We’ve Gone Bananas!

IMG_0307Last week when I walked into the kitchen at Feed Your Vitality, there were boxes and boxes of donated bananas. Not wanting any precious fruit to be wasted, we gave away as much as we could, and still had boxes to spare. I took a box home with me and my family ate them, froze them, dried them, and made some dessert. If you have bananas at home that are starting to brown, we hope this inspires you!

Research conducted at the University of Innsbruck in Austria suggests that as fruits fully ripen, almost to the point of spoilage, their antioxidant levels actually increase.

Bananas can replenish your stores of potassium, an essential mineral and electrolyte, which helps regulate heart function as well as fluid balance. They also contain vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese, and fiber.

IMG_0344 Freezing is a great way to save bananas for later use. Once frozen, they can be baked, made into smoothies, dipped into chocolate, or eaten as is for a healthy treat. Start by laying peeled bananas on a baking sheet in the freezer.  This helps them to firm up and maintain shape.  If you place peeled, unfrozen bananas in a bag, they are more likely to stick together. After your bananas are frozen solid, remove them from the tray and place them into large zip lock bags.  Pre-freezing allows you to use just what you need without having to thaw the whole bag, (or attempt to break off each individual banana, which can be quite difficult).

IMG_0345Drying bananas into banana chips is an easy way to render your own candy. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven is warming, lay parchment paper down onto a baking sheet. Take a banana and slice it into uniform pieces about 1/8 thick. Having a slicer or food processor is ideal, so that each identical piece bakes at the same time. If you don’t have a slicer, just slice them as evenly as possible.

Our results:  After an hour, some of the smaller bananas were ready to peel off the parchment paper. I kept checking on them every 15 minutes and pulling them off when done. I knew they were done when they seemed chewy and looked brown around the edges. If you want them crispy, it will take even longer. Some of the thicker slices took as long as two hours, so it might be wise to plan accordingly, and save this project for a rainy day.IMG_0347 You could also use a dehydrator if you happen to have one.

Baking is also a great way to use up ripe bananas.  The banana walnut muffins I made turned out great, despite it being my first attempt at a paleo muffin. (So try not to be intimidated!) Since they turned out well, I’d like to share the recipe.

 

Banana Walnut Muffins:

  • 4 bananas (2.5 cups mashed)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 4 tablespoons butter (coconut oil would work as well)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup of coconut flour
  • walnuts for the top

Mix the wet ingredients and then add the dry. Cook at 350 in a greased muffin tray for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

IMG_0348 Variations:

  1. Cranberry Orange – Only use 3 tablespoons of butter. Add zest of one whole orange diced, juice of one whole orange, and1 cup dried cranberries or fresh if you want
  2. Chocolate Blueberry – Add 1 cup of fresh blueberries and 1/2 cup of cocoa powder
  3. Pumpkin Pecan – Reduce the almond butter to 1/4 cup and add 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree and 1 cup of roughly chopped pecan pieces.
  4. Keep the recipe the same but add dried fruit, nuts, or chocolate.

Enjoy!

Spring has Sprung!

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Spring has Sprung! It’s hard to believe that a few weeks ago we had the second largest snowstorm in Missouri’s recorded history, and now we have to get out the summer clothing. Gotta love living here in Missouri. The grass is greening up each day, flowers are blooming, and sprouts are emerging from the ground. 

I feel inspired by this gorgeous weather, and the abundance of green that surround us, and want to share a delicious kale salad recipe. Kale is the perfect spring crop due to its tolerance for cold weather. It actually becomes sweeter with a touch of frost. It is also an excellent source of chlorophyll, calcium, iron, and vitamin A. I feel confident that even those who are normally not “into kale”, will be surprised at how tasty this veggie can be. 


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Chop as much kale as you wish to eat. It does shrink down a bit when cooked, so add more to compensate.

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Place a steamer in a pot large enough to fit the kale. Fill the bottom with water, making sure not to fill above the steamer.

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Place the kale into the pot, cover with a lid, and bring to a boil. (Once the water is boiling the kale will be done really fast so be watching)

 The kale will continue to cook even after the heat is turned off.  Once it looks spring green, turn it off, and remove it from the heat source. 

While waiting for the water to boil, you can make a dressing to toss on the salad.  I used butter, garlic, salt, pepper, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and a little bit of honey. Add these ingredients to your own personal tastes. I heated this up just for a minute or two to infuse the flavors, and then I turned it off and took it off the heat. You don’t have to use butter or any added sweeteners. Olive oil or coconut oil would work great, and I only used honey because the kale tasted a bit bitter on its own. When kale is picked young, it is naturally sweet!

Toss the dressing on the steamed greens, and top with nuts, dried fruit or both for a hearty and memorable salad.

Eat, Live, and Be Merry.

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Paleo Biscuits and Gravy

Oh yeah baby! We took a naughty southern favorite, lowered the carbs, loaded it with protein, and smothered it in delicious. Even Grandma is proud. 

(She just can’t believe it is dairy and grain free!)

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 Our Ingredients: (14) 

 

 Standard Biscuit and Gravy Ingredients:

(74)

  • Almond flour
  • Kosher salt
  • Baking soda
  • Chives
  • Egg
  • Coconut oil
  • Coconut milk
  • Lemon juice
  • Honey
  • Pork
  • Arrowroot
  • Fennel
  • Sage

Free of ingredients containing: Gluten, corn, soy, casin, dairy, and grains

Sausage Gravy: (Water, Pork Sausage [Pork, Salt, Natural  Spices, Sugar, Monosodium Glutamate) Gravy Mix (Modified Food Starch, Maltodextrin, Enriched Bleached Flour [Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid], Palm Oil, Salt, Corn Syrup Solids, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil, Sugar, (Contains 2% or Less of: Black Pepper, (Bacon-Flavored Fat [with TBHQ] Sodium Caseinate [a Milk Derivative, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein [Corn, (Soy and/or Wheat], Dipotassium, Phosphate, Monoglycerides, (Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Mono & Diglycerides, Natural and Artificial (Flavor, Sodium Citrate, Potassium Chloride, Carrageenan, Disodium (Guanylate, Disodium Inosinate, Color Added), Cultured Dextrose, Biscuits: Bleached Enriched Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Buttermilk (Cultured Low Fat Milk, Nonfat Dry Milk, Food Starch, Salt, Carrageenan, Pectin), Palm Oil, Biscuit Concentrate (Leavening [Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate], Salt, Sugar, Dextrose, Calcium Propionate, Calcium Sulfate, Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil, Guar Gum), Shortening (Palm Oil, Soy Lecithin, Natural & Artificial Flavor, Beta-Carotene, Citric Acid), Artificial Butter Flavor, Potassium Sorbate (to Preserve Freshness).
Contains: milk, soy, wheat, gluten, corn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Long story short, if you don’t know what it is, and cannot pronounce it without the assistance of a chemical bio-engineer; you probably don’t want it in your food. This doesn’t mean that every food additive is harmful, but many of them are. I believe that even the safest additives are unnecessary when food is made from scratch in a healthy and natural way. Grandma didn’t need all those extra ingredients!

Here is a great resource for anyone wanting to understand the ingredients found on food labels.

http://www.understandingfoodadditives.org

When you eat real food there is no need for a label.

Enjoy our Paleo Biscuits and Gravy

Made with real food

Wholesome ingredients

Laughter, Silliness, and a lot of Love.

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