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Please excuse the lack of photos in some of my older posts as I am trying to slowly go back through and add the photos that were accidentally deleted

February 28, 2011

Butterscotch Banana Bread

I love a good banana bread. Usually, in the past, I have eaten others' banana breads. I decided it was time to make my own! There are tons of banana bread recipes that I want to make and have bookmarked from other blogs. But I decided to start with this one because I love butterscotch!

Sugar Plum has some amazing photos of her bread! Next time I would definitely take a picture of the banana bread sliced. I don't know why I didn't do that this time! Silly me. I'm slowly learning to take pictures of everything. A million pictures. From a million different views. And that way there has to be at least a couple of good shots right?

Go ahead and preheat that oven before you forget! Spray the loaf pan with cooking spray. In a small pot, melt the butter over medium heat and cook for 3 minutes. Keep whisking often and cook until the butter foams and turns golden. The point is to get a nice browned (not burnt!) butter. Then add in the banana and cook for 2 minutes, whisking until smooth. Already sounding delicious!

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder & soda, salt, and cinnamon. We will call this the flour mixture.

Now, in a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the butter-banana mixture and brown sugar until well combined. Then whisk in the eggs and vanilla until combined.

Then sift the dry flour mixture into the wet banana mixture and fold in, mixing well into a batter.

Then pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. I know you love these step-by-steps  :)

This is the part I kinda sucked at. I wanted it to turn out oh-so-pretty and swirly. I wanted you to be able to see the swirl once baked. I guess I need to master this skill a bit better next time. Anyways, swirl the melted butterscotch into the batter using a knife (or whatever handy tool you have. If you have better suggestions than a knife, let me know!).

Then bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Cool before slicing.

Oh this was so yummy! I wanted a little bit more of a butterscotch flavor though. That's just me, the recipe is great as is. I love butterscotch, so I just wanted more, and so if you are like me then do the same. If not then stick to the recipe, because it's damn good! I think next time I would try it with 1/2 cup butterscotch chips instead of 1/3 cup. I'm not even sure if that would make a difference at all. But next time I think I will try that. I have modified the recipe below to include that minor change.


Butterscotch Banana Bread
slightly adapted from Sugar Plum

*Makes 1 loaf
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup mashed ripe banana
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips, melted

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat and cook 3 minutes, whisking frequently until butter foams and turns golden brown. Whisk in mashed banana and cook for 2 minutes, stirring until creamy.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the butter-banana mixture and brown sugar until combined. Then whisk in the eggs and vanilla until combined.

Sift the dry flour mixture into the wet banana mixture, folding in and combining until well mixed, like a batter.
Pour batter into greased pan. Swirl the melted butterscotch into the batter using a knife or any other appropriate utensil. Bake 40 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. A toothpick should come out clean when inserted into the loaf. Cool completely before slicing.

Can't wait to make this again! And many more banana bread recipes, for that matter. Do you guys like banana bread as much as I do?

Peace, and bacon grease  ;)

Menu Planning - Week of 2/28/11

So I missed menu planning last Monday. I was soooo close to missing it again this week, because I am uber busy and don't really have time to post this. But I figured I really should since I didn't last week. Plus, all of last week felt disorganized because I didn't menu plan. And we ended up eating out like 5 days last week. That's just awful. So back to meal planning I go. Time to get our butts back in check!

Wanna know the even-more-embarrassing part? I still have some recipes leftover to make from previous menu plans, that never got made. Like this and this. Hey, just because I plan it doesn't always mean I make it!

Monday 2/28/11:  Sloppy Joe Squares

Wednesday 3/2/11:  *Scallops and Asparagus with Creamy Mustard Sauce

Thursday 3/3/11:  some kind of chili with some thick ground chuck I bought at  **Jungle Jim's

Friday 3/4/11:  Nacho Chicken Bake

Doing my usual link-up to Menu Plan Monday over at I'm An Organizing Junkie.

*Notice that we have scallops alot? My dad loves to dump loads of frozen sea scallops on me when I come over. No complaints here. Can't beat free seafood.

**Did I mention how much I LOVE Jungle Jims?! I have been living in Cincinnati all of my life and this past Saturday was the second time I have been there... the first being last Sunday! I get so overwhelmingly ecstatic in that place. It's sad how happy a grocery store can make me. 

