When life gives you lemons….

You make lemonade. When life gives you very ripe bananas, you make banana bread. :) Or, at least I do. I admit that I buy bananas and let them get over-ripe on purpose so I can make banana bread. :) I have many banana bread recipes, some that I have shared here, some that I haven’t had a chance to share here yet. There is my traditional Banana Nut Bread, which I remember eating as a child. Then, there is the new, updated, Chocolate Chip Banana Bread. You can play around with that recipe and add pumpkin, that is yummy too. Then, there is the Cadillac of banana breads and this would be that one. This bread is everything you always wanted in a banana bread and more. All the bells & whistles. It R.O.C.K.S. I got this recipe from my sister long before I had to go gluten-free and have since transformed it to suit my GF needs. It wasn’t hard, I just subbed Pamela’s Pancake & Baking Mix for the all-purpose flour. If you use any other flour mix without guar or xanthan gum, remember to add it in ~ 1 tsp. per cup of flour mix. The original recipes comes from Southern Living. That right there, folks, speaks and says this is one serious banana bread. So, without further ado, I give you:

Orange-Pecan-Topped Cream Cheese-Banana-Nut Bread
***(You can also try as muffins – yummer!)

Prep: 15 min., Bake: 1 hr., Cool: 40 min. Warm bread is yummy, but to get perfect slices, let bread cool 30 minutes, and cut with a serrated or electric knife.

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour (I used Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (1 1/4 pounds unpeeled bananas, about 4 medium)
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted (I didn’t toast, too lazy today)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped, toasted pecans (again, no toasty b/c I was lazy)

1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; gradually add to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until blended. Stir in bananas, pecans, and vanilla. Spoon batter into 2 greased and floured 8- x 4-inch loafpans. Sprinkle pecans evenly over batter in pans.

Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean and sides pull away from pan, shielding with aluminum foil last 15 minutes to prevent browning, if necessary. Cool bread in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Stir together powdered sugar and orange juice until blended. Drizzle evenly over warm bread, and cool 30 minutes on wire racks.

Yield: Makes 2 loaves

Southern Living, JANUARY 2005

Now, the nuts add extra weight on top, so when you are making this GF, you may not want to sprinkle on as many as I did b/c it makes the bread sink more in the middle. GF quick breads will tend to sink anyway and adding that weight just makes it do so even more.

A before baking shot:

Weekly Meal Plan ~ December 14, 2008 ~ The Week Before Christmas

Wow…10 days until Christmas. I had better get my rear end in gear this week. Normally I have all kinds of Christmas cookies made and frozen by now. I am slacking with a capital “S”. Now I haven’t exactly been lounging around eating Bon Bons (are those even GF?), I have been busy with life. Funny how that happens, huh? This week is no different, busy as ever. Hannah is done with figure skating for the year, though, so that takes one activity away for Wednesday, though we still have Jon’s hockey practice that night.

Here we go!

Sunday ~ Inside Out Burgers ~ Take #2 (Take #1 didn’t go so well…all the toppings inside seeped out), sweet potato fries, steamed broccoli sauteed portabella mushrooms for me and the banana bread I made for dessert.

Monday ~ Tacos or Mexican Pizzas (with turkey meat), refried beans & Mexican Rice

Tuesday ~ Salmon with Thai Sweet Chile Sauce, steamed brown rice, sauteed zucchini & okra and salad

Wednesday ~ Breakfast for dinner (egg scrambles with sausage & cheese), sweet potato hash browns and GF english muffins

Thursday ~ Roast Chicken, mashed Yukon gold potatoes, steamed broccoli & salad.

Friday ~ Pizza of some sort, steamed veggies & salad.

Saturday ~ probably take-out or going out. I have an ornament exchange at 6:00 PM.

Baked Goods for the week

Remarkable Fudge (recipe to be posted later in the week)
Peanut Butter Fudge (recipe to be posted later in the week)
Orange Pecan Topped Cream Cheese Banana Nut Bread (recipe to be posted later in the week)
Gingersnap Cookies (recipe to be posted later in the week)
Russian Teacakes (recipe to be posted later in the week)
Chocolate Chip Cookies (these may get pushed into next week)

Okay, I have to run. Lots to do and not enough hours in the day! Have a great week! Oh, one last thing, make sure to check out In My Box for more great gluten-free menu ideas. There are a bunch of great menu plans at Org Junkie too.

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