Exercise/ Fitness/ Lunch

Shine Your Heart

Hehe well this morning was a great example of following your heart.

First of all, let me say that for some odd reason black bananas stress me out. Its like they are screaming “do something with me!!!” I hate to waste food and since Ryan and I drink so many smoothies, I usually just freeze ’em but having a culinary degree behind my name makes me really want to do something special with them sometimes.

So anyways, I’ve been watching these three bananas get darker and darker each day this week and wondering when I would have the time to make something with them. That, combined with the fact that I was so content in my pajamies, made me decide to ditch spinning and stay home to bake banana bread and do yoga instead!

I’ve sort of developed a taste for not-so-good-for-you naner bread lately. A little bit of butter really does make all the difference and its not something I eat every day so I really don’t mind going a little crazy once in a while. If you could call banana bread crazy. As I baked I listened to Pandora, my new obsession! I feel like I am the last person to find out about the wonders of this free internet radio and now I will never turn back. I even downloaded it on my Blackberry and listened to it with headphones at the gym yesterday! I’m a dork, I know.

Here’s the recipe!

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Banana Bread

Makes 1 loaf

1 stick butter, room temperature

3 VERY ripe bananas

2 eggs

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup organic dark brown sugar

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

pinch of sea salt

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp ground cinnamon (or more if you like!)

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium sized bowl mash the bananas very well. Set aside.

In a large bowl beat together the butter and sugar. I don’t usually bother getting out the KitchenAid for this…I just use a wooden spoon like Grandma! 🙂 Once the mixture is light and fluffy, add the eggs, cinnamon, vanilla, salt and mashed bananas. Stir very well until everything is incorporated.

Sift in the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Mix just until combined.

Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for about an hour…..sometimes a little longer, just check on it with a toothpick or fork. You don’t want to serve under-baked banana bread to your friends!


After I put the bread in the oven I cleaned the kitchen from top to bottom. I need to be better about this. When you live in a small apartment and cook a lot you really have to stay on top of this because things get gross fast! Today I did the countertops, sink and floor. I really hate cleaning but feel SO much better after I do.


And then I knew what I had to do. I had to conquer it………….the hardest ever 75 minute Dave Farmar podcast that I did an hour of on Tuesday. Yes, it totally destroyed me AGAIN today with all those dolphin poses, tri-pod headstands, forearm planks, floating half moons and forearm stands (whew!!), but I finished the entire class today and felt such a sense of peace when I laid back in savasana.

I was in a pool of sweat, no doubt, but felt so incredibly peaceful that all the sweat, swearing and huffing was worth it. In class today, Dave said that bad things WILL happen to us in life. Its how we let ourselves react to those situations is what matters the most. We could sit around and dwell in our misery or we could take the challenge and rise to the occasion of our life and try to form some sort of positivity out of negativity. When my brother died I never thought I could ever feel happiness again. I sank lower than any person should ever have to go and it literally felt like someone was dragging a razor blade across my insides. I was mad. Mad at him for being so stupid, mad at God for letting this happen, mad at myself for not being there…..but ever so slowly I have started to pick myself back up. Its still hard to breathe sometimes and I still pinch myself because, well, I didn’t sign up for this!!!!! However, if we constantly tell ourselves that life isn’t fair and we didn’t sign up for this we will never be happy again.

Life isn’t fair. Its just not. You are the only one that can make yourself happy again, regardless of the situation. You have to keep going, keep fighting, keep climbing that mountain. God would never give you anything more than you can’t handle and it will just end up making you stronger.

Okay, that was my Friday morning pep-talk. Maybe it was more for me than you but hopefully you got something out of it as well!

Of course after this butt kicking yoga sess, I was gnawing my arm off in hunger. A lot of you all have asked me if cold cereal keeps me full and my answer is that it depends on the cereal! Nature’s Path Optimum and Quaker Oatmeal Squares are awesome and they always DO keep me full and going all morning long. However, if I were to have Special K, I would probably faint in hunger.

For lunch I made salmon salad using a can of salmon (no bones, no skin), a glob of lite mayo (all out of my fav canola oil mayo!), spicy mustard. 2 stalks of chopped celery and a healthy pinch of curry powder.

On the side, I had a toasted Ezekiel english muffin, 2 pickles, a slice of beefsteak tomato and a nectarine! I love summer fruits!

Then I could sloppily put together a sandwich!

What a yummy balanced lunchie!

