Hole-y Banana Bread, Captain Obvious!

Posted on September 13, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Another week begins!  I can’t believe how quickly last week flew!  How was your weekend? 

 We went for a walk and Snuff found her first fall leaf.


Then, a neighbor saw us walking down the sidewalk (I let Snuffy walk on the sidewalk like a “big girl” when we’re in our neighborhood) and gave Snuff a flower from her flower bed.


I checked the mail upon arriving back home and I found an early birthday “gift”


Nice but, I don’t usually buy salon products. Sweet of them to send it though.  However, this is a reminder that my birthday is quickly approaching!  What does that mean to you?  NO MORE BLURRY PHONE PIX!!

Snuffy and I took a long overdue trip to Trader Joe’s.  We went to Whole Foods and Wal-Mart (gasp!) as well.  Some of you may know by now that I tend to shop at at least three stores for the best deals.  Usually those three stores are Kroger, Whole Foods and Wal-Mart because they are all so near one another.  But, on Saturday we were going to be right accross the street from Trader Joes’s.  I got a coupon in the mail for a FREE pair of VS panties, no purchase required! Naturally, we had to go to VS.  I also got fitted for a bra while I was there.  Everyone should seriously get fitted.  I have gone twice .   The last time was right after I went back to school and I had lost a lil weight due to the new stressful schedule.  This time I measured at at 32 instead of the 34 before and I went up a cup size.  Amazing what ten pounds can do.  I do look better with the ten pounds on.  But, how did I go down in circumference and up in cup size?  I don’t know, but, I’ll take it! I will probably continue to buy 34’s though just because I don’t like the tight feeling. 

I didn’t snap pix of everything because much of it is redundant week to week.  As you know from last week, I packed Snuffy’s lunch on the days when I knew the food would be processed to the extreme and full of unhappy meats.  Well, I felt I may be taking it too far.  I didn’t want to be a crazy, overprotective mama.  So, I didn’t pack on Friday.  Yup, I let her eat beef pot pie.  The result?  She apparently ate almost half the beef pot pie and she had …errrr…major tummy issues (you know what I mean) .  So, now the overprotective mama is back.  I will be packing for her almost everyday.  So, we had to get some more Snuffy lunch goods!  The toddler room has no fridge and no microwave.  So, in order for Snuff to eat when the other kids eat, I have to make sure her food will keep well in her lunchbag with an ice pack.  I also have to pack things that don’t have to be heated.


Snuffy eats string cheese (from happy cows 🙂 at least once everyday.  In fact, “cheese” was one of her first words.



Trader Joe’s has these organic fruit cups for the same price I usually pay for the regular fruit cups at other stores!  Today, I asked Snuff what she wanted for lunch and she grabbed one and said “fruit!”  


Lara Bars for kids!!! They were way less than a buck each too! Uh Oh I’m starting the LARA habit early….


Normally, I just give Snuffy her Veggie Dogs plain with some fruit and Cheddar Bunnies.  But, I thought for lunch she may want to have a bun like the other kids.  Plus, since it IS a veggie dog and she has been known to steal veggie dogs straight out of the fridge, she could eat it without it being warmed…right?


When I saw these initially, I thought, “Those are definitly NOT real peas and they are probably full of preservatives, fillers and good marketing.”  But, I was wrong





Nutrition Facts


It’s not stellar but, it isn’t THAT bad.  I think they’re pretty darn tasty too!


I’ve seen these around the blog world and the ingredient list is great!  So, I thought if I heat one in a pan to crisp the edges, I could put it on a bun for Snuff’s lunch…I hate that they don’t have easy access to a microwave.  I know they probably could microwave her food.  But, I have this image of her sitting there, waiting, watching all the other kids chow down…



This was something that I had been meaning to pick up everytime I go to Trader Joe’s.  I always forget! I can’t wait to try it!



Obviously, a Whole Foods find.  I love that they have their own brand of organics.  To clear up confusion, I don’t need EVERYTHING WE EAT to be organic.  Most of what I buy is not organic.  I do, however, need food to be free of  “extras”.  I prefer that foods be free of chemicals, preservatives, additives, unhappy animal meat (happy animals are sometimes  okay), and non-food substances.

Anyway, the ravioli was inexpensive and Snuffy loves it!

Since Mallard was away all weekend, I wanted to bake him something to welcome him back home.  It’s true, you know:  the way to a man’s heart is most certainly through his stomach!

