Banana Nut Pancakes

Hello Lovely,

Did you know that this year National Pancake Day is on February 13, 2018? I never really share pancake recipes here. I'll admit I've become very fond of waffles lately, but this weekend I was particularly inspired to make pancakes. I didn't want plain pancakes of course. So I grabbed a banana and got busy! And what better way to celebrate than with banana nut pancakes? These pancakes are the perfect way to use up those lingering bananas on your counter, and with pumpkin flax granola, they are incredibly healthy, light and moist in every bite. If only we could have this for breakfast every single morning!

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Banana Nut Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour (or vegan alternative)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 heaping handful pumpkin flax granola
  • 1/2 cup lactose free milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large ripe banana, mashed
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Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients starting with the dry ingredients then add the wet ingredients one at a time.
  2. Heat a skillet on medium low heat and coat with a non-stick spray.
  3. Pour or scoop the batter onto the skillet, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake.
  4. Brown on both sides and serve hot.
  5. Serve with fresh banana slices, powdered sugar or even vanilla frosting for added sweetness!
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Gingerbread Waffles

Hello Lovely,

When I think of the holidays, gingerbread is always the first thing that comes to mind. I can just close my eyes and smell the sweet aromas of spices and ginger swirling in my kitchen right now. Mmm…The first year I tried to do Christmas by myself, I bought one of those DIY Gingerbread house kits. I thought, this will be easy and fun! (Narrator: It was not easy and fun). It was a DISASTER! I couldn't figure any of it out and worst off, I couldn't even eat it (it just didn't taste right; probably because of my anguish). I vowed never again to make anything involving gingerbread.

I know that sounds totally dramatic but in the moment I was really upset! Since then I have made a gingerbread latte, which was absolutely delicious! How did I get to make these waffles? I woke up one morning craving something sweet. I didn't have any ginger (had to throw it out because it was too old) so I had to figure out how to make the gingerbread flavour. I used a little pumpkin spice and creamer and found that when I combine them with cocoa powder, it gives the wonderful flavour of ginger! I got a little crazy when making this and actually added marshmallows to the batter so there are marshmallows INSIDE of the waffles! So today I'm happy to share this super easy breakfast item that will be perfect to serve on Christmas morning.

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These gingerbread waffles have a nice sweetness. They’re great with just a sprinkling of powdered sugar over top. Of course, if you want a more decadent holiday breakfast, feel free to pile on the chocolate chips, extra marshmallows and whipped cream!

For extra-crispy waffles, make sure to use butter in the batter — don’t be tempted to substitute it with oil. The waffles won’t be crispy when you first remove them out of the waffle iron but will crisp up as they cool.

Grab a cup of tea or coffee and let’s enjoy some gingerbread waffles together!

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GINGERBREAD WAFFLES

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon applesauce or 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/8 cup molasses or syrup
  • 1/4 cup marshmallows
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin spice coffee creamer
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon double acting baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Heat the waffle iron while you mix ingredients.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, creamer, apple sauce or melted butter, molasses or syrup, and brown sugar, until everything is well incorporated. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, ginger, pumpkin spice, baking powder and salt together.

  3. Gradually mix the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. (I usually pour half of the flour into the wet ingredients and stir until the flour is absorbed before adding the rest of the flour.) Mix until you no longer see streaks of flour. Small lumps are okay.

  4. Coat waffle iron with cooking spray then scoop 2/3 to 3/4 cup of the batter into the waffle iron and use the bottom of the cup to spread the batter around into the edges. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or according to your waffle maker's instructions, until the waffles are golden brown on the outside. Remove the waffle from the iron with tongs or a fork and place on a cooling rack.

  5. Cook the remaining waffles and serve immediately. Sprinkle waffles with powdered sugar, if you like, or serve with whipped cream and maple syrup. Serve with a side of turkey bacon, eggs, sausage, whatever you want! (I cooked my turkey bacon in Cajun seasoning and maple syrup for a sweet and spicy combo).

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If you make this recipe, snap a pic and hashtag it #lifebyolivia or simply tag me @life_by_olivia. I love seeing your creations!

The Easiest Pumpkin Pie with Cream Cheese Swirl Recipe for Thanksgiving

Hello Lovely,

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American readers! I think I mentioned before that Thanksgiving isn't a holiday here in The Bahamas (just another excuse to eat and have sales). I hope you guys are enjoying some well-deserved rest with family and friends. I've been trying to organise a Friendsgiving with my friends since last year, but something always comes up. It's hard staying in touch with such busy schedules but it's days like this when we're reminded of the importance of appreciating one another. So, this year, I want to say that I am grateful for my family. We've grown this year and I can't tell you how happy this has made me. There have been A LOT of changes this year but all of them have been for the best and throughout all of it, my family has been an amazing support system. I'm looking forward to spending my first Christmas with them in two years (but they already know I'm making plans to travel for my birthday).

