Maple Walnut Banana Bread

 

Hello there– We have a treasure sitting in our fridge– it’s a huge jug of real maple syrup fresh from upstate New York!  Our daughter-in-law’s Dad, Alfie is a warm and wonderful guy.  Every year he taps trees around his town and in the spring is joined by family a friends at in the maple sugar shack to boil down gallons of maple syrup.  Then being the generous guys that he is, he mails big jugs to people far and wide (including lucky us!!).

So this little recipe uses a precious half cup of that lovely syrup and which accounts for it’s rich and wonderful flavor.  Plus while it’s baking in the oven, for kitchen smells like that New York maple sugar shack– maple luscious!

MAPLE WALNUT BANANA BREAD
2 large ripe bananas
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 tsp. maple extract (optional)*
3 tab. milk
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4  cup walnuts, chopped and divided
3 tab. brown sugar

In a large mixing bowl, smash the bananas to a creamy substance.  Then mix in the maple syrup, oil, egg, maple extract and milk until all blended.  Add in the flour, baking powder and salt and stir it all together.  Finally mix 3/4 cup of the walnuts.

Spoon the mixture into a 5″ by 9″ loaf pan** that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Mix together the brown sugar and the remaining 1/2 cup of walnuts and sprinkle them over the loaf of banana bread.

Bake it all up at 350 degrees for 50 -55 minutes until it’s browned and a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.  Delicious warm from the oven– or toasted the next day for breakfast  with a smear of butter!!

*maple extract is optional– it just adds a little more maple flavoring.
** I used 2 half size loaf pans and cooked it about 5 minutes less.

Maple Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

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Hello all–  I’m up in San Francisco, spending some stormy days with the new grand-girl Lois, while her mom is off to work.  It’s been quiet and cozy in the house.  Today we baked a birthday cake (actually Lois mostly just looked on from her little chair!).  So this has nothing to do with maple chicken– just wanted you to know how much fun I’m having!!

The Maple Chicken with Sweet Potatoes came out of the kitchen last week– made it for a friend who is having shoulder surgery next week, after a bad fall.  Praying she comes through this all strong and back on the run.  Love her so.

The coating is sweet and peppery, makes the chicken bright and tasty– with those smoshey sweet potatoes, a good winter evening meal.

MAPLE CHICKEN WITH SWEET POTATOES

Sweet potatoes:
2 large-ish sweet potatoes
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Chicken:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tab. butter
2 tab. olive oil
2 to 3 tab. steak seasoning (such as Montreal)
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 green onions, sliced to small bits

Pierce the skin of the sweet potatoes and set them on a baking dish lined with foil (for easier clean up). Put them in a 350 degree oven fro 50 to 60 minutes, until the sweet potatoes feel tender when poked with a fork.

Let them cool for a bit, then peel off the skin.  Put the sweet potato flesh in to a mixing bowl along the the milk, salt and vanilla.  Beat it all with an electric mixer until it’s smooth and fluffy. (You can reheat these easily in the microwave when the chicken’s done).

Slice the chicken breasts horizontally to cut each of them into two thinner cutlets.  Coat the chicken with a sprinkling of the the steak seasoning.  Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet.  Cook the chicken cutlets 3 to 4 minutes on each side on medium high heat– unitl they are nicely browned and cooked through.

Take the chicken from the pan and add the maple syrup to the chicken drippings.  Let it all simmer on low for 2 minutes to thicken the sauce.  Return the chicken to the pan to coat the pieces in sauce.

On a platter heap the sweet potatoes next to the chicken cutlets.  Scrape the extra sauce from the pan onto the chicken and then sprinkle the green onion slices over the chicken.  Enjoy!

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Pork & Butternut Squash in Maple Glaze

 

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Hi all-  My sis Lulu and I were snooping around the mall and wandered into the William Sonoma store (one of our favorite window shopping stops).  The clerk there was giving out sample of stewed chicken and veggies cooked in their bottled maple bourbon sauce.  It was delish– and set me to thinking about dinner at home.

