Monday, June 3, 2013

Espresso Banana Bread

Its official summer! thank goodness! I have been waiting for summer I feel like since summer ended last year. around here in Oklahoma there have been some destruction. for instance; tornados, thunder storms, hail, rain that seems like it will never stop. So it doesn't really "feel" like summer even though its already June and Fourth of July things are already out at Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is always in a hurry aren't they, Like right when the Fourth of July passes, they put out school supplies! I want to scream when I see them because its just a reminder that my summer is half way over.

So on this dreary/summer Oklahoma day all I feel like doing is making banana bread and watching Army Wives on Netflix (possibly the most addicting show and the bad part, there are 6 seasons... I'm already on season 4 and its only been a week. SCARY)

This recipe I found while scanning through my saved recipes. I got it out of a magazine, not sure which one because I ripped it out, but either way its was very good. Something different for a change. I always make my banana bread recipe which is my ALL time favorite, but I decided to mix it up a little bit. Hope you like it!

Espresso Banana Bread
found in my pile of recipes
makes 1 loaf

  • 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 4)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt, (yes 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, optional
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, roughly copped, optional
Preheat oven to 350*F. Butter and flour one loaf tin and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the bananas, sugars, butter, milk, and egg. In another bowl, combine the flour, espresso powder, baking soda and salt. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir to combine. At this time you can add the chocolate chips an the walnuts. Of course this is optional but I added the chocolate, because why not...everything is better with chocolate.

Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for about 55 minutes, or until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes after taking out of the oven then invert into a wire rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The best granola

Recently I got Gwyneth Paltrow's new cookbook, Its All Good. Lets just get one thing straight, I have a secret girl crush on Gwyneth. She seems so sweet and nice, and lets not forget absolutely gorgeous! So I got her new cookbook and its all about being healthy and living right. People need to realize that they only have one body and what you put into it effects your everyday life. I try to be health conscious as possible. I have read several books on food and benefits of certain types of food. I like the feeling of giving my body the best quality food I can find/cook. It makes be feel better about my self and actually makes my body happy. Ever since I have been more health conscious I have never felt better. I have more energy and my skin looks better. Everything about eating healthy is appealing to me. WARNING: There is no negative to eating healthy. Well I haven't ran into any negatives in the past couple years.
So back to the awesome cookbook. If you haven't read her book or anything about her, go online and read about her heath journey and how she lives. It is very interesting and it made me want to be even more health concerned. She lives her life with her body in mind and that is my goal for the rest of my life.
I haven't had much time to cook recently, I have been so busy with school ending and tests. Jut to let you know senior year of High school isn't as "relaxed" as people had told me. So everyone who told me I was going to have a stress free year, I want to throw a wet sock at your face, (Sorry for being so violent, but picture throwing a wet sock at your biggest enemy... its really funny, try it)
When I first got the cookbook, of course, I threw myself into it. I read it cover to cover at least three times by now. The first thing I wanted to make out of it was her famous granola. I don't know about you but I love granola. It's great on everything! Ice cream, with your favorite milk, yogurt, or just by its self for a quick snack. So just a quick warning that this recipes is really easy and the granola is very addicting. Since it's easy to make, you will be making this ALL the time. I made two big batches within on week because my family and I love it so much! And you don't have to worry about any weird ingredients or chemicals because you make it yourself! It's a win win!

The Best Granola
Adapted from It's All Good
(This recipe calls for Quinoa flakes but I used oats, so if you decide to use oats make sure they are old fashion, not the quick oats)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup good-quality maple syrup
  • 1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract  
  • 3 cups quinoa flakes or oats
  • course sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 3/4 cup roughly copped figs
  • 3/4 cup roughly copped pitted dates
Preheat the oven to 400*F
Whisk together olive oil and maple syrup in a large bowl. Add the oats or quinoa flakes, stirring to combine it all together. Evenly spread the mixture on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and sprinkle with sea salt. Make to keep your eye on the granola because it takes a while for it to get brown, but it doesn't take long for the granola to burn. I normally add the nuts to the mixture before I put it in the oven so the nuts are covered with the yummy coating. It doesn't really matter but that is what I prefer. Roast the granola or about 25 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
Let the granola cool completely when it comes out of the oven, then add the rest of the figs and daes. the add ins are totally optional, it is really good with the add ins, but just as good without them.
After you are done mixing the rest together, keep in an air tight container up to 3 weeks.
Hope you enjoy.