easy self-rising flour

Since it’s been quite a bit of time since we’ve talked tips & tricks here at K.K. lately, I figured y’all are well overdue for another kitchen hack!

This is one that, quite honestly, occurs in my kitchen quite a bit. We’re talking good, old fashioned, self-rising flour!

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Some of you may be unfamiliar with this ingredient, so let me give you a bit of a briefing. Self-rising flour is, simply, flour that has baking powder and salt already added in. It’s a staple in many Southern households, and traditionally milled from softer, lower protein wheat. This yields a more tender baked good than what you would find from a more traditional all-purpose flour, or another type of higher protein flours.

So what’s the big deal about making this? I can hear most of you thinking that. Because, quite honestly, this is probably one of the most overlooked baking ingredient for many of us! As I already mentioned, I hardly ever have this on hand, so rather than mixing up a batch every time I need it, I find it SO.STINKIN’.USEFUL. to keep a big ol’ stash of this on hand.

This recipe can be used for any baked good you may whip up that calls for self-rising flour {biscuits is one of the most common recipes that utilizes this particular flour}. King Arthur recommends starting with an unbleached pastry flour, if you have access to such kind. If you’re starting with regular all-purpose flour, you may need add slightly more liquid than usual.

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Easy Self-Rising Flour {recipe from King Arthur Flour}

Ingredients:

1 cup King Arthur Flour

1-1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

To Prepare:

Combine the listed ingredients above in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together, making sure all are fully combined.

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Use as directing in your recipe.

**for a larger quantity, whisk together 8 cups of King Arthur Flour, 4 Tbsp. baking powder, and 2 tsp. salt. Store in an airtight container at room temperature**

Let’s Discuss: do y’all have any new, fun kitchen hacks to share? I’m always looking for the latest and greatest! 

 

rise & shine breakfast smoothie

I’m being perfectly honest in saying this, y’all – this is easily my favorite way to start off the workday. A cold smoothie, bursting with fresh fruit flavor provides the perfect wake up and refreshing zing to make your morning just that much better.

I can’t recall if I’ve mentioned this previously; if so, do forgive the rambling. Before we got married {almost two years ago!}, our registry gifts began arriving in boatloads. I was quite the happy bride-to-be, unwrapping kitchen gadgets I had only dreamed of. One of the things that I was most excited about was the prospect of a new blender…ours had seen better days, and had been relocated to the back of the closet because it.just.didn’t.work.

So imagine my happiness on the day when I opened a box containing a top of the line unit – ah!!! I had grandiose plans for this gem; everything from chilled soups to gorgeous purees. But alas – fast forward to this year, and I think we had used it maaaaaybe twice. Fail.

So this summer, when I was on our juicing kick {remember this and this?} I decided that we should be on a smoothie on as well! Being so stocked up on fresh fruit, the hubs and I couldn’t go through them fast enough. I told myself that using said blender for smoothies would be a good test run; after all, what’s the worst that could happen?

If you consider being more or less addicted to smoothies a bad thing, then I am in trouble. We have smoothies at least three times a week, more than making up for that sad time when that beautiful, shiny new blender sat cold and lonely in the cabinet. I’m just making up for lost time, no?

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Rise & Shine Breakfast Smoothie {serves one, can easily be doubled or tripled, depending on the size of your blender}

Use this recipe and quantity simply as a guideline for what flavors and binding agents you like! I’ve outlined the ingredients I use most often in mine; the hubs, on the other hand, prefers slightly different combinations. I’ve outlined below what is good to swap for what – this is truly one recipe where you can’t go wrong! 

Ingredients:

1 large banana, about as ripe as you can handle it

5 large strawberries

1/2 to 1 cup plain, low-fat kefir*

*I am a HUGE fan of kefir; loaded with live-active cultures and a great digestive agent, it provides a protein punch for few calories and added sugar. I love the way it blends into a creamy consistency, and adds just the right amount of tang into my morning smoothie. The hubs, on the other hand, is more partial to using a flavored Greek yogurt – you’ll still reap the benefits of protein power, but the live-active cultures will not be as present as the kefir. 

