August 21, 2014

Banana Pancakes

I am not a kid person. When someone that has a baby assumes that since I have kids I must love all babies, then hands me their tiny infant, I cringe. Don't get me wrong I don't hate kids, I just don't go crazy over every one that I see. I never have. Growing up I never wanted kids, the thought of raising tiny humans was never something that made sense to me. I hated babysitting, it was horrible and babysitting boys was the worst. They destroyed things, they never sat still and honestly I always thought I should be paid more to deal with them. As an adult I still don't enjoy the company of many kids. There are always the exception, but they seem to be few and far between. I seem to be in the minority given the fact that I love my two boys, I don't want to try for a girl, and while your kid might be cute I don't feel a biological attachment to them. Maybe growing up in the late 80's/early 90's has just left my generation a little more jaded, for better or for worse I am the way that I am.

One thing that always makes me happy is pancakes. I love pancakes, I could eat them three times a day (if it wasn't nutritionally a horrible idea). My kids are pretty much the same way, but they love waffles and pancakes about equally. Since my household is also banana obsessed I make a lot of banana pancakes. The following is a recipe for banana pancakes (they freeze very well!).

Recipe adapted from

Banana Pancakes

Banana Pancakes

Recipe Type: Breakfast
Preparation Time: 0h, 5m
Cooking Time: 0h, 10m
Total Time: 0h, 15m
Yield: 6 servings

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
Cooking Directions
  1. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Sift dry ingredients through a flour sifter (this step isn't necessary, but it really does make for fluffier pancakes).
  3. Mash bananas either by using a potato masher, food processor, or blender. Using the blender or food processor makes for a better consistency throughout the pancakes and reduces the possibility of part of the pancakes staying uncooked.
  4. In a separate bowl combine egg, milk, butter and bananas.
  5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.
  6. Don't overmix, the batter will be a little lumpy.
  7. Heat either a frying pan on medium heat or a griddle with melted butter or oil.
  8. Pour 1/4 cup of the batter for each pancakes onto the griddle.
  9. Cook until middle is set and pancake is browned on each side.
  • The melted butter can be substituted for canola or vegetable oil or if you are watching your fats applesauce. 
  • I have made this with 1 percent and non-fat milk and either one works fine. Whole or 2% would also work, I have not made it with almond or other non-dairy milks. 
  • The sugar could be substituted for honey, agave, or the sweetener you prefer. 
  • I have made this gluten free before by making my own oat flour. Making oat flour is very easy, just place whole oats in a food processor and process until finely ground. Homemade oat flour is a great homemade gluten free flour (make sure the oats you are using are gluten free and there are some people with gluten issues that have sensitivities to oats, so be careful if you just found out you have celiac disease etc.). 
That's it! The pancakes in the photo I added dark chocolate chips and melted peanut butter. Just place peanut butter in the microwave for 20 seconds and it pours easily over pancakes (and it's great with ice cream and other desserts too-yummy!). 

August 18, 2014

Homemade Italian Seasoning

In an effort to help my oldest son I have instituted a no electronics rule until 7 pm in our house. Basically my kids are only allowed 1/2 of electronics and then by 8 they have to be ready for bed and we read a science or history book for an hour. My oldest claims that I am a horribly mean mommy, however, he has come home with A's on all his tests and papers for the last week and a half. Personally I view the fact that my kids sometimes think my rules are mean as evidence that I'm doing a good job. I have never claimed to want to be my kids best friends. What I do want is for my kids to be successful adults and part of that means not reacting when the rules that I institute result in one of my kids telling me that I'm ruining their lives. In reality I'm doing just the opposite. It would be easier for me if tonight I just let my kids play Minecraft for hours while I caught up on my favorite television shows. Their future wouldn't be as bright though and that's more important to me than taking the easy route.

I attempt to make everything I can from scratch. Having an herb garden helps tremendously since I can dry the fresh herbs and use them in spice mixes etc. Seasoning mixes are one of the easiest things to make at home and cost a fraction of the money of store bought. The following is a recipe for Homemade Italian Seasoning.

Adapted from Taste of Home.

