Whole Wheat Coconut Banana Bread

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Banana bread in the summer. It can be a thing, right? 
Certain foods are made for certain seasons, or at least certain temperatures. Warm banana bread just isn’t usually something I associate with summertime. Fall? Yes. Winter? Sure. Summer? Notsomuch.
I might just switch everything around and start eating banana bread and soup and chili all summer. Then when it’s cold and depressing in the winter, I’ll think of summer by eating ice cream and grilled corn on the cob and cold pasta salad. Okay maybe that wouldn’t work out so well. 
Let’s backtrack for a moment.
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I think I’m having an identity crisis. Not so much of who I am on the inside, although those deep, ‘what is my purpose in life’ questions have been on my mind lately. But my identity issues revolve around the more physical things. Like my face.

Do I sound crazy yet?

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Seriously though, (seriously, I’ve been watching too much Grey’s Anatomy again and those of you who watch too know what I’m talking about….seriously), where was I…
Oh. Right. Seriously, sometimes I look at pictures of myself and wonder, “Is that really what I look like???” I know I can’t be the only one who has had this happen to them. I’m not talking about pictures of me making stupid faces, but pictures that capture my face at a certain angle or something that I just can’t explain. I don’t remember ever feeling this way with pictures in the past, but more than just a couple of times recently I have had to stare at a picture to grasp that, yes, that really is what I look like.
It kind of makes sense. Our appearance changes over time. Slowly, but surely it does. Maybe I’m just finally seeing some of the subtle changes that are happening as I’m getting older. I know I’m not old, but hey, I’m not a baby either. I’m in my mid-twenties, not even close to my teen years anymore. I work full-time in the corporate world, pay bills, am married (woo! still getting used to saying that one!), and am usually in bed by 10pm. And I’m not afraid to admit it. 
So don’t mind me, snacking on banana bread in the middle of summer (okay, technically the beginning but the middle sounds better), trying to come to terms with my identity. 
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Afterall, is there ever really a bad time for banana bread?
Seriously.

Whole Wheat Coconut Banana Bread 
(Adapted from How Sweet It Is)

Ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup oil
1 1/2 cups mashed extra ripe banana
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 cup shredded coconut

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a large loaf pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flours, salt and cinnamon. Whisk until well-combined and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, add eggs and brown sugar. Whisk thoroughly until smooth. Add coconut milk and oil and stir until well-incorporated. Add mashed banana, then vanilla and coconut extracts. Stir until smooth. Slowly pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Stir until just incorporated. Add shredded coconut and gently stir until just combined. Pour into loaf pan.
4. Bake 55-60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Let cool in pan about 15-20 minutes before slicing. Serve warm.

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Doughnuts, Pancakes and PB&J

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I know I’m not the only one who can’t live without doughnuts. I don’t eat them often, but they are an extremely welcomed indulgence whenever I feel like really treating myself. For all of you doughnut lovers out there, have you ever heard of Spudnuts, or any other doughnuts made with potato flour for that matter? Spudnuts is a doughnut shop in Panama City Beach (along with many other cities across the country) that I discovered thanks to Greg and his family on one of my first trips to the city a few years ago. Oh my word, they are heavenly. 
This past weekend, we were in PCB and I couldn’t wait to get my Spudnuts fix. The cream-filled (NOT CUSTARD!!) long johns are my absolute favorite. I also split a cinnamon sugar twist with Greg. 
Love, love, love.
Spudnuts Donuts on Urbanspoon
Pancakes are another welcomed treat for me. I have pancakes much more often than doughnuts, but I still have to have an excuse to opt for pancakes rather than a more nutritious meal. Last week, I met with my good friend Hannah at The Village Bakery for breakfast and some good spiritual talk. As my first time at the restaurant for a sit-down meal, I knew I had to do it right. Pancakes it was! 

