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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Baby's Banana Muffin Loaf I & II

My baby loves bananas, and that's why bananas are always available in the house. However, as much as the baby can eat, I still have about 10 bananas that are way too ripe to eat. So, I make them into banana muffin loaves for my baby's breakfast and afternoon snack.

 The original recipe is actually for baking banana muffins but I adapt it into baking muffin loaves. For the first loaf, I use all-purpose flour and oats flour. For the second loaf, I use self-raising flour.

This is banana muffin loaf version one, i.e. baked with all-purpose flour and oats flour.


Banana Muffin Loaf

Recipe adapted from Journal of a nutritionist mom.

Ingredients:

5 medium ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
1/3 cup molasses sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup virgin coconut oil
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour + 1/2 cup oats flour


How to:

1. Preheat oven to 170°C for at least 10 minutes.

2. Grease a disposable loaf tin with vegetable oil / cooking spray (optional). Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, combine mashed banana, molasses sugar, egg, and virgin coconut oil. Set aside.

4. In a separate bowl, mix together all-purpose flour, oats flour, baking powder, and salt.

5. Combine wet ingredients (in step 1) with dry ingredients (in step 2).

6. Pour into prepared loaf tin. Bake at 170°C for approximately 25-30 minutes.


Ready to be baked.


So, this is banana muffin loaf version one. Those cracks are so unsightly. Haha.

******************************

Now, let's look at banana muffin loaf version two, i.e. baked with self-raising flour.


Banana Muffin Loaf

Ingredients:

5 medium ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
1/4 cup molasses sugar (reduced from 1/3 cup)
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup virgin coconut oil (reduced from 1/3 cup)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (reduced from 2 teaspoons)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 & 1/2 cups self-raising flour


How to:

1. Preheat oven to 170°C for at least 10 minutes.

2. Grease a disposable loaf tin with vegetable oil / cooking spray (optional). Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, combine mashed banana, molasses sugar, egg, and virgin coconut oil. Set aside.

4. In a separate bowl, mix together self-raising flour, baking powder, and salt.

5. Combine wet ingredients (in step 1) with dry ingredients (in step 2).

6. Pour into prepared loaf tin. Bake at 170°C for approximately 25-30 minutes.


So, this is banana muffin loaf version two. Less cracks and more presentable.

Taste wise, both loaves have the crumble-in-your-mouth texture, which is how individual muffins are supposed to be. I prefer the second loaf because it is less sweet and doesn't have the aftertaste of baking powder.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Bread Maker Milk Loaf (Basic vs French)

I need to justify the existence of the bread maker in my kitchen and maximize its features so that I get the most bang out of every buck my hubby spent in getting this birthday-and-anniversary gift. Haha.

Furthermore, I can make healthy homemade bread (and cake) for my two boys (hubby and baby)! :D

I made two milk loaves - one loaf with the basic white bread setting and the other loaf with the French bread setting.


Bread Maker Milk Loaf
(with basic white bread setting)

Recipe adapted from Kitchen Flavours.

Ingredients:
(Makes a 2lb bread)

1 cup milk, room temperature
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons butter, diced
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons molasses sugar
3 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon dry yeast


How to:

1. By following the bread maker's manual, I have listed the ingredients' sequence correctly - in terms of which ingredient goes into the bread maker first - in the list above.

2.
Close the lid, select the "basic" setting, loaf size (2lb), crust type (medium), and press start. 

3. Once the baking cycle is done, remove the bread pan from the machine to cool down.

Note: Please add the ingredients into the bread pan by following your bread maker's manual.



Note: The middle sank a little because I accidentally spilled extra yeast when I was adding yeast to the flour. Too much yeast caused the bread to rise and collapse. [Source]


Bread Maker Milk Loaf
(with French bread setting)

Recipe from my Cornell Bread Master bread maker manual.

