Mama’s Banana Bread

 

I swear everytime I think I’ve had just about enough and one more minute of school will cause me to implode, the public school system announces a holiday. It’s only a three-day weekend, and I’m spending it all catching up on work, but the fact that I don’t have to wake up at five and spend six hours in uncomfortable plastic desks is more than enough to make me one happy little camper.

Lazy days stuck at home call for warm scents and comfort food, so that’s just what I’m bringing to you all today with Mama’s Banana Bread. Sweet to a fault and reminiscent of childhood, this bread will leave you more than satisfied (plus, it’ll make good use of those ugly bananas sitting on your counter). The secret to this rustic recipe is the use of the sugared pan and the sour milk. Sounds weird, I know. But it’s worth it, trust me.

So get ready to brush up on your banana-mashing skills and salivate over that perfectly cracked loaf top, and I hope you all enjoy your extra day off! IMG_6856IMG_6863IMG_6857IMG_6867

BAKERS NOTES:

– I used mini pans instead of regular sized because the portion sizes work better for me. I just made sure to check on the bread a little more often during baking to make sure it didn’t burn.

MAMA’S BANANA BREAD

1 cup granulated sugar (plus more for the pan)

1/2 cup salted butter, softened (plus more for the pan)

2 medium tired bananas (brown spotted)

2 large eggs

7 tablespoons sour milk (or 1 teaspoon white vinegar + enough milk to make 7 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups flour, spooned and leveled

1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts), optional

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease two mini loaf pans with butter and coat it with sugar. ( Do this like you would grease a pan. Grease it first, then add about 2 tablespoons sugar to the pan and move the pan side to side until the bottom and sides are coated with sugar. Do NOT substitute cooking spray for the butter.)

2. Cream butter and sugar with a hand mixer. Set aside.

3. Add bananas, eggs, milk, and baking soda to bowl and blend until smooth.

4. Pour half the banana mixture into the butter mixture with 1 cup of flour. Mix with hand mixer until just incorporated, then add the remaining banana mixture and flour. Mix until just incorporated. Stir in nuts if using them. Pour into prepared pan.

5. Bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs. The edges will be a dark brown and there will be a nice crack down the center.

6. Cool completely before removing loaf from pan, but you can cut slices from the pan after it’s cooled for about 15-20 minutes.

Slightly adapted from Crazy For Crust

Recipe introduction from Sharon Lee

2014: A Year in Review

The year is coming to a close and I wanted to do a quick recap of some of  the recipes Angie and I have shared with you throughout the year. These are some of out most viewed posts of the year, so for our returning readers, we’re showcasing your favorites! Although the second half of 2014 wasn’t the most consistent year content-wise, we still managed to put out a couple really good ones, and we hope that you enjoyed them as much as we did!

1. Quinoa Fried Rice

One of our first posts, this is my go-to quinoa fried rice recipe. Guaranteed to spice up your plain old quinoa, it’s a clean and healthy alternative that stands out from the rest of our usually decadent blog posts. Filled with chicken and veggies, it can just as easily be altered to fit your vegetarian/vegan/picky-eater preferences.

This actually sold really well to my brother, who usually hates quinoa. Yay!

 

2. Rocky Road Brownies

We took your go-to brownie recipe and took it to the next level with walnuts and a browned marshmallow topping, turning it into a ice-cream flavor inspired variation. Best served warm and gooey, this recipe has gotten tons of love on foodgawker and tastespotting because it’s honestly that good.

browning the marshmallows with the broiler after baking was the perfect finishing touch

3. Blueberry Scones

Crumbly and flaky in all the right ways, this classic blueberry scone recipe was a favorite among you guys this year. Perfect on crisp winter mornings with a cup of hot tea, it’s definitely a keeper.

Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 11.17.11 AM

 

4. XXL Cowboy Compost Cookies

A variation on the classic cowboy cookie inspired by the idea behind Momofuku’s compost cookie. Made XXL so its big enough to share, but small enough to keep all for yourself.

IMG_39505. Naan Flatbread Pizza

Y’all really have quite the savory palette. These naan flatbread pizzas were one of our very first posts, and is still something that I make to date. It’s such an easy and versatile dish, there’s no wonder why you guys keep coming back to it.

naan pizza

– This year, I traveled to  San Francisco and  the East Coast and was fortunate enough to be able to share all the great food that I had while I was there.

