Easter 2011

“9” Things I Loved About This Year’s Easter

1. Nicole’s creativity, dispersed into the cutest place settings that I have ever seen.

(Nicole is the up and coming Martha Stewart, in case you didn’t know.)

2. Quiet time spent with family and friends.

3. The food.  (of course!)

Nicole made a large batch of sweet potato and rosemary soup.  For a moment, I completely lost my senses and found myself wishing that I was one of mom’s homemade butter rolls being dunked into the rich, orange broth.

Did I just say that out loud?

Heavenly.

I honestly could have made a meal out of the bread and soup, but the main meal was pretty scrumptious too.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Summer Squash w/ Dill Saute

Ham and Turkey

Broccoli Casserole

Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots

Green Beans

I hated the meal.  All of it.  Obviously. 😉

4. Seeing my bestie: Nicole @ Loving Simple Moments

5. Dessert. (because this is a completely different reason than the #3!)

Nicole went all out with the entirety of the meal.  And then she ended it with a loud, lemony, coconut bang.

Kelsey brought a trio of yummy vegan desserts for the table to share as well.

Delish!

6. End of meal conversations.

This is always my favorite part of every holiday.  Empty plates.  Quiet chatter.  Candles glowing.  People laughing.  Bellies feeling full and content.

7. Goodie bags! :mrgreen:

Thanks, Nicole!

8. Cuddling with a cat named Stitch.

Because he never ceases to make me laugh.

9. Remembering all of the good things in life.

Sometimes I forget to thank God for the simple moments.  Which is funny, because these are the moments that I continue to remember, long after the day has passed.  The moments that mean the most.  I love that Easter reminds me of all these things. 

Happy Easter!!!

QUESTION: What is your favorite part of Easter?

She’s Going Overboard.

I tend to go a little overboard-–a little over the top—with most things in life.  This can be very, very good or very, very bad, depending on the situation.

Depending on what we’re talking about.

The perk of this characteristic is that when I focus on doing something—for work, school, play, etc—I do it really, really well.  There’s no wishy-washing around or getting side tracked with something else.

I stay focused.  Mentally.  Physically.  Focused.  .

The other side of this characteristic, however, is that I’m constantly overbooking myself.  Going overboard with things that “need to get done.”  Never giving myself enough time or energy to fit it all in.  In fact, to be quite honest, my calendar just isn’t quite big enough to hold all of my scribble, to-do’s, and reminders.

By the way—since we’re on this topic—have you ever noticed that “me time” is the last thing to be penciled into the calendar, if ever at all?  It makes you wonder…why??? We all need some well-deserved “me time.”  Saying that there’s just not enough time in the day is like saying there’s just not enough time to ever be with a best friend.  If that’s the case, something needs adjusting.  You deserve (and need!) the time to catch up, rewind, unfold, and breathe.

Anyways.

This week I went overboard on the bananas.

Don’t laugh.  This is totally serious stuff.  I’ve decided that the only thing worse than the thought of eating three bananas every single day—every day—is the idea of having to throw them out.  So I squeezed some “me time” into the calendar, snatched that overabundance of bananas, and baked myself a batch of muffins for tomorrow’s breakfast.

Because sometimes going overboard is a very, very good thing.

Banana-Blueberry Muffins

This is a standard old favorite muffin recipe with a few changes, here and there.  I’ve been experimenting with using honey as my sweetener of choice lately, and these muffins were practically made for such an ingredient.  So this was the first thing that I changed from the original version.  I also added in some cinnamon, doubled the vanilla, and reduced the sodium content by nixing the salt altogether.  The baking powder has plenty of sodium and I found the extra addition of salt completely unnecessary, which is oftentimes true for many muffin recipes.

