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.
Sometimes I find myself in an entranced state when I cook. It’s as though I get lost in the food; in the flavors, the smells, and sometimes just the simple pleasure that good food brings to my soul.
I also get lost pinning things on Pinterest. Which is mostly just a distraction from what I’m actually trying to do which is work like a normal person and get to the gym.
Speaking of the gym, I have an update on my Big Foot/marine/professional wrestler trainer! Uhhh… he is legit crazy (yes I just said that). He made us do 30 jumpsquats, some weird miliary squats with weights, 20 billion planks, and suicides. It’s like high school basketball practice all over, and again, I thought I was going to die. Apparently he enjoys torturing people while he sits there and plans his next attack as Sasquatch or whatever he does in his free time. I mean he even told us to eat a Paleo based diet, which of course I won’t be doing. Only because I really like carbs and pumpkin pie season is coming (my obsession).
What?! No one tells me what to eat.
…Unless it’s someone really ridiculously good-looking like Pacey from Dawson’s Creek. Then I MIGHT consider his suggestion.
Bruschetta is delicious and quite healthy as far as appetizers go. Well unless you put fried onion rings and bacon on it.. then not so much.
However, I like good-for-you sorts of things. So toasted slices of whole grain french bread are slathered with one of my favorites: heart-healthy smashed avocado mixed with sea salt and fresh lime juice. Then I pile on a mixture of tomato, balsamic vinegar, garlic and olive oil. Oh and let’s not forget a little fresh basil!
Goodness. These cute toasts are simply delightful. Especially with fresh tomatoes from your garden!
They only take about 10 minutes to throw together.
Annnnndddd they are vegan! But I mean, if you hate vegan things you could just add a little goat cheese. Or bacon.
Hey by the way… did you guys know that I don’t eat pork or beef?
Seriously. What is wrong with me.
Let’s catch up. How have you been?
This week I joined a new gym, where I’m quite certain my trainer is either Big Foot, a marine, or a professional wrestler. He teaches my Nike Training Camp classes, which are a mix of plyometrics, military drills, cardio, and weights. Literally sweating waterfalls every time I walk out of there; it’s very similar to the Insanity videos! I just think he’s trying to kill me. But who knows.
I’ve also been enjoying living next to the ocean as much as possible. Every day I try and make it down to the beach. I don’t mean to make you jealous BUT look at this view from my rooftop! Amazing.
I’m not even prepared for Summer to end or these sunny days that seem to never cease. I’m dropping my roommate off at the airport in a few hours, where she’ll head to Greece for a vacation… on a yacht. WHAT! I can’t even talk about it because I’m so jealous. My weekend plans consist of more cooking, maybe a little surfing, and most likely a dinner with these mushroom + kale quesadillas and probably a couple of roasted blueberry basil margaritas to drown in my sorrows. Only kidding, I’ll be fine.
Maybe my trainer would chill out if I offered him a margarita? But then again, he’s there to push me to help me get in great shape; that’s why I made these skinny! I can’t go around eating pie and doing jump squats; those two activities would not mix well.
These strawberries are a great party appetizer or summer treat for anyone. The filling is made with reduced-fat cream cheese, nonfat vanilla greek yogurt (protein!), key lime juice and zest. All you have to do is hollow out the strawberries then fill them with this mix.
I topped my strawberries with sliced toasted almonds, but I think that crushed graham crackers would add a lovely texture and be more reminiscent of a true key lime pie or cheesecake.
After I filled the strawberries, I froze them for about an hour. I think they would be also delicious if you froze them before filling, but that’s up to you. I also found that I had a bit of the filling left over… UM, thank goodness because I spooned that on top of everything. And when I mean EVERYTHING I mean granola, bananas, almonds, in a smoothie, on a muffin, AND on top of graham crackers. My crazy drill sargent trainer would not be proud that all these things, but you act like I could resist putting this dip on everything in sight. It’s called recipe testing!
So really the filling can act as a dip, too! A creamy, healthy key lime cheesecake flavored dip perfect enough to serve to guests at a party, give your kids, or just to distract you from real pie.
