Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Best Banana Bread :)

Hello all,

Here is my banana bread recipe that I have been using for over 20 years. The secret to really moist banana bread is of course the banana’s! You need your banana’s to look like you want to throw them out. It’s true the blacker they are the better your banana bread will be. When I have 1 or 2 banana’s going black I throw then in the freezer until I’m ready to make a batch of banana bread. Just let banana’s thaw in a bowl on the counter of awhile and your all set! This recipe comes from my trusty Betty Crocker Cookbook, it’s the best!!!

Banana Bread:

1-1/4 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 large eggs

3 medium banana’s

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 tap. vanilla

1 tsp. baking soda

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

1 cup chopped and toasted walnuts, or pecans

Move oven rack to low position so that tops of pans will be in center of oven. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottoms only of 2, 8×4-inch loaf pans or 1, 9×5-inch loaf pan with shortening or cooking spray. In a large bowl, stir sugar and butter until well mixed. Stir in eggs until well mixed. Stir in banana’s ( I just peel my banana’s and let the mixer break them up), buttermilk and vanilla; beat on low-speed until just mixed together. Stir in the flour, baking soda, and salt just until moistened. Stir in nuts. Divide batter evenly between pans or pour into 9-inch pan. Bake 8-inch loaves about 1 hour, 9-inch loaf about 1 hour 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans on wire rack. Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove from pans and place top side up on a wire rack and cover with a clean dish towel. Cool completely, about 2 hours, before slicing. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature up to 4 days and refrigerate up to 10 days.

Here are some helpful hints that I have learned through the years and from entering the fairs.

1. Grease only the bottom of the pans for nut bread’s, this allows the batter to cling better to the side of the pan and you’ll get a more uniform and better looking loaf.

2. Don’t over fill the pan, if you do your bread will curl at the top and dry out. It will take to long to bake and your bread will be dry.

3. Always let your bread cool completely before wrapping. Otherwise your bread will have a sticky, slimy, feel to it.  YUCK!!!

Quick Bread Loaf Cures:

The best quick bread has…

Golden brown rounded top…

Lengthwise crack (or split) along the top…

Thin, tender crust..

Moist texture with even small holes.. Fruits and-or nuts evenly distributed

Bad bread results…

What happened and why???

1. Didn’t rise-too much mixing, check expiration date on leavening

2. Tough-too much mixing, not enough fat

3. Rims around the edges-too much mixing

4. Compact-too little flour, too much leavening

5. Crumbly-not cooled completely, cut too soon after baking

I hope all these hints will help you make your banana bread a 1st place winner with your family and in the fair!! 🙂

I have an apple pie to bake today for a veteran and I need to deliver it tomorrow. I also have a couple other appts tomorrow… Going to be a long day for me tomorrow… Sigh….

We had a great time with our nephew last night for his birthday. We took him out for pizza and went to see Megamind in 3-D. He told us he was hoping that was the movie we were going to see! 🙂  He will be 9 on the 7th, he is growing up so fast and he is really smart.  Love that little guy!!!

Well I better go bake the pie! 🙂


P.S. Ray and I walked 10 laps around the track at the Y Saturday morning! That’s almost a mile! I just have to take it one day at a time, since my lung function is only at 90% right now. It’s better than it has been anyways… We really like it there, there is so many different thing’s we can do!!

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Posted by on January 31, 2011 in Breads


Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake

Hello everyone,

Here’s a different version of the Texas Chocolate sheet cake, and one of my favorites! I have seen so many different version’s of this recipe published and floating around the net that I have no idea where it originally came from. I looked it up and a lot of other bloggers and people have published their version of this recipe, I hope you like my version! 🙂

Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake:

1-cup unsalted butter, 2 sticks

1-cup water

1/4 cup cocoa powder, I like to use the Saco brand, it’s a special blend of dutch process and regular cocoa powder

2 cups granulated sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/8 tsp. salt

2 large eggs

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tsp. vanilla

For frosting:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, 1 stick

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup sour cream

4-1/4 cups sifted powdered sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

chopped pecans or walnuts

Combine butter, water, and cocoa in a saucepan over medium heat; heat until butter melts. Add sugar, flour, salt eggs, baking soda, sour cream, and vanilla; mix well. Pour into a 15x10x1-inch jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. For frosting: Combine butter, cocoa and sour cream in a saucepan, bring to a boil. Add remaining ingredient’s and mix well. Spread frosting over hot cake and sprinkle with chopped nuts.

I made this cake today for the Ronald McDonald house plus some mandarin orange bars. I don’t know yet if they liked them, I’ll post the mandarin orange bar recipe later if they do..

I walked 7 laps on the track at the Y last night Yahoo!! Hopefully Saturday we can make it to 10 laps!!!

Well I’ll talk to ya all later!!

