Heather's Hangout

Sharing the people, places & little moments that make a difference.

Baking my favorite banana bread November 8, 2017

Filed under: do it yourself — Heather @ 9:00 am
Tags: , , , , ,
bananabread

Delicious smells and tastes with this banana bread!

There’s something about the drop in temperature and the clock falling back that jump starts my cooking interest. Maybe it’s something to keep me busy while stuck inside. It sort of amuses me to suddenly want to cook only because I swear I should be super skinny for how often I forget to eat (thankfully my stomach growls pretty loudly!).

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But alas, I walked past some quickly ripening bananas several times today before finally stopping at my cupboard where I store recipe books. One binder holds many recipes I’ve collected over the years. Among my favorites is a delicious banana bread recipe. Amazingly, all of the ingredients were in my cupboards and refrigerator. This rarely happens so I’m going to chalk this up to kicking off a great week!

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I originally found this recipe on the Weight Watchers website years ago when I was looking for a semi-healthy version of banana bread (the recipe used the old points system so I’m not going to share any of that information). Sometimes I swap the egg substitute for shell eggs (like today because I’m out of egg substitute), the cranberries for dark chocolate morsels (no judging; dark chocolate is the healthy version!), once added nuts (didn’t really like) and another time left out the cinnamon (I forgot it, oops). My point is, as with most recipes, you can make it what you want. Here’s the recipe:

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp light salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 cup fat free egg substitute (or 2 eggs)
  • 3 medium ripe, peeled and mashed bananas
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries, dark chocolate chips, nuts or any ingredient
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INSTRUCTIONS:
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

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Combine both flours, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in medium bowl. Stir and set aside.

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In separate large bowl, beat sugar and oil with an electric mixer on medium speed until sugar begins to dissolve, about 2-3 minutes.

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Beat eggs in to large bowl mixture. Beat in mashed bananas.Don’t forget to scrape down sides of the bowl. Remove beaters. Stir in flour mixture and cranberries (and/or other ingredients) with rubber spatula. Be sure to scrape sides of bowl to moisten everything.

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Pour batter into sprayed loaf pan, smoothing top. I lightly tap the pan on the counter to ensure batter is evenly distributed. Bake approximately 45 minutes or until browned – a toothpick inserted in center of loaf should come out with only a few moist crumbs. Place pan on wire cooling rack for about 10 minutes, then transfer loaf from pan to directly on rack to continue cooling.

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Cooled loaf can be sliced to enjoy and stored in plastic wrap at room temperature.

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Another idea is baking the batter in multiple small loaf pans (see my picture). I like these smaller, individual loaves as you can freeze for later, and this size is great for giving to family and friends. The cook time is a little shorter (usually 30 minutes for my oven) so keep an eye on them.

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New year, new outlook January 4, 2015

2015 goals in wood type

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This new year is kind of a big deal for me. I’m glad to see 2014 fade away as it had more challenges in my personal life than I preferred. So I have expectations and hopes that 2015 will be filled with more happiness, less stress, less tears and more fun.

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I will also celebrate the start of a new decade as I turn 40 in the later part of the year. It’s a big age for me for several reasons. When I was younger, I thought it was old and now I’m on the cusp of it! When I was diagnosed with cancer at 21, that age seemed so far away that it feels truly good to still be here, alive and (thank God) healthy. I feel like 40 is an age that one really reflects on what they’ve accomplished in life. I honestly feel like I’m falling a little short of my goals for life so this year will be a time to determine what needs to be achieved, what needs to be scrapped and what should be refocused.

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happyquoteFocus on happiness. It’s easy to all too often get stuck on what you don’t have, or, worse, what others have that you really want. Having a positive outlook on life and appreciating what/who I have has typically been my attitude. I admit I’ve let outside forces creep into that attitude, and I don’t like it. So I’m putting positive vibes back into the universe as I commit to more smiling, laughing and saying thank you to God this year.

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Buy new house. My husband and I are committed to selling our two homes this year (we each brought one to the marriage and it’s been challenging to coordinate selling both) and buying a new home that is “just ours” – a place to create new memories of our relationship and combined family/friends. This is one goal that excites me quite a bit. Mostly because we’re doing it together.

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Focus on my writing. In that category falls this blog, where I plan to post more frequently and update the look and other items (stay tuned for my new ideas!). I also want to finally finish my book that’s been in progress for a while now. I’ve been researching publishing options but admit that’s probably been a distraction to making myself sit and get the story out of my head.

