Protein Banana Bread

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So I know its been a while since I’ve posted a recipe or blog post.  We’ve been crazy here at the Burke house, but all in good ways.  We’ve been traveling, busy with festivals, and new developments on the business side. I’ve met some really amazing people this summer, and grown closer to new friends here in Greenwich.

We are so blessed to be able to do so many neat things, and this summer has been one for a lot of new experiences. We’ve traveled a bit, met new people, and really taken advantage of the beauty in our area. My friend Heather, from Gacchi Bakery, and I worked the Greenwich Food and Wine Festival together and have done a lot of special events all summer.

I have been cooking a lot for clients and for us, but have been very lax about taking photos. I am going to start making an effort again to photograph as much as I can the things I’ve been making.  Starting with this great protein banana bread!

We don’t love bananas, so more often than not if I buy them, I don’t get through them before they get really soft. Banana bread is one of the few options you have at this point.  Sometimes I freeze them peeled also to add into smoothies, but other times when you want something sweet, banana bread is a great healthy option.

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What you need:

 

  • 2 to 3 very ripe bananas, peeled
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of vanilla protein powder

Preheat the oven to 350°F, and butter a 4×8-inch loaf pan.

In a mixing bowl, mash the ripe bananas with a fork until completely smooth. Stir the melted butter into the mashed bananas.

Mix in the baking soda and salt. Stir in the sugar, beaten egg, and vanilla extract. Mix in the flour and protein.

Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour at 350°F, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for a few minutes. Then remove the banana bread from the pan and let cool completely before serving.

 

 

Zucchini Carrot and Pineapple Muffins

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Another awesome way to hide veggies into things is by adding them into your baked goods.  Breakfast can be a particularly difficult meal to get kids to eat, and more often than not things like muffins and pancakes are the easiest  go to option. The only issue is that traditional muffins and sweet breakfasts are just carb heavy and lack a lot of nutrients.

Carrots and zucchini have been used in making cakes and breads for a long time because of their mild flavors.  The added benefit though is that both vegetables have so much nutritional value. Between carrots and zucchini you are giving your kids a great source for vitamin A, biotin, vitamin K, potassium, vitamin B6, protein, thiamin, niacin, phosphorus and copper, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, riboflavin, folate, magnesium, and manganese.

It is kind of a no brainer honestly, and hidden into a muffin, it is extremely unlikely that any kid will turn their nose up at the thought of veggies. These muffins are really easy, and can be made ahead for the week.

What you need:

  • 3/4 cup shredded zucchini (excess water removed)
  • 1/2 cup shredded pineapple (excess water removed)
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot (excess water removed)
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup Almond flour (coconut flour, or regular all purpose flour)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Mix the first 8 ingredients in a large bowl and stir until well combined.

Add remaining ingredients and stir until just mixed.

Grease your muffin tins with butter or natural cooking spray.

Scoop batter into greased muffin tins.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

If you don’t love pineapple, sub in shredded apple or any other fruit you like. The best part about it is that you can do all of your shredding and mixing in a food processor to really save on work.

Jordan’s family loved these, so again another kid test and kid approved recipe!

Green Breakfast Smoothie

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James and I just got back from our England vacation, and really enjoyed seeing family, friends, and celebrating the wedding of two of our favorite people! The only downside of going away, aside from the jet lag, is that our usual healthy eating tends to go out the window. We went out to eat at least once a day, if not twice, and had wine or cocktails with almost every meal. Not to mention, that for the recovery brunch after the wedding, we partook in eating 25 Dominos pizzas – talk about guilty eating!

Now that we are back, both James and I have returned to having lighter breakfasts of protein bars or smoothies or the occasional egg. For lunch, I’ve returned to eating at least two lighter meals – think protein cereal, avocado toast, grilled chicken salads, and lettuce wraps. The only thing we’ve been a little slower to get back to is home cooked dinners.  As you might expect after being away for 10 days, we’ve had a lot to catch up on, and when the jet lag hits around 5/6pm paired with the busy days, I have not had much motivation to cook. This weekend and next week we will get back on our normal routine fully!

Anyway, one of my favorite breakfasts is a protein smoothie.  We have a great protein powder that is really low in sugar and lactose free! Smoothies are also a way to squeeze in extra fruit and veg into a meal that would otherwise lack these things. Plus when you are on the go, you can put these smoothies in your old salsa jars and throw them in the car!