Peace, and bacon grease :)

Loaded Baked Potato Dip

It was a good month in the food world, because it was POTATO LOVERS MONTH! I really wanted to test and post more potato recipes throughout the month, but that didn't happen. And I wanted to post this dip recipe sometime in February, but then before I knew it it was the end of February. So I decided I would just post this recipe on the last day of February. Only, I was busy yesterday and only got around to posting my menu plan, and got to finish editing pics for my banana bread post. By the time I was finished with both of those posts (it takes alot of time and effort, peeps!) I knew I wanted to watch the Bachelor and wasn't gonna even try to commit to posting this potato recipe. So sometime in February turned into the last day of February which then turned into just posting this on the 1st day of March but publishing the post on February 28th. Gotta love Blogger for letting me schedule a post time, even if it is in the past :)

So let's pretend it is still February. Let's pretend it is yesterday, k? Fine by you guys? Good!

I wanted to share this tasty potato recipe with all of you in honor of POTATO LOVERS MONTH. It actually doesn't have any kind of potato in it, so technically it isn't really a potato dip. The name kinda implies that there would be some kind of potato in the actual recipe. But no. This recipe is called Loaded Baked Potato Dip because it is a combination of all delish ingredients you would use to top your baked potato. Cheese, check. Bacon, check. Sour cream, check. Chives, check.

It can be a dip. It can be a topping. Or it can be eaten straight from the spoon if you want! It is fit for any potato lover, that's for sure. This would work great as a dip at any party, or to top your side items at dinner time. However you decide to eat it, I'm sure you will be eating it with a smile.  


We were planning on making this dip for the Super Bowl, but didn't get around to it. So it ended up on our menu plan and we cooked up some Alexia waffle fries and served them with this dip. Oh my word. Deliciousness! The only thing I would change would be to add more bacon (SHOCKER, right?!). You guys know I am the bacon queen. So of course I would want more bacon. There just wasn't enough bacon for me (there never is). Next time I make it (and there will be a next time) I will definitely up the bacon count  : ) Maybe to a half pound? The recipe below reflects my bacon modification.

I'd bet that we didn't let this chill for at least an hour. Around these parts, food gets eaten quickly. No time for chilling, unless absolutely necessary! But if you have more patience than us, do let it chill first. We also used green onions because that's what we had at the time, and Peej had been on a green onion kick. But chives have more of a loaded potato feel. But use whichever you like.

Loaded Baked Potato Dip
slightly adapted from Baked Bree 
  • 1/2 pound thick-sliced center cut Oscar Mayer bacon
  • 1 (16-oz) container of sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (or whatever cheese you like)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • Waffle fries or potato chips
Cook bacon in a skillet. Drain fat, and crumble when finished cooking. Set aside a couple pieces for garnish. Also set aside a bit of the chopped chives for garnish.

Put the remaining ingredients in a large bowl or container and mix well. Let chill for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.

Garnish with the reserved bacon and chives. Serve with waffle fries or potato chips.

This makes plenty. Too much for the two of us to eat. We had some for leftovers/lunch the next few days. This is a good amount for a crowd or if you are having a small party or going to a potluck. 

Peace, and bacon grease!

February 25, 2011

Friday Favorites

I wanted to take a minute to highlight some great recipes I found this week in the bloggy world. SnoWhite over at Finding Joy in my Kitchen does a weekly link-up called "Friday Favorites" where everyone shares recipes that they can't wait to try out! Since I am always finding recipes from fellow foodie blogs, I definitely wanted to participate and promote some great blogs that always keep me coming back for more :)

I saw this Funnel Cake over at This Chick Cooks. I can't wait to attempt to make it. Funnel cake brings back such fond memories from my childhood, of carnivals and fairs and amusement parks. Oh, to be a kid again. So any food that makes me feel like I'm 7 years old again is a keeper :)

I'm a breakfast kinda gurl, so when I saw this Banana Stuffed French Toast over at Mangoes and Chutney, I couldn't wait for a lazy Sunday morning so I could make this sweet breakfast treat for the man and me.

Always loving anything buffalo-related. So these Buffalo Chicken Nachos from The Girl Who Ate Everything would be devoured in no time. 

Anyone who knows me knows that I love bacon. So much. Maybe a little too much. I am always intrigued by strange desserts that include bacon. Hey, I love chocolate, I love peanut butter, and I love bacon. I really don't see how it could go wrong? I will definitely be making these Bacon Peanut Butter Cups from Blog is the New Black.

I am a seafood lover. Gimme scallops, crab, lobster ANYDAY of the week! I can't wait to try Krista's Crab-Filled Crescent Wontons!

These things are freakin adorable! I bet the mix of onion, avocado and cheese on these mini burgers is da bomb!! Try these Caramelized Onion, Swiss, and Avocado Beef Sliders from Big Mama's Kitchen  :)

I swear Jocelyn always has the BEST desserts! These Reeses Banana Brownie Cups are super cute and I can't wait to have a good occasion to make them!

I love finding recipes that I have never seen before. Sometimes that can be hard to find in the bloggy world. Many times we see the same recipes showing up on blog after blog! So I will definitely be trying these original Ice Cream Cupcakes from Better Than Burgers.

