Cinnamon Walnut Banana Bread

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I’ve been hanging on to a few bananas this week knowing I wanted to make a banana bread. Dennis bought me a Breville Smart Oven Air (countertop oven) for my birthday. I love it! It can make up to a 14 pound turkey as well as fit a 9×13 pan. I’m looking forward to using all the fun features this oven offers. This oven has many functions and they are -toast, bagel, broil, bake, roast, warm, pizza, proof, airfry, reheat, cookies, slow cook, and dehydrate. I can’t wait to try them all. Today, I used the bake function so I could make my banana bread.

I was so excited to use my new Breville oven, I took a picture of the banana bread once I placed it inside.

I added cinnamon and nutmeg to my bread, knowing my house would smell wonderful once the bread was baking in my new oven.

I started by creaming softened butter and sugar together and then adding two large, eggs, 1 cup of mashed, ripe bananas, milk (I used fat free because that is always what I have on hand), and vanilla.

In another bowl, I combined all-purpose flour, chopped walnuts (1 cup, I wanted a lot of walnuts in my bread, not just a few bits and pieces), cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and kosher salt.

I slowly added the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mixed everything together. Next, I poured the mixture into a greased (bottom only) 9×5 inch loaf pan and placing it into a preheated 350 degree oven for 65 minutes, checking after 55.

Dennis and I live in a neighborhood filled with the most wonderful neighbors anyone could hope for. Our next door neighbors, Seth and Deanna have the two cutest little girls, Abby and Madelyn. They are so sweet! Deanna’s parents came in from Chicago today. I know they’re going to enjoy the nice weather we’ve been having. Deanna’s parents are always so kind and say hello whenever they see me outside. I knew they’d be coming in today, so decided I’d make two banana breads, one for us and one to take next door for Seth and Deanna to share with their family. I hope they enjoy my Cinnamon Walnut Banana Bread and I hope if you try it, you enjoy it too. I know I’ll be enjoying a slice of this with my coffee tomorrow morning!

Ingredients

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 large eggs

1 cup mashed, ripe bananas (2-3 bananas)

1/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon baking soda

1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease or spray bottom of a 9×5 loaf an.
  3. In large bowl (or bowl of an electric mixer), cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs and beat.
  5. Add mashed bananas, milk and vanilla and blend.
  6. In another bowl, combine flour, walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, kosher salt and baking soda. Mix.
  7. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix together until moistened.
  8. Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 55-65 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

Avocado and Egg

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Happy Saturday morning all! Today, Dennis, Kylie and I are headed to the San Diego Wild Animal Park for the day. The company Dennis works for has a special day at the park for the employees and family members. Last year, it was held at the San Diego Zoo.

I wanted to make a quick and healthy breakfast that would give me the energy I’d need to walk around for the next 6-8 hours (or a least until lunch). I also need to have enough energy to run from the oversized birds that reside at the Wild Animal Park …  I have memories (fabulous memories) with my dear friends, Marie and Pam, of the last time I was at the Wild Animal Park. Our kids were in elementary school, now they have headed off to college. Marie, Pam and I were searching for a place to eat lunch with the kids. The biggest bird I’d ever seen was coming my way … oh my. Birds are my biggest fear. This is why I’m going to need lots of energy from my breakfast, should this situation arise once again. I am planning on wearing a bright colored plaid, flannel shirt tied around my waist, to be used as a deterrent, something I can take off and fly like a flag to keep the big birds away from me. Just kidding, I’ll wear my running shoes. Who am I kidding, I’ll also have that shirt tied around my waist … just in case.

This was about the easiest breakfast to prepare. It consisted of two eggs and one small avocado, cut in half. I cooked my eggs sunny side up (because it puts me in a good mood to look at my eggs and feel like they are smiling back at me … sunny, happy) in about a half tablespoon of butter. I sprinkled kosher salt and fresh ground pepper over my eggs. Once they were done, I placed one egg in each half of the avocado. This was so tasty, super satisfying. I think this breakfast also makes the cut for a recipe with under four items for my sister, Cherie.

