Avocado Banana Shake

Continuing on the beverage train, today I’m sharing a recipe the was inspired by our last trip to Toronto, Avocado Banana Shake.  It’s healthy, filling, cooling, and perfect for either Suhoor (pre-dawn meal) or Iftar (meal at sunset).

This literally takes a few minutes to throw together. Dump everything in a blender and blitz away!

 

AvocadoBananaShake

 

Avocado Banana Shake

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 bananas, peeled and diced
  • ½ avocado, peeled and pitted

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Banana Cream Pie

I would like to thank everyone for the support they’ve given to me and my family over the course of the past several weeks.  The road is long, but I hope that with time we learn to deal with our pain in a healthy and positive manner.

 ***

This Banana Cream Pie is one that is very special to me.  We celebrated my parents 35th wedding anniversary last year, and I had prepared 2 pies similar to this for the event.  They were received  with great praise, and more important, Mummi and Papa both enjoyed them.

Last week my close childhood friends came to spend the day with me (our group of friends were all together under the same roof for the first time in 6 years!).  They brought along a delicious lunch of Caesar Salad,Garlic Bread, Buffalo Chicken Pasta (recipe which I’m dying to get from my friend), and Sticky Date Pudding (totally delish!).  I decided to bake this pie for the occasion, considering how close it is to my heart, and these friends of mine are too.

Just a note about the recipe- I am a totally low maintenance kind of cook, but with that being said, the use of vanilla beans in the pastry cream really makes this pie shine.  If you are unable to use vanilla beans for whatever reason, just add 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract to the cream after it’s done cooking.  Also, the decorative border around the edges of the crust are actually just spoon indentations!  Totally simple!

 

BananaCreamPiePic

 

Banana Cream Pie

Yield: 1- 9” Pie

Ingredients:

For Pie Crust:

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, cold, but into small pieces
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons ice water
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

For Filling:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and beans scraped
  • 3 to 4 bananas
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar

Directions:

Make Pie Crust:

In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour and salt; pulse to combine. Add the butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger pieces remaining, about 10 seconds.

With the machine running, add the ice water through the feed tube in a slow, steady stream, just until the dough holds together without being wet or sticky. Do not process more than 30 seconds. Test by squeezing a small amount of the dough together; if it is still too crumbly, add a bit more water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface. Shape into a flattened disk. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to a 12-inch round, a bit less than ¼-inch thick. Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, trim crust so there’s a 1/2-inch overhang all around. Fold under overhang so it extends slightly beyond edge of pie plate. Crimp edge as desired. Prick dough all over with a fork. Brush pie crust with beaten egg. Chill pie shell until firm, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375˚.

Line chilled pie shell with a round of parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until edges of crust just turn golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove pie weights and parchment. Return crust to oven, and continue baking until golden all over, 20 to 25 minutes more. Place pie shell on a wire rack to cool completely.

Make Filling:

Prepare an ice bath; set aside. In a bowl, lightly whisk egg yolks; set aside.

In a saucepan, whisk together milk, granulated sugar, cornstarch, salt, and vanilla bean. Bring to a simmer (do not boil), and cook, whisking constantly, 3 to 4 minutes.

Once the milk begins to simmer, slowly drizzle it in a thin stream into the egg yolks, whisking all the while to prevent the eggs from curdling.

Transfer the custard to a heat-proof bowl and cook over a saucepan of boiling water (a double broiler), whisking constantly, until the custard is thick and bubbles begin to form in the middle. Remove from heat and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the custard so that a skin does not form. Set in the ice bath and cool completely.

Cut the bananas into ¼-inch slices, slightly on the bias. Beginning at the edge of the piecrust, arrange the slices in slightly overlapping rows. Cover with custard, using an offset spatula to smooth it into an even layer.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine cream and confectioners’ sugar; beat until soft peaks form. Using a small offset spatula, spread the whipped cream on top of the custard.

Refrigerate pie, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.

Oatmeal Banana Smoothie

Smoothies are a great way to get your fill without over indulging.  I love to start my days off with a fresh smoothie, and lately I’ve been getting my fill with a delicious grapefruit/citrusy smoothie (recipe coming soon!), and this Oatmeal Banana Smoothie.  Adding oats to a smoothie not only gives it thickness, but they also are an excellent source of protein, iron, and fiber.

