Nutty Banana Pops: 5 minutes, 5 easy steps!

I mocked up these Nutty Banana Pops for the girls one day.  They are the easiest treat to make that I want to share them with you.  There’s not even a recipe, just a how-to.  I think some of you will appreciate that, because sometimes we just want ideas instead of specific ingredients and recipe ‘rules’!

These can be made in about five minutes, and are easy as 1, 2, 3 (okay… and 4, 5)

  1. Get a couple of bananas, peel and cut in half, and place on a plate or sheet of parchment.  I used fairly ripe nanners, and I learned they were a little too soft.  So, either just perfectly ripe, or even a touch more yellow-green.
  2. Shmear on (yes, that is shmancy culinary talk) some peanut butter, nut butter, or seed butter (sunflower, hemp).  I did one batch with pb, another with almond butter. The nut butter part gets a bit messy, but is easier if the bananas aren’t too soft.
  3. On a plate or another sheet of parchment, mix a few toppings.  I chose brown rice crisp cereal, unsweetened shredded coconut, and mini vegan chocolate chips for one batch, the other more brown rice crisp cereal and Mum’s coconut cocoa nibs.  Other ideas?… chopped cranberries (colorful), hemp seeds, crushed nuts, cocoa powder, coconut sugar… to name a few!
  4. Take a stick (I used wooden kebab sticks and trimmed the pointy end so no dangerous sharp edges) and insert (precut end, not the end you cut) into wide end of banana halves.
  5. Roll in the toppings.  Voila!  Banana Pops!

I froze the pops, because I wanted them cool during the summer heat, and also wanted to save a few for later.  (If freezing, you can slide a small baking tray right under the parchment and transfer to the freezer.)  But, if you are having a play date or something with a group of children, you could simply serve up as is – plus the kids can get involved in the process!

(Photo story:  My photo shoot for these pops amused the family.  Our eldest daughter has been working out all summer to make a girls’ rep hockey team in September.  So, she is in the family room doing squats and lunges and the like, and sees her mom running through the garden with banana pops and then no banana pops and instead some flowers.  She said “Dad, what is mom doing, is she okay out there?, she’s running awful fast“… They soon laugh at me when I explain that I had positioned the banana pops outside for a pic, but had to move fast before the flies and wasps got into the scene – so I’m running back and forth, thinking some flowers might look nice in the pic, and all the while trying to protect my pops!)  I have mentioned before that I’m a food geek.  A little nutters you could say.  Nutty Banana Pops very fitting.

Think you’ll try these?  What will you choose for nut butter/topping combos?  Enjoy! :)

“Hello Vegan” Bars + more recipes!

Happy Friday my plant-powered friends!  I decided to add more content to my recipes page today, so you will now find recipes there for (click the photo to link directly to the recipe)…

Jerk Chickpeas

Cocoa Cookie Dough Balls

Vegveeta Dip!

No-Fu Love Loaf

Moroccan Bean Stew

Moroccan Bean Stew

Plus, two recipes that you might not have seen or tried just yet!…

Roasted Red Pepper & Almond Hummus from the hummus chapter in eat, drink & be vegan:

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus (from ed&bv) photo credit:

Plus, these babies!  “Hello Vegan” Bars from Let Them Eat Vegan:

"Hello Vegan" Bars (photo credit:

Hope you enjoy, have a great weekend!

Have you tried any of these recipes? (if so, have any favorites?)… and, what plant-powered dishes are YOU cooking up this weekend? 😀

Curried Chickpea Hummus with Raisins

I am not a hummus purist. If you have ed&bv (with its full chapter on hummus), you know this.  In my world, hummus is a food group. 😀

So, why not have some fun with it?  Use different beans, different nut/seed butters, and different seasonings?  A perfect example of taking hummus in a new direction is my Curry Chickpea Hummus from ed&bv.

