juki-tl-2200-qvp-mini

banana muffins

IMG_5350

I always feel like a good mom when my kids come home to a homemade, freshly baked and (reasonably healthy) treat after school.

These banana muffins from an old Cooking Light recipe fit the bill perfectly. I’ve adapted the recipe over the years, moving away from “light” butter and egg whites, and substituting white whole wheat for half of the white flour (they don’t even know).

Here’s the recipe Give it a try. And if you make them into muffins instead of loaves, they are done in 20 minutes. Just in time for an after school treat.

Banana Bread

(adapted from Cooking Light)

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 2/3 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
1/4 cup skim milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray

Directions:

Combine sugar and butter in a bowl; beat at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended. Add banana, milk, sour cream, and egg whites; beat well, and set aside.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt; stir well. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture, beating until blended.

Spoon batter into a loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for  1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Let cool completely on wire rack.

For muffins, set the oven to 400° and cook for 18-20 minutes.

juki-tl-2200-qvp-mini

easy sunday

I been thinking a lot about time. And weekends. And using the both of them well. I think we nailed it today. I woke up today thinking that it would be fun to go out to breakfast (something we do very rarely). But while I sipped my morning coffee and scrolled through my blog feed, I happened upon this recipe for and Apple Pancake. I’ve always wanted to make a Dutch Baby, but keep forgetting. Thinking that this seemed basically like the same thing, and the fact that I had all the ingredients, it seemed the perfect Sunday morning breakfast. Maybe even better than going out.

1-IMG_4199

It came out delicious, but not as fluffy as I was expecting. No matter, it was basically like having apple pie for breakfast! Now that we were off to a good start, I started thinking about what other fun things we could do. We decided on a short hike and lunch out. We all threw on some shorts, grabbed the dog, and headed out. The only thing we were missing was the Girl, who is gone doing other fun things this weekend.

1-IMG_4213

I live in Southern California, and in case you haven’t heard, we are in the middle of a huge drought. Never was that more evident that out in the hills. Dry though it is, there was still a lot of beauty there. We even spied the reservoir, which was the only water to be seen.

1-IMG_4224

1-IMG_4225

1-IMG_4222

1-IMG_4241

1-IMG_4265

Now I feel perfectly entitled to spend the rest of the afternoon knitting, quilting, embroidering, and drinking tea.

Hope your Sunday was fun and restful.

juki-tl-2200-qvp-mini

november

1-IMG_3718

Here it is a week into November and I still haven’t processed that it’s fall. That’s probably in part due to the fact that it is 85 degrees outside. The biggest clue I have to the fact that we are headed straight for Christmas is that it actually cools down at night. Which is such a relief.

1-IMG_3766

1-IMG_3811

1-IMG_3743

1-IMG_3815

I am trying to get ahead of the holidays this year and start doing things that will help me to enjoy them, instead of feeling stressed. Two things that worked out well for me last year is to complete the family calendar, that I make for my dad and siblings, before Thanksgiving. I pulled this off last year and what a difference it made! Also, to take our Christmas card picture early in November and get those cards ordered! I actually love sitting down with a cup of tea and a Christmas movie in December to address them. It’s just getting them printed that stresses me out.

So, November to do list:

1. Complete Dad’s Calendar

2. Take Christmas card picture and order cards

Other than that I want to make sure that I get in exercise, crafting, baking and spending time with friends and family. Because, really that’s what it’s all about.

{adorable embroidery pattern by the talented Minki Kim}

 

juki-tl-2200-qvp-mini

this week in my kitchen

A busy week for us, winding up the school year. But there is always something happening in the kitchen.

Once a week, the kids have to cook dinner, we call it Kids Cook Night. The Girl is perfecting her Pasta with Red Sauce technique, and is quite good! Here’s what she looks like while she tends the pot.

IMG_1969IMG_1971

Baked Chicken Parmesan from Skinnytaste is another people-pleaser in our house. Everyone else had pasta as a side dish, but I skipped it this time.IMG_1976-001

My favorite way to eat the rainbow, chicken stirfry.

IMG_2097IMG_2101And tea, there is always tea.

IMG_1800And caramel brownies to celebrate 8th grade promotion (which is what the call graduation now, apparently).IMG_2085

Linking up with Heather at Beauty That Moves. Click over to be inspired!

juki-tl-2200-qvp-mini

this week in my kitchen

All kinds of things happening in the kitchen this week, starting off with Chocolate Chip Scones on Sunday morning.

09-IMG_171608-IMG_172207-IMG_1729

Always a favorite over here is Chicken Piccata Pasta Toss from Rachael Ray.10-IMG_1663 1-IMG_1670

I just made up a recipe for shrimp fajitas, which were pretty good, but I’ve got some notes on how to improve them next time (buy cleaned and deveined shrimp and add jalapenos to the pepper mix).04-IMG_178801-30 shrimp fajitas

My neighbor Minki sent down a delicious plate of chicken topped with pesto and hot pepper. It was delish.06-IMG_1743

And another batch of banana bread. One topped with chocolate chips. That one was gone the first day.05-IMG_1783

It was nice to have on hand when a friend stopped by for tea and a chat. It was so nice to be able to sit outside and enjoy the beautiful weather.02-4 teaLinking up with Heather at Beauty that Moves. Pop on over there to get all kinds of kitchen inspiration.

 

juki-tl-2200-qvp-mini

cookies


Chocolate chip cookies are the absolute favorite cookies in our house. I’ve tinkered with many recipes over the years and this one has emerged as the all-time favorite. I rarely have to make them myself anymore, as my daughter has taken over as the Head Cookie Baker. However, I did whip up these the other day for Boy #1 to take to school for a party.

26 cookies 126 cookies 226 cookies 31 cookies 21 cookiesHere’s the recipe, I think the difference is the bread flour, but it works with all purpose flour too. If I have time, I refrigerate the dough a bit. The cookies come out a little thicker that way. We often don’t make actual cookies, but put the dough in a pan and make cookie bars. That has become the favorite, because the are thick and gooey. On this day, I doubled the recipe and did both, cookies to give away, and cookie bars to keep. Enjoy! (My daughter named the recipe :))

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

Ingredients:

2 3/4 c. bread flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 bag  (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; set aside

3. In large bowl combine butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract; beat until creamy

4. Beat in eggs

5. Gradually add flour mixture

6. Stir in chocolate chips

7. Refrigerate dough for an hour (this is optional, but results in thicker cookies)

8. Drop by level measuring tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets

9. Bake at 375 degrees for 11 to 12 minutes

10. Take cookies out of the oven, let them cool slightly on the cookie sheet, and then remove to cooling rack to cool

Cookie Bar Variation:

Put dough in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Cook at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.