Aunt Shirley’s Sugarless Banana Walnut Cake

This week my Great-Aunt Shirley went to be with the Lord. She was remarkably witty and kind, and very much a part of my childhood. She was also a diabetic, although I never heard her complain. She and my grandmother were diligent in controlling the disease as much as possible with their diet. In her memory, I wanted to share one of her recipes. I think this is my first purposefully published sugar-free recipe; which seems befitting. And I’ll tell you what I love about it (besides that it came from my great-aunt), is that she didn’t try and substitute the sugar with something artificial. The bananas are the only sweetness, and the walnuts actually shine. I think it would be great served warm with a small pat of butter in the morning with your coffee. Or, depending on your GI intake, I might drizzle a small amount of honey (maybe a tablespoon or so for the whole cake – 9 servings) over the top while it is warm and can soak it up to represent more of a dessert to which we are accustomed. Enjoy.

As organic as possible:

2/3 cup mashed Bananas (approx 2)

1/2 cup Butter or Margarine, softened

3 Eggs

2 cups all-purpose Flour

2 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp ground Cinnamon

3/4 cup Water

1 cup Walnuts

In a mixing bowl, beat bananas and butter until creamy.

Add eggs and beat well.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon; add to banana mixture alternately wit water, beating well after each addition.

Stir in nuts.

Spoon into a greased 9 inch square baking pan.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool. Yield: 9 servings.

Because I just have to, here is a picture of my grandma (top left) with her brother and sisters, Aunt Shirley is top center.

And this is Aunt Shirley as I will always remember her.

Aunt Shirley’s Sugarless Banana Walnut Cake


  • 2/3 cup mashed Bananas (approx 2)
  • 1/2 cup Butter or Margarine, softened
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp ground Cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • 1 cup Walnuts


  1. In a mixing bowl, beat bananas and butter until creamy. Add eggs and beat well.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon; add to banana mixture alternately wit water, beating well after each addition.
  3. Stir in nuts.
  4. Spoon into a greased 9 inch square baking pan. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until cake tests done.
  5. Cool. Yield: 9 servings.


Berry-Banana Smoothie Bowl

Now that I’m a raging health nut… I buy healthy recipe magazines. And according to my Clean Eating periodical, “Smoothie Bowls” are all the rage. They’re smoothies you can chuck so full of nutritional goodness and frozen fruits/veggies that you can’t suck them through a straw- hence the bowl and spoon. Of course if you know me, you know I am all about cutting edge (and regularly sarcastic). But I thought, why not? I like smoothies and I certainly know how to freeze a banana. However, for all my strides in stocking my pantry with chia seeds, coconut milk, almond flour, and avocado oil; I still came up short on my chlorella, maqui berry and maca powders. So I came up with my own, and I must say that it does feel indulgent. Like eating berry ice cream for breakfast! 😉


Serves 2 (or a hungry 1)

As organic as possible:

9 frozen Strawberries

1 frozen Banana, sliced into 2″ pieces

1/2 cup Almond Milk (Soy or non-fat milk)

5 Ice cubes

2 cups mixed frozen Blueberries, Raspberries and Blackberries

1/3 cup granola (preferably with some source of protein: nuts or seeds), plus more for topping (optional)

1 Tbsp Honey (buzzword “raw” optional)


Make sure to freeze your fruit the night before or at least several hours in advance (or you might end up with a regular old smoothie). Place all the ingredients in a blender and flip the switch! (Or push the button…)

Spoon the ingredients into a bowl and top with granola or slivered almonds if you’d like, and eat up butter cup. You’re so healthy!

Banoffee Pie

I love trying new things. Especially when they turn out to be awesome! Banoffee Pie, short for Banana-Toffee Pie, is a recipe that caught my attention a while back for my must try list. I mean come on, what’s not to like, right? Then along came Lina of Lin’s Recipes. She hosts recipe challenges for bloggers who’d like to participate in creating a themed list of dishes. This time around it was for “Cakes we have to try this Feb,” a collection of unusually named cakes/desserts that she gathered. Well, that struck a chord with me too. (The combined excitement was almost too much to contain.) This pie is sweet and creamy, luscious with an almost candy like crust. And if I may suggest: you should put this on your list.

As found in PIES delicious recipes for perfect pies:

Serves 4


generous 3 1/2 cups canned sweetened condensed milk (I used 2 – 14 oz cans)

4 ripe bananas

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups heavy cream, whipped

2 3/4 oz/75 g semisweet chocolate, grated


Cookie Crust

3 oz/85 g butter, melted, plus extra for greasing

5 1/2 oz/150 g graham crackers, crushed into crumbs

scant 1/3 cup shelled almonds, toasted and ground

scant 1/3 cup shelled hazelnuts, toasted and ground

Place the unopened cans of milk in a large pan and add enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for 2 hours, topping up the water level to keep the cans covered. Carefully lift out the hot cans from the pan and let cool.

