Peanut Butter Bread

My friend Matt and I taking a break for a new photo during our Christmas baking.

My friend Matt and I taking a break for a new photo during our Christmas baking.

My friend Matt came over again this year to hang out and do a little holiday baking. This time we tried an old recipe that is new to us. I found it while browsing my Fannie Farmer cookbook for potential holiday baking ideas. I haven’t made much bread. Mainly just cornbread, biscuits, scones, and banana bread. So, I was particularly interested in the quick bread section of my cookbook when I found this recipe for peanut butter bread!!! I had to try it. I love peanut butter fudge (though, I’ve never made it myself), and peanut butter bars, and every man in my life is a huge fan of peanut butter! Friends, family, David. They come out of the woodwork when the smell of peanut butter wafts through the air.  This one will be a true man pleaser!

I know David will love this, but I already have an order in for chocolate crinkle cookies for his Christmas treat this year. I’m making Oreo truffles for our Christmas Eve dinner at my mom’s house. Matt and I knew we wanted to bake something so we decided this would be a perfect time to test out such an interesting recipe. And we were NUTS for this bread! Thank goodness we had dinner and games to play, because this bread was so easy, there wasn’t much for us to do! It takes no time to gather the few ingredients, and the clean up was a piece of cake. The smell was heavenly, the texture was surprising and delightful, and it tasted more like peanut butter than I even thought. Pleasantly sweet, but not overpoweringly so. It’s so much like just lightly sweetened peanut butter in bread form to me. I hope you’ll try it too!

pbbread

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Ingredients:

2 c all purpose flour

1/3 c sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 c peanut butter

1 c milk

1 egg, well beaten

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease a loaf pan.  (I use vegetable shortening.)
  3. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  4. Add the peanut butter, milk, and egg, and mix until well blended.
  5. Spoon into the pan and bake for about 50 minutes.
  6. Remove from the pan and cool on a rack.

What about the sugar?

I think this could be okay for those who are watching their sugar intake.  It makes a nice size loaf and you only add in 1/3 cup of sugar to make the bread.  With 3/4 cup of peanut butter, it also has a good amount of protein.  I think this and the texture and flavor of the bread also makes it a good choice for children, if you’re sure the child doesn’t have a peanut allergy.

Tips:

  • Matt and I sprinkled our loaf with brown sugar.  It was a very thin sprinkling, because the loaf bakes for around 50 minutes and we didn’t want it to burn.  I definitely recommend this.
  • I want to try using half brown sugar and half white.
  • I think this would be great with chocolate chips added.
  • I would loooove to try frying some bananas to put over top of this.
  • I also think this would be good with a glaze, or maybe even some cream cheese icing.
  • This is very easy and inexpensive and would be nice to give as a gift.

Corn-Sausage Chowder

I finally tried a new recipe today!  Huzzah!  I found the recipe on a magazine’s website: Midwest Living.  (Incidentally, this website is definitely worth checking out.  I think it’s a worthwhile magazine, for all its purposes.)  I’ve pinned several recipes from their website, but this was first on my list to try.  Corn-sausage chowder.  Potatoes, onions, corn, and sausage, what’s not to love?!

I apologize most sincerely for the lighting.  This one was the truest in color, so I used it despite the shadow.

I apologize most sincerely for the lighting. This one was the truest in color, so I used it despite the shadow.

See Midwest Living’s recipe for corn-sausage chowder here.

I do have some notes about this recipe:

  • I used a roll of spicy pork breakfast sausage.
  • I omitted the marjoram.
  • I am thinking of adding some garlic next time.
  • I think this would be wonderful served with garlic bread or garlic cheddar biscuits.
  • It’s great topped with cheese, but very very naughty.
  • This isn’t for someone with a sensitive stomach or anyone who is on a diet.
  • It’s very easy and convenient.
  • You could keep the ingredients on hand in your pantry, and if you cut the roll of sausage into patties or chunks to freeze, rather than a roll, you could keep it in the freezer and start with frozen sausage.
  • It’s a very inexpensive recipe.
  • This stayed warm for some time after taking it off the heat.  For this reason, I think it would be great to bring over to a friend or neighbor’s house.
  • If this makes 6 servings, they are very generous servings.

I expect to be making a variation of this soup soon with quite a few changes, lol.  Tweaking recipes is just bred into me I suppose.  When I get done customizing this one, it is definitely going into my recipe binder.

