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An apology and some Cinnamon Crumb Banana Bread as a peace offering.

Oh, hey.  Hi, do you remember me?  Sorry its been a really REALLY long time, and if I don’t remember your name, and you don’t remember mine, we can reintroduce ourselves and start over.  I am Jennifer, I love to cook.  Like a lot.  And once upon a time, I blogged about it.  Well, I am back to blog about it again, along with other things, mostly because my Instagram and Facebook friends are sick of my food pictures.  I am also on a weight loss journey (which, I know sounds crazy after the sentences above.) so you will find some recipes here that are re-done versions of comfort food.  So, welcome back, and enjoy!

This is definitely NOT a health food…well it has bananas, and dairy and eggs….soooooo.  Ok I concede, its not waist line friendly, but its rainy and yuck in New York and my Things are on school vacation, and dammit, I wanted Cinnamon Crumb Banana Bread and I am the boss of me.

I don’t own a camera, and the iPhone pictures aren’t as drool worthy as they should be.

What you will need:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter- at room temp
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 overripe bananas- smooshed
  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
For the crumb:
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter- melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
What you do:
Pre heat oven to 350.  Cream the butter and sugars together, until light and creamed.  Add in egg, and vanilla and mix until well incorporated, than mix in bananas and buttermilk. 
In a separate bowl, sift together flour,salt,baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.  
In 3 batches, mix dry ingredients into banana mixture, mixing only until combined.  Pour out into a buttered loaf tin.  

Mix together the crumb ingredients, and with your finger, crumble on top of the bread batter.  Bake for 40-50 minutes (until a toothpick comes out clean.)

Naturally I HAD to sample.  I took one for the team, slathered it in butter and loved every second. 

OHMYGODRICEPUDDING!!!!

The title reflects my exact emotion when I was standing in the rice and pasta isle at the grocery store today.  Its one of the many vegan desserts that taste better than its conventional counterparts…and major bonus, its lower in fat..hooray for skinny jeans! ( I really don’t know why I wrote skinny jeans, I pretty much wear standard mom issue sweat pants or shorts….maybe because “Hooray for baggy sweatpants!” doesn’t paint the same picture.)
Anyway, I digress.  Its like almost embarrassingly easy to make, and if you’re like me, you can totally rationalize eating it for breakfast.

What you need:

  • 3/4 cup jasmine rice
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 cups almond milk (or other nondairy milk)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or 1/3 cup agave nectar, if using agave, remember to scale back the milk a tad to compensate for the water content in the nectar)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg

What you do:

In a large saucepan, bring salted water and rice to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for approximately 15 minutes or until water is absorbed and rice is fluffy.
Add the almond milk and sugar to the rice and increase heat to medium. Stirring frequently, cook for 30–40 minutes until the mixture is thick and creamy.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Pour into 7–8 ramekins (or coffee cups, because come on, why would I have ramekins…really?) and cover with plastic wrap if you don’t like pudding skin. 

Raw Oatmeal

I apologize for the crappy picture, good camera is in the shop!

I know, I know…the idea of eating foods that require special prep or are not typical everyday meals sounds daunting.  But really, adopting a vegetarian, vegan, raw or macrobiotic lifestyle is really no more work than frying eggs for breakfast or making a stir fry for dinner.  All it takes is patients.  Its not easy changing years worth of mental programming.  Believe me, I had more moments of weakness and lost self control at the beginning of this journey than I care to admit.  Food was life, and I wanted life to taste good.

I was living in a dream.  Everything I put in my mouth had an affect on not only my own body and life, but the lives of my children, who were adapting my eating habits, my immediate environment, we were creating tons of waste and the planet as a whole.  I don’t expect that everyone will wake up one morning and have an epiphany, most people don’t, but I do hope that people, whether it be for personal, ethical or environmental reasons will take a good look at what they are using to fuel their lives.  
And as far as how life tastes now… lets just say that I’m Dorothy…I’ve stepped out of the black and white world of Kansas (meat) and into the multi-colored world of Oz (vegan) and will never click my heels to go back.  
What you need:

  • 2/3 cup raw oats or oat groats
  • 1/2 cup raw almond milk (or any raw milk you like)
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 apple cut up ( i used fuji)
  • 1/4 cup golden flax seeds ( i can easily find flax seed meal, so I used that)
  • a few dashes of cinnamon
What you do:

Throw it all in a food processor and blitz until well chopped up.  You can change ingredients, add more or less milk depending on taste….really its all about you! 

I’m really very sorry.

I like you, I really do.  I just have no respect for your diet, or the unwritten rule that says you can’t have cakey muffins with chocolate ganache for breakfast.  See, your mom told you I was a bad influence, maybe she was right.

