Chocolate Frozen Banana and Blueberry Bites

chocolate covered blueberries

These Chocolate Frozen Banana and Blueberry Bites are my new favorite treats recently.  I can’t get enough of them! They’re quite healthy too.  You can use raw cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder.  Especially when combined with the frozen blueberries, this packs a powerful antioxidant punch. :)

I always have frozen banana slices in my freezer for my smoothies.  This is how I prepare them:
frozen banans I slice a ripe banana (still firm though) and lay the pieces on a piece of parchment and freeze in a lidded container. I used to do this on a plate, but my husband claimed the banana flavor was permeating the ice cubes.  After they are frozen, I usually store them in a freezer bag, as it takes less space.  I buy frozen blueberries and just use those.  Very easy!

To make the chocolate treats, first melt some coconut oil and mix with the cocoa powder, coconut milk, and sweetener of choice. I use stevia.  Then heat for a bit on the stove or in the microwave oven. I nuke it, because it’s one less pan to clean and faster.

Then dip the frozen banana slices and/or frozen blueberries in the chocolate and place on a plate or in a parchment paper lined container.  Be sure not to put too many frozen pieces at one time in the chocolate, as the coconut oil will harden (coconut oil is used to make home made Magic Shell because of this effect). I usually do one at a time.

banans and blueberries on parchment

Put in the freezer to harden, then transfer to a zip lock bag.  When you want a quick frozen bite, grab a few and you’re good to go! :)

chocolate covered bananas

YUM!
chocolate covered bananas 1

Chocolate Frozen Banana and Blueberry Bites

Frozen banana slices from about 1 large banana

Frozen blueberries – about 1/2 cup

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder or raw cacao powder

2-4 tablespoons coconut milk, almond milk, or cow’s milk

Stevia or other sweetener to taste

1.  Melt coconut oil in a bowl until it’s in liquid form.  Add cocoa powder and 2 tablespoons of coconut milk and sweetener of choice.  Heat in microwave oven for about 30 seconds.  Stir until powder has dissolved.  It it’s too thick, add more milk a bit at a time until the consistency is of chocolate syrup.  Heat again for about 10 seconds. Stir until smooth.

2.  Dip frozen banana slices and berries one at a time in the chocolate and place on a parchment lined container or plate.  Continue to dip slices and berries until chocolate syrup is used up.  Freeze until hardened.  Transfer to a zip lock bag for storage.

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Filed under Desserts, Gluten Free

Low Carb Cauliflower Crust Bacon Zucchini Quiche

quiche side 1

I procrastinated today and instead of doing my work, I did some experimenting and cooking in the kitchen!  We had a frozen pie crust I needed to use (it kept threatening to fall out of the freezer in an annoying way), so I decided to make a quiche.  I try to keep my processed foods on the low side (with the occasional lapse of salty snacks that sometimes make their way in our house…).  So I made one quiche with the Pilsbury pie crust and one quiche for myself with cauliflower crust (my husband and son hate cauliflower, so that’s why there was no sharing).

I based the filling on this Cooking Light recipe.  I doubled it because I was making two quiches.  The recipe below is for one quiche.  I used onion instead of shallot since that’s what we had. I lessened the oil to 1/2 tablespoon, used only half of the zucchini, and added parmesan cheese.  The results were yummy!  This quiche is also gluten free. :)

quiche top

Low Carb Cauliflower Crust Bacon Zucchini Quiche

For crust:

Non-stick spray

1/2 head cauliflower, about 18 oz., chopped

6 tablespoons liquid egg whites (or 2 whites)

salt and pepper

1/4 cup almond meal

For filling:

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 small zucchini, sliced (about 2 cups)

1 teaspoon dried thyme

salt and pepper to taste

3 eggs

9 tablespoons liquid egg whites (or 3 whites)

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

2 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

1 1/2 oz. shredded part skim mozzarella (about 1/4 cup)

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Spray pie pan with non-stick spray.  Set aside

2.  Finely process cauliflower in food processor.  Transfer to a bowl, cover with saran, and steam in microwave for 4 minutes.

3.  Mix cooked cauliflower, 6 tablespoons egg whites, salt and pepper, and almond meal together in the bowl.  Pour into the pie pan and shape crust with a spoon, pushing sides up the edges.

4.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and turn heat down to 350 degrees.

5.  Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet, add onion, zucchini, thyme, salt, and pepper and saute on medium heat for about 5 minutes until softened.  Let cool a bit.

6.  Beat eggs, egg whites, milk, parmesan cheese, and bacon together in a bowl.  Set aside.

7.  Spoon cooked onion and zucchini mixture into cauliflower crust and spread evenly.  Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella.

Then pour egg/bacon mixture on top.

