eggplant parmesan with cheesy bread

This is one of my husband’s favorite things that I make for us. I’ve looked at different ways to make it and have found them to be too heavy, much too cheesy and “eggy” (if that makes any sense). So over time, I’ve modified and come up with my own ways to make it light yet scrumptious 🙂 I make sure the eggplant slices are thin and I only dip them in the eggs for a second before coating them with flour and then breadcrumbs. I also make sure there is plenty of marinara in between each layer before baking it. This prevents the dish from drying out. Covering it with foil while baking also helps. The cheesy bread is my husband’s homemade bread topped with pepperjack cheese and some herbs de Provence. I used sliced mozzarella and whole wheat spaghetti for this version. There are a few steps to this dish but seeing my happy husband reach for seconds definitely makes it worth it:)

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halloween cards and cupcakes

Ok so I made these Halloween cards for all of our nieces and nephews and then of course, put them in the mail without taking photos of them first…oops

So the photos below are the ones that were sent to me by the recipients– thanks guys! I made a few more but can’t get the photos now. They are pretty similar to these two though. I got all the supplies from Michaels. They were super easy to make and didn’t take much time.

 

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These are the Halloween cupcakes I made for our halloween dance at school. The kids had a blast while happily devouring these festive treats! I used an assorted halloween sprinkles kit made by Wilton and bought a cupcake kit which included the cupcake liners and “RIP” toppers. Since I have so many left over, I may use them to make halloween pretzel treats for the kids on friday- so look out for them!

cupcakes unnamed

 

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me as Minnie:)

cinnamon brown butter breakfast puffs

This morning was a cinnamon sugar butter kinda morning… so I went with my baking/cooking go to- smitten kitchen. I found the recipe for these morning puffs and I have to tell you- the kitchen smells incredible right now. My only problem is that I don’t think I can wait for my better half to come home to try one of these! Hmm he’ll never know if just one is missing will he?? I mean, I do have to TRY it to make sure it’s good, right??

recipe courtesy smitten kitchen 

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minestrone soup

There’s nothing like making a big pot of soup on a sunday morning and then freezing it for later. This soup brings together hearty veggies and yummy pasta. The original recipe calls for cannellini beans but since I’m not a fan, I used kidney beans instead (I boil them for 20 minutes in a pressure cooker before adding to the soup). So whether it’s cold out, or you work somewhere where the AC is blasting, this is the perfect meal for you. My husband is in the midst of baking some french country bread, so I have a feeling this soup will be accompanied by some fresh, crusty, heavenly bread…

 

recipe courtesy Ina Garten 

 

 

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double chocolate banana bread

Being married to a chocaholic, I’ve realized that everything does taste better with chocolate. So instead of making banana bread with loads of chocolate chips, I looked up this recipe on smitten kitchen. I’ve been making the “regular” banana bread from this site, minus the bourbon, which has become a family staple over the years. I have to say though, that this chocolate version just takes it to another level. I would best describe it as a moist chocolate cake with a hint of banana flavor.  We took one loaf to my sister’s and kept one for us- neither lasted very long. recipe courtesy smitten kitchen  IMG_6591

Ingredients:

3 medium-to-large very ripe bananas
1/2 cup (115 grams) butter, melted
3/4 cup (145 grams) brown sugar (I use dark here; either light or dark work)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional; I skip it)
1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 cup (about 6 ounces or 170 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chunks or chips

Method:

Heat your oven to 350°F. Butter a 9×5-inch loaf pan, or spray it with a nonstick baking spray.

Mash bananas in the bottom of a large bowl. (You’ll have a little over 1 cup mashed banana total.) Whisk in melted butter, then brown sugar, egg, and vanilla. Place baking soda, salt, cinnamon (if using), flour and cocoa powder in a sifter or fine-mesh strainer and sift over wet ingredients. (My cocoa is almost always lumpy, so this is essential for me.) Stir dry and wet ingredients with a spoon until just combined. Stir in chocolate chunks or chips.

Pour into prepared pan and bake 55 to 65 minutes, until a tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out batter-free. (A melted chocolate chip smear is expected, however.) Cool in pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and invert it out onto a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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the chocolate chunks inside are still warm and gooey

happy birthday mom

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Just a few days ago it was my mom’s birthday and I wanted to make her a special card. The thing about her is that she will appreciate ANYTHING I make or do for her, regardless of how simple it is. I wanted the card to be as unique and elegant as her. My mom is the most extraordinary person I have ever met. She is generous, caring, hard working and selfless. She is my guide, my teacher, my friend, my confidante and so much more. She puts everyone else’s needs above her own and does not complain- ever. I think she was made to be a mom- my mom. She is a naturally caring person, but when it comes to my sister and I, there is nothing she wouldn’t do for us. In fact, over the years, she has done the impossible for us. She doesn’t require much in return, just love and hugs. She also has a pretty serious shoe fetish and can color coordinate her outfits like nobody’s business. I love you mom.

 

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potatoes au gratin

I’ve never met a potato I didn’t like. When you add milk, cheese, and garlic to them I like them even more. I modified this recipe by using skim half and half instead of heavy cream. I also used less cheddar. Overall, this dish it not too heavy and the potatoes  don’t get lost in the creaminess of the sauce. So when it comes to potatoes, are you “peel” or “no peel”?? I like leaving the peel on! I made this last year during the holidays and definitely plan to make it again this year. I had lots of potatoes to use up today, so I thought why not? If there are any potato lovers in your life, you might want to show up at their door step with this- trust me they will love you for life.

recipe courtesy pioneer woman 

 

 

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morning muffins

I wanted to make a muffin for breakfast that had some texture and wasn’t super sweet. My favorite thing about these muffins is that they don’t have any oil or butter in them, yet they’re hearty enough to hold you over for a few hours (or if you just wanna have a homemade snack in the middle of your day). They freeze well too- just heat them up, cut in half and spread some butter (and jelly) on them. If you’re looking for something very sweet and even dessert like, this muffin is not for you, but don’t worry because I make plenty of those too! recipe courtesy pioneer woman  IMG_6749   IMG_6759 IMG_6755

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