Monday, February 27, 2012

Banana Bread... the healthy way

For some unexplained reason, I had a craving for banana bread. So, I went on the hunt for a "healthy" recipe while my bananas ripened. The bread was better than I had imagined!

Here's what you'll need:

2 C whole wheat flour
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/2 C applesauce (sugar free)
3/4 honey
2 eggs, beaten
3 mashed overripe bananas (I know mine weren't black yet, but I couldn't wait any longer!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x5 loaf pan.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, mix together applesauce and honey. Stir in eggs (beaten) and mashed bananas until well blended. I left the bananas pretty lumpy because I like to actually see and taste them in the finished bread.

Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten.

Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

The finished, yummy product!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Homemade Granola Bars

I simply love granola bars for an afternoon snack. I even found an organic brand I liked! However, it was almost $4 for a box of only 5 bars. That's not going to fit on the budget. So, what's a crafty girl to do? Make her own!!!

Using pantry staple items, I was able to only spend $2.75 for the wheat germ and $1.50 for the chocolate chips (granola bars just aren't granola bars without a bit of chocolate in them). This recipe is great, too, because the base for the recipe is all pantry staple items: flour, honey, brown sugar, rolled oats, and egg. Most of us always have those on hand. Once you have this base, you could add nuts, dried fruit, or anything you think would be yummy!

 So, here's what you'll need:

2 C rolled oats
1 C whole wheat flour
1 C chocolate chips (or 1/2 chocolate, 1/2 peanut butter)
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C wheat germ
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1 whole egg, beaten
1/2 C honey
1/2 C oil (I used what I had on hand... olive oil)
2 t. vanilla extract

Combine all your dry ingredients in a large bowl. Next, combine all your wet ingredients in another bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir just until moistened.

Pat the mixture into a foil-lined (and sprayed) 9x13 baking dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until the edges are starting to brown. If you like crunchy granola bars, bake for 20-25 minutes.

Let the bars cool for a few minutes and then slice with a pizza cutter.

Cool completely and then transfer to an airtight container. 

These look and smell delicious!! I got 16 large bars for about $5.00 (using staple items already on hand). You can't beat that for a yummy snack!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday's Favorites

This week's favorite thing is a sign I ordered from Etsy. It was the first time I had ever ordered anything from the website. At first, I toyed with the idea of creating this myself, but I have no creative abilities and handwriting that should never EVER be allowed to be on display. I knew the general look I wanted. I was lucky to find someone artistic and creative willing to make this for a minimal fee.

So, I ordered a wood sign with our family motto and establishment date. It's the new thing, you know, to have a sign with your family name on it. But of course, I had to be a little different and use our family name/family motto. It turned out perfectly!!

This is now my favorite wall in our home:

I surrounded the family motto sign with a wooden cross (a wedding gift), two wedding photos, and an anchor (we are Coasties, you know!). Hopefully, this collage will continue to expand as we add photos from our life together and the places we live. This will always be a work in progress, but with Team Preston at the center.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thankful Thursday

It has certainly been a few weeks since I have written. I wish it was because my life has been full of scintillating adventures and tales worth repeating, but alas... my world has been blissfully normal and quiet.

I had a great visit with my best friend Elizabeth (check out her blog at Mama Liz) and her baby boy Connor. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, quite like 5 days of best friend time. I wish the Florida weather had been more cooperative, but that was just a good excuse to stay up late talking and eating junk food. We've been friends for 20 years (are you sure I'm old enough to say that??), but our friendship still feels as loving and deep as ever, despite the miles and the changes we've seen in the last year.

Anyways, enough mushy talk. This week, I am just grateful for the Lord's provision as He called us California. We'd been praying and praying that we would be called where He could use us. Honestly, we never even considered He would pick a Mayberry-sized town in middle-of-nowhere California. However, Team Preston will be joyfully packing up and heading west come this summer.

I'm also thankful for:

Fresh strawberries.

Matthew 6:25 and Psalm 119:116.

Phone calls from all the important women in my life.

Increasing self-discipline.

Proof that being polite can go a long way.

A trip to Tennessee soon.

Emails and short phone calls from across the seas.

His safety and health while away.

And mostly, Team Preston itself. I couldn't have chosen a better man to partner with on this journey. In his words, "No matter what hill comes our way on this path, I know Team Preston can climb over it and be better for it."

Aunt Hilary and baby Connor