I settled on banana bread due to our over-abundance of over-ripe bananas. 

I modified a recipe from my most used cookbook


I used these to modify



Banana Bread

Prep: 25 minutes
Bake: 55 minutes


  • 2  cups all-purpose flour I used all whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1-1/2  teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4  teaspoon salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8  teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2  eggs, beaten I used cage free
  • 1-1/2  cups mashed banana (5 medium)
  • 1  cup sugar I used turbinado
  • 1/2  cup cooking oil or melted butter or margarine I used melted Earth Balance
  • 1/4  cup chopped walnuts I omitted these for Mallard
  • 1  recipe Streusel-Nut Topping (optional) I didn’t take them up on that option


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  I baked at 330 for 1 hour and 15 minutes 🙂  Grease bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of one 9x5x3-inch or two 7-1/2×3-1/2×2-inch loaf pans; set aside. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl combine eggs, banana, sugar, and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in nuts. Spoon batter into prepared pan(s). If desired, sprinkle Streusel Topping over batter.

3. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes for 9x5x3-inch pan or 40 to 45 minutes for 7-1/2×3-1/2×2-inch pans or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean (if necessary, cover loosely with foil the last 15 minutes of baking to prevent overbrowning). Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack. Wrap and store overnight before slicing.

4. Makes 1 loaf (16 slices)

5. Streusel-Nut Topping: In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup packed brown sugar and 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Using a pastry blender, cut in 2 tablespoons butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 1/3 cup chopped walnuts.

So we started with our bananas


and we moved right along. 

Everything was going well until I decided, after 25 minutes,  that the bread was not cooling quickly enough for me.  So, I ran a knife around the edge of the loaf and turned it upside down on a plate…rookie mistake.  I know better than to rush things.  I used to bake at least twice every week!  But, for some reason I had to hurry things along.



What did I do?  I scraped the piece from the loaf pan and replaced it on the inverted loaf.  I let it cool. I sliced it .


Mallard still doesn’t know that I am a Banana Bread failure 🙂

I also made Snuff a Banana Bread Pudding by modifying the same recipe.  Yes, we had LOTS of over-ripe bananas!  We usually go through them like water but, for some reason, we just hadn’t been feelin’ them last week.

To modify the recipe to make Banana Bread Pudding, I lowered the flour to a cup of Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, I added 3/4 cup of unsweetened apple sauce and I cut back on the baking powder.  I baked it at 300 until it was set…I’m sorry I don’t remember how long it took.

It was a hit!


Yes, she was covered in ‘nana stickiness after this and yes, she did get a bath immediately after her tasty  treat 🙂

Today, I started with yoga as has become my favorite Sunday tradition.  I love it.  I feel so good after yoga.  I have a long day of studying ahead!  Mallard got back before I left for yoga and took over the parenting post.  I have an Anatomy and Physiology exam coming up in two days!!! I have zero study time other than today! 


Shout out to my little sister, Jillian, who turns 16 in 16 minutes !!

(September 14)

Jilli  Happy Birthday, Aunt Jilli!

Do you buy your hair products at a salon?  I bought my flat iron from my salon but I haven’t bought other salon product since I moved so far away from my mom’s salon and I use mostly earth-friendly products.

If you are a label-reader, have you been surprised by the ingredients in any of your favorite foods? 

What do you pack in your lunch?  Spill it, ladies!! and err…I think I have one guy reader, so you spill it too! 😉


Show your body some love!


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Healthy And Broke

Posted on September 3, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

Hey hey!  We are halfway through the week!  How’s your’s going?  I hope it’s going well 🙂  I am loving the responses on the recent posts.  You guys are so helpful when I ask for advice!

Today I want to touch on something that seems to come up a lot in my place of work and in the blog world.  I get lots of comments from my co-workers regarding the expense of eating healthful foods.  I have two responses to these comments:   Yes, healthful foods may cost more initially but, medical bills and poor health will cost more in the long run.  Secondly, there are SO MANY WAYS to eat a very healthful, natural diet while sticking to your budget!  I know, that’s awesome, right? 

First, I want to touch on the well-known fact that most natural and especially organic foods are more expensive. 

 I will share how I’ve made room for these expenses in my budget.