To Prepare:

Place all ingredients in the pitcher of your mixer. Puree until nice and smooth, then enjoy!

If you like {and I do this regularly} – prep your smoothies the night before, and stash in the fridge for an easy breakfast to grab and go! I often put mine in the freezer when I wake up in the morning, because I like having it as thick and cold as I can.

Let’s Discuss: are there any breakfast smoothie combinations you’re fond of? 

perfectly perfect hard-boiled eggs

These have been a summer snack time staple – say that three times fast!

I don’t know about y’all, but I tend to get in a groove of sorts when it comes to my daily routine. For weeks at a time, I’ll hardly deviate from a certain breakfast {steel cut oats loaded with fresh fruit and granola is a particular favorite}, a mid-afternoon snack {fruit and cheese plate makes for a wonderful workday treat} or an after-dinner treat. There’s something quietly comforting, knowing exactly what to expect out of your lunchbox, when there are so many variables that can affect how you day goes.

That’s where this gorgeous little gem comes into play. I don’t know what took me so long to remind myself of these treats, but I tell you, I don’t know how the hubs and I have made it through so long without these! Formally reintroduced to us from my wonderful mother-in-law on our earlier summer trip to Tahoe, I was smacking my head because I hadn’t made these in so long. These were a daily staple in our hiking packs – perfectly contained in their “natural” tupperware {egg shell for the win!}, they make the perfect snack on the go. A perfect balance of protein and vitamins, these will keep you going without holding you back.

Ever since that wonderful trip, said eggs have become commonplace in our refrigerator. It’s safe to say that, come our weekly grocery trip, a dozen eggs will be bought solely for the purpose of hard-boiling. They’re just perfect; I don’t foresee us tiring of them anytime soon!

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Perfectly Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs {adapted, minimally, from Martha Stewart}

Ingredients:

12 large eggs, room temperature

9 cups of water, room temperature

1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

*special ingredients – large sauce pan, slotted spoon and colander, large bowl full of ice 

To Prepare:

Place eggs in a large sauce pan. Cover them with water by 1 inch, and add in the vinegar, stirring to combine. Be careful and stir gently; you don’t want to crack the eggs.

Slowly bring water/vinegar mixture to a boil over medium heat. When the liquid has reached a boil, cover and remove from heat. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Transfer eggs to a colander; place under cool running water to stop the cooking. Eggs can be peeled and served immediately, or stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

tzatziki

Is anyone else overwhelmed with the mass amounts of cucumbers cranking out of your garden?

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Let’s see a show of hands.

I will admit, I’ve had to great creative over the past weeks with the amount of produce being dropped off on my doorstep. After all, a girl and her hubby can only handle so many slices of cucumbers {sprinkled with a little coarse salt, obviously} as an afternoon snack. I’ve done everything from infusing water with these guys, to spiralizing them in salads, and layering them with soft cheese wedges.

And then I remembered that I had yet to make one of my favorite cucumber snacks – tzatziki dip! This wonderfully tangy appetizer is one of my favorites – in fact, a Greek restaurant right in our downtown area makes perhaps one of the best I’ve had. I’ll eat it by the spoonful, it’s that’s delicious.

With the idea set in mind, and friends coming over for a night of cocktails/games/cooking, I knew that this would be an excellent time to tweak my recipe. Oftentimes made with sour cream and whole fat yogurt, I wanted to lighten this up slightly so that it would still be delicious, but with healthier benefits. By swapping out the aforementioned yogurt with 0% Greek, the creamy consistency is not lost, nor is flavor. The tart bite of this yogurt pairs perfectly with the zangy lemon. Fresh, spicy garlic is added in for flavor, and dill acts as the balancing beam between the flavors. A little salt and pepper rounds it all out – you’re left with nothing but a bowl of dip so bursting with flavor {and protein! thanks to the Greek yogurt} you won’t miss a thing.

