Monday, March 28, 2011

Blueberry Banana Whole Wheat Pancakes (that are actually really yummy!) plus a photography offer!

Finally a baking/cooking post for those of you with a sweet tooth!  But before we get to the tasty breakfast, I wanted to let all of you know about something I'm working on right now.  As you can tell, I've been posting a lot of photography lately.   If any of you who read this live in the Atlanta area and want free portraits (maternity, baby, family, engagement) in the next 3 months, let me know.  I am trying to build a portfolio, so the next three people who contact me and mention this blog will get a free portrait session plus all the edited photos on a share site with and on a disc for free.  I'm definitely still learning and still have a lot to learn about photography, so I hope you will let me practice on you!

A few weeks ago the Hubby actually had a weekend day off.  So I decided I was going to make us a tasty, yet somewhat (kinda sort, ha!) healthy, breakfast.  I went back and forth between several options but ended up deciding on Blueberry Banana Pancakes I found on Tasty Kitchen.  After looking at the recipe, I knew I could make these with half whole wheat flour half regular all-purpose flour (actually I probably could have even done more wholewheat and the remainder all-purpose).

First you are going to combine the milk (I used 2%) and lemon in a small bowl and set aside.  Next, mash the banana and mix with the eggs, vanilla, brown sugar, honey, and melted butter.  I didn't actually mash the banana because they were pretty ripe and I knew that my stand mixer would take care of that, but either way would work.

Next you will sift together all the dry ingredients and set aside for a moment.

Then combine the banana mixture and the milk mixture (which is now technically buttermilk... it's that easy to make it, remember).

Lastly, add dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.

Let this mixture sit covered for about 5-10 minutes.  Heat a skillet coated with butter on medium high heat.

We had tried one pancake but the pan wasn't hot enough (that's why it looks dirty), so we tried again before making the next pancake... so make sure you have it hot enough before you start.

While you're waiting for the pan to heat, wash and dry the blueberries, then coat them with the remaining sugar and flour.  Then add them to the batter and fold together.  Don't mix too much.

Now you should be ready to make you some tasty pancakes.  Put about 1/4 cup (ha, we just eyeball it... we like larger pancakes) into the pan.

Flip when bubbles start forming around the edges (or when the bottom is a nice darkish golden brown).

Cook on the other side until golden brown.  Remove from the pan and add more butter to re-coat it between batches.  This really made enough for four people, and I'm kicking myself now that I didn't freeze the other half of the batter instead of throw it away.  Dumb Jenny.  Oh well.  We served with bacon, light syrup, and coffee.  Delish!

Blueberry Banana Whole Wheat Pancakes
Makes 4 servings.
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 4 tbsp melted butter (plus extra for cooking)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Combine milk and lemon in a small bowl and set aside.  Mash bananas and mix with eggs, vanilla, brown sugar, honey, and melted butter.  Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside for a minute. Combine banana mixture and milk mixture, then add in the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Let sit covered for about 5-10 minutes.
Heat a skillet coated with butter on medium high heat.
Wash and dry blueberries, then coat with the remaining sugar and flour.  Add them to the batter and fold together, being careful not to mix too much.
Place 1/4 cup of batter into the pan (or more for larger pancakes).  Flip when bubbles start around the edges or the bottom is a nice golden brown.  Cook on the other side until golden brown.  Remove from the pan, re-coat the pan with butter in between batches, and continue making pancakes with the rest of the batter.

Print this recipe!

Enjoy friends!!!  And have a great week!!

P.S. I have one really promising thing coming up in a few weeks for a potential job in Charleston.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Waiting on Baby Boy Lyons

I know, I know... you want baked goods.  I'm getting there, I promise.  I really hope life slows down once we move, because I'm exhausted!  Pancakes post to come soon!