You can eat a healthy breakfast even when time is short. This took less than 10 minutes to prepare.

Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

 

Apricot, Almond, White Chocolate Scones

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Good Afternoon my dear readers! This morning, I had the pleasure of a few of my friends stopping by for a visit. My friends and I always have a wonderful time when we are together. I think of myself as one of the luckiest gals alive. I have a fabulous family and forever friends that I truly cherish.

Once the plans were made for my friends to stop by, I made the decision to make some homemade scones to greet them with. Coffee and scones … what better way to indulge in a little treat while visiting with some of my girlfriends. A few of my friends were unable to come … Susan most likely had meetings (she’s very important), Pam had to go to boot camp (I told her to have fun, I love boots) and Marie’s fabulous son turns 18 today. Happy Birthday Tommy! Azita, Ethel, and JoAnne came by and it was absolutely lovely. I have the most beautiful orchid from Azita and white roses from JoAnne. My house is beautiful with the smell of flowers right now.

I have the best friends ever. Early last week I had surgery on the back of my head and haven’t been out since. (This is also the reason I haven’t blogged any recipes (except one) in the last week.) My lovely friend, Sandy, brought dinner last Tuesday night, which was fabulous (baked spaghetti and all that goes with it, yum!). My sweet friend, Cathy walked over with her husband Tim and a lovely bouquet of tulips. My favorite Latin friend (one of my favorite people in the world actually) and walking buddy, Ethel, brought the best mish mosh soup last Wednesday with a fabulous “cookie” type dessert and my sweet friend, Elizabeth, came over with her sweet daughter, Rachel, a beautiful orchid, and homemade banana walnut muffins as well. I had many text messages from all my friends and family, which I am so grateful for. I am so thankful to everyone for all they did for me. My husband was a real trooper all of last week. He was amazing! He did a fabulous job of washing my hair without getting the incision wet (I, however was soaked!) and he was amazing at wrapping my head and taking care of me in general. I can’t thank him enough. My beautiful daughter, Kylie, made sure to French braid my hair each and every night (and morning) to keep my hair away from the bazillion stitches. Thank goodness this is a trait she became really good at during her softball days.

I’m doing fine and feeling great, just glad last week is behind me.

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I’m glad I could finally take this head wrap off. Yay for yesterday!

Today is the first day I feel pretty awesome … the bazillion stitches came out yesterday. My friends are so sweet, they wanted to come over to visit and check up on me, which is why I wanted to have a nice treat for them.

I decided I’d make homemade apricot, almond, white chocolate chip scones. Oh my goodness, they were so good! My friend, JoAnne even asked for the recipe, which I am going to share with you all. (JoAnne, I will write this out on a card for you as well). As some of you know, I am more of a cook than a baker. Especially when I’m making up a recipe up on my own, which is what I always do for my blog. I researched some basic scone recipes and tweaked several to come up with the basic recipe I made. I knew I wanted to add the apricots, almonds and white chocolate, but did some research for how much flour and baking powder to use, and I played with how much butter, sugar, etc. to use to make it my own. I must say, I’m pretty proud of this one!

I started with 1-2/3 cup flour, 6 tablespoons of somewhat softened butter, 4 tablespoons of sugar, 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. I mixed this together with a fork. In a smaller bowl, I whisked together 1 egg, 1/2 cup non-fat milk (because that’s what I always have in the house) and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. To the flour mixture, I added 1/3 cup slivered almonds, 1/3 cup dried apricots (that I chopped) and 1/3 cup white chocolate chips. I mixed this into the dry mixture, added the wet ingredients and continued to mix with a fork.

I then turned my dough out onto a cutting board that I had lightly dusted with flour. I formed my dough into a disk, about 3/4 inch thick. I cut my dough into 8 wedges and placed them onto a baking sheet that I had lined with parchment paper. I brushed an egg wash (1 egg and 1 tablespoon water, whisked together) over each scone and sprinkled a little sugar on top. On top of that, I sprinkled extra slivered almonds.

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Once the scones had cooled, I drizzled a simple glaze I made out of powdered sugar (1 cup), fat free milk (2 tablespoons) and vanilla (2 teaspoons).

