Posts Tagged ‘bread’

Tis the season for cookies!

I’ve never participated in a holiday cookie swap, but I hope to do that next year. Between a surgery next week and moving into our new house, I’m not going to have much time to bake around the holidays.

But I was thinking of the fun cookies and treats I’ve made this year.

I know most cookie swaps or holiday cookie trays include the more traditional items: gingerbread, molasses, snickerdoodles, chocolate chip, frosted sugar cookies.

Maybe it’s time to revamp that cookie table!

Here are some of my favorites from 2010:

These aren’t even a baked good, but I think they were my favorite new item of the year.


Frozen Chocolate Dipped Cookie Dough – bonus! They’re whole wheat and vegan…and you can hide them in your freezer.


Chocolate Mint Cookies. Need I say more? Mint is a requirement around the holidays (for me, anyway), and I’m a sucker for the green chips.



Want to make something outside the cookie jar? These Cream Cheese Brownies are rich and tangy and will look great on that holiday table.



Even if you don’t make molasses cookies or gingerbread, don’t pass on the ginger. I love the warmth it brings to baked goods, and combining it with dark chocolate is always a good idea. This Gingered Applesauce Cake with Dark Chocolate is one way to do just that.


What about you – are there certain cookies or baked goods your family always makes during the holidays? I want to hear them! Everyone can always use some new ideas.


Don’t forget to donate and help Holly  + me raise money for Jovenes en Camino, an orphanage in Honduras for abused, homeless and orphaned children. Tis’ the season!

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We ended up hearing from our realtor last night (sooner than Nick and I expected), and…we’re buying a house! I kept randomly screaming last night – I still can’t believe it!

Needless to say, Nick and I are so excited about it. We’ll be closing in a little over a month, so I’m sure my life will be turned completely upside down from now on.

I’m sorry in advance for any posts that are random and only about furniture or paint or anything else home-related ; )

So…after that news, breakfast seems kind of boring.

But I did try to make a fun breakfast for us today so we could keep the celebration going.


We still had some of the maple apple bread, so I sliced it up and made it into french toast while Nick worked on the bacon.



I’ve been loving clementines lately – this bag I bought last week are perfect. Citrus is definitely one of my favorite things about winter.

Alright, I’ve got some coffee with my name on it and I’ve got to get to work.


Describe your dream house! I love hearing what other people want in their dream homes.

I can’t wait to show you pictures of the house once we move in; it might be as close as we get to our dream house.

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I did it.

I finally did it.

I finally made a fruit bread that turned out great!

No half-filled pan of banana bread, no gooey middle, no throwing half of the loaf away a few days later because neither one of us will eat it.

Thanks, fall.

The inspiration is all you.


Apples. Walnuts. Cinnamon. Maple syrup.

All in one bread – warm and toasty and full of flavor.


Don’t get me wrong – I love a good banana bread. But I think I love apple bread even more.

If you try this recipe, you may find yourself agreeing.

As long as I have fresh apples this fall and winter, this bread will be on the menu.

It’s delicious as a snack, perfect for breakfast, and would probably make incredible french toast…if you could save a few pieces.

Even better? It’s all whole wheat with some heart healthy oatmeal thrown in, just for fun.


Maple Apple Walnut Bread

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup milk (I used evaporated)
  • 1 medium-large apple, cored and cut into small dice
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Heat butter on stovetop or in microwave until melted and let cool.
  3. In large bowl, mix together flour through ginger (all the dry ingredients).
  4. In separate bowl, mix the sugar, maple syrup, eggs, vanilla, milk, and butter.
  5. Add wet mixture to dry and stir until just combined.
  6. Fold in chopped apples and walnuts.
  7. Pour in bread pan and bake 70-75 minutes or until top is golden and toothpick comes out clean.

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Ch, Ch, Ch, Chia Bread

After receiving a sample of Greens+ Chia Seeds, I knew I wanted to try them in some different ways.

First, I used them in some muesli the other morning – very good and filling, too! I wasn’t hungry for about 5 hours after that meal.

I kept seeing my ripe bananas on the counter and knew banana bread was going to happen, but I wasn’t sure how I could use the chia seeds, too.

I found this recipe on the Greens+ website for Chia Banana Bread and modified it a little for what I had on hand.


Really – is there anything better than the smell of banana bread baking in the oven?


Nick and I were both very happy with how this turned out.

For this loaf, I ended up using the following:

  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds, soaked in 1/4-1/2 cup water and set aside for 5-10 minutes
  • 1/2 cup white/ap flour
  • 1.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1.5 tsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 mashed bananas
  • 1 Tbsp melted butter – yes, REAL butter
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  1. Mix the chia + water and let sit while you get the rest of the ingredients ready or until they’ve started to gel.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together (flours, baking powder, salt).
  3. In separate bowl, beat egg with juice and brown sugar. Add in mashed bananas, chia seeds, vanilla, and melted butter.
  4. Add wet mix to flour mix until combined.
  5. Fold in nuts or mix in of your choice.
  6. Bake in greased loaf pan at 350 for 50 – 60 minutes.


