My boys don't usually leave any bananas lying around to ripen for banana bread, but what a treat it is when they do. Waking up to a fresh loaf of banana bread makes my day. Plus, it is so easy to slice and serve with deli meats and cheeses for a fast school morning breakfast.
Truly moist and delicious...each bite has just the right amount of sweetness.
Like any busy Mom, I like feeding my family homemade food, but I also like simplicity in the kitchen. I make this banana bread batter in one bowl to save myself time both cooking and doing dishes. For more time saving and delicious recipes see my slow cooker recipes.
1 1/2 C. (about 3) bananas, mashed
1/2 C. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 C. granulated sugar
1/4 C. brown sugar
1/4 C. honey
1 3/4 C. flour (I use 1/4 C. rice flour and 1 1/2 C. all-purpose flour)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 C. chopped walnuts (optional)
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a loaf pan.
2. With a wooden spoon mix bananas, eggs, butter, and vanilla in a mixing bowl.
3. Next stir in the sugars and honey.
4. Lastly, stir in the rest of the ingredients, stirring until combined. Batter will be thick.
5. Pour batter into pan and bake for 50-55 minutes until golden brown.
6. Cool on a wire rack, then remove from pan. Let bread cool completely before slicing.
Want to learn more about the health benefits of bananas? Read 24 Science backed health benefits of bananas.
One of my best friends asked me to make a cake to auction at the recent Holy Cross trivia night which was a fund raiser for the school. I was happy to help our church and school family, but I didn't put a lot of planning into a cake design. So there I sat the day before the event trying to figure out what amazing creation I was going to come up with from my simple round cake and oversized cake board. I knew the cake board was too big for the cake, but with three little ones in tow I did not feel like running out to a craft store or making a new cake board.
Mother's Day was the day following the event so I decided on pale pink and green thinking the cake would be a nice purchase for a Mother's Day treat. I looked online for some inspiration and fell in love with the idea of a watercolor cake.
I frosted the cake with a crumb coat of white frosting then colored icing in pink, pale pink, and green.
I put the colored frosting along with some white frosting in decorating bags to pipe onto the cake.
I piped the icing onto the cake similar to the water lilies cake that inspired me, only without realizing it I made a pink and green striped effect. I forgot to mix up the colors and striped the colors all around with areas of white in between the colored areas which simply lightened the overall color.
I used a dough blade to smooth and blend the icing on the sides of the cake. I wanted the color to be delicate so lightening was good, but I was hoping for a more mottled effect. Lesson learned. I then decided that the striped round cake reminded me of a hat on it's oversized cake board.
So I frosted the top with pale pink frosting to blend easily with the sides. Then I sprinkled some white shimmer dust for cake decorating on the top of the cake to give it a delicate sparkle followed with some pale pink edible pearls.
I was happy with the finished cake, but thought it was missing something.
My husband stepped in and added a beautiful floral arrangement to the cake. (It helps to have a husband who teaches floral design.)
I love the design with fresh flowers, but you could use a big bow instead. So now you know how I stumbled upon making a watercolor hat cake.
I used the icing and cake recipes from this tiered cake post.
I made these lego cupcakes for my son's 7th birthday party. They were super cute, but I made a yummy chocolate butter frosting that was not strong enough for the weight of the lego candies. They were sliding off and we had to reposition a few of them when distributing the cupcakes to party guests. I would suggest either refrigerating cupcakes frosted with a butter frosting prior to your party or using a frosting made with butter and shortening.
I bought some candy wafers for melting at Hobby Lobby. You can find these in many colors at most craft stores. I ordered Lego silicone candy molds from Amazon.
I followed the simple microwave melting instructions on the candy melts package and spooned the melted candy into the molds. I then put them in the freezer until firm. Once firm, they easily push right out of the candy molds. Start making these a day or two before your party so that you have plenty of time to make multiple colors and the quantity that you need.
I used extra lego candy pieces to decorate the party table.
I had a hard time finding anything lego themed for the birthday party that wasn't super expensive and only available online. I was able to find the silicone molds for around $5 for a set of two on Amazon, but couldn't find much else. I went with neutral themed bright colored tableware that I bought locally and on sale.
If you have any awesome ideas or resources for a lego party please share in the comments.
Linking up at Create with Joy, Flamingo Toes, Enchanted Homeschooling Mom
In the fall, we celebrated my mother-in-law's birthday. I offered to make the birthday cake and went with a formal design. In keeping with the more formal theme, I kept the cake simple and put only initials on the sides. All four sides of the cake were embellished with initials.
I made three batches of Fluffy Yellow Cake batter from Annie's Eats, adding a little homemade crème bouquet and purchased princess emulsion to give it that wedding cake flavor. I think I used a tsp. or two for each cake recipe. I bought the Princess emulsion at Hobby Lobby, but could not find crème bouquet flavoring locally and made a homemade version.
