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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Going bananas: 6 things to do with the bananas on your counter

Normally, this would be a post about how nuts I am lately, but I'm good on that front!  Instead, it's a helpful little post on 6 things you can do with those bananas on your counter that are close to their end date. 

I always buy too many bananas.  I buy them with the best intentions of eating one a day, but end up throwing half of them in the woods and the other salvageable half get throw in the freezer and forgotten about.  No more.  I decided to get a handle on my banana problem, and I thought I'd share. 

1) My go-to banana reducer is Banana Bread.  I'm don't have one particular recipe that I use every time I make it, but I found this well written recipe for Julia's Best Banana Bread in the March 2013 Bon Appetit Mag that worked out just fine.  It made a huge, densely crusted loaf that I whopped in half and gave away to some very happy recipients (Dad and Sister).  I added some semi-sweet chocolate chips to the batter before baking, but other than that, a perfect recipe.  

2) Banana Smoothies are my friend in the afternoon. I never can decide on a snack that won't break the calorie bank, but a banana smoothie is a sure fire way to get that energy back and keep me running (and not devouring everything in my path) until dinner.  Simple: 

1 Banana (I keep too-ripe bananas in the freezer for this or you can use just a regular banana)
1-2 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 cup milk, 
1/2 cup water
1 cup of ice, 
splash of vanilla extract

Blend. Enjoy. 

3) Banana Cookies.  I found this amazing little skinny recipe on Pinterest for two-ingredient cookies.  Of course, I had to tamper with it.  So here's a 5 ingredient somewhat skinny cookie recipe.

Preheat oven to 350.  Throw two bananas, a cup of quick oats, and a teaspoon of vanilla extract in the food processor and blend until the bananas are smooth. Put in a bowl and mix in 1/4 cup chocolate chips and 1/4 cup coconut or nuts.  Scoop out cookies (2 tbsp each) onto cookie sheet.  Bake for 18 minutes or starting to turn golden around edges.  These things are solid and really tasty. 

4) Banana mask.  I haven't tried this.  Let's call it homework.  You moosh up a banana and mix it with a tablespoon of honey and then you smooth it over your face, wait for 10 minutes and then wash it off.  It's supposed to make your skin really soft and smooth.  I'll get right on that. 

5) Skinny Ice Cream.  Freeze a few bananas and throw them in the blender or food processor.  Blend until smooth.  Dump out into a little dish and you have some skinny banana ice cream. Wa-la.

6) The winner for the coolest thing to do with bananas, by far, is making Chicken with Banana Curry Sauce.  I wanted to find something savory to do with bananas, so during a little research, I found this recipe from Food and Wine Magazine.  Luckily, I had most of the herbs on hand so it wasn't too expensive, but it took me a couple of trips to different grocery stores to find bone-in chicken breasts. Let me tell you that when it was finished, my house smelled AMAZING! AND, it was even better for leftovers the second day after the chicken had time to sit in the sauce and marinate. 

No more excuses, people!  Eat those bananas.

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