Five For Friday V

1. I am so excited for this weekend’s camping trip!  After a raiding my parent’s house and a trip to Costco, I needed help unloading my car with all of our supplies.




2. My new summer schedule officially begins on Monday.  This week was a busy but easy transition.  One day I even got to eat my lunch outside at Starbucks, which was such a huge treat for the girl who never gets to leave the office during the day!




3. I have been having a tough time sleeping this week.  This seems to happen around life changes (ie when I was moving back from Memphis).  However, last night I think I fell asleep before my head hit the pillow and although up earlier than I would have liked this morning, I finally felt well rested. 



4.  I am in charge of breakfast for the camping trip.  I am bringing eggs and spinach and made Paleo Banana-Walnut Bread that I can’t wait to dig into and Date Bars.





5.  After two trials last weekend, I created an awesome Nutella Puppy Chow.  It’s doesn’t have the strongest Nutella flavor, but the combo of peanut butter and Nutella is addicting. However, I need to go finish packing, so the recipe will just have to wait!





Hope you have a great weekend! I will be enjoying my first

Friday off camping in Wisconsin with these girls!

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake (Cake Mix Recipe)

When I went searching the internet for a simple Chocolate Chip Pound Cake recipe, I kept coming across the same easy recipe on a few different sites.  I figured if everyone was making it, it should be pretty good.




I had a time crunch on Saturday, so this was the perfect recipe to pull together quickly.


IMAG2652 IMAG2654


Although it’s a long bake time, that gave me plenty of time to clean and make Puppy Chow.




I made this the night before, but since this recipe uses a cake mix, you could easily pull it together in the morning.




Sunday morning, I was eager to try a slice.




The cake looked inviting, and the center was slightly undercooked, just the way I like it




Although I think that made from scratch is better, this is one fantastic easy morning breakfast cake!




It’s the perfect recipe to save for your next breakfast guests…like a Girls Sleepover!



What is your favorite pound cake???

Share your recipes!



Easy Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

From All



1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix

1 (39 g) package instant chocolate vanilla pudding mix

1/2 cup white sugar

3/4 cup water

3/4 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs, beaten

1 cup sour cream/Greek yogurt

1/2 cup milk chocolate chips + More! (I used a little under 1 cup)



Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan.

In a medium bowl, stir together the cake mix, instant pudding and sugar. Add the water, oil, eggs, and sour cream, mix until well blended. Finally, fold in the chocolate chips. Pour into the prepared Bundt pan.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes in the preheated oven. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before cutting and serving.

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

I was hoping to get out on my bike one more time this morning before heading out of town for the weekend.  The weather looked wet, and I wasn’t feeling motivated to get up and moving.  Instead, I went to the park district for a swim.  Between running Sunday and biking Monday, my body was pretty tired.  However, I continue to be impressed with the fact that I am actually going to the pool.  I’ve been swimming so many times this year that I’ve lost track!




This morning, I started off with freestyle laps.  I did three at my typically slow pace and then sped up for the forth for 15 minutes of intervals.  Then finished off with a little over 10 minutes prone on the kick board.  After 25 minutes, I was beat from head to toe and my heart was pounding from the intervals.  I happily spent the next 10 minutes in the hot tub before dragging myself out to get ready for work.

I know I don’t even need to tell you guys how much I love making banana bread!




So when someone hands me a bunch of nana’s right before I am heading out of town, I just HAVE to make some banana bread (even if the nana’s aren’t that brown).




In search of a new banana bread recipe, I came across a Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread from Lovin’ From the Oven.




Even though I was thinking about a double chocolate swirl type bread, this recipe definitely caught my eye.  I wanted to bring some mini bread loaves to work to share with a few coworkers, so I used three small pans instead of one big one.




The breads baked up beautifully with a crispy top, and I was tempted to tear off a tiny taste of sweet crust.




But I was able to resist!  Barely…my kitchen smelled so wonderful! 




Instead, I packed them up into colorful bags suited for sharing with friends!




The breads still smelled amazing as I drove from the pool to work this morning, and my coworkers were thrilled to have homemade bread waiting for them at work.




This post is filled with more amazing banana bread recipes!



Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

From Lovin’ From the Oven



For the bread:

3 over-ripe bananas, smashed up

1/3 cup melted butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

dash of salt

1 1/2 cups flour

For the swirl:

1/3 cup sugar

1 Tbs cinnamon



Preheat oven to 350. Butter and four a loaf pan (or spray with cooking spray).

Mix bananas, butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla together. sprinkle baking soda and salt around on top of the banana mixture. Then gently stir in flour. Be careful not to over-mix!

In a small dish, mix together the sugar and cinnamon.

Add 1/2 of the batter to the loaf pan and then sprinkle half, or a little more than half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture all over the batter in the pan. Add the rest of the batter, and then sprinkle the leftover cinnamon-sugar on top.

