Monthly Archives: July 2012

I, I, Love, Love Apples and Bananas!

So last night we got home pretty early from Michigan because Josh had a hockey game to play in! I needed something to pass some time while waiting for the laundry to finish and watching the olympics (yes, I am a true multi-tasker at heart…well that or I have severe ADD and can never sit still)! As mentioned in previous posts, I am a sucker for sweet dessert type breakfasts and would choose a pastry over an egg any day (as was evidenced by my choice of 2 cinnamon rolls, 2 muffins and a peanut butter brownie for breakfast Sunday morning)….so I decided to bake up a sweet treat for the next few days morning meal! Last time we went to visit Josh’s Aunt and Uncle’s apple orchard, I bought some apple butter that I had yet to open up and decided to use it in a banana bread! What a tasty decision that ended up being…the sweet and tangy apple butter paired perfectly with the traditional banana bread flavor, adding a  little something special!

Apple Butter Banana Bread

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 3/4 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup apple butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 bananas mashed
  • cinnamon, sugar, butter, flour for crumb topping if desired

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray loaf pan or muffin pan. Combine dry ingredients in one bowl. Beat together oil, apple butter and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add in eggs one at a time, then vanilla and mashed banana. Beat in dry ingredients just until incorporated. Pour into loaf pan and top with crumb topping or cinnamon sugar, bake  45 minutes.

This was delicious toasted with Nutella or plain by itself!

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Happy birthday Gram!

This past weekend we celebrated my Gram’s birthday with quite the tasty feast! Our family does not know how to do things in a small way and always go way overboard…but that’s the bets part about our gatherings!! Not to mention all of the delicious leftovers that keep me from cooking for a few days! This get together was no different with everything from beef to fried chicken and pop’s cake donuts with chocolate frosting to a peanut butter death by chocolate trifle! Surprising though, I only baked one thing and I even cheated using a boxed brownie mix for part of it!! But hey, it was still tasty enough to share on here! It did require a few separate things to be made and then layered together including the peanut butter frosting I have posted about at least two or three times now…but we will start with the cookies, the middle layer!

Peanut Butter Toffee Cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 T whole milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 t baking soda
  • 1 package Hershey’s Toffee bits or crushed Skor or Heath bars

Bake at 375 degrees for 7-8 minutes.

 

Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 5 T butter, softened
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

Cream together butter and peanut butter until smooth. Add in powdered sugar, slowly. Beat until smooth, add in vanilla then cream. Whip to desired consistency!

 

Peanut Butter Death By Chocolate

  • Brownie mix (I used a dark chocolate Duncan Hines): made using package instructions but substituting 1/2 of the oil for coffee for a richer chocolate flavor (and added bonus of less fat)!
  • 2 boxes chocolate pudding made with 2 cups cold whole milk
  • Peanut butter toffee cookies
  • Peanut butter frosting
  • More Heath bits

Crumble the brownies into chunks. Layer half of the brownie chunks in the bottom of the trifle. Top with 1/2 of the chocolate pudding (or 1 package if made separately). Then layer cookies, crumbled into chunks. Next is the second package or other half of the chocolate pudding, then the remaining brownie pieces. Lastly, dollop peanut butter frosting over top and spread around, topping with more heath bits! DIG IN!!

I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream for ICE CREAM!

So since returning home from vacation, I have really been slacking and I apologize! No excuses! So I decided to post about a few different desserts I have recently concocted. Italy did not have much in terms of dessert besides Gelato and breakfast type pastries…which of course I took full advantage of and ate cake almost daily for breakfast which was absolutely wonderful…so by the time I got home, I was realllly craving something rich and chocolatey! So of course, the first thing I did was bake a type of brownie and made some decadent ice cream of my own!

Rice Krispie Treat Brownies:

  • Home made brownies or your favorite mix (I used a dark chocolate brownie mix and added extra chocolate chips to it)!
  • Jar of Fluff or frosting of your choice
  • 2 cups Rice Krispies
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 2/3 – 3/4  cup peanut butter

Bake brownies as directed on package or your recipe calls for. Let cool completely. Top with fluff or frosting and refrigerate until firm and set (at least 45 minutes). Once set, melt peanut butter and chocolate together in double boiler. Once melted, remove from heat and fold in Rice Krispies. Let cool slightly and then top brownies with mixture. Put back in the fridge to harden and set up, at least another 45 minutes to an hour.

