Banana Bread

I hate food waste, it makes me crazy.  I try so very hard to use everything in my pantry, freezer, and refrigerator.  Some weeks are better than others.  This week, we had four bananas that just did not get eaten. I swear sometimes the hubby does this on purpose so I will be forced to make him banana bread.

banana bread

Thankfully it is super easy to throw the batter together, and 22 minutes later you have warm, moist, flavorful muffins to eat.

I used this recipe from Simply Recipes.  It called for 1 Tbsp of brewed coffee.  I gotta tell you, I was skeptical, what was 1 Tbsp of coffee going to do for this recipe….Oh, I was so very wrong people!  It really did enhance the flavor of the muffins – who knew…well apparently the folks at Simply Recipes and David Lebovitz.  I am a convert, a true believer, and I will be adding a bit of coffee to my banana nut muffins from now on!

My coworkers were thrilled with the unexpected midweek home baked treat.  I left some at home, of course, but the rest went into the office to be devoured with morning coffee.  It made me happy, I was able to use up my ripe bananas, the hubby got a lovely treat and I got major brownie points with the office staff – a perfect trifecta!

 

Egg Salad Sandwich

Ever since Easter I have been craving an Egg Salad Sandwich.  For the first time in a long time, I didn’t dye eggs for Easter.  We didn’t have anyone coming, my work schedule has been insane, and I just didn’t take the time to make it happen.  BIG MISTAKE – what is it about Easter that has me craving egg salad? Well, a week after Easter, I found myself boiling up some eggs…..

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A little egg, a little mayo, a bit of diced onion, and a squirt of yellow mustard.  Voila!  Egg salad, easy, inexpensive, and YUMMY!  I toasted up a bit of bread, added a generous amount of lettuce and dinner was served.  Very easy dinner for one, if I do say so myself! This absolutely hit the spot and satisfied my craving, plus it just looks so pretty, don’t ya think?

Sunday Morning Breakfast

Is there anything better on a Sunday morning than a leisurely breakfast of eggs, bacon, potatoes, and homemade buttermilk biscuits? Yeah, I didn’t think so either.

I usually make home fries, but this weekend, I wanted hash browns.  Lucky for me, I didn’t wreck my knuckles on the grater!  I cooked a half pound of bacon that I had picked up at the local butcher in the oven.  While that was cooking, I slide a pan of homemade buttermilk biscuits in as well.

While the bacon and biscuits cooked in the oven and the potatoes were sizzling away on the stove top, I set the table, and pulled out some homemade blueberry jam.  I made the jam this summer from berries grown locally.  It is SOOOOO good, if I do say so myself!

All that was left to do was cook off some eggs, make a cup of tea and indulge.  Which I did, happily.  Here’s hoping you have a relaxing (and filling) Sunday morning breakfast planned at your house today.

Leftover Pizza Dough

The downside of being a family of two is leftover pizza dough.  The upside of being a family of two is LEFTOVER PIZZA DOUGH, whooo hooo!   I get to make garlic knots.  Those of you not from the East Coast of the US may not understand, but rolling pizza dough into a rope, knotting it in the center, baking it, then slathering it with a garlicky butter sauce, dusting it with parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of parsley is basically how I judge all pizza shops.  You just know that those who get it right, just the perfect amount of garlic versus butter, will also make amazing pizza.

Anyway, I made garlic knots to go alongside dinner of grilled meatloaf, mashed potatoes and green beans.

Grilled meatloaf has been a staple in this house since I worked as a line cook.  We used to make it in the restaurant as part of our bar menu.  We would cut thick slices, grill them and slather them with homemade BBQ sauce.  We served them with hand cut french fries of house made chips, depending on the day.  It was always a big hit.  I made it for the hubby and now he no longer wants traditional meatloaf.

It does make for an easy weeknight meal. You need to make the meatloaf the day before so it has time to cool down.  Once you come home from work it is a matter of cut, grill, glaze, add sides and BOOM, dinner is on the table!