“Russian” Tea Mix

I put quotation marks around Russian to avoid offending anyone, as I believe this recipe probably doesn’t even originate in Russia.  Although, I’d imagine Russians might find it tasty as well.  I am quite certain that it is definitely not traditional Russian tea.  I’m sure you’re smart enough to know that, too.  This recipe was very popular in the 1970′s.  It was served to company and given as gifts in pretty jars, and thus, is also known as friendship tea.  I have adjusted the recipe a bit from its original, because when the original was being made, it called for a cup of sugar, but now the drink mixes are already sweetened, so I have omitted the extraneous sugar.  Momma and I are thinking of having this here on Halloween night, so I thought I would post the recipe as this is the first thing we’ll be having in a while that actually has a recipe but hasn’t already been posted here.  I’ve really been sticking with the known favorites recently.  I hope you enjoy this recipe and share a cup of tea and friendship this season.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 C Tang

1 1/4 C instant tea

1 1/4 C lemonade mix

1 Tsp cinnamon (Those who are allergic might want to substitute ginger, it complements citrus wonderfully.)

1/2 Tsp cloves

Directions:

Mix all ingredients thoroughly for Russian tea mix, also known as friendship tea.

Add 2 heaping teaspoons to hot water for each cup.

Sugar content:

This is a pretty indulgent drink as far as sugar goes, so, you may want to skip it altogether if you’re terribly concerned with that.  However, you can find sugar free tea mix and lemonade mix.  I’m unsure, though, if you can find sugar free Tang.  I have never seen it here.

Tips:

  • I think this could be a great mix to have on hand for something to serve to unexpected company.
  • As I mentioned earlier, this was a popular drink mix to give in a pretty jar, perhaps with a ribbon or some pretty fabric on it.
  • This mix would make part of a nice gift basket with some cookies or baked goods.
  • I think this is just great to have stored in a jar or an empty drink mix container for cold nights at home for a quick hot beverage to enjoy while reading a book or watching a movie.
  • I also think this is nice to bring along with you if you’re someone’s guest during the holiday season.

Cranberry Salad

This cranberry salad recipe was given to my momma by my uncle’s wife and was present for family dinners for as long as I can remember.  I know it seems like a crazy combination when you read through the ingredients.  I couldn’t believe it myself until I tried it, but it really is delicious.  Time for a trust fall, I say!  :)

 

Ingredients:

1 lb frozen cranberries
2 c sugar
4 stalks celery
1 c pecans
2 small boxes cherry jello
1 20 oz can pineapple

Directions:

  1. Chop cranberries in food processor.
  2. Cover with 2 cups sugar. Set aside.
  3. Chop celery and nuts.
  4. Pour 2 cups hot water over 2 boxes jello. Stir until dissolved.
  5. Add pineapple with juice, celery, and nuts to cranberry and sugar mixture.
  6. Chill.

Writing my Recipe Binder

There’s a project I’ve been busying myself with, working on a little bit at a time for a while now.  A lot of people have these.  I’ve noticed them on Pinterest and cooking and homemaking blogs.  What I’m working on (you may have guessed from the title) is a recipe binder.

My mother has had a recipe binder all my life.  It’s a bit of a mess.  The pages are uneven and some of them are folded up on the edges.  It’s full of notebook paper, copy paper, magazine clippings, the side of a cocoa box snipped out with scissors.  The recipes are typed up or scribbled down, some in her handwriting, some jotted down by aunts or church ladies.  Honestly, it’s sort of comical.  There really is no organization other than the simple idea that she “knows where it is.”

It’s messy, but when I look at it, I smile because I know that she really does know where every scrap of paper is inside that binder.  I love her for it because she has spent so much time collecting those recipes to cook for the people she loves.  There’s something in there for all of us.  Chocolate cake recipes to bake for my sister’s birthday.  My aunt’s sweet potato casserole recipe for me.

It was always there with us in the kitchen.  It’s been present for all the family dinners.  It helped teach me how to cook when I was sitting on my feet to be high enough above the kitchen table to measure and stir.  I know a lot of people have these recipe binders, but when I think about the traditions my momma’s binder has been a part of, and the time I’ve spent with my momma and that binder, it means the world to me.  I always knew I wanted to have a binder like that for me and my family someday.

