Category Archives: Food

Easy ‘One-Banana’ Banana Bread

Our family buys bananas often. I try to be strategic when I buy them so that we can have a few days of perfectly ripe bananas, yet there always seems to be one lonely banana left that turns too black too quickly.

There are lots of ways to use overripe bananas, but most of the time you need more than just one.

I wondered if you could make banana bread with just one banana, maybe just make a small batch of muffins or something, & then I found this recipe.

Banana bread using only one banana? Could it be?

Yes!

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This recipe produces a moist but dense bread with awesome banana flavor. I love this recipe because it’s not too mushy. I add slivered almonds for extra texture & flavor.

Since discovering this recipe, I’ve been a little bit banana bread obsessed. I have made it more times than I’ve made anything else in my life, ever. It’s just such a great, easy recipe! Not only that, but banana bread makes a great breakfast, snack, even dessert.

I love that it’s a ‘dump’ recipe – you literally just put everything in a bowl & mix it all up. I’ve made it with all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, & a combination of the two. It has worked with all of those variations – I just made it a full cup of milk when using whole wheat.

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One week we had 2 bananas that were too far gone, so I made two loaves. My husband took one to work & he says it was gone in minutes!

Easy ‘One Banana’ Banana Bread

Makes 1 loaf

  • 1 large overripe banana
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, plus enough milk to make 1 cup liquid
  • 1 stick butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • slivered almonds (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease your loaf pan.
  2. Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix with an electric mixer until all of the flour is incorporated, being careful not to over-mix. Mixture should be slightly lumpy, but not have large chunks.
  3. Pour batter into loaf pan.
  4. Bake for about 55 minutes. The bread is ready when the top no longer looks gooey & a toothpick comes out relatively clean (it is a moist bread, afterall!).
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Mary Berry’s American Victoria Sandwich

Are you as obsessed with The Great British Baking Show as I am?

I’m actually quite sad that the latest season just ended.

For the finale, the contestant’s technical challenge was to make Mary’s Victoria sandwich without a recipe.

A Victoria sandwich is is a two-layer light sponge cake filled with a layer of jam & buttercream.

Seeing as how I am not British – not even close – I am only able to take Mary Berry’s word that this is a classic cake & that the jam should be raspberry (with “all the bits”, as she says).

I’ve been wanting to try to create one of the recipes from the show since I started watching Season 1 on Netflix earlier this summer. I figured this one shouldn’t be terribly difficult. Not like the Prinsesstårta!

The only thing is that Mary Berry’s recipe is written in U.K. Measurements. I have no idea how much 225g of self-raising flour is. The PBS website is nice enough to link to this conversion site at the bottom of the recipe, but it only converts grams to ounces – not cups. I still have no idea how much 8oz of flour is. So with my little food scale & Google, I came up with the below recipe conversion.

Hence this is Mary Berry’s American Victoria Sandwich.

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One key difference for me is that I do not have self-raising flour. Therefore, I used all purpose plus extra baking powder. (Side note: God is real, you guys. I had JUST enough flour to make this!)

I also made my own caster sugar with a food processor. I was going to skip it but I read that regular granulated sugar wouldn’t give the sponge the right texture & could be grainy. To make enough caster sugar for this recipe, I pulsed 1 1/4 cup of sugar in the food processor for about 30 seconds.

I was all set to follow Mary’s proportions for buttercream (7 tbsp buter, 1 3/4 cup powdered sugar if anyone is interested),  but then I accidentally threw the whole stick of butter in the mixer. So 2 cups of powdered sugar it was. It’s so much easier to use the whole stick of butter anyway!

I did cheat a little & used store bought raspberry jam – seedless. Sorry, Mary. I know you like “all the bits”, but my husband does not!

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My 2 sponges domed up more than I would have liked in the middle, so I did trim them. But that just meant I got to taste test them before serving them to my friends!

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I cannot tell you how this compares to the British original.

I can only tell you it was delicious!

