Peanut Butter Banana Bread
Elvis was onto something.
Not that it was news to me, but peanut butter and banana will always be a magic combo. This bread just emphasizes the point. That’s right, friends, we’re talking about peanut butter banana bread today!
I’ve gotten to the point where I now just buy bananas every couple weeks, knowing full well I have no intention of actually eating them while they’re good. So expect some more tasty banana treats coming your way!
Bourbon Cherry Crisp with Brown Butter Streusel
This is one of the better ideas I’ve had in a while…
I’ve been totally obsessed with cherries lately, partly because they’re absolutely delicious and have been everywhere at the grocery store, and partly because I recently got a cherry pitter and can now have this fruit candy easily anytime I want (without hand-pitting and looking like I’ve murdered someone…).
Bourbon has also been everywhere in my life lately, since starting my new job at Brown-Forman in Louisville. Pretty much any bourbon will work for this, I used the bottle that happened to be open, which was a lovely Old Forester 100 proof. Combined with the brown butter, cinnamon, and cherries, this was BOMB.
Cheesy Rosemary Sweet Potatoes on the Grill
Guuuuuyyyyys. I know I haven’t posted a non-dessert recipe on here in a while. That’s mostly because I haven’t been cooking—I’ve been GRILLING. Ever since I moved in and have been getting settled, I’ve started using my awesome new grill non-stop. A lot of that has been slapdash marinating or brining and then throwing things on the grill as fast as I can. Not really “recipes”, per se. But *this* is the real deal, and I couldn’t wait to share it.
Behold, cheesy rosemary sweet potatoes on the grill.
I mean, that’s just ridiculous. I’ve been experimenting a lot with foil packet veggies (it’s my fave way to do cauliflower on the grill), and this is my favorite find yet. You can still make these if you don’t have rosemary (or could substitute fresh sage), but the rosemary really elevates it.
I *am* working on a bigger post on grilling for first-timers. I definitely can’t claim to be an expert yet, but I’ve done a lot of experimenting and reading up, with a lot of success, so hope to make the subject feel a little less daunting for other first-timers. I’ll share my favorite marinades and rubs, different ways to prepare veggies, tips for moist and not overcooked meat, and how to make sure you cook things to a safe temperature. So stay tuned!
Orange, Apricot, & Pistachio Biscotti
Now isn’t *that* a match made in heaven?!
I feel bad because it’s been challenging getting new posts up as regularly as I normally would. I could blame it on travel schedules, the new job, and the continual process of settling into the new house. And all of that is 100% true. But you know the real reason?? I’ve just had trouble finding recipes that taste as good as they should when I make them. It’s not that I haven’t been baking and cooking, but rather that the recipes I’ve tried in the last month have all been fairly underwhelming—and not something I want to share with you.
Until this, that is.
I don’t know why I’ve been slightly obsessed with the idea of biscotti lately. It’s off-season, to be honest…more of a fall and winter food in my mind. But for some strange reason every time I see a new biscotti flavor combo, I’m smitten. So I finally decided to try a new one out. There was an orange, apricot, and almond recipe I’d been wanting to try, but I swapped in pistachios (and toasted them for more flavor) since that’s what I had on hand.
I was pretty skeptical about the recipe not having any fats, or any liquid except the egg and orange juice. But the more I thought about it, it made sense…a fat would make it more moist and soft, and that’s the opposite of a good biscotti. The orange zest and juice bring a brightness here, while the apricots bring the sweet. I’m glad it’s only lightly sweet, since that lets the fruit flavors really linger on your tongue. This one’s a winner for sure.
Baked Whole Wheat Penne with Beef and Summer Veggies
I’ve mentioned a few times in the last couple years that I’ve been shying away from making too many pasta recipes, as I’ve had to keep a closer eye on my weight (for annoying and boring reasons like injuries and stress). But I have found a couple recipes that strike a good balance between feeling like delicious pasta goodness and not being just a calorie and carb bomb.
My baked ziti with chicken sausage and summer veggies was one such recipe, but I thought that it could be even healthier without feeling like I’m giving something up. I usually make it with Trader Joe’s chicken sausage, but that adds quite a lot of calories, so I swapped that for lean ground beef or venison. You can do it meatless as well, I’ve accidentally done that a few times and while you don’t get nearly the protein, it’s still very satisfying
I also used whole wheat penne or ziti instead of regular pasta, and packed in even more veggies so that my pasta to veggie ratio was about 1:1. The core vegetables here are zucchini, squash, and tomato, but you can add other veggies if you want (I’ve thrown an orange pepper in before, for instance).
Garlicky Farfalle with Marinated Feta & Arugula
Pasta recipes used to be a staple on this blog, but in the last couple years I’ve had to waaaayyy scale back on the pasta for health reasons. But I LURVE pasta and was super excited to try out a new recipe that was 1) super easy and 2) super delicious.
I’d never marinated feta before, and boy, is *that* dangerous knowledge to have now! You have no idea how hard it was not to just eat that marinated feta straight out of the bowl. YUMMM.
I’ve done a separate post just on how to make marinated feta as well, so save that bad boy.
One thing that’s great about this recipe is its simplicity. Other than making sure you have high-quality feta, the rest of the ingredients were ones I generally have on hand or can easily grab at the grocery store (like the arugula). But if you’re having it for a date, make sure you both eat a ton because it is super garlicky, so you want to have an even playing field 🙂
Creamy Oven Risotto with Spinach, Roasted Cauliflower & Sage
Risotto is one of my favorite things to make, when I have actual time to cook. It’s perfect for a dinner party because—while it needs tended constantly—it’s an easy job to just constantly stir and drink wine, one you can hand off to a guest to help them feel useful. It’s soothing, and the end result is delicious.
But you can NOT rush risotto. It’s a bad idea. And sometimes you want something a little less hands-on, and less time-consuming. I’ll admit, I was skeptical about risotto made in the oven. But baby—I’m a believer!
This particular recipe ticks all my boxes anyway. Roasted cauliflower? Check. Cheesy risotto goodness? Check. Healthy spinach and indulgent fried sage? Check and check.
