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Banana Gingerbread

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My poor husband is home sick with the flu. He is not one to get sick, so it took a nasty fever to keep him down. I feel bad for him. You can just tell he is miserable, but on the bright side, we are all off from school today, so I decided I would fix it the best way I know how, with food of course!

Now, I love gingerbread! For me, this is not just a Christmas treat; I whip up a gingerbread throughout the year. It is spicy (like me), full of flavor, and it tastes like a big warm hug. ***sigh***

So, I have spent the past two years perfecting my own personal gingerbread recipe, and I’ve finally got that sucker polished to perfection, but today I had bananas. Usually, I toss my ripe bananas in the freezer, to be used at a later date, but I just cleaned out my freezer and realized that I had a ridiculous stockpile of frozen bananas, so now I’m on a mission to use them right away.

This is how I got the great idea to add the gingerbread spice blend to my banana bread recipe, and the result was AWESOME! It even prompted the sick one to sit up from the couch and ask me what smelled so good. I consider this a win!

I sincerely hope you all stay healthy this winter, but just in case you need a pick me up, may I suggest this yummy treat.

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe bananas, peeled
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F, and grease a bundt pan.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mash the ripe bananas. Add the melted butter to the mashed bananas.
  3. Mix in the baking soda and salt. Stir in the sugar, beaten egg, spices, and vanilla extract.
  4. Mix in the flour.
  5. Pour the batter into a greased Bundt pan.
  6. Bake for about an hour (check at 50 minutes) at 350°F or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean

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Extra Creamy Pumpkin Dip with Chai Whipped Cream

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This recipe is an old favorite with a new twist. I have made this simple pumpkin dip for many fall occasions, but this is the first year I have topped it with the chai whipped cream. This marriage of flavors makes a simple recipe into something sophisticated that is sure to catch the attention of your fellow party goers.

Extra Creamy Pumpkin Dip with Chai Whipped Cream

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Preparation:
I recommend making the whipped cream first. While you can used a pre-made whipped topping, it’s really not the same as homemade.

Chai Whipped Cream

1 pint of heavy whipping cream
2/3 cup of confectioner’s sugar
3 tbsp. of powdered chai drink mix ( I prefer Tastefully Simple)

1. Place an empty metal mixing bowl in the freezer for about 5 minutes.
2. Remove the chilled bowl and add the cream.
3. Using an electric mixer, whisk on high-speed until it starts to stiffen.
4. Add sugar & chai slowly until fully blended.
5. Set aside in a clean bowl.
6. ** Be sure not to over-whip it so that it is stiff and firm. It should be soft & fluffy.

Extra Creamy Pumpkin Dip

2 blocks of cream cheese, softened
1 can (14.5 oz) of pumpkin puree
2 cups of confectioner’s sugar
2 tsp of ground cinnamon
1 tsp of ground ginger

1. Place the softened cream cheese into the same bowl that you just used to make the whipped cream. (I don’t even wash it.)
2. Using the whisk, whip the cream cheese on medium until it is fluffy and free from any lumps.
3. Spoon in the pumpkin puree, 1 dollop at a time, until it is completely incorporated.
4. Add the sugar and spices until creamy & smooth. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl!

The Final Presentation

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Pour the pumpkin dip into a shallow dish. Then gently spread the whipped cream on top. Garnish with a few sprinkles of cinnamon. Keep refrigerated until you are ready to serve it.
I have served this dip with apple or pear slices, ginger snaps, Nilla Wafers, or graham crackers, but be creative and see what else you can pair with this simple favorite.

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Note: The chai whipped cream is great on pumpkin bread or gingerbread. It is also heavenly on top of pecan pie 🙂

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Apple Cider Doughnut Bread Pudding With a Salted Caramel Sauce: Dethroning My Old Favorite Breakfast Monarch

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I did not discover bread pudding until about nine or ten years ago, most likely because the younger me would have heard the name and thought it sounded disgusting (I am a closet picky eater). One morning I was watching Good Morning America, and a woman had won a recipe contest sponsored by the show, I knew at that instant that I had to make it, and since then, it has become a fixture on holiday mornings in my house. It was our favorite!

Until today.

Last week, I chaperoned my daughter’s kindergarten field trip to our local orchard, Highland Orchards. They have the BEST apple cider doughnuts EVER! As I sat on the hayride with my friend Tara, the idea struck me. Why not make bread pudding with the doughnuts? I had all intentions of getting to it that weekend, but time slipped away and I never made it back to grab some doughnuts.

Let’s fast forward to this weekend. My sister just happened to mention that they were taking their kids to the orchard on Saturday. I asked her if she could please pick up a dozen doughnuts for me. Who knew this would be the text that would change my family traditions!

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Late last night, as I headed to bed, I assembled the ingredients, covered them in foil, and put them in the fridge, hoping to God that I didn’t just ruin a dozen fabulous rings of cinnamon awesomeness. It was the first thing I thought about this morning when I woke up. I popped downstairs and got it into the oven. It was bubbly, and golden, and the house smelled amazing. But then I had a momentary panic attack.

What should I top it with?

I looked up recipes for a vanilla sauce, but the ingredients gave me heart failure just imagining the calorie count. Then I thought of a salted caramel sauce. As I scoured the internet, my hopes started to sink. I was out of heavy cream, and I didn’t have any condensed milk, but then, as if a gift from above, I stumbled upon a recipe by Ree Drummond on Food Network. I was in business. I grabbed a pot from the cabinet and in about eight minutes, I had the best caramel sauce to top my absolutely beautiful casserole.

The result was out of this world. My husband, who can be my biggest critic, was enamored. He asked me what I planned to call it. I told him I wasn’t sure, to which he replied “Ridiculousness”. According to him, it’s the perfect name because it’s so ridiculously good!

