Putting the Banana in your Bread

Mmmmm – nothing quite like fresh bread out of the oven. Specifically, beautiful, brown crusted, spiced fruit bread. With the incoming fall, nothing warms up the kitchen, or the tummy, quite like it either.

Well, to be honest, I don’t need a chilly morning to enjoy baking bread. So here we are, getting ready to make some yummy banana bread.

First, gather your ingredients. I use both White and Wheat flours for this recipe, and one of the best pieces of advice I have ever gotten about working with wheat flour is to include about a tbsp of wheat gluten for every 1/2 cup of wheat flour you use. It boosts the wheat flours ability to make bouncy light bread.

You’ll also need baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, eggs, butter, sugar and of course, some super ripe BANANAS!

So grab a big bowl and a medium bowl and lets get to mixing up some bread.

First steps first, as always, grab your ingredients.

In your big bowl, place your two flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, wheat gluten, nutmeg and cinnamon. Mix your dry ingredients together and swirl a little well into the middle of it. Put this bowl aside until later.

Most of the dry ingredients, mixed together with a well in the center.

Get together your bananas, eggs, butter and sugar next. Feel free to use less sugar then the full cup I put in. I’ve used as little as a half a cup and had it turn out very tasty.

Bananas, pre-mushing

Get to peeling those bananas. To get a good mushy banana, I use a potato masher. It is for mashing after all!

Bananas, post mushing.

After the bananas are mashed, add in your sugar, eggs and melted butter. I just pop my butter in the microwave for ten second intervals until liquid.

Bananas, well mixed with sugar, melted butter, sugar and eggs.

Now that your two mixes are ready, its time to take the liquid and pour it into the dry all at once. Fold the dry ingredients into the liquid until well incorporated.

The dry and wet mixes, folded together into perfect harmony.

Get your mixture into your pan and bake at 350 f for 45 minutes.

The batter, poured into a greased glass bread dish.

After baking for 45 minutes, the bread will be browned on the outside, but don’t let this fool you. The inside will be pretty raw still. So grab some oven mitts, get that pan out of the oven and tent some aluminum foil over the top. This will act as an insulator and keep the heat in the bread, cooking the insides faster while keeping the crust from burning.

After the first 45 minutes of baking, the bread will look cooked, but will be quite wiggly. Tent some aluminum foil and continue to bake for another 15 minutes or so.

Pop that pan back in the oven for an additional 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and crumb free.

 

Cool in the pan for ten minutes.

With your bread done cooking, get it back out of the oven and cooling in the pan for 10 minutes. Afterwards, carefully remove the bread from the pan and let cool the rest of the way on a wire rack.

Or slice right into it, throw a slab of butter on it and try not to burn yourself as you eat three slices. It’s okay if the bread doesn’t last the whole day, I think everyone knows fruit breads like this are best still warm out of the oven. And banana bread is such a quick and simple recipe to make, it becomes quite addicting on these chilly fall mornings and you could theoretically make a new loaf everyday anyway.

I cool my bread on a rack sideways to create cut lines.

When storing the bread I wrap it in tinfoil and throw it in the fridge. It CAN last for several days like this, but never does in our house.

Quick Recipe

Banana Bread

Ingredients-

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oil or melted butter
  • 5 ripe bananas
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp wheat gluten
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease your bread pan
  2. In a large bowl, mix together both flours, the wheat gluten, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Once well mixed,  make a well in the middle of it.
  3. In another smaller bowl, mash your peeled bananas until mushed.
  4. once your bananas are well mashed, pour in your sugar, oil or butter and your eggs. mix these ingredients together.
  5. Now pour your liquid banana mix into the well of your dry mix. Fold the dry ingredients into the liquid until fully incorporated.
  6. Once completely mixed, pour the batter into the greased bread pan and place the pan in your oven for 45 minutes.
  7. After baking for the first 45 minutes, the bread will look cooked, but will still be quite wiggly and raw in the middle. Get out your tinfoil and tent a piece around the bread. Bake like that for an additional 15 minutes are until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Let the bread cool in the pan for ten minutes. Once you remove the bread from the pan, let it cool completely on a wire rack.

Now go make yourself some bread, and try not to burn yourself on the first slice!

Until next time, have a wicked good day!

 

Worth It Chicken Fried Rice

We live in a small town in north eastern Maine.

There’s two gas stations, one of which boasts the only restaurant in town.

Obviously, if you have only one restaurant in a small Maine town, it’s not gonna be international cuisine. So my husband and I have had to get a little creative in order to have something different, without having to drive 45 miles in any given direction to get it.

