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Vegan Banana Cherry Bread

15 Feb

Banana bread. It’s like the chocolate chip cookie of the quick bread world.

Banana bread is a staple. It’s one of those things that you just have to make every once in a while. No matter what the occasion.
Banana bread turns brown mushy bananas into something worth shedding tears of joy over.

Banana bread is such a beautiful thing, yet it’s such a simple thing. The way it looks, smells and tastes is the epitome of comfort.

Banana bread is something you give; you share it. You use it to nurture and to impress.

Banana bread is my favourite.

I want banana bread. This isn’t a new thing. I love banana bread and would have it all day every day if I could.  Don’t kid yourself, you would too: nothing to be ashamed of!

Anything super tasty and delicious should be craved 24/7. I might just go have a slice of this guy…. I made it vegan, and I threw in some frozen cherries from my picking adventures in the summer. No biggie.

Vegan Banana Cherry Bread

3 medium or 2 large ripe bananas

1/4 cup coconut oil or vegetable oil

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup frozen cherries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas well. Add the sugar, oil, and vanilla extract, and whisk briskly to incorporate. Sift in the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Use a wooden spoon to mix until the wet and dry ingredients are just combined.  Fold in cherries. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and sprinkle with extra sugar if you’d like.  Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. The top should be lightly browned and a knife inserted through the center should come out clean, or with just a few crumbs. Remove from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes before transferring out of a pan and onto a wire rack to cool completely.

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Cranberry-Pistachio “Faux-nuts”

24 Jan

Who can say they’re a model law abiding. broccoli eating, regular oil changing, bathroom mildew cleaning, “i”dotting, “t”crossing, cat-in-tree rescuing, paper and plastic-separating citizen?

I can’t, that’s for sure. I’m far from perfect. I’m ok with this. I do try….I try to be the very best Fabi I can be.

I know you try too. We all do. We try to steer clear of the bad (most of the time) and keep striving for good.

That’s why things like doughnuts are a treat. We know that they’re not the ideal thing to give your body. We tend to avoid them. They’re a treat. Treats are good once in a while. But….not always.

That’s where these come in. They’re what fill the gaps between doughnuts and salad in our lives. They’re still a treat. But not too much. Just the right amount.

They’re not really doughnuts but I baked them in a doughnut pan and glazed them…so that must count for something.

Tart cranberries, and the buttery crunch of a pistachio here and there. It’s pretty magical.

With these and a cup of hot tea, I’m ok with knowing that it’s time to scrub my bathroom floor or pay my bills.

That’s my two cents anyway. Or 50 cents is more like it.

Make these. Be good. Be bad. It’s life.

Cranberry Pistachio “Faux-nuts”

adapted from joy the baker.

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup medium or fine ground cornmeal (I used white cornmeal)

1/4 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoons salt

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup honey (or pure maple syrup if you have it on hand)

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped pistachios

1/2 heaping cup fresh cranberries

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

In a smaller bowl whisk together honey, eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla extract.

Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until blended.

Fold in the cranberries and pistachios.

Divide batter into 6 donuts if using a donut pan, or 6 muffins, or a small loaf pan….your choice.

Bake at 350F for about 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Invert onto a plate or board and let cool.

Cranberry Glaze

1 cup cranberries

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup icing sugar.

splash of vanilla extract.

Cook cranberries in sugar until they burst. Mash them, and strain through a sieve.

Add the icing sugar and stir until smooth. Add water if necessary to achieve the right consistency.

Drizzle on cooled donuts.

Jump for joy. Squeal with excitement. Shove one of these bad boys into your pie hole. Love life. Repeat if necessary.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Raspberry Scones

14 Dec

Carbohydrates are a funny thing.

People are scared of them for some reason. It’s true…most people eat too many of the wrong kind. Some people are carb junkies. Some like to cut them out of their diet completely. I realize this next statement will make me sound like the world’s biggest hypocrite since I am currently on a crazy 6 pack challenge diet involving unreasonably low amounts of carbohydrates and yummy foods…..but….

Carbs are GOOD! Embrace them!

It’s all about balance and making the right choices. I made the right choice in making these scones. They have spelt and whole wheat flour in them. They also have raspberry jam and grated chocolate. These are all the right choices. Aren’t they? Balanced choices. Well. In my books they are.

I made little scone sandwiches. Two rounds of dough, with the jam and chocolate in between.

Press the two rounds together, brush with butter and sprinkle with brown sugar.

Divide into triangles.

Bake those guys.

Eat those guys. In moderation. But enjoy the miracle that is a carb. The miracle of a balanced carb; halfway between a naughty carb and a healthy one.

Too many naughty carbs: a bad thing.

Too many healthy carbs: depression.

No carbs: suicide; don’t do it!!

Remember that.

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Cornmeal Buttermilk Biscuits

12 Nov

I know it has already passed, but I feel I must reflect on my history of Halloweens. I have had some pretty damn great Halloweens. Ones where my parents would take me trick or treating in my grandparents’ neighbourhood. I’d return to their house and bask over my loot alongside my big brother while the adults did….well….adult things. To be honest I don’t know what they did. Heck, I was too busy counting O’Henry bars to notice. I was a clown once. A beauty queen. Batman.

Then there were the awkward Halloween years where I dressed up in gory costumes, wore a scream mask one year (Big mistake. You can’t see &$*% out of the eyeholes), went to my first halloween party dressed as a devil (not realizing that it wasn’t a Halloween party but was in fact a “dress provocatively but wear car ears” party) Embarrassing? Yep.