Oh, and one more cupcake recipe that I want to try (because my thighs can really use all those calories!) are these delightful Cookies n' Cream Cupcakes from Apples and Twinkies.

I didn't want to post their pictures on here, so go check out their blogs to see those yummy recipes that I know you guys also wanna try!

Wonder when I will get around to making all of these?!? 

Peace, and BACON grease!
(see, I told you about my love of bacon - HA!)

February 24, 2011

Sauteed Green Beans with Mushrooms and Onions

Here's another simple, basic side item recipe for you to enjoy. Just cook your green beans however you like. Some people like to blanch them in boiling salted water for about 5 minutes. Others may steam their green beans by placing them in a steam basket over a saucepan with about an inch of boiling water in it. Heck you can even microwave them! But I went with the sauteed method.

I started with half of a small pack of pre-rinsed and pre-cut green beans. We didn't need much because, as always, it was only for the two of us. You may need to rinse the green beans off yourself, and cut off the ends. I sauteed the green beans with olive oil and garlic for about 7-10 minutes (depending how crisp you like them). While they were sauteing in the skillet, I seasoned them with salt and pepper and stirred to coat evenly.

Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, I was sauteeing up those mushrooms and onions. First, I rinsed and sliced my mushrooms - enough to make about 1 cup. You can use more of course, that's just the amount I had. Then I thinly sliced an onion. I melted about 2 tablespoons of butter in that skillet and added the mushrooms and onions, seasoned them with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and continued cooking until tender and caramelized.

If you don't want to have to clean another skillet, I'm sure you could saute everything in a single skillet if you have a large one. Or you could saute the mushrooms and onions first and then add the green beans later, or vice versa. I just wanted it to be quick so I cooked everything at once in two separate skillets. 

Yep. It's that easy. No rocket science here.

Sauteed Green Beans with Mushrooms and Onions
From the kitchen of SteakNPotatoesKindaGurl
  • 1/2 of a small bag of pre-rinsed green beans
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup (or more) sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 of a yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • salt, pepper, and garlic powder for seasoning
In a skillet, saute green beans in olive oil and garlic on medium heat for 7-10 minutes, depending how crisp you want them. Stir occasionally.

Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, add butter until melted. Then add the mushrooms and onions. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. 

Serve mushrooms and onions over green beans. 
Printable Recipe 

On that day, we had it with some delicious Chicken Divan. That's also some yummy stuff, you should try it out if you haven't  :)


Linky time! Check out all of the linky love!

Don't you just love simple, basic recipes? I do! There's no denying, we all need them at some point.
Peace, and bacon grease!

February 23, 2011

Restaurant Review : J & J Restaurant in Western Hills/Westwood area

It's been awhile since I have reviewed a restaurant. Truthfully, I don't get too excited about it anymore. My blog originally started as a place to review restaurants, but then I fell in love with the whole food blogging world and it has developed into more of a cooking blog, with reviews on the side. That's fine by me! But I'm not completely giving up the reviews, I still love to venture out and try new restaurants and report back to all of you. 

J & J Restaurant is nestled in a little strip mall near the new Kroger on Glenway. It is a chili and double decker kinda place, and though I do appreciate that, I'm all about places that offer breakfast! Any place that serves breakfast at all hours of the day is my kinda place. On this particular day however, I didn't get breakfast. Wonder what had gotten into me that day. But I definitely will go back to try more of their breakfast menu.

PJ isn't a breakfast freak like me, so he got a cheeseburger platter, with all the fixins on his burger... nothing special. They serve the thick cut crinkly fries. He also got a side of applesauce with his meal. Random, I know. And yes that is PJ's shirt behind that cheeseburger. 

Though I didn't get a breakfast item, I did get a double decker with bacon... which is a breakfast food, right?! I had mine with some mayo and hard boiled eggs and lettuce. It was yummy, but you can't really go wrong with a bacon and egg sandwich, well maybe if the bacon is microwaved. Then it is just all sorts of wrong.

I did have a side of home fries, which is also breakfast-related. But I need to get back there to try some sausage, eggs, omelets, hot cakes, and more! Here are my home fries.... they were kind of bland and I had to pour so much salt and pepper on them to give them flavor. I would prefer some kind of breakfast potatoes, the ones that are diced and crispy. Oh, and that's PJ's applesauce trying to get all in the picture.

So my double decker was tasty, but the home fries not so much. PJ enjoyed his burger and fries. And they serve Dr. Pepper, which is always a plus. Overall it wasn't the best food we've ever eaten, but for a quick and convenient place to eat it works. Plus they offer a wide selection, from breakfast food to double deckers to chili and coneys and 3-ways. I think they don't take credit card, but they have an ATM inside the restaurant for you to get yo cash out (for a fee, of course). 

