Zucchini Mini Muffins

Zucchini Mini Muffins

I am tired – and I am cranky.  That is not a good combination for a blog post…but I am going to plow through it anyway.  Cooking often helps alleviate my stress, let’s see if writing about it does the same.

Do you ever have hunches that you can’t substantiate?  For me, it happens all the time.  For a very analytical person, I tend to sense things extremely well.  The problem is, because I am so analytical, unless I have data to back up my suspicions, I don’t often act until I can find the proof.  Of course this doesn’t always work to my advantage – sometimes I wait until I am too far deep into the hole – and it is hard to climb your way out at that point – proof or no proof.  I am finding myself in one of those situations right now, and it is not pretty.  I need to find some foot holes, and create a plan to crawl out.  I am about half-way there, and there are two paths to take.  I sure do hope I take the right one.

I have mentioned this before - but I also have a good sense about recipes.  I remember talking to friend about that – I felt that I was very lucky with recipes.  Most of the recipes I try actually come out quite well.  She told me it wasn’t luck – I was good at reading recipes.  I didn’t realize that was a skill – but I am starting to realize that it is.  While I am reading a recipe, I am making it in my brain, and there are times when I can actually taste it.  Now - back to reality – not everything turns out tasting like it did in my head.  There are times when I am off – for the better, and for the worse.  Sometimes I tear out a recipe thinking it will be good – and it turns out to be just amazing.  I love when that happens.  The opposite is not such much fun.

I saw this recipe in Cooking Light - and I knew they would not be as good as my tried and true Zucchini Bread recipe, that I have been making for 20+ years – but I thought these would be good – and they were terrific.  Mostly because they were bite sized.  They were so easy to pop in your mouth, that they didn’t last long in our house.  I think the girls ate about 5 each for breakfast the next morning, they just couldn’t stop.  I can’t complain when they are getting a green vegetable in first thing in the morning.

Well – that’s it for me – thanks for the diversion – I need to go work on my exit strategy.  I wish I could just cook my way out of this one…unfortunately not this time.


  • 6 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2/3 cup shredded zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons 1% low-fat milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1  large egg, lightly beaten
  •   Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 400°.

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through allspice) in a large bowl. Combine zucchini and next 5 ingredients (through egg) in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Add zucchini mixture to flour mixture, stirring batter just until combined. Divide batter evenly among 24 miniature muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of muffins comes out clean.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Zucchini Mini Muffins

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Sweet Lavender Scones

Sweet Lavender Scones

Wow – I can’t believe it has been a week since my last post – this week just flew by, and before I knew it, I already missed my mid-week window.  It has been a little busy around here, between work and kids stuff, there hasn’t been a minute to spare.  Why is it that every year I forget how busy the end of the school year gets?  Just 6 more weeks to go…and since I am not a Super-Mom, things are bound to slip through the cracks.

The other week we were talking about the mom of one of my older daughter’s friends.  She categorized her as a Super-Mom – I agreed, not really knowing what the definition was.  So – I asked if I was a Super-Mom?  Both my girls unanimously agreed that I was not.  So – I asked what the criteria was to be a Super-Mom, and they explained the following:  you don’t work, you are on the PTA, and you can have lots of kids at your house at any time day or night.  Ok, so I guess I failed on all points.

The other day I was telling some Moms about this at boot camp – both stay-at-home moms, and one of them added:  and you probably don’t have fresh-baked cookies for them when they get home from school.  BUT WAIT – so I might not have them ready for when they come home from school – but my children probably eat more fresh-baked goods than any other kid at school – unless their parent owns a bakery!!  So don’t I get any points for that??  I guess not.

The grass is always greener on the other side – I have plenty of friends tell me how lucky I am that I never stopped working – now that their kids are in school and they are looking for a job, it is near impossible to find something being out of the workforce for 10+ years.  The truth is – I love working, and although I would make a great stay-at-home Mom, I enjoy the challenge of trying to keep everything together.  There are some people who actually think I am pretty good at it (not including my children).  So – for all you stay-at-home Moms – you should feel proud that you are a Super-Mom.  You might not ever be told that – but I am telling you that right now – my kids think you are Super-Moms, and hey – that is worth something.

