White chocolate banana walnut bread!!!!

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THIS IS A PHENOMENAL WHITE CHOCOLATE BANANA WALNUT BREAD!!!!

I wish the sweet smell of this bread baking in the oven could waft to you through the internet & your computer screen! If they made candles or crayons that smelled like this bread, trust me, folks would eat their way into the hospital. You will want to make 2 loaves at once, because you will scarf down the first one before it has a chance to cool. I made one loaf for my neighbors who have been helping me with manly things around the house that require power tools. We hoarded the other one for ourselves.

The recipe can be found here. I made some minor changes — I add 1/2 tsp of both cardamon and nutmeg. I accidentally used twice as much vanilla because the McCormick bottle is a pain in the ass and I ALWAYS effing spill it. Always. Stupidest design ever. Using the extra vanilla is good and I’ll probably continue that, either by accident or not. Hate that bottle. I end up using about 1/2 cup more walnuts just because I love them. And I use salted butter. Other than that, this recipe is perfect! You *may* want to add an extra 1/4 cup of flour. I only say this because if you’re anything like me, after you combine the wet and dry ingredients you WILL be thinking, “Holy crap, is the batter supposed to be this runny??” The answer is, yes. The batter doesn’t thicken up like how you’d expect for a bread before you bake it. It comes out proper though –crispy sugary edges and melty soft inside. The very very very middle remains super-gooey, so either I never keep it in the oven long enough or you *may* want to add just a smidge more flour. This recipe uses a lot of dishes. If you do end up doubling the recipe, you will need to use your biggest bowls. Don’t be a jerk and make jello with your toddler and use your medium-sized bowl right before making this recipe because trust me, you will regret it. You don’t want to be mid-recipe and scrounging for big bowls around your kitchen!

Enjoy!

Authentic Home-Cooked Chinese Foods

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My housemate is Chinese. Like, straight from China and recently, too. Sometimes we share food. I make her a salmon dinner or cookies, and she makes me try tripe and some sort of fermented duck egg. The weird gelatinous duck egg didn’t taste bad at first, although the duck smell was strong and I wasn’t sure if there was an actual duckling fermented inside it. I took several bites of both the tripe and duck egg, but then had to stop. It was just too overwhelming is the only way I can put it. The sauce for the tripe was incredible, but the tripe “meat” was so not incredible. It made my stomach feel funny for a minute. I’m happy and grateful to have had the opportunity to experience these cultural culinary adventures, and it’s opened my eyes to this idea of “taste.” So many of the foods we eat get shoveled into our mouths and we just consume them without actually tasting them. The experience of trying a completely novel food made me actually pay attention and utilize my senses in a “fully present in the moment” kind of way. I’m so used to eating American ethnic foods like Indian, Chinese, Thai, Italian etc.. that when I experienced a novel home-cooked authentic ethnic food (taste and texture) it was crazy!

It's gelatinous fermented duck egg

It’s gelatinous fermented duck egg

Spicy tripe!

Spicy tripe!

 

Fake Peach Cobbler and an Olive Sandwich.

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Fake peach cobbler. Cut up fresh fruit (I used peach and banana). Scoop peach frozen yogurt while the donut holes are heating up in microwave (about 10 seconds.) Add it all together. Feeds both 1 pregnant woman and 1 toddler happily.

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Basically, I can’t look at it when I make it or eat it, but my pregnancy cravings have forced me to consume several of these sandwiches.

Pregnancy Craving: Seriously Good Breakfasts.

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I’ve been craving a super loaded ultra healthy omelet. I”m over-spent this month so eating out at a restaurant isn’t an option. As much as I’d love to pay $12+ for a restaurant omelet, to be honest, pregnancy makes me even more leery of restaurant food than I normally am. This omelet is a fraction of the cost and is made with nearly all organic & fresh ingredients. I used red, yellow and orange bell pepper, baby bella mushrooms, onion, spinach, cheese, eggs and a bit of canola oil in a ceramic skillet. My new favorite is this ceramic skillet that is uber healthy. I had been using Teflon ever since I was a kid, but Teflon totally sucks compared to my ceramic pans that I picked up for super cheap at Ross. They are incredible to cook with. It’s just so much better to cook with, for the health, and some other stuff the label said but I’ve forgotten about or only half-read in my haste to unwrap and put it to use straight away! I digress, this omelet was incredible as a stand-alone feast, or you can toast some bread with mayo and a hot sauce and slip the omelet in-between and create a hefty lunch sandwich.

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This morning’s breakfast was a long-forgotten about stash of oatmeal in the pantry. Without any warning, I suddenly craved it. I cook stove-top and it takes about a minute for the water to boil and another minute for the oats to cook. I prefer this to microwave as it just turns out better in my opinion. Personally, I try to avoid the microwave whenever possible. Anyway, I added whole walnuts, raisins, salt and brown sugar to make it very decadent. It tasted more like a dessert than a breakfast! The best thing about oatmeal is that it sits (comfortably) like a rock in your stomach so you don’t feel hungry for a long time. You “feel” it in your belly. Some say it’s like a warm hug that lasts all day, but I find it satisfies me thoroughly only until lunch, so I avoid the in-between mid-morning snacking.

Craisin Chocolate Chip and Walnut Cookies!

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These cookies were awesome. I tried out the recipe, which can be found here. They came out very good. I would personally add more salt, but I’m pregnant and it’s a known fact that pregnancy makes things taste less salty –one of the reasons pregnant women crave additional salt. But they tasted really good based off the recipe, so try it out and then make another batch to your preference. I also added a half cup more walnuts than the recipe called for, simply because they’re nutritious and they help to fill you up faster so you reach for fewer cookies. :) I made these cookies as a way to thank my neighbors for helping me for 3 hours with “manly” stuff –things that require a drill and skill, like hanging shelves, curtain rods and closet rods. They loved these cookies, too! So I get to borrow my neighbors husband and son again to help me with more “Honey Do’s” around the house. You know, honey do this and honey do that! Which is good because I need shelves in the garage put up and they own a masonry drill that can drill into concrete. I’m planning my fabulous banana white chocolate nut bread for their help with that project!

Lunch, Dinner and Dessert

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Homemade Chicken Soup, Salt-Free, Full Flavor. All Natural. (No Soup Mix or Pre-Made Base)

1 sweet potato

1 yellow onion

2 stalks celery

2 carrots

1 handful of sliced baby portobello mushrooms

1 chicken thigh (whole w/bone)

3 second pour of canola oil

Powdered garlic to preference

Sautee on high for 5 minutes, then add water to fill the big pot half-a-hand to the top. Bring to boil, then cover and continue cooking on a high simmer. After  a half hour, add:

1 zucchini

1 squash

Cook for another 30 minutes. Then add:

1 handful of spinach

Turn heat off but leave on burner, covered, and let spinach cook into soup. Take out chicken thigh and let cool. Then separate meat into pieces and return to soup. Toss out the bone. Makes a lot of servings and is absolutely amazing. Salt-free and full of natural flavor. You’d never know it was salt-free!

 

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Chicken Guacamole Sandwich

Lightly toasted bread

Mayo

Guacamole

Cheese

Tomato

Chicken

Spinach

Don’t forget the pickle! (very important to a pregnant woman!)

 

Dessert was brownies but I substituted unsweetened apple sauce for oil to make it healthier. Tastes amazing and virtually fat free. A great way to indulge the chocolate/sugar cravings without the fat.