Dark Chocolate Guilt Free Banana Bread


I love banana bread.  And I’m very particular about banana bread.  It needs to be the right texture, the right density, the right flavor.  So I don’t like to mess with my tried and true banana bread recipe.

However, I work with a group of people with some particular dietary requirements and restrictions.  Some by choice, some by necessity, but I respect them all.  And as a picky eater, it’s always frustrating when there’s food but nothing I like or can eat.  So I try my best to be inclusive when I bring treats to work.

This recipe was born out of a challenge I made for myself – bring a treat everyone could eat and enjoy.  Often I find myself bringing “normal” brownies for most people and bringing something that’s healthier (no processed sugar, etc.), and something gluten-free.  This time I wanted to bring a single thing for everyone.

Tampering with the banana bread recipe was a seriously risky move, but no guts, no glory right?  This one played to rave reviews.  It contains no added fat, no processed sugar, and is gluten free.  I think with a few tweaks you could also make it vegan. It’s packed with flavor, the texture is even better than my standard banana bread, and I was asked several times for the recipe, which you can now find here, or you can add it to your recipe box at AllRecipes.com.


Dark Chocolate Guilt Free Banana Bread
: 8-10
  • 1 cup over-ripe, mashed banana (about 3 bananas)
  • 4 oz apple sauce (1 single-serve cup)
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ C agave
  • 1½ C all purpose, gluten-free flour
  • ½ t salt
  • ¾ t baking soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 C dark chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1½ T King Arthur cake enhancer (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (reduce to 325 degrees for dark non-stick pans).
  2. Line a large loaf pan with parchment, or spray with non-stick spray and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine applesauce, eggs, bananas, vanilla and agave. Mix until well combined.
  4. Add cinnamon, soda, powder, salt and flour and mix until combined.
  5. Pour mixture into prepared loaf pan.
  6. Sprinkle dark chocolate chips on top of the loaf, and with a knife, gently stir into loaf, leaving some chips visible on top.
  7. Bake for 60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean (except maybe for melted chocolate on it).


Leave a Comment

Movember shortbread cookies


Now that it’s late November, there are quite a few moustaches walking around our office.  So since I can’t grow one, and if I could I would not show it off…I decided I’d make a few of my own.

These Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies are delicious if a little delicate.  I think I shouldn’t have tried using cookie cutters on them – they spread like mad, but I just cut and stamped them after the fact.  So they’re a bit thinner than was intended, but they’re delicious. The addition of Diamond Crystal Salt really brings out the butter flavor in these easy to make cookies.

Get the recipe here.

To learn more and support Movember causes, click here.

Leave a Comment

Sopapilla Cheesecake Pie

PAM Sopapilla Cheesecake Pie

I hadn’t posted for months, and tonight I post two things.  Work has been extra-special crazy lately, and today I had a couple assignments to knock out for AllRecipes.com.  It’s an awesome excuse to actually take a breath, go to the store, and make something good.

Today’s second offering is a really decadent but so simple dessert/pastry.  This one reminds me of a coffee cake my mom used to buy.  I used to have a slice then take sliver after tiny sliver.  The slivers don’t count, do they?  I hope not because I’ve had about 5 slivers of this beauty tonight.

Think cheesecake meets danish.  And all it takes is some crescent roll dough, cream cheese, sugar, cinnamon, butter and honey.  Half the dough goes on the bottom layer, with a nice spray of PAM under it to ensure it doesn’t stick to the dish.  Then a layer of cream cheese whipped with sugar and vanilla, another layer of crescent dough, then spread cinnamon butter on top and bake it for about a half hour.  Then when it comes out, drizzle it with honey if you like – I didn’t and it tasted like danish.  If you do, it will taste like sopapilla.

What makes this one great is how completely simple it is.  A handful of ingredients you probably have in your kitchen right now, and about 5 minutes of effort.  The hardest part is the waiting.

Get the recipe at AllRecipes.com

Leave a Comment

Johnsonville Sausage Balls

Johnsonville Sausage Balls

This weekend has been ideal Fall weather – my favorite time of year.  And that always inspires heartier dishes, slightly heavier flavors.  Comfort food.  This recipe really fits the bill as a warm appetizer on a nice Fall day that you’ll have trouble walking away from until they are all gone. And better, they were really quick and easy to make.

Johnsonville provided the sausage, and I provided the appetite.  I’m a picky eater, so I left out the mushrooms and onion and just filled in with a little extra cheese (cheddar makes everything better).  And they didn’t have the ground spicy sausage at my store so I got mild Italian.  It’s my favorite sausage, and it made these just spicy enough.

The flavors mix well, they’re so easy to make…and I think I may try changing this recipe up with a few variations.  I could see making these with mozzarella instead of cheddar and dipping them in marinara, for example, or a breakfast sausage variation.

Happy Fall!  Get this Johnsonville Sausage recipe at AllRecipes.com


Leave a Comment

The Cookie Jar


This is a quick, affordable but personal gift for anyone who likes cookies (who doesn’t like cookies)?  Just grab a quart jar and layer in the ingredients, tie the directions to the jar and it’s ready to go.  Makes a very cute combo gift for a first apartment housewarming tied up with a wooden spoon.  Or extend the gift by giving everything needed to bake them – a cookie sheet, spatula, wooden spoon and bowl.

And don’t be afraid to customize it for the person you’re giving it to.  Layer in nuts, change to milk chocolate chips.  Try peanut butter chips with chocolate chips.  Mix it up!