So – I guess when I made these scones from Bon Appetit (which were FABULOUS, BTW – so light and flavorful) – and they loved them so much – they each had 2 for breakfast each morning.  They even told me I was the best Mom ever – but I was not a Super-Mom.  I guess I have to take what I can get…


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour plus more for surface
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking  powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried  lavender buds
  • 1 teaspoon kosher  salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking  soda
  • 3/4 cup  (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch  cubes
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons finely  grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla  extract
  • 2  tablespoons sanding  or granulated sugar


Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to  425°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk 3 cups flour and next 5  ingredients in a large bowl. Add butter; rub in with your fingers until mixture  resembles coarse meal.

Whisk 1 cup buttermilk, zest, and vanilla in a small bowl. Add  wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir until shaggy dough forms.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface; knead until dough  forms, about 5 turns. Pat into a 10×6″ rectangle. Halve dough lengthwise. Cut  each half crosswise into 4 squares. Cut each square diagonally in half into 2  triangles. Divide between baking sheets. Brush with 2 Tbsp. buttermilk. Sprinkle  with sanding sugar.

Bake until scones are golden and a tester inserted into the  center comes out clean, 13–15 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; let cool.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Sweet Lavender Scones

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie 2

My kids are obsessed with the color pink – they have been all of their lives.  When they were younger and I would do the laundry, it was just a pile of pink clothes – the only positive is that everything matched all the time.  The pink spills over into other parts of their lives as well – food.  They are drawn to anything pink (strawberry flavored).  Unfortunately most of what they are drawn to is fake though…and I spend a lot of time trying to explain that to then.  Sometimes they will listen to me, but most of the time they have to try it for themselves before listening to me the next time.

The other weekend we were on vacation in Whistler.  After dinner we went out for ice-cream – yes, I know, but they love ice-cream no matter what the temperature is like.  They stared at all the flavors for quite a while, but my little one had to go with strawberry.  This was soft serve ice-cream – there was no way this strawberry was going to taste good.  Fortunately my older one choose well – vanilla.  My younger one took a couple of bites, and just set it down on table.  She was a little afraid to tell us that she didn’t like it.  The place was empty, and there were a few guys behind the counter just sitting around.  I got my husband to tell them that she had never had this before, and really didn’t like it – and would it be ok if she got a vanilla instead.  He was more than happy to get her a new one.  Thank goodness – and maybe next time she will remember.

Today we didn’t have a lot going on, and the girls needed a little pick-me-up this afternoon.  I looked at what I had in the house, and decided a fun smoothie was in order.  I asked the girls if they were interested, and boy did I get some enthusiasm.  When I told them what I was going to make, they both crinkled their noses.  They both wanted a strawberry smoothie instead – but I didn’t have anything pink to use.  My younger one was most concerned about the color of the smoothie I wanted to make – she was sure it would be ugly – again, like that has anything to do with the taste.  But I agree, something that is visually appealing, is certainly more delightful to eat.

I whipped up the smoothie, and took a spoon, I was in heaven.  I knew if they didn’t devour theirs – I would have no problem finishing them.  I handed them over, and in about 1 minute they were gone.  They both LOVED the smoothie – they told me how smart I was to come up with this combination – even though it was cream-colored.  Mom 1, Pink 0.


  • 6 oz. low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk


Put all ingredients into a blender, and blend until smooth.  Serve immediately.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

Oatmeal Muffins

Oatmeal Muffins

Wow, can it actually be Valentine’s Day tomorrow already?  My girls have been excited for Valentine’s Day for weeks – the other night my older daughter asked if we could go to my closet and pick out my outfit.  For a split second I thought she was talking about for the next day…then I realized, she was talking about Valentine’s Day.  Let’s see if I can actually remember to wear red tomorrow morning – it is not really my thing, but I know it would make them so happy if I did.

So, my older daughter is having a Valentine’s Day brunch party at school – and I can’t believe it – but this is her last year of parties…next year she will be in middle school.  She was told to bring something you would eat for breakfast – she even gave me some suggestions on what she could bring – bacon, eggs, sausage…seriously?  How would that survive the bus ride, and then the couple of hours of school before the party?  I just laughed.  Then she suggested muffins – ok then, excellent choice.

