Recipe: Eggless Banana Brownies Round 2

OK, so round 2.

Recipes should be played with, that’s how they get better. A couple of weeks ago, I made Eggless Banana Brownies because I wanted to change it up and not make banana bread.

The first round I wanted to work with a base recipe and build it up. I was focused on flavor and partially texture. The flavor was good, but as JP declared – “this is a fruit, so it’s healthy”. You could taste hints of banana, which I don’t think is a problem, but at the same time when you bite in hoping for a strong chocolate flavor and get some banana it’s a little awkward. They did, however, come out FUDGEY and moist, which was a little surprising, but without a leavening agent the texture wasn’t completely where I wanted it to be.

This round was to find the balance of leavening agent because it really is a fine balance. Too much or too little and you can ruin the texture and the taste. This recipe adds both baking powder and baking soda, which adds carbon dioxide and a little bit of acid to the batter to cause a rise.

Another adjustment that I made, but not completely intentionally – the protein powder used this time was a whey isolate instead of a whey casein blend, which can also contribute to texture changes because it’s not as thick.

Here is the updated recipe:

What You’ll Need

  • 3 small or 2 medium bananas  (~220g)
  • 1 scoop of chocolate whey protein isolate powder (I used Optimum Nutrition)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon of almond milk (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of Hershey’s cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup of chocolate chips
  • cooking spray

Directions

1.Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Peel and mash bananas in a medium sized mixing bowl. Three small bananas should do, if you have two medium bananas that’s also fine. If they’re a bit larger you may need to add slightly more cocoa powder later.

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3. Add protein powder to mashed banana mixture. I used Optimum Nutrition Extreme Milk Chocolate Whey Isolate because it’s what we had in the house, it’s also my chocolate protein of choice because it’s very chocolate-y.

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4. Add 1 tablespoon of milk or milk alternative. I used almond milk.

5.Once you’ve mixed the protein powder and banana, add cocoa. I use Hershey’s, but you can probably use any baking cocoa powder of choice.

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6. Mix in baking soda and baking powder thoroughly.

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7.(optional) Mix in chocolate chips. I used Ghiradelli 60% cacao. They’re a bit larger chips that I usually use in baking unless melting, but these were a good choice. Again, like the cocoa, you can use any chocolate chip you want to.

8. Spraying a standard brownie pan, I spread the batter as evenly as possible. If you use a smaller pan, the baking time will be slightly longer so it cooks thoroughly. Bake for 20 minutes. I set a timer for 15 minutes and after checking on them kept them in for another 5 minutes.

9.After cooling, cut into pieces. I cut the brownie sheet into 9 mostly equally pieces.

Tasting and texture notes: Adding baking powder and baking soda increase the volume of these brownies and changed the texture. They were still fudgey, but more cake-y. The former minimal banana flavor was gone. JP also declared “these don’t taste like fruit” so clearly, we’re winning with round 2.
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Recipe: Paleo-ish Zucchini Bread

I feel like many people who utilize Pinterest and other platforms to get inspiration for recipes there will never truly be enough days to have time to make them all. As someone who also appreciates fitness and living a healthy lifestyle, it can also be hard to find a way to balance the competing ideas.

Two stories.

Years ago, I tried paleo. There were things I liked: bacon, learning that food is fuel, flexibility with healthy fats. There were also things I didn’t like: no peanut butter, no grains, expensive (at least for me).

I bought a few books and cookbooks so I didn’t dive in blindly. I picked up a few books that were targeted for kids because I figured that would be a good place to start. I also got a fancy paleo dessert book and sadly I haven’t made anything from it – some of the ingredients aren’t your everyday ingredient and I need to order them. It’s an investment for some of them as well. I followed a few blogs and observed how people adapted. I’ve been following PaleOMG for about six years now and it seems like it was so much longer ago than it was.

When I found her she was much more strict with paleo, but she calls herself paleo-ish, which is something that I appreciate because I love food and while I did try this style of eating years ago – I’ve learn that nutritional protocols that call for unnecessarily elimination don’t do me any good.

