Lemon Thyme and Ginger

Cocoa Banana Nut Snack Bar

Cocoa Banana Nut Snack Bar, recipe.

Is there such a thing as a healthy snack”? I am not talking about fruit and vegetables, more like a granola bar type of snack. They are so convenient to have for traveling, or just when you are on the go. Recently, I set out on a mission to discover recipes for homemade snack bars that taste great, are nutritious, and low in refined sugar. Not a snack bar that is as heavy as a door stop and tastes like cardboard, (the vegetarian baked goods of the early 70’s still haunt me), but something lighter for a quick pick-me-up in the afternoon.

Cocoa Banana Nut Snack Bar, recipe.

Cocoa Banana Nut Snack Bar, recipe.

This all started because I made a pledge several years ago. I promised to myself that if there was a dessert or treat I really wanted to eat, like cookies, I would make it and not buy it. Store bought cookies are not allowed in the house. I do this to control my snacking binges and it really works. Phase two, of my pledge is to add more items on my list, like snack bars. Honestly, I haven’t bought them since I made the pledge, so I am not eating them. However, we need a better stock of snacks in our pantry, so I don’t binge on crackers or chips.

Cocoa Banana Nut Snack Bar, recipe.

Over the past two weeks I have scoured the internet looking for solid recipes in the granola bar category. Each one had large amounts of sugar and they were all in “soft” snack bar variety.  Don’t people want crunchy snack bars? Don’t people crave that crunchy texture and is one of the reasons why chips are so damn good? I like crunchy granola bars so I will table this quest for another day.

One recipe caught my attention from the cookbook “Life In Balance”, by Donna Hay. The cookbook features several snack recipes all made with whole foods and good health in mind. It is not a crunchy granola bar, but all the ingredients are nutritious and foods I enjoy. I choose the Cacao, Banana, Date, and Cashew Bars recipe to test today, because it meets all my requirements, except being crunchy. Another bonus, I had all the ingredients except the cashews. However, I did have a bag of walnuts for an easy substitution. Also, this recipe allowed me to use up some bananas that were getting too ripe.

Cocoa Banana Nut Snack Bar, recipe.

What I like about this snack bar is there is no refined sugar, no flour, and no dairy. It is filled with natural cocoa powder, bananas, fresh dates, walnuts, and a little vegetable oil. The 4 wholesome ingredients get puréed in a food processor then baked until firm. They taste like a bittersweet fudgy chocolate brownie. The cocoa flavor stands out, but it is not as bitter because of the dates, bananas, and walnuts. I would like them to be a little denser with more variation in texture, but the taste is very pleasing. If you crave a sweet fix for your snacks and love dark chocolate, this is the snack for you.

More snack foods  for a light meal or picnic

Stuffed Pastry with Swiss Chard and Feta

Irish Cheese Platter

Pork Dumplings

Smoky-Maple Apple Dutch Baby

Cocoa Banana Nut Snack Bar, recipe.

Cocoa Banana Nut Snack Bar, recipe.

All the ingredients are nutritious in their own right, but mixed together they make a nutritious snack bar that won’t weight you down with extra fat and sugar. According to My Calorie Counter from Fitness Pal, each snack bar has 228 calories, 21 g carbs, 17 g fat, 0 cholesterol, 3 g protein, 4 mg sodium, 14 g sugar, and 4 g fiber.

 

Cocoa Banana Nut Snack Bar

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Category: Snack

12 bars

Serving Size: 1 snack bar

Cocoa Banana Nut Snack Bar

Cocoa, bananas, dates, and walnuts are blended together then slowly baked for a healthy snack alternative. Perfect for the times when you need a little something and you are on the run. These snack bars are made with all-natural ingredients, without processed flours and refined sugars. The original recipe uses cashews so if you prefer, feel free to substitute the walnut with your favorite nuts. They are gluten free, dairy free, and vegan.