Amanda 🙂

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Posted by on January 28, 2011 in Cakes


Oriental Cabbage Salad

Hello Everyone,

Here is on of my grandma Shirley recipes. I love this cabbage salad, it’s my favorite way to eat cabbage.

1 large head cabbage, chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped

3 tbsp. sesame seeds


1/2 white vinegar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tbsp. granulated sugar

1 tsp. season salt

1 package ramen noodles (throw away the seasoning package or save it for something else) or you can use chow mein noodles

In a large bowl the combine cabbage, onion and sesame seeds. In another bowl whisk all dressing ingredient’s together until smooth. Pour over cabbage mixture and toss to coat all the ingredients together. Just before serving toss in the crunchy noodles. My grandma always used the ramen noodles with this recipe.

I am baking at the Ronald McDonald house in the morning. I am baking a Texas Chocolate sheet cake and mandarin orange bars. They are a couple different recipes I am trying out on them.. I did get the Birthday sheet cake done today for the nursing home party for tomorrow. I made chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and crushed Oreo cookies to decorate around the sides of the cake. Looks yummy!!! I am making a small cake for my nephew’s Birthday party, he will be 10! He is growing up to fast… Ray and I are taking him out Sunday. Just the 3 of us, out to eat and a movie. This seems to work better for us, since I don’t get along with my brother or my mom right now.. Just want to do something special with just our nephew this time…

We walked 7 laps around the track at the Y tonight and was happy I could make it that much. There wasn’t as many people there tonight it was about 8:30pm and it was a lot quieter. We are going to be there on Saturday morning when they open at 7am, hopefully it will be really quite!!

Well I better go for now, getting really sleepy.. YAWN!!

Goodnight all..

Amanda 🙂

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Posted by on January 27, 2011 in Salads


Orange Jello Salad

Hello Everyone,

Here is my grandma Carole’s famous orange jello salad. We all LOVE this salad and eat it many times throughout the year. This is the only jello I will eat. I don’t like regular jello at all, and I have no idea why.. I think it’s the texture of it… I don’t know where she got the recipe, I just know that its is my favorite salad.

Orange Jello Salad:

1 large container full fat cottage cheese, the 2% taste’s sour to me

1 large container cool whip, I know what I said about cool whip in a another post, but this is the only way I’ll eat cool whip also.. HEHE!!

3 small can’s mandarin oranges, drained

2 (3oz.) packages orange jello

Fold all ingredient’s together, (except 1 can of oranges to decorate the top with). Best served cold. I know my grandmother makes her’s a little different from this but, this is the one I have made several times. I have also made this with fresh raspberries and strawberries (when they are in season) and it is wonderful, using raspberry and strawberry jello of course…LOL!!!

Well we went to the Y tonight and walked 4 laps around the walking track, and I know it’s not very much, but it was all I could do for tonight. The place was packed with people, too much for me… Tomorrow morning I am going to the exercise class for the old and sick people like me! LOL!! I hope it will not be as busy as it was tonight!!! There were a lot of heavy people there and a lot of Hispanics, where I live there is a huge Hispanic population. I told Ray I need to learn Spanish, he did buy a computer program so I could learn it. I really need to start using it!!

My Dr. cut down my steroids to 15 mlgs a day now, she is going to talk to my other specialist and see what to do from here. She doesn’t want to just take me off them and have the sarcoid flair back up like it did last summer. Have to wait and see what they will want to do now…

Well I better go for now, I need to rest so I can be up early for the exercise class..

Goodnight all…

Amanda 🙂

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Posted by on January 25, 2011 in Salads


Peanut Butter Chocolate Dessert

Hello Everyone,

Here’s  a very tasty and easy dessert recipe. My ex-SIL made this a couple of years ago when we all had dinner together. I don’t remember if it was a holiday or something else… Anyway we all loved it and inhaled it!! LOL!! 🙂

Peanut Butter Chocolate Dessert:

20 Oreos cookies, divided

2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided

1 (16-oz.) tib cool whip, divided

15 miniature peanut butter cups, chopped

1 cup whole cold milk

1 package (3.9-oz.) instant chocolate fudge pudding mix

Crush 16 cookies; toss with butter. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9-inch square dish. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, peanut butter and 1 cup powdered sugar until smooth. Fold in half of the cool whip. Spread over crust. Sprinkle with peanut butter cups. In a another bowl, beat the milk, pudding mix, and remaining powdered sugar on low-speed for 2 minutes. Fold in remaining cool whip. Spread over peanut butter cups. Crush remaining cookies; sprinkle over the top. Cover and chill for at least 3 hours. This makes one 9-inch square dish, but you can easily double the recipe to make a 9×13.

I have just one cake this week and it’s for a nursing home combined Birthday party. This is the first time I will be making this cake. I have thought about making this cake for a while, but it was always taken before I could request to make it. It’s not as big of a cake like the mission cake, it only needs to feed 40 people. The mission cake has to feed 75 people! I am also baking for the Ronald McDonald house this Friday. I don’t know yet what I’ll be making, I need to email them later and ask to see what they would like. The dessert I posted above would be a good one to make for a change, I think!

