Pear Nut Bread


Hello all–  Are you on the countdown to Thanksgiving??  Me too!  Can’t wait for kids and grandparents to come pouring in the door.  Hoping for hugs and laughter and my sister’s pie.  So thankful.

And if you have people staying over for the weekend (like we will), it’s great to have a couple loaves of this bread waiting in the fridge– for breakfast or to serve with soup or for a midnight snack…  Love these tender, fruity moist little loaves–think you will too!

1/4 cup canola oil
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 pears peeled, cored & cut in bits
1 cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 or 2 tab. milk or half & half

Peel, core and cut the pears to bits and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the oil, sugar and eggs.  Then stir in the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon.  Then fold in the pear and nuts just until it’s all thoroughly blended.

Scoop the batter in a standard 9″x 5″ loaf pan (I used 2 smaller half size pans) that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes, until a knife inserted into the loaf comes out dry.

While it’s baking, whisk together the powered sugar and milk to make the glaze–use 1 tablespoon of milk to make a thicker glaze– or 2 tablespoons for a thin glaze.

When the bread is baked, let it sit in the pans for 10 minutes to cool just a bit and then remove and drizzle the glaze over the top.


Chocolate Sea Salt Cookies (Gluten Free)

Hi Cookie Lovers– I almost hesitate to call these cookies.  With no flour and with an unusual mix of ingredients, they are more like candy!!  But what they truly are is chewy chocolaty delicious!!

Making them for my Monday ladies tonight, and trundling the leftovers up with me to visit the kids in San Francisco this week.  A grandma should always arrive with a bag of treats!

3 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
sea salt

Stir together the sugar, cocoa and salt,  Then stir in the eggs, vanilla and oil until it is all blended.  Finally fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

Spoon globs of batter at least 2″ apart (they really spread in the oven!) onto a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment (so that they don’t stick).  Lightly sprinkle with just a little sea salt on each cookie.

Bake them up at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Let them cool on the parchment to firm up before you take them off of the pan. Makes about 2 dozen.  Enjoy!!

Chocolate Walnut Pie Bars

Hi there– I sure wish you could meet my Monday night ladies.  They come in the door in around 7:00 each week.  I can hear them talking and laughing as they come up the steps.  There are hugs and cups of coffee and when I finally get them to settle in, there is time to read and pray together. It’s a bright spot in my week.

And, of course, we eat.  This week it’s these pie bars– nutty and sweet (a little like my ladies!)


1  1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted

3 eggs
1  1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tab. melted butter
1  1/2 cups chocolate chips
1  1/2 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped

To make the crust, mix together the flour and 1/4 cup brown sugar.  Then fold in the melted 1/2 cup butter until it’s all crumbly.  Press the mixture into 9″x 13″ baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake the crust at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, until it’s lightly browned.

While that’s baking, stir together the filling– beat the 3 eggs in a mixing bowl, then stir in the brown sugar and vanilla.  Then mix in the butter, chocolate chips and walnuts.

Spoon the filling carefully over the crust, covering it from edge to edge.  Bake it in the same 350 even for 25 to 30 minutes longer, until the filling is set.  Let it cool completely and then cute into tidy bars!

Apple Broccoli Salad

Hello friends–  Here’s the old favorite, Broccoli Salad, with a bit of a fresher taste.  Sweet apples and carrots add crunch and flavor.  And a bit of red onion sharpens up the taste.

We had it at a salad pot luck here a couple weeks ago and there were just a few shreds left at the bottom of the bowl by the time we all served ourselves up!  I think you’d like it too.


1/2 cup unflavored yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tab. sugar
1  1/2 tsp. cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt

4 cups chopped broccoli
1 apple, cored and cut to small bits
2 carrots, peeled and cut to match sticks
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup red onion chopped

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar and salt to make the dressing.

Add the chopped broccoli, bits of apple, cut carrots, walnuts and chopped red onion to the dressing and mix well to coat all the veggies.   Chill about 30 minutes before serving.  Delish!

Maple Walnut Banana Bread

Hello Bakers–  I’ve been making my Grandma Rose’s banana bread for as long a I can remember,  It’s the favorite in kitchens all over our family.  But when I saw this version sweetened by maple syrup, I had to give it a try.  I can just say it smells heavenly coming out of the oven!!

