Monday, November 23, 2009

More Beloved Bread

I finally got around to baking that signature Banana Coconut Chocolate Chip bread that I get lots of good feedback on! I also tried out a new recipe, which of course I tweaked just a bit, and cooked up some Lemon Coconut bread. Yes, I have a thing for coconut. I think it adds just the right smoothness and sweetness without being overpowering, and it gives whatever dish you use it in just a bit more moisture to make it super scrumptious! I add it in whenever I can justify it!

Banana Coconut Chocolate Chip Bread

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 ripe bananas
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda dissolved in 3 tbls cold water
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup coconut
1 cup chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar, add the eggs and bananas. Mix in remaining ingredients. Pour into one greased 9 in. loaf pan or 3 mini loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes, depending on the loaf size.

I've been making this bread for a few years now and I love to have it on hand in the freezer to give as gifts or have as a snack. My kids go through phases with bananas, so I often have leftovers that I just pop into the freezer and pull them out as I need them for bread.

The Key Ingredients

Dark, dark brown bananas are the best for making banana bread. They appear rotten, and probably nearly are, but their flavor and moisture do wonders! And what goes better with banana flavor than coconut and chocolate? Maybe it's my far-fetched dream to live somewhere tropical, who knows, but it's delicious and we can't get enough of it.
Lemon Coconut Bread

6 tbls melted butter
1 cup sugar
1 8oz container lemon yogurt (my substitution for milk)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
zest and juice of one lemon
1 cup coconut (my addition)

2 tbls lemon juice
lemon zest
1-2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 to 1 cup toasted coconut
(Toast coconut in a 350 degree oven, watching closely so it doesn't burn. Let it cool then combine it with the rest of the ingredients until you get the consistency you like.)

Combine melted butter and sugar. Add eggs and mix until fluffy. Add remaining ingredients, careful to not overmix. Pour into greased loaf pans, 1 large or 2 mini, and bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes (longer for a large loaf). After removing the loaves from the oven, place on a cooling rack and poke numerous holes throughout the bread. Pour glaze over warm bread and let cool for 15 minutes before removing from pans.

Lemon is another flavor that I truly love. It's so refeshing and energizing, it's perfect for a morning treat or afternoon snack. I think when you go lemon, you have to go big, so I took this recipe and changed it up just a bit. Even so, I think it could have used just a little more lemon flavor, so next time I'll add more fresh squeezed lemon juice! And what would lemon be without coconut? Lonely, of course! So instead of just adding it on top with the glaze, I had to put some into the actual bread batter...YUM!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Potato Soup

What's a Sunday afternoon without some comfort food in the Crockpot?? A week or so ago my sister-in-law made potato soup and it got me thinkin'...As I was getting ready for Disney on Ice with Megan I figured I better get something going for dinner so it's ready when we get home. I decided to go with a potato soup recipe from one of my trusty soup cook books! (Thanks Brandi...)
Here's how it went:
Cook 6 potatoes, 2 carrots, and 6 celery stalks until they are soft. Drain and reserve the water.

My touch...throw in some celery leaves and a branch of rosemary from the garden!

Sautee one onion in 6 tablespoons of butter until soft. Stir in 6 tablespoons of flour, some salt and pepper. Gradually add 1 1/2 cups milk, stirring constantly until thickened. Throw it all together with enough reserved water to get the consistency you like!
Now it's crocked and ready to go...
Serve it with cheddar, green onions, and some turkey bacon on top!
It's as easy as that! YUM!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Photo shoot

Yes, I dressed up my breads for a photo shoot!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bread Bonanza!

