fried banana bread bites

At this time of year, bunnies are supposed to popping out of flower beds left and right, and baby chicks are supposed to be hatching from Easter eggs.

So far I’ve seen none of these things happening… I guess they just don’t happen when you live in the city.

Nonetheless, bunnies and baby chicks are all symbols of rebirth and new beginnings. I’ve definitely had some of my own new beginnings this Spring.

For one thing, I can’t sit still.  I feel this intangible energy pulsing through the air, and this fire in my throat that definitely wasn’t there in December. It’s hard to describe, but I feel like life right now is the opening scene of a movie, where there’s just a bunch of dew and morning dust floating around and it’s unclear what the movie is even about.

I am slowly getting the hang of my hostessing job.  No longer am I the girl who looks like a deer in headlights, awkwardly racking my brain for something to say as I guide people to their tables.  Some one even laughed at one of my corny jokes yesterday when they sat them at a table (I know… what?!).

I have come to terms with the mess in my room.  I now accept the fact that there will eternally be dresses and shoes and mismatched socks strewn about the floor, and I’m actually more comfortable that way than in a spick and span room.

I’ve learned how to properly apply self-tanner without looking like I have strange bruises everywhere (hello white shorts).

These are little changes, but I can say with confidence that I feel at peace.

Another new thing is that I have come to terms with deep-frying.  It doesn’t freak me out as much as it used to.  However, I still wear Speedo swimming goggles while deep frying so oil doesn’t spurt into my eyes (super dorky, yes. but would oil make me go blind? probably).  Thank goodness I conquered my fear so that I could bring you all these majestic fried banana bread bites.

With love,
Erica

Fried Banana Bread Bites

A wonderful way to jazz up an old loaf of banana bread... deep fry it!

Keyword appetizer, banana bread, dessert, fried
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf of banana bread
  • oil for deep frying
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Cut the banana bread into 1 inch cubes.
  2. Preheat the oil in a heavy metal pot to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  3. While the oil is heating up, stir together the sugar and cinnamon.
  4. Drop small batches of the banana bread cubes into the hot oil, fry for 3 minutes until golden brown.
  5. Immediately roll the fried cubes in the sugar mixture, and place on a paper towel.
  6. Repeat until you've fried all of the banana bread.

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

deep-dish apple pie pizza

Deep-dish apple pie pizza. Nothing’s really that simple.

On this blog, I often worry that I am compelled to portray myself as this
teenage Martha Stewart-wannabe, but that’s not reality.

If I were Lauren Conrad or Martha Stewart, this would be different.  It is their job to look super fabulous and manicured for their readers — exhibiting guru-like knowledge on flower arrangements and sock buns that don’t look stupid.

For me, this whole blogging thing is a little different.  I don’t have endless funds to spend on peonies, my hair will never look good in a sock bun, and I have no authority to tell you all how to mix a pink mimosa.

my beautiful, blank pizza canvas

My goal is to get closer to you all as readers and tell it like it is.  I
want you to be able to read my blog posts and be all like “whoa, she
gets it!,” or “omg me too.” Definitely not a “my life is in shambles,
how can I be more like her” (because believe me, my life is in shambles
sometimes too).

Yes, I have a collection of vintage mason jars and milk bottles, I have a bin dedicated to washi tape, and I make my own granola.  But that is just one side of me.

The part that you don’t see as much is the fact that I am a worrier, I
enjoy a little bit (lot a bit) of mess in my room, and I am often very
stubborn. Thus, along with the baker’s twine, DSLR shots, and
confectioners sugar comes real feelings, real mistakes, and the real joy beyond making a photogenic batch of cupcakes.  Also, I often eat things straight out of the fridge (i.e. not plated with perfect lighting and garnishes).

One of my favorite things to eat standing up at the fridge is apple pie.
My dad used to always buy those grocery store apple pies, and I’d always
keep standing up, sneaking over to the fridge and eating just a little
sliver (by the end of the hour the pie was usually half eaten).  That
apple pie tasted so much better than warm apple pie all served up with
ice cream and whipped cream and a mint spring (mint does not belong on
apple pie).  Something about the cold, gooey, finger-food nature of it
made it just that amazing.

