RECIPE: Homemade Banana Bread

RECIPE: Homemade Banana Bread
I’ve felt the urge to bake these past few weeks, but haven’t brought myself to turn on the oven with our 90+ degree heat wave here in Portland. It’s finally starting to cool down (to the 80’s), so I decided I was finally ready to use up my over-ripe bananas and turn on the oven. The best time for baking during the summer is either early in the morning, or late at night (the ‘cool’ hours of summer). Since I’m more of a night owl, I decided to stay up late and bake a yummy loaf of banana bread while watching a movie. I have to say, the best part of late-night baking is waking up the next morning to a fresh slice of banana bread and coffee for breakfast!

RECIPE: Homemade Banana Bread

Homemade Banana Bread
 
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Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 ripe bananas
  • 1½ cups flour (I used 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour + ½ cup all-purpose)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup walnuts, crushed or chopped
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a small loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Add in the eggs, beating well after each one. Then add the vanilla and bananas, beat until just combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Use a whisk to stir well. Slowly pour flour mixture into the electric mixer and beat on low until combined. Stir in the walnuts.
  4. Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Enjoy with coffee or tea in the morning or as an afternoon snack. Yum!

RECIPE: Homemade Banana Bread

RECIPE: Mango Salsa With Garden Cilantro

RECIPE: Mango Salsa with Garden Cilantro #homegrown

Mango salsa is one of my all-time favorite dishes to make. Loading up a bowl of it with chips is one of my favorite summer-time meals. This year I planted some cilantro seeds in my garden and couldn’t wait to harvest it and try out a recipe from Doreen Shababy’s book, The Wild & Weedy Apothecary. Doreen’s book is a wonderful resource for any budding herbalist as it’s bursting with herbal recipes and remedies.

RECIPE: Mango Salsa with Garden Cilantro

About growing cilantro…

This was my second attempt at growing cilantro from seed. Cilantro can be a little tricky as it tends to bolt (spring up flowers) rather quickly, especially in hot weather. Cilantro thrives is cool, moist weather, so with our recent heat wave here in the Pacific Northwest there was nothing I could do to prevent my cilantro from sending up it’s long, spindly flowers. So instead of fretting over it, I just planting some new seeds to begin another crop.

Some growing tips:

– For a continuous crop all season long, plant cilantro seeds every two weeks.
– Plant in a container at least 18 inches wide and 8-10 inches deep.
– Follow the planting instructions on your seed packet. Seeds should germinate in 7-10 days.
– Place containers in full sun, or if you live in a hot climate, light shade.
– Harvest at least weekly to keep leaves coming.

RECIPE: Mango Salsa with Garden Cilantro

Now on to the salsa recipe. I made up a double batch so that I could take some to a friend’s birthday party and save some for myself 🙂

Mango Salsa With Garden Cilantro
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: Approx. 4 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 ripe mangos, ripe, coarsely chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (remove seeds if you like it mild)
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 scallions, sliced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Cayenne pepper, optional
  • Salt, optional
Instructions
  1. Peel and chop up the mangos (if you've never cut open a mango before, the pit is large, long and flat, so you basically cut around the pit). Combine all ingredients and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Then taste and add a dash of cayenne and salt if needed.

RECIPE: Mango Salsa with Garden Cilantro

Serve this yummy salsa as an appetizer with chips, over fish or shrimp tacos, or even use it to garnish chicken dishes.

RECIPE: Mango Salsa with Garden Cilantro

RECIPE: Oven-Roasted Chickpeas, The Nut-Free Snack Sensation

IMG_9398
I have never been a big fan of tree nuts (and I despise peanuts) so it wasn’t a big deal when I noticed that I was allergic to them; but it does make vegetarian life a little more complicated. Nuts seem to be the go-to protein rich snack, and I’ve spent years trying to find the perfect replacement.

One day Safety Husband brought home a pouch of oven-roasted garbanzo beans, and I had an aha moment.

Oven roasted beans! Crispy! Crunchy! Fulfilling! Portable! Amazing!

So I set out to make my own. I decided to start with dry beans to ensure maximum crunchiness, but there are also recipes online that use canned chickpeas/garbanzo beans. I found directions from America’s Test Kitchen, but have made several changes to better suit my taste (and experience. The hour suggested by ATK is way too long, in my experience.)