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Ryan and I will make it in Vero in time to have dinner with my parents at Betty’s house. I lived at her house for three months last winter, remember?! Seems like a lifetime ago. Just to pull everything together for you all, Betty is Christie’s mom (my best friend who now lives in Charleston) and while I was doing my externship for culinary school in Vero Beach last September-December, they were kind enough to let me stay in their guest room so I wouldn’t have to pay a crazy amount of rent. Christie’s brother, Teddy, was one of my brother’s best friends so we all grew up together. Betty is pretty much the best cook on the face of the earth and I can’t wait to taste what she whips up tonight!
I’m off to do some work, take a shower and pack! See you all from the sea! 🙂

You Might Also Like

  • Emily (Healthy Fit Mama)
    June 5, 2009 at 10:15 am

    Oh my gosh – my mouth was watering looking at that banana bread!! That’s one of my favorite indulgences.

  • missmolly
    June 5, 2009 at 10:26 am

    Thank you for this pep talk, Jenna! I read this blog because you really are an inspiration to me.
    And that pep talk was something I really needed to hear as a reminder.
    Stay strong!!!

  • elliebelle
    June 5, 2009 at 10:36 am

    Wow, your lunch looks delish! I want to try making that salmon salad. Yummy!

  • Emily
    June 5, 2009 at 10:37 am

    I love Pandora too, its perfect for work!

    I hope you make it to Vero too! I’m so happy that you are finding some peace!

    Have a great day!

  • Acadia Durham
    June 5, 2009 at 10:44 am

    You are an amazing person…And an inspiration.


  • Sara
    June 5, 2009 at 10:45 am


    It’s true; life isn’t fair. Bad things happen to good people all the time. But I’ve said this before: you either make it your life or you make your life from it. If you sit around and say that you’re a certain way because something crappy happened to you, what good will that do? Everyone has crap happen to them (some worse than others); make your life FROM it, don’t make it your life.

    That said, I’ll be thinking of you and your family tomorrow.


  • Shannon (The Daily Balance)
    June 5, 2009 at 10:52 am

    you are such an inspiration, my dear. Have a wonderful dinner tonight! Can’t wait to see what you’ll get to enjoy 😉

  • Katherine
    June 5, 2009 at 10:55 am

    1. Thank you so much for the pep talk! I hope it helped you as much as it helped me. Do you have any idea how much motivation and support you provide to your readers??

    2. The banana bread looks positively divine and now I want to save the bananas in my kitchen, rather than eating them in smoothies this weekend 😉

    3. Your lunch sounds wonderful – I love simple salads like this. I make a similar one with canned chicken sometimes (though you could use salmon or tuna in it!) and it fills me right up and gives me lots of energy for my day.

    Have a wonderful afternoon and drive safely!

  • Anais
    June 5, 2009 at 10:56 am

    That was a beautiful post!!! I think we all need a pep talk once in a while, and it was a perfect time to have one (for me anyways 🙂

  • Jenna
    June 5, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Great pep talk!! 🙂 I love reading when you are being so honest. You are a great writer.

    Wow! Your lunch is so colorful with that vibrant tomato and pickle!! yum-O

  • Matt (No Meat Athlete)
    June 5, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Seeing that banana bread really makes me want some! I’ll have to drop a hint to my wife the baker…

  • Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope
    June 5, 2009 at 11:10 am

    I agree that sometime it is SO worth it to splurge on a yummy treat! Your banana bread looks DELICIOUS!

    Good for you for going back to that Dave Farmar yoga session. I downloaded it myself and will be trying it today or tomorrow. I’m so excited for the challenge!

    I love you words of wisdom. It’s so true that what’s truly important is how we react to each situation and learn to rise above all the hardships in life. You are definitely a living example of that and a HUGE inspiration to me. 🙂

  • Sarah M
    June 5, 2009 at 11:11 am

    Jenna you are a star! You never know what life will bring you, and the only thing you can control is how you react to it. You are doing a wonderful job- with the blog, with your grief, and with your pusuit of happiness.

  • Kristilyn
    June 5, 2009 at 11:12 am

    I’ve been looking at Yoga podcasts lately, too … though I’m new to yoga. Any suggestions of websites for a beginner?

    LOVE banana bread! I was just thinking about the huge bag of bananas in my freezer – I should get around to using them. A few questions about your recipe – how much is a “stick” of butter? I buy mine pretty large and am pretty sure they’re not a stick! Also, I have whole wheat flour (best for bread) and a TON of all-purpose flour at home – no pastry flour – how could I adjust the recipe to use both of these?

    Lunch looks great! Again you’ve inspired me … I have cans of tuna AND salmon in the cupboard that I should use sometime. Do you think you could use plain yogurt instead of mayo?

    Have fun at dinner!


