BBD #18 – Banana Bread with Pecans and Flaxseed

This month’s Bread Baking Day is hosted by Mansi of Fun & Food Blog.  Mansi’s blog is a wealth of information from food to health and fitness, so please visit it!  For this month’s BBD theme, Mansi chose quick breads.  I love quick breads!  I had some frozen, ripe bananas I needed to use (Yeah, the same ones I mentioned in a previous post…I had a lot!), so I decided a banana bread was in order.  I found this recipe on the Martha Stewart website.  It appealed to me because I love to add flaxseed to foods for its health benefits and for extra fiber, and it contained whole-wheat flour.  This was really good!  I personally like to refrigerate quick breads after baking them, slice off a nice slab when it’s good and cold, and add a nice layer of butter.   So bad, but so good :).


Banana Bread with Pecans and Flaxseed (Adapted from Martha Stewart)


  • 2 T unsalted butter, melted, plus 1 t unsalted butter, softened, for pan
  • 1/2 c whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c ground flaxseed (from about 2 T whole)
  • 3/4 t coarse salt
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 tn baking soda
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 c light-brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 t pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c mashed very ripe bananas (about 2 medium bananas)
  • 1/2 c pecans (about 1 3/4 ounces), toasted and coarsely chopped
  • Directions

    1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan, and set aside. Whisk together the flours, flaxseed, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl, and set aside.

    2.  Put egg and egg white in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix on medium-low speed until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add melted butter, sugar, vanilla, and bananas, and mix until combined. Add the reserved flour mixture, and mix on low speed until well incorporated, about 10 seconds. Stir in pecans.

    3.  Pour batter into buttered pan. Bake until golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan on a wire rack. Invert bread to unmold; reinvert, and let cool completely on rack.

    Published in: on March 31, 2009 at 7:30 pm  Comments (16)  

    March 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge – Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna

    Well, it’s that time again…Daring Bakers Challenge time!  Here’s the gist of this month’s challenge and the hosts:

    The March 2009 challenge is hosted by Mary of Beans and Caviar, Melinda of Melbourne Larder and Enza of Io Da Grande. They have chosen Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna from The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper as the challenge.

    I was looking forward to this challenge but also nervous because it included a component I’d never tried before:  homemade pasta.  As noted on a previous post, my awesome hubby bought me some great pasta making equipment just for this challenge.  Thanks babe!  I’m really glad he got me that stuff because I probably would’ve had a nervous breakdown if I’d had to make the pasta by hand. 

    Here’s a pic of the dough:


    And here’s the finished pasta drying:


    In hindsight, I think my dough was a little too wet, but at least I’ll know better next time.  Considering this was my first attempt at making pasta, I didn’t think it went too bad. 🙂

    Here’s the first layer of the lasagne during assembly:

    dsci0005-5 And the finished product:



    This ordeal was quite a time-consuming process, and I did it over the span of two days.  It was a lot of fun though, since I finally made pasta for the first time and made a lasagne different from what I’m used to.  I followed the recipes exactly for the pasta and béchamel, but I did some substitutions on the ragu.  I used half ground turkey and half turkey sausage to replace all the meat, used all beef broth instead of using red wine, and used one 14.5 ounce can of crushed tomatoes in place of the three plum tomatoes.  So how did it taste?  Eh, it was good, but I don’t see myself making it again.  I also made my usual lasagne along side this as sort of a compare and contrast, and I much preferred it.  Guess I like the “Americanized” version better. 

    I’m gonna totally cop out on posting the recipe….it’s freaking long!  Visit Mary’s blog Beans and Caviar (very cool blog BTW) for the recipe in its entirety and also for some cool You Tube videos of the pasta making process.

    Thanks to our three hosts for presenting us with a true challenge!  To view the creations of other Daring Bakers, visit the Daring Bakers Blogroll.  Also visit the new home of the Daring Bakers and Cooks, The Daring Kitchen.  Lis and Ivonne did an awesome job on it!

