18 July 2012

Summer heat

Most of the country is currently under high heat warnings.  Temperatures into the triple digits have been causing droughts and wildfires.  Here, in the Capitol Area, we haven't suffered too heavily with the exception of the crazy Derecho storm that swept through rather unexpectedly and forcefully a few weeks ago.  It knocked out power and played havoc with all the telecommunications services.  Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), T and I escaped the Derecho by accident and were at the beach that fateful weekend.  We drove out to Bethany and kept just barely ahead of the storm.  We got to see crazy wind and rain; for much of the drive, visibility was terrible because of all of the sand flying around.  It was like being in "Twister" the movie!

Today was another scorcher of a day, and right now it looks like a big storm is brewing.  A few weeks back, we'd found out that we are required to switch over to FIOS, so the guy came today to install it.  As seems typical, he arrived around 12:30pm even though the window (which they called, emailed and texted me about several times) was from 8:00am to noon.  Anyway, I took the opportunity as a day to stay in (out of the incredible heat!) and do some experimenting in the kitchen.

I started the morning by making T's lunch which included bell pepper sticks.  He is still making a good effort to eat healthfully, so I have been trying to come up with new and delicious healthful recipes!  I like to have something to dip pepper sticks into, and T is never one to turn down a sauce, so I concocted a sesame-peanut sauce for him.  We'll find out when he gets home if he liked it or not.  I liked it so much that I decided to make another batch of it for Sneetch and me to enjoy as a snack throughout the day.

Sneetch and Mom stopped at Safeway on their way here to pick up some more summer squashes for me.  Sneetch and I made the yummy summer veggie stir fry again and topped it with a little of the delicious sesame-peanut sauce.  Fantastic combo for a super healthful and delicious summer lunch!

Finally, Mom had some bananas that needed to be made into banana bread, so Sneetch and I mixed up a batter using apple sauce and honey instead of oil/butter and sugar.  We also used whole wheat flour and gluten free flour instead of all purpose.  We got three silicone trays worth of mini muffins out of our batter.  I added swirl chocolate chips and oatmeal (and a little extra apple sauce) to the last batch which are by far my favourite!
Sweet-Hot Sesame-Peanut Sauce

1T peanut butter (I used creamy, but I suppose crunchy might be good too!)
2T sesame oil
1T water
1/2t agave syrup
1t cayenne pepper powder
1t soy sauce

To Make:
  1. Mix together everything except the water and cayenne.
  2. Add in the water and mix well, then taste.
  3. Add in the cayenne a little at a time to get it up to the heat level you like.

Banana Nut Mini Muffins with Chocolate Swirl Chips
 based on this recipe, but this is what I did:

1/3c unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup honey
1t vanilla extract
2 eggs
4 mashed bananas
1c whole wheat flour
3/4c gluten free all purpose flour
1/2t salt
1t baking soda
1/4c hot water
1/2c chopped filberts

And for the third batch with chocolate swirl chips:
1/4c chocolate swirl chips
1/4c unsweetened applesauce
1/4c oats

To Make:
  1. In your stand mixer, mix the eggs, honey, applesauce, bananas and vanilla.
  2. Mix in both flours and the salt.
  3. In a separate little cup, dissolve the baking soda in the hot water, then add it to the batter.
  4. Add in the chopped filberts.
  5. Bake the first batch and while the second batch is in the oven, and 1/3 of the batter remains, add in the last 3 ingredients (1/4c chocolate swirl chips, 1/4c unsweetened applesauce, and 1/4c oats).  Mix it up thoroughly.
  6. I found that filling the muffin cups to the top made a nice little muffin top that didn't overflow too much on the sides.

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