A couple of weeks ago I told my mom that I really wanted to start stepping up my photography practice.  She works at a local high school and I knew that would be a great place to find some "models"!  I love doing maternity, baby, and family pictures so I asked her to find me anyone who would let me take pictures of them for free.  I got super lucky, because she found Andrea and Matt who happened to be awesome, and despite saying they were not naturals in front of the camera, you would never know by looking at the pictures!  They are about a month away (now about 3 weeks) from having their baby boy.  And with their last name being Lyons, we had fun with lion props, but we also got to work in some basketball action since Matt is a basketball coach.  I had so much fun with them and I hope they love their pictures as much as I do.  I really think they turned out great!  Here are a few for your eye candy pleasure:

 Oh yea, I forgot to tell you, their dog was totally sassy!  Ha!  Andrea got up off the blanket and Roscoe (sp?) the dog decided that was where he wanted to chill... so he literally laid out on the blanket and posed for me.  It was pretty much the cutest thing ever.  There are few things I enjoy more than watching dogs personalities come out.  And boy did his!
This last picture is my favorite belly shot so far.  I'm in love with the lighting and the emotion that you can get just from hands and a pregnant belly. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sneak Peek... kind of

I had another wonderful maternity shoot this past weekend!  So while I'm still working on those photos, I wanted to show you a peek into some other pictures I took that day.  I was driving back to our apartment from the photoshoot and realized I finally had my camera and could get out of the car and take pictures of the beautiful tulips that line the entrance.  When I made my way over to the flowers I saw this precious little girl, maybe 2 or 3 years old, with her dad.  Her dad was taking a ton of pictures of her with his point and shoot.  I told him I'm learning photography and asked if I could take some pictures of her and that I would email them to him.  He was SO excited, which made me really glad.  He said they used to have a DSLR camera but had to sell it and that he would love some pictures of her and of him with her.  So I, of course, started snapping away.  Here are a few of the precious pictures I took of this sweet girl.  Her name is Annaliese (not 100% sure of the spelling). 

*And for those of you waiting for another baking post... I have another yummy breakfast confection for later this week.  I've been trying to eat healthier the past week or so (other than the cadbury eggs, of course) so that I don't feel like a beached whale in a week and a half at the beach :) 

I really don't think you can get much cuter (or more sassy) than that!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Why do they do this to me???

Seriously... putting these guys out a little over two weeks before our beach vacation is torture for me!  Why must you do this to me Cadbury?  Because I just can't get with the "bikini body" program right now, I made a deal with my in-laws and the Hubby that there will be no judging what so ever at the beach.  While I wish I owned a one-piece and my bikinis may end up giving me muffin tops, I say screw the pressure.  I'm going with it and I'm eating as many d**n Cadbury eggs as I want... they are only around for one month a year!  Who's with me?! 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Drum roll please........ Cinnamony Sugar Pull-Apart Breakfast Bread

After seeing not one, but two different blog posts on this particular treat, I just had to make it.  And who better to "test it out" on than my in-laws, since they always love our breakfast treats.  Trying to describe it without you actually tasting it is difficult, but the best I can explain is a mix between monkey bread and french toast.  Yes, it's that good.  Seriously.

The really great thing about this recipe is that you don't really need any special tools.  Even before I was a "baker" I would have had everything I needed to make this.

First off, you are going to whisk together the whole wheat flour, 3/4 cups of the all-purpose flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in a large mixing bowl and set aside.  Then, whisk together the eggs in a small bowl and set aside.

In a small saucepan you are going to melt together the milk and butter until the butter has just completely melted.  Be sure to stir while heating so you don't burn the milk.  Remove from the heat and add water and vanilla extract and stir.  Let the mixture stand for two minutes or until it is between 115-125 degrees F.
Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and stir with a spatula.  After combined, pour in the eggs and stir until the eggs are incorporated into the batter.  Just keep on stirring until it is all well combined.  After it's well mixed, add the remaining 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour and stir with the spatula until it's well combined (about 2 minutes).  It's very very sticky.

