This weekend is Mother’s Day, and I thought I would share some things that my mom has taught me. I’ve seen other bloggers post about what they’ve learned from their mother over the years and I started thinking about all of the things she has said to me, taught me, and continues to teach me in life.
My mom and I are close – really, really close. People confuse us for each other on the phone (we sound a lot alike). We are often mistaken for sisters (I’m sure she’ll love hearing that, again), and we have become even closer as I grow older, when the big stuff happens and real life begins. Many people comment to her asking ‘how’d you get so lucky to have two good kids?’ – well, I think I’m a little better than my brother, Nick ;) but, I think she is a pretty lucky mom to have us too. We’re incredibly lucky to have such a loving, crazy, funny, caring, and strong mom.
After losing my dad when we were younger she had to become two parents in one, and I want to thank her for being there for us through the hard times, and the really hard times, and never ceasing to love and support us in all our of endeavours.
She is the first person I tell important news to, and the not so great news to, the first person I look to for advice, even if I don’t always want to hear it (ahem, the couch
), the first person to know when I’m sad, upset or something is bothering me just by the tone in my voice over the phone, the person who encourages me that everything will be alright, not to stress and the first person to forgive me when we have a fight (i’m pretty stubborn).
Things my mom has taught me
- There’s no excuse for rudeness
- Manners matter, always say thank you
- Don’t hold a grudge, life is too short
- It’s better to be overdressed, than underdressed
- Saying sorry is one of the hardest things to do, and admit your wrong
- Always be the bigger person
- How to be a good friend
- Any education is a good education
- Never leave the house without making the bed (this one is still a work in progress..)
- How to host a family dinner
- Advil and Zantac cure all
- How to properly fold sheets
- How to cook a roast
- How to make a roux
- How to make a good chili, and simple tomato sauce
- If you don’t want to have a drink, just order a coke with lime
- Don’t stress, everything will work out
- Always be kind to animals
- Do what makes you happy
- Trust your instincts
- How to be strong
People ask me where I got my love for cooking and baking. While my dad was my biggest influence, my mom always made really great cookies, without a recipe – and really good cinnamon buns.
I made these brownies last week when I wanted to use up some ripe bananas on the counter. I wanted to make something other than Banana bread. I decided to make 1-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream, recipe here
- but then I had more bananas to use up. So, I thought about what I could make with them, or what recipe I could add them to. I decided to make brownies, with the addition of Bananas. Some people don’t like certain combinations of chocolate and fruit, but Bananas and Chocolate are one of my favourites. The bananas make the brownie super dense and rich, like fudge. The banana flavour is certainly there, but it’s not as strong as say banana bread. The chocolate takes over, which makes it deep and rich.
And then I went a step further, and topped the Banana Brownies with Banana Ice cream.
Let’s just say I couldn’t eat it fast enough. Plus, there’s no guilt in adding the ice cream because it’s just Banana.
These are also gluten free, I made them with Rice Flour. You can sub regular flour as well. I recommend refrigerating them for a couple hours, or even overnight. I always refrigerate my brownies because it allows them to become more dense and fudge-like.
Fudgey Banana Brownies
recipe by Bakeaholic
6 tbs. Butter
3/4 Cup Chopped Dark Chocolate (can use chocolate chips)
2 medium Ripe Bananas
1 Tsp. Vanilla extract
½ Cup Sugar
1 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 Cup Cocoa
1 cup Rice Flour
1/2 cup walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8×8 inch baking dish with cooking spray.Heat butter and chocolate in a small saucepan, stir until everything is melted. Set aside to cool.
Whisk together the flour, cocoa and baking powder. Set aside.
In stand mixer with whisk attachment, or medium bowl and blender, mash the bananas, vanilla extract, and sugar. Add the egg and blend again.
Add in the melted butter-chocolate mixture and mix well.
Stir in the flour mixture and blend just until combined. Stir in all of the walnuts, you can save a few and sprinkle on top too.
Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. You want it to be slightly gooey when you check it, not completely dry. If it needs another couple minutes increase baking time.
** These brownies are best after they are refrigerated! **
I always refrigerate my brownies – it makes them extra dense and fudgey. I recommend letting them come to room temperature on the counter, and then cover and transfer pan to fridge for a couple hours, or even better, overnight. Of course, if you can’t wait feel free to eat them immediately =)
Store leftover brownies in the fridge for up to a week, or, freeze.
You can sub AP flour for rice flour also.
Even Better Topped with Banana Ice Cream!
It finally began to feel like summer this weekend! Which is awesome, because it’s only Spring. After a very rainy and dreary April it was nice to get some hot weather our way.
We headed down to the States on Friday to spend the weekend with Adam and his family at Maple Falls. The only thing wrong with the weekend was the hour and ten minute wait at the border going down. However, luckily for us it was about a 5 minutes wait coming home.
We took advantage of the glorious weather and went bike riding, swimming and walking in the sun.
We biked into Maple Falls and discovered some new trails, including a road that lead us to this sight.
We rode up to to see a large building on fire surrounded by fire trucks. We asked a bystander what was going on and they said it was a controlled practice burn. Turns out it used to be the old elementary school but due to asbestos and the age of the building it had to be taken down. This was also a practice run for soon-to-be firemen who were getting used to the water nozzles. They weren’t allowed in the building because of the safety hazards.
It was sure a sight to see, and we were quite close to it actually. There was a basketball court not too far that some kids were playing at, and some neighbours had brought out their lawn chairs to witness the burning. It was already super hot out Saturday morning, and standing next to a giant blaze made it even hotter.
We rode over to the gas station to get some refreshments.
And later after swimming, some leftover brownie with ice cream and strawberries. Refreshing – definitely hit the spot.