Anyway, I love her recipes and have dabbled with a few. I’ve kept some paleo and I’ve changed up some ingredients. Like, are you really a foodie or cook if you don’t fuck around with the recipe?

For her original recipe click here.

But what really inspired me to make this recipe is the CrossFit Games. CrossFit leaves me torn.

I’m not sure I like the idea of doing a WOD. There’s a time and place for being told what to do and with the program I just completed I felt I was able to make some changes if energy or mindset wasn’t where I thought it should be.

I do however, love some of the lifts and the fire in these athletes. Like, some of these women are just bust deadlifts three times their bodyweight. THAT’S NUTS. 

So while I don’t want to start CrossFit I do following a few YouTubers and blogs of those who do CrossFit as well as powerlifters. It’s just a different kind of mindset towards working out and raising the bar on what you’re capabilities.

Want to be mind blown? Google some of these names:

  • Lea Malo
  • Sara Sigmundsdottir
  • Laura Horvath

One of the I was watching followed around Mat Fraser – he’s the “fittest man on Earth” – two years in a row. He’s competing this year again in the CrossFit games with the hopes to take the title again. His girlfriend, Sammy, cooks for him and in the video they captured footage of her cooking and taking photos of the food. They showed her cooking Instagram, which is public, called Feeding The Frasers. This led me to the Facebook page by the same name where she reshares those photos of food and recipes.

She gave me the push for the zucchini bread. She took PaleOMG’s recipe and made a change – almond flour instead of coconut flour.

I made two changes – peanut butter instead of sunflower butter and decreased honey.

What You’ll Need

1 medium zucchini, shredded (equal to 1.5 cups shredded zucchini)

  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter*
  • 1/4 cup honey*
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons Almond flour*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • baking pan
  • parchment paper
  • cheesecloth

*Original recipe called for sunflower butter, peanut butter has a similar consistency. Just be mindful that almond butter may bake a bit different because of the consistency.

*I used less honey because while I do love my sweets, I always try to see if I can get away with decreasing sugar content. I thought it was perfectly sweet with a little less honey.

*The original recipe called for coconut flour, and the

Directions

1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.Peel and shred zucchini into a bowl covered with a cheesecloth. Gather up the cheesecloth and tightly twist it closed. You want to squeeze as much water out as possible. In the original recipe, she used paper towels, however, I find cheesecloth to be a lot easier to work with and you get less waste.

 

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3. Once you’ve drained as much water out as possible, discard liquid and pour shredded zucchini back into the bowl.

4. Add all other ingredients to the bowl and mix well.

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5. Place a large piece of parchment in a standard bread pan. I prefer this because the bread is going to be moist and can be hard to get out of the pan without falling apart.

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6. Pour batter into pan and bake. Keep an eye on your oven. The original recipe said to bake it for between 20-25 minutes, so I set a timer for 20 minutes to check on it. I set two additional 5 minute timers and took it out at 30 minutes.

7. Remove from baking pan and place on cooling rack. After a few minutes peel parchment paper down from the bread loaf.

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This was super easy to make and was ridiculously moist – which is why I think I had a hard time determine how cooked with was. It may have been able to be in a for a few minutes less, but rather safe than sorry because the top still jiggled a bit at the 20 minute mark. The peanut butter flavor was pretty strong, so I’d be interested to see how another nut butter is in it and see if the chocolate could shine through more.

This recipe is naturally gluten-free, but I would check some of the ingredients (like cocoa because you never know).
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Recipe: Eggless Banana Brownies

Sometimes when I want to bake, I don’t want to have to plan a recipe. I don’t want to go out and compile all of the ingredients. Sometimes I want to be able to look around the kitchen and see if there’s anything that can be made from what I already have.

Mushy bananas are good for a few things: banana bread, banana muffins, oats and pancakes. But, they can also be a good base for other baked goods like brownies – you just need to remember what it is that you’re making.

What I love about brownies is how fudgey they are. I don’t like cakey brownies. I like fudgey, dense brownies. When I make brownies from scratch I add chocolate melted from a double boiler and cocoa powder. Thinking about an alternative brownie, I wanted to have some things similar like the fudgey texture and the obvious – chocolatey taste. I intentionally left out a rising agent because I really didn’t want to have to take time to figure out the right ratio so that it would rise instead of become hard or stay flat.

