Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Yum, such a good combination of flavors. If you’ve got some really ripe bananas on your counter, this is a good way to use them. More quarantine baking for me as I try to stay sane.

2 cups flour

1/2 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup brown sugar

3 ripe bananas, smashed

1/3 cup butter, melted

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk

1/4 cup peanut butter plus more for swirling

2 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

3/4 cup chocolate chips, I used milk chocolate chips

1 Preheat oven to 425. Line muffin pans with paper liners.

2 In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and brown sugar.

3 In a medium bowl, mash bananas then stir in butter, oil, buttermilk, peanut butter, eggs and vanilla.

4 Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir just until combined then stir in chocolate chips.

5 Scoop batter into muffin cups and sprinkle with a few more chocolate chips then swirl about 1/4 teaspoon of peanut butter into the top of each muffin, warming up peanut butter in microwave if needed for easier swirling.

6 Bake at 425 for 5 minutes then lower temperature to 400 and bake for 13 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

7 Let cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing.

Yield: about 28 muffins

recipe from Table for Two

Dark Chocolate Pecan Bars

Dark Chocolate Pecan Bars

They could have been called Dark Chocolate Pecan PIE Bars because that’s what they taste like, pecan pie, really yummy.

Dark Chocolate Pecan Bars

See? They look like pecan pie. Some more quarantine baking although we are getting out of the house a tiny bit more but still being careful. Weird times my friends, weird times. Fortunately there are are pecans and dark chocolate in the world to make the weird times a little easier to endure.


1/3 cup pecans

2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) cold butter, cut into cubes


3/4 cup dark corn syrup

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

4 eggs

4 tablespoons butter, melted

2 teaspoons vanilla

pinch of salt

1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped

3 – 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

1 For the crust, preheat oven to 350. Spray 9 x 13″ pan with cooking spray. Pulse pecans in food processor until finely ground. Add flour, sugar, and salt and pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until dough starts clumping together but is still a bit crumbly. Transfer to baking dish and press into even layer with fingers. Bake until golden brown and set, 25 – 30 minutes.

2 For the topping, whisk corn syrup, sugars, eggs, melted butter, vanilla and salt in bowl until smooth then stir in pecans.

3 Spread topping over warm crust and sprinkle with chocolate. Return to oven and bake until top is set and no longer jiggles, 25 – 30 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting into bars or diamonds.

recipe from Food Network

Sourdough Biscuits

These are one of the best things I’ve made with my quarantine sourdough starter so far, they were so good! They’re not hard to make but do require a bit of time and some strong arm muscles. If you don’t have a sourdough starter, beg some from someone so you can make these!

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into small pieces plus 2 tablespoons melted for brushing

1 cup sourdough starter discard from a starter fed within the previous 24 hours, room temperature

flaky sea salt for sprinkling

1 Preheat oven to 425. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

2 Stir together baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and flour with a whisk in a large bowl. Add butter pieces and toss with hands or fork to coat with flour. Using a pastry cutter or fork, work butter into dry ingredients until shaggy crumbles form. You will have various sizes of pieces in the dough but none should be too large.

3 Add sourdough starter and mix gently with fork to incorporate, then fold with hands just until dough comes together with just a few crumbly pieces in the bottom of the bowl.

4 Transfer dough to well floured surface and pat out with hands until about 1/2″ thick, the shape doesn’t matter too much right now. Fold into thirds as you would a letter to create a rough rectangle. Working from the short sides, fold in thirds like a letter again. Pat dough out again to a 1/2′ thick square. Repeat folding process. Pat dough out for a third time to a 1″ thick square. Using a floured 2 1/2″ diameter biscuit cutter or glass, punch out as many biscuits as you can, do not twist cutter. Transfer biscuits to baking sheets, spacing at least 1″ apart.

5 Gently press scraps into a rectangle, then fold in half. Pat out to 1″ thick rectangle and cut out more biscuits. Gather remaining scraps together to form final biscuit, you should have 10 total. Transfer to baking sheet. Brush biscuits with melted butter and sprinkle with sea salt.