I recommend making these whenever you have a big ol’ batch of overripe bananas.  They are best served warm, straight from the oven.  But, of course, they freeze well too.  Enjoy! 😀

  • 2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/4 c. honey (or sugar)
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c. mashed, very ripe banana (about 1-1/2 to 2 bananas)
  • 1-1/2 c. frozen blueberries
  1. Whisk together first 4 ingredients up to nutmeg.
  2. Whisk together next 7 ingredients up to banana in a separate bowl.
  3. Add blueberries to dry mix; stir until blueberries are coated with the flour.
  4. Add wet mix to dry mix.  Stir just until moistened (do not overmix…this toughens the final product!)
  5. Pour batter into 12-muffin pan coated with cooking spray.  Bake for 17-20 minutes at 400 degrees F.

QUESTION: Do you tend to overbook your calendar with to-do’s and appointments?  How do you make sure that you still get some “me time”?

not your average brownie

Well.  I never thought I would say this. But.

I made a batch of black bean brownies.  And I ate one.  And I liked it.

I don’t know where this idea first originated.  I mean, who puts beans in their brownies?

I honestly don’t know, but I figured that while I was at it, I may as well just throw some pumpkin in there too.  May as well.

For better or worse, into the oven you go…

The kitchen smelled like chocolate.

The brownies looked like chocolate.

These brownies are chocolate.  No doubts about that, the flavor is all there.  No off putting beany flavors, whatsoever (phew!)

I don’t know what it is that came over me tonight.  All I know is that I have but one can of pumpkin left.  I’ve eaten my weight in almond butter this week.  And after this shenanigan, I imagine that my kitchen will end up living in a state of shock for just a while.

But that’s okay.  It was all well worth it.  I think you’ll agree.

Black Bean Brownies

These are brownies with health benefits, thanks to the filling fiber from the pumpkin and the fiber/protein combo from the beans.  And while I wouldn’t try to claim that these are going to be your new “go-to” recipe for brownies, I think they make a fun new twist as a healthier dessert for during the week.

These brownies are moist—fudge like!—and soft and filled with sweet chocolate.  I highly recommend adding the walnuts, chocolate chips and coffee, as these ingredients will really help to intensify the richness.  Smear these babies with almond butter, raspberry jam or sprinkle with shredded coconut and enjoy with a tall glass of ice cold milk.  Enjoy!

  • 2 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder + 2 Tbsp.
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1-2 tsp instant coffee
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×8 inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a blender, combine black beans, eggs, pumpkin, cocoa powder, sea salt, vanilla extract, sugar, and coffee until smooth.  Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.  Transfer to prepared baking dish.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes.  Brownies are ready when the top appears dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides.  Serve warm with a smear of your favorite nut butter or fruit jam.  ENJOY!

QUESTION: What is the most unusual ingredient you have ever cooked with?

Merry Christmas Eve!

There’s a nine pound beef roast sizzling in the oven.

All of the presents are wrapped.

And I’ve been knee deep (elbow deep?) in butter, chocolate and sugar all day.

Espresso Brownies

Pb and J Bars

And on that sweet note, I am now going to go for a walk before the Christmas Eve party officially begins. 

A Merry, Merry Christmas to everyone!  I hope you all have fun celebrating with the ones you love.  Make room for good food, games, family and friends.  Then come back and tell me all about the highlights of your holiday. 😀

the feeling of Christmas

On more than one occasion, I’ve woken up on the morning of December 26th, only to ask myself, “Was yesterday really Christmas?”

Everything about Christmas is magical when you’re small.  The lights.  The parties.  The hot cocoa.  The rushing of parents, aunts, uncles to “please, please, please finish drinking your coffee so we can please open the presents.”  The food (well, some things obviously never change.) 😉

But then when you’re older, you suddenly realize that there’s a lot of shopping to do in the middle of a busy work week.  Plans need to be made.  A schedule must be followed.  Rush, rush, rush.

I’d like to say I’m immune to all of the madness that sometimes revolves around one of my favorite holidays, but that would be a lie.  These past couple of weeks, I was that girl frantically shopping at the mall for those last minute gifts.  I was very thankful for leftovers.  And I didn’t stop to notice that the neighbors down the street put up a 6 ft. snowman.

But tonight was deliciously different.  I served the family warm bowls of leftover ratatouille with a couple of lightly buttered toasts to drink up any extra sauce (tasty serving option!)  I popped on some old country style Pandora Christmas music.  I danced around the kitchen. 