Honestly I wouldn’t go out of your way to make the fried sage if you don’t have it on hand. It’s nice, but isn’t critical to the recipe and adds cost. Also, while it’s plenty satisfying on its own, you could certainly add some meat if necessary (like chicken sausage or roasted chicken), though it certainly doesn’t need it.READ THE POST
Brown Butter Cinnamon Chip Oatmeal Cookies
This recipe did something I didn’t think possible—I think I might have a new favorite cookie.
For years, my family’s molasses cookies have occupied the main cookie-shaped place in my heart, with their combination of warm spices and biting dark molasses. And these brown butter cinnamon chip oatmeal cookies definitely share some of the same DNA. Subtly sweet but not overpowering, spiced, textured, and soft, these will make your house smell amazing and bring all the co-workers to the yard.
In fact, the first time I made this recipe, my only note was something I never thought I’d say, which was, “Waaayyyy too much cinnamon chip. Pull that crap back.”
So I cut the cinnamon chips by more than half, and am completely in love with the result—the more subtle cinnamon chip presence allows the brown butter flavor to really shine through in all its rich, nutty glory. Add the oatmeal texture and you have a cookie made in heaven.
Tahini Brownies (gluten-free, but adaptable)
One of the things I love about traveling is when I run across a food or flavor that is totally new to me. And in this case, I was able to come home and start experimenting with it right away in my own cooking.
My dad and I took an awesome trip to Israel and Jordan last May, an epic week exploring tons of historical areas in the north and Negev Desert, Tel Aviv and Old Jaffa, Jerusalem, Masada, the Dead Sea, Wadi Rum, and Petra—and much more. One of the constants on every part of our journey was tahini, a paste made from ground sesame seeds. It is omnipresent in the Israeli and Jordanian diets, taking both sweet and savory forms.
It was one of the first things we ate upon landing (on that delicious falafel pita below) and one of the last things before taking off (that delicious sweet halva that looks like cheese wheels below). We ate halva in a Bedouin camp in Jordan and tahini on our Yemeni malawach in Jerusalem. So tahini kind of got its hooks in me, and I’ve been experimenting with different recipes since returning (like this Chickpea Sweet Potato Buddha Bowl with a tahini dressing). But this is my first dessert recipe using tahini, and it’s super delicious.
If you’re interested, you can read more about our travels in Israel and in Jordan!
Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Butternut Squash with Dijon Vinaigrette
I am obsessed with this side dish. It is one of the few things I went back for seconds on at Thanksgiving, and has become one of my go-to side dish recipes—particularly when I need to feed a big group.
The hands-on time is minimal, just prepping and chopping the veggies. After that, you briefly toss in olive oil, season, and pop it in the oven. The vinaigrette takes all of two minutes to put together, so this is a perfect dish to make when you need to focus on other things in the kitchen.
One of the best things about this dish is that you can easily make it ahead, and it warms up and travels well. The flavors feel indulgent, but it’s still really healthy…which was one of the things we needed this Thanksgiving. I looked at our family’s Thanksgiving dish list and realized there were no green vegetables (no, green bean casserole doesn’t count!). So I whipped this bad boy up, and it got rave reviews.
You can also easily increase or decrease the amounts to feed only a few people or a horde. Basically, this is the perfect side dish and you need it in your life right this minute.READ THE POST
Chocolate-Almond Tartine with Jam Swirls (gluten-free)
I have a well-documented love for a moist chocolate almond cake (I’ve written rhapsodies about this fancy loaf cake thing). One of the downsides of that recipe is that it it has to bake for almost an hour, so it’s difficult to just whip up or fit into the line-up when you’re needing the oven for other things.
Enter *this* cake.
It’s a similar idea as the fancy loaf cake, with a few key differences. One is that you don’t have to whip the egg whites (great for a lazy person like me) and the flavor profile is a bit different (this doesn’t have the cinnamon and coffee). But the best part is it bakes in about half an hour, so if you’re asked to bring a gluten-free dessert to a party in a few hours (ahem, not that that’s happened to me…) you can whip this bad boy up.
This got rave reviews from adults and kids alike, my friend even mentioned to me that her kids were asking about it a week or two later.
This cake is especially perfect for people who can’t decorate cakes (*raises hand*). One thing I will say, if you’re taking it somewhere else, I would wait to assemble the cakes and put the whipped cream on til you’re ready to serve. That’s simple enough, just wrap up each layer in plastic wrap and stick in the fridge, and bring the whipped cream in a container.READ THE POST
Sweet Potato Chickpea Buddha Bowl
So…I’ve been chastising myself lately for my diet. Between crazy work schedules, travel, and being on crutches, I’ve just been a bit too reliant on Uber Eats and definitely lacking in fruits and veggies. It’s kind of amazing I don’t have scurvy.
Then this morning as I was working I decided to finally get around to watching “What The Health?” on Netflix, which talks through a lot of the things wrong with our diets and how that’s impacting our health, and the medical establishments and lobby groups that are set on keeping it that way.
Its basic conclusion is that we’re meant to eat plant-based diets, and that anything else is unhealthy. It’s definitely an interesting watch, and while I don’t completely agree that meat is the devil—I grew up on a family-run cow farm, after all, and I also believe that God designed us to eat some meat—I 100% agree that we’ve totally screwed up our food chain in so many ways and that a heavier plant diet is a good thing, and overall it guilted me REAL HARD into really putting on my adult pants today.
So I did some digging on plant-based diets and found some recipes that I want to try to rotate into my everyday routine. This was the first one I came across that made me go “Hmm!” The flavor combos are awesome, it’s easy to make, I’m a sucker for a good tahini sauce, and I’m hoping it’ll make an awesome lunch for a couple days this week as well. For a non-pasta vegetarian meal, I’m totally on board with this one!
Banana Bread with Espresso Glaze
Oohhhhhh look at that warm, sweet, gooey glaze!
I’m not really into icings or glazes, but this espresso glaze takes something as simple as banana bread to a whole other level. This banana bread is fairly straightforward, albeit with a little topping of crunchy turbinado sugar and a hint of cinnamon and espresso powder. But add that glaze and you have a bona fide hit on your hands.
