You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Dessert’ tag.

What is it about delicious food?

Food, for me, is not only a source of nutrition and energy, it is a major source of joy. I love to cook, entertain, and (of course) eat.

So, on this cold evening in January I went back through the archives to show you the recipes that I think you have to make. Today. Right now.

OK, if not today… Please make them this week. Or this weekend.

These are chosen for different reasons, but mainly because they are easy, delicious, and filling.

Easy Peasy Spinach

I make this recipe about once a week. It truly is as easy as can be. It is nutritious, and most of all- it is a delightful way to enjoy spinach. I promise that you will like this if you try it. You. Will.

Change Your Life Burger

I must admit, I don’t think of making burgers very often in the winter. However, I plan on making an exception this week. I’ll be either popping these guys into a skillet or onto my stove top griddle. I dare you to stuff a burger with bacon, cheese, and onion and not fall in love. It cannot be done.

And I mean it when I say that this burger will change your life. And it will change it for the better.

Strawberry, Blueberry, Banana Bread

Ooooh, another good one. It also happens to remind me of summer. I only ever think of making banana bread when I look at our bananas and realized they have gotten all soft and brown and otherwise inedible. That happened to me this week, and I was happy to have strawberries and blueberries on hand to make this loaf of yummy goodness.

Oooo-eeeee. It is good!

Greek-ish Spanikopita

This is my all time, hands-down favorite vegetarian meal. I could eat an unbelievable amount of this stuff if given the opportunity. I love it fresh out of the oven. I love it cold for breakfast. I love it toasted up as leftovers. Oh. My. I think I am going to have to make this myself this week. I’m currently crossing my fingers that I have all of the ingredients on hand.

I posted the more greek version with onions and feta for this recipe, but truth be told I like the cheddar cheese version myself.

The Perfect Breakfast

This make ahead crock pot steel cut oatmeal can coax you out of bed even when a cup of Joe can’t. Imagine waking up to the smell of warm apples and cinnamon. I’m telling you… you will be jumping out of bed to greet this goodness for breakfast.

If you read this blog regularly, you know I LOVE a make ahead breakfast. So, to have a warm bowl of cereal awaiting you is perfection.

And the Perfect Pairing for the Perfect Breakfast

I also love a little savory for breakfast. So, make this quiche in the evening. Allow it to cool for a bit after you pull it out of the oven. Then, slice it and cover it and pop it in your fridge.

In the morning, grab your oatmeal and a slice of the quiche. Microwave your quiche for about a minute and enjoy!!

Because I’m usually not hungry at 7:30 in the morning, I love to wrap up a piece of quiche and pop some oatmeal into a small Tupperware container and bring it to work to heat up there. You shall make all of your coworkers jealous while they smell your deliciousness cooking.

Game Day Treats

I hear there is a big football game coming up. Save yourself some time, energy, and money, and make these little guys for your game day celebration. Even if you aren’t into football (like me), I am into football food!! That works out nicely for both me and my man.

Crock Pot Chili AKA Go-To “I’m working all day and I don’t want to come home and cook” Dinner

I completely underutilize my crock pot. I’m the first to admit it. However, my crock pot has lovingly cooked and warmed this delicious and SUPER DUPER EASY chili time and time again. And, the cheese bread? Fuh-get-about-it.

Frozen Key Lime Pie

Brownie Pudding

These recipes are not my own. I do not excel at desserts at all. My idea of a good dessert are those break and bake cookies you can buy at the grocery. I also love peanut butter chocolate chip United Dairy Farms ice cream. And from time to time, I’ll make some sort of dessert  using someone else’s recipe! That is the case with these guys… Ina Garten is my idol. She can cook and bake and entertain. And she has the most amazing kitchen in the Hamptons I have ever seen. I want to be her friend.

And when we’re friends, she’ll make me these desserts herself. And then I will eat them. We’ll walk through her herb gardens talking about our latest trip to Paris while we nosh on lobster. It will be magical. For now, I’ll just enjoy my replications of her masterpiece recipes.

