Banana bread pancakes

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I made these banana bread pancakes today for breakfast. What a sublime

combination! Pancakes and banana bread all in one taste. Even though the

pancakes were a bit denser with this type of batter, the flavor of the bananas

is so delicious.

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The perfect garnish would have been sliced bananas of course. All of mine

ended up being mashed into this ambrosial batter. With sliced almonds and

the decadence of maple syrup, tomorrow’s breakfast will be a keeper. Even the

cinnamon and nutmeg flavoring reminds us of our favorite banana bread but

with a twist.

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Just remember that pancakes are not just for breakfast. On the

weekend, this could be your brunch meal. Or during the week, if

you are craving banana bread pancakes for dinner, just make them.

Recipe:

2 c flour

2 t baking powder

1/4 t salt

1/4 t brown sugar

1 t cinnamon

1/4 t nutmeg

2/3 c milk

1 T vanilla

3 large very ripe bananas, mashed

2 T melted butter

Garnish: sliced almonds

Instructions:

1. Preheat skillet to medium low.

2. In a large bowl, whisk flour, powder, salt, cinnamon, sugar, and nutmeg.

3. Next add the milk and vanilla and stir.

4. Add in bananas and melted butter.

5. Use butter or cooking spray on your skillet. Use a 1/3 c of batter and place on

the skillet. Due to the thickness, it may take about 1-3 minutes for bubbles to appear.

Flip when lightly browned.

6. Repeat.

7. Serve with sliced almonds and maple syrup.

Yields 8.

Adapted from therecipecritic.com

Baked lemon donuts

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Are you craving a baked lemon donut? These ones will surely

fit the bill. With a few simple ingredients and a donut pan, these

delicious hole in the middle treats can be yours to enjoy.

Baking donuts is very easy to do. Most recipes require the basics

and within minutes, you will have a crowd pleasing snack. Your kids

will enjoy these after school or they could be an indulgence for you

during your mid afternoon coffee break. Better still, invite a neighbor or

a friend over.  The fact that they are baked makes them easier to enjoy without

the deep fried calories.

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If you prefer a light glaze, this will only enhance the fresh lively taste

of the lemon zest that lies within this enticing lemon donut.  I decided

not to glaze them so I could revel in the lemony flavor. The cake flour

produces a lighter texture of these donuts.

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Us North Americans love our donuts. Whether it is Tim Hortons

or Dunking Donuts, we start our donut testing at a young age.

As time goes on, we trade our milk for a hot beverage to accompany

our old standby.

Recipe:

2.5 c cake flour

3/4 c coconut sugar

2 1/2 t baking powder

1 t salt

1 c buttermilk

2 t fresh lemon zest

1 t vanilla

2 eggs slightly beaten

3 T melted butter

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400.

2. In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, sugar, powder and salt. In another bowl,

add the buttermilk, vanilla, zest and eggs. Add the wet to the dry.

3. Next add in the melted butter. Mix until just combined.

4. Fill each donut cavity about 1/2 full and bake for 10 min

Serves 12.

Adapted from whipperberry.com

Dried cherry and chocolate hot cross buns

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Easter is around the corner so it is time to bake dried cherry and chocolate

hot cross buns. These are definitely not the same old ones that I grew up on.

When I was a kid, my mom would buy hot cross buns from the bakery. They were

always available so it was not just for Easter time. I found that the raisins were a

nuisance for me. I would always end up with a pile of raisins on my plate . it. Also most of

them were wholewheat creating a heavier type of bun. My sisters and I would devour them

with generous amounts of butter whenever they appeared at our house.

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I welcomed the idea of trying to bake a new and improved version. I came across

this dried cherry and chocolate hot cross bun recipe that sounded amazing. The

recipe was quite easy to prepare. I did not use my dough hook at all, but my own

hands did all the requisite kneading. It was totally unexpected that the chocolate

within the dough was oozing everywhere. I was not prepared for the look of these

buns! I was envisioning a golden brown bun with morsels of dark chocolate hidden

underneath the exterior. Nevertheless, the divineness of these buns is memorable.

I enjoyed the combination of dried cherries and dark chocolate. The interior of these

buns was the perfect lightness with the rising of the yeast. Maybe the next time I

may add a few nuts to the dough.

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The variations on the classic hot cross buns can be as simple as adding

currants rather than raisins.  If you have a liking for coconut or nuts, why

not include them in your next batch of hot cross buns.

Recipe:

5 c bread flour

1/4 c caster sugar

2 packages of yeast

1 1/2 t cinnamon

1 t salt

1 c dried cherries or other

1 3/4 c milk

1/4 c butter

2 eggs lightly beaten

1 t vanilla

100 g dark chocolate, chopped

Flour paste:

1/2 c flour

1/4 c water

Glaze:

1/4 c caster sugar

2 T water

Instructions:

1.In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, yeast, cinnamon and salt. Stir in dried cherries.

2. Combine the butter and milk on medium low in a pot until the butter melts. Whisk in the

egg and vanilla.

3. Add this mixture to the flour mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon and then use your hands

to form a soft dough.

4. Knead on a floured surface for about 10 min.

5. Place in a greased bowl for an hour. Cover with wrap.

6.Punch your dough. Place on a floured surface and knead for another few minutes.

7. Knead in the chocolate until this is well distributed. Divide into 12 portions. Roll into balls.

8. Place on a plate and cover with a damp tea towel for 30 min.

9. Preheat oven to 350.

10. Prepare your flour paste by mixing the flour with water. Beat until smooth.

11. Brush the tops of the buns with the whisked egg. Pipe the cross onto the top of the buns

with your piping bag.

12. Bake for 25 min.

13. In a small pan, make the glaze by combining the sugar and water. Simmer for one minute.

Brush the tops of the buns with the glaze.

