Monthly Archives: February 2012

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

A good friend of mine is known for her banana bread. Everyone loves it–including her husband and 6 kids– and asks her to bring it to social gatherings. I got the recipe from her, combined it with another banana bread recipe I like and changed it slightly to make it more my style(read, added some healthy variations). We all loved it and both loaves were gone by the following day(they would’ve been gone that evening had I not been monitoring). As a side note, I usually freeze my really ripe bananas in their skin and when I’m ready to make bread, I allow them to thaw on a plate so they don’t get juice all over my counter, and then I slice a side and pour them in the mixing bowl. Other times, I’ll use three ripe bananas, right out of their peels, put them on a plate and mash them with with my potato masher. Both ways taste fabulous. When you  mash them, you get some little creamy banana chunks in the bread which I liked as well.  Alright, onto the bread:

Go ahead and grind your wheat, gather your eggs, sucanat(or raw sugar), coconut oil, bananas and baking soda. Don’t forget to preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Melt your coconut oil in the microwave or on the stove(you can also use the same amount of butter if you don’t have coconut oil).

Cream together your oil and sucanat with a hand or standing mixer. Add in your eggs(I always crack mine into a bowl first; I found blood in an egg once. And even the best of chefs sometimes get a little egg shell in the mix),  yogurt, vanilla, flour and baking soda. Peel your bananas and put them on a plate. Mash them up with a potato masher and stir them in with the rest of your ingredients.

Grease your pan, dump in your mix and bake.

Once it’s done, let it cool for a few minutes, scrape the side with a rubber spatula to make the sides aren’t sticking to the edge and then flip the loaf over onto a cooling rack.


Whole Wheat Banana Bread

3/4 c melted coconut oil or melted butter

2 c Sucanat

4 organic eggs

1/2 c plain yogurt

1 tsp vanilla

4 c whole white wheat flour (if you’re not used to wheat flour, do one cup white)

2 tsp baking soda

6 bananas, mashed or thawed from the freezer

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together oil and sucanat. Add eggs, yogurt, vanilla, flour and baking soda. Stir in mashed bananas. Put in a greased 9 inch loaf pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.


1 Comment

Filed under Breads, Snacks/Sides/Appetizers

Taco Salad

I don’t use the oven as often in the summer. I like to have more cold, fresh meals. We threw together this taco salad a few weeks ago and loved it. I love that it doesn’t have meat but is still hearty with all the different beans. And I loved how quick and easy it was to put together. If you want to make it even quicker, keep shredded lettuce and chopped green onions on hand to toss in.

You can either use beans you’ve previously cooked, or you can just open some canned beans. I did both: I had some pinto beans in the fridge I’d cooked earlier on in the week that I threw in and then I used a can of kidney beans and a can of black beans.When you buy your canned goods, be sure to read the ingredients and choose the cans with the least amount of additives. And remember, if you can make it from scratch, cooking the beans yourself ahead of time, that’s always better than using it from a can. But sometimes, I run out of time and didn’t plan ahead so I make do. Just sayin….

Chop and rinse your lettuce,

cut the cheese into little 1/4-1/2” cubes,

Cut up green onions and dice up some tomato. Dump everything together in a large bowl and mix. I like to serve mine with a little salsa and sour cream for dressing, and if you have guacamole, add a scoop on top and it’s amazing!


Taco Salad– by Elisa Smith

1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped and rinsed

4 green onions, diced

1 can(or 1 c cooked) black beans

1 can(or 1 c cooked) kidney beans

1 can(or 1 c cooked)pinto beans

1 can corn

1/2 beef tomato, chopped

Optional Toppings: Salsa, sour cream, tortilla chips, guacamole

Combine ingredients and toss. Add tortilla chips individually to plates so they don’t get soggy. We like to eat ours with quesadillas made from home made, whole-wheat tortillas.

