Chocolate Banana Bread

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Bananas are the one fruit that I wait, with enthusiasm, to go bad!  Ok, maybe not bad, but real brown and soft.  This bread, found at Savory Sweet Life hit the spot with just enough sweetness from the chocolate and the bananas kept it soft and moist.  The perfect combo for a dessert bread, in my not so humble opinion.  The recipe below makes two loaves; we broke into one and froze the other for another day.


  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 4 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips


Preheat over to 350 degrees.

  1. Lightly grease a 9×5 loaf pan, with non-stick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Stir in eggs, mashed bananas, sour cream, and vanilla until well blended.
  3. Add baking soda, cocoa, and flour. Mix everything until well incorporated. Add chocolate chips.
  4. Pour batter into loaf pan(s) and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick, inserted into the center, comes out clean.
  5. Remove from heat and allow bread to rest in the loaf pan for 10 minutes. Invert the loaf pans onto a cooling rack.

Strawberry Scones

Strawberry Scones

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens April 2011

Somehow, in making these, I managed to miss the part where I was supposed to add the basil and strawberries so when I went to cut the wedges and all that was left was to bake, I wondered just when the strawberries came into play.  I hate to blame my six year old but, I do.  He was helping me make these and is just too cute for me to pay close attention the recipe. 

I gathered the cream-slathered wedges of dough, re-kneaded with the strawberries and basil and hoped they’d turn out alright.  Thankfully all was not lost as these turned out very good!  They have a biscuit like texture and aren’t too sweet but have a very summery flavor with the sweet strawberries and herby basil.


  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh basil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • heavy cream
  • sugar


Pre-heat oven to 400*

  1. In a large bowl stir together flour, 2 Tablespoons fugar, baking powder, and salt.  Using a pastry blender or two knives cut in the butter until it looks like coarse crumbs.  Gently toss in strawberries and basil.
  2. In a medium bowl stir together eggs and cream.  Add egg mixture to flour mixture all at once, then gently stir just till combined.
  3. Turn dough out onto a generously floured surface and knead the dough until several times until it’s well incorporated.  Transfer to a parchment lined cooking sheet and pat into a 3/4 inch-thick circle.  Cut into 8 equal wedges and pull slightly apart.
  4. Brush each wedge with additional cream then sprinkle with sugar. 
  5. Bake 16 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve warm and refrigerate any leftovers; reheat 15 seconds in the microwave.

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

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source: All Recipes

I didn’t change a thing about this recipe, except adding in the blueberries.  I love LOVE buttermilk pancakes.  I love the texture, the flavor and the smell.  It’s just a homey, comfort-food kind of thing that you can’t go wrong with on a Sunday morning.  If you want to make this the night before, just keep the dry ingredients separate from the wet, until you’re ready to cook; and not that you need me to tell you but keep the wet stuff refrigerated if you’re storing it over night.


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup un-salted butter
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup blueberries
  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In a separate medium bowl, melt the butter in the microwave, then add buttermilk, milk and eggs and whisk together.
  3. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. You can flick water across the surface and if it beads up and sizzles, it’s ready!
  4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk together until it’s just blended together. Do not over whisk! Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Makes approximately 24 pancakes

Soft Pretzel Bites


DSC_5657 copyThe kids were just asking about making pretzels the other day so when I saw this recipe at Mel’s Kitchen Café I knew today, a snow day here in Texas would be the perfect day to get some made!  The recipe makes about 2 dozen (I managed to get 32 out of it) but I made it twice (I didn’t double it, just made one batch of dough then made a second batch) so there’d be plenty of the chewy snacks to last.  Very easy and only a little ttime-consuming  I used a cake frosting spreader to cut the dough directly on the buttered counter, without slicing the counter itself.  I did not have to double the warm water/baking soda solution or the butter for topping; there was plenty for all the batches of pretzels.  I changed very little about this recipe because, frankly, bread scares me and I didn’t want to mess it up!



  • 2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (I used one envelope Fleishmann’s ActiveDry Yeast)
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) very warm water


  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) warm water
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • Coarse salt (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted


1.  In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, place the flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Mix to just combine. Add the water and mix well, adding more flour, as needed, a bit at a time to form a soft, smooth dough that clears the sides and bottom of the bowl. Knead the dough, by hand or machine, for about 5 minutes, until it is soft, smooth and quite slack. The goal is to get a really soft dough that isn’t overly sticky. Lightly flour the dough and place it in a plastic bag; close the bag, leaving room for the dough to expand, and let it rest for 30 minutes or up to 60 minutes.

2.  Preheat your oven to 500°F. Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper or lightly greasing them.

3.  Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface (I rubbed a tablespoon of butter around where I was going to lay the dough), and divide it into about four strips of equal length. Allow the pieces to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. While the dough is resting, combine the 1/2 cup warm water and the baking soda in a liquid measuring cup (deep enough to dip the pretzel bites into). Make sure the baking soda is thoroughly dissolved. Sometimes I have a hard time getting the baking soda completely dissolved, so I just lightly stir up the mixture right before adding each pretzel.

Cut each strip of dough into about 6-8 pieces, about 1 to 1 ½ inches in width. You don’t have to be completely exact, just eyeball it. Dip each pretzel bite in the baking soda solution (this will give the pretzels a nice, golden-brown color), and place them on the baking sheets. Sprinkle them lightly with coarse, kosher, or pretzel salt. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Bake the pretzels for 7-8 minutes or until they’re golden brown. Bake one sheet at a time – it won’t hurt the other pretzels to chill out for a little longer.

Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush them thoroughly with the melted butter. Keep brushing the butter on until you’ve used it all up; it may seem like a lot, but that’s what gives these pretzels their ethereal taste. Eat the pretzels warm, or reheat them in an oven or microwave on low heat.

Zucchini Blueberry Muffins


DSC_7660 copyI haven’t baked in weeks and I was seriously craving some kind of sweet bread, so after a little searching I found these luscious little stud muffins, in bread form, on Closet Cooking and knew I couldn’t live without trying them!  Very moist, full of flavor and bursting with blueberries, the kids gobbled them up … even after I told them there was zucchini in them!

1 1/2 cups zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini) grated, squeezed and drained
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup blueberries

1. Mix the zucchini, sugar, oil, sour cream and egg in a bowl.
2. Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a bowl.
3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix.
4. Fold in the blueberries.
5. Pour the batter into muffin tins.  I managed 18 medium sized muffins; you may be able to get 12 filled-to-the-brim muffins
6. Bake in a preheated 350* oven until a toothpick pushed into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

Cream Cheese Banana Bread & Orange Glaze

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Source: Eat at Home


  • 3/4 cup salted butter, room temperature
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups of mashed banana (about 4 medium bananas) 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking soda


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoons orange peel


  1. Mash the bananas in a small bowl till there aren’t any lumps.
  2. In a large bowl, blend together butter and cream cheese.
  3. Blend in the sugar till creamy, then the eggs, mashed bananas, and vanilla. 
  4. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients.  Add them to the wet ingredients and mix until well combined.
  5. Pour into 2 well-greased loaf pans.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-75 minutes.  (I cooked mine for 75 minutes – the edges were just about to get too brown so the time made me nervous and I removed them from the oven.  The inside was perfect!)  Remove loaves from pan onto a cookie rack to cool.

For Glaze:  Start with less than the 3 Tablespoons of orange juice, stirring it into the powdered sugar until you get a nice consistency (about that of Elmer’s glue).  I recommend waiting to make the glaze until just before serving over the bread.

FruMexiVeggy & Fiesta Cornbread

FruMexi Veggy & Fiesta Cornbread

Ya, I don’t know about the title, but when I found the original recipe at Eat at Home (thank you for providing yet another dish for my family!!), I knew I had to try it.  When I made this my kids decided that since most of the ingredients weren’t vegetables and were in fact fruits (you know, cuz fruit has seeds?) it shouldn’t be called a vegetable dish!  So the title is what we came up with together. 

You’ll want to prepare and bake the bread first so it’s ready since the vegetables cook up so quickly!

‘Fiesta Cornbread’

1 cup corn meal

1 cup flour

2 tablespoons sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

1 egg

1 cup corn (I used frozen variety: thawed of course)

1 small can green chilies, drained

1/2 teaspoon chili powder


Pre-heat oven 425*

Combine corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Mix well.  Add milk, egg corn green chilies and chili powder.  Mix lightly just until moistened – avoid over mixing!

Pour into greased 8 inch square baking dish. 

Cook for 25 minutes or until golden brown.



2 yellow zucchini, chopped bite size

1/4 cup grated carrots

1 green pepper

1/2 half red onion, diced

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 tomato, diced

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon coriander

shredded cheese (topping)


Chop all the vegetables.  Sauté the onion and garlic in a large skillet.  Add all vegetables at once, sprinkle with seasonings.  Toss to coat then cover and cook on medium high about 5 minutes.  

Sprinkle shredded cheese over a slice of cornbread then top with hot vegetables – YUM!

Old Fashioned Pancakes

Old Fashioned Pancakes

Found at


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt (omit if you use salted butter)

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/4 cups milk at room temperature

1 egg

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


  1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix with whisk only until moist – avoid over mixing.
  2. Heat griddle or frying pan over medium high heat (approx 350 degrees).  Scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake.  Brown on both sides and serve hot with Blueberry or Strawberry Syrup.

Makes approximately 10 pancakes – we double this recipe for our family of 5 which gives us enough for a second morning!


Be sure that the milk is at room temperature to prevent the melted butter from reconstituting when you mix.  Ideally your egg should also be at room temperature but do this at your own risk since we all know this can harbor bacteria…but boy howdy does it make for some tasty pancakes!

You know the cakes are ready to flip when the the bubbles on top begin to burst.

Oatmeal Bread

This recipe came from a Taste of Home cookbook. I have lots of oatmeal in my food storage and I decided to try some new recipes to use it up.

This bread is yummy!!! I probably should have let if rise a little longer. It smells so good in my house right now!!

2 cups cooked hot oatmeal stir in 3 Tablespoons butter and cool to 120 – 130 degrees.

Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 packages (or 4 1/2 teaspoons) yeast, 2 teaspoons salt. Beat in oatmeal until moistened. Add 1 egg. Beat for 3 minutes. Mix in 2 – 3 1/2 cups of flour to make a stiff but soft dough. Knead for about 5 minutes until smooth.

Cover dough and let rise until doubled or even a little more. Punch down and let rest for a few minutes. Divide into halves and roll each half out to a rectangle and then roll up into a loaf. Put into bread pans, let rise until double. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

An Italian variation with the same dough,

Cover above dough and let rest for 15 minutes. Punch down, press dough into a greased 9×13 pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled (1/2 hour or so). Brush with 4 Tablespoons of melted butter. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Brush again with 2 Tablespoons butter. Combine 1 Tablespoon Parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder. Sprinkle over partially baked bread. Bake for another 10-15 minutes until golden brown.