Picture of Frozen Key Lime Pie Recipe

Picture of Brownie Pudding Recipe

Hope you are all having a fabulous week so far.

XO,

Leah

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OK, people.

Are you getting tired of hearing about my holiday pseudo-baking endeavors?

I have one more teeny-tiny recipe for you today, and then I’m done talking about holiday sweets for at least another year.

This “recipe” (I’ll use the term loosely because these treats are so easy, the word recipe hardly seems suitable) comes from my cousin Kari’s kitchen. She started making these salty sweet treats a few years back.

And I like I do with any good idea, I stole it.

We’re talking pretzel rods dipped in caramel and chocolate.

Now, Kari is a whiz in the kitchen and she gets creative and fancy with her pretzels adding drizzles of white chocolate sometimes or a green or red smattering of sprinkles.

By this point in my Bake-a-palooza 2010, I just wanted to be done.

I wanted to take my treats and eat them in front of my TV.

So. No sprinkles. No fancy dancy chocolate drizzles.

Please forgive me.

You’ll need a whopping 3 ingredients for these treasures: pretzel rods (I used 2 bags), one bag of Kraft caramels, and 1 bag of chocolate chips (you could use dark, semi-sweet, or milk chocolate).

Start by unwrapping the caramels.

This is, by far, the only tedious task in this recipe.

Toss them into a small sauce pan, and add 2 T of water.

Turn your burner on to medium, and start a-stirrin’.

Keep stirring until it looks like this.

Resist the urge to stick your finger in there.

Or to lick the spoon.

Both will burn.

I may or may not know that from first-hand experience.

Have I mentioned I have very little willpower?

Take a pretzel and dip it in. I like to dip them in only about halfway.

Once dipped, let most of the caramel drip off of the pretzel. Then further remove excess caramel by giving your pretzel a slide up the side of your pan.

Lay your pretzels out on a (you guessed it) parchment lined sheet pan.

If you don’t remove the excess caramel, you will have giant caramel pools around your pretzel sticks. And those aren’t pretty.

Believe me.

Two years in a row, I had these top heavy, oddly shaped caramel mess pretzels because I couldn’t restrain myself enough to remove the excess caramel.

I have learned my lesson.

Pop those in your fridge to cool and harden up a bit.

Melt your chocolate in a double boiler (see Monday’s post if you don’t know what that is or how to do it).

Pull out your cooled pretzels, and give them a second dip… this time in melty delicious chocolatey chocolateness.

Back onto the sheet pan they go.

Then, back into the fridge again.

When the chocolate has hardened, you are good to package them up!

Or, more realistically- eat them up.

Now, these are the perfect snack for me because they satisfy two cravings.

The salty pretzel perfectly balances out the sweet of the caramel and chocolate.

So good!

Guess what?!?

It’s Thursday!

Yippee!

Happy Holidays,

Leah

My goal this week is for everyone who reads this to pack on a solid 5 holiday pounds.

It is good to fatten up for the colder weather.

And all of these holiday weight gain goals give you ammunition to develop a really strong New Year’s resolution.

So, today we shall discuss peppermint bark.

If you are looking for the easiest possible holiday treat to make and give to people, look no further than the peppermint bark.

You need three whopping ingredients: white chocolate chips, regular chocolate chips, candy canes

You need one bag of white chips, one bag of regular chips, and one package of candy canes per 9×11 sheet pan.

Let’s get started!

Get out your whopper-jangled double boiler. This is what I call my make-shift double boiler.

If you don’t know what a double boiler is, scroll down to yesterday’s post for a quick tutorial.

Melt your chocolate chips. I was making two sheet pans, so I melted one bag of semi-sweet chips and one bag of milk chocolate chips. I think if you could find some dark chocolate to melt, this bark would be elevated to a whole new level.