Pizza is another classic “fridge food,”  cold pizza straight from the fridge is a delicacy of its own.  It tastes nothing like pizza, but it tastes pretty good!

look at that big, fat crust!

Enough chit-chat.  Let’s talk about this pizza. This is a real life recipe.

Ain’t nobody got time to make real apple pie on a school night.  But we’ve got time for pizza pie. This pizza version of apple pie is all of the cinnamon-y apple goodness without the opressive pastry/pie crust rolling! (especially if you usestore-bought pizza dough… that’s real life)

The thing is, real life often tastes better than “ideal life” (a life in
which I made a mile-high apple pie with a rum syrup reduction with
apples that I picked from my garden). This strange amalgamation of the
classy, the trashy, and the unique creates something truly spectacular.
This pizza is a wonderful hybrid between you’re grandmother’s apple pie
(classy), Domino’s Cinnastix (trashy), and a cream cheese frosting
drizzled cinnamon buns (unique?).

The end result? Something perfect to eat standing up at the fridge.

If you’re looking for more easy-peasy pizza recipes to eat standing up at the fridge, you’re in luck. It’s Pizza Week on NoshOn.It! Checkout the hashtag #PizzaWeek on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or check out the Pizza Week Pinterest Board.  The inspiration is endless!

Some favorites are:
Gerry’s Prosciutto, Pistachio, and Burrata Pizza  
Amy’s Kimchi Pizza
Shanna’s Grilled Pineapple, Crispy Pork Belly, Burrata and Arugula Pizza

With love,
Erica

it’s so gooey I’m gonna die!!!!!

Ingredients

for the dough:

  • 2 packets of active dry yeast 1/4 oz. each
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups all purpose flour plus more for surface
  • alternatively, you could use store-bought dough

for the filling:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 8 oz block of cream cheese softened

for the topping:

  • one small apple thinly sliced
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter
  • cinnamon

Instructions

  1. First, make the pizza dough.
  2. Pour 1 1/2 cups of warm water into a large bowl, stir in yeast, and let stand for about 5 minutes until foamy.
  3. Whisk
  4. in the sugar, oil, and salt.  Add flour and stir until the mixture
  5. forms a sticky dough.  Transfer to a clean, oiled bowl and cover with
  6. plastic wrap.  Set aside in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size (about 1 hour).

  7. Preheat the oven to 460 degrees F.
  8. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll the ball of dough out into a big circle.
  9. Now, make the filling.  Beat together the sugar and cream cheese until it becomes a uniform mixture.  Spoon this mixture evenly around the crust, about an inch from the edge.  Fold the edges over the cream cheese to seal it inside the crust.

  10. Lay the sliced apples out on the dough.  Sprinkle generously with cinnamon.
  11. Now, prepare the streusel.  Crumble together the 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour, white sugar, brown sugar and butter until the butter is the size of pebbles.  Sprinkle this mixture generously all over the pizza.

  12.  Give the pizza another nice sprinkling of cinnamon.

  13. Bake in the preheated oven for 8-12 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.  Remove from the oven, and enjoy while warm!

 

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please
do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella
Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this
post.

whole wheat apple blender pancakes

This past week has been pretty tough with exams and all.  I really wanted to treat myself to a big, luxurious, Sunday breakfast this morning, but I couldn’t muster the energy to beat any egg whites, slice any bread, or even preheat the oven. Polynomials can really wipe a girl out.

This is a recipe was made for the extremely lazy morning — the I-can’t-even-stoop-over-to-grab-a-bowl-and-wooden-spoon kind of morning.  Dump the apple (peel and everything), some flour, and some milk in the blender, and voila, super cinnamon-y apple pancake batter with the push of a button!

These pancakes are not only embarassingly easy to make, they’re also mindbogglingly healthy and delicious too!  They have lots of fiber from the whole wheat flour and apples, and are low in sugar.  So go nuts with the maple syrup!

