21 May 2006

Chocolate Covered Bananas & More

What a simple snack! I am not big on bananas, but I love banana bread and certain other banana-like snacks. Maybe I just like bananas with sweet stuff and chocolate, but I certainly will not just take more than a bite out of one. It was nearing midnight and I decided that the bananas we had (for smoothies, cereal, plain-eating for Ray) were going to get brown soon and since I'm not using the oven, my awesome (and dearly missed) banana bread was not going to happen. I decided that I could easily make chocolate covered bananas, and boy, was I right!

To make this simple snack in a matter of minutes, take 2 bananas and cut them into chunks. Then I grabbed a handful of chocolate chips (which my small hand is equivalent to about 1/3c) and tossed them in a bowl with a splash of agave nectar (eqiv. to about a teaspoon) and a splash of water (equiv. to about 1/4c water) and put it in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds. I took it out right away, stirred and started dipping the chunks of bananas (with a fork) into the chocolate mixture. I placed the covered bananas on a cookie tray with parchment paper and froze it overnight. I did eat one after about an hour of freezing, but it wasn't right. Freeze completely and store in an airtight container. They'll probably be gone before it's time to worry on how long they'll last in the freezer. So simple and quick! Ray suggested I need to start dipping all fruits in chocolate, which seems to be a great idea! Next is my Midweek Munchies post, which should really be re-titled Weekend Munchies. This list consists of shopping from the last 10 days (2 week munchie-post). As you will see, three stores had me for a visit and we certainly stocked up. I decided to type it all on Word and take a photo of it (is there another better way?) so I didn't have to have you all scrolling for a long time. Just click the photo (or any photo) to enlarge the list. The * means organic, as always.
I have a few questions:
As many of you know already, I don't like faux meats. I don't care for an item that is made (even from veggies and grains) to taste like the taste of a dead animal prepared as food. I have no desire to eat animals, nor to taste what one should taste like cooked up with a lot of seasonings. In that case, I have only had a few veggie burgers (don't care for them) and the only thing close to that I will eat is some sort of "patty". It can't be like a burger. As for Ray (who's not vegetarian, born and raised in Kansas, but has more open views and opinions of a healthy diet now), he wants to start eating fake meats. Fine by me. I just won't eat them, but I now will certainly grab some fries or veggies off of his plate because it will be "fake blood" not real blood dripping from the flesh. I am also happily willing to cook/prepare these faux meats, but what's out there?

Anyhow, I would like some ideas as for pre-made faux meat items that taste "good", and brand names and specifics are greatly appreciated. I won't make these too often, as even though these aren't loaded with flesh, cholesterol, saturated fat, carcinogens, etc, there are a lot of chemicals and forms of soy (soy protein isolate for example), high sodium content and other products that aren't too healthy either. In moderation is ok, as is anything. Ray is interested in some bratworst (is that the same as sausage?) and he is also interested in faux bacon, veggie "hot dogs" and seitan. I need help and ideas and suggestions and recommendations on the best items (to you) out there. I see a ton of all of this at the store, but I want to buy good stuff that is backed by personal opinions from many of you. Thanks in advance!


jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

Leslie you are totally inspiring with these bananas! The summer heat is denying my banana bread baking as well.

My boyfriend, Thomas' favorite brand of faux hot dogs are Yves Veggie & Good dogs - the good dogs now contain natural butter flavor though. For seitan, I know white waves makes prepackaged stuff, but really, it's *so* easy to make at home - do you have a toast oven you can use? The ppk has a recipe that is boiled, not baked, as well.

I believe Yves also makes bratwurst - and Tofurkey makes it as well - or at least sausage. Field Roast brand makes sausage that purposely doesn't taste like meat, just 'shaped' like it . But I think people wanting a meat flavor would like it anyway.

Faux bacon - Lightlife makes it, though it's too simple to not try to make at home, as I think you have an idea.

Also, Whole Foods veggie burgers are very 'meaty' - at least to me, I can't eat them - but I know you shop there, so they could be worth a try.

Sweet Pea said...

Hi Leslie, It's great that you're being supportive of Ray.
Yves has some decent products.
I live in Canada and I buy Zolov's (sp?) meatless "chicken" nuggets, which are great. There's also Lick's Nature Burgers. Lick's is a restaurant chain here so I don't think the burgers are sold in the U.S. but you never know. They have a nice texture and taste.

