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Banana bread

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Project of the day: waste not, want not

You know when you take too long to eat bananas? And they get all brown and soft? I like my bananas just past green, but even if you like them more on the brown side, for most people there’s a point of too far gone. When that happens, don’t throw them out! Make banana bread!

You have the power to transform mushy unwanted produce into moist, delicious bread that will attract every nose in your building to your kitchen, where their attached faces will wait and stare at you imploringly until they receive a fresh warm slice. And it makes an awesome grab&go breakfast!

The other cool thing with banana bread is that mashed bananas are often used as a substitute for butter or eggs in vegan cooking. SO all you really need to make this is flour, sugar, baking soda, and bananas! If you have an egg it will help it be less crumbly, and the oil helps keep it moist,  but if you don’t have any, just add some more banana! The spices and extracts just add a little extra flavor. Use what you have, and if you have none, it will still taste like bananas, so you’re good! Assuming, of course, that you like bananas. (If you don’t, what are they doing in your house anyway?)

If you’re lucky enough to have a freezer and don’t quite have the time to bake, throw your past-ripe bananas in the freezer until you do. They’ll keep for a long while and be even mushier when you thaw them out.

Banana bread Read the rest of this entry


Forging new traditions: Saltine brittle

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Project of the day: Simple dessert

Trado, tradere, tradidi, traditum. Our derivative from the latin for ‘to hand down’ is one of the most frequently used words this time of year. Everyone has their favorite traditions: gift giving, decorating, candle lighting, that special holiday dish, gathering, service, or sweater.

But sometimes that old sweater gets torn, or people move away, and the old tradition just doesn’t work. Its hard to adjust to our new conditions, sad to let go of the old traditions.

The traditional christmas eve of my childhood was to gather at my mother’s parents house with her brother’s family for a big dinner and gift giving. We would have tons of delicious food, some of Grammy’s specialties like pearl onions or waldorf salad, and sparkling cider or orange juice with seltzer in it. After dinner we’d lie in front of their fireplace as Grammy read The Night Before Christmas aloud. After we worked through our presents, always organized in piles according to recipient, we’d turn to the impressive spread of dessert. There was usually rumpie, sometimes trifle, and other varying treats, but always tea served with lots of milk and sugar in teeny little teacups.

But Grammy died last september, my uncle moved to Kansas this summer, and Poppop’s getting older. Since it’s just Poppop and my family, we had him over to our house for christmas eve this year. With such a smaller gathering, it seemed silly to have as large a meal. So for dessert after our dinner of salad, carrots, rolls, and a roast, I wanted somthing light and simple. Read the rest of this entry

Eggnog, all grown up

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Project of the day: Tree decorating!

I adore family traditions! One that goes way back is drinking eggnog while we decorate the tree. The grocery store jug of yellow stuff became a delicacy when dusted with nutmeg in a fancy wine glass, enjoyed in the sparkly twilight of rainbow lights and shiny ornaments.

It wasn’t until much later that I learned that my favorite holiday treat was often marred with alcohol, and my Grammy’s special eggnog had more than the cool bowl and whipped cream going for it. I accepted without question that we should save the fancy stuff for the guests at her New Year’s party, especially because she always saved a normal carton in the downstairs fridge for me : )

But the taste of rum no longer offends my now 21 year old palate, and so this year I thought I’d start a new tradition and make my own, from scratch. Read the rest of this entry

Caramel pudding round 2

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Project of the day: second chances

Remember carmel pudding round one? Well, we made do. But this time, we got it right!

Silky, smooth, just carmely enough… A perfect comeback! So delicious, I had trouble making it last until ninja could have a taste : )

The best part about this is that if you make regular use of a kitchen, you probably have everything on hand already, so you can easily make it whenever you feel like it! I’ve added cornstarch to my basic pantry necessities (like baking powder and sugar) for exactly this purpose. The worst part about this is it takes a while to chill. However (while it tastes delicious warm and soupy) it is worth the wait!

Carmel Pudding (from Smitten Kitchen) Read the rest of this entry

And we shall call them squishies, and they shall be ours, and they shall be our squishies!

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Project of the day: succumbing to chocolate cravings

There comes a time when chocolate must be had for dinner. This time was now.

And these did not disappoint! Imagine the fudgiest brownies ever, but fluffy as a cake with a pudding-like center. And thus we dubbed it chocolate squishy.

Think of it this way: you can eat your hershey bar straight out of that care package, or turn it into warm chocolate squishy goodness. Your choice : ) Read the rest of this entry

Bean Burritos

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Project of the day: Dinner when your hands are tied

I know that’s just a saying, but really, I was bored so I made dinner with one hand tied up. Or, more accurately, I tied my left hand to Ninja’s right and we used the other two to make dinner together. It was fun! you should try it sometime.

Know what else you should try? Daddy’s famous bean burritos. Fast, healthy, satisfying, inexpensive, tasty, and easy enough to make with one hand. Seriously : ) Read the rest of this entry

caramel (frozen) pudding

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Project of the day: making the most of sticky situations

On nothing more than a whim, I decided to make carmel pudding at about quarter of ten last night.

I almost always cook with my computer open next to me, simply because that’s where my recipes are. Caramel takes a longish time to make, but you can’t walk away from it, which makes for a relatively boring time of watching sugar boil. As the ninja was playing video games in the other room and my computer was next to me, I naturally turned to it for entertainment.

Isn’t it odd how random insignificant choices can suddenly change everything? Read the rest of this entry