Tag Archives: Banana

Orange Spice Banana Bread

Orange spice banana bread.  It’s like regular banana bread, but sexier.  The kind of sexy that wears an old wool sweater and glasses.  The nerdy kind.

Despite all this, it’s also delicious.

My internet is also still quite unreliable, so this’ll be a short one.

Orange Spice Banana Bread

  • 2 ridiculously ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 T canola oil
  • 1/2 C plain or vanilla fat-free yogurt (keep in mind that vanilla yogurt will be sweeter, and adjust accordingly!  I used vanilla.)
  • 1/4 C skim milk
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1 T orange zest
  • 1 t orange extract (optional)
  • 3 T ground flaxseed
  • 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 C almond flour (or use two cups total all-purpose flour)
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1 t each cinnamon and nutmeg

Like most quick breads, this recipe couldn’t be easier.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, mix the wet ingredients, add the dry, and pour into a greased/parchment papered loaf pan.

Here, I decided to top the loaf with whole walnuts.  That’s up to you, though I must say it made a really nice crunchy top crust.

Bake on the middle rack until an inserted skewer comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it, about an hour.

Yum!  I’m by no means an expert at creating breads, but this one came out perfectly–dense and moist like any banana bread, but still light enough to eat two slices at once (or three, if you are Fritz).

The orange flavor is pretty subtle, and you could ramp it up a bit with more orange zest (or sub OJ for the skim milk?  More sugar there, though).

Perfect with a pat o’ butter, and I know exactly what my breakfast will consist of early tomorrow morning.

 

Actually, I’m not really sure.  Steel-cut oats have been calling my name for a couple of days, too.  But if I have those for breakfast, than a slice of this bread will definitely be a part of second breakfast (movie/book, anyone?). 

Tomorrow morning Fritz and I are heading to go to one of my top fall destinations, Westchester County (in NY), to go apple picking/pumpkin picking/hay riding/hot apple cider drinking/apple cider donut eating with some friends–and I can’t wait!  I’m confident I will return with at least a thousand photos (just kidding! Maybe…), and that the 67 degree weather tomorrow calls for boots.

Hallelujah.

Henry’s plans for tomorrow largly consist of this:

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A Peck of (Really Hot) Pickled Peppers

Hello, friends! 

It feels so good to be able to cook and blog every day.  I will never, ever, ever take having power for granted ever again until probably this weekend when I get used to everything running smoothly without any effort on my part.

But I shouldn’t take it for granted, because it is so awesome to have power.

To finish up my fall prep by canning the rest of the goods from my parents’ garden, I decided to make pickled banana peppers.  We’ve been eating a lot of sandwiches (brown bag lunches at school, ya know), and I thought a sweet and spicy pickled pepper would be perfect to jazz them up through the winter when veggies are a little lackluster.

I also discovered that what I thought were harmless banana peppers were actually super HOT banana peppers, and now my poor innocent hands are burning like fire since I wasn’t wearing gloves when I cut them.  Word to the wise: wear gloves.  You could use this recipe with mild or spicy peppers–doesn’t matter one bit.

Pickled Banana Peppers

  • 25 banana peppers
  • 2 C water
  • 3 C white vinegar
  • 1/2 C apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/4 C salt
  • 2 T whole peppercorns
  • 1 T caraway seeds
  • 1 T dill seeds
  • 2 t ground allspice

These are getting canned into four pint-sized jars, so get all that canning stuff ready–big stock pot of boiling water to sterilize the jars, smaller saucepan to simmer the lids in, big tongs, and dish cloths and potholders to protect your sensitive mitts.  Especially if you’ve already burned the crap outta ’em with hot pepper juice.

Start by slicing the peppers–I cut off the tops, removed the core and as many seeds as I easily could with a knife, and then sliced them into thin rings.  Soak all the peppers in a giant bowl of ice water with a T or so of salt in it for at least an hour.  I’m not sure exactly what this step is for, but since everyone else is doing it, I’ll do it too.

Once the peppers are ready, sterilize the jars by boiling them in water for at least ten minutes.  While the giant pot of water is coming to a boil, bring the remaining ingredients (water, vinegar, salt, sugar, and spices) to a boil as well. 

Once the jars are sterilized, pack them full of peppers and cover with the vinegar mixture.  Careful with all the hot stuff–no burns, please!

It might be helpful to strain the liquid through a strainer as you pour it in the jars, and then you can evenly divide the spices among the four jars.

Put the lids on the jars, screw the tops on (not too tight, just a gentle closure), and return them to the boiling water to process.  Boil the jars vigorously for 40 minutes, then remove from the liquid and set on a dish towel to cool.  If the lids pop and don’t spring back when pressed, the jars have sealed properly and you are good to go.