RECIPE: Oven-Roasted Chickpeas
 
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These oven-roasted chickpeas are salty, crunchy, and keep for days in a sealed container. Perfect for road trips, camping trips, or any other time you need a protein rich snack. *Plan a day ahead- you will need to soak the dried beans overnight.
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: American
Ingredients
  • 1 pound dried chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Dried spices to taste
Instructions
  1. The day before cooking, place the dried beans in a bowl and cover with water. The beans will absorb a lot of the water, so make sure to cover by at least an inch of water.
  2. After the beans have soaked for at least 12 hours, drain and rinse them well with clean water.
  3. Spread the beans out on a towel, and dab them with another towel until they are quite dry.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  5. Place the beans back into a dry bowl, and slowly pour olive oil over them. You want to use the oil quite sparingly. Mix the beans with your hand ensuring each bean has a light coating of oil.
  6. Lightly sprinkle with salt (to taste). You will be adding additional salt and spices at the end.
  7. Lay the beans out in a single layer on a lined cookie sheet. Don't pack them too tightly on the pan, you will need space to stir. Place on middle rack in pre warmed oven.
  8. Every 5-10 minutes you will want to check the beans, and stir to redistribute. The beans near the outside of the pan will brown more quickly.
  9. Watch for them to turn a rich medium brown (about 35 minutes), then remove them from the oven to cool. (You can also taste-test cooled beans from time to time to check if they are crunchy.) While they are still warm, sprinkle your favorite spice mix, and more salt to taste. (I kept these simple with just a little garlic powder.)
  10. When the beans have cooled, place them in an air-tight container. They will keep for at least a few days before getting stale (less crispy.)

 

Step by Step Instructions

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The day before cooking, place the dried beans in a bowl and cover with water. The beans will absorb a lot of the water, so make sure to cover by at least an inch of water.

After the beans have soaked for at least 12 hours, drain and rinse them well with clean water.

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Spread the beans out on a towel and dab them with another towel until they are quite dry.Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

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Place the beans back into a dry bowl, and slowly pour olive oil over them. You want to use the oil quite sparingly. Mix the beans with your hand ensuring each bean has a light coating of oil.

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Lightly sprinkle with salt (to taste). You will be adding additional salt and spices at the end.

IMG_9342
Lay the beans out in a single layer on a lined cookie sheet. Don’t pack them too tightly on the pan, you will need space to stir. Place on middle rack in pre warmed oven.

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Every 5-10 minutes you will want to check the beans, and stir to redistribute. The beans near the outside of the pan will brown more quickly.

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Watch for them to turn a rich medium brown (about 35 minutes), then remove them from the oven to cool. (You can also taste-test cooled beans from time to time to check if they are crunchy.)

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While they are still warm, sprinkle your favorite spice mix, and more salt to taste. (I kept these simple with just a little garlic powder.)
When the beans have cooled, place them in an air-tight container. They will keep for at least a few days before getting stale (less crispy.)

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Or, you know, just eat them before someone else does.

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RECIPE: Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies

RECIPE: Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies #dessert #herbs #spring #treat
Last week I harvested some fresh thyme from my garden to make a seasoning salt. What I’ve been waiting until now to tell you is that I also made cookies! While researching different things I could make with the flavors of Lemon and Thyme I came across salad dressings, cakes, and even a bruschetta recipe. While I can’t wait to try all of these ideas, I decided on a simple shortbread recipe since I already had the ingredients on hand. The result was a light, refreshingly sweet cookie perfect for enjoying with a cup of tea.

Add a little something extra…

Unfortunately I was in the midst of a flair up while baking these (I suffer from chronic neck and back pain), which meant that I wasn’t able to make the earl grey glaze I was planning on. So I invite you to try it out and let me know how it tastes!

RECIPE: Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies #dessert #herbs #spring #treat

5.0 from 1 reviews
Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: Approx. 24 cookies
Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1¼ cups flour
  • Course sugar or granulated sugar
Instructions
  1. In a large mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on high until combined. Next mix in the thyme, lemon peel, lemon juice and cardamom. Slowly add the flour a little at a time and mix until a dough is formed.
  2. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to cool for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to ¼ inch thick and cut out with your favorite cookie cutter (or you could simply use a knife to cut small squares). Sprinkle cutouts with sugar and place onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
  4. Bake 12-15 minutes or until edges are just lightly brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool. Makes approx. 24 cookies.

 

RECIPE: Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies #dessert #herbs #spring #treat

RECIPE: Lemon Thyme Salt

RECIPE: Lemon Thyme Salt #seasoning #homemade
Earlier this week I shared a sweet recipe for infusing sugar. Today I’m going to share a savory recipe for one of my favorite seasonings, salt! My thyme plant has become a bit unruly in my garden so I decided to prune and harvest some to make a seasoning salt. Lemon has become one of my favorite flavors and it pairs perfectly with fresh thyme so I knew I had to try this recipe from Have Cake, Will Travel.