I set my scones out in a little basket lined with a fabric napkin and my treat was ready for my friends.

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Ingredients

  • 1-2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons softened butter
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus 1 teaspoon for garnish
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, plus 1 egg for egg wash
  • 1/2 cup fat-free milk (or whatever milk you choose)
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla paste (or extract, if that’s what you have)
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds, plus more for garnish
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup dried, chopped apricots

Ingredients for Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons non-fat milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions for Glaze

Mix together powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. Set aside until ready to use.

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In large bowl, combine flour, softened butter, baking powder, and salt. Blend together with a fork. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, milk, and vanilla. Set aside.

Stir chopped apricots, slivered almonds, and white chocolate chips into flour mixture. Add egg mixture to dry mixture and stir with a fork, being careful not to overmix.

Place dough onto a floured surface. Sprinkle dough with a little flour and push dough down into a 3/4 inch thick disk. Cut into 8 wedges and place on baking sheet.

Whisk together one egg and 1 tablespoon water to make an egg wash. Brush scones with egg wash, sprinkle with granulated sugar and almond slivers. Bake for 25 minutes (check at 20 minutes) until golden brown. Let cool and drizzle with glaze. Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

Turkey Bacon, Avocado and Egg Toast

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Happy Saturday morning everyone! I love Saturdays … truth be told though, Friday is my favorite day of the week. I do love Saturdays for the sometimes lazy feel of them and I also love them for the sometimes running around like a nut feel they give me. Today will be a bit of a running around type of day, but has started out slow and relaxing, which will make for a great day!

For breakfast this morning, I started with two slices of whole grain bread, toasted it and made an open faced sandwich from there. I cooked two slices of turkey bacon – which I like to eat because it is lower in fat than regular bacon, a whole avocado – half per piece of toast and two eggs that I cooked over easy.

I’m ready to hit the road and do some errands, all while feeling energized because of my healthy breakfast. Have a wonderful day everyone, and a wonderful weekend!

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Ingredients

  • 2 slices whole wheat (100%) toast
  • two slices turkey bacon
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tablespoon butter
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground pepper

Directions

Toast bread. Cook turkey bacon and eggs. Cook eggs in 1/4 tablespoon butter. (I cook my bacon in the microwave or I bake it). Slice avocado. Lay bacon on each slice of bread, topping with avocado and then egg. Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

 

 

Homemade Granola

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Today we are heading to the world famous San Diego Zoo for “Zoo Day” with the company my husband works for.  We’ve been looking forward to this day for the last month or so. Who doesn’t love to see the animals at the zoo? Plus, it will be a great day of exercise with all that walking … which means, no “cute” shoes for me.  It will have to be my “Disneyland” Nike’s, as I call them.  I have my shoes I wear when I walk for exercise each and every morning, but they won’t match a thing (they are bright pink and lime green, afterall). So, last year I bought myself a pair of Nike’s I can wear with jeans or shorts, that will match pretty much any outfit, are super comfortable … and most important of all, will look good. You see, about a year and a half ago, I had a stress fracture on the outside of my foot and got to wear a “boot” for a couple of months.  This was because I’d wear cute sandals or flip flops for hours on end, walking around Disneyland, walking the mall, walking around the softball fields for hours, wherever I had to be, I wore shoes that I shouldn’t have. My parents always told me to wear more sensible shoes!  My Dad hated when I had flip flops on.  He was not a fan of those shoes, or gum chewing. My Mom can tell you the story of the time her, my sister and I were in Vegas and I brought the cutest, highest wedge sandals in all the land. As we were leaving the hotel room, my mom said to me “You’re not wearing those shoes, are you?” I replied, “but, of course, they’re so cute!” She said, “You are not going to want to walk the strip in those!” “I’ll be fine!”  ….. I wasn’t fine.  My feet were killing me and blisters were forming.  We walked into a convenience store and I bought a pair of “Lucky Las Vegas” bobby socks and put them on with my cute, adorable wedge sandals.  Now, I looked super goofy … from the ankles down.  The good news is, I walked into a casino as soon as I put those socks on, walked up to a slot machine and won $50!  So, those really were “Lucky Las Vegas” socks.  My Mom always looks pulled together, whether she’s wearing tennis shoes and jeans or her penny loafers.  She has a very classic look.  I should have listened to her that day, she looked great in her Treetorns or Nike’s, whichever she was wearing (she even keeps a pair of Nike’s at my house in the guest room closet).  I should have followed in my mother’s footsteps and went with the look she was sporting that day.  Then again, maybe I wouldn’t have won $50. Today, I’ll be ready with my sneakers on to walk the zoo with Dennis and Kylie.

