Banana Ricotta Cheese Pancakes

Ricotta-Banana-Pancakes

Ricotta-Banana-Pancakes

I’ve tried making different kind of pancakes, but by far my favorite version is with Ricotta Cheese.  These pancakes are so soft and tender, that they literally melt in your mouth.  They also don’t dry out in a day or two, so you can cook a batch and store it for few days for your family to enjoy.   They are also very versatile you can pretty much add any other fruit to it and make it your own.  I have done them with cherries, blueberries, walnuts (mixed with honey), dried fruit…you name it…I tried it! This version made with fresh bananas tends to be kids favorite and they love helping out making them.   But what makes Ricotta Cheese special and how it is really made?

“Ricotta is a type of whey cheese, developed in Italy but manufactured and sold all over the world. It is a very flexible and delicious dairy product, starring in lasagna, cannoli, and many other delicious dishes that require the use of a soft, mild cheese product. The name actually means “to cook again” in Italian, a reference to the way in which ricotta is manufactured. The cheese is also highly nutritious eaten plain, although somewhat bland in flavor.

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The whey drained from cheese while it is being made is recycled to make ricotta. Most cheese making involves curdling milk, draining the whey, and scooping the curds into forms. The whey is usually discarded, although sometimes it is retained for animal fodder or starting other cheeses. When making ricotta, this whey is heated again, to bring the proteins in the whey to the surface. As the whey is heated, vinegar or another type of acid is added to promote separation, and the temperature is further raised until the lactalbumin, or proteins, rise to the surface. These proteins are drained in very fine cheesecloth for two days and then the cheese brought to market.

Ricotta is usually a fresh cheese, although some versions such as ricotta salata are molded and aged, and form a unique part of Italian cuisine although they are rarely seen in the United States. The cheese should be eaten quickly, and kept under refrigeration until then. It can also be frozen for future use, and will last frozen for approximately six months. Many recipes call for the cheese, which lends an excellent texture and flavor to a wide variety of dishes.

In general, ricotta is made from cows milk whey, although sheep and goat are used as well. If sheep or goat whey is used, it is clearly labeled to indicate this. In many parts of the world where demand for ricotta is high, it can be made directly from milk although it will tend to be more dry and less creamy. When making it from milk, the milk must be heated before acid is added and the proteins will rise to the surface, just as they do when making traditional ricotta. The mixture can be strained through cheesecloth and allowed to sit for several days.

 Ricotta has become very popular and is usually a relatively low fat product, making it ideal for dieters. Some dairies also sell it in a fat free form, although the difference in fat content may not be that significant and the flavor of the normal variety may be preferable.”
Source: What is Ricotta?  Retrieved November 5, 2013.
                Ricotta Making.  Photo Retrieved November 5, 2013
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 Ingredients:

1 cup of Ricotta Cheese
2 Eggs 
1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
3 Teaspoons of Sugar (can substitute with brown sugar)
Dash of Salt
4 Table Spoons of Flour
3 Table Spoons of Vegetable Oil (1 for the mix, the other two to moisten the pan)
1 Ripe Banana
 

Pancake-Ingredients

 How to make Banana Ricotta Pancakes:

1.  Cut and then mash up your banana in a bowl with a fork.

Mashed-Up-Banana

2.  Add 1 cup of Ricotta Cheese.

Pancakes-Bananna-Ricotta

3.  Then add 4 table spoons of flour and 1/2  teaspoon of baking powder.

Pancakes-Mix

4.  Crack two eggs in your mixture, add 3 teaspoons of brown sugar (or regular sugar) and dash of salt.

Eggs-Flour-Sugar-and-Ricotta

Sassha-Helping-Out

5.  Mix everything up, I prefer to use the electric mixer to do the job well and then add 1 table spoons of Vegetable Oil.  Your pancake mix is now ready.

Pancake-Mix-Ready

Girls

6.  You can use a large table spoon to add your pancakes mix to a preheated and slightly oiled pan.  My favorite brand for the flat pancake pan is by Calphalon, it’s non stick and distributes the heat evenly…you can click here for more info, it’s also has been added to our shop for your convenience.

Pancakes-on-the-Pan

7.  Once the first batch is done, make sure you stand by because they cook very fast each side is pretty much under a minute.   When you see the edges firm up, you can flip them on the other side.

Pancakes-Cooking

8.  As you can see from the photo below, they come out quite thin, but so delicious!  The key for getting them perfect is make them quite small so they cook evenly and are easy to flip.