So if you’re wanting something kind of fudgey, but not fluffy, this may something for you to try. This was a solid first go, but I’m definitely interested to see what happens as this recipe evolves.

What You’ll Need

  • 3 small bananas (~220g)
  • 1.5 scoops of chocolate whey casein protein powder (~50g)
  • 1 tablespoon of almond milk (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of Hershey’s cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup of chocolate chips
  • cooking spray

Directions

1.Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Peel and mash bananas in a medium sized mixing bowl. Three small bananas should do, if you have two medium bananas that’s also fine. If they’re a bit larger you may need to add slightly more cocoa powder later.

3. Add protein powder to mashed banana mixture. I used PEScience Chocolate Cupcake because it’s what we had in the house, it’s also my chocolate protein of choice because it’s very chocolate-y.


4.If you find that the mixing the protein into the mashed bananas is difficult, add 1 tablespoon of milk or milk alternative. I used almond milk and it was plenty.

5.Once you’ve mixed the protein powder and banana, add cocoa. I use Hershey’s, but you can probably use any baking cocoa powder of choice.

6.(optional) Mix in chocolate chips. I used Ghiradelli 60% cacao. They’re a bit larger chips that I usually use in baking unless melting, but these were a good choice. Again, like the cocoa, you can use any chocolate chip you want to.


7. I won’t lie, this is where having a smaller baking pan would’ve done me some good. I have small loaf pans, but I didn’t want a thick loaf because of what that could do to baking time.

Spraying a standard brownie pan, I spread the batter as evenly as possible. If you use a smaller pan, the baking time will be slightly longer so it cooks thoroughly. Bake for 20 minutes. I set a timer for 15 minutes and after checking on them kept them in for another 5 minutes.

8.Using a spatula, remove the from baking pan and let cool on a rack.
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9.After cooling, cut into pieces. I cut the brownie sheet into 9 mostly equally pieces.

Tasting and texture notes: Definitely fudgey, even though they weren’t thick pieces. The overall texture is a little chewy, which I don’t mind. Minimal banana flavor since there’s A LOT of cocoa.

Nutrition: ~80 calories per square. 3F/10C/5P – ~2g of fiber

I think this is a good base for an alternative brownie recipe. I didn’t want to play with rising agents and maybe alternative flours. I have almond flour that I’ve been trying to figure out what else I want to do with it other than cookies – which is my favorite thing to do with it.

 

Recipe: Protein Pudding

 

I’m a lover of dessert. I don’t think there’s one that I have tried that I didn’t like. There are some that I like more than others, usually things involving chocolate, frosting and maybe a little flaky; however, there needs to be some self control involved when trying to balance your daily diet.

I’ve searched Pinterest and Instagram. I’ve talked to fellow fit chicks about what they like to eat and what recipes they’ve cooked up. I’ve made protein yogurt before, but I had never really made a pudding. IMG_5077This was so simple and can be changed up to any flavor I figure I had to try making it. The worst thing would be that I wasn’t a fan and that I wouldn’t make it again, but this one is definitely a winner.

What You’ll Need

Sugar free, fat free instant pudding mix

Milk (I used unsweetened almond coconut blend)

Protein of your choice (I used Cellucor Whey S’mores)

 

Directions

  1. Follow directions on pudding mix box.
  2. Let sit for a few minutes to thicken up.
  3. Add two scoops of protein powder and mix in.
  4. Divide into package serving.

Mine mix made 5 servings at 1/2 cup each so I was able to use little jars for easy storage and transportation. Since I used almond coconut blend it was as thick as regular pudding, but still pretty firm. Using the S’mores protein was awesome and I definitely think using the Cookies and Cream or Cake Batter will be equally awesome.

The macros per serving are:

Calories: 94

Fat: 2g

Carbs: 9g

Fiber: 1g

Protein: 10.4g

I dressed up my portion last night with a serving of PB2 and Valentine’s Day sprinkles because why not, it fit! It was so tasty and great treat before bed. How many desserts can you say are actually good for you and taste good?

 

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❤ Cristina