Well until next week when pie takes over this blog and I throw pictures of oreos, bananas, peanut butter, and whip cream in your face. So just trust me, eat skinny things while you still can.
This Summer I’ve discovered a lot of really good things.
Farmer’s markets. Romance. Gluten-free breads. Coconut flour. Trader Joe’s Fig Jam. Adorable red skinny jeans. Chocolate nut butters. Oatmeal pancakes. Tzatiki. California. Traveling. Writing. Letting go of inhibitions.
I have to say starting brand new has been the best experience yet; because what is life really without a little bit of adventure?
Or crazy weird (and delicious) grilled cheese sandwiches for that matter?
I enjoy living life as it comes. Mostly through food experiences. And let me tell you, raspberry jam is simply the best there is. Seriously grape jelly weirds me out. But maybe that’s because I’m used to seeing it in that creepy Welch’s squeezable container.
Are we on the same page here? Probably not, because I have no idea where I’m going with that. I really just wanted to tell you how much I love raspberry jam. I don’t think I could live a week without it.
…Or a week without looking at Ryan Lochte.
Oh, sorry. Back to the jam.
Raspberry jam is just this thing that goes perfectly with all the other good things in life… you know like cupcakes and whip cream or sandwiched in s’mores. Oh let’s be reminded that it’s the perfect topping for peanut butter pie.
Once I brought raspberry jam swirled-dark chocolate brownies over for a dinner party. They were really, really good. Apparently so good that the guy who ate them tried to ask me out on a date. That’s not a joke. The world is a weird, weird place sometimes.
Especially when you find out that raspberry brownies cast magical love spells.
I can contribute to the weirdness of the world I guess. I mean, I put raspberry jam, goat cheese and peaches in a sandwich, grilled it, then watched the Bachelor Pad.
Despite my weirdness, the sandwich was delightful. Tart goat cheese, raspberry jam, and bright ripe peaches made it the perfect quick summer meal. Because I realize that we can’t make salmon and pancakes everyday.
If you’re anything like me, half the time you want to bury your face in a bag of Sun Chips for lunch and save the other half for dinner. But let me tell you that I really do like this sandwich, it’s easy to pull together and full of bright fruity summer flavors.
WAIT… are you thinking what I’m thinking?
I hope so…
Crunchy Sun Chips in the sandwich?
Makes 1 sandwich (double for 2)
1 tablespoon good quality raspberry jam (preferably low in sugar)
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled or spreadable kind
1 small peach, sliced
2 slices of good whole wheat sandwich bread (panini would be really good)
Is it really August?
Oops! I forgot to do a post on my July favorites!
Instead I wanted to catch you up on my life; what I’m doing, working on, and loving! Most of this involves food.
We haven’t had a sweet recipe for FAR too long. How rude of me.
Butter + sugar + lots of love in forms of cakes and cookies coming soon.
AND PIE…. that’s another obvious.
I’ve discovered that cookie dough is really crazy good and addicting. BUT I think the smell of homemade cookies out of the oven is even better; I would never get sick of coming home to the aroma of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.
That’s why someone should bottle it up and sell it as a men’s cologne. Instant millionaire!
There are an abundance of zucchinis the size of my arm in my garden. They are not even genetically modified so I don’t know what’s happening there. Good things will come of this though, I promise.
I love creating feel-good recipes with fresh summer produce.
You know, when I’m not eating pie.
This just seems to be the summer of cooking! Every second I get I’m in the kitchen doing way too many things at once.
Just look at that weird brown-greenish sauce! It’s actually an amazing homemade green chile sauce. I put it on everything for a week straight.
Things are getting really good in my kitchen. Like really, really freaking good. I can’t stop having fun. No, no…. maybe life is getting good? Like really, really freaking good? I am 23 after all!
And because I am 23, my veins operate on caffeine.
WAIT… that’s not right, is it? I’m supposed to only need coffee once I have kids. This might be an issue someday.
Until then, I still love a good cup of coffee. To me, it’s the perfect way to start my morning. My roommate introduced me to the French Press annnndddd it could be the best thing ever. I also really love Peet’s Coffee.
