Mallory’s Banana Bread

Believe it or not, I didn’t make banana bread for the first time until I was in college. One of my best friends Mallory shared here recipe with me, and it’s the one I’ve been using ever since. It’s a very forgiving recipe, as you’ll see below. I’ve found myself with a surplus of brown bananas. My supervisor and her family don’t like bananas once they start to brown, so she’s taken to plopping them on my desk once they’re past the point where her family wants to eat them. I’m never one to turn down free food. Life hands you brown bananas…make banana bread!

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Ingredients:

1/2 c granulated sugar

1/2 c brown sugar

1/2 c applesauce

2 eggs (or 1/2 c greek yogurt if you’re out of eggs like I was, 1/4 c of yogurt =1 egg)

1 c mashed bananas (2 or 3 bananas, I usually eyeball and skip the measuring)

1 tsp. baking soda

2 c flour (I didn’t check prior to baking to see if I had all the ingredient. You’d think I’d learn! I didn’t have any regular all purpose flour. I ended up using mostly bread flour, and then  1/4 c of masa, or corn flour, when the bread flour ran out. It tastes just fine.)

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 c walnuts (if ya want)

 

1. Pour all ingredients into the bowl and beat with an electric mixer until combined and banana chunks have all been smoothed out.

2. Pour into a greased and floured loaf pan.

3. Sprinkle with nutmeg, cinnamon, and sugar if you like.

4. Bake at 350° for 45 min to 1 hour, until toothpick or knife inserted into loaf comes out clean.

5. Cool (or not) and eat!

 

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Easy Apple Crisp

I’m not a good cook, and I don’t bake very well, but I can make a mean apple crisp. Cause it’s so easy! I’m talking easy like not-peeling-the-apples easy. Here’s what you do.

1. Grease your pan. I used an 8 x 8 x 2 inch pan, but you can pretty much use whatever size you like. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Cut your apples into pieces no larger than an inch. You need about 4 cups, but it’s not crucial. You can peel them if you want to, but there’s no need. The skins are where the nutrients are at anyway. Throw those bad boys in the pan and poor about a tablespoon of lemon juice over them, then stir to coat the apples. Lemon  juice helps to bring out the sweetness.

3. In a bowl, mix 1/2 cup softened butter or margarine, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup oats, 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg, and a spoonful of honey. I’m a great believer in “eyeballing” it, so the only things I really measure are the butter, flour, and sugar, and even then I’m far from accurate.

4. Combine the ingredients above using a pasty blender or fork, until you get a nice crumbly texture. Spread the crumbs over the top of the apples, and bake for about 30 minutes, until crumbs are crispy and apples are soft when poked with a fork.

5. Enjoy!

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

While Ad was away at a geoscience conference last weekend, I whipped out my apron and made some chicken noodle soup from scratch. The recipe is from my great grandmother, Alta Heyler. She died before I was born, but she passed the recipe to my Grandma, who has made it tons of times. I’ve seen my Grandma make it, and I’ve helped a bit, but this was my first time making it completely on my own.

This recipe is absolutely cherished in my family. Homemade noodle soup for supper at Grandma’s house is a tradition. And now I’m going to share the recipe with you! It was much easier than I thought it would be, although my noodle making skills could still use a bit of improvement. Here goes!

Sift 1 cup of flour and 1/2 teaspoons of salt into a bowl. I’ve never been quite sure why sifting is so important, but Grandma does, so I do to. My sifter is a little beat up, and is probably older than I am, but it gets the job done.

After sifting, make a well in the middle of the flour/salt mixture, and pour in 2 well beaten eggs. Blend thoroughly. Add water and flour as needed, until the dough becomes a good consistency for handling. Knead dough on a floured surface until smooth. Then, roll the dough out on a floured surface until very thin. If it’s too thick, your noodles will taste too doughy.

Transfer the dough to a clean cloth to let it dry. Let dough dry for at least 30 minutes, before rolling it up and wrapping it in the cloth. You can let the dough dry for longer if you like, but it’s important to roll it up while it’s still flexible enough that it won’t crack and tear.

Once rolled, slice the dough into thin strips and let them dry. I actually let mine dry overnight last time, and that worked just fine. Grandma warned me not to make these for the first time when it’s damp outside, or it’s tough to get them to dry. She’s been known to take a hair dryer to them when desperate. Once the dough is sliced and dried, it freezes very nicely for future use. So go ahead and make a double batch if you’re feeling ambitious. It also makes the perfect snack if left on the counter top! Grandma has to hide them, or her dried noodles are eaten by family before she can make them into soup.

From here, it just gets easier. Boil your chicken in water until tender, adding a bouillon cube. Strain the liquid and return to the pan. Pick chicken off of the bone if you’re using legs or thighs, or just shred the chicken with two forks if you’re using breast or tenders. It’s a great way to use up frozen chicken that you might have hidden in the depths of your freezer. Return chicken to the pan with original water. Add 1-2 cans of chicken broth, it just depends on how much soup you want to make. Add the noodles and cook for another 20-30 minutes, until the noodles are tender. Voila! Homemade chicken noodle soup.

It’s really very easy, and it only takes basic ingredients that you probably already have. You could easily add any veggies of your choice. It’s a hearty soup, straight from the kitchen of a resourceful farmer’s wife. If you decide to make it, let me know how it goes!