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Less technology, more connecting with friends. I hope to continue to build strong relationships with some close friends this year; seems like we all rely more on Facebook and texting to communicate and stay up-to-date with others’ lives. I’ve been scaling back my time on social media (although sometimes challenging since my job requires some use) and trying to use the good ol’ fashion telephone to chat with friends….hoping to take it even further with more in person visits this year. Friendship is one of those areas where quality definitely is better than quantity. I’ve spent a lot of energy trying to stay connected with friends who didn’t reciprocate much so acknowledge it’s time to appreciate the memories and focus on those who want to keep our friendship strong.  I also hope that as I get more involved in hiking, yoga and other interests that I’ll meet new girlfriends who share these common interests.

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Live healthier. I want to ring in my 40th birthday at my healthiest, including a few pounds lighter and more toned. I’m still addicted to Zumba (great cardio workout!) and have been focused on lifting weights to tone my muscles and strengthen my bones. I also plan to try new recipes to eat less processed foods. Living healthier also means limiting my Dr. Pepper and Starbucks intake (a challenge indeed!). While I value modern medicine, I am checking into more natural ways to feel healthier/better and lighten my mood.

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Paintcreek_HHGGet outdoors much more often. Lots of studies show that fresh air and connecting with nature bring many positive outcomes, including lower blood pressure, more happiness and less stress. I love being in the outdoors, especially when the sun is shining and temps are mild. My head always feels clearer after a bike ride, hike or walk around the block. Camping trips are also on our docket for the summer (seriously, very little beats camping in Michigan’s state parks in the summer).

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Be more spiritual. As an adult, I’ve admittedly never been a regular church-goer but always find such peace and comfort sitting in our beautiful sanctuary. My soul truly feels better after attending a church service so why would I not want to do that more often?! Spirituality doesn’t always have to focus on religion and I hope to focus more on finding inner peace and better understanding of myself.

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Have you set goals for the new year? What would you like to accomplish?

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Photo credit: © Marekuliasz | Dreamstime.com

 

Craft shows offer great gift and home decorating ideas November 3, 2013

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Pretty home items

A favorite fall tradition for me is wandering through local craft shows. Something about craft shows in the fall puts me in the mood for the upcoming holidays (which are coming whether we’re ready or not!). I’ve purchased some great handmade items for the house and as gifts over the years.

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Part of the enjoyment of wandering craft shows is the annual shopping my mom, sisters, best friend, her mom and I do at one of the local venues. We meet in the morning, explore the usually more than 100 craft tables then wrap up with lunch at a local restaurant. A great girls’ day out!

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If you are interested in attending some great craft shows located in metro Detroit, I put together a list* of some locations that I’ve attended in the past. When I went, these included a decent number of crafters with great items at reasonable prices. These shows provide an opportunity to shop for the holidays, gifts or home decorations, and support local vendors. And that’s a nice gift for all!

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Holiday items for the home

Christmas in Clawson craft show (Clawson High School, 101 John M), $2 admission, Saturday, Nov. 9, 9am-4pm

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Ferndale arts & craft show (Ferndale High School, 881 Pinecrest), (admission not clear) Saturday, Nov. 9, 10am-5pm

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Woods Church of the Nazarene craft & vendor show (14300 E. 13 Mile Rd. Warren), $2 admission, Saturday, Nov. 9, 10am-5pm

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Holiday craft show & bake sale (14001 Northend, Oak Park), free admission, Saturday, Nov. 16, 10am-5pm

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Fun doll clothes!

Fun doll clothes!

15th annual art & craft show (Waterford Mott High School, 1151 Scott Lake Rd), $2 admission, Saturday, Nov. 16, 10am-4pm

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Holiday arts & crafts market (Royal Oak High School, 1500 Lexington), $2 admission, Saturday, Nov. 23, 10am-4pm

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Elf shelf arts & craft show (Troy High School, 4777 Northfield Parkway), $3 admission, Saturday, Nov. 30, 9am-4pm

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Holiday art & craft show (Clarkston High School, 6093 Flemings Lake Rd), $2 admission, Saturday, Dec. 7, 10am-4pm & Sunday, Dec. 8, 11am-4pm

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Festival art & craft show (Troy Athens High School, 4333 John R Rd.), $2 admission, Saturday, Dec. 14, 9am-4pm

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*Please confirm times and admission fee.

 

 
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