Oreo Ice Cream:

  • 1 container Edy’s Ice Cream (I used chocolate but you can use literally any flavor you like, my grandma uses vanilla)
  • 4 ounces cool whip
  • 2-3 rows of Oreo Cookies, chopped (I used the double stuffed for more goodness)

Let ice cream soften to room temperature so that it is mixable with a hand mixer. While softening, crush Oreos in food processor or however your little heart desires! In a large bowl, beat ice cream until smooth, add in Cool Whip and mix all together until well blended and smooth. Fold in crushed Oreos. Freeze until firm in a freezable container or glass pan!

Thin Mint Ice Cream:

  • 1 container Edy’s Ice Cream (again any flavor can be used, I went with cookies and cream for this one)
  • 4 ounces cool whip
  • 1 – 1 1/2 rows Thin Mint Cookies, chopped

Same process as listed above for Oreo Ice Cream…just with crushed Thin Mint Cookies!

The Oreo ice cream is something that my grandma used to always make and that we had pretty much forgotten about until recently! Such an easy yet delicious recipe…my favorite type of recipe! Also, she uses an entire gallon of ice cream, 8 ounces of Cool Whip and a package of Oreos crushed up and puts it into a 9X13 pan to set up in the freezer. So if you have a large party or big group outing, this is a great idea, a real crowd pleaser!! Gram also told me that the original recipe she got from her friend calls for Butter Pecan ice cream…she has never used it and always uses Vanilla but just goes to show you that any flavor will do!

Italia!

Wow it’s been a while since I’ve posted! However, I do have a great excuse…I was in Italy for two weeks! And unfortunately for me, when I returned, I got a horrible cold that I am still fighting, so my apologies for the delay! Italy was absolutely amazing, even more so than I ever dreamed. We flew into Florence, went to Monterosso (part of the Cinque Terre), then headed to Siena, Cortona, then Rome, then Sorrento and finally ended in Positano on the Amalfi Coast! It was a trip to remember, that’s for sure! Josh and I took the advice of a few friends and family that had been before us and kept a journal of all the places we ate at so we can always remember, in case we ever make it back or get to give any other lucky travelers advice! My favorite food was through the Tuscany/Chianti region where we got to feast on things like wild boar stew, duck and/or rabbit ragu, truffled everything and different things like that…my ‘least favorites’ (since that really isn’t true, everything was scrumptious) were in the big cities such as Florence and Rome where everything seemed to be the same…however you can never go wrong in my book with fresh, homemade pasta! We were right outside the truffle capital of the world so we got to enjoy the freshest, most delicious truffle dishes ever…not like the ones here where they just douse everything in tons of truffle oil and call it ‘truffled!’ One of our favorite places, one we ended up eating twice at (something we absolutely swore we would not do but the pizza was just too fabulous not to) was a place called Pizzeria Aurora in Sorrento. When you were served your amazingly thin and crispy pizza that was oozing with melty, fresh buffalo mozzarella, they brought you a pepperoncini oil to the table instead of regular plain olive oil to sprinkle over your pizza…AMAZING! Changed my world completely, we bought 6 jars to take home…a few for ourselves and a few to give away as gifts because everyone should experience that little bit of heaven! Being along the Amalfi Coast, there was tons of fresh seafood everywhere, so if you like seafood, that is definitely the place to go! My husband had at least three different seafood pastas and loved them all! We took a cooking class in Ravello where we actually went to a fish market and picked out what we wanted to cook from what was caught that morning…great experience but wow, talk about an overwhelming smell! Lastly, one of the best parts about Italy was the wine…so delicious and abundant, I definitely have a new-found love of Chianti! We may have come back with 6 bottles of wine as well…oops! Overall, it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life so far and I cannot wait to go back…however, next time, maybe in May or October…we got some unseasonably warm weather which made for some rough site-seeing days! I am sure I am leaving out tons of things I wanted to say but I wanted to get a post out before the weekend since I’ve been dropping the ball…so more to come and everyone have a cool, safe weekend!!