Line your sheet pans with your most necessary holiday baking accessory… parchment paper.

Spread your chocolate onto the pan.

Pop that into the fridge to harden and cool.

Now, lets start melting our white chocolate.

I used Ghirardelli chips for the white, semi-sweet, and milk chocolate chips. They make a chip that is heads and tails above Nestle or the store brand.

In my humble opinion, it is very much worth the slightly higher price.

While that is melting down, we shall destroy our candy canes.

Take off the wrapper (unless you love that plastic flavor), and break the candy cane into larger sizes. Drop it into your food processor.

Chop ’em up.

Look at that white chocolate.

Mmmm… melty, creamy, deliciousness.

Take about 1/4 of your chopped candy canes and mix that right in to your white chocolate.

Mix it up.

Pull out your hardened chocolate, and quickly spread your white chocolate on top.

Work quickly. You know, your hot white chocolate could start to melt your dark chocolate if you aren’t a Speedy Gonzales.

Once you have your white chocolate spread all over the regular chocolate, sprinkle the rest of your chopped candy canes on top.

Isn’t that the prettiest thing you have ever seen?

It’s tasty too.

Pop that back into the fridge as well, and let the whole shabang harden up.

Once it is hardened (15 minutes or so), break it up. I used a knife to help me, but uniform pieces are not required. Just crack it until it is delightfully un-uniform in shape.

There you have it.

Holiday Treat Numero Dos.

Tomorrow, I shall give your sweet tooth a rest (just for a day!). I’ll be giving you a savory holiday treat recipe.

I am getting more in the holiday spirit all of the time.

Have a Lovely Tuesday my friends.

With Christmas Cheer,

Leah

Well, this weekend I officially got into the holiday spirit. My fingers are practically worked to the bone after spending both Saturday and Sunday pulling out all of the stops to make my holiday treats.

Confession:

The Take 5 Candy Bar is the greatest candy bar on the planet.

Have you had one?

The 5 in the Take 5 refers to chocolate, peanut butter, peanuts, caramel, and pretzels.

I’m not sure how I made it 30 years before I got to tasting my first Take 5. But, this devil woman in my office makes them available at all times, and she wore me down.

I only call her a devil woman because she lures me in with her sweets.

And I normally don’t have a sweet tooth. Give me cheese on a cracker over dessert any day.

But that darn Take 5. It has a hold on me.

With that said, I decided that I needed to try and recreate the Take 5 at home for a holiday treat. And then I decided that I could do Hershey one better by amping up my recipe.

So, without further ado, I give you Holiday Treat Numero Uno… the homemade Take 5.

That Take 5 actually turned into the homemade Take 7 because, well… you’ll see.

The most important part of holiday baking, in my humble opinion, is purchasing parchment paper.

Parchment paper makes the baking process AND clean up infinitely easier.

And aren’t we all looking for infinite ease?

Line a large baking pan with parchment paper.

And then throw on pretzels to cover the entire bottom of the pan.

Next, we’ll add our peanut butter. I thought that Reese’s peanut butter cups would be the easiest way to get the messy peanut butter portion of the Take 7 incorporated into the recipe.

And you know what?

I was right.

Gee, I love it when that happens.

Pulse them a few times in your food processor, and dump them on the pretzels.

Please note, this is not a precise recipe. Just add more or less of your favorite parts of the candy bar.

Add some salted peanuts on top of that.
I pulsed the nuts in the food pro as well.

It is looking good already, isn’t it??

Now, we’ll add our caramel sauce.

I used one bag of Kraft individually wrapped caramels.

To melt the caramels, unwrap them, toss them in a sauce pan, and add 2 T of water.

Turn the heat on medium, and start stirring.

Keep stirring until it looks like this.

Now drizzle all of that onto your candy concoction.

At this point, I was wondering if this little experiment of mine was going to work.

