Chocolate-Banana Snackin’ Bars

Do you ever have those too ripe bananas sitting on your counter that you just can’t bring yourself to throw away.  For some reason, I  can’t throw them away when I know there are so many yummy recipes they can be used in!

Here is a recipe I clipped out of a magazine years ago (not sure which magazine because the name is clipped off, so I’m not sure who to give credit to).  I made these for the family and a work potluck lunch and got great reviews from all.  They are very moist and the chocolate makes them extra tasty!

IMG_2924 chocolate banana bars

 

Chocolate-Banana Snackin’ Bars

1 cup mashed ripe banana (3 medium)

1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar

1/3 cup oil

1/4 cup milk

2 large eggs

1 tsp each baking powder and cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour (I think you could also use whole wheat white flour)

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Icing Drizzle (optional, directions follow)

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 5/8 inch rimmed baking sheet with foil, letting foil extend above pan at ends. (**I did not have this size pan so I just used a regular sized cake pan and it turned out fine). Lightly coat with nonstick spray.

2.Beat all ingredients except flour and chips in a large bowl with mixer on medium speed until blended.  On low speed beat in flour just until blended.  Stir in chips;spread in pan.

3. Bake 15-20 minutes (I had to bake about 5 mins. longer because of the size of my pan) until wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a wire rack.  Drizzle with icing if using, let set.

4. Lift foil by ends onto cutting board.  Cut into 40 bars;remove from foil. (*40 bars would be pretty small-I cut mine into 20).

Icing Drizzle: Stir 1 tsp milk into 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar until smooth. I put the icing into a sandwich bag, snipped the end and it was super easy to drizzle on the cake.

Makes 40 (or 20)

Nutrition info for 40 bars: 72 calories, 1 g protein, 11 g car. 0 g fiber 3 g fat (1 g sat. fat), 11 mg chol.,  48 mg sodium

I would say this is more like a dessert or snack.  I think adding whole wheat white flour would up the fiber content.

How about you?  How do you use those over ripe bananas?  We would love to hear your ideas in the comments section!
~Blessings,

Jen

Homemade Dog Treat Recipe

IMG_2918 dog treat

One rather furry friend that gives me daily inspiration is my little pup Louie.  This dog, with his sweet and loyal disposition, has been such a blessing to our family.  When I am having a bad day, he seems to sense it and is always there for a cuddle and some good old moral support!  For the pet lovers out there, you know exactly what I mean.  There is something about a pet that can calm your nerves and sooth your soul.

To reward him for his devotion to our family, I like to spoil my little guy and occasionally make him some homemade dog treats.  He is obsessed with peanut butter, so that is why I chose this particular recipe, but there are lots of other great recipes for dog treats on this website: www.bullwrinkle.com

This is a super easy recipe with only 4 ingredients!  You can use cookie cutters to make cute shapes, but for the sake of time, I usually use a pizza cutter to quickly make square sized treats!

IMG_2915 dog treat

Peanut Butter Puppy Poppers

2 cups whole-wheat flour

1 tbsp. baking powder

1 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth)

1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  In a bowl, combine flour and baking powder.  In another bowl, mix peanut butter and milk, then add to dry ingredients and mix well.  Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead.  Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness and use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes.  Bake for 20 minutes on a greased baking sheet until lightly brown.  Cool on a rack, then store in an airtight container.  It notes in the recipe that the treats burn easily, so depending on your oven, you may want to adjust the time. (I have found 20 minutes is perfect in my electric oven.)

Here is Louie, waiting ever so patiently for his treat!  He knows when I am cooking these and will hang out in the kitchen until they are done!

IMG_2916 dog treat

 

~Blessings,

Jen

Healthy Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Fall is in the air this week  in Michigan after a brief hot spell and I was in the mood for some pumpkin bread!  This is a recipe I found in an issue of Good Housekeeping from their Healthy Makeover Recipes section.  It is very moist and makes a perfect afternoon snack with a hot cup of tea!

IMG_2906

Pumpkin Bread

Makes 1 loaf (16 servings)-I split it into two smaller loaf pans because it cuts down on the cooking time.

1 c. packed light brown sugar

2 lg. egg whites

1 c. pure pumpkin

1/4 c. canola oil

1/3 c. low-fat plain yogurt (I use organic  low-fat vanilla flavored yogurt)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 c. all-purpose flour (you can also use whole wheat white flour)

3/4 c. whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. ground cinnamon (I use a little more cinnamon because I don’t use the nutmeg-just my preference)

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray with flour.

2. In large bowl, with wire whisk, combine brown sugar and egg whites.  Add pumpkin, oil, yogurt and vanilla extract; stir to combine.

3. In medium bowl, combine all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt.  Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture; stir until just combined.  Do not over mix.

4. Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean.  Cool in pan 10 minutes.  Invert pumpkin bread onto wire rack; cool completely. **In my electric oven it too 80-90 minutes to cook in one loaf pan which is why I split the batter into two smaller loaf pans.