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Grease a 9 inch/23-cm tart pan with butter. Place the remaining butter in a bowl and add the crushed graham crackers and ground nuts. Mix together well, then press the mixture evenly into the base and side of the tart pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes, then remove from the oven and let cool.

Peel and slice the bananas and place in a bowl. Squeeze over the juice from the lemon, add the vanilla extract, and mix together. Spread the banana mixture over the cookie crust in the pan, then spoon the contents of the cooled cans of condensed milk over the bananas. Sprinkle over 1 3/4 oz/50 g of the chocolate then top with a layer of whipped cream. Sprinkle over the remaining grated chocolate and serve the pie at room temperature.


Marsh-bani Fruit Dip & Fruit Salad

It doesn’t get easier or tastier than this. Honestly it’s just delicious. The fruit dip is sweet and a little tangy, ridiculous when you think about how easy it is. Did I mention it is fat-free? Your taste buds will never know. The yogurt goodness coats the fruit nicely as a dip, but why stop there? The next thought was, oh my goodness, this needs to be in a fruit salad. And can I just tell you, it was stellar. As in: this is what fruit salad needs to taste like for the rest of my life. If you are having a party this weekend, it’s great to serve dip style or in individual cups. So because I really can’t decide which way I like more, I’m sharing both. Lastly, let me just add that if you have any left over, you should throw it into a morning smoothie, because it is awesome… and so are you.

1 cup Marshmallow Creme

1/2 cup Chobani Fat Free Vanilla Greek Yogurt

1 pint blueberries, rinsed and drained

2 pints strawberries, rinsed and drained

2 large bananas (or 3 medium), I leave mine in the peel and third or quarter

2 apples, cut into wedges (with a couple center slices reserved for garnish)

Dipping fruit of your choice

Garnish with apple slices and fresh mint (optional)

That’s it! Two parts marshmallow creme to 1 part Chobani Vanilla Greek yogurt. Brilliant! I used a hand held mixer (with a whisk attachment) to blend the marshmallow and yogurt in a medium sized bowl. If you are blending by hand, just mix until they are incorporated. Place the mixture into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (or until party time), and the marshmallow and yogurt blend will continue to infuse.


Now if you want to turn it into fruit salad…

Hull and half (or quarter depending on size) your strawberries, peel your bananas and cut them along with the apples into bite size pieces. Place the fruit into a bowl, drizzle with the Marsh-bani Fruit Dip and gently toss. I take the extra step of tossing the fruit salad in a separate bowl from the one I am serving in, especially for a party… but that’s up to you. The dip can be made a day in advance, but I would not dress and toss the salad until ready to serve. Present in a bowl with a serving spoon or in individual serving dishes for guests to help themselves. Indulge yourself in this sweet treat!




Banana Bread

Banana Nut Bread is one of the easiest homemade delights around. To top that, it is so versatile! It’s a great breakfast treat to make ahead for family and overnighting guests. It’s an ideal addition to any brunch. It’s delicious eaten sliced right off of the loaf or toasted with a slab of butter. Banana bread is a perfect accompaniment for a light salad. It is easily toted to potluck gatherings and good for bake sales. If it were running for office, I would be its campaign manager.

Makes 1 Loaf

2 cups flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground nutmeg (I like freshly grated)

¼ tsp salt

2 eggs, beaten

4 medium bananas, mashed

1 tsp vanilla

1 Tbsp milk

¾ cup sugar, plus 1 Tbsp for topping

¼ cup brown sugar

½ cup sunflower oil (or oil of your choice)

½ cup chopped walnuts, 1 Tbsp reserved for topping

1 pat butter or baking spray

Preheat oven to 350˚. Grease 9x5x3 inch loaf pan with butter or baking spray, set aside. Now that you got all of the work done, let’s create! In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, mashed bananas, vanilla (because all baked goods need vanilla), milk, sugars, and oil. When combined add wet egg mixture to dry flour mixture.

Side note: There are certain baking rules that I just follow without question. One of them is adding wet to dry ingredients, which is the rule; unless there is a butter mixture involved in which you alternate adding dry and wet ingredients, in that order and sometimes even specified to start and finish with dry. These are just the common practices, and I follow them. If you want to be crazy and spontaneous that’s up to you, but heed my words I don’t know what you’ll end up with… probably banana bread.

