Category Archives: Bread

Bananas Good Banana Bread


Banana Bread with Chocolate Glaze
Banana Bread with Chocolate Glaze (Photo from

As I was typing the title to this post all I could think about was that damn catchy Gwen Stefani song, “this sh*t is bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s” and now it’s going to stick with me all day long. Kind of like this AWESOME Banana Bread with Chocolate Glaze from Cooking Light.

I’m amazed that I’ve never made this as it’s been a heavy reader and staff favorite for 17 years. 17 years ago it made its debut and is still going strong. Most marriages don’t last that long! All I know is that I will be making it for 17+ years myself because not only was it about the quickest bread I’ve ever put together, it’s insanely delicious and moist…hold on, I’m grabbing another slice…my goodness, this is so good. If you have ripe bananas, I highly recommend making this right now. I think this is one dish I will always have in my house for the entire fall season! Happy first day of fall!


I’d Like To Thank The Academy…

Last night we had a BIG Oscar party in our house and I was a little nervous since it was the first big shindig in our casa, well that and I chose to make a flotilla of food. I simply adore our gentle friends and one thing I know about our group is we love to eat. With that in mind I was going to make darn sure everyone had enough to nibble on during the three hour show. 

The Obligatory Picture of Colin Firth

Epicurious assembled menu plans based on the Best Picture nominees and the one that stood out to us was the Inception option. It’s very French inspired since part of the movie takes place in Paris – the scene with the city folding on top of itself is still incredible every time I see it.  Although I liked the recipes they suggested, I decided to stick wtih French fare but do it my way. And the award goes to…. 

 To get real nerdy about it I made an “Execution Plan” to ensure everything was done by 6:00 p.m. so we could watch arrivals and snarkily judge away. 

  • 2:00 p.m. Prep and mis en place
  • 3:00 p.m. Make compote for Brie, while compote cooks, make pots de creme, refrigerate
  • 3:30 p.m. Make soup
  • 4:00 p.m.  Make green beans, assemble and bake Brie rounds
  • 5:00 p.m. Make sandwiches
  • 5:40 p.m. Fire steaks, let rest and slice, make fries
  • 6:00 p.m. Guests arrive

Everything pretty much went according to plan and let me tell you, the soup, green beans, sandwiches and brie rounds with that stellar compote were delicious. For the steak frites I kept it very simple. David (the super poodle) ran to the store and bought a Weber charcoal grill so he could grill them properly. Little salt and pepper on the steaks, grill and you are done.  I took  frozen fries and mixed with salt, pepper, garlic powder and thyme leaves and baked until crispy. Thanks to my lovely and talented niece Alex who is a bomb chef for coming up with that tasty concoction.  

I’m giggling at the thought of the Pots de Creme because the flavor was amazing but I didn’t have enough glasses to properly make individual servings, so I decided to place the whole shebang in a large ramekin. Yeah, don’t do that. We had to put it in the freezer so it would set up, but a few minutes on the table and it was like ice cream. Of course, no one cared and it was gone by the end of the night but I highly suggest not being an idiot like moi and scratch the idea if you can’t do it individually. 

The Oscars were OK this year, a little zzzzzzzzzz at times and it wasn’t as exciting as in years past but I am so happy for The King’s Speech! It’s an excellent, heart warming story and if you haven’t seen it yet, GO. 

Here’s our spread and more posts to come this week…I hope. :) 

Easy, Breezy Breakfast

Yesterday morning I was starving and needed sustenance ASAP. For anyone who knows me, I AM the Snickers commercial where I turn into a grouchy mcgroucherstein if I don’t eat. Since I needed to eat pretty quickly, I  improvised and created a fun breakfast sandwich that I call the Sanity Saver so I could get food in my belly and David didn’t have to tolerate a hungry diva.

Sanity Saver Breakfast Sandwich (Photo by Emily Ingle)


To ensure I get a few more vegetables in my diet, I’ve been grabbing these Green Giant Health Blends in the freezer section. I decided to serve their antioxidant blend (red peppers, carrots, broccoli) and a poached egg on top of toasted whole wheat bread all smothered with Everyday with Rachael Ray’s Good-For-You Hollandaise Sauce. A little salt and pepper on top and you’ve got breakfast in a flash. We both really, really liked this and more importantly the diva crisis was averted. There’s only room for one diva in this house and I think we all know who that is…

Gabriel! Our Diva-licous Cat!

