Coconut Banana Bread + Weekly Menu

I saw this recipe on Erika’s blog, I knew it would be baked this weekend. No if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. Done and done. This girl knows what she likes, alright? I’m just amazed I was able to hold off 16 or so hours between the time I saw the recipe and the time I made the recipe ;)

I did lower the amount of sugar in the recipe – less granulated sugar and less agave. I also cut out 75% of the butter and used unsweetened applesauce instead. As always, I used whole wheat pastry flour, but half whole wheat + half all-purpose would do fine, or any gluten-free flour of choice should sub in well. One reader wanted a lower-carb option for this bread and I recommended an almond meal/flour versus regular wheat flours. I also had egg substitute on hand that I needed to use up, so I used 1 large egg + 1/4 cup egg substitute in place of the 2 eggs (which could be replaced with 1/2 cup canola oil to make this vegan — along with all applesauce in place of all of the butter). All-in-all I was able to shave off most all of the saturated fat in the recipe, cut 520 calories out (52 calories per slice), and increased the fiber content by about 25% (1 gram per serving). And if you’re curious, I don’t think any one of those substitutions altered the recipe for the worse…Mmmmm mmmm! :-D


Coconut Banana Bread adapted from The Teenage Taste

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour 1/2 cup granulated sugar 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut, divided 1 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt 1 egg + 1/4 cup egg substitute 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted 3 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce 1 Tbsp agave (or maple syrup or honey) 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 1/2 bananas worth)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-x-5-x-3 inch loaf pan, set aside.

Place all dry ingredients (reserving 2 tablespoons of coconut) in a large bowl. Mix until thoroughly combined.

In a small bowl, mash banana until no large chunks remain and add the egg, egg substitute, butter, applesauce, and agave. Add to bowl with other ingredients. Stir to combine, not over-mixing.

Spoon into prepared pan and top with reserved 2 tablespoons coconut. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Cool on a wire rack and wrap tightly to store. Yield: 1 loaf (10 slices).

Nutrition Information (per slice): 199 calories; 5.5 g. fat; 21 mg. cholesterol; 266 mg. sodium; 34.1 g. carbohydrate; 4.0 g. fiber; 1.5 g. protein

Result: What a perfect twist on banana bread…why didn’t I think of this?! Moist, sweet, and a perfect start to any morning! When I posted about this as breakfast yesterday morning on Facebook, everyone wanted the recipe! I guess I’m not the only coconut lover around! Enjoy!!


A few notes on this week’s menu. Monday is our 2nd wedding anniversary, and I decided to do a fun, casual “cocktail party” menu tonight to celebrate. Due to work all day, and teaching all night on Monday, our actual anniversary, we will celebrate together the night before. On Monday, the Buffalo Chicken Pasta is a carry-over dish that we didn’t get to last week. And t’s also right up Mr. Prevention’s alley, so I figured that was the next best thing to his wife on our special day. ;)

Weekly Menu: May 22nd-26th

I was “up” 0.6 at weigh-in. I say “up” because the scale was showing a loss at home on Friday morning, but a meal out that contained a lot of salt changed that for me. I’m not discouraged, though :) The scale is a terd, but I won’t let it rain on my parade :-D

Question: What night do you want to come over for dinner? ;)

Happy weekend!

Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

Bud Light Wheat tastes sooo similar to Blue Moon with about 75 less calories per bottle!

I can’t tell you where this recipe came from. I mean, it’s from Alton Brown. But this craving hit me like a ton of bricks and I just had to have it this week. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve had spinach salad with warm bacon dressing. Even though this isn’t a typical “favorite” of mine (I do love it!), it’s one of my mom’s favorites.

But it can’t be all that healthy, right? Well, right. However, if you use less bacon and less bacon grease, you easily control the calories and fat (which is all saturated). Mr. Prevention accused this recipe (and me!) of not being healthy. Not so fast, sir. Check out those nutrition stats below.

To make the meal, I paired the salad with grilled shrimp–no fat added, with paprika–and grilled zucchini that was lightly tossed in extra-virgin olive oil and a light dusting of salt and pepper. All together, this meal fell right around 300 calories and was very filling! It was also packed with flavor…even a little bacon fat can go a LONG way ;)


Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing from Alton Brown

6 oz spinach 2 large eggs 5 slices nitrate-free bacon, chopped 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar 1 tsp sugar 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 8 large white mushrooms, sliced 1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced


Wash and dry the spinach thoroughly. Place into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Boil eggs in a small pot of water, with at least 1 inch of water above the eggs. Lightly boil for about 10-12 minutes. Run cool water over the eggs and peel off the shells. Slice each egg into wedges and set aside.

While the eggs are cooking, fry the bacon and remove to a paper towel to drain, reserving 2 tablespoons of the rendered fat. Crumble the bacon and set aside.

Transfer the fat to a small saucepan set over low heat and whisk in the red wine vinegar, sugar and Dijon mustard. Season with a small pinch each of kosher salt and black pepper.