Chris said...

Those bananas look awesome! I'll definitely have to try that one soon.

We don't have faux meats too often, but we do occasionally for convenience. I like the Tofurkey brats, and the Tofurkey sandwich slices are good too. We only get veggie dogs once in a blue moon, but when we do I think we always get Smart Dogs - not sure who makes 'em, might be LightLife, but we usually find them at Whole Foods.

Catherine said...

I'm surprised the water in your chocolate dipping sauce didn't make the chocolate seize! Who knew.

I like Whole Foods soy sausage patties, and that's the only "faux meat" I buy or eat. I used to like Morningstar Farms Chik'N Nuggets, but I ate them once right before I got the flu and now . . . well, they aren't so appealing any more. :)

I have been eating way too much soy lately as well. I need to buy some canned beans, I think, since I've been too busy/lazy lately to cook dried ones! That'll help, I think . . . and quinoa! I need to make some quinoa.

Catherine said...

And, um, summer heat? I'm jealous. It's still chilly here -- light jacket weather. Bah!

EatPeacePlease said...

Jess, way to pull through! Thanks for the load of info, I wrote it all down, and I checked at the store today but didn't buy anything. I guess I'm not too into buying faux meats, just as much as I look forward to eating them, hmph. I'll take Ray along for a trip and he can pick out his own. That's my final answer. Thanks for your comments and help!

Sweet Pea, thanks for the suggestions. We don't have that Canadian brand here (at least not to my knowledge). I guess I'm being supportive, I'm more supportive on him eating fake meats (I don't even care) than him still contemplating/willing to eat real animals. Yuck and ugh. I feel like sometimes I am the one who needs support! Is that bad?

Chris, thanks for the comments. Do try the bananas. And soon. As for the Smart Dogs, that seems to be a popular choice among people. I'll be on the lookout.

Catherine, I was suprised at the water but I put so little in it was really used just to warm the mix. I have made chocolate melty by adding boiling water to a bowl of chocolate chips, but not how I just did it. Last time (I am now just thinking of this...) I burnt the chocolate in the microwave. Oops. Anyhow, I emailed you my verdict (and you all can see it tomorrow) and I don't even own a jacket!

laura said...

We love the Boca Burger brats - they are big and substantial enough not to fall apart on the grill and have a surprisingly authentic flavor and texture (if you're into that kind of thing...)!

I grew up with, and still totally love, the Worthington/Loma Linda Big Franks, though I can't really recommend them in good faith, because, objectively speaking, they probably aren't that tasty. :)

In my opinion, the best faux chicken out there is made by Quorn. I get their Naked Cutlets. The cool thing about Quorn is that most of their products are made with Mycoproteins (made from fungi), so they are a good break from all that soy.

My favorite burgers are all from Morningstar Farms:
- Spicy Black Bean Burger (great cut up in strips in a fajita)
- Grillers
- Garden Veggie Patties

(They also have a BBQ Riblet that we really like, but I can't find it online. They're super expensive, so a rare treat here.)

I haven't ventured too far in to fake deli cuts. I grew up on Worthington Brand and am still partial to them, though I have no idea if they're really any good. It's more of a nostalgia thing for me, and they're so expensive I rarely buy them anymore!

Hope this helps! :)

Anonymous said...

I love that you put the bananas in the freezer. I would never have thought of that! I love putting chopped up cantalope in the freezer. Now that I think of it, chocolate covered cantalope would be even better.

I noticed Quinoa pasta on your shopping list. I didn't know there was such a thing! I'll have to look for it.

I'm Canadian, so our brands are different than your's. I have heard many people talk about Morning Star products. Personally, I really like Schneider's mock chicken nuggets...but their meat balls aren't very good.

