Chai Spiced Banana Bread

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Snowed in today?  I have the perfect recipe for you.  And I bet you have everything you need to make it already!  I have discovered the most spectacular warm and fuzzy snow day recipe with this Chai Spiced Banana Bread.  It is just so. GOOD.

The base of this recipe comes from my all time favorite recipe from my Mom- her Banana Bread can be made in literally five minutes, and it is awesome.  I took our normal Banana Bread recipe and jazzed it up today with some of our favorite Chai spices.  The amount of spices in this recipe are just enough to make it special without being too overwhelming.  If you want more of a punch, add more of each spice.

Chai Spiced Banana Bread

Ingredients:

3 Over-Ripe Bananas

1 Cup Sugar

1 Egg

1 ½ Cups Flour

¼ cup (1/2 Stick) Butter, Melted

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

¼ teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

½ teaspoon Ground Cardamom

½ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

¼ teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

¼ teaspoon Ground Allspice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Mash Bananas with a fork. Combine and mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the bananas and the rest of the ingredients. Stir until combined.
  3. Pour into a sprayed loaf pan and bake in the oven for 1 hour.
  4. Remove and rest on a cooling rack. Remove from pan and slice, serve warm.

Enjoy this banana bread for breakfast or even dessert 🙂  Stay warm!

Sliced up and ready to go.  I love the texture on the top... the best part!

Sliced up and ready to go. I love the texture on the top… the best part!

Magically Fluffy but Dense.  Perfect balance.

Magically Fluffy but Dense. Perfect balance.

"Where's our piece, Mom?"

“Where’s our piece, Mom?”

Chocolate-Banana Cream Poke Cake

Where have I been?  Oh, I’m sorry… I’ve neglected you because I have to work off all of the calories I’ve consumed over the past weekend!  Dave, Stella, and I joined my parents “Down the Shore (see post here)” to celebrate my Dad’s birthday.

I had to show off this AMAZING pic we got of Miss Stella at the beach from this trip :)

I had to show off this AMAZING pic we got of Miss Stella at the beach from this trip 🙂

We dined at one of our favorite restaurants, Chef Vola’s… eating LARGE portions of delicious home-cooked Italian food and even better desserts.

Although we ordered a slice and devoured Chef Vola’s’  famous Banana Cream Pie, I wanted to make a birthday cake for my Dad in honor of his favorite flavor combination:  Chocolate & Banana.

I feel like most people hate on Bananas and Banana flavored things.  I’ve never understood why?  I love it, and it is by far my Dad’s favorite thing ever.

After pinning and saving several poke cake recipes all over the internet, I though this was a great chance to try one out.  The best part about these cakes is that they’re very easy- they’re just doctored up cakes!

Chocolate-Banana Cream Poke Cake

Ingredients:

1 Box Golden Butter Cake Mix (or other yellow… whatever!)

Ingredients to make cake (3 eggs, 7 TBSP butter, water)

1 pkg Banana Sugar Free Fat Free Pudding Mix

1 pkg Chocolate Sugar Free Fat Free Pudding Mix (i used Chocolate Fudge mmm)

Ingredients to make puddings (2 cups Milk per packet, so 4 total!)

1 tub Cool Whip (light)

1 cup Crushed Nilla Wafers

Directions:

1.  Bake cake according to directions on the box.  Meanwhile, prepare the puddings.  Let the puddings rest for 5 minutes, they will thicken up right away.

2.  Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes, then take the handle of a wooden spoon and poke holes through to the bottom all over the cake.

3.  Spread the banana pudding over the cake making sure to get into the holes.  Take the wooden spoon again and poke a few more holes ontop of the banana pudding.  Spread the chocolate pudding over the banana, spreading evenly over the cake.

4.  Now, spread the Cool Whip over the puddings and cake.  Finish the cake by sprinkling lots of crushed Nilla Wafers on top.  

I want to recommend putting some sliced or chopped up banana in the pudding layer too!  But like I said, this is for my Dad and I didn’t want to “ruin” the dessert with fruit (haha).

We all loved this cake, it was perfectly moist and wasn’t too overly banana either.  I can’t wait to try out other poke cake recipes!  What should be next?!

They don't call it a poke cake for nothin'!

They don’t call it a poke cake for nothin’!

Yummy...

Yummy…

Banana first

Banana first

Then chocolate, mmm!