Serves 12.

Adapted from http://www.sbs.com.au

Lemon crinkle cookies

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Try these lemon crinkle cookies if you truly enjoy the taste of lemons. The infusion

of fresh lemon zest and lemon juice is incredible in this delightful treat.

The other day I purchased a large bag of beautiful bright yellow lemons. The thought

of fresh lemon zest for my baking and cooking was already in my mind. I pored through

recipes trying to find the ones that would suit this decadent citrus the best. Whether it is

lime, orange or lemon, citrus adds an extra layer of tastefulness.

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These enticing lemon crinkle cookies are easy to bake. With a minimal amount

of ingredients, the added touch of rolling the dough in confectioners sugar is

divine. As these beauties bake in the oven, they develop a slight crinkle along

the top.

Recipe:

1/2 c soft unsalted butter

3/4 c raw sugar

1/2 t vanilla

1 egg

1 t fresh lemon zest

1 T fresh lemon juice

1/4 t each of salt, baking powder

1/8 t baking soda

1 1/2 c flour

1/2 c confectioners sugar for rolling

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar.

3. Whisk in the vanilla, egg, lemon zest and juice.

4. Add in the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

5. Place the confectioners sugar on a plate.

6. Roll a teaspoon of dough into a ball. Roll in the sugar on the plate.

7. Bake for 9 to 11 min.

Yields 2 – 3 doz depending on your dough balls.

Adapted from whipperberry.com

Orange pasta

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This orange pasta is remarkable!  A simple addition of orange juice

and orange zest in this pasta sauce will leave you with an unforgettable

taste.

I have created a plethora of sensational pasta sauces that have contained anchovy paste,

ricotta cheese, fresh basil and herbs, half tomato and cream and many more that are too

numerous to list. For those of you that find the acidity of tomatoes is too strong , just add

milk, cream or ricotta to soften the edges. The orange juice in this amazing sauce adds a subtle

sweetness that intertwines well with the crispy salty bacon. There are minimal ingredients in this

sauce without anyone of them trying to overpower the others.

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With the hint of warmer temperatures soon to appear, I enjoyed preparing this orange

pasta which is a harbinger of spring. I was imagining groves of oranges in the warm sun

somewhere in the world.  Just the idea of having an abundance of oranges for your

freshly squeezed juice and preparing this orange infused pasta meal made me forget

about the cold temperatures today.

Recipe:

8 oz pasta, short cut or egg noodles

3 T oil

4 oz bacon or pancetta

3 minced garlic cloves

1 c orange juice freshly squeezed

1/2 c marinara sauce

1/3 c half and half

1/4 c grated parmesan

zest of 1/2 orange

optional: 1/2 c basil, julienned

Instructions:

1. Prepare your pasta according to the instructions.

2. In your skillet on medium heat, add the oil and fry the bacon until crisp.

Add your garlic and cook for a few minutes more.

3. Stir in the juice and marinara sauce. Bring this to a simmer. Season with salt and

pepper, add your half and half cream. Add the pasta and the parmesan cheese.

4. Stir well. Add the orange zest and basil if using.

Serves 2.

Adapted from thewoksoflife.com

Turkey quinoa muffins

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Try these appetizing turkey quinoa muffins. They are an incredible

finger food for your kids or to serve at your next party. The idea of mixing

quinoa and some ground meat as a non dessert type muffin is ingenious.

Sometimes we are predisposed to think of muffins as being sweet and decadent

rather than savory and sensational.

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I like the taste of quinoa in my salads or simply as a side dish with my

main meal. It blends well with the ground meat and the oatmeal in these

savory muffins. Alternatively, if you want to skip the ground meat, adding in

some zucchini or squash could suffice just as well.

The next time that you are looking for something refreshing to cook with your quinoa,

look no further than these quinoa muffins. They are easy to prepare and offer a great

taste too.

Recipe:

1 lb ground meat

3/4 cooked red quinoa

1/2 c rolled oats

1 diced carrot

1 egg + 2 egg whites

1 t cumin

1/2 t salt

1/4 t  each of ground pepper, ground mustard, chili powder and garlic powder

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375. Prepare your muffin tins.

2. Mix ingredients in a bowl.

3.Roll into balls. Approx 3 T equals a ball. Place in tins.

4. Bake for 35 min until cooked.

5. Cool.

Serves 12.

Adapted from http://www.runningtothekitchen.com

Peanut butter, hazelnut and oatmeal cookies

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Try this engaging peanut butter, hazelnut and oatmeal cookie.  There

is nothing ordinary about this edible cookie. Have you ever met a peanut

butter cookie that you did not like? Peanut butter is an ingredient that entwines

well with oatmeal, chocolate, nuts, coconut, cereals so there is an infinity of

possibilities for us to explore.

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This cookie is quite substantial. With the large cookie scoop, the baked cookies

are filling. There is an exceptional taste with this chopped hazelnuts, peanut butter

and oatmeal cookie. The only thing that is required when you are tasting this

distinctive cookie is a large cold glass of milk or a freshly brewed cup of coffee or tea.

Recipe:

1/4 c unsalted butter, room temp

3/4 c sugar or less

3/4 c dark brown sugar or less

2 eggs

1/2 t vanilla

9 oz  peanut butter

3/4 t baking soda

3 c oats

1 c chopped hazelnuts

1 c chocolate chips

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. With your stand mixer, cream butter and sugars for 2 min.

3. Add in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla. Beat well.

4. Add peanut butter and soda. Mix well. Add the oats, nuts and then

the chocolate chips.

5. Use a large cookie scoop, Press down with a fork.

6. Bake for 13 to 15 min. Cool.

Yields 2 dozen

Adapted from http://www.tablefortwoblog.com