Sunday, December 12, 2010

Nutella Swirled Banana Bread

Mmm I love Nutella and I love banana bread, so this combo is pretty much perfect. I got the recipe from Recipe Girl's blog, and it turned out awesome! It's hard to make breads cause you have to let them cool for a while, and I just want to try it as soon as it's out of the oven! With cookies, you can try them warm, but not bread! So anyway, I waited a while and sliced it up, and it is pretty delish. It will be even better in the morning with a cup of coffee. Mmmm...

I had to divide the batter into 2 smaller pans than what her recipe says, which is 1 8x4 pan. So I've got myself 2 smaller loaves instead! Now I need to decide if I should make some Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chip cookies for my work lunch on Wednesday. I bought these Toll House mixed chips, and so I want to make cookies with them, but if I've never used them and then they turn out to be not very tasty, I don't want to bring bad cookies into work! I'm sure they'll be okay. I actually got them at this store in my hometown called MC Sales. It's an itty bitty dirty little store where all of the damaged cans and boxes go to be sold for super super cheap. I got the bag of cho pb chips for 25 cents! What a steal! I stocked up on some other dry foods to bring back with me, like a soft taco dinner kit, life cereal, soups, gummi bears, and a few other things. You have to be careful though, cause they do have some expired stuff there, and that stuff can taste a little funky if you're not careful.

Ahh so this year, our roomie Amy bought a little tree! The silver one on the floor was our tree last year, so we've moved up a notch! I've never actually had a live tree, so this is my first! I was so clueless about it, cause you have to water it and stuff, and I just didn't think about that. Crazy! I need to wrap my presents and put them under the tree, but I couldn't find any tape tonite, and I wasn't about to go out in the snow/wind storm for tape! I can get some tomorrow when I'm at work anyway.

I haven't been outside today AT ALL, and I've definitely got cabin fever, and feel kinda lazy. I love resting up on the weekends, don't get me wrong, but I usually need to get out of the apartment to go somewhere, even if it's the store for like 10 minutes. Today though, it was crazy windy and snowy and I didn't really have to go anywhere, so I didn't! Sooo that's why I baked bread!


2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana
1/3 cup plain low fat yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup Nutella (chocolate-hazelnut spread)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 8×4-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda & salt.
3. In a separate large bowl, beat sugar and butter with an electric mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana, yogurt and vanilla; beat until blended. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until flour is incorporated (don’t over mix).
4. Spoon Nutella into a medium dish and soften in the microwave for about 15 seconds. Add 1 cup of the banana bread batter to the Nutella and stir until blended well. Spoon Nutella batter alternately with plain banana bread batter into the prepared pan. Swirl batters together with a knife.
5. Bake 60 to 70 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Check the oven at 45 minutes to check the top of the bread for browning. If it’s browning too quickly, cover lightly with foil for the remainder of the baking. Cool for at least 15 minutes in the pan, and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Yield: 1 loaf (about 12 slices)

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Sunday, November 28, 2010


Time for an update! Where to start... hmm.. well my roomie and I got a Groupon for $75 worth of wine for only $25 at Barclay's! Delivered to our apt, too! Can't beat a deal like that. The best so far has been the Laguille white wine. I think we still have 2 more bottles left, so we've made it last for a while! I haven't done too much baking lately, and I've realized that I want/need so many new things to make my baking better. Like our cookie sheets are so gross and old, and I don't like how they make the bottoms of cookies get done faster and then they are hard and almost burnt. Also, I'd like a Kitchenaid mixer, and they had them on sale at Target for $199 this weekend! But I think I'm gonna just have to wait til I'm married before I get all new stuff, or else wait until I've saved up more money. Speaking of that....

I caught the bouquet at a friend's wedding! hehehe. That's my man holding it so proudly :)

Man, it's been so long since I've blogged! Halloween is over, Thanksgiving is over, and Chrismas will be here in 3 weeks!! It's nuts! So we went as zombie people as you can see, I was a jogger, and Brandon was a hillbilly. Cheap costumes is what I like, but it was hard to get all that makeup off!

Last week, I went home before thanksgiving so I could see my family, and then came back up to Chicago to have Thanksgiving with Brandon at IHOP. He had to work on Black Friday, so it would have been too much trouble to drive somewhere and back in 24 hours! It was so nice spending time w/ little Presley, though, and I miss her already.