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Tzatziki {makes about 3 cups}

This not only makes a wonderful dip to set out amongst other appetizers, but I absolutely love to spread it on veggie sandwiches, or use it as a topping on salads. To really ensure full flavor, make it a few hours before serving, to let the flavors truly marry together.  

Ingredients:

3 cups of Greek yogurt {I used Chobani 0%}

1 large cucumber, washed and dried well

juice of 1 fresh lemon

3 large clove garlic, minced

1-2 tbsp. dried dill, or to suit your taste

salt and pepper, to taste

To Prepare:

Using a box grater on the largest side, process the cucumber. I prefer to leave the skin on, as I like the crisp texture and vitamin boost it provides. If using a cucumber with seeds, grate only the fleshy outer area.

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Squeeze out any excess water and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the minced garlic, lemon juice, dill, and salt and pepper. Whisk in the Greek yogurt until combined. Fold in the grated cucumber using a spatula, making sure to fully incorporate.

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Serve alongside assorted veggies, pita bread, and crackers! Dip will last 4 days, tightly covered, in the refrigerator…though it never seems to last more than a day or so in our household ; )

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Let’s Discuss: what’s your favorite brand of Greek yogurt? Do you prefer cooking with a certain variety? 

 

lightened up buffalo chicken dip

Please & Thank You.

Peas & Carrots.

Romeo & Juliet.

…the list goes on and on, and on and on. I could sit here for hours on end, thinking of the perfect marriage between different fun phrases, historical couples, and other random trivia notes, but there’s always one pair that jumps to my mind when I sit and think on “what does pair so well together??”

The answer, my dears, is plain and simple – buffalo chicken and blue cheese.

I could tell you that there was a time, back when I was just a young thing, and I could not even tolerate the mere thought of blue cheese. My dad {sidenote: can categorize basically his entire life using his salad dressing preference} is a huge, huge fan of the stuff, and I have vivid memories of him adding it on to just about every salad at dinnertime. I couldn’t even do it.

As I got older, my tolerance for creamier things began to develop, and I even allowed myself to like love Ranch dressing, especially when paired “late night” style with some delivery pizza. Wings and veggies got the same treatment. I would always reach for the Ranch.

But then, one day, it all changed.

I think that I had gotten so used to the flavor of this classic American dressing that I no longer even liked it. Clearly, my tastes had changed, yet again, and in doing so I thought to myself “what the heck – let’s try this blue cheese again.” And then I fell in love. Blue Cheese on everything! – from pizza crusts to salads, wings to French fries, crumbled on top of pizzas, you name it, I’m game. And then when I saw this recipe I’m sharing with you today, I knew that this was a long-term love affair.

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The best part about this dish is that it’s been slightly lightened up! As we all know, traditional blue cheese dressing is made with gobs of sour cream and mayonnaise. Once you fold in the crumbled cheese, you’re basically looking at a calorie bomb. Same with casseroles and dips made with this beloved culinary treasure. But that’s why were here, right! I distinctly remember stumbling upon this recipe last year, right before the Super Bowl, and it was if Heaven shone a golden light down onto my screen. You can have your blue cheese, and eat it, and enjoy it, too!

We’re replacing the typical mayo/cream cheese/sour cream base of this baked and bubbly dip with one of my favorite ingredients – Greek yogurt! I vary slightly from Cassie’s original recipe, because I opt for 0% plain Greek yogurt, and a blended cream cheese-yogurt mix, but feel free to use whatever you like!

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This is a fantastic dip to take for tailgating, to casual dinner parties…or if you’re really craving it, whip it up for dinner one night! Served alongside some crostini and a big, colorful salad, you’ll be fully satisfied, and not left with a guilty conscience heavy tummy!