What’s great about the recipe is that it can feel really special, or just be an everyday sort of thing. I’m not hugely into banana bread, but I am hugely into this. Seriously, what are you waiting for? It can be in the oven in 15 minutes. Go. Go now.
You might also like: Chai Spice Banana Bread
Meyer Lemon Syrup Cake with Jam Swirls
I’m on a one-bowl cake train right now due to laziness and lack of time. Nothing fancy here.
And you know what? It’s summer and we don’t need fancy. We need fast, delicious, easy, and having the oven on for only a minimum amount of time.
This actually came about because I was at the grocery store (a rare occurrence for me lately) and they had meyer lemons. I’ve been obsessed with the idea of meyer lemons for a long time, but have never made anything with them or I think even HAD anything with them. They’ve been on my “to try” list for a while, so I threw them in my cart, not knowing exactly how I planned to use them.
After tons of searching (particularly taking into account the amount of time I could really devote to something), I decided to try this syrup cake. I’m hit and miss on cake as a dessert, they’re often a bit underwhelming to me, and often dry as well. I love the idea of the syrup cake because it would keep it much more moist. The batter also comes together in one bowl, so less dishes and it’s all very fast (about 10 minutes to pull everything together).
At the last second, I decided that it needed something extra, so I added some jam swirls to provide a complementary flavor and some extra texture. I had a jar of apricot jam open, and knew that the sharp, sweet apricot would be a great pairing with the sharp, sweet meyer lemon. But strawberry or raspberry would be great as well, or you can leave the jam out if you prefer. This was a hit at work, gone within an hour of putting it out.READ THE POST
One-Bowl Yogurt and Honey Olive Oil Cake
It’s been…quite a while since I’ve baked. Or cooked. Or gone grocery shopping, to be honest. Life’s been a bit nuts.
And last Sunday I had every intention of actually cooking a real meal that I could use for lunch all week, but as the hours flew by on Sunday I lost all my motivation. I ended up getting Uber Eats and actually getting to sit and read for a half hour, which was lovely, but then I decided that I needed to bake something to prove that I wasn’t entirely lazy.
Yes, I realize that’s a weird justification, but it was very compelling so I went with it.
The key was, it had to be super easy and fast. I had just found this recipe on The Kitchn and it checked a lot of boxes for me. One bowl (and not even the mixer), yay. Lemon, check. Add some herbs, check. Super moist because of the yogurt, check.
I literally threw it together in about 15 minutes, while a hair deep-conditioning treatment was soaking in. It was fast, easy, and tasted amazing. My house smelled divine, and it made for lovely leftovers.
The flavor combination is very subtle (very much my style), and a bit of homemade whipped cream or mascarpone cream provides a great texture counterpoint. I’m looking forward to taking this base recipe and trying some different flavor combos…I’ve got my eye on orange and rosemary next.READ THE POST
Fresh Corn Galette with Goat Cheese, Zucchini, and Thyme
I actually made this last year, right at the tail-end of summer. You know that time when there are like 7,000 pounds of zucchini, and the corn is just perfect but it’s like the last week of corn season??
And then I accidentally sat on it too long, and then it just seemed mean to post it in the late fall when you couldn’t get yummy fresh zucchini and corn to make it. So I’ve been patiently sitting on this recipe for several months, waiting for summer to roll around once again.
Nom nom nom. It looks fancy, but it really isn’t a difficult recipe. The only thing that’s a bit of a pain is making pie crust, but you can just buy it pre-made if you don’t want to deal with it. Add a glass of cold white wine and you have a summer masterpiece.
The combination of the tangy goat cheese, the fragrant herbs, sweet corn, and then mellow crunch of zucchini is sublime. This is summer perfection.READ THE POST
A Healthier Take on Strawberry Shortcake for a Big Group
I want to eat this all day, every day.
It’s no secret that there are a few select foods that I could literally could eat every single day and not get tired of them. Nachos (and I do), a good burger, and my homemade strawberry shortcake. My homemade strawberry shortcake is sublime.
I stumbled upon this recipe years ago when I needed to come up with a dessert for like 15 people. Individual shortcakes would have been way too time-consuming (and quite frankly they’re kind of dry), but I had it stuck in my head that I wanted to use the pounds of strawberries that my mom had. And then I found the original recipe I’ve adapted here…as my original post mentioned, I’m obsessed. It’s literally the best.
But, as with many recipes, I wanted to see if there was a way to make it just a tad more healthy—cut down on the calories just a bit, but also bringing in some healthier elements. And the fact is, I might like this version even just a bit more.
I cut the sugar a bit, and it definitely doesn’t lose anything. And then I’ve substituted half of the flour for whole wheat (or white whole wheat, which is a bit softer), which gives it a great heartiness and also a slightly nutty, warm flavor that I really love. You can make this ahead of time when feeding a big group and it’s the most moist, fragrant, yummy summer dessert I can think of. Pair it with fresh strawberries and a bit of homemade cinnamon whipped cream, and you’ve got yourself a winner!READ THE POST
Chocolate, Cinnamon, & Almond Loaf Cake (gluten-free)
My dessert tastes don’t always quite jive with other people’s. I don’t like things super sweet, I tend more toward fruity desserts rather than super chocolate, I will always choose dark chocolate over milk (and don’t even talk to me about white chocolate and its lies…).
I was blown away by the complexity of the flavors in this cake, yet how subtle they were. I cut back on the sugar quite a bit from what the recipe called for, and for me that made it perfect—letting the chocolate have more of a bittersweet quality and the cinnamon shine through. Also, whoever thought to put cinnamon in whipped cream is a genius and I can’t believe I haven’t done that before. But I assure you I will forever moving forward…
READ THE POST
Maple and Oat Scones
This is my new breakfast obsession.
I don’t know the last time I found a scone recipe I was so into. Don’t get me wrong, I love scones, but they’re generally more of just a vehicle for condiments, an excuse to slather on jam or honey. The scone itself is not so much the point. But these scones are completely the point.
