Happy 2008! Just think, you're already through your first day of the year, and you haven't yet broken your resolution to start eating healthy! What's that? No, that seven-layer dip that you polished off while watching the bowl games does not count as healthy, despite the fact that it features each of the four food groups (and then some), sorry. Well, lucky for you, you get one "get out of jail free" card, and you can start fresh tomorrow. And wouldn't you know it? I happen to have the perfect healthy and delicious recipe to begin your day, Banana Blueberry Bread.
This recipe is chock-full of healthy ingredients: flax seeds, wheat germ, bananas, and blueberries, but it produces a bread that is so moist and sweet, you'll feel like you are indulging. I like to make it into muffins (see below) instead of a large loaf, and then I can freeze them and take one out each morning for breakfast. This is a really good method to use if portion control might be a problem and you tend to shave a little slice here and a little slice there "just to even it up." Have a slice of bread or a muffin with some fresh fruit and yogurt, and you've got yourself a well-balanced and healthy breakfast. See? This resolution isn't so hard to keep after all. Here are some tips for delicious and bread:
- The baked loaf can be frozen, wrapped tightly, for up to two weeks. Let thaw at room temperature.
- Instead of making one large loaf, this recipe will make 12 muffins or 3-4 mini loaves. Spray the muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray or line them with muffin papers and then bake them at 350F degrees for about 25 minutes. For the mini loaves, spray the pans with non-stick spray and bake for about 35-40 minutes.
- You may use frozen blueberries instead of fresh for this recipe. Do not defrost them prior to adding them to the batter. Be sure to fold them into the batter very gently so that they do not stain it blue.
- For me, the easiest and most effective way to mash bananas (or sweet potatoes), is to puree them in my food processor. This method results the smoothest texture which seems to distribute the flavor better then just mashing with a fork. Another good method is to seal the bananas in a ziploc bag and to mash them with your hands by squeezing the bag.
- I like to use cardamom in my banana recipes because the two flavors complement each other very well, but if you do not have cardamom on hand, substitute ¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg, which is another good spice to pair with banana.
- If the loaf gets too dark while baking, cover it loosely with foil.
Healthy Banana Blueberry Bread
Makes 1 loaf
2 large, ripe bananas
⅔ cup sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
⅓ cup lowfat buttermilk
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup wheat germ
1 cup oats
1 ¼ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ cup safflower, sunflower, or canola oil
¾ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Mash the bananas with a fork in a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and the next 6 ingredients (through oats). Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes until the oats soften.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and cardamom into a small bowl. Add the the banana mixture alternately with the oil, stirring just to incorporate. Gently fold in the blueberries. Pour into a greased 9X5 inch loaf pan, and bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.