And then we all bundled up and took a drive to look at Christmas lights. 

I think I found it.  That feeling of Christmas.

Because if dancing to Bing Crosby’s Christmas music in the kitchen and looking at Christmas lights doesn’t put you in the Christmas spirit, I honestly don’t know what will.

Well.  Maybe gingerbread biscotti?

I was starting to grow slightly jealous of all the cookies that I’ve been seeing around blogland.  Homemade chocolate dipped oreos.  Blondies.  Pecan bars.  You name it.  They’re all there.

While I have all of my plans made for what I’ll be making come Christmas, I needed a little tease to hold me over until then.  I desperately wanted to whisk something.

I decided to experiment a little with a standard biscotti recipe that I have on hand. 

First, I wanted to use graham flour, for its nuttiness and crunch.  I also wanted spiciness.  Think ‘gingerbread cookie meets a regular, standard ol’ tea biscotti.’  They should really get together, I thought to myself.  I bet they’d fall in love.

The best part of making biscotti?  Turning a big round rectangular sort of thing… 

Into a dainty little biscotti.  Perfect for that afternoon cup of tea or paired with a hot cup of cocoa. 

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.

Gingerbread Biscotti

If you love biscotti and enjoy the spiciness that belongs to a gingerbread man, then it’s time to put the two together!  This recipe is incredibly simple to make, and could easily be tweaked according to what you like.  Raisins?  Walnuts?  Dark chocolate chips?  A drizzle of sweet maple glaze?  They make a great pairing to your cookie platter at Christmas, and they make a nice break from all of the more chocolatey things.  Enjoy! 😀

  • 2-1/4 c. graham flour (may use whole wheat flour instead, or a mixture of all purpose and whole wheat)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 c. molasses
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Combine flour through baking soda.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and egg whites lightly.  Add brown sugar, molasses and vanilla, stirring until smooth.
  3. Stir the wet and dry ingredients together, stirring just until smooth.
  4. Divide dough in half; shape each into a 14 inch x 1-1/2 inch rectangle on a cookie sheet coated in nonstick cooking spray. 
  5. Bake for 25-27 minutes or until firm to touch.  Remove, let rest for 5 minutes and reduce oven to 300 degrees.
  6. Cut diagonally with a serrated knife, 1/2 inch slices.  Place cut side down on baking sheet; bake for 10 minutes.  Turn biscotti.  Continue cooking another 7-10 minutes or until lightly browned. 
  7. Let cool on wire rack.
  8. ENJOY! 😀

Question: Are you doing a lot of cooking this year for Christmas?  What is the one thing you look forward most to baking (or eating!)

it’s a tradition

Many of my favorite memories revolve around the holidays.  Things like…

  • Driving with Dad to pick up the Chinese food every New Years Eve, for as long as I can remember.  Sometimes through a blizzard!
  • Running a 2-3 mile Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning.
  • Watching Memere laugh and tease my Dad because “that’s not how you carve a turkey!”
  • Eating fruit cake for breakfast on Christmas morning. 
  • Making a complete mess of the kitchen with flour and cookie dough, while listening to Christmas music the night before Thanksgiving. 

By the way, it’s totally okay—maybe necessary?—to have a messy kitchen on the night preceding a major holiday. 😉

My sister and I look forward to this tradition of cookie decorating every single year.  I find it to be one of the most quintessential parts of the entire holiday season.  It’s just not Thanksgiving until there’s either a batch of sugar cookies or gingerbread men baking in the oven.  

I may have failed to mention this very important part of myself in previous posts, but there’s something you should know: gingerbread cookies are my favorite cookies.  Ever. 

What is it about the gingerbread cookie that I love?  First, there’s the thick, sweeter-than-life molasses swirled throughout.  And then there’s the spices.  Cinnamon.  Ginger.  Cloves.  Sea salt.  They all combine to form the most perfect cookie known to man.  I like to think they’re autumn’s cookie of choice.

In other words, I simply love them.

