07/13/14
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chocolate orange banana bread

Thanks for your sweet comments on my last post.  Sometimes my mama heart likes to shine :)

Today is about FOOD.  It’s been quite hot here lately and I find my bananas turning brown more quickly than normal.  And more quickly than I like.  Does anyone else notice that happening with heat? Most of the time I’ll toss them into the freezer for later use, but this week I made some banana bread.  It’s flavored with cocoa and orange, which instantly brings me back to the hearth (or favorite restaurant).  They have a warm chocolate orange cake that is sinfully delicious.  The banana bread is healthed up a bit and the sweetness is taken down a notch.  We’ve been enjoying it as a dessert after dinner, and an afternoon pick me up.

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The recipe came from this month’s Secret Recipe Club blog An Affair from the Heart.  The author, Michaela write a beautiful blog and shares so many tasty looking recipes.  She’s a busy stay at home mom to four.  One of my favorite things I read in her about me page is that her family sits down together for dinner, no electronics allowed.  That’s been a new rule of mine I’ve been enforcing (on myself too) lately.  The family dinner is so important!

Anyways, I found her chocolate orange banana bread recipe.  To make it a little less dessert like (but still treat like!) I skipped out on the chocolate chips, cut the sugar down and used whole wheat flour.  The bread came out perfectly after baking for an hour.  Hunter and I cannot get enough of it.  Hope you enjoy it too!

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Chocolate Orange Banana Bread

adapted from here

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup natural cane sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • juice and zest of 1 orange
  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, prepare large loaf pan with oil spray.
  2. Combine sugar, honey and oil in your mixer (or by hand with a whisk), add in eggs, bananas and orange zest, mix.
  3. Sift together all of your dry ingredients.
  4. Alternate dry ingredients and orange juice into sugar/banana mixture.
  5. Mix well, scraping the sides of the bowl.
  6. Pour into pan and bake for 1 hour, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

How do you like to use your brown bananas?

Heather

07/11/14
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I choose love

Parenting is hard in so many ways. The sleepless nights that last longer than you wish they would, dealing with a screaming toddler at the grocery store, throwing of foods, hitting phases (it’s a phase, right?), poop getting everywhere, the unexplainable laundry piles that appear basically right when your child is born, judgement from other parents and the general feeling of not knowing what you’re doing half the time. There are a lot of things that are hard, but I think one of the hardest, and most important, is raising a good kid. A kid that has (some what) good manners, seeks God, is happy, confident, smart, kind and most of all loves them self.

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Kids are so impressionable. Hunter is at that stage where he repeats everything, so you better watch what you say and do. He also takes in our feelings and can totally sense when something is off. I feel like both my mood and Jacob’s is reflected in him.

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Zoe is still super young, but I find it even more important for me to be a good role model to her. She’ll be looking up to me to see how she should treat others, deal with stressful situations and how she should think about herself. I want so badly to instill a sense of self love for herself. That she thinks about herself in a positive way, that she believes in herself and has confidence. That she looks at herself in the mirror and instead of looking for flaws, she sees her beauty on the inside and outside.

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But that all starts with me. So I’m going to choose love. I choose to love myself in my strengths and weakness. I choose to love myself when I’m stressed out and feeling like everything is going wrong. I choose to love myself when I’m tired and my pants don’t fit and on the inside I’m bummed about it. And I choose to thank God for all of it, because he had blessed me and given me the strength to make that choice. The choice for love.

Who was your role model growing up?

Heather

07/8/14
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ice box peanut butter cup pie

July 1st was a day for celebration. My wonderful hubs turned a new age. Happy birthday my love!  I won’t tell you how old, but the number starts with ‘th’ and rhymes with dirty… I’ll let you see if you can figure it out.

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I wanted to make a special dessert for him, and since reese’s cups are one of his favorite things, I went for the chocolate-peanut butter mix flavor. I had pinned a pb cup pie recipe to my ‘recipes to try’ board a while back waiting for the right time to make it. The original recipe was vegan. Mine was not. I made just a few slight changes to the recipe: used regular unsalted butter instead of vegan butter/coconut oil for the crust and I only added about half the amount of coconut milk/cream.  Much better ingredients and a shorter list than reese’s cups!

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It was deeeeelish. We still have some in the freezer for a special treat. If you freeze the extra I highly suggest cutting your slices because it’s really hard to do once fully frozen. Lesson learned.

Check out the vegan recipe from minimalist baker (along with their beautiful and mouthwatering pictures) or follow it below with my adaptations.

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Ice Box Peanut Butter Cup Pie

Recipe very slightly adapted from minimalist baker

Ingredients

CRUST
  • 1 sleeve graham crackers (or sub similar gluten free cracker/cookie)
  • 4.5 tbsp unsalted butter
PIE
  • 12 ounces firm silken tofu, slightly drained and patted dry
  • 1/2 cup creamy salted natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup full fat coconut milk OR coconut cream, chilled overnight
CHOCOLATE GANACHE TOPPING
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup milk of choice
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly oil a standard glass pie pan (8 inches x 1 1/4 inches).
  2. Add graham crackers to a food processor and process until you achieve a semi-fine meal. A little texture is OK, just remove any large pieces that didn’t get ground. Add melted butter and pulse to combine.
  3. Add to greased pie pan and press down with your fingers to flatten. You can lie a piece of plastic wrap over the top when pressing down to ensure a more uniform layer. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and set aside to cool.
  4. Add tofu, peanut butter, honey to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more honey for added sweetness or a pinch of salt if your peanut butter wasn’t very salted.
  5. Next, whip your coconut milk into whipped cream in a large, chilled mixing bowl. Find trouble-shooting tips here. Optional: sweeten with a little powdered sugar and vanilla.
  6. Fold the peanut butter-tofu mixture into the whipped cream.
  7. Pour filling over crust and pop in the freezer to chill. Once it’s fairly chilled and slighty firm (about 1 hour), prepare your ganache.
  8. Add chocolate chips to a bowl and heat your milk to a low simmer. Then pour over chocolate chips and don’t touch for 5 minutes to allow it to melt. Then stir gently with a spoon or rubber spatula until a smooth ganache forms. If it doesn’t quite melt, you can also heat it in the microwave in 10 second increments until smooth and melted.
  9. Spoon over the top of the pie and spread in an even layer with a knife or spatula, working quickly as the ganache will get clumpy if it sets too long.
  10. Top with crushed, salted roasted peanuts (optional) and pop back in the freezer to set. 20-30 minutes before serving, remove from freezer and serve. Alternatively, you can chill this in the fridge, but it is much more delicate to slice and serve, but just as delicious.
  11. After the initial chill, make sure you cover the pie with plastic wrap to keep it fresh.

Okay, now your turn. Get our your food processor, blender, standing mixer, turn your oven on and make it yourself! The perfect cool treat for hot summer days.

What is your favorite summer treat?

Heather