Mom’s banana bread

My mom didn’t make banana bread very often because she doesn’t really like bananas, but my dad, sister and I did, so when she made it, it was a great day. I was pretty surprised at how easy this is to make. It’s perfect for a cold late winter day.

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Mom's banana bread
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan with butter or Crisco. No need to flour the greased pan. Mix the wet ingredients into a bowl, adding the milk last.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients. If your brown sugar is a little lumpy, that's ok! It will add pockets of caramel notes.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients and wet ingredients together.
  4. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 55 to 60 minutes until the top is brown and a toothpick comes out clean and the sides start to pull away from the greased pan.

My opinion: This makes your whole house smell amazing. It’s delicious and one of my most favorite breakfast foods. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can add chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, peanut butter (if you add peanut butter reduce the oil by one tablespoon). The options are endless!

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Flourless banana muffins


I’m a rather big fan of banana muffins. Mostly because they’re just as tasty as banana bread, but cook faster and are easier to transport. Plus, you can add all kinds of things, like blueberries, to them and they’re still wonderful. My usual recipe calls for flour, but some how we were out. So I found this recipe from Chase and Em’s blog. With a few modifications, I had some super fast, delicious, friend-worthy muffins.

Ingredients:
2 and 1/2 cups quick cooking oats (regular plain old Quaker is what we used)
1 cup vanilla yogurt (we used HyVee brand. Feel free to use plain. The original recipe called for Greek.)
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 ripe bananas

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray or line with silicone or foil liners. Grind the oatmeal into oatmeal flour (we used our coffee grinder for this, a half cup at a time) and put in a mixing bowl. Mix in the rest of the ingredients, mashing the banana. Pour into the coated or lined muffin tins (ours took about a half cup each) making sure to leave room for the muffins to rise. Bake for 15-25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Our oven took a little more than 20 minutes. Just set a timer for 15 minutes, check, if necessary add another 5 ,check, and then keep a close eye after that. Makes about 18 muffins.

My opinion:
Just as easy as the old standby box mix, these muffins were wonderful. We ended up freezing about half and they are just as good warmed up in the microwave for about 30 seconds.

Chicken Fried Steak

Jason had been craving this for a solid two weeks before we had a chance to make it from this recipe. Despite the hot oil concerns, it was pretty easy and absolutely delicious.

Ingredients:
2 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided (leave 1 teaspoon for the gravy)
1 3/4 teaspoons black pepper, divided (leave 1 teaspoon for the gravy)
4 (4 ounce) cube steaks
38 saltine crackers, crushed (we used a whole sleeve in a ziplock bag with a rolling-pin. Great for aggression relief!)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided (1/4 cup is for the gravy)
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 3/4 cups milk, (divided into 4 cups and 3/4 cup)
2 large eggs
3 1/2 cups Vegetable Oil (you want enough to cover at least half the coated steaks)

Directions:
Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper evenly over steaks. Set aside. Combine cracker crumbs, 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, red pepper, and baking powder into a shallow dish. Whisk together 3/4 cup milk and eggs. Dredge steaks in cracker mixture; dip in milk mixture, and dredge again in cracker mixture. Pour oil into a 12″ skillet; heat to 360 degrees (do not use a nonstick skillet, we used the cast iron skillet). Fry steaks 3-4 minutes.

 

Turn and fry 2-3 minutes or until golden. Remove steak to wire rack over a cookie sheet to let it drain. Keep steaks warm in a 225 degree oven.

Carefully drain hot oil, reserving cooked bits and 1 tablespoon of oil in dripping in skillet. Whisk together remaining 4 cups of milk, 1/4 cup of flour, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1 teaspoon black pepper. Add milk mixture to reserved drippings in skillet; cook, whisking constantly, over medium-high heat for 10-12 minutes, or until thickened. You’ll think this is never going to come together. Keep whisking. After about 5 minutes it should start to come together. Whisk for a few minutes after you think you should stop. Should be a light grey color at first and darken slowly. Serve gravy with steaks.

My opinion:
Disclaimer: Be careful draining the oil. And don’t send it down the sink! Find a metal coffee can or other receptacle to help with this. Obviously, hot oil is hot. Be careful! As for the dish, it’s the right amount of salty and rich. I don’t normally love gravy, but topping the steaks with this gravy makes the dish. It’s even better the next day, though not as crispy.

C’s Blueberry and Peach Buckle


My sister has a gift. The gift of making extremely amazing baked goods. This is one of my new all time favorites. Right up there with her pound cake recipe. She created this dessert using a hybrid of the recipes from Alton Brown and Joy of Cooking.

Ingredients:
1 large ripe peach, halved, pitted and cut into small chunks (or 4-5 if you’re just using peaches)
Combine with:
1 1/2 cups blueberries or boysenberries
whisk together:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (you can use up to 3/4 cup whole wheat flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ginger
Combine in another bowl and beat until light and fluffy:
1/4 cup or 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar (can reduce to 3/4 cup sugar if the peaches are very sweet)
1 large egg
Gradually beat in 1/2 cup milk

Struessel topping:
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (chilled)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:
In addition to the directions above, position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the over to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 10-inch round cake pan or 9-inch square baking dish (C uses shortening instead of butter). Combine all the dry ingredients and then cut the butter up into pieces, using a fork to blend in the butter until the mixture is crumbly.

Add the flour mixture and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened and the batter is smooth. Gently fold in the fruit. Spoon into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle the struessel topping over the batter. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until the top springs back when touched and a toothpick (or butter knife) inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a rack for at least 20 minutes before serving.

My opinion:
Like an extra delicious coffee cake. Perfect at any time of day for any occasion.

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

Very easy to make.

Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup nonfat milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/3 cups hot strong coffee

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly coat an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Combine milk, egg, oil and vanilla in a glass measuring cup. Make a well in center of the dry ingredients and gradually pour in the milk mixture, stirring until combined. Spoon into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Dissolve brown sugar in coffee; spoon over batter. (I missed this step.) Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes; serve hot or warm. (It took 35 minutes for this to work for me.) This recipe is originally from Eating Well.

My opinion:
The cake is so so much better warm! It’s not bad. It does need a little something though. It tastes a bit off, but not in a bad way. That might be my fault as I used the good unsweetened cocoa. I would definitely make this again as it was super simple and made the house smell wonderful. Next time though, I will add chocolate chips or peanut butter chips or a raspberry glaze.