Sunday, April 24, 2011

Weekend Update & Berry Banana Bread (that's also good for you!)

So far, I've had a pretty good long weekend. 
The inlaws fed us on Friday, and we got to play with four lovable dogs (including one Miniature Italian Greyhound puppy!).
Saturday, I went to yoga (for the first time in a few weeks), and discovered that the usual instructor has quit teaching.  While I'm sad that I won't be learning from that instructor anymore, I really liked the new teacher.  She had a was really great at having poses for the beginners in the class, while offering lots of options to take poses further (or alternative poses) for more experienced students.  The day was so nice out, that when I got home, I cleaned up in the garden some, and got the yellow wax bush beans, six-week green beans, sugar daddy snap peas and chioggia beets planted!  There's still a lot to do out there, and I still need to buy a ton of potting soil, but it's a good start!

Today, being the last day of my long weekend, I'm relaxing and baking berry banana bread.  I got this recipe from my dad, and it is based on one from a cookbook called Looneyspoons.  It is a low-fat recipe, but don't let that turn you off - it's really moist and flavourful!
You'll need some standard dry ingredients:
Some wet ingredients - including berry yogurt (I'm using blueberry-blackberry today).
And of course, the star ingredient, bananas!  I'm using up the frozen bananas that were in my freezer, which also makes the process easier, in my opinion.  The only downside, really, is that frozen bananas are not very attractive to look at, are they?
Here's why I think using frozen bananas make life easier:  you just have to rip off one end once they've mostly thawed, and squeeze from the other while holding them over your wet ingredient bowl.  They just squoosh right out!
Since the bananas have already partly broken down from being frozen, you don't need to mash them separately - just mush them around in the bowl a bit with a fork or the back of a spoon when mixing all the wet stuff together.
Here's the finished batter, all ready to go.
And here's the finished berry banana bread fresh from the oven.

I promise - it's really yummy!

To make your own, here's what you'll need
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup brown sugar (not packed)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice (or nutmeg, if you prefer)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 egg whites (or the equivalent of egg white substitute)
2 tablespoons melted margarine or butter, plus more for greasing the pan
3/4 to 1 cup non-fat berry yogurt (any flavour you prefer)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
about 2 cups worth of mashed banana or 3-4 frozen whole bananas
You could also throw in a cup of nuts or chocolate chips if you like

1. Preheat the oven to 325F
2. Grease your loaf pan with butter or margarine.
3. Combine your dry ingredients in one bowl (the first 8 in the list)
4. In a separate bowl, combine all the wet ingredients.  If you are using fresh, unfrozen bananas, stir all the other wet ingredients first, mash the bananas, and then add them to the already mixed wet ingredients.
5. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and stir to combine.  It will be sticky!  If the batter seems too dry to you, add a little bit more of the yogurt.
6.  If you are adding nuts or chocolate chips or anything, now is the time!
7.  Pour the batter into your loaf pan and bake for 80 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.  I usually rotate the pan halfway through the cooking time to make sure that everything bakes evenly as well.
8. When the time is up, take the bread out of the pan (should be pretty easy since we've greased the pan) and let it cool.  Or at least, let it cool enough so that you don't burn your fingers when you try to slice it!

I hope you enjoy it!

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