I made it myself recently, just wanting to mix things up as I hadn’t made it for some time. I also decided to make another variation for you, with a nut-free adaptation – and also oil-free (if you are following an oil-free diet for health reasons – but if you enjoy using a little extra-virgin olive oil, feel free to add 1-2 tbsp).

My original version of this recipe also suggests serving with pappadums.  I love pappadums, but they can be finicky to make at home.  So, another option would be to serve with a whole-grain roti bread… or, as I have here, with tortilla chips. I know. Doesn’t quite jive with the curry/Indian hummus theme. Hey, it’s food fusion. I say go with what you love – and I happen to love hummus with tortilla chips!

And, don’t skip the raisins in this hummus. I know it might seem peculiar. But, there is just a small amount, and they are pulsed through. It adds a sweet bite that is a welcome contrast to the spicy curry flavor. (Just try it!) :)

Curry Chickpea Hummus with Raisins (gluten-free, soy-free, oil-free)

Link to print/e-mail/share this recipe

2 cups cooked chickpeas

2 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tbsp cashew butter (OR 1-2 tbsp tahini)

1 small-medium clove garlic (adjust to preference)

1 – 1 1/4 tsp mild curry powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/4 – 1/2 tsp turmeric (I like 1/4 tsp, but 1/2 tsp adds more color)

1/4 tsp pure maple syrup (optional)

4-5 tbsp water (to thin as needed)

2-3 tbsp raisins or currants (use organic)

for serving: pappadums, whole-grain roti, tortilla chips, or veggies… and chutney! (see note)

In a food processor, combine all ingredients except water, raisins or currants.  Purée until smooth, gradually adding water as desired to thin dip and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Once smooth, add raisins, and purée briefly to lightly incorporate raisins. Season with salt and additional pepper and/or lemon juice if desired. Cook pappadums according to package directions, and serve with dip.

Curry Note: One tsp curry powder imparts a mild curry taste that doesn’t overpower the other flavors in the dip. Use more curry powder if you like it stronger.

Serving Suggestions: Try serving this hummus with pappadums – Indiant lentil-based crackers.  If pappadums aren’t convenient or available to you, try serving with whole-grain pita or roti bread – or my favorite… tortilla chips!  Also, try a little chutney on the side.  I love the Taj Mahal brand (by Everland Natural Foods) of tamarind or mango chutney. It’s delicious, and made with all-natural ingredients.

Prep Note: You may want to double the batch and freeze a portion for later – it thaws very well!

For those of you following my Plant-Powered Kids Series:  I have normally been posting on Fridays.  This week got away from me.  I will be posting early next week, with ideas for school lunches.  Stay tuned! :)

Are you a hummus purist, or do you also like to mix things up?  What’s your favorite twist on hummus? 

Product Review: YogaEarth’s Keen-Wah Decadence Bars

Once in a while a new food find is particularly exciting.  No surprise this particular find is chocolate-related. 😉

These new line of superfood “Keen-Wah Decadence” bars by are crazy-good!  Made with high-quality, whole-food ingredients, you will be surprised that they do taste decadent as promised!

There are three flavors of these vegan, organic, gluten-free bars: Chocolate Chia, Coconut Almond, and Cayenne Cinnamon.  The ingredients include quinoa, almond butter, dark chocolate, and coconut nectar.  Each bar has a dark chocolate coating… which for me, takes a snack bar from “tasty” to “treat”!


YogaEarth stands by their product with other admirable corporate initiatives, including using eco-friendly packaging, and donating 1% of all product sales to women micro-entrepreneurs in countries where YogaEarth sources its ingredient (ex: quinoa from Peru).  And, all ingredients in their bars are selected to ensure 100% organic, sustainable, and fair-trade practices.

I know many of my Canadian readers will want to know if these bars are available in stores here.  Currently they are not.  But, you can order online.  (I will be – I received six sample bars, and after trying them I have to order more!)  Also, YogaEarth offer a ‘Subscribe and Save” program where you can sign up to get regular delivery of the bars (once a month, once every two months or once every three months) and save 15%, 10%, or 5% respectively. So, maybe get a sample pack first, see if you like love them, and go from there!  And, for US readers, you can find local retailers here.