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What you need:

  • 1 scoop of protein (25g or so)
  • 8-10oz of milk of your choice (I love Cashew-Milk)
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2-3 sprigs of kale removed from the stem
  • 1 handful of blueberries
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)

Throw all of your ingredients into a good blender and mix until smooth.

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Feel free to add ice if you want more of a milk-shake type feel, but this is not required.

You could also add in a handful of almonds, cocoa nibs, dried fruit, or oats to bulk it up a bit.

 

Fad Foods

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Every few months there seems to be a new trend out there.  They didn’t always gain global traction, but possibly starting with the cronut (donut/croissant) and the help of social media these food trends become overnight global phenomena. Recently Starbucks had the unicorn frappuccino that was only available for a short period, and people lined up down the block at stores worldwide to try one.

When you think about the best chefs in the world, you don’t equate them with fad foods. Dominique Ansel, inventor of the cronut, is one of the few exceptions. The cronut propelled him to global fame, but his skill and talent kept him there. The true talent in the food world doesn’t feel the need to reinvent the wheel, they have just learned to use the wheel in the best way possible.

In today’s culture of instant gratification and constant new trends, people are very receptive to new food fads.  However, as quickly as they appear, they disappear all over again because most don’t really offer anything particularly revolutionary.

I decided to try out one of the more recent food fads, the cloud egg, and was left wanting. I am sharing the recipe in case you want to try them, but my overall impression was that they were a little dry, and oddly textured. If you want fluffy eggs, stick to the tried and true souffle, they are richer and much more tasty!

What you need:

  • 2-4 eggs, separated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 chives, sliced thinly
  • 3 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
  • Grated Cheese like parmesan or cheddar (optional)

Preheat your oven to 450F.

Put all of your egg whites into one bowl and whisk either by hand or using a hand mixer until you have stiff peaks.

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Fold in your herbs, cheese, salt and pepper. (I didn’t use cheese, but many recipes call for it)

Put your egg whites into 2-4 mounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and hollow out part of the center to form a cup.

Bake for about 3 minutes, until slightly golden brown.

Remove from the oven and put an egg yolk into each egg white cup.

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Bake for another 3 minutes or so, and you’re done.

Enjoy!

They were a bit more filling than eating a normal scrambled or fried egg, but overall, I will be sticking to the old recipes for my eggs!

Feliz Cinco De Mayo

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Feliz Cinco de Mayo! Now many of you may or may not know, but Cinco de Mayo is not a widely celebrated holiday in Mexico.  However, it has become a large holiday in the US for people to celebrate Mexican culture and drink lots of tequila! So today I am going to take a look back at some our favorite Mexican recipes from the past year.

Tonight I will be attending a charity gala for Sound Waters organization in Stamford, CT, so instead of throwing my own fiesta, I will be celebrating with friends for a good cause.

Obviously we love and eat a lot of Mexican food in our house, so below are just a few of our favorites. This summer I will add in some Enchiladas both verdes and with red sauce and lots of other yummy things, but for now these are all very easy dinners to throw together for any celebrations tonight or through the weekend!

Our go to for Mexican food night with ease is simple tacos.  We have fajitas, fish, shrimp, you name it. The best part about tacos is that the only piece you need to cook are the meat or veggies you are putting inside. If you serve with beans or slaw or guacamole, those are easy things you can throw together or reheat. One of my favorite tacos this year was the shrimp tacos with red cabbage slaw, guacamole and black beans.

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These wen’t down very well, and the recipe could be used on fish or chicken as easily as it was with shrimp.  Now with a dinner that tasty, you need to wash it down with an equally delicious cocktail.  My crowd favorite this year was the ginger jalapeño margarita I made for several parties we hosted. It is spicy, sweet, and just the right amount of strong!

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Another great recipe that would really impress your guests, but is actually so easy, is the shrimp and chorizo chile relleno. Stuffed peppers make for such a beautiful presentation for your guests and are a great way to portion out the perfect dish for your family. These are so packed with flavor, and if you are lucky enough to have any leftover, make the perfect lunch the next day!

