The Best Banana Bread

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Thanksgiving is officially over and that means Christmas is just around the corner! Although I love Thanksgiving, Christmas is my all time favorite holiday. I love listening to christmas music, watching christmas shows that are always playing during this time of the year, decorating the christmas tree, drinking hot chocolates and salted caramel lattes, making christmas desserts, and most important of all, getting to spend some time at home with my family and C.

What’s so special about Christmas this year for me is that I get to fly back home. It has been six months since I’ve last seen my friends and family back home and I sure do miss them. C and I already booked our flights and I just can’t wait!

Ok enough about Christmas, onto food!

banana bread with nutella

Remember a while back when I mentioned that I was going to share with you the recipe for the best banana bread? Well, here is it folks after a week or so. I’m sorry for posting it up so late but the holiday got in the way.

I have made plenty of banana breads in the past, and this recipe is by far my favorite. C also said that it’s his favorite as well, and that is a win in my book!

This banana bread is super moist, and it’s made from oat flour, almond meal, and all-purpose flour (however, you can omit the all-purpose flour and just add in more oat flours if you want). It’s also nutty from the chopped almonds throughout and it’s drizzled with some Nutella “frosting.” Delish.

I have made this bread three times already. First exactly like the original recipe. The second time, I wanted to make it healthier, so I only used oat flour and almond meals. It was good but wasn’t great. The third time, I used oat flour, almond milk and all-purpose flour and it turned out fantastic.

I think it’s best when you crumble it on top of your oatmeal. Such a delicious bite! However, it is also fantastic by itself.

banana bread with nutella

The Best Banana Bread//yields 8 servings
Recipe adapted from Tajoon

Ingredients
1/2 cup almond meal (I used the one from TJ)
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar
4 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3 medium bananas, smashed
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup chopped almonds (optional)
2 Tbsp Nutella (optional)
1 Tbsp almond milk (optional)

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degree F and lightly greased a 9×5 loaf pan.
2. In a mixing bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour to baking soda) and set aside.
3. In another mixing bowl, mix together the wet ingredients (bananas to eggs).
4. Pour the dry ingredients slowing into the wet mixtures until well incorporated. Fold in the chopped almonds if desired.
5. Bake for 50 minutes or until fork inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes.
6. Make the Nutella “frosting” by mixing the Nutella with almond milk and drizzle it over the banana bread if desired. Slice and enjoy!

Nutritional facts per slice// 284 calories, 32g carb, 11g fat, 9g protein, 4g fiber, 22g sugar

Five Favorites (Thanksgiving Ed.)

thanksgiving

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving yesterday! Mine was spend with C here in Boston. It was wonderful and I am very thankful that I get to be with him. We made a delicious meal. We made cornbread muffins (lightened up) with ricotta cheese and caramelized onions and topped with honey butter, cornbread stuffings (homemade!) with sausage and cranberries, sweet and russet potatoes au gratin (delicious!), buffalo mac and cheese with bacon and mushrooms, honey glazed ham, and pumpkin oreo cheesecake (favorite!!!) for dessert. Everything was delicious. Today I am heading out to shop for Black Friday. Wish me luck! Have a great weekend everyone!

thanksgiving

thanksgiving

thanksgiving

thanksgiving

 

The Skinny On Fit & Petite

fit & petite

Hey everyone! Today I wanted to start a new series called, “The Skinny on Fit & Petite” where I will post up about my fitness, nutrition and my progress every two weeks. I hope you all enjoy!

Fitness
When I moved to Boston six months ago, C wanted me to work out with him at our apartment gym. I haven’t worked out over a year since school got in the way. However since I had just graduated and didn’t have a job yet, I had a lot of time. So I decided to give it a shot, and work out with C. He  set up a workout schedule for us and it goes something like this:

Monday: Triceps + Chest
Tuesday: Biceps + Back
Wednesday: Cardio (HIIT) + Abs
Thursday: Shoulders (my favorite day!)
Friday: Legs
Saturday: Cardio (HIIT) + Abs
Sunday: Rest

C got me lifting weights four days a week and I only have to do cardio (HIIT)  two times a week for only 20-25 minutes per session. I love this workout schedule so much because I just love lifting weights. At first I couldn’t lift that heavy, only 5lbs or 10lbs at most. But now I can lift a lot heavier and I just feel a lot stronger than before. I love that feeling! After going to our apartment gym for a few months, we decided to get a membership at the YMCA. It’s about a 10 minutes walk from our apartment. I am in love with our new gym. It has everything that we both needed! Also on cardio days, I can run on the track, which I love even more.