So I chunked up a pork loin and roasted squash to stir up in my own simple version of a maple glaze.  It turned out just fine– enjoyed it with my sister and her husband sitting at the table with us.  That makes every meal good!

PORK & BUTTERNUT SQUASH IN MAPLE GLAZE
1 1/2 pound (or a little more) pork loin
3 tab. olive oil
1 small butternut squash (1 1/2 to 2 pounds)
1/2 cup red or yellow bell pepper, chopped to small bits
1/4 cup sliced almonds
2 green onions, cut to bits-green part only

sauce:
3/4 cup water
3 tab. soy sauce
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tab. cornstarch

Cut the butternut squash in two halves the long way, and scoop out the seeds the stringy part of the squash.  Put it cut side down on a baking sheet and cook at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, until the the squash is tender and slices easily with a paring knife. When it cools a bit, peel off the skin with a knife and cut it into small chunks.

To get the sauce ready, put the water, soy sauce, maple syrup and cornstarch in a container with a tight fitting lid.  Shake it heartily until it’s all well blended and set aside.

Cut the pork into smallish chunks.  Heat a large skillet with the 3 tab. of olive oil on medium high.  Drop in the pork and cook 8 to 10 minutes until the pork is browned and cooked through, but still tender. Remove the pork from the pan, but leave on the heat.

Put the butternut squash and bell pepper in the hot pan for two or three minutes to absorb the juices in the pan.  Add the pork back in.  Then give the sauce a few more shakes to make sure it’s all blended and then stir it in to the pan until the sauce thickens, 2 or 3 minutes.

When you’re ready to serve it up, stir the almonds into the pork mixture.  Serve it with rice or farro or noodles on a large platter and garnish the top with the green onions.  Rich and delicious!

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Pumpkin Pecan Scones with Maple Glaze

FullSizeRenderHello all– We’re pretending it’s autumn around here.  Today is suppose to be cooling down to 85 degrees today.  But I looked at the 10 day forecast and next week we’re up into the mid 90’s again.  yikes!  I’m afraid kids will be wearing bathing suits for Halloween costumes.

But it the kitchen (with the air conditioning all on) I’m baking with pumpkin and just pretending it’s a bit chilly outside.  Here’s a batch of scones I made for the Monday Bible study friends who come in every week. The recipe comes from a bakery and makes 18 fine large scones, so you may want to cut it in half.

But no matter how many you bake up or what the weather is outside your door, I think you’ll love the warm, friendly taste of this fall baking.

PUMPKIN PECAN SCONES WITH MAPLE GLAZE

Scones:
3 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice*
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup buttermilk
1 tab. vanilla
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup currants

Glaze:
4 tab. butter. melted
1  1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tab. maple syrup
1 to 2 tab. whole milk (0r half & half)

FullSizeRenderIn a large mixing bowl stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice.

Then cut in the butter with a pastry blender (0r two forks) until it’s broken up in bits the size of small peas.

Stir in the pumpkin puree, buttermilk, vanilla, pecans and currants all at the same time until it’s thoroughly blended.  (please don’t over beat the dough!)

Flour the counter and take out 1/3 of the dough and form it into a round disk about 1 ” thick.  The dough will be sticky.  You may need to flour the top and bottom.  Cut the circle shape into 6 pie shaped wedges and set them on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Repeat twice with the remains 2/3 of the dough– so you have 18 scones.

Bake them 15 to 18 minutes in a 400 degree oven until they are crispy around the edges and nicely browned.

Let them cool before you add on the glaze.

To make the glaze, whisk together the melted butter, powdered sugar, maple syrup and 1 tablespoons of the milk.  If it seems too thick add the second tablespoon and mix it in.

Drizzle the glaze over the scones either with the tines of a fork, or using a pastry bag fitted with a tip with a small opening.

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Yogurt Pancakes with Maple Apples

IMG_7795Good morning– Saturday morning.  Pancake time!!  When I read this recipe, I thought, “is this going to work?!”  Only 1 cup of flour with all that yogurt and buttermilk?  The answer is YES!  They were light and tender– and with the maple apples –exquisite.  I think I have a new Saturday morning go-to pancake recipe.