We took our niece for a walk with Lainey, but after a little while Lainey decided she had enough walking in the heat – so we gave her a little lift in the buggy. At first she wasn’t sure about it, having to push her into it, but after a moment she realized how much better it was and decided to get nice and comfy for the ride.
Another way to cool off? Banana Ice Cream.
This one-ingredient ice cream was all the rage last year, with someone even making a banana ice cream maker (which, really, is sort of ridiculous). All you need is some ripe bananas, and a food processor.
I had made it last year, but for some reason I wasn’t quite sold on it. Maybe it was the bananas or the fact that I think I made it in a blender – but I didn’t love it.
However, having made it again now with a food processor I really, really, love it.
I was looking for something to make last week with the ripe bananas on the counter, something that wasn’t banana bread or muffins. And actually, these banana’s were already frozen in my freezer – so I still had ripe bananas on the counter to use up (and I did, i’ll share that later). I had thrown a bunch of ripe bananas in the freezer to use in smoothies, but hadn’t used them yet.
It’s naturally sugar free, raw, vegan, and all other allergens-free ice cream. Unless you’re allergic to Bananas, then I feel very sorry for you.
The key to making banana ice cream is:
- Ripe bananas. You don’t want mushy, brown or gooey bananas, however. You want the banana peels to be spotted, but the banana’s themselves still good looking with few or no spots. The sugars will have just started to break down, making them sweeter, but the banana is still firm. This will give it a better consistency when making ice cream.
- Freeze them thoroughly. I’ve seen people do this with banana’s frozen for a half hour or so, but my banana’s had been in ziplock bags for at least a month – Now, I’m sure you don’t want to wait that long, but toss your cut up ripe banana in a bag and wait a few days, even a week until you make it. If they aren’t frozen enough the texture will be too runny. Slice them up, freeze them on a cookie sheet in a single layer and then transfer them to a plastic bag to freeze further.
- Food processor. If you don’t have one you can try a blender but I’m not sure how it will work out texture wise, you might need to add a little liquid to get it moving around in a blender.
And that’s it. Banana Ice Cream.
First becomes a crumbly texture
Next, it’ll begin smoothing out. I had to scrape it down a few times to get the mixture going again because it will start to ‘cluster’ up
And finally, smooth, delicious soft serve banana ice cream
You can also transfer to a container and freeze for hard ice cream
Banana Ice Cream
- 3-4 ripe bananas, sliced and frozen thoroughly
Remove frozen banana slices from freezer and place in food processor.
Turn food processor on and blend bananas, stopping to scrape down when needed.
Allow to blend until smooth. You can eat the ice cream as a soft serve, or freeze in container to harden.
Feel free to add in:
- Almond Butter
- Peanut Butter
- Chocolate Chips
What’s even better?
How about a Banana Ice Cream Sandwich with Gluten Free/Wheat Free/Dairy Free chocolate chip cookies - A totally Dairy free, Lactose Free and allergy free ice cream sandwich! Perfect for warmer weather. I suggest using a ‘non’ stuffed cookie with this one.
The banana chocolate chip cookie combo is definitely amazing.
To make the ice cream cookie sandwich, spoon banana ice cream on a cookie, top with another cookie then wrap in tin foil and freeze for 10-20 minutes before eating. Or, eat immediately for a slightly messier ice cream sandwich.
So I guess this is real life now.
A friend of mine from school was just hired THIS morning to a school district! We just finished classes on Friday! How crazy. I know I’m finished, and I have my teaching certificate but I still can’t believe that I can now apply for positions and TOC jobs. I still have to get my resume together and updated, and fill out a ton of forms and do paperwork but it’s feeling more surreal now.
I still have to take a couple courses this summer for my second degree, aBachelor of Education, but I could still be a TOC until the end of June since I’m only taking classes two days a week. Eek! No longer a student, I am now the Teacher!
Thankfully I have two weeks off before classes begin again, and there is a lot happening in those two weeks (aside from paperwork). This weekend is packed! Friday night we’re celebrating my Nonna’s 75th birthday with a great big italian dinner and dancing at a restaurant in Vancouver. Saturday I’m super excited to be making ‘Gender Reveal’ cupcakes for a baby shower, and Sunday is our House Warming with both our families. This week will be full of organizing, some painting, getting the house in tip top shape to show it off!
And on top of that, I have also decided to play baseball again this year! A friend of mine from school needed more girls for a Senior B Rep team, and asked if I wanted to join. I haven’t played in a couple years but I got pulled in! So there’s a practice and a game this week, and weekend which I might have to miss due to all our events! But I love being busy, and being home for two weeks after teaching full time in a practicum and classes would make me stir crazy.
We celebrated all day and night Friday after our last class of PDP, and then Saturday morning I woke up and had to drop off a few dozen cookies, banana bread and cupcakes to my elementary school’s bake sale to raise money for a new playground.
Caramelizing the bananas before adding them adds a rich deep flavour compared to regular banana bread. Great for school, bake sale’s or an afternoon snack.
Even better with a smear of Trader Joe’s Cocoa Almond Spread (Like Nutella, slightly healthier…sorta.)
Caramelized Banana Bread
Other Banana Bread Recipes Here and Here
- 2-3 well ripened bananas
- 1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/3 cup butter melted
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- crushed Walnuts
Preheat oven to 350°. Spray loaf pan with cooking spray.
- Whisk together thoroughly the flour, baking soda, and baking powder in bowl.
- In small pot on medium heat, add the butter, sugar and bananas. Mash with fork. Heat until sugar and banana are caramelized – about 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Gradually beat in eggs one at a time.
- Fold in the banana mixture to the flour mixture, add walnuts (optional)
- Spread evenly in pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50-60 minutes.
- Let cool in the pan on a rack for 5-10 minutes before un-molding to cool completely on the rack.