Homemade Banana Bread Larabars!

Today is special day!

  1. I am not working.
  2. Alyson's coming to visit!

Only 2 reasons – but they are super good reasons.

When she decided she was coming for a visit she made a request – we do some active things to counteract all the eating and drinking we will be doing around. Well...have you met me? Active, outdoors, you got it!

As I was planning the weekend, I was also planning meals and snacks to help keep the cost of our activities down. I wanted something yummy, filling and healthy to snack on and I came across Oh She Glow's Lara Bars! Perf.

So, I woke up this morning at 6am, thanks to my lovely seasonal allergies and my body's new sneezing alarm clock, drank a lot of coffee, went for a run, and made Larabars. I figured I'd write a quick post before going to pick her up because they are really, really good and super simple.

You only need 3 Ingredients
2 Ripe Bananas OR 1 Cup Dried, Unsweetened Bananas
½ Cup Chopped, Pitted Dates
½ Cup Almonds (mine were slightly salted)

I dried my own bananas this morning – it was easy, but it took a while. It's also easy to go to the store and buy a bag of dried ones.
To dry your bananas:
Heat your oven 200 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay out pretty thinly sliced bananas on the sheet and bake for about 2 hours.

Once you've got dried bananas, put those and the chopped dates in a food processor and processor about a minute until its all combined into a sticky clump. Take that out, add the almonds and process about a minute until they are finely chopped. Add the banana-date mix back to the processor and process until its all combines and it looks kinda coarse.

Hope you kept that parchment from the bananas, if not, grab another slice of it, throw the mix in the middle of the paper and fold the parchment paper over it and to shape the mixture into a log. Cut out the sizes you desire and eat!
My batch made 4 bars (well 3 now that I ate one while I was writing this) and I wrapped them in cling wrap and stored in the fridge.
Hopefully these will keep us full when we are on the move all weekend!

Off to the airport!



Banana Pudding Ice Cream


We got an ice cream maker!! Its an attachment for Lucy.

Our first batch - Banana Pudding Ice Cream. We are going through Blue Bell withdrawls.

Actually, let's back up a bit... I'd never even heard of Blue Bell or Banana Pudding Ice Cream until I met Chris. I think it was one of his dating tactics to impress the ladies actually. Bring a girl back to his place with a pint of that stuff and BAM! Hooked for life. On him or the ice cream? Or both? Both.

Banana Pudding is a southern staple. And so it Blue Bell. Naturally when we moved to Denver, it was something we could no longer get, and then we began to crave it. Like we did for Publix, fried chicken, fresh fish, 3pm thunderstorms, and good BBQ. Ahhh...the south. Anyway...

Then it happened! All of a sudden, huge billboards starting showing up "BLUE BELL COMING TO DENVER." I remember talking to Chris on the phone when I passed one on the highway and maybe screaming a little. That was maybe March - and then we moved to California 4 months later. Arg! No more Blue Bell...


Sunday Night Calzones

Sunday night dinners have been a tradition in my family since I can remember. When I was growing up, Papa and Noni would come over every week and we would all sit down and enjoy a good bit a pot roast and potatoes. It was a time where we could all get together before the busy week started and enjoy each others company over some probably lude and offensive (to other people, not to us) conversation and Noni getting really mad at Dad for some seriously crazy reason. She would forget all about the actual reason through the week, but she always remembered she was mad about something? This still happens by the way…


Book Club Brunch

Well the spring semeseter is wrapping up as my students finish taking their final exams! This is shaping up to be a busy, exciting summer. The first adventures in the line up are going to Indiana for a week and then at the end of June, Dan offically moves to Baltimore! Get excited!

April was my turn to host book club and I decided to have a brunch since breakfast is pretty much my favorite type of meal. I made one sweet dish, and 1 savory dish with both a meat and veggie option.

This banana bread recipe from Smitten Kitchen has quickly become my go to. It's easy to make, and hands down the best tasting banana bread I've made. I used to try out different banana bread recipes, but I plan on sticking with this one for a good while. The only changes I make are to leave out the bourbon, add chocolate chips, and I use ginger instead of cloves since I don't usually have those on hand.

For the savory dish I used this recipe for a bacon, egg, and potato casserole from theKitchn. Since I wanted to have a meat and a veggie option available, I divided the recipe in two. For the meat version I stuck to the recipe and used fresh tomatoes that I had on hand from the farmer's market rather than the sun-dried tomatoes it called for. For the veggie version, I sauteed the onions, peppers, and garlic in olive oil and then added in a cup of frozen broccoli the same time I added in the potatoes. I don't like eggs any way except for fried, but I did get a request for the recipe, so I'm guessing it tasted good!

As for the book, we read The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt. I absolutely loved it! It reminded me of True Grit by Charles Portis. It was funny, and was a fairly quick read.

Other books I've read recently:

Swamplandia was the book club selection from March. I had been wanting to read it as well, so I was happy that it was chosen. I was slightly disappointed though for all the rave reviews it got. It was not what I expected at all.

 Happy Ever After was your typical everyday Nora Roberts book. I had read the other three books in the series and wanted something a bit lighter to follow up Swamplandia.
We Were the Mulvaneys I got for $.25 at a used bookstore. I couldn't figure out why it was so cheap until the binding started to fall apart while I was reading. It was worth it though! I loved this book. I felt like the characters could've been real life people and it was refreshing after reading a "fairy tale romance" that probably never happens to anyone in real life. This book had me bawling.
Dan got me The Giant's House for my birthday and I just finished it last night. I cried at the end of this one too. Although it says it's a romance, and it is, it's not your typical romance. It's very real and I thouroghly enjoyed it. A good beach read since it was easy to read and had lots of good stopping points!

I've already started in on my next book: West of Here by Jonathan Evison...yup, I got the recommendation from the back of the Sisters Brothers...it's fine!


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