8.  Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until center is set.

Serves 8.

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Filed under Dinner, Eggs, Gluten Free

Easy Broccoli Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce for the Busy Person

Not the prettiest but oh so delicious!

Not the prettiest but oh so delicious!

Happy to start the new year with lots of projects, but that means I need to cook fast!

This has been my go-to super fast lunch for awhile now, and I thought I’d share the recipe here.  It is really easy to make if you have all the ingredients on hand. I usually make just one serving at a time, but you could double or quadruple the recipe pretty easily.

Have you seen the raw broccoli slaw they sell these days in the refrigerated section?  I still prefer my broccoli cooked, but I love the convenience of having it already washed and sliced thinly for stir fries.  I par cook the broccoli in the microwave for about 2 minutes with a spritz of water.  Then I fry it in just a smidgen of sesame oil for flavor in a non-stick pan and add a slice of firm tofu, and an egg white.  As the white cooks, I break it up along with the tofu and season with a bit of soy sauce.  Then I stir it all together with a peanut sauce I make.  You can use this peanut sauce recipe I use for my Asian Chicken Salad with Peanut Noodles, and use as needed.  Or you could just make a bit of sauce fresh (which I’ve been doing) of some peanut butter, peanut flour, coconut milk, and a bit more soy sauce.  In the above picture, I added some leftover shirataki noodles to the mix.  I’m doing a bit of low carbing these days, trying to lose some holiday weight….

Here is the recipe for a single serving:

Easy Broccoli Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce

1 1/2 cups of broccoli slaw (I use Trader Joe’s)

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1 slice of firm tofu

1 egg white (I use liquid whites)

2 teaspoons soy sauce, divided

For sauce:

1 teaspoon peanut butter

2 teaspoons peanut flour (alternatively, just use 1 tablespoon of peanut butter for the sauce)

1 tablespoon coconut milk or water

1.  Steam the broccoli slaw in a bowl in the microwave for about 2 minutes.

2.  Heat sesame oil in a non-stick pan.  Add broccoli, tofu, egg white, and 1 teaspoon of soy sauce.  Let whites harden a bit, then stir together and break up tofu into pieces.

3.  Remove from heat and set aside.  In a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, peanut flour (or just 1 tablespoon peanut butter) with coconut milk or water and the rest of the soy sauce (1 teaspoon).

4.   Pour over cooked vegetable mixture and stir to incorporate.  Serve immediately.

Makes 1 serving

And here’s a small “sketch” I did of a dad I saw at Starbucks last weekend — just because….  :)

DAD and babya

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Filed under Eggs, Lunch, Vegetables, Vegetarian

2014 Round Up Top Five Posts

Looking back on 2014, I am happy of all the things I accomplished in my art life, but cooking took a backseat this time….  I won’t lie, most popular posts were from previous years! Number one was Creamy Pesto Sauce from 2013 for some reason in April of this year:

creamy pesto ravioli2

It is a really good recipe, I have to say — check it out!

The top posts of this year were Adventures with Jello — also in April (am I sensing a trend here?):

flubber jello

Check out my Flubber Jello!

California Dreamin’ — our recent trip to California and my mom’s yummy Migas!

With refried beans, crema, and chopped scallions

With refried beans, crema, and chopped scallions

And Tex Mex Scramble (another fav I always cook) and my illustrated recipe of it for They Draw and Cook:

tofu2

Click to view larger

Click to view larger

And last but not least — another easy weeknight meal: Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions and Mini Pizzas!

pizza 2

Hope everyone has a wonderful, exciting, prosperous 2015!!!  See you next year! :)

2015 copy

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Filed under Art Related, Dinner, Eggs, Pasta, Vegetarian

Merry Christmas Eve Day

Santa Sack copy

Hope all who celebrate have a joyous time!

I didn’t bake my usual cookie this year (breaking a 13 year annual event!) because I was producing so much art!  I finished 25 consecutive days of Advent Illustrations! View here on my art blog.

Here are some of my all time favorite cookie recipes:

Holiday Butter Cookies 3 Ways

lemon

Chocolate Butter Cookies with sanding sugar

Chocolate Butter Cookies with sanding sugar

Butter Cookies Drizzled with Melted Chocolate and White Chocolate

Butter Cookies Drizzled with Melted Chocolate and White Chocolate

Packed for school!

Turtle Brownies

Stained Glass Cookies

Snowballs

Pistachio Orange Lace Cookes

Brown Sugar Gringer Crisps

cookies

Enjoy!

25 animals no text

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Free Fall Friday – Reviews and Kudos

thehungryartist:

Nice post about Denis’ great news last month!

