Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Today's Baked Goods: Banana Breads

Yay for another successful baking day!

Last week I whipped up 2 loaves of Pumpkin Bread and a batch of Vegan Banana Muffins for Daniel's co-workers.

Today I wasn't quite feeling the excitement to bake, but all those delicious goodies were already eaten up & I was craving another slice. (1 loaf for us, 1 loaf to our neighbor; muffins to work and the rest to my vegan sister while she was visiting from Chicago).

So, with only 3 eggs left in the fridge, I decided Banana Bread & more Vegan Banana Muffins would stretch those eggs and use up what was left of the frozen bananas.  Plus who doesn't love having healthy snacks on hand?

Baibak Banana Bread
1/2 c butter (1 stick), softened
1/3 c brown sugar
2 eggs
1 c mashed banana
1 1/2 c flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2c milk

Cream butter and sugar together.  Mix in eggs & mashed banana.  In a separate bowl sift flour and add baking soda and salt.  Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture, alternating with milk.  Pour into a greased (I like to use butter) loaf pan and bake at 350*F for 50-60 minutes.  Test with toothpick for doneness.  Turn out and cool on a cooling rack.  Wrap and store in foil.
Makes approximately 12 slices, about 170 calories each.

Vegan Banana Muffins
1 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c rolled or quick oats
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c sugar
3 large, very ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 c applesauce
1 Tbs flax seed + 3 Tbs water
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Fill lined or greased muffin tins 3/4 full and bake at 375*F for 10-15 minutes.  Test with toothpick for doneness.
Makes 12 muffins.  Approx. 110 calories each.

Freezing Bananas - Purchase at rock-bottom price (i.e. reduced for quick sale because they are already ripe).  Peel, leaving banana whole, and drop into a gallon size, freezer-safe bag.  Label, and store in the freezer, ideally on its side until bananas are frozen.  As bananas go on sale, you can continually add to the contents.
When you are ready to use a banana for a recipe, simply take out the number needed and place into a mixing bowl to thaw, or you can warm them up in the microwave for 30 seconds on high.

Please let me know if you try a recipe & how you like it.  =)

Monday, January 20, 2014


10 Weeks in Sept.

.... Yup! ... sorry for the long silence on this subject.  I was waiting until our 20-week ultrasound to have a good picture to share and then that came and went with the holidays.  :\

20 weeks in November

So we are 29 weeks as of last Friday and after the realization that, "oh my goodness, this baby is about to be here in 10 weeks or less!” set in, I’m really getting excited and slightly anxious to finally get to meet this little guy or gal!  We decided early on we wanted to be surprised with our first child.  But it does make it hard to bond with this little one because we keep calling it "it” and we can’t call it by a name since we don’t know if it’ll be Girl or Boy.  So there are some "downsides” to this, but I have heard from many, many moms that it is the best surprise of their lives and a moment you never forget.  So we are excited for the experience.

Hubby organized and painted the nursery with 8 of our friends as well as the living room (it needed a new, brighter color) and I am very proud to say they did an amazing job!  Now we can start to move in the few pieces of baby furniture we have and start getting it ready for baby’s arrival.  My mother-in-law as well as a couple of her church friends have very generously organized a shower for us at the beginning of February so it will be nice to have a nursery ready to receive those gifts.  I think from now on it is really going to start feeling "real” as we attend baby showers and birth classes next month.  I feel so full of anticipation and excitement!

As you have seen in previous posts, I have already gotten my hands wet with baby knitting and of course I have been saving a few pairs of mittens and socks for our own little one.  However, I need to kick it up a notch as I only have these pairs, one blanket, 1 or 2 hats, and 2 sweaters made so far.  Next on my list is some longies for next winter (and learn how to lanolize them for cloth diapering) as well as a couple more sweaters and either a few sweater dresses if it’s a girl or sweater vests if it’s a boy.  Oh, and I guess I could be making a few soft toys as well, lol.  It looks like it’s time to get out of my knitting comfort zone…

Do you have a favorite knitting or crochet pattern for baby that you would recommend?  I’d love to read all about them in the comments! 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Patterns for Christmas

I think this is the first year I’ve asked for knitting or crochet patterns for Christmas, but as I am still too cheap to purchase patterns (and running out of time to come up with ideas that weren’t giftcards), I thought this would be a great and different idea.  Plus, what a fun gift to give!  My aunt (we draw names and buy for one person each in our extended family) did a wonderful job putting together a gift around 3 knit and crochet patterns.  She printed each one off and picked out a couple skeins of yarn for the Crochet Slippers pattern as well as included the designated hook and a hand written note – which may have been my favorite part.  :)   I’m so excited to get started on these slippers, but then I can’t decide if I want to start the slippers first or the Rocky Mountain Coast cardigan.

