Category Archives: Fruits

Brown Sugar Banana Bread

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slice banana bread upclose
Do you have a favorite banana bread recipe?  I don’t. At least I didn’t until recently.  I’ve made a lot of banana bread through the years.  Mostly crumbly, sometimes overly dense, occasionally dry, and always leaving me wishing I just hadn’t bothered.

Then my friend Opal called asking me if I have a recipe for banana bread — made with sour cream and brown sugar.  What?  I’ve never even seen a banana bread recipe with those ingredients.  Opal says it is the only recipe she has used for years and years.  Unfortunately, the recipe got away from her in a cookbook she gave to her granddaughter as she was leaving for Africa!

sliced banana bread
I Googled and read through dozens of recipes looking for just the right combination of ingredients that included the sour cream and brown sugar. By the time I passed this recipe on to Opal I was already on my way to the kitchen!

Black Bananas
But first, I had to retrieve these bananas from the freezer.  Many months ago (embarrassingly long ago) I put these in the freezer for a few days until I had time to do something with them.  Now I had the recipe … but I had no idea if the bananas were still good.  Turns out — you can put bananas in the freezer, leave them for a long time, thaw them out and squeeze them into your banana bread recipe!

3 loaves banana bread
First thing you may notice about my three loaves of banana bread … they are each a different size. Same size pans but my ability to split up the batter equally left something to be desired!

Banana bread sliced
I used Turbinado Sugar for the little sprinkling on top. Definitely a good idea as it left the top slightly crisp.  We slathered on some leftover Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Spread and ate it for dessert one evening.  Out of this world!  For me the decision to keep a recipe often times boils down to one thing.  In this case the Chief  took one bite and said, “wow!  this is the best banana bread you have ever made!”  That’s the one thing. :)

Banana bread is wonderful toasted and it can even be sliced thick and used for french toast.  Thanks to Opal for telling me about “brown sugar and sour cream” in banana bread!

Happy Baking!
Catherine

Thanksgiving and Prayer

15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.       Ephesians 1:15-23

Opal’s Brown Sugar Banana Bread

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Opal’s Brown Sugar Banana Bread

Moist, rich, scrumptious!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium well-ripened bananas)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • *Additional brown sugar or Turbinado Sugar for top of batter

Directions

  1. Mix together butter, oil, sugars and eggs.
  2. Add mashed bananas, sour cream and vanilla, stirring well.
  3. Mix in flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring until it is well blended.
  4. Pour into 1 greased large loaf pan or 3 greased small pans (7" x 3 1/2").
  5. Sprinkle additional brown sugar generously over top of the batter.
  6. Bake at 325 degrees; large loaf for about an hour, small loaves for about 45 minutes. Test bread to make sure it is done in the middle.
  7. Allow bread to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edges, tap the pan carefully on the counter to release the bread from the bottom of the pan, then invert pan over a wire rack and let the bread fall onto the rack to finish cooling.
  8. Butter up and enjoy!

Notes

Other favorite ingredients may be added according to your taste: miniature chocolate chips, toffee bits, shredded coconut, chopped pecans, chopped walnuts, chopped macadamia nuts.

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Blueberry Crumb Bars

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blueberry bars plate and panful
Even though I had just baked up Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars, I saw a picture of these blueberry crumb bars on three different websites within just a few days of each other and I knew I just had to make them.

blueberries layered
Thanks to a bumper crop this year, we have a fresh stock of blueberries in our freezer.  I didn’t mind a bit letting go of 4 cups to make these bars.  The crust and the topping are the same and so it goes together very fast.  Half the mixture goes on the bottom, then the blueberries combined with lemon juice, sugar, and corn starch layers next.  The crumb topping is crumbled over the blueberries.  The bars are baked for 40 to 45 minutes.

blueberry bars upclose
Once cooled I drizzled a bit of vanilla frosting on top.  It turned out to be a perfect crowning touch!

blueberry crumb bars plated
This is a short post -  I’ve gotta go — I’ve got just enough time to make up a batch of these before dinner! :)

blueberry crumb panfull
Happy Baking,
Blessings, Catherine

Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Jeremiah 1:4-5

Blueberry Crumb Bars

Blueberry Crumb Bars

Feed a crowd with these fruity, tasty bars!

Ingredients

    Crust/Topping
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Filling
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 4 cups fresh blueberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a 13x9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest. Rub the zest into the sugar until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt to the bowl and whisk to combine. Add the butter and egg to the bowl, and use a pastry cutter to cut them in until the pieces of butter are no larger than small peas - the mixture should look like coarse meal. Transfer half of the mixture to the prepared pan and pat into an even layer to form the crust.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together the lemon juice, sugar, and cornstarch. Add the blueberries, and toss gently to coat them evenly. Pour the blueberry mixture over the crust and spread evenly. Crumble the remaining crust/topping mixture over the blueberries to cover.
  4. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until topping is golden brown and the filling bubbles around the edges. Remove the pan to a wire rack and allow the bars to cool completely in the pan.
  5. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  6. Drizzle with vanilla frosting, optional - but a crowning touch!
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Strawberry Pretzel Salad

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strawberry pretzel 2
I am doing it again. Posting a recipe to share because I typically lose my copy of the recipe and can’t find it at the moment I need it. Now I will have it on my blog — forever. Well, at least for as long as I need it!