1.  As many of you know from other posts, I stopped getting my hair highlighted blonde and have gone back to my natural color.  In addition, I stay with a low-maintenence  style that I only need to have trimmed every 6-8 weeks since I am letting my hair grow.  This saves me $100 every month!  I would save even more if I didn’t have my hair trimmed.

xmas                                    DSC00371  DSC00900

2.  We only eat out about once every month.  This means no grabbing lunch on breaks at work.  We pack our lunches.  Sometimes Mallard’s company buys him lunch but this is the only exception.  We also pack snack for Snuffy everywhere we go so that we don’t have to frantically grab something for her if we are away from home.  When we were newly engaged, we ate out aboout 4-5 times a week! We would go to dinner 3 nights a week (that always included drinks) and to breakfast both weekend mornings!  We save around $500 a month by cutting back to one meal out each month.  Personally, I like making my own food anyway.  I love to cook and I know exactly what’s in my food and how it’s made.

3.  I no longer get manicures or pedicures.  These ceased when I had a child.  They are nice once in a while but I can never really seem to find time for once in a while either.  This saves around $50 every month.

4.  I no longer drink.  I’m not saying I will never drink.  I just don’t really have a desire to.  I may have a drink on a special occasion.  I used to visit the vineyard near our house one to two times a week.  Their wine is inexpensive but wonderful.  However, I discovered the sulfides were a source of my migraines. Plus, I didn’t really need the alcohol anyway.  Cutting out the alcohol saves me around $50 every month! 


5.  I canceled my gym membership.  I loved my gym and when I moved to Ohio I had a trainer there as well.  Yet, since I have started attending Xavier, I have free access to their student sports facility.  It’s not as convenient due to my schedule but I can make it work if I have to.  When the weather is nice, outdoor activity is a great option as well.  Granted, I take yoga classes at a studio.  But, cutting out the gym membership still saves $20 a month with the yoga factored in.

6.  I stepped down my cell phone plan.  I used to may for more minutes than I really needed.  My family has the same service company as I .  So, that made it easy to step down.  This saves me $10-$20 every month as I have the lowest plan available.

7.  We stopped using shopping as a recreational activity.  During the first year or so of our relationship, Mallard and I would hit up the mall or the outlets just for something to do on a weekend.  We spent money on things that we didn’t REALLY need.  Now, we only go shopping if we need something.  Snuffy obviously grows out of clothes and needs new ones.  When the seasons change I will get a few (very few) key items because I am all about quality versus quantity.  I tend rotate the same outfits over about 10-14 days so my clothes get lots of wear.  So, yes, I do buy quality brands especially for work clothes.  But, I do not buy things just because they are cute or I think I might wear them.  Yes, the brands that I buy may be more expensive than, say , Target or Kohl’s but, quality brands last longer and wear better for me, bottom line.  I still save about $20 every month by NOT shopping just to shop.

8.  Natural, healthy , organic foods go on sale too!  I know, how awesome!  If you have a Whole Foods, check their monthly flier.  There are sales, coupons and meal ideas in there!  Also at Whole Foods, a case of anything is 10% off!!Think frozen items, almond or soy milk, bars, yogurts, endless possibilities.  They have their own store brand, too.  Trader Joe’s has a store brand as well.  They also have great deals on produce! Both Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods sell items in bulk.  These foods are MUCH cheaper in bulk.  Think oats, dried beans, raisins, nuts, dried fruit, cereals, grains and healthful flours and spices.  Bulk nuts can be used to make your own nut milks and nut butters.  Buy dried fruit, carob or dark chocolate and nuts in bulk for your personal trail mix.  Kroger has it’s own affordable, organic brand now as well.  I understand that all of you may not have these resources available.  But, there are other ways to seek out healthy food without going broke in the process.  During the summer months, buy as much local produce as you can.  It’s usually much cheaper than the store alternative.  Read your ingredient lists!  Some generic products have shorter ingredient lists and more natural ingredients than their name brand counter parts.  Make a list.  Most of you have heard this too many times to count.  But, it really does work.  It prevents you from picking up something that you may not use.  I have made a huge effort to buy only items that we will use within the week or so.  It’s made a huge difference.

DSC01268   DSC01156a

9.  I got rid of any TV channels that cost extra money.  Yes, I miss True Blood but, I have no time with school, work and Snuffy anyway.  We save about $20 a month.

10.  We joined Sam’s Club through Mallard’s employer.  He gets a free membership through his employer.   So, we are able to buy things like diapers, produce and toilet paper (you know, the necessities) at a discounted price.  I have heard that Cosco is better for healthy groceries.  But, Sams is free so we take what we can get.  We save around $30 a month on what we do buy there.

