Banana Oatmeal Muffins

Pin It I can't believe I used to chuck overripe bananas.  What was I thinking!?!?!  Overripe bananas are like gold.  They make everything a little sweeter, a little richer.... and they don't belong in the trash.  I was so young and dumb and wasteful.  Now that I am older, wiser and hopefully more resourceful, I try to snag every overripe bananas and throw 'em in the freezer before the hubs gets to 'em.  I don't think he has a too ripe-o-meter.  I on the other hand, like my bananas pale yellow with a green tint to them.  Last week, I noticed my banana hoarding was getting out of control, so I decided to make these Sticky Banana Oatmeal Muffins.  These muffins are healthy and tasty and are the perfect use for your overripers. 
Before starting the muffins, I made a breakfast smoothie with a frozen banana (like I said my hoarding was getting out of control, I had to put a dent in them).  I know everyone and their mom is doing this already... but it was my first time... and what a difference it makes.  The smoothie texture and flavor was 1,000 times better than one with a regular nanner.  Blueberry + Banana = my favorite.  
I made my smoothie with 1 frozen banana, about 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 1/2 c plain Greek yogurt and a splash of almond milk.  Perfect way to start your day.

Back to the muffins.  Mix your dry ingredients and your wet ingredients separately.  Add wet to dry.  Once almost combined add the chocolate chips (or add ins of your choice).  Fill greased muffin tin 3/4 full.  Bake at 350 F (176 C) for 15 to 20 minutes.

Once a toothpick comes out clean, remove muffins from oven.  Cool on a cooling rack.  Serve warm..
 ..with a glass of milk.  I can't help but think this would be an afterschool snack your kids would love.

Sticky Banana Oatmeal Muffins
makes about 14 muffins (I used a ramekin for the excess)

1 3/4 c oats
1 c flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 t salt
3 overripe bananas
1 egg
1/4 c sugar
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c plain greek yogurt
1 t honey
2 T olive oil
1/8 c milk (I used almond)
1/2 c chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F (170 C).  Grease muffin tin.  Combine dry ingredients (oats, flour, baking powder, salt).  In another bowl combine wet ingredients (mashed banana, egg, sugar, brown sugar, greek yogurt, honey, olive oil, milk).  Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Once almost mixed add chocolate chips.  Mix completely.  Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Bon Appétit!

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Coconut Curry Pork with Summer Veggies

Pin It Let the Games Begin!  While we were waiting for the opening ceremony, we did some reminiscing of our favorite Olympic memories and even busted out a few youtube videos.  For me, nothing compared to the excitement of watching the 1996 US Women's Gymnastics take the gold on the last event.


Does anything beat that?  I watched that day's events with my best friend in 5th grade and we were freaking out when they announced Kerri's score.  I think you could hear our 11 year old girl screams across town.  Kerri Strug, you are my hero.
So is this Coconut Curry Pork.  Not that I am comparing Kerri Strug to my dinner or anything.  That's a little weird.  I just liked this Coconut Curry Pork with Summer Veggies, is all.
In addition to gymnastics and dinner, I love the swimming.   This year's excitement is proving to be no different than in Beijing.  We were just dieing during the Men's 4x100 freestyle relay.  Tear.  Team Belgie also made an appearance in the event which was pretty surprising!  At least we brought home the silver! Not to mention the two golds already from Dana and Ryan (yes, we are on a first name basis).
Now, more about dinner.  Summer veggies and seared pork smothered in coconut curry sauce... sound good?  It is!  This was my first time making curry (not that I really made it, I used a paste) and it turned out fab.  I also know that, since it does come from a paste, everyone can make this fast and easy dish.

Coconut Curry Pork with Summer Veggies
as adapted from Good HouseKeeping
serves 4

1 T olive oil
1 lb pork loin, cut into 1/4 thick slices
1 zucchini, halved and sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
a handful of pea pods
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T red curry paste
1 T peanut butter
1 T chopped peanuts 
1 T brown sugar
1/2 c vegetable stock
1/2 c coconut milk
1 T chopped cilantro
juice of half of a lemon

For Garnish:
chopped peanuts

Heat a large skillet with 1/2 T Olive oil on high heat.  Add the pork, searing each side for a few minutes until golden brown (and cooked on inside), but careful not to overcook.  Remove and set aside.  In another pan heat 1/2 T oil and sautée garlic and onions, adding other vegetables after a minute or so.  Sautée until cooked, but still slightly crisp.  In the pan that was used for the pork (do not rinse), heat the curry paste, peanut butter, chopped peanuts and sugar.  Cook for about one minute.  Add coconut milk and vegetable stock.  Bring to a boil.  Let simmer for a few minutes until thickened.  Add pork and vegetables.  Mix.  Top with fresh cilantro and the lemon juice.  Salt and Pepper as needed.