VeganCyclist said...

why don't you use your oven?
oh, and www.veganlunchcast.blogspot.com has a great tutorial about seitan up...it's ubereasy. :)

Vicki said...

leslie, those bananas look amazing, & i think we should have some in our freezer at all times -- despite art's aversion to fruit+chocolate, & ray says dip all fruit! "cool" idea! :o)

fake meats...is ray going veggie? *cheers* we like all morning star products & they are easy to find (at least in our area). for hot dogs, art & i like yves, and the girls like tofu pups. yves also makes great veggie ham for sandwiches, but we don't like their new fake turkey. quorn makes terrific fake chicken products & we especially like the naked cutlets & roast. vegetarian plus makes something called "citrus sparerib cutlets" which is our current favorite. veats also makes good fake chicken and the bites are great in something like stir-fry. lightlife is also popular with us, especially the smart ground for tacos & spaghetti. i think expermintation is key to finding ray's individual tastes - hope he finds some that he really likes. good luck & let us know what you discover!

ningostar said...

hey leslie,

my husband really likes the mornningstar chicken and steak strips as well as the sausage patties. the strips are vegan but the patties contain egg whites. he also really likes to grill boca burgers...especially this time of year.

your bananas look great, btw!


Harmonia said...

WOW! What a list! Two questions...what are/is:

Arnica Cream and Hip Whip?

Wide Lawns Subservient Worker said...

While I am not morally opposed to fake meat, I am very opposed to the taste of it. I dont like fake anything. Id rather not eat something than eat a fake version, and the fake meats are very processed. That said, I will eat veggie burgers as long as they arent the ones trying to be like meat-burgers. I like the ones that remind me of stuffing, or ones with grains and nice things in them. I make one exception to my fake meat rule. I really love the morningstar fake chicken patties. I fry them in macadamia oil and make sandwiches with piles of good veggies on top. As they bear no resemblance in any way to actual chicken you may not have a problem with them. I am excited to try your bananas! I think raspberries would be good too.

Crystal & Ryan - Café Cyan said...

Wow! Those bananas look awesome and perfect for a latenight snack - I've never thought of that before. In Europe, Ryan and I would often buy various fruits dipped in chocolate on a stick (I think it was mostly in Austria) I'll have to make these up and surprise Ryan (unless he reads this comment and that negates the surprise)

We love the Morningstar Farms Corn Dogs and Chik'n Patties. Also, if Ray likes Reubens, you can make an awesome Reuben with tempeh instead of the corned beef. I've only ordered it at restaurants and need to try it at home, but it rocks!


Julie said...

Hey Leslie!

I will be posting again on my blog later tonight w/ treats I made for the Suns game! Yay Suns!

Bananas & chocolate are a wonderful combo! I used to buy the "Gone Bananas" treats from TJ's all the time...which are essentially a banana on a stick dipped in chocolate! Mmmmmm...

As far as faux meat goes, Matt loves the Boca Burgers that are vegan--I forget the name of them. He also loves anything made with sietan. Hope that helps!

My Inner Geek said...

I love frozen bananas dipped in chocolate. You could roll them in your favorite nut, too. It's very satisfying.

About the fake meat: My husband disdains the idea of something posing as something else. As for me, I'll try it once, but I'm not seeking out a faux meat experience. If it's tasty I might eat it again.

I am a fan of Bocca Burgers and recently Amy's Vegan Burger. I typically eat these on the top of a salad as a quick fix for protein when I'm doing a lot of running. My latest pizza was adorned with Tofuky Sausage--it was alright. I'm not really craving the real thing so it was more of a novelty item. As for the "hot dog" department, I don't love any of them, they're more of a device to deliver mustard and onions!

Dreena said...

oooh, you're going to the dark side again with this post - love the choco bananas!! I wish I could say it's hot enough here to want to make frozen treats - but sadly, it's pouring and rather chilly!

We don't eat a lot of faux meats either Leslie. I rarely buy them because hubby doesn't care AT ALL for them, and so I find I waste much of them. I do like seitan, but again, don't do much with it. As for a lot of the faux meats, to me many of the varieties end up tasting much the same. I have been disappointed with a lot of them. We like the Amy's California Burgers because they are walnut/grain based. Also, we have a tempeh burger that is produced locally by "Green Cuisine", and I like that a lot and appreciate that it isn't overprocessed.

Enjoy those bananas (in your heat - sob!) :)

Caroline said...

We don't eat faux meat very often (maybe once or twice a month) but when we do it's either Tofurkey's Italian Sausage sauteed with an onion and kale (like the Italian Sausages and Kale recipe on vegweb) or Tofurkey's Keilbasa, sauteed with onion, garlic and cabbage (we both have a lot of Polish in our heritage). I think they're really good, and taste great. They are definately a convenience food but when you take into account that you make everything from scratch normally, it's okay to have a little special stuff like this.I don't think either of them taste like meat but it has been so long since I've had any that I wouldn't be able to remember exactly anyways. It's always good to try new things.
Your food looks beautiful Leslie. I only wish that I could visit more often but my computer goes all wonky when your page is loading:)

EatPeacePlease said...

