Making our own Big Creek Banana Boat sandwich (Emily)

It had to happen sooner or later. What, you ask? An attempt at making the delicious Big Creek Banana Boat sandwich that I gushed over here


So, last week, Lisa came over my house and that’s exactly what we did. Check out our pre-cooking display of ingredients.


You’ll see that these are obviously not “clean” or “real food” items. Sorry. It was a weeknight and I just couldn’t bring myself to drive 15 minutes to the market when I’ve got a grocery store 5 minutes away.


From there we basically used the recipe card of my memory and some educated guessing.


We started out by popping some bacon in the oven to bake.


While my kitchen filled with the delicious smells of bacon, we began cutting the baguette into thirds and then slicing the chunks of bread like a Subway sandwich, sliced open but not completely separated (butterflied, if you will?). We then buttered them generously and popped them in the broiler to toast a little so we’d have some crunch. I realize now that this was probably an unnecessary step and they’d probably adequate crunchiness when we put them in the oven for the official cooking of the sandwich.


While the baguette pieces were getting all buttery delicious, Lisa cooked some shrimp in butter on the stove top.


Once the shrimp were done, we began assembling. First, little round slices of banana, then shrimp, then pieces of broken up bacon wherever we could fit it, and lastly, shaved pieces of white cheddar (this WAS organic, boo yah!) covering everything.


 We popped those suckers in the oven at 350 or so until the cheese appeared adequately melty.

And then we feasted.




SO. GOOD. Not EXACTLY the same level of amazingness that can be found at the Maya Beach Hotel Bistro, but pretty darn close! The real test was my husband. He LOVED the Big Creek Banana Boat when we had it on our honeymoon and that was a big deal because he doesn’t eat bananas and there’s definitely a banana flavor to this sandwich.


Well he loved our version too! Score!


Since our cooking extravaganza I’ve had the brilliant idea that this would be amazing served at a party bruschetta style on little pieces of baguettes. Now I’m going to have to have a party…


Tuesday Follow Up – Lisa

Today was pretty busy, I haven’t had a chance to look up any new recipes for oatmeal, but I promise I will post some this week!

The overnight oatmeal was decent.  I’m a fan of sweet oatmeal.  I wish I had a little bit of sugar or fruit to go in it.  I completely forgot about cinnamon!  How could I forget about cinnamon?  I’m going to try that tomorrow.  I think it will go really well with the vanilla flavor.

Here is a picture of my breakfast this morning:


I try to drink a big glass of tea in the morning.  Today it was English Breakfast.  I added a little bit of unsweetened vanilla almond milk to the oatmeal.  I think it helped.

Then for lunch I had the black beans and quinoa:Image 

This is DELICIOUS!!  I think I like it better with the quinoa than I do the rice.  I didn’t add a full 1 1/2 cups of water to the pot because of all the other liquid from the cans of beans and stewed tomatoes.  It turned out perfectly fluffy.


Here’s a close up of the quinoa.  My camera was giving me so many problems with trying to focus.  I really need to get a DSLR sometime soon.  I think it’s funny how rice is so dense and think but quinoa is so delicate.  It’s light and dainty but it fills you up quickly.  I was wolfing this down at lunch but couldn’t finish it all because I got full really fast.

The worst thing about oatmeal is that it doesn’t fill you up for that long.  I tried to add more fiber rich food to it, but like clockwork, nearly 3 hours later I was hungry again.  The only thing that keeps me satisfied all morning long is a breakfast sandwich. 

I need to experiment more with snacks in the morning.  It’s difficult because of my work schedule.  I get to work at 7.  There is a staff meeting around 9:30 every morning, then I’m usually so hungry I do some work for a bit then go to lunch at 11.  Or grab a handful of nuts, suck it up for an hour to work out and then eat.  It’s not very efficient.  Any suggestions are welcome.

I promise!  Sometime this week I’ll find some recipes for oatmeal.  Maybe I’ll try out the egg with oatmeal.  It could be mind-blowing.

Food Prep – Lisa

I haven’t been home since Thursday morning.  I spent the weekend at my boyfriend’s.  Being home for the first time in 4 days always makes me want to cook.  So I decided to make my breakfast and lunch for part of the week. 

