Recipe Review: Sweet Home Alabanana – Low Calorie Banana Bread

From Eat, Shrink and Be Merry – page 160.
[rating:5]

I have made this banana bread a few times and it is so delicious. Some of the best banana bread I have ever made. I always replace the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour and never even notice.

Ingredients
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup oat bran
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups mashed rip bananas (3-4)
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray two 8×4 inch pans with cooking spray and set aside.
2. Mix flour, oat bran, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix and set aside.
3. Beat together eggs and brown sugar on medium speed of electric mixer for 2 minutes. Add bananas, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Beat again until well mixed.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix just until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not use electric mixer. Fold in nuts and chocolate chips.
5. Divide the batter between the two load banks and bake for 30-35 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

banana bread

Nutritional Information per 1 slice.
Makes 8 slices for each loaf, total 16 slices
173 calories, 6.4 grams of fat, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 1.9 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein

Some helpful tips: using ripe bananas is very important as this recipe doesn’t use a lot of sugar. Also, you can add a splash of lemon juice in regular milk to replace buttermilk. I also usually just half this recipe as I don’t need two loaves of banana bread about the house.

What’s for Lunch Today? BBQ Chicken Wrap and Salad

I made this same lunch yesterday and it was so delicious I had to have a repeat of it today. Simple to put together too. I start off with a whole grain tortilla added some warm cooked chicken thigh, bbq sauce and hot peppers. And on the side I add a simple salad mix with some fat free italian salad dressing. 418 calories – and very filling. (sorry, no pictures)

I used one of those pre bought store cooked chickens – those things are seriously a good deal. I used to think it was expensive, $7 (@ Costco) for a cooked chicken? Try and buy your own chicken for less then that… and then you still have to cook it! Those pre-cooked chickens are awesome.

While I was at Costco buying my cooked chicken I picked up a pack of tortillas. Seriously Costco has some awesome deals – 15 whole grain tortillas for $4! Anyway, I got DEMPSTER’S® WHOLEGRAINS™ ANCIENT GRAINS TORTILLAS 10 IN – they are delicious! 180 calories a tortilla with 4 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein. Not the best calorie count, but they are really good. I hear things about all these low-cab, low calorie tortillas. I have yet to find them here [locally] in Canada. Also, sometimes low calorie foods are not worth the extra cost.

DEMPSTER’S® WHOLEGRAINS™ ANCIENT GRAINS TORTILLAS 10 IN.

Anyway, if you enjoy tortillas I highly suggest checking these out. I actually bought these to make a Mexican Lasagna for tomorrow. :)

What’s for Lunch Today? Warm Sole and Shrimp Salad

Today’s lunch is delicious!

Two pieces of sole and shrimp cooked (in the microwave!) with lemon juice, teeny bit of butter, garlic powder – salt and pepper. Poured over top of fresh salad mix. Full of protein and tastes awesome.

sole and shrimp salad

For anyone wondering I buy both my sole and shrimp frozen at Costco. The Sole comes individually wrapper and is 90 calories a piece.

Calories in today’s lunch: 308 calories

Food Find: Schneider’s Low Calorie / Low Fat Hot Dogs

This isn’t a new food find; I have been buying these on and off for years – figured it was time to share them. For starters, I am sure there is nothing at all nutritious about these. But at 35 calories and 4 grams of protein they are hard to pass up! They are still a hot dog, they taste like a hot dog – and not a good juicy beef a hot dog. Just a simple processed hot dog – but only 35 calories! One downfall – you can’t put them on the BBQ. Not sure what happens if you do; but they recommend that you don’t.

Anyway these make a nice low calorie snack. Sometimes I even put one or two on an english muffin with hot sauce and eat it for breakfast. I wouldn’t eat these daily but nice to have once and a while.

Schneider's Hot Dogs

Nutritional Information per one Schneider Low Fat Hot Dog
35 calories, .3 grams of fat, 4 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of protein

Recipe Review: Orange “Chicken” Glaze

[rating:4]

I found this recipe on sparkpeople.com – I only changed it just very slightly and it turned out great. I reduced the amount of sugar used to 1/2 cup and it was totally sweet enough – reduced the calories by half! When I was reading the comments a lot of people were saying that the sauce was too high in calories and that you only got about 4 servings out of (rather then the suggested 12). So I left out half the sugar and probably got about 6 servings out of mine. Meaning the calories were the same, but I got more sauce! I did use more red pepper flakes, because I love a bit of spice!

I stir fried some sliced pork, onion, zucchini and celery. Put that on top of some brown rice then poured a little sauce over it. It was delicious! 300-400 calories for a serving. Of course the calories are going to vary greatly depending how much rice and sauce you use.

What my recipe looked like.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoons frozen orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp grated orange zest
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp red pepper flakes
3 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water to create a slurry

Directions:
1. Mix together everything but the cornstarch mix.
2. Boil for a few minutes and then stir in cornstarch mix; let thicken.
3. Serve!

