We have been freezing our little behinds off over here in the land of Norge. The sun is still refusing to show it”s shining face and the cutting wind is making our walks to the grocery store not quite as enjoyable as they once were. I must be burning a lot more calories though because not only am I practically running everywhere I go, but my body is working hard at not becoming a solid mass. I know that Max is feeling it too because after his morning porridge he runs around the house teeth chattering, looking like he is desperately trying to warm up. That is when Mommy brings out the sweaters and the socks and he gets all bundled up to play inside. (We live in an apartment building and do not have control over our thermostat, for those of you who are wondering why we don”t just turn up the heat.) The sole control we have of warming ourselves up is to either bundle up or get something baking in the oven. Either is fine with me because I like being snuggly warm and eating freshly baked goods. Which brings us to this wonderful Banana Rum Chocolate Chip Pound Cake. The perfect thing to warm you up on a cold day.
Like many of you, one of the first food blogs that I ever read was by the talented and witty Helen of Tartelette. I was so enthrawled and inspired by her recipes that I spend days browsing through her archives to see what other goodies I had been missing out on. That is where I found this gem. It has since become my go to recipe when the bananas are starting to turn black, replacing my ever reliable Sour Cream Banana Bread.
There are so many ingredients in here that get my heart pumping with excitement. The cream cheese, sour cream, and bananas keep it ever so moist. The tropical flavours of rum and coconut keep it interesting. And the ooey gooey chocolate chips keep it comforting. Seriously, take a look at those ingredients and tell me that you do not want to run into the kitchen and make this immediately. Get to it!
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
Combine sour cream and cream cheese. Set aside.
Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated.
Add 1/3 of the flour and mix until well combined. Add 1/3 cream cheese mixture and mix well. Continue alternating until all flour and cream cheese is incorporated.
Fold in bananas, chocolate chips, coconut and rum.
Pour into 2- 9×5 lightly oiled loaf pans. Bake at 350ºF (180ºC) for 30-40 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Let cool 10 min. in pan before removing to wire wracks to cool completely.
* Alternatively you can bake this in a 10 inch tube pan, but keep in mind that the cooking time will increase.
* If you do not wish to use real rum then by all means substitute it with a teaspoon or two of rum extract. But, PLEASE don”t leave it out because it would just not be the same without it. Also make sure to add 1/4 cup of another liquid to make up for the missing rum.
My son is already beginning to chase me around the house. He giggles and giggles as he runs after me with some sort of object that he believes is scaring me. I have a feeling this mother is going to have her fair share of running away from little boys who are chasing her with weird and disgusting things. The older they get, the worse the things will become and the more I will actually be running for my life. Perhaps I should not be encouraging this action at such a young age? But, it”s hard not to when it”s just so darn cute!
These Tortilla Salad Bowls are so much fun. They dress up the everyday main dish salad and turn it into something special. What child would not want to dig into a salad when it is being hosted in such a cute little package? I know it sure makes me a lot more eager to dig in. They could not be easier to make and are still uber healthy, because there are no oils used to crisp them up. The restaurant version is usually a deep fried corn tortilla, virtually turning into a gigantic chip. And, although they are yummy, it kind of defeats the purpose of eating a salad in the first place. This is a much healthier alternative and equal the amount of fun.
Speaking of salads. I am kind of in a side-dish salad rut. Anybody have some quick and tasty side-dish salads they would like to share?
P.S. I took part in a Virtual Jam Swap hosted by Amy of Under the High Chair. You should really head over and take a look at the roundup. There are sooo many yummy jams to be found!
Tortilla Salad Bowls
Take large sheets of aluminum foil and scrunch them up into balls approximately 3 inches in diameter. (You can make them larger or smaller depending on the look you are going for.)
Wet each tortilla (8-9 inch) by running through tap water or giving it a quick dip in a pan filled with water. The point is to moisten it enough that it is flexible, not to make it sopping wet.