So, if you're reading this at the dinner table with your family (first of all, put your phone away), but secondly, thank you for keeping Life By Olivia a part of your holidays. If dinner isn't quite done, then I've caught you just in time! I made this pie about a week ago and completely forgot to share the recipe with you all. This came after I was beginning to lose confidence in my baking skills. A few failed attempts at pumpkin cannoli’s left me both devastated and broke (groceries are not cheap here)! In my fear of getting it right (AKA not burning it this time), I made one error: I didn't pre-bake the crust. It tasted so raw because I didn't pre-bake it that it actually took away some of the sweetness of the pie. So PRE-BAKE THE CRUST! That's the only thing I strongly suggest! (Well that and maybe a drizzle of maple syrup when you serve this). This dessert is low-cal and low sugar (not like anyone is REALLY counting calories this time of year) because I have a diabetic step-dad and my mum doesn't like things too sweet.

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So, before your guests start ordering take out, whip out your baking gear and let's get started!

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Pumpkin Pie with Cream Cheese Swirl


Ingredients (makes 1 8" pie)

  • 1/3 cup Betty Crocker Pie Crust mix
  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 egg

  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

  • 4 oz. cream cheese

  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Place pie crust in 8-inch glass pie plate as directed on package for one-crust filled pie. Bake about 8 minutes or until light golden brown.
  2. In large bowl, beat sugar, flour and cream cheese with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. 
  3. Beat remaining ingredients on medium speed, scraping bowl constantly, until smooth. Pour into crust.
  4. Spoon cream cheese mixture over pumpkin mixture. Cut through cream cheese and pumpkin mixtures with knife in S-shaped curves in one continuous motion for marbled design. 
  5. Cover edge of crust with 2- to 3-inch strip of foil to prevent excessive browning; remove foil for last 15 minutes of baking. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until knife inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool 30 minutes. Cover loosely and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. Store covered in refrigerator.

 

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Top with some whipped cream, or ice cream before serving and enjoy! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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For more pumpkin inspired recipes, check these out:

For more Thanksgiving inspired recipes, check these out:

Pumpkin Carrot Jam

Hello Lovely,

I know it's Friday and I should be celebrating but I'm so angry right now. I wrote this post days ago but when I went to add the photos, the entire post disappeared! I don't know what happened, but everything just vanished. I hate starting over. But if it must be done, so be it.

Now that, that mini rant is over, I'm happy to share another Thanksgiving recipe with you guys! I originally got the idea to do this when I saw Carrot Jam on the shelf in the food store and all I could think was, "What the hell is Carrot Jam?" I turned it around to see only three ingredients, carrots, water and sugar. I immediately thought, I can make this! Even worse, it costs over $11! Who is paying that much for something you can whip up in about 20 minutes? I originally got the recipe here but decided to add pumpkin to naturally sweeten it and add more dimensions to the flavours.

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HOW TO MAKE VEGETABLE JAM

Just like with various berries, you can turn lots of vegetables into jam. Carrot is one of the most popular of the veg jams, and it’s particularly common in the Middle East. You could call this jam, pumpkin-carrot marmalade or pumpkin-carrot butter. It’s a thick consistency and smooth, but can easily be made chunky. t’s a versatile spread that’s sweet yet slightly tangy, vibrantly coloured and bursting with flavour. 

USES FOR PUMPKIN CARROT JAM

You're probably thinking, that's all well and good but how the hell am I supposed to use this thing? Relax! There are many ways to use this pumpkin carrot jam, and other vegetable jams. Try it on:

  • Pancakes & Waffles
  • Toast
  • Yogurt
  • Pies and tarts
  • Cookies 
  • Scones

This recipe will yield about 1 1/2 cups. You can always adjust for more or less. If you're wondering how long it'll keep fresh in the fridge, I wouldn't recommend keeping it longer than three days. So if you're planning on using this for Thanksgiving, make it fresh the day of. 

P.S. I think this will taste really good on Turkey so MOOOOOOOOOOVE over cranberry sauce, there's some stiff competition coming to the dinner table this Thanksgiving!

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PUMPKIN CARROT JAM

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 carrots
  • 1 cup pumpkin boiled
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 2 lemons

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Peel and grate the two carrots. Set aside.
  2. Put in a saucepan with pumpkin and add enough water to just cover them. Cook until soft, drain and puree. Put the pureed carrots into a fine sieve and push out any excess water, or enjoy as it.
  3. Put the puree and the 50g (2 oz) of grated carrot into a large saucepan. Add the granulated sugar and, while stirring constantly, bring to the boil for five minutes. Skim if it gets frothy.
  4. Allow to cool and then stir in the lemon zest and juice. Pour into sterilised, lidded, jars and refrigerate.
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NOTES

The easiest way to sterilise the jars is to run them through the dishwasher before you start and use them hot and dry when the cycle has finished.

If you make any of my recipes, please tag it with #lifebyolivia on Instagram or other social media. I LOVE seeing your recreations of my recipes.