Pancakes-Thin

Pancakes-Ready

Your pancakes are now ready.   You can serve them with fresh fruit, syrup, jam or any other toppings of your choice.  I hope you enjoy this recipe, let me know what you think.

Sasha-eating-pancakes

Love,

Natalie

Glazed Banana Cake with Pecans and Raisins

Banana Cake with Pecans and Raisins

What to do with overripe bananas, which are unless used up quickly, alas end up not being used at all? This is what I do and I truly think this is a perfect “overripe banana saving” solution. And the solution is – baking a scrumptious, pecan-rasins-filled cake! And that is exactly what I did past weekend, but I am just getting around to creating this blog post and sharing with our readers a recipe for this easy to bake, full of flavor and good for you things that go into this cake.

Banana Cake with Pecans and Raisins

This recipe which I worked out to perfection results in delicious, moist and last, but not least – gorgeous cake.

While the intent of this post is not to educate you on the health benefits of certain foods, from time to time I like to to do some research about why certain foods or ingredients are or are not good and equipped with that knowledge I then fine-tune the recipes making sure I use only the best possible components in the food I make for my family.

So I thought I’d share just a few interesting facts for the three staple components of this cake — bananas, pecans, and raisins.

 

Banana Cake with Pecans and Raisins

Bananas: High-potassium food, and one medium banana does pack more than 400 mg of this heart-healthy mineral, which helps to prevent against high blood pressure and reduce stress. Bananas contain tryptophan a protein the body converts into serotonin. The more serotonin in the your brain the more your mood improves. Bananas are also the ultimate hunger buster, packed with resistant starch, a healthy carb that fills you up and helps to boost your metabolism.

Pecans: Pecans are the most antioxidant-rich tree nut and are among the top 15 foods to contain the highest antioxidant capacity. Eating a handful of pecans will also provide you with more than 19 vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and several B vitamins and they are naturally cholesterol-free and sodium-free.

Raisins: A low fat and high energy snack, raisins pack a high dose of antioxidants. Antioxidants play an important role in protecting the body’s cells from damaging compounds. Studies have shown that antioxidants may act as an anti-aging tool for the body and the brain. Some studies have also shown that antioxidants may help to prevent serious diseases like cancer. Raisins can also help to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. While adding raisins to a daily diet can be beneficial to men and women alike, women can reap extra benefits. Raisins contain high levels of Boron, which is a substance that is essential for bone health. Boron is an important substance for women to help fight the onset of Osteoporosis.

 Ingredients for the cake:

1/3 cup butter (room temperature)
1/4 cup kefir or buttermilk
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
3 medium overripe bananas (pureed)
1/2 cup pecans -  (toasted and cut into small pieces)
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Banana Cake with Pecans and Raisins

 

Ingredients for the glaze and topping:

1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
2-3 table spoons whole milk
1/2 cup pecans -  (toasted and cut into small pieces)

Banana Cake with Pecans and Raisins

You will also need a bundt pan like the one shown below or you can certainly use a different one or even a loaf pan (only then you will have a bread and not a cake:)

Banana Cake with Pecans and Raisins

 

How to make Glazed Banana Cake with Pecans and Raisins:

1.  In a bowl of stand mixer or using a an electric hand mixer, cream together butter and sugar.

2. Add to the butter and sugar mixture kefir or buttermilk (which ever you are using) and mix well on medium speed.

Banana Cake with Pecans and Raisins

3. In a separate small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add all to the big ball, then add eggs, sugar,  and vanilla extract.

Banana Cake with Pecans and Raisins

4. In a food processor puree bananas. You can also just mash them with a fork by hand. Small pieces are OK and won’t affect the result.

Banana Cake with Pecans and Raisins

5. Toast the pecans constantly mixing them till fragrant and start to develop deep brown color. Should only take a few minutes.

6. Chop toasted pecans into small pieces.

Banana Cake with Pecans and Raisins

7. Add to the bowl with previously mixed ingredients pureed bananas, 1/2 cup chopped pecans and raisins. Combine everything well. I usually use the hand-mixer set to the lowest speed.

Banana Cake with Pecans and Raisins

8. Preheat oven to 350F.

9. Meanwhile, prepare the pan in which you will be baking the cake. I use a bundt pan by Nordic Ware. A link to this pan is available on our Shop page under Bakeware and Baking Accessories. Alternatively, if you wish to purchase this pan, please use this direct link to Amazon.com.

