Banana Bon-Bons

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Peggy Bundy would be proud. I’ve envisioned making these for the past few months. Like when I was proctoring the state tests and couldn’t do much more than stare out the window, or when I was sitting on the lifeguard chair staring at the ocean and thinking about the exact ingredients I would use and if everything would stick together like they did in my mind – they did by the way. Yea, I know I sound like a huge food geek. And although I had every intention of creating a delicious dinner and writing about that, I just couldn’t resist trying these out, and when I did, well I obviously had to change my plans a tad…
The richness of the cacao and the nutty flavor of the almonds brings out the sweet flavor of banana – which tastes about three hundred times better when it’s frozen, making it creamy and refreshing on these humid June days in New York. Ingredients (makes about 8 bon-bons):

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  • 1/2 ripened banana
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
  • 2 Tbsp cacao powder*
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup

*I recently ran out of cacao powder and bought a different brand at Whole Foods on a whim. This new powder is a lot less strong and I need a lot more to achieve the same taste. So, depending on the cacao powder you have, try one half to one whole tablespoon and taste the mixture to see if it’s enough. I usually order Healthworks brand on Amazon and absolutely love it.

Steps:

  1. Dice one half banana into 1/4 inch coins.
  2. Place on a plate in a single layer – do not pile on top of each other.
  3. For easier handling, freeze for about thirty minutes.
  4. In a blender, mix almonds, coconut, and cacao powder.
  5. Pour into a bowl and add the maple syrup, mix well.
  6. Cover each banana piece and shape into a ball; do not pile covered bananas on top of one another.
  7. For best results, freeze for at least one hour, but best after two hours.

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Coconut Curry Rice Bowl

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I know I’ve told you beautiful people that I eat rice and beans a lottt, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be boring – quite the contrary! It’s one of the most versatile dishes depending on what ingredients you’re in the mood for that day. Creamy, crunchy, salty, spicy – up to you. Justin puts hot sauce on everything, so he’s easy. I can make a bowl of plain rice, and all he needs is some hot sauce. Me? I like a variety of textures. There’s never an overabundance of creamy avocado, crunchy vegetables, or exotic herbs and spices in my opinion.

Bok choy is a wonderful addition to any stir fry. If you’re not familiar with using it in a recipe, it’s similar in appearance to celery, so it just needs a quick rinse and chop and it’s ready to go.

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The rice bowls I enjoy making are super nutritious, simple and filling, and heavenly tasting; there’s just no downside!

Ingredients for rice:

  • 2-3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 cups brown rice
  • 1 can coconut milk, unsweetened (13.5 oz)
  • 2 cans of water
  • 2 Tbs curry
  • salt & pepper to taste

Ingredients for top portion:

  • 2–3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bunch bok choy
  • 10 oz (1 package) mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 can (15.5 oz) kidney beans
  • 3 cups spinach
  • avocado
  • tomato
  • sprinkle of chia seeds
  • pinch of toasted fennel seeds

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Steps:

  1. Chop the yellow onion.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pot for 1 minute on medium/high heat, add onions.
  3. After 2-3 minutes, add in the rice and stir for 1 minute.
  4. Next, add in the canned coconut milk, and twice that amount in water.
  5. Add in the salt, pepper, and curry and stir everything together.
  6. Once everything comes to a boil, cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes, depending on the kind of brown rice you’re using. (Read the back of the package to find out how much time is needed.) Makes about 10 cups cooked.

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Meanwhile, while your rice is cooking…

  1. Rinse and slice the bok choy.
  2. Add oil to a large pan on medium/high heat for about 1 minute.
  3. Add the bok choy to the pan and allow to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Note, the bok choy should still have a nice crunch to it. Cooking it too long will make it wilt.)
  4. Next, add the garlic, mushrooms, spinach, and beans, stirring gently for about 3 minutes.  Turn off heat, scoop a cup of rice into a bowl and top with vegetables, avocado, seeds, and tomato. Enjoy!

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