Next time, I'll post Persimmon cookies that my mom makes, and they are SO good!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Apples to apples is a fun game

I love my little niece. She is probably the cutest thing in the world, and I barely get to see her!! I got to go visit over labor day weekend/my birthday! so it was really nice to just hang out with her and play. On the drive down to Indiana, we always pass these really neat windmills.
Aren't they huge? There are SO many of them too! They go on and on and on and on for miles. Pretty neat to drive through and watch them turn.
Another highlight was trying to feed my brother's chickens and rooster. I lifted the back open and 2 of the hopped out! There was no way I was gonna grab them and put them back in the cage, so he had to come out and get them back in before they ran off. I was afraid they would peck me! Can you tell I've never really had a pet? I'm just not used to animals like regular people. But I do want to get a dog, cause they're cute and that way I won't be so scared!
We also went apple picking in the neighbor's trees. Most of them had worm holes, but we found some that didn't and they were delish!
Sorry no cool recipe this time! I didn't even get to make anything with these apples, but if I would've, I would've made an apple cobbler. I miss cobbler. It reminds me of my grandma's, or MCL Cafeteria, or church pitch-in dinners. Who wants to have a pitch-in dinner??!! I love those!

Monday, August 30, 2010


I GOT A NEW CAMERA!!!!!! I am SO pumped because my favorite boy in the whole world got me an early birthday present. He knew what I wanted, and knew which cameras were the best since he works at Best Buy! So I've been snapping pics left and right, and trying to play with all the cool settings.

One of my favorite things to eat and drink is wine and cheese. I used to work at a wine bar, and before that I had no idea what any cheeses or wines were! But I learned about all sorts of cheeses, and meats, and wines, and now I love pairing them all together. There was an appetizer at the restaurant of brie and apple on toasted bread, and it was amazingly yummy. So I wanted to eat that at home since it's so easy to make!

Sooo I'm watching who's on Dancing with the Stars for next season, and it's the first year that there isn't anyone who's obviously better than everyone else. Like last season, there was the dancer girl from Pussycat dolls, and then the ice skating guy. I mean, they have had years of dance like training, so it doesn't seem very fair. Oh well it's just TV!

We got to go to the Bears game this past weekend, and watched from my work's SUITE! And I have to say it was definitely sweet :) hehe get it? Yea it was so nice, they had food and drinks and it was kinda like watching it on tv, but better.

I'm not sure I like how this thing puts all the picture at the top, and then I have move everything around. Is there another way of putting the pictures on here besides at the top? Teach me! Ugg I'm such a newbie blogger.

Dating in the Dark is such a funny show. Really corny, but entertaining.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ice Cream U Scream We All Scream For Ice Cream

I'm back! Maybe.... Thanks to Victoria who was the first (and only so far) person to comment on my cool, fantastic blog! Just because of her, I will try to update this more often, even if I don't have any food or recipes to talk about. Hooray for blogging!

So it's been really hot this summer, if you haven't noticed, and I absolutely love it! I haven't complained of the heat until today really, because I am cold-natured and hate winter and being cold. So bring on the heat! But today, me and the boy went to meet some friends downtown for some Chicago style pizza, and I wore jeans and I was SO hot and sweaty and exhausted from the heat. Phew it made me so tired! So I am sitting in our nice central air apartment now trying to cool down. I really do love summer though, and try to sit out on my deck as much as I can. I want to soak in the heat while I can! I do not miss this. The scarves, gloves, ear warmers, and coat are not fun.

I need to go swimming this summer still. I really want to go to a water park, but I feel like I'm getting too old for those. But all the public pools in Chicago are probably PACKED with kids and parents trying to cool off, so I bet it'd just be annoying and not relaxing to swim. I remember going canoeing with my family a bunch when I was younger, and I'm starting to miss that, too. Living in the city makes me miss the peace and quiet of rivers and lakes and nature in general. Maybe when I go home for my bday weekend, I'll take a swim in Deam Lake or somewhere. I like the city and all, but I need my outdoors fix, too.

We've been eating out a lot lately, but I try to go buy some groceries every other week so we can spend less money by eating in every once in a while. It may sound weird, but I miss Arby's. I never even used to eat there that much, but I love those roast beef's. MMmmmm. And I miss Chick-fil-A. There are so many food choices here, but yet I still miss those crappy fast food joints. Ahh well if we ever move back, I'm sure I'll miss the food here. I'll never be satisfied!! I do want some ice cream right now......Dairy Queen blizzard? Margies hot fudge sundae? Cookies and Cream Ice Cream from the grocery? So many choices.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hummingbird Cake

See? I'm already doing a horrible, horrible job of updating this blog. I'll give it another few months I guess and if I can't keep up with it, then I'm just not meant to be a blogger. I LOVE to look at other people's blogs and their pictures of food, and also read about their lives. Maybe I'm creepy? But maybe that's just me being a good friend and listening to their lives. Right? Well whatever it is, I still just like reading other blogs.