Don’t they look gorgeous?

I’d let them pickle in the vinegar for a few weeks before eating them.

I’d also be careful about eating them if you used the same kind of death-in-disguise super-hot banana peppers that I used.

Winter sandwiches have officially been jazzed.

I leave you with a few pictures from a trip downport that Fritz and I took the other day with our good friends Cait and Jeff:

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Lemon Poppy Seed Oatmeal Cookies

Hello, friends!

I finally made time to bake, even though for a while it looked like it may not happen.  I dragged my achy and sore body to the gym this morning, got energized, then donated blood and painted faces at our church’s yard sale.

Turns out I’m not the best face painter.  Just not that artistic in the world of painting–I pity the children who are wearing crowns and Elmos that I painted on them.  I did, however, manage to break out my favorite thing to draw/paint.  Those of you who know me well know that I’ve been tattooing this heart around the world for years.  It’s the one work of art I’ve truly mastered.

Impressive, huh?  Unfortunately, it wasn’t highly demanded among the 3-8 year olds who visited today.  I’d actually say it ranked somewhere below the six-legged spider and the pink football.

By the time we got home from face painting, I collapsed diagonally on the bed, feet hanging off and face smashed into the blankets in a dramatic display of exhaustion.  And then I fell asleep.  For two hours.  And awoke with a deeply imprinted blanket design on my entire face.

Luckily, there was still time to make cookies!

The taste of these cookies is fantastic, but I sleepily adapted them from a vegan website and realized halfway through scooping them onto the cookie sheet that there was no way they would hold together, which turned out to be true.  If I made them again, I’d definitely do some recipe tweaking to add a bit of flour and definitely an egg.  Any recipe magicians out there want to give it a try, let me know how it turns out!

Lemon Poppy Seed Oatmeal Cookies (original recipe here and printable card here: Lemon Poppy Seed Oatmeal Cookies)

  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1/4 C lemon juice and the zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 C old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/4 C poppy seeds
  • 1/4 C butter, softened
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  I creamed the butter and sugar together quickly with the vanilla, lemon juice and zest.

Next, I added the banana, poppy seeds, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  Mix until just combined, then add in the oats.  I also tossed in a T or so of ground flax seed at the last minute.

Don’t over mix!  Scoop spoonfuls onto greased baking sheets (I did 1 T-sized scoops) and bake until browned, about 15 minutes. 

Let them cool on the sheets before removing, because they will definitely fall apart otherwise, and then you’ll be forced to eat all the crumbled up bits.

Like I said, the flavor of these cookies is unbelievable, and the texture with the oats and the poppy seeds is also great–just the actual cookie stability needs a bit of work.  But the taste!  Definitely worth posting, and trying.

Fritz was also a huge fan (but when isn’t he, really?).  He just at three more for a post-dinner snack.

 Here’s a few more pictures from the yard sale for you to enjoy:

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Filed under Desserts

Cookie Dough Green Monster

Top o’ the mornin’ to ya!

I don’t have class until one today, so I woke up early, made a giant mug of chamomile tea, straightened up a bit, then had a giant green monster.  I’ve been craving fruits and veggies for a few days, so I knew it was time for a hearty dose of spinach for breakfast.  In cookie dough form.

This green monster has a special ingredient–you may have guessed it based on the above picture.  Drumroll, please!

Yes, oatmeal.  You all know by now that I love oatmeal in any form, and old-fashioned oats were on sale at Waldbaum’s yesterday–buy one get one free, basically.  It cost $4 for two of those big oats containers–yay!  We haven’t had anything other than steel-cut oats for a while, so I was excited to get back to these guys.

Cookie Dough Green Monster

  • 1 C skim milk
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/3 C uncooked old-fashioned oats (though you could use quick oats, too)
  • 2 handfuls spinach
  • 2 T vanilla Carnation Instant Breakfast (ugh–still trying to get rid of these)

Using the standard layering order of green monsters, I added milk, instant breakfast, oats, spinach, and banana on top.

I had a few very ripe bananas lying around last week, but I knew I wouldn’t have time to make anything with them.  Rather than throw them away, I peeled ’em and froze them in large chunks.  This is perfect for green monsters, ’cause I don’t need to add ice to have a cold smoothie, and no wasting old bananas!

Blend for a few minutes until smooth, and enjoy.  I made one for Fritz this morning, too, in an attempt to help him get over a summer cold.

The Carnation Instant Breakfast isn’t my favorite thing in the whole world, but it did give a nice vanilla cookie dough flavor with the oats.  It was a little sweet for my taste, so once I’m finally rid of these things, I’d probably just add a teaspoon of vanilla extract and skip the added sugar.  If you need it at little sweeter, you can use sugar, honey, vanilla protein powder…

I love the flavor of the blended oats.  They give the green monster a really nice texture and doughy taste.

