Pumpkin Banana Bread & Book Review

Pumpkin Banana Bread-0004 on Whisk Together

 

Book Review:  

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Full of large color photos and plenty of recipes, Giada’s new book is chock full of healthy ingredients and no canned recipes. This book is a great introduction for someone who might want to try eating healthier and introduce themselves to new foods like chia seeds, bone broth and vegetable noodles. There is a chapter for every food group from breakfast, to lunch, to dinner, to dessert. You will even find specialty items like peanut butter dog bone treats and lavender salt scrub.  The book states on the back that it is about Eating Clean and this is done very well. The photos of the food are gorgeous.

I have two issues with the book: I wish the 44 pages of portraits of Giada had been replaced with more recipes. I can accept a few… but the book seemed to go a little overboard. Two, if you already make your food from scratch this book may not have you running into the kitchen. If you don’t make your food from scratch, please start and give this book a try!

In regards to the recipes, there are some very delicious ones. The Ricotta Toast with Strawberries is simple, but delicious. A great breakfast or looks fancy but not when you have guests. I made and tried the dog treats myself for our neighbor’s new puppy. They were really easy to make and pretty tasty! The brown butter tortellini again is simple, but delicious. Creamy and full of flavor with a few simple ingredients.  The lemon ricotta cookies with lemon glaze are from one of her previous shows I think. I made the recipe years ago and it is one of my favorites and included in this book. Soft cookies with a lemon glaze that have a nice lemony punch.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.  All opinions are my own.

Pumpkin Banana Bread-0008 on Whisk Together

 

Recipe:  I have made quite a few pumpkin breads and banana breads in my time… but not a pumpkin banana bread!  This was really a nice treat.  Everyone loved it from hubby to the smallest kiddo.  I love having a recipe that takes the leftover pumpkin from a can and the few bananas leftover going brown.  Sometimes you just don’t have enough bananas to make bread or have 1 cup of pumpkin leftover from making pumpkin oatmeal.  This recipe uses them all up!

It is a sweet bread, but not too terribly sweet.  The flavors work very well together and texture is absolutely perfect.  The bread will freeze well if you want to bake and cool it off.  Then, wrap it in a few layers of plastic wrap and throw it into a freezer bag.  Once sealed and air removed, the bread should be fine for a month or two.

Pumpkin Banana Bread-0007 on Whisk Together

Why I love this bread:

  1.  Made with whole wheat flour and Greek yogurt.
  2. Uses up some leftover items in the kitchen.
  3. Flavor is phenomenal.
  4. You can use this recipe for breakfast, snack or dessert.
  5. Freezer Friendly!  I may just have to stock up on these during the holidays.
  6. I love almost anything with molasses in it.  🙂

    Pumpkin Banana Bread-0005 on Whisk Together

Pumpkin Banana Bread & Book Review
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Serves: 1 loaf
Ingredients
  • 4 Tb. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 6 ounces plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tb. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tb. molasses (optional)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (2 bananas)
  • 1/2-1 tsp. ground cinnamon (add 1/2 tsp. for less flavor and 1 tsp. for more)
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or simply use the 1 tsp. cinnamon above with 1/4 tsp. nutmeg and ginger, each)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 and 2/3 cups white whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. baking soda
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×5 pan with baking or cooking spray. I love baking spray myself.
  2. In a great big microwave safe bowl, add the butter to melt if you have not done so.
  3. Add the sugars, egg, yogurt, vanilla, pumpkin and bananas. Mix until smooth with a fork or mixer.
  4. Add the spices. Stir until mixed in.
  5. Add the flour and baking soda on top. With your fork, blend the flour and baking soda together so it is mixed around. Then, use your fork or a spatula to mix the wet and dry ingredients together. Stir until JUST combined. A few streaks of flour is okay.
  6. Pour into the 9×5 pan and bake for 60 minutes. Begin watching it after about 50 minutes.
  7. If the bread becomes too dark on top while baking, loosely cover with foil. I usually check for this around the 30-45 minute mark.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Averie Cooks

 

Chewy Molasses Ginger Chocolate Chip Bars

Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Bars on Whisk Together-4572

Book:  What if we all had tags like at the greenhouse nurseries?  Or what if our actions and deeds had tags as well?  How different would life be?

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I was walking early in the morning at Home Depot because they had advertised half off roses, trees and bushes.  They are pretty good prices overall anyway and half off is quite a deal.  Even Lowes had some perennials for $1, but I didn’t have room in my car.  So, I head over there early knowing generally what I wanted: some bushes for the full sun part of the house, something for the shady side of the house.

The tags help a lot because I don’t know more than hostas like shade.  That’s pretty much it.  So, I go look at the pretty crape myrtle trees.  Full sun, great.  Pretty blooms, awesome.  Grows to 15-25 feet tall and spreads to 6-15 feet!  Yikes!  Not something I want for along side of my house.  But, it’s so cute and pretty.  It has such nice blooms and pretty colors!

I leave them alone and go find the knock out roses which I know would work in the front landscaping instead.

Without that tag, I never would have known what I was getting myself into.  Without that tag, I never would have known that little pretty tree would grow into a great big tree with blooms and probably wonderful planted in another part of the yard.

What if our action of talking to our friend on the phone had a tag?  A ten minute phone call had an impact of one week of happiness?  Or a meal brought to a friend’s house allowed her to take care of her child better and made a better decision that impacted the rest of their year?  Or a friend that flies across the country to stay the week and help her grieving friend who just lost her child?  It could impact how she sees the world forever.

 

Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Bars on Whisk Together-4578

 

Recipe:  These bars are a quick and easy version of my favorite Fall/Winter cookie of all time.  The Chewy Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Cookie.  Yum!  It is FULL of flavor with molasses, ginger and chocolate.   You wouldn’t think that ginger and chocolate would go together…. but they do.  These bars are great because they are fast and easy with some standard winter baking ingredients.

I must warn you they have similar to the cookie in that they taste 20 times better the next day.  I am always disappointed and think I did something wrong when I try them.  Then, they sit overnight and magic happen and they taste fantastic.  So, with a little planning just try to make these at least 1 day ahead of time.  Or freeze them for weeks down the road.  That works too.

Why I like this recipe:
-Lots of flavor
-one bowl to mix
-not your standard every day bar
-fast cooking time with just throwing all the dough in a pan instead of rotating cookies

Chewy Molasses Ginger Chocolate Chip Bars
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Ingredients
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup, 4 ounces) butter, melted (or sub 1/4 cup Greek yogurt and 1/4 cup butter)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses (not black strap. Grandma’s or Briar is fine)
  • 1 Tb. vanilla
  • 3 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • pinch salt
  • 1 and 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 and 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a 8×8 or 9×9 pan with cooking spray or baking spray. For easy removal, line the pan with parchment or non-stick foil. That way you can lift the whole thing out of the pan after cooling.
  3. In a great big microwave safe bowl, melt the butter. If substituting half Greek yogurt and half butter, still just melt the butter only.
  4. Let that cool for just a few minutes so it isn’t too hot and won’t scramble the egg.
  5. Add the egg and Greek yogurt if using. Stir well.
  6. Add the brown sugar, molasses, vanilla, and spices. Stir well.
  7. Now, fold in the flour until the batter just comes together. Leaving a few streaks of flour is fine.
  8. Fold in 1 and 1/4 cup of the chocolate chips. Leave a handful (1/4 cup) off to the side.
  9. Pour the batter into the pan. Sprinkle the rest of the chips on top.
  10. Bake 32-34 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting. I advise eating them the next day for more flavor.
Notes
Recipe from Averie Cooks

 

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