Winding Down Summer

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Like a true Californian, I want all the perks of fall time without the weather becoming too much colder. We have some exiting things coming up like : a double date with our friends, an Ohio State football game, and apple picking. I’m looking forward to these events, though still wishing that the warm weather won’t be leaving us.

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Even though I have grown quite fond of the Buckeye state, it is hard for me to reconcile with the impending doom of winter. Earlier in the week, my mom sent me a picture of a shirt that said: “I bake because punching people is frowned upon.” I, of course, laughed… but then I thought a little deeper about it and my love for baking. When the weather changes, I really do go into baking mode, and you can find me in the kitchen almost every day working on a new treat. I always thought that it was because I liked to be by the warm oven while it is cooling off outside. Here is my new theory though, the kitchen is where my expertise in baking collides with irreconcilable mourning of summer.

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I don’t know how or when I will stop longing for sunshine. Of course, I am the one who made the decision to stay out here in Ohio, so there must have been a good reason for leaving California. But like most decisions, we forget why we make the changes we do. We choose to see the past through the most flattering of lenses. Even though I know this, the weather still tugs on my heart strings and makes me question where I live and why I can’t go back to the golden state. So, I bake. I measure, I read recipes, I focus… it is where what I don’t know collides with what I do know.

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My mind is clear when I am in the kitchen. I carefully read instructions, take care when using specific tools, and improve my technique when I can. Baking is some thing that, when you follow the instructions and do the best you can, you will always get a perfect result. In life, [or at least in my own life] the reaction is almost always opposite. You can try your best, do every thing “right” and things may still not work out. I can control the speed on my mixer, but what I can’t control is every element affecting my everyday life. And so, I bake…

Breakfast Bread [gluten free]

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Trying to get back on the creative horse! I entitled this blog “Buckeyes and Babies” with the intention of posting equally about food as much as I do about babies. Since I’ve been pregnant, I’ll admit I’ve been a little heavy handed with the baby talk. So, I wanted to share that banana bread recipe I talked about on Monday, but I didn’t want to title this post “banana bread” even though this is indeed, banana bread. You can use this same recipe for pumpkin or zucchini bread, though! I just happened to have bananas. I don’t want to say this is a savory recipe, but when compared to my indulgent banana bread, it seems savory. In any case, this bread would be a nice asset to brunch or any other bigger breakfast. Or hey, just eat a slice on your way out the door.

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What you need [courtesy of Pamela’s]:

  • 1-3/4 cups Pamela’s Artisan Flour
  • 1-1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup pumpkin or grated zucchini or very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup chopped candied walnuts
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350. Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl while the wet ingredients get whipped in a mixer. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the mixer. Spray a loaf pan, then slowly add batter (it will be very thick). Sprinkle some sugar on top before popping it into the oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes and you should have a delicious loaf of bread! Enjoy.

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Indulgent Chocolate Chip Banana Bread.

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It’s been awhile since I did a recipe post! It’s also been awhile since I didn’t feel like I was going to hurl the moment I step foot into the kitchen….

Now this recipe has 4 bananas in it, so I kid myself into thinking it was somewhat healthy… it also has a half cup of sugar, a stick of butter, and 1 cup of chocolate chips. Mind you, this recipe makes 2 loaves so I mean, divide the calories right? In any case… I was feeling a little bit down on Monday. My birthday high was gone, I was experiencing some unpleasant pregnancy symptoms, and I was cooped up with our 1 year old. In the words of Jim Gaffigan, having 2+ more children can be depicted as such, “imagine you’re drowning… then some one hands you a baby.” Spot on.

I needed to do some thing just for me. Painting my nails seemed tedious, doing my hair and makeup was just straight-up pointless, so I went into the kitchen and grabbed my 10 oz bag of milk chocolate morsels from the cabinet [my solution to most problems…]

I have this gluten free blend of baking flour I’ve been wanting an excuse to use, as well as bananas that our new fruit-fly-houseguests had their eye on. So, I pulled up this recipe from GimmeDelicious and it was DELICIOUS. Moist, chocolately, banana-y, YUM.