And, today my plant-powered buddies, you have the chance to win a BOX of Keen-Wah Decadence bars all to yourself! (Or, try to share them with your family.) 😉

The winner can choose the 12 bars of the same flavor – or a mixed box of 4 bars of each flavor.  To enter, visit YogaEarth’s site and come back to comment on this post – tell us what other YogaEarth product you would love to try, and which flavor of Keen-Wah bar is most exciting to you!  One comment per person, contest open only to residents of the US and Canada.  Contest closes 12 pm PST, Friday August 17.  I will announce the winner on my facebook page.

Good luck! 😀

Almond-Roasted Cauliflower (and ‘evolving’ taste buds!)

If you’ve been using my books since way back (like early days with The Everyday Vegan and Vive le Vegan), you’ll know I haven’t always loved all my veggies.  In fact, I once declared that you would not find cauliflower in my cookbooks!

Times have changed and now I’m eating my words (and the cruciferous)… because Let Them Eat Vegan has a selection of recipes with cauliflower, including this one:

Almond Roasted Cauliflower

When I created this recipe I had no idea how much of it I could eat.. or our girls!  Normally our girls won’t dig into cauliflower, but when I make this recipe I double the batch so we all get some!

And, we’re not the only cauliflower-converts.  I’ve heard from dozens of people that have tried this recipe and then e-mail saying “I now like cauliflower“!

While I’m still not a fan of raw cauliflower (or raw broccoli… or cabbage), I never thought I’d love eating raw greens like kale and chopping copious amounts of parsley for my lunch salads!  It is so true that over time our palates adjust.  Our taste buds evolve and we become “open” to more diverse flavors and nuances in foods.

Eating vegan did just that for me.  Before becoming vegan the only flavor I knew was – CHEESE!  Since cheese is so fatty, salty, and addictive, I relied on it to make my foods taste good.

I hope you enjoy this recipe – I think you will!  And, a note about the oil.  I have created and shared a number of oil-free recipes.  I wouldn’t make this without the oil.  You can reduce it, but if you omit it altogether the cauliflower will become dry and chewy rather than caramelized and moist.  So, if you want to reduce the oil, for sure give it a go – just don’t omit it altogether.

Almond Roasted Cauliflower wheat-free, gluten-free, soy-free  (from Let Them Eat Vegan)

link to print/share

Roasting cauliflower is not a new idea, but the addition of almond meal and nutritional yeast makes this side dish something special. Easy . . . and addictive (even if you aren’t a huge cauliflower fan)!

4 – 4 ½ cups cauliflower flowerets (about 1 medium cauliflower, with bite-sized flowerets cut and used)

1 – 1 ½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (can reduce, but don’t omit – see note above)

1/8 tsp (rounded) sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper (optional if making for kids)

2 tbsp almond meal

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet or 8 by 12-inch baking pan with parchment paper.  Toss the cauliflower with the olive oil and sea salt (and pepper, if using). Transfer to the prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes, tossing once or twice. At the 20-minute mark, check the doneness and color of the cauliflower. If it has started to soften, turning a golden color, add the almond meal and nutritional yeast and toss again. If, at 20 minutes, it isn’t at this stage, let it bake for another 10 minutes and then add the almond meal and nutritional yeast. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or more, tossing again once, until the cauliflower is golden brown and fully softened.  Remove from the oven and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Serve warm!  Serves 2 to 3… or maybe just 1!

Be sure to upload your healthy vegan recipes to Ricki Heller’s Wellness Weekends!  Link for some of this week’s recipes.

Have you found your palate has “expanded” since eating vegan?  What new foods/flavors do you now love?!  

Cardamom-Scented Peach Ice Cream

Hey, my local friends!: I will be signing books at Choices Market in South Surrey on Saturday, 11th, at 1pm.  Hope to see you there! 

