Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cranberry Bread

Well I'm on a roll with this comfort food thing. The weather has been a little bit chilly and a little bit rainy, which has enhanced my desire to bake and cook those yummy goodies that make us feel good all over.

Now my scale has not been too friendly to me lately, but I just can't resist the desire to make some homemade sweet bread. After scanning my freezer I found that I still had a bag of cranberries in there. 

I now right now many of you are saying, "OMG! Those have been in your freezer how long and you're going to bake with them?" Well I know I've question that myself, but I did read on another blog that someone else did just the same thing. Their cranberries had been in the freezer for quite some time too and her creation came out just fine.

With that said I decided to make Cranberry Bread! I had been keeping a Taste of Home magazine set aside with a cranberry bread recipe that I wanted to try. This recipe just so happened to be under the Kids in the Kitchen section, so I figure it must be fairly easy to make.

Well after making this tasty little loaf of bread I can attest to the ease of making this yummy bread. This bread is wonderful for those Sunday brunches or for a quick little snack with a glass of milk. 

I did, however tweak this recipe a little bit. I left out the raisins and I had no oranges for the orange peel. I probably would put a splash of orange extract in place of the peel if you have it on hand.The glaze has a wonderful orange flavor and I think with a little orange flavor in the bread would be a nice compliment.

Give this bread a try and I think for those of you that have a college student far away I think you could wrap and ship this with ease.

Cranberry Bread
2 C all-purpose flour
3/4 C sugar
1-1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 C cold butter
1 egg
3/4 C orange juice
2 t grated orange peel
1 C chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 C golden raisins

1/3 C packed brown sugar
3 T all-purpose flour
2 T cold butter

1/2 confectioners sugar
2 t orange juice

In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients; cut in butter until crumbly. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, orange juice and peel. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in cranberries and raisins. Transfer to a greased 8-in X 4-in loaf pan. 

Combine brown sugar and flour; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter. Bake at 350 for 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

For glaze, combine confectioners sugar and orange juice until smooth. Drizzle over bread.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Frosted Banana Bars

Well I'm off to visit my kids at college today. I of course needed to bring along some yummy treat baked with love. Now what to bring that they just don't get at school. 

Hmmmm! How about Banana Bars?

Why yes! They are yummy. They are something that not many people can make as good as me. At least that's what I'm told. And the best part....I've got some bananas that need to be used asap.

Now this recipe I found in a Taste of home collectors edition. It does make a lot of bars, but one can just use two cake pans to make these and freeze one until ready to use. I suppose one could also cut the recipe in half too. I've never done this because my family eats these up within a couple of days.

One needs to keep in mind that these bars must be kept refrigerated. So plan on making some space on a shelf in the fridge. Also yogurt can be substituted for the sour cream. I use vanilla yogurt when I have to make a substitution.

I will post a picture soon, but for now enjoy. 

And now what you've been waiting for..... the recipe of course.

Frosted Banana Bars

1/2 C butter or margarine, softened
1-1/2 C sugar
2 eggs
1 C (8oz) sour cream
1 t vanilla extract
2 C all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)

1 pkg. (8oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 C butter or margarine, softened
2 t vanilla extract
3-3/4 to 4 C confectioners sugar

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in banana. Spread into a greased 15-in X 10-in X 1-in baking pan or 2 9-in X 13-in baking pans. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool. For frosting, in a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Gradually beat in enough confectioners' sugar to achieve desired consistency. Frost bars. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 3-4 dozen

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Southwest Black Bean Soup

Well it's that time of year again. The weather is getting cooler out and the leaves are starting to turn colors. I notice when I take my dogs out walking that the ducks and geese are flying south to warmer weather already. I'm seeing less and less water fowl on the pond. 

This kind of weather always makes me think of comfort food. Top of the list for these are the many soups, chilies and stews. I some times have a really hard time deciding which one I'm going to make. This time I decided to make one of my favorites. It is Southwest Black Bean Soup. It was a real hit with my family and my coworkers last year when I first discovered the recipe. It is simple to make and is so yummy on those chilly nights. I originally found this recipe in my Healthy Cooking Magazine, but I have tweaked it a little to suit me and my family.

Southwest Black Bean Soup

1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 T canola oil
2  15oz cans of black beans drained and rinsed
2  14 1/2 oz cans of chicken broth
1  14 1/2 oz can of diced tomatoes, undrained
1  4 oz can of green chilies
3/4 t of chili powder
2 cups of cooked brown rice
sour cream

In a large soup pot saute pepper, celery, and onion in the canola oil. Add the beans, broth and tomatoes, green chilies and chili powder. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30-45 minutes.
In the meantime cook brown rice according to package directions. Rice takes about 30-45 minutes to cook.
Once rice is done serve up soup in bowls and add as much rice to your bowl as you would like. Top with a scoop of sour cream.

Note: Do not add rice to soup as rice will absorb all the broth. Instead add rice to soup bowls when ready to eat. I store leftovers in separate containers and then heat both up separately.