Sunday, February 14, 2010

Hotels, Cigars and Training…



New post finally! sheesh! This past week has been insane! But in a good way. Lots and lots done but little time for anything else. Ah well, c’est la vie.. right?


To recap a few things I had my first training session. Gotta start off by saying I FINALLY found a good trainer. I've had some really bad ones in the past so I was really hesitant. This girl really knows what she's doing and gives me lots of attention, which I like. I guess Im needy.

As I was working through certain moves she was constantly correcting my form and talking me through it. I really like that because it keeps me really conscious of what I'm doing.  I’ve had trainers in the past that have actually walked off mid set to chat with people. So all in all I'm super sore and super happy!



What else has been going on? Well my hubs surprised me with a trip to the historic Biltmore hotel in downtown Los Angeles, Awesome! I haven't ever been there and it is gorgeous. Its only 15 minutes away from us but it was really great to just take a brain break for everything and get away for awhile.


Gorgeous Chandeliers..


and doorways…

We went out to this seafood restaurant for dinner and I hate to say it but I got mad sick. The place seemed really nice and it seemed really fresh so I have no idea what I got sick on. We don't eat out that often so maybe it was just the change of food? Who knows…it was fun anyways! Despite the late night Pepto..Luckily I woke up the next morning feeling great! So all good!

Even though we were only gone for one night, I came back smelling something ripe.  Banana-ey kind of ripe. So I went on the hunt. I found some lovely black bananas in my fruit bowl and I got super excited. (Am I the only one to excited over brown bananas?)

So I thought at first maybe to make some banana bread but then decided I wanted to play with my dehydrator. I was going to be home all day, when does that ever happen? So I remember an old Emeril recipe from awhile back and using that as inspiration I made my own.


Banana Cigars with a Mango and Blood Orange Salsa and Vanilla Cream:


2 ripe bananas


1/2 box silken tofu

1 tsp. coconut extract

1 vanilla bean

stevia to taste

Mango salsa:

1/2 mango

1/2 blood orange

1 Tbsp. shredded coconut

1/2 lime juiced

1 tsp. coconut extract

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 pinch ginger

1 Tbsp. coconut shreds






To make banana cigars:

First puree bananas and roll out onto a piece of parchment. I spread it out to about 1/4 inch thick and popped it in the dehydrator for about 5 hours at 135 F. Once done it will look like this:


Peel off parchment and cut into strips. Fold into a cigar shape and set aside.

Make the “cream” by adding all the ingredients into the food processor and blend. Mine was pretty thick but additional gums might help to thicken it a bit more.

Now salsa time! Chop all ingredients and set aside to chill out for a bit. The longer they sit the more the ingredients will marry.

Once you are ready to eat, pipe the cream into the bananas..


Put a generous dollup of salsa on plate, top with banana cigars and garnish with a drizzle of agave, cinnamon and crushed pistacios.




Now I had some banana leather left over. So I decided to make another version of this!

Place mango salsa at the bottom of a shot glass. Roll banana leather into a cone this time.


Fill with cream and place into shot glass. Garnish!


I served this with some fresh ground chocolate on the side! Delish. There are so many variations. Wouldn't it be awesome to make a grilled mango salsa?? I think next time I might make some chocolate PB pudding and make a fudge sauce with maple syrup and cocoa powder to drizzle. Possibilities are endless with this. I'm so enamored with this fruit leather now. Ha!

Anyways I hope everyone had an awesome and amazing Valentines Day! Do you have off for Presidents day? If so any big plans? Mine is to sssoo catch up on everyone’s blogs. I cant wait to read up on what you have all been up to!!

What's your favorite new cooking tool? Any new technique or fun gadget you cant live without?

Have a great night everyone!!


P.S. Check out this awesome blender giveaway!


  1. BEAUTIFUL presentation of those banana cigars! and your nails are so pretty too :). the biltmore looks lovely, too bad you got sick, that's awful! glad you're feeling well enough to post though!

  2. ah girl those look too amazing for words. So jealous. I wish i had president's days off! ahh. lol and i feel you with all hte stress- ugh

  3. Chrysta!!!!! HI my love. I have wanted to write you so many times but have gotten sidetracked telling you that when your comments come in, I just light up!!

    As for these cigars....lovin them! Bananas like crepes in the dehyd. Wow, am i silly..I have never even done that. Score for new ripe banana trick! and yes, any kind of choco filling would be spectacular in're making me want to make this tomorrow but all my nanas are green!

    And this will totally impress people. I mean, it's professional your recipe. And I love the mango and coconut sweet salsa. how awesome is that!!!

    I have no plans for pres day other than yoga in the a.m. and maybe a TJs run.
    Fave new cooking tool...hmm. A knife. I always just resort back to my good knives and that's that.

    I am glad to hear you found a great trainer, that's awesome when something clicks. And you enjoy

  4. Sounds like you have been having a really great week. I love what you did with the ripe bananas. I usually make boring muffins or bread with them.. Lol! The pictures are drool worthy.

