grandma’s banana bread

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Growing up, I never really liked banana bread. Or bananas for that matter. I guess my child tastebuds hadn’t evolved yet because now I love banana bread. A couple years ago, we had some bananas slowly dying on the counter and Tyler suggested banana bread. So I thought, sure I’ll make him banana bread. And then I hate half of it. I guess my tastebuds finally came around. Plus, this recipe is extra special because it’s my grandma’s, and I’d always wanted to make it.

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Grandma’s Banana Bread – makes 1 loaf

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 1/4 cup sugar

2 lightly beaten eggs

3/4 tsp baking soda

4 heaping tbs sour cream (I substitute greek yogurt)

1 cup very ripe mashed banana (about two small bananas)

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup flour

cinnamon and/or nutmeg to taste

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Preheat oven to 350F. Cream the butter with the sugar. Then add the beaten eggs. make sure everything mixes well. Mix the baking soda in the sour cream. Keep mixing until your sour cream turns into this light fluffy foamy stuff.

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See? Whoa. It’s like a  science experiment!  Add the foamy mixture to your butter mixture and mix really well. Once it’s incorporated, add the banana, salt, vanilla, flour and spices. Mix well.

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Pour batter into a greased loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour + 10 minutes. I like to check my bread halfway through, and if the top is nice and brown, I put some foil over it for the remainder of time.

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Insert a toothpick to the center of the bread, if it comes out clean it’s done! If not, give it a couple more minutes, then take it out. Let the bread cool for a little.. If you can resist. Seriously, your house will smell like you’re living in a giant loaf of banana bread, and it might be impossible to resist cutting into it right away. That’s okay, it just wont be a clean slice. Enjoy!

roll em ups

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Growing up these were such a huge treat for us. It was always our birthday breakfast. Christmas breakfast. New Year’s Day breakfast. Easter Breakfast. Sunday Breakfast. Really, any excuse to get my parents to make these, breakfast. Childishly named “Roll Em Ups” by us girls, I had no idea they were actually crepes, a real thing not unique to our family. I thought it was a special recipe my grandma made up back in Russia. Silly kid. This is in fact my grandpa’s recipe, and not as uncommon as I thought.

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I’ve never actually tried another recipe for crepes. This is it. The one recipe you will ever need, I promise. It is so delicious, and simple. The hardest part is flipping them, and I think you would find that with any crepe recipe.

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Roll Em Ups – makes about 10-12, depending on your pan size

3 eggs

1 cup flour

2 cups milk

6 tbs butter, melted

pinch of salt

1 tsp cinnamon

toppings (fruit, jam, whipped cream, yogurt, etc, and of course syrup!)

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In a blender, add eggs and 1/2 cup of milk. Blend on low until completely blended. Slowly add flour while still blending. Continue blending on low and add remaining milk, butter, a pinch of salt, and cinnamon. Blend on low until completely mixed.

Spray a crepe pan (or any frying pan) with non stick spray and heat over medium high heat. Pour 1/3 cup (or 1/2 cup if your pan is larger) of batter into the pan. Swirl around so the batter evenly covers the pan. Cook until the crepe bubbles and they start popping. Then, flip! That’s the tricky part that takes a few broken crepes to master. Once you get the flow of it down, it’s easy.
Cook on that side just for a minute or so. You can check to see if its done by lifting up one edge with a spatula.
Start stacking em on a plate!

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Mmmmmm-mm-m! Look at those golden crepes!

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Once you’ve cooked them all, serve them up! Put your fillings in, and then, roll em up!

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As kids, we kept it simple. And sweet. Lots of syrup and whipped cream. Maybe a little jam. But that was it. I remember the first time I showed Tyler Roll Rm Ups. We were having my birthday breakfast feast at my parent’s house, and to my surprise (and dismay), he piled in eggs and hash browns. Then rolled it up and topped it with syrup. I thought he was crazy, until I tried a bite. It was really good! That husband of mine.. so full of surprises.

What would you put in your Roll Em Ups??

chicken kebabs

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How fun are kebabs? They are a huge mess to make, but that’s part of the reason it’s so fun to make them. I also love how you can customize them to almost anything you want! This is my mom’s recipe for the chicken marinade, and it is so flavorful and amazing. These are good. Like, brag to your friends, good.

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work hard, stay happy

Mom’s Marinated Chicken Kebabs

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup Trader Joe’s Goddess dressing

1 tbs rosemary

2 tsp salt

1/2 lemon 

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/4 tsp pepper

1 tbs white sugar

5 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ cubes

fillers (onion, bell pepper, zucchini, potatoes, pineapple, etc.. get creative! I don’t have a measurement for these. If you have extra, just make a veggie kebab and use the left overs in a salad! Same with extra chicken!)

skewers!

In a medium bowl, mix together all of your ingredients, except the chicken & fillers. Let stand for five minutes. Pour the marinade into a large ziplock and add the chicken. Make sure the bag is sealed securely, then mush everything around to make sure all of the chicken is coated. Put the ziplock in the fridge and let it marinade at least 30 minutes, preferably over night. Now is a good time to start soaking your skewers in water. I soaked mine for 30 minutes, and it was plenty.

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work hard, stay happy

Meanwhile, chop your fruit and veggies into bite-size chunks. If you’re using potato, cut those on the thinner side because potatoes take longer to cook than most other veggies, and no one likes biting into an undercooked potato. When you have all your fillers chopped and ready, start threading! This is the fun (messy) part! Trust me, this will get everywhere, so expect to do some cleaning afterward.

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work hard, stay happy

work hard, stay happy

Time to grill these suckers! Have the grill on high for the first few minutes of cooking. This will give you those nice grill lines and sear the meat. Then reduce the heat to medium-low for about 10-15 minutes, turning a few times, until the meat is cooked through.

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work hard, stay happy

Yum……

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I served these with some wild rice. If you add enough veggies, you can get by without adding a side salad. What do you like in your kebabs?

guac & flautas

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Hi. I’m back. After two years I’ve decided to start a new blog, with a much different approach. I’ve been thinking about it so much lately, so I decided to come back. New name, new look, new attitude. There was so much that I didn’t like about my last blog so it was really easy to just stop. I think I’ve fixed most of those issues, or at least have recognized them, and this time will be different. Like, really different. Tyler and I have been going on so many adventures lately, trying so many new things, taking on so many new projects.. I wanted to start documenting it all.

I decided to come back strong and share a delicious new recipe, or two, that I tried last night. Guacamole & Flautas. Here is the recipe for the flautas. They were delicious. And easy. Make them. Now. I promise you won’t regret it.

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This is my mom’s recipe for guacamole. My mom is an amazing cook. She is so much of my inspiration for getting messy in the kitchen and just going for it. All of these measurements are to taste. I started bland and worked up from there.

avocado, garlic, lime, cilantro, salt & pepper, cumin, coriander, and onion (this is optional. I had planned to use it and just didn’t out of pure laziness. It was still delicious).

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One of my favorite things about cooking is that Tyler is so eager to help me. And he is a really amazing cook too, which is pretty nice.

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Just take a big fork and mash up all your ingredients until it has the consistency you like. Keep adding spices and lime juice until it has the flavor you’re after.

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Look at that. Delicious homemade guacamole.

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45 minutes tops for this meal and boom. Super impressive meal, and no sweat in the kitchen.