Going Stir Crazy? Stir Some Batter.

The kiddos are definitely already ready for spring. It’s just sooooooo cold. I can’t blame them. I’ve been ready for spring since December 26th. But, the girls are now old enough that when they get bored, they start arguing. I told Ryan that I’m looking forward to a time in the future (far future) when we have a two story house and I can tell the girls to “go downstairs!” Or, “go upstairs!” *sigh* That’ll be awesome.

Since we have a one-story ranch house, my solution to the bickering came in the shape of a box of bread mix. (And, the fact that our bananas were ripe…..very ripe…..very very ripe.) So, the girls and I made two loaves of pumpkin bread (with three bananas mixed in). Bread and muffin mixes are some of my favorite pantry staples. Many times, I want to bake something but I just don’t have the time to mix and mix and mix. And many mixes are actually delicious or can be made delicious by throwing in a few ingredients (chopped nuts, dried fruit, bananas that are very, very, very ripe).

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And yes, they stopped fighting the entire time that we were preparing the bread. Ten minutes later they were arguing again but that short time was peaceful……

Carbs and more carbs

I love watching the Olympics! I love watching pretty much any event in the Olympics. But watching others people accomplish feats of strength, well, it doesn’t motivate me to get off of the couch. It doesn’t encourage me to get some miles in. I am not motivated to jump on the treadmill while watching Olympians run the track. I wish that it did!

Instead….

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Happy Place

So, technically, this is a week late as this was last week’s challenge. But, better late than never right?

happy place

happy place

Just take a look at that shopping basket. It may be a bit cliche to refer to that as my happy place. But, come on. How could you not be happy? Some crusty bread, some delicious cheese, a bottle of red, and an assortment of macarons. After a long week, sometimes you just need to do something to spoil yourself.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Happy Place.”

Bargain Baking

One of my favorite things about shopping after the holidays are over is that you can frequently get a great deal on mixes for baked goods simply because they are holiday flavors.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I love pumpkin bread any time of the year.  And, I am always willing to try a new fun flavor of waffle mix.

I do enjoy trying new mixes but I do have an important rule that I make myself follow when shopping after holiday (any holiday) sales for baking mixes.  The price of the mix needs to be less than what the price would be if I bought the ingredients separately.  That pumpkin bread mix makes two full loaves and is really heavy because of the can of pumpkin in the box.  This was a good deal.  The scone and waffles mixes were purchased for just a couple bucks each.  Also, great deals.

Mmmmmm…..holiday food after the holiday…..

Mmmmmm…..holiday food after the holiday…..

Do you buy holiday mixes? What are your favorites?

Banana Bread – with chocolate chips

Once again, I made my go-to banana bread recipe. And if you’ve been following this blog for awhile, you know that each time I make this recipe I try to play around with it a little bit.  This time, I added 2/3 cup of chocolate chips before baking.  Chocolate + banana bread = Yummmmmm.

Chocolatey Banana Bread

Chocolatey Banana Bread

This may be one that I need to dial down a bit.  It was chocolatey.  I mean, it was really, really, really chocolatey.  I think that it would’ve been fine with just 1/3 of a cup.  But, all in all, it was good.  The bread had a good consistency and the chocolate chips were nicely interspersed throughout the bread.

In a lot of recipes, if you are adding something like chocolate chips, they recommend tossing the chips in some flour to ensure that they don’t just sink to the bottom. Don’t worry about that with this bread, though.  The bread is super thick when you mix it up so I didn’t bother tossing them in flour and as you can see from the photo, the chocolate chips were in every single bite.

Zucchini Bread

Our garden has produced an abundance of zucchini this summer! Yay!

Check out the can of Diet Coke for a size comparison of our crop.

Check out the can of Diet Coke for a size comparison of our crop.

Now comes the task of figuring out what to do with all of that zucchini. The first thought was making some zucchini bread.

I found this recipe and decided to give it a try. I loved that it used a lot of zucchini and that when completed it made two loaves.

I started grating and grating and grating and then wringing out the moisture and wringing and wringing and wringing. I got all of the way the recipe until the butter part and then realized that I didn’t have enough. So, instead of 3/4 cup it is closer to just over 1/2 cup.  And, if you’ve followed this blog you know that I love cranberries so of course I added the “optional” cranberries.  🙂

Zucchini Bread with Cranberries

Zucchini Bread with Cranberries

The results?  Super moist and flavorful bread.  I’ll definitely be making this one again.  I’ll probably make it several times and throw some bread in the freezer.

Banana Bread – with cranberries

I’ve made this recipe many times before. And I’m trying to add something new to it each time I try it. This time, dried cranberries.  I started with 1/3 cup of cranberries but after I stirred it together it just didn’t look like enough.  So, I added another 1/3 cup for a total of 2/3 cup of cranberries.  Anytime I add cranberries to something, I tend to add more than many people would so I wasn’t sure if this was going to be too much…..or just right.  I love the taste and the look of cranberries so you may want to play around with the amount if you attempt this.

Cranberry Banana Bread

Cranberry Banana Bread

I really liked how this one turned out.  The bread had a great consistency and the cranberries were nice and juicy.  They weren’t super-tangy as cranberries usually are but I think that this combo was a pretty good one.  I’ll definitely be doing this variation again.