– We also put out our monthly favorites (for most of the year) in hopes of getting better connected with you guys. I  included everything from the music I liked, to the snacks I obsessed over, and the clothing trends I fell in love with each month.

And that’s a wrap for 2014! It’s been such a busy year for us, and we’d like to thank you from the very bottom of our otherwise cold souls. We genuinely thank all of you for staying with us through our extended absences and we hope you’ve enjoyed reading our content as much as we’ve enjoyed sharing it with you. Cheers to 2015!

Catchin’ up with Chris

     IMG_6777
     Sooo… it’s been a while. a really, really long while. With everything else that I’ve had going on, I’ve really been putting the blog on the back burner, and I honestly feel pretty out of touch with you all. Which is why we’re going to have a little catch up session right now.
     Junior year has definitely been busy, but the things I’ve been busy with haven’t been all that bad. Amongst the late night panic attacks about calculus and barely-met yearbook deadlines, I’ve been able to go out more often with friends and i even got a Disneyland annual pass! It’s been a balance of work and play, and I think it’s finally come to point where my parents trust me to get everything done without being cooped up in the house 24/7 (bless their hearts for finally believing in me).
     With the semester finally over, and all academic thoughts stored away for the next two weeks, I’m more than ready to get back in the kitchen. I’m planning on stocking up on blog content over the break so that we can be more consistent this next year (New Years Resolution??). So keep your eyes peeled for some good stuff because it’s headed your way very very soon!

Snowball Cookies (pecan/almond shortbread)

IMG_9670-0.JPG

I have a funny story. My mom told me today that one of my dad’s patients once brought him these delicious cookies as a gift. My dad, who can rarely consume sweets due to a history of stomach cancer, LOVED them. After devouring all of these “nutty ball-shaped cookies”, my mom and dad asked the patient for the recipe. She refused. Either a family secret, a secret recipe, or maybe there were drugs inside of the cookies. That would be one way to describe how good they tasted. So, when I came home from school and an undeniable urge to bake struck me, I committed myself to finding and making these cookies. Once I discovered these “snowball” cookies, and found it matched the description of Ms. Secretive Patient’s, I got to work. The results were scrumptious. Currently, my mom and dad are finishing the last of the cookies I made about 30 minutes ago… And that’s proof enough to me! So enjoy this recipe, because sharing is caring! :)

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cups finely chopped pecans
1 cup almond meal
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
⅓ cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar for rolling cookies (I omitted and it tasted great)

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

2. Mix the flour, 1 cup of the chopped pecans, and the salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. Stir 1 cup almond meal into the flour mixture and set aside.

4. Cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, then scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until the dough just begins to come together but still looks scrappy, about 15 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl again and continue beating at low speed until the dough is cohesive, about 10 more seconds.

5. Roll a heaping tablespoon of dough between the palms of your hands and place on the prepared baking sheets. The cookies will only spread a little bit, so you can place them fairly close together. Bake until the tops are pale golden and the bottoms are just beginning to brown, 17 to 19 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time.

6. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer them to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

7.(I omitted this step) Place the powdered sugar in a large zip-top bag. Working with 3 or 4 cookies at a time, place them in the bag of sugar and gently toss to coat them thoroughly. Gently shake off any excess. Allow the cookies to sit for at least an hour, or up to overnight, and then repeat the process. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
(Recipe slightly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)

Brown Eyed Baker: (Recipe adapted from Baking Illustrated)

Mini French Toast with Grilled Peaches

I enjoy the weirdest things in life. The smell of black coffee, corgi puppies, and the way a Junior Mint sounds when you break it in half, just to name a few. (p.s if you’ve never broken a York Mint patty and don’t know what I’m talking about, go do it. Now. It’s a game-changer.)

I find that if you take pleasure in the little things, it gives you a much more positive outlook of life because there’s just so much more to look forward to! People might not always understand why you get so excited when you see Justin’s peanut butter, but hey, as long you’re happy right? And I think this french toast could easily be added to your list of little reasons to be happy! While physically tiny, it’s anything but small flavor-wise. Soaked in traditional cinnamony egg wash, fried to perfection, and topped with warm grilled peaches, it’ll turn your breakfast world upside down. Plus, it’s mini, and mini servings means you can eat more without feeling bad. Which is always, always a plus.IMG_4229IMG_4237IMG_4231 MINI FRENCH TOAST WITH GRILLED PEACHES

1 13 oz French baguette (or around that size)

3 large eggs

1/2 cup of half-and-half

1/2 milk (I used 2%)

1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1-2 tablespoons of butter for greasing the pan

2 yellow nectarines

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar

FRENCH TOAST:

1. Let bread stale for two days before cooking, this will ensure a non-soggy French toast. Slice into 1-1.5 inch slices

2. Mix eggs, half-and-half, milk, and cinnamon together a bowl until well combined.

3. Soak the bread slices in the mixture for about 2 minutes each. Meanwhile, heat up the frying pan at medium heat and melt butter.

