No picture to accompany this post. (Not that I didn't take any though! They just weren't of any quality.) This is a follow up to my last post about Greek Celebration bread. This morning I finally did the french toast version!! Oh it was so delightful!! I'm not a big fan of raisins in food. Very, very selective about it actually. I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed the bread & equally so the french toast!! As I did enjoy it, I have to say that cinnamon roll french toast is still my all time favorite. That being said, we will definitely be having this again when I dust the recipe off for Thanksgiving. (If not before!).

Tomorrow I will undergoing BBA Challenge #3: Bagels! Yee-ow!! Very excited & nervous about this, as it is a bit involved!! Keep your fingers crossed! :)
Last week was second week of BBA's Challenge, which introduced us to Greek Celebration Bread! I started off making a poolish. This bread I struggled with. For some reason, I didn't come across the correct consistency on mixing the ingredients. It took a very long time for it to rise. In fact, on the suggestion of some fellow Challengers and bakers, I wound up letting it go over night. In doing so, such a wonderful thing occurred!! The bread turned out wonderfully!! The smell it gave off while kneading and proofing was wonderful!!

I wound up making one boule and one regular loaf. I had intentions of making mini Christopomos, but with the holiday weekend and the extra time needed for the poolish itself, time just didn't allow. The extra ingredients of the Christopomos were added, (excluding the nuts), only the physical shape of it was not followed through. This is an amazing aromatic bread! With the crisp spring air and the zesty spiced bread perfuming the air, it truly felt like a holiday weekend. It conjured up thoughts of Thanksgiving and Christmas. This bread would be a perfect accompaniment for either of the two holiday meals!

Once finished baking, I had plenty of guinea pigs for taste testers! Ages of my taste testers ranged from 22 months to 36 years of age. They all gave a unanimous thumbs up. The little kids could not get enough. My little asked for seconds and did a little happy dance when she got it! Of course, she ate all the fruit of it first & then at the bread, but it all disappeared into her little tummy!! :) Later that evening we took the boule to our other neighbors house and had it with some wine. It was again well received by all. This is one that will definitely be revisited with winter holidays!
So, I was on my baking way when I recalled a recipe I thought would be so much fun for Calista & I to do together. I had every hope of doing it over the weekend, but the weekend came and went. It didn't help that my 'tween, (gotta love this age), didn't want to pulled into the kitchen with mom. Now we found ourselves going into the next weekend with me wanting bananas and chocolate. I could have gone very simple and made a banana cake with chocolate frosting, (yummy), instead I opted to branch out and try a new recipe. I found this one on Elle's New England Kitchen. She's one of my favorite blogs I follow. Great read and more importantly wonderful recipes!! This one is very easy and perfect for getting little hands in the kitchen.

Elle has a fabulous recipe for Double Chocolate Banana Muffins. Just the mere thought of them make me shrug my shoulders up with giddy excitement. They are so amazing!! :) We followed the recipe and only made two little changes. One being we added walnuts, as suggested by Elle's husband, into the batter, as opposed to a topping. Second being we made them into brownies instead of muffins.

I have to say we are a family of chocolate lovers and great lovers of brownies!! We quickly mixed these up and rushed through dinner eagerly awaiting their finish! We of course had to snap a picture as soon as they came out of the oven! Don't they look divine??

Here's a nice side shot, right before it was gobbled up!! They were so delicious!!! Very rich, and very moist! The chocolate, banana and walnuts all complimented each other quite nicely. Nothing was too overpowering. Word of warning though, I used a 8x8 pan and it made for a very thick set of brownies. Really cake-like in thickness! Since they were so rich, we wound up cutting them much smaller than the piece below. In fact, the next time I make them, I plan on using a 13x9 pan. Our favorite way to eat then was straight from the oven or warmed slightly in the microwave with a couple of scoops of ice cream! Though I have to admit, we did try them in the morning for breakfast, as Elle suggested. They were perfect!! If you love chocolate and bananas, it's a definite must! :)

I just finished the first assignment for the BBA Challenge!! I'm quite excited about it...though, admittedly, I am slightly disappointed. :| I baked the bread last night, as a storm front came in. The house went from being warm & humid to cold & humid with the windows open. The dough rose terrifically. My oldest DD & I worked on the first portion of it together. The recipe stated it could be broken up into 2 or 3 loaves, depending on the loaf pan. I did 3. I refrigerated one portion and baked the other two. (Baking them was a struggle as we lost power in the storm just as the oven reached temperature!) One loaf was baked in a glass loaf pan and the other in a metal one. The glass loaf rose far more greatly while proofing. However, the metal pan yielded a far more visually pleasing loaf. It browned wonderfully all over, where as the glass loaf was a lighter brown. Either way it goes, we thought the results were yummy!!! Lacking in the sweetness, that majority of challengers had noted. Also, I ran into short/squat loaves. They weren't very tall as some of the other challenger's loaves appeared to be. Good none the less.

The texture is phenomenal! The outside is firm & slightly crispy. Surprisingly, it was/is moist & soft. Sounds like a bag of oxymorons, but it is! :) We had some this morning first plain and then with applebutter. Mmmmm!! We put brown sugar ham, smoked turkey, avocado & creamy balsamic vinaigrette on it for lunch! Big hit!!

You can see how short the bread actually was. The deli meat had to be folded in half just to fit the slice. (Hardly any over hang though!) This loaf actually fell while baking...not sure of the issue there. The taller loaf, (the glass loaf), I left untouched for dinner. We'll be having loaded potato soup and sandwiches! Can't wait!!
I see them everywhere. Everyone seems to be giving them away this month. They really are the neatest things! They're from a company called Creative Labs. The Vado is a mini video camera about the size of a cell phone. There is now an HD version available. I've jumped on the band wagon & am attempting to win one from Mommy Goggles! Here's hoping! 10 minutes until the close. Nothing like cutting it close!! If not, I see a DH purchasing one in my future! :)
I am so terribly excited!!! My new Kitchenaid Stand Mixer came in yesterday!! I took pictures! LOL!! How could I not? I've wanted one for so long!! DH was very generous in getting it for me for Mother's Day. As he reminds me, I'm not even his mom! :)

<---Here it is!!! Woo hoo!! In all it's shiny glory!! I also got my book, The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart. I recently joined a group, Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge. The group was created by an extraordinary fellow blogger Nicole of She's amazing!! This challenge has brought together so many people, I myself included from all different levels of baking. Everyone is so eager to share and learn, it's really refreshing! Some have already finished their first loaf!!

Though I do find it a bit daunting, I cannot wait to finish my own loaf!! I've already peeked ahead to future recipes & I know my family will be very willing guinea pigs!!

I'll be posting pictures of my "creations", so be sure to check back for updates.
What can I say? It's been one week since my last blog. Both girls are sick. Nothing serious, just little viruses. Thank goodness, really, since the Swine Flu or H1N1, as it's now being referred to, is going around. Not too much of an issue for us, as we haven't been to Mexico or been around anyone, at least that we know of, that has been to Mexico recently. As we were going about our day, what's that I hear??? Ah, yes, that would be the sound of the panic alarm going off once again! That's right, the keys were left in reach of Sarah and she did what she does best, she was a curious kid! I won't say who's keys they were, but just know they weren't mine! :) The landscapers came and cleaned up the yard and planted a blue spruce! The yard looks amazing!! Spring is in the air my friends!!