1 Comment

Filed under Dinner, Lunch, Salads

Whole Wheat Donuts

I like donuts. I have fond memories from my sophomore year in high school, when my brother and I, who was a senior, would occasionally stop by a local donut bakery after seminary(an early morning church class) and before school started. He always got a maple bar. I like maple bars too though my favorite were the old fashioned donuts. Now a days, having bakery donuts is rare for us, so this is a nice replacement. I love the cakiness of these donuts. And I love that these donuts have ground flax seeds which are composed of omega-3 essential fatty acids(good fats that have heart healthy effects), lignans which have plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities, and fiber.Here are your ingredients:

I buy both Sucanat( unrefined cane sugar;  you can use other granulated sugars as well) and flax seeds in the bulk section of health food stores(winco sells flax as well).

Grind up your flax seeds and whole white wheat if you haven’t already. I grind my flax in my Blendtec. If you don’t have a coffee grinder or high power blender, you’ll want to buy ground flaxseeds rather than whole flax.

Grab a medium or large mixing bowl and combine all your dry ingredients: flour, ground flax, sucanat, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Then add in your milk, eggs, butter, and vanilla.Whisk them all together and then pour them into a lightly greased donut pan. I use a mini donut pan and a normal size one. I’ll usually make 24 mini donuts and then about 4 larger ones. You’ll want to fill each cavity about two-thirds full. I used the teaspoon I was measuring with to fill my mini donut pan which made it easy and less messy. Stick them in your 325 degree preheated oven for about 8-10 minutes. After they’ve cooked, lightly touch the top of one, and if it springs back, it’s done.

Once the donuts are baked, allow them to cool for a few minutes and then take them out. You’ll want a fork, knife or rubber spatula to help get under one edge to pull it up, though they should still come up really easy.

Give them a few minutes to cool and in the meantime, pull out your 100% orange juice, honey and your optional coconut flakes.

Whisk together your honey(I warm it up for a few seconds in the microwave) and your orange juice in a shallow bowl.

Dip your donuts into the honey-orange glaze and then you can also dip them into unsweetened coconut flakes(buy at a health food store or Winco) spread out on a small plate, if you’d like. I usually do about half and half in coconut because although most of the members in my family love them with coconut, I have a couple who prefer them without.


Whole Wheat Donuts– lightly adapted from Robyn Openshaw

Makes about a dozen large donuts or 30 mini donuts

2 c whole white wheat flour
1/4 c flax seeds, finely ground (you can purchase already ground or grind in high power blender or coffee grinder)
3/4 c Sucanat(unrefined cane sugar)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sea salt
2 eggs (organic and free-range), beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp butter, melted
3/4 c milk (almond, rice or soy are good)

blend together with a spoon in a small, shallow bowl:
1/4 c raw honey, warmed
2 Tbsp 100% orange juice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly spray a donut pan with oil. Mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and whisk until well blended. Fill each donut cavity two-thirds full. Bake 8 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool, then remove donuts from pan and dip into glaze. Optionally decorate with raw nuts or unsweetened coconut flakes.

Wipe pan clean with a cloth, then repeat the process.


Filed under Desserts

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers

My seven and five year old kids love burgers. I don’t like doing meat very much so I went off in search of a veggie burger alternative. All four of our kids tried them and three of them finished the whole burger. My one year took the burger apart, took a bite of the bun, then a bite of the burger and then threw everything onto the floor. Not what I’d envisioned, but she does that more often than not so I shouldn’t have been too surprised. My seven year old daughter loves these burgers just as much as the meat burgers. My five year old son can easily tell the difference between the two and prefers meat burgers, but he likes these as well.

If you don’t have cooked quinoa lying around in your fridge already, go ahead and make some up in a pan with water and rinsed quinoa following the package directions(should take about 15 minutes). You’ll also need cooked black beans. If you don’t have any cooked already, grab a can of them out of your pantry because you won’t want to wait hours while they cook. While your quinoa is cooking, gather together all of your other ingredients. Chop up your bell pepper and onion(it doesn’t need to be finely chopped because you’re going to throw them in the blender in few minutes).

