Chocolate Banana Bread

Yummo!  This is banana bread at it’s yummiest!  The bread isn’t too sweet and is just right as an evening treat with a cup of coffee.  Though, I’ve modified it a little, I got the recipe from here: http://www.joyofbaking.com/breakfast/ChocolateBananaBread.html#ixzz0W1XvtpEh Her recipe is slightly different.  She adds a 1/2 c of chocolate chips.  I thought that that might be overkill…  😉  I also tried putting the pecans as a crust over the top with the turbinado sugar.  It made a beautiful crust, though it browned a little too much.  Hope you try it!  By the way, what do you think about a chocolate pumpkin bread?  Exchange banana for pumpkin?  I may try it.

Chocolate Banana Bread Recipe:

Ingredients

1/2 c toasted walnuts or pecans coarsely chopped (optional)

1 3/4 c all-purpose flour (I mixed with half whole-wheat)

1/4 c Dutch-processed cocoa powder

1 c granulated white sugar

1 t baking powder

1/4 t baking soda

1/4 t salt

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 c unsalted butter, melted and cooled

3 ripe bananas (approximately 1 pound or 454 grams), mashed well (about 1-1/2 c)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place oven rack to middle position. Butter and flour (or spray with a non stick vegetable/flour spray) the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf pan. Set aside.

Chicken Cider Stew

Currently in the crock pot is my favorite fall stew.  It’s a “stoup,” really, colored with the palate of autumn and the hearty aroma of chicken soup and savory cider.  It’s sweet, savory and hearty at it’s best.  I recommend it for a brisk, fall day.  It will make you smile.

Chicken Cider Stew

Ingredients:

2 c. apple cider

3 T catsup

2 slices bacon (or a few oz. of hearty sausage)

1 1/2 t salt

1/4 t dried savory, crushed

1/8 t pepper

2 lbs. chicken breasts, cut up

couple bouillon cubes (optional, to taste)

4 carrots, thinly sliced

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 onion, finely chopped

3 celery sticks, chopped

1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped

Directions:

Throw it all together in a large pot.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer about an hour or until vegetables are done.  Note: If you think more liquid is needed, you can either add more cider, water or chicken broth.  The vegetables and apples, especially, will give some extra liquid.  The apple will fall apart and the sweet potato is likely to, as well.  I’m trying it in a crock pot today.  Of course, it’s going to take much longer, but it looks pretty much the same.

5 weeks left

We just got back from a 5-weeks left OB appointment.  I can’t believe how fast it’s gone.  Baby’s doing great.  Momma’s doing great.  To catch up to my weight gain in the last pregnancy, I still have 25 pounds left to gain!  HA!  That shows just how swollen with water I was last time.  My feet still look relatively normal, as does the rest of me.  I’ve experienced a few random times recently when my hands and feet puffed up, but I think I’ve narrowed it down to a certain kind of sitting for a certain amount of time.  Church last Sunday was the most recent scare.  Every time it happens I think, “This is it.  Here’s comes 20 pounds of water weight!” Thankfully, it goes away with some lying down.

I’m starting to get some of that end of pregnancy energy–nesting energy?  My foot’s doing a lot better, and I’m just excited to be up doing stuff.  Sophia’s not as excited as I am.  She cut a new molar last night, and either she’s having residual pain today or we may see a match on the other side in a few days.  Bless her heart.  I’ve been cooking up a storm today (more on that later) and she hasn’t appreciated the lack of attention.  I tried to let her help me wash dishes and chop vegetables, but everything seemed to end up in her mouth.  The new tooth explains recent biting, screaming and putting dirt and sand in her mouth.  Bless her heart.  I can tell she’s in pain.  She’s chewing her finger raw.

I found out some really disappointing news at the doctor today.  Because of the flu season and the extra swine flu scare this year, they are changing the labor and delivery hospital visitation rules for the next couple months.  For the duration of the labor and recovery, i.e. for the duration of Mom and Baby’s stay at the hospital, Momma and Baby are allowed ONE “designated support person” in the Birth and Women’s Center.  That’s right, ONE visitor.  ONE.  No other adults are allowed.  So, Daddy, in our case, right?  And, that’s it.  No grandparents, no siblings, no friends.  And, no children are allowed, period.  That’s right.  Sophia won’t even be able to visit us!  I’m freaking out a little.  I want the transition to be as least difficult as possible, and if Sophia is not even allowed to come visit us, see where we are, and get used to what’s going on, isn’t it going to be weird when we pop home from our two day vacation with a BRAND NEW BABY that she’s never seen!  She can visit us in the lobby, but that’s it.  I don’t think we can bring a nursery baby out to the lobby…  Hopefully, I’ll feel like stepping out there in my beautiful hospital gown to say Hi…  Oh…  But, what can we do?  It’s for our protection…