Serve on a bed of rice, topped with peanuts and fresh cilantro with a glass of crisp white wine.

Bon Appétit! 
What your favorite Olympic memory?    Pin It


Update: 4 Mile Walk for Water

Pin It Imagine, instead of going to work today, you were forced to walk 6 hours to find clean water.  Not only do you need the water to survive, but your family depends on you.  Imagine not being able to work to support your family because you have to spend so much of your time each week searching for something so basic to survival.  Now imagine putting in all of this effort and not finding clean water for your family.  For most of us this is unimaginable, but for so many it is reality. A reality that we can change.   

Hey everyone!  Just wanted to update you on the 4 Mile Walk for Water this Labor Day Weekend fundraiser.  So far we have raised $75 and served 3 people.  With 38 days left, I am confident we will reach our goal of $1,000 and give 40 people access to clean water for life.  I have already gotten confirmations from all over of people who will be walking 4 miles on Labor Day and raising awareness!  Please join me Labor Day weekend to walk and spread the word.  The more people who know, the greater difference we can make.

For those walking with me in Brussels, shirts have been ordered and are scheduled to arrive in a few weeks!

Anyone interested in getting shirts for their hometown walk for water can order from 100apparel.org.  For each shirt purchased, at least $10 will go to water projects in areas that need water.  Besides that, the shirts are cool.  Get your friends & family together and walk for a cause!  Just $25 gives someone clean water for life and it all starts with getting people informed.  
Click here for more information on the 4 Mile Walk for Water fundraiser event.

For more information on the water crisis, visit water.org and see the many ways you can make a difference.  Thanks for your support! Pin It


Blueberry Mojito

Pin It Is it too early to talk about cocktails?  It's only Tuesday after all.  I guess I just want to give you plenty of time to get the goods before Thirsty Thursday.  I am nice like that...or it could be that I couldn't wait any longer to share my love for mojitos....

...and the long hot summer evenings (which are few and far between in Belgium...the hot part anyway).  Not just any mojito, though.   A mojito made with a lot of TLC.

And Havana Club.

If the bartender hasn't put TLC into making my mojito, I can tell at the first sip and nothing is more disappointing.

I put a lot of TLC into this Blueberry Mojito.  Paul said "don't quit your day job" (because it took me about 20 minutes to make it), but I was snapping photos in the process.  I think he was pretty impressed with the end result.  Dare I say, it was the best mojito I have ever had and I am a bit of an expert.  Not to toot my own horn or anything.
 Get your ingredients together.  Lime, Mint, Blueberries, Sugar, Sparkling Water, and Rum (preferably Havana).
 Throw in a healthy amount of mint and a teaspoon of real cane sugar.
Add a shot or rum and a handful of blueberries.  Muddle together until most of the blueberries are smooshed and the mint is a shade darker.  This step is most important to bring the delicious flavors out. Squeeze in the juice of one lime.  A lemon/lime juicer will work best. 
Add ice. 
Top with Sparkling Water, a squeeze of lime & fresh mint for garnish.
Enjoy outdoors on a warm summer evening or for afternoon cocktails.

Blueberry Mojito

Serves 2
a handful of fresh mint, divided
2 small tsp of cane sugar
2 shots rum (Havana, recommended)
a handful of blueberries, divided 
2 1/2 limes (1 for each drink, 1/2 for garnish)

Layer mint, sugar, rum and blueberries into a glass.  Muddle flavors together until berries are mostly smooshed and mint is a shade darker.  Add the juice of one lime.  Add ice.  Top with Sparkling water and an additional squeeze of lime.  Enjoy. 

Try it without the booze for a refreshing summer beverage.   

Like Mojitos?  Try my Fall Fig Mojitos!

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Caprese Grilled Cheese

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Three of my favorite foods combined.  Caprese Salad.  Bruschetta.  Grilled Cheese.
Booking our next trip (to Italy!), really got me in the mood for an Italian style grilled cheese.  One thing I was looking into were some cooking classes!  I learned this technique in the last cooking class we took in Florence last March.  It was rad.
Instead of chopping garlic for bruschetta and the like, toast your bread and gently rub a fresh clove over it.  The garlic will basically "melt" into the bread and get stuck in the grooves on the toasted bread.  Sure beats chopping garlic and you get just the right amount of flavor.
 Top garlic rubbed bread with fresh basil, fresh mozzarella, fresh tomatoes and a little more mozz, for good measure, of course.
No, that's not chocolate sauce.  Although, if you replace the mozz with marscopone, ricotta or cream cheese and the tomatoes with strawberries, chocolate sauce would go perfect.  But, we didn't, so it's not.  Drizzle with some cream of balsamic.  Salt & Pepper.
Top with another garlic rubbed slice and get your grilled cheese on.  Instead of buttering the bread, I sprayed the pan with oil.  Grill on medium heat with a cover to get the cheese nice and melty.