So there you have it. My old favorite bread pudding has been dethroned as the reigning monarch of breakfast casseroles. This new outsider has come in, with overnight success, and has pushed out the queen of my recipe box.

 

Apple Cider Doughnut Bread Pudding

Ingredients:

1 dozen of apple cider doughnuts

3 eggs

1 cup of heavy cream

1 cup of half & half

¼ cup of cinnamon sugar (prepared)

 

Preparation:

The night before (or at least an hour before you bake):

Grease a medium sized casserole dish.
Break up doughnuts into large pieces and place in the dish.
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Whisk together the eggs, cream, and half & half.

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Pour over the doughnuts, the pat them down with a large spoon making sure each piece gets dunked.

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Cover with foil and leave in the refrigerator to soak.

The next morning (or hour depending how on the ball you are):

Remove the foil and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top of the bread pudding.
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Set oven to 350˚, and place the dish into the cold oven.
Bake for about 35 minutes covered, then remove the foil and bake for about 10 minutes longer. (You may need to adjust these times based on the depth of the dish)
At this point the top should be browned and bubbly at the edges. The cinnamon sugar should have created a crispy crust on top.

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Remove from the oven and set aside for about 10 minutes.

The Sauce:

Recipe Courtesy of the Food Network

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/easy-caramel-sauce-recipe/index.html

Ingredients:
1 cup of light brown sugar
1/2 cup half & half
4 tablespoons of salted butter
A pinch of course salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Preparation:

Combine the brown sugar, half & half, butter and salt in a saucepan over medium heat.
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Stir while cooking for about 5 to 7 minutes, allowing it to thicken.

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Add the vanilla and cook another minute stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and spoon it over each serving of bread pudding, allowing it to drizzle down the sides.

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Be prepared. This will dethrone your family favorites too!

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Trix Crispies

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I cannot take credit for this idea, but I just had to share!! I popped onto Pinterest to find a quick and easy dessert for a picnic we were attending, when I stumbled onto this awesome recipe for “Trix Crispies”! They were so easy, very tasty, and adorable. I highly suggest you pop over to this blog and try them.

http://www.cravingsofalunatic.com/2012/04/trix-krispies.html

Check out these pictures of mine:

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Strawberry Shortcake Spectacular

Strawberry shortcake is a traditional favorite for a reason. It’s fresh, easy, and beautiful. But with tradition comes boredom. Strawberry shortcake can seem blah after years of the same old, same old, so here is an updated version of this old stand-by.

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I call it my Strawberry Shortcake Spectacular. It’s not drastically different, but it sure looks that way! First, wash a pint of fresh strawberries and slice them in half.

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Next, cut  an angel food cake into 1-inch cubes. Place one strawberry and one cube of cake on a toothpick, then spiral them on a cake plate, leaving room in the middle for a bowl of whipped cream.

 

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To make the whipped cream, place an empty mixing bowl in the freezer for a few minutes to really chill it.  Then, remove it, place it back on the mixer and add one pint of heavy whipping cream. Whip the cream on high until it is light and fluffy. (It should not be runny, nor too stiff like butter) At the very end, add 2 tablespoons of confectioner’s sugar and mix well. Spoon the whipped cream into a small bowl and place it in the center of the cake plate.

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Finally, sprinkle some blueberries around on the cake plate. Then melt ½ cup of chocolate chips, and using a teaspoon, drizzle the chocolate over the entire dessert. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to 1 hour.

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Watch out! This dessert will disappear quickly at any summer picnic. You can also use it to add variety to a summer birthday party, or dress up an evening dinner party. Enjoy! I would love to see your pictures of this delightful dessert so be sure to pop on over to my Facebook page and upload a photo of your creation!

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***Variation- If you would like single servings, place a dollop of whipped cream in the bottom of a small dish, then top with a cube of cake, a strawberry, and a few blueberries. Then drizzle with chocolate.

 

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Fantabulous Frozen Ice Cream Casserole

So, I have a daughter that does not like cake…I will blame that genetic mishap on my husband’s side. Luckily, her birthday is in June, so ice cream is a good stand in for her birthday celebration. On her actual birthday we did a sundae bar, but she wanted something different for her party with her friends. Fantabulous Frozen Ice Cream Casserole was perfect!

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Imagine layers of cookie, ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and caramel…mmm!

This fantabulous treat is amazingly simple.

Ingredients:
12-15 ice cream sandwiches
1 large tub of whipped topping
Chocolate syrup
Caramel syrup

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Preparation:

Layer the bottom of a casserole dish with ice cream sandwiches. You may need to cut them into pieces to fit the edges and odd spaces.

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Next, spread whipped topping, completely covering the ice cream sandwiches.

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Drizzle the whipped topping with the caramel and chocolate syrup.

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Repeat the steps above, starting with the ice cream sandwiches, then whipped topping, and syrup. Finally, take a knife and drag it across the top in alternating directions to create the pattern on top.

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Freeze for at least an hour before serving.

There are many varieties of ice cream sandwiches. Feel free to be creative. We have used birthday cake flavored sandwiches before. You can also switch out the syrups for other flavors or add chopped nuts, sprinkles, or candy to make it your own!

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Fairy Fun Mix

In honor of my daughter’s 7th birthday we are headed to the Katy Perry movie tonight, in 3D, with seven little girls!!! –Insert little girl screams and squeals here–

In an effort to make this manageable and cost effective, I threw together a Fairy Fun Mix for the girls to snack on during the movie.

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I simply mixed microwave kettle corn, mini marshmallows, iced animal crackers, Coco Puffs, and M&Ms. Toss it in a large bowl. It can be served in the bowl, or packed into individual snack bags.

So wish me luck tonight. I am heading into my closet to find something sparkly!