Dealing with life is a piece of cake.

Posts tagged ‘banana’

The little things, and bigger cookies.

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Food for thought before food for eating:

Have you ever thought about the possibility that today could be the best day of your life, and that you’ll have no idea until it’s passed?

As a society, I feel like we are all waiting for the “next step.” What happened to being present, living in the moment? It’s quite a humbling concept when you really stop to think about it.

I recently moved to Northern California (those of you who are more familiar with California geography, you might argue that I’m residing in central California – you’re right, smarty-pants). The distance from my origin, Orange County, is as follows:

45 minute plane ride
7 hour drive
146 hour walk
I was just curious, so thanks for the info, Google Maps. But how did they get that number? People walk at varying speeds, strides, etc. What about someone with a limp? Do they factor in sleep? What about eating? Did they hire someone to actually do this so they could provide this ridiculous information? Probably not. Anyway…

Unless I decide to hate myself for a few days, I’m just a hop, skip, and a very short flight away from what used to be my home. But let me tell you, my friends, it’s a whole new world up here. (Go ahead, sing it.)

I won’t go into specifics this time, but the change in environment has helped me open my eyes, and as cheesy as it may sound, my soul.

…hoookay Kate…

No, really!

I’m paying attention to details, subtle nuances, moments. And as a result of my awareness, I am appreciating the little things: How beautiful the trees are in the morning, the smell of crisp Northern California air after it rains, the simplicity of a smile from a stranger. These are the moments I breathe in. These are the moments that matter.

It’s easy to say, “Friday was a good day.” Why? What specifically made Friday good? Perhaps it was because you laughed until your face hurt over coffee with a good friend. Maybe it was because you found a blissful moment of solitude while reading on a rainy day. Or possibly because you spent your Friday night playing card games and drinking whiskey with your boyfriend on your living room floor, and you suddenly felt so much love in your heart that you thought it might burst. (My life is awesome.)

Thinking about thinking made me think, do we miss these beautiful moments because we’re dwelling too much on the past? I believe so.

So as I sit here, venturing back into the blogosphere after an extended hiatus, I have decided to let the past go. No frills, no fluff, no explanation or justification. I’m just going to let it go. (Go ahead, sing that too.) This doesn’t mean that I’m forgetting the past, because I certainly wouldn’t be who I am without those experiences. What it means is that I’m going to accept the moments in the past that are…unfavorable, and continue to appreciate the subtle moments that I’ve under-appreciated for far too long. Let ’em shine!

Okay, sounds good! But what does this have to do with baking?

Excellent question, lovely reader!

Appreciating the subtleties in life can be difficult, you really have to be patient and pay attention.

Appreciating the subtleties in cookies, however, well…yeah it’s kind of hard too.

I received a request from a dashing gentleman I am lucky enough to call my main squeeze. He asked me to bake something with protein powder. WTF why? Because he, much like Fergie, is always up in the gym just workin’ on his fitness…I’m his witness. (Sorry I couldn’t help myself.) Not only that, but he just so happens to work for a protein supplement company. Protein powders aplenty up in this biznatch.

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The texture of protein powder always deterred me from testing new brands, flavors, and recipes. Turns out, Isopure is the tits, and the texture-phobia I experienced for so long dissolved into a faded memory. Bye, Felicia.

After deciding on cookies (thought I’d start small), I jotted down basic cookie ingredients, cutting out a lot of the fat and sugar that usually makes sweets so dang-darn tasty.

**WARNING** NO BUTTER WAS HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THESE COOKIES
I’m not kidding. No butter. The fat comes from the one egg.

Wait…so you’re telling me these aren’t absolutely terrible for me?

That’s right! I mean I wouldn’t eat these all day every day, but they’re better for you than others.

Whipped ’em up, threw them in the oven, and voila…protein cookies! My only beef with these is they’re not really aesthetically appealing — kind of bland looking, actually. But I’m just going to chalk that up to the flavor of powder I used (banana cream). And really, this recipe would work with any flavor if banana isn’t your thing. The world is your little swole, protein-stuffed oyster.

