Boston Baking: Banana Bread
March 17th, 2016

Even though I am a huge fan of moist pumpkin bread, banana bread is my true favorite. I buy bananas regularly because #1) they make a good snack by themselves, #2) they make a good snack with some peanut butter, #3) they are perfect for smoothies, but sometimes I just don’t get around to eating them and then I got a bunch of too fermented bananas. And other times, I am just plain bored and in the mood for something that doesn’t require trekking out to get specific ingredients. Thus, banana bread :)

Banana Bread Recipe

Ingredients

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 – 5 medium bananas, mashed; can be partially substituted with apple sauce
  • Optional nutella (~5 tbsp), cream cheese (~4 oz softenend, 1/4 cup sugar), or dark chocolate chips (~1/2 cup)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease 9×5 in. loaf pan.
  2. In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla extract, mix well. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt, stir into butter mixture until smooth. Finally, fold in bananas. Spread evenly in prepared pan.
    • If adding nutella, dollop a few tablespoons in and swirl into batter. Note, if you don’t swirl the nutella or put too much in, the middle of the bread will sort of cave in and seem under-cooked, since you won’t be baking batter, but nutella instead!
    • If adding cream cheese, beat roughly 4 oz softened cream cheese with 1/4 – 1/2 cup of sugar. Swirl into batter.
    • If adding dark chocolate chips, add a handful on top and swirl into batter. I add them in after putting the batter into pans rather than mixing the chips in the batter and then pouring them into pans so that the chocolate chips don’t all sink to the bottom. By adding the chips on top and mixing them a little at the surface of the batter, they will sink, but they’ll be a bit more evenly distributed throughout the bread.
  3. Bake at 350°F for 50 – 60 min, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool loaf in pan for about 10 min before removing to wire rack to cool.

Original Recipe | PDF Print-Out



Boston Baking: Pumpkin Bread
February 28th, 2016

I bake a lot. A. Lot. Okay, maybe not as much as real food bloggers, but more than most [averaging 1 - 2 time per week]. I like baking cakes for birthdays, cookies for the holidays, or just trying new recipes out. Fortunately between people at church, small group, and in the office at my workplace, there are plenty of people to share baked goods with. But sometimes, I don’t really want to share…I do give a lot of it away, and I enjoy surprising coworkers with a treat or blessing people at church through something I just enjoy doing. But pumpkin bread is just one of those things I like to just eat for myself. It’s incredible moist and easy and most importantly, delicious. I usually do variations of pumpkin bread with either cookie butter, nutella, cream cheese, or dark chocolate chips. That last bit, while makes moist pumpkin bread even better, is almost optional, and so it’s really up to your taste of how much you want in it.

Pumpkin Bread Recipe

The recipe makes one regular size loaf, but I almost always make 4 mini loaves. I like mini loaves because #1) they can be wrapped and given to friends, and #2) because they are smaller, the middle bakes without having to over-bake the outside. I am not a fan of over-baked baked goods.

Ingredients

Makes one loaf

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Optional cookie butter (~5 tbsp), nutella (~5 tbsp), cream cheese (~4 oz softenend, 1/4 cup sugar), or chocolate chips (~1/2 cup)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together; set aside.
  2. In large bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, water, pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth and combined.
  3. Pour batter into loaf pan[s].
    • If adding cookie butter or nutella, dollop a few tablespoons in and swirl into batter. Note, if you don’t swirl the spread or put too much in, the middle of the bread will sort of cave in and seem under-cooked, since you won’t be baking batter, but cookie butter/nutella spread instead!
    • If adding cream cheese, beat roughly 4 oz softened cream cheese with 1/4 – 1/2 cup of sugar. Swirl into batter.
    • If adding chocolate chips, add a handful on top and swirl into batter. I add them in after putting the batter into pans rather than mixing the chips in the batter and then pouring them into pans so that the chocolate chips don’t all sink to the bottom. By adding the chips on top and mixing them a little at the surface of the batter, they will sink, but they’ll be a bit more evenly distributed throughout the bread.
  4. Bake for 40 – 45 min. until toothpick comes out clean.

Original Recipe



Bits and Pieces of the World
November 9th, 2015

I have a small bedroom in Cambridge, MA. A twin-size bed, a nightstand, a small dresser that is lower than my hip, a 5 shelf bookcase. There is a keyboard that has unfortunately become more of a piece of furniture than an instrument, and an exercise mat that has a near-permanent spot on the floor. There are photos on every wall, and a string of more photos, tickets, cards, letters, and random things accumulating throughout the year.

I have always had a lot of stuff in my bedroom. Not in a messy way, but more of a sentimental arrangement of memories. Everything on my shelves are for display. Things to be simply stored are to be kept boxes, hidden in the depths of my not-so-deep closet.

Finally with some brief moments of idleness, when I can just sit on my bed, without my eyes necessarily glued to my computer screen, I realized that I have so many bits and pieces of the world staged in my small room. I realized a sense of thankfulness for all of the places I myself have been fortunate enough to have traveled to, as well as all of the undeserved love I have received from friends and their own adventures.

The most recent addition is a scarf from Ghana on my small dresser. Also on that dresser is a blown glass cup of pens from Queensland, Australia, a ceramic dish from El Salvador, a small version of a traditional lunchbox from Burma, and a framed map of my own world escapades. On the spire of the lunchbox are bracelets collected from Honduras, Belize, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, South Africa, and Singapore.

On the shelves of my bookcase are a couple of stuffed toys from Burma, an oil painting from Paris, France, a watercolor piece from Rome, Italy, and a metal replica of Trefalgar Square in London, Great Britain. There is a little container from Singapore, another small one from Cambodia, and a hand-made container from a Japanese friend.

On the headboard of my bed is a cloth from Japan. A pyramidal pillow from Singapore nearby. My nightstand beside has a scarf from Ecuador. The corner of my room also has a paper umbrella from Burma.

My bedroom may be small, but there is a lot in there.



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A little bit of an intro...

This is my personal site to post some stuff – stuff that is so random I can’t really be any more specific. But if you care for photos of food, panoramas, my day, or just the thoughts that go on in my head, please stay!

I love to travel, bake, burn time on tumblr, read, cafe questing, and run around pretending to be a photographer. I also have a thing for Japanese, classical music, and food. Wherever I am and whatever I’m doing, I hope to do it with a smile, see new things, do everything, and just experience and take it all in.