So, I had a request to post some bread recipes for the holiday season. Two of these are regulars that I make all the time and two are new ones that I just came up with for this purpose. I love quick breads because they are easy to make, perfect for freezing, and make excellent gifts! I have fun playing around with the ingredients to get just the right flavor! And, my little children love them so they are great for pulling out of the freezer now and then for breakfast!
Cranberry Orange Bread with a Citrus Glaze
(I created this recipe from a basic muffin recipe out of the book Mad About Muffins.)
2 cups flour
1 tbls baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk
4 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup orange marmalade
2 tbls fresh orange juice
zest of one orange (about 1 tbls)
1 cup Craisins (dried cranberries)
Combine the dry ingredients; add the remaining items and mix just until blended. Pour into prepared loaf pans and bake at 375 for about 30 minutes. Makes 3 mini loaves or probably 1 large loaf if you prefer.

fresh squeezed orange juice
powdered sugar
lemon zest to taste
Squeeze the remaining juice from the orange you used and add powder sugar until you get the consistency you like. I wanted something to freshen it up so I added lemon zest until it tasted just right. It's not rocket science, really, just a preference of taste. I would have preferred orange zest but I was only able to track down one orange, so I improvised!
a> Zucchini Carrot Bread
(adapted from Kitchen Keepsakes)
As is often the case when I bake, I cannot leave well enough alone, so this next recipe I added a little something extra to help use up some of my garden produce. Both the zucchini and the carrots came from my garden.
3 eggs, well beaten
2 cups sugar
3 tsp vanilla
1 cup oil
2 cups shredded zuccini, unpeeled
1 cup shredded carrot
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
(I often add a cup of shredded coconut or apple as well)
Beat eggs until fluffy; add sugar, vanilla, and oil. Stir in the zucchini and carrots. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until blended together. Fold in coconut or apple if you wish. Pour batter into prepared loaf pans, either 2 large or 5 mini, and bake at 350 for about an hour.

Green Tomato Bread
(This recipe is a real treat, but I cannot take credit for it. A friend of mine passed this along to me, which came from her mom, when she had an abundance of green tomatoes. I truly look forward to the end of tomato season just for this reason!)

3 cups flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 cups sugar

1 tbls cinnamon

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup oil

1 tbls vanilla

2 cups finely chopped or ground green tomatoes (I use my food processor)

Combine the dry ingredients; add the remaining items except tomatoes, being sure to stir just until moistened. It will be thick until you add the tomatoes. Pour batter into prepared loaf pans, 2 large or perhaps 4 mini, and bake at 350 for about an hour.

Pumpkin Pear Bread

(This is another recipe that I adapted from a book, called Too Many Cooks, and it is super delicious! Perfect for the holiday season!)

1 cup oil

3 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 cup water

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 1/2 cup pumpkin pie filling

3 1/2 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup grated pear (from my mom's tree!)

Mix oil, sugar, and eggs until smooth. Blend in water, spices, pear and pumpkin. Add the dry ingredients and mix until blended. Pour into prepared loaf pans, 1 large or 2 mini, and bake at 350 for about an hour for large pans, 30-40 minutes for mini loaves.

I wanted to show you what I did to get as much of the glaze onto the loaves as I could. When you glaze things, much of the first and second coats end up on the wax paper under the food, rather than on it. So, I decided to scrape all the fallen glaze into the center of the wax paper sheet, fold it up and pour the remaining glaze onto the loaves. I did this about three times, moving the cooling rack with the loaves on it between two pieces of wax paper. Tedious, maybe, but that glaze was GOOD!

Besides, it left a really cool design on the wax paper :-)
You probably noticed that I use mini loaf pans a lot. I find that I get a better product in less time, because it cooks all the way through. When I use a large loaf pan, I always feel unsure about the doneness of the bread. Also, mini loaves are perfect sizes for gifts or a quick snack.

