Oat Choc-Chip Banana Bread

That right there’s a long title, but a scrumptiously simple recipe. I’m sending a virtual high five to the lady who submitted this recipe. I found it from Taste of Home. Check it out! I made a few changes though, so below is my own adaptation of it.

Changes:

  • I didn’t have the mini-chocolate chips that she calls for, so I used 1/2 cup of regular chips instead.
  • I substituted shortening for good ‘ol butter.
  • She recommends using instant oats but I love the look, texture, and durability of Old Fashioned Oats – so I used those instead as well. They held up beautifully in the baking process!

My version of this recipe: 

  • 1/2 cup unsalted softened Butter
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 3 very ripe Bananas
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 3/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned Oats
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet Chocolate Chips

Here’s what happened:

STEP 1

In a bowl or mixer (low to medium speed) combine the sugar, softened butter, and eggs all until smooth.

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STEP 2

Peel and add the 3 over-ripe bananas to the sugar/butter mixture.6O9C2517

STEP 3

Add in the baking soda, baking powder, and salt. 6O9C2522

STEP 4

Gradually add in the flour, then the oats, then finally the chocolate chips. 6O9C2524

STEP 5

Pour the mixture into a greased bread pan, and place in a pre-heated oven. 6O9C2528

STEP 6

Your timer should  be set to 40 minutes, then check on it for 10-15 minutes. 50-55 minutes total should do the trick, but as ovens vary – just check on it starting around 40 minutes.

STEP 7

Check the center to make sure it’s fully cooked. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes.

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ENJOY! Hubby and I sure did. It should last the week if it’s just you and a spouse/roomie…but if you have a large household or lots of housemates, it’ll be gone by the end of the day.

Happy banana baking!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

It’s a recipe for fall, y’all! It’s been a while since I’ve posted…anything. I started two other special posts which have both been patiently waiting to be finished and published, but work kinda took over while I was traveling so I’ll get ’em up this week. Promise!

What’s up next? So glad you asked! Two new “TOP 5” posts: one is on my top five travel tips, while the other is on my top five tips for those of you considering blogging. Stay tuned!

Snow!I’m really excited to share both of those, but just for today I had to start with this bad boy of a post in honor of a perfecly snowy Sunday here in Oklahoma! We only got a little snow…but of the little we got – it was enough to inspire the crazy wannabe baker in me to get started. I felt compelled to bake something pumpkin-like with the cans of pumpkin puree lining the aisles at the local grocery store, the fire in our fireplace, and the simple fact that I’m home. Home home home.

I love being home.

I found a recipe that deliveres a perfect little dose of pumpkin as my favorite season of autumn comes to a close: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins. High fives for this post goes out to Marg from food.com – thanks for the recipe!

Now, I’ll have you know that before I left for my last two week stretch of work-travel back East, I put on my fancy pants and actually made pumpkin puree from scratch. Like, from an actual pumpkin…not a can. Totally did! I was so proud of myself. I followed the instructions from my favorite Oklahoma homecook, Ree Drummond. Check out how to make it from scratch here: Homemade Pumpkin Puree.

I made it, froze it, and when I came back from my trip it was gone. Gone. I was devistated. No wonder Justin Timberlake wrote a song about it. Gone. It’s heartbreaking to make something from scratch and then have to start over when you’re toooootally not in the mood. It wasn’t Sean’s fault, btw. Just for the record – there was an issue with our new fridge/freezer’s power while I was gone and the poor guy had to throw everything out and buy new stuff. Sooooo those cans of pumpkin puree were lookin’ pretty good today.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients

2 Eggs (the picture above looks like 3, but 1 was a double yolk…so I just went with it!)

1 cup – Sugar

1/2 can (8 oz) – Pumpkin Purree

1 & 1/4 cups – Canola or Veg Oil

1/2 tsp – Vanilla Extract

1 tsp – Ground Cinnamon

1 tsp – Baking Powder

1 tsp – Baking Soda

1/2 tsp – Salt

6-8 oz – Semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

*Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.