These are absolutely divine with a tiny bit of honey, but they’re honestly even amazing without anything at all. There’s butter and maple syrup baked right in, so they really don’t need anything. And they only took a few minutes to whip up and get in the oven. Perfect for company, or just for you to devour by yourself with coffee and a blanket on a cold winter morning…READ THE POST
Lemon Shallot Chicken
I literally don’t know what to call this chicken.
Sure, it has lemon juice. And chopped shallots. And garlic. And paprika. And brown sugar. And chopped rosemary.
And ugly. Sorry, this dish won’t photograph well no matter how hard I try. But it is really easy, unique, flavorful, and makes great leftovers. So despite its ugly appearance, that’s a win in my book.READ THE POST
“Crack” Beef & Cabbage Stir Fry
This was my first “back on the healthy train” recipe since coming back from quite a bit of travel over the past few months—including a week and a half inhaling pastries on the French Riviera. So I didn’t need normal healthy, I needed SUPER healthy. A sort of food detox, if you will.
What I didn’t expect was for this to be SUPER yummy as well.
And cheap and easy. Fast, cheap, healthy, easy, and yummy is like a unicorn of a recipe. I mean, it’s no mac and cheese, but it’ll do.
This is going into my regular rotation of uber healthy meals. It’s got a ton of fiber from all the veggies, is surprisingly satiating, and still has just enough protein from the beef. You could definitely use a whole pound of beef instead of a half-pound (or substitute turkey, chicken, pork, whatever), but I didn’t feel cheated by the amount of meat, and it lets you stretch your meat further. This was lunch leftovers all week for me, and I didn’t get sick of it, which is a miracle in and of itself.READ THE POST
Tex Mex Breakfast Casserole
It is a truth universally acknowledged that I am a super lazy breakfast casserole maker. Which is why I basically refuse to try new recipes, because they all have, like, a billion ingredients (which makes them expensive) and require way too much prep work. So it’s pretty unusual for me to take on this recipe on a Thursday night for Friday morning department breakfast.
But boy, am I glad I did.
While this requires a tad more prep than my usual recipe (mostly cooking up the potatoes), it was super yummy and totally worth it. The prep probably only took 30 minutes total, and I was also getting a coffee cake in the oven as well so I could have cut that down a bit with some focus. The spice mix is awesome, and the tortillas add a great texture along with the black beans. This is definitely going into my regular breakfast rotation.
It’s also worth nothing that this is really doggone healthy as well. Full of protein and fiber, and weighing in at around 100 calories per serving (assuming a 15-serving pan…probably more like 130 calories per serving if you have hungry people). It was super filling and stuck with me all morning. I had a second helping for a late lunch, in fact.
I made a few changes to the original recipe, including omitting the bacon out of laziness—also, turkey bacon doesn’t quite have the same effect. I considered adding ground beef instead, but I was both lazy and cheap. And honestly it doesn’t need it. I also left out the cilantro (meh) and added cheese because…duh. There’s a lot of flexibility in this recipe, so if there’s something you’re dying to add or substitute, go for it. I’m not the boss of you.READ THE POST
Clean Eating Banana Muffins (gluten-free)
*womp womp* After the last couple months of travel gluttony, it’s time to get back on track, and these muffins at least have the consolation of being delicious as well as super healthy.
In the interest of full transparency, to be truly clean eating you’ll need to omit the chocolate chips from the recipe and use one of the other mix-ins instead (nuts, dried fruit, etc.). But unless you’re completely following a clean eating diet, the mini chocolate chips do really add something to the muffins so I’d recommend leaving them in. Because, duh.
I made these on a Sunday night on a whim, and brought them to work the next day. They were scarfed by my co-workers within a few hours, and got rave reviews. They’re moist, flavorful, and—best part—insanely fast and easy to make.
They’re the kind of healthy breakfast that gives you the fiber and protein you need, but still makes you feel like you’re getting a bit of a treat to start the day. That’s a win in my book. Add a couple strong espressos and you’re all set. Bring it on, Monday.READ THE POST
Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Banana Bread
Most normal people would look at a recipe for double chocolate banana bread and think, “hey, that sounds pretty amazing!”
But as we all know, I’m not normal. So my first thought was, “You know what would make this so much better? Peanut butter chips!”
(weirdly, this is a fairly normal question/answer I have with myself…)
Healthy? Nah. But amazing? You betcha.
This is super moist, almost fudgy, and the peanut butter chips take this to a whole new level. It’s not unhealthy (in fact, most of it’s not bad for you at all), but the peanut butter chips take this over the edge into dessert territory and up the calories and sugar quite a bit. Totally worth it in my world, though. READ THE POST
Jam Streusel Coffee Cake
This coffee cake is like the Sound of Music in real life. It’s all about my favorite things.
Jam? Check. Streusel? Check. Excuse to eat dessert for breakfast? Check.
Coffee cake is kind of a perfect food. It is easy to whip up and throw in the oven, leaving you to focus on other things. It can be made the night before if you’re on a tight schedule in the morning. It’s fancy enough for a brunch or shower. It CAN even be a dessert. And this recipe is particularly great, in that the cake itself is lovely and light and moist and fluffy—helped along by the buttermilk, greek yogurt, and extra egg yolks.READ THE POST
Creamy Sweet Corn & Chicken Sausage Pasta
It’s sweet corn season!!!
I was so stoked when my CSA box this week included four ears of sweet corn. Fresh corn is the best. It can be a side dish, elevate even the most mundane pasta, and even become a dessert (and yes, you better believe this is happening in the near future).
In fact, I was so excited about the first corn of the season that I actually cooked on a Saturday night. That may not sound earth-shattering, but anyone who knows me knows that Saturday night is reserved for Chinese food. Specifically, one of three dishes from House of Chan five minutes from my house. I call at around 5:02, pick it up 15 minutes later, and am comfortably ensconced on my couch shortly thereafter. So for me to choose cooking on a Saturday night is pretty major.
