Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Quinoa with Spicy Chicken Marinara

Quinoa with spicy chicken marinara

So I have a new found love for quinoa these days. It's light fluffy texture is similar to rice, but contains less carbohydrates, more protein, more iron, more fiber, and just a slew of vitamins and minerals. Is it something I should eat every day? No, probably not due to the carbohydrate content (about 29g in 1 cup when cooked) but I feel much healthier eating quinoa than something like rice or pasta. It tastes great too!

I decided to turn it into a mock-pasta Italian sort of dish tonight using chicken, peppers, onions, tomatoes, garlic (of course!), and jalapenos to really give it a kick. I used a whole jalapeno and it was SUPER spicy, so you may want to tone it down to 1/2 jalapeno if you can't handle the heat. ;)

All in all, I'd say it was a success. My hubby ate his whole serving, even though he was complaining about it being too spicy throughout the meal. :-p

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Chocolate Covered Caramel Banana Pops

Chocolate covered caramel banana

I tried baby bananas for the first time a couple weeks back. If you've never had them, I encourage you to give them a try! They are kind of similar to bananas, but compare closer to a fully ripened plantain. They have a very nice sweetness to them, more so than a banana, and are less mushy as well. That's why they are the perfect candidate for these chocolate covered caramel banana pops!

I decided that it has been far too long since I've had a chocolate covered banana pop, and I thought what better way to make them then by adding caramel? When I was a kid my mom used to make chocolate covered frozen bananas occasionally, and they were always so delicious. Sometimes she would roll them in nuts or sprinkles before the chocolate hardened, and they were so good. I didn't do that for this recipe, but of course you are more than welcome to do so yourself.

I made half of these with baby bananas and half with regular banana halves. The baby bananas worked out much better since they were firmer and held their shape on the sticks better. The regular bananas kept trying to slide off. Both were tasty, but I preferred the baby bananas personally.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Banana Mocha Ice Cream Cake

Banana Mocha Ice Cream Cake

This is actually my second attempt at this cake. The first attempt didn't go so well. The cake itself worked out just fine, and I'm sure it was delicious. However, I was unable to actually try the cake in it's entirety. After I finished decorating it, I had placed it back in the freezer to harden back up. That's when I heard a loud clunk. I opened the freezer to see all my hard work pouring down the side of the door... I guess that's what I get for trying to perform a balancing act with my latest dessert project. I saved about half of the cake, which was pretty much ruined at that point. I scooped it into a container and ended up eating it as ice cream instead.

In any case, I learned my lesson and bounced back this week with a perfected recipe and better pictures, oh, and a cleaned out freezer too. ;) I must say I am actually kind of glad about what happened. This cake turned out much better in the end!

I know there are a lot of components to this cake which makes it seem a little complicated, but it's actually pretty easy. If you want to make it a little simpler you can omit the cashew cream and coffee sauce, but I think it really adds to the flavor of the cake. I admit it's a little time consuming, but trust me, it is totally worth it!

The ice cream portion of the cake tastes like a creamy chocolate banana soft-serve ice cream with a hint of coffee. The coffee cream and sauce really help bring out the mocha flavors the most though. The crust is a little salty, which I think adds a nice balance to the sweet richness of the cake and cream. If you are watching your sodium, you may want to omit the salt from the crust, or lighten it to 1/8 of a teaspoon. I think everything goes together perfectly as-is though. :)