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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Nutella Swirled Banana Bread

When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it! We love banana bread, and our double chocolate banana bread (give it a try!). Banana bread + nutella=YUM! I even modified this recipe because I ran out of white flour (I used some wheat), and it STILL turned out great! So here's the recipe with my modifications:

Ingredients:
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (about 3 small)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup low fat sour cream
1/4 cup oil
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour (or you could do 1/2 wheat and 1/2 white to make it healthier)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup Nutella

Directions:
Combine first five ingredients in a large bowl; beat at medium speed of an electric mixer until well blended. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to banana mixture, stirring until just combined.

Spoon half of the batter into a loaf pan coated with baking spray. With a spoon, drop 1/4 cup of the Nutella in dollops on top of the batter. Swirl a bit and then top again with remaining batter. Add another 1/4 cup of Nutella in dollops on top and swirl again.

Bake at 350º for 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool ten minutes in the pan on a wire rack; remove from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack.

*Can bake mini loaves for 35 minutes or muffins for 18 minutes.

Mmm...I wish I had some of this right now! It's really great after it cools too, the nutella gets really gooey and yummy! Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Creamy Creamless Cauliflower Soup

I'm loving soups lately. We have soup at least twice a week. This is one I've made a couple times. The original recipe is a Zupas wannabe found here. The first time I made it, I followed the recipe exactly (except adding a little cayenne). It was good, but there's a lot of cheese in it, so it's not so healthy. I found a creamy broccoli soup recipe that used cannellini beans to thicken the soup. So I combined the two (using cauliflower) and came up with a lighter recipe that's just as yummy! And it's really fast!


Creamy Healthified Cauliflower Soup

Ingredients:
1 medium onion, chopped
1 head of cauliflower, chopped
4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1 can cannellini beans
1 cup Monterey Jack, Cheddar, or Pepper Jack cheese, shredded (try reduced fat)
1/4 tsp dry mustard
Cayenne pepper (1/4–1 tsp depending on heat)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Croutons (optional—I excluded these and just used bread for dipping)

Directions:
Place onions in large saucepan over medium to high heat. Cook until golden and soft, five to ten minutes, adding a little broth if it is sticking to the pan (or you could use a little olive oil). Pour broth into pan and bring to a boil. Add the cauliflower, cover, and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until soft, about eight minutes. Stir in the beans and simmer for three to four more minutes.

Use an immersion blender and puree the soup (I had to let mine cool slightly because mine is plastic), or transfer to a blender. Puree well to take out all the lumps. Add the spices and cheese (I didn't add all the cheese here, we sprinkled it on what we wanted as we served it), if desired (I think it would also be good without the cheese). Let cheese melt until smooth.

Garnish with croutons and more cheese, if desired. We like this soup with a great baguette!

Let us know how you like it!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Red Iguana 2

It's been a while since we've posted a restaurant review! We haven't been out to eat much lately, and when we have gone, it's been with other people (and we've eaten at chain restaurants, and we'd rather review local restaurants).
On Friday night, Stew surprised Lindsey with dinner out. We decided we felt like Mexican food, so we decided to try the Red Iguana 2 (same as the Red Iguana restaurant downtown, two blocks away). We were excited, because everyone says Red Iguana is so good. We really liked the Blue Iguana (see our review) and were excited to compare them. We waited for an hour (the wait was longer at the original restaurant, and since we'd already been there—on one of our first dates—we decided to try the new one).

Ouch! Sorry everyone who loves the Red Iguana, but we were not too impressed. Here's our explanation:

First off, there was no parking (although they did have a free valet, which we took advantage of). When we walked in, our nostrils weren't filled with the smell of delicious Mexican food. But the whole atmosphere and decor of the place is fun, with lights draped from the ceiling. We think the Red Iguana 2 looks a little more family-friendly than the original Red Iguana. They SHOULD have more tables and chairs though, especially if so many people want to eat there! We were finally seated and right off the bat felt like our server didn't really enjoy his job.

Okay, so like most Mexican restaurants, we were brought chips and salsa, which were good. The salsa was fantastic and we went through two bowls (it's pretty spicy!). The chips were alright, but we felt like they just opened up a bag. They would have been great if they had warmed them up.