What’s your favorite lazy breakfast?
With love,
Erica

Vegan Apple Blender Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1 apple cored and quartered (peel on!)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup AP flour

Instructions

  1. Mix all of the ingredients together in the blender. Blend on "batter" setting. 

  2. Heat a lightly greased skillet over medium-high heat and cook pancakes until golden brown on each side.

  3. Serve with butter and maple syrup.

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

“gourmet” auntie anne’s pretzels

Today I went shopping with my friend Tessa.  Exams are starting on Monday, and after hitting the chemistry book for hours on end, we both deserved a little bit of retail therapy.  A few peplum tops and lululemon sports bras, and my woes of homogenous mixtures were far behind me!  
While we were shopping around, I realized how much I love mall food.  That fruity smell of self-serve fro-yo, the basil and oregano wafting out of Sbarro pizza, freshly popped buttery popcorn filling the air from the cinema — it’s the aroma of retail therapy! The smells and tastes of the mall remind me of that inexplicable joy that comes with finding the perfect pair of shoes for half-price, or finding the perfect jeans, or getting a complimentary hand massage at one of those little kiosks. 
There is not a mall in America that doesn’t have a Cinnabon and Auntie Anne’s (I made the infamous Cinnabun a while back).  Today, I tackled Auntie Anne’s big, buttery, twisty mall pretzels.  Except these are better (take that Anne!).  I topped mine with some delicious, gourmet ingredients that elevate these from the standard sprinkle of kosher salt.  I dipped some in truffle oil and sprinkled them with truffle salt, I sprinkled some asagio cheese on some, and even did a maple-butter glaze!  Of course, I had to make a few plain cinnamon-sugar ones. 😉
With love, 
Erica


Ingredients

1 cup milk
1 packet active dry yeast
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoons fine salt

1/4 cup baking soda
1 1/2 cups warm water
Coarse salt
4 tablespoons butter, melted in a shallow dish 



My “gourmet” toppings:

  • Instead of dipping in butter, dip in truffle infused olive oil, and spinkle with truffle salt
  • Mix in some Vermont Maple Syrup with the butter for a maple-glazed version
  • Sprinkle with some grated Parmesan and Asagio 
  • When all else fails, roll ’em in cinnamon sugar

Warm up the milk in the microwave for about 1 minute. It should be about 110º. If it’s too hot it will kill
the yeast.  Stir in the yeast and let it sit for about 3 minutes. Add the butter and
sugar. Add the flour about 1 cup at a time and the add the fine salt.
Kneed for about 10 minutes with a stand mixer, or by hand. Put it in a
greased bowl and cover with greased cling wrap. Let rise for 1 hour in a
moist, warm place until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 450º.
Punch down dough and divide into 8 chunks. Roll them all out as thin as you can. Combine the warm
water and baking soda in a wide bowl. Form the dough into pretzel
shapes, then dip in the baking soda water. Place on a greased baking
sheet and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake for about 7-11 minutes or
until browned. Dip each in the melted butter while hot and roll in desired toppings. 

Adapted from Yammie’s Noshery

recipe showdown: cinnamon rolls

I like big buns and I cannot lie.  I would choose a warm, gooey, buttery cinnamon bun over chocolate cake any day.  Since they are always the star of the brunch table, they better be good.

This may have been my favorite experiment yet.  What would I rather do on a Monday night than play with pounds of butter, sweet brown sugar, and huge blocks of cream cheese? Um, nothing. 

Even hours after these magical buns came out of the oven, my entire house smelled like that heavenly corner of the food court near Cinnabon.  The aroma is so distinct, sweet, buttery — just the smell of Cinnabon can catch me halfway across the mall.

maple glazed cinnamon buns
clone of a cinnabon
description
This recipe was developed by none other than Ree Drummond,
the Pioneer Woman.  It has a unique,
maple coffee icing. I have made these buns in the past and finished almost
the entire tray singlehandedly.
This recipe has over 4500 five-star ratings on All
Recipes, and is said to taste even better
than the shopping mall favorite.
taster’s notes
moist
liquidy
rugelach-like
unexpected taste
sticky
rich
messy
drenched in icing (is that a bad thing?)
classic cinnamon bun
bready
better for breakfast
I prefer this one by a landslide
More traditional
I like the light-dark appearance of the icing and the bun
prettier
funny looking, but oh-so good!