One day I was browsing cooking blogs when I ran across something that really inspired me.  It was a blog entry where a woman shared a story about her mother’s recipe cards.  Her mother had passed away, and she told about how having those hand written recipe cards in her mother’s handwriting meant the world to her.  She saw it as a piece of her that she could keep and that she could pass down.  When I read that, it almost made me cry.  It was such a beautiful thing.  I wish I knew where I read it so that I could share the link and read it for yourselves.  It was really quite moving.  After reading that, I decided to start a little project of my own that I hope will be like my mother’s recipe binder, and like that woman’s mother’s handwritten recipe cards.

I am copying down every family recipe, recipes momma and I love from her cookbooks, all those recipes given to my mother by friends and ladies of the church, my favorite recipes, and those that I come up with on my own.  I’m writing each and every one of them down in my binder, by hand.  I love the idea of seeing this binder in the kitchen of the home where David and I live as husband and wife someday.  I look forward to opening it up to cook a hot meal for him.  I look forward to knowing that he’ll be able to cook anything I cook for him even if I’m not able to.  I can’t wait to see little eyes peering over that binder someday while our babies watch me cook.  I know I’ll be glad that they’ll have those recipes someday, and I hope that it will mean to them what the recipes from the women of my family mean to me.

I love working on this binder.  It brings back the best memories I have from my childhood.  It reminds me of a lot of selfless love from momma and granny.  It’s just a joy for me to work on.  I am passionate about feeding my loved ones good food that reflects the care I am willing to put into it.  I love working on this project because I know someday I will be a homemaker like my mother and my grandmother before me, and their recipes will be a part our home.  My home will smell like home when the one I love comes through the door.  My kitchen will always be warm and filled with the love, laughter, and tenderness I grew up with.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Today I made chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting.  For the longest time, I have never really cared for chocolate cake.  I’ve been strictly a vanilla girl.  However, now that I’m baking more, and baking for my Superman who likes a wide variety of things… I’ve been branching out.  For a while, recently, I’ve been all about red velvet cupcakes.  Because of that, I started thinking, maybe I should give chocolate cake a go again and I might like it now.  I have to say, I’m still a vanilla kind of girl.  It will probably always be my favorite. However…

These were absolutely amazing!  I do, in fact, like chocolate cupcakes now.  Who knew?  After all these years.  Maybe I’ve been falsely accused these 23 years of being a picky eater.

This chocolate cupcake recipe is the Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake recipe from the side of a cocoa box a long time ago.  It’s been momma’s favorite chocolate cake recipe all this time, so I knew it had passed the test.  Now it is my favorite.

In layer cake form, this cake recipe is meant to serve 10-12 as a 9″ round, 2 layer cake.  As cupcakes, it will actually yield approximately 3 dozen.

Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

2 c sugar

1 3/4 c all purpose flour

3/4 c Hershey’s cocoa

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 eggs

1 c milk

1/2 c vegetable oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 c boiling water

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.
  3. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla.
  4. Beat for 2 minutes on medium speed.
  5. Stir in boiling water.  (Batter will be thin.)
  6. Place cupcake wrappers into cupcake pans and pour in batter, filling the cupcake wrappers only about half full.  This batter will really grow in your oven!
  7. Bake 30-35 minutes.
  8. Cool 10 minutes.  Remove from pans to wire racks.  Cool completely.  Frost.

For the frosting, I used a very slightly modified version of the peanut butter frosting Jane Gaither, Gourmet Gadget Gal uses for her Lunchroom Lady Peanut Butter bars.

Peanut Butter Frosting

Ingredients:

2 c creamy peanut butter

1 tsp salt

1 tbs vanilla extract

5 c powdered sugar

2/3 c milk

Directions:

  1. With mixer, mix peanut butter, salt, and vanilla.
  2. Slowly add powdered sugar and milk, alternating.

Tips:

  • You can add powdered sugar to the frosting recipe to make it thicker and more dry.
  • If your frosting is too dry or thick, you can also add milk to make the frosting thinner or less dry.
  • You can boil your water in a microwave safe measuring cup or microwave safe bowl in the microwave if you like.  This took me about 3 minutes.  I’d advise starting to beat the batter one minute into boiling the water.  This way, you will know when you have been beating the batter for two minutes, and your boiling water will be ready just in time for your next step.
  • When you’re baking 3 pans of cupcakes, one pan could get done a little before or after another.  Some spots in your oven may be hotter than others.  Some pans may also absorb more heat.
  • These would be very cute with a mini peanut butter cup or half a mini peanut butter cup nestled into the frosting.

These cupcakes were definitely hard to beat for a dessert that came straight from the pantry.  I decided to make them mid-day today and not one trip to the store was made.  Now that’s a winner.