Baking the Stress Away

Well, happy Tuesday!  This week sure feels like a crazy one to me.  I think it’s even more crazy than the first week back to school. When I’m feeling stressed I tend to do things that are sort-of avoidance practices under the guise of productivity.  For example, I was feeling stressed on Saturday about a grocery list of things, so what do I do?  Wreck the whole kitchen baking up some homemade breakfast bread and a pasta salad.  Both turned out stellar, but I didn’t follow my own rules.  I tried the salad a bunch while cooking to make sure it tasted just right.  This was sort of necessary as I went AWOL from the Better Home & Gardens recipe.  This resulted in a massive stomach ache that unfortunately lasted through our fun church picnic.  Not smart.  Here are the recipes that I revamped to go with what I had on hand…

Brocoli, Grape, Pasta Salad (original recipe seen here)

  • 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 (16-oz.) package farfalle (bow-tie) pasta
  • 1 pound fresh broccoli
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (I used the real deal this time, but you could totally do 1/2 greek yogurt and 1/2 mayo)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup diced red onion
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups seedless red grapes, halved
  • 1 package of real bacon bits (the recipe called for real bacon, but nobody got time for that!)

Steps:

  1. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, cut broccoli florets from stems, and separate florets into small pieces using tip of a paring knife.
  3. Whisk together mayonnaise and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl; add broccoli, hot cooked pasta, and grapes, and stir to coat. Cover and chill 3 hours. Stir sunflower seeds into salad just before serving.  Yum!

Unfortunately, there are no pictures of this lovely one.  However, it was probably demolished at the church picnic in about a half-hourish after arrival.

On to number 2 stress-easing activity of the day…the bread!

I made this breakfast bread by adapting Tosca Reno’s oatmeal banana bread recipe.  I have one of her cookbooks, and she is an excellent, by-the-rules clean eater and baker/cooker.  I definitely modified this recipe.  You can see the cookbook that I have here.

Ingredients

1/2 cup white flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup oatmeal (She used quick cooking.  I used regular.)

1 tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 tbsp. coconut oil

2 eggs

1 tbsp. vanilla

1 cup sugar

2 very ripe bananas, fork mashed

2 (8oz.) containers of frozen strawberries in syrup (I thawed and rinsed.  I used these since I had bought them for a recipe back in August and ended up not needing so many.)

handful of defrosted blackberries

STEPS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Spray loaf pan.  I also sprayed 3 muffin holes.  See pic.
  3. Combine dry ingredients. Stir.
  4. In another bowl, add applesauce and oil.  Mix with electric mixer.  Add eggs slowly.  Add vanilla, sugar, and bananas.
  5. With spoon, add flour mix slowly.
  6. Spoon batter into pan(s).
  7. Put in over and start checking after 40 minutes.  I think mine baked for 50-ish, but I honestly didn’t time it.  Just did the stick the knife in if it comes out dirty leave it test.
  8. Cool on wire rack.

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This is such a hearty bread.  The blackberry seeds gave it a little crunch, and the bananas/strawberries gave it so much sweetness.

After all that baking time, it was nice to relax for just a bit until I got roped into doing the bounce house with H.  He had too much fun in there.  I was worried about the flailing arms and screams that would come when it was time to get out, but he actually rolled himself right out (accidentally of course) of the house.  He totally played it off like he meant to do it.  Who is this child!?!?!?!  He’s way too cool to be mine.  🙂

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There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one.  

Jill Churchill

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When words are both true and kind, they can change the world.Buddha Please comment below.

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