Homemade Italian Seasoning

  • 3 tablespoons dried basil
  • 3 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary
Cooking Directions
  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl, pestle, or spice grinder. Grind spices (with a back of a spoon if doing by hand) until the spice blend becomes coarse.
Making simple pantry items at home can save a lot of money over the course of the year and taste so much better than store bought. Plus they make great gifts as part of a food gift basket! 

August 1, 2014

Bread Machine Homemade Bagels

I am a dog person. However, my husband and oldest son love we have three of them. The cats and I get along, somewhat. I am the one that cleans their boxes and spends most of the day with them. Yesterday our oldest male cat pushed me when I was trying to figure out what a smell was around his food dish. Not just a little tap either, he was seriously trying to push me over. I think the cat is a little too smart. Whenever he is mad at me he does sneaky little things to annoy me. He knows exactly what buttons to push. Then when my husband comes home he acts all sweet and nice. It's a cat conspiracy. I prefer our dogs. If one of them annoys me, I put them outside or in their crates. Easy enough. If one of the cats gets upset my furniture or rugs suffer. So I definitely prefer my dogs, cats are a little too much like angry sneaky humans.

I have one more week of my two boys being home for summer break. Trust me I am literally counting down the days until school starts next Wednesday. Since I have two growing boys home everyday I have been making a lot of bread and baked goods. We can go through  whole loaf of bread in a couple of hours (no joke). This week I tried a new recipe for Homemade Bagels from

Adapted from

Homemade Bagels

An easy bagel recipe that can be made with a bread maker, mixer, or by hand. Freeze well so they can be made in big batches.

Bread Machine Homemade Bagels

Recipe Type: Bread
Preparation Time: 0h, 30m
Cooking Time: 0h, 20m
Total Time: 3h, 20m

Yield: 12 bagels
Calories per serving: 196
Fat per serving: 2.8g

  • 1 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 4 quarts water
Cooking Directions:
  1. Add the first 6 ingredients to your bread maker in the order recommended by your bread machine (for mine I add wet ingredients, flour, and then yeast).
  2. If you have a bagel cycle select it, if not select the regular dough cycle (on my machine the only difference is that the bagel cycle has a longer rise cycle - 1 1/2 hours).
  3. Check the dough while the cycle is kneading, oftentimes more water or flour need to be added. The dough will come into a nice ball and stretch when it has adequate amounts of both.
  4. Alternatively if you don't have a bread maker this recipe works by hand or in a mixer.
  5. Add all ingredients to you mixer (or a bowl if making by hand) and knead 8-10 minutes.
  6. Oil a bowl (I prefer glass since it doesn't get cold like metal) and place dough into a ball.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise 2 hours (skip this step if you are using a bread maker since the bread machine does it for you).
  8. Take the bread dough out of the bread machine and punch it down.
  9. Divide into 10-12 pieces (you can make your pieces bigger or smaller depending on the size of the bagel you prefer).
  10. Roll each piece into a ball.
  11. Place your thumb through the middle of the ball, making a hole, and pull out to make a round doughnut shape (use your other 4 fingers and other hand to help with the pulling).
  12. Alternatively you can roll each piece into a 6 inch rope and then join the ends (I prefer the first method since my ends never seem to stay together).
  13. Cover the bagels and let them rest for 15 minutes.
  14. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  15. Bring the 4 quarts of water to a boil.
  16. Drop the bagels in the water and allow to boil 30 seconds on each side.
  17. Move the bagels to the baking sheet.
  18. If you want to add toppings do so now (poppy seeds, sesame seeds etc.).
  19. You can also add an egg wash in this step: 1 tablespoon of water and one egg white. Combine and then brush on top of bagels. Then add toppings. 
  20. Bake bagels for 20 -25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.
  • The amount of flour and water can vary greatly depending on how liberal you are with measuring the dry ingredients and how accurate your liquid measuring cups are. I always check my dough during the kneading cycle and add more water/flour in order to achieve a dough that stretches and doesn't break with pulled gently. 
  • Play around with the toppings, I have tried everything from bacon to chopped nuts and they all are delicious. The toppings are where you can really make the bagels something special. 
  • These freeze very well. Just slice each bagel in half, place halved bagels in a freezer bag, and store for up to 3 months. They are great for weekday breakfasts since they can be placed in a toaster straight from the freezer. 
That's it. I love making homemade bagels. They are much cheaper than the store version and are delicious topped with cream cheese, butter, or jam. 
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