Nutella Banana Nut Bread

Banana Bread Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup sugar (can easily reduce to 3/4 cup)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons Nutella

Method

No need for a mixer for this recipe. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour and mix stirring in Nutella. More or less Nutella can be used and small adjustments to cooking times may need to be made. This amount of Nutella makes the bread darker and and gives the bread the aroma and slight taste of Nutella. Pour mixture into a buttered 4×8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour 15minutes (done when a fork can be pressed down through middle and no batter substance sticks to the fork. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.

Yield: Makes one loaf.

Victorian Valentines History

The true origin of Valentine’s Day may never by known, since it is only legend that tells of the Christian martyr, Valentinus, who sent a letter of affection to his jailer’s daughter on the eve of his execution.  There is no historical evidence to back up the legend, as romantic as it is, but it seems the romanticism itself is enough to give credence to the origin of this holiday.  We do know, however, that the Romans celebrated the pagan festival of Lupercalia on February 14, commemorating the rural god Faunus, patron of husbandry and guardian of the secrets of nature. It is believed that birds chose their mates for the coming season on this day.

The earliest known (proven) valentines are poems, composed for the Valentine’s Day festivals for the courts of 14th-century England an France.  These poems celebrated ‘joyous recreation and conversation about love’. It is believed that this is when the custom of drawing lots for valentines began.  Girls drew boys’ names and boys drew girls’ names so everyone had a pair of valentines to choose from.  Whether the drawing itself resulted in many love affairs, or the lotteries were fixed in advance (which was not uncommon,) we shall never know.

By the 17th Century, lotteries were less common, and selections more deliberate.  It also became customary to present a gift along with the valentine card.  These gifts ranged from love-knots of plaited straw to the opulent jewelry showered upon royal mistresses.

By the mid-18th century, costly valentine gifts were being replaced by elaborate versions of written love messages.   Ideally, these were poetic compositions. But while the artistic embellished their poems with lace and drawings, the malicious embellished theirs with vulgar or cruel greetings which they sent to the ill-favored, long-unmarried or deformed.  Thus, valentines were usually sent anonymously.  Both to protect the giver and the receiver.

Valentine’s Day reached its height of celebration in the Victorian Era.

Valentine cards were more cherished that Christmas cards (which weren’t printed commercially until 1846), perhaps because of the sentimentality attached to them.  Due to this popularity, designing cards became a highly competitive market, with a vast array of motifs and verses.  Suddenly, cards were being produced in tens of thousands, from whimsy and slightly vulgar, to truly sentimental, their designs included lace paper, embossed envelopes, glass or metal mirrors, ribbons, dried ferns and fake advertisements, bank notes and marriage licenses.

Valentine cards were so popular that their production became a flourishing trade amongst cheapjack printers in central London.  Commercially printed valentine cards quickly superseded home-made offerings of earlier times.  They reached the height of their popularity during the 1870s and 80s.  Yet even though they were mass-produced, they still featured birds with real feathers, posies of dried flowers and spun-glass hearts, all trimmed with ribbons and gold lace.

Some valentines were so thick with embellishments, they came in presentation boxes. Some unfolded like fans, while mechanical valentines had levers or disks which made figures dance, hands move and birds flutter their wings.

The lyrics in these cards were as effusive as the decorations.  Whether sent by a steady beau or a secret admirer, these cards were unabashedly sentimental, pleading for affection and pledging undying devotion happily ever after.  Even men kept these tokens of affection hidden in their bureau drawers.

But as times changed, so did customs.  And as less became more on the advent of World War I, valentine cards became a dying art.

Halloween Bags For Gifts Or Treats

Materials:

  • Paper Craft Sack
  • Ribbon of Choice
  • Halloween Hole Punch
  • Cardstock
  • Acrylic Jewels
  • Tissue Paper – Various Colors
  • Crayola® Pointed Scissors
  • Craft Smart® All Purpose Glue
  • 3M® Double Stick Tape

Instructions:

  1. Use double-stick tape to adhere ribbon to bags. Curl some ribbon and tie to bag handles.
  2. Create embellishments using cardstock and craft punches, or just create your own designs.
  3. Apply jewels to the embellishments as desired.
  4. Glue the embellishments to the bags or use ribbon to attach them.
  5. Fill the bags with party favors, goodies, etc. and tissue paper.

Persoanlized Gift Boxes & Sacks

Personalized wraps for Santa’s pack

Utilitarian boxes boxes are hardly glamorous wrapping I materials, but try thinking of them as blank canvases for artful holiday collages. With color, glued-on material, handwritten mes­sages—and imagination—you can transform them into per­sonalized packages for gifts. It’s also a way to involve ju­nior members of your family in the holiday preparations.

You can find unadorned boxes and containers of all sizes and shapes: take-out boxes (from delicatessens and restaurant supply stores), can­dy and cake boxes (from pastry supply stores), paper paint buckets (from paint or hardware stores), and odd-size boxes (from gift, paper supply, and party stores).

Use a wide-ranging palette of decorative materials. Felt markers, paint, construction paper, stencils, fabric scraps, stamps, ribbons, wire, but­tons, beads, leaves, children’s drawings, and cut-up snap­shots decorate the packages in our photograph. You’ll also need craft glue, tape, scissors, a craft knife, pinking shears, a punch, and a stapler. Use an inner lining of colored tis­sue paper to nestle the gift.

Cranberry Vinegar For A Special Gift

Cranberries give mild rice vinegar a snap that celebrates salads.

Very berry, very red vinegar

LEAR VINEGAR BOILED WITH cranberries turns bright red and absorbs the fruit’s fla­vor. The blend makes attrac­tive holiday gifts in decorative bottles.

Splash the vinegar over salad greens, orange slices, raw or cooked red cabbage, and turkey salad.

Cranberry Vinegar
2   cups fresh or frozen cranberries, rinsed
3   cups rice vinegar
About 3 tablespoons sugar

In a 2- to 3-quart pan on high heat, bring to boiling cranberries, vinegar, and 3 tablespoons sugar. Simmer, covered, until cranberries pop and are soft, about 5 minutes. Add more sugar to taste, if desired. Let stand until cool. Pour vinegar through a fine strainer into a container with a pouring lip; discard residue. Pour vinegar into decorative bottles, using a funnel if necks are narrow. Seal with lids.
Use, or store at room temperature up to 4 months. If an opaque film de­velops on surface, spoon it off or, to preserve clarity of vinegar, pour vin­egar through a fine strainer into a 2-to 3-quart pan and bring to boiling. Wash bottle, then refill with vinegar. Store as before. Makes about 3 cups.
Per tablespoon: 7.4 cal; 0 g protein; 0 g fat; 1.9 g carbo.; 2.5 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.