I never thought that I would look forward to working out each and everyday, especially since I have to wake up at 5;30am everyday, but I love it and it has become apart of my life now.

Nutrition

I believe the food that you eat is as important as working out.

When I first started working out, I began to count my calories and ate around 1600 calories. I counted my calories so that I can keep track of my diet to make sure that I eat enough carb, protein, and fats. I know this doesn’t work for everyone, but it works for me and keeps me accountable. After switching to the new gym, I increased my calories intake to about 1750 calories. I wanted to increase my calories because I am trying to gain more weight (mostly muscle weight). My macros intake is around 172g carb, 59g fats, and 130g protein. So far I am slowly gaining weights, my muscles are more defined, and I feel a lot stronger.

I try to keep my diet clean. It mostly consists of baked chicken breast, sweet potatoes, avocados, oatmeal (favorite!), brown rice, broccoli, spinach, nut butter, eggs, almond milk, etc. However, I also splurge on cookie butter and quick bread, which I like to crumble on top of my oatmeal. Everything in moderations right?🙂

I also have at least one “cheat meal” each week where I would eat out with my fiance.

I like my diet because I don’t feel deprived of any food. I get to enjoy everything I like while maintaining within my macros.

Progress

So far I feel a lot stronger and my muscles are more defined than when I first started working out. I have no pictures this time, but maybe next time I’ll post up some of my progress pictures!

Five Favorites

regina's pizzeria

1. C and I went to Regina’s Pizzeria again last week with another friend of ours. We all shared the pesto and sausage pizza. It was amazing. We all love it there so much!

fall

2. I love fall and am sad to see that the leaves are dying and not so colorful anymore. Winter is coming!

pho

3. Enjoyed pho with C and a friend of ours during a chilly night. It was wonderful.

speculoos

4. I don’t know what I would do without it. It is best on top of oatmeal. Pure bliss.

banana nutella bread

5. The best banana Nutella bread that I have ever made. It is super moist and delicious in every bite. Recipe coming soon!

Have a great weekend!

Lean Turkey Sloppy Joes

lean turkey sloppy joes

When I was a kid, my favorite meal at lunch was a sloppy joe sandwich. I loved how messy and flavorful it was. I looked forward to it everyday.

However, once I grew up I had it less and less. But it all changed today. Today I made my own sloppy joes, the healthier grown-up version of my favorite meal when I was a kid.

lean turkey sloppy joes

This sloppy joes was so good! It was extra saucy like I like and it was just spicy enough too. Also, it was super easy to make.

lean turkey sloppy joes

The recipe asked for bbq sauce but I didn’t have any on hand. So I substitute it with hoisin sauce instead and it turned out fantastic!

I ate my sloppy joes with sweet potatoes and avocados instead of buns, which is why I mentioned that this is a grow-up version of a sloppy joes.

lean turkey sloppy joes

It was such a delicious, filling, and healthy meal. Perfect comfort food on this chilly day.

I bet it would taste great with some cornbread too!

lean turkey sloppy joes

Lean Turkey Sloppy Joes //yields 6 servings
Recipe adapted from Ambitious Kitchen

Ingredients
1 small onion, diced
1 tsp garlic paste (I used the one from Trader Joes)
1 pound lean ground turkey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
red pepper flakes
1 cup (8oz) tomato sauce (Trader Joes)
3 Tbsp Hoisin sauce
1 tsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp Tabasco sauce
1 jalapenos pepper, diced

Directions
1. Heat some oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the onions and garlic until the onions are tender and garlic is fragrant. Transfer the onions to small bowl and use the same skillet to cook the turkey.
2. Next add the turkey to the skillet with salt and pepper and cook until meat is no longer pink.
3. Then stir in the  red pepper flakes, tomato sauce, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, chili powder, Tabasco sauce and jalapenos pepper. Add in the onions and stir to combine. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Serve with sweet potatoes and avocados if desired or with some hamburger buns! Enjoy!