I went to the pantry to look in my recipe file, and there they were – sitting there, just waiting for an occasion.  I have to admit though, staring at the title, they did not sound that appealing.  I had to convince her that these would be delicious, even though I was definitely skeptical myself.  We made them this weekend, and I swear – these are better than the Quaker Maple and Brown Sugar Oatmeal you buy in those individual packets.  These were AMAZING!!  Cook’s Illustrated really hit a home run here.  The funny part of this recipe is that the batter actually looks like oatmeal!  These were some of the best muffins I have ever made – oh, and that topping – to die for!!  What a winning recipe.  So – if you are still up at this hour, trying to decide what to make for your loved ones tomorrow – how about surprising them with some of these lovely baked goods?  Oh, and don’t forget to wear red tomorrow!



  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (1 1/2-oz)
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (1 2/3-oz)
  • 1/3 cup pecans, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar (2 1/3-oz)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Muffin Base

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (6-oz)
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (8 3/4-oz)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/3 cups packed light brown sugar (9 1/3-oz)
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 2 large eggs, beaten



Combine oats, flour, pecans, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl. Drizzle melted butter over mixture and stir to thoroughly combine; set aside.


Grease and flour 12-cup muffin tin. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add oats and cook, stirring frequently, until oats turn golden brown and smell of cooking popcorn, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer oats to food processor and process into fine meal, about 30 seconds. Add flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda to oats and pulse until combined, about 3 pulses.

Stir 6 tablespoons melted butter and sugar together in large bowl until smooth. Add milk and eggs and whisk until smooth. Using whisk, gently fold half of oat mixture into wet ingredients, tapping whisk against side of bowl to release clumps. Add remaining oat mixture and continue to fold with whisk until no streaks of flour remain. Set aside batter for 20 minutes to thicken. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375°F.

Using ice cream scoop or large spoon, divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups (about 1/2 cup batter per cup; cups will be filled to rim). Evenly sprinkle topping over muffins (about 2 tablespoons per muffin). Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 18 to 25 minutes, rotating muffin tin halfway through baking.

Let muffins cool in muffin tin on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove muffins from muffin tin and serve or let cool completely before serving.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Oatmeal Muffins

Bacon, Onion, and Cheddar Corn Muffins

Onion Cheddar Bacon Corn Muffins

When I was little we would go to my grandmother’s house during the summer – she lived near the ocean, where we would spend our days.  She was an excellent cook, but like all good grandmothers, she wanted her grandchildren to be happy, and always asked us what we wanted for breakfast and lunch.  Of course my sister and I would always choose the same things – and it was because we hardly got these at our house.  We asked for Jiffy Corn Muffins for breakfast, and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese for lunch.  We ate these treats every day – and never got sick of them.  In fact, even today, I often crave a good box of Jiffy Corn Muffins – it is a blast from the past for me to sink my teeth into those sweet little morsels.  Although, over the years, I have discovered that homemade corn muffins can actually taste even better.  I know, can you believe it?  It’s all about bacon…and seriously, what doesn’t taste better with bacon?

This reminds me of another story – and then I promise to get back to these corn muffins.  Years ago my husband’s parents took us to Napa Valley for the weekend, and we stayed at this beautiful B&B in Yountville – this was when Yountville barely existed, and I swear this B&B may have been the only thing in this town.  We woke up to the wonderful smell of bacon – it was incredible.  It got us right up out of the comfortable bed, all dressed – and downstairs for breakfast.  When they told us what was on the menu – we asked where the bacon was?   They laughed – that was just to get people up – they weren’t serving it.  ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME????  We were besides ourselves, and the rest of the trip we were craving bacon.

So – what does these two stories have in common?  This recipe that I found in Cooking Light.  This recipe that combines a wonderful corn muffin with the perfect taste of bacon - and add a little onion and cheddar, then you have really have yourself a party in your mouth.  These are the perfect side dish to chili, soup or just about anything you serve for dinner.  Remember, everything is better with bacon – that is if you actually get to eat it…


  • 2  slices bacon
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/4 cups fat-free buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1  large egg, lightly beaten
  • 4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 2 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 1/2 cup)
  •  Cooking spray


Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat. Remove bacon, reserving drippings in pan. Drain bacon; crumble. Increase heat to medium-high. Add onion to drippings in pan; sauté 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine buttermilk, olive oil, and egg.

