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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Banana Bread .... And breakfast for the Sunday

It's funny how much hubby and my Dad have in common.  There other day my Dad requested banana bread no nuts, he is so not a nut lover.  Now hubby LOVES my banana bread with nuts, pecans to be precise.  So bought some bananas, then some extra at hubby's pout for bread as well.  Since I was making it and all.  Then set them out and let them get "old" because that is when they make the yummiest bread.  As I made the bread I thought what are we going to have for breakfast tomorrow.  Oh yeah, not just banana bread but french toast orange banana bread.  Yes you read that right ... though I can't provide you with a picture right now I just know that it will be awesome!!!!!

Banana bread is just one of those things that I love to make.  Hubby puts butter on his slice, I like mine plain.  Of course I try to change it up a little and see what works best.  Here is the banana bread that stayed home.  Hubby's with pecans and then tomorrow's french toast banana bread.  For Dad's, you can just imagine it without nuts. LOL

This bread is so moist it doesn't need the butter, but hubby won't part with it.  I think it's a comfort thing.  I've had this recipe so long and have changed it so many ways I don't even remember where I got it from originally.  
Banana Bread
3 - 4 Medium Bananas, a little over ripe makes the tastiest bread.
1/3 Cup Unsalted butter, melted
1/2 Cup Brown sugar, dark of course
1/2 Cup Granulated sugar, if you don't want to use brown sugar you can use 1 cup of white.
1 Large egg, beaten
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
Pinch or 1/8 of a Teaspoon salt
1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Nuts, chopped (Optional)

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease loaf pan, can use spray.
Mash bananas.
Add butter and sugar, mix well.
Add dry ingredients, mix until just combined.
Stir in nuts.
Pour in loaf pan and bake for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.

Pretty easy and I didn't even use my Kitchen Aid for this one.  What I call the regular one, the one with pecans as it is the standard, was made using pecans and followed the recipe exactly as listed. If you've read any of my other posts you know I just can't leave it at that.  :0)  So for our french toast bread I used 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract and a 1/2 teaspoon almond extract.  I also added in a 1/2 teaspoon of orange peel since I will be adding orange extract to the egg mixture for the french toast tomorrow.  I also did 1/4 cup each of sunflower seeds and pecan pieces.  Gotta make sure hubby has his pecans.  Oh and I also added 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.  Yum cinnamon!  

The bread is always good by itself but I SO can't wait to try it tomorrow with the added orange flavor.  Oh and I will be baking it so I won't have to use butter or oil to make it.  Now to have ham or sausage?  LOL!!!  Please try this recipe.  If you have kids, get them into the kitchen with you.  If you don't have kids you can get your best friend, sister, nephew or nieces, hubby just get someone to come and make some memories with you.  This is definitely an easy one to share and for remembering the fun as time goes on.  Change the recipe to include your favorite nut(s), try it using whole wheat flour, but remember no matter what you change or how you change it the best ingredient to any recipe is you .... Enjoy!!!!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Need to find something different .....

Hey everyone!!!!  Life has been a little nuts lately.  Lots going on.  But life does not stop but it does become chaotic.  That's what happened today.  Haven't been sleeping well lately so went to bed early last night and got up late this morning, but feel no more rested.  But guess what I forgot to do???  That's right take something out for lunch. EESH!  So open up the freezer and go OK I have polish kielbasa in the freezer.  *sighs*  Don't get me wrong I love polish sausage but get tired of eating it the same way all the time.  Boiled, grilled, or fried.  Add to that the same old traditional sides *yawns*.  

Then I jump online and Google Recipe Generators.  You plug in something in that you have and it gives you a bunch of recipe options.  So I go through two different sites and nothing that made me sit up and go that sounds good.  

Tried the third site.  So I started paging through the recipes.  Quite a few pages.  Just as I'm about to give up, YES!  This is what I want!  But will hubby like it? Hmmmm....  the recipe's pretty simple and shouldn't take long but I need to make some changes.