Originally posted on Writing and Illustrating:

DOGMelissa Iwai is participating in an AdventChallenge2014 this month and she sent me this fun illustration from December 3rd. Thought it might give you ideas for decorating your best friend. Melissa was featured on Illustrator Saturday. Now her husband has something to tout about below.

gayle KraussAfter being read and
reviewed by Karen Haas
in New Jersey, Cherry Money Baby by John Cusick took at trip to Pennsylvania and visited Gail Krause.

Gail is  pictured on the left holding Cherry Money Baby taken on Thanksgiving day in the Poconos.

Isn’t it a great holiday picture?

After Gail read it she wrote a review on Amazon and Goodreads, then set Cherry off on a trip to visit someone in Louisville, Kentucky.

We’ll have to wait and see where Cherry ends up traveling after that.

DenisMarkellKate Sullivan at Delacorte Press has won two middle-grade novels by Denis Markell (Melissa Iwai’s husband) at auction. The first book, Click Here to…

View original 161 more words

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Kashi Healthy Treats and Advent Challenge

kashi treats 2

 

Whew, the holidays threw me for a loop!  Hope everyone who celebrates had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We went to Illinois to see my family and had a great time!  I was remiss in my photo taking, but I drew a lot. :)  All my daily sketches are on instagram.

 

This month up until Christmas, I am doing an Advent Challenge put together by Faye Brown Designs. Every day (in place of my daily sketches) I do an illustration inspired by her prompt.  At first I wasn’t going to do one every day, but so far, I’ve done seven, so that’s seven for seven!   They are all made digitally, and it is the first time I’m actually painting with digital brushes.  I bought these amazing brushes you from Kyle T. Webster for Photoshop, and they’ve really changed the way I work.  They are SOOO much better than the ones that come with Photoshop. There is no comparison.  Here is a nice review of them in Wired Magazine.  He is an amazing illustrator and he started making brushes for himself.  When he started selling them, he made a bucketful of money because they are so awesome.

The illustrations I’m making  take a lot longer than my 30 minute paintings – sometimes an hour to two hours!  So it’s kind of a heavy load to carry… But I’m having so much fun with these brushes and  at the end of the challenge, I’ll have 25 designs (if I can maintain the pace) to choose from to make into some greeting cards.  :) Wish me luck!

Here are some of my favorites so far:

bear copy72

DOG copy2

penguin copy

ETI copy

Today’s was:

7 polar bear

To see more daily, I’ll be posting at:  http://instagram.com/melissaiwai1/

I’ll leave you with a quick recipe I made up for a high fiber high protein low sugar snack.  I love Kashi cereals, and I had a coupon which I used to buy a box of Kashi GoLean Crunch cereal.  These crunchy treats satisfy my craving for a crunchy sweet chocolate snack, but are packed with fiber and protein without artificial ingredients.  :)

kashi treats

Kashi Healthy Treats

1 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped finely

2 teaspoons coconut oil

stevia or other sweetener to taste

1 tablespoon peanut butter

1  cup Kashi GoLean Crunch Cereal or other Kashi cereal

 

1.  Melt chocolate and coconut oil together in a medium sized bowl in the microwave at 30 second intervals until melted.

2.  Stir in stevia and peanut butter until combined.  Add cereal and coat evenly.

3.  Line a large plate or baking sheet with parchment paper.  Make six balls of cereal mixture and arrange on plate.

4.  Chill for about an hour until set.

Makes six treats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Art Related, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Jamie’s Soup and My Society 6 Store

jamie'ssoup

I did a similar soup post way back when when I created this creamy green soup.  This one, however, is even easier, and I recently taught my ten year old to make it by himself!  It is his favorite soup these days, so I make it a lot. And now he can do the honors.  This is a good thing because I am so busy these days with MATS A and other work!

All you do is cut 2 large zucchini into slices.

cutting

Then you steam them in the microwave for about 6-8 minutes.

Place steamed zucchini into a Vitamix along with 2 cups of broth and season with some salt and pepper if you like.  Blend and serve!  If you want it warmer, just heat it a little for about 30 seconds.

Drinking the green yumminess!

Drinking the green yumminess!

This is what I did in my class last week– I designed a collection of ceramic plates:

MELISSA_IWAI_BEARANDBUNNY_4A_WK2REV

To read about the process, you can go here.  It was quite painful!  But all good. :)

Also, I just reopened my Society 6 store. I’ve been hesitant dipping my toes in the waters — I don’t know why….  But I made my first sale!  To myself!  ha ha.  I bought a pillow that has my bunny head design on it.  It is nothing really, but exciting to me, because it’s such a novelty for me!  There is a SALE in my store right now for $5 off everything plus FREE shipping until 11/9, so check it out!  :)

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 3.53.01 PMJamie’s Zucchini Soup

2 zucchini

2 cups of chicken broth or other broth

salt and pepper to taste

1.  Cut zucchini into slices.  Place in large bowl and cover with saran.  Microwave for about 5-7 minutes until soft (it depends on your oven).  Alternatively, you can steam in a steamer on the stove for 8-10 minutes.