2 very ripe bananas
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/3 cup flour
2 tab. brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Prepare the topping first.  Chop the nuts, mix in 2 tab. brown sugar and set aside.

Mash those bananas with a fork in a large mixing bowl.  Then stir in the oil, syrup, egg and vanilla.  Next mix in the flour, brown sugar, baking powder an salt.

Spoon the batter in to a standard 9″x5″ loaf pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 degrees from 35 to 40 minutes, until a small knife inserted comes out clean.  (I used two smaller pans to make one loaf to keep, one to take to my father-in-law Stu). Enjoy!!

Caramel Pear Cake


Hello there– It’s that time of year when dinner can shift from leaning in around the family room table, to catching cool evening breezes under the maple trees in the back yard.   So last week friends came over the share an outdoor “pot luck salad supper” — perfect summer kick off!

And for dessert we had Miriam’s tart, Glenda’s legendary lemon bars, Joanne’s super strawberry cake and this caramel pear cake.  Sweet ending to time around the table with friends.

P.S. The best thing about this cake is that there is more pears, nuts mixed in than batter– so it’s fruity sweet crunchy sweet.

2 large pears, peeled, seeded & cut in bits
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1  1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
3/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
garnish:  powdered sugar,  1/4 cup salted caramel*

Prepare the pears and walnuts.  Set aside.

In a mixing bowl stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Then mix in the egg, oil and vanilla (batter will be very stiff!)  Fold in the pears and walnuts until it’s thoroughly combined.

Spoon the batter into a 8″ or 9″ cake pan** that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Pop it into a 350 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes until a thin knife inserted comes out clean.

Let the cake cool for an hour or so.  Then dust on a little powdered sugar through a sieve.  Drizzle the salted caramel over the top.

If you serve it with ice cream, be sure to have a little pitcher of warm caramel to top it all!

*You can make your own caramel– I used Smuckers salted caramel from a jar!
**I like a springform pan because it’s easier to extract the cake and set it on a pretty plate.

White Texas Sheet Cake

Hello ya’ll–  We lived in Texas for a few years when we were first married and the chocolate version of this sweet cake was a staple of friends there.  And it made it’s way into our own cake rotation.

So when I ran across this white reiteration of the old favorite, I wanted to give it a try.  Swap out cinnamon and pecans for almond flavoring and walnuts– and of course, hold the chocolate!  Love the simple, homey little cake.  Just right for a weeknight meal or a picnic with friends.

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1  1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, cubed (2 sticks)
1 cup water
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1 tsp. almond extract or amaretto*

1/2 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup milk
4  1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. almond extract or amaretto
1 cup walnuts, chopped (or more if you love nuts like I do!!)

In a mixing bowl, stir up the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  In a saucepan, bring the 1 cup butter and water to  simmer (be sure all the butter is melted).  Them stir it completely into the flour mixture.

In a mug, whisk together the eggs, sour cram and 1 tsp. amaretto with a fork.  Then blend it into the batter.

Spoon the batter into a 15″ x 10″ x 1″ baking sheet** that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake it up at 375 degrees of 18 to 20 minutes, until it’s firm to the touch.

While that’s baking make the frosting.  Bring the 1/2 cup butter and milk to a simmer in a saucepan.  Take it off the heat and then stir in the powered sugar, amaretto and walnuts.  Smooth it over the cake– delicious warm or cooled!

*I use Amaretto in place of almond extract because it it so much less expensive!  And a big bottle will last forever…
**In place of the large baking sheet, I used two 10″ inch tart pans– prettier to serve from.

Maple Walnut Banana Bread


Hello there– We have a treasure sitting in our fridge– it’s a huge jug of real maple syrup fresh from upstate New York!  Our daughter-in-law’s Dad, Alfie is a warm and wonderful guy.  Every year he taps trees around his town and in the spring is joined by family a friends at in the maple sugar shack to boil down gallons of maple syrup.  Then being the generous guys that he is, he mails big jugs to people far and wide (including lucky us!!).

So this little recipe uses a precious half cup of that lovely syrup and which accounts for it’s rich and wonderful flavor.  Plus while it’s baking in the oven, for kitchen smells like that New York maple sugar shack– maple luscious!

