Monday, April 26, 2010

Banana layer cake

Well, I had five bananas sitting in a vase, over-ripe begging to be transformed. So I threw together a cake recipe on a whim, hoping it would turn out alright. The cakes came out beautifully, smelled great and  tasted delish. The caramel vanilla meringue frosting on the other hand ....

The cake had the following ingredients:  
1/2 cup pcked brown sugar
1/4 cup veggie oil
4 eggs, separated. yolk is for batter, whites is for meringue frosting
12 oz evaporated 2 % milk
5 ripe bananas
1tbsp vanilla
2 1/2 cup flour
1tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

First using a handheld mixer blend the banana with the egg yolk until well combined, then blend in the brown sugar, oil, vanilla and evaporated milk one item at a time.
In a separate bowl, combine the baking powder, baking soda, and flour.  Slowly add this to the wet mixture.

Preheat the oven to 350 F, and pour the batter into two 8 inch cake pans lined with wax paper and sprayed with Pam ( or butter)

Bake for 35-40 minutes.

No pictures of this one because I wasnt happy with them this time around.

I also made the mistake of frosting the cake last night and woke up to find that the cake had absorbed most of it turning it into a "wet/moist" banana cake.  Some people like this type of pastry - I dont. LESSON LEARNED.

I'm not even going to tell you about the frosting until I perfect the recipe and technique.

Any suggestions for frosting a cake like this? Is there a frosting that will last a few days without being refrigerated?  I know lots of people use butter-cream frosting but as you noticed, I didn't even use butter in the cake -- trying to stay away from fat when possible.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Followup to Racconto Giveaway

As promised, Judi at Racconto is running a special following the giveaway. All new customers will receive 15% off their order if made in the next four days. She also mentioned that if you subscribe to their email list she will keep you updated with their future promotions and specials.

With finals around the corner, I'm spending nearly 12 hours a day on campus, and will soon probably switch to only 5 hours of sleep. Any recommendations on how to keep eating healthy while away from home for such long periods of time and/or being awake and studying for so long?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Racconto Winner and.... my status until May 13th

Hey all, Finals are literally around the corner and I am definitely stressing out. I will not have time to post regularly as evidenced by last week. But, come May 13th, things should go back to normal :)

I finally got around to RANDOM.ORG and used it to pick the winner of the giveaway and the winner is SWEETLIFE! congrats hun. 

Please email me your address and contact info and I will forward it to Judi at Racconto so she can send the gift basket your way.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Healthy eats and Racconto Review

A simple dish of chicken and broccoli served with brown jasmine rice, along with a side of Constitutional Law in the background...


Chicken breast ( boneless skinless, washed and diced)
Fresh broccoli spears
1/2 cup sliced scallions
1/8 cup Trader Joes Soyaki
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth

Simply spray a sautee pan with Pam, add some red chili flakes and the washed and diced chicken breast. Let the chicken slightly brown on all sides, then add the chicken broth and soyaki. Cover the pan, bring it to a rapid simmer and let it stay this way for about 10 minutes or until liquid dissipates.  Lastly, toss in the fresh scallions and soy sauce, warm through for one minute. Ready to serve :)

Sometimes last week I finally got around to trying some of the Racconto products. I chose to make the Organic 8 whole grain pasta with sprouted wheat grass, and serve it with a vegetable Ragu i made from the San Marzano tomatoes, onion, fresh basil and bell peppers.

I have to admit, the tomatoes tasted slightly acidic to me, but I think that is only because I was anticipating a very sweet tomato ( like the kind you get in Maggianos gnocchi entree). Nevertheless, i balanced out the situation with a pinch of sugar, a dash of white wine, and a handful of sweet bell peppers.

Along with the sauteed onions, salt/pepper,  5-6 fresh cloves of garlic, and 1/2 cup of sliced basil the sauce came together beautifully.

Best of all, the pasta itself was AMAZING. Personally, I have had my share of whole wheat pastas, and generally they are fine, but you have to admit, regular pasta has something special. Well, ladies and gentlemen, this one surpassed all whole wheat pasta varieties I have tried thus far!  Not only was the texture perfect, but the flavor was unassuming -- it was just right, not too bland and not overpowering. 
I am SUPER excited about trying the rest of the organic whole grain pastas, especially if they are just as impressing as this one.

Speaking of Racconto-- today is the last day for the giveaway. If you havn't entered yet, please do so you can have a chance at winning a basket of these inspiring products.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Attempting to stay healthy while begining to attack finals...

Dinners are looking more like this  : roasted brussel sprouts and broccoli along with a sweet potato and less like this:
Not that Indian food is unhealthy, but that I've resolved to only eat either potato, brown rice, whole wheat pasta or whole grains ( like barely and quinoa) as my source of carbs with meals.  As much as I like regular basmati rice and grew up on it, I will have to stay away in the interest of my waist line...

As most of you know, I am engaged but I havnt set up a wedding date -- and I refuse to do so until I am below a certain dress size. Motivation? I hope so!

 Some of you may know that Eastern Europeans often bake an Easter bread. The one Armenians make is called "Paska" and one of the most prominent flavors is that of orange. ( I should have taken a picture of one when I went home from Easter since I can't seem to find any accurate ones online).  Anyways, I wanted to make a healthy fat-free muffin that would evoke a similar flavor but me much more guiltfree than the original.

The resulting product was this batch of muffins which I made using Sweet Potatoes. When I told my dad about these, he made a face and was confused as to how a vegetable could be in a sweet dessert item, but I explained it works just like pumpkin and bananas.

They came out so cute and perfectly shaped. I was ecstatic.

The Ingredients:

1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 Tbsp fresh orange juice
The Zest of one orange
2 cups all purpose flour
3 Tbsp powdered sugar
1 1/3 cup cooked sweet potato ( I roasted it in the oven until it began emitting a sticky syrup)
3 large organic eggs ( yolks and whites separated)
1/3 cup plain fat free organic yogurt ( organic helps give it the tart bread-like flavor)
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla bourbon extract
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves

In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients ( flour, spices, baking soda, and baking powder)  In another small bowl, place the egg white and keep them refrigerating. Finally, in a large bowl:
1) combine the egg yolks, sugar, orange, orange zest
2) Mix in the sweet potato
3) Stir in the applesauce and yogurt
4) Add the vanilla extract

Next, I chose to mix in the dry ingredients before folding in the whipped egg whites. This turned out fine, you could try folding in the egg white before adding the flour, or not separates the eggs at all -- I'm just letting you know how I made them this time :)

 Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes in a lined muffin tin pan.

I loved these. Not only was the flavor exactly what I was looking for, but each one is fat free and less than 150 calories each. Best of all, they were very filling!! Sometimes, one muffin was even too much.