Thank you everyone for such detailed and helpful responses. You'll hear a verdict/decision within a few weeks I'm sure.

Laura, Thanks for your imput and all the links! I will try the spicy black bean burger but I'll have to see about the Quorn. I've read about it.

Megan the Vegan, I am planning on putting more fruits in the freezer (with chocolates). The quinoa pasta was from the co-op. Ray picked it out, as I'd never seen it either but they have so many different types of pastas in the bulk bins. I've seen some boxed quinoa items on the shelves, but never tried them.

Vegan Cyclist, please see my post under Quinoa Stew of February 06 and there's the oven story. It's too hot here now to use it anyway. Thanks for the seitan link, I'll check it out.

Vicki, why don't you just dip some fruit for yourself and leave it plain for Art? Ray isn't necessarily going veggie but he hasn't had meat in about 4 months now. We were watching some cooking thing yesterday and he said the pork dish looked good until I pointed out it was pork butt. To me, a pig's a pig, but at least something like this freaked him out! He doesn't have a label, per se, but he hasn't eaten meat in a while and that's good enough!

Becky (ningostar), we are going to start grilling over here soon too. I'm noticing Tucson isn't quite as bad as up here (yet?). Thanks for your comments and visiting, as always!

Harmonia, Hi! Arnica cream is a homeopathic medicine by Boiron brand and you can find it at a health food shop under the medicines, not creams. It comes in a gel which I like too and some other forms. I have some shoulder pain and it's good for that, bruising, after working out, a bad sleep, etc... try it out, it's wonderful. Hip Whip is a vegan whip cream found in the freezer section. It's about 3 bucks for the tub which you can re-freeze or it lasts 7 days in the fridge. It was my first time trying it (and Ray's too) and we both liked it and finished it off last night with some fruit and ice cream. Yum. It was surprisingly whippy and creamy but a bit sweet for me. I wanted to try it since I tried making it from scratch and it was really bad, so this was a nice (costly) treat!

Wide Lawns, I will eat patties with grains and veggies like you too, but made at home, from scratch. I just think this route is better for Ray vs. eating meat from animals. Yuck. Chocolate covered raspberries do sound good to me too!

Crystal and Ryan, a great late-night snack indeed! I should try the stick version, I do have some popcycle sticks laying around. Thanks for your comments and visiting!

Julie, hey!!! I will email you about the modeling soon. How was the game (I'm jealous!?). Well, I know it was good since THEY WON!!! but how in the world did you get sold-out tickets?

My Inner Geek, ooh, nuts and chocolate and fruits, yum! Thanks for the wonderful idea! Thanks for the fake meat tips too, I've printed everything out to pass along to Ray to try.

Dreena, I would say the dark side is always with me! With sweets at least!

Caroline, the problem with my page is my photos (see some comments below for explanations). I had huge photo files up until a few weeks ago. I am thinking about taking the last few months down and that way my page will be faster. Thanks for your visit.

Jessica said...

Hi there! I found your site through Vegan Lunchbox and I have been lurking, but am finally commenting :)

About the fake meat stuff, haven't tried much of it, but I have heard from friends that faux bacon is pretty gross (it tries to imitate the fake fat lines and stuff, eww). However, I have made my own at home following a recipe for Vegan Bacon from VegWeb.com. It was really good and I ate it on a sandwich with toasted bread, tomato, lettuce and avocado. It satisfies that salty, crunchy, "bacony" taste.

Also, in response to your arnica cream purchase...have you ever heard of Super Salve products? They are awesome and all natural! Anyway, they make a wonderful Arnica Muscle Easing Salve that is made up wintergreen, camphor, ginger, cayenne essential oils, cocoa butter, vit e, arnica flowers, shea butter and other good stuff. It really rocks, but makes your skin feel warm and tingly. They sell the products in Flagstaff (where I am from) and in NM (where they are made), so they might be available where you are. You can also check them out at www.supersalve.com

Thanks for all the great recipes and pictures of your food! I'll try to lurk less, and comment more!