When wet and dry ingredients are incorporated (mixture will be lumpy), gently fold in walnuts.

Another side note: If you know me, you know that I prefer banana baked goods with pecans, and they are perfectly substitutable in this recipe. I am also very traditional. So I do make my banana bread with walnuts… most of the time.

Pour the banana mixture in the greased loaf pan. Evenly spread the sugar and reserved walnuts across the top of the banana batter and place in the oven for 55 – 60 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean from the center of the bread. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from the loaf pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Nutty Banana Brownies

These are scrumptious. They are moist, chocolaty, nutty, and sweet. They are my favorite way to use up bananas. These brownies also have whole wheat flour, so you can feel good about them. Of course, you can use all-purpose flour too and still feel good about them, because they are just that good.

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

3 Tbsp cocoa powder

1/4 cup chunky peanut butter

2 eggs

1 Tbsp milk

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 whole wheat flour (all purpose flour works just fine too)

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1/2 cup chocolate chips, tossed in a tsp of wheat flour (all-purpose flour is fine)

1/2 chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 9 square baking pan and set aside. In a medium sized saucepan, melt the butter. Take off the heat and let cool slightly. Add the sugar, cocoa powder and peanut butter to melted butter. Stir until all is mixed together. In a separate bowl add vanilla to eggs and beat lightly. Add eggs and vanilla mixture, along with the milk to the cocoa mixture and stir. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt to the mixture and stir until combined. Place the mashed bananas into the mix, and gently stir again, mixture will be lumpy. Fold in the chocolate chips and pecans. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 – 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool before serving. These brownies are great at room temperature (even better I think), and the bananas keep them moist for days (if they last that long). But if you must eat them warm, because they made your whole house smell incredible and you can’t wait… Please do yourself a favor and dab a little Nutella on the top, because chocolate and hazelnuts goes perfectly with nutty banana brownies.

Good Morning Smoothie

Everyone has a smoothie recipe, and for good reason. They’re fun, fast, flavorful, and full of healthy things. (How many f’s can you fit in a sentence?) Owen is big on smoothies these days; which is great for me because my breakfast is often made by the time I get up. That makes for a good morning! He loves to experiment with flavors, and usually with fresh fruit. However for this recipe we used a mixed frozen organic berry blend; my contribution for the days we are out of fresh berries. He also likes to blend in some granola, so often his concoctions have a little chew.

Serves 2 (large)

As organic as you can:

12 oz Vanilla protein drink

1 cup ice

2 cups frozen mixed berry blend

2 bananas

½ cup granola (such as Kind brand blueberry and vanilla)

2 Tbsp honey (optional)

Put all the ingredients in a blender, and let her rip. When all combined and liquid-y, pour into a glass! Easy as that!

You are getting a healthy dose of fruit and some protein in this drink, so I feel it’s rather healthy. However this is not necessarily low calorie… so my recommendation is to drink your breakfast, and not to serve this with your eggs and bacon. I like my smoothie a little sweet, so I added that option. Now go seize the day!

And although this all seems very specific, I am not trying to put a boundary on the time you drink your smoothie.

Banana-Pecan Muffins

I don’t know about you, but I like my bananas with pecans. It’s not to say I don’t like walnuts, I have a great recipe for walnut pie in which no other nut will do. But when it comes to bananas and nuts in my baked goods, it’s got to be pecans. They even sound better together. Say banana pecan muffin, now say banana walnut muffin. You see what I mean? They’re meant to be.

Makes 12 Medium Muffins

As organic as you can:

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar (rounded)

1 cup chopped pecans

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 c sunflower oil (you can use canola or veg)

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla

3 ripe bananas (medium) mashed

3 tbsp milk

Preheat the oven to 375°. Grease a standard 12 cup muffin tin, and set aside. In a bowl stir together the flour, sugar, pecans, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix the oil, egg, mashed bananas, vanilla, and milk. Then add the dry ingredients into the banana mixture and stir just until it is all wet and mixed together.

Scoop the batter into each muffin tin about 3/4 of the way full (and unofficially, if you have any extra batter, continue to dollop it on the top of each muffin cup until it’s gone- just try to keep them even).

Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick, when poked into a center muffin, comes out clean. Let them cool (on a metal rack if you have one) for about five minutes. Then remove the muffins and serve or save for later. Enjoy!

Side note: We almost always have bananas going bad in our house so this recipe is a great way to use them up. However, we rarely have buttermilk; but, if you do please feel free to substitute the buttermilk for milk… You just might like it