Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Warding off the Winter Woes

It's been a nasty year for colds and flu, but happily I've been clear of them other than a warning sniffle or tickle. Those have been quickly dealt with, and this morning when my housemate came home from work with big signs of a coming flu, I reached for a recipe that would be both soothing and healing for him, and immune-boosting for me.

Ginger Turmeric Tea

2 cups water
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1" knob fresh ginger, peeled and grated*
1" knob fresh turmeric, peeled and grated*
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 TBSP honey or maple syrup, or to taste

Milk of your choice if you like it creamy

*Not required, but really good if you can get fresh too.

** If you have a scratchy throat, add 1/2 tsp. cayenne to the pot to add even more anti-inflammatory properties.

Put everything but the sweetener (and creamer, if using) in a pot and bring to a boil. 

Lower heat and let it simmer about 10 minutes. 

Pour into a pre-heated teapot, sweeten to taste and add creamer of your choice (if you choose), and enjoy!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

PB Banana Bread

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Nothing warms up a chilly, winter home like the tantalizing aromas that waft from a busy oven. A lighter holiday schedule combined with a pseudo-snow (or would that be pseudo-psneau?) inspired me to don a baker's cap this morning. That, and the bananas that were over-ripening before my eyes.

As often happens, the inspiration to create something may not always coincide with a larder filled with everything on the ingredient list. But let's not let that stop us! I knew I had the basics for a banana bread, so I started with a favored recipe from James Beard's "Beard on Bread" that I have often used as a base recipe:

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup honey
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed, very ripe bananas (3 heavy ones should do it)
1/12/ cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cups sliced nuts, almonds or your choice.

So going down the list, I only had to make a few adjustments:

*I don't have butter, but I did have almost 1/4 cup of peanut butter. After scraping every bit into a measuring cup, I made up the difference with some hardened coconut oil. 

*had some unrefined sugar, but no honey, so subbed maple syrup but a little less of each.

*used some chopped walnuts for nuts, and had some cinnamon out and in the bowl before I realized it didn't call for it, so let's say I added 1/2 teaspoon.

I love these bread recipes as they are so simple. Cream the "butter", add the sugars, add the eggs one at a time, stir in the bananas. Sift the dry, mix it in and then mix in the nuts. Easy-Peasy! Pour into a greased loaf pan (I also like to do these in muffin papers - more of that nice top crust to enjoy and the extras freeze well), and bake in a pre-heated 350 oven for about an hour or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

A perfect way to fill the house with yummy smells, and nibble away the morning with perhaps just one more cup of coffee...

Seems I just had that cookbook in my hand, where did I put it....?