I didn’t accomplish much else that day, but a day when I bake always feels victorious.

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[it was hard only have 1 bite…]

Fasting Bread

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The tradition of fasting definitely has some deep Catholic roots. In Croatia, there are currently visionaries who claimed to have been visited by the Blessed Mother. I was lucky enough to have been able to visit the place where there have been sightings and visions of Mary. We stayed with locals, and according to the messages of Our Lady of Medjugorje, it is very important to offer up a fast every Wednesday and Friday, specifically for world peace. During our stay there, we depended entirely on what our host family provided for us to eat and on Wednesdays and Fridays, it was bread and water.

If you just google “Catholic Fasting” you’ll notice that the minimum requirement for a fast is that you give up 2 regular sized meals and replace them with 2 smaller snack, but you still get to have dinner. The more intense version is to only eat bread and water all day. If you intend to only eat bread and water, “you’re going to pass out if you only consume a loaf of wonder bread” [quote from my beloved Mariology professor in college] The bread needs to be hearty, and it must contain protein as well as other sustenance for one to be able to fast on it all day.

So, combining both my knowledge of Mariology and Medjugorje, I was able to come up with a recipe for “fasting bread”

What you need:
-3 c. whole wheat flour
-3 c. white flour
-1 c. oats
-1 pkg dry yeast & 1/2 c. warm water
-1 apple peeled and chopped
-1 egg
-2 TBS honey
-1 TBS cinnamon
-2 TBS olive oil
-1 TBS salt
-2 cups very hot water
-1 c. walnuts

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In a medium sized bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup lukewarm water. Cover with a plate and wait a few minutes until bubbly. In a large bowl, combine the flours. Make a well in the flour and add the yeast mixture. Mix a bit.

Reusing the now empty medium bowl, combine Salt, Sugar, Butter, Oil, Raisins, Nuts, 1 beaten egg, and the two cups of very hot water. Pour this over the yeast mixture. Mix/knead the dough, adding flour and or water as needed.

Knead the dough until it comes clean from the bowl. Cover with a plate or towel and let it rise ten minutes. (I often skip this step and the bread still tastes fine) Knead it again until it has spring to it. Place in well greased bowl and cover, letting it rise until doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on room temp.

Form into desired shapes. This will make two large or three medium loaves.

Place in greased pan. Brush the top with remaining egg (if you did not use it in recipe) and sprinkle with sesame seeds, oats or poppy seeds, if desired.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes, until done and golden brown.

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This also makes a yummy snack on non-fasting days as well! Yummy with cream cheese and a slice of apple.

Favorite Banana Bread

This is my own gluten free recipe, but you can substitute the gluten free flour for regular, if you prefer. Either way, it’s great with a cup of coffee!

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Ingredients:
2 cups of all purpose, gluten free flour
4 eggs
1/2 cups of dark chocolate chips [or chunks, i use a mix of both]
1/3 cup of organic coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup of unsweetened apple sauce
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas

Sugar Plum wanted to help in the kitchen… and by “help” I mean she wanted to sit on the floor and grab her feet in my presence.

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I like to freeze my bananas over night, and then thaw them the next day. They don’t look very appetizing after this process…. but its easier than mashing them with a fork. Personally I feel this technique gets you a more intense banana flavor.

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Preheat your oven to 350.
Combine Dry ingredients first, then add wet ingredients such as the extract, bananas, applesauce, etc.
Spray 2 loaf pans with coconut oil or PAM.
Pour mix into pans and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

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This is by far my favorite g-free banana bread recipe and I hope you enjoy it too!

Note: If you do not plan to eat this within 1-2 days, I highly recommend refrigerating it. I microwave refrigerated pieces for 20 secs in the microwave, covering the slice with a paper towel. Enjoy!