I also tried blending some granola in a green monster the other day, but it also turned out to be too sweet.  Similar texture as the oats, though, which I did like.  My bananas lately have been extra ripe, so the sweetness factor is already pretty high.  Other things to try in this particular mix: adding cinnamon for an oatmeal-raisin cookie dough, and cocoa for a chocolate chip cookie dough.  Yum!

In other news, guess who’s been feeling better lately?

Have a good day today!

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Filed under Beverages, Breakfast

Tropical Mini Muffins

Are you guys sick of me miniaturizing everything that I bake yet?  ‘Cause I’m not.

Mini baked goods are fun, because I can eat three of them and it’s not a big deal at all.  It’s also nice because I don’t have to choose–do I want an English muffin or a tropical muffin?  Oh yes, I can have both.  Twice.  But if you aren’t a mini kind of person, it’s no big deal.  I’ll still like you.  And I’ll still probably eat two of your muffins.

Tropical  Mini Muffins

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 3/4 C crushed pineapple in juice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 t orange extract
  • 1/4 C canola oil
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 C whole-wheat flour
  • 2 T wheat germ

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a muffin or mini-muffin tin or line with paper cups.  First mix the wet ingredients (banana, pineapple, canola oil, egg, and extracts) until blended.  It’s okay to have chunks of banana–I actually prefer that.  Next, add the dry ingredients (everything else) and mix until everything is just blended.  Easy, right?

Pour into muffin cups (they should be 3/4 of the way full, but I filled them all the way ’cause I only wanted to make one batch!) and place on the middle rack to bake until they are golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.  Make sure a toothpick comes out dry (but not too dry).

Mini muffins are also cute for looking good in photos.  Unless you pour too much batter in the cups and then your muffins are top heavy.  Still better than having to bake two batches, though.

These were good–super moist.  Fritz was a huge fan, because he could eat a banana-bread based food three times a day for the rest of his life and be perfectly content.  I thought the pineapple chunks were a nice treat, and the orange extract was just barely noticeable.  It could also be left out–no big deal.

Since this recipe made 24 mini muffins, and I’m gonna be gone for the week, I stuck half of them in the freezer so Fritz doesn’t feel the pressure to eat all of them in a couple of days.  I don’t like to force feed him just so food doesn’t go bad (except for vegetables, but that’s for his own good).

I think these muffins took Fritz back to his South African tropical days.  He ate four of them rapid fire when they were out of the oven (but it’s okay!  They are mini!).

So on Friday we drove to Brooklyn to say goodbye to our good friends Bre and Zev since they are moving on Tuesday.  It was lots of fun to see them, and as usual, lots of food and alcohol was consumed–and nonstop talk ensued.  Like I said before, it’ll be really sad to see them go.  We need to start planning our visits upstate right away.

And poor Henry was stuck at home, looking longingly in the direction of Brooklyn.

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Filed under Breakfast, Desserts

Strawberry-Banana Sorbet

I hate that period right after a really stressful and busy month when your body finally realizes it can relax for the first time in too long, lets its guard down, and BAM!  You’re sick.  I was starting to feel my body head down that road today, so I took a nice hour-long nap and drank tons of water.  I’m already feeling a little bit better, so I’m hoping I managed to ward it off.

It also helps that I made lots of yummy and frozen treats today, from ice pops to strawberry-banana sorbet.  All that cold fruit does a body good!

Strawberry-Banana Sorbet (inspired by this recipe)

  • 2 C frozen strawberries, roughly chopped–reserve 1/2 from the blender!
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 C cold water
  • 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 2 t lemon juice

Put all the ingredients in a blender or food processor, except for 1/2 C of diced strawberries.  Blend until smooth.

Pour into the tub of an ice cream maker (which should have been frozen overnight, or as directed) and allow it to churn the sorbet for about 15 minutes, until it starts to thicken.  Add the 1/2 C chopped strawberries and continue to churn.  You can serve it immediately when it thickens as much as you want, or freeze it overnight to harden further.

If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can just pour the strawberry-banana puree into a tub and stick in it the freezer, stirring it every half and hour or so until it reaches your desired consistency.

Isn’t it gorgeous?  I let it freeze for another two hours, but we wanted to have some for dessert.  It’ll probably be the perfect scooping consistency tomorrow.

The strawberry-banana flavor was seriously good.  Just enough tart strawberry perfectly mellowed out by the smooth banana (and the strawberry chunks just add that extra oomph).

Fritz, who loves ice cream and all things frozen (due to that heat-regulation problem that all men seem to have), says that it was really refreshing.  I’m excited to make more sorbet–I’m thinking a mojito flavor might be my next one!  Sadly, rum doesn’t freeze well…but I’m okay with having the rum on the side.

