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.

 

Creamy Leftover Mashed Potato Soup

So December 26th rolls around and you find yourself with 8 pounds of leftover mashed potatoes and half a ham.  What do you do?  Make soup!  I tried this recipe today and it turned out really good.  First, here’s what you will need for it.  It’s a pretty simple and straight forward recipe.  It’s not nearly as healthy as what I usually like to make up in a recipe but hey, it’s the holidays right?

Ingredients

6 cups leftover mashed potatoes

6 cups whole milk

1/2 cup sour cream

4 tbsp butter

1/2 cup chopped green onions

3 cups chopped leftover ham

2 tsp garlic salt

2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp black pepper

Step One

In a large crock pot, combine all the ingredients and set on high.  Gently stir it together.  If you have more than 6 cups of leftover mashed potatoes, just add an equal extra amount of milk.  You should always have equal amounts of milk and potato.  Then adjust the flavoring ingredients according to taste.

Step Two

After about an hour, come stir the soup again as the butter and sour cream should be melted by now.  Change the crock pot setting to low and stir the soup occasionally until ready to serve.

Step Three

Garnish the soup with your favorite cheese (sharp cheddar would probably be best) and serve hot with bread.

 

Like I said, this recipe is pretty easy and straight forward and a good way to use those Christmas or Thanksgiving leftovers.  Feel free to try it and leave a comment in the comment section on how you liked it or changed it.  As always, if you enjoy the blog and want to receive an email notification when I post something new, please click on the “follow” link in the lower right hand corner of your screen.  Thank you for reading and happy holidays.

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.

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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.

 

 

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.

Mexican Chicken Cornbread Casserole

So let me start by saying that I had to look up how to spell the word “casserole.”  Spelling has never been my strong suite.  If you have ever come over to have dinner at our house, chances are pretty good that you’ve had this dish.  It’s a staple of our family so I thought that I would do my first recipe on the blog.  This is one our favorites.  It’s a little spicy but not so spicy that the kids don’t eat it.  I’ll throw in some modifications to it at the end so that if you make it, you can adapt it to fit your own tastes.  Let’s start out with what is in the dish.

Ingredients

2 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 can of black beans (drained)

1 can of cream corn

1 12oz bag of frozen corn

1 4oz can of fire roasted diced chiles

1 can of diced tomatoes (drained)

1 package of taco seasoning

1 package of sliced mozzarella cheese

1 8.5oz box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix

1 egg

1/3 cup of milk (whichever milk you want. I use whole milk)

 

Step One

Preheat the oven to 250.  Boil the chicken breasts in a large saucepan until they are cooked thoroughly and then pull them apart using two fork.  The chicken should separate into small stringy pieces.  Place the pulled chicken into a large mixing bowl.

Step Two

Add the beans, cream corn, frozen corn, chiles, tomatoes, and taco seasoning into the bowl with the chicken. Mix it all together thoroughly.

Step Three

Spread the mix into a 9″ x 13″ glass pan.  Place the slices of mozzarella cheese on top of the mixture.

Step Four

Prepare the Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix according to the directions on the box.  Add the mix, egg, and milk and stir together.  Usually, I use a fork to do this and it works pretty well.  Spread the mix on top of the cheese slices.

Step Five

Bake the casserole at 250 for 45 min.

Step Six

Increase the oven temperature to 400.  Bake the casserole for an additional 15 min or until the middle of the cornbread mix is baked through.  If the edges start browning too quickly, decrease the oven temperature to make sure that the cornbread is cooked all the way without burning.  Stick a fork into the middle of the dish.  It should come out clean.

Step Seven

Eat the food Tina!

 

Here are some additional options.

Vegetarian (Not absolutely Vegan)

Substitute 2 cups of brown rice for the chicken.  Brown rice and black beans in combination with each other provide all the essential amino acids to create a complete protein.  When preparing the brown rice, try adding lime juice or lemon juice to water for a citrusy flavor.  I’ve found flavoring rice by adding things to the water can go a long way in creating unique tastes without adding a lot of additional calories.  If you are a strict vegan, then use a vegan cheese and a vegan cornbread mix.  I have never used it, but Jiffy does have a vegetarian cornbread mix with directions on how to and what to substitute to make vegan cornbread.

More Spice?

If you’re like me, you like a little heat in your meals.  You can add some heat to this one pretty easily.  You can simply add red pepper flakes to the casserole mix.  You could add some fresh diced jalapenos to the cornbread mix.  Or you could substitute a hotter pepper for the fire roasted diced chiles.  One time I made this, I added diced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce because ALDI doesn’t have the fire roasted diced chiles…I liked it a lot.  The rest of my family couldn’t eat it.

More Cheese Please?

Because who doesn’t like more cheese in their life?  You can add a cup of shredded cheddar cheese to the cornbread mix before you spread it on top.  It adds more cheese and more flavor but also more calories and more expenses.

 

Well, that’s all for the first recipe.  If you actually try it at home, please comment and let me know how you liked it or if you needed to make any modifications (i.e. cooking times and temps, etc.)  If you did anything else to change the recipe with ingredients or something, please comment as well with what you did and how it turned out.  Hope you enjoy this.  As always, please follow the blog by clicking on the link in the lower right hand corner of the page.  Thanks for reading.

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