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"O taste and see that the LORD is good." Psalms 34:8a

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Going Bananas

This post has been a long time coming, but I'm finally getting around to sharing our recent Banana Bread adventures.  Whenever the girls help me bake, I can only let them do a few simple things before they get "into" our experience too much, my OCD compulsions begin, and the sparks start to fly.  I'm looking forward to the day when they can help me more responsibly, and our experience can be more enjoyable.  The girls did have fun peeling and mashing the bananas though, and that's what I hope they remember someday.
Peeling bananas
Mashing, 
 and Mashing!  I had to let the girls use my vintage masher since my regular one's handle broke the other day.  They don't make them like they used to!
Adding the dry ingredients,
and, of course, we've got to add a few chocolate chips.  I'm so glad I can get soy-free chocolate chips at Earth Fare in Johnson City so Audrey can enjoy chocolate once in a while.
 The girls were trying to stay out of trouble while I finished the bread.  I wish they got along this well all the time!
Yummy!  I love how using yogurt makes for a healthier and yet moister finished product.

Yogurt Banana Bread
(I started with this recipe and cut the fat and sugar content)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (I like Greek style the best)
  • 6 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups whole wheat PASTRY flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts or shredded coconut

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Stir in the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition. Stir in the yogurt, bananas, and vanilla. Stir together the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Blend the flour mixture into the banana mixture; stir just enough to evenly combine. Fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts or shredded coconut.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 60 minutes. Cool loaf in the pan for 20 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.



Monday, March 12, 2012

Blueberries into Blueberry Jam

Today I'm posting my version of turning lemons into lemonade...except with blueberries....

We enjoyed a wonderful visit from my parents the last week in February, but on the day they were flying in from Minnesota, the extra refrigerator/freezer in our basement decided to start giving us trouble.  The next day, I discovered that it had given up the ghost completely, leaving me with pounds of thawing meat, vegetables, and blueberries we had picked at a local organic blueberry farm during the summer.  I'm so glad my parents were here to help us eat up my thawed stash (we only had to throw two frozen meals away), but what could I do with 9 thawed containers of blueberries?  I'd never gotten to make blueberry jam this summer when we picked, so now was my chance.

I found a great lower-sugar recipe here at the Driscoll's site which worked well.
I did find that I had to add an extra cup of sugar to make it sweet enough for my taste, but even with my adjustment, the ratio of fruit to sugar in this recipe (11 c. fruit to 2 c. sugar) is significantly lower than the low-sugar recipe on the packet of pectin I had in the house (1 1/3 c. fruit to 1 c. sugar.)  I had to cook it twice as long as the recipe states to get it to the right consistency, but I'm sure that the cooking time varies greatly depending on the water content of the fruit as well as the humidity on the day you're making the jam.
We enjoyed our delicious blueberry preserves on homemade wheat bread toast for breakfast this morning.  And yes, the daffodils have been blooming already; we've had such a mild winter they think spring is already here!

Yummy!  My girls love it.
Grandma and Grandpa enjoy their time with their granddaughters.