The outside of this loaf of banana bread got so dark! I loved it.


And you just can’t beat walnuts in banana bread.

If you have chia seeds, try this recipe! You won’t be disappointed.

If you still haven’t tried chia seeds and you’d like to, just email Diane from Greens+ at diane@greensplus.com and let her know that you’re a Bran Appetit reader who would like to sample chia seeds. That’s it! Easy, huh  🙂

What’s your favorite “kitchen” smell?

I have a few:

  • chocolate chip cookies being made
  • banana bread baking
  • my mom’s pizza casserole dish
  • bacon crisping up


Twirlit is giving away a Free People gift card!

K has a cool book/cookbook up for grabs – check it out!

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Shiny and New

How it today already half over? I feel like it’s gone by way too fast today.

We got a new vacuum! We have the Kenmore CleanScape, which is one of the best rated in Consumer Reports and not too heavy, which is good since we have 2 floors. Nick’s already been vacuuming today and he “called” getting to vacuum this weekend – no problem there  🙂  I’ll let him use it on the whole house first to test it out!

I also got my new pair of glasses! They’re OP frames and so cute. Brown on the outside, blue on the inside.


Love them! And I’m so happy to have glasses that have the right prescription lenses in them.

Grocery shopping was good, too. I totally refilled the fridge today:

  • romaine hearts
  • sale package of mixed baby romaine (got it for only .69 with a coupon!)
  • sale package of portobello caps
  • scallions
  • cilantro
  • bananas
  • zucchini
  • yellow squash
  • small red onions
  • broccoli
  • celery
  • stoplight peppers (1 red, yellow and green)
  • serrano pepper
  • peaches and nectarines from the market!!! yay 🙂
  • cut sweet potato wedges for only .69 with coupon
  • 1 oikos plain small yogurt (coupon for $1 off)
  • 2 Fage: one with cherry for Nick, plain for me. on sale 2/$3
  • eggs
  • egg whites
  • almond milk
  • ricotta
  • coconut water to try
  • chicken breast (sale)
  • turkey sausages
  • buns
  • corn from market
  • brownie for Nick, ww brownie for me from market
  • face wash
  • new face lotion
  • new razor for me
  • tortilla chips
  • beer for chicken dish
  • 8 roll package of paper towels (sale)
  • 8 roll package of tp (sale)
  • 2 boxes kleenex (sale)

All for less than $100! I’m surprised it wasn’t more with all the paper towels, toilet paper, face wash/lotion, and razor – especially since those are things I don’t buy every week.

Nick had asked for some hot dogs or sausages to grill up for lunch today, so I bought some lean sweet italian turkey sausage that will also go into a meal this weekend.


Nick grilled all the sausages along with 1/2 a green, yellow, and red pepper. He had his ON a bun – I made mine into a big salad.


I took about 2-3 cups of the baby romaine and topped it with a cut up turkey sausage, 1 yellow tomato from our garden, and some of the grilled peppers.

Instead of eating my sausage on a bun, I spread a little olive oil spread on the split bun and topped it with garlic salt and parsley and had Nick grill it to make an easy “garlic bread”. Yum! It was good! I need to remember to do that again.

We just got the rugs in the wash, and I still have a few loads left that I’ll be working on all weekend. Nick is messing around with the vacuum still and I need to decide on dinner….too many choices now!

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Happy Birthday Eve to me! Yes, I am celebrating a little early  🙂  I’m having the best birthday eve night!

I guess I should recap this afternoon first before getting to dinner.

Lunch today was the same leftovers as yesterday – still tasty! That Barefoot Contessa has some awesome recipes.


The last piece of chicken + the last of the zucchini / saffron couscous from the other night.

Plus some broccoli


All eaten in the beautiful sunshine! We had a beautiful day today and got to eat outside – it’s finally looking and feeling like summer here!

Nick wanted a snack so we went by Our Daily Bread, this great bakery here, to get some sweet after lunch desserts.


Remember when I tried the chocolate macaroon last week? Well, I got the raspberry one today. And I remembered to get a picture of the inside!


I tried to cut this into thirds to share with a few coworkers, but it kind of just crushed. The jam inside this was amazing – seriously the best jam I’ve ever had.

I am in love with these little french macaroons – they are so light and not too sweet. The perfect light lunch dessert.

Work, work, work, then snack!

Since it was so nice today, I knew Nick and I would probably go for a run after work so I packed a slice of my banana bread.


We ran today for the first time in over 2 weeks! It was pretty good, too.