Yup, I am on my way to being part of the Rocky Mountain Coast cardigan "club.”  It would appear to be a very popular pattern among my blog friends and after looking for other cardigans that would suite my design needs, I kept coming back to this one.  The wonderful comments from everyone else who has worked and completed it give me hope that I might finally complete a cardigan and love it, too.  It would be nice to scratch that off my bucket list.  ;) 

Thursday, January 9, 2014


What did were the effects of the Polar Vortex where you live?

We had quite an adventure for the couple of days leading up to it and the couple of days after.  Thursday morning I dropped Dan off to work on my way to spin class but I hardly got on the expressway and realized it was NOT a good idea to be driving that day.  Every so many yards there was another disabled vehicle (mostly SUVs) on the side of the road or in the ditch off the road with a police car assisting.  Then I saw a fender bender (someone was rear-ended) on the shoulder and realized no matter how cautious I drive, I have no control on the other dare devils that want to ride too close behind me.  So I decided between 2 or 3 miles, and 6 disabled vehicles, that I should just go straight home and play it safe.  No use in chancing an expensive car repair or possible miscarriage if it is a terrible accident.  (I find I am much more paranoid now that I am pregnant than I ever was before).

Friday was just as bad so I was stuck inside again. :-\  I was so ready to get in the car and see SOMETHING else besides my yard, haha.  We drove to Columbus for an extended family Christmas get-together and even though it was slow driving, it was so nice to see something new.  I guess this is how the pioneers and explorers felt since they didn’t have a way to easily travel miles and miles at a time. 

Returning to Toledo - the expressway driving conditions

Then on our way back, we learned that Toledo was planning to be under a Level 3 Snow Emergency – only emergency vehicles are allowed on the roads; anyone else will be stopped and ticketed!  Unfortunately we found out too late to leave for home in time and decided to chance it as we live only blocks over the county line.  As we got closer to home, the snow and wind was definitely treacherous, averaging speeds of 25-35 mph vs. 70mph.  Happily, we made it home uneventfully and settled in for the night.

Driving down our street, during a Level 3.
Work was closed for Monday and Tuesday while we were under a Level 3 for both days.  Monday we decided to defrost the chest freezer and make an inventory of what we have.

Keeping the food frozen during the below-zero temps.

Freezer Inventory

Hubby borrowed the neighbor's snow thrower and plowed the driveway as well as a walkway for the postmen.

While clearing out the food from the freezer, I pulled out two gallons of sliced apples and made up a pot of applesauce to help heat the house against the below zero temperatures.  I also started a pot of yogurt while I was working in the kitchen.  I love slow cooking.  It gives a feeling of accomplishment when it is all done at the end of the day and the fridge is full of delicious, homemade food.  

Once both of those were started on the stove and doing their thing, we also started the crock-pot full of pork chops and some sliced apples (both from the freezer) and apple butter (homemade from a neighbor) for dinner.  It turned out delicious!

It only dropped to a Level 2 Monday night and then went back to a Level 3 early Tuesday morning (I was bummed to be missing spin class AGAIN).  So to get out of the house and stretch out legs, we made a grocery run Monday night during the Level 2.  I had all my coupons organized and clipped and my list made.  I didn’t realize it, but we ended up spending 3 hours between two grocery stores!  We stocked up on toilet paper and some other items that were on a good sale with coupons that week, but nothing that others were clearing shelves of (like bread, milk, and eggs).  It definitely felt like an adventure seeing completely cleared shelves (mostly the fridge cases). 

The cold was definitely a new level of cold for me.  I can't say I've ever experienced ice forming on the INSIDE of our door threshold!

Anyone else have similar experiences during the Arctic blast?