Monday, September 27, 2010

Cool Site

I heard about this site on our local radio station this morning (KDKA). Even though the weather is so easily accessable anymore, it's a fun way to find out on this site too.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Banana Crunch Muffins

I have found that it's really hard to come up with creative recipes using bananas. At least ones that my kids will eat. Searching my recipes and the internet usually gets me the usual Banana cake, banana splits, banana smoothies. This time I decided to search Food Network. I found this recipe by Barefoot Contessa, one of my favorite people on Food Network! The site even includes a clip from her show letting you see how she makes the recipe, which I find immensely helpful. These muffins took less time than I thought and came out beautifully.

Banana Crunch Muffins

3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsps. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 salt (I omitted since I used salted butter)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 extra large eggs (I used large eggs)
3/4 cup whole milk (I used skim)
2 tsps. vanilla extract
1 cup mashed bananas (2 bananas)
1 cup medium diced bananas (1 banana)
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup granola (I used Just Bunches cereal ground up a bit and 1/4 cup oats)
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
Dried Banana chips, granola, or shredded coconut, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin pans with cooking spray to prevent sticking. Line with cupcake liners.

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into bowl of an electric mixer. Add the cooled butter and blend on slow speed. Combine the eggs, milk, vanilla, and mashed bananas in a bowl. Add the mixture to the flour and butter mixture in the electric mixer bowl. Mix on low, scrapeing the sides as needed. Do not over mix.

Fold in sliced bananas, walnuts, granola, and coconut into the batter. Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling each cup to the top. Top each muffin with dried banana chips, granola or coconut, if desired.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until tops are brown and toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. Makes about 18 muffins.

"As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists."
-Joan Gussow

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Better Than ? Chocolate Cake

I know what you are thinking and yeah, that is what this cake usually is called. But since I have little ones, I can't say that! So for now, it's Better than fill in a fun family activity here chocolate cake :) Anyway you call it, this cake is good! Lots of chocolate and very easy to make, it is fun to throw together and you can add or alter any of the additions to the basic cake to make it what you like. For me, I added different chips and left out the pecans. Everyone here liked the results. I hope you enjoy this one!

Better than ? Chocolate Cake

1 package (18.25 ounces) plain devil's food cake mix
1 package (6 ounces or 1 cup) semi sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup pecans
1 package (3.9 ounces) chocolate instant pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
4 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Frosting of your choice

Spray and flour one tube pan. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place 2 tablespoons of cake mix, chocolate chips and pecans in a small bowl. Stir together and set aside.

Place remaining cake mix, the chocolate pudding, sour cream, oil, water, eggs and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Beat on low speed for 1 minute, scraping sides as needed. Increase speed to medium and beat 2 to 3 minutes more, scraping sides as needed. Batter should be well blended. Fold in chocolate chip mixture and mix until well distributed. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing top with spatula.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until the top springs back when touched. Remove pan and let cool 15 minutes. Using a butter knife, run it along the outer rim of the cake, separating it from the pan. Invert the cake onto a cooling rack then invert onto a plate when cooled completely. Frost and decorate as desired.

"Anybody who believes that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach flunked geography."
-Robert Byrne, quoted in 1,911 Best Things Anybody Ever Said, 1988

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cowboy Cookies

Things are finally getting back to a semi normal routine with the kids settling into school and routines getting set. After all the stress from the starting school, the kids wanted nothing more than to snuggle up and watch a movie last weekend. We decided on the movie Up (which is fantastic, even for adults!) and as we were watching it, the kids wanted something sweet to eat. So I baked these cookies. We nearly made ourselves sick eating them! They are so good, full of wonderful chunks of chocolate and oats, my favorite. The recipe makes 4 to 5 dozen so you may want to cut it in half, unless you really love cookies like I do!

Cowboy Cookies

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter (I used Dark Chocolate peanut butter)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups quick cooking oats
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips or chunks (I used chunks)
1 cup coarsely chopped peanuts or pecans (I omitted these and substituted white chocolate chips)

Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and peanut butter with granulated sugar and brown sugar, until creamy. Beat in vanilla and eggs until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture then oats, chocolate chips and nuts.

Drop cookie dough by tablespoonful onto a prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned on edges.
Cool completely and store in tightly sealed container.

Carl Fredricksen: Hey, let's play a game. It's called "see who can be quiet the longest."
Russell: Cool! My mom loves that game!

-from the movie "Up"

Friday, September 3, 2010

Glazed Lemon Pound Cake

This is one of my all time favorite recipes. A friend of mine gave it to me and every time I make it, I think of her. The cake is so easy. And it's so good. Sweet, tart and moist, it would be perfect for a get together of any kind.

Glazed Lemon Pound Cake

4 eggs
1 package of 2 layer cake mix, without the pudding
1 3.75 ounce package instant lemon pudding mix
1/3 cup oil (I use applesauce instead for less calories)
3/4 cup water

Beat eggs until thick and lemon colored. Add the cake mix, pudding mix, oil (or applesauce), and water. Beat at medium speed for 5 minutes. Pour into an ungreased bundt pan or 10 inch tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes. Cool before removing from pan.


2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice

In a saucepan, combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, stirring as it boils. Using a toothpick, poke holes over top and sides of warm cake. Pour warm glaze over the cake, using a plate underneath to catch drips. Decorate with lemon slices, if desired.

"When someone asks if you'd like cake or pie, why not say you want cake and pie?"
-Lisa Loeb