Ingredients:
(Makes a 2lb bread)

360ml milk, room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons molasses sugar
520g bread flour (I use 500g bread flour + 20g wholemeal flour)
1 teaspoon dry yeast


How to:

1. By following the bread maker's manual, I have listed the ingredients' sequence correctly - in terms of which ingredient goes into the bread maker first - in the list above.

2.
Close the lid, select the "French" setting, loaf size (2lb), crust type (medium), and press start. 

3. Once the baking cycle is done, remove the bread pan from the machine to cool down.

Note: Please add the ingredients into the bread pan by following your bread maker's instruction manual.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Pandan Chiffon Cupcakes

I want to say "Thank you!" to Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids for her fail-proof chiffon cake recipe! Quoting Zoe, "If baking chiffon cake has been a daunting experience for you, I would highly recommend this recipe to overcome your fear of chiffon cake baking." It's true!

Also Karen from some flour, sugar n butter, thanks for your encouragement!

So, here are my very first Pandan Chiffon Cupcakes! My hubby, who eats no other cakes except chiffon cakes, gives me thumbs up! He says the moistness and airiness of these chiffon cupcakes are pretty good, not dry and coarse like those cheap chiffon cakes produced in bulks. Woohoo!


Pandan Chiffon Cupcakes

Recipe from Bake for Happy Kids.

Ingredients:
(Makes 12-14 cupcakes but I use bigger muffin paper cups, so I get 7-8 cupcakes)

(A) 6 pandan leaves, 3 tablespoons water, 1 teaspoon instant coconut powder

(B) 4 egg yolks, 3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil,
20g castor sugar

(C) 90g self-rising flour, 1/8 teaspoon baking powder

(D) 4 egg whites, 1/4 tablespoon cream of tartar, 50g castor sugar


How to:

Note: For detailed instructions, please refer Zoe's. I followed her instructions closely. 

1. Preheat oven to 170°C with a metal tray at the second lower position. Line 7-8 muffin paper cups with baking paper.

2. Get about 30ml of pandan juice by processing pandan leaves with 3 tablespoons water in a food processor. Add water and 1 teaspoon instant coconut powder to get 60ml of pandan mixture.

3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks and virgin coconut oil. Add in pandan mixture and sugar. Whisk until sugar has melted and all are well combined. Sift flour and baking powder into the mixture and whisk well into a smooth batter. Set aside.

4. Using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites and cream of tartar in low-medium speed until egg whites start to foam. Increase mixing speed and add sugar gradually in 3 additions. Whisk until the meringue is smooth and glossy, with stiff peaks.

5. Fold in the egg white mixture into the flour batter gently and in three batches. Make sure that the cake batter is well combined. Be careful not to over-mix the batter as over-mixing will deflate the air in the meringue.

6. Pour batter into the prepared muffin paper cups. Bake at 170°C for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 160°C and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes.

7. When the cupcakes are cooked, switch off the oven and leave the oven door ajar and let the cupcakes cool in the oven slowly.

8. Remove the cupcakes from the oven when the oven is cooled to room temperature.


Muffin paper cups lined with baking paper.


Pandan + Egg yolk + Flour batter


This is the first time I'm beating egg whites and castor sugar to get meringue at stiff peak. I hope I do it right. It takes more practices to perfect this skill.


Ready to be baked.


After 10 minutes.


After the cupcakes are cooled completely.


The crust is a bit too brown but not burnt. Phewww.


The insides.



The hubby takes a look, gives it a light press, and says, "Yep, that's chiffon cake's texture."

I'm so thrilled!!!


Photobucket

I'm linking this post to the event, Bake-Along #64: Theme - Chiffon Cake organized by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours, Lena from Frozen Wings, and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Managing stress during your breastfeeding journey


Dear first-time moms, do you feel stressed out, especially if you're a breastfeeding mom, and at the same time, a working mom?

I do! I'm very stressed. I try very hard to remember that I need to unpack the cooler bag and wash the storage bottles EVERY NIGHT. Then, I need to remember to repack the cooler bag with ice packs and refill my pump bag with storage bottles EVERY MORNING before I go to work.

