Cranberry-Pecan Banana Bread

Cranberry Pecan Banana Bread @ NancyC

It’s been awhile since I made banana bread, so when I had some very ripe bananas, I decided it was time to make banana bread again! I also had some dried cranberries I was wanting to use and chopped pecans sounded like a great addition to those cranberries. So I came up with this Cranberry-Pecan Banana Bread. The loaf browns a little more while baking than some banana breads, but it’s sweet and moist when you bite into it and the dried cranberries give it a great flavor. My loaf did sink a little in the center–probably because I took it out too soon and then put it back in the oven. So be sure to do the toothpick test when you’re baking this bread!

I baked this loaf over the weekend one cold winter morning and it tasted so good with a hot cup of coffee! It’s great for breakfast, brunch, or an afternoon snack.  Also be sure to use a 9 x 5″ pan; an 8 x 4″ pan won’t be large enough.

CRANBERRY-PECAN BANANA BREAD

Makes one 9 x 5″ loaf

  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup mashed, ripe bananas (about 3 small or 2 medium)
  • 1/2 cup light olive oil or non-GMO canola oil
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 325˚F. Grease and flour a 9 x 5″ loaf pan; set aside.

In large bowl, blend flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

In medium bowl, stir eggs, mashed bananas, oil, Greek yogurt, and vanilla extract, blending everything well.

Add egg/banana mixture to flour mixture in large bowl and stir just until combined. Fold in the dried cranberries and chopped pecans.

Pour batter into prepared 9 x 5″ loaf pan and bake at 325˚F for 68 to 72 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

(Note: this bread may sink slightly in the center, but if you remove it from the oven too soon it will sink even more noticeably, so be sure to do the toothpick test!)

The weather has been colder lately, and that always puts me in the mood to bake. It’s always fun trying new banana bread recipes–do you have a favorite you stick to, or do you like trying new recipes too?

Linked to Fiesta Friday.

Marshmallow-Topped Sweet Potato Casserole

Marshmallow Topped Sweet Potato Casserole @ NancyC

I made this sweet potatoes casserole this past Thanksgiving and Christmas. And I was kind of craving it again, even though you normally don’t think of having sweet potato casserole in January! But it’s one of those classic comfort food recipes and we had some cold winter days last week, so I thought, why not? Why not make a sweet potato casserole in January? Besides, it’s such an easy side dish to put together!

I used a little more sweet potatoes and made this casserole in a 9 x 9″ pan, slightly smaller than the 12 x 8″ pan the original recipe from Pillsbury said to use. I don’t have a 12 x 8″ pan, and a 13 x 9″ pan is too big for this. So that’s why I used 9 x 9.” It work out fine, although I’d probably use a 12 x 8″ pan for this casserole if I had one. Using two 29-ounce cans of sweet potatoes might seem like a lot, but it’s really not that much when you drain and empty them out of the can. They fill up a 9 x 9″ pan quite nicely, and in a 12 x 8″ pan, you have a little more room to spare to nicely tuck in all those marshmallows!

MARSHMALLOW-TOPPED SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE by NancyC, adapted from Pillsbury

Makes a 9 x 9″  or 12 x 8″ pan

  • 2 (29-ounce) cans sweet potatoes, drained
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 15 to 16 large marshmallows (or use an equivalent amount of miniature marshmallows)

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease or spray a 9 x 9″ pan or baking dish (or use a 12 x 8″ size) with nonstick cooking spray.

Spoon sweet potatoes into your greased baking dish. Pour melted butter over potatoes. Sprinkle with brown sugar and salt, then top with marshmallows.

Bake at 350˚F for 20 to 25 minutes or until potatoes are completely heated and marshmallows are lightly browned.

I think my marshmallows got a little more browned than they should have. Next time I make these, I need to remember to lower my oven rack a notch below the middle and see if that helps keep them from browning so much–or maybe I could cover the casserole with foil the last ten minutes of baking. Any other ideas?

I really love the way the butter and brown sugar blend and give the sweet potatoes an almost caramely coating! And of course the melty marshmallows are the perfect topping! If you are a sweet potato casserole fan, then you may have already made something similar to this recipe. But if you haven’t, you’ll want to try it! Don’t feel like you need to wait till next Thanksgiving! :)

So are you a sweet potato fan?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Wow Me Wednesday, Whimsy Wednesday, Create It Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things.

Shirley’s Apple Cake

Shirleys Apple Cake@NancyC

Back in October, we had a potluck at work and one of the designers, Brady, brought this wonderful apple cake that everyone loved! He said it was his grandma’s recipe. And he had baked the cake himself! It really was one of the favorite things at that potluck and everyone wanted the recipe, of course. I asked Brady if I could share the recipe here, so you have Brady and his grandma Shirley to thank for this! :)

I followed the cake recipe just like Brady had made it, except for using light olive oil instead of vegetable oil. I also improvised on the icing a little and used light cream (Half & Half) instead of milk and pure maple syrup instead of maple flavoring. It’s a moist, dense cake filled with lots of fresh apple chunks and the creamy maple glaze tastes great with all this apple flavor!

SHIRLEY’S APPLE CAKE from Shirley E.

Makes one 10″ bundt cake

  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil (I used light olive oil but you could also use canola oil)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 cups diced apples (peel before you dice)
  • 1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped walnuts

Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 10″ bundt pan; set aside.

In large bowl, mix together oil and sugar until combined, then mix in eggs and vanilla.

Add in the flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Mix until everything is combined. The batter will be very thick.

Fold in diced apples and coarsely chopped walnuts (now the batter will be really thick! :) ) Spoon batter into greased and floured bundt pan.

Bake for one hour, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes in pan, then remove from pan to a serving plate (invert pan onto plate) and cool completely. Top cake with Creamy Maple Icing.

Creamy Maple Icing:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons  plus 1 teaspoon Half & Half (light cream)
  • 3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup

Blend ingredients together until smooth (this makes a thick, creamy icing). Spoon and drizzle over completely cooled cake.

This cake is very dense and rich. It’s a great dessert for fall and winter, or for anytime of the year if you love apple-flavored treats! Do you have a favorite apple dessert you make often?

Linked to Fiesta Friday. Inspire Me Monday, Show and Share, Wow Me Wednesday, Whimsy WednesdayCreate it Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things.

Breakfast Berry Scooper Cake and Yogurt

Breakfast Berry Scooper Cake @ NancyC

It’s hard to believe we’re almost through November already and looking forward to the Thanksgiving holiday! I didn’t realize until this year that November is also American Diabetes Month. In 2012, 9.3% of the American population (or 29.1 million Americans) had diabetes, so chances … Continue reading

Homemade Applesauce (Sweetened with Honey or Maple Syrup)

Homemade Applesauce @ NancyC

I’ve had homemade applesauce before, but this is the first time I’ve made my own. And let me tell you, it’s so much better than store-bought! It’s not as convenient as buying it, but I think it’s worth the extra effort … Continue reading