Lindsey ordered the Red Iguana Chicken Tacos, same thing she ordered at the Blue Iguana (except not called “Red Iguana”). These tacos were definitely not as good. They were seriously lacking some flavor, moisture, and toppings. They don't even come with rice and beans! Over $8 for that? I don't think so. Lindsey poured salsa and Stew's guacamole on them, and then they were okay. However, if you want the BEST chicken tacos ever, get Liz Edmund's book!

Stew ordered the “Red Iguana.” He thought that combo plate would be a good flavor of the whole restaurant, if the dish was named after it. This dish included one cheese enchilada, a shredded beef taquito, a beef flauta topped with guacamole and sour cream, a chile relleno and a beef tostada. All for $13. The taquito was probably Stew's favorite, but he didn't love any of them and didn't even finish the plate (rare for him!).

We were too full to order dessert (we would have ordered the Tres Leches); we really filled up on chips and salsa.

Waiting twice the time it takes you to eat isn't really fun, especially when you're waiting so long for food that doesn't amaze you.

So Guy Fieri stopped at Red Iguana for his show, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. So maybe the Blue Iguana tried to copy the Red Iguana. So maybe we ordered the wrong thing (but shouldn't anything you order at a “good restaurant” be good??). So maybe our expectations were too high. If you love the Red Iguana, we'd love to know why. We thought it was a little overrated. Are we mean??

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The BEST Applesauce Chocolate Chip Cookies

My mom has been making these cookies for as long as I can remember. They're one of my very favorite cookies. They are so soft and moist! I made them for Stew's parents when we were in St. George and they loved them! My mother-in-law asked for the recipe, and her neighbors have too!

Applesauce (or Pumpkin) Cookies


Mix together:
3/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup applesauce (can substitute pumpkin for pumpkin cookies—also great)

Add:
2 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves

Mix thoroughly. Stir in one cup chocolate chips (semisweet are best), raisins, or nuts, or any combination.
Drop spoonfuls onto GREASED cookie sheet. Bake at 375º for 10–12 minutes.

These cookies are scrumptious right out of the oven, but I love them cooled too!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Creamy Potato Kale Soup

This soup is really tasty! And very healthy! Stew asked me if there was cheese in it, and he didn't believe me when I said no! The creamy thickness comes from potatoes and other veggies that you puree! I will definitely be making this again.

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup yellow onions, finely chopped
1 cup leeks, sliced (I had never bought leeks before. They look like giant green onions, but you can only use the white part, the green leaves are too woody. I only bought one for the recipe.)
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/4 cup white wine (I substituted chicken broth)
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 cups water
3 cups potatoes, peeled and diced (I kept some of the skin on)
1 1/2 cups parsnips, sliced (Again, I'd never bought parsnips. They look like huge white carrots. I only bought one for the recipe.)
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard (I didn't have this, so I just used a little dry mustard...not the same thing, I know, but it worked.)
2 Tbsp Fresh Thyme (Didn't have fresh so I used 1 Tbsp dried, but then scooped some out because it looked like a TON! Glad I did.)
2 Tbsp Fresh Oregano (I ran out of dried so I used 1/2 Tbsp Oregano and 1/2 Tbsp Marjoram)
1 tsp Dried Sage (Didn't have this...can you tell I didn't read all the way through the recipe?? I used a little more Marjoram and Basil.)
1 cup Milk (I used a can of lowfat evaporated milk to make it creamier, since we drink skim)
1 bunch of kale, stems removed and diced (At first I cut it into strips, and after our first bowl, I took scissors to the pot and cut the kale smaller)
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute the garlic, onions, leeks, celery, and carrots for five minutes until softened. Add the wine (chicken broth) and cook for another 2-3 minutes to reduce. Add the water and broth, potatoes, and parsnips and simmer for about 20 minutes (mine went faster), partially covered, until the potatoes and parsnips are tender. Use a blender or hand blender to puree the soup until smooth. Stir in the mustard, herbs, and milk. In a saute pan, gently wilt the kale with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water. When the kale is tender, add it to the soup. Season with salt and pepper.
We served it with some turkey bacon and cheddar cheese on top. I think the bacon adds some dimension.
I know it looks like a lot of ingredients, but this soup really didn't take me that long. Hope you try it! Enjoy!