Chocolate Banana Bread #Choctoberfest

Note: I received complimentary product for this post. All opinions are my own.

New, inventive recipes are always fun – but sometimes you just want a classic.  We love banana bread around here. Add in lots of chocolate, and you’ve got a treat that barely lasts 24 hours.

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It was also a great opportunity to showcase another favorite of ours – Barlean’s Butter Flavored Coconut Oil. Whether or not you’re a coconut oil fan, you should give this a try. It’s what converted me! It really does have a fabulous butter flavor – you won’t miss the real thing.

Lots of other chocolate goodness this way, too! —>

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Chocolate Banana Bread
(from Chelsea’s Messy Apron)
Makes 1 loaf

1/3 cup old fashioned oats
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk

1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
1/2 cup coconut oil, measured melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup mashed bananas, approx. 2-3 bananas
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup white whole wheat flour or plain white
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips dark chocolate chips for healthier
1/4 cup miniature chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a loaf pan.

Run the oats through a blender or food processor until the consistency of flour.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg and yolk. Whisk in the yogurt and coconut oil. Whisk in the vanilla and sugar. Stir in the mashed banana.

To the same bowl, add the oat flour, salt, baking soda, flour, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips. Mix until just combined.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for an hour, until a knife inserted comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool before removing from the pan.

Fresh Corn Salsa (5)

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Welcome to #Choctoberfest 2018 with Imperial Sugar

Yay for  #Choctoberfest ! As a chocoholic, I look forward to this week all year and I’m so excited to be participating again this year!

From now until the end of the week, I am joining forces with over 100 other bloggers from around the world to post delicious chocolate recipes. Every day, #Choctoberfest bloggers will be celebrating all things chocolate – milk, dark, white, bittersweet, semi-sweet, and cocoa! I have some really fabulous things planned for this week, so stay tuned!

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We are starting with a #Choctoberfest prize pack from our generous sponsors. Scroll down to learn how you can enter to win. One lucky winner will receive the following:

  • A 100-Piece Cake Decorating Kit from our blog sponsors The PinterTest Kitchen. This set includes a cake turntable, piping bags, piping tips, flower nozzles, scapers, and more.
  • An Instant Pot and a 40-Pound Case of Granulated Sugar from our gold sponsor Imperial Sugar. Imperial Sugar provides high-quality sugar and sweetener products and over 100 years of time-tested recipes. Sweet things happen when people come together in the kitchen, and that’s why Imperial Sugar has been at the heart of family traditions and celebrations for generations.
  • Coconut Oil and Chocolate Silk Greens from our silver sponsor Barlean’s, your trusted source for chocolatey goodness superfood nutrition. Barlean’s has a commitment to staying ahead of the innovation curve in providing the absolute highest quality product.
  • A Chocolate Gift Pack from our silver sponsor Forte Chocolates. You’ll receive 12 of their most popular chocolate bars. With Forte Chocolates, you can celebrate life through chocolate. They also have a line of chocolate developed specifically to use in savory recipes.
  • A Chocolate Gift Pack from our silver sponsor Divine Chocolate. You’ll receive one of each of their baking bars, a white chocolate bar, and their top 5 everyday bars. Divine Chocolate is the only Fairtrade chocolate company in the world that is owned by cocoa farmers. Their baking bars are also a delicious vegan option.
  • A Selection of Sprinkles from our silver sponsor Sprinkle Pop. Sprinkle Pop’s bespoke sprinkle creations are one of a kind, just like you! At Sprinkle Pop, you can also order a custom sprinkle mix; there isn’t a sprinkle mix that you can dream up that they can’t create.

That’s a prize pack worth over $400! Open worldwide, except where prohibited. Must be 18+ to enter (21+ in some locations). See terms and conditions for more details.

To enter, simply follow our sponsors using the widget below. You can gain additional entries by following me and the other participating bloggers. A winner will be drawn on October 21, 2018 and contacted via email. Good luck!

