Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Banana Bread Wars or Bake off? A Tale of Two Loaves!

Banana Bread Wars in our family?  I don't think so. This is a Tale of Two loaves!   My son made this banana bread recipe and my other son's girlfriend, Cherise, made a banana bread with apple.  I'll put this in a future post. Both were very good, but different in their own ways. In order to maintain our  family peace, we had a Banana Bread Bake off!!, more family friendly. We decided that both recipes were equally good, so both recipes were winners! In my next post, I'll have Cherise's Banana Bread recipe, and you can have your own Banana Bread War or Bake off?

Here is Chris' Banana Bread recipe, which he got from Cook's Magazine
Chris' Banana Bread 

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees   Tip of the Day! Greasing and flouring only the bottom of a regular pan causes the bread to cling to the sides and rise higher. If using a nonstick loaf pan, on which the sides are very slick, grease and flour sides as well as the bottom.  I never knew that before.

2 c. flour
3/4 c sugar
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp.salt
1 1/4 c toasted, chopped walnuts
3 very ripe bananas, mashed well(about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 plain yogurt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
6 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled.
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Grease and flour bottom only of a regular loaf pan, or grease and flour  bottom and sides of non stick   
    9X5X3 pan: set aside
2. Combine first five ingredients together in large bowl: set aside
3. Mix mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter and vanilla with wooden spoon in medium bowl..  Lightly fold
    banana mixture into dry ingredients until just combined and batter looks thick and chunky.
4. Scrape batter into prepared loaf pan : bake until loaf is golden brown, and tooth pick inserted in center
    comes out clean, about 55 min.
5. Cool in pan for 10 min., then transfer to wire rack.

Let the Wars or Bake off begin!  You decide!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

ironcupcake Chicago-July Winner of Best Tasting Cupcake!

 Red Velvet, Blueberry, and White

I went to ironcupcake Chicago on July 12th, the first time I had attended the event.  I didn't know what to expect, but it was so much fun.  There were 4 competitors, and about 25 people overall.  The theme was Berry Patriotic. Each taster and competitor got to vote on taste and appearance of each entry,  Even better, my cupcake Red Velvet, Blueberry, and White won Best Tasting Cupcake .My cupcake was Red Velvet cake with organic blueberry fruit spread frosted with Vanilla Cream cheese frosting with red sugar and a blueberry, Yum!!! I will definitely go again!! I met Tracy from, who was running the event.

I used Paula Deen's  Red Velvet Cake recipe from with modifications.  I used less oil and more buttermilk, and the cupcake was still very moist. I also added the blueberry fruit spread to the baked cupcake.
Red  Velvet, Blueberry and White
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1  cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring, or 1 oz.
  • 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • I jar organic blueberry fruit spread
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer.

Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before filling and frosting.

I used Stef's method  from to fill the cupcake.

Once the cupcake is cool, use a paring knife to cut a pyramid into the top of the cupcake, about the size of a quarter, and remove the small pyramid.  Fill cupcake with the blueberry fruit spread. Replace the top on the cupcake and gently press down. No one will know that the top has been removed, when the cupcake is iced.

I modified Stef's Lime Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe from to make the Vanilla Cream cheese frosting.

Vanilla Cream Cheese frosting 
 1 8 oz. pkg. of cream cheese  (room temp)
1/4 C butter (room temp)
4 C powdered sugar, sifted
1 t vanilla extract

1. Mix the cream cheese and butter.
2. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract.
3. Beat mixture until desired consistency.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

ironcupcake Chicago-July

This event is for anyone interested in baking cupcakes or eating them.  I will go to this event and bring my cupcakes. come & eat cupcakes.  Follow my progress on the blog...

(Picture from

July's IronCupcake:Chicago challenge is "BERRY PATRIOTIC". Your cupcake creations should include one type of berry and be decorated with the colors "RED, WHITE and BLUE". This challenge will be in honor of "GOOD OLD USA", so let's celebrate our country's birthday with "CUPCAKES".

Monday July 12, 2010 @ 6pm

Mrs. Murphy & Son's Irish Bistro
3905 North Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60613-2417
(773) 248-3905

$5 cover charge

To register or more information:

Monday, July 5, 2010

In Search of an authentic Chicago style hot dog-Never put ketchup on a hot dog

We recently had friends from out of town come for the weekend.  Since they had lived in this area previously, we asked them what they wanted to do.  The first thing that they said was to have a Chicago hot dog.  There a lot of places that claim to have Chicago style hot dogs, when the really aren't, according to my husband.  Scott who grew up  on the Northwest side of Chicago has eaten many Chicago hot dogs.  He decided to make his own.
The Ingredients

1. Poppy seed buns

2. Steamed all beef hot dogs

The Condiments-All must haves
 (Left to right)

3. Deli pickles like the kind that you buy at the deli counter
4. Celery salt, just a sprinkle, but necessary.
5. Yellow mustard, never ketchup
6. Sliced tomatoes
7. Sport peppers
8. Pickle relish
9. Chopped onions

Assemble your Authentic Chicago Hot Dog and Enjoy!!!

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