This cake is constructed of two 9 inch layers stacked on top of two 12 inch layers. I placed two wooden and two plastic dowel rods through the layers to help hold everything together. I also spread a little frosting between the bottom layer and the cake board to help anchor the cake to the board.
I used this recipe for Cream Cheese Celebration Frosting from Veronica's Cornucopia. This recipe makes a thick icing which is both delicious and lends itself well to decorating. It will hold its shape when used in piping designs. This recipe also uses crème bouquet flavoring which gives the icing a wonderful hint of citrus.
I used paste and gel icing colors to create a warm light yellow frosting. I have found that icing gets darker the next day, so I tend to go slightly lighter when trying to get a light color.
Homemade Crème Bouquet:
I combine the ingredients and store in a small squeeze bottle.
I used a scallop cutter designed especially for using with sugar sheets to achieve the scalloped edges on the cake. This was time consuming, but I thought the end result was worth the extra effort. I cut a circle out of the sugar paper and placed it on top of the cake to provide a place to set fresh flowers.
Since I needed to travel about 5 hours with this cake, I repurposed a large box as a cake box large enough to safely hold the cake. The cake board should fit snuggly into the box so that it does not shift. The cake board should also be larger than the base of the cake so that the cake does not touch the sides of the box.
I taped a large piece of cardboard to the top of the box as a lid that hung over the edge so that it would not fall into the box and damage the cake. I first removed the original lid which flapped in and could have fallen into the cake.
I positioned the cake box on the back bench seat and wedged it in securely with pillows, blankets and coats. We had plenty of padding in the car since we were traveling with kids.
For a finishing touch, I found some pretty flowers at Trader Joe's and placed them on top of the cake. I was pleased with both the flavor and the look of this cake and would use these recipes again. The icing was especially delicious and easily gave a smooth finish.
Veronica's Cornucopia gave a great tip for using a water spray bottle to help achieve smooth icing. In the past I have used a straight edge dipped in water, but found the spray bottle much easier for smoothing icing.
Last summer we gave our oldest a fun backyard birthday party. He picked a Transformers theme and we had a lot of fun with it.
My husband has become quite the pinata maker. The year before, he made a Dr. Octopus pinata for a Spiderman themed birthday party and then he made this amazing Soundwave pinata for the Transformers birthday party. He used balsa wood to construct a frame and covered it in paper mache. He put so much detail into making this pinata. He even made a "cassette tape" and "tape deck" that opened. Finally, he painted the pinata to look like Soundwave. Well done, Honey!
Who's ready for some pinata action? I don't know much about Transformers, but apparently Soundwave is a Deceptacon which means that he is a bad guy so he is a perfect candidate for a pinata (since pinatas get beat up).
I was trying to be clever here, but I am not educated in the language arts of Transformers. Also, I didn't realize at the time that I put a Deceptacon (bad guy) image on the container. It was however, a nice way to distribute loot bags and make sure that names were on the bags. I bought solid color bags at Dollar Tree and glued on a transformer image that I found online. The bags were sold in 10 packs for $1.
I was really proud of my Transformer wrapping job and then found out that I unknowingly glued a Deceptacon on the package instead of an Autobot. Oh well, the colors are really pretty together.
My cousin loaned us this awesome bounce house for the party. The kids loved it and played for hours.
And lastly the menu... I don't have any fabulous food pictures to share. To simplify things, I combined a few homemade dishes with some easy store bought snacks. I used paper products form Oriental Trading Co. Another fun blog post if you haven't read it already. Oriental Trading Co. sent me some great Transformers products to review. They have a nice selection and my son was thrilled.
Chips and Dip
Vegetables and Hummus
Cheese and Cracker tray
Honey Chicken Kabobs
Pigs in a Blanket
Hot Ham Sandwiches
Corn and Black Bean Salad
I went really easy with the cake for this party. I made chocolate cupcakes and frosted them with vanilla bean icing and sprinkles in the party theme colors. The link to the recipe is for a chocolate cake, so if you bake the recipe as cupcakes, bake for a lot less time. I think these took around 20 minutes.
We also made an Angel Food cake in a 10" square pan. This is two Angel Food Cakes stacked together to get the desired height. My sister-in-law actually frosted this for me (It's nice having help on party day.) with chocolate frosting. I cut the autobot symbol out of a black sugar sheet I purchased at Walmart. I used a print-out as a stencil and cut the design out with an exacto knife on a cutting board.
Sugar sheets come in this packaging and are usually sold one sheet to a package. I have seen them in craft stores, Walmart, and Meijer. They are versatile, edible, and come in handy when cake decorating.
Disclosure: I was not compensated for anything in this post. All opinions are honest and are my own.
