Tag Archives: cinnamon

Baking, Cars, and Comfort Food

It’s Monday. I think I’ve got something that will put a big ol’ goofy smile on your face:

(Source)

Isn’t that cute? It kind of makes me want an otter . . . I wonder if anyone actually has one as a pet? Besides zoos that is. I am sure someone does. I mean, one guy here in Ohio had a whole bunch of exotic animals. Unfortunately, he released them and there ended up being a massive hunt to track them all down. Can you imagine? You wake up one morning and, “Hey, Mom! There’s a lion in our backyard . . . “ Crazy.

Anyway, Friday seems like light years away now. I had a pretty packed weekend. Of course, there was some baking involved!

Banana Bars with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

 

Some sad, brown-spotted bananas that had been chilling in the kitchen for some time inspired these babies. What’s a girl to do with super ripe naners? (Is that really even a valid question?!)

I was tired of making banana muffins, and when I saw that I had all of the ingredients for these bars (rarely ever happens), I knew it was fate. I just had to make them.

This recipe comes compliments of Jaclyn at Cooking Classy. I highly suggest that you go check out her blog if you are looking to whip up something delicious.  These bars are a testament to the utter deliciousness you will discover!

Now, the banana batter to this recipe is relatively healthy (no butter and I used greek yogurt instead of sour cream); however, the flavor is in no way sacrificed. It is perfectly banana-y and moist! Yet, in my opinion, it’s the frosting that really stole the show here. I am a cream cheese frosting gal with a cinnamon obsession, so I went crazy over this frosting. It was also the perfect texture for these bars—fluffy, but with just the right touch of gooeyness. I think I could have licked it all off the top of the bars if no one was looking.

Take a look at that sugar-infused wonderfulness.

Speaking of wonderfulness, my Saturday ended up being unexpectedly delightful. After a quick trip to the gym to get my cardio on (I still can’t strength train), I met my friend, Lori, to make a very important trip.

That’s right! She bought a new car! She was able to get a pretty good deal through a friend who works at a dealership about 2 hours away. So, Saturday afternoon we headed down to get her new baby.

I was really thankful that she asked me to accompany her. It gave us some solid catch-up time that was desperately needed. Plus, I got to check out her new ride: a Hyundai Elantra

That’s a good lookin’ pair!

I loved the heated seats and iPod compatibility. Oh, and 41 miles to the gallon highway?! I want one!

The rain snuck up on me on the ride home, and with a sick Madre to boot, the rest of my evening was devoted to chilling inside and watching The Descendants. It was pretty good, not outstanding but good. I can see why it was nominated at the Academy Awards. But, I mean, you can’t really go wrong with George Clooney. 😉

Compared to my Saturday, my Sunday was less than thrilling. I spent the bulk of my day swapping out my summer clothes for my wintery ones. Doesn’t that sound like jumping for joy fun? I know you’re jealous. Thankfully, Madre and I did take a break to walk Ellie and enjoy the exceptional fall weather. Ellie was quite appreciative, too.

She wastes no time hopping in your lap whenever you sit down. I think she’s part feline . . . except she is so much more loving than a cat. (And not allergy aggravating!)

Due to Madre’s continuing sniffles and sore throat, when dinnertime rolled around, we decided it was a perfect night for soup.

Chicken Chowder

I found this soup in a Penzeys catalogue awhile back, and it has become a hit with my family. It packs a great amount of protein for a soup, and the milk also provides a great source of calcium. Madre and I enjoyed this with a toasty baguette we had purchased from Krogers.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ C butter
  • 1/3 C finely chopped onion
  • ½ C finely diced carrots (I just chopped up some baby carrots we had in the fridge)
  • 1/3 C finely diced celery (I did not include celery this time and it tasted great still)
  • ¼ C finely diced green pepper (about ½ of a pepper)
  • ¼ C flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper (I used a little less)
  • 1 C boiling water
  • 1 28 oz. can of diced tomato (I didn’t look close enough at the amount, and only bought 1 can of diced tomatoes . . . which is 14 oz. It still tasted fine, but make sure it’s a 28 oz. can!)
  • 1 apple, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1 T parsley
  • 3 C milk
  • 1 C diced cooked chicken

Directions:

  • Melt butter in stock pot over medium-high heat
  • Add onion, carrot, celery and green pepper. Cook until tender (2-3 min.)
  • Sprinkle with flour, salt and pepper. Stir gently until combined.
  • Gradually mix in boiling water.
  • Stir in tomatoes.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and add apple, thyme and parsley.
  • Simmer for 30 min.
  • Add milk and chicken. Cook until heated through (5-10 min.)
  • SERVE!

(I like to add a few . . . or 10 . . . shakes of hot sauce to mine!)

Nutrition: (1 C) Calories 170, Fat 7g, Carb. 17g, Protein 11g, Fiber 3g, Sugar 10g

Gotta love comfort food! It’s even delicious reheated for lunch or dinner in a hurry.

Well, I have to cut this sort-ish! I am off to bed for a good night’s rest, because I have my third interview tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed again!

