Give Bananas A Second Chance

This past week, I brought a bunch of bananas to a cooking class.   Who knew the discussion that would follow.  Some folks admitted that this slightly over-ripened fruit was doomed for the trash can.  But, I proceeded to help them know that...

This past week, I brought a bunch of bananas to a cooking class.   Who knew the discussion that would follow.  Some folks admitted that this slightly over-ripened fruit was doomed for the trash can.  But, I proceeded to help them know that this was the calling for the second life of the banana.  Following, I will share a few of my favorites and them some that the Atlanta Journal Constitution shared the same day in their food section.

Now, when my fruit is too advanced in it's age for my taste,  I just park the last banana or two in the freezer, with the skin on.  I have some neighbors that insist on peeling and chopping and adding to a sandwich ziplock bag as this point for ease in the morning smoothie process.  (This gal admits that she cannot function well without a few cups of coffee and she does not leave any room for error.  So, she pre-packages her bananas to make the morning process even easier).   I just take a banana out of the freezer and then peel it after it has sat on the counter about 5 minutes.  I do not let this get away from me as it will become mush and then a Banana Bread will be calling it's name as the lead ingredient.

Bunch of Bananas
Bunch of Bananas

I like to combine Almond milk with my favorite Almond butter for my morning or afternoon boost. You can also pair this with peanut butter.  I like to use a frozen banana too as I like these flavor combos.  With the frozen banana, I so not need the ice in this blended treat.

Almond Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Almond milk – Silk Original is my favorite
  • 2 tablespoons Almond butter – I prefer chunky, but I am flexible here
  • 1 frozen banana ( 2 if small )

***Other frozen fruits can be added, but I have come to enjoy the simplicity of this treat.

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to the blender jar in the order posted.  (Peel the banana before adding this to the smoothie)
  2. Secure lid and process as Smoothie or at a Medium Low speed for about 40 – 50 seconds.
  3. You can also add a tablespoon of ground flax seed to this drink to boost the protein content.

Ice Cream to Scream For

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

- posted in the Atlanta Journal Constitution - 3.24.16

Ingredients:

  • 2 overripe bananas ( frozen and peeled )
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (either creamy or chunky)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate sauce

Directions:

  1. Place the frozen bananas in a food processor and puree/blend until smooth.
  2. Add in the peanut butter and chocolate sauce and puree until incorporated.
  3. Place in a plastic container and freeze until hard.
  4. Should serve four.

And then,  following that breakfast and snack theme.  What about Peanut Butter and Banana Granola?

Granola In a Jar

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Peanut Butter and Banana Granola

- Atlanta Journal - Constitution - 3.24.16

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup nuts ( almonds, peanuts, walnuts or pecans, your choice )
  • 1/2 cup pepitas or sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil ( can substitute oil or canola oil )
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup peanut or almond butter ( smooth or chunky could work here )

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Mix together oats, nuts, pepitas, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.  Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the liquids.  If using coconut oil, melt in the microwave or on the stovetop.  Then,  mix the oil with the  maple syrup and vanilla extract.
  4. Mash the bananas with a fork or potato masher yielding about 1 cup.    Mix the mashed bananas with the nut butter of your choice along with the oil and syrup.
  5. Combine with wet and dry mixtures and toss to coat well.
  6. Line a  baking sheet pan  with parchment paper or foil.  Spread the mixture onto the pan.
  7. Bake for about 30 minutes then stir, breaking up some of the larger pieces.  Bake for another 20 - 30 minutes.
  8. The granola will be somewhat soft, but the color will have darkened.  Let cool about 15 minutes and then break into chunks.
  9. Cool to harden and store in an air-tight container for up to two weeks.

Enjoy these three very different treats with the secret ingredient as an over-ripened  banana.