Bananas


A new year. A new collection of sweets and treats for Avid Baker”s Challenge. For the last two years we have been baking from the King Arthur Flour site. This year we are changing gears and baking from Christina Marsigliese‘s blog, Scientifically Sweet. Cookies. Bars. Brownies. Cakes. Pies. Tarts. If it’s a sweet treat then it is on Christina’s blog. Like these choco chip muffins.

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I did make a few changes in an attempt to “healthy-fy” them. My changes are in green. The original recipes is HERE!

3/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 ¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon {I used a heaping tsp.}
¾ cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 medium bananas, previously frozen)
1/3 cup LITE sour cream
1 large egg
1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup Stevia in the Raw
¼ cup canola oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line mini-muffin pans with paper liners and set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; whisk together to blend evenly and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together mashed bananas and sour cream until smooth. Whisk in egg, sugar, canola oil and vanilla extract until well blended. Add the flour mixture and the chocolate chips and fold gently until just combined. Do not over-mix.

Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake until the muffin tops spring back when touched gently and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean despite any melted chocolate chips, 10 – 15 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

YIELD: 36 mini muffins.

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These were nice and chocolatey and just sweet enough with the combination of sugar and Stevia. Perfect little bites just the right size to satisfy a sweet tooth when your teeth want sweets WAY too much!!!

Check on The ABC page for more chocolate treats.

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It has been cold in the Deep South for the last month. In fact, we have had snow and ice four times. Unheard of in the Deep South. So I was looking for something warm and comforting for dinner and beyond. Thank goodness for Secret Recipe Club because I found more than enough tasty dishes to keep us warm and cozy for a few meals. How, you ask? Because I was lucky enough to be matched with Veronica of My Catholic Kitchen for this month’s SRC!!

Vonnie lives in Coastal Virginia with The Hubster, a beauyiful teenage daughter, two turtles and a cute little dog, Meeka. She says she is, ‘a work in progress’, a food writer, and blogger (obviously), and self-taught cook. She taught me a thing or two with all her tempting recipes. To keep us warm. But to cool us off in the hot summer as well.

I have been making potato soup for several years. It is B’s favorite. But I never thought to make it in the crockpot until Veronica showed me how.

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    6 large baking potatoes peeled cut into 1/2 inch cubes
    1 large sweet onion
    1 quart of vegetable broth homemade or canned
    3 garlic cloves minced
    1/4 cup butter
    1 tablespoon salt
    1/2 tablespoon pepper

Put these ingredients into the crockpot and cook for 6 – 8 hours on low until potatoes are tender. Mash the cooked potatoes leaving some chunks. {I used my immersion blender}

    1 cup half and half or cream
    1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    3 tablespoons chopped chives
    1 cup sour cream

Now mix in these last four ingredients. Serve garnished with additional chives, cheese, and, if you wish, crumbled bacon.

Definitely going to keep you warm on a cold night. It is filling, comforting, and delicious.

We are actually trying to watch what we eat. Maybe a few more veggies, a little less sugar, fruit for breakfast. If I can combine some good ingredients together it is definitely a positive thing. Like making Vonnie’s Breakfast Banana Muffins. Moist and tasty. I made a couple of subs just trying to make them a little healthier.

    5 ripe bananas
    1 1/4 cup All Purpose flour {I used 1/2 AP and 1/2 Whole Wheat Flour}
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup sugar {Splenda}
    1/2 cup shortening {used 1/4 cup shortning and 1/4 cup applesauce}
    2 large eggs beaten {1/2 cup egg beaters}

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Spray the muffin tins with cooking spray or put liners in each of them. I used some heart shaped silicone holders. These are supposed to be more heart healthy!!
Peel the bananas and place them a bowl and mash them up well. Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt together. Add the sugar, shortening, apple sauce, and eggs to the mashed bananas then stir in the flour mixture just until the batter is blended.
Pour the batter into the muffin tins to about 2/3 full and bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the muffin comes out clean.

Perfect for Breakfast. Or a snack.

And then, because I am always looking for new dishes to make in the slow cooker I tried Vonnie’s Slow Cooker Chicken BBQ. We love BBQ chicken and always make extra for sandwiches. But since the weather has simply been uncooperative I decided to try this version instead.

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    8 boneless skinless chicken breasts
    1 cup ketchup
    1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1 Tbl Seasoning Mix {I used Toni’s.}
    1/2 cup cider vinegar

Place chicken in the slow cooker.

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Mix the ketchup, Worcestershire, sugar, hot pepper and vinegar together and pour sauce over chicken. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours or on high 4-5 hours. Remove and shred the chicken then mix it back into sauce. If it seems a little dry you can add some water a little at a time.

Served on a toasted bun it was perfect for a quick lunch – several lunches actually.

Okay, that’s three of the 15 recipes I ended up Pinning. There are so many more but somewhere along the line I just had to stop reading and start cooking. But in the future look for her Garlic Cheese Biscuits, Vodka Sauce, Baklava, ………
It’s All Good.

Speaking of good, you really need to hop over to the SRC Members and check out their ‘assignments’ this month. They are below.


AS far as I’m concerned, there is nothing better than a nice quick bread. I usually make banana nut because I always have at least 20 bananas breeding in the freezer. I was just about to make up a batch when Chaya posted her choice for this weeks Wednesday with Donna Hay. As luck would have it – it was a variation of Banana Nut Bread. GREAT choice, Chaya.

