Banana Cranberry Bread

banana bread

A guest post from the McDonald Family:

Banana Cranberry Bread

Most everyone loves banana bread, but why not add a little more flavor to it, cranberries. Fall is here and cranberries are in season. It’s great for breakfast or a snack. It’s a one of our favorite family recipes. I enjoy it with a cup of coffee in the morning, and even our 2-year-old son even loves it. It’s one of the few ways we can get him to eat cranberries. It’s an easy recipe to follow and takes about an hour to bake.

Prep time:20 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

¾ teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup butter, softened

½ cup granulated organic or cane sugar

½ cup organic brown sugar

2 eggs

1 ½ cups mashed ripe bananas (2-3 bananas)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ½ cups chopped cranberries (whole cranberries optional)

banana bread 2

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Evenly grease 8 ½ “ by 4 ½ “ metal loaf pan.

  2. In medium bowl, stir flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda with whisk.

  3. In large bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat butter, vanilla extract and granulated and brown sugars until light and fluffy. Beat eggs, one at a time. Reduce speed to low; alternately add flour mixture and banana mixture. Beat just until blended. Add in cranberries and mix well.

  4. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 1 hour (give or take a few minutes) until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool loaf in pan on wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

 

 

 

 

 

Banana Bread 3

Natural Sugar Craving Substitutes; Peanut Butter & Chocolate Banana Cookies and Kefir Popscicles

 

A guest post from Ashley:

 

One of the questions I typically ask clients when I’m getting to know them is what is your biggest downfall when it comes to eating?  For some (or maybe I should say most) people, it comes down to portion sizes and lack of will power.  I like to eat and I know that if I wasn’t aware of the effects it could have on my body, I could eat a lot of not-so-good food in large quantities without even thinking about it.

 

 Over the years, I have learned a lot about nutrition and diet and for the most part I do a really good job eating right and fueling my body properly.  I have said from day one though that I’m far from perfect and I have my days where my eating habits are not the greatest.  Luckily, I work out enough to carry me through those subpar days and I can feel guilt free and resume my healthy eating habits the next morning.

 

The reason this topic popped into my head was because we all have that one food group that tempts us the most.  For some it’s carbs…breads, pastas, chips, you name it.  For me, it’s my sweet tooth that gets the best of me sometimes.  So I have found a couple of healthy recipes that have helped me curb my sugar cravings.  It gives me that sweet taste I feel like I need without all the added sugar and processed ingredients.  I personally have found that if I don’t completely cut it out of my diet, I’m less likely to binge on it some other time.

 

All in all, find what works for you to help you reduce your cravings even if it is simply substituting your favorite snack for a healthier one with ingredients you enjoy  but are also better for you. 

 

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Banana Cookies

cookies

  • 3 bananas
  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup organic creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Dash of cinnamon (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Mash bananas in a large bowl, then stir in remaining ingredients. Let batter stand for approximately 20 minutes, then drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired. Bake 10-12 minutes.  When they are done you can always put half of the batch in a freezer bag and save them for later.  It should make about 30 cookies and will only be around 50 calories per serving.

 

The other idea I came across not too long ago was Kefir popsicles.  I have talked about Kefir in one of my previous entries and here’s a little review of what it is in case you don’t remember.  Kefir is a fermented probiotic milk product similar to yogurt but not quite as thick.  Probiotics are beneficial in helping with GI functions as well as pushing the bad bacteria out of the small intestines during the digestive process.

 

All you really need for kefir popsicles is a plastic popsicle tray with usually six compartments to fill and then stick in the freezer.  You could also just use an ice cube tray and it would work just fine.  Pick the Kefir of your choice and also a frozen fruit that would complement it well.  I think one of my favorites is strawberry kefir with chunks of strawberries in it.  Mix the kefir and fruit, fill the tray up and pop it in the freezer and boom, you’ve got yourself a frozen treat with not only less sugar but also many more health benefits for your body. 

kefir

ice cube

 

 

 

It is not hard to find healthy alternatives, you just have to make sure you are prepared.  It is much easier to not be tempted when you know you have another treat that will be just as satisfying.  Make good choices this week and try to be creative with healthy foods.  If eating gets boring that’s when we turn to bad choices.  Don’t let cravings distract you from your goals.  Consider them a speed bump along your nutritional journey and find ways to get over these bumps with healthy ideas to fall back on like I have. Happy eating everyone.

Lucinda’s Easy Banana Bread / Muffin Recipe

Banana Bread Muffins

 

The easiest banana bread (muffin) recipe, ever:

2 cups flour (reduce to 1 and 3/4 if using whole wheat)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
4-5 mashed overripe bananas
1 cap full of almond extract (optional and can be replaced with vanilla)

Put into muffin pan and bake at 350 until done. No, I don’t know how long I am too much of a hot mess to watch the time! :-) When the tops look done and the toothpick comes out clean. They should look like this:

Muffin pan of banana muffins

 

Originally posted on lucindaclark.com

 

Nolan’s Strawberry-Blueberry-Banana Yogurt Popsicle Recipe

 

M Frozen Yogurt ingredient
Here is a super fun recipe for kids and parents to prepare together. My 5  year old son, Nolan, was so excited to help!

