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Going Bananas

Who really thinks about a banana? It was the piece of fruit in your lunch box when you were a kid that you did not want to eat, especially if there was brown spots on the skin.

Bananas get short changed and overlooked and I am here to tell you they are a great nutritional fruit with needed Vitamin C, B6, and potassium. Most fruits have to be picked when they are ripe but not bananas. Bananas can be picked while they are green and they ripen as the enter into our food stores and fruit markets.

Most Americans eat about 90 bananas a year. It is the only fruit I know that always tastes the same.

Bananas have about 105 calories per medium banana and have hardly any fat, sodium or cholesterol and are excellent for your heart and muscle health. There is about 3 grams of fiber per medium banana providing prebiotic and probiotic effects.

Some researchers  say that as the banana ripens the antioxidant levels rise and help our immune system fight cancer. There are studies that show that a banana that has ripened with dark spots produces Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) that fight cancerous tumors. More research has to be done about TNF effects but the power of this fruit is amazing! Instead of eating an average of 90 bananas a year we may want to increase that number to one everyday!
Below are some of my favorite Banana recipes I make for my family!

Banana Nut Bars
1 cup sugar
1 cup mashed ripe bananas ( about 3 bananas)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 cup all- purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Cream Cheese Frosting (below)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease rectangular pan, 13x9x2 inches. Beat sugar, bananas, oil, and eggs in large bowl. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir in nuts.

Spread batter in pan. Bake 25 and 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool Completely. Prepare Cream Frosting and spread on bars. Cover and refrigerate any remaining bars. (24 bars).

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup margarine or butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese, margarine, and vanilla in medium bowl on low speed until smooth. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until smooth.

Article Source: http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/go-bananas-forbananas/

Recipe Source: Betty Crocker’s Ultimate Cookie Book, 1992.

-Tamara, Founder

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