I RARELY wing it in the kitchen with dessert-type recipes. But I figured that worst-case scenario, I would be gnawing this off of parchment paper all by myself while watching the final season of my girl Oprah.

At this stage of the recipe, I say MOVE OVER HERSHEY.

Because I added some Rice Krispies.

Yes, now my Take 5 is a Take 6.

But why stop at a Take 6 when I do think this could be elevated to a whole new heavenly level.

So, look out.

Here comes the Take 7.

Mini Marshmallows.
You heard me.

And so did Miss and Lola when I opened the marshmallow bag.

Why do my dogs immediately start drooling when they see marshmallows?

If you have an answer, I would love to hear it.

Thanks.

Top that off with your chocolate.

Now, I don’t mean to knock on Hershey.

Because as previously stated the Take 5 is my hands-down favorite candy bar.

However, I do declare that Hershey’s chocolate used on the Take 5 is not the greatest.

Sorry, Hershey.

I upgraded to Ghirardelli semi-sweet chips found in bags in the baking aisle.

I tossed the whole bag on top.

Now, throw this whole mess of sweet, waist-busting food into your oven (set at 325) for 8 minutes.

After 8 minutes, pull the pan out and use a spatula sprayed lightly with cooking spray to spread the marshmallow and chocolate.

This does not, I REPEAT, does not have to look pretty.

Allow the pan to cool for 10 minutes.

After it has cooled slightly, cover the top of your treat with parchment paper.

Get out another sheet pan, and FLIP the whole kit and caboodle over.

Your chocolate and marshmallows will now be on the bottom, and your pretzel layer will now be on the top.

We have one more step to finish up this masterpiece.

More of the good chocolate.

Get out your double boiler.

Or, if you are like me and don’t have a fancy-pants double boiler, get out a large sauce pan and fill it with and inch or two of water.

Bring the water to a boil.

Once the water is boiling, place a metal bowl over the sauce pan.

Add your some chocolate chips to your bowl.

I used a mixture of semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips.

Start stirring.

Until it looks like this.

The double boiler method is fantastic because it perfectly melts your chocolate without running the risk of burning it and ruining it.

Pull out your hot mess of a Take 7.

Peel back the parchment paper.

And slather those pretzels with your melted chocolate.

Hello Lover!

Pop that into the fridge for 20 minutes or so to allow the chocolate to harden.

Then, use all of your power and might to cut this into small squares.

Pop one into your mouth to taste their heavenly deliciousness.

OK, pop another one in.

It’s the holiday season after all.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that these little morsels of yumminess could probably change the world.

I feel that if only world leaders could have a Take 7 before meeting, we could achieve peace on earth.

How could you not feel goodwill toward men while noshing on 7 layers of sweet treat delight?

Happy Holiday Season, and Happy Monday!

XO,

Leah

Every now and then, I feel like sharing with you something that will forever change your life.

Because life is lovely right now, I feel as if I must share this Chocolate Caramel Apple treat with ya.

It will Change. Your. Life.

Forever.

Like every great recipe in my repertoire, this one comes from my mama.

I’ve been making them for years, and I always make some to share with my co-workers.

It may be the only reason I still have a job.

OK, OK. It likely is the only reason I still have a job.

So, here is what you’ll need:

I highly recommend green apples. I like the sharp tart contrast to the extreme sweetness that the candy coating provides.

However, I’m not the boss of you.

Wouldn’t life be lovely if I was though?

Yes, I think it would be.

Thankfully for you, I am not. So, you can use whatever apples you like.

You’ll also need caramels, nuts (I used peanuts, but again… use whatever you want-pecans or walnuts or almonds would be lovely), semi-sweet chocolate, and some candy coating.

For my candy coating, I’ll be using a mixture of toffee chips and Snickers.

So, yeah.

If you have any imagination at all, you know that this recipe has serious potential for containing life changing powers.

I’d like to warn you before you start, this recipe is a bit time intensive.

But you will not regret it.

