Baking on Saturday – Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Well, happy Saturday.  Today, I tried combining one of my favorite snacks into one bread.  Peanut butter banana bread.  It turned out really well.  It’s super moist and hearty with good flavor and texture.

Ingredients

2-3 bananas mashed

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup melted peanut butter

2 eggs

1 cup warm milk

1 tbsp vanilla extract

3 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

Step One

Preheat oven to 325*F.  Spray the inside of two  bread pans and set aside.

Step Two

Whisk together the first six ingredients (banana, sugar, peanut butter, eggs, milk, and vanilla) in a medium sized mixing bowl to make the wet mix.  Make sure that it is smooth with all the banana chunks gone.  (Tip, use either the “melt” or the “defrost” setting on the microwave when melting the peanut butter.)

Step Three

In a large mixing bowl, combine the last three ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda).  Stir them evenly together.

Step Four

Combine the wet and dry mix to make the batter.  Stir only until the two are combined and there is no dry mix left.  Try to avoid over-stirring.

Step Five

Distribute the batter evenly between the two bread pans.  Bake in the oven at 325*F for 60-65 minutes are until you can stick a fork or toothpick into the center of the loaf and it comes out clean.

 

 

This is a pretty straightforward recipe.  It turend out very good like I said and went perfectly with a glass of milk for the kids and a cup of coffee for me.  As always, thank you for reading.  If you are a visitor on the blog for the first time and would like to receive an email notification every time I post something new, click in the link in the lower right hand corner of your screen.  Thanks again.

Baking on a Saturday – No Sugar Added Apple Butter Banana Bread

One thing that annoys me with many food/recipe blogs is that there is usually at least a 5,000 word story to scroll through before you get to the actual recipe you were looking for in the first place.  That being said, the idea for this recipe kind of does have a story behind it but I’ll keep it quick.

Through a series of events, we came into possession of about a hundred apples and only used about thirty-five of them.  Never the one to throw extra food away, I decided to try my hand at home made apple butter.  The apple butter actually turned out really really good.  However, after about two weeks, we still had a good bit left and I was sick of seeing it in our fridge.  It was also a Saturday when I was home alone with the kids.  I love passing on my passion for cooking and baking to my kids, so we went into the lab together and created apple butter banana bread.

If you’ve read my recipe blogs before, you know that I am a huge fan of not loading foods, especially ones with fruits (i.e. sugar) already in them.  It’s not necessarily that I’m an insanely healthy eater.  I’m not.  I just don’t like that some recipes have as much sugar as flour.  In essence, I would rather my banana bread taste more like bananas than sugar.  So you’ll notice that this recipe has absolutely no extra sugar added.  When I made the original apple butter, I added about a quarter cup of brown sugar but this recipe only uses a small amount of the total apple butter.  So all in all, there is probably about a tablespoon of brown sugar from the apple butter actually in the bread.

So, after complaining about blogs that take forever to get to the actual recipe, I used three hundred to introduce this one.  I apologize. Here’s the recipe.

Ingredients

2 ripe bananas

1 cup apple butter

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs (if you want a vegan recipe, substitute 1/4 cup applesauce)

2 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tbsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

Step One

Preheat the oven to 350*

Step Two

Mash the bananas in a medium bowl.  I find that it is easiest to just use a fork for this.  Then add the apple butter, vegetable oil, vanilla, and eggs/applesauce.  Mix it all together until it is relatively smooth.  Set the wet mix aside. 20190112_085846.jpg

Step Three

In a separate bowl, add the dry ingredients; the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  Mix them together until they are well blended.20190112_085357.jpg

Step Four

Add the wet mix into the dry mix.  Mix it together until the entire mixture is relatively smooth.  Use a rubber spatula to make sure that all the dry mix is off the edges of the bowl or when you go to pour the batter, you’ll all of a sudden have a spot of dry flour in your bread that never got mixed in.20190112_124550.jpg

Step Five

Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and pour/spoon the batter into the pan.  Bake for 50 minutes or until you can insert a fork into the middle of the loaf and it comes out clean.  Try your best to eat it while it is still warm out the oven.  If not, this bread should hold pretty well for a couple of days.  It pairs really well with coffee but what doesn’t? Am I right?  Also, don’t judge me that the kids are all still in their pajamas, it’s a Saturday ok.

 

Well, as always, thanks for taking time to read the blog.  I hope you enjoyed it and that you try this recipe and love it too.  Our family liked it a lot even though it’s not super sweet.  If you want to follow the blog to receive email updates whenever I post something new, please click on the link in the lower right hand corner of your screen.  Thanks again.