Every summer I’m anxious for the arrival of fresh, organic peaches.  Often, I’m overzealous and buy them too early – when they are pricey, and lacking that natural juicy sweetness when harvested at the right time.  But, there is that golden window in the summer… when organic peaches are abundant – and affordable!  This is the time to stock up on these glorious stone fruits.  White peaches are my all-time favorite, but you can use any variety of peach (or nectarine) in this recipe.

I first posted a photo for this ice-cream on my facebook page, just a week or two ago.  So, for those of your anxiously waiting (and stocking up on those peaches)… now’s your time to indulge!

Cardamom-Scented Peach Ice Cream gluten-free, soy-free (RECIpage link)

1 cup cubed/sliced peaches or nectarines (see note)

1/2 cup frozen banana, in chunks

1 can coconut milk (regular, not lite)

1/2 cup soaked cashews (or 1/3 cup raw, unsoaked, see note)

3 – 4 tbsp coconut sugar (see note)

1/2 cup plain or vanilla nondairy milk

3 – 4 tbsp pure maple syrup (or agave nectar, see note)

couple pinches powdered stevia (optional, can add more sweetener, see note)

1/8 tsp sea salt

1/4 teaspoon (rounded) guar gum

1/8 tsp ground cardamom (if you love the flavor of cardamom, you can use a little more, up to about 1/4 tsp)

1/8 – 1/4 tsp pure almond extract (optional, but adds lovely light fruity essence)

Add-in (optional) 1/2 – 2/3 cup chopped peaches or nectarines (to add in at end of churning)

In a blender (I use a Blendtec), combine all the ingredients (except reserved 1/2 – 2/3 cup peaches) and puree until smooth, scraping down the sides of blender as needed (this may take a few minutes with a standard blender). Transfer the mixture to an ice-cream maker (follow the directions of the specific model, see note below), and churn until the mixture is of soft-serve consistency.  Once ready, add reserved peaches (if using), and let churn through for another minute. Transfer to a container to store in the freezer.

Ice-Cream Maker Note: I am often asked which ice cream maker I use.  I have the KitchenAid ice cream bowl attachment that works with the KitchenAid mixer.  So, if you have a KitchenAid mixer, you can pick up this ice-cream bowl at a fairly reasonable price.  I love this unit.  It doesn’t take up much space (I store it in the freezer!), there are a couple of attachment paddles that are easy to use, and I’ve had my bowl for at least four years and it works beautifully.

Peach Note:  Try to resist adding more peaches in the blended mixture.  As irresistible as they are, adding too many to the blended mix will make your ice cream a little icy rather than creamy.  That’s why I call for adding 1/2 – 2/3 cup of chopped peaches after – to add as chunks to the ice cream if you want that additional peachy flavor.  If you don’t have ripe peaches, mangoes are a fine substitute!

Cashew Note:  I have given the option to use soaked cashews as they will blend more smoothly if you don’t have a high-speed blender.

Sweetener Note:  I typically use about 3 tbsp each of coconut sugar and maple syrup to this blend.  Then, I add a pinch or two of stevia, as the ice cream is not excessively sweet with the amount of sweetener included.  I like keeping the ice cream a lighter creamy color, so I opt for a pinch of stevia to bump up the sweetness.  But, it’s up to you.  You can certainly add the extra maple syrup and coconut sugar – it will darken the ice cream just slightly, but if you aren’t taking photos – no biggie!  Also, the sweetness of your mix will depend on whether you are using vanilla non-dairy milk or plain (vanilla will be sweeter).  So, taste your mix and adjust after blending.  Note that the room-temperature mix will seem sweeter to the taste buds than when the mixture is actually frozen. So you may want to make your blended mixture just a touch sweeter so the final ice-cream product has just the right level of sweetness!

Note: Also try making my Chai Peanut Butter ice cream – it’s getting rave reviews from my readers!

Have you made ice-cream at home before?  What is your favorite?