Apr
02

An incredibly moist Carrot Cake Banana Bread made healthy with whole wheat flour and applesauce instead of lots of butter or oil. Don’t forget the low-fat cream cheese frosting — it’s to die for!

Incredible Healthy Carrot Cake Banana Bread with Thick Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

I never really enjoyed carrot cake until about a year ago.

It started when I was living in Los Angeles; there was an incredible cupcake shop in Manhattan Beach that I used to stop in after a beach walk in the evenings. They sold a variety of mini cupcakes and for some reason I decided to try their carrot cake version. After one bite, I was in heaven. Now I’m on some sort of quest to find the best carrot cake out there. Any suggestions?

When it comes to cake, the only thing that can compete with carrot is my Dad’s yellow cake with chocolate buttercream – and that one is pretty hard to master. I’m still working on the recipe after 7 years. Maybe one day.

Incredible Healthy Carrot Cake Banana Bread with Thick Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

There’s one thing I don’t like about carrot cake: all of those calories. And I’m already going to be eating everything else in my face during Easter, including at least three of those Reese’s Eggs and probably way too much wine. Yes, I try to make every holiday as awesome as Thanksgiving.

Anyway as I was preparing to head to the grocery store staring at overly ripe bananas on the counter, an interesting thought came to me. What if I combined the two? You know, my love for carrot cake + banana bread. Could this be a thing?

In my mind, absolutely.

Incredible Healthy Carrot Cake Banana Bread with Thick Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

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Jan
05

A lightened up healthy banana bread packed with oats, coconut, and chocolate chips — you don’t have to feel guilty enjoying a slice or two!

You guyssssssss. I have made so many banana breads over the last few days. Sometimes I wish I could stop baking but when I get the urge to, I just can’t stop. I think I’m an addict.

HELLLLLPPPPPP.

Due to my baking urges, I’m often up late at night; unfortunately I don’t get the chance to photograph the recipe since it’s dark and because I’m a little bit of a perfectionist. But sometimes I just want to share a recipe with you right away so I took these photos with my iPhone… hope you don’t mind!

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Nov
02

Naturally sweetened banana bread made with whole wheat flour and oatmeal. Perfect for a healthy breakfast or snack!

I’m absolutely one of those people who believe that everything happens for a reason.

That tragedy is followed by opportunity and growth. That difficult times will eventually be followed by lovely moments. But I’m also the type of person who loves to plan, think ahead, or heck, just think about everything. My to-do lists are endless. My goals keep getting bigger.

But, I’ve also found that sometimes you have to live in the moment. Enjoy little moments with people who matter to you. Appreciate the messes, forget imperfections, and embrace the present. Still with me?

Remember last week when I told you about my vacation? Well it was the best! I went to the apple orchard, on long fall drives, baked apple crisp, coconut cookies, turkey meatballs, and more. We watched movies, drank wine, and laughed like nothing else mattered. In fact, we even went to the diner and ate pancakes at 2am on a Sunday. Sometimes you just need those moments; that little bit of time with someone special.

Other times you just need banana bread. That sweet aroma to fill your house and create a comforting atmosphere.

It’s obvious I’m in love with banana baked goods. Have you checked out my recipe index lately? It’s full of healthy banana breads.

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May
31

=

Ahhh the weekend is here. I’ve been craving it like chocolate.

Now it’s unusual for me to bring you a recipe on a Friday, but I just had to share this epic banana bread with you.

Strawberries + Coconut + Chia Seeds. Have you ever heard of such a lovely combination? It’s like a cozy little slice of heaven.

Speaking of things that need to be shared: I have some exciting news to tell you… but I have to hold off a bit (sorry!). Ugh keeping secrets is pretty difficult for me too! Look for a fun announcement very, very soon!

Anyway this banana bread is something I can share. In fact, it’s pretty major — beautiful even! And guess what? It’s also full of healthy ingredients that most certainly deserve a little special attention.

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Jan
22

I’m getting to the point today. This bread is downright sensational. My goodness, I’m in love with it! I baked two loaves this weekend, and now sincerely hold the believe that it’s a little bit magical.

Honey Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Banana Bread. Doesn’t the name just scream ‘devour me’? The flavor combination is unique: a perfectly moist interior with a touch of sweetness from the honey with the bits of chocolate. Trust me, it cannot be matched.

Most of my banana bread recipes are healthy, use minimal sugar, no butter/oil, and focus on substitutes. I wanted this bread to fall under that category as well; however, I had never experimented with whole wheat flour in banana bread, nor unrefined sweeteners so I figured I would try something new.

The result? A gorgeous, perfectly moist bread with a golden brown crust! And not to mention, it’s now my new go-to banana bread. I just can’t get enough of this gem.

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Dec
16

With the recent tragedy in Newtown, I can only express how heartbroken I am. I will continue to pray for the families and those affected by this devastating tragedy.

With that said, I’ve wanted to reach out and hug the people who mean the most to me.

And sometimes I say I love you with bread. As simple as that sounds it means a lot.