STEP 1:

Mix the eggs, pumpkin puree, vanilla, and oil into a bowl until it’s nice and smoooooooth lookin’.

STEP 2:

Then add the cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

STEP 3:

Easy, right? Then the flour…in stages. Dumping it in all at once means that you will be wearing most of the flour. Ain’t no time for that. So add it in slowly, but steadily. It’ll look like this: Steps 1 and 2

STEP 4:

Then, remove the whisk/paddle/whatever if you’re using an electric mixer, and make sure you fold in the chocolate chips with a spoon/spatula.

STEP 5:

I’m a HUGE fan of these parchment paper wrappers. They’re so easy. Now, this recipe calls for about 15 muffins but I wasn’t about to use two different trays, so I just made all 12 a little larger and it worked out beautifully. So, either spray or greeze the pan or fill the paper cups about half way. IMG_7821

STEP 6:

Into the oven they go for about 20 minutes or less! 20 minutes was great for these rockstars since I filled ’em pretty well.

STEP 7:

Let them cool for about 5 minutes and enjoy!!! IMG_7846

Boom. Delicious muffins prepared, baked, and enjoyed in under an hour.

Happy baking!

 

A Tale of Two Muffins

This morning I woke up, made myself a cup of coffee, and watched the 8:30 a.m. episode of The Pioneer Woman – pretty standard Saturday morning so far. Ree made her precious family  some cinnamon sugar muffins to kick off some hard work on their beautiful Oklahoma farm. And then it happened. My eyes widened…my caffeine-induced energy spiked…and I wanted to bake. There was no stopping me. I turned to Sean…

Me: So I wanna bake something. I think muffins.

Sean: Chocolate chip and banana.

Me: No bananas.

Sean: Chocolate chip and cinnamon.

Me: Hmmmm….I was thinking about apple cinnamon. I’m pretty sure I want apple cinnamon.

Sean: Chocolate chip…and….chocolate chip…….chocolate…….chip.

Hehe. He’s pretty cute. But oohhh it was ON! Who was gonna win this battle? Luckily – brilliance stepped in.

I researched a few simple apple cinnamon recipes scattered online and decided to adjust the basics to my own variation for the batter and then split it into two separate bowls right before adding the final key ingredient. Problem solved! One dozen muffins – 6 apple cinnamon, 6 cinnamon chocolate chip.

As Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman, says, “Here’s the cast of characters:

Flour – 1 1/2 cups

White Sugar – 1/2 cup

Light Brown Sugar – 1/4 cup

Baking Powder – 1 1/2 teaspoons

Ground Cinnamon – 1 teaspoon

Ground Nutmeg – 1/8 teaspoon (or…just 3-5 sprinkles if it has a filter)

Milk – 1/2 cup

Unsalted Butter (melted) – 1/2 cup

Salt – 1/4 teaspoon

1 Egg (slightly beaten)

1 Apple (pealed, cored, and diced up into little cubes)

1/2 cup of Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

Penzeys Spices

I’ve gotta add a little shout out here to my girl Jeanne for her contribution to this recipe. For my 30th birthday back in February she and her husband, Travis, gave me some AMAZING Penzeys spices. You better believe I packed these bad boys up carefully when we moved from MD to OK last month. It was time to break out the Penzeys nutmeg and cinnamon for today’s little tale. Jeanne’s fellow blogger who loves to try new recipes, so be sure to check out her delicious recipes here: Jeanne’s Kitchen!

And there you have it! The entire “cast of characters” needed for my own little adjusted recipe for 6 apple cinnamon muffins and 6 cinnamon chocolate chip muffins. Be sure to PRE-HEAT your oven to 375 degrees. Now, here’s how “the tale of two muffins” unfolded:

STEP 1

Combine the flour, white sugar, light brown sugar, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon and nutmeg together in a bowl/mixer.