I hope you have found this somewhat helpful in your quest for budget-friendly healthful living.   Sure,  I spend money on Starbucks once in a while.  But, I do make changes and set limits in many areas of my life so that I can afford whole, healthy natural foods for my family and so that I can live a healthy lifestyle.

How do you make changes to support your healthy lifestyle?

What do you do to save money?

Are you a “list maker” or a fly-by-the-seat-of -your pants type of person?

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Out Of The Loop and Into…A Rut?

Posted on August 31, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Hey weekend warriors!!  How was your weekend?  Mine began with a a great yoga class.  It lasted almost 30 minutes longer than it was supposed to!

But, I felt so relaxed and grounded after!


Seriously, is it possible to have a yoga high?


I have been wanting to go more often.  But, I was concerned about the difficulty of the yoga classes that will actually coincide with my fall schedule.  However, the instructors told me that I would have no problem moving on to a more difficult class.  I’m excited!  Eventually, I want to be in the habit of attending the HOT Vinyasa and Ashtanga classes.

After yoga, I picked up a few things that I had forgotten yesterday.  I was going to buy some more pink ladies.  But, I found some Gala apples that were actually grown in the US and they taste very similar.  I have issues with buying too many items shipped from overseas.  It’s not really a patriotic thing.  It’s more of a Save The Planet thing.  More shipping = more carbon emissions.  Not that I live such a model environmentally concious lifestyle.  I mean, I buy bananas every week!  I just try to make an effort. 

I did find this


Coconut Water = natures Gatorade

I have been craving some serious chocolate lately. 

Many moons ago, I would have reached right for some Oreos and skim milk (moo). 


But, now that I now that I am aware of what keep Oreos shelf -stable, I think I’ll pass. Did you know that they also contain artificial chocolate flavor? Wha??


So, I picked up these guys instead




Organic Unbleached Flour, Organic Sugar, Powdered Sugar, Organic Palm Oil, Canola Oil (Expeller Pressed), Organic Cocoa, Cocoa (Processed with Alkali), Organic Unsweetened Chocolate, Natural Flavor, Salt, Sodium Bicarbonate, Soy Lecithin, (an Emulsifier)

Not perfect, but better!

I have also run into a schedule issue.  I am on the run between school and work and meetings all day almost every day.  I love my eats but, I rarely have time to enjoy them.  I have never really been much of a bar fan.  For some reason, I would rather just make a small meal. But, it gets hard to pack 2 to 3 meals a day.  So, I reluctantly grabbed some bars to try.




I will let you guys know what I think about them soon.  I was looking for mine LARA Bars but, I couldn’t find them anywhere! Mini Laras and Mighty Maple PB have been wiped out of the ‘Nati!

I did get a chance to try this


It doesn’t have a definite soy taste.  But, I can tell it’s not dairy yogurt.  I really liked it!  I added it to my oats along with a serving (1 banana) of banana soft serve.


The weather in the ‘Nati has been rocking awesome today! So, we had to hit the trails!


Buckled up and ready to ride!

After the trails the puppies were still craving more outdoor excitement and so was Snuffy.  So, we hit up the dog park.


I swear there were dogs on the other side of the fence.  In the picture, it looks like Snuff is eyeballing that nasty trashcan.

We arrived home and Mallard was craving something peanut buttery.  He requested something with a granola-esque crust, a PB layer and chocolate drizzle. 

I can’t post a recipe because I just kind of eyeballed everything and made it up as I went along.

I mixed oats with about 1/2 cup of honey and 1/4 cup of this guy


and at least 1 cup of PB.  Now, if this was for me I would have used natural creamy PB…probably Naturally More or Bees Knees.  But, it was not for me so I used Mallard’s Natural Skippy Crunchy or Extra Chunky or whatever it’s called.


I baked it for maybe 10 minutes at 400



The fridge was packed so I ran a few inches of cold water in the sink and set the pan in the water so the crust could cool.  It floats so water doesn’t seep over the sides.


Once again, if this was mine I would have added dark chocolate drizzle and called it delicious.  But, it was not for me and Mallard requested a PB layer.  This meant he wanted something similar to the inside of a Reese’s cup or for you Ohioans, the inside of a buckeye.  So, kids, I did the unthinkable…

PB + confectioners sugar + oil


I spread it over the cooled crust.