Saute your onion, garlic and peppers in oil until softened. You can use fresh garlic and chop it up with your veggies, or you can use the already minced kind like me. Add turmeric, cumin, and tomato sauce(or ketchup if you don’t have any) and cook for another minute.

In your high-powered blender or food processor, blend onion mixture, beans and quinoa until well blended.

Transfer all of your blended mix to a bowl and mix in your bread crumbs, salt, and pepper. (I usually use home made bread crumbs, which is bread I’ve dried in a 300 degree oven for about 20 minutes, but I realized at the last second I didn’t have any on this particular day so I went with plan B and used the store bought kind….don’t do it unless you have to because they have all sorts of additives)

Warm up a griddle or a pan on the stove. Take 1/4 c balls of the mixture, flatten them in your hands and place on the griddle. You can add a little olive oil to pan for more of a crispy texture.

Serve on whole-grain bread or bun with lettuce or sprouts, tomato, and avocado.

Black Bean and Quinoa Burgers-lightly adapted from Robyn Openshaw
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped into several pieces
1 red bell pepper, chopped into several pieces, core removed and seeds thrown away
4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 Tbsp tomato sauce/paste or ketchup
1 1/2 c cooked black beans
1 c cooked quinoa
2 c fresh whole-grain bread crumbs
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Saute onions, garlic and peppers in oil until softened. Add turmeric, cumin, and tomato sauce and cook for 1 minute, releasing the spices. In high-powered blender or food processor, blend onion mixture, beans and quinoa until well blended. Transfer to bowl and mix in bread crumbs, salt, and pepper.

Warm up a griddle or a pan on the stove. Take 1/4 c balls of the mixture, flatten them in your hands and place on the griddle. Add a little olive oil to pan for more of a crispy texture. Serve on whole-grain bread or bun with lettuce or sprouts, tomato, and avocado.
Tip: you can freeze these patties in freezer bags for a last-minute lunch


Filed under Dinner, Lunch, vegan


I love guacamole. I grew up eating it fairly frequently. My four siblings and I would fight over guacamole (we still do, though in a more fun-loving way now…we’ll do things like hide it from each other in different spots in the house). I personally think that avocados in general are an amazing food. I love the creamy texture. It’s also a perfect food for babies with it’s high, good-fat content and a great filling snack for anyone.

To make guacamole, start by chopping your tomato, green onion, jalapeno, and cutting your avocado in half and scooping out the middle. I like to mash my guacamole in a saucepan for 2 reasons: First there is a handle you can hold while mashing and Second, you have a larger flat space in a saucepan compared to most mixing bowls which makes mashing the ingredients easier(I used a little bit of medium salsa this time around to spicen it up, in place of my jalapeno because Walmart was completely out of jalapenos!). Add in the salt, garlic, white pepper and lemon, mash it all together and it’s ready to eat!


3 ripe avocados, mashed

1 roma tomato, chopped fine

1 green jalapeno chopped fine (try half, if prefer foods mild. I completely omit this when I’m giving it to young children and babies…this makes a perfect maybe food with all of it’s good fats)

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp garlic powder or 1 clove garlic

pinch of white pepper

2 small green onions, chopped fine

1/4 squeezed lemon

optionally add 1 Tbsp mayo and 1 tsp parmesan cheese (mayo makes it creamier)

Mash all ingredients together and chill.


Filed under Snacks/Sides/Appetizers, vegan

Amazing Whole Wheat Pizza Dough and Sauce

2014-12-05 18.07.31

We’ve been making pizza for a long time now and this is our all-time favorite recipe! This recipe will make three 10 inch pizzas. I make two of them in one night for my family of 6 and then I either freeze the leftover dough to use another time, or I’ll put it in the fridge and we’ll bake it up the following day. The crust is soft and fluffy, with a crisp bottom(perfect crispness if cooked on a good pizza stone), and not labor intensive. It only takes about 15 minutes to put the dough together, though you do have to plan ahead and make sure you allow it several hours to rise. I usually make the dough sometime before noon the evening we want it for dinner. Here’s how you do it:

Get out your big mixing bowl like a Bosch with the dough hook attachment, or just use a plain old large mixing bowl. Pour in 2 c of really warm water, around 120 degrees(not too much hotter because you don’t want to kill the yeast). I do mine on the stove though you could do it in the microwave as well.

