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Banana Blondies

I used to hate baking. I’d occasionally be driven by some desperate craving into making some cookies or something, but then I’d just grumble the whole time as I grudgingly measured and sifted.

Somewhere along the way in the past year or so, that’s all changed. I enjoy it so much more now, and while my first love in the kitchen will always be cooking savoury dishes, I have now found much joy and satisfaction in making my own desserts and bread as well.

And you know to whom I credit my change in attitude? Mama Pea! A majority of my first baking attempts were recipes from her blog that were both delicious and foolproof. And when I say foolproof, I really mean it; if I could get them to work, anyone can!

I was super excited to get a copy of her new book that just came out:

(Source)

I love that it’s not just a typical cookbook; just like on her blog, every recipe in it is accompanied by an endearing story about her family relating to the food. I have found myself just sitting on the couch, reading through the stories, just like I would a novel.

One of my favourite Mama Pea recipes is her “Double Chocolate – Single Chin Brownies” (which is featured in the book). Besides the awesome name, it’s just a super simple, super tasty recipe. Today, I had a sudden craving for it, but alas, no chocolate chips were to be found in the house. So I improvised, and came up with…

Banana Blondies (inspired by this recipe by Mama Pea)

1 C + 2 TB whole wheat pastry flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 bananas, mashed (just under 1 C)

1/4 C unsweetened applesauce

1/4 C firmly packed brown sugar

1 TB agave syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

2/3 C roughly chopped pecans

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In another bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients (except pecans).

Add wet ingredients to dry, and mix until just combined.

Fold in pecans.

Pour and spread evenly into a lightly sprayed 8 x 8 pan.

Bake in oven for 18 – 20 mins, until lightly browned and edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Cool completely. Cut into squares.

I have to confess that I’ve actually never had blondies, so I have no idea how these measure up. But I can tell you they were tasty! These blondies are just the way I like my brownies: moist, cake-like, and not overly sweet. And the fact that these have zero butter or oil in them is a bonus!

Enjoy! 🙂

 

Posted by on July 28, 2011 in Kitchen Adventures

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Happy Easter!

Today was a glorious, sunshine-y spring day! It was a little too bad that I was stuck inside a piano studio all day, but I had a nice view of the north shore mountains to make up for it.

I’m going to take a little detour from the Peru travel posts to revel in the arrival of spring!

(Our grass is starting to grow back after the power-raking)

One of my favourite descriptions of spring:

“Marilla, walking home one late April evening from an Aid meeting, realized that the winter was over and gone with the thrill of delight that spring never fails to bring to the oldest and saddest as well as to the youngest and merriest…[There] was a harmonious consciousness of red fields smoking into pale purply mists in the declining sun, of long, sharp-pointed fir shadow falling over the meadow beyond the brook, of still, crimson-budded maples around a mirror-like wood-pool, of a wakening in the world and a stir of hidden pulses under the gray sod. The spring was abroad in the land and Marilla’s sober, middle-aged step was lighter and swifter because of its deep, primal gladness.” (from Anne of Green Gables, by L. M. Montgomery)

Everytime I read this passage (and I would not be exaggerating by claiming that I’ve read it at least a hundred times by now), I close my eyes and savour the words of “wakening in the world”, “stir of hidden pulses”, and “deep, primal gladness”.

We started yesterday with a lovely breakfast that included these homemade hot cross buns!

I made them the day before using this recipe from Simply Recipes. I followed the instructions almost exactly, except that I subbed in raisins for currants and only used half the amount of indicated spices (we like our buns very subtlely spiced). They turned out beautifully, and were a hit! I will definitely be making them again next year! (Can you have hot cross buns throughout the year? Cuz I’m not sure I can wait a whole year…)

After breakfast, Len and I broke in the Bocce set we got last summer but never got around to trying out. It was a hoot ‘n a half!

Later in the day, we took a lovely walk in our neighbourhood…

…and we got a bit silly playing with our shadows…

We finished up the evening by having an intense Big Two Battle with our new cards from Peru:

I lost spectacularly while my mom was the big winner (again! every single time!), and included this amazing hand:

Tonight the three of us went to see African Cats in the theatre! We all had a fantastic time! The baby cheetahs were just too adorable. And if you’ve seen it, or when you see it, look out for the part with the turtle–that was Len’s favourite part. 🙂

It’s been a great long weekend so far! And our friend, Kathleen, arrives tomorrow for a visit, so it’s going to continue to be awesome!

 

Posted by on April 24, 2011 in Hanging Out

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