Banana Ice Cream

Have you tried this yet? It’s miraculous.  The tiny amount of fat in bananas means that when you freeze and blend them, inside of being icy (like strawberries, for example) they become creamy.  This recipe was popping up all over the internet a few months ago.  It is truly the simplest, most decadent snack around.

Makes 1 serving

1-2 large, overripe bananas
sweetener (optional; try maple syrup, honey, or brown sugar)

Peel the banana and slice into 1-inch rounds.  Place in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze for 2-3 hours. 

When frozen, put in a food processor or blender and process for several minutes.  Scrape the sides  and continue to blend until very smooth.  Have patience—it will all of a sudden go from clumpy fruit puree to smooth soft serve ice cream.

At this point you can add anything: if your bananas weren’t quite ripe enough the ice cream will likely taste a little “green”, so try adding a tablespoon or so of sweetener.  I like to put in a few grains of salt, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and ¼ teaspoon or so vanilla extract.  Other delicious additions: cocoa powder, peanut butter, orange blossom water…the possibilities are limitless. 


Black Bean Dip

I probably consume 35% of my calories, if not more, between meals.  High protein snacks keep me energized and focused, not to mention they prevent me from snacking on fish sticks at work.  This dip is simple, cheap, and very fast.  Kudos to my mom for finding the recipe.

Serves about 8

15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup greek yogurt
½ cup prepared salsa
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
handful fresh cilantro (optional)

Puree all the ingredients until very smooth.  Serve with vegetables (try red pepper strips) or chips for dipping.


Blueberries and Soy

I’m sorry to post another non-recipe recipe, but this is delicious.  Simple, healthy, crave-inducing.  Mock me before you try it, praise me afterwards.  I think I might get out of bed and go make this right now.

Makes 1 serving

1 cup frozen blueberries
½ cup vanilla soymilk
granulated sweetener, to taste

Mix together the frozen blueberries with a few tablespoons of sweetener, sprinkle with cinnamon, and pour the soymilk over it all.  Allow to sit for a couple of minutes, until the blueberries are coated with a nice thick layer of frozen soymilk, and enjoy. 


Carrots with Hijiki or Arame

Sea vegetables are a nutritional powerhouse (dietary fiber, iron, calcium, magnesium) and a great thing to incorporate into your diet, but I never had success cooking with them at home until I found this recipe.  Try it when you’re feeling down—the ginger will warm you up, the seaweed will boost your immune system, the cooking will entertain you.  Everything will be okay.

The recipe is from Deborah Madison’s excellent Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

Makes 2 big servings or 4 small ones

2 cups dried arame or hijiki
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons slivered ginger
3 big carrots, julienned
soy sauce
toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Cover the arame with cold water and soak for five minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium skillet over high heat. Add the ginger and carrots and stir-fry until the carrots begin to color around the edges, about 2 minutes. Add the seaweed and cook 5 minutes more, tossing frequently. Add 1 tablespoon soy sauce and let it cook off. Taste and season with salt and/or soy sauce. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.



More of an idea than a recipe: my sister came up with this combination of spices after having the cream of wheat at a local breakfast place, and we think it’s great.  I eat hot cereal like this a few times a week and they keep me filled up all morning long.  Even the 5-year-olds at work gobbled their oatmeal up when I made it for them this way, and they don’t like anything.

Makes 1 large serving

½ cup oatmeal
1-2 cups water (see note)
¼ teaspoon dried orange peel
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt   
2 tablespoons raisins

Sweetener, to taste (I use vanilla-flavored liquid stevia)
1 banana, thinly sliced.

The only innovative aspect of this recipe is the spice combination, but I do have an idiosyncratic (anal retentive?) order of preparation and I’m pretty sure it creates the most delicious oatmeal around. Feel free to skip my advice if you’re comfortable with your oatmeal-preparing skills.

Put the water in a small pot and heat over a medium flame.  Add the oatmeal, spices, and raisins and cook, stirring occasionally, until nice and thick.  Add sweetener and banana, mix well, and serve with cold soymilk. Heaven.

NOTE: what? You can cook oatmeal with more water then the box calls for? YES! It takes longer to cook but if you have patience and keep on stirring for an extra five minutes or so the grains will eventually absorb everything.  I think the additional liquid makes the cereal creamier, and it definitely bulks the portion up, but to each their own.