Sunny-Side-Up Eggs on Mustard-Creamed Spinach with Crispy Crumbs

Love. So much love poodles. WOW. First because it was super easy and lickity-split quick in assembly. Second, the flavors were beautiful together on the plate. However when I tasted the breadcrumbs on their own and the spinach, cream, thyme mixture on it’s own, they were OK but I was a little concerned that this wasn’t going to taste as good as it looked. Wrong.

On the plate it’s a one-two punch of flavor from the crumbs/spinach and the lovely olive oil fried egg brings it all together. What I also liked was that the servings were just enough for each of us –  although secretly I could have run back to the kitchen and made one more batch for us to inhale. I typically have a lot of these ingredients on standby which makes me a happy panda because I may have just found my new favorite egg dish.

I’m slightly begging you to try this recipe.  It is so simple, fresh and absolutely delicious.

Sunny-Side-Up Eggs on Mustard-Creamed Spinach with Crispy Crumbs

Bread Pudding With A Little Erskine On The Side

Everything I’ve tested and tasted this week has been pretty good but not really C.I.T.L material if you know what I mean – until last night. I spotted this Sausage and Caramalized Onion Bread Pudding when it came out in October 2009 and then it got lost in the recipe shuffle. I revisited last week and decided to put on my menu plan or forever hold my peace. Good things come to those who wait!

Sausage and Caramelized Onion Bread Pudding (Photo by Becky Lugart-Stayner)

This was so yummy and savory and bread puddingy. We gobbled up one piece, both went back for seconds and had it for lunch today too.  The only addition I made was a little fresh thyme since I had some handy and I love adding fresh herbs whenever I can. Moving on to the salad I chose to accompany the fantastic bread pudding. The name is quite unique: Hotel Russel Erskine Salad. Turns out, Russel Erskine was a businessman from Huntsville, Alabama and was the president of Studebaker motor cars for several years. The Hotel Russel Erskine building is still in Hunstville, but is now an aparment complex. Sigh, that makes me think of the beautiful Plaza Hotel in New York City. I digress. This dressing, served at Hotel Russel Erskine, is a funky combo of flavors THAT ROCKS. Hoseradish, sweet paprika, dry mustard, cider vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire sauce and olive oil. This reminded me of a typical French dressing but was much thinner and lighter in flavor; perfect for the watercress. I highly recommend both of these!


The new Cooking Light cover simply states “Indulge Yourself”…yeah twist my arm Cooking Light, twist my arm. I think I earmarked half of this issue and when I got to the banana bread section – yes lambs you have a plethora of choices for banana breads in this issue – I clapped with glee. When I was little, I would go to  this lovely tea room in Longview, TX with my mom and two older sisters and the one thing I recall vividly was their delicious banana bread. The tea room is long gone, but I will always remember that’s where my love of banana bread began.

As mentioned, Cooking Light has basic banana bread, banana bread with chocolate and the peanut butter banana bread that also happens to grace this month’s cover. I also love a good old peanut butter, honey and banana sandwich, so this one was a clear winner for me.

This was extremely easy to put together. You simply mix all of the wet ingredients, combine the dry ingredients and then mix into the wet. I baked this in the Wolf range for a little less than the suggested time as it was starting to look a little overdone…I was worried…ask David I really was. I decided to forge ahead and make Cooking Light’s go-to glaze of one percent milk and powdered sugar, but this time they added peanut butter. After cooling, I cut into it and took a bite, still very concerned it was overdone. The verdict?  Moist. Delicious, Sweet and nutty. This had perfect banana bread flavor with a peanut butter twist and I liked the addition of the crunchy peanuts to give it some texture.

My only advice is to watch this while it’s in the oven. I’m still getting used to using the Wolf range since it’s amazing but is a little more sophisticated than yours truly. This browned pretty quickly and I was keeping an eye on it. I did pull it out about five minutes early since it was browning on the top and edges, but the flavor and moist texture made this a winner for us…and my office mates.