Banana Pecan Bread

My father thinks knows is completely sure I’ve lost my mind.

Just so we are clear, this isn’t the first time he’s had that thought. And it won’t be the last, I assure you. 

Here’s the deal: I set a goal for myself last month to get back into my fitness groove – which means a lot of walking and riding. And get this – since October 23, I’ve ridden 167 miles and walked 64.8 miles.

Wow – that’s more than I thought. No wonder my shoes are so worn….

Anyway, I received a text from Dad yesterday that said, “Are you training for a marathon?”

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Nope – just enjoying the side benefits to all that activity – which means I have a slice of this bread smothered in peanut butter every morning after my workout. Plus, I have more energy and feel more clear headed, as I do my best thinking while exercising.

I’ve had a lot to think about lately…… like the fact that Christmas is around the corner. 

Commence online shopping!

Banana Pecan Bread – adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

This recipe is touted as “the best” banana bread. And while I’m not qualified to say whether it is or isn’t, I will say it is very good – it has a really nice texture and isn’t overly sweet.

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup yogurt
  • 2 cups mashed bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9×5 loaf pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.Using a hand-held or stand mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium speed, about 3 minutes. On medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the yogurt, mashed bananas and vanilla on medium speed for 1 minute. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon together until combined. Using a large spoon or rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients and pecans into the wet ingredients.Do not overmix.

Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 60-65 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf will come out clean when the bread is done. Remove from the oven and allow the bread to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

 

Zucchini Spice Bread

Last week was quite the week.

no joke.

Let’s kick this story off with the best part first. Having my parents here for TWO whole weeks was simply spectacular. There are no words to describe having the family all together in the same house, even though that statement probably makes me sound like a typical mother (although I’m anything but typical). Even though Dad wanted to send a letter to upper management (i.e. me) about the absence of a TV in their room, the lack of a private bathroom, and the close living quarters, I think know they enjoyed being with us.

Imagine my disappointment when they tell me they’re never coming back.

I’m kidding, I’m kidding – call off the execution squad, please….

Let’s see…. what else happened….. at the top of the list, both dogs came down with a raging case of skin crawling bugs, which translated into, “Welcome to Texas, ma’am, your dogs have fleas…..”

Ugh.

That tidbit of news set off a sequence of events which necessitated a trip not only to the vet for once-a-month anti-flea medicine, but also to Petsmart for flea shampoo and carpet/furniture spray – then washing just about everything washable in the house, bathing both dogs repeatedly to remove the offending bugs, and treating the inside of the house twice to get rid of everything.

It was lovely, really…..

However, before that happened, my darling Sabrina, after visiting the doctor for her monthly checkup, was informed that her triglycerides are at three times their normal level, which meant going off her Accutane and onto a strict low-carb diet for two weeks.

On the positive side, she feels better and has lost quite a few pounds. On the negative side, she’s ready to take a hostage for a piece of bread or a cookie…..

Anyway, Mom and Dad left Saturday, and I still can’t figure out how they were able to escape – since I was holding on to both of their legs as they attempted to leave. I’m suffering from post-visitor-departure-syndrome (yes I made that up thankyouverymuch) and although they claim they’ll be back in a few weeks, I have my doubts.

Serious doubts.

May have to call in the big guns (i.e. Sabrina and Alexander) for help.

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Zucchini Spice Bread – adapted from Martha Stewart

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 cup blueberries (optional, I just happened to have a small bag in the freezer)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan with cooking spray, and set aside. Grate zucchini on the large holes of a box grater (to yield 1 3/4 cups); set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together sugars, oil, vanilla, and eggs.

Into a small bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and salt. Add flour mixture to egg mixture, and stir to combine well. Stir in grated zucchini.

 

Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes; invert onto a wire rack, then reinvert, top side up. Cool completely before slicing.

 

Banana Blueberry Crumb Muffins

It always makes me so happy when a food related experiment turns out successful, because lately, I’ve had quite a few “mishaps” in the kitchen.

Mishaps sounds so much nicer than incidents or accidents. 

But we really don’t need to bring those out into the open, do we? Well, probably not…….. however, since there are no secrets here, I will tell you that in the last 4 days, I’ve made two dinners that didn’t turn out well at all (i.e. almost inedible), burned out the motor on the drinker mixer, broke one of the good drinking glasses, and cracked a plastic serving bowl in half.

The last mishap (there’s that word again!) resulted in a large quantity of potato chips flying across the kitchen floor, which then resulted in two dogs desperately racing around, trying to eat as many as they could before I was able clean up the mess.

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Now, of course, the pups have taken to staring at the top of the refrigerator where the chips are stored, in the hopes that one of the bags will take an unfortunate tumble to the floor. I’m half expecting to see these two jokesters appropriate a kitchen chair to climb up and help themselves.

I think it might be time to install a camera in the kitchen……

Banana Blueberry Crumb Muffins – adapted from various online sources

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup of ripe, mashed banana
1 cup fresh blueberries

Crumb Topping:

  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1¾ cups flour

In a medium bowl, whisk together sugars, cinnamon, and flour. Pour the butter over top and using a spatula, mix until large crumbs form.

To make the muffins:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 6 jumbo size muffin cups with nonstick spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla and bananas until blended. Add the dry ingredients and blueberries, and gently stir just until blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle on the crumb topping. Bake until a tester inserted in the center of one of the muffins comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes.

