Sunday, August 30, 2015

Cinnamon Sugar Whole Wheat Banana Bread

I don't know about you, but in my opinion there is no such thing as too many banana bread recipes. I've made so many different recipes over the past few years (banana oat bread anyone? How about buttermilk banana bread, or Greek yogurt banana bread? And don't forget about sour cream banana bread or banana chocolate chip breakfast cake!) and I haven't ever been disappointed. There are a few key points to keep in mind however. First is don't over bake!! This is key. There is almost nothing as disappointing as a dry slice of banana bread. And second, don't start with a poor recipe. This one may not be as easy figure out, but if your new recipe is fat free, gluten free, dairy free or in some other way flavor free there is probably no way to salvage it. I'm not saying you can't find a good gluten free (or whatever free) banana bread recipe, but you have to be a little more careful when picking a recipe. 

This cinnamon sugar banana bread recipe is the newest addition to my banana bread recipe collection and it certainly does not disappoint! It's full of oat-y goodness from some ground up oats that combine with whole wheat flour to produce a wonderfully chewy and hearty loaf. Some brown sugar adds a nice hint of molasses and a little butter adds richness. I decided to spice it up a little by adding a sweet cinnamon sugar swirl to the center of this loaf. It added a sweet and delicious surprise that really elevates this recipe to the next level. Another winner to add to your banana bread repertoire! 


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Chunky Mediterranean Eggplant Dip

Mediterranean food is probably my favorite thing to eat. It is so fresh and light and delicious. Now, I know that the word "Mediterranean" encompasses a huge diversity of food from many, many countries and regions, but I really do love it all. I have never been disappointed with something Mediterranean inspired. This dip caught my eye very quickly since it kind of combines two of my favorite things, hummus and baba ghanoush. 

Chickpeas and eggplant along with lemon, some spices and fresh herbs make this wonderful dip that I can easily just eat with a spoon. With a side of pita chips, or an assortment of vegetables this dip really does become the star. Nothing bland about this combination, it's perfect for pretty much anything. 


Monday, August 17, 2015

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Biscotti

I'm always looking for new ways to repurpose some of my favorite recipes. They're favorites for a reason, and wonderful as originally written, but it's still fun to try out new twists to see if you can come up with something even better. These biscotti fall into this category. The base recipe is one of my favorites from King Arthur Flour that I've posted about before, but I felt like changing it up a little this time. I've really been liking the cinnamon chocolate combo recently so decided to give it a go with some biscotti. The combination of a hint of warm cinnamon with the sweetness of mini chocolate chips was a winner in this recipe. Another favorite for the archives!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Roasted Potato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

As I mentioned a few days ago, last Sunday we had a little party for my mom's 60th birthday. Lara and I were in charge of the food, and we decided on a salad bar with all the fixings. On top of the do-it-yourself bar, we wanted a few pre-made salads as well. After scouring the internet, we finally settled on two recipes. A pasta salad as well as this roasted potato salad. I don't make potato salads often, so I was excited for the opportunity to give this recipe a try. I am a huge mustard fan, so the idea of a mustard vinaigrette on my potato salad sounded wonderful. 

At the farmers market the day before the party, I found the most beautiful display of baby potatoes; yellow, red and purple. They were absolutely gorgeous, just the thing for this wonderful salad. It's a simple salad, but full of freshness from the basil and scallions, and wonderful variations in texture from the creamy potatoes to the raw walnuts. Topped with the delicious mustardy vinaigrette, this was my definition of a perfect potato salad.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Peaches and Cream Cupcakes

It's an extra special birthday today, my mom turns 60!! I can hardly believe it! In honor of this special occasion, Lara, my dad and I threw a little shindig for her this past Sunday. Family members and friends came over for a salad bar party. It was pretty delicious if I do say so. Today I want to share the best part of the party - the cake of course! Since it's August, and my mom absolutely LOVES peaches, I decided to make a peaches and cream cupcake for her. While I love having the opportunity to make a cake, at a party like this I decided cupcakes would be easier to serve, and would be easier for everyone to eat. 

These cupcakes turned out light and fluffy, filled with sweet and delicious peaches, topped with the perfect frosting, an airy whipped mascarpone and cream frosting. It doesn't get much better than this for an August birthday. I highly recommend both the cake and the frosting. I may never go back to buttercream again!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Big Cluster Cinnamon Almond Granola

I was talking to my grandma a few weeks ago about making granola and how much I love doing it. It's so much better and ridiculously cheaper than buying it, and it's not at all difficult to do. Plus, you can customize it to your exact specifications! My grandma is gluten intolerant, and so granola is a good option for her to have on hand for breakfast, or a snack, or whatever. After our conversation I decided to make her a batch to show her what homemade granola can be like. 

I chose this recipe because it was very simple. Since I don't know exactly how she likes her granola I decided to keep it basic and pretty classic. Oats, almonds and brown sugar, some cinnamon and vanilla, all kept nice and crunchy with a bit of oil. It turned out a beautiful, toasty granola that formed big, crunchy clusters. Super tasty, and perfect for anything you might imagine. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Caponata

I buy almost all of my produce at the farmers market during the summer. I love my Saturday mornings at the market, walking up and down the long row of produce, flowers, baked goods, meats and cheeses and anything else that might be there, deciding what I must have for the coming week. However, I was at the grocery store to pick up a few things the other day and I made the requisite trip through the produce section, just in case. There I found a single eggplant, forlornly sitting on the "seconds" shelf. One pretty nice sized eggplant for sale for 60 cents. I couldn't just leave it there, it looked absolutely fine still, nice and firm with no obvious bad spots at all. So into my cart it went. I didn't know what I was going to do with it, but I knew I could figure that out quite quickly once I got home. 

After a quick search online, it became obvious to me what I should make, caponata. This is not something I had made before, but I had a couple of recipes pinned, and had just watched an episode of the Barefoot Contessa where she served caponata on an antipasto platter. So after I looked through a couple of recipes, I went to work creating my very own caponata using the ingredients I had in the fridge. In the end it turned out absolutely delicious! While I don't know what a good Italian would say about my caponata, in the end I don't really care. I loved it, and when cooking for yourself that's really all that matters.