Sunday, February 8, 2015

mini pear 'n banana breads // for ALOHA


I was inspired by ALOHA to write a post about staying healthy throughout the colder months, but I have to be honest I was genuinely stumped. One has to realize that the healthiest post I've ever written is probably the time when I made that chocolate chip cookie cake. Nonetheless, it posed a serious culinary question to me. Can something be easy and healthy, and taste good at the same time? The surprising answer is...yes! I know, I was skeptical at first too. 



In this week's post, Chow Creations is teaming up with ALOHA to spread the happiness of healthy eating via banana bread. Not only do these mini pear 'n banana breads taste and look amazing, but they have no butter in them, 50% less sugar, and are laced with flavor packing nutrition bombs such as ginger and cinnamon. Benefits of which I'll go more into detail down below. 



Preparation
1. First things first, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease the loaf tins with...your choice of oil. Because this is a healthy recipe I want to make it clear that you can use any type of oil, butter or vegetable spray. Just don't use the stuff that they pack sardines with, yeah that won't work. I won't tell you which I used, only that it rhymes with putter. Don't judge me. I was still a "healthy can still taste good" skeptic back then. After you've grease your molds, lightly dust them with flour. I put a little flour in each of the molds and tilt the pan until every crevice was covered and then dumped the excess out. If somebody knows a less messy way of doing this, please comment below. Set the molds aside. 



2. In a large bowl sift together the dry ingredients. Those include the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, and cinnamon. As for those promised health benefits. Ginger has a broad-spectrum of amazing properties ranging from the antibacterial to the antiparasitic. I'm not so sure what antiparasitic means, but if there's parasites in me and ginger can kill them I'm all for that. Ginger can also reduce nausea, motion sickness, digestive sickness, inflammation. Those were all probably caused by the parasites. Cinnamon is equally as healthy, clinically proven to improve heart health, reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and heart disease, help people therapeutically with diabetes, and improve cognitive function. Again, I have no idea what I'm talking about, but the studies say so and studies are indisputable. Links at the bottom for more info. Oh, and set that bowl aside as well.


3. In another separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and brown sugar until slightly pale and thick. This should take about 3-5 minutes. When the mixture has thickened slightly, add the olive oil while continuing to whisk. The molasses-y qualities of the brown sugar go really well with the bananas and the ripe pear. Although, you could just use white sugar or Splenda if you prefer. Set this bowl aside too.


4. In another separate bowl (the last separate bowl, I promise), mash up the pears and bananas with the back of a fork. I cubed my pear so that it was easier to mash. Don't peel it because that's where most of the fiber and nutrients are. For this recipe, you should only use bananas that are more brown than  yellow, and pears that you have to hold in two hands because they're so soft. There are three reasons for using really ripe fruits. First, the riper your fruits are, the sweeter they become, and the less sugar you have to put in the recipe. Second, the riper your fruits are, the softer they become, and the easier they are to mash. And third, nobody wants to eat raw over ripened fruit, especially bananas. That makes this the perfect end-of-the-week clean-up recipe. Just a sidenote. You don't need to make the fruit into a smooth puree. In fact, some chunks are actually nice in the final product. 


5. Now all there is to do is to mix everything together. First mix together the egg and sugar mixture with the mashed up fruits. Once that is all combined, switch to a spatula and slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Stop mixing when all of the flour is gone. At this juncture, you can add dried cranberries or cherries for an extra layer of natural sweetness and color. 


6. Like I said before, this recipe yields one regular sized loaf, or 8 smaller loaves. The mini loaves are a fun way of portioning the bread so you make sure you don't over eat. And trust me, self-control will be a problem, especially in the winter months when the kitchen is the warmest place in your house. They're also a nice party idea. Before you bake the breads, tap the molds against a countertop lined with a towel to settle any air bubbles that might be trapped underneath the surface. Bake on the center rack of your oven for about 45 minutes, 60 minutes for a large loaf, or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. 



7. To finish, dust with some powdered sugar. My family found that toasting these and serving them with a drizzle of hot maple syrup was our favorite way of eating them


Thanks again to ALOHA for the inspiration for this week's recipe. If you guys want more healthy-living recipes and tips check out their website for all that and more. You can also shop their amazing line-up of healthy products on their website. My personal favorite is their limited offer Superfood Chocolate, a chocolate that is actually good for you, and a gift your valentine will actually appreciate. It's better than that stuffed cupid bear you gave her last year. And it's a great gift to make sure he eats healthy without him ever knowing he is. Please comment below for future creations, or just to show your chowfection (chow+affection). And as always, 

Chow!


Recipe

1 2/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs 
1/2 cup brown sugar, before you bake the breads, taste the batter to see if it needs more sugar, if your fruits were ripe enough you won't need extra sugar
3/4 cup olive oil
3 large ripe bananas
1 ripe anjou pear
optional: dried cranberries or cherries

Click here if you want to learn more about ALOHA.

Here are a couple links if you want to learn more about the healing capabilities of spices!
5 Health Benefits of Cinnamon
Ginger Health Benefits 

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