1 lb. Sausage cut into chunks
1 cup Rice
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1 cup Water
4 Medium Carrots, cut in bite sized pieces
1/3 Cup Broccoli Florets
1 Tablespoon Celery Flakes
1 Teaspoon Tastefully Simple's Bacon Bacon
Salt and Pepper to taste
(Note:  I omitted using salt.)

In skillet place all ingredients listed, stir together, cover and bring to a boil. 
Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until rice and veggies are done. 
Let sit 5 minutes, serve.

See simple, quick, and in hubby's own words "You can make this again."  What better recommendation can you get, especially after his comment after seeing it being made he said "you expect me to eat that?"  It was just the twist I needed to the same old same old.

Try this for a quick, fulfilling dinner.  Change up the veggies as you or your family like.  Pair it with a salad for added veggies and balanced meal.  Nut no matter what recipe you use, no matter what you change, the best ingredient to any recipe is you .... Enjoy!!!!!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Finding inspiration in wonderful places!

I got an invitation to try something and since there is a way around the major obstacle I had, I'm going to give it a try.  Rosemarie, a wonderful friend of mine, suggested I come to a meeting with her for Tastefully Simple.  I had been to an online meeting, and won a gift I might add, to become a consultant but still couldn't commit.  I am SO glad that I went, so I am going to try something new.  There's nothing wrong with it and I'm pretty sure I can be successful at it.  I KNOW I can be successful at trying new things with their products.  And would it shock you to know that I already have some ideas? LOL

Now I was out most of the evening yesterday and came home to a share post on Facebook from a friend showing a recipe that I know I definitely wanted to try.  Since I just received my prize the other day in the mail, what better way to combined things?  So the recipe was for Honey Garlic Pork Chops by Blog Chef and thought YES!  Then I went searching for a side.  I just bought some sweet potatoes and what better side to go with pork chops???  I found what I was looking for on Lady O's blog.  Baked sweet potato pancakes.  Can't forget the veggie so made hubby's favorite!  I wish I had known before I married him that he preferred peas to corn, *sighs*.  LOL

The result was a delicious lunch!  I of course had to make it my own, and there was nothing wrong with that!

For the Pork Chops:
1/4 Cup Chili Sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1 Tablespoon Dark Brown Sugar, sweet and smoky flavor
1 Tablesppon + 1 Teaspoon Honey
1/8 cup Light Soy Sauce
2 Teaspoons Granulated Garlic
I used 2 Pork Chops BUT now have left over sauce.

Combined chili sauce, ketchup, dark brown sugar, honey, and granulated garlic.

Preheat the oven to 350.  In a shallow pan season pork chops.  I used a couple shakes of Tastefully Simple's Bacon Bacon, pepper, and basted the pork chop with sauce.  
*Hint: Spoon the sauce on and brush it over the chop.  If you contaminate the sauce by putting the basting brush in the bowl after basting the raw meat cook it for a few minutes and then it can be served or can be stored for later use.
Cook meat at 350 for 15, turn over, and baste with more sauce.  Cook another 15 - 20 minutes.  Make sure temperature is 145 and chops are done.  

I like to throw them under the broiler for a few to get a little bit of a crust from the sauce.

For the Sweet Potato Pancakes:
1 Large Sweet Potato peeled, and shredded
1/2 Medium Onion, shredded
2 Large Eggs, beaten
3 Tablespoons Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon All Spice
1/4 Teaspoon Dried Rosemary

Preheat oven to 350.
Lightly grease cookie sheets.  I used spray.
Mix ingredients in bowl.  
Drop by 1/4 cup on cookie sheet. 
Cook 15 - 20 minutes, flip and cook an addition 10 - 15.  Keep in mind that there is natural sugar in these potatoes so they can burn if cooked too long, but will definitely get a nice crisp on them.  And I'm glad I added the rosemary.  It added a nice earthy taste to the pancake.

