Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Jack Bauer is my Hero (Chocolate Chip Banana Bread)

What is better on Christmas Break then staying up late with a book and sleeping in? Baking of course. I was planning on doing it last night, but I ended up doing it this afternoon instead. Mostly because I was feeling lazy and I wasn't in a baking mood. I guess I have to be in the right mood to bake or else my treats don't turn out well. What did I make today? Two things, but I'll split them up. First, I made chocolate chip banana bread. A few weeks ago Alex bought bananas and never ate them. I snagged them before they went bad and stuck them in the freezer for later use. I had planned on a bread with them. I have been using my new mini blender for smoothies in the morning, but something is off with my day when I don't have to have something starchy or bready in the morning. So here it is, delicious banana bread. The original recipe is from I didn't want to make two loaves, so I halved everything and used a different sized pan. Also note that the original recipe says "nuts" in the title, but never mentions them in the ingredients...curiouser curiouser.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 egg
2 mashed bananas
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, mashed bananas and vanilla. Add in dry ingredients. Add chocolate chips and stir until just blended. Pour into a greased, floured bread pan. (They say use 7 1/2"x 3 1/2", but mine was bigger) Bake for 1 hour at 375 degrees. Check after 50 minutes of baking time.

Look at the pretty pattern on my great grandma's apron. It's my favorite apron to bake in. :)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Winter Cleaning

Final reviews hit. Seriously. Hit hard. Not only did I have exams and a paper due, but my final design studio project was due. All at once! Therefore, no time to cook. I was really sick of eating the turkey casserole and baked spaghetti I had made when I had time with the intention of freezing it for when I didn't have time to cook. Regardless, it was a great day when I got home and threw the rest of it out.

I scheduled myself to work until 1 am and then be back in studio by 9 am. I did pretty well. My mom and dad came to the review and I'm pretty sure they enjoyed it. At least they can see what it is I spend all my time doing while I say I'm in studio.

When I finished up on the 21st, I came home with the intention of cleaning my house and stopping at the store for baking supplies. Turns out I was more exhausted then I though. I fell asleep at 10ish, but not before seeing Alex do dishes AND clean the livingroom.

I finally got to my baking on Tuesday night. It was a mess. The Merry & Bright Button Cookies I got from Tongue-N-Cheeky were super hard. Not in the sense of difficulty, though they were a pain in the bum, but literally hard. The dough was like little tiny balls and I had to squish them together. That meant, when they baked, they turned out hallow on the inside. Cool, but not helpful. I ate one almost straight from the oven and it was eh. Too buttery for my taste. (Insert Alex laughing at me because something is TOO buttery. I love butter) Anyways, Alex got home and poked at one, took a bite, and put it back down. He will pretty much eat anything, so when he didn't finish it, I took it as a sign they were pretty bad. I threw them away. Next up was the pretzel jello. In return for my birthday cupcakes, I told Terry I'd make him pretzel jello. For any disbelievers out there, it's delicious. I did everything by the recipe, but I still managed to mess it up. I guess I didn't spread the middle white stuff all the way to the edge and there was no seal, so the jello seeped down into the pretzels. AND the jello never set because I didn't cut back on the water when I added the raspberries. It was a mess, but Terry and Joe both enjoyed it when I stopped by Metro Group the next day.

Wednesday I whipped together a batch of shortbread cookies and they turned out! I did a glaze with some food coloring to get into the holiday spirit and created red and toxic green frosting.

Thankfully, I wasn't really allowed to do anymore cooking over break except for dessert on Christmas Day. Arvilla (my 99 year old Grandma) is finally feeling her age, so I was given the task of dessert. I decided on Apple & Ricotta Tartlets from Confessions of a Tart and they turned out pretty well. The custard in the middle didn't puff up like the pictures on the blog, but I think it was because I made them and then took them to Aunt Sue and Uncle Frank's to bake them after dinner. Next time I'll do them fresh and maybe add some raspberry or chocolate in there. Delicious.

I still haven't gotten the pictures from my dad's camera, so I can't update any of my old entries, but I promise I will soon.

Today I spent cleaning and organizing my life/room/desk/shelves and tomorrow I'm attacking the kitchen. First to do sugar cookies for Manuel and Sam and then to actually clean the kitchen.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me! (Belated Cupcakes)

I'm going to warn you now, there isn't a recipe attached to this post. Just some pictures of yummy cupcakes.

I used to work at an architecture firm with a guy named Terry...he grew up on a farm. We got along really well and have stayed in touch since I left to go on to bigger and better places last winter. This means that they didn't have anything for me to do so I was out of a job. Anyways, Terry likes to fish. There are lots of stories about Terry fishing, but none of them are as important as some of the most recent. Lately, Terry has been having problems fishing. He doesn't catch anything. He blamed it on the fact that I was bad voodooing him into no fish. This being because he hadn't gotten me my birthday cupcake. About a month before my birthday he had seen an article about a giant cupcake in the newspaper. He sent me an email about it with "hint hint" on the bottom. I sent one back, "My birthday is on the 15th." And that is how, on Monday night, I ended up with these two boxes on my kitchen table.

What was in those boxes? Cupcakes! Two of them. One in each box. A chocolate one with chocolate frosting and a vanilla one with white frosting.

I'm almost done eating them. I still have half of a chocolate one on my desk in studio. I'll save it for a rainy day. I told Terry how delicious they were and he said I get another one next time he's off fishing in Grand Rapids. How exciting!

I took a lot of pictures of food during Thanksgiving, but most of them are on my dad's camera. I won't have access to it until Christmas so hang in there and there will be more pictures coming.