Grease a large bowl well (I usually just spray it down really good with non-stick spray) and then place the dough in it to rise.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel.  Place in a warm space and allow to rest/rise until doubled in size - 1 hour.  I put my rising dough in the oven at about 100 degrees (I just turn it on at 350 to warm up for about a minute and a half and then shut it off.... and Lord have mercy please don't forget to shut the oven off or you will have a major nightmare of messed up dough and possibly a melted bowl on your hands).  *Joy The Baker says that if you are making this in advance you can refrigerate the dough after this step.  I actually disagree with her.  I say you go all the way until the dough is ready to bake and then you refrigerate it.  The reason is that there is really no reason why you can't do that, and the baking process takes a little while (i.e. bring dough back to room temp. or close to room temp, bake for about 35 minutes, then let cool for about 15 minutes).

While the dough is rising you can mix together the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar mixture.  Set that aside.  Then, melt 4 tablespoons of butter until browned (mess alert:  don't do this in the microwave for too long or it could explode... I kinda forgot it could do that, ha!).  Set the butter aside.  Then grease and flour a regular sized loaf pan (or Baker's Joy it) and set that aside too.

After the dough has finished rising, deflate it and knead 2 tbsp of flour into it.  Cover with a clean kitchen towl and let it rest for 5 minutes.  On a lightly floured, large work surface, use a rolling pin to roll out the dough.  Joy says it should be about 20in. x 12 in.  I just say get it as big as you can.

Next, use a pastry brush to spread the melted butter across all of the dough.  Then sprinkle with all of the sugar/cinnamon mixture.  Yummy.  So I got a little dough cutting happy and cut it before I brushed the butter and sprinkled the mixture... and I'm here to report that it works out fine either way :)  But it's definitely easier to do the brushing and sprinkling before you cut it.  Slice the dough vertically into six strips of the same size.  Then, stack the strips all together and slice that stack into six squares(ish).  You should have 36 square ish sized pieces of dough, give or take a few.

Now, take the individual stacks of six and place them into the loaf pan one stack at a time.  Now, take a kitchen towl and place it over the loaf pan and allow it to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes until it has almost doubled in size.  *After this step, I refrigerated the dough to be ready to bake the next morning.  But you could also continue from here and bake immediately after it is finished rising.  Just be sure to set out for an hour or hour and a half before you are ready to bake it if you decide to refrigerate it.

I went up to that last step the day before.  Then the in-laws came over and the Hubby cooked dinner for us.  Roasted leg of lamb with stuffed tomatoes, roasted asparagus, and homemade rosemary bread.  To.die.for.  Well most of it.  Everyone loved the lamb but me.  For some reason it was really gamey to me.  Weird.  Anyways, I loooooved the rest of it.  Especially the stuffed tomatoes.  I may just have to do a post on them one day.  They were ridiculous.  Here is a picture of our fest:

Picking back up the next morning, I brought the dough back to room temp.  Now time to bake it!  Place the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Then, place the loaf pan filled with the yummy looking flip-book of dough in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top edges are very golden brown.

As Joy says, if the top is only lightly browned, the center is still not baked all the way... be patient people!

Remove from the oven and allow to sit out for about 15 minutes.  At this point you can make the optional icing.  I made it and used it but it definitely wasn't necessary... it just added a little something extra.  Mix together the powdered sugar, milk, and orange juice and set aside.  You can also add 3 oz. of cream cheese at room temp. if you want it to be a much thicker frosting.

Then, after running a butter knife around the edges, turn the bread onto a plate.  Then, if you care, you can invert that onto a serving platter or cake plate for it to be right side up.  We were a little impatient and didn't care... we just dug right in!

I piled about 5 pieces up on a plate with the eggs and bacon we ate.  After piling up the pieces, I just took a spoonful of the icing and drizzled it on top. 

Man... seriously, delicious.  Like OMG delicious.  Like everyone cleaned their plates delicious.  Like, there was a little leftover, I went to take a nap, came back out of the bedroom and the leftovers vanished delicious (yup, I was super sad... but my skinny jeans were oh so happy, they've been workin' hard lately).

I served it with eggs and bacon.  Dude... so good.

I hope you enjoyed this!  I would definitely give it a try for any sort of special breakfast/brunch occasion.  So worth the time you wait for this sucker to rise!

Print this recipe! 

Have a great week!