When You’re a Peanut

Yesterday I baked. I improvised on some ingredients because I just wanted to have something warm in my oven. The first batch was peanut butter banana muffins. If you know me you may know I am a peanut butter fiend. I haven’t always been this way. This kind of happened recently.

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Luwam is so lovely and let me borrow her Nikon. I just love Oregon sunshine.

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I also made some raspberry jam bread but it didn’t come out how I wanted.

IMG_6764 IMG_6766Taken with my iPhone. Yikes.

Okayhaveagooddaybye.

liz

I Can’t Even

It’s been a while. I have been busy trekking caves and lava pit craters in Southeastern Oregon.  Hanging out in Malheur County was a blast. Who knew it would be so much fun bird watching squished in a van with 14 other people?10950679_683129821810506_2897125037112137417_n

Yeah, it’s blurry. Dang.  Also, a highlight of the trip was definitely watching greater sage grouse mate 4:30 am. Yes. 4:30 am. When I first arrived at the field station Sunday night I thought How on earth am I going to last these next four days?” But you know what? It got easier with the days. By the third night I wasn’t cringing as I crawled on top of the white hospital bed that held my sleeping bag. My classmates were really great the whole time too.

Oregon has a desert, and it’s windy.

Here is Nate and me in the lava pit crater. To give you an idea of how big this thing is look at my classmates at the top right part of this picture. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so small in my entire life.

These rocks are old. REALLY old. Like millions of years old. I kind of touched it when it said not to. It was kind of cruel coming back because of my recital this weekend. The first couple days of practice time I was kind of nervous because my chops were out of practice. Today I’m feeling much better now that I’ve had several hours of practice over the last few days. I’ve been planning all the non-music details with my mom. I don’t know what I’d do without her! What a great lady. Seriously. If I had to worry about centerpieces and refreshments on my own, it would stress me out. It would also not be nearly as good. I’m so so so lucky to have parents who are covering the extra expenses.

My awesomely talented friend Holly shot a couple headshots for me over Christmas break. California in the winter looks a lot like Portland in the Spring. My wonderful roommate Alex did my recital poster and for that I’m very grateful. I just love it. It may not look elaborate, but it’s exactly what I wanted and there’s no way I could have done any of this on my own. Thank you Jesus for all my loving family and friends. After this weekend I will be very excited to finally start learning new music. I need fresh literature. But for 5 more days I will wade in the world of C.P.E. Bach and Poulenc!

xoxo

Liz

Something Yellow.

No, it’s not bananas. It’s lemon. J. Cam had a birthday this week so naturally I scoured my regular sites for homemade cupcake recipes. I have made cupcakes three times before. My favorite so far has been Sally’s Baking Addiction killer Death by Chocolate cupcake recipe that I made last Christmas. However, since Jennifer is fasting from chocolate for Lent that wasn’t really an option. The next thing to come to mind was lemon. It’s sweet, simple, classic. Plus the weather’s been beautiful in Oregon. And happy spring!

IMG_6322There are only five of us in class so I halved her recipe. It made six and Boston and Aaron split the last one. I can always count on college students to help me finish dessert leftovers.  The one thing I don’t have a clue about is frosting. I am too freaked out to make my own buttercream considering the high amount of butter(obviously). However, I didn’t want to leave these unfrosted so I just microwaved some Betty Crocker because I saw that in a youtube video. It was pretty much just me and a knife and man can you tell. Oh well! That’s what the sprinkles are for. Maybe I’ll invest in piping bags later.

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Lemon Cupcakes

Slightly adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Yields enough cupcakes for one professor and 5 music students

1/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup milk*

zest of one large lemon

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Set muffin tin with cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl, cream together butter and sugar with a handheld mixer. After 2-3 minutes, add egg and vanilla extract. Scrape down sides of bowl with spatula as needed.

In another medium bowl stir together flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in three additions, making sure to beat on low speed after each addition. Beat in the milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Be careful not to overmix the batter.

Pour batter into six cupcake liners and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remember to cool before frosting.

*I used the Simple Truth Coconut Milk because that’s what I buy. It worked great. I assume regular, soy, or almond would work in place of that.

So there you have it. Lemon cupcakes. A nice change from my usual chocolate chip/banana muffin routine.

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Chester wanted in again. But being a well-behaved golden, he didn’t smash his face into these cakes (unlike what my little bichon yorkie would have done had he been that close).

Happy baking.

Liz

Banana Biscuits

Nanerz. You know, like bananas. Nanerz.

I’ve just been going crazy with the banana’s lately. I’m not sorry because bananas are so useful and lovely. They may be the most versatile fruit. I’ve actually been meaning to make different kinds of quick bread, like sweet potato or zucchini. But once again, I had brown bananas and I couldn’t help but make something out of them.

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The pictures in this post were taken on a wonderfully sunny day here in Portland. It’s been absolutely dreamy. Like short-sleeve-blouse-and-comfortable dreamy. Today Oregon went back to being Oregon, but I think we’ll see the sun again soon.