I also went over to my friend Gill’s house today, and made ice pops with another friend, Laura, and her daughter.  These ice pops freeze instantly “right in front of your eyes”, which makes them extra fun for layering and decorating.  We were definitely rookies, but it did give me some fun ideas for how I might make other frozen stuff in the future.

Here’s what we made:

The one I made was layered cranberry and lemonade with lime slices in the middle–yum.

And of course, how could I resist playing with my new camera with an adorable baby around?  I took about a million pictures of Laura’s daughter, Lila:

Isn’t she cute?

I’m a little sad because my sister has been sick for the last few days, and the doctor thinks she might have mono.  If so, our Boston trip is off, but we’ll see how she feels tomorrow before we decide whether to drive there for a visit.  Get better, Kristen!!

I’ll bring you some sorbet, if it helps.

Oh, one last thing (so many things to talk about today!).  I stopped at a little-old-lady church thrift shop today, and look what I walked away with for the outrageous price of 25 cents?

The sweet woman I bought it from laughed and said “Wow, you’ll have to eat a lot of oatmeal to fill that bowl!”

If only she knew.

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Double Chocolate (Whole-Wheat) Banana Bread

(Ignore this: NYGKCEBBJVEG.  It’s a verification code for a website.)

Double chocolate whole-wheat banana bread.

It’s good for you, but it’s not.

There’s the banana and whole-wheat flour, but there’s also the chocolate and the oil and the sugar.

It’s called bread, but it tastes like cake.

You can eat it after dinner for dessert, or waaaaay after dinner for breakfast. 

It’s double chocolate whole-wheat banana bread!

Double Chocolate (Whole-Wheat) Banana Bread (adapted from this recipe at Former Chef)

  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 C canola oil
  • 3/4 C skim milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 C whole-wheat flour
  • 2/3 C sugar
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1 t instant mocha (optional)
  • 1/3 C cocoa powder
  • heaping 1/2 C dark chocolate chips/morsels

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the wet ingredients in your mixer bowl and mix on medium until bananas are mashed (alternatively, mash them first.  You don’t have to be lazy like me). 

Here’s where the important guys come into play:

Add the dry ingredients (salt, baking powder, sugar, flour, cocoa powder, mocha powder, chocolate chips) and combine until just mixed.  This should be more like brownie batter than bread dough.

Lick the spoon, and pour the batter into a sprayed bread pan.  Lick the spoon again.  Now the bowl.  Now steal another spoonful of batter from the pan.

Do this at your own risk.  There are eggs in there.  Raw ones. 

I’m willing to risk it.  I’m also willing to forgo lunch, because at this point I am full of banana bread batter.  Totally worth it.

Bake on the middle rack for about an hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Don’t over bake it, ’cause no one likes dry banana bread, especially when it’s already dark brown.  Also, don’t mistake melted chocolate chips for wet dough on the toothpick.  Allow to cool, and run a knife along the edges and flip out of the pan. 

Technically, you should allow it to cool completely before slicing, but who am I kidding?  Your husband has probably been finding excuses to linger in the kitchen for the last 30 minutes (“oh, I’m just grabbing a, uh, towel to wipe down this here, um, counter”).  As if he’s ever wiped down a counter in his entire life.

So, cut him a slice.  Let him eat it warm.  He’ll pledge his undying, eternal, unconditional love to you. 

Allow him to eat another slice.  He may even wipe the counters down for you.

Yeah.  It’s really good.  Very moist and unexpectedly rich.  At first taste I thought it was a bit bland, but I think it’s because I tried it right out of the oven.  When I went for the second taste about an hour later…BAM!  Full flavor.  First intense chocolate, then a tiny bit of coffee, and finally the sweet, sweet banana carrying it all.

Definitely going in the top list of breakfast breads to make next time I’m invited to a brunch (hear that? Invite me!) .  And yes, there’s already a list for that.

As an aside, I am just getting over being sore from the gym class I went to on Friday.  Same class I go to every Friday, and usually don’t get sore from.  Must have thrown myself hardcore into that workout–my pecs, quads, adductors and hamstrings were on fire yesterday!  So weird.  I’m also planning on starting up yoga again now that my nerve problem seems to have settled down–I just have to remind myself that it’s not a competition and I don’t need to overstretch just to be the best in the room.

It’s all about what’s good for your body.  As far as reaching my happy weight–getting even closer to my goal (just goes to show–you can eat double chocolate banana bread, sweet potato cinnamon rolls, and have your chocolate chip cookies, too, as long as you balance, balance, balance!).

Wish me luck on my finals tomorrow!

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