What a whirlwind of a few days. Am I right? Holidays always leave me feeling like I just ran 20 million 100m sprints and all I can do is stand with my hands on my knees gasping for breath…when I know that if I stand with my hands behind my head, that air will come easier, but the energy to stand up straight is just too much.
And let us not forget the coughing and sputtering. I am not a pretty sight after sprints. But who is?
But I/us/we do it every year, because if I found myself well rested and 100% relaxed this time of year, something would be wrong. Like, world has ended and I am the only one left to fight the zombies, wrong….which, Dear Mayans…what a huge let down, not even a slight flash in the sky or gentle rumble under foot. Not that I wanted anything to happen…but a little something non scary or life-threatening would have been OK.
Anywhooo…The holidays are supposed to be hectic and crazy and whirlwindish. Full to the brim with parties and shopping and friends and family and baking and gift giving and hall decking and traveling…. all things that kinda sorta leave ya breathless. And immensly happy. And full. From love and one too many cookies…both of which I am not complaining about. At all. Ever. Never.Read More
Dessert for breakfast is ALWAYS a good idea. Your ten year old self was correct…ice cream does taste best before noon. As does chocolate cake. And icing. And pie. And sometimes liquor, but that is more your 29 year old self talking, not the pre-adolescent peep squeak sneaking cookies for breakfast. I don’t think I was the only kid sneaking ice cream on Sunday mornings before church. Mom always knew….hollering down the hall that ice cream was not to be eaten before noon. Such a party pooper…but as an adult, I have come to realize that she too wanted ice cream for breakfast, but had no way of rationalizing its consumption. At least in front of her children. An upside to having no children….I don’t have to hide when I am eating ice cream at 8am.
Thank goodness as adults we have learned to sneak these forbidden foods into acceptable breakfast fare. Phew!
Muffins, especially those made by Otis…are just breakfast cupcakes. Who are you kidding? Oh, everyone. That is right. Awesome.
Pop Tarts…You are not fooling me. You are a hand held pie. Smooth move. I applaud you. You think you fool moms and dads alike, but you just brainwash them into thinking it is okay to feed their children pie for breakfast…and it is. Golden.
Syrup…. Syrup = icing for pancakes and waffles. Liquid sugar. I adore thee. My brother doesn’t like syrup. Or popcorn. Or ketchup. I don’t think we are related.
And pancakes…ahem, cake? I think so. And thanks for making it acceptable to eat chocolate chips before the sun rises. Oh and whipped cream. You and waffles are to thank for that.
Mimosos and tequila sunrises and bloody mary’s…Thanks for hiding champagne, tequila, and vodka in tasty pre-noon acceptable beverages. You make brunches on lazy weekends worth waking up for and bridal/baby showers a lot more giggly. My ten year old self knew nothing of you…My adult self may know you too well – the one upside to being an adult…well, that and no bedtime or curfew.
And we are off…
Zucchinis….they keep finding a home in my fridge. And those lovely brown eggs…all thanks to my CSA. Have I mentioned how much I love this program. I am hooked!
Shredding zucchini is a messy situation….
The usual cast of characters….plus zucchini and banana – ya know, so we can eat this for chocolate bread for breakfast. Because fruits and veggies allow that bowl of sugar ooookkkkk to eat for breakfast.
Let the mixing begin. That zucchini adds a crazy amount of moisture to the bread. Not a whole lot of flavor…that is where the banana and chocolate take over. Of which I didn’t capture on film (or memory card) because a bowl of chocolate batter, while it tastes glorious, it looks, well less glorious. So, use that imagination of yours…and lets jump to the baked goodness.
And…voila! That was easy, right!?! Totally…minus that zucchini shredding. I will be picking zucchini shreds off my counter for some time.
So, lets get this straight…add a vegetable or fruit to the mix and you are 98.76% guaranteed to have a possible breakfast food on your hands. I used this rule of thumb for chocolate banana zucchini bread. Dessert for breakfast, I am all for it….be it hidden in chocolate banana zucchini bread (making those parents happy ) or in plain sight, straight from the Ben and Jerry’s pint container.
- ½ Cup Dark Chocolate Cocoa
- 1 + ½ Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- ½ Teaspoon Baking Powder
- ¼ Teaspoon Salt
- ½ Teaspoon Cinnamon
- ½ Cup Vegetable Oil
- ½ Cup Granulated White Sugar
- ½ Cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 2 Cups Zucchini, shredded and patted dry
- 2 Medium Very Ripe Bananas, mashed
- 1 Cup Chocolate Chips
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper or grease bottom and sides, set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together cocoa, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together oil, vanilla, and both sugars. Stir in eggs, bananas, and shredded zucchini. Stir until well combined.
- Fold in dry ingredients just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake in preheated oven for about 45 – 60 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean with a few moist crumbs sticking to the toothpick. You may need to tent the bread with tinfoil toward the end of the baking.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely.
Zucchini zucchini zucchini. this is hilarious. I like #5 and #3.
Just as I finish a batch of zucchini, I find that they are quickly replaced with more. ’Tis the season.Read More
There is a big part of me (about 78.4%) that wants to live on a farm, surrounded by rolling hills….
Picture it. A simple farm house with a welcoming wrap around porch. A porch, where you would find a lazy bloodhound (Sam) sleeping and maybe a corgi (Howard). They would be stretched out next to weathered rocking chairs that creek quietly as they slowly rock back and forth. There would be many moments cherished on this porch and in these chairs. It would be a place to watch the sun rise and set (why the wrap around porch is key). A safe place to watch storms roll in and a dry place to sit during a warm spring shower. A place to listen to baseball games on the radio while drinking a cold beer. A place to sit with my future husband and plan our future or our next vacation or to simply talk about our day. Rocking chairs are key.