Easy Cinnamon Roll Muffins

Easy Cinnamon Rolls Muffins

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

I love Tuesdays (and Wednesdays) because it is my day off from work today! And I love nothing more, other than working out and hanging out with C, than baking while listening to christmas music.

It was so relaxing just to bake and jamming to christmas music.

easy cinnamon rolls muffins

I decided to make cinnamon roll muffins with cream cheese frosting. I told C last night that I was going to make these muffins for him today and he couldn’t wait!

These muffins were super easy to make too. It took me about 30 minutes to make these muffins and another 20 minutes to bake them while I clean up the kitchen. Quick and easy.

easy cinnamon rolls muffins

Not only are these muffins easy to make, they are super delicious too. Imagine a soft and warm dough topped with a buttery cinnamon crumbles and drizzled with cream cheese frosting on top.

Also, my apartment smelled wonderful while these muffins were in the oven.

Baking + Christmas music + cinnamon rolls aroma = pure bliss.

C came home, ate one and couldn’t help but eat another one. Good thing he is bulking right now!

I can’t wait to crumble it on top of my oatmeal tomorrow!

easy cinnamon rolls muffins

Easy Cinnamon Roll Muffins //yield 12 servings
Recipe adapted from Amandeleine

Ingredients:
Dough
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 packet active yeast (4 tsp)
2/3 warm almond milk (any milk is fine)
3 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg

Filling/Topping
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, soften
2/3 light brown sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon

Icing
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 oz reduced fat cream cheese
1 Tbsp almond milk

Directions:
1. For the dough, dissolve the yeast in the milk and let it sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the rest of the ingredients together and add in the milk mixture. Mix well and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then evenly distribute the batter into a greased muffin pan.
2. For the filling/topping, combine the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon together with a fork. Sprinkle evenly on top of the batter and swirl it with a fork.
3. Put the pan in the cold oven and heat to 350 degree F. Bake for 20 minutes. Then cool for 10 minutes.
4. For the icing, combine the powdered sugar, cream cheese and milk to form an icing. Drizzle over the muffins and enjoy!

Nutritional Facts Per Muffin: 191 calories, 20g carbs, 6g fat, 1g protein, 19g sugar

Five Favorites

cocoa oatmeal1. My favorite breakfast-cocoa oatmeal with peanut butter and Speculoos (cocoa & cookie butter swirl). Pure bliss.

regina's pizzeria

pizza2. I found my favorite pizza place in Boston: Regina’s Pizzeria. C and I went last week to Regina’s for the first time since it is highly rated on yelp. We ordered the Capricciosa, which came with sliced prosciutto, mushrooms, ricotta, parmesan, and mozzarella cheese with tomato sauce. It was fantastic!

modern pastry

mike's pastry

3. A cannoli at Modern Pastry for C and a peanut butter cannoli at Mike’s pastry for me. The perfect end to any meal!

boston commons

4. Boston commons.

fish tacos

5. Fish tacos on a corn and whole wheat tortillas. Nom nom nom!

Have a great weekend!

Chocolate Quick Bread

Chocolate Quick Bread

Another bread recipe for you and this one is extra chocolatey and contain a secret ingredient! Guess what it is!!

Chocolate Quick Bread

The secret ingredient is pumpkin!!

I have a lot of pumpkin puree left over since I bought a huge can of it. So when I found a recipe by my favorite blogger over at Edible Perspective for a chocolate quick bread that uses sweet potato puree, I knew that I can easily substitute it with pumpkin puree.

Chocolate Quick Bread

I also used Hershey special dark chocolate with almond nuggets since I have a lot left over as well. I chopped up the chocolate nuggets and fold it into the batter. However, the best part is not only the sprinkle of chocolate throughout the bread but the chocolate oat crumbles on top!