Add 2 c spelt flour and 1/2 Tbsp yeast(I use whatever kind they sell at Costco). IMG_2143

Mix together and let it stand for about 5 minutes. It will get a little bubbly and frothy. While you wait, get all your other ingredients out.

IMG_2142 Once your yeast has proofed add in 1/2 tablespoon sea salt, 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1/3 cup honey(melted if not already liquid), and 3 cups whole wheat flour; add more whole wheat flour (1-2 c) until your dough sticks to itself and not to the bowl, but will be just slightly sticky to the touch.

Knead the dough in your Bosh about five minutes. If kneading by hand, you can mix it right in your mixing bowl so you don’t have a sticky mess on the counter to clean up after.

2015-01-28 09.13.49 Cover with a dishtowel, or just put lid on Bosch (and take out dough hook attachment).I take my dough hook out once it’s done kneading, just before I put the lid on and allow it to sit and rise.

2015-01-28 09.14.45

Allow it to rise a couple(or more) hours until it’s double in size. I usually make my dough in the morning around 9 or 10 and just let it sit all day until dinner time because that’s what’s convenient for me.

photo (1)

Preheat your oven with a pizza stone inside(unless instructions for your pizza stone say not to preheat it…also some pizza stones say not to put it in an oven that’s hotter than 400 degrees so know your pizza stones capabilities) to 450 degrees. Divide dough into thirds and roll them out on a floured surface. Whatever dough you don’t plan on using that night, you can freeze in a freezer Ziploc bag to use another day. Transfer your rolled out pizza dough to a wooden pizza peel sprinkled with corn meal, or parchment paper, and cover it with sauce and toppings. If you’re afraid you won’t be able to get the pizza dough off the pizza peel in once piece, or at least with the toppings still attached, then you’ll want to put the parchment paper underneath. I always do it without the parchment now, but it took me several very frustrating attempts and ruined pizzas before I got it down. I have a more involved pizza sauce recipe below, but I usually do something much simpler which is still AMAZING by just using a can of tomato sauce and adding in 1 Tablespoon of Pizza Seasoning.

Bake on a preheated pizza stone for 5-6 minutes or until your crust is crisp. Slide it onto a baking sheet to take out of the oven. Allow your pizza to cool a few minutes, allowing cheese to set, before cutting.


Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
~makes 3 large pizzas

In a large mixing bowl combine:

1/2 Tbsp yeast
2 c really warm water(about 120 degrees)
2 c spelt flour

Cover it with a kitchen towel and let it stand for about 5 minutes. Add these ingredients to yeast mixture, reserving one cup flour, and stir together:

1/3 cup honey
1/2 tablespoon sea salt
3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 cups whole white wheat flour
Knead 5 minutes, while kneading, add more flour if needed to form a nice elastic dough consistency and so dough sticks more to itself rather than the bowl. Cover bowl and let dough rise several hours on counter(make sure you’re house isn’t too cold. If it is, find a warmer place for your dough like on top of a dryer that’s going etc). Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Divide dough in thirds, roll out on a floured surface. Transfer to a wooden pizza peel covered in corn meal or parchment paper and cover with sauce and toppings.

Bake on a preheated pizza stone for 5-6 minutes or until crust is crisp. Slide onto a baking sheet to take out of oven. Allow to cool a few minutes for cheese to set before cutting.

*MY Favorite simple pizza sauce: 1 small can tomato sauce mixed with 1 TBSP pizza seasoning

And here’s another good pizza sauce recipe, similar to the one above but with a couple additional ingredients.

Pizza Sauce– lightly adapted from taste is trump

1 small can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon Pizza Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Stir to combine in a medium-sized mixing bowl. You can save leftovers in fridge for a couple of weeks or freeze in a ziploc bag for later use.


Filed under Dinner