Banana Nana Nana Bread

Banana bread is my go-to when I know I’m going to see my dad. He loves it. It also gives me the opportunity to come up with tons of different versions – each one comes out uniquely delicious!

This version is no exception 🙂 What makes this particular batch pretty awesome is that I used vanilla bean paste. I didn’t even know this existed until last week – I mean, if I thought long and hard about it, I’m sure I could have assumed that it was out there – but it didn’t make it into my realm of reality until this week when my co-worker who initially told me about it, gifted me a jar of this.

One more tidbit – this is a “healthier” bread coming out of my kitchen these days with applesauce and whole wheat flour making an appearance 🙂


Banana Nana Nana Bread

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla (extract or paste 🙂 )
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cups almond slices


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Next, in a mixing bowl, stir baking soda, baking powder, salt and flour. Set aside.

Use electrical mixer to mix sliced bananas until broken up and starting to form a mash. Mix in sugar and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Beat in eggs and applesauce, stir until thoroughly incorporated. Add in vanilla. Slowly stir in flour mixture until batter is formed. While stirring in flour mixture start adding the dark chocolate chips.

Once batter is complete, pour into a well oiled 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Sprinkle the sliced almonds over the freshly poured batter. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean 🙂



banana nana nana bread


Reds and Whites and Sparking, Oh My – Wines Under $15!

My first experience with wine was drinking white zinfindael from a box o’ wine. Obviously that early in the game, my expectations were low. It’s after I started to experiment with red wines that I realized that not all wines are alike and there are some really bad, dirt cheap wines.
I don’t claim to know much about wine, but I do know what I like. I have my staples and am ashamed to admit that until recent, I wasn’t the one to venture out of my comfort zone of Woop Woop, Mirassu and Coppola (the least expensive version) for reds and then Kim Crawford, Starborough, and Santa Rita for a nice white (oh, and lets not forget everything and anything from the Cupcake vineyard:)). These have been my staples up until a year or so ago before I started dabbling in new (still inexpensive) wines that I may have read about, one’s that were recommendations from friends, or even those that were featured at the local wine store.
I think it’s important for wine drinkers on a budget (or any wine drinkers) to know that there are so many options out there and that it’s not going to cost you an arm and a leg to enjoy a really nice bottle of wine – You don’t always have to reach for the Sutter Homes or the Barefoot bottles 🙂
I’m not the first nor the last to post a list like this but I hope that it inspires you to do your own experimenting on all the inexpensive wines out there! Oh and if you come across a real jem (which I promise, you will) let a girl know about it!
Note: Most if not all of these wines can be found at the local Binny’s here in Chicago. Hopefully that mean’s it’s available in your neck of the woods as well!
Under $10 – 2011 Pacific Rim Dry Riesling or 2011 Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc
Around $10 – 2010 Ratts Family Original Chenin Blance
Between $10 – $15 – Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc (one of the very best) or Sabastiani 2009 Chardonnay
Under $10 – 2011 Bodegas Borsao Garnacha or 2010 Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet
Around $10 – Alamos Malbec 2008
Between $10 – $15 – 2007 Altos De Luzon Jumilla
Under $10 – Korbel Brut
Around $10 – Mionetto Prosecco
Between $10 – $15 – Moet $ Chandon Imperial Brut
*Notably worthy – Coppola Sofia Blanc De blancs – mini 4 pack
This list may not showcase the best of the best, but I chose wines based off what seemed most available at your local wine store. If you’d like to venture out, and are up for ordering wines online, check out these articles I used to aid my research:
AND FINALLY, because I heart Trade Joes so much and am going to dabble in the art of drinking Rose this summer, The Best Budget Rose at Trader Joes.