Tag Archives: egg

Egg-less Banana Bread

First, if you’ve never been to this blog before, let me make one thing perfectly clear. I am not a vegan or a vegetarian. I eat eggs. I raise chickens just so that I can have good, quality eggs at my disposal. However, we’re smack in the middle of winter. Even worse, we’re smack in the middle of some awful polar vortex that made its way here from the Arctic and won’t leave. If you’re not familiar with chickens, you probably don’t know that when the daylight starts to wane, so does their egg production. Add to that the fact the we’re down to three hens and Luna’s production has slowed anyway as she reaches her fourth spring. We haven’t had an egg here since October!!
So, I’ve been forced to go to the co-op or farmers’ market to keep eggs in the house. Which is fine, but um, we’re trying not to spend all our money on groceries and egg and sausage biscuit sandwiches are on this week’s dinner menu and I didn’t want to use them all up and have to buy more.

My pig!So, the bunch of bananas getting browner by the day was screaming at me. I could have peeled the bananas and put them into one of the freezers, but I’m trying to empty them enough to make space for the hog we’re getting from Quartz Farm as soon as he’s big enough.

Banana bread is the best way I know to use up sad, old bananas. All my recipes called for eggs. I Googled egg-less banana bread and got 2 or 3 different recipes that were all basically the same. I then searched for egg substitutes. My search returned the usual, “applesauce, banana, flax seed or oil”.

I ran through the options in my mind and decided against all of them because: I’m already putting 6 bananas in the recipe, I don’t think I should substitute one for the eggs; banana bread already has a lot of butter or oil, so I didn’t want to add any more; all my applesauce is flavored and I don’t want to add any more fruit to my bread; and finally, I don’t have any flax seed. But, there was another egg substitute that intrigued me, for each egg, mix:

2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon oil
2 teaspoons baking powder

I have oil, water and baking powder in my house, so I decided to give it a go.

Banana bread recipes are essentially the same. Oh, of course you can add chocolate chips, or sprinkle some sort of topping on your loaves  but they all boil down to the same thing. Bananas, flour, sugar and a few other key  ingredients in similar proportions across the board. Well, except for that whole egg thing.

Have I mentioned that I’m a math geek? Sometimes when I can’t decide on which recipe to use, I like to play the game of averages. Do you remember averages from school? Or maybe, like me, you actually still use them in your adult life? Add up the values of a given thing and then divide by the number of given things you started with. It’s pretty easy actually, but the nerd in me loves it.

(If you’re screaming in your head, “Just get to the recipe already!” Click here for a printable version or scroll down to the pictures and please accept my apology for rambling.)

I start with a table. I list all the ingredients down the side and then across the rows I write in the volume of that ingredient in the various recipes. Once the table is complete, I calculate the average amount of each ingredient, round it to the nearest measurable amount and then use that number as the amount in my recipe.
For example, sugar. I had six recipes. The sugar called for in those six recipes was: 1 cup, 1 cup, 1 cup, 2/3 cup, 3/4 cup and 2/3 cup. I added all the sugar amounts together and divided by six to get 0.74 cups and then rounded it up to 3/4. Sound tedious? It actually brings me a great deal of joy that I can’t quite explain. Oooh! Oooh! Plus, I doubled the recipe; more math!

When I was all done with the math for my recipe, I added in a few ingredients of my own. One of my original recipes called for milk, one for sour cream, and one for cream cheese. When those ingredients were averaged in, they didn’t account for much of the total recipe, so they weren’t included. Except, I happened to have a half a container of sour cream in the fridge. I myself am not a fan of sour cream, but I needed it for a recipe so I decided to go ahead and add sour cream after all so that I could use it up before it spoiled. And, I added WAY more vanilla than the averages called for. Plus, cinnamon. It wasn’t in any of the recipes and I just felt like putting it in.

The batter was really thick and I thought I was going to end up with a dry bread (which I hate) but I’m quite pleased with how the loaf came out. It was very moist, had a nice flavor and if I have sour cream in the refrigerator again I could probably be persuaded to make another batch.

