Sunday, November 28, 2010

We Have a Winner...♥

Actually we have Two Winners
Due to the high number of entries, I had to pick two winners, 
Amy and Rhonda (aka Jordan)...
You two are the lucky winners of one of my 
Famous Heart Shaped Banana Breads  ♥ 
Please send me your mailing address in a private email 
And I will send you your Prize....
♥Thank you everyone who entered for a chance to win♥


Friday, November 12, 2010

♥Tis The Season.... Holiday Give away ♥

Tell Me, What Is Your Favorite Family Holiday Tradition?
One of our favorite Holiday traditions were to make several different kinds of cookies, breads, and candies... then package them up nice and festive.  My kids and I would go around our community and hand deliver cookies every Christmas eve to ...our friends, doctors,  community service places like the post office, police dept, fire dept, along with local homes for disabled elders, adult and children. Then we'd go down town to the Shelters and hand out small containers of cookies along with socks & gloves to the homeless living along the streets of Anchorage Alaska. It was our way of letting others know how much we appreciate them and that they are loved...

Keeping in the spirit, I'd like to give a way a loaf of my Banana Bread to the lucky person who shares their favorite family tradition on my blog, I will enter your traditions in a drawing to be held on Friday November 26th 2010 noon my time, where I will draw a lucky winner to receive one of my heart shaped Banana Breads & Homemade College Card.... OK... I know it's not an autographed signed book, but it is made with love and I'm sure to delight any who share in your winning… We would love to hear your family tradition....
Enter for your chance to win

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Snoopy Peanut Butter Rice Krispie’s Bars

These are one my favorites to make all year long, 

I never get tired of making them, 

eating them, sharing them or did I say…eat them? 

I love, love, love them!

so do my boys and anyone else who gets to eat them. 

At Christmas when I need a gift or treat quickly, these are it. I’m talking 20 minutes from start to finish. You can eat them warm, but usually I make my kids wait. I’ve tried it with other chocolates, but I always go back to the milk chocolate. I’ve been making these bars for as long as I can remember. We use to get a similar bar at school, called Snoopy Bars, but the texture was slightly different. These are very similar to Rice Crispy treats, same concept but they taste so much better. If you’re a chocolate peanut butter kind of person, these are for you! 


Snoopy Peanut Butter Rice Krispie’s Bars

1 Cup White Sugar
1 Cup Light Corn Syrup (I prefer Karo)
1 ½ Cup Peanut Butter (I prefer Jif Creamy Peanut Butter)
6 Cups Kellogg’s Rice Krispie’s
1 Package of 11.5 oz Milk Chocolate Chips (I prefer Ghirardelli)

Put sugar and light corn syrup in a large sauce pan, bring to a boil stirring constantly being careful not to burn. Once mixture reaches a boil remove from heat. 

Add 1 ½ C. Peanut butter stir until melted. 

Add 6 cups of Rice Krispie’s. 
Mix together until all cereal is completely coated. 

Pour into a 13 x 9 x 2-inch cake pan 
coated with Pam cooking spray. 

Press mixture down evenly in pan. 

Sprinkle Chocolate Chips on top. 

Put pan in oven at 275 degrees until chips soften, about 5-7 minutes. Quickly remove from oven, spread chocolate evenly around bar. 

 Let cool and cut in squares. 

I like to use a butter knife to loosen up the edges, 
and then I pop the completely cooled bars out onto a cutting board.
I then flip the bar and cut into small bite sized squares. You can cut into larger bars, but these little gems are very rich so a little goes a long way.

The knife shown in the picture was actually used to cut our frozen Cheese cake. You can get it at any knife store, or order it on line. It’s called a Wusthof Gourmet 12” Cheese Knife, Doubled Handle. By W├╝sthof  It works perfectly for cutting bars, frozen cakes, or anything you want a nice even straight line, plus it is so much easier to cut with being able to apply pressure evenly from both handles.

I prefer small 1 inch squares; 
they are easy to eat, share, and are the perfect nibbler size.

These are one of the easiest treats to make & send 
to your loved ones, normally
they won’t break up during travel 
to your desired destination, 
I've sent these to friends serving over seas 
and to my boys for their birthdays. 
It's one of my favorites to mail.

