Thursday, January 28, 2010

beth's banana bread biscotti

i am quickly becoming a biscotti junkie. biscotti are so simple to make, versatile, low fat and just dang tasty. i had two spotty bananas that i hated to throw out, so rather than make boring banana bread, i made banana bread biscotti. oh my gosh they are good, a real keeper. i found a recipe on cooking light, this one here and adapted it to my liking using walnuts and rum. the cookies were crunchy with a chewy texture full of banana flavor. yummy. the biscotti were even better with a hot cup of coffee. i am posting my recipe adaptation below. enjoy.

beth's banana bread biscotti
  • 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup mashed very ripe banana (about 1.5 banana)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp rum or rum extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, dry toasted in a saute pan

preheat oven to 350°.

combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. combine banana, oil, vanilla, and egg in a medium bowl; stir in flour mixture and walnuts (dough will be sticky).

turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead it till it comes together, flouring your hands often. place dough onto a silpat or parchment cookie sheet. shape dough into one long about 10 inchs with floured hands. flatten out with hands till about 1/2-3/4 inch thick. shape your log nicely, it won't spread. i try to have straight sides and rounded edges to get the traditional biscotti look.

bake at 350° for 23 minutes. remove rolls from baking sheet; cool 10 minutes. cut each roll into about 12 (1/2-inch) slices. place slices, cut sides down, on baking sheet. reduce oven temperature to 250°; bake 15 minutes. turn cookies over; bake an additional 15 minutes (cookies will be slightly soft in center but will harden as they cool). remove from baking sheet; cool completely on wire racks. if your cookies brown too quickly, just cover with some foil. store in an airtight container or your belly.

p.s. i think next time i will up the rum some, the banana overpowered it a little.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

sweetened condensed milk pound cake

just a quick post to tell you about a quick cake, a sweetened condensed milk pound cake. my foodie friends on twitter have been raving about engineerbaker's recipe for this simple and delicious pound cake. naturally, i had to make it. i love pound cakes, sour cream, cream cheese, lemon, hot milk, etc... let me tell you folks, baking doesn't get any easier than this, whipped up completely in the food processor. looooove it! the batter was gorgeous, thick and silky, baking and doming beautifully. the taste is that of a lighter pound cake, one that would be fantastic with fruit and some sweetened whipped cream. this is a great "go to" pound cake recipe, perfect for family and company, coffee or tea. thanks caitlin for sharing. enjoy.

coffee's ready!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

dark chocolate and cranberry "somewhat" healthy oatmeal cookies

i was bored today, so i made cookies. great, just what i need, temptation. i am trying really hard to eat healthy in 2010. it is very difficult for me since not only do i live to eat, but i still want to indulge my family, especially my kids. i have a standard oatmeal raisin cookie recipe that i use, but wanted to switch it up a bit. i just simply swapped dried cranberries for the raisins and threw in a big handful of semi-sweet chips. these are delicious. how do i know? i caved. i two, but only two, with a cup of coffee this evening. they are chewy and sweet, perfect, just how i like my cookie. dang, this is going to be hard. a foodie friend of mine was being kind in suggestind that just maybe they could be passed off as "somewhat" healthy cookie with the dark chocolate(antioxidants), oatmeal(fiber) and the dried cranberries(fiber,as well), but what about the stick of butter and cup of sugar? nice try, but i don't think so. healthy or not, i am passing the recipe on to you. they are really yummy. enjoy.

beth's dark chocolate and cranberry "somewhat" healthy oatmeal cookies

preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit

in a large bowl mix the following:

cream one stick of room temp butter with 3/4 cups sugar and 1/4 cup brown sugar, add one egg and a tsp. of real vanilla. to this add a 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. baking soda and 1/4 tsp. of kosher salt. stir. now add one cup of all purpose flour and one and half cups of old fashioned oats. stir to combine. now stir in a half cup of dried cranberries and 6 oz. of semi-sweet chocolate chips. stir well and hard to combine. the mixture may seem dry, but it will come together. roll dough into about one inch balls and place three inches apart on a silpat or parchment lined cookie sheet. bake about 10-13 minutes. edges will be slightly brown. cool a few minutes on pan before transferring to serving platter or mouth.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

quick, easy, delicious marinara sauce

the other evening i put together a wonderful marinara sauce for the family. it was simple and tasty. i served it over plain spaghetti and they just gobbled it up, even travis sopped the bowl with his bread. i buy jarred sauce, but this was such a hit, i am going to make a big batch to freeze in ziplocs. i hope you give it try.

