Thursday, October 30, 2008

I've Moved!

If you are visiting this blog for the first time, you should know that I have moved on to a different blog that I started with my sister Julie. Its packed full of all kinds of great recipes and tips. Please take a minute to check it out: Two (Almost) Mavens

"We are two sisters who have a knack for all things culinary. Here is where we share our virtual kitchens with each other and with you from two capital cities, Washington D.C. and Austin, Texas. Freshness, simplicity, seasonality, and exceptional ingredients are what inspire us. One of us focuses on baking, and the other on cooking, although occasionally we may dabble on the other side. This is real life, so everything we cook may not always be fresh, or seasonal, or even exceptional. But we try!"

Welcome - come see what's in the kitchen!

Two (Almost) Mavens

Monday, September 29, 2008

Micky D's- Cloned Sandwhiches

You. Must. Read. This. Now!

1996 McDonalds Hamburger

Go Here:

Sunday, September 21, 2008

What to Do with Lots of Ripe Bananas

I went to our neighborhood corner store, Sarah's Market, last night. It was 10 minutes until closing time, and there were a ton of over ripe bananas on the checkout counter. I made a joke to the owner that it looked like she was going to have to make a lot of banana bread. Well, she must have not wanted to make banana bread, because she laughed and then insisted I take the bananas. So guess who got to make lots of banana bread? Perfect excuse for me to procrastinate studying for my child psychology classes.

We got about 10 bananas that were already in danger of fruit flies getting to them so I wanted to make something fast. I've never liked to freeze bananas, even though that's what a lot of people do- something just changes in the consistency that I don't like. Since baked goods generally freeze well, I figured I could make a bunch of banana bread muffins and freeze them to use for several on-the-run breakfasts.

This is hands down the best banana bread recipe I have ever tried or had. I think the secret is in its simplicity. It takes less than 10 minutes to mix the ingredients together. The toughest part is just waiting for them to come out of the oven.

Here is the basic recipe, you can do lots of things with this and add your own fabulousness. I usually just make the basic recipe and add in a generous amount of mini chocolate chips (a combination I absolutely love) and bake in a loaf pan.

Basic Banana Bread Recipe:
  • 3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
  • 1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

This time, I didn't have any chocolate chips, so I made two different variations with things I had on hand:

Banana Pumpkin Muffins
  • 3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
  • 1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup pumpkin butter (I got mine pre-made from Trader Joe's)
  • 3/4 cup pecans, chopped
Makes about 15 muffins
5 Weight Watchers Points

Chocolate Banana Muffins
  • 4 0r 5 ripe bananas, smashed
  • 1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
Makes about 12 muffins
6 Weight Watchers Points

Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Spray loaf pan or muffin tin with cooking spray. Mash the bananas in a large mixing bowl (I use a potato masher). Cream the rest of the ingredients together with the bananas. Pour into prepared loaf pan or muffin tin (use 1/3 cup batter per serving if using muffin tin) Bake 30 minutes for muffins, an hour for a loaf. Insert toothpick or knife, you will know its done when it comes out clean.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Lemon Ginger Cupcakes

It's a rare person who doesn't love cupcakes. They are a current trend on their way out, but I don't think I could ever get tired of them, there are so many varieties! (by the way, I kind of think brownies and blondies should be the next "it" thing in kitchy baking.)

I actually made these from left over cake batter for a friend's birthday cake. I brought these to share at work, and lets just say there wasn't a single crumb left by one o'clock.

I will post the birthday cake recipe later, but for now you can try and guess how I made them- I made my own recipe!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cherry Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

Oooooh these are sooo good. I'm not so sure they really count as "breakfast", since they are really more of a dessert. Then again, I have never been one to turn down dessert for breakfast! This is inspired by Smitten Kitchen who got their recipe from Baked Bakery in Red Hook, Brooklyn. I gotta check out their bakery next time I make it up to New York, the pictures on their website are mouth watering!

I know, my pictures really suck. I really need to get a nice camera or have my other one fixed. I was tempted to not even post this picture, but whats a recipe without a picture? Trust me though, these are to die for. If you don't like cherries, you can substitute any kind of berry or mix of berries you like. Next time I make this, I might try apricots instead, yummmmm!


For the crust and crumb:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

For the cherry filling:
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pound cherries, fresh or frozen (pitted)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled


Make the crust and crumb: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Oil, butter or spray the baking pan.

Put the flour, brown sugar, oats, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a food processor. Pulse in short bursts until combined, and then pour back into a mixing bowl. Add the butter and stir until mixture is crumbly.

Reserve 1 1/2 cup of the mixture and set aside. Pour the rest of the mixture into the prepared pan and use your hands to push the crust into an even layer at the bottom of the pan. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Set aside. Keep the oven on while you make the cherry filling.

Make the cherry filling: In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon and flour together. Add the cherries, lemon juice and butter and use your hands to toss gently until the cherries are evenly coated.

Assemble and bake the bars: Spread the cherry mixture evenly on top of the cooled crust. Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture evenly on top of the filling.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the filling starts to bubble around the edges.

Let them cool for as long as you can stand it, and enjoy!

Makes 16 bars
5 Weight Watcher Points per serving