Banana Coconut Cake


Craving a sweet tooth, but you don’t want to damage your diet?  The banana coconut cake hits the spot without busting your diet plan.  Made with real bananas I added a light whip topping to make it even healthier (for a sweet).

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. For the cake, I substituted a thick Greek yogurt for sour cream which will provide the same consistency with less calories and more protein.
  2. Use skim milk instead of whole milk for a better balanced diet.
  3. Be sure to use a very ripe banana.  Not only will it cook better, but you can use up those ones you haven’t had time to eat and it mashes easier.bananacoconutcake3
  4. Instead of using thick, sugared frosting, I substituted for a light, whipped topping.
  5. Between each layer of whipped topping I added
    toasted coconut.
  6. The toasted coconut will only take a few minutes (3 at max) to brown in the oven at 350 ˚F.
  7. Instead of icing the entire cake, ice the layers and leave the rest exposed.  It will give it a more modern look and
    less calories.
  8. The cake itself will be denser since there is banana and thin because of less batter.
  9. Lay it on a cooling rack to cool before handling.  This process will allow the cake to firm up and stack easier.
  10. Use can use pam to coat the cake pan instead of butter again for less calories and
    no sticking.

banancoconutcakeCut the cake into 2 or 4 pieces to share or save for later.  Scoop a mouthful and satisfy that sweet tooth.  The cake is a dense banana cake with a touch of sweetness.  The toasted coconut helps bring that coconut flavor forward and adds a crunch.  In place of coconut, you could use toasted walnuts or another topping of your choice.  There are tons of possibilities to try and indulge your guests in.  You won’t have to break your diet with this cake.


Leave a comment with your topping ideas.  Follow my Pinterest for more delicious recipes.  Check back again next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.


Pineapple Fried Quinoa


Vegan, vegetarian, or just full out flavor love?! The pineapple fried quinoa is a meal for all.  With a blast of flavor and healthier ingredients, it is a great combination for any family dynamic.  The rich, sweet flavors of the soy sauce (tamari) and maple syrup create real depth in the dish.  The fresh kale, shitake mushrooms, onions and pineapple give it a nutritional variety and color blast. The most surprising fact is the additional flavors the tahini and pineapple juice dressing provides the dish.  It creates a well-rounded nutty flavor with an acidic bite.  The nutritional yeast adds some nutrients to the dish and makes the quinoa fluffier.  Quinoa is a great substitution to rice and other grains because it contains more protein than other whole grains, which is necessary in diets like veganism and vegetarianism. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  1. This dish can be made vegan by following it exactly.
  2. In place of tamari, I used soy sauce because they are equivalent in taste the difference is that tamari is a vegan version.
  3. Four cups of quinoa is 1¼ cup dry quinoa.
  4. I used about ½ tbsp more soy sauce to give it more flavor.pineapple-fried-quinoa06
  5. I nixed the mint from the garnish and the dressing.  I felt that the dish was already fresh enough.  If using mint, remember less is more because it is so potent.
  6. I replaced the dried jalapeno with chili powder.  You can use any spice that will give it the kick you desire.
  7. I used chicken broth because it is what I had on hand, but vegetable broth works for both vegans and vegetarians.
  8. I cooked the quinoa and sautéed the tofu, onion, mushroom mixture separately.
  9. After the tofu is cooked remove it until the dish is complete.
  10.  Add all the ingredients to the pot of cooked quinoa and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes.  You just want to mix everything and heat up the chopped pineapple.  Don’t over cook it.
  11. Then, add the tofu and dressing. Mix it well.
  12. There is no need for fancy plating unless you want to impress someone and you think the taste alone won’t blow them away.

I made this dish for a potluck with friends, and it was a real winner-winner not so chicken dinner.  It is a bombshell of flavor and nutrients that was simpler to make than it sounds.  Don’t be intimidated by all the ingredients and give it a try.  You cannot go wrong with this dish, and it’ll blow your vegan family tongues out of the water.  Who knew vegans could have such fun flavors!

Leave a comment with your suggestions and other vegan recipes you’d like me to try.  Follow my Pinterest for more recipes.  Check back again next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.

P.S. Pictures are thanks to the original blogger.

Pineapple Coconut Bars


We all need a Hawaiian get-a-way or a day at the beach this summer.  These pineapple coconut bars are an Island adventure for your kitchen.  I was inspired to make lemon bars for work, but wanted to add a twist.  After the summer sun that has skyrocketed Arizona heat, a taste of an imaginative vacation is all I need.

Normal lemon bars are usually graham cracker crusts layered with a gooey, lemon center and topped with powdered sugar.  These pineapple coconut bars are a play at each topping.  While the original recipe of inspiration called for raspberry preserve, I swapped them out for pineapple.  I decided to take a whole Island theme to fit with
summer vacations.


Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. You can use any type of preserve that you want paired with coconut.  My suggestions are pineapple, apricot, or raspberry.
  2. Use a food processor to mix the flour and butter.  A food processor is able to grind the butter up and create the crumb texture.
  3. After adding the water slowly, the crust should not be crumbly, it should be processed enough to form a dough and easily spread in an un-greased in one piece.
  4. The eggs will be frothy and bubbly after 30 seconds on high.
  5. Slowly add sugar so that the eggs do not seize up and they incorporate evenly.
  6. Spread as much preserve as you’d like onto the top of the bars.  The more you add the thicker your center will become.
  7. It will take about 10-15 minutes on high for the mixture to become thick and a pale yellow.  Test the thickness with the tip of a spoon.  As soon as you can’t see the spoon tip, you’ll know that the mixture is thick enough.pineapplecoconutbars3
  8. Add the coconut flakes in batches so that you can stir them easier.  I used about a bag and a half
    of coconut.
  9. Let the bars sit after cooking to solidify and hold their shape when cutting into them.

Take them to work or a party with friends.  Everyone will enjoy a taste of vacation with these sweet island treats.  Try different variations to see which one you enjoy best.  Add different toppings to replace the coconut or add nuts to the filling.  There are numerous ideas that can work to please your taste buds.

Leave a message with which flavors you like best.  Follow my Pinterest for more delicious recipes.  Check back next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.