Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Banana Oatmeal Bread

I'm slowly building up my baking cupboard again and, thankfully, had what I needed to make this yummy bread for breakfast.  I made some changes from the original recipe and baked the "loaf" in a circle casserole dish that I used to mix the batter in, because that's all I have available in our hotel kitchen!  I served it up in wedge slices with some yogurt and we pretended we were eating cake!

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
4 tsp canola oil
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup oats

Preheat oven to 350F.  In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients.  Add oil and eggs; mix thoroughly.  Add mashed bananas and oats to batter and stir until well combined.

Spray a loaf pan (or casserole dish!) with cooking spray.  Pour batter into pan and bake until top of loaf is firm to touch and springs back when lightly pressed, 40-50 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes.  Flip out and cool on a wire rack for another 10 minutes.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

BBQ Chicken Pasta

My family has been in the midst of an international move for the past month.  Hence the silence around here.  I have several recipes that I wanted to share, but didn't write them down before the movers came and packed up my cookbooks - so those will have to wait!  I still don't have my kitchen, but there's something a little romantic about trying to create good meals for my family in a minimally supplied hotel kitchenette (I broke down yesterday and bought a cheese grater!).  I made this tonight.  Not the most amazing thing ever, but still good and filling.  I love pasta, so I had no problem with the penne/sauce combo.  My husband thought it was a little strange.  



  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size chunks
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces penne pasta
  • 2/3 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese


  • In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat (you could also use a large pot if you don’t have a skillet this big). When hot, add the chicken and onions and saute, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is browned and cooked through. Remove the chicken and onions to a plate and set aside.

  • In the same skillet, add the water, chicken broth, penne and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, until the liquid is almost absorbed and the pasta is tender. Stir in the barbecue sauce and sour cream. Once mixed, add in the reserved chicken, onions and shredded cheese. Stir to combine and cook until everything is heated through.

  • Serve immediately and garnish with additional red or green onions and shredded cheese.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Coconut Oil Biscuits

These were easy enough to put together for a weekday breakfast.  he biscuits have a slightly denser texture than buttermilk biscuits.  I loved the hint of coconut flavor that comes out from the oil.  A smear of butter and dab of honey was all we needed to polish off this batch!


2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup coconut oil (room temperature)
3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Add flour, baking powder, salt, and coconut oil to a mixing bowl, and use a pastry cutter or forks to cut the coconut oil into the flour until the mixture is like fine crumbs. Stir in the milk until mixture forms a soft dough and no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Knead the mixture until combined, but be careful not to over-knead.
Turn the dough out onto a cutting board that has been lightly dusted with flour. Gently roll the dough out until it reaches a 1/2-inch thickness. Use a biscuit cutter (mine was heart-shaped cookie cutter!) to cut out the biscuits, and transfer to a baking sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes, or until the biscuits have risen and ever so slightly begin to brown on top. Remove and serve immediately.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Fruit Water


I am loving the sunny days we've been having this month and am keeping "fruit water" stocked in our fridge.  The kids think it's great and this was our favorite combination:

two lime slices
five cucumber slices
a handful of strawberries (greens removed)
a handful of mint leaves

Lemon and orange slices also join in the rotation of what goes in the pitcher.  I find the "flavors" usually need changing after two full days of water refills.  It's so refreshing after playing in the sunshine!


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Blueberry Banana Spelt Muffins


Thank you to my friend, Kenan, for passing on this yummy muffin recipe!  I've made blueberry banana muffins before, but these are a bit more hardy and a tad more healthy.  I made a few changes based on what I had since I didn't need them to stay soy-free or vegan.  My kids have been grateful for these muffins as after-school snacks this week!


2 medium bananas, mashed
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
2 cups light spelt flour
3 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking spice (or cinnamon)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a muffin tin.

Place mashed banana into medium bowl along with the milk, vinegar, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir in coconut oil.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda).

Pour wet ingredients onto the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Do not overmix as spelt is a fragile little flour.  Gently fold in the walnuts and then the blueberries, being sure not to overmix as this can result in dense muffins.

Spoon about a heaping 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin tin, filling each tin about 3/4 full (they will seem very full, but this is normal!)  Bake at 350F for 23-27 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. I baked them for 25 minutes.  Cool in pan for 5-8 minutes and then transfer muffins to a cooling rack and cool for another 15 minutes.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

No Bake Speculoos Oatmeal Cookies


I love Speculoos - both in cookie and spread form.  Love it!  So when I saw this recipe, I expected the simple cookies to knock my socks off!  Well, they were pretty good.  But not that good.  The texture was sorta strange, almost like raw cookie dough, but more wet.  And for as much Speculoos spread as I had to use, I would choose to make these again instead (or just eat it with a spoon!).


6 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup speculoos cookie butter spread
2 tsp vanilla
3 1/3 cups quick cook oats

In a large saucepan, combine butter, milk, speculoos and sugar and bring to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat.  Add in vanilla and mix.  Fold in oats and stir well. Depending on your oats, you may either need a little more oats, or a little more milk. They should come together to be thick, gooey and hold their shape when placed on wax paper or a silpat.
Place rounded spoonfuls onto wax paper (or silpat) and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to completely cool and help set.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Quinoa and Black Bean Stuffed Peppers

The mixture used to stuff the peppers was lacking a little in flavor, but the enchilada sauce helped with that.  Overall, this meal was easy to prepare and went over well with my family.


4 bell peppers (any color), sliced in half stem-to-tip, seeds removed
1c quinoa, uncooked
½ medium onion, diced
1 (15oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 roma tomato, seeded and diced
1 (4oz) can diced green chiles (don't drain)
¼c cilantro, minced
¼tsp salt
¼tsp pepper
olive oil, if desired
½c Monterrey Jack, grated
½c cheddar cheese, grated
1 28 oz. can red enchilada sauce


Add quinoa and onion to a large saucepan with 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil 5 minutes, cover, turn off heat and let steam 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

In the meantime, microwave pepper halves 2-3 minutes to soften slightly. (Prepared this way, the peppers should come out crisp-tender. If you want them crisper, you can omit this step.)

Pour quinoa/onion mixture into a mixing bowl. Stir in black beans, tomato, green chiles and their juices, cilantro, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper. If the mixture seems to dry, drizzle in a bit of olive oil (I didn't need any).

Pour enchilada sauce into a 9x13" baking dish. Divide filling among peppers. Nestle stuffed peppers into the enchilada sauce. Sprinkle with cheeses.

Cover the pan with foil and bake at 375 degrees 25-30 minutes. Remove foil and cook about 5 minutes longer. Serve peppers drizzled with enchilada sauce.

Monday, May 26, 2014

No-Bake Chewy Granola Bars

My neighbor shared a batch of these after my youngest was born and I've been making them since.  I made a few changes, but they are one of my go-to after-school or road trip snacks.  Similar to energy balls, a couple bites pack a sweet protein punch.


2 1/2 cups rice crispies
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla


In a large bowl, combine cereal, rolled oats and raisins; set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar and honey.  Bring to a boil over medium-hight heat, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Stir in peanut butter and vanilla; blend until smooth.  Pour over cereal mixture; mix well.  Press firmly into ungreased 13x9 pan.

Let cool.  Cut into bars.  Store in airtight container.



Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ice Cream Pie

My kids and I stumbled on the Pioneer Woman cooking show last week.  She started with dessert.  Why not?!  That's usually the best part of the meal, anyway.  We were all drooling as we watched her make the simplest ice cream pie.  It looked so good, I went to the store right then and there to get the ingredients for my kids and I to make our own ice cream pie!  
It was super yummy, as expected.  And even though we used over a dozen peanut butter cups, I think it actually could have handled more - yikes!  Straight from the freezer, the pie was pretty firm.  I liked it best after the ice cream had melted just a little and each bite reminded me of a blizzard.  Now I'm churning with ideas of how to do different flavors.  I think mint chocolate is going to be my next try.


18 graham crackers (the 4-section large piece)
1/3 cup butter, melted
Filling:
2 pints vanilla ice cream
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans (I didn't use these - not a big fan of actual nuts in my ice cream)
4 peanut butter cups, roughly chopped (or more!)
2 large Butterfinger, roughly chopped (I didn't use these, but just bulked up on the Reeses)


For the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Crush the graham crackers in a food processor or resealable pastil bag.  Pour the drums into a bowl and stir in the melted butter.  Press into a pie pan and bake until golden and set, about 5 minutes.  Set aside to cool completely.

For the filling:  Remove the ice cream from the freezer and allow to soften slightly.  Mix in the pecans, peanut butter cups and peanut butter crunch candy bars and pour the ice cream mixture into the crust.  Cover with foil and freeze until very hard.  1 to 2 hours.




Friday, May 16, 2014

Strawberry and Feta Salad with Honey Vinegerette

This was a deliciously light and fresh-tasting salad that I served before a hearty beef dinner last week.  It's easy to put together and looks lovely with the different colors mixed together.



2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
packed assorted baby lettuces
1 quart strawberries, hulled and sliced
4 ounces feta, crumbled
1 cup pecans, chopped and toasted


In a small bowl, stir together the mustard, honey, and vinegar.  Stir int he olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Put the lettuces in a large bowl, or on individual plates for serving.  Add the strawberries, feta, and pecans.  Drizzle the dressing over the salad, toss well, and serve.



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