Easter Dessert Made Simple, Chocolatey Banana Cake with Walnuts

Happy Easter everyone! It seems as though over the years Easter has obtained quite the reputation for chocolate, Easter baskets filled with candy, decadent pastries and desserts, and Easter egg hunts with jelly bean and candy-filled eggs. Well… even though I did cave and buy a bad of Reese’s peanut butter eggs (primarily because my husband asked where the Easter candy was in our house), I still wanted to make an Easter brunch dessert that was chocolatey and satisfying but lighter and more tummy friendly!

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Pastries and desserts often contain a lot of butter and a lot of sugar, which is perfectly fine in moderation, but typically we are not deciding between the candy, the chocolate, the danish, or the Easter bread… we are usually trying a little of all 4. For my dessert, fat it minimal, but flavor is still fully there! I use a base of over-ripe bananas to add moisture and sweetness. Whole wheat flour provides a little more density and fiber to this cake, but if cooked right will not dry it out whatsoever. Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about the chocolate! A few chocolate chips were added for those who desire chocolate to consider a dessert a dessert. Walnuts were also added for a little crunch!

This cake looked so delicious last night, that I couldn’t even wait until today to try it out! I hope you enjoy my Chocolatey Banana Cake with Walnuts, and have a happy Easter!

Chocolatey Banana Cake with Walnuts:

Ingredients:

  • 2 over-ripe bananas, mashed until fairly smooth
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, not packed
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine your mashed bananas with the brown sugar, egg, almond milk, and canola oil until the sugar is well incorporated and there aren’t any lumps. Add all of the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt) and mix until well combined. Add your chocolate chips and walnuts by lightly folding them into the batter so they are well distributed.

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Lightly spray your bunt pan (or another type of cake pan; baking time may differ though), and add in your batter evenly. Bake for ~35 minutes or until the top of your cake is fairly firm and lightly brown. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before flipping over onto a serving platter. Serve warm and enjoy!

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Basic Blueberry Waffles

Happy Sunday! I can’t even explain how nice it is to not be traveling at all this month! I’ve truly learned to appreciate my weekends and take full advantage of my days off.

What’s on this mornings menu? My Basic Blueberry Waffles! After 48 hours of intense leg exercise (7 miler Friday plus 2 hours of hiking yesterday) my legs are completely shot and my body is hungry for fuel….. And by fuel I mean carbs. I know, I know, protein is important for muscle repair, but with my appetite in full gear I need a little something extra special this morning (yes I got plenty of protein in last night!).


My Basic Blueberry Waffles are simple, sweet, and perfect for this chilly Arizona morning…. Yes IT’S COLD! Heat up your waffle maker and kick your appetite into high gear! I know you are going to want to try these!

Ingredients: makes 1 large waffle

  • 1/3 cup Trader Joe’s Multigrain Baking Mix
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 over-ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Honey to taste
  • 1/4 cup frozen blueberries

  

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl except the honey and blueberries. Allow your waffle to cook until golden brown (don’t forget to add a little cooking spray to prevent sticking!). Heat your blueberries in the microwave until soft and warm, about 30 seconds. There should be a little juice in the bottom of your blueberry bowl! Once your waffle has finished, pour your blueberries over the top, add a drizzle of honey to sweeten it up, and finish with a little sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

These waffles are perfect to curb a sweet tooth, but not so sweet that you’ll be regretting your Sunday morning decision. Enjoy and have a fantastic Sunday!


Light Banana ‘Nilla Party Parfait

With summer kicking in to high gear barbecues and outdoor celebrations become a lot more popular (which I love!). I look forward to the 4th of July, Labor Day, summertime birthday parties, and anything involving a little sun, sipping wine, snacking on party favorites, and catching up with good friends and family! While the typical fruit platter, brownie bites, decorated cupcakes, and fruit-breads or muffins are some of my favorites, baked goods can get a little repetitive and a little heavy, especially when spending a day in the hot sun. This recipe is for one of my summertime party favorites, Light Banana ‘Nilla Party Parfait. As hinted by the name it is not only very light, but also airy, sweet, and refreshing. It is called a “party parfait” because it can serve anywhere from 6-12 people, depending on how big of portions your guests take (and let me tell you, my portions of this dessert are usually quite large!). I make this recipe with bananas, but I would also recommend strawberries, blackberries, or pineapple for a tropical twist. This is perfect for barbecues and holidays, such as the 4th of July, and can be made a day in advance for convenience!