And this pasta is totally worth it. The sweet corn, summer squash, and onions meld with the mascarpone, Parmesan, and starchy water to make a comforting yet not heavy-feeling chunky sauce that covers the noodles and sausage for the perfect pasta marriage. Add a little fresh basil and I’m in heaven. The fact that it all came together in less than half an hour? Even better.READ THE POST
Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting
I think I’ve found my new favorite cupcake recipe. These are as close to a perfect texture and taste as any cake or cupcake I’ve ever made.
Someone described them as “bomb-ass”, and I’m not going to argue with them. I mean, it would be rude.
We wanted to do a special girls’ night for Casey’s birthday a few weeks ago, and I heard through the grapevine that she was obsessed with some Publix lemon raspberry cake, so the flavor palette for her cake was easy enough. I was super excited, because usually people want chocolate or something super sweet, so the chance to make a fruity dessert was one I wouldn’t pass up.
And it’s a good thing these were basically perfect, because they were pretty much the only thing that went right that evening. The restaurant ended up being a nightmare (45 minutes to order, hour and a half for food to come, took two hours to get a second drink order in), so by the time we left our numbers had dwindled by half and it was already quite late. Thankfully, three of us persevered and went to our friend’s Midtown high rise for wine and cupcakes and a great rooftop view.
Right call. The cupcakes are the most insanely moist, dense crumb you can imagine, packed with super tart lemony flavor that never tips over the line into that weird cloying fake lemon flavor that I hate. Even without the icing they’re perfection. But the icing is a work of art itself. Fluffy buttercream taken to the next level with raspberry jam adding some fruity goodness and tanginess to the frosting’s sugar overload.
In other words, you should make these TODAY.READ THE POST
Banana Cake with Caramel Frosting
It’s kind of crazy that I’ve never made banana cake before, because it’s something that my extended family made quite a bit when I was growing up.
But it was always with cream cheese frosting, and then a few years ago my sister had a brainwave and threw this caramel frosting on instead. And a legend was born. (I may be being melodramatic)
Now don’t get me wrong, I really like banana cake with cream cheese frosting (pretty much anything with cream cheese frosting, for that matter). But there is something about this sugary, crackly caramel frosting that just adds the perfect depth and complement to the moist, dense cake. The fact that it’s crazy easy is just the icing on the cake…so to speak.
This is also a cake that is perfect to make the night before, because this frosting really seals in the moisture of the cake. And, of course, use up the billions of browning bananas sitting on your counter.
I haven’t eaten a banana in probably six months, but I still buy them like clockwork, with the best intentions. This is a thing everyone does, yes?
Humor me…READ THE POST
Peach Raspberry Cobbler
You know when you end up with an ingredient and then have to find recipes that will help you use that ingredient? Yeah, that’s what we’re looking at here.
See, I’m a “crisp” girl. Peach crisp, apple crisp, cherry crisp—if it’s got oats and streusel topping, I’m on board. So, while I like cobblers just fine, I never choose them over crisp.
But as I mentioned a couple weeks ago in this garlic cheddar beer bread, I had a brand-new bag of self-rising flour that I needed to use up before Passover. And after lots of Googling recipes for self-rising flour, I couldn’t resist this peach raspberry crisp even though there are NO good fresh peaches right now. So I re-worked it using canned peaches (I know, not ideal) and it turned out great!
My favorite part about this recipe—besides how delicious it was—is how it came together so incredibly fast. It seriously was crazy easy and simple to pull together, but felt special as well. And it would be totally awesome with fresh peaches.READ THE POST
Chicken with Creamy Feta Sauce
I just realized that it’s been MONTHS since I brought you a main dish recipe, which is crazy! So making up for that now with an insanely easy and super delish entree that is great for dinner as well as to pack in your lunch for work all week.
(Confession: I made this recipe Sunday evening so I could have awesome, healthy lunches all week long. And then I ordered Chinese takeout for dinner that night, because I was going to be healthy all week. Does anyone else do that?)
Don’t be scared by the idea of a feta cheese sauce—it doesn’t taste overwhelmingly of feta specifically, but rather contributes a super creamy, slightly salty, weirdly comforting flavor without owning it. I’m not the biggest fan of feta, but I am a BIG fan of this sauce.READ THE POST
Garlic Cheddar Beer Bread
So, getting rid of my leavening for the Days of Unleavened Bread is generally a very easy thing. I get rid of my baking powder, baking soda, and yeast, and that’s pretty much all she wrote. But this year at the last minute I found a brand-new bag of self-rising flour hiding under a pile of dry goods.
Yes, I could have just thrown it away (it’s like $2), but that felt weird, so I looked up recipes that would use it in large quantities. I saw several crazy easy recipes for beer bread, and was instantly sold.
It’s beer, sugar, and self-rising flour. It literally doesn’t get easier than that. I added garlic, parsley, and cheddar because—duh.
Throw some melted butter on the top in the last few minutes of cooking, and you have a yeasty, cheesy, moist, dense treat.READ THE POST
Peach Rhubarb Pie
Some people go crazy trying to manufacture unleavened desserts during the Days of Unleavened Bread, but generally I gravitate (must like for gluten-free things) towards naturally unleavened recipes. Pie is one of those glorious things.
I went home for Passover, the Night to Be Much Observed, and the first Day of Unleavened Bread this year, as has become my custom. It was…kind of crazy, with lots of people in and out of the house, four kids four and under to keep track of a lot of the time (one of them teething mightily), and hordes of people to be fed seemingly every night.
Kansas this time of year is really a crapshoot weather-wise, and for the most part I really lucked out. We had two beautiful days, then one insanely windy day (which isn’t unusual).
Three gorgeous sunsets.
Actual water in the creek (it’s been bone-dry the past few years). Overall, the weather was very kind to me.
For the Night to Be Much Observed (or Remembered, which is the same night as the Jewish Seder), we needed to come up with a recipe to feed a lot of people and complement the chocolate toffee matzo that someone else was bringing. Extra points if the babies could all eat it (which meant everything had to be organic, non-GMO, and with very little sugar. After some discussion, I settled on peach rhubarb pie. My mom had strawberries and that was an option, but I felt like the combo of peaches and rhubarbs was a little unique, so couldn’t resist.
