Monday, May 14, 2012

Brown Sugar Banana Bread

This banana bread is out of this world!  It's relatively healthy to make, since you use bananas and applesauce for moisture.  It's really good on its own, but adding chocolate chips makes it heavenly!

4 Tbsp. butter, softened
1/4 cup applesauce
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. milk or water
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 cup mashed banana (2-3)
1 cup white flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

Beat the butter, applesauce, eggs, milk and sugar in large bowl until smooth.  add banana and blend at low speed; beat at high speed 1-2 minutes.

Combine dry ingredients; mix into batter.  Mix in nuts.  Pour batter into greased loaf pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, until bread is golden brown and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pan and cool.

With it being Mother's Day yesterday, I didn't get a chance to bake.  Therefore, the photo above was taken from Flickr (

Sunday's picture

My bean, at the park.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Sugar: My nemesis

I'm a sugar fiend.  I love most forms of it and not matter what I do, I still crave something sweet after most meals.  And yet I know it's bad for me and am doing a lot to cut down on my consumption of it.  Here are some of the ways I've done that:

1.  I have finally kicked my Mountain Dew habit.  I was drinking 2-3 cans a day.  At least.  And even knowing how bad it was for me, I still managed to drink it for years.  I had to give it up during my pregnancies because of the gestational diabetes, but somehow managed to get right back on it afterwards.  But I decided enough is enough.  I now brew iced tea every morning to bring to school.  So any time I feel the need for caffeine, I drink that instead of the Dew.

2.  I have eliminated some hidden sugars from my diet.  For example, I have switched peanut butter brands, to one that doesn't have any added sweeteners.  I recently had peanut butter at my parents' house and I didn't really like the Jif brand I had grown up on.  I also slowly weaned myself off of sweetened yogurt.  I started by mixing sweetened with plain, then switched to plain with a little honey.  Now I can eat plain yogurt with some berries and no sweetener at all.

3.  I am currently in the middle of a sugar fast.  I am avoiding all added sugars, which especially includes desserts, for two weeks.  Last week I ate horribly, thanks to a party, a field trip and stress (I'm a stress-eater).  I decided to make up for it by avoiding sugar for a bit.  I'm not doing a hard-core fast, which would eliminate all sugars, even things like ketchup.  I just am not adding it to anything I eat, and I'm not eating ice cream, cookies, bars, and all that yumminess. I've been in a couple tough spots, but have successfully pulled through.  One more week!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Chicken Broth

I've stopped buying chicken broth at the store (well, most of the time).  Instead, I make my own out of things I would normally throw away.  Every couple weeks, I make a chicken in my crock pot.  (easiest way to make chicken EVER.  Put a chicken in the crock pot, season with salt and pepper, and cook all day).  When we're done eating the chicken, I put all the bones and skin into the freezer.  At the same time, any time I use carrots, onions, or celery, I keep the ends and peels.  I have a ziploc bag I keep in the freezer full of veggie remnants.  When I get the chance (or run out of broth), I make chicken broth.

Get the biggest crock pot you have and fill it with the bones and skin of two chickens, fill in as many vegetable parts as will fit.  Then, fill the crock with water.  Add some salt, a few bay leaves, and some whole peppercorns.  Cook for 12 hours.  Strain the broth, and let cool.  I portion the broth out into various containers I have laying about, label them, and freeze them.  Then, whenever I need some, I defrost and use.  The hardest part about the whole process is probably the straining.  Or maybe the scrambling to defrost the broth since I always forget to take out of the freezer.

Using broth like this is great for many reasons.  First, you're using things you would normally throw away.  This is good for the environment and economical as well.  Second, the broth is free of all the crap and additives that many broths have (you can even make it low sodium by not adding salt).  Thirdly, you can reduce your exposure to BPA, which is in the lining of many cans.  And fourthly, it's super duper yummy!  And fifthly, it makes your house smell wonderful. 

You can adapt for different broths as well.  Omit the chicken bones for vegetable broth.  Switch the chicken parts for cow parts (I always get "Soup bone" when I order my quarter cow.  I don't really want to know where they come from) to get beef broth, although you may want to roast the beef bones first (it gives it a great smokey flavor).  All-in-all, pretty easy.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

 Six years ago today, I married the craziest man I know.  Happy anniversary!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


My motivation tool of the week is Pinterest.  For those of you that haven't heard of it, watch out it is super-duper addicting.  The basic premise is a site where you can organize links (with a picture from the website) onto boards.  Each board can have a different category and title.

 The reason that I find the site to be a good motivation is that you can look for sites that are specifically for fitness. Not all of the sites on there are good links, but it can help me feel motivated to look at pictures of things to do with fitness.  I often click on sites I think look interesting, and have often found some that I enjoy (like this one).  I find that when I need a little motivation, I can go check out what's out there.  That helps me get the motivation I need to exercise or maybe it helps me not eat too much.

You do have to watch out, since a big part of Pinterest is sharing recipes and man do some of them look good!  It can have the opposite affect you're looking for, so I tend to steer clear of the food unless I'm not too hungry.  There are healthy recipes out there, you just have to look for them carefully.  I tend to filter sites to the Fitness category quickly, just to miss the Oreo cake recipe.

You can follow the boards of friends and anyone you want, really.  Feel free to look for me (here).  I have found a few people that have some great fitness stuff.  Jemma Joseph is one of my favorite people for good workouts.  Where does she find the time to find all those great workouts?

Try Pinterest sometime.  I promise it is worthwhile!