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Don’t forget to come back to my blog for more chocolatey goodness between now and October 20.

Check out our participating bloggers:

The PinterTest Kitchen 2 Cookin Mamas 27th and Olive A Day in the Life on the Farm A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures A Little Fish in the Kitchen addicted 2 recipes Amy’s Cooking Adventures An Affair from the Heart April GoLightly At the Table with R and R Baking Sense Blade & Barbell Blogghetti Body Rebooted Books n’ Cooks Bottom Left of the Mitten Canning and Cooking at Home Cheese Curd In Paradise Chef Sarah Elizabeth Cindy’s Recipes and Writings Coconut & Lime Cook With Renu Cook’s Hideout Cookaholic Wife Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt CopyKat.com Daily Dish Recipes Everyday Eileen Fairyburger Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice Family Around the Table Fix Me a Little Lunch Frankly Entertaining Frugal & Fit Get the Good Stuff! Growing Up Gabel Hardly A Goddess Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks Home Sweet Homestead House of Nash Eats Intelligent Domestications jenniferbakes JoAnn’s Food Bites Join Us, Pull up a Chair Jolene’s Recipe Journal Jonesin’ For Taste Karen’s Kitchen Stories Kate’s Recipe Box Kelly Lynn’s Sweets and Treats LeMoine Family Kitchen Life on Food Life, Love, and Good Food Lisa’s Dinnertime Dish Little House Big Alaska Long Distance Baking Maria’s Mixing Bowl Moore or Less Cooking Must Love Home Norine’s Nest Our Good Life Our Sutton Place OVENTales Palatable Pastime Prettysweetblog Red Cottage Chronicles Restless Chipotle Reviews, Chews & How-Tos Sarah Cooks the Books Sarah’s Bake Studio Savory Moments Seasonal and Holiday Recipe Exchange Seasoned Sprinkles Seduction In The Kitchen Simple Family Crazy Life Simply Inspired Meals Snacks and Sips Soulfully Made Stephie The Happy Mom Sumptuous Spoonfuls Sweet Coralice Take Two Tapas Tampa Cake Girl That Recipe The Baking Fairy The Beard and The Baker The Food Hunter’s Guide to Cuisine The Gingered Whisk The Heritage Cook The Mad Scientist’s Kitchen The Olive Blogger The Pajama Chef The Redhead Baker The Saucy Fig The Spiffy Cookie The Weekday Gourmet This is How I Cook Trampling Rose Turnips 2 Tangerines Walking Fruitfully Wendy Polisi Wildflour’s Cottage Kitchen Zesty South Indian Kitchen

Caramelized Onion, Bacon, and Spinach Pizza

It’s National Pizza Month – a holiday my kids can really get behind. Even as “good eaters”, they’re not immune to the lures of a good pie, and when tasked with picking dinner, they’ll pick pizza 99% of the time.

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But, they rarely want anything other than cheese pizza, which is why I got excited for this linkup – an excuse to make a blog worthy pizza? Sold.

This pie is delicious, but the onions are what really sold me. Hitting them with the balsamic vinegar at the end add such a great depth of flavor – and they pair brilliantly with the bacon and spinach. This is easily one of the best pizzas I’ve ever made!

And if you want more reasons to celebrate this month, here are a few from my fellow blogger friends:

OnionBaconSpinachPizza

Caramelized Onion, Bacon & Spinach Pizza
(adapted from Cooking Classy)
Makes 1 12″ Pizza

1 lb. pizza dough or a prepared crust
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large red onion
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup frozen spinach, thawed and rung out well
2 Tbsp. butter
1 clove garlic
2 Tbsp. flour
3/4 cup milk
6 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
2 oz. shredded Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Put your pizza stone in the oven, if you have one.

In a skillet over medium high heat, heat the olive oil. Slice the onion thinly and add to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until onion is soft then stir in the sugar. Cook for another 5-10 minutes, until caramelized. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and cook another minute. Remove from heat and set aside.