    We would love to visit LA again someday and will have to put your find on our list of must sees.

  5. Wow, Chrysta, sounds like a fabulous week!! That hotel is gorgeous.. when I saw Biltmore, I though perhaps you were in NC (my neck of the woords)

    The cigar recipe is amazing.. they look like they could be in a magazine!! You rock! :)

  6. WOW that is such a cool recipe!I'm so impressed! That hotel is beautiful, sorry you got sick at the restaurant- blech!

  7. hey girl!! i tried to write you in your last post but for some reason it didnt go through? it sounds like youre doing great! SUCH a great week-beautiful pictures!! and the dessert looks AWESOME..for real! that is so gourmet! have a great day love!

  8. oh Whoa!! wonderful V-day, isn't it!! the hotel looks awesome , glad you enjoyed your day !!
    that cigar looks VERY interesting!! though you fool me at first by your title :-D

  9. I'm pretty sure it's been one of those weeks for everyone...hectic all around! I had a huge exam on Friday that I spent basically every free minute studying for so I can empathize! But now it is the weekend (and a 3-day one at that) and so I am quite content. I have been spending so much time doing absolutely nothing (except for hanging out with my friends) is fantastic.

    Those banana cigars sound amazing! This is why I definitely need a dehydrator. So I can make concoctions like this. Wow I am super impressed that you created these. I like the way your mind works.

  10. The Biltmore is a beautiful hotel! I love it. So sorry you got sick though. Seafood can always be a bit risky since it goes bad so fast. Hope you are feeling better!

    What a great recipe. Very creative. And may I add how much I love your manicure? You should see how scary my nails look right now!

    Have a great day!!

  11. i was like CIGARS?!?! WHAT WHAT!??! lol.
    first kisses= crazy awkward. especially when they come out of left field! =D
    v day was aight. family time, mostly.

  12. What a great trip! Glad you had a good time (despite the illness..yikes!). The banana cigars look awesome- a very classy dessert! Enjoy your day off- I'm working!

  13. What a beautiful hotel! I'm so glad you had a good training session- I only ever had a trial and hated the girl...she had no idea what she was even babbling about!

    I love the banana cigars- they look amazing!

  14. Glad you found a great trainer. That sounds really fun. I've frequently thought about wanting to get a trainer for some extra motivation to kick my own butt!

    And what a wonderful recipe. Those sound amazing!

  15. Wow, this is a fabulous dessert and I love your gorgeous presentation! Excellent!

  16. I get so excited about brown bananas, too! And those desserts are beautiful! You're so creative.
    I'm glad you found a trainer you like - you deserve someone who gives you their full attention and knows what they're doing. It's not being needy for you to expect that :)
    And for kitchen tools -I love my immersion blender lately!

  17. awesome! i did a walking tour of the biltmore a few months ago:

    it really is gorgeous...

  18. What a pretty, yummy and fun way to use up some sweet bananas. I'm really wishing for a dehydrator for my birthday... I have to many things I want to try out with it!

  19. Oh my goodness, that hotel is gorgeous! And I'm in awe that you managed to make those beautiful desserts- you have some culinary skills!

  20. Hi love!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    So excited to see this post, was wondering where your amazing hubby took you, wow the hotel looks just amazing!!!!!

    Awwww stinks you got sick : p but glad you were better the next morning!!!!

    Girl you and your amazing recipes, you need to create a cookbook!!!! Yum!!!

    So glad you had an amazing Valentines Day!!!!! Love ya!!


  21. OH MAN! That recipe is crazy good-lookin'. I get excited about overripe bananas too, so dont' worry, you're not weird. Or if you are, I'm as weird as you, so you're not alone. :)

    What a fun night out, minus the sick part. It's the QT with the hubs that counts though, right? Happy after-Valentine's Day!

  22. Damn, those look so good! I wish someone would make me a banana cigar right now! I have been ravenous today...guess I overdid it a bit on the weekend... ;)

  23. wow! those look sooo good! thanks for such a great recipe! i'll definitely have to try it out sometime!

  24. Banana cigars, those sound fabulous! And that was so nice of your hubby to surprise you with a trip to that hotel. It looks lovely :)

  25. I can't live without my Magic Bullet, that's for sure. I don't know how I did before!

    Those cigars are so cute, and look so good. Probably the only cigar I'll ever look at and say, "yum"! I hate the smell and taste of real cigars, uck.

    Regarding the restaurant, it could have very easily been a fresh and "clean" place, but even the nicest restaurants can have food borne illness outbreaks or small cases of FBI, it happens all the time. I'm glad you are feeling better though. Also, I'm happy to hear you found a trainer you love!

    Have a great night :)

  26. Wow a Staycation- at the Biltmore- I've never been there but it looks amazing- like the Sheraton Palace in SF. Bummer about the seafood restaurant- mind me asking which one??

    I am totally going to do the banana rollups on my unloved dehydrator- your photos and recipes look totally professional. Really impressive.

    I totally forgot that you live in LA. Let me know if you'd like to ever meet for a coffee!