Or in the case of Thia food, 85 MILES TO GET ANY.

For those of you who have never been to Bar Harbor Maine, and have never gone to the little alleyway Thai food restaurant, you are in for a treat. This is not an exact match, but my hubby agrees it’s pretty close.

Hello homemade Siam Orchid in order to curb my insane need for fried rice.

So my first secret is, use day old rice if possible. If not, then let it sit in the pot off of the heat with the cover on for at least an extra half hour. This is  a key step to making fried rice dishes, because slightly drier rice will grab the flavors better.

Once you have your rice situation figured out, time to grab your other ingredients.

  • 3 cups prepared rice
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 TBSP oil of your choice (to cook chicken in. For this day I used regular old Veggie Oil, but feel free to use butter, sesame oil, canola, etc. Whatever is handy is fine)
  • 3/4 cup Carrot
  • 3/4 cup Peas
  • 1/2 large onion (I really recommend a sweet yellow onion)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 can pineapple
  • 3 eggs
  • Spring onions
  • 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce

 

Using frozen carrots and peas really cuts down on the prep time on this dish.


Fresh eggs courtesy of our flock.

To start, figure out your rice situation. I didn’t have any on hand, so I made what would become three cups and then let it hang out in its pot for about a hour before i even startted on the chicken.

Once I knew what was going on with my rice, it was time to grab my trusty wok and get it going with the cooking oil. I set it on low heat and got to cutting my chicken up into nice little chunks. With the chicken cut up, I threw it into the heated oil and let it cook until thoroughly done. Because my chicken was cute up so small, it took about 7 minutes for it to cook well, with a nice browned outside.

With your chicken done cooking, you want to get it out of the oil or it will be over done and really greasy. A paper towel lining a plate is my go to method of draining.

After your chicken is out of the pan, get your onions and pineapple, with a little bit of juice from the can, into the wok- still on low heat – and get those cooking.

Sweating the onions and pineapple in the reserves from cooking the chicken. And a little pineapple juice as well.

I let the onions and pineapple cook for a few minutes until i notice the onions getting soft. Now it’s time to crush your garlic, rinse your frozen peas and carrots and throw them in the wok to work their magic.

My secret weapon when using frozen veggies? I rinse them with cold water to get rid of the ice crystals that always seem to cover every little piece.

Now, with the assorted veggies cooked, its time to fry up some eggs! I let them cook sunnyside up until pretty well done and then I scramble them up with my spatula. When they are cooked all the way, mix them into your veggies really well.

Early on in the egg frying stage.

With the egg all fried, scrambled and mixed, its time for the rice, cut spring onions and soy sauce. Mix all of this together right in the wok- It gets pretty heavy, so I actually use two rubber spatulas to make sure the soy sauce gets really well incorporated.

This amount fed my husband, our 15 month old and myself for 2 meals. And it was better the second time, like most Thia leftovers, in my experience.

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Finished and ready for mass amounts of consumption

 

Quick Reference Recipe

Worth It Chicken Fried Rice

 

  • 3 cups prepared rice
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 TBSP oil of your choice (to cook chicken in. For this day I used regular old Veggie Oil, but feel free to use butter, sesame oil, canola, etc. Whatever is handy is fine)
  • 3/4 cup Carrot
  • 3/4 cup Peas
  • 1/2 large onion (I really recommend a sweet yellow onion)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 can pineapple
  • 3 eggs
  • Spring onions
  • 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
  1. Prepare three cup of rice according to package details then let sit for at least a half hour longer then recommended, off of heat.
  2. In large wok, heat up 2 TBSP of oil on low heat.
  3. Cut up chicken to preffered size and cook in wok until done
  4. Remove chicken from wok, but reserve the juices. This is done easily with a slotted spoon –  transfering the chicken to a paper towel lined plate.
  5. Put cut onions andpineapple pieces into wok and let cook in the chicken oil and some of the pineapple juice. I usually just add a dash of the juice but have used as much as 1/4 cup
  6. Once the onions are softened up, add in the crushed garlic, rinsed peas and carrots.
  7. Next, move all your cooked veggies to one side of the wok. Into the cleared side, crack your eggs so that they can get frying.
  8. As your eggs are finishing up, take your spatula and scramble them really well. Then mix the eggs in with your veggies.
  9. Finally, add in your rice, soy sauce and cut up spring onions. Grab a couple spoons and mix it all together really well.
  10. Enjoy!