Focaccia Bread

When I worked in restaurant, I was always the one they turned to when it came to making pizza dough or bread dough.  I love making bread and I seem to have an affinity for dough.  I love the feel of dough when I am kneading it and the smell of bread baking in the oven makes me incredibly happy.  I find I make bread more often in the fall and winter, there is something very comforting about turning on the oven, warming up the house and pulling hot, yeasty golden brown bread from the oven.  I barely wait for it to cool down before slathering it with butter and eating more than my fair share.

I was making baked ziti for dinner this weekend and I wanted something a little different that the traditional garlic bread I usually serve.  I pulled out my cookbooks and came across the recipe for focaccia bread.  Super simple, ready to bake in 2 hours, PERFECT choice for an Italian meal.  I was sold.

foccacia

I brushed the dough with olive oil and sprinkled it with himalayan pink finishing salt before baking it in the oven.  It came out with a super crispy crust, a nice chewy interior, and just enough salt to make it awesome.  I served it with some olive oil that I mixed with a small spoon of pesto and a bit of grated parmesan cheese.  It was divine.  I think I could have eaten the entire thing for dinner and skipped the pasta….I didn’t mind you, but I was sorely tempted!

It took longer than expected…

But the hubby fell off the wagon.  He insists he will continue to be a pescatarian for the rest of the month of January, but he could no longer ignore his need for hops.  I figured he’d quit before now, so I can’t say that I am surprised.  He left this morning for a business trip to a town known for great seafood (which he loves!) so he may just keep his promise to not eat meat, only time will tell.   He intends on watching the football playoffs at one of his favorite breweries so there is definitely beer in his immediate future.

Before he left, I made us a quick breakfast, nothing fancy, just eggs, toast, and potatoes.  Simple and satisfying.  I LOVE TOAST. What is it about crunchy bread, drenched in butter that makes me so very happy? Anyway, I love when I have time to make eggs for breakfast.  During the week I usually have a yogurt or container of cottage cheese at my desk with a cup of hot tea, but on the weekend, I get to indulge in creamy eggs, buttery toast, and fried potatoes.  It is a beautiful way to start the day.

 

Rolls – Two Ways

I have been itching to get back to making bread. I have been feeding my sourdough starter, week after week, for months but I haven’t had the chance to actually DO anything with it.  Thankfully, I had a few days off over Christmas so I decided now was my chance!  I took a look at a bunch of recipes, but they all made WAYYYY more that we can eat and I absolutely HATE when food goes to waste.  I decided to make one batch of dough and create two different rolls with it.   One to eat that night and one to have the next morning.

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I used the King Arthur Flour Recipe for Buttery Sourdough Rolls.  I split the dough, creating a garlic and butter roll for dinner and a cinnamon roll for breakfast the next day.

It worked beautifully!  I melted some butter and added three minced cloves of garlic to it.  I brushed that on one half of the dough, rolled it up and cut it into rolls.  I placed them in a greased 8″ round pan and set it on the stove to rise.

Garlic and Butter Sour Dough Rolls - Baked

Fresh from the oven!

With the other half of the dough, I brushed it with melted butter and added a mixture of cinnamon and  brown sugar.  Again, after rolling it up, I sliced it and placed them in a greased 8″ round pan.  I set that on the stove to rise for 30 minutes before covering it and allowing it to finish rising in the refrigerator overnight.

The next morning, I pulled them out of the fridge an hour before I was ready to bake them, to allow them to come to room temperature.   I baked them for 25 minutes, then made a glaze of powdered sugar, melted butter, vanilla, and heavy cream.  When the buns came out of the oven, I poured the icing over them and let it melt slightly before serving.  OH MY GOODNESS…they were amazing!

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Definitely put both the hubby and I into a sugar coma for the rest of the morning, but it was TOTALLY worth it!  We certainly indulged ourselves the week between Christmas and New Year’s and I don’t regret a thing.