Roll out the pizza dough into a 12″ round.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in garlic and flour and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Slowly whisk in the milk. Season to taste with salt and pepper. While stirring constantly, bring to a boil.

Spread the garlic sauce over the prepared dough. Top with half the mozzarella and half the Parmesan. Sprinkle bacon, onions, and spinach evenly over the pizza. Top with remaining cheese.

Bake for 8-12 minutes, until the crust is golden and the cheese is melted.

 

Fresh Corn Salsa (1)

Raspberry Chocolate Sweet Rolls

This post is like a love letter shout-out to my moms club friends. Because, oh, do they humor me.

It’s hard to make friends as an adult, and I was super lucky to fall into this group shortly after becoming a mom. Having a local group of women going through the same stage of life has been invaluable for my sanity.

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And, like I said, they humor me. When I come up with something I get excited about, I can count on them to jump in and be excited too. My latest pet project? Monthly potluck dinners. This month’s theme was “Back to School” so everyone brought slow cooker meals and freezer-friendly casseroles. Next month, we’re doing “Fall Favorites”.

Besides the good company and the opportunity to try things I wouldn’t normally make, this also gives me a captive audience for recipe testing. I’ve been making cinnamon rolls for Christmas for the last few years, but I keep eyeing recipes that are variations. This sweet combo is amazing as a decedent breakfast or special dessert.

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Raspberry Chocolate Sweet Rolls
(adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction)
Makes 16

For the dough:
1 cup milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 and 1/2 Tbsp. active dry yeast
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

For the filling:
12-oz. package frozen raspberries
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. heavy cream

To make the dough:

In a small saucepan over low heat, heat the milk until lukewarm. Add the warm milk to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Stir in the sugar and yeast using a spoon. Cover with a towel and let stand 5-10 minutes, until yeast is activated and looks foamy. Add the softened butter, eggs, and salt and mix until combined but the butter will be chunky. Slowly add the flour and beat at medium speed until a soft dough forms. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until the dough is soft and pliable, about 10 minutes longer.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it with your hands for about 2 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly greased bowl. Cover the dough and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.

Line the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper, sprayed with non-stick spray.

Place the dough on a floured work surface. Roll the dough into an even 10×24 inch rectangle.

To make the filling:

In a medium bowl, toss the still-frozen raspberries with the sugar and cornstarch. Gently mash the raspberries so they are small pieces. Spread evenly over the dough. Sprinkle with the mini chocolate chips. Tightly roll up the dough to form a 24-inch-long log. Cut into 15 even pieces. Arrange them in the prepared baking pan, cut sides up. Cover the rolls and let them rise in a warm place until they are puffy, about 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. Cover the rolls with foil and bake for about 25 minutes, until they are golden and the chocolate chips are melted. Transfer the whole pan to a rack to cool for about 15 minutes.

To make the glaze:

Whisk the confectioner’s sugar and heavy cream together in a small bowl until smooth. Add more sugar or cream, depending how thick you want the glaze. Pour glaze over the rolls. Serve warm.

Fresh Corn Salsa (6)

Review: Cave Tools Grill Light

Grilling season is just getting started here, but I’m already looking for ways to extend it. It always seems that by the time we get in a grove, daylight starts slipping away and grilling season is over. Because, let’s face it – grilling in the dark is a pain. How many times have you pulled out your cell phone flashlight to see if the food is done? I know I have.

Enter Cave Tool’s BBQ Grill Light. This handy little accessory attaches to the handle of any grill to make to light up your cooking surface. The light screws on, so you can attach it in less than two minutes, and you just tap it lightly on the logo to turn it on or off – making it easy to do with one hand (or an elbow, when your hands are full!)

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And it really just floods the grill surface with light. I also love the light is bright white – it makes it easier to see color differences in the food as it’s cooking. This light is definitely going to get a heavy workout at our house!

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The Grill Light can be purchased from the Cave Tools website – use code BBQLIGHT15 to take 15% off. They can also be found on Amazon.

