Old Fashioned Banana Bread

Old Fashioned Banana Bread

March 20, 2013

In Loving Memory to Mrs. Lula Streive & Vera-Jean Lipp

The People’s Church Cookbook “Our Heavenly Treasures”

There is nothing like a church cookbook! Really! A compilation of the best family recipes from the best cooks in an entire church body to be passed down generation after generation, Genius!  I collect cookbooks and especially love to come across old church cookbooks. I guess it must have become a trend to produce a cookbook in the 70’s to fundraise for different projects. Well my absolute favorite…..the one I go to for almost everything….is from the church I grew up in, The People’s Church in Sandusky, Ohio and the cookbook was appropriately titled “Our Heavenly Treasures”.  I’m doing some digging but I believe this cookbook was published in 1977 (the year I was born!) and it is truly filled with many treasures.

The banana bread recipe I am sharing with you today was inspired by a recipe submitted to this cookbook by Mrs. Lula Streive through Vera-Jean Lipp. Mrs. Lipp noted of Mrs. Streive; “She is our oldest church member at this time” and was “93 or 94 years old”. Now you know a recipe is good when it stands the test of time like this one! I’m titling this “Old Fashioned Banana Bread” because this recipe has been around so long. Also because of the simplicity of its ingredients, unlike other banana bread recipes I’ve seen, the bananas really are the focus and steal the show!

I have NEVER tasted banana bread like this, people request that I bring it everywhere I go. It is wonderful for gifts, freezes very well (if it lasts that long), and is BY FAR the most requested recipe of all the food I make.

Inspired by Mrs. Lula Streive’s recipe I have made a few personal touches! Here is what you will need:

5-6 Large & Ripe Bananas *I prefer 6 but it still turns out great with 5*

1 cup of sugar

2 Tablespoons of melted butter

1 egg

1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract

2 cups Whole Wheat or All Purpose Flour  *SIFTED*

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

*1 cup chopped nuts (optional)*

*1/4 cup flaxseed meal (optional) – This is a terrific way to boost the nutritional value!*

The cast of characters for the main event!

The cast of characters for the main event!

Step 1: Preheat oven to 275* then Mix the bananas & the sugar

Ripe bananas &  sugar!

Ripe bananas & sugar!

Step 2: Blend in the egg, vanilla, and butter

Egg, Vanilla, & Butter

Egg, Vanilla, & Butter

Wet ingredients mixed and ready to add the dry ingredients!

Wet ingredients mixed and ready to add the dry ingredients!

Before we go any further I need to talk to you about sifting. Sifting MUST NOT be skipped! I use my Grandma Wilhelm’s sifter that she used making her famous homemade bread. My husband tries to convince me to buy a newer model but there is nothing like Grandma’s blessing in my kitchen. I refuse to update! If you don’t own a sifter my best suggestion is to go buy one right away, lol. The sifter in this picture is packed full of our family baking history and I’m in love with it!

Our baking heritage!

Our baking heritage!

Step 3: Add all dry ingredients flour, baking soda, baking powder, & salt right into the sifter

Add all dry ingredients into the sifter.

Add all dry ingredients into the sifter.

Step 4: Sift dry ingredients and add 1/2 at a time into the wet ingredients. Mix well and sift the remaining 1/2 of the dry ingredients. IF you wanted to add nuts or flaxseed meal now would be the time to mix those in, we prefer ours without nuts. Flaxseed meal is best if added after the sifting as it maintains some of the seed and doesn’t sift well. Flaxseed meal is full of Omega-3 essential fatty acids and you wont even know they are in this recipe! Click this link to learn more about the nutritional impact of flaxseeds.

Sift 1/2 of the dry ingredients into wet ingredients at a time.

Sift 1/2 of the dry ingredients into wet ingredients at a time.

Add second half of dry ingredients and mix just until fully blended.

Add second half of dry ingredients and mix just until fully blended.

Step 5: Spray 2 baking pans and split the dough between them.

Spray 2 baking pans and split the dough between them evenly.

Getting the baking pans ready!