What you need:

  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into about 8 cubes
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, scalded
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, beaten

For the Ganache:

  • 4 ounces semi sweet chocolate (1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 plus 2 tbsp heavy cream

What you do:

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease a standard muffin pan (you’ll only need up to eight of the muffin cups).
Whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt and sugar.  Add the cold butter cubes and use your fingers to break the butter up into the dry ingredients.  Work the butter (it’s ok if it gets warm from your fingers) until you have a coarse mean and the butter is broken down very well into the flour.  Set aside.
In a small pan, heat the milk until almost boiling and remove from the flame.  Watch the milk closely! Whisk together yogurt, egg and vanilla extract.  Add the warm milk and whisk to incorporate.  Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients.  Stir together with a spatula until just incorporated.  
Gently spoon batter into muffin tins.  Muffins tins should be filled halfway.  Bake in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the muffins are lightly golden brown and springy to the touch.  
While the muffins are cooling, heat chocolate in microwave, 30 seconds at a time, until melted.  Whisk in cream until it becomes glossy.  When muffins are cool, dip the tops, or as much as you want, into the chocolate and devour.

Cinnamon Rolls, Mall not included…

I have had a serious bread making obsession these days.  I have chosen a few basic breads, some savory breads and have had successes studded with the occasional failure.  All in all its been fun, and educational.  Its like chemistry mixed with home ec.  So, this afternoon I had the brilliant idea to make some cinnamon rolls.  Who doesn’t love a cinnamon roll? 
I thought it was going to be a tremendous undertaking, but really is an easy process.  It takes a while to make, only due to the few hours needed to let the dough rest between segments.  The end result is well worth the wait, as with most things in life.  They are tender and delicious, cream cheesy and the brown sugar has a warm satisfying sweetness.
Trust me, if I can pull this off, with 2 kids driving race cars around the kitchen and drooling over the smell, anyone can do it! 

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Rolls

What you need:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 5-6 cups all purpose flour

Filling:

  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup soft butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

What you do:


I find its always easiest to gather and measure out your ingredients first.  Not that you need to be told this, but if your anything like me, I always think I have everything I need, but inevitably am missing one component or another .  Its always easier to find that out before you start rather than at the crucial moment!

Add the brown sugar ( I chose a mix of light and dark, only because that’s what I had on hand) and butter to a stand mixer or your mixing bowl.  Beat together until light and fluffy, should look like this:

Yours might be slightly lighter than mine, that’s because I added the dark brown sugar.

Add the eggs, one at a time, being sure the completely incorporate each egg before adding the next.  Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally during mixing.
Add the water and milk together in a small sauce pan and just warm thru.  Add it to your batter, along with the cinnamon, salt and yeast.  Mix again on low until everything is well blended.  Start adding your flour in.  Start with 2 cups, and mix well.  Add the flour in little by little until the dough is too tough to mix.  Pour out dough onto well floured surface and knead for 8 to 10 minutes.  Add flour as needed, you want the dough to be soft, but not sticky.



If using a mixer, start on low speed, so you don’t wear the flour!



Dough should be soft and pliable, but not sticking to your hand.  Don’t add too much flour!  Go slow and incorporate flour completely!



Once dough is kneaded, put it in a deep bowl that has a little oil in the bottom.  Flip the dough a few times to completely cover with oil.  Cover with plastic wrap and LEAVE IT ALONE for at least an hour, or until its doubled in size! 

Take this time to make the filling.  I omitted the raisins, as they are not popular with my rugrats.  You could use currants, golden raisins, chopped figs or dates, just about anything that tickles your fancy. 

Dump the dough balloon out on your counter and use your fingers to form into a 12 x 18 inch rectangle.  Brush the top with the melted butter, and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture.  Roll up like a jelly roll, making sure to pinch the seam.  Cut the roll into 12 pieces and lay them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Cover with plastic wrap and leave it alone for another hour, to double in size.  Preheat your oven to 350 F.
Dough after its risen

 



Rolled up.  Make sure to seal the seam by pinching it
I didnt use the ends of the roll, thats totally up to you.

Naked…
After an hour or so, unwrap the cinnamony goodness, and bake for 30 min.  I set my timer for 20 minutes, check them and then go from there.  All ovens are different, so just keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.  While they are baking, mix the butter, powdered sugar and cream cheese together.  When the rolls come out, smear them with the icing while they are still hot.  Then, jump out of the way, because your whole family and possibly some neighbors are going to be running into your kitchen to gobble them up!





Dressed to impress!