Chocolate Quick Bread

To make it more chocolatey, since I love dark chocolate, I also chopped up some more dark chocolate nuggets and sprinkled it on top as well.

Chocolate Quick Bread

The bread turned out fantastic! The bread was almost brownie like, which is my favorite! You can barely taste the pumpkin since it’s so subtle, which let the chocolate to really shine. The chocolate melted nicely on top as well. Each bite was heavenly. C loved it so much that he ate two slices right away! I love to crumble it on top of my oatmeal, which I did this morning. It was pure bliss. I can’t wait to make this bread again and maybe try mashed bananas instead of pumpkin next time since I love bananas and chocolate together!

Chocolate Quick Bread

Chocolate Quick Bread //yield 8 servings
Recipe slightly adapted from Edible Perspective

Ingredients
Chocolate Oat Crumble:
1/8 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup rolled oats
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, slightly melted
2 Tbsp oats flour
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 tsp salt

For The Bread:
1 1/3 cup oats flour
1/2 cup almond meal
6 Tbsp all-purpose flour
5 Tbsp light brown sugar
6 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp instant espresso powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
2/3 cup almond milk + 1tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp honey
6 Tbsp plain greek yogurt
5 pieces of Hershey special dark chocolate with almond nuggets, chopped

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degree F and oil one 9×5 loaf pan.
2. For the chocolate oats crumble, mix everything together in a bowl. Set aside.
3. For the bread, mix the dry ingredients (oats flour through salt) in a large bowl and set aside. In another bowl, mix the wet ingredients (eggs through yogurt). Pour the dry ingredients on top of the wet ingredients and stir with a large wooden spatula. Gently fold in the chopped chocolate.
4. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and sprinkle the crumble mixture on top.
5. Bake for 65 minutes or until a fork inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, slice and enjoy!

Healthy Pumpkin Banana Bread

pumpkin banana bread

First off, I want to say that it is snowing here in Boston! After C and I were done working out this morning, it started to snow. The walk back to our apartment from the gym was freezing, but it was beautiful to see the snow falling on top of all the leaves.

pumpkin banana bread

Second, I finally have the time to post up the recipe for the pumpkin banana bread that I promised last week! This bread is so delicious and it’s super healthy!

pumpkin banana bread

The bread is a mix between a cake, bread, and brownie! C told me that it’s almost like a pumpkin brownie, and loved it so much that he ate most of it!

pumpkin banana bread

There was no oil or butter involved either since it was moist enough from the bananas and pumpkin. I reduced the sugar content to only 1/4 cup too since the bananas were sweet enough. I also sprinkled some oats on top at the last second just because it looks prettier, but you can omit that if you want.

pumpkin banana bread

Just look at how moist it is! The bread is also great as a post-workout meal, on top of your oatmeal, or just as a snack!

pumpkin banana bread

Healthy Pumpkin Banana Bread //yield 8 servings
Recipe adapted from Add A Pinch

Ingredients
3 ripe bananas, peeled
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 cup almond meal
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup raw almonds, chopped

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degree F and spray one 9×5 loaf pan or line it with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, mix bananas and sugar until well-blended.
3. Then add in the pumpkin puree and mix until creamy.
4. Next add in the oat flours, almond meal, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and salt and mix well.
5. Fold in the chopped almonds.
6. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes or until a fork inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, slice and enjoy!

Nutritional facts per serving: 238 calories, 32g carbs, 10g fats, 8g protein

Five Favorites

pumpkin banana bread

1. Healthy and delicious pumpkin banana bread that I baked yesterday. Recipe coming soon!

banh mi

2. BBQ beef banh mi. I could eat this everyday if I could.

avocado bubble tea

3. The best avocado bubble tea in Boston. It is super creamy and thick. It’s also made with real avocados and the pearls are super soft and sweet.

downtown crossing

4. Downtown Crossing in Boston.

DSC_1019

5. Enjoyed a beautiful day out with C and a couple of friends.

Have a great weekend!