2 large ripe bananas
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 tsp. maple extract (optional)*
3 tab. milk
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4  cup walnuts, chopped and divided
3 tab. brown sugar

In a large mixing bowl, smash the bananas to a creamy substance.  Then mix in the maple syrup, oil, egg, maple extract and milk until all blended.  Add in the flour, baking powder and salt and stir it all together.  Finally mix 3/4 cup of the walnuts.

Spoon the mixture into a 5″ by 9″ loaf pan** that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Mix together the brown sugar and the remaining 1/2 cup of walnuts and sprinkle them over the loaf of banana bread.

Bake it all up at 350 degrees for 50 -55 minutes until it’s browned and a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.  Delicious warm from the oven– or toasted the next day for breakfast  with a smear of butter!!

*maple extract is optional– it just adds a little more maple flavoring.
** I used 2 half size loaf pans and cooked it about 5 minutes less.

Caramel Apple Bundt Cake


Hello all– Spent last weekend up in the mountains at Big Bear, 18 of us from the young adult group (We’re the old folks involved!), –for a couple days of talking, laughing, planning and praying.  The weather was glorious, snowy and crisp and the cabin was cozy.  A few of us were the cooks, mixing salads and turning breakfast bacon for a crowd.   And this was dessert on Saturday night…

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped to small bits
2 cups sugar
1  1/2 cup canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
3 cups flour
1  1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup walnuts chopped
garnish: caramel sauce* & chopped walnuts



Prepare the apples bits and set aside.

With an electric mixer beat together the sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs for 2 or 3 minutes until they are creamy and fluffy.  Then beat in the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

With a spoon mix in the chopped apple and cup of walnuts.  The batter will be stiff so mix them in well.

Spoon the batter into a bundt pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray and set it into a 350 degree oven for 75 to 80 minutes, until a small knife inserted comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan and then remove it to a platter.  When you are ready to eat it, drizzle on the caramel and then sprinkle on the chopped pecans or walnuts.  Pretty and ready to serve!

*You can make your own caramel sauce, but I just picked up Smuckers salted caramel sauce at the market with the ice cream toppings.

Down on Boulder Bay by the lake–sunshine and snow…


Yogurt Banana Muffins


Good morning!  I’m still here in San Francisco with Baby Lois and her dear parents, Ani & Brian.  This morning I grabbed her early and she laid in her rocker in the kitchen and “helped” me make banana muffins for breakfast.  The sun was shining in the windows and she just squirmed and made her little “turkey sounds” while I mixed and stirred.  It was a fine time in the kitchen!

5175kwhmhl-_sy346_These muffins are from one of my very very favorite bloggers– Shannan Martin Writes.  She’s funny and fresh and has so much to say about family and faith and seeing the beautiful in every places.  She occasionally puts a recipe out there–  AND she recently published her first book– well worth reading, Falling Free, Rescued from the Life I’d Always Wanted .

The muffins (back to the real subject here) are tender and spongy and pretty on your plate–with a sweet crunchy coating on top.   A great start to your morning.

2 smashed bananas
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup unflavored yogurt
1 egg
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/3 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans (or a bit more if you love nuts like I do!)

1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Smash the banana with a fork in a large mixing bowl.  Stir in the sugar, yogurt, egg and oil.  Then mix in the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nuts just until it’s all blended.

Spoon the thick batter into a muffin tin lined with paper liners.  Makes 12 pretty muffins.  Mix together the 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon and then sprinkle it over the unbaked muffins.

Pop them into the oven and bake them at 350 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes, until they are nicely browned and springy to the touch.  Best warm with mugs of tea and sunshine coming in the windows!

And I just can’t resist putting up a photo of my baking buddy– Baby Lois!  (I’ll really try not to over do it on baby pictures!!)
Here she is sleeping– it’s what she does best!

Roast Sweet Potatoes with Feta, Cilantro & Walnuts



Hello there– Is there anything homier than a piping hot sweet potato?  One winter when we were visiting our son in China, there was a man on the street roasting hot fragrant sweet potatoes– the perfect street food to counter the winter chill.

So this is my not so Chinese version of a hot from the oven sweet potato–salty feta, flavorful cilantro and a little walnut crunch against the sweet flesh of the potato– pretty perfect.  We had them them for dinner with just a salad, but they’d be a nice side dish with ham or even chicken.  Good fall/winter food.

2 medium sweet potatoes
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup canned garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
1/2 cup cup feta, crumbled
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
drizzle of olive oil

Cut the sweet potatoes horizontally and brush the cut sides and the skin sides all with olive oil.  Set them cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment.  Pop them into a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes (until the sweet potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork).

