Chai Spiced Banana Bread

July 16, 2014

Chai BB

Every summer around this time, I always seem to get the urge to watch all of the Harry Potter movies. I realize that’s not a typical reaction to nice, warm weather. Instead of playing in the sun, I draw the blinds, turn up the AC (so I can snuggle under a blanket and drink tea) and start my marathon.

I finished re-watching the last movie yesterday. Now I’m in my post-Harry Potter wave of feelings. To help, I tried out a new banana bread recipe.

Because I had been drinking copious amounts of tea, I thought, why not add it to the banana bread. The result is fantastic. You end up with a rich, dark bread. I also added the spices you typically find in a chai latte.

Basically, it’s delicious. Some may think that it’s better suited for the winter months—but spiced quick bread rules be damned. 

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Chai Spiced Banana Bread
The black tea creates a rich, dark banana bread--while the spices add the perfect amount of warmth and flavor.
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Ingredients
  1. 3 banana
  2. 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  3. 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  4. 2 large eggs
  5. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  6. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  7. 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  8. 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  9. 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  10. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  11. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  12. 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  13. 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  14. 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  15. 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  16. Contents of 1 black tea bag
Instructions
  1. Combine the bananas, yogurt, butter and eggs in a large bowl and beat with a mixer at medium speed. Add the sugars and mix until combined.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients.
  3. Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture and stir until just combined. Be careful not to over-stir. Pour the batter into a loaf pan coated in non-stick spray.
  4. Bake at 350 for about 60 minutes or until cooked through. Remove bread from the pan and allow to cook on a wire rack.
Adapted from Cooking Light
Adapted from Cooking Light
Maysquared.com http://www.maysquared.com/blog/
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Cherry Smoothie

Confession time. I don’t really like frozen blended drinks. My drinks are ordered almost solely over ice. No frozen margaritas. Definitely no thanks to frappuchinos and iced capps. 

Because of this aversion, I always thought smoothies were, well, gross. Why would you blend perfectly wonderful fruit with ice?

When I had an overabundance of cherries and bananas the other day, I was at a loss of what to do. We’re on a health kick over here, so baking something decadent was mostly out of the question. It’s also summer, which means turning on the over is less than appealing. 

That’s when I decided to give smoothies one last chance at redemption. But this was going to be on my terms. So, I divided the bananas and cherries into ziplock bags and threw them into the freezer.

The next day, I noticed that the strawberries were also a little worse for the wear. They too would have a meeting with the blender. With that, I added the frozen bananas and cherries, the slightly wilted strawberries and a little vanilla almond milk to the blender. 

I now had a very beautiful fuchsia drink, speckled with dark purple bits of cherry. After a tentative first sip, I was sold. By freezing the fruit, you avoid the dreaded ice chunks. It was actually more of a milkshake consistency (when the milkshake is a little thawed and easily drinkable) than anything.

The vanilla almond milk also added a little extra sweetness and creaminess to the smoothie. Not to mention that you’re also getting a good couple of servings of fruit in what tastes like an indulgence.

I’d call that a win. 

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Cherry, Strawberry and Banana Smoothie
Serves 2
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Ingredients
  1. 1 banana, sliced and frozen
  2. 1 cup cherries, pitted and frozen
  3. 1 cup strawberries, stems removed
  4. 1/2-1 cup vanilla almond milk
Instructions
  1. Place all of the ingredients in a blender, beginning with 1/2 cup of almond milk. Blend at high. If the mixture seems too thick, add more almond milk and blend again.
  2. Once the mixture is smooth, divide in two glasses and enjoy.
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portobello burgers

I like burgers—so freaking much. They are almost always the perfect go-to for a good dinner. But sometimes, I can get a little tired of the frozen turkey burgers stocked in our freezer.

When the disenchantments hit, I like to substitute a new “burger.” From bean burgers, to salmon burgers to tofu burgers, they’ve all graced our plates in the May Squared house. One on my favorites, and possibly the easiest, are Portobello Mushroom Burgers.

In this case, the Portobello Mushroom Burgers benefit greatly from a balsamic and garlic marinade before grilling. Once grilled, the burgers are topped with caramelized onions and tangy goat cheese. You can also drizzle a little extra balsamic over the burger.   

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Portobello Mushroom Burgers
The Portobello Mushroom Burgers benefit greatly from a balsamic and garlic marinade before grilling. Once grilled the burgers are topped with caramelized onions and tangy goat cheese. You can also drizzle a little extra balsamic over the burger.
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Mushroom Marinade
  1. 4 portobello mushroom caps, stems removed
  2. 3 garlic cloves, minced
  3. 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  4. 2 tablespoon neutral oil (I used sunflower seed oil)
For the Burgers
  1. Buns (I like the sandwich thins)
  2. Caramelized onions
  3. Goat cheese
  4. Lettuce
  5. Balsamic vinegar
Instructions
  1. Combine the mushrooms, garlic, vinegar and oil in a large ziplock bag. Gently move the mushrooms around in the bag to ensure the caps are coated in the marinade. Let sit for about an hour, periodically turning the bag over.
  2. Grill the mushrooms for about 5 minutes on each side. I used an electric grill.
  3. Assemble your burger with lettuce, a grilled mushroom, caramelized onions, a drizzle of balsamic and goat cheese.
Notes
  1. If you are really hungry, try adding two mushrooms to your burger.
Maysquared.com http://www.maysquared.com/blog/

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