Healthy Chocolate Swirl Banana Bread

banana breadCurrently I have the pleasure of interning for Registered Dietitian, and nutrition and lifestyle expert, Holley Grainger! Holley is a member of and this month’s challenge was …CHOCOLATE!!
I am always looking for an excuse to eat chocolate, so that is why I found a guilt-free way to enjoy it by pairing it with…. fruit! As I have stated many times before, I love creating healthy alternatives to not-so-healthy recipes, so when Holley asked me to develop a recipe using (my favorite ingredient) chocolate, my mind immediately went to something that I could enjoy at any time of the day.  
This isn’t your typical banana bread…it has swirls of chocolate blended throughout. I mean, really, what could be better than that!? I used honey (a natural form of sugar) and bananas to sweeten it. You definitely don’t have to think twice before enjoying a piece.  Give it a try :) 
OH — and I like to warm mine up and add a big ole spread of peanut butter on top. (um, drooling)
IMG_0602What You’ll Need:
  • 2 cups mashed ripe bananas
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract (8g)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp skim milk
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/3-1/2 cup honey
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder

How to:

  1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease loaf pan.
  2. Whisk together all liquid ingredients in a bowl. In the other bowl, stir together all dry ingredients except the cocoa powder.
  3. Mix the cocoa powder and 1/4 cup boiling water in a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients to make one batter. Divide the batter in half. Add the cocoa to one of the batters (so you now have one chocolate batter and one original banana batter).
  5. Scoop a  layer of plain batter into your loaf pan, followed by a layer of chocolate. Repeat until all batter is used up. Take a spoon and swirl the batters together for just a few seconds so you create that pretty marble look!
  6. Bake for 50 minutes. You may have to turn the oven off and leave the loaf in the oven 20 more minutes if it still needs to firm up.

Note: For best freshness, leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.

to see this recipe and more from Holley visit her blog/website here!

xxo, elizabeth <3

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites


— a post-valentines day post <3

peanut butter pretzels

I hope you all had a faaabulous Valentines weekend because I know I sure did :) I spent Saturday afternoon baking these yummy little PB poppers and PB s’mores brownies while Michael was at work. I wanted to share this recipe because 1.) they were a HUGE hit. I mean sweet and salty.. you can’t go wrong.. and 2.) they’re incredibly easy. Hope y’all will give ’em a try xx

What You Need:

  • 1 bag white chocolate chips
  • 1 bag peanut butter chips
  •  1 jar peanut butter
  • 1 bag waffle pretzelspeanut butter pretzels   peanut butter pretzels

+ Step 1: Line a cookie sheet with wax paper or foil. Spread a generous amount of peanut butter on your pretzels and place another pretzel on top to make little pb sammies.peanut butter pretzels+ Step 2: Place pretzels in the fridge to cool the peanut butter. This way it will keep together when they sandwiches get dunked in the white chocolate || YUM.peanut butter pretzels+ Step 3: Melt the white chocolate chips in the microwave or stove, but be careful!! White chocolate looooves to burn. Toss your PB sammies in the chocolate and coat them generously [ and i mean generously ] with chocolate.

*{TIP}* –> I like to melt my chocolate and place the bowl on top of another bowl filled with warm/hot water. Kinda like a make-shift double boiler. This keeps the white chocolate from hardening so quickly. Otherwise you keep having to re-heat it and lets be honest.. that’s just a million more chances to burn the stuff.chocolate peanut butter pretzels+ Step 4: Melt the peanut butter chips and drizzle it over the little gems once the white chocolate is cooled.

..aaaaaand you’re done! Simple right? But SO good. And again, if your boyfriend is like mine he doesn’t want some lame dessert with hardly any PB or chocolate. So don’t be afraid to completely load them up with peanut butter and coat them in chocolate!! Even double dip the things if you’ve got time.chocolate peanut butter pretzels— enjoy xx                         

The Silly Goose — A Nashville Favorite


This weekend was special because it was my birthday weekend! I turned the big 2-2. I know everyone says this.. but it truly was [by far] my best birthday EVER. Thursday night was my actual birthday and I got to celebrate with friends from school. We all went to dinner and downtown afterwards, but over the weekend I got to go home and celebrate with my family and Michael :) The Silly Goose Lunch Cafe NashvilleFlash forward to Saturday afternoon — Michael and I went to The Silly Goose. It’s a ridiculously yummy cafe that serves fresh and locally sourced food in Nashville. You can’t go wrong with anything you order from the menu it’s just THAT good.The Silly Goose Lunch Cafe Nashville Michael ordered “The Bird” minus the goat cheese. It had chicken, sun-dried tomato, avocado, and bacon served on toasted whole-grain bread.The Silly Goose Lunch Cafe NashvilleI ordered “The Sparky”. I wanted to branch out and order something new, but if it’s not broken don’t fix it, right? The Sparky has turkey, dried cranberries, brie (SO YUM), roasted walnuts, baby greens, and is served in a sun-dried tomato wrap. I also had them put the basil aioli on the side. I’m not a huge aioli person..The Silly Goose Lunch Cafe NashvilleYou can’t see it too well here, but we ordered “a little bit of both” as our side. It’s a little bit of herbed couscous and a little bit of salad. I’m glad they let you do both because I’m seriously the most indecisive person in the world.. I have a love/hate relationship with having options. Anywho.. the couscous is phenomenal and next time ill be tempted to order one of the couscous entrees instead of a sandwich. But we’ll see how that goes ;)

After lunch we walked around downtown Nashville. I got a suuuuper nice camera for my birthday (s/o to mom and dad) and was incredibly anxious to use it! I didn’t really know what to take pictures of.. but I was going snap happy.Nashville Tennessee Broadway River     Nashville Tennessee Jack DanielsAfter exploring we worked up an appetite.. or maybe that was just an excuse for our sweet tooth.. so we stopped at Savannah’s Candy Store. I wish I had taken more pictures because they had some crazy creations! They let you sample fresh pralines when you walk in the door and I’m not exaggerating when I say they were the best in the world. Michael and I went back for sample #2 when a new chef took over. HA.Savannahs Candy Store Nashville Savannahs Candy Store Nashville TennesseeWe finished up the day by heading to church with my family and winding down with some warm vegetarian chili, pumpkin cake, and a movie. Perfect for this terrible, freezing cold weather. Ew.

I hope you guys had a fabulous weekend as well! And if you’re ever in Nashville please give The Silly Goose a try!