Don’t forget, the man wanted chocolate drizzle!


and he got his drizzle.



Oh my sugar lovin’ boy! 

I guess I can’t talk.  He thinks my Indian food stinks


But he deals with it


I promise you it taste 5 million times better than it looks.  I can’t wait for the birthday fairy.  You know, the one that’s s’posed to bring me a decent camera?  That’s still about  3 weeks out though. 

I can’t believe it’s the second week of school already!  I had missed the regular school schedule.   But, going back made me realize how different I am from most girls my age.  I mean what 23 year old never goes to bars or clubs, rarely goes shopping or out to dinner and gets crazy excited to go to Whole Foods?  Sometimes Iwonder if I even know what’s in style anymore.  I think I do alright.  If I buy clothes, they are for work which means they’re from THE  LIMITED.  Do I dress like an old lady?  My casual stuff is from The Buckle…is that store still “cool”?  I have a few flowy, bohemian shirts that I love.  But, do they look stupid?  I don’t think I care.  I talk to one friend from high school on a regular basis.  Most of my friends did not get married or have children so young.  So, I am the odd woman out.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely worth it.   Sometimes, I feel like I have grown from my 20’s to my 40’s and missed the in-between.   It sure feels good to get back to the things I love.  Hopefully, I can start running again once my schedule gets situated.  I’m not saying that I want to go out with group of girls to the bars and clubs every weekend.  I would like a running buddy though! 

I’m also in a bit of a food rut.  I have been eating a lot of yogurt messes, oats with banana soft serve and yogurt, fruit plates with massive amounts of PB and AB, hugh jass salads and Amy’s meals.


Are there any bars that you recommend (besides my Laras)?

What do you do when you realize you’re in a food rut?

Do you stick with your old stand by’s when you want a treat or do you seek out a more natural version?

I’m looking forward to your thoughts!

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Sun Salutations And Supermarket Shopping

Posted on August 4, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Does anyone say “supermarket” anymore?  I know I don’t.  I usually use the words “grocery store”.  

Aaaaaaaaannnnyway….how was your Sunday?  Did you have a relaxing day or were you busy preparing for the dreaded Monday? 

Snuffy began her day with a taste test…


Nature Valley toaster pastries in raspberry !




I began my Sunday with sun salutations.  That’s right, I got to practice at my new yoga studio!  It was everything I had hoped for.  I left feeling grounded and refreshed.  I was ready to begin my day!

I arrived home and literally had to pass Mallard in the doorway.   He was almost late for his tee time!  He needed a relaxing day of golf with his dad 🙂

Snuffy and I took it upon ourselves to replenish the pantry…and the fridge. 

She likes to drive herself


Of course we made our usual stops:  Kroger, Whole Foods and the “W” word (for my Naturally More)



I go through A JAR of this EVERY WEEK!




I won’t give ALL the boring details.  But, we came home with a few of the usual suspects






Of course there was much more…

I came accross a few new finds as well




I was so excited to find the Peanut Butter and Jelly flavor!! I cannot wait to try it.




I have seen these all over the blog world and have yet to get my hands on ’em.  I always buy Arnold’s whole wheat bread for Snuffy because of the good ingredient list.  So, I figured I would try the sandwich thins too.



New Snuffy snacks.




Interesting find that found so intriguing…I had to pick up just one.



These have been spotted on many a blogger’s menu as well!  I think they will be a fab addition to my Hugh Jass Salads!



I have had quite the hankering (who says that?) for my old peanut butter flavored, sugary cereal lately.  So, I picked up the organic WF brand  or something close.  However, I wish I would have sprung for the name brand after reading Jenny’s post.


While I was putting away the groceries, I realized that Snuffy was MIA.  I expected to find her engaged in some sort of cliche activity since it was close to nap time and when she is tired, Snuff gets a lil wild.

But, instead I found her rocking herself  to sleep.


I guess she knew it was naptime, too.


What’s your favorite way to unwind or recharge? 

Do you practice yoga, go for a long run or maybe sit down in a comfy chair with a good book and a hot tea?

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  • Whole Disclaimer

    Please understand that I am not a physician or Registered Dietician. Yet, I have learned about health, nutrition and wellness through my own experiences with physicians and RD's. For serious health concerns, please contact your physician. For friendly, knowledgeable advice, contact me at jennarosew@gmail.com.

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