  • Ashley
    June 5, 2009 at 11:13 am

    you are truly such a huge inspiration. its hard to accept sometimes that life just isn’t fair, but its completely true that life is what we make of it. you are the measure of your happiness! we are all here for you, and even though times can be tough, there is a light at the end and you will find it 🙂
    p.s. im in love with the sugarland station on pandora too! it just makes me happpyyyy!
    and p.p.s.
    I”M MAKING THAT BANANA BREAD! it looks and sounds amazingggggggg xoxo

  • Kati
    June 5, 2009 at 11:18 am

    That bread sounds so scrumptious! I hate cleaning too, but yes, I ALWAYS feel better afterwards. It’s kinda the same with yoga too 🙂 I know you have been through a lot with your brother and I hope that tomorrow is a day for you and your family to remember him and all he meant to you.

  • Andrea
    June 5, 2009 at 11:24 am

    Wow Jenna! That is such great advice about life. You are such an inspiration to many. You are in many of our thoughts.

  • brandi
    June 5, 2009 at 11:25 am

    your bread sounds delicious!

    Great, great post, Jenna. After losing a bunch of family members and having too many emergency scares over the past couple of years, I realized the same thing. It doesn’t matter what I do: life is going to suck somedays. You lose people you love. Bad things happen. But good things happen, too. I can’t dwell on all the crappy stuff that happens in life, or I’ll never be able to enjoy ANYTHING.

    I hope you guys have a safe trip!

  • Courtney (The Hungry Yogini)
    June 5, 2009 at 11:25 am


    Love the pep talk.So true!! We must CHOOSE to be happy!

    Prayin’ that you get there in time for dinner!!!

  • Elizabeth
    June 5, 2009 at 11:26 am

    Jenna, your banana bread looks incredible. YUM.
    I’m totally inspired by you, and I wish you so much success because you seem like such an amazing person.
    Have a wonderful day… Oh, and what color nail polish were you wearing on your toes with the gold sandals? Love it!

  • Laura (On the Threshold of Greatness)
    June 5, 2009 at 11:28 am

    I totally agree with what you wrote! We can’t determine everything that happens to us, but we can certainly determine our reactions.

    Your lunch is so vibrant and gorgeous! And I love the banana bread!

  • Jennifer @ His N' Her Health
    June 5, 2009 at 11:36 am

    Loved the pep talk. I actually really needed that as well. 🙂 mmm gotta love banana bread!

  • Lacey
    June 5, 2009 at 11:39 am

    Todays post was very inspirational. We all have to get up and dust ourselves off when God tosses something tragic at us. You are awesome!

    I have two bananas that are on their way to going very black so I am thinking that some of this banana bread is in order. It looks delish!

  • Peabody
    June 5, 2009 at 11:39 am

    Mmmm, that banana bread looks wonderful. I too can’t deal with black bananas.

  • Caroline
    June 5, 2009 at 11:45 am

    You are AWESOME! That is all 🙂

  • Marcia
    June 5, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Wow, you have a one butt kitchen! We had one of those when my hubby was in grad school. Same layout even.

    I had my first green monster for breakfast today. You (and others) are inspiring me!

    I totally agree about attitude. I have a positive attitude, always have. My mom and brother? Not so much. How do you change that I wonder?

  • Katherine
    June 5, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    I think it is great to bake the classics. They seem to have a bad rep in our “health” world but I think it makes a lot of sense to bake from scratch with natural foods. Butter is a whole food after all. Becel olive oil margarine and vegetarian shortenings are made with poor quality fats that we all know aren’t good for us!

    I think it is quite healthy and when baked goods are made with good quality ingredients and love we are more satiated and able to stick to just one slice (not that we don’t WANT to go back for more because it tastes so frickin good). Plus saturated fats are more stable in baking! I tend to use unrefined coconut oil just because I prefer the taste, but think that butter is an excellent product – as long as it is the good quality kind! Anyways thanks for your example of healthy and intuitive eating!


  • Megan (The Runner's Kitchen)
    June 5, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    I love banana bread! I made some whole wheat chocolate-chip banana bread last weekend and have been slathering it with almond butter and calling it dinner. Hehe.

  • Run Sarah
    June 5, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    What a great post – you have such a positive attitude despite what has happened in the past few months.

  • Melissa @ For the Love of Health
    June 5, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    I enjoyed this post. I am currently struggling with a few things in my life right now and I am finally realizing sitting here in misery will not solve a damn thing and I should not be so easily swayed by others (more specifically negative others). I can make my own happiness and I must make my own happiness.

    I hope to one day be able to 75 minutes of hard core yoga like you. That’s amazing!!

    The banana bread looks great. Banana bread is definitely one of my favourite treats.

