Merry Christmas!

IMG_6098

Merry Christmas everyone! Christmas is a wonderful time of year. A time away from work. A time to spend with family. A time to catch up with old friends. A time to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) The whole reason for Christmas is to celebrate Jesus coming down to earth as a human. Fully God and fully human.

I remember 3 years ago that verse was the main them of Urbana ’09. I was a junior in college and had no idea where my life was headed. Now, three years later I’m headed to Urbana ’12 and I’m still not so sure where I’m going in life. I think this time though I’m going in with more of a purpose so I’m pretty excited for how God’s going to speak to me this time!

Anyway, it’s Christmas, and in my family we had this tradition where my brothers and I made breakfast for my parents. At some point that tradition died because we started sleeping too late and couldn’t get up before my parents. This year I decided to start up that tradition again. Back when we were kids we used to make “egg mcmuffins” which consisted of english muffins, a slice of Kraft singles, a slice or two of ham, and a microwaved egg. I thought it was gross (I used to not like ham or eggs) and never actually had one. Recently I tried making my own version and it turned out really well.

IMG_6117

First off, I used sharp cheddar cheese instead of Kraft singles. I’m not sure Kraft singles should ever be used for anything. Real cheese is so much better. Secondly, I fried the egg instead of microwaving it. I’m still perfecting my egg frying technique, but a fried egg with a nice and runny yolk is just infinitely more delicious than a microwaved egg. So I broiled the english muffin, ham and cheese until the cheese melted, then added the egg. Yum yum! Blows fast food breakfast sandwiches out of the water!

In addition to the traditional sandwiches, I also decided to make banana nutella bread (we also happened to have some bananas that were a little past ripe). I pretty much used this recipe from allrecipes.com so I’m not going to repost. I decided to add some nutella because a) nutella is delicious, b) I kept seeing recipes that involved bananas and nutella and c) I wanted to switch it up from the usual of chocolate chips.

The picture is pretty bad and I clearly didn’t swirl in the nutella very well (too much on the top half, none on the bottom half… oops!), but I like banana bread and nutella, so I still thought it tasted pretty good.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

I’m leaving MA tomorrow for Madison, WI. I start work on Monday, August 1. I’m going to be a real person… so soon. I’m mostly packed, but I have this nagging feeling I’m forgetting something important…

As for the bread, I’m not sure why I decided to make it. I have seriously no recollection of how I found it or why I made it. My best guess is that I wanted to bake something and I happened to have all the ingredients. Which probably means I didn’t have any chocolate.

What I remember about the recipe:
– I baked it too long, so it was slightly dry
– cinnamon sugar doesn’t bake well (should have made streusel instead)
– despite the things mentioned above, the bread was still good

Recipe from Recipe from Mangio da Sola.

Ingredients
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preparation
Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a bread loaf pan with cooking spray. Combine 1/3 cup of sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside.

Combine 1 cup sugar, flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the egg. Using a whisk, stir in milk and oil. Add to the dry mix and stir until just mixed.

Pour half the batter into the loaf pan. Sprinkle 1/3 of the cinnamon sugar mix on top. Pour the rest of the batter in. Sprinkle with another 1/3 of the cinnamon sugar. Using a knife, swirl the batter and cinnamon sugar mix together.

Top with last 1/3 of the cinnamon sugar mix. (Although a streusel like this would probably work better.)

Bake for 40-50 minutes or until done. Cool in the pan, then remove and slice.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Marbled Banana Bread

So I tried this recipe out during Spring Break of my sophomore year (wow that was over 2 years ago!!). I was visiting some friends in Boston, and this recipe just looked so delicious. The unfortunate part was that we couldn’t find overripe bananas, so the picture looks much better than it actually tasted. Sadface.

I can’t remember anything else about this recipe. But I got it from Sugar Plum: Visions of Sweets.

Ingredients
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon bakind powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup semi or dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup peanut butter chips
2 medium bananas, mashed
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Preparation
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; whisk in chocolate and peanut butter chips until combined. In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat together banana and peanut butter until creamy, about 1 minute; beat in granulated sugar and brown sugar until creamy, about 1 minute. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually beat in flour mixture, alternating with milk, until well combined – about 2 minutes.

Divide half of the batter into medium bowl; sift in cocoa powder, and beat until combined. Alternate spoonfuls of banana batter and chocolate batter into the pan. When all the batter is in the pan, swirl a knife sparingly through the batters to marble them. Sprinkle with additional chocolate and peanut butter chips, if desired.

Bake for 60-65 minutes or until bread pulls away from pan, is well risen, deep golden brown, and a toothpick inserted comes out with moist crumbs attached. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour; run a knife around outer edges and invert onto wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

Note: It is really crucial that you use overripe bananas. Otherwise it will not be nearly sweet enough.