 

 

Well there it is. One way we make small town living a little bit better for the tummy. We have a spring roll recipe that we usually make with this that I will make sure to share sometime.

There is a lot going on on the homestead this last week. We had a full on chicken rebellion,  where we thought we lost over half our flock, but that is a different blog altogether. And our zucchini is in. We are going to take advantage of this and make up some sweet relish. That is also the topic of another blog tho.

So until that time, have a wicked good day!

Feathers everywhere

Our chickens have decided that this is the summer of scares for us.

The first incident, Lucy’s surviving the raccoon attack was no ones fault.

Astrid dying of old age was sad, unexpected and also no chickens fault.

But this latest escapade…. This was so seriously the chickens faults.

Ok, maybe it was really mine, but I am going to gloss that over and blame the chickens for what happened.

It was a beautiful, uneventful Saturday afternoon in early September. We were pulling into our driveway, on our way back from visiting my parents on the coast, talking about getting the trash ready to go to the dump.

The sight that greeted us was heart stopping- feathers all over the front yard. Through the alley we could see the gate to the chicken yard wide open and more feathers floating around the grass.

Mr. Gillis parked the truck and I hollered to grab Izzy as I jumped out and ran around back. Amid utter confusion and despair, I counted 7 chickens in the fence. This was over half our flock missing. As my husband is taking care of our daughter, I’m taking stock of who’s huddled on the other side of the yard and who’s missing.

I start repeating the names of the missing like a mantra. Suddenly I catch sight of a black and white head- over in our neighbors yard is three of the missing nine! I catch Ethel and manage to run Peatree across the road and into the woods. In the confusion Rocky had gone missing again.

After a few minutes of complete panic and me giving up hope we’d ever see that half of our flock again, Mr Gillis convinced me to take care of Izzy while he took a walk and looked for other hens.

The next door neighbors yard where we spotted Ethel, Rocky and Peatree.


A few minutes passed and I looked out the kitchen window, while on the phone with my consoling mother and father, and saw Matilda had returned and was looking to get back into the fence! I got her back in and a few minutes later my hubby came home… Herding Rocky back up over the hill. Then we found out that Dawn was hiding under another neighbors porch. She was so far under tho, we had to wait for her to decide to come out… And then we found Milk hiding out at the church… We got her home and that brought us down to only 4 missing… Lucy, Pippi, BB and Peatree.

The across the street neighbor where we caught BB and Lucy


Well over the next couple hours, we kept watching out the windows, and taking walks with Izzy. By evening, BB, Peatree and Lucy had made their way home and we had wrangled them into the fence. It was time to put Izzy to bed and the hubby and I had lost hope that Pippi would make it back.

Mr Gillis looked out the living room window and saw Pippi down the street, pecking in another persons yard! He ran out and got her back. Turns out the reason we saw so many feathers when we first got home was that Pippi had started her yearly molt, and was looking pretty raggedy.

Before the chickens went in for the night, they had all managed to make it back home!

Most of the girls coming over to say hi.


It was just like my mom and dad told me, they know home. Give them time and they’ll come back.

So, we are a happy whole family again, but still have no clue why the chicken crossed the road. What’s important is that they crossed the road again and came back home.


Until next time, have a wicked good evening.

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Worst blogger ever.

So I’ve started a new rule. 
I’m going to stop announcing the theme of my next blog before writing it. It gives me an excuse to procrastinate and leads to never getting the blog up and running. I’ve been wanting to write a blog about bumblefoot for months, yet have no bumble foot to take pictures of. Which is a chicken owner win, that I refuse to be upset about. 

But this leads to the problem- I’ve written basically nothing this summer. This is not a good feeling in my stomach. Now my goal is to write, edit and publish a blog once a week. 

We’ve had a pretty intense 6 weeks in the Gillis household. We saved Lucy from a coon attack only to turn around and lose an original, Astrid, to old age and possible liver failure. Then we had a personal tragedy that lasted three plus weeks, that I’m still not really ready to ruminate over. 

Maybe in a future post I’ll share, but right now the idea of posting something so personal and heartbreaking for us as a family is a little raw. 

So, today, this is it. An understanding that I am possibly the worst blogger ever, but a new outlook on how to remedy that. 

Hey, maybe I even surprise myself and get 2 blogs a week every once in a while. 

I know. I’ll try not to get ahead of myself. 

For now, I’m off to make some yummy breakfast bits for my izzybug and contemplate the topic of my next blog. 

Until that time, have a wicked good day.