When everything was said and done, I ended up with this:Yummy homemade banana bread.

To make Egg-less Banana bread,
preheat your oven to 350°.

Add butter and brown sugar to the mixing bowl.

Butter and sugar

Cream butter and sugar together.Creamed together butter and sugar.

Add one egg or one “egg”.

egg substitute

2 T. water
1 t. oil
2 t. baking powder mixed together

Mix well and add sour cream and vanilla. Mix until combined and add bananas. My math said 5 1/2 but I had 6 so I used all of them. I also didn’t mash the bananas before I put them in; I broke chunks off into the mixer and then just beat the snot out of them until they looked like this.All mixed up

Measure the dry ingredients into a separate bowl or 1 quart measuring cup.Flour and spices

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in stages, mixing after each addition.

Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking dish or two loaf pans. Spread the batter into your pan(s) and bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes. Bread is finished when toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Click here for printable version.

Egg-less Banana Bread

Makes 2 loaves or a 9” x 13” pan

Preheat oven to 350°

  • 1 cup butter

  • 1 ½ cup brown sugar

  • 1 “egg” ~ whisk together:

    • 2 T. water

    • 1 t. oil

    • 2 t. baking powder

  • 1 cup sour cream

  • 1 t. vanilla

  • 6 bananas, mashed

  • 3 1/3 cup flour

  • 1 t. baking powder

  • 1 t. baking soda

  • 1/3 t. salt

  • 1 T. cinnamon

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg substitute or egg. Mix well. Add sour cream and vanilla and blend again. Add bananas and mix well.

In a separate container combine dry ingredients. Add a little at a time, mixing after each addition.

Grease a 9” x 13” casserole or two loaf pans.

Pour batter into pan(s). Batter will be quite thick and may require spreading with a spatula.

Bake in 350° oven 45-55 minutes.

Bread is finished when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

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Egg Update

My babies started laying eggs the 8th or 9th of August.  If you read “Whose Egg is This?”  or “Green Eggs“,  you already know this.  With all the egg hubbub in the news and tainted eggs now reaching my neck of the woods, I figured now would be a good time to do a follow-up.  

I was pretty sure this egg wasn’t Molly’s because of the size.  Now, I’m not so sure.  That egg was the only egg we got that day and we didn’t get another little brown egg for nine more days.  It’s typical for chickens to take a day off every few days, but nine?  Plus, Molly’s egg the day after I found the tiny egg was ginormous, really pale brown and weak-shelled.  I’m thinking maybe the mini egg was Molly’s after all.  Research online leads me to believe it’s not impossible for a hen to lay a tiny egg even if she normally lays larger eggs, but I’d love to hear your opinions. 

My favorite hen.

Bella wouldn't hold still for a close-up.

 

I don’t think it was Bellatrix’ egg anymore because she laid her first verified egg August 17th and has only taken one day off since. Nine eggs in ten days is pretty good! 

Hermione really has beautiful markings.

Still not laying.

 

Hermione still hasn’t started laying, but that is typical of a larger breed bird like a Wyandotte. 

Luna's a big girl now.

Luna in the run.

 

So, if Molly laid the tiny egg, Luna was the first of our new girls to start laying.  She’s laid thirteen eggs in the eighteen days since she started.  Her eggs have gotten a little bigger, but her eggs will never really be large because she is a medium-sized bird.  

Between the babies, we’re getting a dozen eggs a week now.  That’s good because Molly stopped laying again the same day that Bella started.  I’m not sure if it’s permanent, but her crop is doing strange things again.  Even if Molly doesn’t start laying again, we’ll soon be getting a dozen and a half, free-range, untainted eggs a week.  I think that’ll be plenty.

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Green Eggs ~ A Tribute to Luna Lovegood Upon the Arrival of Her First Egg

Not to be outdone by the other girls, Luna spent well over an hour in the nest box this morning in the 90-degree coop to provide us with this: 

Easter Egger Egg

Luna's First Egg next to the Mystery Egg for size comparison.

