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baking

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Super Easy Chocolate Chip Banana Bread {recipe}

With the coming of cooler temperatures, I do a lot more baking. Thankfully, my family are happy to eat what comes out of my oven, so I guess I must be doing an ok job at it. I had a few over-ripe bananas on the counter, so yesterday I whipped up one of our favourites – chocolate chip banana bread. It’s great with my coffee in the mornings, or for a snack at any time. And there’s no nuts, so it can go into school lunches too. We like to spread a little butter on ours.
The base of this recipe is from my Dad. Banana Bread was one of his specialties, so I had to get his recipe from him when I moved out oh so many years ago. The only change I’ve made is to add the chocolate chips, for an extra special touch.  Enjoy!

Super Easy Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

1 ¾ cup flour
3 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup bananas (2)
1/3 cup salad oil
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Combine bananas, oil, sugar, and eggs in bowl. Beat until foamy.
Mix remaining dry ingredients.
Add dry ingredients to wet mixture and mix until well blended.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Pour into greased loaf pan.

Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes. Top should be browned and loaf should be pulling away from the sides of your pan. Let sit in pan for 5-10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool.
Gardening, Recipe

First Crop of the Season

This has been a glorious weekend so far. The weather has been fabulous, and we’ve really been able to get out and enjoy it, plus get a lot of hard work done in the garden. (Maybe more on that later.) I was quite excited to see how well my rhubarb has done. I picked up a single rhubarb plant last year at our neighbourhood garage sale, so this is the first year I could harvest. It did great and there’s still new growth coming so I’m hoping for a second harvest.

Rhubarb plant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love rhubarb. We always grew it when I was young, and I’ve always enjoyed rhubarb pies and jam and crumbles. It definitely isn’t the sweetest thing going, but I love its sharp tang. And you can always use lots of sugar to sweeten it in a recipe if you wish. It’s particularly good combined with strawberries.

Did you know that the leaves and roots are inedible? The leaves are poisonous and must be thrown out. You can though make an effective pesticide by boiling the leaves and combining the resulting liquid in a spray bottle with a tiny bit of liquid soap (to make the liquid stick to plants). We always just steeped the leaves in a bucket of warm water in the sun. This is a great remedy for leaf-eating insects.

To harvest rhubarb you simply grasp a nice thick stalk low to the ground and pull it free, You may need to wiggle it a little. Then chop off the white bottom of the stalk and the leaf.

I used a very special knife to do this that used to belong to my grandmother. Her father gave it to her when she got married. It eventually became her garden knife, and she always used it for the rhubarb. It is one of my most prized possessions, and I was so happy to be able to use it on my own home-grown with love rhubarb.
So what did I do with my harvest? Muffins!!
I found this recipe online, at www.rhubarbinfo.com. They turned out really yummy and moist. I used oil, not margarine. And I divided the batter into 24 muffins instead of 12 and baked for just about 20 minutes. I like smaller muffins so that Little Boo will finish one. We big kids can always have two if we want.

Rhubarb Muffins
Ingredients:
2 1/2 C. flour
2/3 C. brown sugar, packed
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. milk
1/4 C. oil or melted margarine
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg, beaten
2 C. finely chopped rhubarb

Procedure:
Heat oven to 400 degrees; grease or paper line 12 muffin cups. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add milk, oil, vanilla and egg. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in rhubarb. Divide batter between muffin cups. Sprinkle tops liberally with sugar, if desired. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until light golden brown.
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There are all kinds of recipes on this site for rhubarb in snacks, desserts and main courses. Check it out if you’re looking for some new ideas for this great spring vegetable.

Food, Recipe

Best EVER Pumpkin Cookies

Just finished icing (and taste testing) my favourite cookies, and thought I’d share the recipe here. It’s the recipe I get asked for most often, and I can take no credit for it. It came to me from a friend in grad school. She got it from a woman I think was a friend of her mother’s. So without further ado, here is the recipe for what I (and many others) think are the best pumpkin cookies ever.

 

Makes about 3 dozen
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin
1 egg
Cream together & add 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix.
Add in 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt
Drop onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake @ 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
Frosting:
3 Tablespoons butter
4 Tablespoons milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
Mix & boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly
Let cool slightly, then add 1 cup icing sugar & 3/4 teaspoon vanilla.
Beat well, and frost cookies.
Enjoy!