Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holiday Baking

I was just wondering who said it was good for the soul to bake in an organized kitchen??

Happy Anniversary

Today I honor you, my love. Thank you for loving Jesus then loving me. You are so special. God truly knew what he was doing when he brought us together. I look forward to a many more years by your side.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Katie Kate, my sweet girl

Today is my sweet little Kate's 1st birthday. I cannot believe it has been one year since I gave birth. It has been a blessed year filled with sleepless nights, poopy diapers and snotty noses. But as my friend Tiffany says "all because I have a little baby".
What stands out more than the trying times are the wonderful moments. I remember going into labor at 5am that Monday morning. Around 6 Shane called our midwife and we were at the birthing center by 7. I was anxious to know my little one. We had no ultra sound to find out the sex of the baby. But if you would have asked me I would have guessed a little boy. Much to my surprise at 10:52 a little girl was delivered. The first thing she did as they sat her on my chest was sneeze. It was the most precious sneeze I had ever heard. That was the moment I fell in love with my sweet little Kate.
I loved the name Kate from the first talk of names. However, we decided to name her Katherine and call her Kate for short. Her middle name is Margaret after Shane paternal grandmother. I am so blessed to have my little precious Katherine Margaret.
Kate is not yet walking on her own but walks along the furniture and stands up and down in the squat position. She loves dolls and stuffed animals. If you hand her one she will hold it tight to her chest and rock it back and forth while humming (strangely, with perfect pitch). She has two bottom teeth and up until today only had one top fang. She looked a little silly but I did notice that today her top middle two had finally broken through.
Kate loves Hadassah. Her face lightens up every time she sees her. I look forward to watching their relationship flourish in years to come.
Today I honor you my sweet Katie Kate. You are my joy. I love you.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Banana Bread

What to do with rotten bananas?? Sometimes I can't keep bananas in the house and other times they sit and rot. Because I love this recipe so much sometimes I just hope they will go bad so I can bake up a batch.
This recipe does have a bit of a story. Several years ago, before I was a wife and mother, my best friend and I decided to take a summer off and go work up at West Glacier Park in Montana. We waited tables at a family owned restaurant called Eddies.
I had a day off during the week and headed into town. I decided to stop at a roadside market. I purchased some fruit and a loaf of banana bread. When I returned to my dorm I dug into the bread. It was the most incredibly moist and yummy banana bread I had ever had. I began to crave it.
When our summer was over and we were driving out of town, I decided to stop at the market to get one last loaf. I was so disappointed when they did not have any. I asked the lady at the register and she said the baker was out of town so they had sold out a day ago. I asked if she could tell me what the ingredients were so that I could attempt to replicate it. That is when she offered me the recipe. She said since the baker was out of town no one would ever know so long as I didn't sell the recipe, which I agreed to.
So this recipe is not up for sale...but I would like to share it with you. Actually the recipe has changed over time to incorporate healthier ingredients.

3/4 c. butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 c. rapadura
1 1/2 c. mashed bananas (since I have reduced the amount of sugar, make sure they are black)
2 eggs beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 c. buttermilk (or sour milk)
3/4 cup walnuts (or your favorite nut)

The night before soak the whole wheat flour in buttermilk. The following morning cream butter and rapadura. Blend in bananas eggs and vanilla. Add baking soda and salt to flour mixture then add the banana mixture and blend together. Add nuts. I bake my banana bread in the mini loaf stoneware from Pampered Chef (best kitchen investment for me. I use it all the time). You can also bake in a regular loaf pan but you will need to adjust baking time. Bake on 325 for 45ish minutes. When toothpick comes out clean it's good to go. Serve warm with lots of healthy butter.

*The only ingredients I substituted were ww flour for white and rapadura for white sugar.
*I have also uses minimally processed organic sugar and it comes out the same.
*I also up the amount of buttermilk form 1/2c. to 3/4 c. when using ww flour, makes it more moist.
*My dad is gluten free and I have made this for him with an all purpose gluten free flour. I have tried several and with this recipe Bob's Red Mill works best.

This post is part of The Nourishing Gourmet Sweets and treats carnival

Monday, December 15, 2008

Butternut Squash Soup

I love soup!! Especially when it is below freezing outside. My favorites include 13 bean soup (from Bob's Red Mill-get their seasoning), broccoli w/ a touch (or a ton) of cheddar and my all time favorite is butternut squash.
Several weeks ago I was making baby food for Kate. I roasted two butternut squashes. When I realized I had more than would fit in my freezer I decided to make some soup. I looked up several recipes on the internet and improvised to make a wonderful winter soup.
So here goes:

1 large butternut squash, roasted
(I roast mine cut in half, inside up, 350 till tender)
1 onion
2 tablespoons butter
4 cups+ chicken stock (for those of you who do not make your own this is one box)
2-3 cloves of garlic minced
1 cup or so of cream or whole milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Dice onion and saute in butter on medium heat for a few minutes till onion is translucent and fragrant. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add minced garlic. Peel squash, cut up and add to stock. Return to a boil and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Use an emulsifier to puree soup or transfer to a blender and puree. Return to pot and add cream, salt and pepper. Enjoy with fresh bread with lots of healthy butter.

*This recipe is so versatile. Make a bit of creme fraiche or sour cream, dab on top, sprinkle with toasted hazelnuts, pecan, etc. Over Thanksgiving I made delicata squash and had a bit left over. I just added what was left over to the recipe. If you like your soup a bit sweeter add a touch of real maple syrup. Have fun and enjoy.

**If you love soup as I do you can find many tried and true recipes on my friend Tiffany's blog. She has a Soups on Saturday post each week. Yummy!