Oh these bars…Banana…Brown Butter…

Brown Butter Banana Bars

Well hello there friends and Happy New Year!  I can say that for another three days, right?!  Then we flip the calendar to February already!  Eek!

This past month has flown by…I’ve been trying to keep my New Year “intentions” going (I like that word better than resolution…doesn’t feel as stressful to me!), along with getting myself organized for another busy year in Real Estate and for once, starting my taxes early!  Crazy right?!

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One of my “intentions” for 2016, is to get out each month, to a restaurant in the Twin Cities that we haven’t been to.  This month we visited Ox Cart Ale House in Lowertown St. Paul, and it was great!  We started with a few appetizers, Crab & Artichoke Dip, Chicken Wings (that’s about as brave as I can get my son to be with food) and the above Smoked Pork Rillettes…it came with tiny & super crisp crostini, pickled veggies (that’s carrots & golden beets…sorry for the weird lighting) and this amazing Beer Mustard! Oh my ❤️

Then each of us had a sandwich of sorts…my non-adventuresome kid had the Bacon Cheeseburger, my daughter tried her first ever Coney Dog (I think they used smoked hot dogs which made it SO much better!) I had the Fried Chicken sandwich and my husband tried the house-made Chicken, Roasted Garlic & Apple Sausage with Caramelized Onions & fresh Herbs.  Everything was SO good!  My sandwich came on a “Milk Bun” which for obvious reasons, made it sound so much better and it was!  We had a sneaking suspicion that they come from a local bakery legend, Danny Klecko at Saint Agnes Baking Co. and we were right!  I am going to get my hands on some again soon!

Lake Superior

I have been itching to get back on here, if only to share a quick recipe with you.  I hope that 2016 will allow more time for this blog, because I really enjoy it.  But, my day… (night, weekend etc.) job in real estate comes first.  Mama’s got to put the bread on the table!  Speaking of which…you have to try this recipe!  It’s like super moist banana bread, topped with a sweet but unique frosting!  If you are like me, you’ll need to put the pan under lock & key, otherwise I will eat the whole pan myself! 😍

brownbutterbars

I found the recipe here=> Banana Bread Bars with Brown Butter Frosting  and pretty much followed it to a tee.  I stockpile my overripe bananas all year, and this is one of my favorite things to do with it!  Not that you need to improve on this recipe, but it would be fun to add peanut butter chips or even espresso chips to the bars.  And of course you can always add the walnuts, but I am not a big fan of those.Brown Butter

Browning butter is one of my favorite things to do…it makes cookies, sauces, mashed potatoes & these bars SO much more delicious! Take a stick of butter, place into sauté pan, turn heat to medium high and melt…the butter will then start to boil, (turn the heat down a tiny bit if you feel it’s too high)…whisk continuously until you see the butter begin to foam up and start to turn brown.  Keep a very close eye on it at this stage, because it can burn quickly!  I usually cool mine down a bit for use in cookies and such.

Me & Gabby

Not sure if I’ve shared this yet, but my oldest is considering a career in the Culinary Arts!  We are super excited and over the holidays, got her a few beginner cookbooks and hope to start cooking together on the weekends.  I thought it would be fun to blog when we do that, so stay tuned for some fun posts there.

Thanks for following along, wishing you a great end, to the first month of 2016! 😎

Cheers,

~Shawn

Are you considering a move soon?  I would love to help you!  Visit http://www.shawnaugustine.com for more info!

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes for your Valentine…

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A few years back, I had the opportunity to work for a really great restaurant in the north metro that eventually opened for Brunch.  On that Brunch menu were these amazing Lemon Ricotta Pancakes.  Sadly, that restaurant eventually closed and in the last few days I hit up the chef for her recipe.  They are light, fluffy & just a bit creamy because of the Ricotta cheese.  I most recently made them with a Gluten Free flour mix and they were just as good.  The first couple times I made them, I thought using an entire lemon was too much, so I only used half.  Don’t be like me…use the whole thing!  It really brightens the pancake up!  And the day for that matter!  I enjoyed these for lunch on a recent cold day where the temp was a brisk -6……so do it!

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes:

~3/4 cup of flour (or substitute your favorite gluten free mix)

~1 tablespoon baking powder

~1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

~1/4 teaspoon of salt

~1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

~2 tablespoons of sugar (or substitute honey, agave etc.)

~1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (almond might even be nice!)

~1 cup of Ricotta cheese

~2 eggs

~2/3 cup (+/-) milk

~zest from one lemon

~juice from one lemon

Whisk together (to help incorporate air) the dry ingredients.  Mix together wet ingredients.  Combine the two and let batter sit while you heat up your pan.

LR Pancakes

You know the drill…get em’ good and golden, serve warm with syrup, or even #putaneggonit! Fresh fruit is always a welcome side…isn’t this Grapefruit gorgeous!?  🙂

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Add a steamy mug of coffee/cocoa or even a bit of bubbly and make your special Valentine very happy this week!

Hoping you enjoy a sweet Valentine’s Day!

Shawn