A few notes on this recipe—this is a VERY forgiving recipe, in terms of quantities, length of time, etc. That makes it a little challenging to give exact amounts or baking time (which will also very much depend on the crust you use). Plus, you’ll want to adjust some of the ingredients to your own personal taste (specifically the sugar; this was a bit tart for my personal taste, but was kept that way for the babies).READ THE POST
Roasted Carrots & Fingerling Potatoes with Turmeric
Guys, I have been in a side dish rut. That’s a real thing.
Side dishes seem like So. Much. Work. I mean, I’ve already made a main dish and maybe a bread, and maybe a dessert. And now you want me to make something else entirely to go beside it?? Basically I always get overwhelmed and then make basic roasted veggies or shredded brussels sprouts and call it a day.
It has—rather embarrassingly—been over two years since I posted a true side dish on the site, excepting the kale and quinoa pilaf from a couple months ago. So I’m excited to bring this somewhat odd but delightful and super healthy side to you. I’d wanted to try it for a while but…well, I really haven’t been cooking much besides nachos. This was also my first time using turmeric, a spice used for millennia to combat inflammation and a variety of issues. And these veggies are crazy fast and easy, so as long as your oven is free it doesn’t add any stress or logistics to dinner at all.READ THE POST
Rosemary Chocolate Chip Olive Oil Cake
So, I really am struggling with calling this cake.
It’s honestly not that sweet at all. It’s got a light crumb, and feels a lot like a zucchini or banana bread (maybe a bit less moist than banana bread).
I was really intrigued by the sweet and savory combination, with the rosemary. To be honest, the flavor didn’t bowl me over, mostly because I felt like the chocolate overwhelmed things a bit. It was simple and good, but not earth-shattering.
I’m a sucker for rosemary, and fresh herbs in general, and love the idea of using them in baking sweets. As I was eating this, I kept re-imagining it as a slightly different flavor combo, particularly citrus and herb. Maybe lemon and rosemary, or grapefruit and thyme? Something a little punchy to contrast with the earthiness of the herbs. Let me know if you have ideas! But regardless, this really was a lovely breakfast treat, and got totally devoured at work in an hour or two.READ THE POST
Maple Pudding Cake (Pudding Chômeur)
So somehow I tried out this recipe back in November and then it totally fell into a black hole in my memory and I moved on. Not because it wasn’t awesome, but…Thanksgiving maybe? Early senility? Wine?
Anyway, I had been weirdly fascinated by this recipe since finding it on Smitten Kitchen, despite the fact that caramel isn’t generally for me. But I do love pudding, and I do love sweet biscuit dough (which is essentially what this is), so really it should have been a home run.
Which, if you can’t tell from the glorious pictures, it was. It’s an odd little dessert, but quite easy and quite unique. I was a little obsessed. It’s strangely similar to a peach cobbler, but…caramel.
It was even surprisingly good re-heated the next day—a bit more dense and crystalized, less pudding-y, but still a delight. All-in-all, this is an interesting addition to the dessert arsenal.READ THE POST
Gluten-Free Rosemary Cheddar Biscuits
Oh my goodness, this has got to stop. It has been way too long. I literally made these for our Fitzco #fitzgiving back in November, but haven’t had a chance to post until now. And that’s not fair, because these are pretty darn good.
I offered to make a bread, so threw together my whole wheat olive oil rosemary bread, which is the bomb. But at the last minute I asked if we had any gluten-free folks and since they weren’t sure, I went searching for a good, easy GF biscuit or roll recipe.
As I’ve mentioned several times before, I don’t like using all sorts of weird ingredients that the average person wouldn’t recognize or be able to find. Don’t be alarmed by how many ingredients are listed in this particular recipe either, most of them are ones you already have on-hand. I did make my own gluten-free flour mix (I used an easy 1-1-1 mix of corn flour, brown rice flour, and cornstarch), but even if you want to leave that out you can just substitute more almond meal.
Because they’re made largely (or entirely) with almond meal, their texture definitely isn’t like a fluffy dinner roll. It’s a little grainier, denser. But I inhaled a few just the same (though be warned, because of the almond meal, they’re higher-calorie than you might think). The garlic is intense but awesome, and the cheddar great—I went light on the butter wash at the end. They were also still really moist and delicious several hours later when I actually reheated and served them.READ THE POST
One-Pot Kale & Quinoa Pilaf (…and why I’ve been MIA)
Wow, I didn’t realize how long it had been since I posted a recipe! January was gone in the blink of an eye. I was traveling the first half…first, a quick little trip down to Cancun to try and get some sun and relaxation for a few days, then Dallas to visit my bestie, and then NYC for a quick work trip. All within two weeks. Add insanely long hours at work, and my blogging and cooking hours have been few and far between.
This recipe isn’t pretty to look at, so instead here are my food adventures from Mexico. Hit and miss, to be honest, because Cancun is (as my mom pointed out) the Branson of Mexico. But we tried really hard to find more authentic local places, and stayed far away from Senor Frog’s.
I drank ALL THE PINA COLADAS and tried Mayan-style chicken and vegetables. Honestly, it was inoffensive but wasn’t a fan.
We toured Chichen Itza, one of the seven wonders of the modern world. Then we chowed down on fish tacos.
I soaked up every ray of sunshine available on the only sunny day we had. Vitamin D, come to me! And of course, I had a pina colada and a Coke, which is my go-to beach beverage.
I took Argentinean food out for a trial run, with my first trip to Argentina coming up in just over a month! It was delicious and an OBSCENE amount of food (you can’t see the insanely huge chunk of beef staring me in the face…). Sarai and I are going to have our work cut out for us.
So, that’s all to say sorry for dropping off the face of the earth. Things have been crazy and tiring, and I haven’t been eating anything but nachos since I’ve been home, but I do have a major backlog of awesome recipes from late December that I owe you. But first, we get our kale on…
This recipe isn’t pretty to look at, but it IS fast, easy, healthy, and yummy. I’ll be honest and say that quinoa isn’t really my thing. It’s fine, but the texture is kind of weird and it’s a little bland. So for me, this recipe is good. If you love quinoa, it’s great. The flavors are fresh, tangy, and satisfying.