Take the sweet potatoes from the oven and turn them over, cut side up. Scrape the flesh with a fork to expose the interior of the potato.  Salt & pepper the potato.  Top them with the garbanzos, feta & walnuts and return them to the oven for 10 minutes.

Take them out of the oven and transfer the sweet potatoes to a pretty serving dish.  Drizzle with old oil and garnish with the cilantro.  Eat them piping hot from the oven.  Enjoy!!


Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

Good morning friends– It’s about time to make breakfast here and this is what we’re setting on the table!  I’m sure it’s the recipe on this blog that we’ve eaten more than any other.  And I have to confess, I’ve already posted it– back in 2011– back when I had my trusty little silver Kodak point and shoot camera.  The photo is terrible!  I cringe each time I run across it.

So– since the this recipe is truly worth your notice– and I have this pic from when we ate these pancakes with Jodi and her sweet friend from China a couple weeks ago– I’m giving it another go.

I’m off to the kitchen to smash bananas and mix up another batch.  Breakfast this morning is here in San Francisco with Ani Brian and new baby Lois.  I’m wishing I could give little Lois just a couple pancake nibbles, but that will have to wait for quite a while!


2 smashed bananas
3/4 cup unflavored yogurt
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup oats
1 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
garnish:  bananas, nuts, maple syrup, butter,powdered sugar, jam, berries… (take your pick!)

Smash the bananas in the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Then mix in the yogurt, milk, eggs, vanilla and oil until blended.  Next stir in the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and walnuts.

Heat the griddle to medium* and spray with cooking spray (or coat with butter if you feel indulgent!).  Pour the batter in about 1/3 cupfuls onto the grill and flip when browned.  Makes about 14 pancakes.

*I cook the low end of medium, because the pancakes are nice and thick and if you cook them too fast, they brown on the outside, but don’t cook through to the middle!  (if you want thinner pancakes add a splash more milk).


Cinnamon Roll Muffins


Hi friends– It’s September and the oven has been put back to good use around.  I’ve been baking up a storm.  And nothing smells so good coming out of the oven as something laced with cinnamon.  This little muffins are kind of second cousin to cinnamon rolls, lots of the same flavor and the crunchy nuts, but a whole lot less time and effort is involved.

I made them for our lovable group of 20 & 30 something’s who come in on Thursday nights– and the muffins all disappeared!  I love baking for those guys– such an appreciative group of eaters.  And just all around fun to spend an evening with them.


1 cup brown sugar
1 tab. cinnamon
1  1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
3 tab. melted butter

2 cups flour
1 tab. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 cup milk

2 oz. cream cheese (1/4 of a block), softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 tab. milk
few drops of vanilla


First make the topping.  Mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts.  Then completely fold in the melted butter.  Set this aside for later.

For the muffins, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Then mix in the oil, egg and milk.  (The batter will be stiff.)  Take 1/2 cup of the brown sugar topping mixture and stir it into the batter.

Use muffin papers or spray a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray– then scoop the batter into the muffin tin.  Put of spoonful of the brown sugar topping on top of each muffin, patting it down a bit with the spoon to make it stick well to the batter.

Bake them up at 350 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes until firm to the touch.

While they are baking, make the frosting.  I softened the cream cheese in the microwave for a few seconds.  Then with a whisk, beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon of milk and the vanilla.  If the frosting seems runny enough to drizzle over the muffins from a spoon, that’s great!  If it is too thick, add the second spoon of milk and blend it completely.

Drizzle that luscious frosting over the muffins, hot from the oven and enjoy that cinnamon smell while you do it!  Scrumptious eaten with friends and mugs of tea.


Chocolate Chip Banana Bread with Cream Cheese Filling


Hello all– Made this a few weeks ago and even though I read the directions to let the cake cool before before taking it out of the pan, I was in a hurry (impatient!) and said–“hmmm that’s cool enough.”  I inverted the warm cake onto the plate it crumbled into a heap– literally a hot mess!  When I sadly set it out for our Thursday night group, kind Jordan served himself  a slab and declared it delicious, so it did get eaten. (thanks Jordan!)

So this photo is from my second attempt!  I held off until it was cool enough to leave the pan (live and learn).  And it was still pretty delicious with the banana, chocolate and a tunnel of cream cheese filling going through the middle.  Better.