beth's marinara sauce

in a large saucepan over medium heat place two tbsp. of olive oil. add one half onion diced and two minced cloves of garlic. saute until tender. be careful, don't burn your garlic,(you might need to turn your heat down) that is nasty stuff if burnt. meanwhile, in your food processor pulse a 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes with basil, oregano, and garlic(hunt's) and one 28 oz. of diced tomatoes(hunts, again) three or four times. now, add this to your onions and garlic and turn your heat down to low. to this, add 2 tsp. of sugar, 1 tsp. kosher salt, 2 tsp. dried oregano, 1 tsp. dried basil and a small can of tomato paste. stir well and let simmer 15-20 minutes. taste and adjust your seasonings to your liking. i let mine simmer another 10 minutes or so, turned off the heat and let it sit. i think it is more robust if it sits for a hour or better, just forget about it. when i am ready i just reheat on warm. this is easy, so no excuses, go make a pot now. enjoy.

p.s. i mixed a cup of the sauce in a separate bowl with a little fat free half and half to make myself a creamy tomato sauce for my noodles. excellent! pass the parm!

Monday, January 18, 2010

mash in health, mash in hell

i got a surprise gift this morning, something i have been wanting for quite awhile....this bad boy!

isn't the most beautiful thing you have ever seen? it's a behemoth of a potato masher from ikea, a gift from my best friend julie. she knows i have been wanting one for a long time. i do own a potato masher, but it is not the "wavy" style. i just love this. oh, the title, as i was driving away from her office she yelled "mash in health" i heard "mash in hell", either way this thing is going with me. thanks jules!

Friday, January 15, 2010

applesauce cake

so, the other day my local grocery store had little cups of applesauce on sale bogo free. i grabbed cinnamon, everyone loves cinnamon, cinnamon toast, cinnamon poptarts, cinnamon snickerdoodles, right? wrong! too cinnamon-y, too sweet, it smells, it's good for you, ick, gag, i would rather have a sharp stick in the eye than eat that. hey, i would rather have a pap smear that listen to your complaints. oh, i'm sorry, did i say that? anyway, now i am stuck with tubs of taboo applesauce. what to do? i know the whole, if life give you lemons scenario, but what about applesauce?

oh, oh, i know, you make cake. so i went a looking for a recipe and found this one courtesy of cooking light. right off i know i didn't want the icing, although it looked good, we don't need it. the cake, just a few changes, i skipped the pecans(didn't have any) and added only one teaspoon of cinnamon since my applesauce was what? cinnamon, that's right, unnatural cinnamon. i used four of those little cups. oh, it is not a typo, there are no eggs in this cake. the batter is thick like cookie dough, so you need to spoon it into your pan(i used a 9x13) and smooth out the top. guess what? it is delicious! my family loved it. it was moist, dense, not too sweet, not too spicy. i do wish i had some whipped cream for the top, but we don't need that either. i also think walnuts would be way better than pecans, ain't got nun. overall, this is a great, quick, go to applesauce cake. i would recommend whipping one up today. enjoy.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

i won, i won

i won an award, my first ever blog award! i am so excited. thanks to sarah over at maison cupcake i received the "happy 101" award. yay!

isn't it cute? the conditions are the following:

1. copy the award image into a post.
2. list 10 things that make you happy.
3. tag ten bloggers who brighten your day.
4. put in a link to their blogs.
5. notify the award receivers.
6. recipients to link back to the sender's blog

i brighten sarah's day, that is so cool. please go visit her sunny blog. she has the cutest little boy ever, posts about fun london events and let us not forget the food. yum.

okay ten things that make me happy, let's go....

1. receiving awards
2. dark chocolate in any shape or form
3. hugs from my tween, they are getting few and far between
4. singing and snuggling in bed at night with travis
5. seeing caroline read books to her brother
6. wool socks to keep my piggies warm
7. jamie
8. french vanilla coffee creamer
9. undisturbed bathroom time
10. dinners shared with friends

okay, now who to pass this wonderful award to, let's see....

gosh, tough choices, but how about....

abby sweets

love big, bake often

for the love of cooking

ladue & crew

she's becoming doughmesstic

noble pig

tracey's culinary adventures

tea and scones

cooking, dunkin style

blue ridge baker

i could have gone on, and on....

enjoy it, you deserve it!

