You’re glutenful. You’re glutenful. You’re glutenful, it’s true.

“Lemons are disgusting,” said no one ever.

I love lemons. Actually, one of my earliest memories is being on a boat in Colorado with my family and just eating lemons. Another one of my earliest memories is sitting in a car seat and freaking out because I thought I was going to die. Yeah. I was a strange child.

One of the blogs I stalk intensely admire is AmyBites, and she put up a recipe for Lemon Loaf the other day. Since loaf is one of the weirdest words ever (next to tyrotoxism, which means to be poisoned by cheese. I kid you not. Look it up.), I’m going to call it Lemon Pound Cake. Sounds a bit better, right? This recipe was kind of exciting because I got to grate a lemon for the first time. Is it really sad that the most exciting part of my life is grating lemons? Wait. Don’t answer that.

The magic of lemons is that they help you find cuts on your hand you didn’t know you had. What makes it worse is I have a bit of a habit of picking the sides of my nails when I’m nervous. This has been random facts about Picco that make her sound totally mental. But anyway I was in some serious pain juicing these lemons yesterday. I would compare the pain to the pain I felt enduring Leonardo DiCaprio while I was watching Inception. Great movie, don’t get me wrong, but he bothers me to no end. Side note: since Titanic is now in 3D, if they still don’t notice the iceberg, they have some serious issues. Just saying.

I think I’ve finally realized the trick to making non-enjoyable outings enjoyable. Before you leave for said awful event, make food. Last night I went to a homeschool conference that I was anticipating I wasn’t going to enjoy. I mean, what sounds fun about being around a bunch of people you don’t know and listening to a long talk at 8pm, which is wayyyy past my bedtime? (that’s sarcasm, people. I’m not that lame. I actually go to bed at 9.). So right before I left, I made this so I knew I would have something to look forward to. Luckily, I actually had a good time. Part of what made it enjoyable was quoting Brian Regan at random times during the talk with my friend. That always helps.

I used regular flour in this because we were out of brown rice flour, and, OF COURSE, my sister with Celiac was like “You made Lemon Bread! I love you!” It was such a big guilt trip, I’m pretty sure I could have gone to Antarctica and back. Speaking of, one of my friends said that she wants teach to paragliding lessons and dig up dead people’s bones in Antarctica when she’s older. I know, you’re jealous of my awesome friends. It’s pretty obvious.

Lemon Pound Cake
Adapted from AmyBites

For the pound cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/3 cup lowfat buttermilk (I know if you don’t have buttermilk you can make it by adding lemon juice to milk and letting it sit for a little while, but I’m not sure exactly how to do that.)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
Zest of 4 lemons (yes, 4.)
Juice of 4 lemons

For the glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons  lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons water

Preheat the oven to 350º F. Prepare a 9″ loaf pan with baking spray or parchment paper; set aside.

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, and set aside. In a separate bowl or measuring cup, mix together the buttermilk and vanilla, and set aside. There’s lot of setting aside in this recipe.

In a stand mixer, or in a mixing bowl using a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the flour mixture alternating with the buttermilk mixture in three additions, beginning and ending with flour. Stir in lemon zest and juice.

Transfer the batter to your prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the pound cake springs back to the touch. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

To make the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and water in a small sauce pan. Heat over low heat until warm. Be careful to not caramelize the sugar. Drizzle over cooled pound cake. Enjoy immensely.

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Off to compete in the Hunger Games? Have an energy bar. Oh, and good luck surviving.

I’m going to run a 5K. No seriously, a 5K. Me=running 3.1 miles. I know, it still hasn’t sunk in yet for me either. I’ve wanted to do one for a while now, but have been too lazy to sign up. And if I’m too lazy to even sign up, you know I have serious problems. Last week, in a strange bout of confidence, I signed up for a 5K in June. So now I’m doing the couch to 5K program. All I’m going to say is I’m on day 2 and earlier today I jogged (JOGGED) for 3 minutes before my lungs almost collapsed. Have I mentioned I’m the least athletic person ever?