I have two more recipes I want to share, but haven't gotten around to baking them yet. But keep your eyes peeled, cause I'm sure to do some baking during this stormy weather comin' our way here in the Pacific Northwest :-))

Italian Chicken Rolls

Well, the other day I was looking for a way to do something different with chicken. I was flipping through some recipe books and checked the index on a book my aunt gave me called "Too Many Cooks" (more on that in another post) and found a few ideas, but nothing that fit the ingredients in my kitchen. So, what else is there to do but improvise? I looked in my fridge and saw that I had some spaghetti sauce, black olives, and shredded mozzarella cheese. Those all taste good together, right? And this is how I came up with my Italian Chicken Rolls...perhaps I need to work on the name, we'll see!

The first step was to flatten the chicken, one of my favorite things to do. First, it allows you to feed more mouths with less food...a great money saving tip! Secondly, it tenderizes the meat and allows more of the surrounding flavors to come in contact with the meat. Last, it allows for more even cooking. So, whenever I can, I flatten the chicken, especialy when I'm marinating.

It's also a great way to release tension or frustration...just put the chicken pieces on some wax paper or plastic wrap, cover the top with the same, and start pounding! Be sure to use a non-wood cutting board underneath! At this point I seasoned with salt, pepper, dried basil, and dried oregano.

Next, I smothered the chicken pieces with a jarred spaghetti sauce, some sliced black olives, and shredded mozzarella cheese. Then I rolled it up, secured each piece with two toothpicks that had soaked in water, drizzled them with olive oil and sprinkled on some Italian bread crumbs. I had no idea what I was doing and I was sure they were going to fall apart during cooking because much of the stuffing was coming out the sides. I thought I may have overdone it a little!
But, they turned out great and they were delicious. Well, at least I thought so! The kids didn't care for them until the second night, when Molly devoured hers!

Italian Chicken Rolls

boneless skinless chicken breasts, flattened

salt, pepper, basil, oregano (however much you like)

spaghetti sauce

sliced black olives

shredded mozzarella cheese

olive oil

bread crumbs

Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes...use your best judgement :-) Pull from the oven and cover with foil to let them rest a few minutes.

As you can see, there isn't really a recipe, just a list of ingredients. I'm learning to cook this way because it's easier and allows for more creativity!

Next time, I might go a little Krazy with the ingredients and do something like apricot preserves and a sprig of fresh rosemary from the garden!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Double Duty Dinner

Double dinner? No, I didn't eat dinner twice, I cooked dinner twice!! Once for us, and once for the local Young Life leaders. Why you ask? hmmm...well, it wasn't supposed to be that way, but Sunday's plans for meatloaf got pushed to Monday, and I already had plans for my Balsamic chicken salad for the Young Life leaders, so heck, I could pull off double duty, right??? Here's how it went:

First, I cooked the chicken that had been marinating in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and minced garlic. I would not recommend doing this in a nonstick pan, as the balsamic vinegar leaves quite the cooked-on mess!
Then I remembered that I wanted to make homemade french bread (so delicious!), and I got that started. While it was being kneaded in the mixer with the bread hook (yes, this is legal!),
I thought a list might be good...
I mixed up the gluten free brownies ( one of the Young Life leaders is gluten-free, which is why I had to make two different dinners...meatloaf with bread crumbs would not have worked!) and put them in the oven...
I picked the lettuce and got it soaking. If you grow your own lettuce, you understand!
The finished product!
Balsamic Chicken Salad
A bed of greens
Sliced Apples
Mandarin Oranges
Red Onion
Goganzola Cheese
Cooked Chicken (marinated, of course)
Sliced Almonds
Dressing: 1 part balsamic vinegar, 3 parts extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and pepper
Not only is this salad gorgeous to look at, it's like music in your mouth! So delicious!!