    Have a great weekend Jenna! I hope the weather is nice for you.

  • Anna
    June 5, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Pandora is an absolutely brilliant invention – I just love discovering new amazing music.
    That banana bread looks delicious!

  • yali
    June 5, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Jenna your pictures look amzing! Are you doing something different?

  • magicanderson
    June 5, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    I have often reminded myself that exact same thing… God really will never give you more than you can handle. Just doesn’t work to try to make sense of things or think about fairness. You are doing so good, Jenna! Give yourself a break, it’s only been a matter of weeks. You are allowed to work through things.
    And— the bread makes me check my freezer for bananas=)

  • Still Life in South America
    June 5, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    Hi Jenna,

    I’m glad you had such an inspired morning. There is nothing like banana bread and a clean kitchen. Your kitchen positively sparkles!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on facing the negatives in life. They came at a good time for me.

  • Julie
    June 5, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Love the pep talk. Sometimes it’s hard to think of the positives when we are so low, but there’s always tomorrow.

    It’s like my new fave song “the climb” by Miley Cyrus…totes lame, but it’s a good tune!

  • Maria
    June 5, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    Ah yes, I hate the clean up part of cooking/baking, but someone’s gotta do it. That lunch looks filling and yummy!

  • Bec
    June 5, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    That bread looks great, have an amazing weekend!

  • Sarah
    June 5, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    I loved what you said about life and how we react to things. I sent it to a friend of mine who is struggling right now.

    I remember all the lovely meals at Betty’s, I’m sure you’ll get something great tonight too! 🙂

    Love the lunch and the comment about Special K, that’s totally me too!

  • Cecile
    June 5, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    When Dave said that it really hit home for me as well. It’s such an empowering way to look at life. Another thing a yoga teacher once told me, and I LOVE, is: “Think about the way you look at a loved one and they don’t see you watching them. Think of that amazing feeling they give you as you just watch them doing whatever it is they are doing. Now, look at yourself, and your breath, that same way. Love yourself with that tender, caring love.”

    Good for you, listening to your heart this morning!

  • Gloria
    June 5, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    Thank you so much for those inspirational words. It’s so powerful to see someone who has gone through such hardship have a positive outlook on life.

    And don’t feel bad, I just found Pandora last week too and everyone thinks I’m nuts because all I keep talking about is how awesome it is. I’m always so behind with these things. Blackberrys rock!

  • Matt
    June 5, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    That banana bread looks delicious! Mmmm maybe I’ll make some today!

  • Menden (SkinnyMenny)
    June 5, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Your little words of wisdom came at a perfect time for me today…thanks for sharing 🙂

    I looooove Pandora – it’s the BEST! And so is homemade banana bread!

  • Emily L.
    June 5, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Thanks for the inspirational and motivational Friday post. Sometimes it is good to remember that it can be about number one.

  • Ainsley
    June 5, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    I know exactly what you mean about black bananas, they stress me out too! I have a couple of really ripe bananas on my counter right now and I was planning on making fresh banana-walnut, chocolate chunk cookies from Martha Stewart’s website tomorrow! Everytime I make them people swoon.

  • Melanie
    June 5, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Thanks for the pep-talk….it’s funny how, when you think your message may have just been for you, other people always get so much out of it too. You’re a blessing.

    Your lunch was sooo colorful…beautiful photography! Safe travels!

  • Sam
    June 5, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    I’m the same way with bananas and I swear my Dad purposely buys too many just because he knows I will make some sort of treat with them.
    Thanks for the pep-talk, it’s was very motivating!

  • Low
    June 5, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    I just discovered Pandora last week! I thought I was the last person, haha! How did I not know about this?!

    Such an inspiring, touching post. I am so amazed how you are able to be so grounded and thoughtful in the midst of your tragedy. I admire your strength.

  • ashley
    June 5, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    where did you get the magnet for your knifes that hangs on your wall?

  • theresa
    June 5, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    hi jenna,
    i’ve been reading you blog for a couple of months now and your blog today really hit home. i really feel that in life, we all have our own personal battles that we “fight” and you are correct when you say that we have to fight the fight, perservere, and that what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger. on that note, keep your head up and keep on fightin’!

  • Michelle @ Find Your Balance
    June 5, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    With organic butter and maybe maple syrup instead of brown sugar, you can eat all the banana bread you want! Go for it, it’s yummmmmmy!

  • Rebeca
    June 5, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    I spent a lot of yesterday (and today) feeling sorry for myself and stressing/crying/etc. about my pretty awful job situation and what you said is sooooo true and just what I needed to hear. God will never give us more than we can handle!

    Thank you, thank you, Jenna!