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Lightened Up Buffalo Chicken Dip {recipe adapted, slightly, from Back to her Roots}

serves 12, at 1/2 cup per serving

Ingredients:

4 ounces softened Greek Yogurt-Cream Cheese blend*

1/2 cup crumbed Blue Cheese

1 cup plain, 0% Greek yogurt

2 cups of cooked, shredded chicken breast

1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce {you can add more if you prefer a bit more heat! – this yields a more mellow flavor}

2 T. fresh, chopped parsley

1/2 tsp. dried dill

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

salt and pepper, to taste

2 green onions, sliced thin

*this is sold at my local Kroger…it’s a cream cheese and yogurt blend, and I think tastier than regular or low-fat cream cheese. If you can’t find it, no worries! Either regular or low-fat cream cheese will work just fine.

Optional Toppings:

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup panko

To Prepare:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together the softened cream cheese, crumbled blue cheese, Greek yogurt, shredded chicken, buffalo sauce, parsley, dill, garlic powder, salt and pepper until well combined.

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Pour mixture into an ungreased one quart casserole dish. If desired, sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese and panko.

Bake in preheated oven until golden and bubbly, at least 30 minutes. I like to, at the very last second, turn the broiler on for 1-2 minutes to get that topping nice and crispy.

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Serve with desired scoopables {pita chips, tortilla chips, etc.} and hearty sliced veggies. Enjoy!

 

fresh watermelon salad

Summertime is the season of salads, if you ask me.

With produce brimming aplenty from your own garden, CSA sign-up, local farmer’s market, or if {like me} you’re lucky enough to have a neighbor who shares their harvest, it can be somewhat challenging to figure out how to best utilize this bounty. I’ve gotten pretty creative in past seasons with pickling veggies, packing shredded squash into loaves of sweet and savory breads, and making jars and jars of sauces. But there still is the question – what do you do with the herbs?

I don’t know about y’all, but my once lowly mint plant has decided to grow without abandon as of late. In all honesty, I thought that this would be the one that didn’t make it. I have an “herb pot” garden that I tend to along the sunny side of our home, simply because with time management, it’s all I can afford. I’m certainly blessed in the basil and rosemary department, but the mint this year…eh…I wasn’t so sure. Little did I know that what would once be the epitome of Tiny Tim plants turn into a raging mint monster. No lie.

Now, us at the homestead can only make so much mint simple syrup and mojitos before completely burning out on this sweet green leaf. And rather than diminishing my love for this plant, I figured that there had to be some way that we could repurpose it. The light bulb hit, right then and there – salad! I was reminded of a barbecue we hosted a few summers ago, and I served up a sweet watermelon and mint salad. Going along those same lines, I set out to recreate it, but with a few different twists and turns.

As I mentioned, I wanted to avoid any overly sweet flavors in this particular dish. Using watermelon and mint, both very sweet on their own, would sure to be an overpowering combination. Keeping that in mind, a salt element would be an important, if not necessary, addition to this dish. I recalled a photo of watermelon and feta cheese paired together, and I knew that would be perfect. A bit of a kick from coarsely ground pepper would counterbalance the salt and sweet, and finally, on somewhat of a whim, I added in a few dashes of red wine vinegar, just to help cut through all the flavors.

This salad is the perfect example of summer, and sunshine, and warm weather, all mixed up in one pretty bowl. It’s the perfect dish to whip up for any dinner party or get-together, and I promise that your guests will be wowed, both on the levels of presentation and flavor!

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Fresh Watermelon Salad 

Ingredients:

roughly 5-6 lbs. fresh watermelon, cubed into bite-sized pieces

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, washed and left whole

4 to 6 ounces feta cheese, coarsely crumbled

red wine vinegar, to taste

pepper, to taste

 

To Prepare:

In a large bowl, mix together the cubed watermelon and feta cheese. Make sure to leave the feta as coarsely crumbled as possible; if stirred to aggressively, the cubes will disintegrate.