There would be oak trees and weeping willows in the front yard. One would have a swing dangling from one of its branches. The grass beneath the swing would be gone, leaving only a worn out patch of dirt. And lots of wide open space, so a game of kick ball could take place or just a bit of pitch and catch.Read More
It’s funny. I have several pages of scribbled recipes/ideas and a folder full of recipes that I want to whip up. I could go many months before I would need to think about what to make next. But you wanna know how often I turn to this list or open the folder? Rarely. Instead, I find myself in the kitchen, making a dish that randomly pops in my head or making something that I am craving - chocolate is generally involved. And sometimes, I just need to use an ingredient before it expires or I am trying to clean out my fridge/cupboard.
And that is how I came to make this banana bread. My freezer had become not a freezer but a holding pattern for overly ripe bananas. I have bananas stuck in every nook and cranny … I either need to eat my bananas faster or buy fewer. So, it was time to put some of these to use. And the only thing I know how to make with overly ripe frozen bananas is … Banana Bread.
But, guess what? I am not a huge fan of banana bread – there was a year in college where we made banana bread until it came out our ears…and there my love for banana bread fizzled. Too much of a good thing. But, I figured it was time to dive back in and figure out a way to make it something that I would want to eat.
What came out of my kitchen I would not describe as traditional banana bread. From the chocolate to the bourbon, this is banana bread on steroids. Most importantly though, I enjoyed it! No surprise right?
Make this happen.
Be a better swirler than me.
I have faith in you.
Chocolate Swirl Banana Bread
Makes 1 Loaf
1+1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup White Sugar
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
2 Large Eggs
1 + 1/2 Cups Mashed Bananas (about 3 medium very ripe bananas)
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1-2 Tablespoons Bourbon (totally optional, but I’d make it mandatory)
1 Cup Mini Chocolate Chips
- 1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
1/4 Cup Boiling Water
Preheat oven to 350°F. Liberally butter the bottom and sides of a loaf pan (or line with parchment paper).
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
In another bowl, whisk/beat together brown sugar, white sugar, and vegetable oil. Mix in mashed bananas, vanilla, and bourbon. Using a wooden spoon or spatula fold in the dry ingredients. Remove about 1/3 of mixture and set aside. Pour the remaining batter into prepared loaf pan.
In a small bowl, whisk together the boiling water and cocoa powder until smooth. Mix cocoa mixture and chocolate chips into the reserved batter. Spoon the chocolate mixture onto the top of the batter already in the pan. Drag a butter knife through the batter in a swirling motion and remember to bring batter from the top to the bottom. Do not over mix when doing this.
Place in preheated oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean – kinda clean, there will be melted chocolate, but not batter. Remove from oven and place on wire rack for 5 minutes to cool. Remove from pan and let sit on wire rack until completely cool. Bread can be stored at room temperature if wrapped in tinfoil/plastic wrap for up to 3 days. It can also be frozen.
Who makes English muffins?
I do. From scratch, for no other reason than a simple craving for a sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich. And why do I have an urge to call this sandwich a ‘Mc’ something or other? McMuffin is just so darn catchy and engrained in our minds. I have lived with the Ronald ‘Mc-ing’ everything from chicken nuggets to said morning breakfast sandwich. And now McBites…what?!?
It is true that this craving could have been fixed with a short 10 minute drive down to the nearest McDonalds. A swing through the drive-thru and KA-BAM, craving fixed. Oh and I could have ordered a coffee, made for me but not by me. I love me some coffee! I, however, try with all my might not to eat fast food. I try my hardest not to eat food ordered and picked-up through a drive-thru window. I try not to eat food that in the end is probably going to kill us. Let’s be real here right? I try and I am very successful at this avoidance, however I still have cravings for such foods (I’m only human!). So, therefore I find myself, in my kitchen re-creating. The easiest and most simple item to recreate is their morning sandwiches.
A normal person would just pick up a bag of english muffins and be on their merry way. But not me. No. I see a bag of english muffins in aisle 9 and I think, why can’t I just make them at home? It’d be healthier, cheaper, and way more fun. So, that is what I did.
I had an afternoon free and a simple craving for a breakfast sandwich. So I did what any crazy person would do….I started off my free afternoon making english muffins and by late afternoon I was munching away on one hell of a breakfast sandwich. Oh heavens.
My english muffins don’t have deep nooks and crannies like their store bought counterparts, but there are tiny nooks and crannies and those totally count. Plus, if you open up the muffin with a fork, then the nooks and crannies show up more willingly. They have a crisp exterior and a chewy center. And with the whole wheat flour, they have a lovely nutty flavor. HOwever, feel free to use all-purpose flour if you do not have whole wheat on hand. It will work just fine! I am going to toss the remaining muffins in the freezer and when a craving strikes (because it will and probably sooner than later) for a breakfast sandwich or toast and jam, then I have a quick fix, quicker than any drive-thru, plus it doesn’t require me to leave my house. Bonus!
P.S. Don’t forget the salt…I totally forgot the salt. Fact.
Whole Wheat English Muffins
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Makes about 16
1 + 3/4 Cup Milk, warmed to about 110°F (about 1 1/2 minutes in microwave)
2 teaspoons Instant Yeast (Quick Rise)
3 Tablespoon butter, melted
1 + 1/4 teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoon Sugar
1 Large egg, lightly beaten
4 to 4 + 1/2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
Plus Cornmeal for dusting