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In my opinion, these soft treats resemble more of a biscuit than a scone. The recipe I adapted it from called it a scone. They definitely did not come out scone like, but were still great nonetheless. Plus, banana biscuits aren’t something you hear about and I’m one to appreciate unconventional living.

Banana Biscuits

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons butter

2 bananas, mashed

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Prepare a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Keep butter in the fridge. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in large bowl. In a separate bowl combine mashed banana with vanilla extract and 3/4 cup of milk. Take the butter out of the fridge and cut into slices. Work the cold butter into the flour mixture until it is crumbly. Add the banana to the flour mixture and stir until combined. Place the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead 10 times. Use flour to keep it from sticking. Press the dough into a 6″-8″ diameter circle. Use a biscuit cutter, cup, or knife to form 6 circles. Place the biscuits onto the prepared baking sheet and cook for 14-16 minutes, or until golden brown.

I wish I could promise not to post something banana flavored next time, but I can’t. Bananas aren’t even my favorite. Apples are totally my favorite. And peaches in the summertime. But great peaches aren’t available year round and apples don’t last long in my fridge.

Alright friends. Go out and make banana biscuits.

Happy baking!

Liz

Banana Mug Cake

Bandanas. Bananas. Bandanas. Bananas.

Today I made a mug cake and it was just a mug cake. Mug cakes are great, don’t get me wrong! But a mug cake will never suffice for a regular cake. But on lazy days I don’t feel like pulling out all the stops. Okay, the bigger reason is because I don’t have a ramekin yet so it’s also impossible for me to make a single breakfast cake. (Man I’m just really selling this to you well.) I present to you a banana mug cake.

ripe bananas

Banana Mug Cake

1/2 of banana, mashed

3 tablespoons of milk (any kind)

2 packets of Truvia

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

Water, as needed

optional add ins, such as fruit, cinnamon, cocoa etc.

In a bowl mash the 1/2 banana. Add milk and 1 packet of truvia. Add flour, baking soda, salt and stir together. Add water very gradually to moisten.  Once the mixture is moist, sprinkle the top with remaining Truvia. Coat a mug with nonstick spray and pour mixture in. Microwave mixture for 60-90 seconds depending on the microwave.

This recipe is for the college kid part of me. The part that doesn’t have fancy ingredients or much time. Or maybe I’m just feeling lazy. Either way, it’s fast. It’s easy. It’s minimal. It’s good and it’s super customizable. I really like bananas only as much as the next person. . .I’m no banana fiend. It just so happens I’ve been featuring them on here because that’s what I happen to be making. Speaking of, I have 3 ripe bananas that really need to be baked. . .

Happy baking!

Liz

It’s Pretty Fantastic

It’s pretty fantastic that I can go to class welcomed by my professor with a brand new jar of organic peanut butter just for me. What a thoughtful, wonderful lady. I don’t know many people whose college experience is comparable to mine. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Good old Warner Pacific. Who would have thought a tiny liberal arts college in Oregon could offer me so much? It’s because it’s tiny that it offers me so much. At WPC I have genuine, deep relationships with faculty along with a true sense of community with my fellow students. (Many of us are currently knee deep in a campus wide game of Humans vs. Zombies) I also love living in southeast Portland. It’s wonderful to live in a fun place. I feel so fortunate.

So there you go. Peanut butter, Oregon, Zombies. I like my life.

Simple 5-Ingredient Energy Bar

I have a thing for energy bars. Lately I’ve been purchasing the Kashi granola bars (cranberry lemon wassup) but there’s usually an assortment of Larabars, Powerbars, and Clif bars in my pantry as well. When I have very little time as I hurry out the door to get to class in the mornings, I usually have an energy bar for breakfast. I can already feel the judgement stemming from your side of the computer screen. Yeah yeah, so Clif bars may not be as wholesome as say, Larabars. I have nothing to prove to the powerbar police.

However, when I have a little extra cash I love to indulge myself in some good nuts. Minimalist Baker has a fantastic 5-ingredient energy bar recipe that I am putting here for your viewing pleasure.

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5-Ingredient Granola Bars

Original recipe from Minimalist Baker

1 cup packed pitted dates

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup peanut butter

1 cup of roasted unsalted almonds, chopped

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

Process dates in a food processor until they form into small pieces, about one minute. Remove the dates from the food processor and place in a bowl with almonds and oats.

Warm honey and peanut butter in a n 8×8 baking pan over low heat. Pour oat mixture over the mix and stir. Press down on top of bars so they are even. Set in the fridge for at least an hour, or until firm. Once bars have set, remove from fridge and chop into 10 pieces.

There you go. It’s so flipping simple and so flipping good. The beauty about this recipe is it’s suuuuuuper customizable, so if you want to add chocolate chips, dried fruit, different nuts, whatever, you are free to!

Okay. It’s 1:41 am. Must make myself go brush my whites then hit the hay.

Happy baking!

Liz