Bake for 50-60 minutes.  Let cool 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

Note: If baking muffins or mini loaf pans, adjust baking time to ~35 minutes.

Buttermilk Banana Bread

Are you sick of me complaining about the weather yet?

I hope you’re not sick of brown bananas and banana bread!




I tell you this much…I am totally sick of waking up to this scene!  Good thing it was Monday and the BOY’s car that needed to be brushed off instead of mine : )




One thing that I never get sick of is seeing leftover bananas in my kitchen.  I’m sure you are curious about what I do with all of this banana bread besides use it to warm my house on cold days (and save on candles because it smells so darn good)!




For the most part, my banana bread is meant to share.  The BOY won’t touch a banana and if I ate a loaf of banana bread every week, my jeans wouldn’t fit any more.  So, I bring bread to work meetings, friends’ houses, my parents, and store some in my freezer for anything that may come up.




I’ve been staring at this recipe for about 4 pounds worth of flour and with just a few ounces left and buttermilk in the fridge, I figured it was finally time to give it a try.




As you know, I have baked and tasted numerous banana breads, so I just had to slice off a bite of this one before moving it to the freezer. 




It is one moist and delicious bread! 


IMAG1882 IMAG1883



More Recipes with Buttermilk

Dark Irish Soda Bread


Walnut Blueberry Banana Bread

Buttermilk Pancakes



Best Ever Banana Bread

From Gold Medal Flour



1 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup butter or 1/2 cup margarine, softened

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups mashed very ripe bananas (3-4 medium)

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped nuts, if desired



Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottoms only of one 9×5 loaf pan.

In large bowl, mix sugar and butter. Add eggs, bananas, buttermilk and vanilla; beat with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.

Stir in flour, baking soda, salt and nuts (if using) just until moistened. Pour batter into pans.

Bake for one hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool about 1 hour before slicing.

Friday Morning Vacation

I am beyond thrilled with my last minute decision to take the entire day off of work instead of working 5 hours in the morning and then driving back home (30 miles) before driving down to St. Louis!


I slept in well past my first patient, and I finally learned how to make flip pancakes!




Yum!  These are incredible!




I had time to make another loaf of Irish Soda Bread to take with us this weekend.




And then sat down to catch up on blog reading, emails, and tea drinking while my bread cooked. 




A little after 10am, I pulled my bread out of the oven and headed outside for some fresh air and sunshine.  Both have been lacking this week!  I also just needed some quiet and alone time, and the path is always so peaceful!




With the all of the ice, snow, and rain these past few weeks, the path was a bit of a mess.  There was ice along some parts that needed to be walked over and a flood so bad that I would have needed a canoe to get across.  Running (and walking) along the trail, I felt calmer than I had all week!




I walked in the front door just after the start of the Indiana vs Illinois basketball game, and.sat down to watch the game with a shamrock shake.




Yea Right!  It’s just a kale, orange, mango green smoothie, which is super tasty!

I definitely need to have more Friday morning vacations in my life!




Friday Morning Pancakes

Adapted from Two Ingredient Pancakes



1 banana, mashed

1 egg

1/4 cup almond meal



Combine all three ingredients and stir well.

Pour batter onto a pre-heated, coated-in-non-stick-cooking-spray skillet or fry pan.

Cook and flip!  Top with your favorite pancakes toppings.

Molasses Banana Bread

I buy my bananas at Costco for two reasons.

#1) I eat a lot of bananas (and their price is the best!)

#2) Leftovers make great banana bread (or baked banana oatmeal!)


I saved these last three bananas to make bread to bring to a friend’s house this weekend.  I could have sworn that I had previously made a banana molasses bread, but couldn’t find it on the blog.




So I did a quick internet search and found a new recipe to try.




The best part is that it is a quick and easy recipe!  You only need ONE bowl, so it’s perfect for over ripe bananas.




Baker’s Note: If you are measuring oil and something sticky (like molasses), measure your oil first and then use the same measuring cup for the molasses.  It will slide right out and is super easy to clean.


IMG_1519 IMG_1520


I followed the recipe as written except that I left out the nuts.




The worst part about making bread to bring to a friend’s house is that it is frowned upon to slice yourself a taste test.




But if the batter and smell are any indication, this bread is a real winner!  So upon further inspection it turns out that I was actually thinking about this Maple Banana Bread that I made earlier in the winter.  Maple Syrup/Molasses…that’s easy to confuse!  Either way, they both sweeten up banana bread beautifully!


Looking to try a new banana bread recipe, I shared some of

my favorites on National Banana Bread Day!



Molasses Banana Bread

From Random Pocket Notes


3 ripe bananas

1 egg, unbeaten

2/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons light molasses

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped walnuts or chocolate chips (optional)



Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease a 9×5 loaf pan.

