Brunch Challenge – Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls

So with the holiday season coming up I decided to focus on brunch ideas this month. The holiday time is full of big family and friend gatherings and eating big meals. So we like to keep things simple and stick to only two meals a brunch and then the larger meal. Small snacks can be served during the rest of the time but by limiting the meals to only two it helps relieve a lot of stress if you are catering for a large group plus since so many calories are consumed during the large meals it seems wise to limit the amount of meals we consume.

Before I share this amazing recipe I think it should be noted that I am not a baker. It is not my area of strength and very rarely does anything I bake turn out beautiful, tasty but not beautiful. I could probably get a lot better if I practiced more but baking is not a healthy thing so I try and limit the amount I do it. I say this because it is a common issue with people. I know so many people that say they aren’t good at baking so they don’t even try any more. They instead stick to store bought pastries, cakes and cookies, or buy only box mixes. But I want to encourage people to give it a try. Yes your results might be like mine, not perfect looking but trust me when I say these were so tasty they didn’t last long enough for us to look at them for long. Not only do home made baked goods taste better and are cheaper buteven more importantly they are better for you then store bought since they have less preservatives and other additives. And since baking isn’t great for the waist line I say any small thing you can do to make it better for you is worth trying.

Trust me when I say if this non-baker can make these then you can. This recipe can easily be made the day before and stored in the fridge until the morning.
Banana-Bread-Cinnamon-Rolls

Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls

Filling:
150g (3/4 c.) soft brown sugar
50g (1/4 c.) granulated sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
(1/4 c.) finely chopped nuts (I prefer pecans but only had chopped mixed nuts on hand)
14g (1 Tbsp) butter, melted
Rolls:
438g (3 3/4 c.) plain flour
12g (2 Tbsp) sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 ripe bananas
100g (7 Tbsp) butter, melted and divided
175mL (3/4 c.) milk
Icing:
2 cup icing sugar
2 Tbsp milk
Adapted from Inside Bru Crew Life

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Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookies and Special Thank You to Royal Berkshire Hospital

So I going to break my own new rule, I know this month is all about 30inute meals but I am not going to be sharing one today and I hope you don’t mind but this whole post is going to be unusual and special for me. You might have noticed there was no blog posting last week. You see I was a little too busy having a baby!!!! It was a crazy week, physically and mentally. And like many things in life it didn’t go the way I planned it. But the care I received at my unplanned hospital birth was so amazing that I hope you don’t mind but I would like to dedicate this post to thanking them.

First to my first midwife Suzanne I can’t thank you enough for being the rock and support I needed. You listened to me so that I felt heard something that I needed. You were the voice of reason when I needed to be reasoned with and you were also there to help calm me when I got too stressed. Thank you for being in my corner and helping argue my case in bringing me back to the midwife led unit. You and Laura helped us create the kind of environment that we were wanting to create at home, to be honest in the beginning it did feel more like we were on a date night then at a hospital having a baby. The aromatherapy, the relaxing environment and peace and quiet that Chris and I were able to have was so soothing and I believe it is the only reason I went into active labour on my own.
My second midwife, Laura, I hope you realize how amazing you are. You were calm and encouraging especially when you noticed things weren’t right. I was scared and I can imagine you were a bit scared too but you didn’t let that show and that helped me stay as calm as I could in the situation.

Now it gets complicated in the thanks because of the amount of people there are to thank and so I am sorry I am not able to personally name you all. To the midwives and nurses downstairs in the delivery suite the calm you all displayed in what felt like an impossible birth situation was incredible. I am aware that probably few if not no one in the room had ever witnessed a breech delivery like that, let alone assisted but handled the situation with such calm and professionalism. You helped me achieve what I won’t lie, felt like was impossible, push her out.

To the staff in Buscot Baby Care Unit, the hardest moment for me was when she was born and I couldn’t hear her cry, you rushed her to the side to work on her and I felt like time has stopped. You worked so quickly on her and as you said at times she recovered quicker then you could finish what you were doing. But you made sure she was okay after such a traumatic birth. And while no parent ever wants their baby whisked away from them I am at least grateful she was whisked away to your care. Thank you for always being happy to have me sit by her side during the night and taking her out of the incubator so I could feed her. You helped make a horrible situation a little bit easier for this scared mummy.

To the staff in Marsh ward, spending the first 5 days of my daughter’s life in a hospital was so hard and I got stir crazy and frustrated at times but the care we received was so wonderful. Everyone, from the midwives and care assistants to the sweet ladies who brought me cups of tea throughout the day. You helped make this patient feel like a person, not a patient. I have stayed at hospitals in the US many times in the past and trust me there is a big difference. You all touched our lives and helped us get home as quickly possible and I want you all to know how positive of an impact you made on our lives that crazy week in October when a little baby’s head turned out to be a bottom and all of our lives turned upside down. Thank you all.

As a thank you I am sharing these amazing Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies. And yes before you ask I am delivering these beauties to the staff so they can enjoy them too.

