Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

When your bananas look like this, it’s time for one thing, and one thing only.

 

bananas

 

Grab a mixing bowl, a bag of chocolate chips, and gather around, because the best banana bread recipe is coming your way today.

 

banana bread ingredients

 

I have my grandmother to thank for this recipe; it’s been in my family for years and is always our go-to when those bananas are looking just a little too ripe. I’ve been thinking of her often lately, so it just seemed fitting to share her recipe with you all today.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup butter/margarine
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 2)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs

 

*I typically use a combination of wheat or white wheat flour in this recipe, and have subbed egg whites, a flax egg, or applesauce, for the 2 eggs before as well.

 

Directions:

In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar, and mix again until it is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs.

Next, combine the flour mixture to the sugar and egg mixture. Gently fold in with a spoon, and add the bananas, already mashed. Add nuts (walnuts are especially good) or chocolate chips if desired (but I mean, why would you not want to add chocolate!?)

 

banana bread

 

Lightly grease a loaf pan with non-stick spray, or spread parchment paper on the bottom of the paper. (—> This stuff is the best!! Parchment paper prevents things from sticking to the pan when baking, and I swear it makes chocolate chip cookies taste better too). Pour the batter into the pan, and bake at 375 degrees until the top is lightly browned (about 45 minutes). The original recipe says, “Bake until you can insert a knife in the center and it comes out clean, and the top is lightly browned.” Coming from the woman who didn’t keep measuring spoons in her kitchen. She was known far and wide by friends and family for her baked goods, so I can’t argue with her recipe!

 

I didn’t even think to take a picture of the bread when it was finished. No time for pictures, it’s just that good!!

 

This recipe can be easily doubled, and can also be made into muffins, or cupcakes (just add a little chocolate icing on the top.) Clearly, it’s all about the chocolate over here this week.

 

If you try it out, I hope you enjoy it! Have a wonderful rest of the week, my friends!

The BEST you

Hello! How is your week going? I’m sure by now you’ve seen lots of blog posts detailing New Year’s Resolutions, suggesting ways to keep them, and have most likely made a list of your own.

 

While I’ve thought about the goals I would like to reach in the new year, I haven’t shared them with you all yet. Since being accountable and writing goals down greatly increases your chances of reaching those goals, today on the blog I’ll be sharing a few resolutions I have for 2016. As always, I’d love to hear a resolution or goal that you have for this year as well!

 

One of the mistakes that people commonly make when setting New Year’s Resolutions is setting expectations too high, unattainably high. Then it’s discouraging when you don’t meet your goals, and you’re less motivated to keep trying. A great tip for setting resolutions is to make sure they are reachable. With that in mind, I focused on just a few goals to share with you today. You won’t be able to accomplish your goals if you have so many that it becomes overwhelming, not motivating. Setting goals should be an exciting time to focus on getting better in some area of your life. New Year’s Resolutions aren’t about a NEW you; rather, the BEST you.

 

First up, blogging.

I first started this blog at the end of December 2013. I can’t believe it’s been that long! Throwback to one of my first posts, all about New Year’s Resolutions, check it out here—> Not Just January: How to Make Goals That Last.

 

Since I am a 5th grade teacher full-time, my blog is a hobby in my life. I enjoy blogging when I have time, but my schedule varies from week to week, so I don’t blog consistently. One of my goals this year is to blog at least once a week, sharing posts every Wednesday. Of course, if I am inspired to blog more frequently with you all or have more time one week than another, I won’t limit my posts to just Wednesdays. However, I would like to at least blog once per week and become more consistent in that area. If there’s anything particular you would like to see (workouts, recipes, etc.), please let me know in the comments section or send me an e-mail (buildabalancedlife@gmail.com). Make sure you head over to my Facebook page and “like it” so you don’t miss a post!

 

I would also like to re-format the heading of my blog to show a design that better reflects the name of my blog, and the balanced lifestyle that I want to promote.

 

1000 Gifts

At the end of last year, I began a journal titled, “1000 Gifts.” At the end of each day, I would take a few minutes to reflect on that day and jot down things that I was thankful for. Experiences, compliments, things, anything that was a “gift” in my life that day. Like many other resolutions, my daily routine fell by the wayside after long. I believe while this is a small habit, the benefit it reaps is so much more. So this year, I would like to work my way through my 1000 gifts journal, filling it up completely by the end of 2016.

 

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Sometimes it’s really easy to look around and find endless things you’re happy about; other times, you have to look a little deeper. No matter what stage you’re at today, life is always worth being grateful for. Cultivating an attitude of thankfulness will only serve to enrich your life, and your positivity will bring someone else joy in turn.  I guarantee your life will be enriched when you focus on the positive! So grab a journal and a pen; it’s day one.

 

Work it out!

This past year, I’ve gotten much more into weight lifting, and haven’t made time to rack up my running mileage quite as much. While I really enjoy lifting weights and could go on and on about the countless benefits weightlifting offers, I would like to get back into running more frequently. I keep reading about the benefits of HIIT cardio (High Intensity Interval Training), and plan on incorporating more of this into my workout routine.

 

Since I want to keep a focus on making sure my goals are attainable, I would like to make sure I include HIIT cardio at least once a week in my workouts. If I’ve had five Americano’s from Starbucks and am feeling great, then of course I’ll be flying on that treadmill and not waiting for the once a week time slot! I would just like to at least do it once per week.

 

Lastly, I would like to complete several races in 2016. I have already signed up for the 10K Across the Bay in November 2016. I completed the race the past two years, and wrote about my experiences here, from November 2014, and November 2015.

 

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Sign up here using the code “AMBNELSONA16” and save $5 off the entry price!!

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I am contemplating what other races to sign up for, so if you’ve run any races in particular that you loved, send suggestions my way!

 

Other small, yet notable, goals include: cooking more often, drinking more water (seriously – I can drink my weight in coffee, but water, is a struggggle), and finding a better balance of striving to do my best, without being too hard on myself. I am the queen of expecting perfection from myself and comparing my chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 20 in life.

 

And that’s what I’m focusing on so far this year! So now the question becomes, what will YOU do with 2016?