This recipe is slightly adapted form Donna Hay's cookbook, "Life In Balance"

Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup (35 g) natural unsweetened cocoa
  • 3/4 cup (180 g) firmly packed chopped pitted fresh dates (9-10 dates)
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 cup (200 g) chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup (200 g) mashed bananas (2-3 bananas)
  • coconut flakes for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven for 325°F (160°C). Line an 8 x 8 inch pan (20 cm x 20 cm) pan with parchment paper. Use two strips wide enough to cover the bottom of the pan and long enough to extend up and over the sides of the pan. One strip will crisscross the other, so all the sides of the pan are covered. This is so you can easily lift out the snack bars and cut them.
  2. Place all the ingredients, expect the coconut flakes, in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  3. Plop the cocoa, fruit and nut mixture into the parchment lined pan, then spread evenly across the bottom.
  4. Sprinkle with the coconut flakes.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes, or until firm to touch. Set the timer for 35 minutes to check and gauge the progress. Continue baking as needed.
  6. Cool completely in the pan. Remove the cocoa banana nut snack bar out of the pan by lifting the sides of the parchment paper and placing it on a cutting board. Make one slice across the middle, then six even slices across each half making 12 snack bars. Store the snack bars in an air tight container in the refrigerator. Will last for to one week.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin

Cocoa Banana Nut Snack Bar. An easy recipe for a healthy snack. No refined sugar or flours. Gluten free and vegan

© 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Family Favorite Pumpkin Bread

Family Favorite Pumpkin Bread Recipe

I have a few recipes that stand the test of time, is always there when I need it, and never fails me. This pumpkin bread recipe is one of them. It is always a crowd pleaser and it is so easy to make. If this recipe could talk, it would tell many tales of my children’s’ preschool snack time, their school bake sales, our weekends away visiting friends, homemade gifts, learning how to bake, swim meets, college care packages, and easy mornings at home.

Family Favorite Pumpkin Bread recipe

Some foods and recipes are like that. They exist as part of our collective experience spanning a family’s history and time well spent with friends, teachers, colleagues, neighbors and family. They are treasured artifacts in the family archives. For me, I have a couple symbolic recipes that mark my parent’s heritage, but very few. Hopefully, I generated a selection of treasured recipes for my children to remember their childhood by, and create new ones that hold a special place in our growing family’s future.

Family Favorite Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Family Favorite Pumpkin Bread Recipe

My pumpkin bread is a throwback recipe from the 70’s when I was in high school. A dear friend gave me the recipe. I cannot remember what initiated this gift, but I believe she just wanted to share it. Harriot and her family loved to cook and were always generous with recipes and information about food. Whenever I was at their house, someone was in the kitchen making something. If I remember correctly, Harriot and I had a few cooking adventures of our own.

Besides the delicious taste, this pumpkin bread recipe has a couple of great features. One, it is easy to make and second, it makes two loaves. After all these years, I still can’t believe one small can of pumpkin purée makes two loaves of pumpkin bread. There is no need to measure out a cup of pumpkin mash and worry about what to make with the rest. That is a real pet peeve of mine. It is not the case for this pumpkin bread. One recipe, one can of pumpkin purée, two loaves of spicy pumpkin bread. A practical quick bread recipe.

Family Favorite Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Because it is so easy to make, it is perfect for a baking project with young children, or anyone who wants to learn how to bake. This recipe rarely fails. However, if it has been a while since you used baking powder or baking soda, make sure the leaveners are fresh. There was only one time this pumpkin bread did bake properly. Once, after I gave this recipe to a friend who said she couldn’t bake, she made it and came over to share it with me. She was so proud of her accomplishment I did not have the heart to tell her the bread did not rise. When that happens it usually means the baking powder and baking soda lost their leavening powers. Still, it tasted great and hopefully she kept on baking.

More family favorite recipes:

Pasta with Ham and Spring Vegetables

Swedish Apple Pie

Pineapple Stuffing

The spices are a mixture of cinnamon, allspice and a generous amount of ground clove. Not all pumpkin bread recipes include ground cloves, and I believe they fall flat. There is twice as much cinnamon and allspice to cloves in each loaf, yet the ground cloves gently stand out. I like that the cinnamon does not dominate the spicy favor. Often, after I serve pumpkin bread to friends I get a delighted question, “Oh nice. What spice am I tasting? ” My anser is always received with a surprised and happy expression, “It’s clove.”