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Now if you live in the North East, you might be experiencing rain like us today! It is truly a terrible weather day, and sadly it is meant to rain ALL DAY! This does not need to hinder your celebrations and instead of making summery fish or shrimp tacos, you can try out this salsa verde chicken chili! It is a great new way to make chili, and it will warm you up from the inside out on this dreary day.

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And finally, for the morning after celebrations, many of you will need a good hearty breakfast to absorb the alcohol and fill up your stomach after a rough night. Enter chilaquiles! This is one of the most delicious breakfasts, and everything about it is satisfying. You get a little crunch from your chips, some spice from the salsa, and the healing power of eggs after a big night out.  You cannot go wrong with this one!

Chilaquiles plated

Celebrate responsibly friends, but to honor Mexican culture, make sure you have a great time! I will make sure to toast all of you this evening with a good strong margarita and some dancing to mariachis!

Olé!

Strawberry Muffins

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Sometimes you just need something sweet. If you look back on all of my posts, you will see that for me, the craving for sweet doesn’t come very often. I like things like dark chocolate and salted caramel, which by definition are not really very sweet. But right now there is so much awesome fresh fruit out there, and I love taking advantage of that!

Over the weekend, the craving for something sweet came over me, and luckily I had some delicious fresh local strawberries to serve as my inspiration. I then also watched the food network, and Ina Garten happened to make strawberry muffins for Jeffrey – talk about coincidence! I had to make them!

I tweaked her recipe a bit because she made 18 muffins, and used lots of sugar.  I figured I could somewhat healthify her recipe and make it a little less of a guilty indulgence. These went over really well, and even into Monday we were warming these babies up in the microwave and putting a little pad of butter on top!

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What you need: Makes 10 muffins

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, half wheat if you can find it
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 5oz milk
  • 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup diced fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup shaved coconut

Pre-heat your oven to 375F.

Sift together your dry ingredients first except for the sugar and coconut.

Melt your butter and mix together your wet ingredients as well.

Put them together and mix until it is a homogenous mixture.

Add in your fresh strawberries, sugar, and coconut and fold these into the mixture.

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Once everything is mixed in, line your muffin tray with muffin cups, and using a measuring cup or ice cream scoop, scoop in your batter evenly into each cup.

Bake the muffins for 20-25min and let cool before eating.

These were so tasty, and using half wheat flour took away some of our guilt!

Red Berry Smoothie

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Happy International Women’s Day friends! I can’t believe I haven’t really posted in almost two weeks, but the last two weeks have been quite an adventure! We got back from our amazing trip to Hawaii, and really hit the ground running. Business for me in Greenwich has really picked up and I have been working small dinner parties, and even a very large cocktail party!

The planning alone takes a lot of time, but the preparation and organization needed to pull off a spectacular evening really takes dedication. Thankfully the events went off without a hitch, but each required their own brand of in the moment thinking on my feet.

The other very exciting adventure is that I am in the process of getting all of my necessary certifications to sell my salsas! I am still working on a good name for them, but they will fall under The Gourmet Cocina umbrella. I have been making salsa for almost a decade now and I have really perfected it. Every time I go home my family has me make it, and at least once a month, my husband begs me to make it too!  Even my spice averse English in-laws love it, and that is truly a compliment!

Anyway, to actually get to a phase where you are producing it, you have to get over a few hurdles, and I am working on those now.  I see some light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s a process!

But back to being a badass girl boss right! It’s international women’s day and I have the great privilege of being friends with some of the most intelligent, strong, impressive women! I have a whole group of friends in TX, NYC, and Brooklyn who each dominate in their own industries, and another group of friends here in CT who all own or run their own companies, blogs, and brands. It is so inspiring to have such successful and fabulous women around me, and they all push me to take The Gourmet Cocina to the next level.

Aside from tomato soup, tomato sauce, and salsas, there aren’t really that many red foods.  I could have done something with beets maybe, but though tasty, there is nothing exciting about beets! So today I made myself a red berry smoothie as a little healthy treat in honor of all my fellow badass females out there. This one isn’t too complicated, but it was delish!

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What you need:

  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh strawberries
  • 1/4 cup frozen or fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 of a banana
  • 6 oz coconut water
  • 4 oz regular water

Throw it all into a blender and enjoy!

I did’t have any spinach or greens to throw in today, but that would have been a nice added level of nutrition.

This is a breakfast of champions and will help you awesome ladies out there have the energy you need to start your day off right!