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Shamrock Shake Pie #PiDay

Oh, what a week it’s been here! Why is buying and selling a home so stressful?! Isn’t there a better way to do this?

If you’re thinking, “Wait! I didn’t know you were moving!”, don’t fret – we’re not even sure we are. But we did happen upon a house we just love so we’re doing everything we can to make it ours. The past week has been an endless parade of offers, showings, back-and-forth with lawyers/realtors/mortgage brokers… I’m emotionally spent.

And, do you know when everyone wants to look at your house? DINNER TIME! We’ve been fast-fooding it up. Jake has declared McDonald’s his favorite, and I’ve been going with it because it means I get a shamrock shake. Those things are seriously like stress relief in a cup.

When I started flipping through pie recipes to celebrate today with, this one jumped out. A pie version of my beloved shake? Too good to be true! But this is actually a really close to the real thing taste-wise – and you could totally freeze the pie to make it even closer!

Everyone here loved it – and with only a few ingredients and about five minutes to prep, it’s a no-brainer if you’re having a crazy week like I am but still want to do a little celebrating – either for pi day or for St. Patrick’s Day!

Looking for more Pi Day inspiration? The Redhead Baker is hosting an awesome link-up of pie recipes – both sweet and savory – from lots of bloggers!

Pi Day Pie Recipes

 

Shamrock Shake Pie

Shamrock Shake Pie
(from Wine and Glue)
Makes 1 pie

2 3-oz boxes instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups cold milk
1/2 tsp. mint extract
Green food coloring
8 oz. frozen whipped topping, thawed
Graham cracker crust
Whipped cream and cherries, for serving, optional

In a large bowl, whisk together the pudding mix and the milk until the mix is dissolved. Stir in the food coloring (about 15 drops), and the mint extract. Fold in the frozen whipped topping until no longer streaky.

Transfer to a graham cracker crust and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Top with whipped cream and a cherry before serving, if desired.

Shamrock Shake Pie

Middle Eastern Meatball Soup with Vegetables #SoupSwap

My favorite part of January is upon us: it’s #SoupSwap season! For the fourth year running, my friends and I are getting together for an afternoon of grilled cheese and soup sampling. The event always fills my freezer and recipe box for the season. You can check out recaps of some of our previous soup swaps here and here.

Today, I’m virtually soup-swapping with my blogging friends from #FestiveFoodies. We’re all sharing soup recipes we love to inspire you to make up a pot of cozy comfort food this winter!

This soup comes from Soup for Syria – my Mom gave me a copy for Christmas and I’m totally smitten with it. It’s full of gorgeous recipes and part of the proceeds benefit Syrian refugees – a win-win.

It’s a bit of a time consuming soup, but so worth it. My kids absolutely loved the mini meatballs and I loved how delicious and filling this was. It was outside of our normal flavor profile, but turned out to be a really worthwhile risk!

Whether you’re looking for something outside your norm, or just a great version of an old favorite, you’re sure to find something to fill up your bowl amongst these!

Middle Eastern Meatball Soup

Middle Eastern Meatball Soup with Vegetables
(adapted slightly from Soup for Syria)
Serves 8

1 1/2 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
8 cups beef stock
1 cup fine bulgur
3/4 lb. ground beef
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 onions, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. dried mint
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lemon
3 small zucchini, peeled and seeded, sliced into crescents

Add chickpeas and beef stock to a large pot and cook for an hour, until the chickpeas are tender. Set aside.

Wash and drain the bulgur, then add to it to a food processor along with the beef, salt, pepper and one of the onions. Process until a paste. Roll into marble-sized balls.

Heat 1 1/2 Tbsp. of the oil in a large pan and brown the meatballs. Remove and set aside. Add the remaining oil to the pan, along with the onions and salt and cook until lightly browned. Stir in the mint, tomato paste, garlic, juice of the lemon, and pepper. Cook for two minutes.