The last time we ran was actually on that trail race we did, so I wasn’t sure how it would go today. My legs were a little stiff at first, but I actually felt really good while we were out -except for my shoulders! My arms were killing me and I just couldn’t figure it out – until I remembered all the yoga I’ve been doing lately 🙂 They haven’t been hurting just during the day, but I guess moving them while running just let me know how much work they’ve been getting lately.

We did about 3 miles tonight and I’m glad we finally went. It was nice having a few weeks off to recover from that trail run since it kicked my butt.

Dinner tonight was even more delicious than last night – I love when meals get more flavor after sitting for a night in the fridge.


I had more of the guacamole salad on some romaine – this salad got spicier overnight!


I made my huevos rancheros on corn tortillas tonight instead of grits, just so I could see how good they were  🙂

Delicious! I love how crispy the tortillas got in the oven, and then the beans, runny eggs, and fresh cilantro?


Maybe one of the best Mexican themed meals I’ve made – and that’s coming from both of us!

Well, Nick is baking my birthday dessert as we speak! I may or may not partake in some this evening – I guess it depends on when it’s ready  🙂 And….he may make me wait until tomorrow anyways.

Great components of a birthday eve:

  • Good run
  • Tasty dinner
  • Birthday dessert  🙂
  • The Devil Wears Prada on tv

I’ve got to pick out a cute birthday outfit + pack my lunch.


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Buttermilk Banana Bread

Sometimes I hate when I forget about my bananas and they get a little too ripe.

Often times, I’ll just freeze them to use later in smoothies, but it is nice to bake a loaf of banana bread every now and then.

That sweet smell wafting through the house, even on a hot day, is enough to get my tummy rumbling.


Of course this time, I also had to see if using buttermilk would work in the bread. I bought buttermilk to make those bacon waffles, but I ended up with a little too much. Obviously, I can’t let that buttermilk go to waste.


Buttermilk Banana Bread

1 cup wheat bran

1 cup fat free buttermilk

¼ cup brown sugar

2 eggs

2 super ripe bananas

½ tsp vanilla

¾ cup whole wheat flour

¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour

¾ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

½ cup walnuts, chopped

  1. Mix wheat bran with buttermilk and let sit for 5-10 minutes.
  2. In large bowl, beat eggs with brown sugar, bananas, and vanilla.
  3. Add in the bran/buttermilk mixture.
  4. Add baking powder, baking soda, salt, and flour to mixture until combined.
  5. Fold in chopped walnuts.
  6. Bake at 350 in loaf pan for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.


You can really tell a lighting difference in these photos – the first was taken on Sunday afternoon, right out of the oven, when it was super bright and sunny.

The others were taken, still in natural sunlight, but later in the day.

Either way, this bread is delicious and I look forward to eating more.

What’s your favorite way to use buttermilk?

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Layer by Layer

It feels so good to have everything crossed of your list, doesn’t it? 

I usually always have a list going (at all times), and I love being able to cross everything off, one by one, and just know that I got everything done that I needed to.

I got banana bread made (recipe to come):


 And I did get to take this out of the oven while still wearing my dress – super fun  🙂

While the bread was in the oven, Nick and I cleaned the bathroom and got all the vacuuming done. As soon as the bread was done, we changed clothes and headed over to the pool! Yay, I actually got to go this weekend! By the time we got there, it was 5:30 and the pool was only open until 6 tonight, but it was nice to swim for a little bit. I can’t wait to go back – it’s actually a really nice pool and a lot bigger than I thought. This may make summer a bit more fun. I really miss having beaches close by (I grew up in Chesapeake, VA), so this is the best I can get – plus, I love being able to lay out and just jump in the water when I get too hot.

We headed back home, I jumped in the shower to rinse off the chlorine and got started on dinner.

For one part of our dinner tonight, I was trying out a recipe of Diana’s that I found the other day:

Diana’s Cottage Casserole


 Check out that layering!

I doubled the recipe so I could have some for lunches this week. I also made my own breadcrumbs with some whole wheat bread because I realized I didn’t have any dry ones on hand. So easy! I just threw 2 slices of whole wheat bread in the food processor for like 10 seconds. Done!

I baked this for 20 minutes covered since I wasn’t sure if the breadcrumbs would burn; after 20 minutes, I took the foil off and finished baking.


The rest of dinner included some smoked turkey, courtesy of Nick’s parents, and some more peas from our garden – they were so good.

Oh! And the shoes I wear with the dress are usually these black +woven wedges – I’ll try to get a picture of them soon  🙂

Is tomorrow Monday already?


Happy Father’s Day!



I love my dad – I’m sad I didn’t get to see him today, but I did get to talk to him – AND I get to see him AND my other dad next weekend  🙂

I’m lucky to have a Dad D. and a Dad E. – I don’t know how I got so lucky to have both of them in my life. They’re also both going to Honduras this summer! I can’t wait.


