BBB* (Best Banana Bread…ever!)


Some recipes just make me proud.

 These are the ones that have evolved and been perfected over many, many years of making and baking..

Enter one of the best examples:

BBB*–  Best Banana Bread ever.

For starters, I’ll say I mostly make muffins out of this batter. They freeze beautifully and my husband likes to microwave one or two in the morning for breakfast. Over time, what’s changed most about this recipe is how healthy it’s become. I’ve made additions and substitutions and the finished product below is pretty darn moist and delicious with not a lot of ‘bad for you’ ingredients.

In a bowl beat:

3 eggs


1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon of each: Vanilla, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon

Put two snack-sized (individual cups) of applesauce into a one cup measure, top it off with extra virgin olive oil..add to bowl and mix with:

4 mushed bananas.

Add one cup wheat germ and 2 1/3 cups white flour.

Add shaved dark chocolate or chocolate chips to taste. This is where the sweetness will come from.  Original recipe called for 1-2 cups of sugar! 😧 (Waay too much!!)

I also like to add chopped walnuts.

Scoop into muffin cups and bake at 350 until golden brown.

I found it!

There is a little restaurant in South Carolina that serves the world’s most delicious, hot roast beef sandwich.  For years I have tried to unlock the secret to the spicy mayonnaise they slather on the bun. But every spice I added to my own mayo mix at home seemed to take the flavor in the wrong direction, until this past  Sunday when I literally bumped into what must be the exact recipe they use… courtesy of REAL SIMPLE MAGAZINE.

Spread this spicy mayo on top of burgers, chicken sandwiches, fries, BLTs or a wedge salad. It will enhance fish, crab cakes or drop a dollop on top of those already delicious corn cakes I gave you the recipe for earlier this summer. The secret ingredient is the Asian chili garlic sauce which I was easily able to find at my grocery store.


Trust me when I tell you this will become your GO-TO mayo to elevate the flavors of EVERYTHING you use it on. The recipe is simple and strange sounding but give this a will LOVE it!



1/4 cup Asian chili garlic sauce (Huy Fong Foods, Inc.)

1/4 cup dill pickle relish

1 cup mayonnaise


No kidding, that’s it! (No wonder it was featured in REAL SIMPLE – HA!)



Fresh Summer Corn Cakes – What a treat!


Ripped this recipe out of my August OPRAH magazine while at the beach last week-end. I LOVE summer corn, and the ingredients had me intrigued. These corn cakes are just as delicious as I thought they’d be. Serve with a dollop of salsa or sour cream on top.. add additional finely chopped veggies or spices as you prefer..just make sure they stay moist enough to shape into cakes and fry -Delicious, impressive looking and easy to make ahead and keep warm for a buffet.


  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour (I used a bit less)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp paprika (I used some Chipotle powder)
  • pepper to taste
  • 3 cups corn kernels. (I put 5 ears in a pot of water and boiled them for about 6 mins. let them cool, removed kernels.)
  • 3/4 cup cheddar cheese shredded
  • 3 chopped scallions. (I used chopped  green onion)
  • 2 large, beaten eggs
  • About 3 TBSP olive oil- for frying
  • I added finely chopped red pepper, garlic and jalapeño powder.


Mix all the ingredients together well with a spatula, adding the egg mixture last and making sure everything is well combined. Texture should be sticky enough to mold into small patties.

Before I placed the cakes on a plate to refrigerate, I dredged each one in a bit of flour, tapping off all the excess. I felt like this created a better seal that would help them keep their shape. I think it also prevented the cheese from melting out when I fried them.

Remove the cakes from fridge about an hour before you cook them so they can come back to room temperature. Fry them gently on Med-low in oil, turning them once when browned.

These cakes are super flavorful if you add enough spice and a bit on the drier side so some kind of topping like salsa is perfect for them!


Recipe by Nikki Dinki, author of an intriguing new cookbook entitled: “Meat on the Side”

Quick Summer Marinade

As we explore new restaurants in the area, I find myself gravitating towards, and truly appreciating, smaller portions with huge flavor.

And so it was at Tapas-51, a little place we went to right over the border in Fort Mill, South Carolina. I ordered the CHILI COFFEE CRUSTED BRISKET, served with charred onion chimichurri, queso fresco, avocado and their famous 51st STREET CORN.


The corn kernels were partially seared, highly seasoned and tossed in parmesan. The presentation was colorful and the taste was  WOW! I could have eaten just that for dinner and been a very happy girl..but the beef was truly extraordinary as well and this is what I tried to recreate at home.