Both of these buns were amazingly delicious, so it seems a
bit unfair to choose a “winner.”  Most of my taste testers favored
“clone of a cinnabon” due to its familier taste.  Plus, I have to admit
that the “clones” looked much prettier — swirled tight and slathered
with rich, tangy, cream cheese icing.

However,
personally, I preferred Ree’s recipe for maple-glazed cinnamon buns. 
Despite their homely appearance, I found these much more addictive.  The
maple and the coffee flavors in the icing conjured up memories of
wonderful weekend breakfasts.

I brought both varieties to my English class this morning to try to narrow down the competition.  Although I did a great job distracting my class from The Great Gatsby with my icing-slathered buns, I did not do a great job narrowing down the competition. The “clones” were all chosen first.  However, everyone who tasted the maple-coffee variety raved about it.  It was a tough call. 

The verdict:
If
you are a traditionalist, the “clones” never fail to impress. Plus, they
are (slightly) less messy than the Pioneer Woman’s and present really
well.

If you are looking for a sinful, sticky, highly addictive treat that should be eaten with a fork — make Ree’s.

With love,
Erica

P.S. Here is the link to Ree’s cinnamon buns 

Clone of A Cinnabon
{All Recipes}

1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup butter, melted
4 1/2 cups AP four
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened

1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle; press Start.
  2. After the
    dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface,
    cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar
    and cinnamon.
  3. Roll dough
    into a 16×21 inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter and
    sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll up dough and cut into
    12 rolls. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking pan. Cover
    and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat
    oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  4. Bake rolls in
    preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. While rolls are
    baking, beat together cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, confectioners’
    sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Spread frosting on warm rolls before
    serving

gingerdoodles

Today I wore long sleeves on my morning run, and leaves crinkled under my feet. It’s getting cooler around here. When it starts to get chilly, nothing warms the heart quite like ginger and cinnamon.

Ginger has that nice, sharp bite that reminds me of crisp, fall air.
Cinnamon has that warm, homey quality that reminds me of thick, woolen blankets.
When put together in the form of a cookie, they become an unbelievable hybrid of pricklygingersnaps and doughy snickerdoodles. Behold the gingerdoodle. 

The strong flavor of a molasses ginger cookie is countered by the soft, sugary flavor of the snickerdoodle. After being rolled in cinnamon sugar, they are baked until crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. All I want to do is cuddle up in some blanckets, brew a pot of tea and devour some of these soft, chewy cookies for a while.

With love,
Erica

P.S. These would be great cookies to make for the holiday season! They are festive and stay chewy for days!

Snickerdoodle Dough
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 tablespoon cinnamon + 3 tablespoons granulated sugar for rolling cookies in
Cream
together shortening and sugar. Add egg and vanilla and mix well, until
creamy. Add flour, baking soda, salt, and cream of tartar and mix until
combined. Dough will be a little of crumbly, but it’ll come together
when you roll it into balls.
Combine cinnamon and 3 tablespoons of sugar in a small bowl and set aside for rolling dough in.

Gingersnap Dough

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon ginger
1/4 cup granulated sugar for rolling cookies in
Cream
together shortening and sugar. Add molasses and egg and continue
beating. Add flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger and
mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Put 1/4 cup sugar in a small bowl and set aside for rolling dough in.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease baking sheets with no-stick cooking spray and set aside.
Roll
a small amount of gingersnap dough into a ball and toss in granulated
sugar. Roll a small amount of snickerdoodle dough in a ball and toss in
cinnamon-sugar.
Place both doughs together and gently roll or squeeze together (it
worked best if I kneaded the snickerdoodle dough in my hand a few times
before rolling both doughs together since it’s a  thicker consistency
).
Place
on baking sheets and bake for 9-11 minutes. Remove from oven and allow
to cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes before moving to cooling racks.
Source: A Year of Cookies.