 

Banana-Lime Blueberry Muffins

I like food.  Like a lot.  I probably even love food.  More so, I love food that has a lot of flavor.  I like cooking for people and making them feel happy through the food I cook.  However, I also hate that most of the baking recipes I find are loaded with sugars, oils, and butter.  For example, we had a few older bananas today so I just looked up banana muffin recipes.  Most of the recipes had almost as much sugar as flour in them and at least 1/2 cup of some kind of oil.  I just feel that is so unnecessary in baking.  There are so many other ways to add flavor in recipes, specifically baking, without loading it full of sugar.

Low sugar recipes are really a necessity if you have children…especially children like mine who are already very high energy.  So, instead of using a recipe on the internet, I just experimented with some new flavors to come up with these muffins.  They use much less sugar (still some sugar) and no vegetable oil.  Instead, I used applesauce, lime juice, vanilla extract, and cinnamon, to add moisture and flavor.  Enjoy.

Ingredients

2 ripe to overipe bananas

1/2 cup applesauce

1/3 cup sugar

3 tbsp lime juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 cup blueberries

1 tbsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 2/3 cup flour

Step One

If you’re using frozen blueberries, take them out and get them thawing.  If you’re using fresh blueberries, just pre-heat the oven to 375*.

Step Two

Mash the two bananas using a fork in a large mixing bowl.  Add the applesauce, sugar, lime juice, eggs, and vanilla and stir with the fork until the mixture is generally smooth.  Set the wet mixture aside.

Step Three

In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Slowly stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture until it is one smooth batter.

Step Four

Add the blueberries.  At this point, try to stir as little as possible while still getting a good mix so that the blueberries stay intact.

Step Five

Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and spoon the batter into the cups until they are about 3/4 full.  Bake at 375 for 18-22 min or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the muffin comes out clean.

Step Six20181210_170514.jpg

Enjoy!!!!

 

I hope you enjoy this recipe.  It’s pretty easy and straight forward and the muffins turned out really good.  My whole family loved them.  The average consumption rate was about 45 seconds per muffin.  As always, thank you so much for reading.  I really appreciate your support.  If you want email notifications whenever I post a new recipe, book review, or crafting idea, please click on the link in the lower right hand corner of the page to follow the blog.

 

 

Apple Cider Chili in a Crock Pot (Vegan Option Included)

I don’t know why I’ve been so into experimenting with new and different chili recipes this fall but I have. This weekend, I decided to try to blend two fall classics, chili and apple cider. I actually really liked it.  The two flavors blended really well into a sweet and spicy mix.  I didn’t top it with cheese or anything this time, but in the future I might.  Cheddar cheese actually goes really well with apples.  So, if you enjoy recipes and flavors that are a little bit different than what you’re used to, read on.

Ingredients

1 lb ground turkey (For the vegan option, substitute I can of red kidney beans

2 bell peppers

1 onion

3 cups apple cider

3 cups water

3 cups unsweetened applesauce

1 can  dark red kidney beans

1 can pinto beans

1 can light red kidney beans

2 cans of diced tomatoes with green chiles

1 tbsp chili powder

2 tbsp cumin

3 tbsp brown sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp salt

Step One

The first thing you’ll want to do is get the water, cider, applesauce, peppers, and onion into the crock pot to start warming and getting soft.  Start by mixing the first three ingredients (water, cider, applesauce) and then dicing the peppers and onion and getting them in. 20181112_092543.jpg

(He’s four now, so I feel it’s a good time to teach kitchen knife skills)

Step Two

The next thing to do is get all the spices into the mix.  Add the chili powder, cumin, brown sugar, cinnamon, onion powder, and salt to the mix.  If you like your chili a little more spicy, feel free to add more chili powder than is in the recipe.  I would, but most people that eat my chili prefer foods not as spicy as I do.

Step Three

Brown the turkey in a skillet and add it to the mix. (Obviously if you’re doing the vegan version, skip this step)

Step Four

Add the beans and tomatoes to the chili and mix it all together.  Leave it sitting on high for at least 4 hours.  This will make sure that the onions and peppers get soft enough and that their natural flavors get into the chili.

 

Well, that’s all there really is to it.  It’s a pretty simple recipe.  Not too many ingredients except for a lot of spices.  If you wanted to simplify it, you could simply use one type of beans (probably the dark red kidney beans).  I just add different ones for variety.  Thanks for reading.  As always, if you enjoyed this recipe and want more, please follow the blog by clicking on the link in the lower right hand corner of your screen.