Drape the tortillas over the foil balls, pleating them into the shape that you want. They will naturally drape over the ball as they bake, but I like to give them a bit of help with the shape so that I get the look I want.
Place them on a baking sheet and bake at 400ºF for about 5 min. until starting to crisp up. Remove from oven, flip over, take out the foil balls and bake for another 2 min, until lightly browned and crisp.
Let cool. Fill with salad fixing and enjoy! :)
* For added flavour, sprinkle the tortilla bowls with spices that match your salad, just before baking. I sprinkled mine with homemade Cajun Seasoning and served it with a Cajun Chicken Caesar Salad.
* The foil balls can be easily used over as many times as you like, so there is no need for waste. Why not make two foil balls and bake them 2 at a time?
My life feels a bit like a circus right now. Everything”s going a little crazy and I”m having a hard time keeping my attention in one place. I didn”t even have the time to attempt this months Daring Bakers Challenge, which was the French Macaron. It is something I will have to try and conquer soon because it looks like so much fun! Hopefully things will get back into a regular rhythm soon so that I have more time to share with you dear folks.
The lovely Aimee over at Under the High Chair is hosting a jam swap. I could not resist contributing when I saw this marmalade recipe. I”m not sure what is up with my obsession with cranberries lately, but I can”t seem to get them out of my head. They are like little shining jewels to my minds eye and I simply must have them!
The grapefruit, cranberry combination of this marmalade intrigued me instantly and sounded like perfection. The breathtaking color is so festive and makes these perfect for giving as hostess gifts for either Thanksgiving or Christmas. If you are not a fan of marmalades then this just might be the one that breaks you. And, if you ARE a fan of marmalades then my gut tells me that you will love this! The grapefruit adds a wonderful light burst to the classic citrusy flavour and the cranberries round it out with a deep, robust, bittersweet taste.
This is a simple, straightforward recipe that requires no pectin. Just an hour of boiling 4 ingredients together, allowing it to cool and you have got a perfectly beautiful marmalade! What are you waiting for? :)
Carefully remove the rind of each grapefruit with a vegetable peeler or pairing knife, being careful to avoid the white pith. Slice the rind into thin strips. Place in a large saucepan.
Peel and section the grapefruit: Slice off a piece of both the top and bottom of each grapefruit until the fruit is visible. Place on a cutting board. Starting at the top and following the curve of the fruit, cut away the remaining pith until only the flesh and membrane are left. Holding the fruit on it”s side, slide a pairing knife between one section of fruit and the membrane that is holding it there, loosening it”s hold. Cut alongside the opposite side of the fruit to loosen it from the membrane on the opposite side. Continue all the way along the grapefruit. Place the grapefruit sections into the saucepan and discard the empty membrane.
Add 1.5 cups water to the saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 min, stirring occasionally.
Stir in cranberries and simmer for another 10 min.
Add sugar and simmer for 30 min until slightly thickened. Continuing to stir occasionally.
Remove from heat and allow to cool 10 min. Poor into jars or plastic containers and allow to cool for another 20 min before putting on lids. Let sit on counter until room temperature. Store in the fridge or freezer.
Makes approx: 5 cups
*This will keep for 3 weeks in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer.
*Cranberries have enough natural pectin to set this jam by itself. It is important to note that fresh cranberries have more pectin then frozen ones and therefore will set firmer. I did use frozen cranberries for mine and it turned out fine.
*To remove excess pith from the peeled rind: hold the rind firmly, pith side up, with one hand and drag your pairing knife in the opposite direction, shaving away the pith.
It has been a dreary, rainy week. I have actually quite enjoyed it. It gave me the perfect excuse to drag out the Christmas music. Max spun around in circles and did his little hoppy dance, while I baked, with a little shimmy and shake once in a while to receive some giggles from my fan club. I used to start listening to Christmas music at this time every year, but stopped after learning that I had ruined Christmas music forever for one of my brothers. Last year I made myself wait until November 25th and realized that now that I am getting “older”, time flies by way too fast and Christmas is here before you know it. So, I figure if I am in the mood and it feels like Christmas, I am not going to limit myself.