    Published in: on March 27, 2009 at 7:48 pm  Comments (30)  

    Banana-Pecan Chocolate Chunk Bars

    I needed to use some overripe bananas I’d frozen and found this recipe on Martha Stewart’s website.  I altered it a bit from the original recipe.  I only had pecans on hand, plus I made these into bars instead of cookies.  Blame extreme laziness on my part.  I really liked these!  They were moist, and I liked the oatmeal in it.  Using oatmeal and bananas practically makes it health food, right?  That’s what I keep telling myself anyway…


    Banana-Pecan Chocolate Chunk Bars (Adapted from Martha Stewart)


  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c whole-wheat flour
  • 1 t coarse salt
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 3/4 c (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c mashed ripe banana (about 1 large)
  • 1 c old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped into 1/4-inch chunks
  • 1/2 c coarsely chopped pecans (about 2 ounces), toasted
  • Directions

    1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Whisk together flours, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl; set aside.  Mix butter and sugars with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla; mix until combined.  Mix in banana.  Add flour mixture; mix until just combined.  Stir in oats, chocolate chunks, and pecans.

    2.  Pour mixture into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan.  Bake until the top is golden brown and springs back to the touch, about 20 to 25 minutes.  Cool and cut.

    Published in: on March 24, 2009 at 8:11 pm  Comments (2)  

    Pasta, pasta, pasta!

    After a particularly lame and crappy week, things started looking up when I came home on Friday to this:


    My husband bought me all this stuff to make pasta.  Yea!  He rocks :)!  I’ve wanted this stuff for so long.  I played around with it this weekend and will post the results of my experimentation soon.

    Published in: on March 22, 2009 at 6:50 pm  Comments (4)  

    Curried Chana Dal

    We have an international food store up the street from our house.  I love to cruise around in it and check out all the exotic foods.  On one recent visit, I spied some bags of chana dal.  Chana dal is a bean that’s related to the garbanzo bean.  I thought they’d be a great and cheap source of fiber and protein, so I picked some up.  While searching for recipes, I found a great online source for chana dal recipes.  David Mendoza writes about diabetes, and he had a ton of great chana dal recipes here on his website, including the one I used for my chana dal.  This turned out great.  It was filling, delicious, and relatively dirt cheap to make.  I served it over jasmine rice. 



    Curried Chana Dal (Adapted from David Mendoza at


    • 1 1/2 cup (12 oz.) chana dal, washed and drained
    • 5 cups water
    • 1 t ground turmeric
    • 1/2 t ground cumin
    • 1  ground coriander
    • 1/2 t cayenne pepper (optional)
    • 3 T. butter or margarine
    • 1 t cumin seed
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1 clove garlic, chopped
    • 1 T grated fresh ginger
    • 1 t garam masala
    • 1 8 oz can of tomato sauce
    • 2 T chopped fresh coriander leaves (I didn’t have this on hand, but it would be delicious with these.)


    1.  Put chana dal in a bowl. Add enough cold water to cover and soak overnight. 

    2.  To cook, drain chana dal. Place chana dal, water, turmeric, cumin, coriander, and cayenne in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover pan, and simmer for about 1 hour. 

    3.  In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add cumin seed and cook for 1 minute. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until onion turns golden brown.   Add the tomato sauce and cook for about another 5 minutes.

    4.  Add chana dal and cooking liquid to onion mixture. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cover pan, reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes or until chana dal is tender but not mushy. 

    5.  Add garam masala and mix well. 

    6.  Place chana dal in a serving dish and sprinkle with chopped coriander leaves.

    Published in: on March 22, 2009 at 6:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

    King Ranch Casserole

    I’d wanted to make this casserole for a while but for no good reason hadn’t.  We eat TONS of chips and salsa at our house, so I told my husband to save all the worthless, small bits and pieces of chips you inevitably end up with at the end of the chip bag.  Once we’d saved enough, I finally made this.  The picture doesn’t really do it justice since you can’t really see all the layers of goodness.  My bad!  This was soooo yummy, though.  The leftovers were great, and this freezes nicely as well.



