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!
If you live in the Vancouver area, you can’t help but notice the gorgeous summer weather we have been experiencing this week. The rainy spring weather had had the past month has lifted, and the sun is shining. I actually got a sunburn on mother’s day, as we were enjoying our brunch on the backyard patio. I blame my mother, as she is a red head with light freckled skin, which I unfortunately inherited. You wouldn’t guess I was also European, as my skin doesn’t quite soak up the sun in the same way my Nonna and brother can turn a deep olive brown in the summer.
Speaking of Europe, I am very excited to have booked my trip. I have been planning this trip for as long as I can remember. I even had a conversation saved in my Facebook messages planning this trip with a friend in 2008. I think four years later, I should probably make it happen. I complained for a while that I was the only one in our family who had not been to Europe, or more precisely, Italy. The reason being is that my father’s family is from Italy, and it was where he was born. As you know from previous posts, my father is no longer with us, but I still desperately wanted to make the trip to Europe and visit out heritage, along with stops to the gorgeous hospital, that looks like a cathedral, that my father was born in, the town he was raised in, the tiny, I mean TINY, town my Nonna grew up in, with likely <100 people living there I’m sure, and of course the other historical monuments in Italy. My brother was lucky enough to go twice, although he was 18 months old the first time. He went again when he was 15, for 6 weeks, my Nonna took him with her. I’m doing a tour for 16 days around Europe, and then my Nonna is actually going to fly and meet me in Rome and then show me the ‘true’ Italy, the small tiny towns and areas off the beaten path from the tourist attractions. My Nonna has lived in Canada now for longer than she has lived in Italy, and lives only minutes from our house, but still visits Italy every year. She actually told me she wasn’t going back this year, but after I informed her of my travel plans, she decided she would fly and meet me so she can show me where our family is from. It’s been a trip I’ve wanted to take for a long time, and this year after Graduation I planned to go, as a Grad present from my mom, and now I am just counting down the days. My Nonna keeps informing me how crazy I am to want to go in July, as it is so hot. She usually likes to go in August/September.
Speaking of heat, when the temperature rises the best way to cool down is usually with a cool treat. I saw this unique ice cream recipe online, from a new-to-me food blog, Girl Cooks World, which I’ve been perusing daily.
It is my new favourite, instead of vanilla. It is so subtly sweet, and the taste is just heavenly. I added a half cup of cream instead of the 1/2 cup of milk, cause I had one cup of milk left, and I think it made it even better. It is so good, it is like whipped ice cream. A definite favourite for cooling down in the hot weather. It keeps well in the freezer, and still comes out like soft serve once frozen. It’s really delicious and light tasting. Adam ate most of it, as I try and stay away from dairy with my allergy, but I didn’t want to try and substitute Almond milk this time, so I went with the original version.
It tastes even better with frozen raspberries.
Honey Ice Cream, From Girl Cooks World, Adapted from The Soul of a New Cuisine
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1 & 1/2 cups heavy cream
* 1 cup milk
* 4 large egg yolks, slightly beaten
* 1/3 cup honey
Combine the sugar, heavy cream and milk in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
When the mixture is smooth and the sugar is dissolved, temper the eggs yolks by whisking in about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture into the eggs. Pour the tempered yolks into the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon.
Remove from heat and place the entire saucepan into a shallow ice bath, and mix in the honey. Stir frequently until the custard has cooled. Pour the custard mixture into a container, cover, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Freeze in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Are you planning on going anywhere this summer?
What do you do to cool down in the heat?
The past four days my diet has consisted of turkey, potatoes (mashed, roasted, no skin), cranberry sauce (thank goodness), rice cakes and crackers, and peach fruit cups. I mentioned in the last post that I had to go have an allergy test, to de-bunk some of my stomach issues I have been having as of late. Well, turns out I’m allergic to pretty much everything. The allergy test was done on my forearms, and I reacted to basically every allergen they introduced. I already knew I had really bad hay-fever, as my allergies were unbearable as a teen during the spring and summer. My grass allergy is out of control, which affects things like wheat that is in the grass family. I knew I was allergic to dairy, so no milk, or eggs, or only egg whites and fully cooked, not runny. So, I’m on a food elimination diet. Only eating those foods I mentioned, and then starting this week slowly introducing other foods to rule out which ones I am allergic to. Hopefully at the end of it I will know exactly what I can and cannot eat so that I don’t continue having stomach issues.