 

See, I knew she didn’t lay that brown Mystery Egg

I could talk about green eggs but I will leave you with some words from the master, Dr. Seuss: 

Say!
I like green eggs and ham!
I do!! I like them, Sam-I-am!
And I would eat them in a boat!
And I would eat them with a goat…
And I will eat them in the rain.
And in the dark. And on a train.
And in a car. And in a tree.
They are so good so good you see! 

So I will eat them in a box.
And I will eat them with a fox.
And I will eat them in a house.
And I will eat them with a mouse.
And I will eat them here and there.
Say! I will eat them ANYWHERE! 

I do so like
green eggs and ham!
Thank you!
Thank you,
Sam-I-am

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Whose Egg is This??

This weekend was the 18th Annual Dunegrass Festival in Empire, Michigan and our second annual weekend at the festival.  Aside from Dunegrass, we’ve been to Empire a lot this summer.  Day trips to the Sleeping Bear Dunes and Lake Michigan.  Day trips to North and South Bar beaches.  The kids and I even made a trip out for Food for Thought’s Green Cuisine event which technically is in Honor not Empire, but we did have to run to Empire for gas so we could make the long trip home.  These little staycations are one of the reasons I’ve been away from my blog so much.  There are posts here and here about other reasons I’ve not been around, and a couple more coming I’m sure.  

Delilah at Dunegrass

Delilah playing her bass while standing ON it.

But, I digress.  Dunegrass is technically a real vacation, not a staycation like our daytrips to the beach or the dunes.  We load up the car with food and camping gear.  We set up a campsite in the field with all the other festival-goers and we enjoy great bands like the Rachel Davis Band and Delilah DeWylde and the Lost Boys.  

 We sleep in a tent during a torrential downpour and wake up in puddles that quickly dry up the next morning in the sweltering heat and enjoy tins of Jiffy-Pop cooked over a Coleman campstove. 

Gwen and Dylan enjoying the festival.

Gwen and Dylan at Dunegrass with their balloon accessories.

So, if this is a vacation post, why is it called, Whose Egg is This??  Good question.  Even though we went away for a vacation, we drove the 17 miles back into town several times.  You see, we have animals.  The chickens?  They would have been fine.  I checked their food and water supply each time we came into town, but I never had to refill it.   

Palomino Rabbit

Fiona enjoying some time in the yard.

Our new friend, Fiona, would have been fine too although she probably would have gorged herself on all the extra food the first day and been hungry until we came back to feed her again.  I could have boarded the dog, but I didn’t.  Dogs, especially indoor dogs, have needs.  Like food.  And Water.  And the bathroom.  Mostly, that last one.  As far as I can tell, Luther doesn’t eat when we’re not home; his food sits untouched in his room until we come home and he’s sure we’re not leaving again.  However, if he had too, he would go potty inside.  He’s done it before.  Wouldn’t you? 

So, we came back into town.  When we came home Saturday morning we collected Molly Weasley’s egg from the nest box and found the “little” girls taking turns sitting in it.  I saw both Luna and Bella sitting in the box on separate occasions.  We weren’t home for a long period of time, so Hermione might have been trying it out too, but we never caught her. 

Sunday morning we came home and found this in the nest box: 

Does it even have a yolk?

Bigger than a bantam??

  Isn’t it cute?  Now we just need to figure out to whom it belongs.  

I’m pretty sure it isn’t Molly’s because she’s been laying (much larger) eggs off and on since February.  

Molly enjoying the sunshine in her new run.

It has been 19 weeks since our girls were hatched and now we have eggs!  Don’t you love Urban Farming?? 

It can’t be Luna’s, because she should be laying blue or green or pink but not brown eggs. 

Luna's a big girl now.

Luna in the run.

If I had to guess, I’d say it belonged to Hermione because she is the biggest of the three babies and according to MyPetChicken, she will be the most prolific layer of the three little girls.  But, I never actually saw her in the nest box.  I still haven’t seen her in the nest box even though the other girls have been testing it out since at least Saturday. 

Hermione really has beautiful markings.

Could it be hers?

So, it could belong to Bellatrix.  She was actually sitting in the nest a few times, but I never saw or heard her laying an egg. 

My favorite hen.

Bella wouldn't hold still for a close-up.

  I guess I won’t know for sure until I catch one of them in the act!

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Happy, Happy Day! (Or, Egg Independence Day)

Back in May I told you about Molly Weasley’s crop problems.  Then, I left you hanging without an update. 

Molly’s crop seemed to clear up after her daily massages and diet of soft foods so I started letting her eat her regular diet again after a week.  This return to her regular diet didn’t seem to have an ill effect on her crop, but she gained a strange habit.  Suddenly, Molly wanted to drink her water out of the dirt.  I have always added grit to her food, she eats grass, bugs and dirt from the front yard and she scratches in the dirt for cracked corn and compost so I’m not sure why she felt the need to drink from the ground as well.

Every time I took fresh water to the coop, Molly pecked at the container to try and splash water onto the ground.  If I dumped water out she joyfully scratched at it and drank it.   

Molly was eating so much sand that her droppings started to look like sand castles.  You probably think I’m joking.  I’m not.  I’d take a picture and post it but then I’m sure my husband would have me committed.  He already thinks I take way too many pictures of otherwise trivial things like jars of jelly and whatever we ate for dinner.

Back to the crop.  It seemed to be maintaing a normal size and was regrowing feathers so I figured eating all that sand was some sort of chicken self-doctoring.  After several weeks of sand eating and a normal sized crop, I was expecting my dear hen to start laying again.  No luck. I waited.  And waited.  Still nothing.

Then Molly started picking at the little girls.  You know the term, “hen-pecked”?  That’s what my chicks were.  Luna even had a bloody spot near her tail.  I was at my wit’s end with Molly.  Not laying was one thing but now tormenting the rest of the flock?  Not cool. 

 To make matters worse, one day shortly after the Coop Loop I picked up Molly and found a large, sandy scab on her crop.  Apparently all that sand was more than her crop could take; it seemed to have ruptured causing sand to ooze out.  The sand had all hardened and despite my strong urge to pick at the sandy clump, I resisted.  I checked on Molly’s scab every day to make sure it wasn’t getting worse.  After a couple days, the wound was significantly smaller.  Shortly after, to my great surprise, it had completely healed!

Despite Molly’s return to good health, we were still without eggs.  And, the girls were still being tormented.  I was just about ready to send Molly to the soup pot.

And then . . .

I found this:

Egg Independence once again!

The end of a long, eggless spell!

Beautiful, isn’t it?

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A Picture’s Worth 1000 Words

Luna, Hermione and Bellatrix

Happy Easter!

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To CSA or Not to CSA?

When I first started “blogging”, I wasn’t actually blogging.  I was using the ‘Notes’ tab on Facebook to journal.  I started out with weekly updates of my CSA share from Providence Farms and included recipes and anecdotes.  Partly it was a way for me to share with friends what I was doing, but in the back of my mind I was writing a book and I needed a place to keep notes that could be eventually incorporated into my book.  My book dream hasn’t died, but the Master Plan has evolved along the way.  So have the notes. 

The notes are now this blog and it is so much more than a diary of my CSA share.  In fact, because I didn’t sign up for a winter CSA share I haven’t blogged about a CSA much at all.  Why didn’t I sign up?  First of all, Providence didn’t offer a winter share.  Second, I had convinced myself that I wasn’t going to do a CSA share because I would be growing more of my own veggies this year.  I still plan to grow more veggies, but in the past I haven’t had a lot of luck in my garden.  I’m hoping that I can remedy that this year, but I’m nervous about doing it all on my own.  Plus, at the moment I don’t have a greenhouse, or a hoophouse, or even a cold frame.  I have a plastic seed-starting tray.  This limits the winter and spring growing I can do.

I started seeds two weeks ago, but so far only the onions and cauliflower have sprouted; old seeds will do that to you.  I’ll purchase some fresh seeds and try again, but crop failure is always a risk when you are a farmer or a gardener or even an urban homesteader which I think is what I’m aiming to be at the moment. 

When a friend asked if I wanted to split a CSA share, I hesitated.  Then I did a little research and decided to go for it.  We started a share with 9 Bean Rows Saturday morning.  We decided on 9 Bean Rows for a few reasons. 

First, their timing was perfect.  Instead of offering “summer” shares starting in June and running through October ike most the CSAs around here do, they offer four sessions that start and end with the changing of the seasons.  Since we just celebrated the Vernal Equinox, Stephanie and I were just in time for a spring share. 

Beacuase the sessions are shorter than most CSA shares, the initial expense is less too.  Most CSA shares run $450-$500 for the season.  At $350 for 12 weeks, the weekly cost works out to be about the same as the longer shares only in a smaller dose.  Plus, they let us pay in four installments; I’m paying two, Stephanie’s paying two.  It hurts less that way. :) 

Another nice thing about 9 Bean Rows is that they offer three different tiers of shares.  The Herbivore share is for salad lovers.  Each week you receive a variety of greens, herbs and edible flowers to make interesting salads year-round.  Tastes of the Garden is the basic share.  It is probably the best value and if I do a summer share, I might downgrade to this share. It has whatever is in season picked fresh each week.  The Cream of the Crop share that I’m splitting with Stephanie is the “premium” share.  Each week you get the basic share plus a loaf of bread, a dozen eggs and frequent “value added” products.  These could be wine from Blackstar Farms, jams and jellies in their season, morel mushrooms, syrup or herb butters like the chive butter tucked into my share this week.  My logic on springing for this share may be twisted, but here it is:  It’s spring.  Not a lot of things are growing yet.  As they start to come into season, the Cream of the Crop shareholders will get the first of those newly emerging products.  That means that as rhubarb, asparagus, wild leeks and even morels start poking their heads up from the cold earth, (Stephanie &) I’ll be the first to enjoy them.  We’ll also get more of these goodies than the standard shareholders and as the season runs out on these goodies, we’ll get the end of the run too.  When pickin’s are slim it seems worth the extra investment.

You’re probably wondering why I’d pay extra for a share that offers eggs when I’m harvesting my own now.  Well, I’m not.  Stephanie and I both have chickens and didn’t want the eggs, so the folks at 9 Bean Rows swapped out the eggs for an extra loaf of bread each week.  This is perfect for us because now we each get a loaf every week instead of splitting a loaf.  It’s actually a better value for us too, because even when I was buying eggs, I was paying less for a dozen local eggs than they charge for a loaf of their delicious bread.  I bake a lot of my own bread, but it’s nice to change things up once in awhile. 

And, the last reason I decided to go with 9 Bean Rows this season?  Well, you may remember that I’m on the Family Wisdom planning comittee this year.  Jen from 9 Bean Rows is speaking at the conference this year.  She’s agreed to do a session on how to cook from your CSA share or from what’s in season at the Farmers’ Market.  It seemed like the right thing to do.  You know, “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” 

Our share was short a couple things this week because I signed up at the very last minute and they had already harvested and sorted everything, but Jen said she’d catch us up next week.  So, if you need one more reason to try a CSA, here it is:

9 Bean Rows Cream of the Crop

My Cream of the Crop share: Spring Week 1

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A Picture’s Worth 1000 Words

And this makes a dozen!

I don't know why she pushes all the straw out.

 

Is there any honey in there?

Wake up Bees!

 

Where's Pooh?

Even the bees came out to enjoy the sunshine today!

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My First Egg!

Look what I found today: 

Our Very First Egg!

The first egg from our only hen.

 

I’ve been checking the coop frequently to see if Chicken Cacciatore Ginny Molly (I’ve recently re-christened her that; more later.) has been laying.  Each time I looked only to find an empty nest box.  This morning I was so surprised that I ran back into the house practically dancing and shouting, “Look what I found!”  

And Ginny, good girl that she is actually laid the egg IN the nest box!  She pushed all the straw out of the way, but it was in the box.  The egg is smallish, but they should get bigger as she figures out the whole egg-laying thing.  

Once the egg was washed, it looked like this: 

My first egg.

What to do with this new egg?

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