Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread/ Texas Muffins with Greek Yogurt

I have so many recipes for banana bread and I bet many of you do also. This recipe is definitely a keeper and  on the top of the list to make again! 

Saw the recipe on Shopgirl and like that it has greek yogurt in it.

Maria adapted the recipe from Martha Stewart. She made one loaf.  I baked 6 Texas size muffins. 


1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil ( used canola oil)
2 eggs
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt 
1 tsp pure vanilla extract ( Watkins caramel extract)
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 large bananas)
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Raw sugar - sprinkle on top of the muffins


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Prepare the loaf pan or the muffin pan with non stick baking spray.

In a large size bowl combine the eggs ( which I always take out of the fridge and let come to room temp)oil, sugar and the vanilla( I used the caramel extract). Combine well with an electric mixer until smooth.

In a small bowl, add the flour,baking soda and salt which was sifted.

Take the dry ingredients and add them to the large bowl which contains the sugar,oil,eggs and vanilla ( or caramel) and mix well until well combined. Add the mashed bananas and greek yogurt and mix well.

When I add chocolate chip to a recipe I always place the chocolate chip in a small plastic bag and give them a light dusting with flour. This will prevent the chips from sinking to the bottom of the bread.

Once the chocolate chip are dusted fold them into the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan or muffin pan.  If using the Texas size muffin pan fill the case 3/4 full. Otherwise you will get overflow and a mess to clean up.

Sprinkle the muffins with raw sugar.

The loaf bakes for and hour and the Texas size muffins usual take 25- 30 minutes. Insert a toothpick and when it comes out clean you know they are done.

Let it cool in the pan for a few minutes and them remove.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Preserving Basil

I'm not sure if my basil plant in Florida is still alive. I planted all the herbs I started in my little greenhouse- remember this cool gift from Gregory?

My basil plant did well on the deck in NY. If I didn't find a way to save the basil the deer would had a nice treat because Gabe sure isn't going to make room in the truck for it.

Saw this post on SusieJ. I have plenty of canning jars and lots of kosher salt. It so easy to do. Just layer the clean basil leaves in a jar with the salt. 

Maybe Leta, Marie or Polly in Florida would like to try some of my NY basil!

Monday, September 29, 2014

MM 114 Weeks

No idea who the kid is. There is a sign outside on the gate that kids aren't allowed to run around in the dog park. They might get hurt and  the park is for dogs and not a playground.

This kid saw Max and zoomed right to  him. We knew Max would be ok. He's great with the kids at the house so why wouldn't he be the same in the park. We know our dog and he's super gentle.

Max allowed the kid to pet him and sort of hung around him for awhile. He really wanted a belly rub but didn't get it. He also protected the kid from other dogs. 

His mother was amazed how much fun her son had with Max. Thinking I should get Max into a class to get a  therapy dog certificate when we get to Florida.

This is Jill and her Golden who is a therapy dog. She brings him to the nursing home everyday and the patients love him.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Buddha seems to bring tranquility to Oakland neighborhood

This is one of those feel good stories. Dan Stevenson, who lives in Oakland California bought a 2 foot high statue of Buddha from his local Ace Hardware store.

Mr. Stevenson does not follow any organized religion but he was hopeful that the little Buddha would  brings some tranquility to his troubled neighborhood.

This is a wonderful article on how one man and the Buddha made a difference.

SFGate  from September 15th, 2014

Friday, September 26, 2014

Eggplant Burgers with Caramelized Balsamic Onions

 One lonely eggplant was hanging out on my kitchen counter and I wanted to try something new.I saw this recipe on Eats Well With Others and knew it would be something we would really enjoy.

 Joanne has a recipe for poppy seeds rolls which she served with the burger. They look wonderful and the next time I make this recipe I'm going to try to make them.


1 large eggplant ( mine was about a pound)
Kosher salt
1 cup panko
1/4 cup parmesan ( grated fresh parm)
2 tablespoons minced parsley 
1 minced clove of garlic
freshly ground black pepper ( used organic jar black pepper to taste)
1 egg lightly beaten
marinara sauce


Bring a medium size pot with salted water to a boil.

Take the skin off the eggplant and cut into cubes to about 1 inch. Toss the cubes in the boiling water. Leave uncovered and cook until the cubes are soft. They should be done in about 10-12 minutes.

Drain and allow to cool.

You want to get as much water out of the eggplant. I have a potato ricer which worked great. If you don't have a potato ricer leave the eggplant in the colander and press down to remove the excess water.

Once the extra water has been removed finely chop the eggplant. 

Add the eggplant to a medium size bowl and add the panko,cheese,parsley and garlic. Season to taste with the kosher salt and pepper. Add the egg ( which was beaten) and mix well.

Form the eggplant mixture into four patties. Add to a large frying pan with a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter. Melt the butter in the frying pan and add the olive oil.

Cook the burger on one side. You want it to be a light golden brown  ( takes about a minute or two) and do the same thing to the other side.

Once they are cooked place on a paper towel.

I placed them on a small pan and added the mozzarella. Placed the pan under the broiler until the cheese melted.

Remove the burger once the cheese melts and place on a roll. You can toast the roll or just take a roll out of a package. Did it both ways and it's delicious no matter which way you enjoy the burger.

When the burger is on the roll, add some marinara which has been heated.

Top with the  caramelized onions enjoy.

I added the Balsamic Caramelized Onions for one reason- I love them and I have so many onions I wanted to start using them before they started to sprout.

 Heads up on these.They take awhile to cook. If you are in a hurry- don't add the recipe. It takes over an hour before they are done. 


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 sweet onions- thinly sliced ( I used plain yellow onions)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper ( used few shakes from the organic jar of black pepper)
2 tablespoon sugar
1/4 -1/2 cup balsamic vinegar ( depends on how much you like balsamic you like)


In a large saucepan heat the oil over medium to low heat.

Add half of the onions to the saucepan. Once the first half of the onions has cooked down add the rest of the onions. Add the salt and pepper.

When all of the onions are cooked down add the sugar and stir gently. Add the balsamic and continue to stir.

Reduce the heat to low and cook the onions slowly-stir once in awhile to make sure nothing sticks. You want a nice low steady heat on them for an hour.

The balsamic will cook into the onions and the taste is amazing.

Remove the onions from the pan and add to the burger.

Recipe - Balsamic Caramelized Onions