Fold in the whole mint leaves, making sure to evenly distribute.

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Season to taste with pepper {I omit any added salt in this recipe, because feta cheese by itself has such a salty and delicious flavor}. Add in several hefty dashes of red wine vinegar, to help cut through the sweetness of the fruit and brighten up the bold notes of the cheese. Store in the refrigerator, tightly covered, until ready to serve.

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Salad will keep, covered, for up to 4 days. 

colorful corn & bean salad

I’m on a veggie kick lately, y’all.

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Summer speaks to me of warm summer nights, porch sitting, fresh produce, and {if I’m being honest} minimal time spent hovering over a hot oven. There’s nothing more unfortunate than spending time in said space when you could be lounging on your porch, dining al fresco, with an easy dinner based off little or no cooking. This is where this salad comes into play.

I’m fortunate in the sense that I have several friends who actually have the time to spend crafting successful gardens, and I am the frequent benefactor of the fruits of their labors. Granted, I dabble in it – albeit slightly with tomatoes/herbs/lettuces, which is better than nothing – but I do not have the knowledge or time to give it the love it needs. Summer after summer, I find myself constantly coming up with new and inventive ways to jazz up the produce I’m blessed to accept.

I’ve played with preserving and jarring pickles, canning my own tomato sauce, and preserving fruits in the form of delicious jams and jellies. But, it’s so hard to not want to eat up each and every bit of produce as soon as we possibly can. So when a bunch of fresh corn, peppers, and jalepenos showed up on my door step, this salad was born.

I’m not even sure if it’s fair to call this a true “recipe” even. I’ve mentioned before that a lot of my summer cooking is spent on a wing and a prayer, and this was one of those. As I was measuring and stirring, I had the hubs write it down for me so I could share it here with y’all. As as I am constantly mentioning, feel free to play around with this! So far, we’ve served it on top of salads, inside of quesadillas, and even just set out as a salsa for dipping in my fresh chips. I think it would make a wonderful topping for fresh cod, or stirred into sauteed veggies. I wouldn’t be surprised if I spooned it on top of a pizza someday…

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Colorful Corn & Bean Salad {original recipe, serves 6-8}

Ingredients:

4 ears fresh corn {hulled of its skin} and trimmed off so only the kernels remain

1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

1 can diced tomatoes, drained

1 green bell pepper, diced

up to 1 whole jalepeño, seeds removed {if desired} and finely grated

1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. oregano

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 to 1 tsp. cayenne pepper

salt and pepper, to taste

To Prepare:

Add fresh corn into the bottom of a large, wide-mouthed mixing bowl {I like to use my largest stainless steel one). Add in both beans, the tomatoes, and the green peppers. Stir to combine.

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Grate in the fresh jalepeño, and mix well. Drizzle in the olive oil and lime juice, stirring to combine. Set aside for 5 minutes and allow the flavors to merry while we assemble the spice mixture.

Combine all seasonings in a small bowl, making sure to evenly distribute them {we don’t want any clumps of cumin, or hot spots of cayenne}.

Sprinkle evenly over the corn/tomato/bean mixture, and stir well. Store in an airtight container, or several smaller Mason jars {for easy transport and serving}. Salad will keep well in the fridge for several days.

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buttermilk biscuits

The perfect biscuit, in my oh-so-humble opinion, should be perfectly flaky yet still fluffy, light, and moist with no heaviness.

Seems like a pretty tall order, eh?

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I’ve always been a fan of the perfect biscuit – a match made in heaven for the classic breakfast sandwich, a reliable vehicle for butter and jam, or kept simple and drizzled with just a touch of honey. But it’s been a tried and true search, dears. Copious amounts of research and many trial-and-error batches have resulted in my putting a halt on this quest for some time now. You see, I’m picky when it comes to this particular bread – I’ve never been fond of using lard in cooking, or shortening, and have found that it’s easy to over {or under} estimate the amount of butter needed to create those perfect layers.