6 Bake biscuits until tall and golden and an instant read thermometer registers 205, about 12 – 15 minutes.

recipe from Epicurious

Basil Lemon Pasta Salad

Basil Lemon Pasta Salad

This is the perfect summer pasta salad, light and refreshing! Highly recommend! Even though things are starting to open back up around here, we are still being cautious as one of the members of our family has had multiple heart issues. I’m trying to find ways to still bake and cook that don’t make all of us gain weight.

1 pound pasta

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup pine nuts

1/2 cup Parmesan, shredded or flaked

1/4 cup thinly sliced basil

1 Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water.

2 In a large bowl, combine vinegar, oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and whisk to combine.

3 Toss pasta into dressing mix and add pine nuts, Parmesan and basil.

4 Refrigerate until ready to serve, preferably for at least 2 hours.

recipe from Julie Blanner

Homemade Sugar Cookie Decorating Kits

Homemade Sugar Cookie Decorating Kits

I have quite a few new followers to my blog (thank you for joining me on my food adventures!) so some of you may not know that I have a day job in the film and television industry which keeps me pretty busy, until the pandemic hit. March 13 was my last day on set. I was working on a movie in Mississippi when a day player showed up sick with what turned out to be the corona/covid virus and so we were shut down with only a week to go. I’m not very good at sitting at home with not much to do so I’ve been looking for projects to fill my time and also looking to serve others wherever possible. We have quite a few neighbors with little kids so I thought this might be a fun activity for me and for them. The feedback has been great, the kids really enjoyed the kits and I had fun putting them together so win, win!

I made a batch of these Bakery Style Sugar Cookies with Buttercream Frosting which yielded about 5 dozen cookies

I was going to make homemade frosting but I needed so much of it that I decided to go with Pillsbury Funfetti Frosting which I divided up between the kits by putting half a container of frosting into a piping bag and tying off with a twisty tie

I have so many sprinkles so I made little bags of sprinkles for each kit and even included some tiny candy eyes for fun

I had a tub of gum drops from another project so I included some of those in each kit as well

Have a good day my friends! Go out and do some service for someone else! It will make you feel better and take your mind off of your own concerns!

Caramel Chocolitas

Caramel Chocolitas

The delicious quarantine baking continues . . .

2 cups flour

1 3/4 cups quick cooking rolled oats

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter, melted

1 (14 oz) bag caramels or caramel bits

1/3 cup milk

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup milk chocolate chips

1 cup chopped pecans

1 Preheat oven to 350. Spray 9 x 13″ pan with cooking spray.

2 In large bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, soda and salt and stir to combine. Add melted butter and mix until crumbly. Reserve 1/2 the crumb mixture, about 2 cups, for topping. Press remaining crumb mixture in bottom of prepared pan.

3 Combine caramels and milk in saucepan and heat over medium high heat, stirring until melted and smooth.

4 Sprinkle chocolate chips and pecans over crust in pan. Drizzle evenly with caramel. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture.

5 Bake 20 – 25 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool in pan before cutting into bars.

recipe from Better Homes and Gardens

Twitter (and Uncle Mike’s) Banana Bread by Chrissy Tiegen

Twitter (and Uncle Mike's) Banana Bread by Chrissy Tiegen

Twitter (and Uncle Mike’s) Banana Bread by Chrissy Tiegen

This was amazing!  Bread or cake?  Hard to decide.  Give it a go, it was delicious.  Another quarantine bake for the books or the blog.

2 cups mashed very ripe bananas, about 6 bananas

4 eggs

2/3 cup canola oil

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 (3.5 oz) box vanilla instant pudding mix

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1 (3.5 oz) bar dark chocolate, chopped into chunks or 1/2 – 1 cup chocolate chips

1  Heat oven to 325.  Spray bundt pan with cooking spray for baking.

2  In one bowl, combine bananas, eggs, and oil.  In another bowl, combine flour, sugar, pudding mix, baking soda, and salt.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix carefully just until combined.  Fold in coconut and chocolate chips.