  • Laura
    June 5, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Hi Jenna,
    I just had to comment and say thank you for responding to my email recently about the Irritable Bowel Syndrome. After having a horrendous experience with a bad reaction to the antidepressants that I was prescribed for it (ended up in hospital after a mild seizure, yikes), I’ve rushed hurriedly back to the more natural remedies. So far, I’ve been having some good results with the peppermint oil capsules, so thank you for the suggestion! I’m also having a look at my diet and realising that I might have to rethink some of my ideas about “whole grains = good”, “refined grains = nutritionless calorie bombs”, since I think a surfeit of insoluble fiber could be wreaking a bit of havoc! One thing I have started doing recently, however, is adding in a nightly dose of dark chocolate (despite its reputation as an IBS trigger! Thankfully, it doesn’t seem to be triggering stomach pain attacks yet – isn’t IBS awful? I’m sure no one should have to deal with chronic gut problems until they’re at least ninety!). I’ve decided that life without food indulgences is joyless and pointless, and that you can obsess way TOO much about stringently healthy eating. What I wanted to ask, if you don’t mind, is how much chocolate you tend to eat each day? I’ve been eating around 4 squares, about 15 grams, which seems nice and moderate to me, but I have no idea what a “healthy” amount is.

    Love all the photos of you recently, by the way! You have such a lovely, friendly smile that it always makes me feel a bit more cheerful.

  • Becky@I Heart Running & Food
    June 5, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    I loved the comment, “only YOU can make yourself happy” because it is sooo true! It all comes from inside. The naner bread looks delish. I find that I need a hearty cereal to keep me tide over until lunch…sometime I add some vanilla protein powder to the milk and that keeps me full too. Have a great weekend 🙂

  • Gabriela
    June 5, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    You are just too cool. Reading your blog always makes me feel better when I have a sucky day, like today. You don’t even know me. But I’m obsessed with your blog and really like you, even though i don’t know you. You just seem to be such a good person.

  • Liza
    June 5, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    Have a good time, Jenna! And you’re so right about pushing through. Sometimes I have to keep telling myself it’s not God’s fault because he wouldn’t inundate me with trials if I wouldn’t be able to handle it. Stay strong yourself. 🙂

  • Island Girl Eats
    June 5, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    I could smell that banana bread! Looks sooooo good.

  • Tammy (Defining Wellness)
    June 5, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    The salmon salad looks yummy! I hope you’re hanging in there!

  • Jess
    June 5, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    Your banana bread sounds fabulous! As does your balanced lunch 🙂 I did an hour of Dave Farmar, but not as hard as the one you did! I love him–he’s so funny!
    <3 jess

  • Bev
    June 5, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    What a beautiful post. The bread looks good. Have you tried Heather’s Almond Butter Banana Nut Muffins ( Zesty ) posted them. They are so GOOD !!!

  • Lauren
    June 6, 2009 at 8:45 am

    Black bananas stress me out too! haha

    I loved your pep-talk, it helped me think differently as well. If someone who has gone through what you went through can still come out of it trying to stay positive and look at life from a different perspcetive then so can I. Thank you…and keep looking forward, because things will get better. 🙂

    I hope your time in Vero goes well!

  • JT @http://thefauxfoodiegirl.blogspot.com/
    June 6, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    You’re pep-talk is amazing and it was exactly what I needed – THANK YOU. You inspire me every day…keep up the great work….we should have FL food blogger get together soon – what do you think?

  • Butterfly
    June 6, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    I have been reading your website for about a year now, but I’ve been a lurker who never comments. I just wanted to thank you for sharing this particular post. It was beautiful, heartwarming, and honest. It really touched me. Thank you.

  • RunToFinish
    June 6, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    great pep talk, I think i need to check this guy out!!! I am now searching your site for some of those fun recipes I saw with Dates as I finally bought some!

  • Laura Brandon
    June 8, 2009 at 8:33 am

    That banana bread looks SO good AND it actually sounds like soemthing I could do myself!!

    Also, I was just thinking this morning in the shower that God will never give us anything we can’t handle, and that we always have to lean on Him, so to get out and this be the first blog in my reader (I’m behind, I know) was just awesome! Don’t you love it when a thought you have gets confirmed even in the smallest ways?

  • Debbie Sue
    August 10, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    Hey there, sorry I don’t post much but I truly am a daily fan of yours. I saved this page as I wanted to try this recipe. Lets just say I finally got around to it and LOVED it! Positively LOVED IT! You’re such a doll for sharing as I’m always in the mood to try out a new Banana Bread recipe. Thanks hun. Got you in my prayers these days and pray for a these yuckies to pass.

    Blessings – Debbie