That is where these cookies came in. A Christmassy feeling spreading through the house. A need to get something baking in the oven to bring some warmth back in our bones. And, a want for that spicy cinnamon and clove scent that is so often associated with this time of year. These cookies helped to fulfill them all.
This recipe came from my mother. It has been a favourite of my Dad”s for years. Mine too. You can easily scarf them down for breakfast as they are not overly sweet and have a wholesome quality to them. The texture is actually similar to muffins, just in bite size form. A perfect grab and go snack that you don”t have to feel quite so bad about eating. :)
You are probably wondering why this Raisin Cookie has no raisins. Let me tell you. It”s because I wasn”t thinking and picked the cookie with the least amount of visible raisins to photograph and didn”t realize it until I was editing. There are raisins in these cookies I promise!
Oatmeal Raisin Spice Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
3 cups brown sugar, packed
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups oatmeal
3/4 cup milk
1 cup raisins
3.5 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
Place raisins in a small bowl. Cover with warm water and let sit for 10 min.
Cream together butter and brown sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well.
Stir in oatmeal, milk, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
Strain raisins and fold in.
Drop by heaping teaspoons onto a greased or parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake at 350ºF for 10-15 min. until lightly browned. Cool on wire wrack or paper towel.
My hubby is in London this week, which means one of two things. I am either living off of leftovers and anything I can scrounge up without going to the grocery store. Or, I am making everything I normally avoid because I assume James won”t like it. The latter is the reason for these delicious Roasted Pears. As I have mentioned earlier, my hubby is not too fond of pears, so when I spotted this recipe I knew that I had to make it while he was gone. They looked so simple I knew I would be able to get my butt into gear for such a short amount of time. Don”t get me wrong, I don”t avoid cooking because I am wallowing in self pity, it is merely because this is my time “off”, and I relish it. Admittedly, the house get”s a little messier, the meals get a little boring (ok a lot boring). When you are cooking for yourself and a one year old there is not point in slaving away. Me and my son concentrate on having fun and relaxing and I always make sure the evidence is cleaned up by the time James gets home. :)
I could eat these pears for breakfast every morning. They are like beautifully packaged, individual, Pear Crisps. The pear itself is warm, smooth and silky. The oats and almonds have a light crunch, with the flavour of cinnamon, brown sugar, and raisins throughout. All of this drizzled with honey and a dollop of yoghurt. Could breakfast be any more perfect? These pears would make a great healthful after school snack. Or even dessert, topped with ice cream or whipped cream. I quartered the recipe for myself and was planning on giving Max the other half when he woke up from his nap. But, I could not stop at just one and knowing he would not know the difference, I just HAD to have the other half. I wanted to share these with you right away because they would make such a great weekend brunch recipe.
I don”t know if you notice in the pictures but my raisins blew up and turned back into grapes while they were baking. That has never happened to me before! Anyone ever heard of such a phenomenon?
I am not one to usually make juice from scratch. For some reason in my mind it always seemed like a lot of work and I didn’t understand the reasoning behind it, when it is so readily available to purchase. But, after making homemade Cranberry Juice I have been converted. It is pure. It is tasty. And, you can control the ingredients. No more overly sweet fruit juice for me!
This juice is a cranberry lovers dream (just ask my mother). The tart flavour cleanses the palate and lends itself to avoiding becoming overly sweet. The ruby red color has an elegant translucent sparkle, which makes it perfect for entertaining. There are awesome health benefits too. Of the many, it helps in the fight against cancer, gives you better cholesterol, and helps you loose weight. It takes no work at all to make. You just let it do it’s thing and you get amazing juice as a result. A divine drink all around!
This is the last instalment in my countdown to Thanksgiving. For those of you who are celebrating, enjoy your time with family and friends! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!