Banana Bread with Nutella

posted on: Wednesday, October 1

Yes, yes we know food rules my world right now BUT besides the fact that I'm pregnant, we just moved from a 700 square foot apartment to a REAL house with a REAL kitchen and let me tell you — it begs to be cooked in. So here goes. This banana bread is soooo yummy and so easy and dare I say it has less sugar than my normal recipe. Or maybe I'm just telling myself that. The recipe makes two loaves, so enjoy! Recipe adapted from Zoe Bakes.

3 large or 4 medium (2 cups mashed) bananas, yellow with brown speckles
1 cup brown sugar, packed
4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour 
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup Nutella

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pans with butter, lined with buttered parchment. 

Mash bananas. In a stand mixer combine the sugar, butter, milk, eggs, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the sugar/butter mixture slowly, just until smooth. Add the bananas and mix just until they are combined. (Careful not to over mix.)

Place the Nutella in a bowl and microwave for about 20 seconds to soften. Drizzle 2/3 of the Nutella over the banana bread batter. Gently fold the Nutella into the batter, trying not to over mix, so you can see the swirls when it's baked. So pretty! 

Divide the batter into the pans, trying not to overly mix the batter, so you still see the swirls!Add the rest of the Nutella and swirl into the top of the batter. Bake for about 45 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Allow to cool. Dig in!

On Pregnancy Emotions

posted on: Monday, September 29

Ahh the bump in all her glory! 33 weeks and counting. I have to talk about pregnancy emotions because I don't see a lot of people on the inter web talking about them. Maybe I'm just not looking or paying attention. In all honesty I hadn't thought much about it until lately. Perhaps its just the lack of sleep or some of the woes that come with getting, dare I say, bigger... but every once in a while my husband will have to put his incredible negotiating skills to work. It goes something like this: 

After one entire day chock full of learning about babies at our hospital — having them, feeding them, bathing them, changing them, did I say having them? Natural or with medicine? Bassinet or no? Did someone say co-sleep? How dare! We began the drive home around 5:30 in rush hour traffic. Somewhere on that drive home in the midst of a perfectly fine conversation the topic of nesting came up. Meltdown begin. I still don't know why. I think it is because I feel slightly ganged up on when it comes to this topic. I've been wanting to 'nest' for some time now. Just to get everything in place, ya know! I couldn't find the crib I wanted in stock anywhere and every time I would bring up organizing everyone would say oh you've got time. I know I have time. I have counted these weeks and days with vigor! And as it gets closer I don't care how much time is left... I'm ready to nest. Of course, this opened up the cry box. Silly things that really don't matter but the tears they fell streaming down my face. My poor husband looking oh so helpless as he weaved through traffic. His calmness still amazes me in these times and I think it'll come in handy during labor. (wink wink.) So as my husband tries to soothe me I can't help but think how quickly that switch just switched. Perfectly fine to a wet sobby mess in just seconds. And this wouldn't be the last time, oh no. 

I barely missed another bucket full of tears during a cookie baking session gone wrong. My lovely little pineapple cookies that I spent so much time rolling out and cutting with my cute pineapple cookie cutter. Well those beauties turned into BLOBS as soon as they started cooking. What is the point of a cookie cutter if they're just going to start blobbing up as soon as they bake? Nada! So as husband soothed and I roared "but they're BLOBS!!!" we eventually determined a solution (just re-cut the blobs when they're fresh out of the oven and still warm and gooey - it totally worked!) Disaster averted! Thank you husband and family for your understanding and acceptance that there's a lot going on in this little body of mine and some days are easy and some days are hard. And some things are triggers for whatever reason that may be. Yes I know it's the hormones but don't bring that up with pregnant people. We get it. We just need extra hugs sometimes, or a shoulder to cry on, and most importantly we need not to feel like we're being crazy. Even if we are. Done.

Pregnancy Cravings

posted on: Friday, September 19

A lot of people have asked if I've had any pregnancy cravings. I always laugh and if my husband is around he makes a face that says "I'll tell you what cravings she has!" Because at the end of the day he can't really say no when I point to this belly of mine and say "I reallllly want it though" while batting my eyes and trying to portray my cute face if there is such a thing. So donuts and ice cream is your answer. SO not good but SO good at the same time. The ice cream cravings are out of control. I want some every night. Always. The donuts — now that started when we moved back to MA. Because, ya know, Dunkin Donuts is just plain good. BUT there is also this fabulous little place right down by the beach that makes their own FRESH donuts every morning. If you aren't there by 8:30am you're lucky if you can snag a plain donut. So we make sure to get there niiiiiice and early and I usually sing the song on the drive cause it wouldn't be a trip to Dockside Donuts without the song. My Dad made it up when I was little and it goes something like this: Dockside Donuts yaba daba daba daba, Dockside Donuts YABA DABA DABA DABA, Dockisde. DO NUTS! Needless to say I must tell my hubby often, I do, I love you more than donuts! Illustration by moi. Happy donut hunting.

Apparently Fruit Is It

posted on: Wednesday, September 10

If only my fruit cravings were as strong as my ice cream cravings! Typically when it comes to your own baby shower you stay out of it. When my Mom started planning — being the slight control freak that I am and, ya know, since design is ma thing — I inserted myself in the invite/decor phase of said baby shower and she politely obliged. But that is ALL! I won't even begin to take credit for the design because I found the pineapple theme over on The Allison Show where she decked it out for a Mother's Day Brunch. Too cute! You can find all her resources right there! Which is how I got my little hands on those lovely designs. I tweaked them a tiny bit and walla. Baby shower invites! We also made these DIY pineapple ring dish holders which we're giving away as favors (spoiler alert for those attending- wink wink). And perhaps there will be some cookies and other pineapple things in the works. Who knows! If you follow my instagram you've seen a lot of pineapple lately and now you know why. There is no lack of pineapple everything on the inter web right now so feast your eyes and send any fun ideas my way! Because this sweet little nugget in my belly is the pineapple of my eye! And I can't wait to meet her! Ten more weeks!

Blueberries for Days

posted on: Friday, September 5

A few weeks ago I dragged, yes dragged, my entire family blueberry picking. The promise of brunch afterwards was the only thing that got them to oblige. Well, not even 5 minutes in they were picking more blueberries than you could carry. Buckets full! In total we were there for maybe thirty blissful minutes. The sun was creeping up in the sky and the air got warmer and we picked and ate blueberries to our heart's desire. We left with over four pounds of those delicious little snacks. And the next day we made blueberry muffins and blueberry lemon bread and ate blueberries on top of ice cream and yogurt and everything else. It was divine.