Sautéed Bananas!

foodI think I have a new favourite cooked fruit dessert. It’s easy to prepare, healthier than a lot of other desserts, plus it’s gluten-free and dairy-free. Not to mention that it tastes good.

Last week, among the six of us at Friday night dinner, there was a new mix of  food restrictions. An interesting challenge for me, because I like trying new recipes, and I like to make food that everyone at my table can eat. My dinners are usually low in gluten and lactose, but this time I also had to avoid alcohol, and there was a possibility that one person would be restricted to soft foods.

sautéed bananasI thought of sautéed bananas right away, but the recipe for Bananas Flambé that I’ve made in the past (from Bonnie Stern’s Simply HeartSmart Cooking) calls for rum.

I felt I was on the right track when I found a YouTube video for Betty’s Luscious Fried Bananas. It looked wonderful, but I wanted to tone down the richness and the sweetness.

I substituted coconut oil for butter, increased the number of bananas, decreased the ratio of sugar to bananas, and added a couple of spices. It still turned out delicious and sweet. There was a small amount left over, and we enjoyed it two days later.

My one caveat – I find there’s a big variation in taste among different coconut oils, so use one you like. When I started to sauté the bananas, I thought the coconut oil might overpower the banana flavour. I decided that if I sprinkled toasted coconut on top, the flavour would seem more intentional. Everyone seemed to like it.

We ate the dessert on its own, but it would also be great as a warm topping for ice cream or plain cake.

Here’s the (non-)recipe. No amounts needed, and you can play with the spicing. It’s quick enough to prepare last-minute.

Frances’ Fried Bananas (inspired by Betty)

unsweetened flaked coconut (optional)

coconut oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan, plus a little more)

ripe, but not over-ripe, bananas (I used 6)

lemon juice

brown sugar (I used 2 or 3 tablespoons)

cinnamon to taste

nutmeg to taste

sea salt

1. If using flaked coconut, toast in non-stick pan on low heat until coconut starts to turn brown. Set aside.

2. Cut bananas in diagonal slices.

3. Heat coconut oil in large frying pan on medium heat.

4. Add bananas, and sprinkle with a bit of lemon juice, brown sugar, cinnamon,  nutmeg, and a bit of sea salt.

5. Saute, reducing heat, and stirring carefully, until cooked but not too soft.

6. Sprinkle with toasted coconut, if you like.







Chocolate Sunday (with no chocolate) – Experiment #1, Almond Butter Treats

Last Sunday, I started an elimination diet that excludes a whole bunch of foods I might be sensitive to, including caffeine and sugar. No chocolate for me for the next few weeks – yikes!

So far, so good. I’m not a big coffee or black tea drinker, and I try to eat chocolate in moderation, so I didn’t get the headache that can accompany caffeine withdrawal.

I’m also making sure there’s lots of food in the house that I can eat, so I don’t feel deprived.

I just had a protein smoothie and added blueberries and ripe banana to it. After a week without refined sugar, I appreciate the sweetness of the fruit in a new way – an unanticipated benefit.

But sometimes you just want a treat you can eat instead of drink, or one that melts in your mouth like chocolate.

I hadn’t thought to ask, but my naturopath suggested a treat made of almond butter and coconut oil melted together with cinnamon and salt, and frozen.

almond butter treats

My almond butter treats

It’s not technically a recipe, but I’m including it in recipe form below.

But first, the results of this little experiment:

1. I used relatively small amounts of almond butter and coconut oil, and I would stick to small quantities because I found it hard to eat just one. I did cut the squares very small, though, about 1/2 an inch.

2. My husband, who is on a regular diet, found the treats resistible. Maybe the elimination diet has moderated my sweet tooth.

3. The almond butter treats are very smooth, and melt in your mouth. In that way, they’re a bit of a substitute for chocolate. They melt in your hands too, if you hold them too long!

Almond Butter Treats

1/4 cup almond butter

1/4 cup coconut oil

1 tsp cinnamon, or to taste

sea salt to taste (not too much, but not too little either – it enhanced the flavour a lot)

1. Melt almond butter and coconut oil on medium low, stirring with wooden spoon until smooth and blended.

2. Stir in cinnamon and sea salt.

3. Transfer to small container. Mine is about 5″ x 3″.

4. Freeze until solid. Refrigerating might work too.

5. Cut into small squares (may need to soften at room temperature first).

6. Store in fridge.




Chocolate Sunday – Chocolate Pudding?

I’ve been thinking about chocolate pudding this week, but I hadn’t gotten around to making it when I was laid low a few days ago by what is probably a virus. Groan! Starting to feel better, so I thought I’d post anyway.

Chocolate pudding is comfort food because it’s soft, smooth, flavourful (chocolatey!) and easy to get down… although, personally, I was more in chicken soup mode this week.

That said, I was kind of tempted when I searched online for “best chocolate pudding recipe,” and Google offered two more options: “best chocolate pudding recipe ever,” and “best chocolate pudding recipe in the world.” Seriously. How could I go wrong?

So here are some links:

1. Smitten Kitchen’s Best Chocolate Pudding

I like it because it has milk, not higher-fat cream, and also because it calls for chocolate, not cocoa, promising rich flavour and a bit of decadence. I would probably use almond milk, because I’m lactose-intolerant. Almond Breeze, the brand in my fridge, has 3.5 grams of fat per cup, just under half the amount in whole milk. I expect the recipe would still work, just be less rich. Maybe it would still even be the “best.”

2. “The Best Chocolate Pudding You’ll Ever Taste,” from Oh She Glows, a vegan recipe blog.

The unusual ingredient list captured my interest. I’ve never used coconut oil, but I’ve been wanting to try it because of all the hype about its health benefits. Almond butter and avocado also provide healthy fats. Agave nectar sweetens the pudding, which uses cocoa instead of chocolate. I don’t expect it would taste like the chocolate pudding any of us grew up with – but maybe it would. I think it’s  worth trying. Maybe, if I eat it, I’ll glow too.

3. And here’s the one I wouldn’t make – unless I wanted to pull out all the stops, or cook to impress: the’s “Perfect Chocolate Pudding from Scratch.”  The recipe calls for not only heavy cream, but egg yolks too. calls homemade chocolate pudding “love in a bowl,” and adds a reminder that chocolate pudding is gluten-free.

I’d love to hear how your chocolate pudding turns out, if you’re also tempted.