Sour Cream Banana Bread

I wish you could smell my house right now. It smells divine! I just pulled some banana bread out of the oven a little while ago, and we are camped out by the counter waiting for it to cool. I have to share a little story about my quest to find a go-to banana bread recipe. You see… I really dislike bananas, thanks to my older sister who decided when I was about 5 years old that she hated bananas. Seeing as I thought she was the smartest kid ever (don’t tell her I said that. I will deny it..) I figured I would follow in her foot steps. I actually talked myself into hating bananas, and to this day I can’t stand them. Of course I would marry a husband that LOVES bananas, and now have an almost 2 year old that would sell her left leg for a banana. She is bananas for bananas ūüôā
I had to find a way to make use of left over bananas, and the quest to find a good bread recipe began. I tried a few, and each time my sweetie was quick to let me know it was not like the banana bread his mom made him when he was younger. Apparently, it was the bomb. Just when I was about to give up, I tried baking this one, and it won his approval. This is my official recipe now. It is not too sweet, and the cinnamon and nutmeg give it a wonderful spice flavor, without overpowering the bananas. I love mixing in a half cup of walnuts or pecans, but my sweetie hates nuts in his bread. Feel free to add them if you please. When it comes to picking the bananas, use the ripest you can find. The darker the spots and skin, the better. They have more sugars in them, and taste more banana-ey (I made that up) when baked.
Oh… and a little side note. I discovered something that has been really helpful. I was throwing out a lot of bananas because they were overripe and I was not ready to bake bread until I discovered that you can freeze them skin on in a plastic bag until you are ready to bake. Just thaw and mash. I now have a constant supply of bananas for bread.

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp lemon juice
3 bananas

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
2. Melt your butter and cool slightly(I microwave mine). Meanwhile, sift out the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl and set aside.
3. In a large bowl mix the butter and the sugar. Next, add in the eggs and the vanilla. Make sure the egg is well incorporated.
4. Add the flour mix to the liquid mixture in 3 batches, combining until smooth.
5. Mash the bananas and mix in the sour cream and  lemon juice. Fold in the banana mixture to batter. Do not over mix. Pour into greased pan.
6. Bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Note: I often use three mini loaf pans instead of the 9×5 pan. They bake for 30 minutes. It makes it easier to share with my friends. This bread is dangerously good, and having too much of it around messes with my resolve ūüôā

Devotion For The Day:

Wonderful Me:

¬†I read Psalms 139 a few days ago, and the words keep coming back to me. So much so that I HAVE to post this. Last night I was thinking about those verses again and the enormity of what they really mean. My sweet hubby would probably tell you that I have a PhD in being my worst critic. At the drop of a hat, I can give you a list a mile long of my imperfections. My prayer lately has been that I would be able to see myself as God sees me. That is why this chapter really speaks to me. I was thinking last night about all of God’s creation. The stars and the planets, all the varieties of plants and animals that he took such care to make, one different from another. The sea and sky and everything in it… I mean… there is no doubt that God’s works are wonderful beyond our human comprehension. Yet the pride of His heart was not in all the plants and animals and all the other stuff. It was in the creation of me and you.¬†WE¬†are the apple of His eye, created so that we can have a relationship with our Daddy.
The cool thing isn’t just that He made me, it is that He continues to know everything about me. When I rise, when I sleep, my thoughts (ouch) and my deeds. Yet all these things do not diminish His great love for me, and His desire to be close to me. As much as we might think that He would go running for the hills once He gets to know the real us, He always has His hand stretched out towards us. He loves us, and thinks we are wonderful. He loves Me… and He thinks I’m totally awesome. I hope these words from Psalms speak to you as much as they did to me.

Basil-Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Breast

Yippeee!!! I am now the proud owner of an herb garden thanks to my daughter who diligently waters my plants. OK… maybe that isn’t totally accurate. It’s actually pots of herbs, but I am still really, REALLY excited. I have a bountiful supply of basil just dying to be used, which was the inspiration for this dish. I have been doing stuffed chicken breasts for years, but this was the first time I tried this particular combination, and I am so pleased with the outcome. Basil, Tomato and Mozzarella are a match made in heaven in my humble opinion. I am a little weird about my tomato textures though, and could not get myself to use regular tomato slices. I’m sure they would work fine, but sun-dried tomatoes have a depth in flavor that I love. Typically the chicken breasts are dipped in egg before coating with the bread crumbs, but I wanted to experiment with Italian dressing for extra ummppphh in the flavor department. Ohh… one more thing. If you have access to Panko breadcrumbs, please give them a whirl. You can thank me later (wink..wink). They are¬†Japanese¬†breadcrumbs¬†and¬†¬†make for a crispier crust than regular breadcrumbs. If you can’t find them, regular breadcrumbs would be just fine.
Other combinations for the stuffing that would be divine would be: Bacon, Cheddar and Chives, Spinach and Feta Cheese, Ham and Swiss, Goat cheese, Spinach and Sun-dried tomatoes, Mushroom and Swiss…. really, the possibilities are endless. Let me know what other exciting combos you come up with.
Ok.. one last thing… my sweetie decided to squeeze lime juice on his chicken after it was cooked, and it was really good! Try lemon or lime juice for added zing.
Let’s get cooking.
5 Chicken Breast, boneless and skinless
10 Ounces Mozzarella, sliced into 10 pieces
1/2 Cup Fresh basil, chopped
1/3 Cup Sun-dried Tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp seasoning salt
1 Cup Italian dressing
11/2 Cups Panko Breadcrumbs
Cooking spray
Lime or lemon juice (optional)
1. Preheat your oven to 375 Degrees F.
2. Using a sharp knife, cut a slit into the chicken about 3/4 of the way through (along the long side). Sprinkle both top and slit of chicken with the seasoning salt.
3. Stuff the chicken by evenly distributing the Mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes and basil into the slits.
4. Put the dressing and the breadcrumbs in 2 separate bowls. Coat the chicken in the dressing first (both sides), then repeat the process with the bread crumbs. You want the surface of the chicken well breaded for best results. I like to use toothpicks to hold the chicken together.
5. Place the chicken on a sheet or cookie pan, sprayed with cooking spray. Also spray the top of the chicken (this helps with browning).
6. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the chicken has an internal temp of 165 Degrees F.
I love this chicken with mashed potatoes and sautéed veggies.
Devotion For The Day:
Where’s my Joy?
Today is one of those days where 10 minutes out of being out of bed, I was ready to get back in and start the day over. It’s truly my fault. I know better than to get up and ¬†immediately jump into mommy mode. I know that a few minutes by myself to have my devotion and then face the day makes all the difference in my attitude. Anyway, this morning, I set myself up to fail. 10 minutes into a parenting struggle, I retreated to my corner to see what words of wisdom the bible could offer me. I actually laughed out loud when I read today’s verse. If only I had read it 20 minutes before! Oh well… better late than never. I found myself ¬†reminding myself of these words quite a few times today.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.