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EAT (out)/ EXPERIENCE

Banana Bread and WKRC Local 12 (video included)

A dear friend of mine just reminded me that the very first thing I ever made for her was my banana-chip bread.  This made me smile.  While banana bread is not bound to a particular season, to me, winter calls for warm banana bread.  Whether you slice it and spread a little butter on top, serve it with a warm cup of coffee or a cold glass of milk, you can’t go wrong. Banana bread is breakfast, afternoon snack, and evening treat.   

Mini-loaves

This is my go-to recipe because I love baking with honey (local honey if possible) rather than sugar.  If you want to go even healthier, replace the oil with applesauce.  Also, I’m messy enough in the kitchen, so I appreciate that this dish is pretty much whipped up in one bowl.  I don’t need to fuss around with a bunch of dishes.  

INGREDIENTS

  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 (or 3) large bananas mashed
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 ¾ cups flour
  • Optional add-ins: ½ cup mix-ins like chopped walnuts or pecans, chocolate chips, blueberries, fresh banana slices, etc.  Tip- If baking with blueberries or other fruit, toss in a bit of flour (this keeps them from sinking to the bottom).
  • Optional toppings: Swirl a bit of nutella, peanut butter, or cinnamon on the top; not only does it look gorgeous, it tastes great.  

Getting ready to whisk it up!

Get creative with your mix-in ingredients.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan or a mini loaf pan.  
  2. In a large bowl, beat the oil and honey together together with a whisk. Add the eggs and beat well, then whisk in the mashed bananas and milk.
  3. Add the baking soda, vanilla, salt and cinnamon, and whisk to blend. Lastly, switch to a big spoon and stir in the flour, just until combined.
  4. If you’re adding any additional mix-ins, fold them in now.
  5. Pour the batter into your greased loaf pan and swirl in topping if desired.  
  6. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  If you’ve added mix-ins, it will need a bit longer.   
  7. Let the bread cool in the loaf pan for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack for cooling.  

A couple years ago I purchased an 8-cavity mini loaf pan and it’s totally changed my bread game. First of all, if you’re being good, it’s a single serving (if it’s more than a single serving, let me live in denial please).  Secondly, these mini loaves make perfect pick-me-ups for friends, family, and coworkers.  Lastly, I like experimenting with mix-ins and toppings.  For example, in this batch, I had two blueberry banana (topped with sugar crystals), two banana nut, two banana chip (topped with a nutella swirl), and two regular (topped with a cinnamon swirl).  

Making banana bread on WKRC local 12.

If you’re feeling really fancy, bag up your individual mini loaves, add a cute label. . . maybe some ribbon, and deliver!

Mr. Chippy. Mr. Berry. Mr. Nutty.

Check out Bob Herzog and John Lomax whisking up some bread with me in the studio at WKRC 12! The video is below.

GO THERE (WKRC local 12, the kitchen)!  TRY THAT (banana bread, mini loaves, baking for others)!

EAT (out)/ EXPERIENCE

Pork and Sauerkraut for Luck in the New Year on Fox 19

Growing up, we always ate some form of pork and sauerkraut for New Year’s Day.  This varied from pork roast and kraut, ribs and kraut, hot dogs or sausage and kraut, to pork chops and kraut.  Regardless of which type of pork we ate, mashed potatoes sat either on the side of or underneath our pork and sauerkraut.  I asked my parents what they knew of this tradition, and both, with German and Irish roots, didn’t know necessarily why they ate this good luck dish, just that it was an important tradition.  So I did a little digging.

Getting ready for Fox 19.

Why pork?  Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • The pig roots forward when they eat unlike chicken and turkey which scratch back; pigs = progress
  • Pigs do not look sideways or back; thus, we should also look forward
  • Pork was far more common than beef in Germany
  • Peasants who raised pigs slaughtered them in the fall; the freshest cuts of meat were available on New Year’s Day
  • Pigs were considered sacred in old Irish religions

So why add sauerkraut?

  • Cabbage is a late harvest crop; it takes 6-weeks for cabbage to become Kraut- just in time for the holidays
  • Long pieces of kraut are a symbol of long life
  • Some believe that fortune, health, and prosperity are tied to the number of sauerkraut shreds on the plate

The recipe I demonstrated on Fox 19 (TV video here) is simple, convenient, and features a family favorite, Keystone Meats.  If you are unfamiliar with Keystone, it’s an Ohio based company and the product contains only two ingredients: meat and sea salt.

Good Luck Pork and Sauerkraut Recipe-

Ingredients:

Vegetable oil

2 pounds Keystone pork

2 pounds sauerkraut, undrained

Salt, pepper, and garlic to taste

1 small yellow onion, peeled and minced

1 medium apple, peeled, cored, and diced

Mashed potatoes, for serving (optional)

Applesauce, for serving (optional)

 Directions:

  • Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a skillet and sauté onion with salt, pepper, and garlic.
  • Combine the meat, sauerkraut, onion and apple in the slow cooker.  Cover and cook on high for 6 hours.  When done, the pork will be fork-tender.
  • Serve in bowls over mashed potatoes, or with applesauce on the side, if desired.

That’s it.  Easy peasy!  Make it ahead of time if you wish!  It will still be tasty!  

What’s your tradition?

My parents still call me, long after I’ve left the house, to make sure I have some form of pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day.  It’s a tradition I gladly continue.  What are your New Year’s Day foods for good luck, health, and fortune?

GO THERE (Fox 19; Kroger or Walmart for Keystone Meat)!  TRY THAT (Pork and Sauerkraut on New Year’s Day)!