Friday, August 3, 2012


FRIDAY FIVE - Over the weekend I discovered my new favorite tea spot in New York City and took home four lovely little bags of oolong bliss.  One of which inspired today's Friday Five.  This week I'm dedicating a post entirely to my favorite on-the-go snack that often packs a much-needed punch of potassium, dietary fiber, sugar, and Vitamins C and B6.  Great for your heart, bones, kidneys and nerves!  They can increase your mood and have worked every time to get rid of cramping and discomfort in my feet.  Not sure of how much I love bananas?  Drop by my semi-annual Birthday Bananathon and see what kinds of shenanigans ensue on the streets of the Big Apple and beyond!  Although I could probably list a dozen, I will now share with you, my lovely readers, five of my favorite banana goodies...

I figured we'd kick off this top 5 list with my inspiration.  The loose tea smells sweet and almost creamy, like a batter instead of a bag of dried leaves and fruit.  Tiny banana chunks are mixed with organic oolong tea and stevia leaf.  The leaves take between 4 and 7 minutes to steep (I always let it go the longest, so seven worked for me) and the water takes on a yellow-ish color that is reminiscent of a banana.  The aroma is that of bananas just unpeeled and as you sip, the colorful flavor of banana fills your palate with delightful natural sweetness and can probably be paired with a dessert of chocolate covered frozen bananas or perhaps a banana rum cake.  Mmm... that sounds like a good idea, actually...

This was a pretty cool find and caught my eye because it was on sale at CVS while I was in California a few years back.  Simply mixed with orange juice, this little love makes for quite the festive tropical cocktail.  Lucky for me that I was searching for an image of this particular beverage to share with you, because the one you're seeing above linked me to a recipe for a Banana Rum Cake that I can hardly resist making right away.  I sadly could not make it on the spot, but I can assure you that it will happen sooner than later and that you'll be hearing all about it.  Maybe I'll even make Banana Rum Cupcakes.  Mmm... now doesn't that sound good?

This place has out-of-this-world gelato flavors that have won me over time and time again.  I discovered them two years ago and have filled up many a frequent-buyer punch card.  My favorite pairing of flavors (they let you choose two) is the Bananas Foster and Chocolate Hemp-Based.  They are creamy and flavorful, perfect to be shared or kept all to yourself.  The Bananas Foster tastes like a true dessert and the only way to properly describe the flavor is to taste it yourself and understand... so drop by 2nd and 10th (LES) in New York City and order-up!

#2: FROZEN NANERS!  (w/choc chips!)
So, you've bought some bananas and they are starting to get a little soft because you haven't consumed them fast enough... if you're like me and you're not too keen on eating them that way, you have a couple of options to make some good use of them.  You can do what I have listed below as the #1 way I love to eat bananas... or you can try this.  Peel your bananas, cut them in half and place each half into a sandwich bag.  Then, leave them in the freezer overnight.  In the morning, you'll have a delightful little treat to wake up to that is perfect for summer and is more of a dessert than just a piece of fruit anymore.  Want to get fancy?  Melt some chocolate in a dish and roll the banana around in the chocolate first, allow to dry for a few minutes, and then put the chocolate covered banana into the fridge... or even just take a few chocolate chips (as seen above) and squish them into the sides of the banana before freezing.  Maybe take a popsicle stick and insert it into one end for easy portability!  If you have kids and they like ice pops, this is a bright-idea alternative to those sugary cavity-causers they sell in supermarkets.  Inexpensive, quick, and easy... not to mention ultra healthy!

#1: BANANA PANCAKES (Jack Johnson Style!)
There's nothing like getting up early in the morning, snuggling up in your pjs, and makin' banana pancakes... maybe pretending like it's the weekend while you're at it!  These guys are quick and easy and provide a great and constructive way to use your bananas when they start to get a little mushy.  If you're like me and grew up with Aunt Jemima pancake mix in your cabinet, then you're familiar with the 1 cup mix, 3/4 cup milk, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1 egg recipe on the back of the box.  If you want to bananafy your pancakes, the process is simple... just add 1-2 bananas to your 3/4 cup milk (I use soy milk) and blend either in a blender (to make it smooth) or by smooshing it by hand (to leave it a little chunky).  This is great for my veggie friends out there and can be made vegan with an egg replacement... or if you're brave and want to try it with just the banana, be my guest.  I'd suggest it but I never have.  Top it off with your favorite syrup and you're sure to impress and delight all who share!

What's your favorite banana flavored food or beverage?
Share with us in the comments below!  AND HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEKEND!

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