Caprese Grilled Cheese

serves 2


4 slices whole grain bread
10 slices of basil
1 ball of fresh mozzarella
1 medium sized tomato
1 clove garlic
Drizzle of Cream of Balsamic
Salt & Pepper


Start by lightly toasting your bread.  Rub garlic on one or both sides of the gently toasted bread.  Top with basil, mozzarella, tomato and little more mozzarella.  Drizzle with Cream of Balsamic and salt & pepper.  Top with other garlic rubbed bread.  Grill in sprayed pan over medium heat with cover.  Flipping twice until bread is crunchy and cheese is melted.

Bon Appétit!

Okay, please excuse me while I eat this grilled cheese and watch The Bachelorette Finale!!! OIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!! Pin It


Portabella Mushroom Burger with Sundried Pesto Yogurt Sauce

Pin It Happy Independence Day to Belgium.  In typical Independence Day fashion we grilled out, but it wasn't your average beefy grill out.

Beef.  Who needs it?  Portabella? Sign me up! Okay, I still la-la-love (times 1,000)  a good beefy burger (see my post about Cool Bun, Brussels here), but this Portabella was a great change of pace.  I wasn't sure the mushroom would hold up on a bun, but it proved to be more than meaty enough and the flavor was out of this world.  We topped it with a sun-dried pesto yogurt sauce we made out of some leftover Perfect Pesto, from last night's Italian Nonna Pesto Lasagna.  The sauce on this portabella burger was the boss.
I have been dreaming about Portabella Burgers since I had success with Portabella Fajitas.  The only problem was, every time I went to the grocery store they were out!  But not this time.  I was in luck.  I should have bought the entire stock (which was about 8 Mushrooms).  But, I wasn't sure how long they would last nor how delicious these "burgers" would be.  Guess Portabellas aren't that popular in Belgium.
After marinating in Balsamic, Olive Oil, Garlic, Rosemary & Lemon for about 20 minutes, these bad boys were ready to be grilled up.  Grill a red pepper side by side for topping your burger.
These burgers aren't just for little girls or vegetarians.  They are for meat-eating men (Shown above, Paul's plate as proof).  Real Men eat their veggies.
I attempted to caramelize onions, but it didn't work out too well.  Must not have given it enough time. The toppings came together perfectly, although a little caramelization would have been A-One-er (meaning beyond awesome).  I am not sure if it is a real word or one that only my dad uses that I always thought was real growing up.
Portabella, it's what's for dinner.
Portabella, up close and personal. 

Portabella Mushroom Burger with Sundried Pesto Yogurt Sauce
Marinade adapted from Rachel Ray

serves 2 


1 red onion, sliced
1 tsp Olive Oil
2 Portabellas, stems removed
3 T Olive Oil
4 T Balsamic Vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
Half of a lemon, juiced
a dash of rosemary
Salt & Pepper
1 red pepper
1 recipe Yogurt Sundried Pesto Sauce (as follows)
2 whole wheat buns


Heat a sauté pan with a tsp of olive oil.  Add onion.  Caramelize over low heat for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Marinate Portabellas for 20 minutes in the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, lemon, rosemary, salt & pepper.  Start grill while mushrooms are marinating.  Halve and remove seeds of the red pepper.  Put red pepper and portabellas on the grill.  Grill each side for about 5-6 minutes, starting cap side up.  Toast buns for a minute or so.  Top bun with Portabella, roasted red pepper slices, caramelized onions, and Sundried Pesto Yogurt sauce.

Sundried Pesto Yogurt Sauce
1/4 c Perfect Pesto (recipe below)
1/4 c Greek or Plain Yogurt
1/8 c chopped sundried tomatoes
Mix above ingredients.

Perfect Pesto
4 cups loosely packed fresh basil
4 cloves garlic 
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil 

1/2 cup pine nuts

Juice of 1/4 of lemon

1/4 cup freshly grated percorino romano

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan 


Start toasting pine nuts on the stove over medium heat, shaking pan frequently or in the oven on 350 F for 10 minutes.  Chop garlic and basil together (if you have a garlic chopper, use that) into fine pieces.  Put basil and garlic mixture into a mortar bowl.  Add pine nuts and 1/2 of the olive oil.  Mash into a cream like paste.  Add the cheeses and the remaining oil.  Continue to mash a little more.  Once to your desired consistency,  squeeze the lemon juice on top, and stir.  Salt and pepper if desired.

