I started quite a few business ventures when I was younger and although I wouldn't quite call them successful, I can see where I get my entrepreneurial spirit. From a cat-sitting/dog walking venture, to garage sales, lemonade stands and even creating a mini-summer camp in my backyard with my friend (which only had 2 campers, so it was pretty much babysitting), I have always been an "idea" person. I also made cassette tapes of myself playing piano and singing and would try to sell them to my parent's friends at dinner parties.
I think that's one of the reasons I enjoy blogging. It's about branding yourself, creating interesting content and trying to find your niche. Who knows where it will go? One of the perks is definitely sampling neat food items from different companies.
GraceKennedy sent me a sample of their Organic Coconut Sugar; a natural sweetener made from nutrient-rich sap of coconut flower buds. I used it on top of yoghurt and granola, but it can be used as a 1:1 substitute to brown sugar in baking or to sweeten coffee or tea. The other day I sprinkled some into tomato sauce as a bit of a sweetener and I also added some to this frozen dessert.
Because the new season of Arrested Development was released last week I thought it would be fitting to make some frozen bananas to eat while I watch the new episodes. Even though the Bluthe company never really works out as planned, they still try to do their best (I guess?) and keep the family together.
These frozen bananas were somewhat inspired by this Nutella Crunch Ice cream Cake. I used melted nutella as the coating and then rolled the bananas in a mixture of All-Bran buds, puffed quinoa cereal and coconut sugar. I found the puffed quinoa cereal at Bulk Barn and it's kind of like quinoa in Rice Krispies form.
Frozen Chocolate Bananas with Coconut Sugar3 bananas
1 cup Nutella
1 cup All-bran Buds
1 cup puffed quinoa cereal
3 tbsp coconut sugar
Directions:1. Melt nutella in a small bowl in the microwave for about 30 seconds.
2. Peel the bananas and cut them in half. Coat the bananas in the melted nutella.
3. Combine the All-bran Buds, quinoa and sugar. Roll the coated bananas in the cereal mixture. Place them on a plate or cookie sheet with parchment paper.
4. Place the bananas in the freezer for at least one hour. Make sure to put the sticks in before they are completely frozen.
I am sometimes too much of a "thinker" for my own good. Sometimes I over plan things a little too much, like with planning parties. When I was younger, my birthday parties were always elaborate and meticulously planned. From the Indiana Jones-themed party where my parents actually buried treasure in the backyard to having a Clown entertain and paint our faces to even a session at Glamour Shots.
Birthdays seem a little more low-key nowadays. I don't need treat bags, invitations or formal activities. Some good friends, food, a cozy setting and maybe some drinks are all I need. And especially for the summer, homemade Sangria is always nice. Sometimes I need to let go, stop planning and just enjoy the wonderful moments.
When we went to Niagara-on-the-Lake the other weekend, we picked up a few bottles of red wine that was on sale. According to the salesperson, the wine was from 2008, which was not a great year for Ontario wine; however, she did say it was a great wine for house parties or making Sangria.
So I turned to the Joy of Cooking for a classic Sangria recipe made with club soda, fruit and lemon juice to serve at my Birthday celebration. I also made a Thai-inspired coleslaw with cabbage, mango, green onions, peanuts and a dressing to go along with burgers and pulled pork. After a getaway exploring wineries and food trucks, my low-key Birthday party was a great way to unwind and finish up the long weekend.
We ate some burgers, drank quite a bit of Sangria and relaxed on the porch. My birthday cake was an experiment based on this summer fruits chocolate frosted cake recipe I found on Pinterest. Like many things on Pinterest, looks can be deceiving. The idea is that you ice a whole watermelon so when you cut into it the slices are all "cake-like" slices of watermelon. The tricky part was getting the icing to stay on the watermelon. I don't know if you know this, but watermelon is made up of mostly water, so this was a difficult task.
I ended up scraping the icing off of the side and iced the top of the cake instead with some icing and sprinkles. The process was quite neat and Mike did a great job carving the watermelon--the intentions were there--however, the staying power of icing on water was not.
Good ideas can easily flop and sometimes you have good intentions. Like the Bluthe family, you don't always plan for crazy things to happen; they just do. Just remember, "there is always money in the banana stand."
Disclosure: I received a sample of Grace Organic Coconut Sugar for review purposes. The opinions expressed are completely my own based on my experience.