Mash bananas well until no lumps remain. I used my hand mixer.  Add unbeaten egg. Mix well.

Beat in sugar, molasses and olive oil.

Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt just until blended. Do not overstir!  Stir in nuts (or chocolate chips) if using.

Pour into greased loaf pan.  Bake for one hour or until tester comes out clean.

Cool slightly before slicing.

Freezes well!

Have Buttermilk…Will Bake

I made something with buttermilk (and couldn’t even remember what it was until I went searching through the blog) which is why I had leftover buttermilk in the fridge.




When I think buttermilk in the month of March, of course my mind goes directly to Irish Soda Bread.  Doesn’t yours???




I have a slight Amazon addiction, which only feeds into my cookbook addiction, which is how I ended up with this new book from Elinor Klivans.  Along with 49 other scrumptious looking recipes, she has a recipe for Dark Irish Soda Bread.


IMG_1487 IMG_1488

IMG_1489 IMG_1490


I didn’t have any caraway seeds but did throw in a handful of golden raisins.




My dough was super sticky and there was no way that I was going to get a smooth oval.




I but a big X in the middle of the bread and then baked it for 34 minutes.




The bread came out lumpy with a crisp crust.




Just like it’s supposed to!




I kept myself busy while the bread cooled and then immediately sliced it in half.




The middle was doughy and sweet with the slight hint of raisins.




This recipe is fantastic!  It will definitely get you in the mood for St. Patty’s Day!

And consider yourself warned, if you find yourself snowed in today with this beautiful bread, it won’t last long!


More St. Patty’s Day Bread

Brown Irish Soda Bread

Soda Bread Scones



Do you like Irish Soda Bread?  Please share your favorite recipe!



Dark Irish Soda Bread

From Fast Breads by Elinor Klivans



1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1 tbsp dark or light brown sugar

2 tsp caraway seeds

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp Kosher salt

2 tbsp melted unsalted butter

1 tbsp molasses

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)



Position a rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet with softened butter, then sprinkle lightly with whole-wheat flour; tap to discard any excess flour.

Combine both flours, brown sugar, caraway seeds, baking soda and salt in the large bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer. Mix to combine on low speed; add the melted butter.

Combine the molasses and the buttermilk, then add to the mixer bowl, on low speed; beat for a minute or two, until a soft dough forms. Gather the dough into a ball and roll it around in the palms of your hands to smooth it; the dough will not be perfectly smooth. Form into an 8-inch long oval and place on the prepared baking sheet. Use a smooth-edge knife to cut a slash about 5 inches long and about 1 inch deep along the length of the loaf.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the bread feels firm and crisp and you can see that the bottom has browned when you lift it carefully. Transfer to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes.


Per author, the bread is best eaten fresh, but I thought it was just as flavorful day 2.  Try it in French toast!

Bananas for Banana Bread

I need to take a quick break from the breakfast kick I’ve been on to properly honor bananas!




Because…Today is National Banana Bread Day, and it is no secret that I am a HUGE banana bread fan!

I mean, have you seen my Recipe Page.  It’s overflowing with banana and banana bread recipes. 





Bring on the Banana Bread…


Banana Almond Butter Bread (Gluten Free)


Classic Banana Bread




Clean Banana Bread


Dark Chocolate Covered Raisin Banana Bread




Flour’s Famous Banana Bread


One Bowl Banana Walnut Bread


Peanut Butter Banana Bread




Rum Coconut Banana Bread


Strawberry Banana Bread




Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Banana Bread


Pumpkin Banana Bread



But wait, there’s more…




Cinnamon Swirl Chocolate Chip Banana Bread from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Oat Flour Maple Banana Bread from Baker By Nature

Spiced Apple Banana Bundt Cake from Averie Cooks

Double Chocolate Banana Bread from Satisfy My Sweet Tooth

Chocolate Avocado Banana Bread from Allyson Karamer’s

Whole Wheat Brown Sugar Banana Bread Pancakes from How Sweet It Is

Reese’s Peanut Butter Banana Bread from Cookies & Cups

Cherry, Banana, Coconut Butter Bread from Oh She Glows!



I think I should rename this blog 365 Days of Banana Bread!!!



Did you eat banana bread today?

What is your favorite banana bread recipe?

Hooray for Winter Running!

To begin I must admit that we still have NO food in our house.  Not one trip to the grocery store this week!  I was lucky that we had a chili Valentine’s Day party at work with leftovers on Friday for lunch.  So before I even had water boiling for tea this morning, I was making a grocery list.  I have been itching to get outdoors and run all week.  Mostly because the weather has been a little warmer than usual, and I have seen the sun shining from inside my office.  So despite the 20 degree announcement on my cell phone this morning, I layered up for an outdoor run.