Add the mushrooms and the sliced onion to the spinach and toss. Add the dressing and bacon and toss to combine. Divide the spinach between 4 plates or bowls and evenly divide the egg among them. Serve immediately. Serves 4 (about 2 heaping cups of salad).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 123 calories; 6.3 g. fat; 120 mg. cholesterol; 314 mg. sodium; 7 g. carbohydrate; 2.3 g. fiber; 10.3 g. protein

Result: Yum…yum…yum! That’s all there is to say! Lightened up and just as delicious! Mr. Prevention gives a huge thumbs up, too! Enjoy!


And, finally…TGIF! Friday the 13th!! I don’t know why, but this week has dragged.

Question: Any superstitious people out there with regards to Friday the 13th? :)

Happy weekend!

Slow Cooked Pork Carnitas (Mexican Pulled Pork)

It was an early Cinco de Mayo celebration in our house. With teaching tonight and traveling on Thursday night (the real Cinco de Mayo), we pushed our celebrations up a few days. Trust me, I caught a lot of flack for the events from Mr. Prevention. I, on the other hand, need no excuse to make and enjoy Mexican food! As far as I’m concerned, I could (and would) eat Mexican on a daily basis.

It doesn’t happen often. I rarely repeat recipes. I’m all for trying new things…always. And besides, it keeps things rolling here on the blog. But sometimes, recipes are worthy of a repeat. Not to say that other recipes aren’t but this is certainly a favorite. And as the wheels started turning on menu options for Cinco de Mayo, this recipe kept coming to mind.

The original recipe calls for a pork shoulder roast, which is…fabulous. However the shoulder cuts tend to be heavily marbled with fat, making them the “perfect” choice for something like carnitas that are to be shredded. And while that’s all fine and good (oh so so good), I decided to try this recipe with a leaner cut and used a center cut boneless pork loin. The pork did need some additional cooking time, but the moist heat slow cooking yielded perfectly shredded pork carnitas and a much lower count of saturated fat grams and calories. When you’re cooking with flavors like chipotles in adobo and cumin, you really won’t miss the fat. I PROMISE!


Slow Cooked Pork Carnitas (Mexican Pulled Pork) adapted from Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes

3.5 lb boneless center cut pork loin, lean, all fat removed 6 cloves garlic, cut into slivers cumin, to taste adobo, to taste garlic powder, to taste 1 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth 6 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, more or less to taste 2 bay leaves


Season pork with salt and pepper. In a medium saute pan on medium-high heat, brown pork on all sides for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Using a sharp knife, insert blade into pork, cutting small holes and insert garlic slivers. Season pork generously with cumin, adobo and garlic powder all over.

Pour chicken broth in the crockpot, add bay leaves and chipotle peppers. Place pork in crock pot and cover. Cook low for 9-12 hours. After cooking, shred pork using two forks and combine well with the juices that accumulated at the bottom. Remove bay leaves. Let it cook another 15-30 minutes. Yield: 10 servings (5.5 ounces each).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 233 calories; 12.8 g. fat; 84 mg. cholesterol;  723 mg. sodium (less once juices removed); 1.3 g. carbohydrate; 0.3 g. fiber; 30.0 g. protein

Result: Spice this up with as many chipotle peppers as you’d like! The more, the spicier! I usually use one small can and they are delicious – however, we like it hot! Because this is a leaner cut than a pork shoulder or other common cut for carnitas, the longer cooking time is helpful. My meat did not easily shred after 8 hours, but after 10, it was ready to shred. Plan ahead and you will have succulent, fall-apart, spicy carnitas! I love to serve them on corn tortillas with pico de gallo and fresh avocado slices. Enjoy!


Tomorrow will be another Mexican recipe for the REAL Cinco de Mayo :)

Question: Will you be celebrating Cinco de Mayo?

P.S. The Bloggers Bake for Hope bidding opened at midnight! Bid on a treat and help raise money for breast cancer awareness! My Big-O Brownies are open for bidding!

Be well,

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

Thank you for all the well wishes, everyone — I really appreciate them :). I was planning to head to Cincinnati today to celebrate my friend’s birthday with her. Needless to say, I had to give her a rain check. :( I braved going out to dinner with Mr. Prevention last night — Mexican. I’ll spare you the details (good food ahead!). I am following up with my primary care physician on Monday and will bring her the notes I’ve been taking regarding my symptoms, severity, etc.

On a completely unrelated note, the tease of spring didn’t last long here in central Ohio and when I saw this slime green-colored soup, I was very intrigued and developed an instantaneous craving.

I’ll be honest, it took me a LONG time to try a Green Monster (a fruit smoothie with plentiful amounts of fresh spinach thrown in, turning the smoothie a vibrant green color). I’m someone who gives high marks on the looks of food, even though that is far from fair. Some of the best meals churned out in this kitchen have been the ugliest.

When I hear of Broccoli-Cheddar Soup, I think of Panera’s version. Sadly, 12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) comes in at 290 calories, 16 grams of fat (9 g. saturated), 1540 mg. sodium, 24 g. carbohydrate, and 7 g. fiber. Not that the soup isn’t delicious, but 9 grams of saturated fat and 1540 mg. sodium? Eek.

