Double Chocolate Banana Bread

Always nice to have a few overripe bananas to make some banana bread. I’ve had a number of recipes over the years, but this is my new favorite.  My daughter pointed me to this recipe from the blog Running with Spoons. I made some changes and below is how I make it. I really like putting quick breads in smaller pans rather than one standard size bread pan. They seem to bake more evenly and just nice to cut the smaller loaves.


  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I usually use whole wheat pastry flour, but not necessary).
  • 1/2  cup unsweetened cocoa powder


    Double Chocolate Banana Bread

  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas (about 1 1/2 cups mashed)
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek Yogurt (I use 2% fat)
  • 1/3 cup REAL maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup nuts, chopped (I usually use pecans, but use what you like or none at all)

Put it together:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350°
  • Put flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, baking powder and cinnamon in a medium sized bowl and whisk together.
  • Put the eggs, bananas, yogurt, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla in another bowl. With an immersion blender, mix all ingredients until smooth.
  • Pour the wet ingredients in the dry ingredients and mix to just combine. Fold in the nuts and chocolate chips.
  • Pour evenly into 2 well-greased small bread pans. (My pans are ~ 7.5″ x 3.5″). I also use parchment paper and just grease the small ends. Makes for an easy cleanup and the bread comes out so much easier.
  • Bake for  33-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before removing from pan and cool further on a cooling rack.

Black Bean Brownies

In trying to get more beans and fiber in our diet, I tried this Black Bean Brownies recipe. It is an adaptation from the book, “Spilling the Beans.” It got a thumbs up from the family and you’d have no idea there were beans in it.


  • 1 c rinsed & drained canned black beansbrownies
  • 1 1/4 c chopped pecans
  • 1/2 c butter
  • 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/3 c flour (used whole wheat)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 c chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, if desired

Put it Together:

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Rinse the beans and spread them out between some paper towels to absorb the excess moisture.
  3. Spread the pecans out on a baking sheet and put in oven to toast lightly (5-7 minutes). Watch them carefully. Set aside to cool.
  4. In a small pan, melt the chocolate and butter being careful not to scorch. Mix to combine and set aside to cool a few minutes.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, and cinnamon.
  6. Place beans and cooled butter/chocolate mixture in a food processor and combine until smooth. Add the eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Pulse processor until combined. Add mixture to the flour/salt combining lightly.
  7. Gently fold in the chocolate chips and pecans. Do not over mix.
  8. Pour into a greased (I used butter) 8×8″ baking pan. Bake at 350º F for 28-30 minutes. It is done when batter no longer jiggles and is slightly firm. A toothpick inserted comes out very moist & “chocolatey.”
  9. Cool completely before cutting unless you want to eat this with a spoon. When cooled it is very moist and delicious!!

Blueberry Coffee Cake with Almond Topping

I volunteered to bring a dessert for a ladies group that meets in my home town. I was going to make my Applesauce Muffins, but then I got my latest magazine of Cooking Light and stumbled across a recipe for Blueberry Coffee Cake that was loaded with blueberries and I was hooked! Made a few minor changes and served it up to family for testing. It was well received.

Blueberry Coffee Cake with Almond Topping


  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries (if you use frozen, bake a bit longer)


    Blueberry Coffee Cake

  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats.
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 Tbsp. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 Tbsp Safflower oil (or other light oil)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Put it All Together

  1. Heat the oven to 375.
  2. Wash the blueberries and drain thoroughly.
  3. In a small bowl mix 1 Tbsp flour, cinnamon, sliced almonds, and rolled oats. Pour the 2 Tbsp. butter over the dry ingredients and mix. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix the 2 cups flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Remove 2 Tbsp. of the flour mixture and toss with the blueberries. Set the blueberries aside.
  5. In a large bowl, place the granulated sugar, 1/4 cup of butter, and safflower oil. Beat until well mixed. Add the egg and beat well.
  6. Add the buttermilk and flour mixture alternately to the sugar mixture. Begin and end with flour mixture. Stir in the lemon zest and juice.
  7. Coat a 9 inch square pan with cooking spray. Place 1/2 the batter in the pan and spread out with a spatula. Evenly put 1/2 the blueberries on top. Add the rest of the batter mixture and then top with the rest of the blueberries. Sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar-almond-oatmeal mixture from step 3.
  8. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. You may need to use the outside edges as there are so many blueberries that the toothpick always comes out pretty messy :-). I use the outside edges for the toothpick and then bake a bit longer to accommodate for the middle of the pan.
  9. Cool in pan for 10-15 minutes on a wire rack. Loose around the edges with a knife and remove from pan if you wish.

