Archive for the 'cooking' Category

The best banana muffin/bread recipe EVER

I have used this recipe so many times I almost don’t have to look at the page.  If I remember right, I got it out of a very old Workbasket magazine.  Remember those?  I have most likely made this 100 times, and have never messed it up.  I probably just jinxed myself.  At any point, I wanted to share the recipe in case anyone else has some browning bananas on their kitchen counter.

 

Banana Oat Bread

1/2 c butter or shortening

1/2 c sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 c bananas

1/4 c milk

1 c flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 c oatmeal

Cream together the butter or shortening and sugar, then add in the eggs.  In a separate bowl, mash together the bananas and milk.  ( I used anywhere from 2 to 4 bananas, depending on how many I happen to have that day)

To the sugar/egg/shortening mixture, alternate adding in the banana/milk mixture and the flour and spices.  I usually add in 1/2 c flour and the baking soda and salt and cinn, then about half the bananas, then the other 1/2 c flour, then the rest of the bananas.  Then stir in the oats.  I’ve used both the old fashioned oats and the quick cook kind, and they both work.  I do prefer the old fashioned ones though; it seems like there’s more “meat” to those.

Your batter should be fairly stiff.  If I’ve used more bananas, I usually add in another 1/2 c of oatmeal here.

Grease the baking container of your choice.   This is a lot of batter, so I use either a large loaf pan (those 9 x 5 ones) or 2 smaller ones, or 2 of those mini muffin pans.  I made regular muffins once, but I don’t remember how many of those it made.  It’ll make a huge loaf, or 48 mini’s.  The mini’s bake at 350 for 15 minutes, the loaf for 1 hr to 1 hr and 15 minutes, depending.

I’ve added all sorts of stuff to this as well, and it always is awesome.  We prefer the mini chocolate chips, or butterscotch is also good.  Sometimes I add pecans or walnuts, but not usually, cause the oatmeal adds a nutty texture and flavor without using any nuts.  Also, I add in extra cinnamon and sometimes nutmeg.

If you were going to make this, what would you add?

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Knitting and baking like mad

And I can’t really post pictures yet either.  In what’s either one of the smartest things I’ve done or the opposite, I figured out at some point how to automatically make my blog posts here appear on my facebook page.  Which was partially a good move – now I don’t have to say things twice.  But also partially now a not so good move, as people I’m making things for are on there, and I don’t know how much of my stuff they read.

So, then, I finished the ****** for my brother a while back.  Over the weekend, I finished the ****** for my sister’s hubby and also the ******* for my brother’s fiance.  I really only have to finish the ******* for my sister, but there’s more things I’d really really like to finish.  I have a ******* that I think might be for my sister, or it might be for brother’s fiance, I have to see it when it’s done and decide who it’d look better on.  I haven’t made anything for my boys, and although they don’t exactly need anything (except Russ who needs some new mittens), I still feel guilty that they don’t have a handmade gift to open up.  My sister’s coming a few days before though, and she’d bringing some nasty colored fun fur yarn, so I can try to whip out a couple of crocheted Pygmy Puffs.

Also the baking has begun, but it’s not even for us at this point.  Tonight Patrick and I are making some m & m ch chip cookies for a thing he’s doing at school where they’re selling goods and services.  I’m frankly grateful that he chose a good that we’re good at. (snort)

The boys all have their school “Winter” parties on Thursday, and I only signed up to bring a treat for 2 of them, and they both want brownies!  The oldest boy requested a pan (“I can cut them myself, Mom”), for which I bought chocolate frosting and peppermint kisses to decorate.  The middle boy requested those mini cupcake things, upon which I will make  a blob of green frosting that, God willing, will look like a little Christmas tree in a brown pot.  Not sure of decorations at this point.  I’ll check my sprinkles.

Thing is, David’s got a church party on Wed night, so he’ll have to make sure he gets the decorating of his brownie done before he leaves.  Which means I’ll have to bake them on Tuesday.  Thursday we’re going caroling with a group from church, and it’s also the last day of school.  I’m both looking forward to it and dreading it.  Not because I’ll have the boys home all day, more because it means I really need to speed up the knitting.

Cookies at Aunt Deb’s and more!

These are my 2 youngest making some amazingly yummy peanut butter chocolate cookies.  The recipe’s from a cookie cookbook my sister got me for Christmas last year.