Crockpot Pumpkin Chili (Vegan Option Included)

I really got into the whole “Fall” thing with this one.  We had a surplus of pie pumpkins at the house and I decided that, rather than let them all go to waste, I’d experiment with making a pumpkin based chili.  Pumpkin is also really really healthy. It turned out really good.  There’s definitely a sweet pumpkin flavor but it’s still chili so it has a bit of a kick to it as well.  As usual, I let the kiddos help out with it.  Enjoy

Ingredients

4 cups fresh cooked pumpkin or 2 15oz cans pumpkin puree.

4 cups water

2 green bell peppers diced

1 onion diced

1 lb ground turkey

1 tbsp each of cumin, chili powder, onion powder, and garlic salt

3 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp each of pumpkin pie spice, black pepper, and salt

1 can each of pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans, diced tomatoes with chilis.

 

So the first thing you need to decide is whether you’re going to use fresh cooked pumpkin, or canned pumpkin puree.  If you’re using canned pumpkin puree, skip to step 3.

Step One

You probably only need one pie pumpkin to get 4 cups of fresh pumpkin.  I cooked up 2 and froze the leftovers to use in bread, pie, or pancakes later.  So start by cutting your pumpkin in half and scooping out the innards.  Set them aside in a separate bowl.

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Step Two

Placed the hollowed out pumpkin in a glass baking dish filled about 1/2 in with water.  Cook at 400*F for about an hour.  The pumpkins are done when the outside is soft and squishy to the touch.  While they are cooking, do steps 3, 4, and 5.20181029_122932.jpg

Once they are done cooking, let them sit for about 15 minutes and flip them over to cool faster.20181029_134543.jpg

Step 3

Brown the ground turkey in a skillet and add it to the crockpot.

Step 4

Drain the beans but not the tomatoes, and add them to the crockpot as well.  20181029_123144.jpg

Step 5

Add the cumin, chili powder, onion powder, garlic salt, pepper, salt, and brown sugar to the crock pot.  Stir together and set on high.20181029_123253.jpg

Step 6

Dice the green peppers and the onion and add them to the pot.20181029_130527.jpg

Step 7

Once the pumpkins are cool enough to work with without burning your hands, scoop the pumpkin out from the shell and place into a large mixing bowl.  Add the 4 cups of water to the pumpkin and whisk together.  If you’re using the pureed pumpkin do the same thing.  Then add this mix to the crockpot and stir it all together.

Step 8

Cook on high for about 4 hours.  Add cheese or sour cream or anything else you like on chili to top it off and enjoy.

*This recipe can be made vegan very easily.  Simply take out the ground turkey and add another can of kidney beans.  It won’t really change the flavor or consistency that much.

 

So, right now, you have the innards of the pumpkin sitting in a bowl to the side.  What should you do with that.  Well, click here for a second recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds.  It’s one of my family’s favorites.

As always, thanks so much for reading.  If you enjoyed the blog, please take the time to follow it by clicking on the link in the lower right hand corner of your screen.  Happy Fall!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

So, you’ve just finished making a Jack-O-Lantern or using real pumpkin in a recipe and you have a slew of pumpkin innards.  What to do?  Make roasted pumpkin seeds.  They’re super easy, healthy, and delicious to boot.  Growing up, my mom used to make these all the time and we love them.  Pumpkin seeds are rich in Fiber, Protein, Omega 6 Fats, Vitamin K, Phosphorus, Manganese, Magnesium, Iron, Zinc, and Copper.

So the bowl of innards probably looks a bit like this.20181029_122739.jpg

The bad news is that your hands are gonna get messy getting the seeds out from the innards.  The good news is that if you scooped the innards out yourself, then your hands are probably already messy.  So a large bowl full of innards will produce a medium sized bowl of just seeds.20181029_125818.jpg

The picture shows the original bowl with the new bowl next to it.  Add about 3 tbsp of olive oil to the seeds and toss it together for about a minute to disperse the oil evenly.  Then spread the seeds over a large cookie sheet and sprinkle with garlic salt and black pepper.20181029_130312.jpg

Cook for 15-20 at 400*F or until the seeds start browning and are crispy. Put them back in the bowl and toss them again to spread the garlic salt and black pepper better over the seeds.20181029_132207.jpg

Try a seed pretty shortly after they come out.  They cool fairly quickly.  If they are not crispy enough, put them back in the oven for a little bit longer.  Enjoy.

 

Thanks for reading.  I hope you enjoyed this recipe.  Please take the time to follow the blog by clicking in the link in the lower right hand corner of your screen.  Happy Fall!