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Sep
23

I love when my weekends are full of good cooking.

Yesterday I enjoyed the day grocery shopping, eating a huge greek lunch with tzatziki (my favorite!), and drinking a little white wine… or A LOT of white wine. No biggie. For a quality nutritious dinner, I destroyed a giant cup of frozen yogurt with four flavors: pistachio, cheesecake, vanilla bean, and red velvet cake batter. Seriously extraordinary.

But then today a little bit of magic happened.

Cause I made this banana bread.

And I made it vegan.

And gluten-free.

And irresistibly healthy.

Because I love you, duh.

This recipe was inspired by my dark chocolate raspberry oatmeal banana bread, which happens to be my favorite banana bread EVER. The ingredients call for gluten-free oat flour and I love making it myself; all you do is throw rolled oats (oatmeal) into your blender and blend until they oats are ground into a fine flour. Simple and easy!

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Sep
16

I’ll never forget the day I fell in love with baking. I was 7 years old.

My Mom decided that we would make a homemade pumpkin pie for the holidays. We spent hours deseeding and roasting pumpkins. I always enjoyed our time together in the kitchen because she gave me the best tasks.

On that particular day, I was in charge of making the pie crust look beautiful and fancy. Using my small hands, I tried my best to mimic the pie crust I had seen on the Thanksgiving dinner table, which of course resulted in something unsymetrical and pretty funny looking. Nevertheless, Mom was beaming at my accomplished pie crust and I was too! Eating the pie was the best part though; each bite brought me comfort and happiness knowing that I helped create a little slice of magic.

And so my love affair with baking began.

These days I find myself so busy that baking seems like a daunting task. It’s time-consuming, and sometimes a little bit complicated BUT I have to remind myself the results of home-baked goods are always unmatched. Lately I’ve been wanting to get back to real baking, the kind that is more like a project. And what’s more fun and interesting then making bagels from scratch? Seriously!

Now surprisingly, I don’t own bread machine, so I kneaded the dough by hand (talk about a calorie burner!); I felt accomplished and proud. Although, using an electrical mixer (such as a KitchenAid) would also work with this recipe.

Alas! I’m here to convince you to make homemade (handmade?) bagels. I’ll take you step-by-step through the recipe so that you can make these too! It’s a wonderful weekend project and great to do with kids. These bagels also happen to be lower in calories than bakery style, plus they’re chewy and toast perfectly. It’s some serious magic.

And since it’s Fall, we might as well make them pumpkin bagels, right? Then top them with a homemade whipped cinnamon honey butter.

So, here’s how we start: we’re going to proof the yeast (basically activate it)! Begin by placing warm water  in a large bowl and adding the yeast along with brown sugar. The yeast essentially feeds off the sugar.

After a couple of minutes add the pumpkin, spices, and 2 cups of bread flour and mix until a sticky dough forms (pictured above).

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Aug
22

I woke up early this morning eager to bake a banana bread. I silently mashed bananas in my kitchen and watched the sunlight creep through the windows. I mean to be perfectly honest all I wanted to do was turn on Jay-Z’s 99 problems, sing loudly and change the lyrics to “I got 99 problems but BANANA BREAD AIN’T ONE!” Too bad my roommates were still sleeping or it totally would have happened.

Now that I think about it I’m kinda glad I didn’t as I can’t say that rapping is one of my talents. And if you don’t know who Jay-Z is then maybe we’ll just move on and talk about the real star here: Banana bread. With peaches. Annndddd cinnamon. A brown sugar topping too!

It just makes me feel all cozy and wonderful.

Since there are an abundance of peaches in August, I wanted to bring you a fun recipe. Of course peach pie is delicious and peach cobbler is amazing but those are classics, and I wanted to bake something a little creative to make you swoon. The answer happened to be staring right at me: ripe bananas on my kitchen counter! I don’t know, it’s like these bananas just beg me to be mashed into delicious breads or something. Or to be made into pie.

Either way I know that anytime there are ripe bananas around, magic is about to happen. Hehe.

Look at that crust on the top of the banana bread! No seriously, stare at it for a good minute.

The crust is simply perfectly golden brown and the result of sprinkling brown sugar on top before baking. The brown sugar caramelizes and hardens when baked then forms a nice crusty exterior for that superb crunchy topping.

Oh and the inside? So flavorful and moist! Plus who can feel guilty about this bread? Not me considering I already ate 3 slices.

This bread is downright sensational. The peaches add a juicy flavor and a gorgeous addition to the top. Of course the bananas are more prominent that the peaches flavorwise, but nevertheless the juicy bits of peaches surprise you with every bite and the cinnamon really makes the flavor pop.

I wanted to keep this bread lower in fat and calories so I used minimal butter and nonfat greek yogurt. I didn’t have any whole wheat flour in my cupboard, or I might have used some of that in the recipe instead of only using white flour.

Peach Banana Bread. Don’t miss out. I enjoyed mine with a drizzle of honey and a cup of hot coffee. Then I busted out the Jay-Z.