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It was so worth it. The fruit on the side cancelled out any negatives, right? These pancakes, and my time with Hannah of course 😉 , were the highlight of my day. 
Village Bakery Cafe on Urbanspoon
Doughnuts and pancakes are great, but you know what never gets old? Good old fashioned PB&J.
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Eating a PB&J sandwich while driving is optional. Driving or not, it only takes one bite to realize it’s a classic for a reason. If you use whole wheat bread, all-natural peanut butter and all-natural jelly or preserves, there’s no reason to feel guilty either. Paired with an apple or some baby carrots and you’ve got a perfectly simple and satisfying lunch. 
You + PB&J…make it happen. You know you want to. 

One Month.

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Today is the one month anniversary of the happiest day of my life…The day I married my soul mate.
In the grand scheme of things, one month is nothing. We have already been together for more than five years and still have the rest of our lives to look forward to. But to me, this one month is so much more significant than any other month we have been together, or will be together. The first month of being married was just an extension of our wedding day – filled with love and happiness and support from our family and friends. 
Here is what’s happened in the past month:
-Got married in Ohio.
-Went to Maui for our honeymoon.
-Changed my last name to Greer in time to be an official member of the family at the Greer Family Reunion just two weeks after the wedding.
-Had my two year anniversary with my company. (I can’t believe I’ve been in the real world for more than two whole years now!)
-Attended planning meetings for a young adult ministry at our church. After praying and praying for God to show me opportunities to get more involved, I am seeing Him answer my prayers in more ways than I could have imagined.
-Took a weekend trip to Panama City Beach to visit with Greg’s family and our friends.
-Found out some of our best friends are moving back to Charleston this summer and we can. not. wait.
-Started to house hunt. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
I can’t even describe how grateful I am for all of the amazing things happening in our lives. While there are sure to be very difficult times ahead, I am embracing these blessings now and know God will never give us anything we cannot handle. 
More than anything, I am content. It is truly the best feeling to know and understand I am where God wants me to be. I am excited to see what else He has in store! 
To my husband who I love so much, HAPPY ONE MONTH ANNIVERSARY! 

Weekend Eats – Daniel Island Grille, Co and a Cookout Picnic

This past weekend was the first full weekend Greg and I have been home as a married couple. It was fabulous. Friday we had date night at our island favorite, Daniel Island Grille. We spent the rest of the evening in watching a movie. Saturday started out with an exciting trip to the bank to join our accounts. After an unsuccessful stop at a doughnut shop on the way home (it’s a small shop run by an older couple and they apparently just don’t open if they can’t be there for some reason), we had a training session with Zoey, went for a run, then spent the rest of the hot afternoon by the pool. 
That night, we went to dinner with our friends at Co. I did my usual menu research beforehand and found a blog post from Christina about her trip to the restaurant a few months ago. Taking her word for it, I ordered the Yakisoba and it was amazing. The restaurant has a really cool atmosphere and we were lucky enough to be sat in the best booth in the house. 
Skipping ahead to Sunday evening, we fired up the grill to cook veggie skewers and corn on the cob. 
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I unpacked some of our new wedding gifts which included a serving tray. I filled up the tray with a bowl of guac, tortilla chips, a sliced baguette, seasoned olive oil for dipping, and wine. We set up a little picnic and enjoyed our dinner outside. I loved it.

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The night didn’t end there. I made a small batch of vanilla cupcakes for dessert. Instead of frosting them, I decided I’d make one of Greg’s favorites, strawberry shortcake. We had cool whip and fresh strawberries so it was meant to be. Lucky for him!
sberry shortcake
Now we’re back on the daily grind, but only for three more days. Then we have a three day weekend coming up in Panama City Beach! 
Have a good night lovlies. 

Sunday Blessings – Contentment.

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If that’s not the face of contentment, I don’t know what is.

I’ve been dealing with some internal struggles recently, like questioning where God wants me to be in life and how I can be a better person. How can I be more generous with my time and money? How can I make a real impact on my community and the world?

