Donut mind if I do

You know how every couple years there is some new food trend? You know how the trend now is donuts? Donuts! Yay! Donuts! One of our local restaurants (that we eat at at least once a week) has donuts on the weekends. Yep. If you want some of Stan’s Donuts you can pick them on on a Saturday even if you aren’t in the city. Yay!

So, because I have a hard time making choices about donuts, I got three and the girls and I had a taste test.  (That’s a lot better than me eating three donuts by myself!)

Our choices: Nutella (the one with an N on it), powdered sugar, and pastry creme filled.

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Although, they were all yummy, there was a clear winner for the girls and I……

The pastry cream filled one was delicious! That one was the winner for us. The girls and I also agreed that the powdered sugar one was second place. I really thought that I was going to absolutely love the Nutella filled one but it was really, really, really rich. Probably…..too rich if you are eating other donuts as well……

Blueberry, blueberry muffins

We bought a huge container of blueberries from Costco. Yay! But, they quickly got to the point of use-them-or-throw-them-away. So, the search for a muffin recipe began.

I wanted to find a super easy recipe. Super, super easy recipe.

I found this one. I don’t often make Paula Deen’s recipes. But, this sounded so yummy. 1 stick of butter? Oh yea. A pile of sugar on top? Yep. Good idea.

I got ready to make the muffins and realized that we were out of baking powder. Ok. The next day, with a brand new package of baking powder, I got ready to make the muffins…..and we don’t have any eggs. Ok. Finally, day three, I made the muffins. Finally.

They came together fairly quickly. Since we had so many blueberries that needed to be used, I added an extra half of a cup of blueberries to the recipe.  Would that throw everything off? Only one way to find out….

Finished muffins.  And my in-need-of-a-manicure nails.

Finished muffins. And my in-need-of-a-manicure nails.

They taste pretty good and are full (!!!!!!!) of blueberries. I don’t quite understand the sugar on top.  I kept them in the oven a bit longer than needed to bake the muffins but the sugar didn’t do anything. It just sort of sat on top. I thought that the sugar would caramelize a little or something but that didn’t happen. The texture is a bit off.  The muffins fall apart very easily.  Perhaps that is because I added so many blueberries?  Maybe the added blueberries made the muffins structurally unsound.

But, the important thing is that the finished muffins do taste good and very blueberry-y.  And bonus: baby girl loves them! She loves picking out the blueberries and then eating the rest of the muffin.

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 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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Baking My Way Through Baked – The 12th Recipe

It’s been quite some time since I last wrote a Baking My Way Through Baked post.  Until recently, I haven’t done much baking.  Honestly, I’ve done absolutely no baking until about two months ago.  So, now I’m back into baking mode and jumping back into one of my favorite cookbooks.

Step 1: Buy this book!  Seriously.  Baked is really one of my favorite cookbooks.  Even when I’m not planning on baking something, I love just looking at the pictures.  I have yet to purchase the second and third cookbooks by these guys but I’m just going to assume that they are equally full of deliciousness.

Anyways.

The next recipe that I tried was the pumpkin chocolate chip loaf.  Since December, I’ve already made the recipe twice.  This is one of my new fave breakfast bread recipes.  There aren’t a lot of ingredients.  It makes two loaves.  And you don’t have to dirty up a lot of dishes to make it (just two large bowls and your measuring utensils).  That may actually be my favorite reason since we do not have a dishwasher.

The bread is not too sweet and stays nice and soft.  There is a really great crust on the outside.  Yep.  It’s good.

Mmmmmmm.....bread.....

Mmmmmmm…..bread…..

The Simplicity of Summer Food

I love summer vegetables and summer fruit.  Not only do they always instantly remind me of the warm summer months, but they rarely require that you do anything to them for them to be delicious.  Fresh cherries are rarely better than right out of the bowl.  A zucchini sliced up and lightly sauteed or thrown on the grill?  Delicious.  I usually feel like it is best to keep summer foods as simple as possible.  Plus, who wants to turn on the stove when it’s this hot?

Recently, in our CSA, we received a lot of raspberries.  I love raspberries.  I love love love raspberries.  They are completely perfect on their own.  However, in order to keep me from simply eating them all on their own in one sitting (and I know that I am perfectly capable of doing just that) I decided to dress them up a bit.

Pudding?  Check.  Pile of raspberries?  Check.  Dessert, breakfast, and snack?  Check.

Pudding + raspberries = perfection

Baking My Way Through Baked – Recipe #11

For the next recipe that I made from Baked, I decided to go outside of the breakfast chapter….while still making something for breakfast.  The Raspberry Crumb Breakfast Bar looked quite delicious.  Anything with raspberries in it is automatically delicious.

There were a couple changes that I made to the actual recipe.  First, I hate getting out equipment that I don’t feel like I need.  That’s why I rarely ever use the food processor.  Sometimes, a food processor is necessary.  Sometimes, it’s just another thing to have to wash.  I felt like this time, it was the latter.  So, I used a pastry cutter instead.

No extra equipment to wash. Crust comes out the same.

I also made a change with the amount of sugar that was added to the raspberry filling.  I knew that I would need to use frozen raspberries since it would be a bit difficult to find a pound of fresh raspberries.  However, I was not able to find plain frozen raspberries.

Sugar added. No plain frozen raspberries to be found.

These bars looked really great when they were done.

Mmmmmmmm

But, I had trouble believing that they were going to cut really easily once they had simply cooled.  Once cooled, they still seemed kind of squishy.  So, I waited to cut them until they had been in the refrigerator overnight.

Yummy!

These turned out really nicely.  They were really easy to make and they weren’t too sweet.  I will definitely be making these again.