So I took a trip home to visit the family, and boy was it needed! There's just something about going home and being relaxed with family and seeing friends that I never see, and also letting mom and grandma cook dinners and pay for movies :) I think the older I get, the more I miss being around them. I couldn't wait to leave for college and get outta that town, but now I'm getting a little homesick I think.

The best part of my trip was seeing my niece Presley. She is the cutest little girl ever (probably because everyone says she looks like me exactly) and I wish I could see more of her!

One thing I love about going home is my mom's cooking. Some people don't like it because it's healthy (ahem my boyfriend) but I really do like it. I just can't seem to cook like her, even though I try. She always made some kind of green veggie with our dinners growing up, and I like that she made us eat it even though we didn't like it. Thanks for keeping us healthy mom! So one time, I remember she made a Hummingbird cake, and it was so moist and tasty! I had to try and made one for myself.

I took this to work and everyone loved it! The icing was a little hard to put on because the cake pans were wavy on the sides, but it still tasted just as good. I also only put it in 2 cake pans, and it took waaaay longer for the middle to get done. So next time definitely do 3 pans.

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 can (8oz) crushed pineapple, well drained
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 cups chopped firm ripe banana
  • .
  • Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 pounds confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 350°. Sift flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cinnamon together into mixing bowl several times. Add eggs and salad oil to the dry ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon until ingredients are moistened. Stir in vanilla, pineapple and 1 cup pecans. Stir in the bananas. Spoon the batter into 3 well-greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes,or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn onto cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
Combine cream cheese and butter; cream until smooth. Add powdered sugar, beating with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla.
Frost the tops of all 3 layers, stack and then frost sides. Sprinkle top evenly with the 1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Mini Chocolate Chip Turtle Cookies

The picture at the very top of my blog is of Lennox Head, Australia, which is where I studied abroad a few years ago. I put it there because it's probably one of the most beautiful places I've ever been! So today I get on facebook and see that a tornado ripped through the little town yesterday and damaged many homes, camper homes, and hurt a few people! How awful! It is such a cute and bright little town, with pretty homes and lots of friendly locals. I can't imagine the repair it's going to take for it to be back to normal.

This is one of the many houses that sit along the beach. The houses such bright colors, not boring brick and greystone like here in the US.
Okay so anyway, on with my food talk. I made these Mini Chocolate Chip Turtle Cookies the other day, and they were pretty, pretty good. I got the recipe from SugarPlum's blog. She creates most of her own recipes, which is pretty neat. I wish I could just put random ingredients together and make something that actually tastes yummy.

By the way, the move 27 Dresses has been on TV for like 5 days in a row. Why do they always do that with movies and play them back to back? I don't understand. And it's never a really good movie. Ohh the wonders of life.

Mini Chocolate Chip Turtle Cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
Melted caramel, for drizzling

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until butter browns and starts to foam. Remove from heat to cool.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt. In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat together melted browned butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until creamy - about 1-2 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually beat in flour until just combined; stir in chocolate chips and pecans until combined. Chill dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat cookie sheets with cooking spray.

Roll dough into balls (about 2 teaspoons per ball), place on cookie sheets, and flatten using the palms of your hands. Bake 8 minutes or until set and light golden. Cool on wire racks. Drizzle with melted caramel.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Blog Virgin

Well hello there! After reading other people's food blogs, I think I'm gonna try and have my own. We'll see how much I actually update this, but I'll try my hardest to remember! I'm not sure if I want this blog to have a specific purpose, like just posting things I bake, or if I just want it to be a general everything about food blog. Because really, I love to eat. I wish I had a second stomach just so I could enjoy more food, but that'd be kinda weird I guess. I love thinking about what I'm going to eat for breakfast, or bring for my lunch. And I'm not really that good of a cook (yet) so I usually buy frozen foods from Trader Joe's for dinner, but I STILL get pretty excited about trying all the new things that they have there. I love going to new restaurants and trying new items on the menu. So I think that's what I'll write about. Just whatever I eat or bake or cook or buy or whatever. Is that okay with you? Good.

The only bad part is I have a crappy camera, so pictures won't be the best quality. Maybe one day I'll get a nice one..... and then I'll have to learn how to be a better photographer! Eek!

So this weekend was Memorial Day weekend, so I was off work today! Hooray! I didn't really do much, just cleaned and made some Mini Chocolate Chip Turtle Cookies! I'll post pictures later. Meanwhile, I also went to Trader Joe's and stocked up on some food for the week.

Mmm I love the Chocolate Croissants. And the BBQ chicken pizza is really good, too! So it's nice and sunny outside now after it's been raining all day, so I'm gonna go out on the deck and read a book.