baking

Weekend Cooking: Nana’s Banana Bread

Weekend Cooking: Potato Leek Soup, Apple Nut Bread Pudding, and Apple Cheddar Scones

The number one way to feel at home in a new place is to bake like a mofo. And brew coffee… lots and lots of coffee. Soon the smell of new paint, cleaning supplies, and empty apartment will dissipate and instead your abode will be filled with the smell of coffee and delicious sweets. I’ve been in a bit of baking kick since we moved (despite the small, apartment-sized electric stove… sob!) and I’ve made chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin pancakes, and various quick breads. Last night I decided to us up some bananas in the freezer and make my grandmother’s banana bread with a few alterations.

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Nana’s Banana Bread

Ingredients:

2 C sugar

4 C all purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 C applesauce (the recipe called for oil, but I subbed applesauce)

4 eggs

6 overripe, mashed bananas

1/4 C milk

1 tsp vanilla

1 C chopped pecans

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour two bread pans.

2) Mix all the dry ingredients in one large bowl

3) In a medium bowl, mix applesauce, eggs, bananas, milk and vanilla.

4) Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and gently mix (some clumps are okay, don’t mix it to death or your bread will suck)

5) Fold in pecans

6) Divide batter into two bread pans and bake for 45 to 55 minutes

7) Cool for 30 minutes, remove from pan and then slice and enjoy!

 

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Keep a loaf for your family and the second one is great to share. It even freezes well. Before freezing let it cool completely, wrap it in aluminum foil, and the put it inside a large freezer bag.

I love this bread. Atticus woke up hungry at 5:30am this morning and enjoyed a piece while I sat bleary eyed at the table. He loved it!

 

Blueberries for July

Last July's Lemon Blueberry Loaf Cake

Each summer I get a wild hankering for blueberries.  I adore blueberries, they’re sweet, fresh, and slightly tart (much like myself).  I’ve made plans for a blueberry picking excursion the first weekend of July and July just happens to be National Blueberry Month.

I’m anticipating quarts and quarts of berries so in addition to my jam making and baby food making plans there will, of course, be baking.  I thought I might share links to some enticing blueberry dishes:

Apple Blueberry Shortcake

Blueberry Crumb Bars

Orange and Nutmeg Blueberry Cake

Old-Glory Cherry Blueberry Pie

Blueberry Buckle

Blueberry Zucchini Bread

Blueberry and White Chocolate Coffee Cake

Lemon Blueberry Scones

Little Blueberry Upside-Down Cakes

Blueberry Pecan Coffee Cake

Blueberry Oatmeal Cookies

Crunchy Oatmeal Blueberry Pecan Cookies

Vegan Peach Berry Crumble

Oatmeal Blueberry Applesauce Muffins

Blueberry Pancakes

Summer Berry Pudding

I know, I know… I’m never going to make all of these recipes, but I like to have choices.  So waddya think?  Which recipe should I start with?  What blueberry-filled delectables are you planning to make this July?

Happy Birthday, Hope!

On Saturday, 02/19/2011, at 3:45am my little girl turned 11.  ELEVEN!  I can’t believe how quickly time has flown by.  It seems like only yesterday I was cuddling with Hope like I cuddle with Atticus.

To celebrate, Hope decided to have a rainbow themed sleepover.  Hope spent the morning on the front porch with her little brother making paper garlands out of construction paper:

Of course we had to make rainbow cupcakes.  We used a white cake mix and then divided the mix into several different bowls.  Next we added gel food coloring.  The final step was to layer each different color in the cupcake pan.  I used pale liners so the colors would show well:

Next, vanilla frosting mixed with blue food coloring:

To top things off, I added marshmallow clouds and rainbow candy!

Hope had a wonderful time with her friends.  They giggled well into the night (1am to be exact; Atticus was up for the partying due to teething).

Happy Birthday, Peanut!!!

Orange-Date Nut Bread

I really don’t want to jinx myself, but Atticus has been so laid back lately.  On December 31st he spent the entire day fussing and crying.  He woke up on January 1st a new baby: happy.  Perhaps his New Year’s resolution was to give mom and dad a break.

Anyhoo, this means that I’ve been able to do a few other things besides holding a cranky baby and nursing.  I’ve read, the house is reasonably clean, I dabbled with some embroidery, and I BAKED!!!

My plan was to make Orange-Cranberry Nut Bread from the King Arthur’s Baking Companion, but when actually started baking I realized the cranberries in the fridge were gross; I substituted dates and it turned out wonderfully.  The recipe also calls for buttermilk, yogurt, or sour cream, I subbed in almond milk and it worked well.  Hooray for dairy free baking!

I wasn’t able to nab a great picture.  Hope went to slice a piece of bread and sawed down the middle of the loaf (I think she wanted a middle piece?).  But, seriously, it was delicious!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 orange, juice and zest of (or 1/8 tsp orange oil and 3/4 cup orange juice)
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk or 3/4 cup sour cream or 3/4 cup yogurt (OR ALMOND MILK)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup cranberries, chopped (fresh, frozen or dried) (OR 1/2 CUP DATES)
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9X5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium sized bowl, combine the orange juice, zest, buttermilk, egg and vegetable oil.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in the cranberries and nuts, then pour batter into loaf pan. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean and the bread starts to pull away from the edges of teh pan. Remove it from the oven and let cool for 15 minute, then turn it out of the pan to cool completely on a rack.
  4. The loaf will slice better if wrapped when cooled and left to rest overnight before serving.

It was wonderfully delicious and I enjoyed my slice (erm… slices) with a large mug of English Breakfast tea.

 

Thanksgiving…..

The past two days have really been delightful:  I’ve had time with Sam and the kids, baked and cooked, spent time with family, and had a marvelous time hanging out with one of my best buds in the world:

Both of my babies cuddling on the couch….

Sausage Cheese Balls…

Ginger Molasses Cookies…

Catherine’s family came by for a visit.  Catherine had some quality baby holding time!  Also, we stayed up late (I didn’t go to bed until almost 3 am) watching MST3K, chatting, giggling, and eating far too many cookies!

baby feet…

Hope, Julie, Sam’s Grandpoppa, and Atticus….

Aunt Diane loving the baby to pieces…

Five generations – my mom, my granddaddy, my great-grandmother, me, and Atticus.

I’m so thankful for my kids, my friends, my family, and quiet days at home to do things I love (like preparing for the holidays, baking, and reading).  Today I wasn’t able to snap a picture of who I’m most thankful for… Sam.  We were so busy trading off baby holding and kid supervising, I wasn’t able to snap a picture.  He makes me so very happy and I’m a very lucky woman to have nabbed him.  He, as my grandmother would say, “is a catch.”

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with people you love!