Tag Archives: Half & Half

Pomegranate Walnut Banana Bread

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I had some very ripe bananas a few days ago, so naturally I thought of making banana bread. But I wanted to try something different. I’ve been seeing recipes with pomegranate seeds quite a bit, and I finally tried some. I love the way they taste, so juicy with a light sweetness, and a little crunchiness to them, too (that’s the inner seed part). And I hear they’re so good for you! So I decided to try them in banana bread and add some walnuts…and that’s how I came up with this Pomegranate Walnut Banana Bread. It’s very dense and moist, with a light sweetness from the pomegranate seeds and the Light Cream Glaze. The pomegranate seeds and the walnuts give this bread a crunchy texture, too, so it’s a bread you’ll want to chew on a bit more. I really liked it–if you like pomegranate seeds, I think you’ll like this, too! If you haven’t ever eaten pomegranate seeds, here’s a helpful article that tells you more about them at LiveStrong.com.

Seeding the pomegranate can take a little time since there are quite a few seeds in there, so if you don’t have the time or interest in seeding a pomegranate, you can buy pomegranate seeds in the produce section of many grocery stores, or even at some Sam’s Clubs (although it’s definitely cheaper to seed your own pomegranate). The juicy outer parts of the seeds are called Arils–you may see the packaging labeled like that. Also, I recommend greasing and flouring your pan, even if it’s nonstick, because this loaf is so dense and moist, it could easily stick to the bottom of the pan if you didn’t. I greased and floured my pan, and it came out very easily, so it pays to do that!

POMEGRANATE WALNUT BANANA BREAD by NancyCreative

Makes one 9×5″ loaf

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup non-GMO canola oil or light olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Half & Half (light cream)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • seeds from 1 large pomegranate, divided (about 2 cups total–use 1 2/3 cups in the batter, and save the rest for sprinkling on top of the bread after it’s glazed and on each individual slice when serving)
  • Light Cream glaze (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease and flour a 9×5″ loaf pan; set aside.

In large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, salt, and baking powder.

In medium bowl, beat the eggs, then add in the oil, Half & Half (light cream), and vanilla, blending well. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients in the large bowl, mixing everything well.

Fold in the mashed bananas, blending well, then blend in the chopped walnuts and pomegranate seeds.

Bake at 350˚F  for 55 to 60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or almost clean. Let loaf cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

When cake is completely cool or just slightly warm, top with the Light Cream glaze…

LIGHT CREAM GLAZE

  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 2 Tablespoons Half & Half (light cream)
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds for garnish (sprinkle some on top of the loaf and some on each slice when serving)

Mix confectioner’s sugar and Half & Half together until well-blended and smooth. Drizzle over loaf. Sprinkle some of the pomegranate seeds on top of the glaze and let set before serving; sprinkle the rest of the seeds on each slice when serving.

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I’m so glad I finally gave pomegranate seeds a try! Have you made any recipes with them?

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BZ’s Chicken Tortilla Soup

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Brenda, one of our art directors whose last name starts with a “Z,” is also known around the office as BZ. She gave me this recipe, adapted from Food.com, so I thought I’d call it BZ’s Chicken Tortilla Soup! It’s a creamy, mildly spicy, cheesy soup that really warms you up and fills you up!

Brenda has said she likes to throw in extra garlic sometimes when she cooks, so I thought I’d add a little more garlic to this soup. I also used olive oil instead of corn oil and Half & Half (light cream) instead of milk. If you want to try a vegetarian version, another friend, Mary, said she likes to substitute firm tofu for the chicken, cut into small chunks and browned in a skillet with olive oil.

The directions below are for making the soup on your stove top, but you can also make it in a slow cooker–see the end of the recipe for how to do that! If you have a large nonstick stock pot, that would well, too. Thanks for sharing this recipe, Brenda!

BZ’S CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP adapted from Food.com

Makes 8 servings

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup carrot, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 to 2 fresh minced garlic cloves
  • 4 (15-ounce) cans chicken broth (or use vegetable broth for a vegetarian version)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (10-ounce) can Rotel diced tomatoes and chilies, drained
  • 1 to 2 (1 1/2-ounce) packet(s) taco seasoning mix (start with one packet and use another packet or part of another packet if you want a stronger seasoning flavor)
  • 12 ounces chicken meat, poached and diced (or substitute pre-cooked grilled chicken strips, cut up into small chunks; or substitute rotisserie chicken); to make this vegetarian, substitute firm tofu, cut into small chunks and browned in olive oil in a skillet)
  • 1 (10-count) package corn tortillas, cut into small pieces (or substitute 1 cup of Masa Harina (Masa Flour)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup Half & Half (light cream) or milk (I just used 1/2 cup)
  • 12 ounces Monterey Jack or Fiesta/Mexican blend cheese, shredded
  • Corn Tortilla chips, crushed into small pieces, for garnish

In large stockpot, on low heat, add olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add carrots, celery, onion, and garlic powder or fresh garlic, and saute until tender.

Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add tomatoes, Rotel, taco seasoning, and chicken. Cut corn tortillas into small pieces and add to broth mixture. Let boil for 20  minutes or until tortillas are thoroughly incorporated into soup, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking.

Reduce heat and add 8 ounces of the cheese to the soup mixture. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

Add light cream or milk and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

To serve, ladle into bowls and garnish with remaining shredded cheese and some crushed tortilla chips.

Note: I thought the thickness of the soup was just right, but if you’d like it thicker, you can add a few more cut up corn tortillas to the soup while it’s cooking (or if using Masa Flour, add a little more flour to the soup).

You can also make this soup in a slow cooker–that’s actually how Brenda makes it. She puts all the ingredients except the milk and cheese into a crock pot on the LOW setting (she doesn’t cook her chicken beforehand, letting the chicken cook in the crock pot). Stir ingredients several different times the first hour of cooking, then cook on low for another 3 to 4 hours, or until chicken is done. Shred the chicken right in the crock pot with a fork. The last hour of cooking, stir all ingredients well and then add the cheese and milk (or light cream). Stir occasionally that last hour, until cheese is well-blended. Total cooking time  in your crock pot is 5 to 6 hours on the LOW setting.

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This was my first time making homemade chicken tortilla soup, and I’ll probably be making it many times during the fall and winter! Have you made it before?