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.
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.
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.
As the holiday season quickly approaches, our ovens will continue to warm. Butter, flour and sugar will be tossed in bowls. Cookies will fill our bellies. Our hearts will sing with love and our faces will fill with laughter. And the gift giving will begin! Oh but what to give this year? You don’t have money to spend, and you’re not sure what your friends will like. Well, I have a super tasty solution that won’t be forgotten.
Banana bread! Yes, seriously!
It’s goes a little something like this: here I baked you something from scratch. I put a bunch of love and bananas into a bowl, added flour and a smidgen of other things. No really, I did! Then I popped it in the oven for an entire hour, just staring through the window with the oven light on, waiting patiently for that dang bread to rise and turn that gorgeous golden brown. Wait, and then you know happened? Well I resisted eating an entire loaf just so I can bring it over to YOU. You know, so YOU could eat the entire loaf and experience the happiness that occurs after shoveling three slices in your mouth. Yeah, that’s love right there; resisting freshly baked banana bread.
Sure banana breads are simple… but they’re GOOD. And actually quite perfect paired with freshly brewed coffee or a glass of wine. You see, people don’t forget banana breads. People DO forget what movie you bought them or that gift card you handed over.
Here are some of my favorite banana breads to make AND an intro to some of my favorite kitchen baking accessories:
Healthy Coconut Banana Bread. One of my favorites! Made with greek yogurt, a splash of orange juice and coconut. This bread is tropical and gorgeous. WAIT, and there are only about 120 calories per slice! My advice? Buy this awesome Wilton Excelle Elite 4-Cup Mini Loaf Pan! You can totally make a couple of mini loafs and keep one for yourself. My friend Courtney has some pretty ideas for Holiday gift wrapping on her blog Pizzazzerie!
Besides my grocery shopping obsession, I have a couple other little addictions.
One is the internet. Twitter specifically; I just love it! Also now that I’m finally getting an iPhone, (I can’t even talk about it), I’ll probably be bonkers obsessed with Instagram and every app that I’ll more than likely forget what it’s like to function as a real human being. I mean, it’s already tough enough for me to keep up with all of the new blogs I’ve been discovering online lately. My new favorite is A Beautiful Mess, a blog about everything from beauty and fashion, to crafts and photography. You totally need to check it out!
Another favorite is my friend Stephanie’s blog Frest Tart. Her unbelievably gorgeous food photography, recipes, and fun writing style immediately invites you in. Stephanie also photographs Andrew Zimmern’s recipes for Food & Wine Magazine which makes it even more fun to follow what she’s up to! Visit and tell her hello!
Something else that has been taking up a lot of my time lately? Baking! So you’ve probably noticed. Well, let me just inform you now that the sweet recipes will continue to live on this blog. I just can’t stop. I’ve always loved to bake but this is getting out of control. Seriously, did I need to make pumpkin muffins, cookies, AND apple crisp this weekend? Probably not. But you see, somedays I find that there is nothing that I would rather do then bake my heart out; my stress seems to diminish while mixing batter and browning butter. Why yes, I am a weird human being, thank you.
Mmmmm now I’m thinking about brown butter. But wait… these muffins don’t actually have any butter OR oil in them! Whatttt?!?! I know, I must explain.
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).
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, nonfat greek yogurt, and egg whites. 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.