In happier news, I saw the Hunger Games movie yesterday on opening day. Can I just say BEST. MOVIE. EVER. That’s a big compliment coming from me, seeing as I have very high standards for movies. Which is why I love Newsies, Finding Neverland, and Disney’s Robin Hood. Yeah. Anyway. Hunger Games was wayyyy better than I expected it to be. Not as bloody and gory as the books (maybe that’s a good thing?), but it was supermegaultra awesome. I’m definitely going to see it again in theaters because there’s no way I can wait until it comes out on DVD. I have patience issues. The whole time I was watching the movie all I could think about is how, if I had to compete in the games, I would die instantly. Prime example is not being able to jog for more than 7 1/2 seconds. And, last time I checked, my knife throwing and dodging-a-bunch-of-16-year-old-murderers skills aren’t quite up to par anymore. All of which are points against me.

Staying in the Hunger Games mood, I decided to make these energy/granola/fake Clif bars. I’m sure Katniss could have used a few of these when she was, you know, on the verge of death and stuff. I’m not one to brag about how delicious my food is, but wow these are good. The original recipe called for Rice Krispies, but since we didn’t have any, I used Honey Nut Cheerios instead. Mainly because Honey Nut Cheerios are the most delicious cereal ever. Yum. I could eat that stuff all day. When I die, please put a box of them in the coffin with me. Um yeah, that’s not weird…

Peanut Butter Pretzel Granola Bars

Adapted slightly from How Sweet It Is. I love that lady.

makes one 9 x 13 pan

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup Rice Krispies (or Honey Nut Cheerios. Those are just as delicious)
1 cup crushed salted pretzels
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup whole wheat flour (We were out of whole wheat, so I just used regular flour and they turned out fine. It didn’t cause me to grow a 3rd arm or anything…)
1/2 cup chopped dry roasted peanuts (I left these out because peanuts are gross. And, again, leaving them out didn’t cause any disastrous results. Phew.)
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a bowl, combine oats, Rice Krispies, pretzels, flaxseed, brown sugar, flour, and peanuts, and stir to combine. Add in the peanut butter, and mix with a spoon to break it up and create a “dough.” Mix it as much as you can for about 5 minutes. Try not to eat the mixture, which is going to be hard since it looks so good. Combine melted butter with vanilla extract and add to dough, then mix. Add in honey and stir to moisten completely. Fold in chocolate chips.

Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with non-stick spray and press the dough into the pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Remove and let cool completely before cutting – there may be minimal crumbling, but they should hold together completely. If they are starting to fall apart, stick them in the fridge to chill for a few minutes and try again. Eat 1 or 2 while they’re still warm. Or the whole pan. I’ve heard it both ways.

Banana Bread French Toast. Finally.

I made you some french toast. On St. Patrick’s day. Yeah, it doesn’t make sense to me either. I was going to dye it green to make it semi-St. Patrick’s day related, but then I thought it would look too gross and I wouldn’t eat it. And then I started laughing because when was the last time I turned down food? Exactly.

Actually, saying that I made you some french toast is kind of a complete and total lie. I made myself some french toast and THEN decided mid-bite it was the most delicious thing I’ve had in a while, so I decided to share. You were kind of an after thought. I’m sorry. Ok, not really, but apologizing is the right thing to do. Just like asking someone how they’re doing or accepting the terms and conditions before you install something. I mean, does anyone really care? Hey, just sayin’.

There’s a blogger known as Jessica-something (I’m not very good with names. And really, I’m not sure her first name is even Jessica…) and she runs a blog called How Sweet It Is. Is it pathetic that I could name all of the recipes she’s made the past month, but I just had to look up the actual name of the blog and I’m too lazy to look to make sure her name actually is Jessica? Actually, don’t answer that question. Anyway, I’m pretty sure she’s a supernatural being. Her food looks too fantastic to be of this world. Either that or she’s some weird Greek god. Maybe she’s Medusa…? That actually would be pretty cool, but I’m getting off topic here. I can’t focus to save my life. Unless the thing I’m focusing on is food. ANYWAY.