I haven’t abandoned my traditional baking practices that keep sweatpants companies in business, don’t you worry. But you can expect a sprinkle of proteinified sweets, and I really do encourage you to give them a try. Who knows, you might appreciate the subtlety.

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Chocolate Chip Banana Protein Cookies

1 large egg
1/2 cup of Isopure Banana Cream Protein Powder
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp vegetable oil
a scant 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Combine egg, protein powder, flour, baking soda, vegetable oil and milk in a medium bowl
3. Once thoroughly combined, add chocolate chips
4. Grease a cookie sheet and scoop dough into 1-1 1/2″ balls.
*These cookies rise and expand like nobody’s business! Make sure to keep them spread out.*

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5. Bake 12-15 minutes, keeping an eye on them while they bake. Cookies should be barely golden on the bottom.
6. Let cool for about 2 minutes on the sheet, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Boom. Protein Cookies.

Bon Appétit!

I’m not letting the chips fall where they may.

There are so many things I want to accomplish in this adorable little life I’m living.

Learn how to surf.

Master the art of cooking pasta. (You may think it’s simple, but for me, it’s not. I’m a baker. Not a cook.)

Muster up enough courage to sing at a karaoke bar. (Liquid courage is not out of the question on this one…)

Move to another city, state, town, planet…somewhere. Anywhere.

Learn another language (or six). Italian would be awesome. French would be even cooler. Maybe I’ll master some ancient African language. I can’t imagine it would ever come in handy…but you never know.

Make one of those really awesome melted crayon paintings you see on Pinterest. You know what I’m talking about. (and you know you want to make one too.)

I want to sew a dress, knit a scarf, patch some jeans…something domestic that would put my dusty sewing machine to good use.

Learn how to swing dance. I can’t imagine that being rhythmically tossed around like a doll is a bad time.

Publish something. Whether it be a cookbook, novel, or a children’s book…I want my words out there, in print. There’s something so official and wonderful about it.

I want to be able to spell “Wednesday” without having to think of it as wed-nes-day.

Same goes for Feb-RU-ary.

And finally, bake a cupcake with chocolate chips that don’t sink to the bottom.

Well wait just a doggone baker’s dozen minute here…I just did that!

I made banana chocolate chip cupcakes. I put some Tiger Butter buttercream on top.

For those of you who don’t know what tiger butter is…it’s my favorite candy in the fudge category. Peanut butter and chocolate. I’m all about it. You should be too.

Fresh out of the oven, they fit the description of a muffin. A perfectly warm, melty, banana scented muffin. I would not judge you if you decided to nix the frosting and try to get away with having these for breakfast. They have bananas! It could work.

Told ya.

That’s something I seriously considered. In fact, I’ll probably whip these up as muffins in the future, but for the sake of the blog and the fact that I do love buttercream and decorating cupcakes, I moved forward. I’m glad I did.

These are seriously the bomb.com. Even when they’ve cooled, you get a perfect amount of banana flavor. Crazy. I was worried they’d come out too…potassium-y. It’s a thing.

Oh and the secret to having the chocolate chips not fall to the bottom? Lightly coat them in flour before you add them to the batter. Who knew?!

Well actually…Google knew.

These week’s theme for the Event Blossom party kits is Jungle Safari! Check out what Kim did with the other great stuff in this wild kit here.

This theme was the main reasoning behind the banana flavor this week. Jungles have animals. One of the animals you can find in the jungle is a monkey. Monkeys eat bananas, and so do I. Hence, this cupcake was born.

Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Tiger Butter Buttercream

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter
3 ripened bananas, mashed
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup half and half
1 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a muffin pan with cupcake wrappers.

2. Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in medium bowl until well combined. Set aside.

3. Beat butter on high until light and smooth.

4. Beat in sugar until fluffy.

4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition.

5. Beat in vanilla until combined.

6. Beat in bananas well. Make sure it’s completely incorporated.

7. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the half and half. Beat until just combined.

8. Toss the chocolate chips in a little bit of flour. You may use a ziplock bag and shake it around or be fancy and toss ’em around in a bowl.