Monday, January 11, 2010

pineapple and coconut bread

i was wanted to make something a simple sweet treat for the kids and hubby and some time ago i found a recipe for this pineapple and coconut bread. i dog eared the page and promptly forgot about it, until today. coconut has been a reoccurring theme lately, mostly to use up leftover holiday baking supplies and this recipe wiped out the flaked coconut stash. it produced two loaves of slightly sweet, pineapple-y, coconut-y, yummy bread. i didn't change the recipe, but to only add some vanilla and coconut extracts. although i think the bread is good, as did jamie, it could be better. i was thinking some smashed ripe banana and a splash of dark rum in the batter would be nice or even some mini chocolate chips, any or all would definitely up the tastiness. you could even take it over the top with a quick orange or rum glaze. i simply did a smear of "butter"(brummel and brown) and ate with my cuppa coffee. enjoy.

beth's pineapple and coconut bread

preheat oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit

one large can of crushed pineapple and its juice
one 7 oz bag of sweetened flake coconut
1.5 cups of sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp real vanilla extract
1/2 tsp coconut extract
4 cups of flour

grease and flour or baker's joy two loaf pans. mix the above ingredients, it will be thick and sticky. spoon evenly into loaf pans, smooth out tops. bake for one hour. cool for ten minutes and invert on plate.

Friday, January 8, 2010

ten more usless tidbits for your pleasure

craving more insignificant information about moi? here goes.

1. more that half of the people in my life know me as karen, not beth.
2. in high school i was an exchange student to germany.
3. i was married almost fourteen years and suddenly one day, i became a
widowed single mom.
4. i recently discovered that i love brussel sprouts.
5. i miss my mother every day of my life and often cry.
6. the thought of a massage gives me the willies.
7. i love hand sanitizer, squirt it on everything.
8. i yell alot, just ask my kids.
9. i hate verizon wirelss, so i never pay my bill on time.
10. i have been on some form of a diet for the past 25 years and i am still fat.

did ya have fun?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

sour cream coconut cookies or something....

man, i was craving something good to go with a pot of hot coffee today. i still had coconut left over from the coconut biscotti, so i was trying to figure out what i could make. i also only had a 1/2 stick of margarine, poo, not even butter. no matter, i threw some basic ingredients together and ta-dah(the man said ta-dah), i had cookies. actually, i had some pretty dang tasty cookies. they turned out sweet, chewy and coconut-y, perfect with my cuppa coffee. enjoy.

beth's sour cream coconut cookies or whatever

preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit

1.25 cups of ap flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup margarine or butter
1/2 sour cream
1/2 tsp. real vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. coconut extract
1 egg

mix flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. cream sugars with margarine, sour cream, extracts and egg. add flour to creamed mixture. line baking sheet with parchment or silpat(my choice). roll in balls about the size of a walnut, press down slightly with fingers to flatten. bake for about 12 minutes for a chewy texture. cool for a few minutes before transferring to plate. i got about eighteen cookies. i liked'em, hope you do to.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

ten useless tidbits about me

recently i have read quite a few blogs where the author shared information about themselves, useful or not. i thought what a great idea. i can start the new year by sharing information about me with you. some things you may already know. some things you may not, but i am pretty sure most of it will be totally useless. enjoy.

let's begin...

1. i hate laundry with a passion, especially folding. thank goodness for the fluff cycle.
2. i have only had a manicure once in my lifetime and i loved it.
3. i own only four purses, all which are over five years old.
4. i started drinking coffee when i turned forty.
5. i am a diabetic.
6. i have one ear pierced three times, the other only once. leftovers from the 80's.
7. i have a bs degree in clinical pyschology that is now over 20 years old and never used.
8. i hate canned salmon, no make that despise canned salmon.
9. i have never been camping.
10. i am not afraid of needles, but scared to death of a mouse.

did i forget anything?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

easy veggie soup

this soup was so good, that i am making another pot today! that is a pic of my reheated bowl i had for lunch. it is my take on the ol'weight watchers zero points cabbage soup. it is delicious, flavorful, filling and so dang simple to make. plus, you can change it up any way you like. i topped mine off with some reduced fat feta. enjoy!

