Thursday, August 29, 2013

Buried treasure, kitchen style

When hubby and I cleaned out the pantry the other day, as stated in a previous post, one of our aims was geared to the appliance shelf. We were contemplating items we could include in an upcoming garage sale.

Sunbeam Mixmaster logoSunbeam MixmasterWe found this Sunbeam Mixmaster, one that John bought for me many, many years ago--probably sometime in the early 1980's. In those days I liked to bake cookies and other treats for our two little kids.

With just the two of us in our empty nest, and the healthy living diet I insist upon these days, there aren't many baked goods needed around here.

I intended to put this vintage mixer into our garage sale.

Truth is, when John bought it I had my eye on a Kitchen Aid. I admit I was a little disappointed when I got this one instead, but since cost was always a deciding factor in our lives, this is all he could afford. As it was, it was pretty expensive and far outclassed my little hand mixer.

This one was reminiscent of the mixer I remember my mother and even grandmother using, which is something I didn't appreciate at the time. The design hadn't changed much, except perhaps for the electric cord, more powerful motor, and stainless steel bowls. I see things differently now than I did then. I don't care about much beyond functionality. And this one still works great. I admit, this was buried deep in the back of the pantry and I hadn't given it much though in years. If I do have the need, I have a nice hand mixer that has served me well.

When we unearthed this treasure, I dug into the nether reaches of a kitchen drawer, among the spatulas, orange juicer, garlic press, and candy thermometer, looking for the dough hooks that go with this machine. John was amazed. He didn't know it had them. He likes making pizza, so the thought of mixing 'the perfect crust,' which he is always striving for, really appealed to him.

I have never used the dough hooks, but I remembered them because in all the years I've been baking, I've always wanted to try baking bread. There is a bit of a mystery to the whole process for me. I think about the discipline of pioneer women who baked fresh bread every morning from dough they mixed the night before. I've always said that one day, I would get into that; it hasn't happened yet. Then along came the bread machine with its simplicity of throwing a packaged mix into it, waiting a few hours, and lo and behold--bread! In my new found simpler lifestyle, that isn't good enough. The package mix costs too much and contains unknown ingredients. I am also not excited about the unloaf like appearance of the finished product. I have never baked anything with yeast, although my in-laws have perfected their bread-making skills. I suspect it won't be long before I take on this challenge. Stay tuned!

I do like to make banana bread though. It is one of my favorites. And I have found a recipe that is really simple. In fact, it seems there are always a couple of bananas around here that we don't quite finish eating before they pass their prime. So, using them instead of throwing them away is what I'm all about these days. Food is just too expensive. The way I figure, I spent money on bananas; we are eating all of them!

Banana bread
Delicious banana bread
Since we found our mixer and I had a couple of bananas ripe and ready, I decided to make banana bread. It turned out perfectly. I substituted one half cup of the flour with whole grain flour, just to add to the health factor. 

I may be crazy, but I think using this mixer helped the consistency of the bread. It was actually quite good. In fact, this is a mini loaf. There were two others, but we already ate them. It looks like we'll have to look a little further for garage sale items. 

Here is my bread recipe:

Delicious Banana Bread

Ingredients:

½ cup butter, melted
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ cup sour cream
½ cup chopped walnuts
2 medium bananas, sliced

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350º. Grease a 9x5” loaf pan.

In large bowl, stir together the melted butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla, mix well. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt, stir into the butter mixture until smooth. Finally, fold in the sour cream, walnuts and bananas. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake at 350º for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted ito the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool loaf in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

*I generally bake mini loaves, so I reduce the cooking time to 45 minutes. I also try to substitute at least some whole grain flour.
     
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