Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Yummy in your tummy banana nut bread!

Last week a few of mine tweeted about the heavenly smell of banana bread baking in their kitchen (ahem, Kate!). I decided that I would make some banana bread as soon as I got home from work since I already had some ripe bananas that I needed to use. I ended up making five loaves of banana nut bread within a couple of days.

Here's my recipe:


2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (4 sticks) butter or margarine
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups mashed ripe bananas
4 eggs
1 cup (I don't actually measure) chopped walnuts


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9x5 loaf pans

Sift the flour, salt and baking soda into a large bowl. In a separate bowl mix together the butter and sugar until smooth. Stir in the bananas, eggs and walnuts until well blended. Pour the wet ingredients in to the dry mixture and stir until just blended. Divide the batter between the two load pans.

Bake for 60-70 minutes in the preheated oven. Let the loaves cool in the pans for at least 5 minutes, then turn them out on to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Wrap in aluminium foil to keep in the moisture. Ideally, you'll want to refrigerate the loaves for a few hours before serving.(Pardon my uneven slicing. Apparently my cutting skills leave a little something to be desired.)
Let me share a little secret with you about my method for mashing the bananas. I used to enlist the help of my son because I didn't want banana all over my fingers. Since he's 9 now, he's not as willing to come help me with my banana situation. What I've discovered is that I can toss my bananas in the food processor and pulse it for a bit and ta da, I've got mashed bananas and minimal mess on me.

Additionally, you could use whatever nuts you prefer in this recipe. I usually have walnuts on hand so I tend to use them. You could use pecans or some other nut if you don't have walnuts, though. I also usually toss in a splash of vanilla extract but you don't have to add it if you don't want to. I happen to like vanilla in most baked goods.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Have you ever had a loofah?

In our house this is called "The Loofah". Yes, I know that it's technically a trifle. The term loofah came about when I first made this my husband couldn't remember what it was called so he dubbed it "the loofah". And after ten years, it's stuck. All of the people at my work have taken to calling it the loofah as well. I've switched up the flavors in it a few times, always with positive results.
Here's how I put it together:
1 family size box of instant chocolate pudding
1 box of brownie mix (plus the ingredients to make it according to box directions)
2 tubs of Cool Whip (thawed)
2 pints of strawberries
To make:
Mix up the brownies according to the package directions. I usually use the Betty Crocker bag brownies-I just use two of them to have enough brownies. While the brownies are cooling, prepare the chocolate pudding. Make the pudding according to the package directions and put it in the fridge and wait for it to set up. Take this time to slice up the strawberries. I just cut the tops of them and either slice/quarter them. Take the pudding out and add one tub of Cool Whip to the pudding. Fold the Cool Whip in to the pudding until it's all combined.
Get your pedestal bowl out. Take pieces of brownie and put them in the bottom of the bowl. Spoon some of the chocolate pudding mixture and put it on top of the brownies. Now put some of the strawberries on top of the pudding. I usually end up with two layers, with strawberries being on top. Take the second tub of Cool Whip and put it on the top of the strawberries. And that's it! I usually make it the night before I need it that way the pudding has time to sink in to the brownies and soften the strawberries some. I keep one or two strawberries whole to put on top for a garnish.
The last step would be to eat and enjoy!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Whatcha' been up to?

This is part of what I've been up to this morning.

This is the second part of what I've been up to this morning.

This was the end result. And it's all gone now!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Mini Cherry Cheesecakes

Friends-this is a miniature cherry cheesecake. If you're in to cherries or cheesecake or maybe both then you will love these little guys. I was craving something sweet the other day so I decided to make some of these to satisfy my sweet tooth. I normally make these in a smaller size (these are the size of regular cupcakes, I typically use my mini-cupcake pan though) but was out of mini cupcake liners.

Ingredients for the filling:

2 8 ounce blocks of cream cheese
3 eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 capfull of lemon juice (you can use imitation or the real stuff)

Ingredients for the crust:
Half of a bag/box of vanilla wafers
A couple tablespoons of butter/margarine


1 Can of cherry pie filling (or whatever fruit filling you like)

Directions: (this is so easy that the kids could do it, I promise!)

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line your cupcake pan with cupcake liners-or you could grease them if you don't have any liners. Put the vanilla wafers and the butter in the food processor. Turn it on medium for 30 seconds-1 minute or long enough to get a crumb like consistency. Take a spoonful of the crumbs and place in the bottom of the liners in your pan. Use your fingers to push everything down firmly. Set aside.

At this point I take whatever crumbs are left and put them in a resealable plastic container in the fridge for next time. Take this opportunity to wash the bowl of your food processor, you're going to need it for the next step.

Take all of the filling ingredients and put them in the bowl of the food processor. Turn it on for about 2 minutes-or until you have a creamy, thick, smooth consistency. Take a spoon and put a couple of spoonfulls on to the crusts in your pan. Put the pans in the oven for about 12 minutes depending on your oven. When they cheesecakes are done they will be a little poofy on top but not jiggly. If they're still jiggly leave them for another minute or two. Take them out and set them on a cooling rack for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes just take them out of the pans and leave them on the rack.

When they're completely cooled put them in a storage container. Take a spoonful of your pie filling and top the cheesecakes. Now for the hardest part-put them in the fridge for a couple of hours. After a couple of hours in the fridge-they should look like this:

They are so yummy! It's very hard to only eat one or two or six at one time!!