A SOMEWHAT HEALTHIER VERSION OF BANANA BREAD

My grandma Lucy makes really good banana bread.  She’s a retired home economics professor (back in the days when you could major in that for college) so whenever we go to visit she bakes all sorts of terrible (for you) treats.  It is so awesome.  And when Parker first went to visit, she had made banana bread that he ate up slice after slice.  So now she always makes it when we visit.  But her banana bread can’t exactly be made on a regular basis in this house because we would become big fat fatties since we seem to have a problem with only having the occasional slice.

So when Parker asked me to bake some banana bread with the bananas that were turning black on the counter, I knew I couldn’t let my husband down.  But he’s also been complaining that he feels a little too “large and in charge” these days so I decided to see what I could do to make a healthier version of the treat he loves so much.

I started with this recipe but changed things up a bit to make it as healthy as we could stand it.  Substituted half the sugar for splenda, used whole wheat flour, added some oat bran and some cinnamon for flavor.  The result was amazing!  Just as moist and dense as Grammy’s but not nearly as bad for you (she still uses margarine!).  You could easily add ground flax seeds to this or add heart healthy walnuts (we didn’t have either) to make it even more nutrient packed.  I did however find some 62% dark chocolate Ghiradelli chips that seemed appropriate…can’t make it too healthy I guess!  Not in this house.

A Somewhat Healthier Version of Banana Bread

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup oat bran
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup splenda
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened (I used light butter, per Parker’s request but I don’t usually endorse it)
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 4 bananas) – the darker the peel, the better
  • 1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips – totally optional
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
  3. Place sugar, splenda and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute). Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana, yogurt, and vanilla; beat until blended. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist. Spoon batter into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

 


SUMMER COCKTAILS & SUMMER PIES

We’re heading in to the home stretch of my favorite season, but as the old saying goes, “it ain’t over till it’s over.”  So tonight for my big brother’s 30th birthday celebration at our parent’s house, I decided to make some festive cocktails that are really only appropriate for these hot days and I found a recipe that does the south proud too.  Double win.

Sweet Savannah Fizz

  • 1.5 oz sweet tea vodka
  •  mint leaves
  • ½ oz simple syrup
  • champagne

These couldn’t have been much easier to make.  In Camille’s recipe (here), she breaks it down to ounces and exact number of leaves per drink, but I’m a free spirit (who likes to booze) so I just guessed at it and these turned out delish.  It’s the kind of drink that’s made entirely of alcohol yet doesn’t taste like it in the slightest so exercise caution, friends.

Muddle some mint then fill a glass with a shot or two of sweet tea vodka (I count “one one thousand” as a shot), then add a splash of simple syrup, then top off with champagne!

After cocktails, barbecue ribs, heirloom tomato salad, roasted broccoli and sweet potatoes, we had some of my mom’s awesome pie.  We southern women know how to do it up right for birthdays.  Check out that meringue!

This pie was a butterscotch meringue (yum), but I’ve been dying to make this Grapfruit Meringue Pie recipe.  Would be great for summer (even though technically it’s a winter fruit).  Only a few weeks of summer left.  Better live it up and get my fill of summer treats while I can.


WEEKDAY WEEKEND – 4TH OF JULY EDITION

As a new wife, there’s not much I love more right now than spending quiet time at home with my *husband*. I luhh-ve to call him that – husband. Huzby. Anyway, upon arriving back home from our two week wedding & honeymoon vacation (extravaganza of awesome!!) reality hit me like a two ton truck when I went back to work Monday morning. By 11:00am I was crying at my desk. Needless to say, I am living for the weekends.

So this week when we got a mini-weekend in the middle of the week due to the July 4th holiday, I was beyond thrilled. It was just what I needed to break up a bad work week. We slept in late, Parker made bacon while I made eggs (and very strong coffee), we lazed around and generally enjoyed each other’s company in a quiet, air conditioned house. I had surprised him the night before with an apple pie – and what’s more American than apple pie?! – that I whipped up after realizing I had one frozen pie crust in the freezer and a bag of apples that were going to spoil if I didn’t do something quick. Great choice if I do say so myself. We snacked on fresh baked pie and I relished not getting out of my pajamas all day. Maybe not the effortlessly “fresh as a daisy” look I thought I might always try to project as a new wife, but how I needed the simplicity of it all.

We rounded off the lazy day with left over sparklers from our wedding that our family and friends saluted us with as we made our exit from the best day of our lives. It was magical. Last night was decidedly less magical, but standing barefoot in the backyard lighting sparklers with my husband was just about as close to a perfect 4th of July as I could think of at the moment. Our first as a married couple :)

…I burned my shoulder a tiny bit with these sparklers..