STEP 2

Add in the milk, melted butter, and slightly beaten egg to the dry ingredients. Stir slowly, or have the mixer on low. Combine until it looks all fabulous…like this:

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STEP 3

Are you on the edge of your seat!?! Here’s where the magic happens. Separate the batter evenly into two bowls. In one bowl add as much chocolate chips as you’d like. In the other, yes – very good, add the diced up cubes of apple. I didn’t use the whole apple by the way. I only really used like, half of it. You can use as much as you’d like…but be mindful of how the apple will create way more moisture in the muffins depending on how much you add.

STEP 4

Grease or spray a 12-cup muffin pan. Fill 6 with the apple cinnamon batter and the other 6 with the chocolate cinnamon batter. Then, into the oven it goes for 18 minutes.

6O9C1974STEP 5

Check on them periodically, but 18 minutes at 375 degrees should definitely do the trick. Take them out and let them sit for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt a tablespoon of butter and brush it over ONLY the six apple cinnamon muffins. Then…sprinkle over a little sugar! Tehe!

STEP 6

Woooohoooo! Enjoy. We sure did. We each thought our original preference was the best. Sean loved the Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Muffins, while I loved the Apple Cinnamon Muffins.

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The beauty of this recipe is that you can add anything to it. There are so many possible variations to the key ingredient that you could play around with, like…blueberries with a little lemon or orange zest thrown in there? Heck yeah! Or maybe go a little crazy during the holidays and make some white chocolate chip and cranberry muffins with this batter. Ooohhhh the possibilities 🙂

Happy baking, friends!

 

Homemade Sweetness

Has your home recently been taken over by the sweet smell of summer, with a hint of strawberries and sugar? No? WHAT?! Would you like it too? ‘Cause mine has, and I can’t stop smiling. Wanna know our secret? Our home recently experienced its first strawberry jam creation, and I am forever grateful to have learned how to make this traditionally store-bought item into a scrumptious homemade reality.

Wanna learn how to make this sweet jammy goodness? It’s easy as pie. But we’re not making pie, so it’s a little different (<–that’s a joke, for those of you who aren’t used to my old man humor yet). But seriously, folks, it’s very easy to make. Watch what happens:

Step numero uno involves boiling the Masons in hot water. WHAT?! No, not myself and my fiance, Sean Mason, but actual Mason jars. Apparently it’s recommended to boil the Mason jars (or whatever jars you choose to use) in hot water first, just to make sure that all germs are totally gone.

Step two is to get excited…because here come the STRAWBERRIES!!!! I got these gorgeous strawberries from Trader Joe’s. And if I haven’t said this a hundred times yet…then let me say it again…I LOVE Trader Joe’s. Freshest, most reasonably priced fruits and veggies in town. Take a look at how beautiful they are. They should win the next Miss America pageant:

Step three is to chop them up. This part took a while, but I think that chopping fruits and veggies is one of the best moments of cooking. It’s a rare moment where you get to appreciate what the meal/creation once was in its raw form, before setting it on fire or adding 4,738,890 ingredients to it to make a different outcome. It’s a chance to appreciate what you’re starting with. Here’s how finely I decided to chop the strawberries:

Step four relies on a masher of some sort. Now, when I look for recipes online for something this simple, I tend to follow three or more recipes at once, just to keep track of fun ways to spice it up a bit. As for mashing up the strawberries, some recipes recommended using a blender, while others just told me to mash it up and left it to me to figure out the process on my own. We have a blender, but I decided to get a little work out and used our metal masher:

Half way through mashing this stuff up I was pretty impressed to see how much juice it created! I get it, it’s fruit, but still…it’s sometimes not until you squeeze out the juice from a strawberry until you realize how juicy it is. Anywho…this is the consistency that I decided to stop at:

Step five may be a little terrifying. You MIGHT want to prepare yourself for this one. I had to take out tons of sugar from some of these recipes because, even I thought it was calling for too much. Basically, use your own judgement…but the sugar should be added gradually, and to taste. After chopping the strawberries, I had roughly 3 cups of chopped strawberries to use. Knowing that, I used about a cup and a half of sugar which, again, was HALF of what the recipes called for. Now…I love me some sugar…we all know that…but I really thought it was calling for too much. So to add a little more to the fun, I brought in my good friends: cinnamon and nutmeg! I just added a few dabs of each here and there until I was happy. Also, the recipes called for a 1/4 cup of lemon juice, but all we had was a lime. Good enough for me! Lime actually made it pretty tasty! I squeezed the whole lime for juice and added it right into the pot.

Step 6 – Fire it up! Start slow with a low heat, then once everything is mixed in properly, slowly bring it up to a “rolling boil” for a good 10 to 15 minutes. Stir it a lot. Thankfully this didn’t happen to me, but some of the comments from multiple recipes included people who burned the pan or found that it would all thicken too quickly. I luckily didn’t run into that problem, and just stirred it as consistently as I could:

Step 7 means that when it looks like the photo above – it’s time to stop boiling. Take your super clean Mason jars (they should still be warm at this point) and add the strawberry pre-jam mixture (more like thick syrupie mixture at this point) right on in. The amount I had fit perfectly into one jar:

Step 8 includes simply sealing this bad boy down, flipping it over onto a cloth since it’s “so hot right now” (<–hehe … another joke!), and immediately putting it in the fridge (yes, upside down).

Done and done in eight easy steps!!! And do you know what eight means?! “New beginnings.” This little creation was totally meant for Newlie! I’m so happy I made it, and I can’t wait to try it out with our new tuscany bread (also from Trader Joe’s!) tomorrow morning for breakfast. Apparently you have to let it sit in the fridge for 24 to 48 hours. I kept tasting it a little throughout the whole cooking process though, and it was so yummy.

Have any of you made this before? If so, do you have any new recommendations for me to perfect this recipe!? I plan on making this A LOT from now on, and would love to hear your thoughts. Let me know!

Happy cooking.

Made in America

This past Memorial Day was so refreshing for me and Sean. I hope it was for you too! There’s just something about having a day to “be” that properly rejuvenates your soul.  It could’ve been just you and your own thoughts, a good book, or a fabulous T.V. show marathon for a few rare, peaceful hours. Maybe you were able to spend the day with your family – appreciating this great country with those who know you better than anyone and love you more than words can say. Or, maybe you had the chance to catch up with great friends, new or old, laughing hysterically throughout the day.

Wherever you were yesterday, I hope it was blissful.

On that note, I’d like to share that two very proud little Americans, Miss Katherine and Mr. Sean, have both completed some homemade projects just in time for Memorial Day. Wanna see?…..YAY!!! Here we go…..

Ladies and Gentlemen…Sean Mason….my man….built….by hand…a brick patio!!!! See it for yourself: 

I’m in love with him!

Yes. He built this with his own two hands. I’m so proud of him! Give it up for SEAN KARL MASON, everyone!!! In an effort to be more than just his little cheerleader, I helped a little with two side projects: Adirondack Chairs and Blueberry Pie. Here’s my documentation: 

Success! Shout out to Home Depot for providing these chairs for $30 each. All we had to do was put the pieces together, stain them…and badaBING badaBOOM! They were ours, and they were quite classy if I do say so myself 🙂 Now onto my blueberry pie:

Nutmeg + Cinnamon + SUUUUGARRRR + Flour + Lemon Zest

Yaaaaay!!!!!

Pie was delicious. Sean LITERALLY licked the plate he loved it so much. You’re welcome, for not taking a photo of that part. But seriously…it was a delight to make. It made my soul so happy! Let’s fast forward a little to the afternoon where all of Sean’s work (which started only weeks ago) on our new beautiful brick patio was completed, our burgers were ready, and my favorite Bud Light Lime was chillin’ like a villan waiting for me:

So much happiness…Stella was exhausted 🙂