Honey Wheat Quick Bread

Sweet and rich enough to feel decadent but healthy enough to have for breakfast.  The recipe comes from Jane Brody’s Good Food Book, a great resource which came into my life a few years ago when a dear friend snatched a copy from the trash and gave it to me.  A true Cantabrigian.  Don’t let the suspect origins of the recipe dissuade you from trying it out: this bread is a keeper.

Makes 1 loaf

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons soy or rye flour*
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk (or 2 cups milk + 2 tablespoons vinegar)
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons oil

Preheat the oven to 325F and grease a loaf pan. 

Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet in another, then combine the two with a few swift strokes until just mixed.  Do not over-stir.  Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for about an hour, until golden, crusty, and cooked through.

*I hate recipes that call for unusual ingredients as much as you do, but trust me: this is worth it.  You could theoretically make the bread with all wheat flour, but the rye lends an interesting depth of flavor to an otherwise very simple (dare I say boring?) recipe.



I’ve made this recipe in giant quantities when I was living in the co-op and tiny quantities when I was living alone. Delicious, and everybody loves it.  Adapted from this recipe, which was adapted from a set of directions published in the September 1994 issue of Cook’s Illustrated.

5 parts rolled oats
1 part seed(s) (try pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, uncooked quinoa*)
1 part coconut, shredded unsweetened
2 parts nuts of your choice
.1 part salt
.1 part cinnamon

2 parts natural invert sugar (maple, honey, agave)
1.5 parts fat (coconut, canola, olive)
.5 parts vanilla

5 parts dried fruit

Preheat oven 300F.

Weigh out all the dry ingredients and combine in a big bowl. Set aside.

Warm invert sugar until flowing. Add oil and vanilla, then combine with the dry ingredients.  Stir to mix completely.  Spread mixture on a baking sheet and cook until golden, about an hour, stirring every 5-10 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool completely before adding dried fruit.

Clumpier Variation
To the wet ingredients add 1.5 parts water and continue as indicated, but when you are ready to bake

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Spread mixture out, place another piece of parchment on top, and apply pressure with your hands in order to create one solid block of wet granola.  Place a second baking sheet on top (at this point you should have a baking sheet-parchment-granola-parchment-baking sheet sandwich).  Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes.

Remove top piece of parchment and baking pan. Continue to bake until golden, about 35 minutes more. Remove from the oven and allow to cool, then break the solid granola bar into smaller pieces and add the dried fruit.

*YES! You can eat uncooked quinoa. It tastes kind of like sesame seeds, but has all sorts of great nutritional benefits.


Jamaican Lentil Stew

An ugly but delicious soup.  I found the original recipe here and changed a few things around. Cheap, hearty, scrumptious.

makes about 8 1-cup servings

1 medium onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch piece ginger, grated
vegetable oil
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 13-ounce can coconut milk
4 cups water (plus a bouillon cube if you have one)
4 ounces split red lentils
1 small sweet potato, diced
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
1/2-1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste (optional)
black pepper, to taste

Saute the onion in the vegetable oil until it’s soft, then add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute or so. Stir in the spices and keep on cooking until you can smell them. Add everything else, bring to a boil, and cook until it’s really thick and the sweet potatoes are nearly falling apart.  Red lentils collapse after being cooked for about 40 minutes, so just have patience and all of a sudden you’ll go from soupy lentils to thick creamy lentil chowder.


Peanut energy bites

A great thing to have in the freezer for a mid-morning snack.  The (nearly) 8 grams of protein keep you filled up, and they’re cheaper and healthier than all those weird energy bars.

to make a big batch, serving 12:
150 grams peanut flour
100 grams uncooked rolled oats
70 grams agave (or maple syrup, honey, molasses…)
1 teaspoon salt 

to make a single-serve batch:
5 teaspoons Trader Joe’s peanut flour
5 teaspoons instant oats
1/2 teaspoon agave (or maple syrup, honey, molasses…)
big pinch of salt

optional additions: vanilla or cinnamon (1t of either/both for big batch, dash for small batch), nuts, cocoa powder…

mix everything together and add enough water to make it all come together. Roll into a log (if you’re making the twelve batch, separate into 12 equal portions and then roll those into logs), and cut into 6 equal pieces. Roll those pieces into balls and freeze.


Ginger-soy dressing

Latest go-to salad dressing. Yum.

makes 5 3-tablespoon servings

2 medium cloves garlic
2 tablespoons fresh ginger (basically a big knob)
4 ounces tofu
6 tablespoons soy sauce (I use low-sodium)
3 tablespoons vinegar (ideally rice wine, but white will do)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Blend all ingredients until very smooth. If too thick, thin with a tablespoon or so of water.