RECIPE: Lemon Thyme Salt #seasoning #homemade

Lemon Thyme Salt
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Seasoning
Serves: Approx. ½ cup
Ingredients
  • ½ cup fine grain sea salt
  • Zest from 2 medium organic lemons
  • Leaves from approximately 20 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1½ teaspoons onion powder
Instructions
  1. Combine ingredients in a food processor or clean coffee grinder and pulse several thymes until well blended. The more you pulse, the finer your salt will become.
  2. Store in an airtight container. Will keep at room temperature indefinitely.

I love using this salt to season chicken, fish or spring veggies. You can use it instead of normal salt anytime you think the flavors of lemon and thyme would enhance your dish.

RECIPE: Lemon Thyme Salt #seasoning #homemade

RECIPE: Flower Infused Sugar

RECIPE: Flower Infused Sugar #diycraftchallenge #herbs #infusion #diy

While out and about last week, I slipped into a local bookstore to browse for a few minutes. With no intention of buying anything, I of course walked out with a new book, Herbal Goddess by Amy Jirsa. The book is filled with gorgeous photos of herbal remedies, recipes and potions. Amy discusses 12 of her favorite herbs, how they effect the mind, body, spirit and pairs each one with a yoga pose. I was hooked!

I’ve been looking for new ways to incorporate some of my favorite herbs into my cooking, particularly roses. So I decided to try out Amy’s recipe for infusing sugar. For fun, I chose three different (edible) flowers to try: rose, lavender and chamomile.

RECIPE: Flower Infused Sugar #diycraftchallenge #herbs #infusion #diy

Flower Infused Sugar
 
Author:
Recipe type: Infusion
Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • • ⅓ cup dried herbs or edible flowers
  • • 2 cups organic sugar (white or brown)
Instructions
  1. Pour herbs into a quart size mason jar. Cover with two cups of sugar and close with a lid. Give it a good shake and let sit in a cool, dry place for two weeks (giving it a good shake every day).

 

RECIPE: Flower Infused Sugar #diycraftchallenge #herbs #infusion #diy

More infusions to try:

Vanilla, citrus (lemon, lime, orange), ginger, rosemary, mint

Use your infused sugar just like you would regular sugar! Sweeten your tea or coffee, use it to bake cookies and cakes, and have fun experimenting!

RECIPE: Flower Infused Sugar #diycraftchallenge #herbs #infusion #diy

RECIPE: Frida’s Guacamole with Chipotle Peppers

RECIPE: Frida's Guacamole with Chipotle Peppers #recipe #fridakahlo

If I could have dinner with anyone in history, it would be Frida Kahlo and I would want her to cook! A few years ago I treated myself to a copy of the book, Frida’s Fiestas: Recipes and Reminiscences of Life with Frida Kahlo by Guadalupe Rivera (Diego Rivera‘s daughter) and Marie-Pierre Colle (a Mexican-French journalist). The book is organized by month and includes 12 of Frida’s dinner menus along with stories about Frida and Diego’s life together. This book is bursting with wonderful photos of Frida and the delicious food she loved to make. I’ve poured over the recipes in this book for years, but have been too afraid to try anything, worrying about tracking down the right ingredients.

RECIPE: Frida's Guacamole with Chipotle Peppers #recipe #fridakahlo

Finally, I spotted a simple recipe for guacamole and new I had to try it! I tried to follow Frida’s recipe exactly with the exception of adding lime juice. I had never thought of using chipotle peppers instead of jalapeño in my guacamole, but the result was delicious!

The Recipe

Start by placing 4 chipotle chiles in a small bowl and pouring hot water over the top. Let stand for 10 minutes.

RECIPE: Frida's Guacamole with Chipotle Peppers #recipe #fridakahlo

Next slice the avocados in half and remove the pits. I mashed two avocados and left the other two in cubes. Chop up the onion, tomato and cilantro. Drain water from chiles and chop. Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir until combined. Season with salt (to taste).

RECIPE: Frida's Guacamole with Chipotle Peppers #recipe #fridakahlo

Notes: I also added a squeeze of 1/2 a lime and about 1 tablespoon of the adobe sauce from the chiles.

RECIPE: Frida's Guacamole with Chipotle Peppers #recipe #fridakahlo

Guacamole with Chipotle Peppers
 
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Adapted from the book, Frida's Fiestas by Guadalupe Rivera.
Author:
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 ripe but firm avocados, peeled
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 4 chipotle chiles in marinade, chopped
  • Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Soak the chiles in hot water for 10 minutes, combine all the ingredients and mix well.
  2. Note: I also added a squeeze of ½ a lime and about 1 tablespoon of the adobe sauce from the chiles.

