Sunday, December 30, 2012

Winter is Definitely Here

 We have a lot of snow here now....there is no escaping winter this week after two snow storms.  Fortunately, I am someone who enjoys having four different seasons, including winter.  There are frustrations such as a blizzard timed perfectly to require 4:30AM snow removal so we can get to work, but then there are definitely some great things too.  For example, on Christmas morning I had the opportunity to take our dog, a frisky labrador retriever, out for a hike in the woods.  It was beautiful.  We just had a healthy coating of snow and there is a different type of quiet outside just after it snows.  The brisk temperature combined with the peaceful quiet and a wagging tail trotting along with me made for a nice workout and a very relaxing holiday.  The rest of the day was all family and it was wonderful.
With the cold weather, some comfort food has been in order this weekend.  On Saturday, myself and the little one prepared a healthy chocolate chip, banana bread.  We threw it in the oven, set our timer and headed outside to play in the snow while it was baking.  When we came in from the snowy cold, here is what was waiting for us: 
For this banana bread, I changed up a banana-blueberry muffin recipe from Jillian Michaels' Master Your Metabolism Cookbook.  I really like this book- it's not just about reducing calories and losing weight.  It's about using whole foods, removing the processed stuff out of your diet as much as possible and highlights so many critical physiological functions that are impacted by processed food.  Here is the recipe I used (I changed it up due to ingredients on hand and my little one's inherited affection for chocolate):
Banana-Chocolate Chip Bread
~Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees
-Spray loaf pan with olive oil spray
~1 very ripe banana- mashed
~3/4 cup plain, low fat greek yogurt
~1/2 cup honey
~2 teaspoons vanilla extract
~2 cups whole wheat flour
~1/2 cup wheat germ (you can use all flour if you do not have wheat germ- I just happened to have some and added in the nutritional boost)
~2 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder (Until I read this book, I never knew I had to look for baking powder that says "Aluminum Free.")
~1/2 teaspoon baking soda
~1/2 teaspoon of salt
~1/3 cup chocolate chips of your choice (my favorite is dark)
Mix all of the wet ingredients in one bowl.  Mix all of the dry together in another (except the chocolate chips).  Add the dry to wet and mix thoroughly.  Fold in your chocolate chips and spread the batter into your loaf pan.  Place in the oven and then reduce temperature to 375 degrees.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.  Let cool in pan for at least 10-15 minutes & then slice and enjoy!
Stay warm out there!

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