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Baked Apple Slices with Peanut Butter Crumble (AKA Peanut Butter Apple Crisp)

Recipe compliments of Hershey’s

PB Apple crisp

As promised, here is the recipe for the oh-so-delicious peanut butter and apple goodness! I pulled this recipe from this book. I highly recommend this little gem and have made several delicious desserts featured in here. For instance, I’ve treated my family and friends to the Chocolate Almond Cheesecake, Hershey’s Special Dark Truffle Brownie Cheesecake, Chocolate and Peanut Butter Filled Peanut Butter Blondies, and the good ol’ favorite: Peanut Butter Blossoms! And let me tell you, ALL were absolutely delicious! I wouldn’t lie about this stuff, folks! Smile

So, next time you happen to have several apples on your hands, try this baby out:

Baked Apple Slices with Peanut Butter Crumble (AKA Peanut Butter Apple Crisp)

PB Apple crisp 2

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups peeled and thinly sliced apples
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, divided
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, divided
  • 1 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup REESE’S Creamy Peanut Butter
  • Sweetened whipped cream or ice cream (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch square pan.
  2. Stir together apples, 3/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup flour in a large bowl. Spread in prepared pan; dot with 2 tablespoons butter. Combine oats, remaining 3/4 cup flour, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and cinnamon in medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Place remaining tablespoon of butter and peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at Medium for 30 seconds (or until butter is melted); stir until smooth. Add to oat mixture; blend until crumbs are formed.Sprinkle crumble mixture over apples.*
  4. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until apples are tender and edges are bubbly. Cool slightly. Serve warm or cool with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.

*I had to break my oat mixture up a but with my fingers. The PB makes it a bit sticky, so don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty!

Thank you Hershey’s for such a treat! Mmmmmm

I hope you all enjoy this as much as I did!

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Pickle Jars & Snickerdoodle Bars

I know what you’re thinking . . . it’s been a week! A week since my last post!

How Dare you Ellie

BUT I do have a good excuse. I promise!

Lets hear it ellie

Okay, maybe my only excuse for not posting on Thursday was that I was pretty busy prepping for the weekend. But it was a busy weekend! Not only was my family helping my grandma (who I affectionately call Gma or Grammy- I love you Grammy! if you are reading this) move into her new apartment, but I also got the honor of picking my Uncle B up at the airport on Friday night! He flew all the way from Arizona to take part in all of the festivities . . . uh, work. Winking smile

Therefore, due to lack of internet access and being completely exhausted, I decided that blogging could wait.

Although I did venture back home briefly to fill some work orders and visit with my friend Lori, I turned right around and jetted back down to Springfield once again for my Gma’s auction a day and a half later. Now THAT was one interesting experience. The auctioneer amazed me with his super speed speech . . . I wonder how long it took him to learn how to speak that fast. And that intermittent mumbling? That is an art form. 

All in all, it was a pretty successful night. (And a HOT one at that- 85 degrees in March?!! What’s going on Ohio?) I was surprised by how much people paid for some things. For instance, a pickle jar went for $17.50. That must have been one heck of a pickle jar . . . maybe it was bedazzled. Yet, I would have thought that other items would have sold for more. Hmmm, I guess that is just the way it goes though, eh?

The rest of my time in Springfield was spent making trips to Goodwill, cleaning Gma’s house (HOLY DUST BUNNIES!), and sweating from the crazy heat. However, despite the work, I loved having the time to catch up with Uncle B and Gma. Plus, it felt great being able to help out my parents!

Oh! But before I left for the auction, I made something extra special for my Uncle’s sweet tooth:

Snickeredoodle bars!!!!

Snickerdoodle bars main

If you like regular snickerdoodle cookies, then you will absolutely LOVE these bars! They are so much moister (I think that’s a real word) than the cookies, and absolutely filled with satisfying cinnamon-y goodness! Really, you need to try these. Like right now.

Snickerdoodle Bars

Ingredients:

  1. 2 2/3 Cups AP Flour
  2. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  3. 1 teaspoon Kosher salt (I just used what I had on hand)
  4. 2 Cups packed light brown sugar
  5. 1 Cup butter, room temp
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  8. 2 Tablespoons sugar
  9. 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 9×13 pan.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside,
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla until smooth.
  4. Stir in flour mixture, making sure to blend well!
  5. Spread evenly into a prepared pan. Since the batter is thick, I found it works best if you put dollops into your pan and spread from there.
  6. Combine white sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and then sprinkle it over the batter. (It won’t look like too awfully much in your bowl, but once you start sprinkling, you will see that there is more than enough to thoroughly cover your batter!)
  7. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a little goo. (Yes, goo. You don’t want crumbs- otherwise you have overcooked!) *I cook mine about 23 minutes, but I know I like my baked goods slightly under done.
  8. Cool slightly and cut into bars. These are BEST served warm!

Snickerdoodle bars close up

Look at that golden cinnamon goodness!!!! MMMMMMMMMM

I brought a batch of these babies into Madre’s work a week ago. They were hot out of the oven! She later told me that they were gone within two hours. See?! They are that good! Now go make some for yourself. Your taste buds can thank me later!

Now off to make dinner!

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