Category Archives: love food

recipes, food, photos

Mama’s Famous Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread2So my mom’s famous chocolate chip banana bread is actually from a recipe! She does make a few tweaks to the recipe (like the addition of chocolate chips!!!) and she uses honey instead of brown sugar for a moist bread. I gotta give the woman some credit. She also has a secret trick–after she butters the loaf pan, she dusts a little sugar on pan so when baked, the outside of the bread has a sugary crunch. So good.

Chocolate Chip Banana BreadThis bread takes me back. Way back. I’ve been eating this bread since I was a wee thing. Home to me smells like freshly baked banana bread. Unfortunately, I don’t eat it now because of the wheat, but I love giving it as a gift. A small loaf of bread is such a good gift, don’t you agree? This is also a great recipe to use up those too brown bananas. It’s super versatile, ya’ll.

This recipe makes two small loafs or one large loaf.

Banana bread recipeNotes: Try honey instead of brown sugar, add 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of nuts and make sure to dust that pan with sugar! We don’t want to be too healthy :)

Do you have recipes that remind you of home? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

love,
melanie

 

 

Adventures in Wine Making

wine makingI’m calling this post “Adventures in Wine Making” instead of “Homemade Wine Recipe” or “DIY Wine” because really, I can’t believe this wine turned out half-way decent. I also don’t want to share a recipe just yet because I may have just been lucky with my first batch. And I don’t want to be liable for poisoning you all. I tried using this recipe from All Recipes, but the portions were off, so I just heated up some sugar with water, threw in the yeast after it had cooled, mixed it with Aldi-brand fruit juice and went with it.

Five weeks later, the balloon deflated, I filtered out the yeast with coffee filters and BAM! I had drinkable wine. It was a little too sweet for my liking, but my friend, Gabby loved it. It also helped that we called it “toilet wine” and thoroughly researched “How to Make Prison Wine” while drinking it. Did you know prison wine can be made with fruit cocktail, ketchup and bread? I HAD NO IDEA. This wine would be perfect for an Orange is the New Black party.

Have you ever tried making your own wine? How did it turn out? When I perfect it, I’ll have a recipe to share!

love,
melanie

Refrigerator Pickles and Banana Peppers

refrigerator pickles and banana peppers

For someone who has a black thumb, I sure can grow banana peppers. I have them coming out of my ears, as they say. In fact, I had so many I couldn’t eat them fast enough. And although I had a bumper crop, it still wasn’t enough to make the effort and learn how to properly can. I also had a couple of large cucumbers that were looking less than fresh. So refrigerator canning seemed like the perfect way to eat up those veggies! Here’s the how to:

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of white vinegar
  • 6 or so banana peppers
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp of minced, peeled garlic
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 jars with lids

refrigerator pickles and peppersWash veggies thoroughly. Slice. I used a pair of scissors to cut my banana peppers and that made it super easy. Combine vinegar, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer with a lid on for 20 minutes. Once brine has finished simmering, let cool. Ladle brine into jars, covering the cucumbers and peppers. Add the cloves. Brine for at least 24 hours in the fridge. Keep for up to a month.

How easy was that?! Have you ever made refrigerator pickles? Talk to me about it in the comments!

love,
melanie

Easy Crock-Pot Chicken Cacciatore

crock-pot chicken cacciatoreI know, I know, it’s kind of too hot to break out that Crock-Pot, but sometimes a busy girl has to do what a busy girl has to do. And sometimes that means cranking up the Crock Pot to make Chicken Cacciatore as the thermometer climbs into the 100s. It’s just too easy to use the Crock-Pot on those days when you know that 5,000 things will need your attention and you still have to work out and sleep and be a person. This meal is great for those days because you can throw everything in the Crock-Pot at breakfast and it will be ready for dinner or throw it in the Crock-Pot the night before and take it for lunch. It’s just good planning, people.

easy chicken cacciatore(Stupid) Easy Crock-Pot Chicken Cacciatore

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of chicken, cut up in pieces
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 6 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 -4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Throw everything in the Crock Pot and let cook for approximately 7 hours on low. Serve over pasta, rice or quinoa if you wish. I just eat it plain. No time for all that.

super easy, crock-pot chicken cacciatore

love,
melanie

 

