Tuesday, April 23, 2013

4/23/13 ChefElla's Mom's After School Banana Bread


My sister and I are busy and all of our friends are busy too.  If we are not playing or doing homework after school, we are going somewhere like basketball, swimming, science club, volleyball, soccer, tennis, diving, karate or any of the other things we all do.  While all of these activities are fun, they are right after school, and I do not know about you, but I am always hungry after school.  I am lucky though, because when my Mom picks me up from school, she always has a snack waiting.  My favorite snack is my Mom's banana bread.  She says it will help give me energy for my activities, but honestly I am to busy eating to listen.  So since my Mom cannot make banana bread for all of my friends and you, I asked her to share her recipe so that you can have banana bread after school too.

For this recipe you will need to use the oven or cake ball maker and the mixer.  If you are not allowed to use the oven or mixer by yourself you can have a grown up help.

1.  Wash your hands.
2.  For this recipe you will need measuring spoons and cups, a rubber spatula, a small bowl, a mixing bowl, a whisk, and two loaf pans or a cupcake ball maker.

Ingredients: (This recipe will make 2 loaves or more muffin balls than I can count)
1 2/3 Cups     AP Flour
                     -AP stands for All Purpose flour.  This means that you can use the flour for most cooking
                     or baking recipes.  There are flours for specific recipes like cake flour for cakes and bread
                     flour for breads.
1 tsp             Baking Soda
1/4 tsp          Baking Powder
1/2 tsp          Salt
2 tsp             Cinnamon
3/4 Cup        Dark Chocolate Chips
1/2 Cup        Chopped Walnuts
                     -If you or your friend are allergic to nuts you can just leave them out.  The recipe will taste
                     just as good without them.

3.  Measure flour, baking soda and powder, cinnamon and salt into the small bowl.  With the whisk
     blend the ingredients slowly.  If you mix too fast you will get your dry ingredients all over the

1/4 Cup     Low Fat Organic Vanilla Yogurt
4 Tbl.        Organic Applesauce (This is the same amount as one 3.9oz snack pack cup)
1 tsp          Vanilla
2 ea           Large Organic Eggs
2/3 Cup     Light Brown Sugar
3 ea           Organic Bananas, medium sized

4.  Pre-heat oven to 350F, or turn on your cake ball maker.
5.  Add yogurt, applesauce, eggs, and vanilla to your mixing bowl.
6.  Mix on a low speed (1or 2) until all of the ingredients are blended well.
7.  Add your eggs and brown sugar to the bowl.  Take your bananas, break them into pieces and add
     them to the mixing bowl.  Blend the mixture on a low speed until all of the ingredients are blended
     and there are no large pieces of banana left.
8.  Turn your mixer off and add half of your dry ingredients.  Mix on low until the batter looks like
9.  Add the rest of your dry ingredient, dark chocolate chips and walnuts, and mix again until the batter
     looks like mud.  Take care not to over mix the batter or it will be chewy like bread when you bake
10.  Spray your loaf pans with pan spray.  Using your rubber spatula, divide the batter equally between
       the loaf pans.
11.  Bake the loaves for 20-25 minutes.  Test the loaves by inserting a toothpick into the middle of the
       loaf.  If the toothpick comes out clean the loaf is done.  If it is coated with batter it needs more time.
       Try adding 2-3 minutes at a time until the loaves are done.  Remove from the oven and let the
       loaves cool, cut and enjoy.
If you are making muffin balls, spray your cake ball maker with pan spray.  Using your scoop, scoop batter into each divot.  We cook our muffin balls for 3 minutes, but you will have to test your cake ball maker for the proper time.  When the muffin balls are done, take them out, let them cool and enjoy.

I like to take my cake balls and cut them in half.  Then I put some peanut butter in the center and eat it like a mini sandwich.  You can try different ingredients with you banana bread or just enjoy it plain.


- ChefElla

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

4/9/2013 Clean Up: A Note From ChefElla's Dad


As ChefElla learns more about cooking and baking she continues to ask for more responsibility in the kitchen.  I think this is great, but one of the biggest jobs in the kitchen, is clean up.  Now it would be easy to just tell her, if you cook, you clean, and those are just the rules, but I have learned over the years that this kind of logic can have the opposite effect on a child.  When ChefElla was 4 she wanted to help in the kitchen.  We made lasagna and she had the best time.  When we were done I told her the rules of cooking.  You have to eat everything you make.  She did not cook with me again for 6 months.  After that we changed the rule to, you must try everything you make.

Now admit it.  We all hate cleaning, and because we cook 2-3 times per day it seems as if we are always cleaning.  Add child size cups and plates, school lunch boxes, snacks and the blender from ChefElla's Mom's Secret Strawberry Smoothie, and it is a wonder we ever make it out of the kitchen.

So what do you do?  Start small.  Start with one job.  We have talked in the past about your little ones helping set the table, and hopefully all of the little ChefEllas are helping with that.  Think of this as the the same thing.
Start with one job:
Clearing your place setting.
Putting your dishes in the sink or dishwasher.
Putting clean silverware away.
Drying dishes (dependent on age).
Putting unused ingredients away.
Helping pack up leftovers.
And any of the other one million small chores we do to clean up before or after a meal.

Start with single job.  When your little one gets good at that job, and remembers to do it on their own, it is time to give them another job ( I know that this can take a while and I cannot promise your little one will ever master their first job, but you have to start somewhere).

Do not get discouraged if you get some resistance at first, but if you do, offer two cleaning choices and let your little ones pick.  Again start small and increase the difficulty as they get more accustomed to kitchen chores.

Believe me I am not an expert and some days ChefElla says NO when I ask her to do things, but we cannot give up.  Keep at it, and on the days you do not hear a no, or when dirty dishes magically make it into the dishwasher without you asking, it will be worth it.


-ChefElla's Dad