Raspberry/Pineapple Breakfast Smoothie

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Sometimes you are just really in the mood for a smoothie! I love smoothies because they feel a little naughty, but they are good for you! I load mine with lots of frozen fruit and usually a scoop of protein powder so it can be a proper snack. I usually sneak in some kale or spinach also, but I eat plenty of veggies anyway.

Coconut water is a great alternative for making a smoothie versus juice because it doesn’t have all of the sugar that fruit juices tend to have.  It also has tons of potassium and electrolytes to keep you hydrated, so all around its a great option!

This is the best snack or breakfast when you’ve got a lot going on, but you want to make sure you are getting a complete meal. You can ensure that your smoothie has a full serving of fruit and veggies, plus some bonus things like fiber, omega 3s, and of course a little protein. This blend is admittedly a funky color, but this smoothie was super delicious!

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What you need:

  • 1/2 cup of raspberries, frozen
  • 1/2 cup of pineapple, frozen
  • 1/2 banana
  • 8 oz coconut water
  • 3 stalks of kale, removed from the stem
  • 1 scoop of protein, I chose vanilla flavor
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds (fiber and omega 3s)

Throw it all in a blender and blend until smooth.  You won’t need to add any ice because of the frozen fruit, and it should be a really nice consistency.

It makes a pretty good amount, so I recommend enjoying it slowly.

 

Cashew Butter Banana Toast

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I have been working on being a bit more inventive with my breakfasts.  When I was still working in fashion, I ate yogurt and granola every day! It was delicious, but when I quit, I was very eager to switch things up a bit.  That breakfast became a routine because it was easy to eat at my desk, and served a purpose. It had protein and a little carb, and because I used plain Greek yogurt, not too much sugar.

Since working from home and cooking for families locally, I have the luxury of eating breakfast at home every day at a nice pace. Depending on the day I might eat an egg on toast, a protein smoothie, yogurt, eggs in other forms, and all kinds of other things. The main thing I seek out in a breakfast is protein.  If I don’t get some protein in the morning, I am basically hungry for the rest of the day – no matter what I eat!

Now I am going to say something controversial… I don’t like peanut butter. I know that makes me crazy, but I find the smell too strong and the fact that it gets stuck to the roof of your mouth so annoying! It is a great source of protein though so I have found great substitutes like cashew butter and almond butter that I prefer in flavor.  They also tend to be a little creamier so the texture is less thick.

Anyway, this is a great breakfast option when you are in a little more of a hurry. As eating this I accidentally dropped the toast in my own lap, and OH MAN it was a mess! So a word to the wise, take care when eating this as cashew butter somehow manages to get all over EVERYTHING when accidents happen!

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What you need:

  • 1-2 slices of whole wheat toast
  • 1-2 tbsp cashew butter
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Toast your bread to your desired level of doneness.

Spread with cashew butter, layer on sliced banana, and sprinkle with chia seeds.

The flavor balance is amazing, and the cashew butter has a richness that makes this feel very decadent!

 

Coffee Protein Shake

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Earlier in the week I showed you a delicious protein smoothie, but if you are really on the go, and don’t have time to deal with then blender and too many ingredients, a more traditional protein shake may be in order. I’ve even reduced your time spent on breakfast even more by adding in a shot of espresso to this smoothie.

This is an all in one breakfast drink including coffee and protein! You really can’t lose here, and it’s really tasty! This is also not as cold, which during the winter can be really nice.  You could serve it over ice, but I left it at room temperature.

I usually prefer to have my coffee separately and enjoy it in the morning, but if I am ever really on the go, this is the way forward! I don’t even know if this counts as a recipe since it is so easy, but I figured I would share it with you anyway.

I am largely dairy free because of lactose intolerance, so the important thing for me is using a lactose free protein and a dairy free milk. If you prefer regular milk, almond milk or soy that is fine, but I love the richness that coconut milk gives to a smoothie or shake.

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What you need:

  • Chocolate protein powder (1-2 scoops)
  • 6 oz of coconut milk
  • 2 oz shot of espresso

Using a shaker, made for mixing protein shakes, put all of your ingredients into it and shake away.

The result is a really smooth and creamy mocha type drink, but with the added benefit of 25g of protein!

This is great for the super busy people out there, and any body looking for a little time saver in the morning.