Trail shoes and all!




The sun was shining this morning, but failed to show up when I exited the front door.  I ran the long way through the neighborhood towards the forest preserve path.  It was definitely colder than I would have liked but tolerable.




The path was quiet and peaceful!  I ran a little under 5 miles at a slow and steady pace with a few walking breaks over the icy concrete.




I had to laugh that the only time I almost fell was when I slipped while walking, not running.  The benefit of all of my layers is that I had room to stash my phone to snap a few pictures.  Between the cold and my bulky shoes, I felt much slower than my recent speed intervals around the track, but I was happy for the longer run.




Recently, my runs have been much shorter (30-35 minutes) due to some changes in my work schedule.  I was feeling much better about this after reading an article in Women’s Running Magazine last night about speed training.  New research is supporting that shorter runs can burn calories and improve your fitness just as well as longer runs when you increase your intensity.  One of the treadmill workouts, which surprised me, suggested sprinting for 8 seconds, followed by a 12 second recovery.  That is one that I have never heard of, but looking forward to trying.




I have been doing most of my winter running along the track alternating between 90/90 second intervals, 60/120 second intervals, and tempo runs in preparation for a few middle distance runs I am signed up for this spring.  I am hoping to add in a spring half marathon, which will hopefully motivate me out of the house again for longer, cold weekend runs.  Post run, I have been refueling with multiple variations of the Green Smoothie.




After this morning’s run, I drove out to Whole Foods to meet my Mom for lunch.  We both LOVE collecting our favorites from the hot bar and salad bar and sharing them tapas style with a big bottle of water.  She had to spend the rest of her Saturday working, so I got to wander the aisles of Whole Foods tasting samples and scooping up groceries.  Then moved on to Costco to do the same thing.




I walked in the door with my arms full.  The BOY was involved with the Indiana v Perdue game…no surprise there.  After unloading my groceries, I baked up an amazing smelling cornbread for a get together with friends tomorrow.  I typically make more of a sweet cornbread, so this easy recipe from Paula Deen was a nice change of pace.




I caught the second half of the basketball game while sipping some warm tea that we picked up in Sarasota.  I now have the perfect amount of time for a quick afternoon nap before the BOY and I head out for dinner tonight.


What kind of winter running have you been doing?

What is your favorite interval training workout?

WIDS and More Comfort Food

WIDS = What I did Saturday

Ps I totally made that up…not too sure what I think of it : )


Two things going on here…

#1 I spent the day snow shoeing and it was amazing!




However, I don’t have all of the pictures (there were three of us and numerous phones/cameras), so I just can’t complete the post of my super cool Saturday activity just yet.


#2 I have another recipe to share with you!




And it is a good one for a cold winter weekend.  Sometimes, I find a recipe and then go in search of all of the needed ingredients.  Other times, I have exactly what I need at home (overripe bananas and half a can of pumpkin puree) and go in search of a recipe.




In this case, it was the second scenario that led me to find this healthier take on pumpkin bread.




It is no secret that I am a HUGE fan of quick breads!  And you’ll definitely notice a theme here with my last few posts.  Lentil Chili, Crockpot Peanut Butter Chicken, and bread…they are all comfort foods perfect for a lazy weekend at home, which is exactly what has been going on here this winter!




This bread uses maple syrup instead of sugar, and a subs in half whole wheat flour for a healthier version of the original.




As always this bread smells incredible!




Therefore so will your entire house!




So, don’t say that I didn’t warn you!




After a wonderful day frolicking in the snow, there is nothing better than a warm slice of pumpkin banana bread smothered in fresh jam or homemade nut butter!




I’m sure you’ll agree!


Looking for More Pumpkin and Banana?

Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Banana Bread

Pumpkin Banana Baked Oatmeal Bars


Ok, there is one more thing going on here…




But it is way too close to talk about right now!!!



Pumpkin Banana Bread

From Rebecca Thinks…



2 mashed ripe bananas

1 can pumpkin puree

1/4 cup vegetable oil (you can use corn oil, canola oil, or olive oil or experiment with your favorite)

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 eggs

2 cups flour (try whole wheat pastry flour or 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour)

1/2 cup rolled oats

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

(I also added in a sprinkle of ground clove)




Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly coat an 8 1/2- x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan (or four mini loaf pans) with vegetable oil, and wipe off the excess.

Place mashed banana, pumpkin puree, oil, maple syrup, and eggs in a large bowl. Beat with an electronic mixer on low speed.

Place flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon in a medium bowl, and stir with a whisk.

Add flour mixture to banana and pumpkin mixture, and stir or lightly beat until just moist.

Pour batter into loaf pan, and bake for one hour or until toothpick  placed in center comes out clean. Allow to cool before serving.




Stories of snow shoeing coming soon…