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Is it Fall?

Our weather has been so strange the past 2 days – it was only in the 60s today with a cool breeze and felt much more like fall than spring. Come back, spring sunshine!

I was just waiting to get hungry again after lunch so I could slice into that carrot cake bread  🙂


I heated it up in the microwave for 15 seconds and slathered a little cream cheese on it. I loved this. The chunks of walnuts, the chew from the dates, and the sweetness from the bananas  gave this bread such a great flavor and texture. I loved it with the cream cheese, but I think I may need to try it with a little almond or peanut butter – just to see which way I like it better. If you have the stuff to make this bread (even without the actual frosting) – DO IT! You’ll be happy you did  🙂

Since my legs are still kind of stiff today, Nick and I just went for a walk once he got back from work. It was nice to just walk around the neighborhood and talk about our days while stretching my legs. After we got back, Nick headed outside to work on some projects and I started working on dinner/prepping for lunch tomorrow so I’ll have less to do in the morning.

I made some chicken, tabbouleh, and salad for dinner – easy and quick.


I just baked the chicken at 350 for 25 minutes or so, with some salt, pepper, garlic powder, and oregano. I baked about 2.5 – 3 lbs tonight and will be using this chicken in a few other meals this week and maybe lunches. That means less work to do later!

My tabbouleh is based on a Barefoot Contessa recipe, with a few changes:

  • 1.5 cups bulgur
  • 2 cups water
  • lemon juice
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • handful fresh parsley and fresh mint, chopped
  • salt
  • pepper

Put bulgur in a heat proof bowl and bring water to a boil. Pour water and lemon juice over bulgur and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let that sit for 40 minutes – 1 hour until the water is absorbed/bulgur is cooked.

Once bulgur is done, add in herbs and tomatoes, season and serve!

Neither Nick or I are big fans of cucumber, so we usually leave that out.

I needed some more green today, so I had a simple salad of romaine, black olives and a little parmesan.


I’ve got to finish packing my lunch for tomorrow, then hunker down with a bowl of popcorn, watch HIMYM and get ready for bed. Tomorrow is going to be a long day.


Make sure to enter Danielle’s vacation gift giveaway!  🙂  It’s stuff from one of my favorite places.

How was your weekend?

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Despite being super sore, I was able (with a lot of Nick’s help) to get everything done we needed to this weekend, including cleaning the house, finishing the laundry, mowing the grass (that one was all Nick), prepping for this week, and completing our baking projects.

I finally finished the laundry a little bit ago and finished cleaning up the kitchen from baking while Nick vacuumed for me – I just couldn’t lift/move it, so he helped out a lot with that. Love him 🙂

Dinner tonight was pretty easy. Since I had the oven on already for baking, I threw 2 sweet potatoes in the oven for us and Nick grilled some strip steaks that I got on special and some romaine for a quick, chargrilled salad.


I love grilled romaine – we just slice an entire romaine heart in half, lengthwise, drizzle a little oil on it and some salt and pepper and grill for 2-3 minutes. you don’t want it to get soggy, but it heats it up and gives a nice smoky, grilled flavor.


My new thing with sweet potatoes is just a little salt and some cinnamon – I can’t get enough! I’m always sad when I take the last bite of my sweet potatoes. I would just about put cinnamon on anything, though. I love it.


Baking Projects:

The first baking project I made today is actually a recipe I saw on 101 Cookbooks and I’ve been dreaming about it ever since.


Carrot Cake

I’m not sure how….but I haven’t even sliced into this yet. I think I was just so focused on getting all the laundry done that I forgot about this once I took it out of the oven and started on the other baking project and dinner.

This hasn’t been iced yet, and I think I may just wait and ice each slice so we can add however much icing we want  🙂 This bread smelled amazing while it was baking. 

I did make a few modifications:

  • I cut out the butter – I wanted to see how it would be without. I just soaked the dates in a little hot water instead.
  • I added a splash (1 Tbsp? or s0) of orange juice

I’ll make sure to post more pictures and a real review once I try it  – as good as it smelled, I’m sure it will taste even better.


Baking project #2 will have to remain a bit of a mytery – I’m working on a cookie recipe for a contest, so I can’t tell you exactly what is in them, but they turned out much better than I thought they would!


Nick and I both tried them, and I think they need a bit of tweaking on the sweetness factor, but the texture is amazing and I love everything else. I think once we figure out the sweetness, these will be perfect  🙂  And they’re super healthy, which makes me happy.


Well…for having pain meds in my system, this post didn’t turn out too bad! Sorry for any typos there might be or weird stuff I might not have noticed  🙂  I’m going to let the pain meds kick in while I finish watching Iron Chef and call it a night.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your comments, thoughts, and emails – I appreciate every one.

I hope you all had a great weekend – and hopefully ones without accidents!  🙂

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