The Diet Diaries: #2 (Having My Cake)

Since we’re all friends here, I have a bit of a confession to make: I am a banana bread-aholic.  It has come to the point where I often buy bananas with the hope that no one in the house will eat them.  I place them carefully behind the knife block or next to more appealing brightly colored citrus fruits as a sort of consumption deterrent.  Then, I watch them patiently as they slowly turn from green to yellow to brown to a delicious shade of black.

It’s easy to convince myself that banana bread is a healthy treat, because it’s full of bananas.  Much like the vegetable argument behind carrot cake, filling any baked good with a large quantity of fruit is psychologically the baking equivalent of eating a side salad with your bacon cheeseburger.  The problem with this type of thinking is that it completely ignores all of the other ingredients, particularly the butter and white sugar.  With the “D” word hanging over my head, I feared that I would be in for a long banana breadless journey.

My friend and fellow bakeaholic Cristina suggested to me that I check out a website called The Skinny Chef, where it was rumored there existed a less guilty recipe for peanut butter banana bread.  I went on the site, and suddenly it was as if the clouds parted and my computer glowed with a magical light.  That is how much I love love love banana bread.  All that was left to do was wait for some bananas to ripen up, and I would be on my way to dessert heaven.

This banana bread is a dieter’s dream come true.  It uses whole wheat flour, egg whites, brown sugar, and the peanut butter takes the place of butter or margarine.  Plus, the added bonus is that the protein in the peanut butter makes each slice wonderfully filling.  I followed the recipe fairly closely, except for two very delicious substitutions.  Since I didn’t have quite enough peanut butter for the recipe’s requirements, I added about 3 Tb of Nutella (always a favorite in my baking endeavors) and since the recipe didn’t specify I used fat free banana yogurt.  The result was the most delicious banana bread I have ever made in my entire life.  Considering how much banana bread I’ve baked over the years, that’s saying quite a lot.

For the recipe, check out the Skinny Chef website here.

I would also suggest you stop by Cristina’s blog, 100 Days of Happy, for a regular dose of amusement.

I’m pretty sure this counts as a vegetable

There were lots of carrots just sitting in the fridge not doing anything useful. So, I turned them into a cake! It’s full of carrots, which means it must be good for you.

Here’s a recipe of sorts. I approximated most of the spices, so feel free to go wild!

Mix together:
2 cups sugar (or 1 cup Splenda baking blend)
2 cups flour
1tsp baking soda
1tsp baking powder
1tsp salt
cinnamon (I like 2 parts cinnamon for every 1 part other spice)

1 cup oil
4 eggs
dash vanilla
lots of shredded carrot

Some people like to add nuts. I am usually one of these people, but there were no nuts to be found. I suggest walnuts.

Grease and flour a 9×13 pan. I get the baking spray with flour built in. It’s handy, and there’s no mess. Bake at 325 for around 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Now, leave the cake somewhere safe to cool and walk away. I find this to be the most difficult part, but it’s important not to touch the cake until it’s completely cool. You can busy yourself making icing while you wait!

Cream together:
8oz cream cheese (I used the reduced fat kind, and it was still delicious)
1/2 cup(ish) margarine
lots of vanilla

Add in powdered sugar until you reach the level of sweetness you prefer. For me, it usually takes around 2 cups of powdered sugar to do the trick. Don’t ice the cake until you’re sure it’s cool, or else the icing will go all runny! If you’re serving the whole thing, then feel free to ice away. Since I’m just eating this a slice (or two) at a time, I keep the icing in the fridge and apply liberally as needed.