Crumb topping:
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tab. butter (1/2 stick)

Banana Cake:
1 cup smashed banana (2 large bananas)
1  1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tab. vanilla
1  1/4 cup unflavored yogurt
2  1/4 cups flour
2  1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Cream Cheese Filling:
1/4 cup reserved cake batter
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Vanilla Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 or 2 tab. milk


Start by making the crumb topping.  Stir together the flour and brown sugar in a small mixing bowl.  Then cut in the butter with a pastry blender or 2 forks until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Then stir in the walnuts.  Set aside.

Next make the banana cake.  Smash the 2 bananas in a large mixing bowl with a fork until the are reduced to a paste.  Then stir in the 1 1/2 cup sugar, canola oil, eggs, 1 tablespoon vanilla and the yogurt.  After that, you mix in the 2 1/4 cups flour, baking powder and salt until it’s all blended.

Scoop out 1/4 cup of the batter and save it.  Then mix the chocolate chips into the big bowl of batter and set aside.

To make the cream cheese filling.  With an electric mixer, bet together the cream cheese, 1/4 cup reserved cake batter,  1/4 sup sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla until it’s smooth.

Now to put it all together — Spray a angel food cake pan with cooking spray.  Scrape all but 1 cup of the batter into the baking pan.  Save that 1 cup to go on top in a minute!

Then drop tablespoons of the cream cheese filling all over the top of the batter in the angle food cake pan, being careful not to let the filling touch the sides of the pan–keep it in the middle of the batter.

Cover the cream cheese filling with the remaining cup of banana cake batter.  And then sprinkle the crumb topping over it all.

Pop the cake into a 350 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes until it is cooked through.  Test it with a tooth pick to see if the cake batter is all baked.  After you take it out of the one leave the cake in the pan until it cools completely (believe me)!

When you are ready to serve it, whisk together the glaze– powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1 tablespoon of milk.  If it seems to thick add the second tablespoon of milk.  Then drizzle it over the cake.  It’s ready to eat!!


Honey Goat Cheese Toasts with Walnuts & Thyme


Hi friends– I know this recipe name is way too long.  But I wanted to include every flavorful bit of these little toasts– the tangy goat cheese, sweet honey, little bite of thyme.  It made a delectable lunch last Saturday with a mug of tea and a book for company.  And I thought you might like it too.


2 slices sturdy bread, sliced thick*
3 oz. goat cheese
1/4 cup chopped walnut
freshly ground pepper
fresh thyme leaves

Spread the goat cheese on the slices of bread and toast it for 3 or 4 minutes until the walnuts are toasty and the cheese is warm.  Then lightly pepper the toasts, drizzle on a generous coat of honey and sprinkle to thyme leave over it all.  Enjoy!!

*I love La Brea Bakery sour dough loaf for this.  The picture shows just one of those slices, cut in half.


Whole Wheat, Bran Chocolate Chip Cookies




Hi cookie eating friends– Loving this new nubble-y version of chocolate chip cookies.  They are hearty and satisfying and really taste like the sort of cookies that should come out of a grandma’s oven.  Lots of nuts and chocolate wrapped in that whole wheat/bran cookie.

I know this is not the first chocolate chip cookie that has crossed paths with this blog– but I think it will the favorite for a long time.  If you are need of cookies, hope you give these a try…

1 cup butter. room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup bran
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
2 cups chocolate chips

With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and the 2 sugars.  Then beat in the eggs and vanilla.  Next mix in the wheat flour, white flour, wheat germ, salt and baking powder. Then finally, beat in the nuts and chocolate chips.

Drop the batter by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  And bake them up in a 375 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes until the cookies a beautiful browned around the edges.  And eat one while they are hot from the oven–delish!




Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


Hello– My grandma Rose was a farm girl, one of 11 children, whose parents immigrated from Switzerland.  When I was small, she lived in a tiny house, surrounded by tree roses, flower beds, grape arbors, corn stalks, rhubarb, and a variety of fruit trees.  And chickens.  It was a treat to help Grandma feed the chickens– not to mention her Sunday chicken dinners.

And our Grandma was famous for her apple pies and banana bread–  So here is her banana bread recipe changed a bit into banana cake with the welcome addition of cream cheese frosting.  Thank you Grandma Rose.


