As I continue with my journey to lower my gluten intake to ease GI discomfort, I find that my favorite carb alternative is oats. Many health gurus or bloggers utilize almond and coconut flour, but as a college student, I prefer to ball on a budget and almond and coconut flour do not come cheap! Oats on the other hand are extremely cheap whether you buy in bulk or pre-packaged, I can purchase rolled oats for about 80 cents to 1 dollar per pound.
I’ve baked several desserts and snacks using oat flour, but still struggle to process the oats into a fine flour, which is fine with me because I do enjoy the texture of the bigger oat granules in the desserts. However, I would like to make really fine oat flour so that I can experiment making yeast breads or other savory recipes. If anyone has tips on processing fine oat flour please let me know! It seems that no matter how long I process the oats, they do not turn into a fine flour.
Nonetheless, I am here today to introduce one of my new favorite recipes, Banana Bread Bars!! So healthy and delicious, and I could go on forever about how great these gems are. The best part is that these were made entirely in a food processor, but if you don’t have a food processor, feel free to do it by hand or use a blender. I did make them into bite size bars but feel free to bake it in a loaf pan… I just wanted to reduce the bake time from 55 minutes to 30.
Vegan Banana Bread Bars
yield: 12 bars
- 3 ripe medium bananas
- 1/4 c. granulated sugar (any sugar will work: granulated white sugar, cane sugar, coconut sugar, etc.)
- 2 1/2 c. rolled oats
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 c. nut/seed butter (I used peanut butter and could not taste the peanut flavor at all)
- 2 tbsp. ground flax/chia seeds + 1/3 c. water
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp. lemon juice or other acidic
- 1/3 c. chocolate chips
- 1/4 c. chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9 x 9 baking pan and set aside.
- Combine flax/chia and water to make a vegan egg. Set aside for at least 2 min.
- Place 2 c. of rolled oats in the food process and process for 45 seconds, until the oat flour forms. It does not need to be finely ground. Pour into a bowl and set aside. Set aside the other 1/2 c. of oats for later use.
- Place the ripe bananas in the food processor and process until smooth. Add in the granulated sugar, oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nut butter, chia/flax mix, vanilla extract, and lemon juice. Process mix until fully combined. Add in chocolate chips, chopped walnuts, and 1/2 c. rolled oats and pulse for 5-10 seconds until mix is combined.
- Pour into the baking pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.
- Once removed from oven, cool on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes before serving.
Note: I do not have a huge sweet tooth and prefer that my desserts are on the less sugary side. In the recipe, I use 1/4 c. sugar and felt that the chocolate chips would make up for the rest of the sugar. I tested this recipe using 1/3 c. of sugar and felt it was too sugary for me but please feel free to adjust your own sugar levels based on your liking! For reference, using 1/3 c. of sugar felt like eating a store-bought vanilla cupcake. There is so much sweetness from the bananas and chocolate chips that I felt 1/4 c. would suffice.
These bars are ideal for breakfast or as a snack! It is basically a banana oatmeal baked into a square and contains ingredients that help lower cholesterol, blood levels, and saturated fat intake. Bars can last up to 2 weeks in an air tight container in the fridge.
A light and fluffy cake so tangy and zesty that you’ll want to eat all the time. The great thing about this recipe is that you can utilize all parts of the orange: juice, zest, and pulp, although I barely used any of the pulp. However, after I extracted some of the mandarin juice, I ended up eating the remains of the orange since food waste is not an option!
I used mandarin oranges for this recipe but feel free to use any other oranges such as navel, cara cara oranges, etc.
Low-Fat Mandarin Orange Yogurt Cake
yield: 1 (9 x 5) loaf
- 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 3/4 c. granulated sugar
- 1 c. whole milk yogurt + 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 4 tsp. mandarin orange zest
- 2 tbsp. mandarin orange juice
- 1 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tbsp poppy seeds
- 1/3 c. chopped walnuts
For the glaze:
- 1/2 c. powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp. mandarin orange juice
- Grease loaf pan or line with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg. Add in sugar and poppy seeds and combine well. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, yogurt, oil, orange zest, orange juice, and vanilla extract.
- Add the dry mixture into the wet in 3 batches and combine well. Add in the chopped walnuts and bake in the oven for 50-55 minutes, until brown on top and toothpick comes out of the batter clean.
- Let loaf cool on a cooling rack for approx. 30 min before putting the glaze on + top with additional zest. Or you can be like me- I skipped the glaze because I could not wait and I went ahead and ate the loaf fresh out of the oven.
The bread lasts in the fridge up to 2 weeks and freezes extremely well. Feel free to make smaller servings such as muffins. I haven’t tried it yet but am certain they will turn out delicious as well.
These light, eggy, and airy puffs of joy can often lead to a kitchen conundrum, but I have one simple-to-follow recipe that results in the perfect crowdpleasing desserts at any dinner party! OR just a dessert that you can devour on your own :’). Typically a vanilla or custard cream is used to fill puffs, but I highly recommend taking an extra step to make a flavored cream such as oreo, chocolate, or strawberry. I followed a more Asian flavor and made red bean and black sesame cream.