 

 

Low-fat Cinnamon Peach Banana Bread
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 12
  • Serving size: 1/12 of recipe
  • Calories: 150
  • Fat: 2.6g
  • Carbohydrates: 29.1g
  • Sugar: 13.2
  • Fiber: 1.2g
  • Protein: 3.3g
Recipe type: Banana bread, Healthy, low fat
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Succulent fresh summer peaches combine with a low-fat moist banana bread made with greek yogurt and a touch of cinnamon.
Ingredients
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 cup mashed banana
  • 1 cup finely diced peaches (about 2 peaches), plus about 8-10 thin peach slices for topping
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for topping
  • 2 tablespoons butter, browned or melted (you can also use coconut, olive, or canola oil)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup nonfat plain vanilla greek yogurt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch loaf pan.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together mashed bananas, butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar until well combined. Add vanilla and egg and whisk again until well combined. Whisk in diced peaches. Add in dry ingredients and yogurt alternatively, folding together well combined.
  4. Pour batter into loaf pan. Top with thinly sliced peaches and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of brown sugar over the top. Dust lightly with cinnamon. Bake for 60-70 minutes, or toothpick comes out almost clean in center.
  5. Cool for 10 minutes in pan, then remove from pan gently and transfer to wire rack. Cool completely. Cut into thick slices and enjoy!
Notes
Can replace some of the all purpose flour with whole wheat flour.
Bread is better the next day.
Awesome toasted and drizzled with honey


Jul
20

I want to declare my love for this banana bread in some sort of outrageous way.

Hmmm maybe I should call Oprah and ask her if I can come jump on her couch like Tom Cruise did when he proclaimed his love for Katie Holmes?

Probably not a good idea. After all this bread is Scientology free and I don’t want people to think I’m nuts. Plus there’s absolutely no way to fall out of love with this bread.

We’ll just have to think of another way to tell the world about the best banana bread I’ve ever made.

In the case of banana breads, the saying ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ is completely true. I hadn’t baked banana bread in over a month and was dreaming of a unique recipe for you. Luckily the lovely people at Driscoll’s sent me some coupons for raspberries. I knew right away what had to happen. Raspberries and dark chocolate are a combination I can’t resist, but putting them into a banana bread was like an epiphany.

Since I’ve been trying to eat less wheat lately, I decided that I would use oat flour in my recipe (yes, it’s gluten-free). Can I just say WOW?! The oat flour brought a hearty, incredible flavor to the banana bread! Thankfully oatmeal is naturally high in fiber and protein, which means it’s not only good for you but also super filling. I surprised myself when I didn’t inhale the entire loaf right when it came out of the oven.

Oh and by the way, did you know that making your own oat flour is really easy? Simply throw rolled oats (oatmeal) into your blender and blend until they oats are ground into a fine flour. Done!

I don’t know if it’s biting into the sweet tartness from the raspberries and the creamy bittersweet notes of dark chocolate, or if it’s simply this whole oat flour thing going on, but this banana bread just tastes like heaven. I plan on falling in love with it all over again this weekend.

So here’s what I’d really like to happen: You make this bread and inhale it. Or share it. Just tell everyone you know about it!

Here’s why:  Raspberries are good for your health. And a little bit of dark chocolate won’t hurt you; it’s an antioxidant! There is also zero butter or oil in this recipe, minimal sugar, and the only dairy is from the two egg whites (if you want to make it vegan, try it without them)!

I freaking love everything about it. From the way it smells to the way it tastes. Completely devour-able.

Have a great weekend!

 

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Oatmeal Banana Bread
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Banana Bread, Healthy
Ingredients
  • About 3 cups oatmeal {gluten-free oats}
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup smashed raspberries
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 9x5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. Make oat flour: Place oatmeal into blender and blend for 1-2 minutes until oatmeal resembles flour. You may need to stop blender and stir oats a couple of times to ensure that all oats have been blended.
  3. Measure out just 2 cups of the oat flour and place in a medium bowl. Whisk in baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  4. In a separate large bowl, beat mashed bananas, dark brown sugar, vanilla extract, and eggs for 1-2 minutes until the consistency is smooth and creamy. Slowly add in flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  5. Gently fold in raspberries and dark chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean. Cool 10-15 minutes, then remove from pan and place on wire rack to finish cooling.
Notes
It typically takes 2 1/2-3 cups of oatmeal to make 2 cups of oat flour, so you may have some leftover. This recipe only calls for 2 cups.

To ensure recipe is gluten-free, use gluten-free oatmeal when making your oat flour


Mar
31

What are you doing this weekend?

I purchased an Ostrich egg from Whole Foods. What?! I know. The egg is bigger than my head, cost $30 dollars, and could quite possibly feed a family the size of the Duggars. Soo… are you hungry?

Welcome to the world of Monique where I impulse grocery shop and talk about things that are just weird. Apparently I was utterly fascinated with this egg. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it now. Perhaps an Easter egg hunt? I would totally be excited to find an egg the size of my head.

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