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through pepper) in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Make a well in center of flour mixture. Add milk mixture; stir just until moist.

Stir in bacon, onion, and cheese. Spoon into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 400° for 13 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Remove muffins from tins; cool on a wire rack.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Bacon, Onion, and Cheddar Corn Muffins

Crunchy Eggs with Piquillo Peppers

There are two phrases that always seem to stick in my mind that have to do with cooking and bakeing – “It’s better with butter” and “You can basically fry anything and it will taste good.”  I think the latter really has to do with deep fat frying, but if you know what you are doing, and you get the pan to the right temperature, you can make it happen without the fryer.

I have done a lot of frying in my day.  In fact, my husband is pretty good at it himself.  When we were dating and living in Colorado, one of his most favorite things to make was…wait for it…fried mozzerela.  I remember the day he figured out how to make these morsels - without a deep fat fryer.  It was genius, I must admit.  He took a mozzarella stick, dipped it into an egg batter, then covered it in bread crumbs.  He got the pan nice and hot with some oil, and started browning each side.  They were delicious.

We don’t pan fry as much as we used to – but I am always looking for new and interesting ways to make things crispy.  As you know, poached eggs are my absolute favorite – especially when they are served over a savory hash or rice.  I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit, and I was intrigued immediately.  I couldn’t get past the crunchy eggs.  At first, it freaked me out a little – were they crunchy because of the shells?  There was no picture, so I had to read the recipe.  Ah, a breaded egg – this is amazing!!  Well, I was right – what an incredible texture – and the piquillo pepper mixture with ham was the perfect pairing.  My husband, who hates eggs for dinner, LOVED this – he would have eaten twice as much as the recipe called for.  So – the next time you are in the mood to fry something, why not try crunchy eggs (without the shells) – and if you get really adventurous, you can serve them with the fried mozzarella sticks.  Could life get any better – maybe with just a little bit of butter…


  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 4 extra-large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 ounces thinly sliced Serrano ham or prosciutto, cut into 2×1/4″ strips
  • 1/2 cup canned piquillo peppers or roasted red peppers from jar, cut lengthwise into 1/2″-wide strips
  • 1/2 cup dry Sherry
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup olive oil


Line a rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap. Pour water into a large skillet to a depth of 2″. Bring water to a boil; lower heat to maintain a simmer. Add vinegar. Break 1 egg into a small ramekin or bowl. Partially immerse cup in water and quickly slide egg into water. Repeat with remaining 3 eggs. Cook until whites are firm but yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggs to prepared sheet. Trim eggs’ ragged edges with a knife. Slide eggs into a medium bowl filled with ice water. Cover bowl; chill until cold.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

Heat extra-virgin olive oil in a medium heavy skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; sauté for 1 minute. Add ham; sauté for 1 minute. Add peppers, Sherry, and marjoram; simmer until almost all liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggs to a kitchen towel to drain. Mix panko, thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Place egg whites in another medium bowl; whisk to loosen. Gently roll 1 poached egg in egg whites, then in panko mixture (some bare spots may remain). Place on plate. Repeat with remaining eggs, egg whites, and panko.

Heat 3/4 cup olive oil in a medium heavy skillet over medium heat. Gently slide eggs, one at a time, into oil; cook until crumbs begin to brown, about 2 minutes per side. Using slotted spoon, transfer eggs to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle lightly with salt.

Divide pepper mixture among 4 plates. Top each with 1 egg and serve.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Crunchy Eggs with Piquillo Peppers

Potato, Sausage, and Spinach Breakfast Casserole

My family loves a big Sunday breakfast – and I love yoga.  I used to love a big Sunday breakfast as well – that was until I found this class.  It is not so much the class, as much as it is the instructor.  She just has a nice way of making you work very hard – and I always leave there much more relaxed than I arrived.  Every once in a while though (and it really doesn’t happen very often), I get caught up doing things, and I miss my Sunday morning escape.  When that happens, I usually can’t help it but make a big breakfast.