Since being in LA, I’ve been trying to check out new restaurants. On Saturday, I had these incredible baby scallops and a fresh summer salad with figs and pea shoots at Hot’s Kitchen. Then delicious watermelon and mint cocktails at Silvio’s BBQ.
But do you want to know my favorite discovery was?
A little social house with a super creative chef: Manhattan Beach Post. We went there for brunch this past weekend. I ordered a Burrata and Roasted Red Pepper sandwich and my friend had and incredible eggs benedict on top of a bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuit. HOLY… what?! So soooooo good.
I’ve been listening to Lana Del Rey’s album non-stop; Summertime Sadness is one of my favorite songs. Her voice makes me feel like I’ve been thrown back into the 60′s. Just listen!
My mom made me plantains which are a traditional staple in Puerto Rico. There are countless ways to prepare and use them. Don’t they look like bananas?
Anyway that’s just a little bit of my summer for you. Right now I’m working on a huge project and have been enjoying summer as much as possible. Don’t worry, I’ve got lots of recipes coming soon!
Thank goodness it’s Friday!
I have to admit that this week I was a little bummed. I don’t know if it’s because Bella cheated on Edward, or if it’s because I got rid of THIRTEEN pairs of shoes yesterday. Yes, THIRTEEN! It’s not like I ever wore them, but seriously getting rid of shoes is like throwing away memories.
So I took myself shoe shopping to make up for it.
I’m a girl… it’s what we do. Anyway I feel much better now. I even made myself a cute little appetizer to start the weekend the right.
And I think that you just have to make these little pita pizzas too! They are my new favorite thing.
If you’ve never roasted berries before then now is the time to start; it’s so wonderful! The heat from the oven brings out the sugars and juice, giving you a melt in your mouth sweetness that will make you want to savor every single bite of the fruit.
Roasting berries had been on my bucket list for a while, but throwing them on a whole wheat pita and topping it with caramelized onion, mozzarella, and arugula? Completely spur of the moment and just a little bit heavenly.
I served these at a party and they disappeared in seconds!
Wearing new heels and making delicious pita pizzas with roasted berries.
Someone’s Friday just got better.
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
1/4 teaspoon of salt
10 strawberries, hulled and quartered
10 dark red cherries, pitted and halved
3 or 4 whole wheat pitas (I use 100 calorie pitas)
1 cup of reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup arugula
Salt and pepper
During college I was in love with a salad from a local restaurant. It was always refreshing, consistent, and filling! My best girlfriends and I ate it at least once a week — it was our favorite! I swear the waiters began to know us by name, but that MIGHT have been because we always took at least 10 of the free lollipops they set out in a large bucket. I don’t know why we thought free meant endless supply?
Anyway ordering dirty martinis and a chopped salad with no bacon and dressing on the side was our tradition.
I do have a little advice for you: always eat food before martinis. Seriously remember that.
So, what’s a chopped salad anyway?
It’s simply a salad that includes fresh produce and ingredients that have been ‘chopped’ (or just cut up to fairly equal size), then the salad is typically tossed together. Flavors can be adjusted and dressing may be used. Chopped salads are very popular in restaurants as they make the perfect lighter meal.
I know the question you want to ask me. And the answer is YES, you will look like Heidi Klum if you eat salads like this for dinner… every night… for the rest of your life.
To make the salad I started with fresh romaine hearts then I added protein: pulled chicken breast and chickpeas. The rest? Grilled sweet corn (or whatever you have on hand), fresh grape tomatoes, avocado, crumbled goat cheese, and fresh chopped cilantro. Then tossed (or drizzled) with any dressing you desire. I drizzled mine with my favorite BBQ sauce; it was heavenly.
Seriously this salad is just GOOD. It makes you feel good. In fact I’m starting to think it even makes good things happen. Just the other day I found $20 I never knew I had. Yesterday I made the best banana bread I have EVER made in my life. Today I had an amazing meeting! Oh, and I’ll be traveling again soon!
In any case, I need to eat more chopped salads. That way I can eat more cake.
You see how my brain thinks? It a vicious cycle.