Because… (Monkey Bread)

Monkey bread.

Because the most conducive thing to learning and studying for the AP Literature & Composition exam is obviously sharing this messy, gooey, sugary finger food with my whole class. It was damn tasty, though. It made studying that much better, picking off one bite after another during class.

Because it is on my list.

Because I’ve been on a sugar kick for the past…umm…yeah, I’ve lost track of that one.

Because there is no reason not to bake it.

See the Pac-Man oven mitt in the background? Yeah, I thought I smelled jealousy coming through the screen.

(About that sugar kick, can someone please give me suggestions on how to kick the kick? I’d love to hear something useful other than the “cold turkey” technique; that usually ends with me binging on chocolate and other sweet amazingness which defeats the whole purpose.)

Continue reading

Fudge in the Restaurant Business (Orange Banana Bread)

After reading this blog, you probably understand that being a full-time student takes up a lot of my life—I typically spend, including rehearsal time and extracurricular activities, 45-55 hours a week at school. Even with all that, I manage to work on the weekends at the restaurant down the street from my school as a host and cashier.

Yeah, I know, it still doesn’t even make sense to me how that all goes down, but it does, so I just roll with it.

The walnuts are just spilled around for the photo–I’m not that messy when I bake, people.

I love working in the restaurant business as a teenager. I get to develop great people skills by meeting all kinds of customers, customers ranging from the super nice and absolutely polite to the quirky crack-ups to the…well, we’ve all seen those certain kinds of patrons at restaurants, so I’ll just leave up that up to your imagination.

All jokes aside, though, my restaurant is great. My waiter, cashier, and host co-workers and I are like a big family. We’ve got the motherly waiter who always bakes and takes care of the rest of the staff, the kooky uncle-cashier who you always want to hang out with, and the rest of the clan, all ending up with me: the little kid of the whole bunch :). I think that spirit that patrons see is what keeps them coming back for more. Well, other than the scrumptious food, that is.

One side zesty orange, the other sweet and wholesome banana.

One perk of working in a restaurant? The cooks sometimes give me the old bananas from the week to take home! They’re overwhelmingly brown and black on the outside and mushy on the inside, but I think they’re beautiful. Do you know why?

Well, I can make this out of them:

This bread has your name all over it, people.

Old bananas are the best bananas to use for baking bread, I’ve found. The peels are brown and unattractive, but the inside is mostly in tact, so by no means are the bananas inedible. Since the bananas have over-ripened, I can cut down on the sugar in the recipe I use them in while replacing the lost sugar with the natural sugars that are present in the ripe bananas, making what could have been packed with empty calories into a healthy snack or part of a healthy breakfast.

Continue reading

My Love-Hate Relationship with Costco (Strawberry Banana Muffins)

I love Costco. My family loves Costco. Everyone and their mother loves Costco. I’m pretty sure my dog knows full well what Costco is and loves it.

Loving Costco means two things, though. First, my family buys a lot of produce in bulk for hardly any money. Second, a lot of that produce sadly ends up going down the disposal when it gets old and moldy after we have only had a chance to use half of it. I can’t tell you how much I hate when uneaten food goes down the sink or in trash; I always think of wasted food as lost opportunities to make a dish.

The Aftermath

I’ve developed ways of combating this waste, usually by freezing the fruit we buy and steaming the heck out of a pound of baby spinach on a weekly basis (what family of three needs a pound of spinach per week, especially when I’m usually the only one that uses?). However, I think I may have found my new favorite method for my mounds of fruits: bake with them!

It is not an infrequent sight to see bananas of varying shades of yellow-brown sitting on the countertop in the kitchen, but making bread out of these bananas has never really crossed my mind (I know, how could it not have crossed my mind beforehand?). What with the newly purchased…pound (again, a pound for a family of three?)…of strawberries from Costco, I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to prevent those luscious berries and, well, those not-as-luscious-looking-but-still-delicious bananas from going down the black hole that is the kitchen sink.

Don’t judge a banana by its peel, people.

The Aftermath, Pt. 2

To all my high school readers: this takes almost no time to make! Sure, this will technically takes about an hour to make, but remember that most of that time is baking time. I whipped up the batter in about 5 or 10 minutes and stuck these puppies in the oven while I was studying for Chemistry (an apt combination, Chemistry and Cooking), took them out a little while later, and had tasty homemade muffins for the rest of the week! Cooking and baking aren’t daunting tasks, guys; great food is only a bit of time and effort away!

Continue reading

Hmm…What To Do With Leftover Pumpkin? (Banana-Pecan Pumpkin Bread)

Man, those pumpkin pancakes were so delicious. A week later, I’m still feeling as good as I did after I made them. Worst thing about them, though? Well, now I’ve got two Tupperware containers full of extra pumpkin. How should I use these now? In fact, what to do about the near-empty bags of seeds, banana chips, and nuts in my pantry? Now, that bag of flour also seems close to empty…as does that container of cinnamon…

And sha-BAM! It was like divine inspiration, only in the form of food.

OH. Of course. Pumpkin loaf! Not too sweet, still flavorful and decadent, spicy and delicious, and I can use the rest of the sparse ingredients I have…why didn’t I think of this before? Good thing I just discovered a bread pan during a massive kitchen reorganization. Oh, and what’s this? An electric immersion hand blender? Oh, how I love unexpected and late Hannukah gifts.

Sorry I’m keeping this post a bit short, everyone! College essays are beckoning me against my will. Soon the whole process will be over, soon everything will be officially out of my hands, and soon I will be catching up on my backlog of posts!

Little chunks of happiness in every slice!

Continue reading