And all hell breaks loose when I FORGET TO PACK MY PUMP BAG THIS MORNING.

I was in meltdown mode when I remembered I have a pack of breastmilk storage bags in my car. But I hate storage bags. My milk will stick to the sides of the bag and it's such a waste! But I have no choice. It's either the bags or continue to sulk in a corner.

Sigh.

So now, I'm pretty much inspired to write about stress management during breastfeeding journey.

Photo source 

Stress during breastfeeding leads to a few problems, i.e. slower letdown, frustration, and low milk supply in the long run. Working moms might face extra stress due to limited pumping time at work. Couple that with the concern over maintaining milk supply while still being able to perform well at work, the amount of stress is not a laughing matter.

In fact, WORRYING that leads to STRESSING over maintaining an adequate milk supply is the biggest milk supply killer. It's very easy to say, "just relax and your milk will flow", but in reality, that's the hardest thing to do. Really.

So, how?

How to Manage Stress During Your Breastfeeding Journey

1. Understand what stress is and identify your stress sources. I have identified that my stress sources are unplanned circumstances and last-minute changes to my current routine. E.g. I forget to pack my storage bottles. So, I stress about how am I going to store my milk expressed at work?

2. Compromise and give in. At least for a while. E.g. I hate to use storage bags because my milk will stick to the sides of the bag and it's such a waste! So, I compromise. I have to use the bags or I'll have to drive home to get my storage bottles.

3. Set limits and stop comparing. Seriously, I know that we breastfeeding and working moms are superwomen but sometimes we have to accept the fact that there are only so many hours in a day. Don't be afraid to say no if you have to do so. Also, unnecessary stress can be avoided when we stop comparing breastmilk ounces and baby's weight. Motherhood is not a sport.

4. Get a hobby or do something you really like. Get your husband to take care of your baby while you engage yourself in some "me" time. E.g. I take up baking. Check out my budding collection of tried, tested, and proven recipes. Woohoo!

5. Eat. Yes, eat your favorite milk boosters, even if they are sinful such as durian!!! But, everything in moderation. :)

6. Move it, move it! Workout at the gym, swimming, brisk walking, or any physical activity helps your body produces endorphins, i.e. hormones that relieve stress. Some moms experience an increase in milk supply during a post-workout pumping session.

7. Talk to friends or rant to strangers. Depends on your preference. If you join some moms' Facebook groupies, you can rant your heart out there. Just make sure those are closed groups or everyone on your friends list will "hear" you. :)

8. Seek professional help if needed. Sometimes, if you can't seem to get over it, just go to see a psychiatrist. This doesn't mean you're doomed. Seeking professional opinion is always better than trying to guess what's wrong.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Bacon and Potato Chowder


Bacon and Potato Chowder

Hubby loves anything cooked with bacon.

Recipe adapted from here.

Ingredients:
(Serves 2) 

4 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
1 cup Russet potatoes, chopped into chunks
1 cup carrots, chopped into chunks
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped into chunks
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 chicken broth cube, dissolves in 1 & 3/4 cups hot water
1 cup full-cream milk
Salt and pepper to taste 


How to: 

1. Cook bacon in a pan over medium heat until crisp. Add onions.

2. Continue cooking for a few minutes. Stir in carrots, potatoes, and flour.

3. Slowly stir in chicken broth. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil and starts to thicken.

4. Reduce heat to medium-low, cook 20 for about minutes, stirring occasionally, or until potatoes are tender. Stir in milk.

5. Continue cooking until thoroughly heated (do not boil).

6. Season with salt and pepper.



We have this piping hot chowder served with brown rice for dinner. Such creamy and potato-ey comfort food. Anything with bacon and potatoes will never ever go wrong.


Bacon wins. With potatoes, this dish is a complete winner!


 Photobucket 

This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs Up (July 2014 Event: Potato) organized by Zoe (Bake for Happy Kids), Mui Mui (My Little Favourite DIY) and  hosted by Jasline (Foodie Baker).


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