We went to church this morning and it was a wonderful service! I thought we had Life Group tonight, but I don’t think they had it, no one called us about it anyway. I’ll just have to check about it for next Sunday. I am trying to be more positive in my thinking and praying. When I went to my ladies meeting last Tuesday, one of the ladies gave me good book about all the healing scriptures in the Bible. I have been reading though it and trying to memorize the verses. I know one day the Lord will heal me and I will be healthy again!!! Ray signed up for that weight-loss challenge Saturday. He had to be weighed and they took a picture of him. It goes until the end of July and they have some good prize money for the top winners, so we’ll see what happens. There were 30 other people who signed up for it also. Ray turned in our paperwork for the Y Sunday. We plan on going there 2 times this week. I just want to start on the walking track, and maybe sign up for a couple of classes. I am thinking about the one they have for people new to exercise and that have been sick. I am also thinking about trying the yoga class later, it would help ease the tension in my neck. One of my Dr’s thought it would be good for me, she said every time she felt the lymph node’s in my neck they were tense and sore.

Well I better go for now..

Later everyone!! 🙂


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Posted by on January 24, 2011 in Dessert's


Artichoke Dip

Hello Everyone,

Here is a recipe that my ex-sister-in-law Erin gave me. It is the best artichoke dip I have ever tasted! Whenever we had family gathering’s I would ask her to bring this dip. We love it, so I am sending it out to you all!!

Artichoke Dip:

4 cloves garlic, minced

1-lb. cream cheese, softened

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup shredded parmesan cheese

2 lbs. canned artichoke hearts

red pepper flakes



Blend all ingredients-except hearts and parmesan cheese. Add in hearts but do not puree.  Fold in red pepper flakes, oregano, and parsley. ( I don’t have the exact measurements for the spices, so add them to your taste. Put mixture in casserole dish and top with parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve warm with toasted baguette’s or crackers.

Not much else going on with us around here, just been doing a lot of much-needed cleaning this week. Ray singed up for the weight-loss contest I was talking about. He said there’s still time if I wanted to sign up for it. I said NO WAY that’s too much pressure for, I just want to go to the Y and walk, and get to feeling better first. 

I found some old recipes of my grandma Shirley’s, I thought I would make them and post then later.. She was a fantastic baker and cook.. I’m not going to post the sweet potato recipe or the broccoli recipe everyone, I’m sorry. I just don’t want to make them. I am working a Valentines menu. I hope you all like Chinese food, because that’s what I am making.. LOL!! 🙂

Until next time everyone..

Amanda 🙂

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Posted by on January 22, 2011 in Appetizers


Meatloaf with Carmalized Onion Topping

Hello Everyone,

Ray and I love meatloaf, its easy to make plus makes great sandwiches the next day! 🙂

Caramelized Onions:

4 large yellow onions, thinly sliced

4 tbsp. unsalted butter

2 tbsp. olive oil

salt and pepper to taste


1-lb. ground turkey meat

1/2-lb. ground pork

1 cup whole milk

1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. poultry seasoning

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup fresh dry breadcrumbs

1 large egg

1 small onion, finely chopped

To make onion topping, melt butter with the olive oil, and cook onions on medium heat until onions have browned and caramelized in color, about 1 hour. Use a non-stick pan and stir with a wooden spoon every 10 minutes or so.  Heat oven to 350 degrees, and combine all meatloaf ingredients together, do not overmix. Place in a 9×5-inch loaf pan. I like to use  my stoneware loaf pan, the meatloaf get’s a nice crust. Top with caramelized onions and bake for 1-15  minutes or until a thermometer reaches 170 degrees.

Had great time at my church women’s group last night. Heard some great testimonies that really moved me. Later the ladies prayed for me, and I am believing that Jesus will heal my lung disease! I found out that a lot of them go the Y also. I said please pray for me to have the courage to go and keep going!! One lady last night said that I look younger than the first time we met! I said really? First time we met at the church group was over a year ago. That’s hard for me to compute in my brain, that I could look younger, when I feel so fat from the steroids. So hopefully in another year’s time I’ll look even better, that would be great!!! 🙂

Going to be a slow week for me with no cakes to bake, don’t know what to do with myself… I am working on a Valentines menu for Ray and I.  I want to say to anyone who follow’s my blog that I’m sorry I didn’t finish making the New Year’s eve menu. I haven’t even made the broccoli dish or the sweet potatoes. I have all the stuff for them, so maybe with no cakes with week, I’ll make them.. Maybe… They would be great to eat anytime, I guess, not just on a holiday..

Until next time everyone…

Amanda 🙂


Posted by on January 19, 2011 in Meats