And your friends will worship you.

And your family will never ask for anything else from you ever again.

For when you serve them these apples, they will know your purpose on this earth.

Making delicious delectable bites.

OK, I may be exaggerating.

But, not by much.

Unwrap your caramels.

If you have children, you should make them do this part as penance for eventually eating said apples.

Admire your massive pile of wrappers.

I used two bags of caramels for 24 apples.

I inadvertently purchased the bags from the candy aisle. During the fall, it is imperative that you purchase the caramels from the seasonal aisle or near the apples. Those bags of caramels have the sticks included in them.

I opened my caramels, realized I had no sticks to put into my apples, and then decided these apples would probably taste best without the sticks.

For each bag of caramels, add 2 tablespoons of water.

2 bags x 2 T. per bag= 4 T. of water

No, believe it or not… I was not a math major.

Put those caramels on the stove over medium low heat.

In the meantime, take your peanuts and  put them into a food processor.

Now, grind ’em up.

With your freakishly shaped hand.

That button looks a lot harder to push in this photo than it is in real life.

It is quite simple actually.

At this point, you should probably start stirring your caramel.

Until it becomes smooth.

Ideally, you would now use your sticks to help you maneuver your apples through the caramel coating stage.

Unless you are a ding-a-ling like me, and forgot those darn sticks.

I took a walk on the wild side and just used my hands.

When it got a little dicey, I used a spoon and some tongs to help me out.

However, sticks in the actual apple is the best method.

And into your chopped nuts for a nutty bath.

I highly recommend using parchment paper on your pan. It makes this whole process bearable.

And when your significant other has to clean up all of your mess, he or she will appreciate your parchment paper thoughtfulness.

If you are the cook in your household, I also highly recommend that your significant other becomes your personal dishwasher.

In our house, I do all of the cooking.

Brad has made his specialty, The Return Home (this is a mixture of chicken and eggs- get it?) once or twice. It isn’t too delicious. So, I try to stick to the making of the food.

However, I married well. And this man takes every dish, spoon, spatula, and pan I get messy and washes them all.

That, my friends, is what you call a marriage made in heaven.

I like to cook, and hate to clean.

He likes to clean, and hates to cook.

We both love to eat.

Have I said lately that I haven chosen well in the spouse department?

Or maybe he has chosen well?

Yes, I think that is it.

Anywho, I digress.

One might think that this is a perfect stopping point.

But I think there must be a way to take this up a notch.

Hmmmm… chocolate. Yes. Chocolate.

If ever in doubt, chocolate.

I don’t have a double boiler.

So, I rig one up by using a medium sized pot filled with approximately two inches of water.

Then, I put a metal bowl filled with my chocolate on top.

The indirect heat will get your chocolate to the perfect consistency.

Put the heat at medium. Once your chocolate is thoroughly melted, turn the heat down to low.

Stir the chocolate frequently as it is melting.

Once the chocolate is melted and the heat is turned down very low, we should prepare the final glorious topping.

Again, you have the opportunity to turn this apple into whatever you like by using any candy bar you like.

Go ahead! Pick your favorite.

I’m using a mixture of Snickers and Heath toffee topping.

I froze the Snickers bars prior to chopping them up so that they would grind down pretty finely.

Have I mentioned how much I love this little kitchen tool?

I’m telling ya… best $50 I have spent in a long time on a small kitchen appliance.

Add those ground candy bars (I used 12 mini bars) to your 2 bags of toffee chips (these are made by Heath and are right next to the chocolate chips in the grocery store).

Now, this is where it gets messy.

Unless you are making a proper caramel apple with a stick in it. Then it isn’t so bad.

I donned my famous kitchen glove for this step.

Slather that apple all the way around with chocolate.

The chocolate is a little too thick to just dip the apple into it.

So, I prefer the spatula method of application.

Then, sweet sassy molassey… dip it in the candy.

Mama Mia.