Step 6: Put in preheated 275* oven for 60-65 minutes or until the toothpic comes out clean.

275* for 60-65 minutes

275* for 60-65 minutes

Its a beautiful sight!

Its a beautiful sight!

The final product will be a big hit I quarantee it! I cut each loaf into 8 servings for a total of 16 servings. This bread freezes really well and is perfect for gifts and large gatherings….if it makes it that far. Take a peek at the final product…

Smells so good! The final product!

Smells so good! The final product!

I hope you enjoy this fantastic Old Fashioned Banana Bread recipe! Feel free to pass it along to your friends and family. Thank you Mrs. Lula Streive & Vera-Jean Lipp for sharing this amazing treasure with all of us!!!!

Planning for Healthy Travels

Planning for Healthy Travels

Thursday, March 14, 2013

This time of year begins the busy travel season for families. My husband and I love to travel and many of our fondest married memories are in far off places packed with lots of rest & relaxation. We are actually preparing for a 4 day trip this weekend and I thought I’d share some of my preparation tips with you!

When it comes to maintaining our healthy lifestyle, travel can also be kind of scary, BUT it doesn’t have to be!  Armed with a solid plan any vacation can be a healthy success without compromising the fun along the way. As I prepare for this trip, here is what has been on my mind.

Food & Water– 90% of our meals with be out at local restaurants. When going to restaurants normally we employ the strategy of looking at their website to plan ahead of time. This trip the restaurants are pre-chosen and out of our control so there will be no way to check the menu in advance. Here are my tips:

  1. Discuss sharing a meal in advance with your spouse or travel companion and agree on something you will both be satisfied with.
  2. Look for markings on the menu that indicate healthier options
  3. Keep snacks on hand so that you don’t go into the restaurant completely starving and with less self control. Pre-portion and throw in a bag or purse for easy access on the go. For some great snack ideas that that travel well check out Re-thinking Healthy Snacks: Crunchy & Salty!
  4. Enjoy local and seasonal items, request modifications when needed, and load up on veggies as you normally would at home. =D
  5. We will be going to an area that is near the ocean and I plan to enjoy some great fish that I don’t get often in Texas. Fish is a lower calorie protein when, grilled or broiled and not fried, that is a perfect travel choice.
  6. When staying in a hotel call ahead to find out if they offer continental breakfast and what healthy options are available. Starting the day making healthy choices always keeps me on track!
  7. Don’t forget to keep drinking your water! Save money on your trip by drinking water at meals, keep a case of water in the hotel, and take a bottle when on the go.

 

Pre-portioned grab & go snacks, some of our favorite teas, Organic Stevia, and some go to granola bars!

Pre-portioned grab & go snacks, some of our favorite teas, Organic Stevia, and some go to granola bars!

Activity – Traveling affords terrific opportunities to seek out different activities not available where we live. This trip for us has a specific focus and won’t allow much adventuring. So to fit in activity we have planned ahead, here’s my tips:

  1. Call the hotel ahead to find out what exercise facilities they have available. Our hotel this weekend offers an exercise room, as most do these days. It also offers an indoor heated swimming pool.
  2. Plan ahead by packing a couple workout outfits, tennis shoes, socks, swim suits, and any of your other favorite gear. Having it with you keeps you motivated and dispels any excuses.
  3. Look for a terrific parks, bike rentals & paths, tennis or basketball courts, places to go swimming where ever you travel this summer. Explore museums and other outings that will keep you moving.
  4. Plan activity into your travel. No matter what type of trip, no matter how tight the schedule or budget may be. It is so important to fuel your body with what it needs and be consistent with your active lifestyle.  Our plan for this trip is to squeeze in time at the gym and pool during before breakfast and at the end of each day. Even 20 minutes makes such a huge difference and is totally worth it!
I'm ready for activity! I've got my shoes, socks, workout gear, and swim suit packed!

I’m ready for activity! I’ve got my shoes, socks, workout gear, and swim suit packed!

Stay accountable – Travels don’t have to be the purpose to be derailed from a healthy lifestyle.  Keeping accountable with whatever plan you chose could be just the step that keeps you on track. Here are my tips.