Not only will I be ready with the correct shoes on, I’ll be ready for the day after eating this breakfast full of fruit (dried and fresh), nuts and Greek non-fat yogurt – leaving the house feeling healthy and ready for the day! For the yogurt, I use Dannon Light and Fit.  It has the lowest sugar of any I’ve seen.  I always check the sugar grams on yogurt before I buy it, because I don’t like to have a lot of sugar.  The Dannon is my go-to.

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Last night, I made homemade granola so it would be ready for this morning’s breakfast. It’s really quite simple. I started with old fashioned rolled oats and shredded (reduced fat) coconut … I found that at Sprouts. Simply mix the oats and coconut together in a large bowl and in a smaller bowl, whisk together vegetable oil and honey. Add the honey and oil to the oats and coconut, mix together with a wooden spoon and lay it out on a large sheet pan and bake. Make sure you stir the oats mixture a few times during baking.

While that was baking, I combined dried cherries, dried cranberries, dried apricots, cashews (whole) and almonds (chopped … I bought whole almonds and chopped them). Once the granola was out of the oven, I let it cool and mixed the dried fruit and nuts into the granola.

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I then placed the granola in airtight container to store.

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Ingredients

  • 4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cuts shredded coconut (I used reduced fat)
  • 2 cups roasted cashews
  • 1 cup chopped almonds
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup good honey
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup dried apricots

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine oats and coconut. In a smaller bowl, whisk together vegetable oil and honey and add to the oats and coconut. Mix together with a wooden spoon. Pour onto a large jelly roll pan and bake for 30-40 minutes. Make sure to stir a few times while baking.

Combine cherries, cranberries, apricots, cashews and almonds in a bowl and set aside.

Remove granola from oven and allow to cool.

Add dried fruits and nuts to granola and mix together. Put in an airtight container to store. Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

 

 

Egg White and Turkey Bacon Breakfast Burrito

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This was a no-frills, plain breakfast burrito.  Just the way I wanted it this morning. I wanted a really healthy and light breakfast.  I have lots to do today so wanted my breakfast to be fast and I wanted it to be easy, but flavorful.  I had already gone for my daily walk for exercise up at the park.  Dennis and Remington were already at the park running and I was going to meet them there. When they finish running, they join me in my walk.  Remington was so excited to see me when he rounded the corner.  He was having the time of his life.  It was like he was completely airborne … I love seeing him so happy, out with his Dad for their daily run.  Dennis, of course, was having the time of his life too.  He thanks Remington every morning for the gift of good health.  Dennis believes that a) having a dog extends a person’s life and b) a dog needs exercise and the owner is the one to take them out for their daily exercise, which in turn, provides the owner exercise and good health.

As far as my burrito goes, it was really healthy.  I didn’t want anything added to my breakfast burrito in the way of salsa, butter or sauce.  I wanted it plain.  I scrambled four egg whites with a half a jalapeño and added two tablespoons of fat free mozzarella cheese.  I cooked two slices of turkey bacon and put this all together in a flour tortilla.

This was nice and light.  The egg whites have 17 calories each, the jalapeño has 2 calories in a half jalapeño, the fat free mozzarella comes in at 45 calories, the turkey bacon is 30 calories per slice. I had two, so that is 60.  The tortilla is 120 calories.  The entire breakfast was 344 calories. I feel this was quite light and healthy … very satisfying.

