and baking soda to a boil in a large saucepan. 
Place pretzel bites into the boiling water - about 10 or so at a time - for 10 seconds. Flip the bites over for another 10 seconds. 
Remove from the water using a slotted spoon, allowing to "drip dry" for about 2-3 seconds. Place on prepared cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining bites.

When all bites have been boiled briefly - using a pastry or basting brush, brush the bites with the beaten egg and then sprinkle generously with the coarse sea salt. 

Bake in 425 oven until golden brown, about 12 - 15 minutes. 

Serve warm with the honey mustard sauce.
These are okay the next day but are definitely better the day they are made. 

A little crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside. Warm and salty goes perfect with the sweet mustard sauce. 
So much to love. 
We're sharing at these fabulous linky parties - Joy, Love, Food, and Lou Lou Girls,

Sunday, January 24, 2016

German Chocolate Cake

I eat a lot of cake. It's true. Since Sue and I were young we've been exposed to a lot of baking. 
BUT... believe it or not... I have never eaten a German Chocolate Cake. 
Weird, right?
Well... I decided I needed to right that wrong. 
Also.... German chocolate cake is not German. It's named after a man with the last name German. *Boom* Mind blown. All these years I thought it was from Germany. 
Still a crazy delicious cake though. 
The frosting is magical.
I may need to add this cake to my rotation of favorites.

German Chocolate Cake

6 oz chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup boiling water
2 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter, room temp
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
4 egg yolks
1 cup buttermilk
4 egg whites, whipped to form stiff peaks

1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
3 egg yolks
pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cup coconut
1 cup pecans, toasted & chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Line 3 - 8 inch pans with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking spray. Set aside. 
Prepare cakes - In a medium bowl, place the chopped chocolate. Pour in the boiling water and vanilla and stir until smooth. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. set aside. 
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until smooth, scraping side of bowl as necessary. Beat in both sugars until smooth. Beat in egg yolks. 
Stir in the chocolate until well combined.
Alternately beat in dry ingredients with the buttermilk until well mixed.
Gently fold in 1/4 of the egg whites then fold in the rest of the egg whites.

Spread evenly in prepared pans, batter will be thick. 

Bake at 350 until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean - about 30 - 45 minutes.

Let cool in pans 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen and then invert cake onto a wire rack to cool completely. 
While cakes are cooling, prepare frosting/filling.
Prepare frosting/filling - In a large saucepan, cook and stir evaporated milk, sugar, butter, egg yolks, and salt over medium heat until thick and bubbly - about 12 or so minutes. 
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, coconut, and pecans. 

Stir well and then let sit to thicken - stirring every so often to help cool faster. (Can put in fridge to speed up process.)
Assemble cake - Place one of the cakes on a serving platter. Top with 1/3 of the coconut pecan frosting. Place another cake, then another 1/3 of the frosting, then the last cake and the last of the frosting.

Chill until ready to serve. 

This yields a very large layer cake so is perfect for family dinners or office birthdays. Or... you know... days when you just want to eat a LOT of cake. 
This cake may be a tad more fussy than the usual chocolate cake but is definitely worth it. I can't believe I waited this long to try a German chocolate cake. I won't wait that long to have another!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Banana Split Delight

Sometimes a dessert is just a dessert.
And, sometimes a dessert is sooooo much more. It is heaven. It is all things amazing. It is the stars aligning in the universe. 
This right here... it's one of the latter. 
So many layers of ridiculous tastiness. 
Yes... you are going to dirty some dishes on this one but, you know what? It won't even matter once you dive into it. It serves 16 and the servings are VERY generous. 
This is one of those savor-every-bite-in-the-hopes-it-will-last-forever dishes. 

Banana Split Delight

First Layer
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup coarsely chopped, toasted walnuts
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted

Second Layer
2 (8oz each) bricks of cream cheese (total of 16 oz)
1 cup icing sugar
1 (20 oz) can crushes pineapple, drained
1 cup whipped cream

Third Layer
4 medium bananas

Fourth Layer
2 3/4 cup milk
2 pkg (4 servings each) vanilla pudding 

Fifth Layer
3 cups whipped cream

Sixth Layer
1/2 to 1 cup of chocolate fudge sauce
1/2 cup coarsely chopped, toasted walnuts

Whipped cream
16 Maraschino cherries

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray a 9 X 13 pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
Prepare 1st layer - stir together graham cracker crumbs, walnuts, and sugar. Stir in the butter until well mixed. Press the mixture into the prepared 9 X 13 pan. Bake at 350 for about 15 - 18 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool to room temp. (Can be placed in fridge to speed up process.)

Prepare 2nd layer - Beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping sides as needed. Beat in the icing sugar. Beat in the pineapple until well combined. Finally, fold in the whipped cream. Carefully spread over the crust.

Prepare 3rd layer - slice bananas and lay over the pineapple layer. Lightly press the bananas down into the cream cheese layer.

Prepare 4th layer - Pour milk into a mixing bowl, sprinkle with the 2 boxes of pudding powder. Beat until well combined and thickened but still spreadable, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Spread over the bananas.

Prepare 5th layer - Spread the whipped cream over the pudding layer.

Prepare 6th layer - Drizzle the chocolate sauce evenly over the top. Sprinkle with the walnuts.

Lastly, decorate as desired with extra whipped topping swirls and maraschino cherries. I did 16 swirls to indicate where to cut the dessert for 16 slices. You don't have to do this if you don't want to.
Chill until ready to serve.

How cute does it look? Am I right?

I made this for our mom to take to a luncheon she was going to so I only managed to get a photo of it cut because she smuggled the last piece out!
She said it was a HUGE hit. 

I stored it overnight in the fridge and they served it the next afternoon and it held up very well. You want to let it sit for at least a couple of hours to set up. 
FYI - if you don't want to whip your own cream you can always use thawed Cool Whip instead. 
So many flavors some through - the pineapple, the cream cheese, the banana, the toasted walnuts (DEFINITELY toast the walnuts, don't skip this!!), the chocolate.... 
Need I say more?
You should probably go make this. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Reuben Roll Ups

I always forget about Reubens when I an craving something different for lunch. They take as long as a regular sandwich to make but taste out of this world. Corned beef, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut with a little Thousand Island dressing. Can't beat that. 
I used some Pillsbury crescent dough and came up with a snack version of the Reuben that is perfect for game night, after school snacks, AND lunch. 

Reuben Roll Ups

2 cans of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
1/2 cup Thousand Island Dressing
10 slices of Swiss cheese
 thinly sliced corned beef
1 jar of sauerkraut (about 1 - 2 cups)

Preheat oven to 375. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Unroll a can of the Pillsbury crescent dough and pinch together the seems. Flip over and pinch the seams together on the opposite side.

Spread 1/4 cup of the Thousand Island dressing over the crescent dough. Lay 5 slices of Swiss cheese down the center.

Spread half of the corned beef over the cheese. Top with half of the sauerkraut.

Roll up jelly roll style, pinching to seal.

Slice into 1 to 2 inch rolls and place on prepared cookie sheet.

Repeat with the second roll of crescent dough and remaining ingredients. (I got about 32 rolls in total but it will depend on how thick you cut them!)
Bake at 375 until golden brown - about 20 - 30 minutes. 

Serve warm or room temp.

Store any leftovers in the fridge. Can be frozen and warmed in the microwave for a quick snack. 
Note - I didn't give a measurement for the corned beef because you can use as much or little as you like. I always use to little bags of deli corned beef - about 20 slices total. 
These are also quite good at room temp so would be great to bring to a potluck or office get together.