Sunday, January 8, 2012

Banana Bread and Perfect Winter Biking

Today was a good reminder that I live in the right part of the country (for me). It was high 40s, overcast, a little bit windy, and in my opinion, perfect winter biking weather. This is about as good as it gets for January riding in Seattle. Although it's nice to have warmer temps that don't require layers of clothing and toe warmers, sometimes it's the cold, overcast days that make the fresh air smell differently and the sun reflecting on the lake shine a little brighter. Sure it'd be nice to have sunshine and warm weather all year. And it'd also be nice to have snow and cross-country ski trails at my doorstep, but for now Seattle is the best mix of mild temperatures and miles and miles of great riding.

Today's workout - 4 hour bike, 30 minute T-run. Not a super hard workout, but enough volume to remind me why I like going long. I rode out to Snoqualmie Falls, through Fall City, Carnation, and the Snoqualmie Valley, and then back to Lake Sammamish. I couldn't talk anyone else into joining me, but thoroughly enjoyed the time on my own. My ride was followed up with a 30 minute run along the lake trail, and a lazy Sunday evening making soup and baking banana bread.

Snoqualmie Falls ~ Some IMOO (Ironman WI) training with some cows in the Snoqualmie Valley ~ Lake Sammamish
I've whipped up my favorite banana bread recipe to bring to Masters swimming this week. Here's the recipe (taken from Runner's World about 4 years ago): 

Cathleen's Banana Bread
1 2/3 c. all-purpose Flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1 c. plus 2T sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c vegetable oil (I usually skimp on this)
3 1/2 bananas, very ripe and mashed
2 T low-fat sour cream
1 t vanilla
2/3 walnuts, chopped (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Sift together first four ingredients.
3. Beat sugar and eggs until light and fluffy. Drizzle in oil.
4. Add bananas, sour cream, and vanilla.
5. Fold in flour mixture and nuts.
6. Pour batter into 9x9 in pan(or 9x4 in) and bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
7. Share with friends and hungry swimmers.
8. Accept compliments graciously.

I also recently attended a "Back to Basics" cooking class with Annabelle where we learned how to do some basic things from scratch. To compliment the banana bread, I also made some homemade butter this evening - basically all you do is mix cream until it forms globules of yellow butterfat. It's super easy and also delicious. :) Enjoy!

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