4. Cook bread on frying pan until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side.

GRILLED PEACHES

1. Dice nectarines into small pieces. Heat the grill pan at medium heat and melt butter.

2. Add peaches and allow to cook until golden brown and cooked through. You want to be able to see a bit of the grill marks on the peaches.

3. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon sugar. Sautee until the sugars are well incorporated.

4. Top the French toast slices while still warm. Serve with maple syrup and enjoy!

XXL Cowboy Compost Cookie

To share or not to share, that is the question.

And with this huge cookie, its one of much importance. They can be whipped up in less than 25 minutes, making them the perfect cookie to give away as a birthday gift to a friend at school, to satisfy a sugar craving, or if you’re like me, to eat away your feelings while studying biology.IMG_3950

Personally, I feel like cookies the size of your face are always a plus, and so I’ve decided to share this recipe with you guys with the hope that you will partake in my joy as well. I’ve been poking around for a solid single-serving dessert for quite some time now, and I think this cookie takes the cake. Filled with all the good fillings of a classic cowboy cookie along with the odds and ends of whatever was left in my pantry, this cookie is step above the dry, tasteless microwave mug cakes that had previously been my go-to.

IMG_3948The cookie is one part ‘cowboy’ because of its traditional ingredients of chocolate chips and coconut flake, as well as one part ‘compost’ because of the addition of graham crackers, peanut butter, and rolled oats by yours truly. It’s such a fun cookie with its contrasting textures and complementing flavors, and I’m sure you’ll all enjoy it as much as I did. (P.S the recipes for the other two cookies in the picture above are coming your way soon!)IMG_3923

XXL COWBOY COMPOST COOKIE

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons beaten egg

2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons old-fashioned rolled oats

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut

1 sheet of graham cracker, broken into small pieces

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and put to the side.

2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk butter and sugar until creamed. Since its only a little bit, you should be able to do this all by hand. Stir in peanut butter, then add the oats, flour, salt, and baking soda. Fold in coconut, graham crackers, and most of the chocolate chips (leave about 2 tablespoons worth on the side).

3. Scoop dough out with a spoon and place onto baking sheet. Use a spoon and shape dough into one large dome. Make sure the dome is tall and round, and then press the remaining chocolate chips into the top of the dough.

4. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and crisp. Take out of oven and allow to cool for 10-20 minutes. Enjoy!

Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

 

 

Nut Butter Trifecta Wrap

Survive the first week of junior year? Check.

IMG_4076

I am honestly speechless. This past first week of school has flown past like whirlwind, leaving me completely frazzled but still in one piece. As glad as I am to still be living and breathing, I’m going to be completely honest and say that this has been one rough week.

IMG_4077

The week started off with me learning that due to the master schedule of the school, I wouldn’t be able to run cross country during sports period anymore. I was(and still kind of am) crushed. Cross country has been my best outlet for all my pent up stress throughout the year, and it was really hard to imagine getting through the day without it. I was also really looking forward to mentoring all the newbies and hopefully setting up my spot as captain for my senior year. All my dreams were crushed due to bad planning on administration’s part, and I faced the upcoming school year with a pessimistic attitude. In other words, for three days straight I did nothing but hate on the school system and wish for the schedule making program to short circuit on itself.

IMG_4083

But just as things seemed to be at literal rock-bottom, life, as it always seems to do, began to turn up again. My coach and I set up a alternate work out schedule so I could run afterschool. I realized how great some of the classes I was already enrolled in were, and I got to fill in my free period with IB Flim!

IMG_4097

Through the good days and the bad, there’s one thing that will help you get through it all. And that one thing is the Nut Butter Trifecta Wrap. Filled with peanut, almond, and cookie butter and topped with fresh sliced banana, this protein-packed wrap will help you overcome even the toughest roadblocks. And it tastes good too.