Oy vey.

Holy Mother.

Oh Dear Gussie.

Pop them on a pan and then throw them in the fridge for the chocolate to set for 10-15 minutes.

For the apples that I’m delivering to friends and coworkers, I use a little plastic cling wrap tied with a bow.

Cute, right?

You know that I could not wrap all of these bad boys up without helping myself to one first.

These apples, whether on a stick or not, are not designed to be picked up and eaten.

You really need a sharp knife to get into this guy.

I better show you my preferred method.

Slice right down the side of one of those apples. You want a good old healthy hunk of apple and candy.

Oh dear.

Now that it’s cut, I suppose I should take a bite.

OK, twist my arm.

I will.

Dee-lish!

And healthy!

It is true.

Apples are very good for you.

And both caramel and chocolate contain dairy.

And then the nuts are a protein.

This is practically a three course healthy dinner.

You are welcome.

Enjoy my dear friends!

Oh, and for my favorite Tuesday night girls- I saved some for you.

XO,

Leah

Last fall, the main man and I went to New York, New York.

You see, our dearly beloved friends were getting married.

Actually, the main man was the official officiant officially responsible for the marrying of these friends.

Lovely.

Everything about the weekend was delightful- except for the monsoon like weather.

Some of our dearest friends were there, the ceremony and reception was personal and perfect, but most importantly the food was UH-MAZE-ING.

Specifically, the burgers we had at the rehearsal dinner altered the state of my universe.

More specifically the buns for the burgers we had at the rehearsal dinner caused my heart to pitter-patter.

You know those buns had to be delicious for them to the best part of a burger. I honestly did not think that was possible.

These small baked wonders were so good that I had our server write down the name of the place from which they order these magical buns- called Portuguese Muffins- from.

Then, I rushed home to order 957 cases.

To my dismay, they do not sell to consumers- only restaurants and shops.

What in the heck?

What was I to do?

I don’t bake.

But I could not go on living without these in my life.

I now knew a new way of living, and that way of living was centered around Portuguese Muffins being forever present.

I couldn’t go back to my old way of life.

I just couldn’t.

I had to sacrifice.

Some things worth having in life require sacrifice.

Sorry for the deep thought there.

So, it was decided.

I must (deep sigh) bake.

With yeast.

Oh Lawdy.

I did NOT develop this recipe. I’m not anywhere near smart enough to do so. So, this recipe comes from allrecipes.com where some dear soul decided to share the deliciousness that is the Portuguese Muffin with the world.

Without further ado, I give you the Bolo Levedo or if you speak English like me- the Portuguese Muffin.

What you’ll need:

Some Free Time AND

1 (.25 ounce) envelope active dry yeast, 1/4 c. warm water

6 c. all-purpose flour, 1 c. white sugar, 3 eggs, 1/4 c. melted butter, cooled, 1/2 t. salt, 1 1/4 c. milk

Put the yeast and a pinch of sugar in a bowl.

Why does yeast make me nervous? Probably because half of the time I try to use it, it doesn’t work/react properly. I have a complex that yeast hates me.

Now, add in the warm water.

Now, pray that the yeast reacts. Set that aside for 10 minutes.

After your 10 minutes of waitin, lets use the mixer! Get a big bowl. Dump in thee eggs and  sugar.

Add in the salt and flour.

Top off with the milk with the yeast/water mixture.

Doesn’t that look delicious?

Just another reason to not like yeast. It even looks gross.

Mix to combine.

Now, pour in your cooled melted butter.

Ah, butter. Everything is right in the world.

Mix again to incorporate the butter.

Then, plop the ball o’ dough onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes.

10 minutes is a long time.

I now have giant forearms from kneading.

Now, we get to practice patience.

Put the ball of dough into a bowl and cover. Let it rise for 45 minutes. It SHOULD double in size if the yeast doesn’t hate you.

Uncover, and pull off equal sized chunks of dough and form them into flat round cakes about 1/2 inch thick.