Use the recipe below, or get it at AllRecipes.

The Cookie Jar
: cookies
: 24 cookies
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 4 ounces chocolate chips
  • 4 ounces white chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Whisk flour, brown sugar, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, white sugar, baking soda and salt together in a bowl. Stir butter and egg into flour mixture until dough is just mixed; drop by the spoonful onto a baking sheet.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until edges of cookie are lightly browned, about 10 minutes.


Leave a Comment

Mezzi Rigatoni & Chicken

Mezzi Rigatoni

And I’m back with another delicious and quick meal from Barilla.  I wouldn’t consider this a light summer meal necessarily – sauce and pasta isn’t what I think of for 80 degree weather.  But it has great flavors and comes together really quickly.  It would be another great weekday meal that’s pretty inexpensive to put together.  And you could do endless variations to the flavor profiles.

I made this one with breaded chicken, and to tell a secret it was precooked and frozen.  I just chopped it up, sauteed it frozen and it came out just great.  Give this recipe a whirl for a nice weekday treat.

Get the Barilla recipe here

Leave a Comment

Mashed potato pancakes


I started experimenting with potato pancake recipes and my first tries tasted ok, they came out either too mushy, too messy, not enough flavor. And I finally came back around to the key.  The universal truth: cheddar makes everything better.

These potato pancakes are an instant favorite.  They are crispy on the outside, warm and soft on the inside.  They aren’t too eggy, they aren’t wet in the middle, and the cheddar both binds them and gives them a delicious flavor.  I like things pretty basic and I know most people don’t. This would be a great base recipe for a ton of variations.  I like mine with a healthy dose of black pepper but you could add chives, bacon, garlic, onions, or pretty much any herb to take the flavor to a new place.

So try these and let me know what your twists are.  I love them with ketchup and/or sour cream, tucked in next to some fluffy scrambled eggs and buttery brown toast.  Have I mentioned I really love breakfast?  Enjoy!

Mashed potato pancakes
: brunch
Cuisine: American
: 3
  • 2C cold mashed potatoes
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 3T panko bread crumbs
  • ¼C flour
  • 3T oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  1. Heat skillet over medium heat. Line a plate with several layers of paper towel and set aside.
  2. Combine mashed potatoes, cheese, egg and panko in medium-sized bowl, stirring to combine well.
  3. Pour oil into hot skillet.
  4. Using an ice cream scoop, and scoop out potato mixture. Dredge potato scoop in flour on both sides, flattening slightly to about ½" thick.
  5. Gently place in hot oil, cooking until brown on both sides, approximately 4-5 minutes on each side.
  6. Remove to paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil, and immediately sprinkle with sea salt.


Or save this recipe at AllRecipes.com

Leave a Comment

Baked Ziti with Cheese


Tonight was so very much a pasta night.  After a long day of meetings, meetings…meetings, it was time to have a little easy and delicious treat.  Cheese, tomato sauce, béchamel, pasta and cheese.  What else do I have to tell you here?  This single-serve sized baked ziti is a quick way to have some delicious comfort food in not a lot of time.

If you multitask, it’s about 30 minutes from stovetop to oven to table, and this recipe is easy to scale up or down.  I made 2 servings so that I’d have a little left over, since I’ll want it again but it’s dangerous for me to have a giant pan of pasta lurking in my fridge waiting for me to devour it.

I took a little shortcut and put the milk in the microwave while my roux was cooking together.  It will seem a little thin, but don’t worry, the sauce thickens up a bit in the oven.  I used panko breadcrumbs on top to give it a nice little crunch and cooked it until it was brown and bubbly.  Delicious!  Get the Barilla recipe at AllRecipes.

Leave a Comment

Sugar & spice bars


I’ve been AWOL from the blog for a bit.  Life has gotten hectic again, and the things I enjoy most seem to get pushed aside for “more important” things.

But this morning as I was looking over the list of very big things I need to accomplish, it occurred to me that I haven’t done anything I wanted to do this weekend.  Need to, yes.  Should, yes.  But not want.  So in the name of balance, I present a small want.

These bars are pretty tasty – I can’t say they’re my absolute favorites as the recipe is written but they have promise.  I’d cut the clove in half, and drizzle them with some tangy cream cheese frosting next time.  But they were a nice little break in an otherwise “have-to” filled weekend so, if for no other reason, I like them a lot for that.  Give them a try if you like a cakey little cookie that packs a spicy punch.

Get the recipe for Donna’s Spanish Bars here

Leave a Comment

Ashley and Whitney’s Popcorn and Pretzel Sweet Snack Mix

Salty & sweet combine to create this snack mix you will not be able to stop eating.

As if popcorn on its own isn’t addictive enough.  Let’s mix it up with pretzels, almonds…now pour some white chocolate over it.  I dare you to try to stop eating this.

I had the best of intentions when I made this batch of Ashley & Whitney’s Popcorn & Pretzel Sweet Snack Mix.  I’d planned to bag it up and take it to work, safe from my cravings.  Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.  This perfect mix of salty and sweet didn’t make it past my recliner.  Make some – it’s really easy, made even easier with Reynolds parchment.  The white chocolate doesn’t stick to anything and you can just throw away any spillover.

So, again, I’m saying make this one.  It’s quick, it’s easy.  But be warned, you can’t stop eating it.

Get the recipe at AllRecipes.com

Leave a Comment