Coconut Banana Bread with Toasted Macadamia Nuts and Pineapple Glaze


Want to win a free trip to Hawaii? Ya me too. But since that isn't happening any time soon, we will all have to settle for this delicious taste of the islands I created. Ever since my parents moved there, all I want to do is visit. Although, I wanted to do that before they moved there too. Hawaiian inspired dishes are always on my radar, hoping that when I finally do visit I can make them with fresh ingredients!  This is way more exciting than regular banana bread, and a double dose of coconut! So just bake this, close your eyes, and pretend the leaves outside aren't ALREADY turning yellow. 

Coconut Banana Bread with Toasted Macadamia Nuts and Pineapple Glaze
1 cup mashed, very ripe banana
1 cup coconut flakes
1/ 4 cup coconut milk
1/4 melted cup butter
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup agave nectar or honey
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup macadamia nuts, chopped

1/2 cup crushed pineapple
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, half of the macadamia nuts and coconut flakes. Set aside.

In a large bowl cream together butter, agave nectar and sugar. Beat until fluffy. 

Add eggs, coconut milk, a banana and mix until uniform. 

Slowly add dry mixture, folding in until just combined. 

Pour batter into greased bread loaf pan. Add the remaining macadamia nuts and press into batter slightly. 

Bake in oven for about 1 hour, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. 

To make glaze combine pineapple, powdered sugar and butter in a food processor. Pulse until smooth. Pour over loaf while still warm. 


Sesame Garlic Noodles

When I was little, I used to think Top Ramen noodles were the bomb.com. I would eat them for lunch every weekend. I would add frozen peas and sesame oil, and think I created the perfect dish. So recently I wanted to re-create that feeling, only to discover that Top Ramen noodles have A TON of fat!! Who knew? I thought they were made of cardboard?

Anyways, I wanted that same sesame, Asian noodle taste. So this is a grown up version of my childhood favorite. Complete with whole-wheat, and not a ton of fat :)

Sesame Garlic Noodles

1 package whole wheat angel hair pasta
5-6 cloves garlic
4 green onions
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add pasta and boil until al dente tender.

 While pasta is cooking, mince garlic and slice green onions. Heat butter over medium heat in a large pan, and add garlic and green onions. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until garlic softens. Remove from pan and set aside.

In a small bowl mix together soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, and oyster sauce.

When pasta is finished, drain and add to the large pan along with soy sauce mixture. Stir to combine, coating all noodles with sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently until sauce has thickened a bit, and noodles are coated.

 Return garlic and green onions to pan and toss to combine. Sprinkle sesame seeds over top and enjoy! 


Roasted Beet Hummus

I can hear you now. RELAX WITH THE BEETS. My hands are pink, all my dish rags are pink, if I wasn't such a girl I would be mad. But once you start roasting beets you have to use 'em! Plus how pretty is this bright pink hummus?  The roasted beets give it a nice sweet flavor, which goes great with the garlic and tahini paste. It is such an interesting combination and such a great color, I am sure you wont be able to resist trying it! It is also a great way to use your summer's end beets!

Roasted Beet Hummus
1 large beet, or 2 medium sized beets, roasted
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Lemon juice of 1 1/2 lemons (about 1/8 cup)
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 1/2 tablespoons tahini paste
2 tablespoons parsley
1 teaspoon Siracha hot sauce
Salt, to taste
1/4 cup olive oil

For directions on beet roasting see link: Roasted Beets

Peel roasted beets and cut into chunks. Place in a food processor along with chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini paste, garlic, parsley, hot sauce, and salt. Pulse until mixture begins to combine, then stream in olive oil until smooth. Remove from food processor and serve with your favorite crackers, cut vegetables or spread on a sandwich!


Summerland Quinoa Salad

I have found the perfect salad for all of the vegetarians out there, and it can easily become a vegan favorite too! My brother-in-law, Brett, made this for dinner one night this summer and it was an absolute hit. The unusual flavor combinations work so well together. Strawberries with salt and pepper. Dried cranberries and Swiss cheese. This will soon become your favorite way to have quinoa.  This dish can be served hot as satisfying side dish, or cooled as a protein packed salad. The best part is that it took me 20 minutes to make, start to finish!

Summerland Quinoa Salad
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup strawberries
2 stalks celery
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup Swiss cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon Sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh parsley

*to make vegan, leave out Swiss cheese :)

Rinse and dry celery and strawberries. Cut celery in half length wise, and then chop into small pieces. Slice strawberries into thin pieces. 

Place into a large bowl, along with dried cranberries, Swiss cheese,  salt, pepper, and olive oil. Chop parsley and add to bowl. 

Cook quinoa and allow to cool slightly. Add to bowl and toss to combine. Top with fresh parsley or chives.


Roasted Beet Salad with Brown Sugar Pecans

A few days ago my lovely friend Lyn (who has an amazing garden!) gave me 4 GIGANTIC beets, and some delicious fresh lettuce from her garden. I ate the lettuce in a day, but the beets - I wanted to do something special with. And special usually requires time. So, since I had some to spare tonight, I decided to try my hand at a roasted beet salad. Beets are so good for you, are fun to cook with because of their amazing pink/purple color, and remind me of Dwight Schrute. If you don't know who that is.... friends off.

Roasted Beet Salad with Brown Sugar Pecans
2 large beets, or 5-6 regular sized beets
Olive oil
Sea Salt
1/2 cup of feta or goat cheese
1/2 cup pecans
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped (I chose parsley)
1/2 lemon

Preheat over to 400 degrees.