I decided to make the black beans and rice from the other week, except I’m using quinoa instead of rice.  I’ve had a box in the cupboard for forever (thankfully it lasts a long time) and thought that this would be the easiest thing to make with it at the last minute.  I have made stir fry with it before, but I wish I had this prep recipe then.

I also made overnight oatmeal.  Super easy, just throw everything in the crockpot, set on low and wake up to breakfast.  You have to use steel cut oats.  Steel cut oats are the best anyway, they keep you fuller longer.  Use rolled oats for baking or granola.  And since I can’t have any fruit until next week, I added almond meal, ground flax seed, and vanilla extract to it.  A little bit of protein, a bit of iron, and some flavor.

I think I saw some recipes with an egg on top of oatmeal too.  I’ll have to look those up to share.  I’m still not sure how I feel about that.

Anyway, everything is cooking.  I’ll let you know how it tastes in the mañana!

This is why I love Friday’s off – Lisa

This post was meant for Friday.  I gave up trying to post pictures because my internet was giving me a hard time.  Then the rest of the weekend got super busy with the newest addition of our family being born!  I have another niece and she is absolutely precious.  It’s weird to think that we’re starting all over again with another baby in the family.  It’s been almost 3 years since we’ve had a new one!

Anyway… the beginning of this was written on Friday and the rest on Monday.

When I woke up a little after 9 this morning I wasn’t hungry.  That was surprising, but since I was at my boyfriend’s house I decided not to eat before I left for home.

This is what I envision for my days off:  going to the grocery store and a lot of cooking and trying new things.  I can’t wait for dinner tonight.  We’re having ribs on the Big Green Egg (they’re expensive but worth the money, food tastes so much better off of it) and I picked up fresh vegetables from the farmer’s market earlier this week.

I made for lunch black beans and rice.

black beans and rice

It’s incredibly easy to make.  I use my dutch oven because I can saute the veggies in it first and the lid is really tight.

Black Beans and Rice

olive oil
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped (I didn’t have this)
small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
15 oz can black beans (don’t drain)
15 oz can diced tomatoes with zesty peppers or jalapenos
1 1/2 cups water
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper

Heat oil on medium.  Add onions, peppers, and garlic and saute until soft.  Add rice, beans, tomatoes, cumin, bay leaf, oregano, salt and pepper.  Simmer on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the rice absorbs most of the water and just barely skims the top of the rice (I’m sometimes too hasty with this step and everything turns out fine if you just put the top on and let it go).  Cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 20-30 minutes.  My stove isn’t that great and it takes about 30 minutes for the rice to steam.  After the 20-30 minutes are done, leave the cover on for another 5 minutes.

I love to use the leftovers for breakfast.  I heat it up in a skillet with some eggs.  It’s really delicious.

And I decided to give myself one last treat this weekend, since it’s now the 3rd week of the No Sugar Challenge and I’m eating ZERO sugar.  Okay, so some of the foods I’ve eaten have a little bit of sugar in them.  Like 1 gram.  I’m not counting that, but I’m not letting that add up either.

My treat:  Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Hummus Dip Horrible name.  Let’s call it:  Faux Cookie Dough

Faux Cookie Dough

2 cups chickpeas (from can, rinsed and peeled)
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tbl maple syrup (it calls for 1/4 cup and 2 tbl but that’s too sweet for me)
1/2 tbl vanilla
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Put everything but the chocolate chips in a food processor (a blender might work too, the ingredients aren’t too dry).  Process until smooth (or chunky if that’s your thing) and fold in the chocolate chips.  Easy!  You can eat them with apples, or with those graham cracker Scooby snacks.  I prefer the Scooby Snacks.

So far I’ve had great success with this No Sugar Challenge.  It’s been rough.  The first couple of days, Emily and I were talking like addicts.  We couldn’t stop thinking about sweets.  Now it doesn’t seem like such a big deal.  I can easily say “no.”  And I’ve lost a few pounds!

Later this week I’ll post a workout routine.  So far I’ve been doing a lot of cardio.  I’m ready to mix it up with some weight lifting.