Protein-Packed Pancakes

protein packed pancakesI’ve yet to find a protein powder that doesn’t taste like chalky chemicals or dirt. I’ve tried the organic, pea proteins, the body builder proteins, I’ve tried the ones that taste like “cake” (aka toilet bowl water) and the ones that taste like “cappuccino” (aka toilet bowl cleaner). I’ve yet to try a protein powder that I can drink just mixed with water. But not wanting to be wasteful and knowing I couldn’t gag down another smoothie (there’s only so much berries will cover up), I started making protein pancakes. God knows what Pinterest/blog/Internet hole I fell down to find my original recipe. But here’s the one I usually use. It’s not quite your usual fluffy pancake, but it gives you almost 30 grams of protein and doesn’t taste like dirt, so that’s an improvement!

protein packed pancakes with peaches!Ingredients
1.5 scoops of vanilla protein powder
1 tbsp of vanilla extract
1 tsp of cinnamon
2 tbsp of all-purpose gluten-free flour
2 eggs
A splash of milk

2 tbsp butter
Cinnamon and honey or maple syrup for topping

Melt 1 heaping tbsp of the butter in a pan over the stove top on low. Mix the 1st 6 ingredients together in a bowl. Put about 1/3 of the batter in the hot pan. When batter begins to bubble, flip over the pancake. Repeat until batter is gone. To finish, top with butter, cinnamon and honey or maple syrup.

Easy right?

Is there a protein powder that you love? Let me know about it in the comments!

love,
melanie

Easy Spaghetti Squash Recipe

spaghetti squashI wasn’t going to post about this week’s spaghetti squash. Spaghetti squash when it is cooked, really isn’t so pretty. It kind of looks like a big pile of mush. So forgive the pictures. But I mentioned that I cooked it for my lunches this week, and well, the people have spoken ;). So here it is by popular demand, my recipe for classic spaghetti squash.

spaghetti squash 2Ingredients

  • 1 medium sized spaghetti squash
  • 1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce (alternatively, you could make your own)
  • 1 lb of lean ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 dashes of oregano
  • 1 dash of red pepper
  • 2 dashes of garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Roast spaghetti squash whole for 15 minutes. While squash is roasting, salt and pepper your beef, then brown it up. Sauté the onion and pepper in olive oil. Turn burners to low. Take squash out of oven and cut length-wise. I am use an Ove Glove for this part. Best invention ever. Roast squash for another 20 minutes or until squash easily peels out of the skin with a fork. Scrape the squash out of the skin with a fork and add to the beef. Add in the onion and pepper, sauce, oregano, garlic and mix. Salt and pepper to taste.

Congrats! You just conquered the illusive spaghetti squash.

love,
melanie

No Flour, Gluten-Free, Low Carb, Paleo Bread

wheat free, gluten free, dairy free, paleo breadI have so much to share with you all. So many road trip pictures and so many good times. As much as I want to share the pictures, I have a million and one things to do before I get back to work tomorrow and editing those pictures isn’t one of them. But this bread recipe is! You lucky ducks.

One of my favorite things on the road is a good old fashioned peanut butter and jelly sandwich. But since gluten and I are not friends, before the trip I was looking for easy gluten-free bread recipes. Gluten-free bread is expensive ya’ll and most gluten-free bread recipes call for about 10 ingredients, none of which I keep on hand. So when I came across this recipe on Pinterest, (adapted from this recipe) I knew I had to give it a go.

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt

Paleo breadPreheat oven to 300 degrees.  Grease bread pan with butter or coconut butter.

Whip the egg whites  and cream of tartar in a large bowl with the cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

In a second bowl,  mix the the sour cream, egg yolks, sugar, and salt until fully incorporated.

Gently fold one-third of the egg whites into the yolk mixture. Fold in the remaining whites. Be careful at this stage so you don’t deflate the whites.

Pour into loaf pan and bake for 30 minutes. Insert a tooth pick to ensure bread is cooked through. Cut and eat immediately. It’s best while still warm!

Easy gluten-free breadThis bread baked up really pretty. But I must say, it’s no substitute for real bread. I think this would make a lovely breakfast smeared with a little jelly, but I won’t be taking it on the road. It’s delicious, but it isn’t the fluffy, slice-able, sandwich bread I was looking for. I’ll definitely be making this again, but I think I’ll be skipped the PB & J sandwiches for this road trip.

What are your favorite road trip snacks? Let me know in the comments!

love,
melanie