If you wanted to add salsa to your breakfast burrito, you surely could.  I like salsa in a breakfast burrito sometimes, but mostly I just like to taste the flavor of the egg whites, turkey bacon and jalapeño.  Sometimes, I like my tortilla with butter on it.  I believe this comes from spending time in Mexico vacationing with friends.  We were out on the beach early one morning and a woman was selling freshly made tortillas.  We bought them and took them back to the house we were renting and ate them with nothing but butter spread on the tortilla.  This was pure heaven!  We looked for that same woman every day on the beach from that day forward.  We used to have so much fun when we’d head to Puerto Penasco (otherwise known as Rocky Point).  Some of our best memories were spent with our friends, Louis and LaRae in Rocky Point.

Ingredients

  • 1 flour tortilla
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 slices turkey bacon
  • 1/2 jalapeño, diced (seeds and membrane removed …if you wish)
  • 2 tablespoons fat free mozzarella cheese

Directions

Cook your turkey bacon.  I cooked mine in the microwave for 3-1/2 minutes.  Scramble egg whites in a small skillet using non-stick cooking spray.  Add jalapeños to skillet and add your cheese at the last minute so it can slightly melt.  Lay the cooked turkey bacon on the bottom middle of your tortilla. Spoon the egg mixture on top of the bacon and fold your burrito together.  Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

 

 

Strawberry Banana Walnut Quick Bread

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Last Sunday when I went to the market, I grabbed a bunch of bananas … as I always do. Maybe it’s because I used to work for Dole Food Co.  Whatever the case, we are never without bananas at our house.  Well, this week, I have way more bananas than I need.  As I was at Trader Joe’s getting the bulk of my grocery shopping done, Dennis and Kylie ran to Vons to pick up the few items I needed there.  When I got home, Kylie says to me “Mom, I got you bananas, I noticed we were out.”  “Thank you, Kylie!”  Oh no, I thought to myself, we have way more bananas than we’ll ever use in one week.  For most of the summer, however, Kylie has been making herself a smoothie for breakfast and we were going through the bananas quicker than normal.  I figured, we’d go through them.  Well, the darn blender broke.  I bought a new one, but I guess it wasn’t very good because it had a hard time pureéing the banana. I need to return it to the store and pick up another one quickly so Kylie can continue making her smoothies for breakfast for the school year.

As I was cleaning up the kitchen after lunch today, I came upon all the bananas I forgot about.  I decided to make a banana bread.  Then, I remembered all the strawberries that were going to go bad if we didn’t finish them, so added them to my bread to make it a Strawberry Banana Bread with walnuts.  I was buying a lot of strawberries as well for Kylie to put in her breakfast smoothie.  The recipe I used for this quick bread is from the Pillsbury cookbook.  I only changed a couple things … I added a cup of chopped strawberries, 3/4 cup of walnuts vs. 1/2 cup, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt instead of 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons vanilla instead of 1 teaspoon.

I must be missing my mom, sister and family in Wisconsin.  My Mom used to make banana bread all the time.  It was so nice to have a slice of banana bread for breakfast growing up. I can picture the banana bread in the pan on top of the stove when I’d come home from school.  Banana bread is a real comfort food to me because it takes me back home to wonderful memories.

Tomorrow morning, I’m going to get up, make a cup of coffee, slice a piece of that strawberry banana bread and head out to the patio to enjoy my surroundings with a simple, carefree breakfast.  Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

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Ingredients 

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (this is 2-3 medium size bananas)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups, plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom only of 9×5 or 8×4 inch loaf pan.  In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter.  Beat in the eggs.  Add the bananas, milk and vanilla and continue to mix.  In another smaller bowl, combine the 2 cups of flour, baking soda, salt and nuts.  Mix together and add to the wet mixture. Mix together until the dry ingredients and wet ingredients are well combined. Cut up 1 cup of strawberries in small pieces.  Add 1 tablespoon of flour to the strawberries and toss.  This will prevent your strawberries from sinking in the mix.  Add the strawberries into the mixture, folding in gently.  Pour into your prepared loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.  Cool in pan for about 5 minutes, remove.  Cool completely on a wire rack. Wrap the bread and store in the refrigerator.

Until next time, Kris