Banana Carrot Coconut Bread

 

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The chaos that is my household on weekday mornings can be tempered even for just a few minutes if I can get my family to sit down and eat a proper breakfast together. That precious time gives us all a moment to connect and look forward to the the day ahead. I am most successful at the breakfast routine if I am prepared ahead of time or else the inevitable is sure to happen (before I’ve had the chance to drink my morning cup of coffee, mind you): Mom becomes a short order cook. I decided it was time to simplify our mornings and come up with ideas to start the day off with something that would appease everyone and would be infinitely more exciting to eat than the usual bowl of cereal.

Baked goods are very popular in my household. My 20-month old scans the counters looking for a treat each morning and if I am not quick enough to stash it away, he hones right in on it and just like that his bowl of mushy Cheerios are quickly shoved aside. I can’t say that I don’t blame him. The kid knows good food when he sees it. And really, what kid, or adult for that matter doesn’t like a little something sweet to start off their day?

This Banana Carrot Coconut bread has all of the characteristics of a breakfast treat but is filling and healthy which is always a plus in my book. Your kids will never know that they are eating fruits, veggies, and whole wheat because they will be so focused on how good it tastes.

Be sure to use very ripe bananas for this recipe (those black spots are a good thing!) to really bring out the sweetness of the fruit. And please do not shy away from using whole-milk plain Greek yogurt. The non-fat or 2% will not yield the same flavor or texture. I baked this bread in a regular loaf pan and then prepped another batch which I baked into four mini loaf pans. I found the minis are great for a quick snack on-the- go or for freezing. Be sure to wrap each one individually in plastic wrap then foil. The bread will keep for 2-3 days or up to 2 weeks if frozen.

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Banana Carrot Coconut Bread
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • ⅔ cup whole-milk plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup packed shredded carrot (from 2 large)
  • ¾ cup shredded unsweetened coconut flakes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Liberally coat loaf pan or mini loaf pans, depending on which you are using, with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar until no lumps remain. Whisk the eggs, vanilla, banana, and yogurt. Stir in the carrot and coconut, Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined. Be careful not to over mix.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, 60 to 70 minutes. Cool the bread in the pan for 30 minutes. Turn the loaf on a wire rack and let cool completely.

 

Minestrone Soup

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If you haven’t already noticed, I have taken a very long break from blogging. Along with exercising, time conversing with my husband without interruption, and showering (don’t judge), blogging is what I deem to be an “extra-curricular activity” these days. All for good reason. I had a beautiful baby boy last May and in a nutshell, it has been one crazy ride. He is my second child and thankfully, my 4-year daughter just adores her new brother (when he isn’t trying to eat the hair from her Elsa doll of course).

I am a stay-at-home mom and while I wouldn’t have it any other way, I am not going to lie when I say there are times I wonder to myself, “What am I doing here?” while all hell is breaking loose around me. Yet I look at those two little munchkins each day and I am quickly reminded how lucky I am to have two happy and healthy kids who are growing like weeds right before my eyes. They need me and let’s face it, it is nice to be needed (even at ungodly hours of the night).

The good news is that I am still cooking in my kitchen just under much different circumstances. I am fairly certain that I could win one of those Top Chef competitions where the chefs are required to cook with one hand tied behind their back. Instead of having my hand tied behind my back, I would be challenged to cook a three course meal holding an 8-month old attached to my hip the whole time.

I have been on a soup kick lately given that everyone in my household has been sick since the New Year and let’s face it, all you really want to do when you are sick is slurp hot soup and sleep. Comforting and hearty, soups are a great way one-pot meal. My mother-in-law shared her recipe with me for minestrone soup Tuscan style which is a huge hit in our family. We have been eating it all winter long. I even made enough to jar some up and bring it on a recent trip to Tahoe with good friends. Both the adults and kids including the little dude devoured it.

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This recipe is very versatile. You can use any mix of vegetables that you like. The original recipe calls for cabbage but I substituted kale because I felt like it. I also like to add small shaped pasta to the finished product to make it even heartier. And don’t forget to finish it with a sprinkle of parmesan and a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil for true Italian style minestrone!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Minestrone Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 1 head of kale, leaves removed from the stems and chopped into 1" pieces
  • 3 small Russett potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
  • 3 zucchini, diced
  • 1 28-oz can chopped tomatoes with their juice
  • 3 cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ lb small shaped pasta such as ditalini or farfalline
Instructions
  1. Place potatoes in a medium sized pot filled with water. Boil until the potatoes are just tender when pierced with a fork. Drain in a colander and set aside.
  2. In a large stock pot, add enough extra virgin olive oil to coat the bottom and sauté the celery, carrots and onions over medium heat until soft about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Add enough water to fill about half of pot and then add the kale and zucchini.
  4. Using a food mill or potato masher, mash the cooked potatoes and transfer them to the pot.
  5. Repeat with half of the pinto beans and add the mashed and whole ones to the pot. At this point, you may need to add more water depending on how you like the consistency of your minestrone. The potatoes and beans will absorb quite a bit of the liquid.
  6. Lastly, add the chopped tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Simmer the minestrone over medium-low heat for 1 to 1-1/2 hours until the veggies are cooked well and the broth has thickened. If you are using pasta, be sure to cook it separately and add to the soup right before serving. Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkle grated parmesan cheese on top, and enjoy!