Mary Berry’s American Victoria Sandwich

Victoria Sponge

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour, lightly spooned – not scooped
  • 2 level tsp baking powder
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease two 8in round cake pans & line with parchment paper.
  2. Break the eggs into a large bowl. Then add the sugar, flour, baking powder, & butter. Use an electric mixer to mix together until well combined, being careful not to over-mix. (According to Mary, “The finished mixture should be of a soft ‘dropping’ consistency.”)
  3. Divide the mixture evenly between the cake pans. Use a spatula to gently smooth the surface of the cakes.
  4. Place the cake pans on the middle shelf of the oven & bake for 25 minutes. Don’t open the oven door to check them until at least the 20 minutes mark.
  5. When the’re done, remove them from the oven & set aside to cool in the pans for 5 minutes. Then transfer onto a rack to cool completely.

Buttercream

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp milk
  1. Using electric mixer, beat the butter in a large bowl until soft.
  2. Add half of the powdered sugar & beat until smooth.
  3. Add the remaining powdered sugar & 1 tablespoon of milk. Beat the mixture until creamy & smooth. Add the remaining tablespoon of milk if the buttercream is too thick.

To assemble:

  1. Choose one of the sponges to be the bottom & put it down on to a serving plate.
  2. Spread the raspberry jam (store bought or homemade) on the cake, then pipe the buttercream on top of the jam.
  3. Place the other sponge on top & sprinkle with caster sugar to serve.

 

 

Cupcakes For Cupcake’s Baptism!

Yesterday was Cupcake’s baptism!

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She was such an angel about it! She was asleep up until we got up on the church altar. Then she opened her eyes & perked up, almost as if she knew that the ceremony was all for her.

Afterward we had a little party at our house to celebrate.

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So of course I made a cake!

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A pull-apart cupcake cake to be precise. Cupcakes for my Cupcake’s baptism ❤

This cake was so easy to assemble! I used 1 box cake mix, about 3 tubs of frosting, & some chocolate candies.

I think it came out looking beautiful.

I’m very much looking forward to raising little Cupcake to be a God-fearing woman.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

Pull-Apart Cupcake Cross

assembly instructions
  • 28 cupcakes
  • ~50 oz frosting (about 3 tubs)
  • candies for decorating
  1. Assemble the cupcakes into the desired cross shape.
  2. Frost each cupcake with a large rosette ( I used Wilton 2D tip)
  3. Fill in the gaps with more rosettes.
  4. Decorate with colorful candies.

Nursing Mommy’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake

Cupcake is 2+ months old & growing like a weed! It’s very satisfying to look at her double chin & chunky legs & know that I did that.

Thankfully breastfeeding is going very well with little intervention from me, but every now & then I’ll drink some Mother’s Milk tea or malta to ‘help’ my supply. I haven’t actually had any supply issues, but eating yummy galactagogues can’t hurt.

What’s a galactagogue, you ask?

Milk

Do galactagogues really work? It’s debatable. I am not a doctor or a lactation expert, so please consult a professional if you are having any issues breastfeeding. The list of foods classified as galactagogues is long & includes lots of healthy & delicious foods. A lot of very common foods are on it, so there’s a good chance any breastfeeding mom is already consuming at least some.

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I’ve also been drinking this shake from time to time. It’s a nice treat between meals. This shake has ground flax seed & puffed wheat, two of the aforementioned galactagogues. Ground flax is not just good for lactation – it’s full of omega 3 & fiber. I’ve been putting it into all sorts of things from drinks to baked goods & even pizza. The shake also has peanut butter for protein & a packet of chocolate Carnation Breakfast Essentials. I’ve made similar shake recipes with cocoa powder instead, but the Carnation stuff is much tastier & full of vitamins. Now, this isn’t exactly a health food. I called it a shake instead of a smoothie for a reason! I used sweetened puffed wheat & regular Carnation stuff, but you can use unsweetened puffed wheat & no-sugar-added Carnation to cut down on the sugar.

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One packet of the breakfast powder makes 2 servings of this shake, so I either share with my husband or blend everything but the ice together & save half in the fridge to blend later.

Is this shake going to help with breastfeeding? I can’t say for sure, but I can tell you it is tasty & fun!

Nursing Mommy’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake

Makes 2 servings
  • 2 Tb Peanut Butter
  • 2 Tb Flax Seed
  • 1 cup Puffed Wheat
  • 1 packet Chocolate Carnation Breakfast Essentials
  • 1 cup milk
  • ice
  1. Blend all ingredients except ice together for a few minutes.
  2. Add ice, blend until desired consistency.