On to the meatloaf!
While the bread loaves were rising and the children were busy being 2 year olds, I diced up the veggies for the meatloaf.
After they went down for a nap, I sauteed the veggies and let them cool. Meanwhile, my sister Tori stopped by with a Starbucks Ice Tea Lemonade (bless her) and helped out by washing up the lettuce. I worked on the meatload....Assembled and almost ready!
Now, doesn't that look good??
Meal is complete with garlic mashed red potatoes and sauteed green beans with butter, bacon, and garlic.
What were the children doing you ask? "Helping", of course!
Italian Meatloaf
(This is my recipe that I adapted from a couple I looked at.)
2 lbs. ground beef
1 red pepper, 1 sweet onion, 2 carrots diced
1 cup spaghetti sauce (reserve 1/4 cup)
1 1/2 cups Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. garlic salt
2 eggs
A few slices of bacon
Sautee the veggies until soft, let cool; mix beef, herbs and seasoning, 3/4 cup spaghetti sauce, and parmesan cheese with the cooled veggies; add eggs and bread crumbs, mix just until blended together. Form into a loaf pan, spread remaining spaghetti sauce on top, then cover with bacon slices. Bake at 375 for approx. 1 1/2 hrs. (internal temp. of 160). Let rest for at least 5 minutes to allow for slicing and serving.

The beautiful thing about meatloaf is that after the eggs and breadcrumbs, you can pretty much make it any flavor you want. Next time I'll try a mexican flavored meatloaf and use corn bread crumbs instead :-)

This day in the kitchen was krazy for sure, but the delicious food at the end of they day was worth it. We even dimmed the lights and burned a candle during dinner. Very relaxing...well, as relaxing as it gets with four children! Tim, the little girls and I really enjoyed the meatloaf...Megan and Andrew ended up with yogurt! Hey, it makes a great substitute!
Until next time...go ahead and get Krazy!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pumpkin Paradise

Since the holiday season is fast upon us, I figured it was time to start breakin' out the pumpkin. Nothing warms a cold, rainy day like the smells of the season floating through the house. Okay, maybe a warm fuzzy blanket and a good book, but whatever, that's in another life around here :-) This weekend I whipped up some Pumpkin Dream Bars because I was in the mood for something pumpkin mixed with cream cheese, but haven't yet braved cheesecake. Then for breakfast on Sunday, I decided to use some of the leftover pumpkin for Pumpkin Scones. Of course, I didn't have plain canned pumpkin, so I fudged the recipes a little and used pumpkin pie filling. I made some other minor alterations as well, as I often do, but they both turned out delicious anyway! And Grammy...your pumpkin bars have competition now!

Pumpkin Scones

Starbucks Pumpkin Scones Recipe #214051

2 cups all-purpose flour
7 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
6 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
3 tablespoons half-and-half
1 large egg

Powderered Sugar Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk

Spiced Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pinch ginger
1 pinch ground cloves

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Using a pastry knife, fork, or food processor, cut butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly and no chunks of butter are obvious. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, half and half, and egg. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Form the dough into a ball.
Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 1-inch thick rectangle (about 9 inches long and 3 inches wide). Use a large knife or a pizza cutter to slice the dough twice through the width, making three equal portions. Cut those three slices diagonally so that you have 6 triangular slices of dough. Place on prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 14–16 minutes. Scones should begin to turn light brown. Place on wire rack to cool.

Mix the powdered sugar and 2 tbsp milk together until smooth.
When scones are cool, use a brush to paint plain glaze over the top of each scone.

Combine the ingredient for the spiced icing together. Drizzle this thicker icing over each scone and allow the icing to dry before serving (at least 1 hour). A squirt bottle works great for this, or you can drizzle with a whisk.

Alterations: Instead of half & half, I used whole milk...that's always available in my kitchen. I used pumpkin pie filling instead of canned pumpkin and added a little bit of cinnamon and nutmeg. I don't know why I chose those two, but they sounded good. As for the glaze, who needs two different ones? That takes too much time! I simply added cinnamon and nutmeg to the first glaze, brushed it on, and called it good!

After patting out the dough mixture, I used my wooden bamboo spatula from Pampered Chef, floured it, and cut the circle into 8 parts instead of 6. Hey, I have a big family!

I prepared my baking sheet with Buttered Flavored Crisco and placed the scones haphazardly on...just like most everything else that goes on in my kitchen!

