Chocolate Chip and Walnut Banana Bread

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Chocolate Banana Bread is by far one my favorite sweet breads, one reason being that bananas are a favorite fruit of mine, another because there’s chocolate, which is amazing in anything! I found this recipe years ago in the Ghirardelli Chocolate Cookbook that I had borrowed from a friend, and I make it on occasion. I just made it again last week, so I thought I’d share the recipe with you. 

Here’s what I used:

  • 1/2 cup organic unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup organic sugar
  • 2 eggs (all-natural, vegetarian fed, hormone-free)
  • 2/3 cup Enjoy Life! Mini Chocolate Chips
  • 1 1/2 cup mashed ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts 
  • 1 3/4 cup organic all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

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Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

2. Cream butter and sugar together lightly. Mix in eggs. Add chocolate chips, and beat until smooth. Mix in bananas and walnuts. 

3. Next, sift flour, with baking soda, baking powder, and kosher salt. Mixing by hand, add dry ingredients all at once, but don’t overmix. 

4. Grease the bottom of a 9×5″ loaf pan. Spread batter into pan and bake for 55-60 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes. 

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I had never used Enjoy Life! chocolate chips, and wasn’t sure what to expect, but I highly recommend them! 

I’ve been trying my hand at specialty coffee drinks lately (I need much more practice), but this was great warmed in the morning for breakfast with a cafe mocha, vanilla soy latte or an espresso! It also makes for a delicious snack any time of day by itself or with a cold glass of organic milk. Enjoy! 

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Cheesy Mexican Rice Casserole

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If you asked me what my least favorite type of food would be, I’d probably say Mexican. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not picky when it comes to food. I’m all about expanding my palate, so I’ll eat almost anything. But Mexican food has never been something I crave, or have to eat on a regular basis. 

All that to say, I ran across a recipe for a Mexican dish the other day that actually caught my attention. I thought I’d give it a try, using organic and all-natural ingredients, and I was happy with the results. 

Here’s what I used:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-natural basmati brown rice
  • 1 tsp organic extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound all-natural, vegetarian fed, hormone-free ground beef
  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 1 15 oz can of organic black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can of organic tomato sauce 
  • 1 15 oz can of organic diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups all-natural, rBST-free cheddar cheese 

Seasonings:

  • 4 tsp Garlic Garlic seasoning from Tastefully Simple (or you can use 3 cloves of garlic, minced and 1 tsp garlic powder) 
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2-1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes 
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp dried cilantro
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Toppings:

  • organic sour cream
  • organic salsa
  • avocado 

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Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare rice according to package directions. 

2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large skillet on medium heat. Add ground beef and break it into crumbles with a fork. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Add diced onion and seasonings, and after stirring to combine, cook for another 10 minutes (or until onion is tender and beef is cooked). 

3. Once your rice is cooked, add it to the beef mixture, as well as your black beans (drained and rinsed) and tomato sauce. Mix together. 

4. Next, coat a large baking dish with all-natural cooking spray and pour in your rice mixture. Spread it evenly into the bottom of your dish. Pour your tomatoes (drained) onto the top of the rice and spread evenly. Top with cheddar cheese. 

5. Spray a piece of foil with cooking spray (to prevent the cheese from sticking to it) and cover your dish. Bake for 20 minutes, remove foil, and bake for another 6 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. 

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I topped my serving with sour cream, salsa, and avocado. If you are up for it, you could make guacamole to use as a topping. My husband is not an avocado fan, so I didn’t want to go through the trouble of making guac just for myself. But since I eat avocado straight from the shell, I didn’t mind it plain as a topping!

This dish was delish and we are still working on leftovers. (I made this several nights ago.) It’s one of those dishes that is just as good reheated, too!  

I adapted this recipe from hispanicallyspeakingnews.com

All-Natural/Organic Cocoa Brownies

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This past Sunday we had a Patriotic picnic at church since it’s July 4th week. I made cocoa brownies for it, using all-natural and organic ingredients. I got the recipe from The Goodhousekeeping Cookbook. It was the first recipe I’ve made from my new cookbook, so I was happy to be putting it to good use! 

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Here’s what I used: 

  • 1/2 cup organic all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup all-natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted organic butter
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • 2 large all-natural eggs
  • 1 tsp all-natural vanilla extract 

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Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease your baking dish. I used a 9×13 dish, but I’d recommend using 9×9 if you want thicker brownies.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and kosher salt.
  • In a 3-quart saucepan, melt your butter on low heat. Once melted, remove from the heat, and stir in sugar. Stir in your eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Stir in vanilla. Stir your flour mixture into the sugar mixture until combined. 
  • Pour your batter into the pan, and spread it evenly into the bottom.
  • Bake about 25 minutes. Place pan on wire rack until your brownies are completely cool. 
  • Cut and enjoy! 

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