 


Even though I’m posting more intermittently than ever, I was touched to see this:

100 followers

Thank you for all the follows ❤

International Bacon Day, part 2!

Today is the OTHER International Bacon Day! I’m enjoying some bacon & eggs with my hubby, but check out some more bacon recipes below!

Mrs. Dessert Monster

Today is International Bacon Day!

Or at least, one of them, anyway.

To celebrate both bacon day & the start of college football this weekend, I’m making these delicious sweet & cheesy bacon tots.

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I first made these for New Year’s Eve last year & they were such a hit!

Just a little prep & 25 minutes later you’ll be in sweet, crunchy heaven! There’s just something about the combination of brown sugar & bacon that’s hard not to love. Then this recipe adds 2 of my other favorite things – cheese & potatoes.

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YUM.

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I better not make these until our friends come over, otherwise there will be none left for them!

Sweet & Cheesy Bacon Tots

Adapted from Damn Delicious 
  • 2 cups frozen tater tots, room temperature
  • 1 oz sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 1/4-inch squares
  • 4 slices bacon, cut in 4
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  1. Preheat oven to…

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Pregnant Tiramisu

I have been pretty good this pregnancy about following the guidelines of what not to eat. Not too paranoid, but definitely avoiding the basics.

No alcohol. No cold cuts. No sushi. Limited caffeine. Nothing with raw eggs.

Raw eggs is one that seems straight forward, but isn’t. Meringue frosting? Raw egg whites. Homemade mayonnaise dressings? Probably has raw eggs. Tiramisu? RAW EGGS.

I had never made tiramisu before, but earlier in my pregnancy I had a hankering for it & looked up some recipes to see if I could substitute the obvious non-pregnancy friendly ingredients out. I was surprised when nearly every recipe called for raw egg yolks, & some also use the raw egg whites!

I figured tiramisu was just one more thing I’d have to add to my  ‘No’ list. Until I came across this post by Lily from Little Sweet Baker. She did it! An amazing egg-free tiramisu recipe! With a few substitutions, baby & I could enjoy tiramisu after all!

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Not only is this recipe safe for pregnancy, it’s also amazingly simple – which is great since pregnancy brain is in full swing around here. To make the tiramisu truly pregnancy friendly I used decaf espresso & omitted the liquor. My husband & I switched to decaf espresso when we found out about the baby, so that was no issue. I also increased the amount of vanilla extract a little to ‘make up’ for the liquor taste.

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I ended up making this recipe several weeks ago when we had some friends over to watch a football game & it was a big hit! One of my friends is really sensitive to caffeine & was grateful for a decaf tiramisu recipe. So it’s not just pregnancy friendly!

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Serve with a decaf cappuccino & have yourself an (almost) authentic Italian night!

Pregnant Tiramisu

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup mascarpone, softened
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups decaf espresso, cooled
  • lady fingers
  • cocoa powder for dusting
  1. Using an electric mixer, beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks form.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the mascarpone, sugar, and vanilla extract.. Add mixture to whipped cream and beat again until smooth.
  3. Dip each lady finger into the cooled espresso. Do not soak too long or they will get soggy. Line a 9×9 square baking dish with a layer of dipped lady fingers.
  4. Spread half of the cream mixture over the lady fingers. Repeat another layer of lady fingers & cream. Chill for a minimum of 4 hours, best if overnight.
  5. Dust with cocoa powder before serving. (If you do this before chilling the tiramisu, like I accidentally did, it will still be delicious! Just a little less pretty.)

National Dessert Day!

October 14th is National Dessert Day!

It’d be wrong if I let the day go by without sharing something with y’all.

Here are some recipes to inspire you to celebrate!

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Cinnamon Gingerbread Ice Cream

S’mores Cake

Chocolate Mousse

Blueberry Cake with Lemon Buttercream

Fudgy Cocoa Brownies

Strawberry Lemon Cheesecake Icebox Cake (or, Cheesecake Lasagna)

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Custard-style Vanilla Ice Cream

The Best Banana Pudding Ever

Ricotta Honey Sesame Ice Cream

Caramel Apple Cake


How are you celebrating?

Boxed Mac & Cheese Hack

A while ago my mom shared a genius easy weeknight dinner with me.