in a dutch oven over medium heat, heat a tbsp of olive oil. through in two carrots diced, a small onion diced and one clove of garlic, chopped. saute about 5-10 minutes, till veggies are soft. now add a 32oz box of fat free chicken broth, one heaping tbsp of tomato paste, two cups chopped green cabbage, 1/2 tsp dried basil, 1/2 dried oregano, 1/2 kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. on low, let simmer for about 15 minutes. now add one zucchini chopped and a can of rinsed, drained cannellini beans. still on low, simmer till squash it tender, another 10-15 minutes. taste to see if you need to adjust your seasonings. i like to let mine sit for awhile on the stove, off, to let the flavors bloom. i tell ya folks, it's gooooood stuff.

Monday, January 4, 2010

plain, simple, delicious coconut biscotti

i have so much leftover baking goods from the holidays; butterscotch, white, dark, milk chocolate chips, nuts, sweetened flaked coconut, so much so i could host another christmas. i have been scouring the net for something different to bake to lessen the strain on my cabinet doors, as well as the strain on my already elasticized waist band. i want to be able to make use of those tempting, delicious, decadent, calling my name ingredients, but something on the lighter side. you see, i am trying to be "good". i am trying to eat healthier, be a better person, inside and out. i joined a challenge #10in10, a group on twitter started by recipe girl. go look, my name is on the list. lol. i need to do this, but it isn't easy. i am an expert yo-yo'er(you should see me walk the dog, yo-yo humor). anyway, a friend of mine dropped off a huge, weakened and ripped bag(tee- hee) of cooking magazines for me yesterday and there in a cooking light i found a coconut biscotti recipe. bingo, we have a winner, a cookie recipe in cooking light, so it's gotta be good for you, right? i mean, it has to be at least healthier than most biscotti recipes. well, that's my thinking anyway. i baked a batch today and lordy those puppies are goooood. they are so simple to make and bake up in a flash. they came out crunchy and paired perfect with my hot cup of french vanilla coffee(oops, another vice). a few notes though, the recipe states that the dough will be sticky. i didn't think it was so bad, rather than knead it on a floured surface as stated, i just kneaded the dough in the bowl of my kitchen aid. i then plopped it on my silpat cookie sheet and shaped. i also didn't get 20 cookies either, more like a dozen.

hey, what if next time we sub out half the vanilla extract for coconut extract and then throw in a handful of slivered almonds. oh, yum. go bake a batch for your folks today. enjoy.

you can find the recipe here.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

happy new year and stewed tomatoes, too

happy new year to you all. here's hoping that 2010 will be even better than 2009. i already know it is more fun to say-"twenty ten, yeah baby". most folks here in the south started their new year off with a big ol'helping of black eyed peas for good luck. not me, maybe i should have and then ran out and bought a lottery ticket to check effectiveness. i did butter beans instead.

i don't think they offer any form of luck, gas maybe, but not luck. well, what's luckless butter beans without stewed tomatoes?

hey, maybe i am lucky, 'cause i love these things. they are ridiculously easy to make and so flavorful. i made a small batch, basically for myself, because the rest of the family went into hiding when they caught wind of what was on the dinner menu. their loss, my gain. stewed tomatoes are nothing like the ones you buy in the can at your local mega mart. my tomatoes start out that way, but end up sweet and buttery, pure southern goodness. they may not photograph well, but the taste makes up for their lack of beauty. enjoy.

beth's stewed tomatoes

1 can of petite diced tomatoes(15oz)
1/3 stick of butter
2 slices of white bread, cubed
1 tsp of sugar
1/2 salt
fresh black pepper

in a saucepan over medium heat,warm your tomatoes. i smash them a little with a potato masher to break them up more. now, add all your ingredients and heat through, stirring often. let them cook for five-ten minutes. taste. you might need to adjust your ingredients to your liking. i like mine sweet and buttery. oh, i also highly recommend you use butter, not margarine, it's a big difference. it certainly is not diet food. stewed tomatoes, you can easily double the recipe, use any bread you like, mix it up. it is so easy and forgiving. stewed tomatoes are so tasty mixed with your butter beans, black eyed peas, corn, you name it. go make a batch tonight.