Bon Appétit!

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Cajun Style Chicken Salad

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Wow, I am a such a sucker for sappy romance.  Here I sit, finally catching up on the Bachelorette with a serious perma smile on my face.  Please don't tell me it's not real.  Besides the cheesy romance, I also love the extremely awkward conversations and situations (which the Prague episode seems to be full of (score).  Specifically, that puppet show.  Come on.  Love me some Jef, but that was just redic.  This is the stuff good TV is made of.  HEHE. :)
The Bachelorette is totally real, but something that is unreal is this cajun style homemade chicken seasoning.  We were going to grill out, but in typical Brussels fashion, 5 minutes before we were going to fire up the grill it started coming down in sheets.  Plan B, oven baked chicken salads on the couch sans Bachelorette (Paul doesn't go for that "rubbish").
Crispy Romaine, Crunchy Yellow Pepper, Juicy Tomatoes, Smooth Avocados, Shaved Carrots and Black beans provide the hearty base of this Chicken Salad.  I am always looking for seasoning recipes without the packet and I was really excited when I  found this Cajun Seasoning recipe from Plain Chicken.

Cajun Seasoning Chicken Rub
Barely adapted from Plain Chicken

2 Organic Chicken Breast
1-2 T olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 t paprika
1/4 t sea salt
1/4 t garlic powder
1/8 t ground pepper
1/8 t cayenne pepper
1/8 t thyme
1/8 t oregano
Mix dry seasonings.  Pound Chicken Breast to an even thickness.  I covered the chicken with saran wrap and pounded them with a small skillet (or use a mallet if you have one).  Brush the breasts with olive oil.  Rub with minced garlic and the seasoning mixture.  Bake with 1/4 c water in a shallow baking dish at 350 F or 176 C for about 20 minutes, or until no longer pink in the middle.  If the weather cooperates throw them on the grill. 
Top with a little bit of shredded cheese and your favorite Ranch or homemade Ranch style dressing. 
Bon Appétit!
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PB-Nutella Nanner Ice Cream

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We all scream for National Ice Cream Day! 
This might quite possibly be the best holiday ever.
This ice cream isn't exactly ice cream, but it sure was delicious.  A healthier version for those of you counting calories or are dairy free and need a ice cream fix.
This is all you need.  Two nanners, a scoop of peanut butter, and a scoop of nutella.
 Freeze some banana chips and blend or food process until smooth and custard like.
Once all ingredients are combined, freeze in an air tight container for a few hours, or until you can no longer wait.
No ice cream maker required healthy Ice Cream Dessert! 

PB-Nutella Nanner Ice Cream
as found on thekitchn.com

2 Bananas
1 overflowing spoonful of Peanut Butter
1 overflowing spoonful of Nutella

Cut the banana into slices and freeze on a plate.  Once frozen, food process or blend.  If you are blending it might take a little time to get the custard like consistency, but it worked!  Add the PB & Nutella.  Blend until mixed.  Freeze until Frozen.  Serve with Banana slices.

Feel free to use other variations.  Thekitchn.com has a few other varieties which look equally tasty. 

Bon Appétit!
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Invitation: Labor Day Weekend Walk for Water

Pin It Some of you may remember my post from a few weeks ago about how our apartment on holiday in Croatia had no water.  And how it was a total bummer, but more importantly how it made me realize how vital it is for our survival and how so many people don't have access to it.  Read my initial post here.  Since then, I have been thinking about the water crisis a lot and decided to start a fundraiser through water.org, not only to raise money, but to also raise awareness. 

You can visit the fundraiser site here.  I want to invite you all, near or far, to join me Labor Day Weekend on a 4 Mile Walk for Water.  Why four miles?  This is the amount the average person (mostly women and children) walk per day to find clean water.  You can send the link to friends and family and create a walk of your own wherever you are located.  I have set a goal to raise $1,000, which will provide 40 people with access to clean water for life.  This gift of water will forever change the lives of these people.  It will give them the opportunity to go to school, to work, to use the time they spent searching for water now doing something productive.  They will not have to worry about getting sick from the water they drink or about their children dieing prematurely from a water related disease.  In order to donate you can go to the fundraiser site and make a tax-deductible donation directly to water.org.  Please join me in walking for water and raising awareness on the water crisis.  Please comment below if you would like to join me remotely in the 4 Mile Walk for Water.

source: water.org

 Watch the video to see how water.org has changed the lives of many in Adina Faso, Ethiopia.
 For more information on the water crisis, visit water.orgPin It