If you prefer the gritty texture of blended oats, then this drink is for you.  If you, like me, aren’t too fond of chunky beverages, then a good trick is to soak the oats in the milk overnight (in the refrigerator).  This softens the oats and makes them easier to blend as well.

Enjoy!

OatmealBananaSmoothiePic

Oatmeal Banana Smoothie

Yield:  1 Serving

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 banana
  • Pinch of cinnamon, optional

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth.  Refrigerate any leftovers.

Note:  If a thinner consistency is preferred, combine oats and milk and refrigerate overnight.  The overnight soak will soften the oats and the resulting smoothie will be of a thinner consistency.

Chai Spiced Banana Bread

Hello Friends!  First off, I’d like to apologize for the lack of updates on the blog as of late.  We’ve moved (as some of you may know from Facebook) to a new home in a new city about 2 ½ hours south.  The change has been for the better because we’ve relocated to a city that is 3x more populated than the previous town we were in!  The change has been exhilarating and scary all at the same time.  I’m excited for the new opportunities a large city brings, but I’m also scared about the changes we are going to face.  New places, new faces; I guess that’s all a part of the roller coaster ride we call “life” 🙂

The last thing I baked in our old home was a wonderfully flavorful Chai Spiced Banana Bread.  It was soooo delicious that it also became the first thing I baked in our new home.  Plus, the cooler weather has begun to set in, so it all just worked out perfectly.  Go ahead and give it a shot, I promise you won’t be disappointed 😉

And while you’re at it, please, for the sake of mankind’s sanity, don’t say Chai Tea.

Chai = tea (in Urdu/Hindi).

Chai tea = Tea Tea = Whaaaaaa?

chaispicedbananabreadpic

 

 

Chai Spiced Banana Bread

Yield:  1 Loaf

Ingredients:

For Chai Spice:

  • ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice

For Banana Bread:

  • 2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup yogurt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Chai Spice

For Glaze:

  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • Chai Spice
  • 1 – 1 ½ teaspoons milk

Directions:

Make Chai Spice:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Set aside.

Make Banana Bread:

Preheat oven to 350˚F and set aside a greased 9” x 5” loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat mashed bananas, yogurt, melted butter, and eggs on medium speed until thoroughly combined.  Add sugar and brown sugar and mix to combine.  Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and mix until just combined.  Add vanilla and Chai Spice and stir until combined.

Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Allow bread to rest for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Make Glaze:

Combine powdered sugar, vanilla, remaining Chai Spice, and whisk enough milk to create a thick and pourable glaze.  Pour over cooled bread and allow it to harden before serving.

Banana and Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

As of the recent past, we’ve made a conscious effort to maintain a healthier lifestyle.  I’ve been experimenting with swapping out all-purpose flour with whole wheat, fats in baked goods with yogurt or applesauce, etc.

With all of these (yummy) changes, breakfast is the one meal that seems to allude me.  A boiled egg and a slice of wheat toast can entertain one for only so long.

Enter my search for healthy and equally delicious breakfast ideas.

The first place I turned to was Asiya’s site Chocolate and Chillies.  I stumbled upon her baked oatmeal recipe and was totally sold.  Like her, I too was not a big oatmeal fan.  Growing up, I was never acquainted with oatmeal, other than in cookies, so a bowl of mushy oatmeal without any flavor was very unappealing to me.  This dish opened my eyes to the wide and vast world of oatmeal!  It isn’t mushy, and the bananas and blueberries take ordinary oats to a higher level.

I’ve jumped on the oatmeal bandwagon, so stay tuned for another oat-based breakfast recipe coming your way soon 😉

 

BananaAndBlueberryBakedOatmealPic

 

Banana and Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • ¼ cup walnuts or pecans, chopped, lightly toasted, and divided
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 bananas, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 1 cup blueberries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F and set aside a greased 2-quart baking dish.

In a medium bowl, combine oats, half of the nuts, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup or honey, milk, egg, butter, and vanilla.

Spread the sliced bananas in a single layer over the bottom of the baking dish. Top with half of the blueberries. Sprinkle the oat mixture over the fruit evenly. Pour the liquid ingredients over the oats and sprinkle remaining nuts and blueberries over the top.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is browned and the oats have set. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.