Posted: December 29th, 2010 | Filed under: Bread | Tags: banana bread with pecans, banana pecan bread | No Comments »
I don’t know about you — but December has been overwhelmingly busy. Between the holiday rush at work, gatherings, catering, holiday shopping, celebrating and what not — I am pooped. But I am so happy with all that has happened over the last month. I’ve made some super tasty treats — some that will be shared later – and some that won’t — and I’ve also forgotten to take pictures of almost everything… (hence, the won’t.) But December has been fun! I’ve seen the majority of my family, eaten way beyond my fill of holiday food, and… *drumroll please* opened a brand new Kitchen Aid 6 qt Professional Stand Mixer! (Yes, this was the big gift of the year.) My poor little Sunbeam will go into partial retirement until I need it for big projects. (It desperately needs a break… it told me so, when all of the whisk attachment wires popped off mid-recipe.)
In other news — the hubby and I are about to embark on what seems to be a very interesting year. So before the madness begins — we are taking a little break for a few days — an early anniversary celebration — a little bit of rest — a much needed sabbath. It seems that so often we fail to rest between everything — and we overexert ourselves and become worn down, sick, and over all tired of life. For me it often means that I become overwhelmed by thinking of everything that needs to be done, everything that needs to be accomplished, everything I have yet to get to — and my years start to rush right by me. So rest is necessary. Necessary so that we can deal with things a little at a time — and take the time to really hand our lives over to the Lord and listen to how He is leading us.
I’m not really sure how the banana bread fits in here — but it does — I promise. If you’ve followed this blog at all, you know that banana bread is not a stressful recipe, an undertaking, or something I ever need extra ingredients for. It is so adaptable. So it makes sense that it would be the first recipe I go for in the new mixer. I had the bananas sitting all nicely spotted on the counter, the pecans sitting freshly toasted in the jar — it just seemed right. And it was — it was so right I ate a giant piece of the bread this morning for breakfast — sooooo good. There is just something really calming about baking something you know well — something that doesn’t have tricky timing or temperatures or measurements or expensive ingredients. Its not trying to be impressive, its just really good banana bread. So I hope that you end your year with a little rest before heading into 2011 — and I hope you really enjoy the comfort of this tasty banana bread.
Banana Bread with Pecans
adapted from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook
3 c flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 c cup canola oil
½ c sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature, well beaten
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ c mashed ripe bananas
3/4 c sour cream
½ c chopped toasted pecans
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 10 inch tube pan. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.Beat oil and sugar on medium speed until well-mixed. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat well. Add the bananas and sour cream, and mix well. Add the dry ingredients, and mix until just combined. Stir in pecans and coconut. Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s). Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the bread comes out with moist crumbs attached.
Let cool for at least one hour before serving.
Posted: December 8th, 2010 | Filed under: Entree | Tags: baked potato soup, Bennigan's baked potato soup, potato soup, ultimate baked potato soup | 3 Comments »
Now as most of you know, I married a picky eater. And part of that pickiness means that he doesn’t generally like eating soup — thats right, he doesn’t like to eat the soup, he likes to dip things in the soup (like sandwiches, or chips, or little toasts). But there are two soups that he really likes. One being the Bennigan’s Ultimate Baked Potato Soup. Now Bennigan’s closed most of their locations near us. So I went on a mission to recreate it, and according to Ryan — this soup matched up to his expectations. I like serving this with cheese, fresh chives, and crumbled bacon on top little mini toasts for dipping on a cold night.
Baked Potato Soup
3 lb all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch cubes
2 tbsp butter
1 c finely chopped yellow onions
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 can (14 1/2 oz) chicken broth
2 c whole milk
1 c heavy whipping cream
5 pieces thick cut bacon, baked until crsip, and crumbled
(use two slices for the topping, use three slices crumbled in the soup)
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp pepper
TOPPINGS: shredded cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon & fresh chopped chives
In a large pot of boiling water, cook the potatoes until soft and cooked all the way through. Drain and set aside. Melt butter in a 4 to 6 quart pot over medium low heat. Stir in onions and garlic, cover and cook 10 minutes until soft, but not brown. Add 2/3 of the potatoes and mash with a potato masher. Add broth, milk, heavy cream, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Return to pot and add bacon reserved for soup. Season to taste before serving. Sprinkle each serving with toppings and serve with little toasts.
Posted: December 7th, 2010 | Filed under: Uncategorized | | No Comments »
The season is upon us — and I spent my day off today shopping for the last of my Christmas gifts. I was planning on making most of them in the kitchen — but I’m not going to lie — the pretty window displays got to me. (That, and the fact that I just don’t have the time to do gifts in the kitchen right now, my kitchen is too busy right now.) So for you I have compiled some of my personal favorite things this year.
Cutlery Tea Towel
Embossed Cream and Sugar Holders
Oh Deer Print
Jadeite Cake Stand
The Kissing Checklist
Salter Kitchen Scale
So if you haven’t gotten Christmas ready for friends, family, and loved ones, hopefully these picks will help you along the way!
Posted: December 5th, 2010 | Filed under: Chicken, Entree | Tags: best chicken noodle soup, chicken and noodle soup, chicken noodle, home made chicken noodle | No Comments »
About a year ago I posted a recipe for a really tasty chicken noodle soup. (Yes, it is very very delicious.) But you see, I have this thing for thick noodles. I love them. I love udon noodles, I love dumplings, I love big fat thick almost chewy noodles. They are delicious. There is something about their girth that just makes my taste buds tingle and my mouth sing. Its kind of like when people have a cookie preference – chewy or crunchy. I go for chewy every time. I’m they same with my noodles. Something in me just loves a big fat thick noodle. So to improve my chicken noodle soup recipe, the noodle had to change. I did some searching around the internet, I scoured my many cookbooks. I consulted with other soup lovers. And then I made soup. Not just any soup. A comforting, its cold outside and I may (or may not) have the sniffles, and I want to cuddle on the couch and watch Pride and Prejudice kind of soup. The kind of soup that tastes like hugs would taste. (You know, if hugs were soup.) A nice break from Thanksgiving leftovers and Christmas party food. Eat by itself or indulge with a ooey gooey grilled cheese sandwich for extra comfort.
Alyssa’s New and Improved Better Chicken Noodle Soup
1 whole fryer chicken, cut up
4 large carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
½ medium yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
2 boxes of chicken broth
4 cups of water
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoons turmeric
¼ teaspoons white pepper (more To Taste)
¼ teaspoons ground thyme
2 teaspoons parsley flakes
16 ouncesReames Egg Noodles (I found them at Kroger)
3 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
Cover chicken in 4 quarts water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove chicken from pot with a slotted spoon. With two forks, remove as much meat from the bones as you can, slightly shredding meat in the process.
Return the shredded chicken to the pot, and join it with the bouillon, water, and chicken stock.
Add the carrots and celery and onions, followed by the herbs and spices. Stir to combine and simmer for thirty minutes to meld flavors, until the carrots are soft and the onions are translucent.
Increase heat and add frozen egg noodles and chicken. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes.
Mix flour and a little water. Stir until smooth. Pour into soup, stir to combine, and simmer for another 5 minutes, or until broth thickens a bit.