The Best Healthy Banana Bread

10 09 2014

I love banana bread. Slather some peanut butter on it, and I think you’ve got the best breakfast bread out there.

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Unfortunately, it isn’t the healthiest of meals- hello sugar, butter, and flour! But, there are dozens of recipes that health-i-fy the traditional one. I decided to throw my hat into the game this morning, with an adaptation of a recipe from the Kitchn (Clearly, I’m obsessed with this blog!).

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The biggest swaps I made were two ripe bananas instead of 3, and then I used coconut oil and yogurt instead of butter in my recipe. Oh, and I also used some bread flour and dry oats in mine.

This was definitely a winner! It was moist, the perfect sweetness, and the bananas on top just made the loaf look so beautiful! I hope you try it out!

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Adapted from The Kitchn

Whole-Wheat Banana Bread

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients:

2 medium, ripe bananas
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup bread flour
1/3 cup dry oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup crushed walnuts
1 heaping TBS coconut oil
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup maple syrup (mine was leftover from pancakes the other day, and it had cinnamon and all spice in it!)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 banana, for the topping (optional)
1 TBS raw sugar, for the topping (optional)

How to: 

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and crushed walnuts. In a separate mixing bowl, stir together mashed banana, oil, yogurt, maple syrup, vanilla extract and egg. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just combined.

Pour the batter into a lightly greased standard bread pan. Bake bread until golden and a knife comes out clean when inserted into the bread, about 50 minutes. Try to let it cool off before eating. It will be difficult to do.

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Cafe Borgia Scones

18 04 2013

One of my absolute favorite places in Tampa is a small coffee shop, just around the corner from my office. Jet City Espresso is this fabulous hidden gem in South Tampa, owned by the lovely Jessica. If you didn’t know it was there, you might miss it! Jessica runs Jet City right out of her home! (She made sure that her house was zoned properly first!)

Jet City Espresso

(photo courtesy of Meghann)

I cannot say enough great things about Jet City. Jess knows her coffee, so all of the drinks are outstanding. She also makes a variety of scones, ranging from savory to sweet, with a few Paleo options thrown in as well. My “go to” order is a tall, skinny Cafe Borgia and a rosemary goat cheese scone. The sweet drink paired with the savory scone is THE best way to start my day.

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Cafe Borgia is the drink Jet City is known for!

What makes the Borgia so special you ask? Well, Jess doesn’t really broadcast the exact recipe, but the description on the menu gives you a good idea:

espresso, a touch of honey and orange blossom, steamed moo, fresh whipped cream, nutmeg and orange spritz!

There’s something about this combination of flavors that is just so comforting- and addicting! It’s dangerous for my wallet that I work so close to her shop!

The other day the thought crossed my mind to make scones inspired by the Borgia. I tossed around a few ideas in my head- Include chocolate covered espresso beans? Throw in some candied orange peel? Base the recipe on an cappuccino scone recipe, or just make some swaps in a cranberry orange recipe?

I settled on an chocolate chip espresso scone recipe and made the adjustments I thought necessary to make them more Borgia-like. 

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With the additions of orange blossom honey, orange zest, a dash of nutmeg and some chocolate covered espresso beans, I think I got pretty darn close to perfect.

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I do still want to play with the recipe and maybe use some candied orange peel next time, and I think these would be stellar with some clotted cream, but I didn’t want to delay your enjoyment of this deliciousness! So, go out and make these asap- and if you’re in South Tampa, you must, must, must stop by Jet City and say hi to Jess! (and order a Borgia of course!)

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Cafe Borgia Scones

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 T orange blossom honey
1/8 tsp nutmeg (this is an estimate, I put in three dashes)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 tsp hot water
~1 T orange zest (this is an estimate, I zested most of the orange and saved some zest for garnish)
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup chocolate covered espresso beans (I used the Trade Joe’s espresso pillows because they’re smaller than any others I’ve found)

Topping:
Coarse sugar (I used espresso flavored sugar I bought at Downtown Disney)
2 T heavy cream

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How to:

Preheat oven to 375˜F.

In a measuring cup, mix espresso powder with 1 teaspoon hot water. Stir to dissolve.  Add 1 cup cream and combine. Add the orange zest to the creamy espresso mix.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar, honey, nutmeg and salt. Add the butter pieces to the bowl and using your hands or a pastry blender, cut in the butter. Toss in the chocolate covered espresso beans and stir gently.

Pour the espresso-cream mixture over the flour mixture and blend with your hands or a spatula until dough just comes together. Gently knead a couple times, but don’t overmix.

Remove dough onto floured surface. Form into a rectangle, about 3/4 to 1 inch thick.

Cut the scones into desired serving sizes. Place the pieces on a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet.

Brush scones with cream and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake scones until edges and bottom are golden and they are firm to the touch, about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy!


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Loaded Layered Brownies

5 11 2012

So I baked this weekend. And it was bad. It was so bad, but SOOOOO good.

It involved Oreos. And cookie dough. And brownies.

It might be illegal to call myself a healthy living blogger after this one.

Saturday night, team XP had a little get together to celebrate Mary’s big news, and to welcome back Chuck.

(So that was supposed to say “Congrats Mary and Welcome Back Chuck!” But I definitely ran out of room. Whoops!)

I decided I would bring brownies because I had a box of brownie mix in the cupboard. But I couldn’t just bring brownies from a box. I had to take it up a notch. And I figured hey, I deserve it after today’s killer bike work out.

Jess and I took 3 minute shifts in the lead. When we got back, Felipe asked Jess how long it took us to ride the 30 miles. When she said an hour and a half, he said incredulously, “That’s it?!” Heck yeah. We BURNED those legs out!

So, I figured it was okay to make a ridiculously rich, loaded brownie with a cookie dough layer. And an Oreo layer. With pretzels on the bottom. Oh, and throw in some Butterfingers for good measure. Yeah, that’s more like it.

Don’t forget the milk!

Loaded Layered Brownies

Ingredients:

~2 cups crushed pretzels
2 tubes of prepared cookie dough (or you can make your own)
Oreos
Butterfinger minis
1 box of brownie batter (prepared using the directions on the box)

How to:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Generously grease a 9 x 13 pan.

Spread the crushed pretzels on the bottom of the pan.

Pull off small handfuls of the cookie dough and press them into a layer on top of the pretzels.

Layer on the Oreos and Butterfingers.

Pour on the brownie batter.

Bake for about 30 minutes.

Enjoy!