Cover again. Let it rise again. Practice Patience again. For 1 1/2 hours.

Now to cook these bad boys.

You are supposed to slow cook these in a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat in small batches. I highly recommend this method because the muffins stay moist, are  perfectly browned on both sides, and you can feel self righteous for your tedious muffin making accomplishment.

However, I did not plan this recipe out very well. I finished letting these guys rise on a weeknight, and it was nearing 11 pm. I could not foresee standing in front of the stove for another hour slowly cooking these little morsels.

So, I cheated.

I stuck ’em on a sheet pan, and I put another sheet pan on top (you know, to brown the top too), and I cooked them in the oven at 400 degrees for 18 minutes.

Here they are:

Not too shabby. They are a little lighter and fluffier when pan fried, so that is what I recommend.

Unless it is 11 pm and you have to get up at 6:30 am the next day.

Then, I recommend the oven.

NOW. You have the muffin.

Here comes the magic.

This muffin is a three meal muffin meaning it can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Or dessert.

So, four meal muffin really.

Some of my favorites…

A breakfast sandwich. Mmmm. I think breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.

A little cheese, eggs, sausage, a slice of tomato, and a splash of hot sauce on a toasted muffin.

Yes.

Or how about lunch? I think lunch is my favorite meal of the day.

A roast beef and havarti sandwich with some horseradish sauce, tomato and lettuce.

In a pinch, that could work for dinner too. Put a salad on side.

Or for dinner, put some chicken salad on top. Or a chicken breast. Or whatever you have in your fridge that day.

Deeee-lish.

Perhaps dessert is more your thing?

You know, I think dessert is my favorite meal.

Yes, it definitely is.

Here is the muffin topped with vanilla ice cream, a blackberry sauce, and fresh blackberries.

BING BONG BOLO LEVEDO.

Side note: I have no clue why that sauce looks so electric red colored, but oh well. My ice cream was melting, and I needed to eat. So, it was one lousy picture.

In summary, I love you Portuguese Muffin.

Thank you for coming into my life and changing it.

I am forever grateful.
Yours,
Leah

I baked.

Don’t fall out of your chair.

For those of you that know me, you know that baking is not my forte.

Don’t get me wrong, I love baked goods. I just don’t love making them.

I know what I’m good at, and baking is not it.

The exact science of it all stresses me out.

However, there comes a time in every girl’s life when she decides she needs to make a delicious breakfast compliment for her weekly quiches.

And I have done just that. Meet my Strawberry, Blueberry, Banana Bread.

Yes, I said Strawberry, Blueberry, Banana Bread. Eat your heart out Marty Stewart.

This is based off of a very basic banana bread recipe that I found online. I have amped it up because really what fun is plain ole banana bread ?

So, here is what you will need:

Flour, brown sugar, 2 eggs, butter, baking soda, salt, vanilla, 3 overripe bananas, 1 cup of blueberries, and 1 cup of strawberries sliced.

Preheat the oven to 350.

In a bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, 1 t. baking soda, 1/4 t. salt, 1 t. cinnamon.

Now, set that aside for a moment.

Get out your mixer. Or roll up your sleeves and get out your mixin’ spoon.

In a separate bowl, cream 1/2 c. butter and 3/4 c. brown sugar.

Crack your eggs. I’m such a bad baker, that I crack my eggs into a separate bowl for fear of an eggshell bomb in my final product.

Yes, I have made cookies, cakes, and breads with some extra crunchy egg shells included for my guests’ dining pleasure.

So, if you enjoy an egg-shelly, crunchy texture, feel free to drop some in. But I don’t recommend it.

Peel your bananas and break them up a bit, and let them join the party.

Add 1 t. of vanilla- I like the good stuff. I buy it in Mexico. None of that weird artificial nonsense.

Now, MIX IT!