On a hot day, turn off the air-conditioning for a few hours to enjoy the true heat of summer then wait for the excited requests for cold treats like popsicles. “Why don’t we make our own popsicles today?” was met with eager disbelief. There followed a helpful scurry to find delicious fruits for the perfect taste. Nolan decided on a mixture of strawberries, blueberries and  bananas from our Brewers Organics produce box. When asked if he would like to make three different flavors, he answered incredulously, “No, we have to use all three in one popsicle!” And a chef is born.

M Nolan working the blender

The super simple recipe:

1 cup vanilla yogurt

1 cup fruit [We used 1/3 cup sliced strawberries + 1/3 cup blueberries + 1/3  cup sliced bananas.]

2 Tbsp honey

Blend all in a blender, then fill a popsicle mold almost to the top. (Leave a little room for liquids to expand.)

M Nolan's Frozen Yogurt heading for freezer

Freeze for 2-4 hours. Done!

This created 4 popsicles so we quickly whipped up another batch to have 8 total. Of course, we needed a pre-frozen taste test, so we drank a little extra as fruit smoothies. Delicious!

M Nolan eats frozen yogurt on steps

 

I’m always amazed at how serious kids can be about some aspects of cooking.  Here are some teachable moments for my five year old today:

1. Fruit smoothies can easily be frozen into popsicles. (Go Science!)

2. Red (strawberries) and blue (blueberries) mix together to make the color  purple! (Go Art!) We also sang our favorite Preschool Rock N Learn song “Red and  Blue, mixed together, makes the color purple.” (Go Music!)

3. A 1-cup measuring cup can be filled with 1/3 cup strawberries, 1/3 cup  blueberries and 1/3 cup bananas. (Go Math!)

4. Dollar Store Ice Pop Makers make good popsicles and only cost a dollar.  (Go Economics!)

5. Honey is a natural sweetener for berries. (Go Home Economics!) Actually,  depending on the ripeness of the fruit, honey may not be needed. Summer berries are so delicious without any help this month!

6. Cooking is fun! (Go Life Skills!)

-Michelle and Nolan Gagne
A Lauren eats Nolan's Frozen Yogurt

Banana and Mango Smoothie or “It’s Raining Bananas and Mangos”

Banana Mango Smoothie in glasses

 

My kids have fallen in love with mangos. Each week, we eat at least 4 of this  sweet fruit. Perhaps I need to grow a mango tree. In Wisconsin? Sorry, kids! Did  you know mango trees can grow up to 60 feet tall? Not really for my small back  yard! This “king of fruit” is rich in anti-oxidants, potassium and fiber. Who can turn down requests for mango snacks?

We love to eat this delicious fruit in its purest form: peeled and cut into  bite-sized pieces. However, this week we decided to branch out into the smoothie world. It has been a hot week so far, so we have been searching for cool drinks  and snacks. We came up with this recipe to use mango and banana with our favorite vanilla yogurt. Nutritious and delicious!

Ingredients:

1½ cups mango, peeled and cut-up

1 medium banana, sliced

1 ½ cups vanilla yogurt

½ cup milk (or more, if desired)

Banana Mango Smoothie food prep

Directions:

1. For this recipe, it is helpful to freeze the mango pieces for an hour or so to make the smoothie nice and cold! Let thaw for 10 minutes before putting it  in the blender.

2. Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.

3. Add a bright colored straw and drink with delight! If the smoothie is too thick to your liking, add more milk to your cup and simply stir with your straw.

Banana Mango Smoothie and Nolan

 

The verdict was “Yum Yum!“ and “Amazing!“ from my two children. Discussions of what to call this drink started very silly and then ended with “It’s Raining  Bananas and Mangos.” The children also helped with the visual presentation by  adding their toy banana and tropical Little Person to the table. (Sorry, no toy  mangos in the toy box!) The best part of this demonstration was watching them drink contentedly in silence until the final loud slurps of the straw emptying every last drop from the bottom of the glass.

Single Bananas, Happy Hearts!

One of the questions I sometimes get from customers is: “Why do you break banana bunches?”  Normally we, as conusmers, are used to bananas coming in bunches.

Let me explain.

One of my goals is to reduce the amount of product waste the customer has. On average, the American consumer throws away something like 19% of the food they buy. To achieve this goal of reducing waste I sent surveys out and had the data analyzed.

It seems, that if a customer gets more variety in their box that are much less likely to ever throw anything away from not using it. Meaning, the customer saves money from lack of waste, and my heart doesn’t ache that there are hungry people in a America while great food is going in the trash.
So, yeah, I know it seems a bit odd that would break bunches of bananas. However, in the long term if a customer is a getting a box week after week, their actual consumption is near 99% if we put 2 apples, 2 bananas, 2 oranges in a box rather than 1 bunch of bananas. Make sense?

This is the same reason you will hardly ever get a 5lb bag of potatoes in your box. You’ll get a pound of potatoes and a pound of something else, and a vegetable of another kind. Enough to make a meal but not so much that you have spuds coming out your ears.

So, there it is, a bit of random information from the wild and wonderful world of  Food Love.

Cheers and Happy Eats!
Lucinda