  1. With our Weight Watchers plan we track everything that goes into our mouths on their really terrific website. Just in case we don’t have internet I’m packing a handy paper tracker! This is a fantastic accountability step to keep you aware of food choices and staying on track. There are tons of ways to track your food or caloric intake these days, tons of free apps for the phone and websites. When in doubt pack some paper & pen J
  2. Do you have friends that you stay accountable via phone, email, or Facebook? Why not check in while traveling? We are blessed to have many layers of accountability, here is a pic of us traveling at Christmas and attending a Weight Watchers meeting while in Ohio. It was the perfect boost to get us through the holiday.
  3. Ask friends and others on the journey to help you make a plan ahead of time that works for you! I talked to some terrific friends who understood the details of our travel and they gave me great insights I hadn’t thought of. What a blessing to have great healthy minded friends!
On our trip to Ohio in December we kept accountable by attending a local Weight Watchers Meeting. It was SO much fun!

On our trip to Ohio in December we kept accountable by attending a local Weight Watchers Meeting. It was SO much fun!

We are committed to our healthy lifestyle and continuing to honor God with the choices we make NO MATTER what life throws at us. With a plan in place, tools packed and ready, we are equipped to enjoy a wonderful trip. I hope you have found some of these tips helpful and will enjoy fun & healthy travels this season!

Re-thinking Healthy Snacks: Crunchy & Salty

Re-thinking Healthy Snacks: Crunchy & Salty

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Good Morning! I woke up this morning on a mission to tackle a snack project and I’m dying to tell you about some changes going on in our household. A few months ago we had an annual physical and our doctor challenged us to eat EVEN healthier??? How could that be? Doesn’t he know we have lost over 215 pounds as a couple! Well let me explain…

First let’s clarify what the word healthy means to my doctor & now to us. “Healthy” is a buzz word all over the place and means something totally different based on the source, which I find totally annoying. In making our food healthier we are referring to increasing its nutritional muscle: i.e. nutrients, protein, fiber, and healthy oils. In addition we are also factoring in how processed the item is, are the ingredients recognizable, is it packed full of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO). Of course as we are also in the process of losing weight so I am considering how these snacks will impact our weight loss and measure up to the Weight Watchers program.

We are probably just like you; we get in a rut, and can eat the same things over and over again. Our snacks had fallen into this rut and really weren’t satisfying our cravings either! SO a reformation is in motion. Here are a few snacks we HAD been eating frequently.  Keep in mind these are still great tasting and great options for weight loss.

Pre-reformation Healthy Snacks

Pre-reformation Healthy Snacks

Popcorn Indiana Chipins (white cheddar, sea salt, jalapeno ranch & other varieties)

Fat 4g, Carbs 21 g, Fiber 1 g, Protein 2g – WWP+ per 28g serving = 3

*gluten free, non-gmo, no preservatives

 

Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Whole Grain Cheddar

Fat 5g, Carbs 19g, Fiber 2g, Protein 4g – WWP+ per 30g serving = 4

 

Honey Maid Low Fat Honey Grahams

Fat 2g, Carbs 28g, Fiber 2g, Protein 2g – WWP+ per 35g (8 crackers) serving = 4

Next we have our go to snacks that we absolutely aren’t willing to compromise on! It is not a secret that the Pina family loves popcorn, kettle corn, & caramel corn! Here are 3 of our very favorites!

Must Have Popcorn!!!

Must Have Popcorn!!!

 

Popcorn Indiana Popcorn (movie theater, white cheddar, & other varieties)

Fat 12g, Carbs 13g, Fiber 3g, Protein 2g – WWP+ per 28g serving = 4

*gluten free, non-gmo, all natural ingredients, no preservatives

 

Colby’s Kettle Corn (salty sweet addiction, butter salt craving, cinnamon sugar sensation)

Fat 7g, Carbs 15g, Fiber 2g, Protein 2g – WWP+ per 28g serving = 3

*gluten free, non-gmo, all natural ingredients, no preservatives

 

Angie’s Delightfully Different (salted caramel & other varieties)

Fat 8g, Carbs 19g, Fiber 2g, Protein 1g  – WWP+ per 28g serving = 4

*gluten free, non-gmo, all natural ingredients, no preservatives

Snack bags, digital food scale, & bulk healthy snacks. Preparation IS everything!