When we had company a few weeks back, I decided to give this infamous recipe, this culinary enemy of mine, another go. Rather than re-exploring previous recipes, I opted for a fresh start. That being said, and having spoken with my previous experiences of different bases, I settled on exploring the buttermilk route. I knew that its creamy texture and tangy bite would be a good base for my dough, but didn’t want to travel down the {errenous} method of baking sans recipe. When I stumbled upon this one, I knew I had found a winner. A perfect balance of tangy buttermilk and rich butter {neither too much nor too little of each!} ensured me that I would come up with the perfect biscuit.

Do try and make these yourselves! Once set in the oven and baking, the aroma will tantalize you terribly. I promise, these won’t last more than a day or so.

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Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

{recipe adapted from Cooking Light}

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour*

2-1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

5 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces

3/4 C. low-fat or fat-free buttermilk {because it’s summer, hot and humid, I probably used close to 1 C. total in this recipe}

3 Tbsp. honey

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.

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Cut in the butter with a pasty blender or 2 knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal {you don’t want to overmix! – this will result in a tough biscuit}. Chill for 10 minutes.

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Combine buttermilk and honey, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Add buttermilk mixtures to flour mixture; stir just until moist.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly 4 times. Roll dough into a {1/2 inch thick} 9×5 rectangle; dust top of dough with flour. Fold dough crosswise into thirds {as if folding a piece of paper to fit into an envelope}. Re-roll dough into a {1/2 inch thick} 9 x 4 rectangle; dust top of dough with flour. Again, fold dough into thirds, gently roll or pat into a generous 1″ thickness. Cut dough with a biscuit cutter to your desired size. I got 9 out of this size and amount. 

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Place dough rounds about 1 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes, or until golden. Remove from pan; cool 2 minutes on a wire rack.

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Serve with your desired toppings and spreads.

Biscuits will keep, covered at room temperature, for about 2 days. Any longer than that, I would transfer into the refrigerator. 

banana bites

With the excessive heat we’ve been experiencing lately, I’ve been finding my produce become riper almost overnight, especially my bananas. I’ve tried every trick in the book to keep them from turning, as well as freezing what seems like tons and tons for future breads, but a girl can only fit so many in her ancient side-by-side refrigerator. And since I practically refuse to throw food away, I’ve been sitting around scratching my head trying to think of ideas.

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Then one night, while going through vacation photos from last summer, I stumbled upon a spread I had laid out during our beach trip to the Outer Banks – my banana bites! Duh, Alicia.

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It was truly one of those moments where I wanted to slap myself on the forehand, comedy-style, because I was shocked that I had forgotten about them. Whether it was the above-mentioned beach trip, day hikes, or camping trips, these were a summer staple for us. So quick and so easy to throw together, and minimal time in the oven makes them a perfect go-to snack.

The highlight of these added beauties is that there is NO.ADDED.SUGAR.

That’s right, you heard me. Because why take away from something as simple and lovely as a banana, perfectly ripe and sweet? The combination I’ve outlined below throws in a few extra “goodies”, if you will, but regardless, they only complement the flavor of the fruit.

Whether you toss these in your lunch for a breakfast on the go, as a mid-afternoon snack, or for a late-night treat {the addition of chocolate chips give you that fix without the guilt!}, these truly hit the spot. Sometimes, I’ll even throw them in the freezer, for when the days are especially hot and I just need that extra-cold treat!