Having a dairy allergy, the last thing I would be eating is ice cream. And, unfortunately I am not. Adam bought me an Ice Cream Maker Attachment for my KitchenAid last Christmas, which I have only used once. Adam calls it the $100 ice cream, since it cost about that much to make it one time. So, I thought I had better get my money’s worth out of it. Last time I did make ice cream that used coconut milk and almond milk with only a small amount of cream and egg. So I did eat that, it was not as hard as ice cream but still just as delicious. This time, I thought I would make a true ice cream, considering I can’t eat it anyways. Lucky Adam.
I was trying to contemplate which flavour to make this time, and settled on Coffee. Why? Maybe because all that has been on my mind lately is Coffee Tables. If you follow me on Twitter you’ll have heard me lamenting about it. Since I moved in with Adam over a year and a half ago (wow! can’t believe It’s been that long) we have purchased some new furniture, and accessories. We have painted our bathroom, from ugly orange to pale grey, put moulding around the giant mirror, painted our kitchen white, and recently painted our bedroom a rich romantic charcoal grey. There have been a lot of changes, and many still to come. One thing I really want, now, is a coffee table. Adam never bought one when he moved in, and we just never bothered. He had three small ottomans, black leather that are hollow for storage. They line up in a row, and that is pretty much our table. While they are good for resting your feet, they suck at being a table. We put a couple trays on top, but it’s not quite the same as a coffee table. I usually put my water glass on the ground next to my chair, which Adam then accidentally kicks over without fail.
We have been trolling craiglist, but quite honeslty it’s too annoying. Almost every item on there is from Ikea, and we already have enough apartment-Ikea items. I LOVE this table from Urban Barn, however I do not love the $500 price tag. We have visited thrift stores, and other furniture stores but have yet to find something quite like it that catches our eye. Adam has said he would probably be able to make a table that looks like the one we like, so for now I have hope that one day we will actually have a coffee table. I also have my eye on a DIY headboard… I hope Ice Cream is a a fair enough trade for handy-man duties ;)
While I do not drink coffee, I do love coffee-flavoured things. I am just not a coffee drinker. I have never really tried a full cup, but know I do not like it. I’ll drink tea, but it’s not a daily thing for me. I stick to my ice water. Coffee Ice Cream is delicious, especially this recipe. I also added some chocolate stracciatella, which is like Italian chocolate chips. You add melted hot chocolate to the ice cream, and it breaks apart into strata-like chocolate shavings. You can drizzle it on top, and break the hardened chocolate lines into chunks, or pour warm melted chocolate into your mixer which will also break it up into shavings.
This is a rich intense coffee flavour. Definitely good for both coffee and non-coffee lovers alike.
Do you like coffee? Or just coffee flavoured stuff, like me.
Stracciatella Coffee Ice Cream
Recipe from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 1/2 cups whole coffee beans (decaf or regular)
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon finely ground coffee (press grinds through a fine mesh sieve)
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips or other chocolate (optional)
1 Heat the milk, sugar, whole coffee beans and 1/2 cup of the cream in a medium saucepan until it is quite warm and steamy, but not boiling. Once the mixture is warm, cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.
2 Pour the remaining 1 cup of cream into a medium size metal bowl, set on ice over a larger bowl. Set a mesh strainer on top of the bowls. Set aside.
3 Reheat the milk and coffee mixture, on medium heat, until again hot and steamy (not boiling). In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks together. Slowly pour the heated milk and coffee mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so that the egg yolks are tempered by the warm milk, but not cooked by it. Scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
4 Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof, flat-bottomed spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula so that you can run your finger across the coating and have the coating not run. This can take about 10 minutes.
5 Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Press on the coffee beans in the strainer to extract as much of the coffee flavor as possible. Then discard the beans. Mix in the vanilla and finely ground coffee, and stir until cool.
6 Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then transfer to your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Storing in cute mason jar optional.
This would be delicious for an apres-dinner dessert for Valentine’s Day. Even better in an Affogato.