Snack bags, digital food scale, & bulk healthy snacks. Preparation IS everything!

Branching out, being adventurous & trying lots of new things REQUIRES thinking outside the box and sometimes the continent! Some of my Asian friends introduced me to Edamame years ago but it never found its way into our regular routine…..until now! I dare you to spontaneously stop & ask me at ANY given moment and I’m very likely to be carrying a snack pack of Edamame (unless the bad is already empty;). Dry roasted Edamame is a crunchy & salty treat that packs a big nutritional punch. The 3 grams of fiber & 10 grams of protein keep me full longer. The large quantity you get with 28 grams keeps my hands busy and emotionally satisfied! I am absolutely in love.

Roasted peas, roasted corn original & chili lime, edamame, sunflower seeds & almonds! Yumminess!

Roasted peas, roasted corn original & chili lime, edamame, sunflower seeds & almonds! Yumminess!

Let’s face it; eating healthy does take work & creativity. We are always on the go and need our snacks to be convenient, portable, and not overly expensive. Plus they need to be pleasing to our taste buds, which is of course the ultimate test. Buying in bulk keeps the cost down and I can separate them into portion sizes that are suitable and ready to go when we need them. Here are some terrific options we have fallen in love with recently. We buy these in bulk at the local Sprouts Farmers Market but if you don’t live in the area and have access you can check any grocery store. I have even found several of these items at Big Lots!

Colorful snacks packing a large nutritional punch that are ready to go when we are!

Colorful snacks packing a large nutritional punch that are ready to go when we are!

 

Edamame- dry roasted & salted

Fat 4g, Carbs 10g, Fiber 3g, Protein 10g – WWP+ per 28g serving = 3

*two ingredients: soy bean & salt

*gluten free, non-gmo, all natural ingredients, no preservatives

 

Green Peas – dry roasted & salted

Fat 4g, Carbs 17g, Fiber 5g, Protein 8g – WWP+ per 34g serving = 3

*gluten free, no preservatives

 

Almonds (raw, roasted with cinnamon & sugar)

Fat 14g, Carbs 6g, Fiber 3g, Protein 6g – WWP+ per 28g serving = 5

*gluten free, non-gmo, all natural ingredients, no preservatives

Here is a wonderful & easy link to my favorite recipe for DIY Cinnamon & Sugar Roasted Almonds. *Note I cut the sugar back to 1/4 cup of each.

 

Pumpkins Seeds – salted in shell *nutritional facts for kernels only*

Fat 9g, Carbs 3g, Fiber 1g, Protein 6g – WWP+ per 19g/56 kernels serving = 3

*two ingredients: pumpkin seeds & salt

*gluten free, non-gmo, all natural ingredients, no preservatives

 

Toasted Corn (original, bbq, chili lime)

Fat 5g, Carbs 21g, Fiber 1g, Protein 2g – WWP+ per 28g serving = 3

*gluten free, *orginal has 2 ingredients and is non-gmo, all natural, no preservatives

*I’ll admit this one doesn’t have quite the nutritional impact of the above….but man are they good & a MUCH better alternative to fill the craving for tortilla chips, fritos, or doritos 😉

Now I’m all set and our snacks are ready to go for at least a month or more. It took me about 30 minutes to weigh & bag all those snacks. That was a 30 minutes well worth it let me tell you! Now when we are packing lunches, planning a day away from home, or even just craving crunchy & salty we are all set & ready to go! I hope you try & enjoy these healthy alternatives as much as we do!

Storage is a snap!

Storage is a snap!

***Please NOTE: All nutrutional information is based on the packaging we have in our home on this date. Please make sure to ALWAYS refer to the packages on the products you buy before consumption. If you are a Weight Watcher please ALWAYS calculate Pointsplus values based on the nutritional info on your packages. I have listed this information as a point of reference and discussion only.***