Hello World! And a “healthier” option

Hello peeps!  Remember me?  So it’s been like, I don’t know, 8 months or so since my last post.  All was going well until routine blood work showed high sugar (you can only guess where that came from).  So after my mom scared me with insulin dependence I put a full stop to baking.  Nada, nothing at all.  And here we are – 25 pounds lighter with a better appreciation of how much I should eat versus how much I want to eat.

Not to say that I was unaware of what was healthy and unhealthy before, you couldn’t grow up in my house and not know (my mom swears by whole wheat and eats oatmeal for breakfast everyday – anything else is too sweet or salty), I just didn’t care.  Young people think they will live forever right?

For a while, I thought about making this blog into a sugar-free or low glycemic index blog until I came to the realization that  baking without sugar is just not worth it.  Sometimes I wonder whether people who say that healthy baked goods are delicious, are just saying it and don’t actually believe it.  Though, truth be told, I made Rocker Dude’s favorite cinnamon swirl cookies with Splenda and they came out delicious (really!).

I can’t promise that I will keep up a regular correspondence with you, world, but I will do my best and hope to post more delish things on a steady basis.

I was catching up on my favorite bloggers today and I saw Joy the Baker’s post about whole wheat millet banana bread.  I love banana bread, though Rocker Dude hates anything flavored banana, besides bananas.  I bought some millet a couple of months ago to try in a recipe (which failed – back to my healthy things can’t taste that good theory).  I don’t want to throw it out because I am trying to be less wasteful in an effort to save money, but I had no idea what to do with millet.  It is actually a seed (don’t tell Rocker Dude but it is most commonly found in birdseed – shhhh), but it has a lot of vitamins and good stuff so I wanted to use it.  Joy has never steered me wrong before, so I had to try this recipe.

Organic Millet from the health food store.

The Little Rocker and I have been spending a lot of time together lately.  Her daycare ended on August 8th and now she is home.  The expectation in this country is that all parents will take off in August so there is no point in having daycare (or vice versa – it’s really a chicken and egg situation).  Unfortunately, August is reporting season for second quarter earnings so I can’t take off, and Rocker Dude is trying to prepare for the coming school year, so he can’t entertain her too much.  As a result, the Little Rocker has started joining me at work.  She finds it really exciting, and I can keep her occupied with my endless supply of highlighters and Post-its.  Also, having the Wonderpets on the laptop doesn’t hurt at all.

The Little Rocker at work. I hope we have stock in the Post-it industry.

Usually, after lunch, I bring her to meet Rocker Dude (living 15 minutes from the office has its perks) and then he takes her home for her nap.  Unfortunately every time I send her off she starts crying and wants to stay longer with me.  It practically breaks my heart, though I know she is exhausted and will calm down in a few minutes.  So when I come home from work I want to make up for that.  Today I came home and told her that we would be making cake together.  She got very excited – two of her favorite things, cooking/baking and cake.  Lately she has been a real help in the kitchen.  I recently taught her how to peel (without going near her fingers obviously) and she peeled all the carrots for the chicken soup on Thursday night.  So tonight, she did the mixing.  She helped me pour everything in and mix it up.  When I got the banana bread in the oven, she immediately asked to eat it (I guess they don’t teach physics to 2 year olds).

Healthy Mush

After getting ready for bed, we both sampled the banana bread and I have to say that Joy was right – this is delicious!  You don’t even taste the millet at all, it just adds a bit of crunch.

Whole Wheat Millet Banana Bread

Here is the recipe from her site.  Now don’t all go assuming that I will be posting only healthy options on this blog, I still think that healthy foods are just not as good, but I will try!

Whole Wheat Millet Bread (from Joy the Baker):

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup granulated sugar

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup buttermilk

4 medium bananas, mashed

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup raw millet, rinsed

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour two 8×4 inch loaf pans and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together butter, oil, sugars, and eggs.  Beat until thoroughly incorporated.  Whisk in the vanilla, buttermilk, and mashed bananas.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.  Stir in millet.  Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients.  Carefully pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients.  Use a spatula to fold the batter together.

Divide the batter between the two prepared baking pans.  Bake for about 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.  Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Banana bread will last, well wrapped at room temperature, for up to five days.

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Tuesdays With Dorie: Lots of Ways Banana Cake

I had mixed opinions about this cake.  Rocker Dude asked why it had to be banana, and couldn’t I do another flavor.  I told him that it was called “Lots of Ways Banana cake” – not “Any flavor cake you can make lots of ways.”  He used to like banana cake more, like when I first started making it for the Little Rocker, but I guess it has overstayed its welcome.  But he is very supportive of everything I make (cause he knows what’s good for him) and he supports me baking along with everyone because it gets me to try new things – so Banana Cake, here we come!

Look at that nice, thick batter.

A few weeks ago I had bought bananas expecting to eat them, but somehow, while my back was turned, they ripened and were all of a sudden to ripe to eat plain.  Luckily I knew that this recipe was coming up so I peeled them and put them in the freezer.

You can still see the bits of banana in the batter.

I hoped to make these in time for our weekly Star Trek date with A. and E. on Wednesday night.  Of course, I didn’t start making the cake until after the Little Rocker went to sleep, but as the cake was only supposed to bake for about 40 minutes I hoped it would be done already.  I should have known better.  Things always take longer in my oven. I also made the cake in a loaf pan so that it would be like banana bread, so that also made it take longer.  Basically it ended up being done baking just as we were finishing our last episode of the night.  I quickly brushed the syrup on it and we all had a piece, hot from the oven.

You can totally tell that this picture was staged - I am a righty, how would I properly brush the syrup on with my left hand?

Although it was so hot that each piece fell apart, it added so much to the flavor.  Rocker Dude even said that it tasted like the perfect breakfast food, almost like french toast.  He should know better than to underestimate the awesomeness of my baking.

Banana loaf cake, I know it looks a bit brown around the edges but it is so moist and not burnt at all - I highly recommend this cake to everyone!

Sorry this post is so short, but I have been really busy at work (when I usually write these things up) training my replacement.  Rocker Dude, the Little Rocker and I are all flying next week to New Jersey for my brother D.’s wedding!  We will be there for about three weeks, and apparently my office can’t survive without me (when they realize how much they need me I should get a raise!)

I also have another recipe to  post – Ginger Cookies – and that will have to wait until I have  a few free minutes too.  When Rocker Dude went shopping this week he bought blueberry pie filling – hint hint – I then responded that he forgot to get the cheese so how was I supposed to make cheesecake?

This week’s recipe was hosted by Kimberly of Only Creative Opportunities so visit her blog to get the recipe and see what other TWD bakers did here.