Jessica/Medusa made Banana Bread French Toast a few weeks back and I blame her for my one-track mind as of late. And that one track consists of “BANANA BREAD FRENCH TOAST.” Surprise? Yes, it’s been in the forefront of my noggin so much it deserves to be in all caps. I apologize for making you shout in your head when you read it. Again, I’m not really sorry. *sigh* I really need to stop apologizing and then telling you my apology was a lie. It kind of defeats the purpose. Long story short, I finally got off my lazy hindquarters and made some banana bread french toast. And lemme tell ya, it was delicious.

Beyond delicious. From now on I’m going to make banana bread every Friday night so I can use it to make french toast Saturday morning. Yeah, it’s that good. Life doesn’t get much better than some bacon, a piece of warm banana bread french toast, and some orange juice. Well, unless I was eating it on the beach with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. True story, bro.

Banana Bread French Toast

Adapted from How Sweet It Is. But the banana bread recipe is mine.

For the bread:

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole wheat flour (I usually leave out the whole wheat flour and just use 2 cups of regular or gluten-free flour, but I’m sure it’s “healthier” with the whole wheat stuff…)
3 over-ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9x5x3″ bread pan.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, and then resist the urge to eat all of it. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a separate bowl, combine flours, baking soda, and salt together, and add to the butter/sugar mixture, mixing well.

Fold in bananas and vanilla.

Pour mixture into bread pan, and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

For the french toast using 1/2 of a loaf of banana bread (about 6 big slices):

3 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
dash of cinnamon

In a bowl, combine eggs, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon, whisking until combined.

Dip each slice of bread into the egg mixture, coating both sides. Place on a heated griddle that has been brushed with butter. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side. Enjoy.

This bread is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S

The only problem with being on a diet is, well, being on a diet. Especially being on Atkins. On what planet is this food?

Exactly.

I’m not sure what made me come up with the brilliant idea to go on Atkins for Lent, but I’m on it. Woohoo. Actually, it’s going much better than I imagined. That translates into I’m not complaining as much as I imagined. Although anyone who reads this blog knows that I never complain. Ever. Actually, back in the day, people used to call me Picco, The Girl Who Never Complains And Is Totally the Coolest Person Ever And Who Also Makes the Best Banana Bread On The Planet. It was kind of a long nickname, so you can see why it was shortened to just Picco.

If you have bananas sitting on your counter that look like these

it’s time to make some banana bread, yo.

I’ve been wanting to make banana bread ever since I saw this recipe. Banana bread french toast. Um, YUM? I’ve really been bugging people about it too, and I realized that pretty much every other sentence out of my mouth is “I want to make banana bread french toast.” Unfortunately, I found the recipe too late and I’m going to have to wait another 36 days until I can eat it. Not that I have an app on my phone that counts down until the end of Lent which also doubles as a countdown until I can make banana bread french toast. It’s just like how I don’t complain and I don’t have a total obsession with Christian Bale. Yeah.

I made this gluten-free and no one in my family could taste any difference from when I make it with normal flour. Thank you magical brown rice flour mixture I use so often. I just wish I could eat it. I couldn’t even eat any of the creamed butter and sugar… if that’s not depressing, I don’t know what is. As my little brother said to me tonight while I was eating my steamed broccoli and fish, “Hey, know what the difference is between us? I can eat high-carb foods!” Hmmm.

If you are unfortunate enough to have given up desserts for Lent, lucky for you, you can totally eat this banana bread with no guilt. I mean, it’s bananas (healthy) and bread (last time I checked, totally not something I eat for dessert). And if you were dumb enough to go on Atkins for Lent, then I’m sorry, but you can’t have any of this. Go back to crying over your six cups of loosely packed lettuce and one ounce of cheese.

Banana Bread

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole wheat flour (I usually leave out the whole wheat flour and just use 2 cups of regular or gluten-free flour, but I’m sure it’s “healthier” with the whole wheat stuff…)
3 over-ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9x5x3″ bread pan. Get excited because this banana bread is going to be so dang good.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, and then resist the urge to eat all of it. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a separate bowl, combine flours, baking soda, and salt together, and add to the butter/sugar mixture, mixing well.

Fold in bananas and vanilla.

Pour mixture into bread pan, and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Although if it lasts 10 minutes after it’s done cooking, I’d be impressed.