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Light Banana ‘Nilla Party Parfait

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups ice cold skim milk
  • 1 package sugar-free vanilla pudding (I used Kroger brand)
  • 2-3 bananas depending on the size
  • 1 package light whip cream (if you are a whip cream lover, I suggest actually buying a second just in case you use larger portions of whip cream!)
  • 1/2 box of reduced-fat vanilla wafers

Keep your whip cream either out or in the refrigerator to allow it to thaw while prepping your pudding (it typically comes frozen). Mix your pudding as instructed on the back of the box using your skim milk. If you have a little extra time on your hands, let your pudding sit in the refrigerator for about an hour to stiffen up. If you don’t have a lot of extra time, add a little more pudding powder from a second box to make the pudding a little thicker (I typically buy 2 boxes anyway just in case) and keep it in the refrigerator for at least 20-30 minutes while you prep your other ingredients. Slice your banana into about 1/4 in wide pieces. Start layering your ingredients in a large serving bowl (it looks pretty if you use a glass bowl!), container, or large parfait bowl, beginning with a layer of vanilla wafers. Top your wafers with a layer of pudding (just enough to cover the wafers), follow by a layer of bananas, then whip cream. Repeat this layering process again. If you have enough pudding to make a 3rd layer, go ahead. It will depend on the size of the bowl you are using. Once you have finished your last layer of whip cream, take your vanilla wafers and line the outside perimeter of the bowl. Break and crumble about 3-4 cookies, creating fine crumbs, and sprinkle over the top. Leave one wafer for the center and you are finished! Refrigerate until ready to serve. This actually tastes better the 2nd day in my opinion. The wafers soak up some of the moisture from the pudding and obtain a cake-like texture! Enjoy!

 

*For an airier pudding consistency, add one spoonful of light whip cream and fold into the pudding!


Breakfast Banana Oatmeal Raspberry Muffins

A yummy little treat that can be taken for breakfast, or eaten when you have a sweet tooth! I derived these tastey little muffins a few night ago when I was really craving something sweet and needed a little baking stress-relief therapy. They are extremely moist, packed with banana flavor, have have a nice little added crunch from slivered almonds. They are about 78 calories per muffin if you distribute the batter to make 9 muffins. I added raspberries to mine, but blueberries, blackberries, or whatever other type of berry you may like with bananas would work fine too!

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Breakfast Banana Oatmeal Raspberry Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 over-ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/4 cup Truvia
  • 1/3 cup Silk Vanilla Light soy milk (if you prefers cow’s milk, chose fat free skim to achieve a similar calorie content)
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup frozen raspberries

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Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Combine your mashed banana, Truvia, soy milk, vanilla, and oil. Once well combined, add your flours, oatmeal, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and slivered almonds. After all of your ingredients are well incorporated, add your frozen raspberries (or whatever berry you choose to use). Spray your muffin tin with a little cooking spray so that your muffins don’t stick. Evenly distribute your batter between 9 muffin slots. Bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes or until the top is slightly golden. Don’t over-bake! Mine were done at about 16 minutes. Let your muffins cool and enjoy!


Colorful Breakfast! Blueberry Oats With Bananas

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Start your Sunday morning off with a colorful breakfast! I think food can be beautiful. I know that sounds cheesy, but sometimes I feel I enjoy my food better when it looks pretty or fun. This is one of those dishes for me! It is not very sweet, so if you typically have a sweet tooth at breakfast, you can either add an extra tablespoon of the light maple syrup or a tablespoon of brown sugar to bump up the sweetness. I think the blueberries add enough of a sweet punch to each bite!

Boil 1 cup of water on the stove. Once your water is bubbling, add 1/2 cup rolled oats. Add 1 tablespoon of light maple syrup, 1 tsp vanilla, and a dash of cinnamon. Let mixture come to a boil, then lower your heat so that is simmers. Add 1/3 a cup of frozen blueberries, and let your oats cook until they get to the consistency that you prefer. Some people like their oats a little more firm, some a little more runny. Once your oats are finished cooking, remove them from the heat and pour them into a larger cereal bowl. Add a splash of soy milk (about 2 tablespoons) and slice a banana overtop. Finish off with another sprinkle of cinnamon and enjoy!