The trick or treating stopped…then last year I went as Elaine Benes whom I resembled to a tee, but nobody knew who I was unless I did the dance.

This year, however, seemed to make up for the slow decline of my Halloweens.

It involved a big sweater, a front porch, lots and lots of cool beer, a hot bowl of crazy good chili, some cornmeal buttermilk biscuits, and some Nerf guns.

Ok ok, I guess I’ll have to explain:

I went over to my chef and her husband’s house. We sat on the porch; I wore a giant sweater. We ate chili that Beth made (it was killer) and sampled a variety pack of beer. I brought the biscuits. I was in charge of handing out the candy; Beth and Clayton were in charge of having a Nerf gun fight. I may or may not have shot Clayton in the eye with a Nerf rifle. I may or may not feel bad about that.

See? Amazing halloween. Amazing cornmeal buttermilk biscuits. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to accompany the chili with cornbread or buttermilk biscuits, so I put them together! So great.

I sprinkled the tops with Beemster cheese and baked them in my square muffin tin just for the heck of it. I’ve come to the conclusion that square quick breads don’t look that good. Take note.

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English Muffin Bread

28 Oct

English muffins are funny things, aren’t they?

They’re not much to look at…

They’re so strange on the inside, all holy and such.

Who the heck cares what they look like; throw one in the toaster and you’re in heaven, right? Right.

This is why I decided I’d take it upon myself to make english muffins. The problem was that this genius didn’t really prepare herself for such an undertaking and I didn’t have the proper equipment: a fail before I could even begin. Some might say this was a bad thing. I, however, say it was a good thing. If I hadn’t failed at attempting english muffins, I would have never tried this bread.

I’ve had my eye on this recipe for a while but just never got to it. Until now.

Well friends, after this came out of the oven….english muffins who?

This bread was such an easy bread to put together and the end result was so moist and flavourful. I’ll admit, I got a little excited. I’m still excited. Get off my back….carbs are worth getting excited about in my humble opinion.

You should definitely make this bread if you like english muffins.

You should definitely toast it and butter it and pop on a little jam or your topping of choice.

You should definitely shove enthusiastically into your face.

I’ll definitely be doing the same thing in the near future.

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Banana Matcha Bread

5 Oct

Is there such a thing as too many bananas? I’ve been eating so many bananas lately, I never have any leftover to go brown. When I want to make banana bread, I have to go to the reduced section at the grocery store and pick up some sad brown bananas. Did I mention I buy about a dozen bananas a week? Crazy right? It’s a good thing I live alone. I’d get pretty upset if anyone ate any of my bananas. I’m serious. It has happened before.

So anyway, I was truly craving banana bread. No surprise there…I go bananas for the stuff (ha….ha….). I always have some on hand in the freezer but I wanted to try something different. I have been wanting to try putting matcha in a baked item for ages. Why not now? I have been wanting to try this banana buttermilk bread recipe for months. Why not now?

Perfect. I love killing two birds with one stone.

Can we take a second and discuss matcha before I continue? Matcha is powdered green tea leaves, and supposedly much better to consume as it provides you with a more powerful caffeine kick as well as all those sneaky and elusive antioxidants. Experts say one cup can be equivalent to 10 cups of regular green tea when it comes to antioxidant content. Unfortunately, the experts don’t mention that some, may find the taste unappetizing. No no…let me be more honest and rephrase that: a cup of matcha made me want to hurl. The taste just didn’t cut it for me. I could barely get through half.

I can see, however, how it would taste good with the addition of yummy things like milk and sugar.

This is why I figured banana bread is humble but sweet enough to make friends with matcha, and create something awesome.

It turns out, that I was right. The bread has a hint of green tea, and it’s really quite pleasant. If you’re still not convinced though, omit the matcha completely; the bread will still be a hit. Promise.

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Beer Biscuits

30 Aug

Let’s talk beer, shall we? I love the stuff. Most people love the stuff. Some hate it…that’s okay with me, there are things I dislike as well.

Know who loves it? My daddyo. If there’s one thing I never thought I’d have in common with my dad (and there are lots of things), it’s the love of beer. When I was growing up, he’d let me have a sip or two and I would make some pretty wretched faces as I choked with disgust. Side note: Did you know my dad is the coolest and owns a beer boot? Good times, drinking non-alcohol related beverages out it

College, naturally, was my second encounter with beer. My roommate tried to convince me that I should start drinking beer as it was cheaper and easier to drink than liquor (which I still do not care for….unless it’s gin….I like gin…but that’s a completely different story). She set me up with some Coors Light (BLEH!) at a party. It was not pretty. I still barely managed to get it down. I was a trooper though, and got through 1.25 beers. Yep.

I continued to snag some Budweisers from my buddies every now and then….and eventually, after a long battle, the taste grew on me. THANK. GOODNESS.

Now, I truly love beer. It has such wonderful flavours and there are so many great breweries out there. I’m glad I finally “hopped” on the bandwagon. (Oh I totally just went there)

Anyway, let’s get to the point here. My dad loves beer. I love bringing my dad home beers that I’ve recently discovered or fallen in love with.

I love Crazy Canuck from Great Lake Breweries: it’s hoppy, perfectly bitter, slightly malty, and so refreshing. When my BBF (Best Beer Friend) hooked me up with a couple of cans of it (along with their Devil’s Pale Ale), I knew it was time for a visit to my parents’ house. Continue reading