 Martha Stewart’s recipe for gingerbread men.  It’s a no fail recipe. 😀

However, the decorating is another story. 

Each year, my sister and I being our decorating endeavors with the determination that we will make the most beautiful cookies.  People will ‘ooh’ and ‘aww.’  The plate will go untouched for hours, just because they’re “too pretty to eat.”  People will pause midstep just to glance at them one more time.

And—each year—we end up in hysterical laughter because nothing wernt as planned.  Mr. Gingerbread Man has a goatee instead of a scarf.  Mrs. Gingerbread has one big eye, one small eye.  Or maybe only one eye at all.  We try our best, but we’ve a long ways to go.  Lots of practice needed.

This year we decided to prepare ourselves by looking at some online designs…

We even went so far as to draw the designs out on paper!!  If that’s not hardcore determination, I don’t know what is.

There were some minor difficulties found in getting the parchment paper to fold together for piping purposes, but it all worked out in the end. 😉

Moving on…

…time to decorate!

Studying the online images and designs seemed to help some…

…but then we still ended up in hysterical laughter.

And there were still some cookie “flops.”  You know.  The ones that look “okay” but not good enough to bring anywhere outside of home.  It’s okay though.  We took care of them. 😉

The rest of the decorated cookies will find their way onto a cute holiday plate. 

One plate for Pepere.  One plate for Aunt Marie’s.  One plate to add to tomorrow’s dessert spread at my house.

And, in the end, it really doesn’t matter how the cookies come out at all.  What matters is that we practically die laughing.  That I’ll wake up feeling like I did a Jillian Michael’s ab workout.  That our conversations are filled with excitement and plans for Black Friday shopping.  That we put thought into which cookies go on which plate. 

That my sister and I carry on the tradition of decorating cookies together every holiday season.  Because traditions are what make the holidays so special.  So fun.  So unique.  And that’s what matters.

From my home to yours, I wish you the most Happy of Thanksgivings!  Enjoy, and take the time to be thankful for all of life’s simple blessings. 😀

Martha Stewarts’ Gingerbread Cookies

These cookies puff up quite a bit, so don’t be afraid to roll them on the thin side.  You’ll still get a deliciously chewy gingerbread cookie.

These gingerbread cookies are exactly what gingerbread cookies should taste like.  Spices and sweet molasses will hit you on the very first bite.  There’s no such thing as “subtle.” 😉  I truly consider them to be my go-to gingerbread recipe, and I highly recommend them. 😀

  • 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup unsulfured molasses

Directions

  1. Sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder into a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Put butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until fluffy. Mix in spices and salt, then eggs and molasses. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Divide dough into thirds; wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface to a 1/4-inch thick. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Space 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, and refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.
  4. Bake cookies until crisp but not dark, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.
  5. Store cookies between layers of parchment in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days.

Question: What is your favorite holiday tradition?

jewelry and dates

Last night, I went to a Lia Sophia Jewelry Party.

Honestly, I’ve never been much one for jewelry.  I’ll throw a necklace on here or there to glam up a plain jain t-shirt.  My Pandora bracelet is special, thanks to all the memories that are tied in with it.  I’ve never had my ears pierced.

But I love trying jewelry on.  Even more than that, I love trying jewelery on other people.  Colors that pop.  Circles that claim confidence and personality.  Jewelry says a lot.

Twas a fun night.  I saw friends I haven’t seen in ages, and really, nothing gets women chattering more than a jewelry party.  Except maybe, for a tupperware party, which I don’t personally think I could ever have enough of (this does not give any future boyfriends the excuse to buy me a load of tupperware, although in all honesty, I don’t think I’d complain. 😉 )

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I consider us friends.  And friends should know their friends’ deepest secrets.  Deepest thoughts, dreams, ambitions.  Deepest loves.

Have I ever shared my deep love affair for the Date Square?

This recipe was handed down from generation to generation.  My Memere would always bring these to baby or bridal showers, and she would always return home with an empty plate.  They stand their own against the rich chocolate cakes.  The lemon meringue pies.  They can even stand strong against a rustic homemade apple pie.

