Thursday, April 17, 2014

Whole Wheat Banana Applesauce Oat Bread

The name of this bread may be quite the mouthful to say, but this slightly sweet, hearty bread is definitely a delicious mouthful to eat.
Healthy versions of classic treats or desserts are risky.  People come in expecting a sweet, traditional bite and when that is not what they get, they may be disappointed.  So don't expect a traditional banana bread to come out of the oven as a result of baking up this delicious loaf...but expect something tasty nonetheless.
I loved this bread and love the heartiness and the fact that it was not too sweet.  The riper the bananas, the sweeter the bread...because there is no added sugar in the bread!

This recipe makes 1, 9"5" loaf of bread.

 1 (+ a little bit more...just fill the measuring cup a little over the top) C ripe, mashed bananas
1/3 C honey
1/3 C unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
3/4 C milk (I use 2%)
1 1/2 C whole wheat flour (or for a slightly lighter loaf, use 1 C whole wheat and 1/2 C all-purpose flour)
1 C rolled oats
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350.
Lightly grease a 9"x5" bread pan.
Mix together the bananas, honey, applesauce, vanilla, egg, and milk in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients but be careful not to over mix them or your bread will be tough.
Pour the batter into the pan and cook for 50-70 minutes (until a toothpick comes out of the center of the loaf mostly clean (no "wet" batter attached but a few crumbs are ok).
Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 3-5 minutes.
Let the bread finish cooling on a wire rack before you slice into it.

This recipe is adapted from

Monday, April 14, 2014

Oven Roasted Asparagus Spears

I love this time of year!  Fresh fruits and vegetables are starting to appear at the grocery store again (for more reasonable prices) and they are in season and so tasty!  (I love where we live, but fresh produce in Utah struggles in the winter...I guess I was spoiled growing up in Northern California with year round farmer's markets and fresh produce...)
Sometimes vegetables are best served with a little flavor alteration as possible.  That is exactly the case here.  These asparagus spears hit the spot and compliment a wide variety of dishes.  You can adjust the seasoning to your taste (more salt, more pepper) too.

This recipe makes 2-4 servings.

1 bunch of fresh asparagus spears (about 1 lb.)
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 450.
Rinse off your asparagus spears.
Cut off the bottom 1-2" of the spears.
Place on the pan.
Drizzle the asparagus with olive oil and roll the pieces around so each bit gets some olive oil.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and make sure you rotate the spears again so each one is salted and peppered all over.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.
The spears are done when you can pierce them with a fork.
Serve warm.

This recipe is a Cookie Sundays original (but a very common way to prepare asparagus).

Friday, April 11, 2014

Healthy Granola

I love granola!  It is a great snack, can be substituted for cereal, goes really well with fruit and yogurt...the reasons are endless.  The other granola recipe I have is fantastic but definitely more of a treat than a healthy staple, but is oh so delicious.  This granola is definitely healthier but in no way does it sacrifice flavor!
You really can use any combination of nuts and seeds you have handy.  I tend to buy whatever is on sale so the combination will be slightly different every time.  Create a combination that works for you and your family.

This recipe makes 7-8 C of granola.

3 1/2 C old fashioned rolled oats
2 C sliced, chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews...)
1 C shredded coconut (unsweetened for a healthier granola)
1 C raw seeds (sunflower, pumpkin...)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
6 TBSP unsalted butter (or canola oil)
1/2 C honey
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 250..
Cover a large, rimmed baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
In a small saucepan, heat the butter and honey on medium heat until the butter is melted.
Remove the honey and butter from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Coat the dry ingredients entirely with the honey mixture.
Spread evenly onto the pan.
Bake for 60-70 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven.
Let the granola cool completely.
Break it into chunks and store it in a large ziploc bag or airtight container.

