Saturday, November 27, 2010

Lightened Up Banana Bread

After years of making my great-grandmother's banana bread, I decided to put my own spin on the recipe. What the husband doesn't know just makes him healthier.

Lightened Up 
Banana Bread
2 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Mash the bananas and sugar until combined.

Sift and add the flours, soda and salt.

Stir in the oil and applesauce, and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Servings Per Recipe: 8
Amount Per Serving: Calories 211.9, Total Fat 3.7 g, 5, Trans Fat 0.0 g, 0%Cholesterol 0.0 mg, Sodium 449.0 mg, Potassium 154.5 mg, Total Carbohydrate 43.0 g, Dietary Fiber 2.1 g, Sugars 22.4 g, Protein 2.9 g

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Is It a Dessert or a Side Dish?

Mama's Pink Stuff
Pink stuff comes but once a year. I'm not sure why, but we never seem to make it except for at Thanksgiving. And although the dish only makes an appearance in November, the husband and I always have the same debate: Should the pink stuff be served with the main meal or as a dessert? It's always been served as a side dish in my family - we throw it on our plates right next to the potatoes and turkey. But the husband isn't so fond of this idea and says he'd be more comfortable with this jiggly dish if it were served as a dessert. Whether you serve it as a side or a sweet ending is up to you. Either way, pink stuff lovers can rejoice: I've solved the separation mystery! Perhaps I'll be more inclined to serve it more often now.

Mama's Pink Stuff
2 cups boiling water
2 (4-serving) packages strawberry Jell-O (regular or sugar free will do)
2 cups softened vanilla ice cream
3/4 cup strawberry juice

Put on a teapot. While you're waiting for the water to boil, measure your ice cream and let it soften in a bowl.

Dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water and let it cool so it is no longer steaming. Once the Jell-O mixture has cooled a bit, slowly whisk (or beat) in the ice cream and juice. Stir until the ice cream melts. You can even stir for a couple more minutes just to be sure the mixture won't separate. 

Chill the pink stuff in the fridge until ready to serve.

Servings Per Recipe: 8
Amount Per Serving: Calories 148.4, Total Fat 4.9, Total Carbohydrate 24.2 g, Dietary Fiber 0.2 g, Protein 2 g

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"My Grandma Always Makes It"

Cranberry Butter
Husband: "You forgot the cranberry butter."
Me: "You're right. I'll have to look up a recipe."
Husband: "OK, but don't be offended when I tell you it's not as good as my grandmother's." 

That was us, going over our Thanksgiving menu a couple of weeks ago. I didn't know what the big deal was at first. I could look up a recipe for cranberry butter and save Thanksgiving, couldn't I? According to my husband, apparently not. So, I sucked it up, e-mailed his grandma and now hold the key to cranberry butter. I must admit I was a bit scared at first. I mixed it in the KitchenAid and all of the butter got sucked into the whisk attachment when I started mixing it (note to self: just use beaters next year). In the end, though, I think it came out alright. I licked a little off my finger last night and it tasted pretty good to me. Hopefully the husband agrees.

And while I wait to see what he thinks about his cranberry butter, I'll be worrying about my pink stuff - my grandmother's family tradition. 

Mama's Pink Stuff
2 cups boiling water
2 (4-serving) packages strawberry Jell-O
2 cups softened vanilla ice cream
3/4 cup strawberry juice

Dissolve gelatin in water, add ice cream and juice; stir until ice cream melts. Chill until ready to serve.

It's as simple as that! I mean, it sounds simple, doesn't it? Unfortunately, this side dish has been known to separate on me, when it's supposed to stay a perfectly solid, uniform bowl of pink stuff. Any ideas on how to keep this family tradition from flopping?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sneak Peek

Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls, on the rise
I have to make a confession: I've been dreaming about Thanksgiving for weeks. I've been testing pie crust recipes, mashing potatoes with olive oil and reading recipes when I should be doing laundry. (For the record, I'm pretty sure there's a hamper full of laundry I should be putting away this very minute, but it can wait.)

This year marks the third Thanksgiving the husband and I have spent 12 hours away from our family. Sure, we'd love to have them all here, but in this three-bedroom, one-bath house, that just isn't happening. So we've learned to make the best of this situation and realized quiet holidays at home can be some of the best. This will be our second year celebrating with just one house guest: my cousin who is going to school a couple of hours away but can't make the trip home for the holiday.  

We're creating our very own memories that don't involve running from one grandparent's house to another aunt's house back to someone's mom's house, all with me having an asthma attach in between from someone's cat. Do you see where I'm going with this? Yes, we love a good long hug from from a grandmother we haven't seen in months and a little brother's teasing, but Thanksgiving was never a holiday either of us looking forward to - that is, until now. 

I've been planning our Thanksgiving menu for weeks, so much so that I just couldn't help myself: I started prepping Sunday afternoon with whole wheat dinner rolls. I'll fill you in on the rest of my first solo-Thanksgiving adventure as the days progress. On the agenda for tomorrow? Pies and pink stuff. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Let the Search Begin

Honey-Glazed Sweet Potatoes
I ask my husband all the time, "Do you think this will be my thing?" His answer is usually something along the lines of: "I'm not sure, babe. It's good. When you find your thing, you'll know it." See, my grandmother on my dad's side is known for her cookies. There's always a container filled with cookies on her counter - chocolate chip, oatmeal, even those chocolate cake-like ones with the white frosting that I really don't like, but I'll eat them anyway. My grandmother on my momma's side can roll pie crust thinner than your grandmother, and it's perfect every single time. My stepmother's pot roast made my then 5-year-old brother title her "a very good cooker." My momma? Maybe I can't name her thing, but you can ask around and people will tell you: Her bread is amazing, her eggplant parm is something I request whenever I'm in town, her rice balls are one-of-a-kind, and she makes awesome gravy - which is especially impressive because she doesn't have an ounce of Italian blood in her. 

So, as I enter my first year of marriage, I also find myself embarking on the search for my thing. The husband has challenged me to try a new recipe a week, and I've accepted this challenge with open arms. So far he has learned he loves chicken curry, enjoyed homemade gnocchi and asked me to please never make pepper-and-cheese-stuffed chicken breasts again. I guess you could say things are going well so far. 

This week, though, I'm not just cooking for the husband. This week, I had to make a dish for the husband to pass at his company's Thanksgiving gathering. Last year I made a sweet potato dish. I'm ashamed to say I took the easy route again this year and told him to sign me up for sweet potatoes. I've tried a new recipe, though, and will be crossing my fingers until he gets home from work. I really hope they go over well. And that alone would make me happy. I'm sure these cubed sweet potatoes won't be my thing, but I'll settle for having the husband whose wife makes the really awesome sweet potatoes every year at Thanksgiving. Maybe these sweet potatoes will be one of my things.


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