Yield: 6 large muffins

Hatch Chile Cheese Beer Bread

In case you live under a rock here in Texas, (and hey, you could…) August 6-19 is the Hatch Chile Festival at Central Market.

Which, in layman’s terms, means that chiles are everywhere. Enormous bins of fresh whole chiles, hundreds of containers of roasted chiles, chile salsa, chile bread, chile tortilla chips – the variety and creativity of products is almost overwhelming.

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Resisting the urge to pick up one of everything (and that wasn’t easy, believe me), I picked up a container of roasted “hot” chiles, and bag of fresh “mild” chiles. The hot ones were used to prepare this bread, and the mild ones were roasted and turned into chile rellenos.

I toasted a slice of this bread and packed it for Sabrina to take to work with her this morning, and for a completely unbiased opinion on how it tastes, this is her direct quote:

Chile Cheese Beer Bread is the bomb“.

Hatch Chile Cheese Beer Bread – adapted from Austin Food Lovers’ Companion

Note: Like most quick breads, this is versatile and changeable…. you could use canned chiles in place of the fresh, mild instead of hot, and any kind of cheese you prefer.

  • 1/ 2 cup chopped hot Hatch chilies, chopped
  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • ¼ c. diced onion
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ¾ tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tbs. honey
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup shredded Jalapeño Jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup white cheddar cheese
  • 12 oz. Mexican beer

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for five minutes, or until tender but not brown. Add the honey and stir to combine. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

Combine the black pepper, cumin, flour, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Stir in the cheeses, then the onions and chopped chiles. Add the beer and fold just until the ingredients are combined.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake for just about an hour, or until a tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Cool the loaf in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes then remove it from the pan and cool completely on the rack.

Fresh Strawberry Bread

One thing I’ve noticed since our move to Austin is the lack of “stuff” in the freezer. At this very moment, there are a few containers of ice cream (Alexander’s favorite), a few quick breads (that’s a given), and ice.

seriously.

So imagine my complete and total surprise when I discovered a container of sliced strawberries in there the other day. I mean, where did they come from? I have no recollection whatsoever of procuring said container. Strange. Yet…. there they were.

I did the only thing I could think of (aside from turning them into a smoothie), which was to make this bread.

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And may I say, that was an excellent move on my part.

Fresh Strawberry Bread – adapted from saveur

3 cups flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1¼ cups canola oil
4 eggs
4 cups roughly chopped strawberries

Heat oven to 350°.  Grease a 12 cup bundt pan with baking spray and set aside. Whisk flour, baking powder, and cinnamon in a large bowl; set aside.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk sugar, oil, and eggs. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Stir in strawberries and pour batter into prepared pans. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 40 hour. Let cool for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

Red Velvet Banana Bread

Ok …. we need to sit down and talk. Do you have a moment?

For real.

Apparently, I am the only person on this entire planet that doesn’t think that “red” is a flavor.

It’s not.

However, in the interest (or Pinterest, in this case) of keeping Sabrina happy, I acquiesced  to buying a cake mix (!!) and preparing this for her.

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She’s come to accept (notice I didn’t say love, I said accept) banana bread, and therefore specifically sent this pin to me last week, with the not-so-subtle caption “I would really like to try this”.

Subtlety has never been her strong point……….like her grandmother…. I’m still convinced they are the same person……

Anyway, the verdict, in her exact words…….. drum roll please…… “It’s good – not overly banana-y, but kind of sweet.

But my question remains……. do you taste the red? And if so, what does red taste like?

Much like the owl from the Tootie Pop commercial……the world may never know….

Red Velvet Banana Bread – adapted from pinterest / something swanky

  • 1 red velvet cake mix (just the dry mix, not the other ingredients on the box)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 medium bananas)
  • optional: powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray a 9″ loaf with a non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

Mix together cake mix, eggs, vegetable oil and bananas until well blended, then pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from loaf pan.

Store in airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

 

Zucchini Apple Bread

I suspect that, if my father was still here, he would really enjoy a slice of  this bread.

And by “still here”, I mean still here in Austin.

But he’s not………because……….well, he doesn’t like me anymore and said I’m a terrible baker.

yeah right.

Ok,ok – call off the lynch mob, neither of the preceding statements are true. He and The Queen Mother are not in Austin anymore because they have bigger and better things on their agenda right now.

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Exactly what, I couldn’t tell you. Something about privacy laws and confidentiality agreements.

However, on a separate note, can you believe that this is the last weekend of June?! July is literally around the corner – and we haven’t planned a single thing to do yet this summer.

Actually, I like the way that sounds……

Zucchini Apple Bread – adapted from Aaron McCargo

Nonstick spray
1 cup finely grated zucchini
1 cup grated apple, peeled and cored
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup canola oil
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat 2 (4 1/2 by 8 1/2-inch) loaf pans with nonstick spray. Line the pans with parchment paper and spray the paper.

Combine the zucchini, apple, brown sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla extract in a large bowl and stir to combine. Add 3 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg to the bowl and mix well.

Divide the batter between the 2 loaf pans. Bake until a toothpick or skewer inserted in the middle of each loaf comes out clean, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the bread from the pans and cool on a wire rack.