Banana Bread Goes… Healthy?!

This poor blog has been sorely neglected of late.  I thought about deleting it, but really it’s my personal recipe box – all my “go to” recipes all in one place.  The last recipe I posted was almost 4 months ago, and to be quite honest – there hasn’t been much time for cooking and baking (aside from necessity) since then.  Once we hit Thanksgiving last year it was a downward slide into Christmas and then into travel season for me… and all the sudden it’s now Easter and April is next week.  What happened?!

Anyway, I first made this recipe last Christmas and have been wanting to post it since.  Given all the horribly unhealthy food that lays around during the holidays, I went looking for a healthy option to regular banana bread and found this.  There’s a lengthy story at the front end of the post, but I’m glad I kept digging to find the recipe.  When I saw brown bananas on the counter this morning my inner Dutch girl made an appearance and we pulled out this recipe again.

I’ve made some changes to the recipe linked above and it works just fine.  I think you could easily add chocolate chips or some shredded coconut to this and it’d come out great.

By the way, am I the only person who doesn’t do well with baking banana bread in one large loaf pan?  The outsides are dry and the middle is still raw.  I’m bound to my mini loaf pans, which is fine with me… but what am I doing wrong?!


  • 3/4 c. white sugar
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 2 T. butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 oz. low- or non-fat greek yogurt
  • 1 large apple, peeled and shredded
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • dash of cloves
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. white flour + 2-3 T.
  • 1 c. wheat flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine sugars and butter until pebbly.  Add eggs, yogurt, shredded apple, bananas (whole – let the mixer do the work), vanilla, spices and salt.  Combine flours and soda in a separate bowl and add to batter.  Mix until just combined.

Grease 4 mini loaf pans and distribute batter evenly.  Bake for 20 minutes, rotate pans 180 degrees, and then back for 20 minutes more (or until toothpick comes out clean).

I get 8 slices out of each loaf.  Based on that, here’s the nutritional breakdown:

  • Calories:  90
  • Fat:  1 g
  • Saturated:  .06 g
  • Cholesterol:  15 mg
  • Carbohydrates:  18 g
  • Fiber:  1 g
  • Protein:  2 g

Sorry, no photos on this one – I just don’t feel like taking, editing and uploading this time because it just looks like… banana bread. 🙂



Jalapeño Lime Salmon with Cilantro Lime Yogurt Sauce and Mango Salsa

Have you ever had it where you have this idea in your head that seems so great, but then you do it and it’s terrible?!  I have that with planting flower beds.  In my mind, I picture this plant going here and that plant going there and it looks beautiful… and then it doesn’t work at all when I actually do it.

Fortunately, THIS idea worked better than I could have ever imagined.  My friend Hayley and I got together tonight and rather than order some unhealthy take-out, I decided to cook.  One of my favorite Mexican places in downtown Chicago is this tiny joint called Carbón – they have AWESOME fish tacos.  That being said, they’re doused in a mayo-based sauce and fried.  This recipe started out with intentions of making a healthy fish taco, but morphed into this instead… and I’ll DEFINITELY be making it again.

Low in sodium, sugar and fat, loaded with good carbs, protein and amino acids… and it’s really, REALLY good.  The recipe below is for 2 and I served it with zucchini “noodles”.  I also purchased pre-made mango salsa from the produce section rather than make it because it was cheaper given the small amount I needed.


  • 2 4 oz. salmon filets
  • 2 sm. limes
  • 1 6 oz. container plain greek yogurt (non fat)
  • fresh cilantro
  • 1 sm. can mild jalapeño peppers
  • 1 c. fresh mango salsa

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil (no need to grease the foil).  Put half of the can of jalapeños over the fish and squeeze half a lime over that.  Set aside for a few minutes until over comes up to temp.  Place skin-side down in the pan and bake for 15 minutes, or until fish flakes with a fork.

While fish bakes, combine the remaining jalapeños with the greek yogurt, the juice of one lime and a good handful of minced cilantro.  Mix and salt to taste.

Once fish is done, gently slide spatula under filet and lift off the skin.  (If you don’t grease the foil, the skin of the fish will adhere to it while baking.)  Place filet on top of mango salsa, spoon yogurt sauce over the top and then sprinkle with additional  mango salsa and fresh cilantro.

Pepper to taste.



Favorite Fall Salad

If you’re anything like me, you love trying new recipes but also rely on some “old faithfuls” that never disappoint.  This salad is one of mine, and it’s crept into the “toolbox” of friends and family too.  I must admit that I stole this recipe from somewhere, but can’t remember where.

In the past I have gone to the trouble of making a homemade honey mustard vinaigrette, but time didn’t allow today and we’re going with store bought.  I did, however, make these DIY candied walnuts this afternoon when I realized that I had forgotten them at the store last night.  No WAY was I going to the grocery store the day before Thanksgiving!

I usually prepare this right in individual bowls, but you can do it in a big salad bowl as well.  Tastes great, and adds nice color to the table too!


  • Mixed greens (I prefer Earthbound Farm’s Organic Herb Blend)
  • Red onion, thinly sliced
  • Fresh shaved parmesan
  • Dried cranberries or cherries
  • Candied walnuts or pecans
  • Apple or pear, thinly sliced
  • Honey mustard vinaigrette (I’ve used this recipe in the past.)


Glazed Lemon Sugar Cookies

Today is day one of 3 days off work this week and I’m headed up to a friend’s cottage tomorrow morning.  As every good Dutch girl knows, one must not to one’s friend’s house empty handed!