Wash and dry beets. You can leave whole, or cut in half to reduce cooking time. No need to peel! After roasting the skin comes right off!

Place beets on a large piece of foil and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, and then fold up into a little tin baking dish :) Pinch sides shut and place in oven. Baking time depends on the size of the beet. For these bad boys it took about an hour and a half. For regular beets 35-40 minutes should do.

Remove beets from oven and allow to cool. While beets are cooling melt butter in a medium sauce pan. Add pecans and sugar, tossing or stirring to combine. Cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. 

Once beets have cooled, remove from foil and peel. You can use a knife to help, of just rub off with your fingers. Next slice beets into rounds, or cut into wedges. Place into a bowl.

Add candied pecans, cheese, and fresh herb. Then sprinkle with salt and drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over top. For great flavor, use the oil that is left in the foil. Next spritz with lemon juice.  Toss to combine and enjoy your pink teeth! You can also top a salad with these for a more filling dinner!


Sweet Summer Time

Just a few things to share, while I procrastinate doing an actual recipe.... I don't know if you have ever seen an Alaskan postcard. The ones with moose in a pond, and its all serene, and the moose has reeds hanging out of its mouth.....

I just thought these were really funny for some reason....swamp dog. 

 I also picked a nice strawberry from our strawberry plant before the birds ate it! And it was delicious!

That's all.....maybe time for a real post!


Roasted Vegetable and Lemon Ricotta Lasagna

I usually try to stay away from any kind of Italian food. Not because I don't love it but because it is a trap. So many delicious carbs to ruin my healthy eating routine, so little time! But this....is different. There are only 3 layers of noodles, all whole wheat. 4 layers of delicious roasted vegetables, spinach and mushrooms. All of that, combined with a fresh lemon-ricotta, and you have the best lasagna ever. Perfect for using that summer squash and fresh tomatoes if you have them! And while this recipe is tedious because of the home made sauce and oven roasting all of your veggies, it is totally worth it!

Roasted Vegetable and Lemon Ricotta Lasagna

1 can whole tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt & pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

1 eggplant
2 zucchinis
1/2 red, yellow, and orange bell pepper
2 cups mushrooms
2 cups spinach
Olive oil
Sea Salt

2 cups ricotta cheese
1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 cup low-fat mozzarella cheese
1 package whole wheat lasagna noodles
In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes and sautee' for 5 minutes. 

Add diced and whole tomatoes, along with liquid, tomato paste, basil, salt and pepper to pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes. Set aside. 

Heat oven to 500 degrees. Slice eggplant, zucchini, and bell peppers into thin slices. Place on a baking sheet, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. 

Roast in oven for 10-15 minutes or until vegetables begin to char. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
In a large saucepan heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Slice mushrooms and add to pan, along with spinach. Cook for 4-5 minutes. Set aside. 

In a small bowl add ricotta cheese. Zest lemon into bowl, and squeeze juice into bowl. Add lemon pepper and sit to combine.  Set aside.


1.) Reduce oven to 350 degrees. Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of a 8x8 glass dish. 
2.) Next add a layer uncooked noodles, then spread a layer of lemon ricotta cheese over noodles. 
3.)Top with a layer of roasted vegetables, then a layer of spinach and mushrooms. 
4.) Top with another layer of sauce, and repeat steps 2 more times. 
5.) Finish with a layer of vegetables, then sauce, and mozzarella cheese.
6.)Bake for 45-50 minutes, until cheese is golden and bubbly on top!


Ginger Soy Salmon

I have been craving Chinese food for about a month now. It has actually gotten out of hand. I make it at least once a week. This is a healthy dish that is not overly sugary or salty, but still has a little Asian flare. It is also great way to make a tasty salmon dish for those people who aren't huge fish fans! 

Ginger Soy Salmon

2 salmon fillets
1 inch fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons soy sauce 
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice
2 green onions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Peel and finely mince garlic and ginger. Add to a small saucepan, along with soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, and Chinese 5-spice. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 5 minutes until sauce begins to thicken. 

Place salmon fillets skin side down onto a baking sheet. Brush sauce over salmon to coat. Bake in oven for 30-40 minutes or until salmon flakes easily with a fork. 

Slice Green onions and sprinkle over salmon. Serve with your favorite noodles or rice!


Garlic & Herb Baby Hasselback Potatoes

I know what your thinking. You still have a blog? But seriously.... I went on vacation with big plans of updating the blog regularly, and then I just ate fresh fruit and drank large amounts of wine nightly. So here were are. 3 weeks later and only 1 blog post. But I plan on cooking a lot more this month and you will reap the benefits! 

These little nuggets are way easier then they look. If you want to impress at your next dinner party, make these and people will think you slaved all day. They are so pretty, and with baby red potatoes, super cute. You can use any herbs or spices you have on hand, potatoes go great with anything :)

Main ingredients? Check!

Garlic & Herb Baby Hasselback Potatoes

1 pound baby red or yellow potatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of herb of choice

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 

Using a sharp knife start slicing your potatoes. A fool proof method for not slicing all the way through is to place your potato (no matter what size you use) in a wooden spoon. Slice all the way down, and the spoon will stop you. Make cut every 1/8 of an inch. 

Once all potatoes are slice set aside. Peel garlic and slice as thin as possible. 

Separate the potatoes with your fingers and carefully stuff garlic slices in between every 3-4 cuts of the potatoes. Place in a large baking dish and lightly brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes or until tender. 

Remove from oven and brush with melted butter, then sprinkle with fresh herbs of spices. 

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