Nutritional Information for 1/6th of the sauce.
85 calories, 0.1 grams of fat, 18.8 grams of carbohydrates, 13.2 grams of sugar, 0.7 grams of protein

Sorry for my lack of pictures. It was hard to take pictures of some sauce and make it look good. But trust me, it was very good!

Bronze and Blue Limited Edition Chi Straightener

Because there is more going on then just dieting and counting calories! Friday morning started off bad… really bad. I went to straighten my hair – like I do most mornings – and my flat iron would not turn on. My beautiful hot pink hair straightener just didn’t work. Worked fine the morning before! I was pretty upset, it’s only just two years old and I paid a lot of money for it.

I was going to go without a new flat iron for a while. Thought I could make do with the piece of junk Conair I found under the bathroom sink. The thing is even cracked down the middle, but it turns on and does get hot. Boy I was wrong. Man that thing sucks – I don’t know how I ever thought it was good! Friday after work I did some shipping and found a fabulous deal on a CHI. Chi’s are supposed to be top notch – so I got this amazing deal and it even came with Iron Guard and Thermal Pouch!

bronze and blue limited edition chi

And look how cute it is! And it works amazing – especially compared to that conair thing! My hair is nice and straight but most importantly, so smooth! I don’t think it gets as hot as the one I had before but it works just as awesome – if not better!

And just look at the pretty pattern on it.
limited edition chi flat iron

Looking good means feeling good. And if you can have fun while doing it – even better! And seriously, putting some money into a hair straightener is so totally worth it.

What’s for lunch today? Chicken Veggie Soup!

For lunch today I have packed a container of yummy chicken and vegetable soup. I have this soup full of carrots, celery, onions, tomatoes, chicken and potatoes. Pretty basic soup, but so delicious! I add a can of chilli spiced tomatoes to the soup to give it a hint of spice and tomato flavour – try it sometime!

For the recipe I pretty much follow the Eat Shrink and Be Merry Chicken Soup with Humpty Dumplings. I leave out the dumplings though and add some chopped up baby potatoes instead. I really like potatoes in soup, more so then rice or noodles or dumplings. I did make the dumplings before for this soup – they weren’t the great. The boyfriend said they were gross and begged me not to make them again.

chicken veggie soup

I used to make this soup all the time, I am sorry that I forgot about it for so long. Soup is one of those things can be low in calories and cheap and easy to make. I think I am going to try and make a pot of soup every week just to keep in the fridge. Going to have to look up some more healthy recipes – if you have some you can recommend, leave me a comment please.

Fun with Trail Mix

Trail mix is something I usually avoid. It is high in calories and fat. Not all bad though, nuts and seeds are good for you – but I just usually don’t want to spend my calories eating so little of something so high in calories.

But, I decided I needed a different snack for a change. I went to the grocery store last night and bought a few different things in bulk that were on sale. The fun part of this is what I get to put only what I like in my mix!

trail mix

So what’s in my trail mix right now?

1/4 cup banana chips
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, unsalted
1 tbsp sunflower seeds, salted
1 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp craisins
1 tbsp almonds

Calories in my serving of trail mix: 264 calories

The calories may not be exact, a few different sites gave me different information for the same serving size.

What’s for lunch today? Homemade Sushi!

I decided to spend just a little more time making my lunch for today. I put together a sushi roll! Nothing special, just some crab pollock and cucumber. And on the side some more crab pollock, cucumber and asparagus. With some hot sauce and homemade tzatziki for dipping. And yes, I like my sushi (some of it) dipped in hot sauce – does that make me weird?

sushi bento lunch
And I put it in my pink and purple strawberry shortcake box, cute huh?

Calories in today’s lunch: 312 calories

Little low on the calories, but I have a fair size serving of dried fruit and nuts for an afternoon snack.

Blackberry meet the SparkPeople Tracker App

For doing your daily tracking. Looks like it came out a couple weeks ago – so pretty new. But seriously, how did I not know about this sooner? What did I miss? Where was my email or big announcement! I log into SparkPeople daily – I see there is a blurb when I log in, but it had a picture of an iPhone so I didn’t even read it.

Anyway for everyone else out of the loop like me this app is available for Blackberry, Android and of course the iPhone.

I played with the app for all of 3 minutes but it looks like it is going to pretty work good. At least better then the mobile site anyway. I will know better when tomorrow comes around and it is time to enter my food for the day. I find a lot of calorie counting apps slow, but this one seems decent.

It could use some work in the looks department, but it seems functional and that is all that really matters. Especially the font, maybe they could have maybe it even bigger. Size 50 isn’t enough.

And if you want a bit more knowledge for the day, SparkPeople also has a recipe app. The recipe app has been kicking around for a while now. It comes in handy for those times I find myself going in the kitchen going “I want to make some muffins!” I get out my handy blackberry, open the app and before I know it I am making some nice healthy muffins. Really I do this. NERD. I know.

And of course, here is the link to find more information and download this wonderful app.