Friday, October 22, 2010

Why I love autumn: Apple Bread

Not only do I love the fall because of the beautiful colors, cool weather, and saving on central air costs; but also because of apples! In my opinion apple's taste even better this time of year.  I had bought a large bag and have made a few different things, but my favorite would have to be Apple Bread.  I had never made it myself but I remember having it at Thanksgiving when I was younger. To make this short, here is my spin on a yummy autumn treat:

Apple Bread

Prep Time:
20 Min
Cook Time:
40 Min
Ready In:
1 Hr

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quaker oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 small apples-- peeled, chopped, boiled and blended smooth
1/2 cup broken walnuts   (i didn't use because i didnt have)

In bowl, combine flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside. In large mixing bowl, place oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla and applesauce. Stir into flour mixture. Add walnuts and mix. Pour mixture into greased 8-in. x 4-in. bread pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes or until bread test done. Cool for 10 minutes on wire rack before removing from pan.

*I would also like to try a cinnamon crumb topping on this next time, and possibly small chunks of apple*

Monday, September 27, 2010

My Cookie Baking Quest

I had the urge to make cookies, but it was bad new bears because I had no sugar left. So I sat down and though of other things I could possibly use. Brown sugar. Yummy.  So the first thing that comes to mind after I remember I have brown sugar is Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies.  I immediately got online to find a cool recipe, but everything I found I was either missing ingredients or just didn't like what was being put into it. So I set off into my kitchen on the quest to make this delicious cookie with absolutely no recipe.

After putting in the basic things, flour, baking powder and soda, oats, brown sugar, yadda yadda I get a quick taste of the batter. Delicious! Quick pop in the oven and 5 minutes into cooking my kitchen fills with the wonderful aroma of an old time breakfast that reminds me of cold winter mornings as a youngin. Once out of the oven I get some calls from the peanut gallery (the 4 yr old procookie taster).  I let them cool and she got the official first bite, "Mom! You're the best chef ever!". After this flattering proclamation I of course had to try one myself.  Holy Yummy.  I will definitely be baking these again in the near future:

Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies:

1 cup flour
1 cup oats
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tbs cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick of room temperature butter
1 egg

(If I had it, I would have added 1/3 cup of regular sugar and an additional egg)

Preheat oven to 350, place parchment paper on ungreased cookie sheet.  Cream butter and brown sugar (if using additional sugar I would also cream). Beat in egg and syrup. Separately whisk together flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and powder.  Slowly beat in flour mixture, then the oats. Use a regular tablespoon to dollop onto cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 13-15 minutes. Makes 12 palm sized cookies.

**Walnuts or pecans would also be a fabulous addition to add a little crunch**

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Art of Baby Food Making

Baby food is quite the tricky art.  You have to make sure the taste, smell, color, and consistency are perfect. If it's not perfect one of two things happen: 1. baby will make faces like he has just been poisoned or 2. shortly after being put into the mouth will begin gagging that eventually leads to vomiting. The first two batches of baby food that I made were far from perfect which means that baby pretty much refused to eat it. As a last resort I had to mix it with store bought food.  The third batch went over fairly well, no yucky faces, but you could also tell he didn't love it. Thankfully, I believe I now have quite the hang of it...

Today's adventure was a fruit dish and a dinner dish.  For the fruit I boiled some peeled diced apples, peeled and sectioned peaches, and also peeled and halved two bananas.  I use the Magic Bullet so i can only work with so much room in the blender.  I pureed it all together and the end result smelled amazing. I let baby taste it, then tasted it myself, DELICIOUS.  For the dinner dish I made an eggplant saute.  Eggplant peeled and sectioned, tomatoes cored and de-seeded, a small portion of diced onion, and about a cup of cooked pureed brown rice.  I sauteed all the vegetables in olive oil, when mushy I then put it all in the blender and VIOLA! Amazing dinner.  It also smelled wonderful and had this beautiful color to it.

I enjoy making the baby's food because after 3 months of breastfeeding I was unable to continue, I guess this would be considered my coping mechanism.  I can't produce milk, but I can make him some yummy organic purees with nothing added and no preservatives.

It's funny how something that not only consumes a big chunk of my time but also makes a large mess is so relaxing. I enjoy doing it... it's very calming.  Makes me feel like I'm making it with love and it's a different way for Mommy and baby to bond.