Espresso Chocolate Coffee Cake
There is no such thing as having too many coffee cake recipes. That’s like having too much cheese, or too many raw sugar packets, or too many pairs of shoes.
Honestly, I have one coffee cake recipe (a cinnamon-streusel one) that is the best in the world, and my go-to under any and all circumstances. And I’m just now realizing that I’ve never posted it. So…that will need remedied. But in the meantime, this one—if you like the combo of espresso and chocolate—is definitely a keeper.
The sour cream gives this a lovely moistness and a dense but somehow light crumb. Everyone at work totally raved about the taste and the texture, so you could probably switch up the toppings if the chocolate/espresso flavor combo isn’t for you.
The original recipe (link at the bottom) calls for you to split the topping and batter, and have a layer of topping in the middle. Since I was using a big springform pan I definitely didn’t have enough batter or topping to make this work, but if you go the bundt or tube pan route, you may want to give this a try. Either way, the melted chocolate, deep espresso notes, and little spikes of cinnamon make this worth getting up in the morning.READ THE POST
Drunken Cheesy Bread
Question: what should one serve at a girls’ night with wine, tiramisu, and Magic Mike XXL??
Answer: drunken cheesy bread. If you answered anything else, you’re wrong.
This recipe has been burning a hole in my Pinterest board, but I felt like I couldn’t justify making it for just myself on a random Sunday night. So when my friend Casey came over for a long-overdue girls’ night, I knew what was on the menu.
In addition to be delicious and decadent-feeling, it’s also deceptively-simple and easy to prepare. It literally took five minutes to put together (and that was just how long it took to grate the gruyere), then we popped it in the oven, drank some wine, and 20 minutes later a bubbly, cheesy delight popped back out. The flavors together are AMAZING, and the wine soaks into the bread and creates a silky, almost custard-like texture.READ THE POST
Salted Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Last month we had an epic girls’ night planned—the last Hunger Games movie, followed by stuffing ourselves to the gills with burgers and fries. As is our tradition, we snuck a bottle of wine into the theater, and I brought these beauties. I’m not really into the kinds of snacks that theaters sell, but a good homemade cookie will do the trick every time!
I was intrigued by Smitten Kitchen’s description of these, and in particular enjoyed her indictment of cookie recipes that insist you chill the dough overnight, because seriously, who plans their cookie cravings that far ahead?! Preach, sister.
I’ll be honest, these are a bit rich for my blood. I had one, and that was plenty (which, on second thought, is maybe a good thing…). But they are the perfect blend of sweet, rich, gooey, and a little crisp, and they got devoured by my compatriots. They are definitely going into the cookie rotation.READ THE POST
Dark Chocolate Puppy Chow with Sea Salt
In general, puppy chow is at the top of the list of “foods I’m never, ever allowed to have in my house”. Because I will eat it ALL—I love it. But I think this specific recipe may literally be my favorite food in the world. It is that good. Life-changing, even.
When I first saw this recipe on Food 52, I was obsessed, and couldn’t wait to try it out. The dark chocolate twist was right up my alley (I’m definitely dark vs. milk), and I knew the sea salt would add a perfect balance to what can sometimes be an overly sweet snack. I also made a few changes based on my own preferences…I decreased the amount of powdered sugar and increased the peanut butter (and the chocolate chips, a little) to tailor it to my exact tastes.
And I done good. Now *this* is what I call a Sunday night…
I took this into work (okay fine, what I hadn’t already eaten the night before) and we devoured it in no time flat. READ THE POST
Apple Pie Scones
I had other things I planned on posting this weekend, but I just couldn’t keep this recipe from you for a minute longer. This recipe needs shared IMMEDIATELY.
I spent almost a week home with the family for Thanksgiving, and it involved a fair amount of cooking and baking. Sabbath morning my mom asked what I’d like to make to go along with our awesome chili-cheese omelettes. I needed something simple and fairly quick, since we were all starving, and scones felt like the simplest option.
I was really tempted by a cinnamon scone recipe I’ve been eyeing for months, but then this jumped at me. I took a chance, and BOY, did I make the right choice?!
The strangest thing about this recipe is that it doesn’t include any milk or buttermilk. That made me nervous, and I was worried these would be dry or wouldn’t rise well, but I was totally wrong. The shredded apples and the applesauce gave them all the moistness they needed, and the texture was perfect. They’re pretty healthy as scones go, and have such a great flavor.READ THE POST
Baked Fontina Pasta with Brussels Sprouts & Sage Breadcrumbs
Gooey, salty goodness—that’s what this recipe is in a nutshell. It is my sworn duty to share this amazingness with you.
I’ve had my eye on it for a couple months now, but just hadn’t found the right time to make it. I actually even started to make it one Sunday…bought the ingredients, pasta water boiling, started to shred the brussels sprouts. And then my craving for nachos became too much and I stopped mid-chop. Because the heart wants what the heart wants, and the heart wanted nachos. And the knifework still hurt because of my sprained thumb, which was my excuse.
But I definitely came back to it a few weeks later when the brussels sprouts looked good. And boy, was it worth it. Because this is the very definition of comfort food, and it’s so easy. It’s also surprisingly healthy for a cheesy pasta bake, since the bechamel is made with the starchy pasta water instead of the traditional milk. The result is a slightly thinner, silky sauce that clings to every crevice of your ruffly pasta, and doesn’t leave you feeling weighed down. And that’s a win-win.READ THE POST
Almond Cake with Fruit Compote (gluten-free)
I’ve amassed a fairly impressive arsenal of gluten-free dessert recipes over the past few years, since my friends John & Bridgette went GF. And one of the biggest things I usually look for in these recipes is that they’re naturally free of gluten, rather than using weird ingredients to try and approximate the texture and taste of wheat recipes.
That’s why I’ve developed quite an affinity for almond meal. It’s super yummy, plus it has an awesome grainy texture—not perfect for every type of recipe, but helps provide a “crumb” to certain cakes and pastries. It’s also pretty easy to work with and really forgiving. I’ve kind of been on an almond cake kick lately for myself, because the flavor is perfect for this summer-to-fall transition time we’ve been in.
