Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Healthier Banana Bread

As I've said before, I'm a big fan of and one thing that Crystal shows how to do is replace the butter and oil in baking with cooked and pureed beans.  I normally would opt to use dry beans and cook them, but I was feeling lazy so I use canned beans and didn't add the salt the recipe called for since canned beans are already salted.  I though for sure my efforts would be ruined when I was blending the beans because I was using a submersible blender in a big bowl and my five year old came in to help.  As she was helping, she matter of factly stated "Mom, this smells disgusting."  However she still ate the banana bread right up!  To make the banana bread a little MORE healthy, I replaced most of the flour with oat flour (put oatmeal in the food processor and hit on until it was powder-like.  The oat flour is more coarse than regular white flour, but once you mix it in with the bananas and beans, there's not noticeable difference.  The best part about this recipe is that no one suspected it was remotely healthy!  Lately, when I bake something that is moist and cakey, he looks at me suspiciously and asks "Did you put beans in this?"  This time he didn't suspect.  Maybe  should have told him because he ate quite a lot last night so I had to suffer the consequences of him eating beans.  The thing I did that I don't do other times is put the whole contents of the can of beans in there and blend them up.  normally I'll drain the beans and then blend them with a tiny bit of water, but then you can tell a difference in the texture of that food versus something that had butter in it.  Another great thing about using beans and oat flour was that normally when I make this recipe it takes a lot longer for it to cook and then it's usually still doughy in the middle and falls apart when I take it out of the loaf pan.  This time it took just a little longer than the original recipe called for and came out of the loaf pan beautifully!  So without further ado, here is the recipe:

1 c sugar
1/2 c white bean puree (if you make it from dry beans then you'll have to add a pinch of salt)
2 eggs
3 mashed bananas ( just freeze them wen they get brown and then when I'm going to make banana bread I take them out and let them thaw on the counter for an hour or two, then cut off the stems with a knife and squeeze them into the mixing bowl  like a tube of toothpaste, then use a fork to mash if there are any big chunks.  Note, this it kind of weird in texture so I wouldn't recommend it to people who are pregnant or otherwise squeamish) 
3 T milk (sour, regular, or powdered, it all works)
1 t baking soda
2 c oat flour (I only did 1 1/2 cups of oat four because I have a really small food processor and more than that would have made a mess and I was too lazy to do two runs with it, so I filled in the rest with regular white death  flour)
1 c mini chocolate chips (or one cup walnuts, I just really like chocolate!)

Mix beans, sugar, eggs, banana, and milk really well.  Add dry ingredients (I always add baking soda last because it starts the leavening process as soon as it gets wet and you want as much leavening to happen in the oven as possible.  Don't over stir.  Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 325 degrees for 60 to 65 minutes. I let it sit in the pan to cool a little ( it seems to stay together that way a little bit better) and take it out and cut it about 5 minutes later.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


What Your Preschooler Needs to Know: Get Ready for Kindergarten (Core Knowledge Series)   What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know: Preparing Your Child for a Lifetime of Learning (Core Knowledge Series)
As you may know, we home school our kids.  Our oldest is only 5 so we are doing Kindergarten with her and preschool with our 3 year old.  We've been going through the regular lessons and things suggested in What Your Kindergartener Needs to Know and What Your Preschooler Needs to Know, as well as doing a few worksheets, but this week I thought we'd do something a little more fun that most Kindergarteners and Preschoolers don't get to do.  We learned about volcanoes!  Not only that, we made one!  First we checked out a few books from the library about volcanoes, watched some educational videos on youtube, and then made and made errupt our volcano!
Here is the final product.  Painted and with people and trees and houses and rocks made of modeling clay.
Here is a shot of one of the volcanoes "erupting."  We did the regular baking soda and vinegar, I just added some food coloring to it so we could have red or orange "lava."  During this project I used some of my husband's worn out work shirts for the kids to wear over their clothes so they wouldn't get messy, and put some old sheets on the table to protect it.
I had a hard time getting a picture when the lava looked just right, here my timing was right but there's a little kid arm in the way!  That's how it goes I guess!

In case you were curious:
to make the volcano I used an old milk carton cut in half with the halves upside down.  I duck taped some empty yogurt cups on top of that, then made the basic volcano shape with aluminum foil.  My 5 year old held with the tape, ripping the foil, and smoothing it out.  Then my five year old and I covered it with paper mache, using a mix of two parts water with one part glue, and strips of newspaper, while my three year old played with the baby.  When that was dry the baby ate in his high chair while my 3 and 5 year old painted, and as you can see from the interesting placement of green and purple, they had a lot of fun!  When the paint was dry they made trees, houses, people and rocks from modeling clay, I thought all of these things looked very much the same, except the two big rocks my three year old made, but the point is they had fun and learned a lot, and they knew what those things were supposed to be!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Celebrate the Family 2011

One of my favorite blogs, Chocolate on my Cranium, is participating in a blogging event called Celebrate the Family 2011.  It will be September 9th through the 23rd.  I will be participating in the blog hop posts, based on the Family Proclamation.  I am really excited about this because my family is something I've very passionate about.  I love them so much and am so happy that my husband and I were married for time AND eternity so that our family can be together forever.  Check back for posts, and check out Cocoa and Chocolate on my Cranium and the others who are participating in the blog hop!