Recently I have been looking for recipes without using a pastry crust.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good pastry crust, but it really adds a lot of time to whatever you are doing – and it is also just a little less healthy.  When I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit, I was fascinated with the potato crust.  The problem with a potato crust is that you have to get the bottom nice and crisp – if it isn’t, it ends up being a soft soggy mess.  So, I decided to give it a whirl, and see if I could make sure the crust was crisp enough for my taste.  I ended up using the packaged potatoes purely to save time – and they turned out great.  The crust was fantastic – and the kids loved it – even with the spinach.  You can see by my picture that my eggs didn’t mix as well as they should have, but it tasted wonderful.  So this Sunday, make the family a big breakfast – and then take yourself to yoga afterwards as a treat.  Your family will be so happy, they won’t even miss you while you are gone!


  • 16 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 12 ounces fresh breakfast sausage links
  • 2 cups sliced leeks, white and green parts only
  • 2 russet potatoes (1 1/2 lb.), peeled, shredded, and lightly squeezed
  • 6 oz. fresh spinach
  • 2 cups mixed shredded chedder and jack cheeses


Position a rack in top third of the oven; preheat to 350°. Whisk eggs, cream, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, and 3/4 tsp. pepper in a large bowl; set aside.

Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a 12” cast-iron or nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add sausages without the casings, and cook breaking into bits until browned all over, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add leeks to skillet. Season with salt; cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl.

Melt 3 Tbsp. butter in same skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes, spreading out in an even layer. Cook without stirring until bottom and edges are crisp and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Slide potato pancake onto a large plate. Invert onto another large plate. Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in skillet. Slide potato pancake into skillet browned side up; cook until bottom is golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Scatter spinach, leeks, and sausage over potato pancake, each in an even layer. Season with salt and pepper, then pour in egg mixture. Sprinkle cheese over.

Bake until casserole is puffed and golden brown, 35–40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Potato, Sausage, and Spinach Breakfast Casserole

Monkey Bread

Sometimes I feel like I should have a bucket list on my blog.  I have noticed over the years that some people do that – they write down everything they have ever wanted to make, and little by little they start crossing things off of their list.  Some people are really on a mission, and will only make things on their list, while others stray from time to time, thinking that eventually they will get to everything.  I do not have a bucket list of foods to make written down, but I certainly have one in my head.  The problem is that quite often my head is too filled with work and kid stuff, and the food sometimes gets the shaft.  I know that eventually I am going to have to make list – like I do for everything else these days.  If it is not on a list, it does not get done – as sad as that may sound.

If I did have a list though, Monkey Bread definitely would have been on it.  My favorite part about having a list?  Crossing things off…  I have wanted to make Monkey Bread for years – I thought it would be a fun baking project with the kids.  I saw this lighter recipe in Cooking Light, and decided that if we are going to go through with this endeavor, that making it light might not be a bad thing.  You would have never known this was a light recipe.  The kids LOVED making this – they had a little assembly line going.  The finished product was amazing – especially when it came right out of the oven.  We decided it tasted so good warm, that every time we took some more, we warmed it slightly in the microwave.  After making this, I decided if I did have a bucket list, I would pretend I never made this, so I could make it again…


  • 13 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3 cups)
  • 4 3/4 ounces whole-wheat flour (about 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1  package quick-rise yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 cup very warm fat-free milk (120° to 130°)
  • 1/4 cup very warm orange juice (120° to 130°)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  •  Cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons fat-free milk, divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook attached; mix until combined. With mixer on, slowly add 1 cup milk, juice, honey, and 2 tablespoons butter; mix dough at medium speed 7 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.)

Combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a shallow dish. Combine 3 tablespoons milk and 2 tablespoons butter in a shallow dish, stirring with a whisk.