Foolproof Cream Puffs
yield: 20 large puffs OR 60 small puffs
For the sugar crumb topping:
- 2/3 c. cake flour (I made my own cake flour; ratio= 1 c. All-purpose flour to 2 tbsp cornstarch)
- 1/4 c, granulated sugar
- 1/3 c. unsalted butter (softened)
For the puff:
- 2/3 c. water
- 1/3 c. unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 c. cake flour
- 4 eggs
For the red bean cream:
- 1 tub store bought whipped cream topping
- 3/4 c. canned red bean paste
For the sesame cream:
- 1 tub store bought whipped cream topping
- 1/4 c. black sesame paste (store bought or homemade)
- To make the sugar crumb topping, combine all ingredients thoroughly with a spatula and roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper into any a square or circle (the shape doesn’t matter) until it is about 1/4 cm thick. Place in the fridge so the dough hardens.
- In a saucepan, melt water and butter until simmering. Then add the salt and flour and stir with a spatula until the dough comes together. Cook the dough for an additional 2 min. and then remove from the heat.
- Spread the dough out with a spatula in the pan so that it can cool faster. After about 10 minutes of cooling, crack in the eggs one by one, mixing them in completely with a spatula before adding another egg.
- Once the dough is smooth, completely incorporated, and a thick, viscous consistency, place in a piping bag or sandwich bag with the corner trimmed.
- Preheat the oven to 355 F.
- Pipe the dough onto a lined baking tray with parchment paper of a silicon mat. For large puffs, pipe a circle 2 in. in diameter and for small puffs, pipe a circle 1 in. in diameter. Remove the sugar crumb from the fridge and cut out either a 2 in. or 1 in. circle from the dough (depending on what size puff you are making) with a cookie cutter or a shot glass, or any circular device. Place the sugar crumb dough on top of the puff dough a gently press down. Repeat for all puffs and then place in the oven.
- Bake puffs for 25-30 min or until lightly golden brown.
- Once the puffs are done baking, cool for 10 min. Take the whipped cream and manually whip the red bean or sesame paste into the cream. Place back in the fridge.
- Using a piping bag or plastic bag with the corned tip cut, place the cream in. For each puff, cut a small half circle with a small knife and pipe in enough cream to fill the entire puff and then cover back the small half circle up. Repeat for all puffs and enjoy immediately or place in the fridge until ready to enjoy.
The puffs can last up to 5-6 days in the refrigerator. They taste best fresh out the oven with cream so I advise snacking on some after immediately baking! I’ve made these for a few parties and have received compliments from many many people so I guarantee that this foolproof recipe will be one for the books.
My intention for going to Target was to purchase party supplies for my friend’s birthday, but damn does Target know how to do business. I immediately walked and saw to my left their extremely aesthetic dollar section filled with pastel colors, gold calligraphy words, and vintage looking items, all for $5 or less. I always ignore the snacks or little toys, but there was a section of mason jars and glass spice containers that caught my attention, and they were only $3. How do I even pass on such a deal? Deciding that mason jars are too large for my food portions, I selected the pack of 4 small spice jars for $3 with the idea of testing overnight oats. Several years ago I made overnight oats and thought it was the grossest thing ever, until after self-reflection I realized I made “48 hour oats” rather than “overnight oats”. I despised the mushiness of the oats as I wondered why overnight oats were even a thing, like do people like eating mush? But that was my mistake. Do NOT soak your oats for over 7-9 hours, it’ll be disgusting.
Eagerly ripping over the package of 4 glass jars, I improv’d with a simple dorm-friendly, 4 ingredient overnight oats recipe. I am not certain what the measurement are since I eyeball’ed so all measurements are estimates.
4 Ingredient overnight oats (yields 1 jar):
- 1/2 c. microwaveable instant oats
- 1 tbsp. nut butter, I used peanut butter in 2 jars and almond butter in the other 2
- 1 tsp. chia seeds
- 4 tbsp. almond/soy milk
- add all ingredients into a jar and mix
- place in the fridge for 7-9 hours and enjoy
Tip: since I bought 4 jars, I prepped each jar with the recipe above except the addition of the milk. I recommend to add the dry ingredients and add milk only if you will be eating the oats 7-9 hours after to prevent oversoaking and mushiness.
Note: Do not eat if it hasn’t soaked for 6 hours. I tasted my first jar after only 3 hours and I got a major stomachache.
I am an avid fan of homemade foods. The benefits are endless including that you’ll save big bucks, it’ll most likely be healthier, and you can “customize” the food to suit your taste buds. Today, I opened a bag of chocolates and found a liquid mess! The chocolates had melted (they just couldn’t stand the Texas heat!) I also had a box of strawberries in my fridge so I decided to make chocolate covered strawberries.
1. I washed the strawberries and dried them.
2. Saved myself time by not having to melt the chocolate! So, I pulsed some almonds in the food processor into crumbs and laid them in a baking pan.
3. Coat the strawberries in the chocolate.
4. Roll them around in the crushed almonds and lay them on wax paper.
5. Refrigerate the and TADA! Enjoy!!!
Chocolate covered strawberries range from about $2-3 each in grocery stores. They are extremely overpriced since they pick out the largest ones and that strawberries spoil easily. However, I made a bunch of strawberries for around $4! These are great for presents and parties and they are so professional looking! I am always trying to home make as many foods as possible. It is really worth the time and extremely rewarding.