Then tying it all together peas sprinkled with 2 teaspoons of the Tastefully Simple Bacon Bacon seasoning.  I love using a seasoning on my veggies as I don't have to worry about salt, as it's already contained in the seasoning.  No extra fat from butter as you've flavored your veggies, so don't be shy to try seasoning them.  All of these were REALLY good.  Hubby didn't even wait to put the pancake on his plate.  You can serve them with toppings if you like, most use sour cream or applesauce, but we liked them just fine by themselves.  And don't be afraid to season them any way you want.  Follow Lady O's using garlic, salt, and pepper.  Try using cinnamon and nutmeg.  Try using other savory herbs, but whatever you try, however you change it remember that the best ingredient to any recipe is you .... Enjoy!!!!!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Breakfast to Dessert ... It was a Yum day!!!

Hey there everyone!!!  It has been a full day.  Full of food, good times spent with hubby, and laundry.  OK so it was only 3 loads but wash, dry, fold or hang up, and put away.  That's enough for me.  Of course it all started with breakfast and I have to say that I truly think hubby loves me for my imagination.  Neither of us had any ideas for breakfast.  I remembered picking up a can, yes I said can LOL, of Roast Beef Hash.  I had not seen that in FOREVER and hubby wanted to try after asking, "Does it tastes different than corned beef hash?"  Sheesh!  So I did not want the normal, fried up hash with eggs over easy.  So how to make it with a twist?  Easy peasy! 

This is where your imagination comes in handy, add whatever you want.  I know simple to say.  I sauteed up 1/2 of an onion chopped, 1/2 cup chopped red and green peppers, then added 1 cup of black beans, drained and rinsed.  Mixed it with a can of Roast Beef Hash then pressed it into a pie pan.  Baked in 425 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Lowered oven to 400.  Cracked 4 eggs, topped it with a 1/2 cup Mexican cheese and 1/2 teaspoon of dried cilantro and parsley and popped back in the oven for 10 - 15 minutes until eggs are set and cheese is melted.  It was definitely a twist on just a can of roast beef hash and hubby appreciated the extra time it took to make.  I loved all the flavors as they mixed well together.  

Then there was dinner.  I already knew what I wanted to have as we hadn't had it in a while.  I usually make Chicken Stir Fry but I had some beef in the fridge and wanted to use it before it became freezer burned.  Then it's just yuck!  So took it out to thaw.  In between laundry, then I had the brilliant idea to head out to the dollar store.  Only to come back have to make dinner.  That's okay because hubby did most of it.  I cut the stuff up and added it to the pan while he stirred.  And while he was doing that, I was able to make dessert.  Oh yes, I made dessert.

This was pretty simple, throw whatever you want in a pan and cook it.  I know it sounds really simple but that's the great thing about a stir fry, you can add whatever you want.  I happened to have some frozen stir fry veggies but when I say I like a lot of veggies I mean it.  Then I add some extra cauliflower and broccoli.  I had some cans of bean sprouts, baby corn (hubby's favorite), and water chestnuts (I love the crunch). Threw in some extra shredded carrots.  Seasoned the meat with some granulated garlic, pepper, salt, and Chinese Five Spice.  Sauteed an onion in peanut oil.  Tossed in 2 teaspoons minced garlic.  Seared the meat.  Tossed in veggies.  Cooked up some pasta, I used buccatini.  Made a sauce of 2 cups low sodium beef stock and 3 tablespoons cornstarch and cold water.  Poured it in the pan, covered and cooked for about 10 minutes and serve.  Pretty easy and VERY tasty because it's everything you like.  I LOVE when my veggie ratio is higher than my meat ratio.  So while hubby cooks it all up, after I've chopped it all up, I make dessert. 
Dessert was pretty simple as well and VERY tasty.  I found the recipe on The Cutes and Scoots Show!  I adapted the Grandma's Famous Pistachio Pudding Cake recipe.  Since my pudding was not sugar free I adjusted the sugar, changed the Crisco to softened, unsalted butter, I guess maybe it would be easier to just put the recipe here. LOL

3/4 Cup Unsalted butter, softened
1 Cups Sugar
1 Box (4 Serving) Pistachio Pudding Mix
1 Teaspoon Almond Extract
1 1/4 Cups Cold Water
2 1/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
3 Large Eggs
1 Teaspoon Lemon Peel
1/3 Cup Chopped Pistachios  Of course these are absolutely optional, we just love nuts!