10. Butter and flour well the bundt pan. Turn over the pan over the sink to remove flour access.

Banana Cake with Pecans and Raisins

11. Poor the cake batter into the pan.

Banana Cake with Pecans and Raisins

12. Place the cake in the preheated oven on the middle rack and bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes. Use a cake taster or a thin knife to test the inside of the cake before removing from the oven. Insert the cake taster into the middle of the cake. It should not have any uncooked batter when you remove it.

13. Remove baked cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

Banana Cake with Pecans and Raisins

14. Turn over the pan to remove the cake. If you buttered and floured the pan well, you shouldn’t have any trouble with this step.

Banana Cake with Pecans and Raisins

15. Next, make the glaze by simply mixing together confectioner’s sugar and milk. Poor the glaze over the top of the cake.

16. Top with toasted pieces of pecans.

All done!

Banana Cake with Pecans and Raisins

Cut into pieces and joy with some tea or coffee.

Banana Cake with Pecans and Raisins

I really do hope you will try baking this delicious cake! And I would be delighted to know what you think of it:)

Banana Cake with Pecans and Raisins

My son and I enjoyed this cake on a sunny Sunday afternoon outside on the deck. It was perfect!

Banana Cake with Pecans and Raisins

Here is another variation of this cake, which I baked some time ago. It is the same cake, only instead of glazing it and topping with pecans, I decorated it with confectioner’s sugar and strawberries. Same delicious cake, just under a different “makeup” :)

Banana Cake with Pecans and Raisins

Enjoy!

dina-signature

 

Smoothie with Fresh Raspberries, Mangoes, Banana and Organic Milk

a-smoothie

a-smoothie-short

Smoothies!  What a perfect and healthy breakfast meal, packed with vitamins and great serving of fresh fruit.  I make smoothies all the time, variety of ingredients depends on what I have available at home.

“A smoothie for breakfast helps you get hydrated at the start of the day, something soda and coffee won’t do. Since your body pulls water from many foods in order to stay hydrated, you won’t have to drink water when you’re sipping on a smoothie (especially a homemade one without sugar). Milk and yogurt are largely water, so if your smoothie is dairy-based, you’ll quench your thirst. This is especially handy if you only have one cup holder on your commute. In hot weather, add a few ice cubes to the blender for extra water.

Smoothies made with dairy products as the bulk provide calcium for bone strength. Try whole milk, whole milk yogurt or kefir. The cultured milk products are good sources of probiotics and live cultures. Eight ounces of milk provide almost a third of your daily requirement of calcium. Choose whole milk products rather than skim for optimal nutrition. The health benefits are questionable at best, while whole milk contains the fat and vitamins needed to assimilate calcium and protein found in milk.

A homemade smoothie for your morning meal is an excellent, on-the-go breakfast choice. You can make it in minutes before you leave the house and sip it on your way to work, school or your home office. Drinking a smoothie in the morning keeps you from indulging in empty carbohydrates in the form of donuts and removes the temptation of the drive through.”

Source: Facts and Health Benefits of Smoothies.  http://www.livestrong.com/article/2699-facts-health-benefits-smoothies/#ixzz2Wqtr1Q1R.  Retrieved on June 21, 2013

This smoothie was made with fresh raspberries, mangoes, bananas and organic whole milk.  These fruits have multitude of health benefits, did you know this about bananas?

bananas

Ingredients:

1 Banana, 1 Ripe Mango, 1/2  Cup of Fresh Raspberries, 1 Cup of Whole Organic Milk, 1 Table Spoon of Honey (optional), Garnish with slice of lemon

 

How to make this smoothie:

Cut up your bananas, peel and slice your mangoes.  Wash your raspberries and add all the ingredients in the blender, finally pour your 1 cup of milk.  Pulse and blend until smooth, add ice if you prefer cooler thicker texture and honey if you like it on the sweeter side. Enjoy!:)

Love,

451C4ACF5DBE383B5B17C2D9D97F000D

a-smoothie

Smoothie with fresh raspberries, mangoes, banana, and organic milk
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Fresh smoothie blended with organic milk, mangoes, banana and raspberries.
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast, Drinks
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Ripe Mango
  • ½ Cup of Fresh Raspberries
  • 1 Cup of Whole Organic Milk
  • 1 Table Spoon of Honey (optional)
  • How to make this smoothie:
Instructions
  1. Cut up your bananas, peel and slice your mangoes.
  2. Wash your raspberries and add all the ingredients in the blender.
  3. Pour 1 cup of milk over cut up fruit.
  4. Pulse and blend until smooth.
  5. Add ice if you prefer cooler thicker texture and honey if you like it on the sweeter side (optional).

 

Copyright © 2013 Flavor Shades