2 very ripe bananas
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1  1/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped*

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
4 oz. cream cheese (1/2 block)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 box powdered sugar (2 cups)
1-2 tab. milk

Candied Walnuts (garnish):
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Smash the the bananas in a large in a large mixing bowl.  Then stir in the sugar, eggs and oil.  Next mix in the flour, baking powder, salt and walnuts.

Spoon the batter into a 9″ or 10″ cake pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake it up in at 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes until the cake is browned and a small knife inserted comes out clean.

Let the cake cool before you frost it.

To make the frosting, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, cream cheese and vanilla.  Then beat in the powdered sugar.  If the frosting seems too thick, add 1 tablespoon milk.  Beat it up and if still a little dry, add the 2nd tablespoon of milk. Beat again.

To candy the walnuts, drop the 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts into a heavy skillet.  Cook over medium heat until the sugar melts, turns to a a golden caramel and coats the nuts.  Stir it the whole time so the sugar will not burn.  Turn the nuts out onto a piece of  foil on your counter.  Let them cool completely (just a couple minutes).

Now– spread the frosting on the cake, arrange the nuts on top.  It’s ready to serve.


Apple Cinnamon Walnut Pancakes

Hello there– Do you ever get a certain food on your mind and can’t stop thinking about it until you sit down to a plateful? Seems like I was thinking about pancakes all last week and finally when Sunday lunch hit, I made up a big pile of there sweet things.  Actually they’re not too sweet– just the sweetness from the apple and a bit of brown sugar.  With a couple strips of bacon and a mug of tea, they’re my kind of Sunday afternoon indulgence.  Hope you like them too…

1 large apple (used Granny Smith)
1 cup flour
2 tab. brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup milk
1 egg
2 tab. canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Peel and core the apple.  Grate it into coarse shreds.  Set aside

Mix together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Then stir in the milk egg, oil and vanilla.  Finally fold in the grated apple and walnuts.

Pour the batter, with a 1/3 cup measuring cup, onto a hot griddle that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cook on medium heat flipping to brown both sides.  Makes about 10 medium size pancakes.

Of course, there’s the part about adding butter and maple syrup as soon as they hit the plate.  Enjoy!



Apple Bran Muffins

IMG_2892Hi all– We had these tender little muffins for a post Christmas breakfast last week.  Mixed them up with 4 year old Jobay.  She got an egg cracking lesson.  I think she’ll need a little more practice!  Hot from the oven with a couple eggs scrambled up, they make a fine start to the day.

1 cup flour
3/4 cup wheat bran
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup buttermilk*
1 egg
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped fine
1 medium apple

Peel, core and grate the apple.  Set aside

In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, bran, salt, brown sugar and baking powder.  Then mix in the buttermilk, egg and oil.  Finally fold in the grated apple and walnuts.

Spoon the batter into muffin papers lining a 12 cup muffin pan.  And bake them up at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.  So good warm with a slather of butter.

*These are just everyday muffins, so I don’t usually have buttermilk waiting in the fridge– To make your own just add a tablespoon of cider vinegar to regular milk and let it sit for a few minutes to thicken.

Olive Oil Pear & Walnut Cake


Hello all– It’s officially baking season– a little late here, but all the more welcome!  The market was loaded with stack of big bright pears this week just when I came across this recipe for a rustic little cake made with olive oil.

So when the Monday friends came in last week it was on the table– with a heaping bowl of whipped cream.  The tender pears, sugar walnuts and sturdy little cake just belong together.  I think you’d like it too!

2 large pears, peeled, seeded and sliced
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup unflavored yogurt
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup walnuts, chopped– divided
3 tab. more of sugar

IMG_3773Prepare the pears and set aside.

Whisk the eggs and 1/2 cup sugar together for 2 minutes.  Then stir in the olive oil and yogurt.  Next mix in the flour, baking powder and salt just until it’s all blended.  Finally fold in 1/2 cup of the walnuts.

Then scoop the stiff batter into a 10″ round cake pan (I used a tart dish) that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Arrange the pear slices in a circle over the cake batter.  Then sprinkle the other 1/2 cup of walnuts on top and dust the the 3 tablespoons of sugar.

Drop it into a 350 degree over for 40 to 45 minutes until the cake is cooked through (test for crumbs with a sharp knife).  Lovely served warmish with piles of whipped cream!