Family Favorite Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Over the years I have made a few variations of this pumpkin bread, but I keep coming back to the original. I made it with canned pumpkin purée and fresh pumpkin purée. With orange zest, crumble topping, candied ginger, and different flours. Each variation slightly changes the texture of the bread. I discovered, the fresh pumpkin makes an airier bread. Also, I noticed the crust is crispier with the fresh pumpkin.

If you want to use fresh pumpkin, roast wedges of sugar pumpkin in a 400°F (200°C) oven until very tender. Scrape the roasted pumpkin from its’ peel and purée in a food processor, or blender until smooth. Cool and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use. Best Pumpkins to bake with. 

Family Favorite Pumpkin Bread Recipe

I should call this Friendship Bread, because the recipe is enjoying a life span of over 40 plus years and growing. I never thought twice about sharing it with friends and family. The name Friendship Bread is already taken, so Family Favorite Pumpkin Bread it stays. A treasured heirloom for sharing over the years to come.

Family Favorite Pumpkin Bread

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Category: Breakfast or Snack

Cuisine: American

about 14 slices

Serving Size: 1 slice of bread

Family Favorite Pumpkin Bread

This pumpkin bread is one of my family's all-time favorite recipes, and the most requested recipe from friends. It's a keeper. It is the perfect baking recipe for new cooks and young children. There is no fancy equipment required, just a large mixing bowl, mixing spoon and 2 loaf pans. All you need to do is measure, stir, then bake. This is a great breakfast treat, or an after-school snack with apple slices or an orange.

The pumpkin bread will last covered in plastic wrap or an air-tight container for 4 days unrefrigerated. It freezes well when tightly sealed with several layers of plastic wrap, or one layer of plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups (574 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 3 cups (613 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 15 oz can (425 g) pumpkin purée or 1 lb (453 g) fresh pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup (250 ml) vegetable or canola oil
  • 2/3 cup (150 ml) cold water
  • 4 large eggs

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350° F (175° C / Gas Mark 4)
  2. Prepare 2- 9 x 5 inch (24 x 13.5 cm) loaf pans. Lightly grease with butter or oil spray, then line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, Kosher salt, cinnamon allspice, and clove into a large mixing bowl. Then whisk the ingredients in the bowl until you see all the spices are evenly mixed in the flour. Add the sugar and whisk together until combined.
  4. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, then add the pumpkin purée, oil, and water. Stir until just combined. Using a rubber spatula or spoon, scrape along the bottom and sides of the bowl to get everything thoroughly mixed.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix thoroughly with each addition.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pans, about 3/4 full.
  7. Place the bread pans in the oven and bake for one hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool in pan for 10 minutes on a cooling rack, then remove the pumpkin bread from their pans.
  9. Cool on the cooling rack before serving.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin

© 2017, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Cheese and Chive Herb Bread

Each year as my garden matures, the herb garden expands as well. Slowly, the herb bed has inched deeper into the precious sunny real-estate and has started replacing my lawn. I add one or two more herb plants a year and build my dream herb garden. One herb plant that is thriving is my chive plant. Fortunately, it is not growing out of control, but remains nicely contained in a tall spiky mound.

Cheese and Chives Herb Bread

Cheese and Chive Herb Bread recipe

The plant grows without a lot of disturbance because I rarely use fresh chives in my cooking. However, it needed a thinning and removal of all the spent flowers before they spread their seeds. Afterwards, I was left with a large bundle of chives and a new challenge, how to use up all the chives before they go bad. This is the type of challenge I enjoy, and inspires me to look for new ideas.

Cheese and Chive Herb Bread recipe

Cheese and Chive Herb Bread recipe

I wanted to make something different, yet easily prepared and quick to finish. What I dreamed of was a recipe from Season 3 of The Great British Baking Show, Ian’s quick bread with wild garlic. While watching the episode, the smell of the wild garlic and bread traveled across the ocean and through my television, and I have craved it ever since. Unfortunately, I could not find his recipe. Rather, I came upon a recipe, which although is not British in nature, has that oniony-bready fix I was looking for.

