Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Mountains are better, but banana bread is still good

If you really know me then for sure you know I have major attachment issues. With people, with places, with books, with worn out shirts that seriously look like rags. No matter how hard I try, I'm just not sure I know how to let go in a healthy fashion. (Thank goodness for Elsa though!) Whenever I'm in a good place (I'm getting to the point of this I promise), like a vacation for example, I hold on so tight. I become THAT place and that moment. For instance, all of last week we spent in nature, far far away from anything resembling tall buildings and crowded public transportation. In Tennessee, we rode horses up cliffs bursting with trees and twings, we hiked up a trail and down another, we held ginormous parrots in our arms, we made eye-contact with the Smoky Mountains every direction we turned and stared up into the stars from our balcony. And not just a few scatter of stars here and there, but an entire sky full. Ahhh.

And then we drove 3 hours further down to North Carolina to my cuzo's farm. Yes, a farm complete with chickens and sheep and a horse. Also limitless greenery, which was like the universe's way of telling us to love it even more and more. I had been to both places a few times before, but the coolest thing about this trip was how on the same page everyone was. I wasn't the only one this time who refused to come back to reality. I'm mentally and physically always in a place of hustle and bustle, so being incredibly in-tune with nature and country life is a big deal for me. I try to take forest adventure breaks here when I can, but it's different! It's so much more real when it's physically far away from you. I sound all cheesy ME again...but I've been having a weird epiphany moment thing since then so thank you for your cooperation. Soul-cleansing is a real thing, you guys. It happens.

We were on a sky lift in Gatlinburg, Tennessee when I told my cousin Ruqiya that I want to know people. I do...I just want to know them. Every person means something, do they not? There's like 7 billion people in the world and I want to know them all. Okay okay, I sound like a nincompoop. But then again, maybe I don't? You see people, you meet them, you talk to know them. And repeat. The whole trip, that's all I was up to. Making eye-contact and talking to anyone that would talk to me back, and keeping in mind especially that I'd never see them again. Yes, like your probably doing, my cousin's had a good laugh at that philophy I adopted. But then they too went on to point out people I could potentionally connect with in case I missed an opportunity. How cute, right? I realized I don't only have a passion for people, I have a passion for Mother Earth. I think I love everything in it.

Now I'm home. And the second thing my mom said to me after a long hug was that the bananas are way over ripe and I should make banana bread. I just smiled and said okay, however slightly confused and in denial that indeed I was back.

Because as Lewis Carroll had said of Alice, I too had got so much into the way of expecting nothing but out-of-the-way things to happen, that it seemed quite dull and stupid for life to go on in the common way.

But it is what it is. And here's a recipe of my favorite banana bread yet. Somethings never change, and that's okay too.

Banana Bread

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick melted butter, slightly cooled
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (I used 3 medium sized)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9x5-inch loaf pan. 
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
3. In another bowl, whisk the melted butter and sugar until blended. Add the eggs, mashed bananas and vanilla. Mix well. 
4. Stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Don't be silly and overmix! 
5. Pour batter into loaf pan  and bake until toothpick comes out clean. About 45-50 minutes, but keep an eye out! 
....It tastes heavenly with some smooth cream cheese : ) 

Have a good one, peeps. I like you a lot.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Oven Crepella

When people ask me to name my favorites of stuff (like colors, songs, movies, books...) I always panic and leave them with a "wait, let me think!" It's super hard for me to commit to a favorite anything, almost like there's no going back once you say it. Eeeks, I would hate that. But out of everything in the world, I can easily commit to a favorite meal. In fact, I get really excited whenever I'm asked because I actually have an answer and a reason for why breakfast wins. 

For starters (oh a pun :: sort of :: ! delight), it has it's very own menu. Lunch and dinner kind of spill into eachother in the sense that you can eat lunch for dinner and dinner for lunch and everything will keep order. But have breakfast for dinner and automatically your life that day is cooler and quirkier. Plus, you can classify yourself as a savory breakfast person or a sweet breakfast person. Are you over this already? Should I just cut to the chase? 

Today I made an "oven crepella," which sounds like a baby crepe or a crepe ballerina. I've been wanting to try my hand at one ever since I learned it requires no more effort than pancakes. It actually calls for a lot less hands-on work. You just whisk all the ingredients in a bowl and plop (or rather pour) it all in an oven-safe skillet and bake until it's puffy, fluffy and crinkly around the edges. It ends up tasting like pancakes, just lighter and prettier. It goes by a few names, two of which are a "dutch baby" and german pancakes. But of course oven crepella is my favorite. Just like breakfast is. Whoa, I'm getting pretty good at this coming full circle thing. 

 It's called "crepella" because like crepes, it abides by the basic flour, egg, milk, sugar, vanilla and salt recipe. Or so I think, I mean it makes sense right? Unlike flat crepes though, this puffs up pretty high while it's baking and for a few minutes after. 

Sadly, it deflates! But it's supposed to happen so you get over it quickly. (It does crush you for a couple minutes, I won't lie.)


Recipes like this make me want to kidnap all the pre-mixed pancake boxes and carelessly destroy them. This is SO easy I made it twice today. One for photography purposes (obviously I had to make sure it was good too) and another fresh for my parents and brother's arrival from work. I'm off from school and work for a few weeks so I happily feel like some domestic goddess person. Just kidding. I just always wanted to say that ever since I drooled over Nigella Lawson's cookbook by that name. 

Okay okay! Recipe. Here you are: 

Oven Crepella

3/4 cups flour
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

blueberry sauce (recipe follows), nutella because why not, berries....anything your heart desires on top 


1. Put a 12-inch ovenproof heavy skillet in middle of oven and preheat to 375 degress
2. Whisk together flour, eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt and milk in a bowl.
3. Add butter to skillet and melt in oven until golden, about a minute. 
4. Pour batter into skillet and bake until PUFFED (it just excites me that's all), set and golden, 20-25 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, cook a cup of blueberries with a squirt of lemon juice and a tablespoon of sugar in a saucepan until the juices squirt out and it becomes a glossy, fushia-ish concoction. Stir occasionally for about 10 minutes. 

Serve warmmmm, and I will say that these taste best right away, warm and cuddly.