Then chocolate, mmm!

The finished product!

The finished product!

Hooray for Birthday Cake Cross-Sectionals!

Hooray for Birthday Cake Cross-Sectionals!

I rarely make desserts but when I do, I make it count!!

Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bakes

Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bakes

Coffee & Chocolate Krispies

Coffee & Chocolate Krispies

Apple-Toffee Blondies w/ Brown Sugar Frosting

Apple-Toffee Blondies w/ Brown Sugar Frosting

Greek Yogurt Breakfast

I am soooo stuck right now.  I need to lose 5 more pounds to be at my goal weight.  UGHHH!  I was supposed to be at my goal for Halloween.  Okay, that’s so not happening.

Re-joining Weight Watchers might be in my near future… but before I go back to keeping track and obsessive counting, I wanted to give myself one last try at doing this on my own.

Last Thursday, I went to see “John the Dietitian” for some advice.  The first thing he suggested to me was to change up my breakfast.  I got super comfortable ditching my old Fiber One Oats & Chocolate (ugh but they’re soooooooooo good) bars for Kashi Go Lean Cereal… also suggested by John at the beginning of the summer.  Well, that’s the problem… I’ve been eating Kashi cereal every single day during the week since JUNE!  It’s time for a change.

John suggested this recipe to me using Greek Yogurt and i am LOVING it.  I have eaten this for breakfast three times now, and every single time I am left feeling completely satisfied, stuffed, and even better, I don’t get hungry for HOURS.

Greek Yogurt Breakfast

Ingredients:

3/4 cup Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt 

1 Banana, cut into slices

2 Tablespoons Frozen Berries 

1 Tablespoon Ground Flax

1 Tablespoon Fig Butter (Trader Joe’s)

1 heaping Tablespoon Chopped Walnuts

Directions:

Put it all together in a tupperware container and bring to work.  Enjoy.

A few side notes about this one:  

1.  It’s absolutely delicious despite being ugly

2.  If you’re going to make this the night before, frozen fruit works great.  It will thaw out overnight and also as it melts, it will make it a little extra juicy!  If you’re going to eat it right away, use normal fresh fruit.

3.  I use 3/4 cup of FF Plain Greek Yogurt because the full serving size of 1 Cup ends up being SO MUCH food.  I do actually measure this out I just plop a few giant spoonfuls in the cup measure and don’t fill it up all the way.

4.  I’ve talked about the Fig Butter from TJ’s before, and I’m sure this won’t be the last time either.  It’s freakin’ amazing stuff.  Try it out!  If you don’t have it or like it or suck and won’t even try it… use a Tablespoon of Polaner’s All Fruit Jelly!  This will mix into the yogurt really well and sweeten it up a bit without being overly sugary.

I told you… not pretty!

 

As for my new breakfast helping my diet, we will find out soon enough!  I have been “bad” on the past few weekends which of course things like this:

nom nom nom

… doesn’t help.  I really need to buckle down and lose these last 5 pounds!  No one ask me out to dinner…. lol.

More of John’s suggestions and foods in my new work-day diet to come soon!

Kiwi-Strawberry & Mango Smoothie

After a nice long walk/run outside today, I needed something refreshing.  I whipped up this smoothie and OMG was it amazing!  Mom and I bought a giant container of Fat Free Vanilla Greek Yogurt to make smoothies.  I put the yogurt and fruit into our blender… not even checking to see if we had milk!  I was so disappointed, thinking I wasn’t going to be able to make my smoothie… and the only juice we had in the fridge was Ruby Grapefruit.  Although I thought it would ruin it, I had to give it a shot.

 

It was SO delish!  The grapefruit juice gave the smoothie a little bit of a sour taste at times which I loved!  The fruits went so well together too.  I can’t wait to make more… this is going to be a new obsession 🙂

 

KiwiStrawberry & Mango Smoothie

Recipe by:  It’s Good to be the Cook
Ingredients:
1/2 Cup Fat Free Vanilla Greek Yogurt
1/2 Cup Frozen Strawberries
1/2 Cup Frozen Mango
1 Small Banana
1 Kiwi, peeled
2 Tablespoons Ruby Grapefruit Juice
1 teaspoon Wheat Germ
Directions:
1.  Put everything in a blender
2.  Blend!!  I blended mine for 1-2 minutes.  You might have to stop it and stir once or twice if the frozen fruit gets stuck!