BANANA POPPY SEED YOGURT LOAF

I will just say, that I love this banana bread, with a hint of sweetness and a crunch of poppy seeds on the tongue.

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BANANA POPPY SEED YOGURT LOAF
Yields 1 loaf
3 very ripe bananas, mashed (see note)
2 eggs
1/2 c. yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt
Scant 1/2 c. brown sugar (adjust if you prefer a more or less dessert-like bread)
1/4 c. poppy seeds (or more as you like)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch loaf pan.
Combine the mashed bananas, eggs, yogurt and vanilla in a large bowl.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Whisk to combine.
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet and stir in the poppy seeds.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, until golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool before slicing.
*Note: I like to keep frozen sliced bananas on hand for smoothies and oatmeal. Just take some out, let them thaw, and mash them for the bread.
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WHITE BEAN HUMMUS

White Bean Hummus

adapted from Orangette

3 garlic cloves
One 15-ounce can of white beans–drained and rinsed
2 lemons, juiced
1/2 cup tahini
1 teaspoon salt (I use Jane’s Crazy Mixed-Up Salt–because it rocks)
1 teaspoon cumin (or more or less)
ground pepper, to taste
red pepper flakes, to taste
water
Puree the garlic cloves. Scrap down the sides and add the remaining ingredients. Puree. Add enough water to make the hummus the desired consistency. Add additional seasonings if you wish. If you want to be like me (it’s hard for some to resist), sweep up the hummus that remains in the food processor with a carrot.

SWISS CHARD, SWEET POTATO and FETA TART

I live with a dear friend whose body does not enjoy gluten, so I made a gluten-free tart for dinner tonight. The crust included teff flour, which neither of us had ever eaten. Another gluten-free friend had given it to me when he left the country, so I had it on hand. I can now tell you that teff flour is made from a tiny grain native to Ethiopia. It is high in protein, iron, and fiber and has an earthy flavor.
I made crust dough and cooked the onions and sweet potatoes last night, which I would recommend or start cooking early the day you wish to enjoy the tart.
Swiss Chard, Sweet Potato, and Feta Tart
adapted from The Flour Sack
Crust 
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon teff flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose gluten-free flour mix  (or white whole wheat flour)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup milk
Filling
2 large sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
extra virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
sea salt
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large bunch swiss chard, stems finely chopped, leaves roughly chopped
7 ounces feta
red pepper flakes
freshly ground pepper
3 eggs
Crust:
Grease a 10-inch deep-dish tart pan with a removable bottom or a springform pan. Mix all of the crust ingredients together. Pour the dough in the pan and press it down, starting in the middle, to form a crust of even thickness with 1-inch or 1 1/2-inch sides. Prick the crust all over with a fork. Cover it with plastic and refrigerate it for 1 hour or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Put pie weights or dried beans upon parchment in the crust. Bake the crust for 10 to 12 minutes until it begins to pull away from the edges. Remove the weights and bake it for another 3 or 4 minutes just until the crust is dry. Let the crust cool before adding the filling.
Filling:
Mix the sweet potatoes with enough olive oil to coat them as well a pinch of salt. Roast them in the oven until a fork can pierce them easily–about 15 minutes. Let them cool. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and cook them oven medium-low heat, stirring often, until they caramelize–about 35 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and continue to cook them until the liquid has evaporated. Transfer them to a bowl.
Add some olive oil to a frying pan and cook the garlic over medium-low heat until it begins smell heavenly. Add the Swiss chard stems and cook them for a few minutes. Add the rest of the chard and cook until the leaves are wilted. Turn the heat off and add the onions, sweet potatoes, 1/3 of the cheese, a 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and some freshly ground pepper. Whisk the eggs in a bowl and then add them to the mixture, stirring to combine. Pour the filling into the crust and then crumble the remaining cheese on top. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 375 degrees.

BANANA CHAI GINGER SMOOTHIE

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I love ginger. I love the smell and the pleasant burn in my throat when I consume it in large quantities. This smoothie can be tweaked to your liking as you go along. It’s refreshing, creamy, and packs a ginger-y punch!
Banana Chai Ginger Smoothie (1 large serving or 2 small)
About 1 frozen banana
About 1/4 cup chai tea concentrate (black tea, vanilla, spices, and honey–available at most grocery stores)
About 1/2 cup milk
Fresh ginger to taste, sliced (I use at least one 2-inch chunk)
Puree all and adjust the ingredient amounts until you’re satisfied!

LEMON ALMOND COOKIES

LEMON ALMOND COOKIES
Adapted from Good Things Grow
2 1/2 c. almond flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
4 tablespoons honey/maple syrup (I used half of each)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
zest of 1 large lemon
Whisk the almond flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
In a smaller bowl, combine the coconut oil, honey, lemon juice, and lemon zest, mixing well. Pour into the dry mixture and stir until everything is well moistened, the dough will be slightly crumbly, but should hold when pressed together with hands.
Lay out a piece of parchment and use your hands to sort of squeeze the dough together and transfer to the parchment. Carefully roll into a large log about 2 1/2-inches in diameter. Place in the freezer for 1 hour or until firm. You can freeze the dough overnight or for a few days. Make sure to thaw it slightly before you use it.
Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking pan with parchment.
The dough is tough to slice because it crumbles very easily. You can either pinch of pieces and roll them into balls, which will give you a shape like the second photo above, or you can unwrap the chilled dough and cut into 1/4-inch slices, then lay the parchment back over each slice, one at a time, and roll it out flat with a rolling pin. Then they will look more like the top photo (I prefer this method).
Place cookies on lined baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Make sure to check after 8 minutes, and take them out once they start to brown around the edges. Allow to cool on baking sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack, as they are very delicate and will break if they aren’t cool yet.