Mixed Berry Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Hello Lovely,

I hate chocolate. There I said it. Don't hate me! I'm sorry. I've never enjoyed the taste of chocolate. I can tolerate chocolate cake and I love chocolate milk (it doesn't love me back though) but chocolate chips, candy.....I HATE IT! So why make this recipe you ask? Because there are people in my life who do enjoy chocolate and I wanted to do something nice for them. I wish I had taken a photo of my friend literally picking at the crumbs in the pan. If he didn't have to give it back to me, I'm sure he would've actually licked it. I'm sure that's a compliment 😊 

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I found this recipe on Baker by Nature. It's listed under breakfast. I think it would be a bit much as a breakfast item because we're very traditional here on what to eat for breakfast (grits, souse, eggs, cereal, pancakes, those sort of things). I would recommend this as a dessert that you don't have to feel guilty about! I personally swapped out the coconut oil and Greek yogurt for applesauce because it's what I had on hand.  I also used mixed berries instead of just raspberries because it's much cheaper in the store to buy a tub of berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries) than to buy just strawberries or raspberries. I'm going to include the original recipe for you to follow along. Feel free to make whatever changes you want. I guarantee this dish will be a crowd pleaser wherever you take it.

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Healthy Raspberry Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used full-fat, but reduced fat should work)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 VERY ripe bananas, peeled and mashed (will yield about 1 and 1/4 cups of mashed banana)
  • 1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen (if using frozen, do not thaw first)
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F). Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and lightly spray with non-stick spray; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine the sugar, oil, Greek yogurt, eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. Stir in the mashed bananas. Add in the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Fold in the raspberries and chocolate chips (if using).
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake for 1 hour, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Allow bread to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing the loaf from the pan and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, slice and serve.
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Notes

Banana bread will keep, stored in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in saran wrap, for 3 days.

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Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 slice

Amount Per Serving

Calories 180

% Daily Value

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Sweet Spicy Jerk Wings

Hello Lovely,

March Madness is coming up which is basically the Superbowl of College Basketball. It takes a lot of strategy to pick the winning team before eliminations begin. Whether you rely on logic or sheer luck, there's one part of the equation you can't leave out: Your winning snack of course! 

Chicken wings are a favourite appetizer of mine.  I love the hot and spicy flavour of Buffalo Wings, and often make my own buttery sauce using blue cheese for dipping. On my trip to Miami, I tried the Caribbean Jerk Wings and was inspired by the Jamaican flavour and spiciness.  Fueled by inspiration, I made my own version of it, and it is fantastic! Try the recipe below and add as needed.

Sweet Spicy Jerk Wings

 

Ingredients

Wings

  • 5 whole wings (cut in halves, with tips removed)
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Olive oil (1 tsp), for coating

Sauce

  • 2 tsp Honey
  • 1tsp Ground allspice
  • 1tsp Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Cumin
  • ½ Scotch bonnet, minced
  • 1tsp Nutmeg
  • 75 g Butter
  • 2 tsp Dried Thyme
  • 3 tsp Hot Sauce
  • 2 Lime wedges (optional)
  • Salt & Black Pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Season cut chicken wings and toss in oil. Heat cooking oil (vegetable or olive oil) in frying pan.  Place wings in the oil and carefully and using tongs.  Let fry 3 – 5 minutes on each side.  Place wings aside to cool.
  2. For sauce.  Place seasonings and butter in small saucepan and let simmer for 5 – 10 minutes.  Toss wings in sauce and enjoy. This combination allows the wings to stay crispy, moist and flavourful.


Make your game day snack a winner with these jerk wings as you cheer on your team! How do you flavour your chicken wings?  Do you have a favourite dipping sauce? Share photos of your game day snacks with us on Instagram by using the hashtag #lifebyolivia. Happy eats!

 

Double Dipped Love/Hate Cookies

Hello Lovely,

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, so we're totally taking a break from all of the healthy eating for the day! I remember in college the Psychology Club had an annual bake sale every Valentine's Day called the Love it or Hate Bake Sale. We sold desserts for people who both celebrated and hated Valentine's Day. It was the perfect marketing strategy! People who didn't care for Valentine's Day were happy with their Anti-Valentine's Day treat and lovers were happy to share their bright and colourful treats with each other. That was actually the inspiration for this cookie. To be honest, I never thought I would make cookies , but as the saying goes, "Never say never."

This recipe doesn't get any easier. In fact, it's not even actually a recipe. It uses so many shortcuts that none of it is from scratch, but that doesn't make it taste any less delicious! All you'll need is a package of Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Mix, two cans of frosting (chocolate and strawberry or vanilla with food colouring), and of course sprinkles!

Bake the cookies according to the package directions, and wait for them to completely cool. While the cookies are cooling, you can melt the frosting in the microwave. But just remember, melt it too much and you've got watery frosting that won't stick to anything and in about one minute the frosting will return to it's original texture so you've got to work fast.

Share these cookies at a bake sale, with co-workers, friends or your loved ones. Go crazy with the sprinkles and even paint a design on the cookies. Happy Valentine's Day!