Sunday, October 9, 2016

Banana Bread Crumble - Secret Recipe Club

It's Secret Recipe Club reveal day!  Not familiar with this fun party?  You can find out more here!  For the month of October, I was privileged to be assigned, Lemon and Cheese, hosted by a blogger from across the pond, as they say!  Nicola is a Librarian in London and loves to cook.  She says " I love any sort of food and trying out new things, but tend to stick to simple cookery, with lovely fresh ingredients as well as a few helpful freezer items! Lemon and Cheese are my two favorite foods so expect a lot of them!". What a creative and fun name for a blog!!!

Nicola has an extensive recipe collection on her blog.  I spent several evenings browsing her blog.  I was thinking I wanted to make something that had an unusual ingredient or was a recipe I wouldn't normally make.  A few Sunday afternoon's ago, our first real fall day, I was in the mood to bake.  I sat down to browse the baking section of Nicola's blog.  When searching for a recipe, I try to locate one where I have the ingredients on hand.  One particular recipe caught my eye, Banana Bread Crumble.  At our house, both banana bread and crumbles are popular, so why not try a recipe that combines the best of both.

We loved this crumble, reminded me of a bread pudding with a crumble on top.  This recipe is a keeper!!!   Served alongside a scoop of chocolate ice cream, delicious!!

Banana Bread Crumble 
Recipe Courtesy of Lemon and Cheese
(Serves 6-8)

140g self-raising flour
200g sugar
240ml milk
113g butter, melted
4 medium-size ripe bananas, sliced
For the crumble topping:
150g light brown sugar
70g self-rising flour
113g butter, softened
90g oats
Preheat the oven to 180C. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and milk until just blended. Whisk in the melted butter.
Pour the batter into a lightly greased 28cm x 18cm baking dish. Top with the banana slices. 
To make the topping, in a medium bowl use a fork to stir together the brown sugar, flour, and butter until it forms a crumbly mixture. Stir in the oats.
Sprinkle the topping mixture over the banana slices. Bake for 40-45 mins or until golden brown.
Serve with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce if you're feeling wicked


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Zucchini Noodle Salad

Zoodles are all the rage these days. Last year for Christmas, Tim gave me a spiralizer.  We tried one of the "cheapies" we picked up somewhere for a few dollars, with not great results.   This spiralizer works beautifully, producing three different size spirals. 

With zucchini is everywhere at the farmers market and an abundance of our garden cherry tomatoes, a perfect time for spiralized salad.  I used the thick spiral for this recipe.  The spiralizer also makes perfect "noodles" for pasta.  At our house, we prefer the real ones!  What do you make with your spiralizer?

Zucchini Noodle Salad

For the Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic
Salt and black pepper, to taste

For the Salad:
2 large zucchini, ends trimmed
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons freshly chopped basil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. For the dressing,  in a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
2. Use a spiralizer to make the zucchini noodles, according to manufacturer's instructions. Alternately, you can use a mandoline or vegetable peeler.
3. In a large bowl, combine zucchini noodles, tomatoes, feta cheese, and basil. Toss to combine. When ready to serve, drizzle dressing over salad and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Note:  This salad is best dressed and served immediately.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Greek Lentil Salad

As the summer growing season is the midwest comes to a close, I'm sharing one of my favorite salads from this summer.    Fresh tomatoes, fresh cucumbers, salty feta and lentils make for a healthy, delicious side or lunch salad.  I sent this picture to my son who said it looked just like the salads they enjoyed in Greece last year. 



 Greek Lentil Salad

Recipe courtesy of Vegetarian Times

1 cup French green lentils, rinsed and drained
¼ small onion
2 bay leaves
1 large shallot, finely chopped (¼ cup)
2 Tbs. lemon juice
1 small cucumber, diced (1 cup)
2 medium tomatoes, diced (1 cup)
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
1 Tbs. olive oil
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese


1. Place lentils, onion, bay leaves, and 6 cups water in large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 25 to 30 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Drain, remove onion and bay leaves, and cool.
2. Stir together shallot and lemon juice in large bowl. Add lentils, cucumber, tomatoes, mint, and oil; stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Chill 1 hour, or overnight. Serve topped with feta.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Too Much Chocolate Cake - Secret Recipe Club

September?  Already?  Each month at Secret Recipe Club time I am reminded how quickly time is passing and to stop and enjoy each moment!  We've had a beautiful fall like weekend here!  Hope you're enjoying this time of year in your part of the world.

For this month's reveal, I was assigned Making Miracles.  Rebekah, the blogger behind Making Miracles says " this blog began in 2006 as a way to record my experiences in surrogacy and has evolved over the years to include my day to day life, including what my kids and puppies have been up to and the latest recipes I've enjoyed creating in the kitchen."  Stop by her blog, she has some amazing stories and recipes! 

For SRC reveals, the first recipe category I usually browse, is what else but desserts?  Not only because I love desserts but also because I send something to work with Tim for their treat day each month.  Rebekah has a fabulous selection of desserts to choose from.  As I was reading the list of Cakes and Cupcakes, my eyes were quickly drawn to the recipe entitled Too Much Chocolate Cake.  I found myself thinking, no way!  In my book there's no such thing as too much chocolate anything.  As I read the recipe, I was reminded of a cake I used to make years ago that was a very similar if not identical recipe.  Remembering just how moist and delicious this cake was, I decided this was the recipe for this months reveal. 

