Thursday, April 25, 2013

Banana Bread

We go through a lot of bananas in our house.  Ryder has at least one per day.  It's usually his snack after his nap.  Because we have a little monkey who loves bananas we rarely have ripe bananas, they are long gone before they get to that stage.  A few weeks ago, we were out of town and I forgot to bring Ryder's bananas, tragic, I know.  Anyways, when we got home we had a few ripe bananas that were perfect for banana bread.   

I found the recipe below a couple years ago in the October 2011 issue of Taste of Home Magazine.  It's an easy recipe, it tastes great and the bread stays soft.  This is now my go-to banana bread recipe.

Banana Bread

Taste of Home Magazine
October 2011

Banana Pecan Loaf
1/2 Cup Butter, Softened
1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
3 Medium Ripe Bananas, Mashed
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans

Pineapple Spread:
1 Package (8 oz.) Cream Cheese, softened
1 Cup Canned Crushed Pineapple, well drained

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in bananas.  Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture.  Fold in pecans.

Transfer batter to greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing loaf from pan to a wire rack.

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese and pineapple.  Serve with banana bread.

Note:  I've made it with both pecans and walnuts.  Both ways are great!  I have never made the pineapple spread, but thought I would include it in case anyone else wants to try it.  

My Spider-man and little monkey

When I was pregnant with Parker, I would wake up in the middle of the night with the worst charley horses or leg cramps.  They hurt so bad!  Leg cramps are often caused because of a low levels of potassium, which bananas happen to have a lot of.  I ate a lot more bananas when I was pregnant with Ryder than I did when I was pregnant with Parker and I only had a couple leg cramps when I was pregnant with Ryder.

I found the following information on bananas on the Growing Organic, Eating Organic Facebook page.  I didn't realize all of the benefits of bananas have.  

"Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy.

Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes.

But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.

According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

Forget the pills - eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

200 students at a Twickenham school ( England ) were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system..

Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and chips. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chroniclercases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Many other cultures see bananas as a 'cooling' fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand , for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has FOUR TIMES the protein, TWICE the carbohydrate, THREE TIMES the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals.. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, 'A BANANA a day keeps the doctor away!'"

Happy Champagne Thursday!


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