 

 

Baking on Saturday – Pumpkin Muffins

Repurposing Saturday mornings and leftover casseroles into fun learning times and delicious pumpkin muffins.

One of the things that I really love doing is baking.  Say what you will about my masculinity or what not. I’m ok with it.  I really enjoy it.  Cooking in general is something that I want to pass on to my own kids.  So, I’ve started a routine in which Saturday mornings, after breakfast, the kids and I do some kind of a baking project.  Two weeks ago we did zucchini bread.  This week, in honor of impending autumn, we did pumpkin muffins.  We had a leftover pumpkin casserole from last week (similar to a sweet potato casserole but pretty bland and gross to be honest) in our fridge.  So we re-purposed it into muffins.  Here’s the recipe.

Ingredients

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp salt

1 cup of brown sugar

2 cups of canned pumpkin (I used the leftover casserole)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup no sugar added applesauce

4 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

Yields 24 muffins.

*Notes on the recipe – The vegetable oil and applesauce are interchangeable, you can do a full cup of vegetable oil with no applesauce or a full cup of applesauce with no vegetable oil. I like to substitute applesauce for oil in recipes as much as I can.  It adds fiber, vitamin C, and sweetness without a lot of sugar and eliminates a lot of fat calories.

Also, to make the recipe vegan, substitute about a cup of applesauce for the eggs.  However, if you do this, I would do a full cup of vegetable oil instead of the 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup applesauce in the recipe.

Last, 24 muffins is a lot of muffins.  However, I find that there is usually about 2 cups of pumpkin in the can that you buy from the store and it’s ridiculous to use only half the can because there are very few things that you can do with half a can of leftover pumpkin. So, this recipe should use about 1 can of pumpkin.  If there isn’t enough pumpkin to get the full 2 cups, substitute applesauce for the rest.

Step One – Dry Mix

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First, what you need to do is preheat the oven for 350 *F.  I don’t always do this with a moist bread like zucchini, pumpkin, blueberry etc.  I have found that putting the bread in before the oven is fully preheated helps cook the bread through without burning the outside.  Usually it just adds about 5 min to the overall baking time.  However, if you don’t want to do this, then preheat.  Get two muffin tins of 12 cups and spray them with cooking spray.

After you’ve prepped the oven and muffin tins, you need to combine the dry ingredients.  So, in a large mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. mix these together with a fork and set aside.  However, if you’re cooking with children like I am, set in a high place.  My children have discovered that if they blow hard enough into the bowl, flour flies up in a cloud and blankets everything in white. Word to the wise.

 

Step Two – Wet Mix

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In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin, brown sugar, sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, and applesauce. Whisk it together for about 2 minutes.  I generally don’t let the kids do this as most of the wet mix will end up on the table.

 

Step Three – Combine the wet and dry mix

Take the wet mix and add it into the larger dry mix bowl.  Using a large spoon, stir it until the batter is smooth.  Usually it takes about 2-3 minutes of good mixing to achieve this.  When I do this with the kids, I usually get the batter mostly mixed on my own and then let them take over.  This avoids spills and ensures that the batter is completely mixed.

Step Four – Distribute the batter

Using the same large spoon, evenly distribute the batter throughout the muffin tin.  Usually, you’ll want to fill the tin 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full.  The muffins will rise as they bake and not overfilling the tin will ensure that the batter is cooked all the way through.  If you overfill, the outside of the muffin will burn and the inside will not be cooked thoroughly.

Step Five – Baking

Place the muffin tins side by side in the oven.  Baking usually takes about 25 minutes.  I would check the muffins at about 22 to see if they are done though.

Step Six – Post Oven

Almost as soon as I pull the muffins out of the oven, I flip them out of the tin like the picture to help them cool.  About 10-15 minutes later, I take them out of the tin entirely.

These muffins are great served warm and topped with a little bit of butter.  They stay fresh and moist and pair excellently with hot coffee for breakfast as well.  Health wise, they have about half the amount of sugar as most similar recipes and have the applesauce and pumpkins for extra fiber and nutrients. For other healthy options, you can add flax seed, or substitute some of the flour for oats.

20180915_102421Well, I hope you enjoy these pumpkins muffins.  I think they make a fantastic and somewhat healthy fall treat and are fairly easy to do making them a fun learning activity for your kids.

If you tried this recipe and would like to add some advice or something you did different, please leave a comment in the comment section.  As always, please follow the blog by clicking on the link in the lower right corner of your screen.