02 February 2013

Ugh ... The February Funk ...

Bring on the chocolate, folks. It's February and in the little grey cottage, I am settling into the traditional February Funk. This always seems the cruelest time of the year. The sun begins to increase in intensity a bit, but the weather is so changeable. One day it's balmy and gives hope of Spring and the next a bitterly cold wind sweeps in from The North and dashes that hope AND the crust of ice on the driveway puddle. Wind chill makes everything seem even worse. So ... I retreat. I ignore my usual 'about town errands' and computer routines, don't go to church on Sunday morning, rattle the soup pots, put a sweater on over the turtle neck and big shirt, shirk as many responsibilities as possible, re-prioritize my Netflix queue, grab a good book or two, and let the library due dates expire.

SB ratchets up his kitchen skills a bit and takes over for me while I sink low for a month or so ... it's the same every year. While I watch TV, stick my nose in a book, and sleep, SB makes do with big pots of soup, the most basic of meals, leftovers, and my occasional foray into the kitchen to bake.

It's pathetic, I know. Not many people have the luxury to languish in a mid-winter funk for long, but I do. Perhaps it's my primitive way of re-charging my batteries or perhaps it's just a lazy woman's way of taking a cheap vacation. Who knows? I've stopped analyzing it. It just is ...

So ... I roused myself long enough to bake a loaf of banana bread for SB today and put a little extra something in it for him. This is a Cooking Light recipe, although what's 'light' about it I don't know. It still has butter and brown sugar, Nutella and chocolate, nuts, etc! It's making me sit up and take a little interest in the kitchen, so that can't be a bad thing.

Chocolate-Hazelnut Banana Bread
a Cooking Light recipe


5 tbsp. Nutella spread
3 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. canola oil, divided
3 tbsp. butter, softened
½ c. packed brown sugar
2 medium ripe bananas, sliced
2 large eggs
1½ c. flour
¾ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
⅔ c. buttermilk
½ c. chopped hazelnuts
1 oz. bittersweet chocolate melted


Making the Dish:

1.      Preheat the oven to 350° F and spritz a 9 x 5 inch bread pan with cooking spray.
2.      Combine the Nutella and 1 tsp. canola oil in a small bowl and zap for about 30 seconds. Stir to mix the oil into the nutella and set it aside.
3.      Combine the brown sugar, the rest of the canola oil, soft butter, and the bananas in a mixing bowl and mix until well-blended.
4.      Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well.
5.      Sift the dry ingredients together in a large measuring cup.
6.      Alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the banana mixture to make a stiff batter.
7.      Scrape half the batter into the prepared pan, top with the Nutella mixture, sprinkle on half of the chopped hazelnuts, scrape on the rest of the batter.
8.      Use a long wooden pick to ‘swirl’ the batter a bit.
9.      Sprinkle on the rest of the hazelnuts and press them gently into the surface of the batter.
10.  Bake for 55 minutes or until a cake tester comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
11.  Cool ten minutes in the pan, then remove the loaf to a rack to cool.
12.  Place on a pretty plate and melt the bittersweet chocolate. Drizzle the chocolate over the top of the bread and let it set up before slicing.


A pot of tea, a plate of this bread, and back to my pile of books and the fire ... mmm, this is pretty darn good for a 'light'  offering! I hope you enjoy the chocolate and hazelnut goodness, too! Banana bread never had it so good!

I will be sharing this quick bread recipe with Roxana @ Roxana's Home Baking. Roxana will be hosting the monthly Bake Your Own Bread recipe share this year. Click the link below to check our other breads that are showing up around the blogsphere! Link your own freshly made breads this month! Nothing tastes better than fresh home made bread!



  1. It's kind of the perfect cake isn't it. Nice and chunky and chocolatey and nutty... Shame you're in a funk but you know it will pass!

  2. I envy your indulgence of taking this cheap vacation. I am in the same mood but unable to carry through due to work. Lovely banana bread.

  3. Now we know why people always head on a tropical vacation this time of year Susan. It gives us something to look forward to. Not in the cards for me this year, or most years, but this banana Nutella bread would be inspiring. I am quite sure I would love it more than the one I just made. Have it with a nice warm mug of the Nutella hot chocolate I made and life will shine.

  4. It sounds like a very sensible way of spending such a dreary time of year - sound like complete heaven to me. Hope you are enjoying your funk. Not sure about the need for chocolate in February though - chocolate is needed ALL YEAR AROUND!

  5. I can taste this and the fresh coffee as I type; thanks so much! LOL

  6. I used to talk with other friends about the occasional need to mope about, watch sad movies, and really wallow in a funk until I got disgusted with myself. At that point I was ready to jump up and take on the world again. Those friends thought I was a bit crazy. Maybe it's something about growing up in the cold North. Anyway, I hear 'ya. Indulge!

  7. i'm so envy of your to-do list. I wish I could forget one day of my chores, pick a book, grab a coffee and a piece of this delicious cake and relax. Oh yes, that would be a great day!
    Thanks for sharing this delicious chocolate treat at this month #bakeyourownbread round-up. And speaking of chocolate, I'm also hosting a monthly chocolate party and would love if you bring this chocolate bread http://www.roxanashomebaking.com/nutella-truffles-recipe/


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