Category Archives: bananas

kitchen+tips, how+to+cut+watermelon, how+to+cut+pineapple, cucumber+tuna+boats, patriotic+fruit+skewers, fun+with+fruit, party+skewers

Cool Kitchen Tips and a Fun Lunch

This is Something That Made Me Crazy for a Long Time

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While my family loved watermelon, I hated to get it.  Why?  I dreading cutting the darned thing.  The knife had slipped too many times and I was knife-shy!  How do you cut up a round thing without putting your fingers in mortal danger?  Every time I cut into a watermelon the thing would roll around and I would get nervous.

Someone Finally Showed Me How!

I was helping at a party, and someone had just the tips I needed!  So now, I share with you!

The First Cut is the Worst

You do have to make one dangerous cut–the first one.  But hold it firmly on the cutting board with one hand while you cut the melon in half.

 

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Flip it over on the cut side and then cut it in half again.

 

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Then you start cutting the rind off.  This is actually easier with a thinner knife, not a big butcher-style.

 

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You’ll end with a quarter circle of rind-free melon, which you then just slice into the size of chunks that you want!

 

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Slice one way…

 

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Then the other…

 

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Then into cubes…

 

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Done!  Right after I cut this melon I put it in front of a bunch of teenagers with forks and they were in heaven!  

Pineapple Cutting Tricks, too!

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We all love pineapple at my house.  I usually have one ripening in the fruit bowl, and when it smells just right, I cut pineapple in a similar fashion to the watermelon.

 

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First, cut off the top and the bottom.  Looks and smells delicious!

 

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Cut off the rind.  Don’t worry if there are some little pieces of the rind left–you can trim them afterwards with a small knife.

 

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Then cut the pineapple into fourths.

 

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Slice off the core of each…

 

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Put the flat sides on the cutting board, cut in half again, and then into chunks.  Done!

For a Fun Fourth of July Snack…

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Skewers some banana slices, chunks of watermelon, and blueberries for a patriotic snack!

 

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 Or sprinkle fresh red raspberries and blueberries into vanilla yogurt!

And Make a Fresh, Crunchy, Cool, Summer Lunch!

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Cucumber Tuna Boats!

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Make a couple of thick peels from the flattest side of a cucumber for the base (so it won’t roll around!)

 

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Take some thin peels from the sides (just to make it look nicer), and then cut a lengthwise wedge out of the top of the cucumber.  

 

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Scoop out the seedy inside of the cucumber.

 

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Discard the seeds, but chop the cucumber wedge and some green onions.  Slice some cherry tomatoes, and get some tuna salad ready (tuna, mayonnaise, salt and pepper) and then add the chopped cucumber and green onion to the tuna.

 

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Arrange the tomato slices and the tuna salad in the cucumber boat.

 

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Slice through the tuna, and enjoy your tuna-cucumber boat lunch, with fresh pineapple and patriotic flag fruit skewers!  Then have a little yogurt and berries for dessert!  Yum!
 
Love,
 
Lassen’s
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Joy’s Chia Smoothie

Ah… Here it is! What a good lookin’ smoothie!

Before we get too deep into berries and chia seeds, let’s meet the lovely creator of this healthy drink!
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This is Joy!

 
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Joy is Lassen’s Regional Marketing Director. She’s the sweet face behind all our interesting Facebook and Twitter posts. As a former Pilates instructor, Joy lives a very healthy lifestyle that she shares with her husband and two adorable Great Danes, Scout and Hunter (who just became a Certified Therapy Dog! Congrats Hunter!)

 
 

Once upon a few days ago, Joy and I found ourselves talking about our favorite super-foods when Chia Seeds came up.

Why do we like Chia Seeds?

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Well aside from the fact that when they are left to soak in a liquid for a small amount of time, they take on an amazing gooey consistency (reminiscent of Boba or tapioca pearls found in certain Taiwanese tea-based drinks), but they also contain a handful of wonderful health benefits including Omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, minerals and fiber! They have also been known to aid in weight loss due to their ability to satiate hunger cravings in between meals!

“I have a really good chia smoothie that I make in the mornings!” said Joy with a smile.
“Care to share?”

And share she did!
Now from Joy’s kitchen, Lassens is proud to present…

Joy’s Chia, Berry & Spinach Smoothie

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 You’ll Need:
  • Handful of organic spinach
  • 1/2 cup of organic frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup of organic frozen blackberries (could use raspberries, blueberries)
  • 1 frozen organic banana
  • 1 tbsp of chia seeds
  • Approximately 2 1/2 cups of almond milk (or soy milk)

Instructions:

Place spinach in first, then chia seeds, then all other ingredients.
Pulse to desired thickness. For a thicker smoothie, use less almond milk. For a thinner consistency, use more almond milk.
Makes 2/3 servings

 

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This smoothie packs a health-lovin’ punch! It acts as a great breakfast or a wonderful snack or meal replacement any time of day!
We hope you try it and love it as much as Joy does! Cheers!

Love,

Lassen’s

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Here’s a Block-buster Breakfast idea!

Subtitled: I am horrible at estimating how many bananas my family will eat…

I’m not much of a banana eater, and the others in my household eat them in fits and starts.  Consequently, I often have overripe bananas hanging around.  Yes, I freeze them (peeled) to use for smoothies (one of my daughters makes a smoothie almost every day, so that helps) but here’s another great recipe to use those bananas!

Saundra’s Banana-Date Breakfast Bars 

(Adapted)

 
 
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I got this recipe from my sister.  I won’t brag here about how amazing she is, but just trust me, she is.  This is a simple, quick, do-right-now or make-ahead recipe.  I’ve added some ingredients that we particularly like, such as ground flaxseeds, ground hemp seeds, and chia seeds.  These are optional, but I like the added nutrition.

 

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Chia seeds have gained popularity over the last several years, and they are packed with nutrition.  This NY Times article tells about the great antioxidants, protein, and fiber in chia seeds.
 
Hemp seeds are a great source of amino acids, along with protein and healthy fats.
 
Flaxseeds (which should be ground in order to gain the nutritional benefits) contain fiber, protein, and Omega-3s and have been found to be good for lowering cholesterol.  See this article in Shape Magazine for information on all three kinds of seeds.
 

The original recipe also calls for wheat germ, which has been a popular source of protein, iron, Omega 3s and 6s, and more.  I found this helpful list of wheat germ’s benefits.

You Will Need:

  • 1 cup old fashioned oatmeal
  • 3 TBSP wheat germ
  • Optional:  chia seeds, ground flax seeds, ground hemp seeds (I used 2 TBSP each)
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 large ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates (I used about 6 medjool dates, pitted and chopped)

First, Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

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Mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl (oatmeal, wheat germ, seeds, whole wheat flour, baking soda)

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Then in a blender, mix the bananas, oil, egg and vanilla.  

 

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Pour the banana mixture over the dry ingredients

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Chop and then add the dates.  Here’s a little tip about chopping those sticky dates.  I oil my knife so that the date pieces come off of the knife easily and don’t stick together as much either.

 

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 (I will confess that sometimes I add 1/2 cup of chocolate chips too.  Does that make me bad?)  
 
Add the dates to the bowl and mix everything together thoroughly.  
 

Pour into a greased 9″x9″ pan and bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  My pan is actually a 8″x8″ so I baked my bars for about 28 minutes.

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You can cut the bars and serve immediately or cool.  These will keep for a few days at room temperature, or you can freeze the bars and pull them out for a quick breakfast or snack.  My kids like to take a bar for lunch, too.  They make a great breakfast with a protein shake or just juice!

 

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Happy baking!
 
Love,
 
Lassen’s