Thursday, October 22, 2009

Recipe: Pumpkin Banana Bread

3 ripe medium bananas (or 2 large), mashed (The bread won’t taste like banana in the end.)
1 1/3 c. canned pumpkin puree
½ c. egg substitute (or 2 eggs)
1/3 c. unsweetened applesauce (Or 1/3 c. vegetable oil, but why would you want all that fat?)
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ c. honey
¼ c. molasses (Measure honey and molassas together in a ½ c. measuring cup)
½ c. Splenda or white sugar (I could barely taste the Splenda)

1 c. wheat flour
1 c. all-purpose flour
½ c. wheat bran (If you don’t have wheat bran, use 1 ½ c. wheat flour total)

1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. ginger
¼ tsp. all spice
(The original recipe called for 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice and 1 tsp cinnamon, but I don’t have pie spice and I like a lot more spice in my bread!)
¼ c. chopped dried cranberries (or raisins or chocolate chips or nuts)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a bundt pan or 2 bread pans.
2. In a large bowl, blend the bananas and pumpkin puree with a mixer (I pureed them in a
blender, but an electric mixer would do the same job). Blend in the eggs (or substitute),
applesauce, honey, molasses, vanilla, and Splenda/sugar.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, wheat bran, baking powder, baking soda, salt,
spices, and chopped dried fruit (mixing with flour makes them less likely to clump
together in the wet mixture).
4. Stir the dry mix into the wet mixture until just combined. Fold in the chips or nuts if
desired. Spoon batter into the prepared pan(s).
5. Bake at 325 F for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10
minutes, then on wire rack.

Servings: if you cut the bread into thinner slices, about 16; thick slices, 12.

Monday, October 19, 2009

#7. Volunteering/Apple Orcharding

I love hybrid hobbies!
Why volunteering? it's the cheapest way to give back! i'm not a particularly...let's say caring person, but I figure, I have the time and means to help out less people, so I should! and so should you! It helps a lot that my employer actively encourages us to volunteer (you can volunteer during the work day and not take vaca, assuming your manager is okay with it). I think it would be cool to work for the Medtronic Foundation. Through Medtronic, I've assembled furniture donated by Target to be given to Bridging (i have pictures of that, but i'm not in them!), been a Bridging "Shopper," been a Reading Buddy to a elementary school student...other stuff too. you get the idea. last MLK day, I signed up to help out at Second Harvest Heartland (we ended up addressing envelopes to donors, not what I expected), and now i get emails from them. on Friday, I got an email saying they urgently needed people to harvest apples at an orchard on Saturday, and the apples would be donated to Second Harvest, who'd get them to hungry Minnesotans. So figured, sure, why not! Amanda from work and my friend Jen wanted to come along too! so at 8 am on a Saturday (earlier than i normally leave the house on a weekday), we set out to Delano! which is about an hour away from St. Paul.
Here's my advice for apple gleaning at 9 am in the middle of October: warm gloves (waterproof would be great); shoes you don't mind getting wet and muddy; layers; sunglasses; a strong back.

We signed the waivers and got our bags.
jen and i don't look so enthused. let's improve this photo...
much better! Then it was a caravan off to the orchard (I was in the lead!).
There were many, many trees. the rows just kept going! i think we mostly picked Regents. when we got hungry, we each sampled one. quite tasty, fresh off the tree! the owner said if the 40 or so of us (and probably 50 in the afternoon) didn't come out to pick the apples, they would have just been wasted. which i find strange, that an orchard would let that profit go to waste...but whatever!
we only were allowed to pick the apples that we could reach (or get to by pulling branches down), but there were still plenty out there. i don't know how many times i emptied my bag.
I must have it!!!
Some random people emptying their bags in a tote. we counted at least 10 full totes when we left!
After all that walking and hauling and thawing out my fingers (but TOTALLY worth it to help people without actually having interact with them), we wuz hungry! back to Apple Jack Orchard for some lunch. it was considerably busier at noon than at 9. can you say CHILDREN?!? EVERYWHERE?!?
my last bite of a "Sloppy Jack," ie, BBQ pulled pork sandwich. i also had an apple pullapart, which i thought i would share with the other girls, but then it was SOOOO good i ate most of it myself!

Next Saturday is Make a Difference Day, so if you are participating in a volunteering activity, register it on the site!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

#3.2 Cooking

This weekend I decided to make something with the shrimp in my freezer. thus, Spicy Lime Shrimp Tacos were invented. I got some ideas from recipes on
Obligatory "assemble all the ingredients" post.

WAAAAAAAY too much shrimp (amanda had two bags in her freezer and since she's a veg now, she wanted to get rid of it), zucchini, squash, onion, peppers, limes, cayenne pepper (used chili powder too), lite soy sauce, can o' corn. sooo....let's see where this goes.

Juicin' the lime.
IT'S A LIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!
i'm a hand model!
Jen made spanish rice (sadly, not vegetarian, which i kind of thought was implied in rice, but whatev) and I actually put the shrimp in a serving dish! I made a non-shrimp version for amanda.
Assembled with cheese, tomatoes, and lettuce, on a whole wheat tortilla!

Amanda says "yum!"
Jen gives it a thumbs up! or maybe 3/4 of a thumbs up.

Then we watched THE TWINS WIN THE CENTRAL DIVISION and Amanda wrote a post too :D. but i totally posted mine FIRST!
I will be submitting my "original" "recipe" to jen at priorfatgirl's e-cookbook! you can submit one too! or sign up to get the cookbook when it comes out!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

#5.2 Lazy Baking

I usually bake from scratch these days, but there's nothing wrong with using a bag or box of mix occasionally! or most of the time. or all the time. plenty of things are definitely better from a mix (cake, for sure) and always easier. Last Tuesday, I made two mixes that had been sitting in my cupboard in a while, taking up space, and i decided now was finally the time to whip them up. and i took pictures. these are those pictures. (DUNG DUNG) (law and order)

For Jen E's poker night, i made up the Tiramisu kit that my boss had given me as a housewarming gift (let's pretend i haven't lived in my house for two years, k?). The reason i hadn't made it up until this point were some of the ingredients: coffee and amaretto. i have since acquired some instant coffee, for the occasional visitor who wants some, and decided to buy some amaretto. (Jen P's hot chocolate at the orchestra last weekend may have had something to do with that! also, it's good in coke. or just about anything, we decided.) The other ingredient was milk, so i got some of that and here we go!
Lady fingers, coffee+amaretto, and the Disaronna! and the pretty purple box.

Whipping the milk with the powder. it is hard to do this while taking a picture. make sure you whip at the highest speed to get the right consistency!

Cream filling applied and cocoa powder sifted on top!
It turned out well. i'm eating the leftovers right now. mmm...

I also made up the blueberry VitaMuffin mix!
They look totally boring (it suggests garnishing with fresh blueberries, but i didn't buy any), but they are totally good and fibery. a good alternative to Vitatops if you don't have any room in your freezer for the originals!

Of course, after all this "baking," i'm still left with this:
If it can't go in the dishwasher, it usually sits in my sink until i get the motivation to wash by hand. fortunately, most things can go in the DW!

The next hobby will be...knitting or simming.