This recipe is adapted from

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sweet and Sour Chicken

I love when my husband finds something he wants to cook and then spends time in the kitchen with me.  We have made this meal multiple times already and it will be made many more.  We usually stick to the healthier version of "fried" goods and bake them (plus we don't like the mess of frying in the house), but these chicken bites were worth all the effort and the mess.  The chicken is so moist on the inside and crispy on the outside.  Paired with sweet and sour sauce and homemade fried rice, this was fun to make and yummy to eat!

(Note:  We have yet to find the "perfect" sweet and sour sauce.  When we do, it will get its own post.  Until then, use your current favorite!  And I am taking suggestions...)

This recipe serves 3-5.

2-3 chicken breasts, cubed
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
dash of pepper
1/4 C water

1 egg
1 tsp garlic powder
dash of pepper
1/4 C cornstarch
1 C water
1 1/4 C flour
3 TBSP canola oil
1 TBSP baking powder.

oil to fry with

Mix the chicken cubes in a large bowl with the salt, garlic powder, pepper and water.
Cover the bowl and put it in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.
In a separate mixing bowl, combine the egg, garlic powder, pepper, salt, cornstarch, and water.
Stir in 1 C of flour.
Add the remaining 1/4 C flour and canola oil.
Stir in the baking powder (the batter should be really thick).
Combine the batter and the chicken - coat the chicken well.
Heat the oil for frying to 375 in a large, deep pan.
Cook the chicken (you will need to do multiple batches depending on the size of your pan) for 3-5 minutes.
Stir the chicken while frying it so that it cooks evenly.
Put the chicken on a paper towel or in a colander to drain any excess oil.
Serve warm with your favorite sweet and sour sauce and sides!

This recipe is from the following video:

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Cinnamon Shortbread Cookies

These cookies are so cute!  They are a light shortbread made with red hot candies and they are perfect for Valentine's Day.  The candies turn the cookies a fun pink color and the tiny pieces of candy in the cookie add a simple cinnamon flavor.  Give these cookies a try as something sweet for someone you love!

This recipe makes 10-12 cookies.

1 C unsalted butter, softened
1/2 C powdered sugar
2 1/4 C flour
6 TBSP crushed red hots candy
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

sugar or extra crushed red hots candy for sprinkling on top (optional)

Preheat the oven to 300.
Cream together the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy.
Add the flour, candy, salt, and cinnamon and mix it until it forms course crumbs.
Add in the vanilla and stir until a dough forms.
Roll the dough out about 3/8-1/2" thick on a lightly floured surface.
Using a cookie cutter, cut shapes (in this case, hearts) out using all the dough.
Place the cookies on a cookie sheet (make two different batches).
Using a smaller cookie cutter, make indentations on the cookies. (optional)
Sprinkle lightly with sugar (optional - candy sprinkles get added after the cookies bake).
Bake the cookies for 13-15 minutes.
Sprinkle with crushed red hot candy (optional).
Let the cookies cool on a wire rack before serving.

This recipe is adapted from

Monday, February 10, 2014

Lemon Pudding Crinkles

I have never made pudding cookies.  Boxed pudding just isn't something I normally have around.  I had a random box of lemon pudding in my pantry though (I really can't remember why i had it in the first place...) and I hunted down a pudding cookie recipe, added my own twist, and ended up with these delicious cookies.  They are soft with just a hint of lemon.  If you are a powdered sugar fan, you could always dust them with more when they come out of the oven.
The pudding makes these cookies so soft that I am tempted to experiment with all sorts of other flavors!

This recipe makes about 4 dozen cookies.

3/4 C butter, softened
1 C sugar
1 package of instant lemon pudding mix (3.4 oz.)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 TBSP lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 C flour

powdered sugar for coating

Preheat the oven to 350.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Crema together the butter and sugar.
Add in the pudding mix.
Combine with the eggs, vanilla extract, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
Mix in the baking soda and flour.
Roll 1" balls of dough in powdered sugar and place on the baking sheet.
Bake for 9-12 minutes.
Remove from the baking sheet and let them finish cooling on a wire rack.
Sprinkle with a fresh layer of powdered sugar if you want.

This recipe is adapted from


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