It’s too hot to bring something chocolatey, and really it’s too hot for anything super rich too… so we kept it simple.  And during the heat of summer, what better flavor than lemon?!  So, I went in search of a lemon sugar cookie recipe online and found this one at Two Peas & Their Pod.  Sounded easy and light so we gave it a shot.  They turned out perfectly!  I did have to improvise a little since I didn’t have fresh lemons in the house, but we made it work and even added a lemony glaze for a little extra summer flavor.


Cookie Batter

  • 2 3/4 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 c. butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. lemon extract
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 c. sugar (to roll cookies in)


  • 1/4 c. powdered sugar
  • lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine flour and powders and set aside.  Cream butter, sugar and egg.  Add lemon juice and extracts then dry ingredients.

Scoop tablespoons of batter and roll into balls with your hands.  Drop into sugar and coat.  Place on cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  (Loosen immediately – these want to stick to the pan for some reason.)

Once cookies are cooled, slowly drip lemon juice over powdered sugar until just dissolved.  Mixture should be slightly thick.  Drizzle over cookies with a fork.  After glaze is hardened, store cookies in airtight container.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Cups

Every 18 months my students perform a flute and piano recital.  Getting ready is a lot of work for both them and me, but it’s a great experience for them, their parents love it, and it holds me accountable as a teacher.

The moms are always so great about helping out with bringing baked goods for the reception afterward, but since it’s my studio recital I pitch in with the baked goods too.  I didn’t have time for cookies, so we make 2 little desserts:  Chocolate Eclair (recipe coming soon) and Caramel Apple Cheesecake Cups.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Cups are a twist on a Cheesecake Cup recipe my mom got from a friend.  (To make regular Cheesecake Cups, eliminate the cinnamon and nutmeg from the recipe below, add 1 T. lemon juice and top with pie filling of choice.)  I saw a can of apple pie filling (yes, I cheated and didn’t do homemade due to time constraints) and we went from there.

Love it when an idea works out!


  • Nilla Wafer cookies
  • 2-8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 can apple pie filling, diced (the one I bought was blah so I sprinkled cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves over the filling and added 4 T. brown sugar)
  • caramel topping

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Beat cheese and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time until just incorporated, then add vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Set aside.

Line muffin tins with paper liners and place one wafer in the bottom of each liner.  Fill each cup half-way and bake 15-20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Top with pie filling, drizzle with caramel and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Strawberry Apple Rhubarb Crisp

Due to this early spring, my rhubarb plants are were already ready for a picking this morning.  So much so, in fact, that they were going to seed.

Add to that the fact that I was having a lazy morning watching TV and reading a book and was lucky enough to catch Barefoot Contessa on Food Network.  Guess what she made!  Rhubarb crisp!  I took it as a sign, went and picked all my rhubarb, and got to work.

Ina made her Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp, but I didn’t have enough strawberries to do that so despite my love of all things Ina… I had to keep looking.  I found a recipe for a Rhubarb Apple Crisp and decided to do a bit of a merger.  Also, I didn’t want the fruit to cook down to mush, so I left the chunks bigger than I normally would.  Fortunately, things turned out and it’s REALLY good.


  • 7 c. rhubarb, roughly chopped
  • 1 c. strawberries, quartered
  • 2 c. apples, peeled and cubed
  • 1 1/2  c. sugar
  • 7 T. corn starch
  • 1 c. butter, softened
  • 2 c. oatmeal
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 2/3 c. wheat flour
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine sugar and cornstarch.  Put fruit in a large mixing bowl and pour sugar mixture over top.  Toss to combine and pour into a 9×13 pan.

Combine oatmeal, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon.  Cut in butter with a fork until pea-sized crumbles form.  Sprinkle crumble mixture over fruit and bake for 45 minutes or until fruit is bubbling around the edges and top is browned.

Rosemary Goat Cheese Quick Bread

While summer hasn’t quite arrived with its bounty of fresh vegetables and herbs, knowing local farmers and who are starting stuff in their greenhouses this time of year DEFINITELY has perks.  All five of the kids in our family have spent time working at Zeldenrust Farm Market & Greenhouse in some way over the years.  This past week the owner was kind enough to give my brother the rosemary she pruned off her rosemary “trees” for me (see pic).

I didn’t have time to do anything with it at the time and threw it in the freezer.  I remembered it today after I already had the potatoes boiling for mashed potatoes and decided to do a quick bread.  I found one here that’s semi-healthy, but have made a few changes to the recipe based on how it turned out.

The bread has the consistency of a biscuit, but isn’t dry.  Unfortunately, it got devoured before I could get a pic.


  • 1 1/2 c. bread flour
  • 3/4 c. wheat flour
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 T. fresh rosemary (pulsed it in the blender to break it down a little)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 c. skim milk
  • 1/4 c. goat cheese crumbles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine dry ingredients and rosemary and set aside.

Put milk, oil and eggs in mixer.  On low speed add goat cheese and dry ingredients until just combined*.  Divide evenly into 3 greased mini loaf pans and bake for about 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Slice and serve hot.

*Ever get “tunnels” in your muffins, cakes or quick breads?  Happens due to over mixing.  Over mixing allows too much air to get into the batter, and then as the baking process happens, the air bubbles are forced up and out.  The gluten in the batter sets the bubble paths and we get “tunnels”.