Even people who claim to not like dates, love these squares.  You can only imagine how the people who love dates must feel.  Yeah, I know.

Date Squares

This is one of those “special occasion” desserts, as they are not light or healthy, but they sure do make a beautiful entrance at family gatherings and special holidays.

Feel free to add cranberries to the dates, thereby turning these into a cranberry date square.  And make a glaze if you want a sweeter than life kind of dessert (which I highly recommend!)  A basic confectionary styled glaze goes wonderfully.  You can easily get creative by simply adding lemon or orange peel to the glaze for some extra zing if you like.  Just have fun with it!  This recipe is pretty fool proof. 😀

  • 1-3/4 c. oatmeal
  • 1 c. flour
  • 3/4 c. crisco
  • 1-1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt

Mix above ingredients together and place on bottom of a square pan.  Save a little of the oatmeal mixture to place on top.

  • 1-1/2 c. dates
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar

Add a little cold water and boil on stove so that dates melt.  Put on top of crust.  Sprinkle the remaining oatmeal mixture on top.

Bake at 350-375 for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool completely and ENJOY! 😀

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(p.s. Highstreet wanted to come home with mom and I after the jewelry party, but he was snatched away just in time.  Maybe next time. 😉 )

Question: What is one dessert that you would feel confident in bringing to any family gathering or social event?  Aside from these date squares, I have a recipe for espresso brownies that is a guarenteed people pleaser. 😀

cupcakes and family

I grew up in a very French family. 

Both sides of my grandparents (known as Memere and Pepere) are from Canada (and their grandparents’ grandparents are from Canada too.)  As they made their way to the US, one of their main goals was to find jobs, with an effort to support their family as best as they could. 

Family, you should know, is really important.  It was important to my grandparents, it’s important to my own parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.  And, it’s important to me.

My family values family. 

We laugh a lot.  We’re not afraid to be loud and crazy and wild.  We’ll hug you as you’re coming in, as you’re leaving, and we’ll hug you again just in case we forgot the first time around. 

We’ve cried together over sad moments.  I’ve been held more than once by my sister.  A cousin.  Just when I need it.  Just because they know.  Supportive.

Most of all, my family is filled with love.  There’s no mistaking that feeling when you walk through the door. 

We also like to eat. 

My mom has this thing where she “wants to make sure that everyone has enough food on their plate.”  And so, when you walk into my sister’s housewarming party, there is food for vegetarians, carnivores, and everyone in between.  All members of the family contribute by bringing a dessert, an appetizer, something to share. 

Obviously, the housewarming party for my sis and brother-in-law was a smashing, family-filled success.

I have a fascination with making and baking desserts.  It’s one of my greatest pleasures.  

And so, I was more than happy to contribute to the party on the foodie front. 

You all know how obsessed I am with cupcakes.  I like to think that a whole lot of thought and consideration went into each individual one.  Personalized dessert! 😀

I’ve also recently become obsessed with the Barefoot Contessa.  I don’t actually own any of her cookbooks, but after meandering my way through the local book stores, I certainly wish I did.  I decided to settle for second best and went to FoodNetwork.com to find the recipe for her coconut cupcakes. 

Yes.  Coconut cupcakes. If you’re like me and wish you could put coconut on everything that enters your mouth, you will love these cupcakes.

I’d like to say that you need to a be a baker, a chef, or some sort of artist to make these cupcakes.  I’d like to say that unless you have culinary expertise, you should not make this recipe. 

But it’s simply not true.  This was actually the first time I’ve ever made a homemade cake from scratch, and it could not have been easier.  Foolproof is what it is.  Trust me! 

Delicious.

Coconut Cupcakes—courtesy of the Barefoot Contessa

When I make dessert, I want it to be the real deal.  These cupcakes were.  Filled with coconut, smeared with a cream cheese frosting, and a fluffy, flavorful cupcake that was still worthy of standing alone.  A deliciously perfect treat for that special occasion, birthday, or celebration.  You’ll love it!

