Tag Archives: Spice

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.


Henry’s plans for tomorrow largly consist of this:


Filed under Breads

Latin Spice Dry Rub

Wow.  The last few days I kept whining to Fritz that I thought I had a cold coming on, because my throat was a little scratchy and I had a headache and blah blah blah.  Then last night I went to bed happy and feelin’ better and BAM! I wake up this morning feeling like I was run over by a truck.  Twice.

Alright, it’s not that bad.  No fever (I don’t think), but just overall yuckiness and the worst part is that I have absolutely no energy.  It’s a bummer because I’ve done so well the last few weeks eating right and working out way better, and feeling (and seeing!) the results.  With school starting up again, I knew it’d be hard to keep motivated until I establish new habits.  I went to the gym this morning and felt like I was slogging through waist-high mud with fifty-pound ankle weights.  I guess I have to really let myself rest and not beat myself up for missing gym days, even though I already feel let down.

On a brighter note, I have a grr-eight recipe for you–and it’s a piece of cake.  Every once in a while, when I’m feeling lazy, I take out a big chunk of meat from the freezer and make Fritz do all the dinner work out on the grill, while I just make some veggies.  I grew up slathering my meat in BBQ sauce (not ’cause my family did, just ’cause I liked it like that), but now my taste has refined (somewhat) and I like to actually taste the grill, spiciness, and meat itself.

And that’s why I love dry rubs!

Latin Spice Dry Rub  (from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook)

  • 2 T ground cumin
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 1 T coriander
  • 1 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t red pepper flakes

Toss all the spices in a small Tupperware container and shake it up!  This makes enough for a few meals (if your family consists of two people, that is), so make sure to not contaminate the leftover with raw meat so you can save it for later.

I made the rub initially for pork chops, and we used the leftovers on a giant steak my dad gave us last time we were home (thanks Dad!).  Delicious on both.

Now, normally Fritz just tosses the meat on the grill, checks it a few times, and takes it off when he thinks it’s probably done.  Since we had such beautiful pork chops, we decided to do it the right way. 

Turn the grill up to very high, close the lid, and heat the grill for about fifteen minutes (don’t skip this!).  Meanwhile, dry the chops, add a touch of salt and pepper, and then rub in the…rub (that’s why they call it that).  Use about a T per portion, and since our chops were huge, we used 1/4 of the recipe on each one.  If you can, turn half the grill down to medium. 

so close...yet so far

Grill the pork chops over the hotter part of the grill, covered, for about six minutes or until they are browned on both sides.  Move them over to the cooler part of the grill and continue, covered, until the center reaches a temperature of 135 degrees on a meat thermometer (a little less than ten minutes, flipping them halfway).  Move the pork chops to a platter, tent with foil, and let rest until the internal temperature reaches 145-150 degrees (another five to ten minutes).

Then eat.

Taking the time to do it right is so worth it.  Fritz and I couldn’t believe how juicy these pork chops were!  By far the best we’ve ever had.


Oh!  As an aside, I made cupcakes last night for Fritz’s friend’s birthday.  He brought them into school today for the dental students.

Definitely not blog-worthy as far as cupcake recipes go (I thought the yellow cake recipe I used ended up tasting a little like cornbread, and the frosting left a lot to be desired), but I can’t spend a whole evening baking 50 cupcakes and then not even mention it.  Hopefully just the sight of so many treats is enough to brighten the day of the baby dentists.

Lastly (I have so much to say today), I saw on Freshly Pressed a post about taco-stuffed zucchini.  I didn’t read the recipe, but the idea inspired me, and I have ground turkey and two green squashes in the fridge, so I thought I might try it.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

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Filed under Entrees

(Healthier) Pumpkin Spice Muffins

I bought a couple of cans of pumpkin puree the other day while grocery shopping, and spent a couple of days pondering what to make–I was leaning towards cookies until my mom reminded me about a delicious baked good that I had forgotten even existed: muffins!  I haven’t made muffins for a while, but I do know that muffins in general pretend to be a healthy food while in actuality they are just a glorified cake that you are allowed to eat for breakfast.  As I am trying to eat somewhat healthily, I searched for a recipe that had at least a few redeeming qualities.  No point in making food that you feel guilty eating, right?
(Healthier) Pumpkin Spice Muffins (Adapted from CDKitchen’s Victoria Wesseler; original recipe here)

  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 C whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 3/4 C sugar (the original recipe called for 1 1/4 C!! totally unnecessary)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t ground cloves
  • 1/2 t freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 t cinnamon (sorry Fritz)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 C pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 C plain no-fat greek yogurt
  • 1/3 C water
  • 1/2 C raisins

 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  I used my mixer for this, and added first all of the dry ingredients (including spices), and started mixing at a low speed while adding all of the wet ingredients.  Technically you should mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl first (beating the eggs for some extra air) but 1) I’m lazy and 2) I like dense muffins.  So there ya go. 

Pour the batter into greased muffin tins.  I wanted to use cupcake liners to make the muffins more school-transportation friendly, which worked but the muffins do stick a little bit to the liner.  I’m guessing that’s because there’s no oil in the batter.  I also found a couple of mini-bundt cake pans that I bought at an 18-mile garage sale (yes, that’s right.  18-miles of garage sale-ing madness) for a dollar, and wanted to try them.  They came out so cute–perfect for individual desserts if I were to ever throw a fancy little dinner party in the far-away future.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool for five minutes before removing from the tin, then finish cooling on a wire rack.  A lot of recipes I searched for recommended a tangy cream cheese icing to drizzle on top, but when I tried them they were honestly sweet enough to not need it–thank goodness I went from 1 1/4 C of sugar to 3/4 C!  Though I’m sure the icing would be delicious, since I love cream cheese frosting.

I think Fritz is officially getting over his anti-cinnamon feelings, and might in fact be growing immune to it since at least half of the food I make has cinnamon in it (I just don’t always tell him).  Next up on my list of foods to make Fritz love without his knowledge is mustard, then garlic.

Since I have two practicals coming up on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, I’ll hopefully be doing tons of focused and effective studying so that I don’t have to get all panicky and nervous on Tuesday night.  We just finished the 4th season of LOST and until we request the next season from the library I don’t even have that to distract me.  More likely though, I’ll start cooking more elaborate foods then ever before and study much less than I should.  But, to get off to a good start I’m going to study a little bit right now while Fritz is outside putting the cover on our pool.  Wish me luck!

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Filed under Breakfast, Desserts