Cheese and Chive Herb Bread recipe

This recipe is a savory bread with chives and cheddar cheese by Dorie Greenspan on the website, Serious Eats. It was exactly what I was craving, a savory quick bread to unload my bundle of chives, and give me some immediate satisfaction. I slightly adapted her recipe, and used Gruyère cheese, chives, garlic chives, lemon thyme and nixed the walnuts.

Dorie explains in her recipe; the French refer to just about everything made in a pan as a cake. A loaf such as this, is called, “cake salé” (meaning, salty or savory cake). This is a very light and cake-like bread that is perfect as a snack or appetizer paired with wine, beer or any cocktail. Like cake, it is light and airy in texture, but it is rich in flavor from the cheese and herbs. I also enjoyed this herb bread for lunch as avocado toast with lemon thyme and a drizzle of olive oil.

Cheese and Chive Herb Bread recipe

As Dorie recommends, this is a bread recipe to play around with. Use the dough as your foundation and switch up the cheese and herbs as you wish. A traditional cake salé recipe from France uses Emmentaller, Gruyère, or a mixture with Parmesan. She made her recipe with cheddar cheese and chives for a local US inspired loaf. She also recommends other add-in substitutes like nuts, diced ham, olives, pesto and cooked vegetables.

Cheese and Chive Herb Bread recipe

More appetizer ideas:

Crispy Potato Skins- 2 ways

Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bacon

Asparagus with Orange Mayo

Making this cheese and chive herb bread is an amazing sensory treat. Every time I snipped, spread and stirred the chives, their scent came forward like an herbal wave engulfing the dough. Once in the oven, the smell of the baking herb bread filled my house with comforting aromas of melting cheese, bright onions and baking bread.

I love it when I discover something new and it turns out to be a smash hit. This recipe is so easy, I am sure to make it several times and continue to personalize it. I know something is delicious when every 5 minutes my husband and son kept repeating, “Oh, this is soo good. This is really good”. This is no exaggeration. It was all I could do to keep them from eating the whole loaf.

Cheese and Chive Herb Bread recipe

Cheesy Herb Bread

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Category: Snack or appetizer

Cuisine: French - American

About 12-14 slices

Serving Size: 1 slice of bread

Cheesy Herb Bread

A savory quick bread filled with cheese and fresh herbs makes for a wonderful snack or appetizer. This pairs exceptionally well served with chilled wine or cold beer.

This recipe is adaptable to suit any mood or taste. Cheddar, Swiss, Parmesan or other hard cheeses are great fillers with a variety of fresh herbs. I like chives with lemon thyme, but basil or any combination of herbs will taste great. Anything goes with this bread.

The recipe is slightly adapted form Savory Cheddar-Chive Bread by Dorie Greenspan on www.seriouseas.com

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup (268 g) All-purpose flour
  • 1 TB Baking powder
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp Kosher salt (amount of salt depends on the cheese and other add ins)
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground white pepper
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) whole milk, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 oz (75 g) coarsely grated cheese like Gruyere or cheddar
  • 2 oz (50 g) diced cheese like Gruyere or cheddar
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) minced chives or other herbs
  • 1 - 2 TB chopped lemon thyme

Instructions

  1. Set the oven rack to the middle position and pre-heat the oven to 375˚F / 190˚C / Gas Mark 5, and generously butter a loaf pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper until evenly combined.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl add the eggs, then whisk until well combined and somewhat frothy. Add the milk and olive oil and whisk together.
  4. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Mix until everything is just combined. You do not want to over work the dough and there is no need for the dough to be thoroughly mixed together. Stir until everything is just mixed, it won't be smooth.
  5. Stir in all the cheese, herbs and any other add ins you have, like chopped walnuts. The dough is thick, but carefully work in the cheese and herbs until evenly distributed. Don't overwork the dough.
  6. Scrape into your prepared loaf pan and bake for 35 to 45 minutes. The bread is done when it has a golden brown crust, and a cake tester inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.
  7. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of your pan and remove the bread from the pan. Cool the loaf on the rack until it is at room temperature.
  8. Best eaten the day it is made, but it will keep for a day, wrapped in plastic wrap and stored on the counter.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin

 

© 2017, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Food Blog Theme from Nimbus
Powered by WordPress

%d bloggers like this: