Sunday, September 13, 2015

Pecan Topped Banana Bread

Pecan Topped Banana Bread
     The weather is quickly changing here in Minnesota. We had a beautiful Labor Day weekend and a fabulous summer, but like all good things it must come to an end. It seems that as soon as Labor Day was finished the weather was too. I wake up to 45 degree mornings. BRRR! Thankfully it warms up during the day, but it is still fall like weather.

     This past Saturday morning I decided to make some banana bread. It was such a cool morning and after walking the dogs around the block I decided I needed something warm for breakfast. I was at first going to make banana muffins, but opted for banana bread. This is my old recipe. I have no idea where I ever got it from, its been around so long.

     I did add a little bit to it this time. I sprinkled cinnamon on top and added chopped pecans before baking. There is just a hint of cinnamon, but it is so delicious and the pecans are equally delightful.

   Well here's to welcoming fall and all the chilly days it is about to bring to us. Time to enjoy the changing season and the changing leaves.

Pecan Topped Banana Bread

3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup sour milk, or 1/2 cup +1 teaspoon vinegar
2 eggs
2/3 cup melted fat
Beat these ingredients then add the following and beat well.
2 cups flour
1teaspoon soda
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pour in loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray.Sprinkle cinnamon on top of batter and add 1/4 cup chopped pecans. Bake at 325 for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Cool in pan

Thursday, August 13, 2015

BIrthday Cake Bars

Birthday Cake Bar
     Hard to believe that summer is on the down swing. Now I don't want to be a party pooper, but it's sad to see these beautiful days of summer go and I know it is inevitable. When I start seeing advertisements for school supplies and for the state fair I know the days are numbered.

     I also feel it coming as my daughter gets ready to move out as she starts another chapter in her life. She'll be attending chiropractic school and she'll be moving closer to school. We've got plenty of boxes all over the family room right now.  The school is still in Minnesota, but the other side of the Twin Cities. I would hate to see her have to drive in that traffic every day. Now she'll be close to school and have a very nice place to live with some roommates.

    The recipe I'm sharing is a recipe that you could use anytime of year. It's kind of a celebratory type of treat. This past month Food Network Magazine had a nice little insert with all these fabulous bars. There are so many bars that it makes it hard to choose. I did, however, decide on this one the Birthday Cake Bar.

     A lot of these bars just start with a base bar and then you add a little something special to create a whole new bar. This one was super easy and really not that difficult to make. You do need a lot of sprinkles that I was not sure I would be able to produce, but I did with a little bit of sprinkles from various containers. The frosting was simply a can of vanilla frosting that I had on hand.

   Everyone loved these bars and I think they were gone in about a day and a half. I know I'll be making these again real soon.

Birthday Cake Bars
2 sticks of butter
1 1/2 Cups sugar
3 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 Cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 Cup rainbow sprinkles (I combined a variety of sprinkles to make 1/2 cup)
Vanilla frosting and some extra sprinkles

Melt 2 sticks of butter; let cool slightly. In your mixing bowl whisk sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add butter and mix well. Stir in flour and salt. Fold in sprinkles. Pour into a 9X13 cake pan that you have sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the edges are set, but the center is soft. Let bars cool before frosting and topping with sprinkles.

adapted from Food Network Magazine September 2015

Monday, July 13, 2015

No-Churn Blueberry-Cheesecake Ice Cream

Blueberry-Cheesecake Ice Cream

     I thought today would be a good day to post a recipe for ice cream. Especially since it is suppose to get to 92 today in Minnesota. What better way to cool off than by eating some ice cream?

     This is recipe for Blueberry-Cheesecake ice cream was in the July/August  Food Networks magazine and it sounded so good that I just had to make it. My picture looks a little more blueberry then the one in the magazine but it still tastes amazing. I'm thinking I should have folded more into the ice cream mixture, but once you scoop it out it is just fine.
     You can definitely taste the cheesecake and blueberries with this recipe. It actually tastes like you are eating blueberry cheesecake that has been frozen. I wasn't sure how I would like having the graham cracker crust part in the ice cream, but believe me it is worth doing. Without the graham cracker crust I don't know if you'd get the feel of eating cheesecake.

     I pretty much followed the directions in the magazine with one minor slip up. I added extra sugar to the graham cracker mixture by mistake. Instead of 1 tablespoon of sugar I put in 3 tablespoons. Oops! But it was ok. No one even noticed. What's a little extra sugar?

     One other thing that I had a problem with is when I had to blend the ice cream mixture. The recipe told me to blend it in my food processor. Sounds simple right? Well, my new Hamilton Beach food processor leaked out the bottom all over the place. What a mess! I have no idea why it did that. It would have been better if I used my Ninja Blender. Still debating if I should bring my food processor back or what.
Look at all those blueberries!

     Well after trying this ice cream recipe it make me want to try making some more ice cream. Heck I might even take out the regular ice cream maker and try making ice cream that way. There is nothing better than homemade ice cream. I just tastes sooo good.

    Give this one a try. It is super easy to do it just takes time to freeze so plan ahead.

No-Churn Blueberry-Cheesecake Ice Cream

For the Cheesecake Bites
2/3 Cup graham cracker crumbs (from 4 sheets)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Blueberry Sauce
3 Cups fresh blueberries (about 1 1/2pints)
1/2 Cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 Cup water

For the Ice Cream
2 Cups heavy cream 9minus the 2 tablespoons you already used)
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
2/3 Cup sour cream
2/3 Cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon lemon juice
Pinch of salt

Cheesecake bites
Toss the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and 1 tablespoon sugar in a medium bowl. Press mixture into a small brownie pan.  Put the cream cheese in the medium bowl; stir with a spatula. Add the heavy cream, lemon juice, vanilla and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar; mix until smooth. Spoon into the prepared bowls, cover and freeze until firm, about 2 hours. Remove the bowls from the freezer and run a knife around the edges and turn out onto a cutting board and roughly chop. Cover and keep frozen until ready to use.

Blueberry sauce
While cheesecake bites are freezing, make the blueberry sauce; Combine the blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook, stirring occasionally, gently squashing the berries as they soften, until the mixture is thick and shiny, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and refrigerate until cold.

Ice Cream
Put the heavy cream, cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and salt in a food processor; process until very think and fluffy. Layer the ice cream mixture, blueberry sauce and cheesecake bites in a shallow 2 quart baking dish (aka cake pan). Put cake pan cover on and freeze at least 3 hours ( I froze mine over night). Let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before scooping.

Adapted from Food Network Magazine

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Chocolate Banana Cake

Chocolate Banana Cake
     Well it's finally summer and I can finally do some baking and cooking. I had been so busy with work that I just didn't have much time to blog. I really didn't get the chance to try a whole lot of new things, but now that it's summer I can hopefully try some more recipes. I do have a few new recipes that I tried these past couple months to share with you.

     Today I'm going to share this super moist Chocolate Banana cake. Of course I had several bananas that had gotten bad so I just had to find something to make with them. I just hate to throw them out and banana bread gets a little old too. I was also in the mood for chocolate and this cake fit the bill.

     The original recipe was for an 8X8 pan, but that would never last in my house so I simply doubled the original recipe and made a 9X13 pan instead. I also had to replace the applesauce with oil, because believe it or not I had no plain applesauce on hand. I usually keep those small individual servings on hand for baking, but all I had was cinnamon flavor and cranberry flavored, so oil is a great substitute for applesauce.

    There is no need for frosting on this cake. Chocolate chips are added to the top when baking and of course to the batter its self. This cake could easily be brought on a picnic or taken to a family reunion or potluck. I know you will not have any left to bring home if you take this to any occasion.

Chocolate Banana Cake
4 very ripe bananas
1 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup brown sugar
1 Cup Canola oil
1/3 Cup water
2 teaspoons white vinegar
2 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
1/2 Cup unsweetened baking cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 salt
1 1/3 Cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9X13 pan with cooking spray.
Peel your bananas and beat with your mixer until smooth. Add sugars, oil, water and vinegar and mix thoroughly.
Stir in flour, cocoa, soda and salt. Fold in 2/3 cup of chocolate chips. Pour batter in prepared pan. Sprinkle 2/3 cup of chocolate chips on top.
Bake for 33-37 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool and then slice and serve.

Adapted from


Friday, April 24, 2015

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
     Last night I needed a little bit of therapy. You see, things are just falling apart around me. It seems every day it's something new. And just when I think " O.K., I can deal with this," I get hit with another thing.

     Well last night I was pretty much at my breaking point and it was time for therapy!

     Now I could have gone out and done some retail therapy, but I'm on a strict budget. I don't buy it unless I need it. I'm trying to live a minimalistic life. I feel like people on a whole have too much stuff. I just don't want to be one of those people with too much stuff. In fact, even though I would love to go buy some more fabric to sew with or even some new cake decorating stuff, I am refraining from going to the store to spend money. I have save quite a chunk of change already. Yeah!

     My other type of therapy would be to do some sewing, but I did that the night before. I finished a quilt and sewed a cozy bowl. I still have stuff to finish up, but I just wasn't in the mood.

     So my last choice was baking. I needed something with chocolate in it. After all chocolate is what I go to when I've had a tough day and boy these last few weeks have been that and more. After perusing my pinterest cupcake board I found the perfect treat to make.

     I give you the
     Not only does it have chocolate it has peanut butter. And the icing on the cupcake has a mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cup on it.

     Now I had a little trouble with the frosting on this one. It started out super stiff, so I added milk. Well, too much milk, so I had to add some more powdered sugar to stiffen it up some. After a little messing around I got it back to the right consistency and it was perfect.

     So if you're have a tough day, week or month give these little cupcakes a try. I guarantee you'll feel a little least while you're eating it.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
2 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 Cup sour milk*
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/3 Cup peanut butter
4 1/2 Cups powdered sugar
1/4 Cup milk
2 teaspoon vanilla
24 mini Reese's Peanut Butter cup

Instructions for cupcakes
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl mix sugar, canola, eggs and vanilla until the mixture is smooth. Alternately add the flour/cocoa mixture with the sour milk. Be careful not to over mix. Fold in the chocolate chips.
3. Using an ice cream scoop, add the batter to the muffin tins and bake the cupcakes for 23-27 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Instructions for Frosting
1.Unwrap 24 peanut butter cups and place in a bowl and set aside. Beat the peanut butter in a bowl of a stand mixer until lightened, about 2 minutes on medium-high speed. Drop the speed to low, and begin adding half the powdered sugar, a little at a time. Add the vanilla, and slowly stream in the milk. Add the remaining powdered sugar.
2. Once all the powdered sugar has been added, increased the speed back to medium-high, and beat 1-2 minutes.
3. Using a M1 tip and a disposable bag frost your cooled cupcake. Decorate with a mini peanut butter cup.

*To make sour milk, place 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar into a measuring cup. Fill the remaining 8oz cup with milk. Stir together, then allow to sit for 5 minutes before using.

Recipe adapted from

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Baked Vanilla Donuts

Baked Vanilla Donuts
     Today I thought I'd try this recipe that I found in the Sunday paper a few weeks ago. It is suppose to be a healthier donut. Really? Is there such a thing? I guess just putting the word healthier in front of it makes people think they are really not doing something that is too bad.

      Me? I say you have to do everything with balance. I don't say that I can't have something, because if I did it would just make me want it more. I just try not to over indulge.  I like my sweets, especially for breakfast, so I just let myself have a little. It's all about self control, right?

     I like donuts and I didn't want to hassle with deep frying them, but with these new donut pans all you do is bake them for about 15 minutes. How easy is that and that way you avoid the grease and they are not as fattening. This recipe also uses almond milk in it which is suppose to be very good for a person. So I guess you can say you are eating a better donut then what you would buy at the bakery and they are easy to make too!

     When I made the glaze for the donuts I used lemon extract. That lemon flavor was so wonderful. it just made it feel a little like spring. I also sprinkled them with non pareils to make them look pretty.

     I could have eaten a half a dozen, but remember it's all about self control. Besides I had to save some for family members that were not home this morning. I think they are going to love them and you will too!

Baked Vanilla Donuts
2 eggs
4 T butter, melted
1 t vanilla extract
2/3 C sugar
2 C all purpose flour
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 C almond milk

     Preheat oven to 350. Spray 2 six-cup donut pans with cooking spray. In a bowl beat eggs for 1 minute on medium. Add butter, vanilla, and sugar and beat until smooth. Mix in flour, salt and baking powder. Add milk and stir until smooth. Spoon batter into the donut pans. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until light brown. Remove donuts from pans and let cool on a wire rack. Glaze and top donuts as desired. Makes 1 dozen.
1 1/2 C powdered sugar
2 t vanilla extract or lemon extract
4 T milk
Stir together. Drizzle over cooled donuts.

Recipe adapted from Parade Magazine

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls
     Oh my Goodness! It's been a long time since I've posted a new recipe. It's not that I have given up cooking or blogging it's just that life has been a little busy and I've been a little tired. It seems that by the time I get done cooking or baking something I don't have the energy to sit down and blog about it.

     But that is going to change! I'm going to try and write a couple of blog posts a week. I miss sitting down and blabbing about my life in general and sharing the different recipes that I have tried out. I want to thank the people that have loyally checked my blog for updates and sorry it's been a while.

   I decided to kick start my reentry with a super yummy cinnamon roll recipe. I got the recipe out of the Feb/Mar Taste of Home magazine and thought that I would give it a try.

     I love the ease of using my bread machine for mixing up yeast bread dough and this recipe worked perfectly for this. The trick is to put all the liquid in first then the dry ingredients and then the yeast. It works perfectly every time.

     The one thing that I would definitely change is the amount of frosting. I don't know if it's because I'm getting older or what, but I felt like it was too much sweetness. Maybe half as much frosting would be just as good.

     I also have to say that although these cinnamon rolls were good I don't think they were as good as my Cinnamon Caramel Rolls that I also happen to make in my bread machine. My family totally agrees that these rolls were good, but not as good as my original recipe. I've linked  my recipe so if you want to try that one too it's easy for you to find.

     Well here's the recipe. Give it a try and let me know what you think. Remember you can mix up the dough by hand too. I'll leave directions for that at the bottom of the page.

Happy Baking!
Can't Eat Just One Cinnamon Rolls
1pkg (1/4 oz) active dry yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 Cup water
1 Cup milk
1/3 instant vanilla pudding mix (half of a 3/4-oz pkg)
1 egg
1/4 Cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
3-3 1/2 Cups all purpose flour

3/4 Cup sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 Cup butter, melted

1 1/2 Cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 Cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon water

In a bread machine pan put water, milk, egg and melted butter in first. Then add flour, pudding mix, salt and sugar. Make a little indent in the flour mixture and place the yeast in this indentation. Put the pan in the bread machine and set it to dough. Let it do it's thing. If the dough looks too sticky you can add the extra 1/2 cup of flour to the dough.

Once the dough is done mix up the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and set aside.Melt the butter and set that aside.  Roll the dough out on a well floured surface into a 10X18 inch rectangle. Then spread the melted butter on and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll the dough up to form a long log shape. Take a sharp knife and cut 12 rolls. 

Place rolls in a greased 9X13 pan. Cover and let rise. Or if your like me I cover it, let it rise and put it in the fridge over night. In the morning while I'm preheating the oven I place it on the stove and let it warm up and rise that way. 

Bake the rolls at 350 for 20-25 minutes.While the rolls are baking you can mix up the frosting. Beat the frosting ingredients in a bowl until creamy. Let the rolls slightly cool before adding the frosting.

If you don't have a bread machine
In a bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in warm water. In a bowl, beat milk and pudding mix on low speed for 1 minute. Let stand 1 minute. Add egg, butter, salt, yeast mixture and cups flour; beat on medium until smooth. Stir in enough flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface, knead until smooth, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover; let rise in a warm place until double, about 1 hour.  Now your read to add the filling.

Recipe adapted from: Feb/March Taste of  Home


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Chocolate Banana Bread

Chocolate Banana Bread
     I just had to share this super yummy banana bread recipe. Not only does it help me get rid of those over ripe bananas that I constantly seem to have it was a very moist and a delicious way to start my day. I also know I've shared a few banana bread recipes, but this one is the bomb.

     What two better things to put together than chocolate and bananas? Next to peanut butter and chocolate nothing. Right? The bananas help keep this bread moist and the chocolate makes it almost addictive. My whole house smelled like chocolate cookies when I baked it. In fact when my daughter came home late, late that night she said she could smell it the minute she walked in the door and just had to have some.

     I've been eating it every day for breakfast, hence the less than half a loaf left on the platter. (I've gotta remember to start taking a pic right away before my masterpieces are all eaten.)  I feel like I'm cheating a little when I eat this for breakfast, but I know that at least it's somewhat healthy. The recipe was originally tagged as a dessert, but I feel like banana bread should be eaten as breakfast, even if it does have chocolate in it lol.

     With this recipe I could see making muffins with the batter. It would really be like eating a chocolate cupcake in the morning, but I could think of worse things to eat. Hey you could even pass these off as cupcakes if you put a little frosting on them. Hmmm, that's a thought.

     The recipe did call for good-quality cocoa powder. I used the cocoa powder that I get from Aldis and it tasted fabulous. In fact most of my baking supplies are from Aldis. I just can't pass up the great prices on baking supplies when my products still look, taste and smell delicious.

     Give this one a try. I'm sure your family will love just as much as mine.

Chocolate Banana Bread
3/4 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 Cup mashed bananas (around 2-3 medium bananas)
1/2 Cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/4 Cups cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 Cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly butter a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.
2. In a medium bowl, beat together sugar and butter until creamy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Add the mashed bananas, sour cream and vanilla extract, and stir until smooth and creamy-looking.
3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until  just barely combined. Fold in chocolate chips, if using.
4. Bake in preheated oven for about 50-60 minutes. Bread is done when the top is firm to the touch and toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Allow to cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before unmolding and slicing.

Recipe by