These are really big questions and a little overwhelming. I know it’s normal to go through phases of feeling unsure of my purpose in life,

I am so blessed for the opportunities God has given to me in the last several months to grow closer to Him. Greg and I officially joined our church last November. We started attending a Bible study with new friends and I’ve been invited to be a part of a ministry team planning committee at our church.

Even with activities, I find myself aching for more. Or, maybe it’s because of these activities, I find myself aching for more.

In our Bible study, we recently talked about being content – not always looking for the next best thing, comparing ourselves to others, or thinking about what we don’t have. It didn’t hit me right away, but now I see how that concept applies to my desires for a purposeful life as well.

I am exactly where God wants me to be. Sometimes I may feel like I’m not living out a purposeful life, but as long as I have faith, I have to believe that God has me doing what I’m meant to be doing. Everything happens in His time, not ours. I will continue to pray that God will present me with more opportunities to make a difference.

While I can work on being content, I know I can’t let myself get too comfortable. Searching for new ways to generously spend my resources isn’t going to be easy and I may not always feel like doing certain things. I think the key is to find a balance between being content, while also continually striving to be more like Christ every day.

Tempeh Zucchini Patties

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You saw all the food I ate on our honeymoon, right? After a week of enjoying eating out for just about every meal, combined with almost zero exercise, I’m refocusing on balanced eating and routine morning workouts. 
It hasn’t been easy though. My body still wants to sleep in and my stomach still wants to be filled with comfort foods like pancakes, pizza and ice cream a little too often. I’m slowly transitioning back to my normal ways, but embracing more of a carefree attitude. Not carefree as in giving into every temptation and not thinking about what I eat, but more like not obsessing about every calorie. I know what a balanced diet looks like and I really do enjoy centering my meals around veggies, fruits and whole grains. I don’t want or need to count calories (as I have been doing for a long time now) to determine every meal or snack. It’s more of an intuitive eating approach. I’m okay with eating more of the right foods as long as I keep my sweet tooth in check when it comes to desserts. Easier said than done
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Anyyyyyway. As delicious as pancakes and pizza and ice cream are, it’s hard to beat a meal that’s delicious and healthy at the same time. Like these Tempeh Zucchini Patties for example 😉 Topped with guacamole, you’ve got yourself one nutritious meal. 
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I haven’t cooked with tempeh too much, besides chili and enchiladas, so this was mostly an experiment. I’m thankful for the successful outcome, because my lack of kitchen time recently is causing this blog to suffer. I was just talking to my friend Hannah the other day about our occasional blog guilt when we worry about not posting enough. All it takes is a reminder to myself not to get caught up in the comparison trap and I instantly feel better. There will always be bloggers who post more, but there are certainly bloggers who post less. In the end, I’m blogging because I enjoy it, no matter how much or little I write.

There is enough unintentional comparison in the real world that we don’t need to bring it to the blog world too. Wait…blogging isn’t the real world? Now I’m just being crazy. Too much coffee this morning. Sorry. Am I even making sense anymore? Probably not.  

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Tempeh Zucchini Patties

Makes 8 small patties

Ingredients:
1-8 ounce package tempeh
1/4 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 large zucchini, shredded
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1 large egg

Directions:
1. Set frying pan on stove-top over medium heat. Add olive oil. When hot, crumble the tempeh into the pan and cook until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Pour tempeh into a medium bowl. Add onion, zucchini, and spices. Stir well to combine.
2. In a small bowl, whisk breadcrumbs and egg. Add to tempeh mixture and mix until all ingredients are evenly distributed. Divide mixture into evenly-sized patties.
3. Reheat the frying pan to medium heat. When hot, add patties and let cook about 3-4 minutes on one side. Flip patties and cook another 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Top with fresh guacamole.

Serving suggestions:
-Over a bed of greens like spinach or spring mix.
-On a toasted English muffin