9. Fold the chips into the batter.

10. Fill cups 3/4 full and bake for approx. 20 minutes. Let cool completely.

11. Try one without frosting. I dare you to tell me it isn’t amazing.

Tiger Butter Buttercream

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
4 tsp vanilla
6 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted

1. Beat butter until fluffy and pale yellow. About 2 minutes.

2. Beat in powdered sugar in increments, until desired consistency begins to form.

3. Add vanilla.

4. Transfer half of the buttercream to another bowl.

5. For one half, add the cocoa powder until completely combined.

6. For the other half, add the peanut butter until completely combined.

To create the swirl effect

3 pastry bags (or ziplock bags)

1. Put a small amount of each frosting in its own bag. Cut the corner off the bottom.

2. Cut the corner off of the third bag, and set up with desired decorating tip.

3. Place both of the frosting bags in the third bag, so the cut-off corners are feeding into the third bag’s tip.

4. Gently squeeze the bag, and do a few test runs to make sure it comes out even.

Voila! Gorgeous decorating that will impress anyone.

Bon appétit!

Saturday mornings: cartoons, PJs, and a pancake for one.

Ahh, Saturday morning.

As a kid, it was all about Ninja Turtles, X-Men, and that show with the sharks? Does anyone know what show I’m talking about? It was that show about 4 guys who were transformed into sharks…and they like, fought crime, or were criminals, or something…?

Okay well that’s going to bother me all day, but for the sake of this blog (and your time) I’ll move on.

My point is, cartoons were the bees knees during childhood. They represented the glory of what is Saturday morning. You could sleep in, stay in your jammies til noon, and then jump on your bike and ride to your friend’s house to see if they could play. Or in my case, run next door where your best friend lives and basically just assume she’s available to play house, or go to the pool, or Rollerblade, or whatever the heck else we did as kids to keep ourselves occupied.

Jessica and I had so much fun. Aww, memories. ❤

But what I’m really leaving out (and what is one of the most important parts of Saturday morning) is breakfast! Duhhh.

Weekdays are about quick, on-the-go breakfasts: Pop-Tarts, a bowl of cereal, toast — things that don’t take a long time to eat. There isn’t an opportunity to really enjoy the meal.

Enter: Saturday morning breakfast! Homemade breakfast. Come on, that’s a highlight of life. You can’t deny that.

Now, please note that I do not like breakfast foods at breakfast time. I’m not sure why. I just don’t. I’d rather have a waffle for dinner than a bowl of pasta any day of the week. But every once in a while, there’s an exception. For example, this morning.

My Saturdays aren’t what they used to be. I have this thing now, where I provide labor in exchange for money. Also known as a job. And I usually work the PM shift on weekends. Therefore, Saturday mornings are incredibly precious to me. When I got home this morning, I had the house to myself. I love having the house to myself. The TV is mine. The couch is mine. And most importantly, the kitchen is mine.

Well I still have to share the house with Kitten, but she’s feel exceptionally lazy today.

So in the midst of this wonderful solitude, I decided today was a breakfast day. And I wanted a pancake.

One giant pancake. Singular. Uno.

So that’s what I made! It’s inspired by Joy the Baker’s “Single Lady Pancake,” but the recipe is all my own. (I love the title of her recipe! So cute.) I’m not considered a “single lady” anymore, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love a little selfish “me” time with a pancake and cup of coffee, while watching the episode of New Girl I missed last Tuesday. (Which, by the way…was not funny. I was very disappointed.)

I used to make variations of this for myself last year when I lived in the apartment. It’s a delicious, wonderful, simple way to start the day. I highly recommend it.

I don’t even have a lot of pictures to show you, because I wanted to eat it ASAP.

I dislike cold pancakes. Gnarly.

But on the realz, this hits the spot. It’s like, good for the soul or something. Your inner pancake soul.

It’s a thing. I swear.

Be selfish. Make a pancake.

Pancake for Me, Myself, and I
a Sugar Therapy original – yay!

1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons apple cinnamon instant oatmeal, uncooked (or plain oats)
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
5 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup soy milk
2 tbsp orange juice
3 tsp vanilla extract

1. Whisk all dry ingredients together. That’s flour, oats, sugars, baking powder/soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk the milk, vanilla, and oil together.