Basically you make chocolate dough and peanut butter dough and then you flatten out the chocolate and wrap it around the pb, as demonstrated here by Russell.  That’s cousin Abby there turned around.

There’s a much better pic of cousin Abby.  If you look close, you can see near the bottom there that she’s about to wrap the chocolate around the pb.  Then you bake them and try to wait for them to cool off for a minute before snarfing them down.

Even Daddy and Aunt Dulcie got into the act.  I think Abby’s telling them the right way to do it.   They had to share a tray.

Oh, forgot to mention that sometimes we sort of smush them down a bit.  I think you’re supposed to do it with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar, but Patrick found that a hand works quite well, and is also WAY more fun.

Russell has to make sure his are all perfect spheres first.  Notice how we label the water bottle lids to keep everyone straight.  We use first initials: D, P, R, M, etc.  Daddy uses the liter ones so his are different.  Our system worked real well until we stayed with Aunt Deb and Uncle Phil.  Yeah, one more D and one more P.  Not sure what they did.  Probably kept their bottles way away from the boys.

One last cookie picture, of Abby demonstrating the proper smushing technique.  She really has quite a natural talent.

Ok then, anyone wanna guess what we did today?

Pictures of ornament making and possibly even knitting will resume shortly…

Even more FO’s!

See why we’re having another kid?  We make such adorable kids, really.  This is Patrick’s new star hat.  Pattern’s here, and it was a great pattern.  Patrick loves it.

Here’s the view from the back side:

And here’s the mittens I made to go with them.  Same yarn, pattern from a book that I don’t know where it is right now.

And yes, he’s in a nightshirt.  He is wearing underwear though.

 

This weekend, in spite of a last minute drive to TX,  I managed to finish also the matching baby hat for my BSJ and the hat I’m making for my brother.  I’ll get those pictures up later on, along with some adorable pics of the boys and their cousin making cookies and ornaments.

Well, the baby hat’s almost done.  I just have to attach some chains for ties or something.

 

Also, a question: Why does the wheat chex come in such a teeny box compared to the corn and rice chex?  I can always get 2 batches of homemade chex mix out of one box of each, but then I have leftover rice and corn.  Then I think, I can make one more batch if I just get another box of the wheat.  But then, I run out of the corn and rice, and the cycle begins anew.

 

I bet it’s the same people who make hot dogs in 10 packs and hot dog buns in 8 packs.

Cookie Baking and Decorating 101

Or should I say 303, since there’s 3 of them?  Please ignore the background clutter and focus on the cuties.

Christmas 2008 cookies

On the far left there are the chocolate mint drops.  I made real chocolate frosting, yummy, and Russell put the little peppermint things on top.  Towards the middle are regular old sugar cookies, my mom’s ancient family recipe, in mitten shapes for Russell’s preschool.  His birthday is the 26th, and today was his turn to bring in treats, and they’re doing M words this week.  So, mittens it was.

Here’s one more FO for my family in IL.  Slippers for sister’s hubby.

Christmas 2008, slippers for Jim

Wow, that’s a dark picture.  The slippers are cute though.  Very cool pattern from Bernat.  I’m trying to find a link to it, but I can’t.

Lots to do today, but at least the IL knitting is done.  I also just found out when we go to FL, we’ll be staying not at Grandma’s house, but at my hubby’s brother’s house!  He’s the one with the 2 little girls.  Oh what fun.  I’m going to show them how to decorate cookies.  I wonder if they have Barbies yet.  Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve played Barbies?

The visit to Maggie’s Farm

Wow, was today great. We slept in, a little. We baked cookies. We baked the baked noodley stuff, recipe at the end of the post here. We napped, a little. We drove. We laughed. We cried. It was a long drive, it seemed. At the end, all agreed that the destination was well worth the journey.

Barbara had told me I was welcome to pick up the yarn I wanted, as opposed to her mailing it out. I thought, why spend $5 for postage, when I can spend $20 in gas to drive out there? Well, because we got to meet the sheep. So there. When I make whatever I’m going to make from that lovely yarn, how many people can say they met the sheep that their scarf/hat/mittens/whatever it is came from?