YOGURT PANCAKES
1 cup flour
2 tab. yellow cornmeal
4 tab. brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk*
1 cup unflavored yogurt
1 egg
2 tab. canola oil

Mix together the dry ingredients–flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder an salt in a pourable mixing bowl. (do you have one with a spout to pour out pancakes?)  Then blend in the buttermilk, yogurt, egg and oil.

Heat the griddle with butter or a spray of cooking spray. And cook the pancakes on medium until golden on both sides.  Makes about 15 lovely pancakes.

MAPLE APPLES
2 tab. melted butter
3 large apples, peeled, cored, cut into chunks
2 tab. maple syrup

Melt the butter in a nonstick skillet.  Drop in the apples and maple syrup.  Saute the apples for about 5 minutes, until they begin to brown a bit and are tender.  Serve with more maple syrup if you like (and I do!).

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Kale & Apple Salad with Pecans and Maple Dressing

IMG_7415Hello there eating friends– When we rolled back home from a super eating weekend in San Francisco with kids, who know all the best places to dine, it was hard to think of one more big meal.  So dinner that night was salad, pure and simple.  It was hearty enough with some lovely crunch, but light enough to not feel, once again, like we’d happily overeaten.  A perfect post vacay meal.

KALE & APPLE SALAD WITH MAPLE DRESSING
4 hardy kale leaves
2 slices bacon (optional)
1 Granny Smith apple
1/3 cup pecans

1/4 cup olive oil
3 tab. maple syrup
2 tab. tarragon vinegar
2 shakes salt
2 grinds of fresh pepper

Toast the pecans for just 5 or 6 minutes at 350 degrees (watch they don’t overcook!)  Chop the bacon to small pieces and cook til done just right.  Remove the bits from the pan and drain them on a paper towel.  Cut the stems from the kale leaves and toss them out.  Then chop the leaves into tidy bite size bits.  Remove the core and dice the apple to small pieces.
Then layer the kale, bacon, apple and pecans all on a nice plate.

In a small container with a tight lid, shake together the oil, syrup, vinegar, salt and pepper until they are complete emulsified.  Pour over the salad when you’re ready to eat.  Enjoy!

Nutty Maple-y Chocolate Pie

IMG_6362Hi all– Do you ever get a recipe recommendation from a friend who is such a super cook, that you just know it’s going to be luscious even before you take the first bite?  I do.  I can count on my cousin Brenda to always come up with things we just love, love– her apple cake and nutty granola to start the list…   So when she sent me this chocolate pie recipe, I knew what I was going to bake up for Christmas supper with my young mom friends.  They loved it and so did I.  You can count on Brenda!

NUTTY CHOCOLATE PIE
1  9″ pie crust*
2 squares unsweetened chocolate**
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup milk***
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp.vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts*** *(or a bit more if you like nuts like I do!)
Whipped cream or ice cream to top it off!

IMG_6352Line your 9″ pie plate with the pie curst.  Then melt the chocolate with the butter in the microwave.  Whisk in the sugars, milk, maple syrup, vanilla, salt and eggs until it’s thoroughly blended.  Then fold in the walnuts.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the crust and pop it in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes until it’s well set.  Cool it for better cutting and serve it up with whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream.  So rich and delicious!

I know. I know.  Too many asterisks! *** But I wanted to talk a bit more about this recipe—
*You can make your own beautiful, buttery pie crust, but I was in a hurry and used a PIllsbury pie crust– I read it was the best pre-made pie crust at a cooking test kitchen. **If you don’t have unsweetened chocolate squares on hand (like I didn’t), you can substitute 3 tab. of melted butter and 1 tab of Hershey’s unsweetened chocolate powder for each square of chocolate.
***I used half & half to use up a carton sitting in the fridge–even more yummy
****Of course, you can substitute pecans, but I like walnuts here– more crunchy and substantial.

OK, that’s it. No more add ons.  Hope you like it as much as we did!  Thanks Brenda!