EatPeacePlease said...

Jessica, welcome! We have all the Super Salve stuff here in Tempe. I love Flagstaff and I'm trying to go up there this summer. Do you ever go to Morning Glory? I work at her mom's restaurant down here.
I also like Merry Hempster's products.`

cherios said...

Hi there!

Those bananas look awesome! I'm going to consider myself somewhat of an expert in soy meats...they helped a lot during my 'transition'.

The BEST is LightLife steak style strips. They have a nice chewy texture, and they're awesome in a stir fry. I think there's about a cup in a pack, and I use half for one stir fry. Just for the added protein/texture etc when I don't have time to deal with tofu. I don't really know anymore if they taste like real steak, but they're quite good on their own.

The best Veggie Burger I've had is from Costco. I can't remember the name of it, but it's low on soy and mostly portobello's and wild rice. They're VERY good.

I think the Tofurkey beer brat is the best. The texture is pretty tofu-y, but it's very good with some saurkraut.

BTW, if I were you I'd try and keep him away from the fake Rib stuff. Even I, who is not bothered by fake meats found it disgusting. WAY too real looking and tasting.

Jessica said...

I haven't ever ate at Morning Glory because every time I pass by it's closed! My boyfriend said the owner opens on her own schedule, but he also said the food is great when it is open.

Yes, I love Flagstaff too and you should make it up here this summer! It would be way more comfortable temp. wise when you are in the hard core heat of the summer. There is an amazing band playing at Flag Brew on June 17th called Delta Nove. They rock the house! Have you heard of them? I know they played in Tempe in Feb.

Thanks for the tip on Merry Hempster. I haven't heard of their line, but I'll check them out.

caitlin said...

I'm not a vegetarian, but I do eat like one a lot. I really like Quorn burgers. Quorn is apparently some sort of mushroom-like fungus I guess (which doesn't sound very appealing), but it makes one hell of a chicken substitute, if you're into that type of thing. They make all sorts of variants on the chicken patty. It's pretty new to this country (apparently they've had it in England for a while). They have a website that lists stores that carry their products.

EatPeacePlease said...

Cheryl, thanks for your advice. I have a long list to try!

Jessica, people have the same problem with my work, the hours are short and just lunch. I think Morning GLory is closed on Sunday and Monday and only open until 3 or so. I plan on coming up to Flag soon, my friend's band, "The Energy Trio" an organ trio, are playing up there at the Oak Creek Brew I think. I can let you know if you want, the music is great. I've heard of Delta NOve, but not heard them.

Caitlin, I've heard of Quorn and see it all over here. I am not brave enough to go for the fungus though! Thanks for visiting!

Andrea said...

I totally understand about the faux-meat!
I recently bought ground soy and taco seasoning to make tacos. Well, it was revolting. I had to keep reminding myself that wasn't eating ground beef. *shudder*
I have no idea what to do with the rest of it now.

M said...

Love the banana idea. I will be making those tomorrow!

There is a useful little paperback cookbook called Vegetarian Burgers by Bharti Kirchner that I checked out from my local library. (I shudder at the term "burgers" too, and prefer to call them patties or croquettes or fritters, depending on how I make them.) The nice thing about this little book is that it has recipes that are made from a wide variety of ingredients, so they taste very different from each other. They have unusual combinations of nuts, grains, legumes, mushrooms, vegetables and spices that I would not have thought to put together.

So far, I have made the ones with Pecan-Portobellos-Rutabaga croquettes, and the GreenPea-Potato-Bulghar croquettes, and I have some others on my list to try next that have African flavorings with peanuts, and Indian flavorings with lentils. Once you've made the mixture, you can shape it in to orbs and put them in lasagna, or flatten them into pancakes and fry them up for breakfast, or shape them into logs and serve them in lunches with dipping sauce, or shape them into patties and serve them as "burgers" with buns and pickles and ketchup to satisfy meat-eating family members. My husband is an omni, but said that eating a patty all dressed up like a traditional burger had the flavors he was craving (he said the relish and ketchup fool the tongue.)

Anyway, I was pleased with this little cookbook because it allowed me to create mixtures that appealed to my vegan tastes, but also "passed" as normal food for omnis.

Virginie said...

I like this idea of frozen snack. So quickly done and surely eaten !