Thursday, June 23, 2011

My little baker (+ banana bread recipe)

In the last few months, 3 1/2 year-old Stefan has been really interested in cooking and baking. His first foray into the kitchen involved making gingerbread men after reading the story, "The Gingerbread Man." His eyes completely lit up after his first gingerbread man came out of the oven. I was surprised that he wasn't upset that the gingerbread man

didn't come leaping out of the oven and speak to us as he was expecting it to. But he seemed proud that he had made these cookies, from the measuring and mixing, to the rolling and cutting.

Today, he helped me mix the batter for the banana bread. Not my Fannie Farmer recipe adaptation, but one from my "Best Recipe" cookbook. Quite good, nice and moist, tender and full of banana-flavor. Here's my slightly adapted adaptation (no nuts, substituted buttermilk for yogurt):

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease and flour a 9-inch loaf pan.

Whisk dry ingredients in large bowl:

2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix with a spatula in a medium bowl:

four small mashed-up, ripe bananas (brown spots? yes!)
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup buttermilk

Dump wet into dry and gently mix with a spatula just until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated. Pour into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 55 minutes (I keep the loaf pan near the door because the rear of my oven, like most, gets too hot) or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then move to wire rack. Eat warm or at room temp.

Store remainder in airtight container or plastic wrap/bag when completely cooled. Leave on counter at room temp or in cool place. Do not place in refrigerator, otherwise it'll dry out. Good for a couple days.

Point Reyes field trip (June 18, 2011)

My apologies for not blogging for ages! As John says, I've been living instead of blogging, which is true. I've been having such a good time that it seemed silly to be writing about living when I could actually be doing it. But, I realize that some of you have been taking my silence as something to worry about it, so I'm here to reassure you that all is well.

Here are photos from our last field trip, with our favorite homeschooling buddies. It was a beautiful warm day at Drakes Beach in Point Reyes. We had intended on participating in their junior ranger program -- reading through an activity booklet, completing the activities, and earning our badges,...but it was just too gorgeous of a day and the scenery was so breathtaking that we just had to enjoy the day and go with the flow of the children's energy. They ended up creating a "restaurant" on the beach, serving up seaweed burgers and noodles. Their kitchen was complete with a grill and a hole for a trash can (which they had to empty on more than one occasion!). And for some reason, they also buried the Greek god Poseidon just outside their restaurant. Wonder how he ended up there!