RECIPE: Frida's Guacamole with Chipotle Peppers #recipe #fridakahlo
RECIPE: Frida's Guacamole with Chipotle Peppers #recipe #fridakahlo

I hope you’ll be inspired to try this recipe tomorrow for Cinco de Mayo!

RECIPE: Rainbow Bars for St. Patrick’s Day

RECIPE: Rainbow Bars for St. Patrick's Day #dessert #treat

I love anything involving rainbows and couldn’t resist trying out this recipe for Rainbow (Fruit Loop) Treats this St. Patrick’s Day. Just like Rice Krispie Treats, these are super easy to make and are the perfect treat to hand out to coworkers or classmates.

RECIPE: Rainbow Bars for St. Patrick's Day #dessert #treat

Rainbow Bars for St. Patrick's Day
 
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Author:
Cuisine: Dessert
Ingredients
  • 12 cups Fruit Loops cereal
  • 16 oz mini marshmallows
  • 6 tablespoons margarine
Instructions
  1. Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray. In a saucepan, melt the margarine over medium heat. Then add in the marshmallows a little at a time. Stir constantly until the marshmallows have melted completely. Remove from heat.
  2. Pour Fruit Loops cereal into a large bowl and pour the marshmallow mix over the top. Using a buttered spatula (to prevent sticking), stir cereal until it is evenly coated with marshmallow. Then press it into the prepared pan (I used my hands for this- just make sure to butter whatever you use so that you don’t get caught in a sticky mess!) Chill until set then cut into bars.

RECIPE: Rainbow Bars for St. Patrick's Day #dessert #treat

RECIPE: Rainbow Bars for St. Patrick's Day #dessert #treat

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RECIPE: Crunchy Tuna Cat Treats

RECIPE: Crunchy Tuna Cat Treats #catlover

I will admit I’m a bit of a crazy cat lady. There’s just something about those moody, independent fur-balls that I can’t seem to get enough of. That’s why I decided to whip up some homemade cat treats for my favorite felines, Simba (the fat orange tabby) and Dinah (the tiny brown tabby).

RECIPE: Crunchy Tuna Cat Treats #catlover

After the treats cooled from the oven, Simba graciously volunteered to pose for the camera while doing the all-important taste-test. Dinah is much more camera shy, so you’ll just have to settle for Simba’s two paws up review!

First things first, you’ll want to make oat flour. You can do this by simply grinding old-fashioned oats in a clean coffee grinder until transformed into a light powder.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

RECIPE: Crunchy Tuna Cat Treats #catlover

Combine all ingredients in a food processer with the blade attachment. Blend until mixture is smooth.

RECIPE: Crunchy Tuna Cat Treats #catlover

Roll into small ½ teaspoon balls and place onto the parchment. Press a finger each ball to flatten slightly.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until they are slightly browned. Cool completely before surprising your kitty with a treat made just for them!

RECIPE: Crunchy Tuna Cat Treats #catlover

5.0 from 1 reviews
Crunchy Tuna Cat Treats
 
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Author:
Serves: Approx. 3 Dozen
Ingredients
  • 1 (5 oz) can tuna in water, drained
  • ½ cup oat flour*
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 heaping tablespoon catnip
Instructions
  1. *To make your own oat flour, simply grind old-fashioned oats in a clean coffee grinder until transformed into a light powder.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a food processer with the blade attachment. Blend until mixture is smooth.
  4. Roll into small ½ teaspoon balls and place onto the parchment. Press a finger each ball to flatten slightly.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes until they are slightly browned. Cool completely before surprising your kitty with a treat made just for them!

RECIPE: Crunchy Tuna Cat Treats #catlover

RECIPE: Guinness Chocolate Syrup

Guinness Chocolate Syrup #stpatricksday #dessert

I ‘pinned’ this recipe a long time ago and with St. Patrick’s Day coming up, I had the perfect opportunity to give it a try. One of my favorite treats is having a bowl of vanilla ice cream covered in chocolate syrup. Simply delicious! I made up a double batch of this syrup and brought it to a dinner party (along with some ice cream of course) to serve with dessert. Everyone loved it!

Guinness Chocolate Syrup #recipe #stpatricksday #dessert

Guinness Chocolate Syrup
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Guinness beer
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium size pot. Place pot onto the stove and whisk until smooth. Continue whisking and bring the syrup just to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool before bottling. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes 2 cups.

Note: Do not leave your kitchen while you are bringing the chocolate to a boil! Watch it like a hawk and turn down the heat as soon as it starts to bubble. It can boil over in an instant, so keep an eye on it or else you’ll end up with a chocolaty stove to clean (I learned this the hard way).

Guinness Chocolate Syrup #recipe #stpatricksday #dessert

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