Linking up here: Monday linky: Boogieboard Cottage, Twelve0eight Craft-O-Maniac, DIY Home Sweet Home, Deceptively Educational
Tuesday Linky: One Perfect Day
We gave our four year old a dinosaur birthday party this year. To make it extra special, I made a 3-D dinosaur birthday cake. To make sure I had enough cake (we invited my son's entire preschool class), I also made the green dinosaur cupcakes. They were super easy because I found a dinosaur cupcake kit at Meijer. (Thank you Mom for staying up late with me and putting dinosaur heads and spikes on the cupcakes.)
We were in Target a couple of days before the party and I had not decided on a cake recipe yet, when I saw these fantastic cake mixes from Duff Goldman of Charm City Cakes. I decided a cake mix sounded great at this point and let my son pick out his favorite. He chose this really cool tie-dye cake. I didn't realize at the time that I needed two boxes of this cake mix to make two 9 inch cakes that would be thick enough to create a 3-D dinosaur. I baked two very skinny cakes and went back to the store and bought 2 cake mixes. I then used one cake mix for each 9 inch cake pan. This cake mix worked well for the cake, just make sure and use 2 boxes.
My husband found the instructions for making a 3-D dinosaur cake years ago and printed them out and we still had them 5 years later.
I love the way the tie-dye looks. You start with a body, by cutting one 9 inch cake in half and putting the flat sides together. Spread a little icing in between to help hold it together and put some icing on your cake board to help it stay in place.
Make a template following the instructions for making a 3-D dinosaur cake. I used the bottom of my cake pan as a stencil and cut out a 9-inch circle of wax paper, then penciled in the cutting lines from the guide online. I then cut out the wax paper pieces and placed them on the cake. I very carefully cut the pieces and assembled them into a dinosaur shaped cake.
The head/neck and front legs were the hardest parts to assemble. I found them difficult to hold in place even with toothpicks so I covered the whole cake in a crumb coat of buttercream frosting and covered the difficult areas with a layer of fondant to help keep them in place.
I used a large star tip to cover the cake with green and purple icing. I mixed purple and green icing in my icing decorator to get a nice mottled look. My favorite decorating tool is a pampered chef icing decorator that I have used for years. It has large tips and is great for cupcakes and less detailed work like this. I ran out of green before finishing the cake and when I made a second batch my green came out much darker, but I decided that was ok because it gave some variation in the color.
I colored some fondant gold and purple and cut out simple triangles for the spikes and random shapes for spots. The eyes are also cut from fondant. I did not leave my fondant pieces out to dry, I just put them directly on the icing while it was still moist and they held in place nicely.
How cool is this? The tie-dye cake was most impressive. So fun for a kids party.
My son's 4th birthday is upon us so I thought I better go ahead and post last year's birthday cake. Better late than never, right? He wanted a safari, dinosaur, train birthday party. I baked chocolate cake and my husband assembled and decorated the train with a simple buttercream frosting. We put some clean toy dinosaurs and a zebra on top of one of the train cars to coordinate with the party theme.
My very artistic husband was a natural at cake decorating.
The birthday boy blowing out his candles
A happy birthday boy with Grandpa
I realized tonight that I don't have plain old buttercream frosting on the site. It's really simple and will hold up for basic decorating. It's not stiff enough for something like roses, but will work fine for most kids birthday party cakes. (I made the sweet peas and pea pod in this photo with gum paste.) You can make it a little healthier by substituting the shortening with butter, but it won't hold up as well for decorating.
1/2 C. (1 stick) real butter, slightly softened
1/2 C. vegetable shortening
4 C. sifted powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
Whip all in a mixer until you have a delicious and fluffy frosting. (Start slowly or your powdered sugar will go everywhere.) You can color with icing colors or use as a white frosting.
This picture is from a few years ago before I knew anything about photographing for a blog. I used a Nordic Ware pan that I purchased at Meijer for the train cake.
Here are my notes: I made a large chocolate sheet cake and a vanilla train cake. I used dowel rods to help secure the train cake to the chocolate cake. The cake is frosted with chocolate buttercream frosting and vanilla buttercream frosting. My three year old insisted that the train had to have a face like Thomas so I made a face out of gum paste and brushed it with silver dust. He also wanted smoke coming from the smokestack so I cut up a large Campfire marshmallow and sprayed it lightly with black coloring spray.
I made this cake several years ago for my son's second birthday. It was a lot of fun to make.
I carved the dog shape out of cake that I had baked in a dutch oven. I frosted it in buttercream frosting using an icing tip that I could drag to make it look like hair. I made the eyes and nose out of gum paste. I covered the icecream cone hat with gum paste to resemble a party hat.
Looks like I made a tail and a bump for the head out of gum paste too. (I have a very pregnant belly in this picture.) That little guy is almost 4 already.
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Hi, I'm Faith, a former Family and Consumer Science (Home Economics) Teacher turned work at home Mom, bringing you family friendly, homemade recipes and homemaking tips to simplify your life. Join me on my homemaking and mothering journey.
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