Spoon the onion mixture into the broth with chickpeas. Add in the zucchini and meatballs and simmer until the meatballs are cooked through and the zucchini is tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Middle Eastern Meatball Soup

Florida Strawberry Pecan Pizza #foodbloggers4fl

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Today, food bloggers are coming together to highlight groups that are helping with Irma relief. And we’re sharing some Florida food – because food is our love language.

I decided to go with something comforting and featuring a Florida staple – strawberries. There are more than 10,000 acres of strawberries growing in Florida! They’re the #2 grower in the country. What a better way to honor Florida than with Strawberries?

This pizza is like a taste of summer. With all fresh ingredients, this is an awesome showcase of Florida’s strawberries.

But, of course, Florida isn’t the only place that felt the effects of Irma. The list of charities below highlights groups helping out with Irma relief in Florida and throughout the Caribbean. If you’re planning to donate, these are all great options.

Volunteer Florida
Miami Diaper Bank
Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida
South Florida Wildlife Center
Heart of Florida United Way
All Faiths Food Bank
Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida
Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency
Fondos Unidos
Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands
St. John Community Foundation
Anguilla Beaches

StrawberryPizza

Florida Strawberry Pecan Pizza
(adapted from Fresh from Florida)
Makes 1 12″ pizza

1 cup fresh Florida strawberries, sliced
1/2 lb. pizza dough
2 Tbsp. balsamic glaze
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
2 Tbsp. chopped pecans
Fresh basil, julienned

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Roll out the dough into a 12″ circle. Spread the glaze evenly over the dough. Sprinkle the cheese over the glaze. Spread the sliced strawberries evenly over the top of the pizza. Sprinkle the pecans over.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the crust is golden. Sprinkle with julienned basil and serve.


Texas Style Chili #foodbloggers4tx

A note: The #foodbloggers4tx event was organized before Hurricane Irma started marching her destructive path through the Caribbean and Florida. While today’s post reflects on Harvey and helping those still picking up the pieces, my heart is with those in Irma’s wake, too – and I’ll have a post up with ways to help soon.

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We, like most of the rest of the country, watched as Hurricane Harvey pummeled Texas. It’s so hard to watch so many people lose everything in these situations – where nature just takes over and nothing you do will help.

When it’s my neighbors or friends that are struggling,  I tend to cook. Food is my love language, so a dinner or try of baked goods always makes be feel like I’m doing something good. But when the trouble is hundreds of miles away, I turn to groups that already on the ground feeding people – in this case, Houston Food Bank.

It’s hard to downplay how much good local organizations like the Houston Food Bank do. If you’re looking for a way to help out, donating to them is a great way.

TexasChili

Texas-Style Chili
(from House of Yum)
Serves 4

1 lb. ground beef
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 cup beef broth
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. onion power
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
Fritos, shredded cheddar, and chopped red onion, optional, for serving

Brown the ground beef in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, breaking up, until no longer pink. Drain the grease and add the tomato sauce, broth, and tomato paste. Stir to combine. Stir in all spices until well combined.

Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.

Serve the chili over Fritos, topped with cheese and onion, if desired.

12 More Meatless Meal Ideas for Lent

65+ Meatless Meals for Lent

Find my updated list of Meatless Meals for Lent here!

 

Today is Ash Wednesday – the start of Lent – which means I’m kicking off my annual Meatless Meals for Lenten Fridays series. As usual, you’ll find a great meatless meal here every Friday until Easter!

To kick things off, I’m sharing a dozen ideas below. You can also check out my previous roundups – 16 Meatless Dinner Ideas for Lent, 16 More Meatless Dinner Ideas for Lent and 9 More Meatless Meal Ideas for Lent.

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Mashed Potato Waffles

Honey Lime Sweet Potato & Black Bean Tacos

Guinness Pizza Dough

Jerk Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers

Buffalo Chickpea Burgers

Kung Pao Chickpeas

5 Minute Pad Thai Fakeout

Chili Cornbread Waffles

Chickpea Puttanesca

Hatch Chili Mac ‘n Cheese

Caramelized Onion Tart

General Tso’s Cauliflower