  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 extra large eggs at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 tsp pure almond extract
  • 3 c. flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut, separated

Frosting:

  • 1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
  • 1 1/2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.
  4. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile, make the frosting. In a medium bowl, with the mixer on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts.  Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.
  6. Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.
  7. ENJOY!

Question: What is your favorite kind of dessert and how do you fit it into your healthy lifestyle?  I love indulging in a favorite dessert when the occasion arises.  I keep the richer desserts out of the house (out of house, out of mind! 😉 ) and I always have whatever I like when I’m at someone’s house or going out with friends.  Balance, balance, balance.  It’s a great place to be. 😀

(p.s. my favorite dessert, by the way, is cupcakes :mrgreen: And dark chocolate, which I always have on hand. )

not without a fight

I kind of just blew my entire budget…

I’ve never been much of an Ocean State Job Lot fan.  In fact, I usually avoid the store like its the plague.  Most of what they sell is stuff you don’t need (or want.)  Hence the reason why I never go there. 

Until today.

Don’t ask me what it was that first drew me in.  Not the aesthetics of the building, thats for sure.  But once inside, there was absolutely no turning back.  An entire isle was dedicated to nut butters.  Jams and jellies that you can only find at Whole Foods.  Flaxseed for half of the normal price.  I was a bit awestruck, really. 😉 

Current Favorite Snack: 1% cottage cheese with Bear Naked Banana Nut Granola and a dollop of Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter.

After recovering from my excitement, I felt like baking. 

It truly is a rare moment to have a bunch of spare bananas lounging around my house.  The occasional soggy apple or pear may find its way into the trash, due to neglect and oversight.  But never—never!—does this happen to a banana.  Green bananas.  Yellow bananas.  Brown bananas.  It really doesn’t matter.  They’re gone in a matter of days, as they find their way into each and every family member’s morning meal.

In order to celebrate the rare and momentous occasion of having ripe bananas at my disposal, I decided to bake a banana bread.
 

Just as a side note, I’ll usually take the time to read through the ingredient list before pouring everything in. 
 

I guess the excitement of banana bread overcame me, because I didn’t even give the list a second look. 

And—apparently—I don’t have cream of tartar sitting in the back (or front, for that matter) of my pantry.

I remember someone once telling me that you can substitute baking powder for a cream of tartar/baking soda combination.  I wasn’t sure if this was actually going to work, but there was no turning back.  My bananas were mashed, and there was no way I was going to give up.  Not, at least, without a pretty darn good fight.

(With the dry and wet ingredients, remember to only stir until *just* moistened.  This is especially important if you’re using whole wheat flour.  Nobody wants a tough, gummy banana bread!  Those lumps are completely okay–and normal.)

Substituting baking powder for the cream of tartar/baking soda seemed to work out alright.  The result was a little more dense than I would have liked, but all in all, at least my banana bread was saved from the doom of a trash can. 😉 

There was nothing fancy about this bread.  No cinnamon.  No nutmeg.  No vanilla.  No walnuts or chocolate chips.  Completely unadorned. 

Because sometimes you want those deep, dark chocolate chips.  Sometimes the crunch of a walnut, surrounded by the flavor of a sweet, sweet banana is nothing short of perfection.

But sometimes you just want the basics.  Bananas.  Bread.  Banana Bread.

Your Basic Whole Wheat Banana Bread

This is a spin off on my whole wheat chocolate chip banana bread.  If chocolate is what you’re after, just add 1/2-3/4 c. of dark chocolate chips after mixing the flour together with the banana mixture.  OR, try melting a bit of chocolate and drizzling it over the banana bread before serving.  Both ways are equally scrumptious. 😀

  • 1 c. mashed ripe banana (about 2-1/2 medium)
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 3/4 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • cooking spray
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl with a whisk until smooth.
  3. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups and level with a knife.  Combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Add flour mixture to banana mixture and stir just until moist (do not overmix).  Spoon batter into an 8×4 inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray.
  4. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack, remove from pan.  Cool completely on rack.

Question: Have you ever substituted another ingredient after realizing that you didn’t have the one that was originally called for?  How did this turn out?