So if you're in the Western Hills/Westwood/Cheviot (whatever the heck that area is called!) area then stop by. Try some of that breakfast for me and let me know how it is, will ya? 

Peace, and bacon grease!

J & J Restaurant on Urbanspoon

February 16, 2011

Lazy day, lazy meal AKA Ninja Meal

What happens when there is barely any food in the house, AND no motivation to change that?

.... I end up coming up with some lame and boring, but quick and easy meal made of whatever we have in the house! Kinda like PJ's dad's ninja stew?!?!

Sometimes my lazy butt just doesn't wanna go to the grocery store.  So this is a result of pure laziness. Don't judge me :)

We had these in the freezer.....

PJ brought them home from work awhile back. Gotta love fiancees who work in the food industry.

So we thawed them and cut those bad boys up into small chunks. (Really, we cut them smaller than pictured here).

And then back to the fridge to see what else lingered inside, waiting to be eaten. Onions. And green onions. And leftover mashed potatoes. So that is what we used!

We sauteed the sausages and sliced onions in the skillet first with some olive oil. After both were browned to our likings, we added in some green onions. Didn't wanna overcook them... they shrivel up and wilt and shrink.

Had some of Giada's leftover mashed potatoes (um, yum!) so we served the sausages and onions over the leftover mashed potatoes. Pretty delish for a spur-of-the-moment meal. 

Sure wish I had some glare-be-gone. This picture was taken back when I didn't know not to use a flash for food photography. Months ago. That is how behind I am on posting recipes!

There really is no recipe. You just need smoked sausages, onions, green onions, and mashed potatoes. You can add whatever else to it that you like. I'm sure we would have added much more to it if we had more ingredients in the house at the time. Peppers would work great. I am a huge fan of mushrooms so they would work well here, but then again I think mushrooms go well with everything. Let your imagination wander. Or, like me, just use whatever you've got lying around the house begging to be eaten. 

Ninja Meal, anyone?

Peace, and bacon grease!

February 15, 2011

Idiotic Idioms #2

"In my heart of hearts...."

Why? I know what it's supposed to mean, but really do we need to say it twice? I think it'd be safe to say that you could just say "In my heart..." and it would make perfect sense. No "of hearts" needed. 

Sorry, I think I heard someone say that on The Bachelor last night. Yeah, I said it. I watch that crap. And love it :) And I think it was the ever so sweet and beautiful Emily, who I want to win, and since I don't think I or anyone could ever hate or be bothered by that girl, I'll let it slide this time.

But if it had come from anybody else, "In my heart" [see!] I'd be so very annoyed.

Just a quick rant. That's all for now!

Hope everyone had a love-filled Valentine's day yesterday!!

February 14, 2011

Menu Planning - Week of 2/14/11

It's such a LOVEly day, isn't it?! Why? Because it's Valentine's Day! Peej and I are going out to eat this evening at The Polo Grille. I have no idea if it is a fancy restaurant, or more of like a pub... if it's romantic, or if there will be drunken people yelling and screaming at big screen tvs. But I had a certificate there that expires in two weeks, so that's where we'll end up :)

So, no cooking tonight. But we will be doing our usual cooking the rest of the week. But first, a quick synopsis of what we enjoyed (or didn't) from last week's menu plan. We loved the honey chipotle pork tenderloin, and had leftover tenderloin so we made that another night last week. So that bumped out one of the meals we were originally planning to have. I liked the black bean soup enough, but wasn't jumping up and down for it. I liked the flavors, and it was pretty good for being a meatless meal. But PJ didn't really like it, it reminded him of his dad's "ninja stew." Ninja stew is a concoction of whatever he had in his pantry that could be made into a soup. Don't ask me why it's called ninja. Maybe giving it a cool (?) name was the only way to get PJ to eat it? Not sure. But anyways, so PJ wasn't a fan. So I doubt we will be having that again. We made that late one night after PJ got home from work late, so we didn't make the cornbread and just served it with crackers instead. We did have some scallops, and as always they were delish. And we didn't get to the sloppy joe squares, so they are going on this week's menu.

Monday 2/14/11:  Valentine's Day!!!! Out to eat with my love :)

Tuesday 2/15/11:  Sloppy Joe Squares

Wednesday 2/16/11:  Grilled Cheese (w/ a fancy chipotle jack cheese I bought) and Tomato Basil Soup

Friday 2/18/11:  Chicken Braciole with Alfredo Sauce (yep, bringin it back from weeks ago but we never made it)

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday at I'm An Organizing Junkie. Won't you join me?

*And on a side note, here's an update for the photo hunt challenge... we are mid-way through February and I haven't taken one photo from the scavenger hunt list. Not lookin promising....   Just sayin.