Banana Pumpkin Bread and What To Do If You Are Out of Pumpkin Pie Spice

I had two bananas that were in desperate need of being made into banana bread.  In the past several months, I’ve been making a Weight Watchers recipe for banana oatmeal bread.  It’s a fine bread.  Simple to put together.  But I wanted something a little different this time.

There are many cans of pumpkin in the pantry since I stocked up after the holidays were over.  And, I found a recipe for a banana pumpkin bread that had some good reviews.  You can find the recipe here.  I took a look in the pantry to be sure that I had all of the other ingredients and I did, with the exception of pumpkin pie spice.  Pumpkin pie spice is one of those ingredients that really make a big difference in the final product.  Luckily, I also found a substitute for pumpkin pie spice that you can make with ingredients that you probably already have.  You can find that recipe here.

It came together very easily.

On a side note:  I don’t usually bake with a lot of honey.  But when the honey hit the other ingredients, the smell swept me back to my childhood.  My Nana and Papa gave me a cookbook for my 8th birthday – one of many cookbooks that they gave me.  This cookbook was amazing.  I would cook something out of it quite frequently.  And, of course, I still have it.

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I flipped through it and could remember the recipes that I had tried when I was a kid.  It’s amazing how powerfully connected the sense of smell is to memories.  The smell of the honey in the bread recipe brought me back to one of my favorite recipes that I would make.

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Oh man.  Banana frothies.  So good!

Out of all of the cookbooks that I was given as a child, this one was probably one of my favorites.  Nana would usually inscribe something on the front cover.  Like, “Happy Birthday” or the hopeful “I’m sure you’ll become a great chef.”  Nana, I am not going to be a great chef as I get distracted when cooking and have destroyed too many pots by cooking rice and forgetting about it.  But, I think that you would be proud of my pastry chef abilities.

Anyways.  Back to the bread.  Here’s what it looked like on the way into the oven.Image

Not really a pretty bread but it did smell pretty good.

The outcome: this recipe has a weird baking time.  I noticed in several of the reviews that others had issues with the baking time.  This bread was in the oven for almost 25 minutes longer than the recipe called for.  The toothpick finally came out clean after 25 extra minutes but it seemed to take forever to get to that point.  The poor bread is covered in holes since I had to test it so many times!  It is also a lot darker than I thought it would be and I hope that the top isn’t baked too much.

The taste: I’m going to try it toasted.  The taste is pretty mild.  Sometimes banana breads and/or pumpkin breads are very strong because those two fruits can have very strong flavors.  But this is actually pretty light.  If I can ever figure out the actual baking time, this could become a favorite recipe.

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Peeps S’Mores!

Yes.  You read that correctly.  Peeps.  S’Mores.  O. M. G.

So, this is an example of my Pinterest wandering bringing me to something ridiculous.  You know those posts of cookies stuffed with brownies?  Or the Chex mix recipes that shouldn’t really be called a Chex mix anymore because they are 95% candy bar?  I thought that this fell into the category, too.  But something about it called out to me.  Something told me that these needed to be made.  So.  I did.  One more treat to bring to Easter.

The chocolate dipping part was super easy.  The chocolate melted very well and looked great on the graham crackers with the Easter-y sprinkles.  Very cute already.  I set them out so the chocolate could harden.

graham cracker. white chocolate. sprinkles.

graham cracker. white chocolate. sprinkles.

This is when I realized that the recipe said that you needed to leave your Peeps out so they could get a bit stale for easy cutting.  Yep.  Definitely read right over that the first time I read the recipe.  So, the finished S’mores would have to wait until the next morning – one more thing to try to get done before we left.

The next day: if you are going to do these, please, for your own sanity, let the Peeps harden up for more than one night.  Trying to cut these was just silly.  So, the finished product is not nearly as cute as I was hoping.  (Darn you, Pinterest!  One more example of something not turning out as polished and perfect as yours!)

Lined up like an army of sugar.

Lined up like an army of sugar.

Also, these do not travel well.  The chocolate completely melted and stuck to the serving tray.   So, they looked a little sad.  But…..they taste really yummy!  If you happen to have some leftover Peeps from Easter, I recommend giving these a try.  Just try not to leave them by the window in the car.

Bird’s Nest Cookies

In my search for an easy treat to make for Easter, I found several versions of the bird’s nest cookie on Pinterest.  I chose to do one with butterscotch instead of chocolate.  Why?  Because I love butterscotch and feel that I don’t use it nearly enough.

You can find the recipe that I used here.

They are super super easy. Seriously.

Step 1: Eat a handful or two of butterscotch chips.  Seriously.  Those things are so good!

Step 1: Eat a handful or two of butterscotch chips. Seriously. Those things are so good!

Step 2: Gather your ingredients.  The recipe called for one bag of butterscotch chips.  I ended up using almost two full bags to ensure that the noodles were fully coated.

Step 2: Gather your ingredients. The recipe called for one bag of butterscotch chips. I ended up using almost two full bags to ensure that the noodles were fully coated.

Step 3: After melted butterscotch and noodles are combined, add a couple chocolate eggs to the pile.  I found that the best way to keep the eggs attached was to squish the noodles around the chocolate pieces.

Step 3: After melted butterscotch and noodles are combined, add a couple chocolate eggs to the pile. I found that the best way to keep the eggs attached was to squish the noodles around the chocolate pieces.

Seriously easy.  Seriously delicious.  And I seriously need to keep butterscotch chips on hand more often.  What is in those things?