I adore this salad and/or dessert. I call it Strawberry Salad and the Chief calls it Definitely Dessert!  If you haven’t made it lately, you should.  The sweet and salty combination makes for mouth-watering tastiness! And the fruit, well that makes it healthy! :)

Strawberry Pretzel Salald
My sweet sous-chef dish-washing mom made this for us one hot day in July and it was so refreshing with dinner.  You will most generally see this pop up around the holidays but I say “don’t wait.”  Make your own strawberry pretzel holiday soon!

Happy Baking!
Catherine

“Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends. 2 Corinthians 10:17-18 ESV

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Colorful tried and true recipe that doubles as a salad or dessert! Sweet and salty combination is a real winner.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups crushed pretzels
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, plus 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1 (8-ounce) container whipped topping
  • 2 (3-ounce) packages strawberry gelatin dessert mix
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen strawberries
  • Whipped topping or whipped cream, to garnish* Optional

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. For the crust, mix the pretzels, butter, and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Press this mixture into a 9 by 13-inch pan and bake for 7 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and 3/4 cup of sugar. Fold in the whipped topping, and spread over the cooled crust. Refrigerate until well chilled.
  4. In a small bowl, dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water, and allow to cool slightly. Add the strawberries and pour over the cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate until serving time.
  5. To serve, cut slices and serve with a dollop of whipped topping.
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Spicy Peach Chutney

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Peaches 2013
Got peaches? Our peach crop wasn’t anything near great this year, but our two little peach trees did produce enough peaches that I could make a batch of spicy peach chutney.  I am so glad I decided on the chutney for the use of our few peaches.  This stuff is incredible and has a thousand uses!

slicing peaches
My sous-chef dish-washing mom did all the peeling and slicing of the peaches.

green pepper chopped
My job was to tackle the green peppers, fresh out of the garden and …

Onion
chop up the sweet Vidalia onions!

Peach Chutney cooking
I added garlic, chili powder, mustard seed, brown sugar, vinegar and raisins.  All this is cooked over medium heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until the mixture thickens.  The chutney is ladled into hot sterilized jars, sealed, and processed according to safe canning measures.  Click HERE for canning procedures from PickYourOwn.org.

What to do with your peach chutney?

Peach stuffed chicken breast

This isn’t just any ordinary chicken breast … this is peach chutney stuffed chicken breast.

Half stuffed chick breast peachI must beg your forgiveness for bragging but this dish is outstanding!  You will find the chutney recipe below and soon I will post the stuffed chicken breast recipe.

In the meantime, Happy Cooking!

Blessings, Catherine

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, Ephesians 2:19 ESV

Spicey Peach Chutney

Spicey Peach Chutney

Spicey peach chutney is a perfect addition to baked chicken, fried fish, or a pork tenderloin!

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds sliced peeled peaches
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seed
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 4 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 5 ounces chopped preserved ginger *Optional

Directions

  1. In a large heavy pot, stir together the peaches, raisins, garlic, onion, chili powder, mustard seed, brown sugar, ginger (optional) and cider vinegar.
  2. Bring to a boil, and cook over medium heat uncovered until the mixture reaches your desired consistency. It will take about 1 1/2 to 2 hours to get a good thick sauce. Stir frequently to prevent scorching on the bottom.
  3. Ladle chutney into hot sterilized jars and process according to safe canning practices.

Notes

For Canning techniques: http://www.pickyourown.org/peachchutney.htm

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Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

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blueberry cheesecake bars plated
Last year I saw a post from Brown Eyed Baker for these Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake bars.  I printed out the recipe and added to my “to-bake” and “to-make” pile of recipes.  It has surfaced several times in the past 18 months but something else always caught my eye.

Chris Joddie
But this August my youngest son Chris, and his wife Joddie came from Utah for a visit.  For several reasons this recipe immediately came to the top of the pile.  First, our blueberry bushes produced oodles of fruit this year.

blueberries cuisanart
Secondly, my Cuisinart is now working again and that always says “cheesecake” to me.

BB cheesecake bars
And lastly, I know Chris.  Chris knows me.  When we get together there is always cheesecake!  These bars didn’t disappoint.  They are easy to make and fantastic to eat.  I had several special recipes I wanted to make during the week the kids were here so I didn’t want a huge cheesecake to eat — we had lots of good food and little time!  The blueberries are sprinkled on top of the cheese mixture before baking and they settled into the cheesecake very nicely.

We ate these poolside while visiting with friends.  Pictures were taken quickly while the hungry onlookers offered all sorts of advice.  Things like “hurry up!”, or “aren’t you done yet?” or “how many pictures do you need?” :)

Happy Baking!
Catherine

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

A quick and easy alternative to baking a whole cheesecake. Deliciously fresh and wonderfully "cheesy!"

Ingredients

    For the crust:
  • 9 graham crackers, broken into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • For the filling
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9" x 9" baking pan with butter or baking spray.
  2. Make the Crust: In a food processor, process the graham crackers, sugar, and cinnamon until you have the texture of bread crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse a couple of times to fully incorporate. Press the mixture into the baking pan and gently pat down evenly. Bake for 10 minutes, until golden. Set aside to cool.
  3. Make the Filling: Wipe out the food processor. Add the cream cheese, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Process until well combined. It should have a smooth consistency. Pour the filling onto the cooled crust and then sprinkle the blueberries over top. The blueberries will sink slightly but should still be half exposed. As they bake they will sink a little more.
  4. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes or until the center only slightly jiggles. Remove from oven and cool completely to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. Slice into 16 bars.

Notes

Adapted from Tyler Florence and The Brown Eyed Baker

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