    King Ranch Casserole (Adapted from Recipezaar)


    • 2 T butter or margarine
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
    • 1 whole chicken, cooked, pulled from the bone, and cut into bite sized pieces 
    • 1 (10 3/4 ounce) can cream of chicken soup
    • 1 (10 3/4 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
    • 1 (10 3/4 ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chilies
    • 1 t chili powder
    • 1 t ground cumin
    • 2 c tortilla chips, crushed
    • 2 c shredded cheddar cheese (8 ounces) (I used nearly double this cause we like cheese)


    1.  Preheat oven to 325° for at least 20 minutes.

    2.  Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium high heat.

    3.  Add chopped onion and bell peppers; sauté 8 minutes or until tender. Stir in chopped cooked chicken and next 5 ingredients: cook stirring occasionally, 2 minutes.

    4.  Place half of crushed tortilla chips in bottom of pan.

    5.  Layer with half each of chicken mixture and shredded Cheddar cheese.

    6.  Repeat layers, ending with cheese.

    7.  Bake uncovered at 325° for 45 minutes or until mixture is throughly heated.

    8.  Garnish if desired.

    Published in: on March 12, 2009 at 9:34 pm  Comments (10)  

    Product Review – Quaker True Delights

    dsci01391A while ago (ok, a long freaking while ago), Foodbuzz offered its Featured Publishers a free sample of Quaker’s new True Delights granola bars to try.  Hey, I’m all about trying new stuff, so I was game.  The True Delights come in three flavors:  Honey Roasted Cashew Mixed Berry, Dark Chocolate Raspberry Almond, and Toasted Coconut Banana Macadamia Nut.  In general, all three had large pieces of nuts, which is a definite plus, and they all had a nice, chewy texture.  Here are my thoughts on each one:

    Honey Roasted Cashew Mixed Berry – It had large pieces of cashews and dried berries (cranberries and cherries) and had a mapley (Is that a word?) flavor.  Overall, it was a pretty good bar.

    Dark Chocolate Raspberry Almond – It had large pieces of almonds and chunks of dark chocolate.  There were pieces of dried raspberry interspersed throughout the bar, but the bar itself didn’t really have much raspberry flavor.  Not bad, but not my favorite.

    Toasted Coconut Banana Macadamia Nut – It had large pieces of macadamia nuts and flakes of coconut.  It also had a nice banana flavor, not fake tasting like some banana flavored products.  This was my favorite bar of the three.

    These bars were pretty good!  They’d make a nice snack or dessert.  Quaker is offering a free sample and a coupon for $1.00 off the purchase of a box of True Delights here:  So sign up today and get your own free sample to try!

    Published in: on March 12, 2009 at 9:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

    Oatmeal Sourdough Rolls

    I’ve been looking for sourdough recipes, so I could use up some of my starter.  I found this recipe on the All Recipes website.   These were very good and easy to make!  They didn’t have much sour flavor, though, so this would be a good recipe for those worried about ending up with a bread that’s too sour.  I used my bread machine on the dough cycle as the recipe directs, but the recipe could easily be adapted to mixing/kneading by hand or with a mixer.  I changed the original recipe by using half all purpose and half whole wheat flour, I used regular, old-fashioned oats, and I soaked the oatmeal in the sourdough starter for about 10 minutes so they’d break down better in the dough before adding the other ingredients.  I’m sure this would also work well shaped into a loaf.



    Oatmeal Sourdough Rolls (Adapted from All Recipes)


    • 1 c sourdough starter
    • 1/2 c warm water
    • 3 T honey (I’ve also substituted pure maple syrup)
    • 1 T molasses
    • 1 egg, lightly beaten
    • 1/2 c margarine or butter, cut into pieces
    • 1/2 c old-fashioned oats
    • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 c whole wheat flour 
    • 1 t salt
    • 1/2 t baking soda
    • 2 t yeast
    • 2 T melted butter


    1.  Combine the sourdough starter and the oats in the bread machine pan and let soak for about 10 minutes.  Place the remaining ingredients in bread machine pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer.  Select the Dough cycle, then press Start.

    2.  When the cycle is complete, divide into 24 rolls and place on a lightly greased baking sheet or a sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with a towel, and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

    3.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F  and bake 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven until lightly brown.  Upon removing the rolls from the oven, immediately brush with melted butter.

    Published in: on March 7, 2009 at 8:42 pm  Comments (4)