Monday, May 18, 2009

Banana Nut Muffins

Here's some trivia about me that you may not know...I think bananas are disgusting. I think they smell gross, their texture is too squishy, and taste? I won't even go there. But I am the minority in my house, so I am happy to peel them for the girls and bake with them for the hubster. I now present to you...banana nut muffins! I apologize for the quality of some of these pictures...the lighting in my kitchen at night is not ideal for taking pictures, but that's when I got the motivation, so pardon some of the yellow-ness and blur you will see.

This recipe makes 12 jumbo muffins, probably 18 regular muffins, and approx. 2,375,888 mini muffins. ;)

Here's what you need:

Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder, Salt, Eggs, Milk, Vegetable Oil, Bananas, Walnuts

Start by adding 3.5 cups of flour (all-purpose), 2/3 cup of sugar, 4 teaspoons of baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt into a large bowl. Whisk and make a hole in the center.

In a smaller bowl, crack 2 eggs:

Measure 1 cup of milk (skim is fine - it's what we use)...

...and add it to the eggs

Then do the same with 1/2 cup vegetable oil:

And beat them all together!

Now, set that aside for a second and grab your bananas.

The easiest way I have found to mash up bananas is to squish them in the peel first.

Then peel them and squish them into a measuring cup using a fork, until you have about 1.5 cups, which was about 3 medium/large bananas.

Next, head over to your cutting board and roughly chop some walnuts:

Now, back to the bowls! Slowly pour the egg/milk/oil mixture into the flour mixture.

Then add your squished bananas:

I use the whisk again here and slowly whisk it all together, it will still be lumpy, which is OK.

This is about where I stop:

Next, you are going to add your roughly chopped walnuts and fold them in with a spatula.

Now, you are ready to scoop! I find the easiest way to get the batter into the muffin tins is to use an ice cream scoop. You can spray it with cooking spray to help ease the batter into the tins.

Use a heaping scoop to put in your muffin cups:

Then pop them in the oven (400 degrees) for about 15 minutes (this is for jumbo muffins).

They will be nice and brown on the top when they are done. I have no picture of the finished product (it was too dark when I finished baking them) so you will just have to make them yourself to see!

Monday, May 11, 2009

It happens to all of us


I guess the last week or so there has been so much going on that I simply have not had time to document any baking. I honestly have not made much food or goodies, except Friday when I made a chocolate cake for company coming over and then made the same chocolate cake (this time with a different frosting) again yesterday because, well because I felt like it. Both were last minute decisions so, alas, the picture taking and documenting did not take place.

But I do urge you to click on the link below and try this recipe out, it looks amazing and I plan on making it very very soon!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Breakfast Burrito!

For dinner! I desperately need to go grocery shopping. It's not even funny, y'all. My fridge looks like that of a bachelor -- cheese, beer, water, and an apple. Ridiculous. Needless to say, I will be grocery shopping tomorrow while the kids are in school, but I had to come up with something to make for dinner and it actually turned out quite yummy and filling (and CHEESY!)

Start with a pan coated with olive can't really tell, but there is EVOO in there!

Cube up some potatoes into bite-sized pieces:

Throw them in the pan (medium heat). They will sizzle!

Add salt and pepper to taste, that's a LOT in our house!

I threw in some garlic salt, too:

Then stir it up...

Cover it, and leave it for 15 or so minutes, stirring a few times.

Once they are browned and starting to soften,

Crack some eggs (I used 6),

More salt and pepper!

Whisk 'em up!

and pour them in the potatoes!

Dump any kind of shredded cheese you have on hand

stir...letting the eggs scramble

and once they are good and done (not too wet, but they will be slightly moist because of the melting cheese)

Scoop some into a tortilla shell (I had whole wheat, YUM) and wrap them up!

Quick and easy (and not to mention filling!) breakfast or dinner!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Pizza Bianco (White Pizza)

This has become our Friday night staple for the last 5 months or so. I totally happened upon it by accident, too -- which can be a wonderful thing in the food world. You see, there are several grocery items that I always always have in my pantry. Tomato paste is one of them. I make my own sauces for things like spaghetti, lasagna, and stuffed shells. I have for years and I don't plan on changing that anytime soon so we always have tomato paste around.

So imagine my surprise one Friday night when I already had my pizza dough rising and went to make my sauce, but we were out of tomato paste! I had just left a message for my hubby to pick some up on his way home when I thought, "White Pizza!" After looking at a few recipes online, I concocted my own spinoff and we have seriously been eating it every week since.

I make my own dough as well so the whole she-bang is on here for you! You can make the dough first and then make the sauce while the dough rises, or make the sauce whenever and just keep it in the fridge until you are ready for it. I'm starting with the sauce!

Here's what you need for the white sauce:

minced garlic, salt, pepper, onion powder, oregano, corn starch, milk, parmesan cheese

Start by throwing about a tablespoon and a half of minced garlic in a saucepan (medium-low heat) with just a teaspoon or so of olive oil. The oil is optional, but I don't like to let garlic saute by itself, just doesn't seem right to me.

Once you can smell the garlic (2-3 minutes?), throw in half a teaspoon of salt, pepper, and onion powder and a whole teaspoon of dried oregano:

Then chuck in a tablespoon of corn starch:

Mix it up, it will clump:

Then add a cup of milk and 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese and stir together, turning up the heat to medium-high:

It will take about 5 minutes before it starts bubbling and thickening:

And another 2-3 minutes before it's done. You'll see it's quite thick and slightly brown:

Take it off the heat and let it cool and you're done! This makes 1 or 2 pizzas, depending on how much sauce you like on your pie. Now onto the dough! This dough is SUPER EASY, so please try it at least once. I would be so sad to find out my pizza sauce got spread on a Boboli crust or something!

Pizza Dough:

This makes 1 pizza.

In your mixer bowl; dump 2 teaspoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 pack (or 2 teaspoons) active dry yeast.

Pour in 1 cup of warm water:

Stir and let it sit for a few minutes, until the dough activates (looks kinds foamy):

By hand, mix in 2 cups of flour, dough should be coming together, but still a bit wet:

Then add 1 more cup of flour and, using your dough hook, let it mix up until... all sticks together and you have a still slightly tacky dough.

Next, I normally grab a small handful of flour and knead it in by hand just a few times until the dough is firm and disc-shaped.

Then cover it and leave it for 45 minutes or so. It will rise, I promise!

Dough; meet lightly floured surface:

To make a near perfect pizza dough circle, start by rolling the dough once vertically and then once horizontally.

Repeat, alternating between the two until you have enough dough to peek out of the sides when you put your pizza pan over it:

Then gently pick up your dough and put it on a well greased pizza pan so that you have some hanging over the sides:

Then simply fold the overlapping dough under to form your crust!

See? Wasn't that hard now, was it?!

Now let's bring together our dough and sauce and finish this baby up!

Plunk down your sauce in the middle of your dough while your oven preheats to 400:

Spread it out evenly using a spatula, or the back of a spoon:

Now you can start adding your cheese! I used mozzerella, but I have used Mexican Blend before and cannot WAIT to use provolone, since it's my favorite:

Now pop it in your oven!

Watch it melt...

But don't stop there! Once the cheese and crust are slightly brown, like this:

Gently slip it off the pizza pan and onto the bottom rack of your oven. This will help the bottom of your crust get nice and crispy!

It won't take long, but once it is slightly more browned, like the pic below, you are good to go!

Pull it out and wait a few minutes, which may not be possible, I've been there many times...

Then slice it up and enjoy! You may never want a regular pizza again!