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Banana Bites {recipe adapted from The Simple Veganista}

makes about 15-18 bites

Ingredients:

4 very ripe bananas, mashed but still chunky

2 cup oats, rolled or quick

1/2 to 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips* {I used Ghiradelli}

1/2 to 3/4 cup peanut butter*

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 generous tsp. vanilla extract

pinch salt

Optional Add-Ins

nuts of choice {I would suggest walnuts or cashews in here}

dried fruits {I would think a tropical version, using dried mangoes and coconut butter, would be divine!}

shredded coconut

peanut butter chips

almond extract {if you prefer that flavor over vanilla}

coconut butter, almond butter, etc. {to sub for the peanut butter, should you choose}

To Prepare:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium-sized bowl, mash bananas until incorporated {like I mentioned above, chunks are good here!}. Add in oats, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Gently fold in the peanut butter.

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Fold in the chocolate chips {and any other additional add-ins} until mixed in well.

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Lightly spray the parchment paper with cooking spray, to help with any residual sticking. Using a tablespoon, scoop mixture and place on cookie sheet. I left mine slightly rounded, but you can flatten slightly with the back of your spoon.

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Baking in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until they appear set and the edges have collected themselves. Remove from oven, and let cool on a wire rack before storing.

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Store leftovers loosely covered and eat within a few days. I would recommend transferring to the refrigerator if longer than that, or if you live in a hot/humid climate.

Notes: The riper the banana, the sweeter the final product. Coloring may vary slightly, due to the ripeness of the banana, the type of oat used {rolled vs. quick} and whether or not you mix in a nut butter or chocolate chips. 

*Depending on how chocolatey or peanut-buttery you like your bites, feel free to use additional, or less, of the amount listed. This particular recipe is easy to accommodate any palette! 

vanilla buttermilk ice cream

A generous scoop of ice cream, whether heaped atop a sugar cone or nestled tightly into a traditional cup, is perfection. Does this remind you of your childhood? For me, this image draws to mind countless summer nights standing in line at our local ice cream joint, tucked away in the downtown area. Being a single window service counter, the line would often times wrap around the perimeter of the building. Everyone was waiting to get their fix, myself and my family included.

Everyone has their flavors. For me, I’m a chocolate ice cream lover, through and through. Vanilla just never really did it for me. Aside from said ice cream joint, I’ve always found it to be just…normal, I suppose. I love the depth and intensity that a rich chocolate adds to the ice cream. Throw in some chunks and other varietals? It’s pure heaven.

That is, until I got my first ice cream maker a few years back. Reading and experimenting with recipes for it {like my Greek frozen yogurt I love to make} has ignited a newly found passion and appreciation for more and more things vanilla. The recipe I wanted to share with y’all today has quickly become a quick and easy go to in our household. Comprised of simple ingredients, it makes the perfect dessert for a hot summer night. Yes, we’re going vanilla!

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This ice cream is the perfect balance of creamy and slightly sweet, with a hint of tang from the buttermilk we’re going to add in. That’s right – buttermilk! Aside from the health benefits {does anyone else remember having a few sips of buttermilk to help settle your stomach?}, it’s a great way to balance sweet, both in cooking and baking. The resulting flavor when added into an ice cream base is astounding, if you ask me. And it comes together in a matter of minutes. Win.

I do hope you enjoy, dears.

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Vanilla Buttermilk Ice Cream {adapted, slightly, from MyRecipes}

makes about (9) 1/2-cup servings

Ingredients:

1 to 1-1/2 cups sugar

2 cups half & half

2 cups whole milk

2 cups fat-free buttermilk

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract {use my homemade version, if you’ve made it!}

To Prepare:

Combine sugar with half & half in a large bowl. Whisk heavily, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Add in the whole milk, buttermilk, and vanilla.

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Pour mixture into the canister of your ice cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. Mine usually takes anywhere from 20 to 25 minutes. 

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Once done with the churning cycle, spoon mixture into a freezer-safe container {you’ll need (2) two-quart containers, as this recipe makes a lot!}. Cover and freeze one hour until firm.

To serve: set ice cream out and let it come to room temperature, about 10-15 minutes. The ice cream itself will be easily scoopable, but leaving it out for a bit really helps it soften and get even more luscious. Serve with your favorite toppings!

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