Now, there were 8 scones to begin with, but only 5 made it to glazing...

Lesson learned: Get up earlier so breakfast is ready BEFORE the children and husband want to eat!!

Pumpkin Dream Bars
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, softened
1/3 c. sugar
1 c. Quaker Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 (16 oz.) can solid pack pumpkin
1/2 c. Karo light or dark corn syrup
2 tsp. cinnamon

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add combined oats and flour; mix well. Spread evenly onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool slightly.
Beat cream cheese and sugar at medium speed of electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add remaining ingredients; mix until smooth. Pour over partially cooled crust. Bake an additional 45 to 50 minutes or until center appears set. Cool completely on wire rack. Chill. Serve with whipped cream, if desired. 20 bars. Very good!

Alterations: I only had 1 package of cream cheese so I halved the topping recipe but used the entire crust portion. I mean, really, what's the best part anyway, right?? I also used a bit smaller pan so the pumpkin filling wasn't too thin. Instead of canned pumpkin I used pumpkin pie filling and I added a little bit more cinnamon and some nutmeg!

Lesson learned: Add a little cream cheese and a buttery crust, even a 6 year old will like pumpkin!

Next on the pumpkin list?? I may try to replicate some pumpkin fritters that Tim and Molly absolutely loved from a restaurant we visited last week!

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Welcome to My Krazy Kitchen. Yes, that's right, in the midst of triplets and a 6 year, I do find time to cook and bake. It's my outlet, my reprieve, my....wait, whose kitchen am I in? Oh ya, my own, with three little helpers tugging on my legs and climbing all over the chairs. One big helper insisting on doing the measuring, pouring, and mixing! Yes, now I I said, welcome to My Krazy Kitchen! What you'll find here is just a collection, or recollection, of my adventures trying to feed my family and pass the time. What time, you ask? I don't know, the time I spend avoiding housework, paying the bills, taking care of the know, that time! Honestly, I just love being in the kitchen, trying new recipes, perfecting old ones, and baking up pure goodness for those that I love. Writing is also something I enjoy, so I figure if I can combine two of my passions to do good for my family, then twist my arm, that's what I'll do!!! I hope you enjoy your visits and please, pass along my fun to all your friends and family! If I make one person smile or inspire one busy mom to face the chaos of a Krazy Kitchen, then my work will be a success! Until next time, may you find comfort in the Kraziness of your life!

A Simple Dinner

Whenever Tim is going to be gone during the "witching" hour, I plan to have a simple dinner. It's usually eggs or noodles with a side or two. Tonight I decided to go with tostadas. I simply brushed the tortillas with oil on both sides, baked them at 400 for however long it took to get them crispy, and topped them with refried black beans, rice mixed in, and shredded cheese. Some fruit slices on the side and we were good to go!

Stamp of Approval!

See, nothin' fancy, just good ole' comfort food! Andrew was the only one who wasn't too thrilled with this meal! He ended up with yogurt!

The "Krazy" Behind My Kitchen!

Meet the foursome that put the "Krazy" in my kitchen...

Megan, 6 years old, loves to dress up fancy, draw, do crafts and cook with mom; started out a great eater, but has decided to become finicky...working on that

Hailey, 2 1/2, my princess; the most hesitant eather but most likely to enjoy new foods; loves whatever is on mom or dad's plate

Andrew, 2 1/2, the boy in the bunch...the ALL boy; loves to get into every drawer, cabinet, or alcove in the kitchen, including the fridge; my most eager eater

Molly, 2 1/2, simply loves life; my biggest challenge when it comes to eating, but she taught me to have fun with food

These 4 certainly keep me hoppin' in the kitchen, but it's worth every last bit of chaos. My memories of childhood always include the comfort I felt from a warm meal on the table shared with my family. I want that for my clan, and someday I hope to make new memories with my children in the kitchen!