Which brings us to the uber-moist flavor bomb we’re talking about today…
This recipe is from Cookie + Kate, and as soon as she posted it, I was dying to give it a try. The almond cake is the star, and is taken up a level by the combination of orange zest and cinnamon in the batter, and the maple syrup makes it super moist. It’s also literally the easiest batter to throw together. Then the slightly-sticky cake is stopped with a roasted fruit compote, which provides additional juice dripping down into the cake. I went with pears and raspberries, which in hindsight was way too much juice to deal with. But you can use whatever strikes your fancy. This is awesome as leftovers, particularly for breakfast.
Don’t judge.READ THE POST
Cheesy Sausage & Grit Casserole
Sorry, friends. There’s no way to make this dish look pretty in pictures. But it IS super yummy!
I’m always on the lookout for new breakfast casserole recipes for our Friday morning work breakfasts, particularly ones that don’t take a million different ingredients and a lot of assembly time (because let’s face it, I get home late). This one is is simple, affordable, and comes together super quickly.
Funny story about this recipe though…the original recipe instructions just say “boil salted water, then add grits”. Because my background is pasta, where you heavily salt the water (then, obviously, pour a lot of it out), I boiled the water and tossed a handful of salt in, and of course salted my sausage and added (salty) cheese. The result? So salty, it was almost inedible. It WAS kind of inedible, in my opinion. Lesson learned—follow the instructions on the package!READ THE POST
Bourbon Vanilla Banana Bread with Candied Walnuts
I’ve long been on the record as “meh” on banana bread.
As my two-year-old niece would say, it’s not…offensive. It’s just not something that calls to me on any level.
But let me tell you…bourbon sure does take this up a level! And candied walnuts don’t hurt either. What I’m saying is, this banana bread is AWESOME.
This recipe is also super easy and fast. It’s taking one of the most basic recipes many of us remember from our childhood and just taking it up a few notches. Vanilla bean paste instead of just extract. A subtle deep, almost caramel flavor from the bourbon. Beautiful sugar-crusted nuts for texture. If that isn’t an impressive dessert (okay fine, breakfast), I don’t know what is!READ THE POST
Rigatoni with Chicken, Goat Cheese, & Grilled Fairytale Eggplant
This is one of those really random, accidental recipes that turned out SO. GOOD.
One weekend this summer I was at the farmer’s market and found the most adorable tiny, lavender-colored eggplant I’d ever seen—fairytale eggplant.
I had to buy a pound of them, but then try and figure out what to do. After looking up some recipes, I decided that grilling them would be the yummiest. And it was…I’m not a huge eggplant fan, but these were soft and smoky and salty, and just awesome.
Of course, if I’m heating up the grill then why not grill some herbed chicken as well? I also picked up some of the last juicy tomatoes of summer, and a bunch of massively fragrant herbs. Because those two things make everything better.
And of course, every pasta needs a sauce. Some goat cheese and some pasta water, and boom—instant tangy deliciousness. It was a bunch of random ingredients, but they somehow all came together into an easy, perfect late summer dish. READ THE POST
Cinnamon Swirl Bread
I’ve been sitting on this one for a while.
Why, you ask? It’s cinnamon swirl bread, which is a total no-brainer. Gooey, cinnamony goodness spiraling through a tender, crumby loaf. And it is. But for some reason when I made it a few months ago, I wasn’t totally in love with it. The filling was awesome, but the bread was just…fine. The texture was good, but the outside was crustier than I wanted and the bread’s flavor (it tasted like…bread) was a disconnect from the sweet filling.
But I’ve come to see the error of my ways, because you deserve cinnamon swirl bread in YOUR life too. I’ve made a few adjustments to the recipe to make the bread and filling feel like they’re part of the same recipe, including adding a teaspoon of cinnamon and a little extra sugar to the dough. The filling was perfect just as it was. READ THE POST
Strawberry Chia Jam (no pectin)
It’s really only been three weeks, but it feels like it’s been a year since I posted! It’s not that I don’t have anything TO post…on the contrary, I have quite the backlog. But crazy workload plus travel has kept me away.
I’m easing back in with this no-fuss strawberry jam recipe. Why jam, you ask?
Well, I just got back from spending a week and a half in the Scottish highlands and a number of the islands, plus a day in Edinburgh, which meant tons of pub food, breakfast fry-ups, and sticky toffee pudding. But one of my absolute favorite things when traveling in the U.K. is a plain scone with butter and strawberry jam. Their scones have an unreal crumb…my mission in life is to somehow recreate it. And it’s perfect with just some simple butter and jam. Boy, I ate a ton of these!
This jam isn’t quite the same (for that, you can use my super easy balsamic strawberry jam recipe, also no pectin). But it’s got the interesting addition of chia seeds for texture and thickening, it’s a little less sweet (I barely put any sweetener in), and it’s super easy. You can get it started and then focus on making dinner or baking something, just stopping to give the jam a quick stir every so often.READ THE POST
Healthy Lemon Almond Chicken Salad
So, I had this post all written and ready to publish, then it mysteriously disappeared. Like, hit save and *poof*—everything was gone. So you’ll have to take my word that it was probably the most interesting, witty piece of food writing known to man.
Or probably not. Guys, my brain is totally fried. Looooong hours, too much on my plate, getting ready for travel, not sleeping well. I know from experience that the way I’m living right now is a no-fail recipe for gaining weight (I have last fall to prove it). I’ve had absolutely no time or energy to cook, but I knew that if I didn’t make something I’d end up having a Farm Burger #4 chicken burger every day for lunch. Which…hello, 15 pounds.
So this caught my eye a few weeks ago. I’m a sucker for chicken salad. All of it. All the kinds. But I tend to be lazy about making it, because it takes a number of ingredients and then I eat it so fast. Plus, it’s not always the healthiest.
The ingredients for this chicken salad were super simple. And more importantly, healthy. I didn’t even cook my own chicken breasts. Just saute up cooked chicken with some spices, zest the lemon, slice the scallions, and you’re rockin’ and rollin’. It’s light and fresh and perfect for August in Georgia (and a healthy work lunch).READ THE POST