3. Add orange juice and whisk until combined.

4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, whisking until just combined. The batter should be pretty thick.

5. Heat a griddle or pan on medium heat. (That’s a strange sentence…but just do it.)

6. Pour batter onto the pan and allow the pancake to cook until you see some bubbles form on the top. Flip the pancake. Hopefully it’s a beautiful golden brown. That’s the goal.

Note: I am the WORST pancake flipper in the history of pancake flippers. I get nervous. Sometimes I burn my pancakes because I’m too hesitant. Don’t be like me. Just flip it, you can do it!

7. Add syrup. Sprinkle it with powdered sugar. Spread some jelly on there. Or be like me, and keep it simple and spread a light layer of non-dairy butter on there. So. good.

The best part about this recipe is you can add and subtract. Not a fan of orange juice? I’d try some apple instead. Want banana pancakes? I like the way you think. Want some crunch? Add walnuts! And of course, you can never go wrong with a handful of blueberries.

Be innovative. Be selfish. Enjoy your Saturday morning.

And let me know if you can remember the name of that shark cartoon.

Bon appétit!

Banana bread en français, s’il vous plaît!

This &$%# is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

And this &$%# is chocolatey, C-H-O-C-O-L-A-T-E-Y.

AND this &$%# is peanut-buttery, P-E-A-N-U-T-B-U-T-T-E-R-Y.

Too much?

Sorry.

Wait, no I’m not.

If you made this bread, tasted this bread, and then made french toast out of this bread a few days later (yes, I went there), you’d be destroying perfectly catchy Gwen Stefani songs too.

I wanted banana bread. I wanted chocolate. And I just so happened to have peanut butter in the house, so I threw some in there.

You can’t see it, but I’m giving myself a pat on the back. (Okay, I’m hugging myself…)

And if you like banana bread with chocolate chips and peanut butter….
I kindly ask BEG of you, use this bread for French toast!

I predict this is one of those things I’ll need when I’m in an “I need cheering up,” mood.

I just know what foods make me feel better.  I could probably guess what foods will make you feel better.  It’s a gift.  No big deal.

A new category for food perhaps(?): Feel-better foods for future frets.

Alliteration is fun…or should I say alliteration is awesome.

I’m rambling.

And I’ve officially gone b-a-n-a-n-a-s.  (damn you Gwen Stefani!)

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
(adapted from King Arthur Flour)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 medium bananas, ripened and mashed (the riper the better)
1/4 cup agave nectar (or honey if you prefer, but I love agave nectar)
2 large eggs
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, and lightly grease a 9″x5″ loaf pan.

2. With an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.

3. Add bananas, eggs, agave nectar, and peanut butter and beat until smooth.

4. Beat in flour until just incorporated.

5. Stir in chocolate chips.

6. Pour batter into loaf pan. Sprinkle extra chocolate chips on the top. I also topped mine with raw sugar and cinnamon and drizzled some more agave nectar on the top.

7. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. If the top is browning too quickly, cover the top with aluminum foil for the remainder of the baking time.

8. Let the bread cool for 10 minutes in the pan, and then remove it and let it cool the rest of the way on a wire rack.

It’s time for the amazing part. The French toast.

French toast batter
(enough for 2-3 pieces…because I’m selfish)

3 eggs
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp heavy cream
1/2 tsp agave nectar (or honey)

1. Whisk ingredients together.

2. Dip a thickly cut piece of the banana bread in the batter, allowing it to soak just slightly on each side. Be careful not to let it sit in the batter for too long, or it’ll collapse…not cool.

3. On a heated griddle, cook the bread until browned on each side.

Tip: This is already sweet (duh). Powdered sugar really isn’t necessary, nor is syrup. However, it felt wrong to leave the toast alone on the plate, so I liiiiiiightly drizzled it with maple syrup and some Earth Balance Buttery Spread (because I’m very health conscious, ahem. –> It was a good decision. Warm banana bread with a hint of peanut butter, gooey chocolate, and a vanilla egg batter – wowza.

I would have taken a better picture, but I wanted to eat it immediately.

You’ll understand.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right?

RIGHT.

Bon appétit!