You do have to make sure that if you’re mailing in extreme heat, that you use waxed paper or parchment in between your layers, and freeze before you mail to set the chocolate completely. The tighter you package the bars, the better they’ll travel.

I like to make several pans at Christmas, 
everyone loves them, 
they make the perfect gift, brunch compliment, or after school snack. 
My boys love these bars! 


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Banana Bread, Muffins & Heart Filled Bundt's

OK, I have a confession to make, when I said I was going to share "My" Famous Banana Bread Recipe, I fibbed a little, it's actually not my recipe, it's my Mother-in-law's recipe. I believe in giving credit where credit is due and I owe her all my credit. I've only made it famous in Alaska amongst my family and friends by serving it at almost every holiday celebration, neighborhood party, school function and holiday gift exchange. It's one of my most requested items that I've made around the holidays each and every year.

In 1987 when my husband and I took jobs in Anchorage Alaska, we up rooted our family and moved away from everything and everyone we had known.  Leaving behind our family and friends just before Christmas made it one of our most difficult holidays ever. In order to try and make my husband and son's feel a sense of home, I called my Mother-in-law back in Minnesota and asked her for her Banana Bread recipe, it's one of my husbands favorites. Knowing that my family loved and missed their Grandma, her cooking, baking and Sunday dinners. I figured it was something I could do to bring a little bit of home to our new life in Alaska.

This is one of those recipes that will fill your heart with joy, bring back wonderful memories, and comfort you in times when your missing your family. It will help create family traditions for years to come as you enjoy making this bread for or with your family members. Over the years I have learned how to perfect my ability to make the best banana bread ever for my husband (we all know a wife can "never" compete with their Mother-in-laws cooking....Right Mom... : ) but we sure can In doing so, I've created so many wonderful memories for my family and friends.  I hope you will to!

Over the years through trial and error, I've made a couple changes to the recipe, not that it wasn't perfect  But... you know me... I can never leave things alone. One, I added more banana's to make the bread more moist, dense and come out perfect every time. Two, I've found different ways to utilize the recipe by making them into smaller loaves, muffins, and heart shaped gifts of love to share with my family and friends.  

My kids love the mini loves and muffins best, they ate them in the morning, afternoon and night, they even took them to school and bartered with their friends.There's nothing better then when your kids friends tell you how much they love your baking. I've even had some of their mothers call for the recipe, saying that I ruined their kids... "Now all they want is your banana bread."  I tell them "I'm sorry" with a huge smile, and offer to email them the

I've learned over the years to double or triple my batches so we have extras in the freezer at all times. It freezes well, ships well and gifts well. It can be served as a brunch appetizer, as a snack, compliment any meal or be a meal in it's self. I always make a fresh batch the minute I have overripe bananas, you never know when you'll need a quick loaf. They also make very cute gifts that everyone loves to receive.

It makes me beam to see others smile and enjoy my baking, to feed them a little bit of my love. Every loaf is made from my heart, blessed by my energy. It give me so much joy to make others feel good. I want to thank my Mother-in-law for her wonderful recipe and gift of love, every time I make a batch I think of her.

Judy's Banana Bread
2 Large Loves
Sour Milk: Mix 4 teaspoons of Baking Soda and 6 Tablespoons of Whole Milk in a small bowl. Stir and Set a side and let rest.

1 Cup Crisco Shorting (1 stick)
4 Large Eggs
2 Cups Sugar
4 Cups of Flour
9 medium Bananas pealed and blended in a blender. You should have a full pitcher of blended bananas.

In an extra large bowl mix Shorting, Sugar, and Eggs together until well blended and smooth.

Add 1 Cup of Flour to mixture and mix in. 

Pour Sour Milk into Mixture and mix. Be sure to stir well before pouring into mixture.

Add 1/3rd of blended bananas into mixture, mix.

Add another cup of Flour to mixture, mix

Add 1/3rd of blended bananas into mixture, mix.

Add another cup of Flour to mixture, mix.
Add last 1/3rd of blended bananas into mixture, mix.

