Posts made in June 18th, 2011
On Monday, while we were in New York, we stopped into the NBC Experience store. For those of you that have never been there, it is basically an awesome store where you can buy a ton of fun souvenirs related to your favorite NBC shows. There were quite a few fun shirts and knickknacks I wanted, but the shirt that I almost walked out of there with was this one:
If you are an Arrested Development fan you know how awesome this shirt is. If you’ve never seen Arrested Development, open another tab in your browser and go add it to your Netflix queue right now. I’ll wait.
Even though I didn’t walk out of there with the t-shirt, I was inspired to make my very own Bluth-style dessert. Frozen bananas are creamy, smooth and the perfect summer-y treat. They are a great substitute for ice cream and pack a powerful nutrition punch.
I’m one of those people who absolutely must have a dessert for my meal to feel complete. It doesn’t have to be a lot—a small piece of dark chocolate or a spoonful of ice cream—but it has to be something. Having dessert with every dinner can very quickly add up to a lot of sugar and a lot of nutritionally-void food. But these banana pops are great for satisfying the sweet tooth without wrecking your whole day.
The process for making peanut butter banana pops is super simple. No recipe needed. Start with just spotted bananas. Now usually, I like my bananas a touch green, but when bananas freeze, any “green” flavor tends to get intensified, so I find it best to stick with bananas with more developed sugars for freezing. Also, the greener the banana, the more likely it will spilt when you put in the sticks. I slice my naners in half and then cut off the ends so they are nice and neat.
Using candy-making sticks that you can get from any craft store, push a stick into each banana half about 1-1/2 inches. Don’t worry if some start to split a bit, it’ll eventually all get filled with yummy chocolate.
Next up, you’ll need to freeze the banana halves for about 30-45 minutes. This step is important for two reasons. First up, a cold banana means that when you dip it in the chocolate, it’ll harden quickly and you’ll avoid a drippy, chocolately mess. Secondly, fruit has a ton of water in it and water and chocolate do not like each other. Pre-freezing helps to solidify the water in the bananas before it ever touches the chocolate.
In the meantime, chop up your “toppings”. I used roughly chopped peanuts, but there are a ton of possibilities. Sprinkles, coconut, chocolate shavings, chopped up pretzels, toffee. Use your imagination!
When your bananas are about done in the ice box, start bringing together your chocolate coating. In a microwave-safe bowl, toss in a bag of chocolate chips and a large spoonful of peanut butter (I’d say about 1/4 cup). Microwave for 60-90 seconds, stirring every 30 seconds, until the chips are melted and it is well-combined.
Now it is time to dip! Dunk each banana in the chocolate mixture. Use a spoon to cover the entire banana (also use the back of the spoon to scrape off excess chocolate).
Once covered, roll them into your toppings and then place on parchment paper while you finish up the rest. You can try to make them stand on end, but chances are, they’ll want to topple over. Feel free to take a moment or two to admire the beauty that is freshly poured chocolate.
Once you’ve finished coating all the pops (that chocolate mixture should make enough to coat four bananas—eight pops), transfer to the freezer to finish chilling. 1-2 hours later, you’ll have hardened chocolate and a smooth, frozen banana middle.
Once they are frozen through, you can transfer them into a zip-top bag and store them in the freezer for easy desserting.
Michael Bluth approves.
Ready for a bit of honesty? Other than the 10+ miles I walked in NYC, I’ve barely been exercising.
One of the first things to go when I get stressed, busy or overwhelmed is my exercise time. And the worst part about it? That 30 minutes of sweating helps me deal with the very stress that makes me want to skip my gym sessions. It’s a vicious cycle!
Mentally, I know the benefits of exercise. I know I feel better, look better, think better when I am consistently exercising. But somehow, I’m not able to connect the dots always about the importance of activity in my life.
Until this week.
If you read Kath Eats Real Food, you’ll know that her and her husband have opened a bakery this week. It is something they’ve worked toward for years and is a very exciting time in their lives. They both have been working crazy hard for crazy long hours (on top of other jobs and responsibilities). In the midst of this, Kath is still blogging about her runs or yoga or Body Pump classes. When she first blogged about going for a run during opening week, I thought “Gosh! How does she have time to fit in exercise?” and then the lightbulb clicked on—she has no choice.
Exercise isn’t a choice. It’s a bare necessity. Not just to Kath, but to all of us.
I don’t completely throw out brushing my teeth, eating, sleeping or breathing when I am busy, do I? No. So why would I toss aside something so vital to my existence as exercising so easily? Sure, things might need to be adjusted. I sleep a few less hours or I eat a sandwich in the car, but I never abandon those building blocks completely. And I shouldn’t do it with exercise either. Just because I can’t squeeze in a 10 mile run, doesn’t mean I should skip walking around the block a few times.
For the longest time, I just thought I was lazy. Too lazy to go to the gym. Or too lazy to put on my running shoes. But I don’t think that’s it. Because I’m not too lazy to cook us dinner. I’m not too lazy to take a shower (most days). I’m not too lazy to work hard. The truth is not that I’m lazy. The truth is that as important and empowering as exercise is to me at times, in my mind, it was never vital. A fun thing to do, but easily tossed aside if something better came along.
Now that I recognize my views toward exercise, I can start changing them. I’m not sure what my plan of attack will be. After all, how do you change your outlook? But I at least know where I am and where I want to go to. I know I need to view exercise as a vital part of my life.
For now, all I can do is go sweat. See you at the gym.