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Bananas. Chocolate and Hazel…. wait, I don’t have (and really don’t like) hazelnuts. But I love and had plenty of PECANS in the freezer. So here we are with banana, PECAN and chocolate bread!!

The only real difference between this bread and the one I usually make is the addition of 1 cup (90g) chopped dark chocolate. Which of course I didn’t have enough of so I subbed the remainder with bittersweet chocolate shavings {thanks, Mom} and increased the sugar just a smidgeon. Perfect!!! The cake was good. And even after a week it is still moist. Yes, a WEEK!! I have had a cold and couldn’t taste ANYTHING so I saved about 4 sliices JUST FOR ME!! Definitely taste the chocolate in this one.

The recipe is from Donna’s Blog so yo can try it quite easily.

And while you are buzzing around the NET hop over to
Chaya’s blog
Kayte’s blog,
Gaye’s Blog, and
Sarah’s blog for their breads.

And if you want to join us we have a weekly recipe and post it on Wednesdays (DUH!!) No pressure, just leave one of us a comment!!

Most of the time there are at least 10 frozen bananas in the freezer. At least that is how many I can find at any one time. Last week I found about 15 so it was a Bananapalooza in my kitchen. And since I knew I had lots of frozen naners I chose Donna’s Food Processor Banana Cake for the group {Wednesdays with Donna Hay} to make this week.

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All you need is one cup of smashed bananas along with flour, sugar (brown and white), eggs, cinnamon, and sour cream. Mixing these ingredients together results in a lovely little cake. The cake was nice and moist, not too sweet and not a strong banana taste. Perfect!!! And it is super simple because all the ingredients go into a food processor for mixing!!

I made the whole recipe and from that made 1-6″ bundt and 1-4″ cake.

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Visit with Gaye, Kayte, and Chaya to see their cakes.

If you want to try this little tasty cake you can find the recipe on page 160 of Donna’s Off the Shelf or online at Recipe Binder or a similar cake on Donna’s Website that is ALMOST identical with a caramel sauce {why didn’t I think of that???}

When I first saw the title of this recipe I thought we were making something like a pizza. Then I remembered that ‘Down Under’ a slice is a quick cake, kind of. I only remember this because a few months back I made Bill’s Blackberry Slice from Bill Granger, an Australian chef, and it was a quick cake. So now we have Donna’s Hummingbird Slice which is like the Southern Hummingbird Cake but lighter, unfrosted, and made in an 8″ x 8″ pan rather than a layered cake.

Can you see all the coconut, carrots, and pecans in the cake. It is very like a carrot cake except the raisins are replaced by crushed pineapple which adds a tad more sweetness. But this cake wasn’t that sweet, although Kayte disagrees with me (you can find her mini cake on her site). The cake is drizzled with honey which just sweetens the whole light concoction. I have NEVER made a cake that came out so LIGHT!! It almost floated off the plate. Maybe the honey is to hold it down!! 🙂 And it is very very moist. Even three days later it is moist and delicious.

Thank you, Gaye. You just picked what is now one of our fave snack cakes. I think I’ll try these as cupcakes. Little cupcakes.

You can find the recipe on Donna’s Website. And check with Chaya for her ‘slice’ of hummingbird cake!!!

Donna Hay Wednesday is taking a break over the summer or winter if you are Chaya and Gaye. I hope you will come back and visit with us, or JOIN US!!! when we come back in August!!

Smoothies!! They are big these days. Not just the ones you can out but the ones you can make it. They are delicious, nutricious, and quick for breakfast.

This PB smoothie IS nutritious but I was really disappointed in the flavor – there was none!! The banana overwhelmed the PB. With only 1 1/2 TBL of PB there wasn’t enough to flavor the smoothie. I added 1/2 of an artificial sweetener packet and that helped some, but it’s not one I make again. Sorry, Ellie.

Chekck out the other CEinMB members this week and see what they made.

The smoothie recipe is on page 42 of The Food You Crave.

Banana’s are natures way of helping us stay healthy. They have moderate amounts of vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese and potassium. Consumption of bananas may be associated with a reduced risk of some cancers. They can be steamed, fried, mashed, broiled, baked, or just eaten raw. It is the perfect snack that comes in it’s own little case.
As far as walnuts are concerned they contain the highest amount of anti-oxidents of any nut.
Besides these facts, both of these are just darn good in a tart!

      Banana Walnut Tart

This is another winner from Malgieri’s The Modern Baker. It is a simple filling of walnuts, {DUH!} brown sugar, cinnamon, eggs, and butter poured over a layer of sliced bananas.

Chopped walnuts are sprinkled over the filling before baking so that you end up with a sweet crunchy tasty little tart. A healthy (sorta kinda) crunchy tasty little tart. With a splash of rum on top after baking just for fun.

Half of the recipe was enough for two 4.5″ tarts. They only took about 20 minutes to bake.

As good as they were I made a couple of notes to make them, hopefully, better.

    I think caramelizing the bananas would hadd an extra layer of flavor. I would also put in more bananas. One layer wasn’t enough.

Maybe a little more rum. It wasn’t really a discernable taste. But maybe my splashes are less than Malgieri’s.

Make this one! You can find it on page 171 of The Modern Baker.

Also, Sara Mouton made this one with Nick once, so you can find the recipe at The Big Oven.

Several of the members of The Modern Baker Challenge have already made it: Phyl, Kayte. The rest of Members are working on this one as well of many of the others. Pop over and see.

And remember to make this one. It. Is. Good!!

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