It’s so ridiculously easy that I’m almost embarrassed by how short this post will be.

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Yup, that’s right. It’s a boxed mac & cheese hack.

You might be thinking, “OK, so you add some vegetables to cooked mac & cheese. That’s hardly a hack.” The truth is it’s even simpler than that, & all you have to dirty is one pot plus the colander.

As the macaroni noodles are boiling, you add FROZEN vegetables right to the pot. Strain like usual, & add the ingredients for cheese sauce as you normally would.

THAT’S IT!

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It’s super versatile. Use any kind of frozen vegetable mix you like!

Delicious, fast, EASY weeknight dinner.

Frozen Veggie Boxed Mac

  • 1 box mac & cheese + ingredients needed for cheese sauce
  • 1 bag frozen vegetable mix
  1. Boil macaroni noodles according to package instructions. Add frozen vegetables. Strain.
  2. Put noodles & vegetables back in the pot & make cheese sauce according to package directions. Serve & enjoy!
 

 

Sweet & Cheesy Bacon Tots

Today is International Bacon Day!

Or at least, one of them, anyway.

To celebrate both bacon day & the start of college football this weekend, I’m making these delicious sweet & cheesy bacon tots.

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I first made these for New Year’s Eve last year & they were such a hit!

Just a little prep & 25 minutes later you’ll be in sweet, crunchy heaven! There’s just something about the combination of brown sugar & bacon that’s hard not to love. Then this recipe adds 2 of my other favorite things – cheese & potatoes.

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YUM.

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I better not make these until our friends come over, otherwise there will be none left for them!

Sweet & Cheesy Bacon Tots

Adapted from Damn Delicious 
  • 2 cups frozen tater tots, room temperature
  • 1 oz sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 1/4-inch squares
  • 4 slices bacon, cut in 4
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper & set aside.
  2. Lay one tater tot on its side & top with a cheese square. Wrap in a piece of bacon.Repeat with all tater tots. Roll each tater tot in the brown sugar, pressing to coat.
  3. Place tater tots seam side down onto the parchment paper. Sprinkle more brown sugar if necessary. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes. Serve immediately.

Want more bacon-containing recipes to celebrate today?

Bacon Waffle Sandwich

Shrimp & Cheese Grits with Bacon

Bacon Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Burnt Chicken (honey Italian chicken tenders)

In college my friend, Frank, & I used to make dinner together all the time. He made these delicious chicken tenders one night & I have been hooked ever since. The recipe is incredibly simple – just a few ingredients that marinate into the chicken & then caramelize beautifully. Frank got the recipe from this website, but according to that poster the recipe is older than that. It’s supposed to be a copycat of a Cracker Barrel recipe, which I’ve never tried, but if they’re anything like this recipe I totally recommend them.

The first time I made these for my husband he loved it. It’s his favorite thing I make us for dinner. He’s the one who dubbed this recipe ‘burnt chicken’.

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I promise you it’s not actually burnt! The marinade caramelizes in the pan into these delicious little bits.

The recipe is sooo easy – you just mix together the Italian dressing (zesty is the best for the most flavor), lime juice, & honey, let the chicken marinate for at least an hour, & put all of it in a pan. That’s it! Seriously.

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When you first put it in the pan it will look like this ^. Then you just leave it alone. Leave it, don’t touch it until the liquid has reduced significantly & is darkening (20+ minutes).

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When the chicken looks like this ^, flip over & cook for 5-10 more minutes so the other side of the chicken gets some of the good stuff on it. Don’t worry about your pan, the oil in the Italian dressing will pretty much guarantee that nothing sticks to the pan.

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Voila! The end result is delicious, sticky, slightly tangy, slightly sweet chicken tenders. Depending on your oven, pan, & temperature the caramelizing might take a little while – up to 40 minutes. Just be patient, the end result is well worth it.

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Burnt Chicken

AKA honey Italian chicken tenders
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips/chunks
  • 1/2 cup Zesty Italian Dressing
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • juice from 1 lime
  1. Place all 4 ingredients in a gallon ziplock bag. Marinate for at least an hour.
  2. Pour out the bag into a large skillet & cook over medium heat until liquid reduced & becomes thick & sticky, about 20-30 minutes.
  3. Turn each piece of chicken once & cook for an additional 5-10 minutes.