Monday, April 28, 2008

Whole Wheat Banana Nut Bread Yummy and Healthy Too !

This is a great recipe to use up some of those bananas that we meant to eat, but just didn't get around to it. Its a great breakfast alternative either as is or with a flavored cream cheese. I make my own honey nut flavored low fat cream cheese.

The other benefit of using up the bananas is that if you are a gardener and have roses, the peels are great food for the roses. I Just chop them up small and spread around the base of the roses and work them into the soil. The peels provide nutrients that will help the roses to grow strong.


  • 1 3/4 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg
  • 1 stick soft butter
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of low fat sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cup of mashed ripened banana or about 3 large bananas
  • 1 cup of chopped walnuts


  1. Heat oven to 350oF.
  2. Spray a 9X12 loaf pan with nonstick or coat with a thin layer of butter. I like to use butter to coat the pan. I microwave a very thin piece of butter for about 20 seconds and use a silicone brush to spread the butter. I find that this method work well and you use a very tiny amount of butter. I like to cover the bottom of the pan with parchment paper because it makes taking the out bread a lot easier.
  3. Mash the bananas and mix with one tsp of sugar.
  4. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and nutmeg together. Mix well using a whisk.
  5. Using a stand mixer on medium speed, beat soft butter and sugars until creamy, about 2 minutes.
  6. Add one egg at a time and mix thoroughly.
  7. Add the bananas and mix thoroughly.
  8. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and stir in.
  9. Add 1/2 of the sour cream and stir in.
  10. Add 1/2 of the remaining flour and stir in. Do not over mix.
  11. Add the remaining sour cream, stir in.
  12. Add the rest of the flour and stir in. Do not over mix.
  13. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the walnuts and mix with 1 tsp of brown sugar.
  14. With the rest of the walnuts and fold them gently with a spatula into the batter.
  15. Pour the batter into the pan.
  16. Sprinkle the walnut/sugar mix on top of the bread.
  17. Bake for about an hour or until the center is done.
  18. Cool bread for about 10 minutes and remove from the pan. Cool completely and its ready to serve.

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Tasty Croutons and Breadcrumbs

We love fresh baked bread and we buy it almost daily. Our favorite is the baguette. Nothing is more tantalizing than the smell of the baguette as it is being taken out of the oven. We often tend to accumulate bits of old bread. So, instead of tossing out the old bread I turn it into something more appetizing, like croutons and breadcrumbs. My suggestion is to collect the odds and ends in a paper bag. If you have a cloth bread bag, the just leave the pieces in there to dry thoroughly. I don't recommend leaving the old bread in a plastic bag because if there is any moisture left, the bread will become moldy. Once you have collected a reasonable amount, then follow the recipe and you will have great tasting breadcrumbs and croutons which will keep for a long time in the refrigerator. While we use french bread, any bread will do. The croutons are so tasty that my kids have taken to eating them as a snack. It seems that I make croutons about once a week. We use up the croutons quite quickly and take our time using up the breadcrumbs. Originally, the primary reason for the recipe was making flavored breadcrumbs, but now I make it for the flavored croutons and the breadcrumbs are the bonus.


  • old bread -enough to cover a cookie sheet
  • 2tsp of garlic powder
  • 2tsp of onion powder
  • 1 tbsp of dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp of dried italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil (will give you a really rich taste)
  • 1 gallon size ziplock bag or larger
  • meat tenderizer gadget or mallet
  • one cookie sheet covered with heavy foil
  • food processor


  1. Place the bread pieces in the ziplock bag(s) and zip the bag(s)
  2. Place the bag(s) on a cutting board, break the bread using the meat mallet. Use the flat part. You will need to turn the bag(s) at least once to get all the pieces broken. The goal is to get the pieces to about bit size. The rest of the work will be done by food processor for the bread crumbs.
  3. Transfer the pieces and crumbs to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Thoroughly mix the garlic, onion, oregano and parsley all together in a small bowl.
  5. Sprinkle the mix over the bread pieces. Use a spatula and mix the seasonings into the bread
  6. The olive oil needs to be sprinkled a bit at a time into the bread pieces. If you pour it or spread too much over too little bread, then some of the croutons will be too oily and the other pieces too dry. As you sprinkle the oil, keep turning the mixture to ensure uniform coating of the bread. Not all the pieces will be coated, but there will be enough oil that as the mixture sits, everything should be coated enough.
  7. Let the mixture sit for about 30 minutes and give it a few turns during this time.
  8. Heat the oven to 400F.
  9. Place the bread on the cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes. if you have a timer, I would recommend using it since the croutons can burn quite quickly if you don't keep an eye on them. Take it out and mix the bread around.
  10. Return to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes. The length of the baking will depend on how brown you like the croutons.
  11. Remove from the oven and let the bread cool.
  12. For the croutons, remove the large pieces and store in a air tight container. Use as needed.
  13. To make the breadcrumbs, place the leftover pieces in the food processor and grind the pieces up. Use the pulse mode and check the consistency of the breadcrumbs. You don't want to over process the breadcrumbs or you will have mush.
  14. Remove from the food processor and place in an airtight container.
  15. Store them in the refrigerator.
  16. If the bread covered the cookie sheet, this will yield about a quart of croutons and one quart of breadcrumbs.
  17. I use these breadcrumbs for my Italian turkeyball and mushroom sauce turkeyball recipes.
  18. I use the croutons for salads especially the cesar salad.

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