Rebekka made her cake in a bundt pan, I used a 9 x 13.  While still, warm, I topped the cake with a quick chocolate glaze.  The glaze just intensifies the moistness of this cake.  Delicious chocolate goodness ... never too much for me!

 Too Much Chocolate Cake
Recipe courtesy of Making Miracles

1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups semisweet miniature chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs and water. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into a well greased 12 cup bundt pan.
  3. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes (20 minutes for cupcakes), or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cake thoroughly in pan at least an hour and a half before inverting onto a plate If desired, dust the cake with powdered sugar or top with frosting.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Pulled Pork Poutine

Have you ever had Poutine?  It's not something you see a lot on the menu in Nebraska but it's a favorite of my husband, Tim.   Poutine is a Canadian dish, originating in the province of Quebec, made with French fries and cheese curds topped with a light brown gravy

I'm always looking for creative ways to use leftover pulled pork.  This take on poutine combines  French fries, juicy pulled pork, creamy cheese curds, and a beer barbecue gravy. This gravy is delicious!!  The leftover pork and gravy makes a great sandwich, too. 


Pulled Pork Poutine


2 pound pork shoulder
12 ounces bottled barbecue sauce
12 ounces beer
20 ounces frozen French fries
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup cheese curds
2 tablespoons chopped chives


  • Add the pork shoulder to a slow cooker. Pour in the barbecue sauce and beer. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  • When the pork is done cooking, scoop out 1 cup of the liquid from the slow cooker and set aside.
  • Remove any large chunks of fat from the pork and discard. Shred the meat with two forks.
  • Prepare the French fries according to package directions.
  • While the fries are cooking, prepare the gravy. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute.
  • While whisking, slowly pour in the reserved liquid. Continue cooking and whisking until the gravy has reached the desired consistency. The longer it cooks, the thicker it will get.
  • Top the fries with as much of the pulled pork as you'd like. Sprinkle on the cheese curds and pour on as much gravy as you'd like.Top with chives before serving.
  • Store any leftover gravy in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, heat in a small saucepan over low heat while whisking. Store leftover pulled pork in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Banana Blueberry Pancake Squares

Despite Monday being my least favorite day of the week, I love months that have five Monday's.  Five Monday's means a bonus Secret Recipe Club reveal!  The SRC bonus reveals always have a theme.  What better theme for August than back to school?

My assigned blogger for the August themed reveal is Our Eating Habits.  Jamie, the blogger behind Our Eating Habits says her two favorite things are Christmas and Disney!  For sure, who doesn't love Christmas and Disney.  She home schools her children, has a mug collection and lots of great recipes on her blog. 

For the first day of school, I always tried to make Justin a special breakfast.  Although today, he's not a sweet breakfast eater, I think when he was in grade school Jamie's recipe for Banana Blueberry Pancakes would have been a hit!!  Pancakes without having to trying to keep them all warm while the rest cook makes this a perfect recipe for a school day.  Prepare the batter and bake for about 25 minutes, doesn't really get much easier than that!  Plus pretty sure this would work fine with pancake mix with the fruit added, to really cut down on time needed!!

Banana Blueberry Pancake Squares
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 over-ripe banana
  • about 1 cup milk, maybe a bit more
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup blueberries – frozen works great
  • Butter and Syrup for serving
1. Grease a 13×9 inch baking dish. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix dry ingredients together in mixing bowl.
3. Mash banana in bottom of large 4 cup measuring cup. Add enough milk to equal 1 2/3 cups. Stir to combine. add eggs, vanilla and oil. Stir to combine. Pour over dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in blueberries.
4. Pour into prepared baking pan. Bake for 25 minutes. Test with toothpick to insure it has cooked in the middle. Serve with butter and syrup.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Watermelon Yogurt Popsicles

If you ask any member of my family, they'll tell you I own every kitchen gadget known to man.  After recently purchasing the Instant Pot, that might be true ... almost.  Also, I suppose if you ask them, they will tell you I don't always use all of them.  A couple of years (or more) ago the wonderful associates that work for me, gave me a gift card to a local kitchen store.  Intrigued by the Zoku and knowing this was a splurge, I decided to purchase it.  Of course, like anything, I used it a lot when I first got it.  Since, then it's been sitting ready to go on a shelf in the freezer.

I'm all about having a sweet treat in the evening.  Truth is, I have a horrible sweet tooth.  The reason or at least the person I am going to blame is my Dad.  I'm guessing there's a malt shop in heaven and my Dad is the number one "soda jerk" as they used to call them.  When I was kid, every night, I'm remembering pretty much without fail, I had a dish of ice cream or a malt.  My Dad made the best malts, the kind that used the malted milk powder and lots of ice cream and syrup.  So you get the picture? You see why I have a sweet tooth!!

In an effort to try and manage the calories in those sweet treats, I dusted the ice crystals of the Zoku and made Popsicles.  If you're not familiar with how the Zoku works, you pour in the liquid and in 5 - 9 minutes, you have Popsicles.  Easy!!  The directions say you can make a second batch without refreezing but I never had very good luck with making a second batch.   These make a perfect summertime treat and a super nutritious snack kids will love to eat.

Watermelon Creamsicle Pops

1 cup watermelon chunks
1 container of greek yogurt (I used coconut)
1 T. honey
Pinch of Salt
  1. In a blender, add a heaping cup of watermelon.
  2. Add the yogurt, honey, and salt. Blend for another 15 seconds to mix.
  3. Pour the blended mixture into the ice pop molds and freeze.
  4. After filling the Zoku maker, I poured the remaining in regular freezer pops mold.