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Entries in banana (21)


Banana Cinnamon Muffins

banana cinnamon muffin

A new year, a new start.

I don't typically make New Year's resolutions because I can't seem to keep up my unrealistic expectations after a week or two. This year I want to try something different. I want to make resolutions that are real and attainable, even if they do take a little work. I want to make resolutions I can keep. These are a few that I am going to work towards this year:

1. Be Healthy

salad and poached egg

I want to be healthy in both body and mind. I think the key to the new year will be balance. Last year held high highs and low lows in both aspects for me. I truly believe that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind so eating better and working out will bring about happiness and peace of mind.

This year I want to work on eating more fruits and vegetables, but, more importantly, I want to work on a lower sodium diet. Although I love everything about salt, my body doesn't. Working on cooking from scratch and eating less processed foods will keep out much of the salt (and more of the calories!). My mother also picked up a family membership for the gym and I'm excited to start using it. I find that working out helps me not only sleep better, but feel better.

2. Take a Photography Class

winter afternoon

I first became interested in photography this year. I figured if I was going to be starting a food blog, I better learn how to take a good picture. Even though I know how to work all the manual settings on my camera, there is much much more to learn. Composition and lighting are always a struggle. Although I can judge which photos are more visually appealing to my own eye, I couldn't tell you why. A photography course could help me fill in some of those blanks (and that's something I am excited about).


3. Get a Job

After changing career paths, I am another unemployed member of society. Although I wouldn't mind continuing to spend my days baking and watching shows like Gossip Girl, I want to aspire to greater things. I have goals! I have aspirations! This year I would like to find a job that will allow me explore the culinary field, pick up some tricks of the trade, and learn more about what I love—food... Anyone hiring?

4. Keep Baking!

banana cinnamon muffin

Something tells me this resolution will be the easiest to keep. I can hardly keep myself out of the kitchen as it is. This year I am going to focus on baking healthy. I plan to continue healthier substitutions (like swapping butter and oil for yogurt or applesauce), but I also want to work on cutting down the sugar content (while keeping the flavor a priority). I think we all get plenty of sugar as it is. My desserts may be darker and more decadent with less of the sweet stuff, but I certainly don't think that's a bad thing!

Do you have any resolutions for the new year?

banana cinnamon muffin

I thought it was only fitting to start off 2011 with something that won't ruin our diets. These banana cinnamon muffins are healthy and delicious. Low in both butter and sugar, the sweetness in these muffins comes from the bananas (although you'd never guess it). At 150 calories each, these muffins will keep your resolutions intact and I think that's something we can all be happy about.

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Banana Nut Bread

banana nut bread

Since I lack any and all self control around baked goods, I figure the least I can do for myself (and my waistline) is to bake healthier. Perhaps you have already noticed this in my recipes. I generally substitute applesauce and plain yogurt for butter and oil (in fact, I haven't used oil for months!). I use whole wheat flour in place of all purpose. And, I even cut down the amount of sugar in my recipes purely in the name of health! (Or, more honestly, because I don't like my foods too sweet).

banana nut bread

Using whole wheat flour is definitely the most noticeable change. Whole wheat flour gives baked goods this fantastic texture and more diverse taste. My cakes and breads are also thicker and denser, meaning some of the "lightness" of the baked goods has been sacrificed. Though, I think this is made up in the good feelings I get knowing I'm eating some quality whole grains.

banana nut bread

I can't even think of a negative effect by substituting applesauce and plain yogurt for butter and oil. There is not a noticeable loss in taste or texture, as far as I have been able to tell. Often I find my cakes and breads so moist I have to worry about them molding before they get completely devoured (I have shed tears over baked goods taken in their prime more than once). Isn't that the kind of "problem" a good baker should have? Unless I want something to be dark and decadent, making these simple substitutions is perfect for your everyday baking.

banana nut bread

This banana nut bread is the healthiest loaf of banana bread ever conceived (or close to it). It is jam packed with bananas and almonds, lacks butter and oil, and uses maple syrup in place of sugar. It is tender and moist and absolutely everything you look for in a good banana bread. And it is good for you. I don't think anyone can argue with that.

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Maple Roasted Bananas with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

maple roasted bananas with cinnamon whipped cream

I have begun a lifelong love affair with maple syrup. It started with pancakes, gravitated towards desserts, and found its way to savory foods (maple syrup is just fantastic on asparagus). But today we aren't talking about pancakes or savory foods. We are talking desserts. And this one is certainly a doozie.

When I set out to make these maple roasted bananas, I had no idea of the surprises in store for me. When you start to invent your own recipes, a little surprise here and there is bound to happen (though you never anticipate it). It started out innocently enough, with beautifully cut bananas drowning in maple syrup and brown sugar. What can I say? I let my guard down. So I put them in the oven, set the timer, and started putting away ingredients. About 4 minutes in, I smelled burnt sugar and rushed to the oven. The bananas were perfectly fine, oh yes they were, and I let out a brief sigh of relief. But the extra sugar in the pan had decided to boil and burn something awful. So, being completely practical, I turned on the broiler to harden the sugar on the bananas.

maple roasted bananas with cinnamon whipped cream

The fire alarm forced me to stop my experiment.

My bananas turned out perfectly despite this. My pan may be charred black, but who can care about that when these gorgeous bananas are staring you in the face? Some sugary syrup had been spared, so I drizzled this over the roasted bananas and added a dollop of cinnamon whipped cream. Oh. My God. I ate more than my fair share and licked my plate clean. Licked it spotless.

it is as good as it looks

The cinnamon whipped cream keeps the sugar in check, so it is not overwhelming. Both the maple syrup and banana flavors shine. I could gush longer about how good this is, but I think its better if you just find out for yourself, don't you?

(Don't worry, I adjusted and tested the recipe so your baking venture will be a little less exciting).

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