Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Cacao Tea Banana Bread Recipe

I was gifted a sampling of cacao tea to try out. It's funny because I had recently seen something about cacao tea on Instagram just before and was instantly intrigued. The tea is made from the husks (shells) from cacao beans after they've been fermented and roasted. Cacao Tea Co's tea is 100% natural and organic and it contains no caffeine or added sugar. When it came in the mail I couldn't resist giving it a try. I followed their recommendation of brewing 2 tsp of the tea with about a cup of boiling water for 7 mins using a french press.  I was surprised by the strong chocolate smell of the tea and the very light chocolate taste.  I tried it both with and without sugar and I actually preferred it without sugar.

After enjoying the tea in drink form, I decided to try it in a banana bread recipe. I used a double strength brew and longer steep time for the recipe.

Cacao Tea Banana Bread Recipe

2 Cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3 ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup strong brewed cacao tea
1.5 sticks butter, softened
1 1/4 Cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp granulated sugar

1. Brew 3/4 cup of strong cacao tea. I used 1 Tbsp Cacao Tea Co tea brewed in 1 Cup boiling water for 15 minutes, drinking 1/4 cup and saving the remaining 3/4 Cup for the recipe. Set 3/4 cup of tea aside and let cool to room temperature.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3. Grease 5x9 loaf pan and drape wax paper across the pan for a sling and set aside.

4. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and set aside.

5. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas, add room temperature tea, stir until combined and set aside.

4. Beat together softened butter and brown sugar until well incorporated then beat in eggs one at a time until well blended then add vanilla extract

5. Gradually mix in the flour mixture and banana mixture 1/3 at a time, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Be careful not to over mix.

6. Add batter to loaf pan and sprinkle with granulated sugar.  The addition of the granulated sugar gives the top of the bread a nice crispy crust. Bake for approximately 1 hour and 15 mins, until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

7. Let cool for 10 mins in pan. Lift bread out of pan using the sling and cool on a wire rack.

Monday, March 04, 2019

Must Grow Tomatoes

It's the beginning of March and that is the time I start my tomato seeds. I love trying new varieties every year, but I always grow a few I've grown before because they are so good that I just have to grow them again. I will be growing 20 varieties this year and these are the 4 I've grown before which have found their way into my 2019 garden plan. 


This is a favorite by many, me included. It has been grown in my garden for many years. It's a beautiful orange/gold color that is super sweet and great for snacking on. It's known as a hybrid but there are some varieties out there that are said to be de-hybridized which allows you to save seeds and grow them year after year without having to buy them.


This is a gigantic Italian paste tomato from my friend, The Modern Day Settler. You can't find this in stores anywhere as it's a family heirloom that has been grown in her family for generations. You don't need very many of these big guys for a batch of tomato sauce. I grew it in 2017 and missed it last year so will be growing it in the garden this year.

Barry's Crazy Cherry 

This is a beautiful yellow cherry tomato I discovered last year from Wild Boar Farms and it's a must have in my garden from now on. It's the most productive tomato variety I've ever seen and it's amazingly sweet too. If you haven't grown it, you must!!  I entered it into the fair last year and it got a 1st place ribbon.

San Marzano

San Marzano is a very popular roma type that is great for sauces. They may not be large but they are great tasting and the skins come off super easy. I've tried a few different roma type tomatoes but didn't purposefully grow this one last year. I let it grow as a volunteer in the onion bed and it was more productive than I had expected though there were still a lot of green tomatoes left on the plant at the end of the season. They ripened up pretty well in the window. Since it did so well last year I decided to grow it again.

In addition to the above I'll also be growing: 
Autumn's Sunrise
Blue Beauty
Blue Cream Berries
Garden Peach
Litt'l Bites Cherry
Matt's Wild Cherry
Mortgage Lifter
Painted Lady
Pink Berkeley Tie Dye
Pink Vernissage
Pork Chop
Tiger Pear

If you have any favorite varieties you grow in your garden every year or have grown multiple times, let me know what they are!