3  Bake until cake springs back when lightly pressed and toothpick inserted near center comes out clean, 60 – 80 minutes.  Let cool 10 – 15 minutes in pan then turn out onto serving platter.

recipe from Good Housekeeping

Grilled Chicken Pasta Salad with Artichoke Hearts

Grilled Chicken Pasta Salad with Artichoke Hearts

Grilled Chicken Pasta Salad with Artichoke Hearts

Another yummy dinner for day 60 of social distancing/quarantining/sheltering in place, whatever you want to call it!

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 1 pound

7 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

3/4 pound pasta

1 1/4 cups canned, drained artichoke hearts, rinsed and cut into 6 wedges each

3 scallions including green tops, chopped

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

1  Preheat grill.  Coat chicken with 1 tablespoon oil and season with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.  Grill until just done, 4 – 5 minutes per side.  Let chicken rest 5 minutes before slicing.

2  Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Transfer pasta to large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon oil.

3  Add chicken, artichokes, scallions, 5 tablespoons oil, vinegar, remaining salt and pepper, and Parmesan and toss well.

recipe from Food and Wine


Chewy Chocolate Caramel Bars

Chewy Chocolate Caramel Bars

Chewy Chocolate Caramel Bars

I made these on Tuesday, later afternoon, and this morning, Thursday, there is one left so I think it’s safe to say that they were a hit.

Chewy Chocolate Caramel Bars

Chewy Chocolate Caramel Bars

I think we all can see how the Johnson family is going to come out of quarantine . . .

1 German chocolate cake mix

3/4 cup butter, melted

1 (5 oz) can (2/3 cup) evaporated milk

1 (14 oz) bag caramels, unwrapped or 1 bag caramel bits

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1 cup chocolate chips

1  Preheat oven to 350.  Grease 9 x 13″ pan.

2  Beat together cake mix, melted butter, and 1/3 cup evaporated milk until smooth.  Spread half the dough in prepared pan.

3  Cook caramels and 1/3 cup evaporated milk in saucepan over medium low heat until melted and smooth.  Pour over dough layer in pan evenly.  Sprinkle with nuts and chocolate chips.  Crumble remaining dough over top.

4  Bake for 25 minutes.  Cool in pan before cutting.

recipe from Better Homes and Gardens

Toffee Pecan Skillet Brownies

Toffee Pecan Skillet Brownies

Toffee Pecan Skillet Brownies

This is what I made myself for Mother’s Day dessert and it was magnificent!  It will definitely go into the regular rotation which is the highest praise I can give it.  The hubs has already requested it for Father’s Day.

Toffee Pecan Skillet Brownies

Toffee Pecan Skillet Brownies

Even just the brownies themselves looked pretty great before all the other deliciousness got added to them.  I’m pretty sure if you try it, you will fall in love with it too.  This just might be the most successful quarantine bake to date.


1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) butter

8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped pecans


1 cup packed brown sugar

1 stick butter

2 tablespoons corn syrup

3/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup chopped pecans

coarse sea salt

ice cream or whipped cream for serving

1  For the brownies, preheat oven to 325.  Butter a 10″ cast iron skillet.  Combine butter and chocolate in saucepan over medium heat.  Cook, stirring, until melted and smooth, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in both sugars until dissolved.  Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until smooth and glossy, then whisk in vanilla.  Stir in flour and salt until combined, then stir in pecans.  Spread batter in skillet.

2  Bake until brownies are slightly cracked on top and toothpick inserted in center comes out mostly clean, about 35 – 40 minutes.  Transfer to rack and let cool.

3  For the topping, as soon as the brownies come out of the oven, combine sugar, butter and corn syrup in saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat to medium to maintain a steady simmer, and cook, without stirring, until sugar is completely dissolved, about 2 minutes.  Carefully pour in heavy cream and simmer until thickened, about 5 – 8 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in pecans.  Let cool until thickened but still pourable, about 20 minutes.  Pour topping over brownies and let sit 1 hour.  Sprinkle with sea salt before serving.

recipe from Food Network