I haven’t tried it yet, but did think that substituting raspberries or blackberries would also be good — or even a mixture of berries. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream if you wish. Hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

Almond Prune Scones

Scones are fun to make and can be relatively healthy. Here’s one I put together with ingredients on hand. I only have a few left after an hour, so it must be a keeper.

Almond Prune Scones


  • 2 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 cup raw cane sugar (sub regular if desired)


    Almond Prune Scones

  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cut in small chunks
  • 2 tsp. fresh grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup plain almonds – chop and toast lightly
  • 1 cup diced prunes (substitute other dried fruit as desired)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract

Put it Together:

  1. Mix flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and lemon zest together in a large bowl.
  2. Cut butter into mixture using a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly
  3. Add almonds and fruit
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, vanilla & almond extract
  5. Pour into large bowl of flour mixture and combine until dough just sticks together. Do not over mix.
  6. Generously spray 2 double lined cookie sheets with SPAM or other vegetable oil. Using 1/4 cup, drop dough on sheets approximately 2 inches apart. Brush dough with additional milk and sprinkle with sugar.
  7. Put cookie sheets in freezer for 20-30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  8. Bake approximately 15-20 minutes. Serve with butter or jelly/jam.
  9. NOTE: If you do not have double-lined cookie sheets, put parchment paper on the cookie sheet – the scones will burn easily if precautions not taken.

Applesauce Muffins

My parents came down to visit today and I usually like to fix a light lunch or dessert for them. My Dad always likes my applesauce muffins, so decided to make them today since it was on the cool side and heating up the kitchen with the oven wouldn’t be unbearable. I got the original recipe from Jane Brody’s Good Food Book. Changes included all whole wheat pastry flour, nuts instead of or in addition to raisins (depending what’s on hand) and the use of butter or coconut oil instead of vegetable oil. I also add a 1/2 tsp. sea salt and upped the cinnamon amount.

Applesauce Muffins
1 1/4 cups unsweetened applesauce
1 large egg
2 Tbsp melted butter or coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. sea salt
3/4 cup raisins, 1/2 cup chopped nuts or any combination that suites you.

1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2. In large bowl, beat together applesauce, egg, butter/oil, and honey. Set aside
3. In medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add this to the applesauce mixture, stirring just to moisten the dry ingredients. Stir in the raisins/nuts and divide the batter among 12 greased muffin cups.
4. Bake the muffins in a pre-heated oven for 20 minutes.
5. These are great warm, cooled, freeze well. Eat plain, serve with butter or home-made jelly/jam.

Yummy Berry Strawberry Shortcake

I really like my strawberry shortcake and so do most folks who taste it. One of my sons particularly likes it, and when he asks for it, I try and oblige. Originally got this recipe from “Great Good Food” which is written by the authors of the Silver Palate Cookbooks. Not sure they have a lot of great recipes in this particular book, but this one qualifies with 4 stars. I made some changes in the recipe… used whole wheat flour in the biscuits and added cinnamon… also use whipped cream and vanilla yogurt. Here’s our rendition.

First the biscuits…..

Buttermilk Dessert Biscuits
4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups low-fat buttermilk
6 Tbsp. melted butter
2-3 Tbsp. vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly spray a cookie sheet with vegetable oil.
2. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a medium-size mixing bowl and mix to combine. Add buttermilk, butter, and vanilla. Mix with a fork until just blended. Do not overmix or biscuits will be tough. Add an additional tablespoon buttermilk if it seems too dry. Dough should be fairly sticky.
3. Drop the dough by heaping tablespoons a couple inches apart. (Note: this recipe says it should make 24 biscuits, but I make larger ones and get about 12-15). You may need two cookie sheets or bake them in shifts.
4. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until light golden brown. Remove from oven and cool.

Now for the Strawberry part once the biscuits are done…

Berry Strawberry Shortcake
4 quarts of strawberries, cleaned, and sliced
Juice of 2 oranges
Juice of 3 lemons
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups vanilla yogurt (I like the Oski Greek Yogurt brand)
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
Buttermilk Biscuits
Cool Whip or real whipped cream

1. Place 2 1/2 – 3 cups of strawberries, the orange and lemon juices, and sugar in a blender and process until smooth. (I used my immersion blender for this – lot less messy). Pour all but 1/2 cup of the puree over the rest of the berries. Set aside.
2. In small bowl, place the yogurt, 1/2 cup of reserver berry puree, and vanilla. Blend well. Refrigerate if you won’t be using it soon.
3. To Server – Split biscuits in half horizontally. Generously spoon berries between the layers and over top. Top with a dollop of the strawberry cream and Cool Whip. Serve immediately.

Wish I had a picture of this… maybe next time I make it I will take one. Also have a berry cobbler recipe I should put up that is equally yummy!