Triple-Chocolate-Chunk-Cookies

Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookies

227g (1 c.) butter
150g (3/4 c.) granulated sugar
150g (3/4 c.) packed soft brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
312g (2 1/2 c) plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
60g (1/2 c.) cocoa powder
170g (6 oz.) Milk Chocolate chunks *could use chips
170g (6 oz) White Chocolate chunks

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Bacon and Caramelised Red Onion Chutney

Monday was a very hard day, I took my parents to the airport. They were here for 2 weeks, 2 incredible weeks. Each trip we see them the bond my daughter forms with them gets stronger and stronger in a way that blows me away. There are times I worry about what living so far away from my family means about the kind of a relationship my kids will have with my family. But seeing her play with them and adore them the way she has on this trip has helped ease those fears. It isn’t easy having half of your heart on the other side of the world as many other expats will tell you. But thankfully technology has made this distance easier and I am grateful for that. I wanted to share a recipe with you that is already a favourite of my family here but is even more special because I introduced my parents to it this trip and they fell in love.

Chutney is a staple here in the UK, from mango chutney to tomato chutney it is a condiment that has become ingrained in the culture. Growing up I never liked mayonnaise, I still don’t, and so I have always enjoyed sandwiches dry. But being introduced to chutney has opened up my taste pallet to a wonderful new world. Onion chutney is standard in our house, with or without the bacon and I challenge you not to fall in love with this condiment. Jazz up a plain sandwich, burger or serve it with your cheese and crackers, it is addicting.

Bacon-and-Caramelized-Onion-Chutney-burger

Bacon and Caramelised Red Onion Chutney

400g red onions, sliced
200g (7oz) bacon
200g (1 c.) soft brown sugar
125mL (1/2 c.) balsamic vinegar

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Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef

I am not supermum, I am not supermum, I am not supermum. I have to keep telling myself this every day when yet again I fail to complete all of the tasks I have given myself. There is no way I can realistically get everything done that I “need” to in a day. So why do I get so upset with myself when I fail to do so?

Please tell me I am not alone in this?

As if being a mum wasn’t hard enough, we then have to deal the the constant nagging voice in our heads that tells us we need to give more. But you know what, that nagging voice needs to be quiet because it is time to believe I am a great mum and wife and that I already give my all and that is all I can expect from myself.

So in the spirit of being kinder to myself I have dusted off the crock pot and started looking again to easy meals for the week days. And what a way to start my easy meals, this makes enough for 4, so the plan was it was going to be an even easier meal idea for the following day as reheated leftovers. I am happy and sad to say this didn’t make it to the next day leftovers. I am afraid I will have to do a few more hours on the treadmill for this because both hubby and I polished off two helpings of this amazing dish. But trust me once you try it you will understand. The compliment I got from Chris was that I had finally captured that amazing smell you always smell when you go into a Chinese restaurant that you always want but you can’t seem to find a dish that tastes like it on the menu.

Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef

500g (1 lb) flank steak, cut into bite-size pieces
25g (1/4 c.) cornstarch
2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 large green onions, sliced diagonally into 1/2 inch pieces
120mL (1/2 c.) soy sauce *I recommend using reduced sodium
120mL (1/2 c.) water
110g (1/2 c.) soft brown sugar
1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger root
120mL (1/2 c.) hoisin sauce
recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com

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Cinnamon-Streusel Coffeecake #SundaySupper

Happy Christmas! Well it is almost Christmas. I am enjoying a wonderful time at my parent’s house and I am loving watching them and my daughter bond all over again. With Christmas upon us Sunday Supper decided to talk about some of our holiday traditions. When I think of Christmas traditions the first thing that comes into my head is my dad’s omelets. Every year without fail my dad would do his omelet bar for a Christmas brunch and then still had energy to cook up the entire Christmas meal with all the fixings. I am in awe at the energy he had to do this. As much as I would love to carry on his tradition I just don’t have what it takes to cook up a large Christmas meal and a large breakfast. So I have taken to doing something different when it comes to Christmas breakfast. I prep something up the night before that can then be cooked up fresh in the morning. I haven’t set my heart on one particular item trying everything from oven French toast to egg casseroles. Last year and this year I decided to do a coffee cake. I love having a simple breakfast that doesn’t require a lot of effort since Christmas tends to be a long day in the kitchen for me.

What are some of your Christmas breakfast traditions?

Cinnamon-Streusel Coffeecake

Streusel topping
248g (1 1/4 c.) granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt (if you use unsalted butter)
177g (1 1/2 c.) Plain Flour
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
85g (6 Tbsp) butter, melted
213g (1 c) soft brown sugar, light or dark
1 1/2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Cake
170g (3/4 c.) butter
1 tsp salt (1 1/4 teaspoons if you use unsalted butter)
298g (1 1/2 c.) granulated sugar
71g (1/3 c.) soft brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
185mL (3/4 c.) sour cream or plain yogurt
312mL (1 1/4 c.) milk
454g (3 3/4 c.) Plain Flour
Recipe from King Arthur Flour

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