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!

 

The art of smoothie making

I am a dedicated smoothie drinker.

Almost everyday I guzzle down a 16 oz concoction of awesomeness juice. And because you can make a smoothie out of pretty much anything, the flavor profile is extensive. I have a pretty strict list of base ingredients tho, for different reasons.

I build the base of my smoothie pretty much the same way every time. I aim for 32 oz total, and split it in between two servings. I start with my supplements, juices, yogurt and leafy greens. For this smoothie, I used the following:

  • Stoneyfield plain whole milk yogurt – I don’t believe in low fat hype. In researching for myself, I have found that the fats in whole milk products, are good for you in moderation. I don’t eat dairy at every meal, but I don’t actively keep it out of my diet. I believe in the power of real, whole fat yogurt, cheese and butter. Even better when raw.
  • Pineapple juice- has a nice sweetening quality. It has also been known to help aid in digestion, has anti inflammatory properties and lots of vitamin c
  • Bolthouse Farms 100% carrot juice- carrot juice is shown to help in breast milk production. I like this type because there is absolutely no additives. It’s really just carrots.
  • Brewers yeast- this is for the help in breast milk production as well. It gives the smoothie almost a malt like texture. It’s also a good source of vitamin b, protien and chromium.
  • Chia seeds- I get this bag at SAMs club for under ten bucks. They’re a true super food. Omega 3s, Antioxidants, proteins, Vitamins… And they help you feel fuller longer.
  • Baby spinach- I just really like spinach. You could use really any greenery. Kale or a mix of spring greens would be good also.

This is the first round

First things first- juice. I immediately put in a total of 8 oz of juice. Next I add one tablespoon each of Brewers yeast and chia seeds.

By putting the juice in first and then the supplements, it will help get it well mixed

Next, I add a cup of spinach and a half cup of yogurt.
The weight of the yogurt holds the powder, seeds and spinach down so they get really well incorporated.

This way the spinach will be weighed down by the yogurt and will get completely chopped up

So, at this point I give the blender a quick pulse, to start chopping the spinach. In my opinion, there is nothing worse than spinach bits.
Now it’s time to really play with the flavor. At this point, I use only frozen fruits and berries. This way I can skip the ice, still have a nice thick smoothie and it’s gonna be cold.

I also save a lot of money by only buying stuff like Avocados, ginger, mangos, etc on sale. I only buy bananas when they’re “overripe” and are on deep discount. We also pick our own berries every season- this way they are cheap, plentiful and we get to choose our own. This is extremely valuable to us as most berries you buy in market aren’t actually ripe. A perfectly ripe strawberry is red all the way thru and much sweeter, compared to a market strawberry.

We process and freeze all of these things. It really cuts down the cost of eating healthy.

In this smoothie I decided to go berry berry banana – taste has a big to do about this but so does nutrition.

  • Avocado – healthy fats, vitamins a, b, c and k
  • Strawberries – manganese, dietary fiber, more vitamins
  • Raspberries – Vitamin k and magnesium
  • Banana – more manganese, vitamins, fiber and obviously potassium
  • Ginger – vitamins and minerals. Also adds a nice spice to it.

Here is my round of frozen add ins.

I also put the smaller stuff on bottom and my banana on top. Just breaks up more easily in my experience.

Here it is preblend…. not very smooth.

When using a blender, always go for the vortex. When you have a vortex, you know your blender is doing its job.

Not quite the amount I was aiming for

Since I didn’t get the 32 oz I was aiming for, I grabbed my apple juice. I add this in to get the desired amount and help thin it out a bit more.

Taa Daa! I’ll get what I want now

Add in the juice, and blend until completely smooth.

The smoothie vortex- this means the blender is doing it’s job

And here it is, the finished product. Two thick, cold smoothies.

I drink one and store the other in the fridge over night to have as brunch the next day.

I got these cups from Kmart, and the straw and lid from Walmart. Both are Ball products. We use them a lot- like when we are having a fire out back. The lids keeps any ashes or bugs out of the beverage in question and look pretty snazzy. Best part of the lid and straw is that they fit any regular mouth jar.

So there you have it- my fool proof how to smoothify your fruits and stuff.

I’m off to the next thing. Not sure what it is, but I’ll figure that out soon enough.

Until next time, have a wicked good afternoon.

Some like it hot, some like it cold

Our little girl is almost three months old now, and we have been a breastfeeding success story so far. But it didn’t start out so well. The first 10 days were terrifying to me. She was losing weight instead of gaining. And I knew, deep in my gut, my milk wasn’t coming in. So I took matters into my own hands. 

I researched all sorts of old timey wives tales about what foods and supplements would help me. The same basic things kept popping up.

  • Fenugreek
  • Steel cut or old fashioned oats
  • Flax seed
  • Brewers yeast
  • Mothers milk tea
  • Lots of water

Fenugreek didn’t work for me or izzybug, it made us both feel gross. Plus I found one website that said not to take it if you were on any kind of thyroid medication. So I discontinued use immediately. 

I invested in a couple boxes of mothers milk tea, and settled on an organic one. I just sweeten it with a little bit of honey. I do only drink one cup a day, but I make it a 16 oz cup made with two tea bags. 

I also drink a brunch time smoothie everyday. The art of the perfect smoothie will have to wait, but it is important for today’s post to point out that I use whole milk yogurt, ground flax seed and Brewers yeast in my smoothies. 

I make a point to drink AT LEAST 64 oz of water every 24 hour period. This is extremely important, and the more you drink the better.

But for today I am giving up one of my two lactation recipes. I think eating this porridge for breakfast most days, really boosts my production and also gives me a nice full feeling. 

Honey Raisin Porridge

For this recipe you’ll need 

  • 1/2 cup Old fashioned or steel cut oats
  • 1/2 cup rinsed Quinoa
  • 1/2 cup Ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup Raisins
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • Honey 

 

Not pictured is the honey- it doesnt come in til the end

  
In a medium sauce pan, on medium to high heat, mix together the old fashioned oats, rinsed quinoa, milk, water, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg with a wisk until they are thoroughly incoporated. Get the mix to a high simmer, wisking pretty frequently. 

Once at a high simmer, turn the heat to low and cover. Let this go for 15 minutes, stirring every couple minutes. 

You want to make sure the spices don’t lump together, they are almost impossible to break up once it thickens

 
 If you like a softer porridge, let it go another minute or two. I like mine a little stiffer so I only go 14 minutes.

Once the porridge is cooked, wisk in your ground flax seed and raisins. Mix together well.

I could almost eat another bowl just looking at it

  
Serve warm with a little additional milk to thin it up and some honey. This recipe makes 4 portions equaling out to about 275 calories per portion. 

  

Typical breakfast for a weekday

 
I put leftovers in some sturdy Tupperware and it lasts nicely. It reheats easily in the microwave. 

So this is my nice, sensible breakfast recipe. For my next post I’ll be doing something a little more fun. Cookies!

So until then, have a wicked good afternoon.