Add last cup of Flour to mixture, mix. 

Prep your pans whichever your using. When I double or triple my batch, I make several different kinds of breads. I like to make two pans of muffins, two pans of mini loves, and two bundt pans as shown below. You can use regular bread pans or which ever pans you prefer. Spray your pans with a non-stick spray. I use a natural spray, but Pam works well. I've tried to butter my pans, but they tend to burn quicker so I've given up on that method for my banana breads.

Baking Directions:
Bake large loaves @ 350' for 1 hour for two loaves of breads. (start checking at 50min. to prevent burning)
If your making muffins,  fill cups 1/2 full, I use a large cookie scoop, and put one scoop per cup,  and bake for 20 minutes. (being careful not to over bake or they will be dry...not so good.)

If you make bundt pans banana breads, fill pan 1/2 full and bake for 40 minutes, watching to make sure you don't burn your breads. 

If you double the recipe, you can make 2 muffin pans, 2 mini loves pans and 1 heart bundt cake pan.
When I triple the recipe, I can make an additional bundt cake pan.

Once your bread, muffins, or bundt breads are finished baking take out let cool about 15 minutes in the pan then promptly remove from baking pan and allow to cool on a rack. If no rack is available, placing on wax paper works just as well. Be careful not to burn yourself when removing breads from the pan... again, speaking from I use a thin metal spatula to assist and guide breads out of pans and to separate and loosen bread from the pan.

1. Follow the steps one by one. By mixing each ingredient as they are listed above allows your bread to take on a different dimension of denseness. When I've added all the ingredients together at the same time, my bread doesn't come out the same. By doing it this way it allows the bananas to be layered into the mixture.
2. To add a variety to your bread, you can add 1 cup of fresh or frozen blue berries per recipe, or a family favorite is adding 1 cup of milk chocolate chips. 
3. It's very important to keep track of the number of Cups of flour you're adding. How I keep track is when I take my first cup of flour, I use my knife and make a 3 in the flour so I don't lose count. with each cup taken, I reduce the number so not to mess up. Or you can keep track with a note pad and pencil or put each cup of flour in separate bowls so you'll know exactly how much flour you have left. Do what ever works best for you. I have on occasion miss counted and  ended up forgetting a cup or adding a cup. If that happens, you can add more bananas if you need to. If you forgot a cup... well... it's really going to be a moist bread...sometimes it wont completely set up... so it's important to keep correct count....speaking from It gets especially tricky when your making a double or triple batch.
4. I prefer to use Pampered Chef stoneware pans for my muffins, breads and mini breads but you can use which ever works best or that you have on hand, but be sure to watch to make sure your bread isn't getting too dark, if it starts to get to brown, quickly remove. Metal pans have a tendency to get darker much quicker, which is why I no loner use them except for my bundt pans which are Nordic ware bundt brand bake ware.  Pampered Chef    
5. If your using multiple different kinds of pans such as glass, metal, stone aluminum etc... it's important to bake  "like kind" of pans together such as if your using stoneware and Nordic Ware, I would bake the stone ware first and then the Nordic ware... when you bake with different kinds of products, your baking will be uneven. The stoneware gets much hotter and will make your aluminum pan product burn much quicker. I baked one of my stoneware mini loaves pans with my Nordic ware and a glass bread pan. My glass bread pan became extremely dark and burnt on the corner that was closest to the stone pan. I've tried a couple different scenarios, and had the same issues which made me come to the conclusion to bake them separate.
6. All of my hints are from errors I've made or things I've learned along my journey. If you have any questions, or if you find my teaching method confusing, please send me a note so I can clarify.  This recipe is actually very easy if you take it each step by step. The rewards will be well worth your efforts, I promise!
7. When freezing your breads, I prefer to use Reynolds Heavy Duty Tin Foil for all breads large or small. I store the muffins in a freezer Ziploc and take out what I need and let thaw on a plate. You can  re-warm your bread right in the tin foil wrap if you prefer warm fresh banana bread. Serve with butter....yummy! I hope you'll create a new tradition with your friends and family and enjoy some homemade love. Until next time....
~With much Love~
Chel Marie