I bought a piece of flap meat at Costco (looks like flank) put it into a large Ziplock bag with about 3/4 cup of black left-over coffee from the pot, salt, chipotle-chili seasoning (a generous amount) and a shake of garlic. I let it marinate for about 4 hours and bar-b-qued the meat on a hot grill.


Once it was done, I let it sit for about 15 minutes, sliced thin pieces on the bias and served the slices on top of flat bread with a cold avocado spread (also from Costco.) You could add tomatoes, onions whatever your heart desires to fancy up the dish. I’m sure a dollop of sour cream would be a nice counterbalance to the spicy meat- BUT- we are watching our cholesterol and fat.. so we passed on that.


I’ll admit my steak wasn’t as nicely charred as the brisket at Tapas-51, but the flavors were truly out of this world, especially considering I didn’t have an entire day to let the meat sit in the bag.





Dinner-so tasty and so easy!


I adore one pan wonders!

It’s not that I’m lazy..well, OK..maybe some days – but I am always on the look-out for easy, healthy recipes that are a breeze to clean up. This one definitely fits the bill!

Pork Tenderloin with roasted sweet potatoes and cabbage

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Pour  a good amount of olive oil in a large pan with sides. Sprinkle the following seasonings on top:

Salt, pepper, garlic a hefty teaspoon of mustard and any other spices you might enjoy. I used “Savannah Sizzle” with chipotle powder and other spicy ingredients. (Available at  These flavored salts are my new obsession.)

Roll a pork tenderloin in the seasonings for a good coating and remove.

Add a few sweet potatoes cut into fat wedges and chunked up cabbage. Toss them in all the spices as well. Make sure they are nicely coated- add more oil or spices if you need to.

Place the tenderloin on top of the veggies.

Roast in oven about 25 minutes until meat thermometer registers 145.


Let the pork rest for 5 minutes- serve and enjoy!



Photo & recipe


Here it is!

I noticed that quite a few readers are searching for this recipe, so I thought I’d put it back on “page one” for easy reference with Thanksgiving fast approaching.  These onions would make a wonderful addition to your holiday table.  They are delicious, look pretty, are easy to serve, and most importantly, easy to make!

Baked Sweet Onions


  • 4 sweet onions, peeled, sliced in half crosswise.
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 4 tsp butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup apple juice*
  • walnut pieces
  • 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • Place 8 onion halves in shallow baking dish, cut sides up. Season with salt and pepper.

Place onion halves into baking dish, cut side up. Pour apple juice over the tops and float the cloves. Cover with foil and bake at 325 for 45 mins to an hour depending on size of onions and desired firmness.

Remove foil, put about 1/2 tsp of butter on top of each onion, raise oven temp to 350 and bake ten minutes until golden.

Sprinkle onions with balsamic vinegar and walnut pieces.

** we are not apple juice drinkers, so I buy a sleeve of kids’ apple juice boxes and store them in the freezer for recipes like this. When I make these onions, I just peel off the paper and place one frozen square of juice right in the (cool) will melt quickly once in the oven and the cloves will float in the juice when it does.

Great side vegetable!

Adapted from “Screen Doors and Sweet Tea” by Martha Hall Foose.



“Gourmet” Popcorn! 😜

So no, this isn’t a recipe for beef wellington, but it is a “go to” snack that we all enjoy. Popcorn is easy to prepare and a great alternative to greasy chips. Making it at home from kernels is also a much better choice than the micro-wavable kind that is full of mystery chemicals. They KEY ingredient is the flavor infused oil that is available at specialty stores. Our favorite is Chipotle oil which I mix two to one with canola oil. The reason I don’t use all flavored oil is that the burning point would be too low leaving the popcorn with an unpleasant flavor.

pop2   pop5   pop4


  • 2 TBSP Chipotle infused olive oil
  • 1 TBSP Canola oil
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • salt to taste
  • chipotle chili pepper to taste

Heat oils in bottom of large pot on medium high. Toss in some kernels that will pop to let you know when the oil is hot.pop3

Once popcorn pops, quickly add the rest of the kernels.

With the lid on, shake the pot up and down frequently to keep the kernels moving so they don’t burn. Use fitted oven gloves.

When done, add salt and chipotle chili pepper to taste.

Serve and enjoy. (I can double the recipe in my one large pot)


I also like using Bergamot infused olive has an orangey flavor.  When the kernels are popped and slightly cooled, I toss in salt and maybe 1-2 TBSP of finely shaved dark chocolate. The flavors are truly delicious