Category Archives: banana

Quick and easy banana bread

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I always have the best intentions. A to-do list a mile long. Sometimes I accomplish all I mentally set out to do. Nope, not this weekend. This weekend I watched Mad play soccer, did some shopping (kitchen stuff of course) and spent time with friends. So I guess you could say I accomplished a lot of fun stuff, even if the floors didn’t get mopped. But this bread, this banana bread is an easy Sunday night loaf to make, because who doesn’t like a piece of warm bread to slather some butter on while thinking of their week ahead? This recipe is great because you can whip it up and go off and do something else for the almost hour it bakes, with your house smelling great, and a snack for later. 

 

Easy banana bread

1 stick unsalted butter at room temp

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs at room temp

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon or nutmeg (your choice)

1 tsp kosher salt

4 bananas mashed (ripe preferably, but I used a mixture and it still tastes great)

1/2 cup sour cream (full fat)

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup pecans  (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees 

Grease and line a loaf pan with parchment paper

In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until fluffy, 8-10 minutes on medium speed

Add eggs and vanilla until incorporated

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda cinnamon or nutmeg and salt. Add to butter mixture until just combined. Add bananas and sour cream (nuts if using)

Bake for 55 minutes (put loaf pan on a baking sheet for a more even cook) or until a toothpick comes out clean

Cool for 20 minutes on rack, remove and serve

Can be saved for a week wrapped tightly in plastic wrap (usually doesn’t last that long) 

What the what (banana cheesecake)

Social media. It can be a curse or a great way to make friends/connect/learn. I have made some wonderful friends and met some major people in my life via the internet. One is Dawn of Sweet Considerations. She is a gem, and she sent me a bunch of recipes because she is awesome like that. One of the recipes was for Banana Cheesecake. I am always looking for ways to get rid of bananas in my house (Mad always says she will get to them, uh huh) and this was a great way to use them up. While the recipe calls for 6, I only used 3 for the filling and one for the topping. My only other change was I used Nila wafers for the crust, and let me say it was a hit. My work (boss especially) requested this the same day I made it. So twice this week people have been amazed by this great cheesecake which is simple to make, and easy to serve. So Dawn thank you so much, and followers find her on instagram/twitter/facebook, she is talented and wonderful and I can’t wait to get back to Chicago to meet her!

https://www.facebook.com/DawnMariesSweetConsiderations

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Banana muffins (recipe) and how long to keep dried spices

“She went bananas” Not yet folks, they haven’t checked me into the loony bin. There are days when I think any minute. But where did that saying come from? How did bananas get a bad reputation, or more a crazy one? They look pretty sane to me. I don’t like them, and one thing that annoys me is “banana flavored” stuff. If that is what flavoring is, I am good, thanks. But I bake banana bread or muffins frequently it seems, because one spot of brown in this house, and Mad moves on. So here are some banana muffins with streusel topping. Oh and I used vanilla salt to kick it up a notch.

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Banana muffins with streusel topping

Streusel topping

1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Combine all ingredients into a bowl, cutting up butter with a pastry cutter, fork or your hands. Set aside

Banana muffins

Preheat oven to 375. Line muffin tins with liners and set aside

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt (i use vanilla sea salt or sea salt for more texture. table salt is fine)
3-4 bananas
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Mash bananas, then add oil, egg, and vanilla. Add banana mixture to dry ingredients and stir until combined (do not overmix)
Fill muffin tins about 3/4 full with muffin batter, and sprinkle streusel topping on each muffin
Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean in middle of the muffin. Depending on your oven, muffins could take up to 20 minutes.
Let cool in muffin tins for 15 minutes
Cool on cooling rack or serve warm
*Makes about a dozen muffins

Now let’s talk spices. Yep, I am all over the place, so go ahead and call the blog authorities if you want, but I do what I like.  How long should you keep them?  Good question, and thank you Terry for asking me. I keep them unopened for about six months. After that, we have to break up. Now things like cinnamon and ginger I go through quickly, but I only buy the smaller jars because I want to make certain I don’t keep them too long. And yes there are spices I will buy only the good stuff. Anyone who has been to a Penzey’s knows what I am talking about. It’s a spice paradise. I buy the 1 oz jars, which aren’t any more expensive than your grocery store. People get overwhelmed or worried about price, but in fact it’s a better quality spice and the cost is reasonable. Because I bake more than cook, I have cinnamon (I do get the big Costco one, this does last quite awhile with no problems) ginger, nutmeg, ground cloves, allspice, etc. I do have about four types of cinnamon and nutmeg, but you don’t have to be “bananas” like me unless you want to. I am pretty swell, but I digress. Other essential spices are chili powder, ground mustard, pizza seasoning, pepper, cumin, peppercorns, and bay leaves. I also like seasonal spices like pumpkin pie spices.

 

Dried vs fresh-always use fresh if you can, but if you are using dried, always use a little less. So if a recipe calls for ½ tsp, go with ¼ dried.

 

So six months is my rule of thumb. Go forth, spice it up, live your life spicy and a bit crazy. It’s much more fun here

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Calmness and banana bread

Someone said to me the other day “What do you know, you lead a normal life?” Hmm. We know what making assumptions does. While my life is in a quiet, more normal place, it’s far from normal. Daily stress, troubles, family issues, all the things we all deal with, I deal with. The feelings of not being good enough, wanting to be good enough, wanting to do things that aren’t possible right now, all are feelings I have inside me. I think this was the moment when I knew this person wasn’t meant to be in my life long (they are no longer)

Calmness can be hard to find in this fast paced world we live in. We have work, kids, families, car trouble, money worries, etc. But I find calmness in baking and taking pictures. It’s my therapy, my sanity, my sanctuary. I let the rest of it slide away, even for an hour. I think of what I want to make, what I want to capture in a picture, what would translate to all of you who see it, and those of you who get to eat it. My journey with baking and photography is pretty new, just a few years old, but I have put myself into 110%. As a kid I didn’t have any hobbies, wasn’t encouraged to find myself, so finding myself in my early 30’s has been an adventure that scared me, stressed me out, worried me, but ultimately made me some of the happiest moments and memories in my life.

Find what centers you, find what makes you you. Go slow, really work at it. Have the confidence and strength to fail, to succeed. Get those awesome people you have in your life, be it one or two people to cheer you on, be there when things go south. It is worth the hours, the days, the thoughts, the sacrifices, because when you get it, you have it all.

I made banana bread-sure it’s an easy one.

Banana muffins and a tip or two

I don’t eat muffins often, but I love to make them. This is a spiced up banana bread recipe from allrecipes.com that I made into muffins. Few things when making them:

1. I always add extra bananas, or whatever fruit you are using for extra flavor and moistness
2. I like to make a brown sugar cinnamon streusel for the top
3. Right before they go in the oven I add a sprinkle of raw sugar on top for crunch.

Happy muffin making!

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