The Only Banana Bread Recipe You’ll Ever Need

Banana Bread Slices 2 You know that dish (or dishes) that takes you back to your childhood. I mean, the minute you see the recipe, get a whiff of its familiar scent, or take that first bite, you are instantly transported back to eight years old and life suddenly gets just a little bit simpler? I have several of these dishes, of course, but this banana bread is one of my favorites....

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A Letter to Muffins

Cranberry Orange Muffin 1 Dear Muffins, I love you. I really do. Let me count the ways. I love that you're just sweet enough without sending my glucose levels into overdrive. I love the specks of fruit littered throughout your soft and airy dough. I love your slightly crunchy top and delicately soft bottom. I love that you taste fantastic with coffee or iced tea. I love the endless combinations that make you infinitely malleable to my mood and desire....

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Rosemary Olive Loaf

Rosemary Olive Bread_aerial I’ll be the first to admit that I have a slight obsession with small appliances – toasters, coffee pots, ice cream makers, blenders, food processors, slow cookers, and mixers. I even have a Keurig in addition to my coffee pot. Some of these stay out consistently – coffee pot, blender, toaster – while others come out as a craving hits. Normally this time of year, I crave homemade strawberry ice cream and cantaloupe sorbet. But, with the gloomy and rainy weather, I have had a consistent hankering for carbs, namely bread. We're talking good bread, not that white stuff they sell at the store and serve at all-night diners that has been stripped down of all nutrients and flavor. Part of what makes great bread so great is the smell. It’s irresistible. When my home is filled with the smell of freshly baking bread, it is like a big hug to my olfactory system. So, I figured, why not kill two birds with one stone? In came the bread machine from the garage (urge to use bread machine, check) to satisfy my need for the sweet aromas of homemade bread (not to mention a indulgence in the preservative-free freshness of the loaf). I filled it up, turned it on, and six hours later had the most delicious rosemary kalamata olive loaf you can imagine. Toasted with a little butter the next morning made for the perfect (if not most nutritionally balanced) breakfast. I’ve had my bread machine for nearly eight years now and have worn out the recipe book that came with it testing all the different provided ideas. At first I was wary to stray from the recipes and instructions included in the provided manual, but I have tried modifying the recipes to suit my tastes with much success. I’ve even taken other bread recipe ingredients, ignored the instructions, put them in my trusty bread machine, and ended up with a delicious end results (though I’m not sure if this is recommended). Rosemary Olive Bread_bites taken Rosemary Olive Bread_close up of olives in bread Rosemary Olive Bread_slice and olives 2 Rosemary Olive Bread_bites taken 2  

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

Lemon Poppyseed Bread_2 Some things just scream Spring. You know, like pumpkins in Fall and cinnamon in Winter. Well, Spring always has me dreaming of and craving all things yellow and green, especially lemons and cucumbers. From fish and salads to infused water and muffins, these items make their way into just about everything in my home (including the linen - check out these fantastic dish towels! There's a matching table runner and tablecloth, if you're so inclined.) But when we want something on the sweeter side, it's all about the lemon poppy seed bread. This stuff is magic. Incredibly rich (thank you, buttermilk), each bite melts in your mouth. We call it bread, but it is probably more closely related to cake. For a treat, try nuking a slice in the microwave for a few seconds and then layering on a good helping of cream cheese. I believe this is called heaven. I've never been so I can neither confirm nor deny, but it's gotta be close. I can usually only manage one slice before the sweetness overwhelms, but it is a fantastic treat. After a long day, a slice of this and a glass of bubbly makes sliding out of "work mode" and into "summer days mode" a piece of cake (pun intended). The best part about this whole endeavor is that all I have to do is toss all the ingredients into my trusty bread machine and a few hours later - lemon poppy seed bread. No joke. It's like a slow cooker that caters to my carb addiction. Brilliant. *** Sips champagne, eats lemon poppy seed bread, and licks fingers. *** Lemon Poppyseed Bread_1 Lemon Poppyseed Bread_5 Lemon Poppyseed Bread_3