Cream butter, sugar, eggs, lemon peel, and extract until light and fluffy.
Add water, pudding mix, flour, baking powder, and nuts.
Beat at low speed until blended.
Beat at medium speed 2 minutes.
Grease bundt pan, I gave it a quick spray.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes.

Add a dollop of whipped cream and it was well worth the effort.  It was moist and so flavorful, with a little crunch.  

No food coloring added here.  The cake was just the perfect ending to the day.  Now to figure a way to keep hubby's fingers out of it.  Next I have to make banana bread for my Dad.  It has been requested.  There are definite pluses to a large family, you never have a dull moment and always get tons of requests.  Hubby's favorite is my banana bread as well but Dad's is without nuts while hubby's is with.

Please try some of these recipes.  They are definitely worth the effort but most are very easy, not very time consuming, and SO delicious!  But whatever recipe you try, and no matter how you change it, remember the best ingredient to any recipe is you .... Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

My Easter treats ... your everyday ones

Hey Everyone!!!!  So I know it's Tuesday AFTER Easter but I was busy moving stuff around to get our new cable/internet/phone installed. Trying to find ways to cut back and this was one of them.  40 bucks is definitely a help.  I'm going to start with showing you the treats I made for Easter to share with the family.  I know, I mentioned in my last post that my poor sister Christin has been without sweets for 40 days but I do believe I hit her sweet tooth just fine.  And they were ALL something new, yes I say new even if I used the same recipe twice. 

This recipe can be found in the blog named I promised you something sweet ... Boy do I deliver and with few ingredients!  I made these using carrot cake cake mix and added about 2 tablespoons of minced carrots and strawberry cake mix Cool Whip cookies.  They were SO SO yum.  Put them in a lidded container and open the lid and POW!  The smell of strawberry hits you and makes your mouth water.  Spicy, delicious carrot cake in a light, fluffy cookie?  Oh boy!  You REALLY need to try these!  I have a new found love of cake mix when making these cookies.  

Then there was the cream puff recipe Tammy, my BFF, found for me to try.  I did try, just to see how easy or difficult they were.  And they weren't too difficult.  Knowing how easy they were to make, I changed my mind and went searching.  Decided I wanted to do chocolate cream puffs with a banana "mousse" filling.  I had everything I needed to make chocolate cream puffs, now to find a recipe.  So I ended up using one I found at adding 2 Tablespoons of Unsweetened Cocoa Powder and changed the sugar to 1 Tablespoon instead of 1 teaspoon.  The cocoa powder for mine was 1 dark and 1 milk chocolate(s).

I have include pictures of the process.  Hubby, who watched me make them, got a little concerned when I added the eggs and it looked like it was breaking down.  His actual comment was "they look like really thick worms".  Not something you really want to hear about something you're making but I told him not to worry.  Now I will admit.  This was the second batch that I made.  The first one, did not turn out well.  I THOUGHT that I could make them all at once on two separate cookie sheets.  But KNOWING that I have to turn the tray or switch them half way through I DID NOT think about adding extra time to allow the oven to come back up to temperature.  Needles to say, they did not rise well.  Actually they were pretty flat.  *sighs*  So I decided NOT to try that again, so I made them one tray at a time as they made 16 of them.  Yes that WHOLE tray of finished product was made with one batch of dough.  Oh and when I went to buy more banana pudding, the store was out. Grrr!  So I found sugar free cheesecake pudding, used sugar free Cool Whip and viola ... cheesecake "mousse" filling.  So really your sugar content is pretty low on this one.  

Dessert was definitely light enough and yummy enough that you didn't walk away weighed down.  Definitely time to investigate ways to make other flavored cream puffs.  Now that I'm making homemade coffee creamer, which is conveniently cheaper than buying store bought and quite yummy if you do it right.  ;0)  I will definitely make that one of the posts.  I have discovered a few things.  Try the cream puffs though, really!  They are yummy even not filled.  No matter which one you try to make, no matter if you try you make your own flavor, remember that best ingredient to any recipe is you .... Enjoy!!!