MIX IT reminds me of FIX IT. FIX IT reminds me of this SNL gem:

http://www.hulu.com/watch/38477/saturday-night-live-update-thursday-fix-it

FIX IT starts at 2:08. You are welcome.

Back to the bread.

Time to combine the wet and the dry.

Take your banana/butter/sugar mixture and dump it into the flour mixture.

MIX IT! together by hand.

Now for my favorite of all favorites part of the recipe.

Add in a cup of sliced strawberries and a cup of blueberries.

At this point, you can go ahead and start eating this with a spoon.

Or you can finish making your bread by carefully folding the berries into the batter so as not to smush and smash and smish the berries.

Oh boy, that batter.

That looks good.

I should become a baker.

Yes, I think I will.

Take the batter and pour it into a lightly greased loaf pan.

Now pop it in the oven for 60-65 minutes.

Now, sit in your kitchen and smell the baking bread for the next hour.

The smells that accompany baking help me understand why people get into it. Honestly. It is homey and comforting and feels like a party all at once.

After an hour, this is what you get:

Wowsa. Me Likey. Doesn’t that look so good?

Everyone in your life will thank you if you make this and share it with them.

Happy Baking,

Leah

Sometimes, I feel uninspired in the kitchen.

In those moments, I turn to some of my friends for their help.

Ina always comes through. TPW is a new friend, but she hasn’t let me down yet. And Rachael, as annoying as she may be, can deliver a good meal.

Without further ado, my top five go-to recipes that are not my own:

1. Pico de Gallo and Guacamole by The Pioneer Woman

Photo from thepioneerwoman.com

I have mentioned this goodness before, and I’m confident I will mention it again.

I know it isn’t technically a meal, but this can MAKE a meal. It turns a plain chicken breast into something wonderful and it can take a grilled fish to the next level.

I’m not lying when I say that I have taken a ham and cheese sandwich and thrown on a scoop of this, and it is to. die. for.

Oh, and you can just dip plain ole chips in it. Really, the possibilities are endless.

Make some. You will love it.

Side note: In the recipe, TPW says that it doesn’t keep well in the fridge. I do admit that it breaks down some, but I find it completely edible for several days.

2. Frozen Key Lime Pie by Ina Garten

Photo from foodnetwork.com

Perfect Summer Dessert.

Cold, creamy, tart, sweet, and delicious.

‘Nuff said.

3. Why-the-Chicken-Crossed-the-Road Santa Re-Tastic Tortilla Soup by Rachael Ray

Photo from foodnetwork.com

The name alone illustrates what irritates me about Rachael Ray. However, this soup is amazing.

I know summer doesn’t really make anyone long for a good hearty bowl of soup, but these flavors are really delicious in the summer. So, on the next cool day promise me you’ll try this out.

So good.

Side story: My sister made this for a dinner party. The recipe calls for 1-2 chipotle in adobo peppers (smoked jalapeno peppers), and she put in 1 CAN of peppers. Ha. Her guests needed lots of water, but they still liked the soup.

4. Tequila Lime Chicken by Ina Garten

Photo courtesy of foodnetwork.com

Second recipe from Ina, and both feature some lime. Hmm.

Ooh, I just had an inspired idea. Pair this WITH the Pico. And then the Key Lime for dessert.

Then, call me and invite me to dinner.

I’ll be there. Promise.

This chicken is good cooked on a skillet inside or out on the grill.

5. Ham and Cheese in Puff Pastry

Photo from foodnetwork.com

Ok, this another gem from Ina. That woman can cook. I have NEVER made anything less than delicious from Ina’s repertoire.

I have made this several times as an appetizer. I’ve made it for friends coming over, baby showers, and bridal showers, and a holiday party or two. It is simple, simple, simple! But it looks and tastes decadent and fancy.

Puff pastry is a gift from the gods.

I have to go. I need to go wipe the drool off of my chin.

And then I need to make one (or maybe all) of these.

XO,
Leah

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