2.  Blend cooked zucchini and broth and seasonings in a Vitamix or blender until smooth.

Makes about 4 large bowls of soup.

 

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Filed under Soup, Soup, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

MATS A Course and Root Vegetables

Melissa Iwai 2014

Melissa Iwai 2014

So… I started taking an intense online design course, called Make Art That Sells, taught by Lilla Rogers.  This, along with several book assignments and prep for a gallery show and an art auction makes for some busy (though good) times!  For any artist wanted to broaden their range, I highly recommend this class.  Every week focuses on a different market.  Last week, it was Bolt Fabric.  Our assignment was to create a fabric pattern that had the theme “vintage kitchen” that is inspired by root vegetables and vintage casserole dishes.  So this is the pattern I designed.  It was really difficult for me, but I won’t bore you with the gory details. If you want to read about my process, you can do so on my website blog.

For the warm up — or mini assignment, we were to explore vintage casserole dishes and root vegetables.  So the first thing I did was buy a bunch of veggies and the local green market.

root vegetables

After several days of drawing and drawing and more  drawing and painting the vegetables in different media, they met their final destination:  The oven.

root vegetables to roast

This is three yams, one large parsnip, a bunch of carrots, one large turnip, and one beet (the beet is wrapped in foil).  Unfortunately, my celery root had gone bad, and I couldn’t use it!  Basically it’s about 5  cups of chopped vegetables.  I coated them with olive oil,  seasoned them with kosher salt and dried thyme, and roasted them at 400 for about 30 minutes, tossing them halfway.

cooked root veg

 

The vegetables really shrink!  But it was enough for a side dish at a pot luck dinner we went to that evening.

And here is my final submission to the class with more coordinating patterns (not so happy with these — it was a struggle!!  But I’d like to do more and improve my craft…)  If you don’t know already, there is a great site where you can upload your designs to be printed on fabric — Spoonflower.com. I’d love to use my pattern to make an apron or some tea towels. :)

MELISSA_IWAI_ROOSTERPITCHER_4A_WK1

 

Roasted Root Vegetables

Non-stick spray

An assortment of root vegetables, such as potatoes, yams, parsnips, turnips, carrots, celery root

about 1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil

kosher salt to taste

1 – 2 teaspoons dried thyme

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line 2 baking sheets with foil and spray with non-stick spray.

2.  Chop vegetables into 1/2 inch cubes.  Try to make them all about the same size so they cook evenly.

3.  Pour onto baking sheets and spread out into a single layer.  Drizzle with olive oil (right onto baking sheets is OK) and mix with hands to make sure everything is nicely coated.  Season with salt and thyme.

4.  Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring and flipping halfway through.

Roasted Beet

1 or 2 beets

olive oil

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2.  Wash and dry beets.  Brush with some olive oil and wrap in aluminum foil.

3.  Set on a baking sheet (sometimes the juices leak out, and it’s not pretty if it gets on your oven!) and bake for about 60 minutes until tender.  You can test it with a knife.  It should be soft like a cooked potato.

 

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Filed under Art Related, Sides, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Citrus Tonic and My Sketchbook

citrus tonic

I’ve been sick AND busy, and this is about the extent of my experimenting with recipes!  I made this in my Vitamix:  One whole orange and one whole lemon.  You can add honey or sugar for sweetness, but I like it tart and left it out.  I had such a sore throat and was congested, and this really hit the spot — kind of like an epic Vitamin C kick in the pants.

Then I decided to paint it:

oj

Recently, I’ve begun painting every day in my Moleskin sketchbook as a daily routine.  At first it was really hard, and I felt super self conscious about what I was painting, but I’ve finally found a certain level of comfort with it.  I don’t really care how they will turn out — it’s the process that counts — or rather, the practice– a kind of meditation.  Sometimes I am so tired and exhausted at the end of the day, especially when I was really sick, I only spend ten to fifteen minutes on them!

To read more about the development of this practice, go here.

To see my daily sketch paintings in the future — I plan to do continue to do one every day — right now they have been focussed on street life in Brooklyn — follow me on Instagram! :)

Citrus Tonic (really nice for when you’re feeling the cold bug taking over your face!)

One navel orange, peeled

One lemon, peeled and seeded

Honey, agave, sugar, or other sweetener if desired

1.  Process in blender and drink up!

 

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Filed under Art Related, Beverages