Each Serving: About 140 calories (1/16 or 1/8 if you split into two pans), 2 g protein, 25 g carbohydrate, 4 g total fat(0 saturated), 1 g fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 165 mg sodium.

What about you?  Do you have any favorite healthy fall recipes?  We would love to hear about them!

~Blessings,

Jen

 

Zuchinni-Banana Bread

DSC_1934 bread

 

This year is the first year I have planted a garden in a long time. It has been an learning experience for me. For instance….do NOT plant the whole package of squash! Needless to say I have LOTS of squash…zucchini zucchini everywhere! (We won’t even talk about the winter squash yet…which took over my whole gardedn!!) Here is a recipe I found to try and use some of my abundance of zucchini!!  A little twist on zucchini bread. I found it on Pinterest and it was called Zucchini Banana Bread. I must say healthy and delicious!! Instead of bread I made mine into muffins as I felt they could be more portion controlled!

Zucchini Banana Bread

4 eggs

1 1/4 c. white sugar

1/4 c. oil

1/2 c. unsweetened apple sauce

2 medium ripe bananas, mashed

2 c. shredded zucchini

1 tsp vanilla

1 c. white flour

1 c. wheat flour

1 c. rolled oats

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp backing soda

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp. salt

Combine first 7 ingredients in a bowl and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine all remaining ingredients. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet mixture and mix until combined. Add mixture to 2 greased loaf pans or you can make muffins. I got about 30 muffins. Bake in bread pans at 350 for 40-50 minutes. The muffins took about 25 minutes.

Low-Calorie Cheesecake Filled Strawberries

A couple of weeks ago we had a family picnic to attend and I wanted to bring a healthy dessert to share.  I saw this recipe on Pinterest and decided to give it a try.  Here is the link for the original recipe.

IMG_2605 cheesecake

 

Low-Calorie Cheesecake Filled Strawberries

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb large strawberries
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened (can use 1/3 less fat)
  • 6 Tbsp powdered sugar (3-4 for less sweet)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • graham cracker crumbs (1 graham cracker is sufficient)

Directions:

  1. After rinsing strawberries, cut the top and clean out with a paring knife. Set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until creamy.
  3. Add cream cheese mix to a piping bag (or ziploc with the corner cut off).
  4. Fill strawberries with cheesecake mixture.
  5. Once strawberries are filled, dip the top in graham cracker crumbs or sprinkle crumbs over the strawberries.
  6. Optional: Slice bottoms if you want them to stand upright

This was such a quick, easy recipe!  I used low-fat cream cheese and only 4 Tbsp of powdered sugar and they were sweet enough (everyone at the party agreed).  They were really good and I will definitely be making them to take to future summer parties.

I calculated the calories for each strawberry and it was around 18 calories per strawberry.  I am a dessert lover and struggle not to overindulge, but it was easy to practice portion control with these because the strawberries were so filling!

Wishing you a happy, healthy day!

~Blessings,

Jen

Low-Calorie Apple Cinnamon Muffins

 

image Apple Cinnamon Muffins

 

 

image Apple Cinnamon MuffinsThe large quantity of apples in this Apple Cinnamon Muffins recipe results in a moist, fruit-filled muffin!

This is one of my favorite low-calorie muffin recipes.  Apples are more of a fall thing, but the weather in Michigan has been pretty fall-like this week, so I decided to make a batch of these muffins.  They make a good low-calorie and filling snack.  I especially enjoy one with a cup of tea!

Low- Calorie Apple Cinnamon Muffins

1/2 cup applesauce, unsweetened

1/2 cup milk fat-free

1/2 cup yogurt, fat-free plain

4 egg whites

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups whole-wheat flour

2 cups apples (Granny Smith, or any apple of your choice peeled, finely cubed)

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degreees and prepare a muffin pan by spraying with non-stick cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl mix together applesauce, milk, yogurt, egg whites and vanilla.  Add sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and stir to combine.  Sprinkle flour over batter and fold together delicately, making sure to not overmix.  Fold in apples.

3. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups.  Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Serves: 12

Calories: 121

Fat: 0 g

Sodium: 187 mg

Total Carbohydrate: 26 g

Dietary Fiber: 3 g

Protein: 5 g

Sugars: 10 g

I slightly adapted the original recipe which came from Joy’s LIFE Diet by Joy Bauer.  I usually use whatever apples I have on hand but Granny Smith do offer a delicious tart flavor.  Instead of fat-free yogurt, I use low-fat vanilla yogurt because that is usually what I have on hand.  Also, the original recipe calls for 1/2 tsp of nutmeg which I don’t personally care for but you could add that.  The recipe also recommended using sprayed baking cups but the first time I tried that the muffins got stuck in the paper cups and were really hard to get out.

The best part about these muffins is how well they freeze.  I doubled the batch I made yesterday and put them in the freezer.  They can be frozen for up to two months.  For best results, freeze immediately after baking and cooling to room temperature.  To defrost, just pop one in the microwave or if you remember to take one out in the morning it will be thawed in time for your afternoon snack!

Here is to a happy, healthy day!

~Blessings,

Jennifer