IMG_4099

NUT BUTTER TRIFECTA WRAP

one knifeful of peanut butter (I used Skippy Creamy Peanut Butter)

one knifeful of almond butter (I used Justin’s Maple Almond Butter)

one knifeful of cookie butter (I used Trader Joe’s Speculoos Crunchy Butter)

one banana, sliced

one whole-wheat tortilla

1. Warm up the tortilla on an ungreased pan over medium heat until its soft and flexible. This way it won’t rip when we wrap it all up.

2. Slice the banana and put to the side. Slather on all three butters across the tortilla.

3. Place the slice bananas in the center of the tortilla, and wrap it all up. Enjoy!

Summer Berry and Chicken Salad

Just because the school year is right around the corner, it doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to linger in summer as long as humanely possible right? Sundresses and sandals will still be my uniform until the weather no longer permits, and I’ll still be out lounging at the pool during the weekend. I think I love summer a little too much to let it go so early.IMG_3874If you’re like me and a bit attached to this lovely time of year, you can satisfy you summer (and hunger) cravings with this Summer Berry and Chicken Salad! This salad incorporates all the light, fresh flavors of summertime and is reminiscent of picnic lunches, willowy meadows, and all good things summer. It can be thrown together in minutes, and is made of simple ingredients, making it the perfect to-go lunch salad. You can take it to school and pretend you’re in some rustic countryside lunch party instead of the sad grass patch behind the history building. Sigh.

IMG_3881IMG_3872IMG_3879

SUMMER BERRY AND CHICKEN SALAD

1 cup spring mix

1/2 cup baby spinach

1/4 cup

1/2 medium sized avocado

1 chicken breast

1/3 cup blueberries

6 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

poppyseed dressing

1. Cook the chicken breast. I usually cook mine with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.

2. Pour the spring mix and spinach into a bowl/container.

3. Top with cranberries, blueberries, tomatoes, and chicken.

4. Add dressing to taste.

So so easy. You can even cook the chicken and slice the tomatoes the night before, eliminating even more work to put it together in the morning.

Portobello Mushroom Veggie Wrap

With the upcoming school year right around the corner, and by right around the corner I mean in one week (for me at least), I’ve decided to do a small series of recipes that will work perfectly for back to school. Sometimes it can be a real hassle making lunch in the mornings when you’re still half-awake, especially if you’re already running late. However, I think that time should never be issue when trying to prepare a nutritious meal for yourself or someone you love, so all of my recipes will be simple, quick, and have steps that can be done ahead of time.

One of my absolute favorite things to take for lunch are sandwich wraps. They’re portable and can be eaten on-the-go and can be filled with savory or sweet fillings, whatever you’re craving for that day!IMG_3895

For the Portobello Mushroom Veggie Wrap, the first thing you’re going to have to do is sauté one sliced mushroom cap and two baby bell peppers with some olive oil and salt.IMG_3898

Then you’re going to need one tortilla to use as the wrapper. I like to use whole grain tortillas, but the options are endless. (i.e spinach, sun-dried tomato)IMG_3901

Then you’re going to take half of a medium-sized avocado, spoon it out onto the tortilla, and mash it all up. After the mashing it complete, sprinkle a bit of lemon pepper to taste.IMG_3903

Place your mushroom slices on.IMG_3904

Then your peppers.IMG_3905

And top the whole thing off with a handful of spinach.IMG_3917

Wrap it all up, and you’re ready to go!

See how easy that was? And don’t be afraid to stray from the recipe. Add things, take things out, make substitutions with whatever you have in your fridge. Make it your own and have fun with it! Happy wrapping!

PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM VEGGIE WRAP

1 portobello mushroom cap

2 baby bell peppers (or 1/3 large)

1/2 medium-sized avocado

1/2 cup raw baby spinach

sea salt, olive oil, and lemon pepper (to taste)

grill pan (but honestly, a plain old frying pan works too)

1. Slice mushroom cap and bell peppers. Saute on medium heat with olive oil and salt until cooked thoroughly and there are a bit of grill marks on the peppers. Take off heat.

2. Warm tortilla on the pan until warm and soft. This way the tortilla won’t rip as easily when wrapping.

3. Spoon out avocado onto the tortilla and mash up. Add lemon pepper to taste.

4. Layer on mushrooms, peppers, and spinach. Wrap it up and enjoy.