Punch dough down; divide into 8 equal portions. Working with one portion at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), roll into an 8-inch rope. Cut each dough rope into 8 equal pieces, shaping each piece into a 1-inch ball. Dip each ball in milk mixture, turning to coat, and roll in sugar mixture. Layer balls in a 12-cup Bundt pan coated with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining 7 dough ropes. Sprinkle any remaining sugar mixture over dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until almost doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until golden. Cool 5 minutes on a wire rack. Place a plate upside down on top of bread; invert onto plate. Combine powdered sugar, remaining milk, and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Microwave at HIGH 20 seconds or until warm. Drizzle over bread.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Monkey Bread

Banana Pancakes

Another crazy week just passed before my eyes, I barely had time to think about cooking, let alone posting anything.  Lots going on at work, lots going on at home, and we are down to the final countdown for school…just 5 more days.  It will be a blessed miracle if I can remember everything that the girls are supposed to do this week.  I almost lost it when I saw the notice that my younger daughter did not have to bring lunch on Monday, because of the pizza party.  I know that will actually save me time, but what are the chances I will actually remember NOT to pack her lunch?  Even if I put it on my calendar, at this point, the chances are slim to none, I am on auto-pilot just trying to catch the scenery as it whizzes by.

I got home late last night, after leaving the house before 8am in the morning and noticed the two overripe bananas sitting in the fruit basket.  I was craving to be in the kitchen and cook something, but at 10pm after a long week – that was not going to happen.  Instead I started thinking about breakfast, and how good banana pancakes would taste.  If nothing else, I had breakfast planned out.  I woke up this morning excited to try them, hoping they would taste like banana bread in a round circle.  I decided to make them dairy free, and used coconut milk instead of regular milk – and they came out great.  The secret is to mash the bananas as much as you possibly can – otherwise, the pancakes can be a little mushy – but even so, they are delicious.  They definitely did not need syrup – although my girls chose to put a little cinnamon sugar on top.  What a pre-Father’s Day treat, and my husband had three to celebrate.  So at this point, I am taking everything one day at a time – that is, if I can remember what tomorrow is.


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed


Combine flour, white sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together egg, coconut milk, vegetable oil and bananas.

Stir flour mixture into banana mixture; batter will be slightly lumpy.  Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Cook until pancakes are golden brown on both sides; serve hot.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Banana Pancakes

Chai Banana Bread

Happy Mother’s Day!!  What a perfect day – seriously – 75 degrees and sunny, that alone creates a happiness in the air – especially with the cold spring we have had.  We joked that it was nicer today than it was all last summer.  We have been hit hard with the bad weather here…and even I, who loves the clouds, had a smile on my face with the clear blue sky day.  It didn’t hurt that my girls were extra special good today, and showered me with cards, gifts, and lots of hugs.

My mother is an incredible cook – she cooks just about everything and anything – but my favorite recipe of hers is still her banana bread.  It is really just the most perfect bread there is.  I seldom try other recipes, but this one caught my eye in Cooking Light - mostly because it was created by a 10-year-old.  I knew that my mother’s would be better, but I decided to try this one anyway.  My husband loves cinnamon, and if nothing else, I would add these spices to my mother’s bread the next time I make it.  This one uses butter instead of oil, and it is much healthier than my mother’s recipe – much less sugar, and less fat.  I made a couple of slight changes to the recipe, because I thought the dough needed a little more moisture – and I decided against the glaze on top – it really didn’t need it.

This bread was really not bad at all – in fact, we actually enjoyed it a lot.  My mother’s is still moister, but this gave it a good run for its money.  I am definitely going to try to add the spices to my mother’s recipe next – just for fun.

So – I hope all your mother’s out there had a wonderful day – and Happy Mother’s Day to you Mom – wish I could share a slide with you!


  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3)
  • 1/3 cup plain fat-free yogurt
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2  large eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 10 ounce all-purpose flour (2 1/4 cups)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided


Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed just until blended. Add sugars; beat at medium just until blended.

Weigh or spoon flour into dry measuring cups. Combine flour, soda, and salt. Add flour mixture to banana mixture; beat just until blended.

Combine cardamom and next 3 ingredients. Stir 1 1/2 teaspoons spice mixture and 1 teaspoon vanilla into batter. Pour into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 65 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on wire rack. Remove from pan; cool.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Chai Banana Bread

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