This version (for the same portion size) comes in at 191 calories (33% less), 9 g. fat (44% less), 781 mg. sodium (49% less), and 7.9 g. fiber (12% more). And the taste? Delicious!!



Broccoli-Cheddar Soup adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, March/April 2011 and Pink Parsley

2 Tbsp unsalted butter 2 pounds broccoli, cut into florets 1 medium onion, roughly chopped 2 medium garlic cloves, minced 1 1/2 tsp dry mustard pinch cayenne pepper kosher salt and black pepper, to taste 2 1/2-3 cups water 1/4 tsp baking soda 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth 2 oz baby spinach (about 2 cups) 3/4 cup (3 ounces) 2% shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup (3 ounces) finely grated Parmesan cheese


Melt the butter in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli, onion, dry mustard, cayenne, garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the broccoli and onion are fragrant and slightly softened, about 6 minutes. Add 1 cup of water and baking soda. Cover dutch oven and cook until the broccoli is very soft, about 20 minutes, stirring periodically, scraping the bottom.

Add the broth and 1 cup of water, and bring to a simmer. Add the spinach, and cook until wilted, about 1-2 minutes. Puree soup in a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth. Return soup back to the pot, and bring to a light simmer. Thin the soup out with the remaining water, if necessary (I didn’t use this last bit of water). Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve. Yield: 7 1/2 cups (~6 servings, 1 1/4 cup each).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 163 calories; 7.7 g. fat; 15 mg. cholesterol; 668 mg. sodium; 14.5 g. carbohydrate; 5 g. fiber; 11.1 g. protein

Result: A delicious, lightened up broccoli cheese soup! A conversation starter and crowd-pleaser all in one! I think kids would love this, too. Very simple (and cheap!) to make, too! Enjoy!



Question: Has spring moved in to your area?

Have a great weekend!

Buffalo Chicken Wings & Sauce

Monday was Valentine’s Day, if you recall. And if you know anything about my husband, his heart does cartwheels for all things buffalo chicken-y. I mean, the man practically lives off Buffalo Chicken Dip throughout the college football and basketball seasons. And oh, fabulous…March Madness is right around the corner! He’ll probably be a MLB fan before I know it. They play, what, 160-some games a year…not including playoffs.

And when I boycotted the making of Buffalo Chicken Dip, he stepped up to the plate. The man knows the recipe by heart.

To swoon him on the day of love, I decided to try my hand at Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings with Homemade Buffalo Wing Sauce. A key to a man’s heart is through his stomach they say…


Oven-Fried Buffalo Chicken Wings slightly adapted from Food Wishes

5 pounds chicken wings, cut into wings and drumettes salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste 3 Tbsp Frank’s hot sauce 2 Tbsp canola oil 1 cup flour

2/3 cup Frank’s Louisiana hot sauce 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter 1 1/2 Tbsp white vinegar 1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce 1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce or other hot sauce 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper 1/8 tsp garlic powder


Preheat oven to 400 F.

Season wings with salt and pepper and drizzle with Frank’s Hot Sauce. Toss to distribute flavors. Drizzle with oil and re-toss. Toss with 1 cup flour and dredge to cover.

Line 2 baking sheets with tin foil and coat with non-stick spray. Arrange chicken wings on the baking sheets and spray with non-stick spray to lightly coat. Bake for 60 minutes, turning wings after 30 minutes.

Bring sauce ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat. Adjust flavor, if needed. Remove from heat. Toss wings with sauce and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving. Yield: about 40 wings with sauce.

Nutrition Information (per wing with sauce): 146 calories; 7.2 g. fat (2.7 g. saturated); 57 mg. cholesterol; 227 mg. sodium; 2.5 g. carbohydrate; 0 g. fiber; 16.8 g. protein

Result: These were very good and Mr. Prevention gave a big thumbs up! I made half of this recipe and it made about 20 wings (wings and drumettes). Mr. P was very impressed that they got as crispy as they did…and no frying necessary! These would be great for a group on game day or for any casual entertaining! Enjoy!


And now, a confession.

I have prided myself on never having cooked poultry with its skin. After my attempt at baked wings, that is no longer the case. Wings are good because they are crunchy (thanks to the skin) on the outside and juicy on the inside. It’s easy not to think about the skin when you’re not the one preparing the wings and you can blissfully nosh away on spicy, delicious wings without a care in the world. Calories, who? Saturated fat, what? Mhmmm.

Not so much when you’re the one making them. HOWEVER! These wings are baked, not fried. So while the traditional wings not only contain the chicken skin (saturated fat) they are then deep fried (trans fat). You see, folks…I’m doing my husband’s health and waste-line a favor. Because let’s be honest, Buffalo Wild Wings is 0.9 miles from my front door and my husband frequents the joint on the regular. ;)

On an unrelated note, thank you for the well wishes! Tuesday was definitely the worst of the cold, but a migraine plagued me yesterday. I took the day off from work but made it to class to teach. I needed the day to recoup before lecturing for a few hours! I think I am on the mend and the worst of it is over. Good thing, my parents get to town tomorrow and I have a filthy house that needs a major deep clean! :-D

Question: What food would turn the key to your heart (or stomach)? :)

Be well,