Steve, before leaving for work, was kind enough to print off turn by turn directions out to Lawrence, and I had the map from Barbara as well, so we made it there with not one wrong turn at all. No, I take it back. There was one sort of. I was watching for the right turn that I knew would be right after this little airport, and I saw the airport and saw a turn lane and thought that must be it. Turns out, that was Airport Rd, and my turn was the next one.

We got there safe and sound, and the kids literally bounded out of the car and ran/streaked towards the barn. Barbara came out with the farm’s namesake, Maggie, a beautiful dog who was very excited to see boys to play with. We went into the barn and petted the sheep for a while, while Barbara introduced them all to us. I still don’t remember everybody’s name; there were 13 of them. Heck, I still get my own 3 kids’ names mixed up.

I did, however, recognize Blossom when I saw her. She’s got lovely black markings above her eyes, like someone drew big eyebrows on her. I did get some pictures, but I thought I’d post the one of the kids first. After playing a while, Barbara asked the boys if they wanted to give the sheep their treats. What? We get to feed them too? The kids went nuts. She had corn and pellets, and then she brought out the garlic. Turns out, the sheep love garlic, and, Barbara said, it’s a natural wormer. Very much cool. Even cooler, as a mom of boys here, later after all the garlic had been consumed, one of the sheep burped. Wow, the smell was, well, garlicy. I never thought of sheep having garlic breath.

We had brought them, the humans, not the sheep, a little tin of cookies we had made that morning, and she was kind enough to offer the boys one and a cup of milk. Oh, yes, she even invited us into her home, which was just breathtaking. They had a firebox stove heater thing in the center of the room, and cement floors which were very good for sliding around on, as my boys quickly discovered. She showed them feathers from her birdfeeder and let Patrick and Russell “help” her spin some roving. She let them do the foot pedal, sort of. David, scavenger that he is, found a little ball of yarn, and innocently asked her which one that was from, and she told him Blossom, and told him he could keep it.

I got my yarn, David got some yarn, with the promise of my leftovers, Patrick and Russell I’m sure picked up things I’ll find in their pockets later on. We all had so much fun. It was really a great day.

Oh yeah, we got invited back for the shearing too. We are so there.

PS, I almost forgot to put the recipe in here.  You need 4 basic ingredients, then from there you can totally add in whatever you like.  Here’s the 4:

16 oz box of pasta, cook it.

16 oz ricotta cheese

16 oz mozz cheese

32 oz spaghetti sauce

Seeing a theme here?  16, 16, 16, 32.  Easy to remember.  And also, approximations.  My ricotta cheese, for example, only comes in 15 oz.  And the sauce?  28 oz.  It’s ok.

So, boil the pasta, and in a big bowl, mix together the other 3, saving a couple handfulls of the mozz cheese as a topping, then when the pasta’s done, mix that in too.  Put it in a 9 x 13 pan, top it with the rest of the mozz, and bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes.

You can add in all sorts of things, mushrooms, Italian sausage, ground whatever, zucchini, etc.  The reason we call it the baked noodley stuff is because we do a different pasta all the time.  I let the kids pick one out.  I have to say though, I like the spirals the best because they seem to hold the cheese and sauce best.  The shells tend to get all inside each other.  Enjoy!

Another addiction

Ever get one of those cravings?  Where the only thing to do is eat a lot of it until you get just sick of it?  I’m having one.  It started last week.  It’s fried cabbage.  Sounds gross, right?  It’s totally not.  Here’s what you do…

Slice up in little pieces about 4 slices of bacon, and fry them up in a BIG skillet.  When they’re nice a crispy, take out the bacon and put them on some paper towels to drain.  While they were cooking, you’re supposed to slice up a head of cabbage.  I cut it in half, then in half again, then give it a diagonal cut to get the core out.  Then slice it up however thick or thin you like.  Now, once the bacon is out, leave the bacon grease in, and put the sliced cabbage right in there.  Put it on low to medium heat, and put the lid on.  I stir it every few minutes, and sprinkle some pepper and celery seeds in there.  I have also been known to add onions, but not lately.

Oh my gosh is this good stuff.  FYI, if you’re on WW, and you use the 4 slices like I said, and a medium head of cabbage, and divy it up into 3 servings, it’s 3 points a serving, 5 points for 2.  Can’t beat that, can ya?

Oh, and Cindy’s baby blanket is coming along great.  I finished the second green square today, and started on the decreasing part with the blue.  I’ll try to get a picture, but first, I must go eat a little more cabbage.


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