Banana Bread Pudding


How can you make bread pudding even better? Add some sliced bananas and drizzle some warm vanilla sauce all over it! This Banana Bread Pudding was delicious! The top had a nice golden crust and the center was soft and sweet with the perfect banana goodness. I found the recipe in my Taste of Homes Contest Winning Annual Recipes 2006.

The ingredients are:

  • 4 cups cubed day-old French or sourdough bread (1-inch pieces)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sliced firm bananas (1/4-inch pieces)


  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Place the bread cubes in a greased 2-qt. casserole; pour butter over and toss to coat. In a medium bowl, lightly beat eggs; add milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir in bananas. Pour over bread cubes and stir to coat. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
  2. Meanwhile, for sauce, melt butter in a small saucepan. Combine sugar and cornstarch; add to butter. Stir in milk and corn syrup. Cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture comes to a full boil. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat; stir in the vanilla. Serve warm sauce over warm pudding

Yield: 6 servings.

Raspberry Coconut Cookies



I’m always on the lookout for lactose free desserts because my grandmother has allergies to dairy. I hate showing up to a family gathering with something she can’t eat. If I do make something that does have dairy then I try to also bring something that she can have. This last Saturday we had a BBQ over at my Aunts house and I brought these cookies for my grandma. These Raspberry Coconut Cookies were very good. They are soft and yummy with the raspberry filling. As a matter of fact my son was so disappointed to find out that there wasn’t one left to put in his lunch today! I found the recipe in one of my Taste of Home Cooking School magazines.

The ingredients are:

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1-1/2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Cup flaked coconut
  • 1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam
  1. In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, water and extract. Combine the flour, salt and baking soda; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in coconut (dough will be sticky).
  2. Set aside 2/3 cup dough; roll remaining dough into 1-in. balls. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Using the end of a wooden spoon handle, make a 3/8-in. deep indention in the center of each ball. Fill each with 1/2 teaspoon jam. Cover jam with a teaspoon of reserved dough; seal and reshape into a ball (I didn’t pick dough balls back up to reshape. I just patted dough over the raspberry filling sealing the dough as best as I could). Repeat.
  3. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.


Banana Crumb Muffins


Oh My Goodness, was my first thought when I bit into one of these Banana Crumb Muffins. These are so delicious, was my second thought. If you are a fan of banana muffins, bread, or just bananas in general then this is a must try recipe for you! These muffins are moist with the perfect amount of banana flavor and the crumb topping just puts them over the top. I found the recipe in my Taste of Home 30-Minute Cookbook. These muffins are definitely going on to my favorite muffins list!

The ingredients are:

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt
  • 3 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted


  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon cold butter
  1. In a large bowl, combine the first four ingredients.
  2. Combine bananas, egg, sugar and butter; mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full.
  3. Combine the first three topping ingredients; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over muffins.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until muffins test done (mine only took 18 minutes). Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

Yield: about 1 dozen

Oriental Fried Chicken



I was looking through my cookbooks for another book to try, when I came across this little spiral bound cookbook titled World Wide Recipes. I flipped through it a bit and decided this would be my next book. It is filled with all kinds of different recipes from all kinds of different ethnicities. I can’t wait to try so many of the recipes. The flavor combinations in this little book are endless. The first recipe that I tried is a recipe from Japan, for Oriental Fried Chicken. These little chicken wings had big flavor, perfectly seasoned. I’m not normally a chicken skin person, most of the time I peel it off. Not this time! The skin was deliciously crunchy and I ate every bit of it…. This recipe was very easy to prepare. Set aside the two hours to marinade (It doesn’t need any longer, the flavor was perfect), fry and serve. I made some sautéed veggies and white rice to go with the wings and we ate it for dinner, but you could also serve them as an appetizer. It says that it serves 8-10 people but there was only 5 of us and we polished off every single one.

The ingredients are:

  • 3 1/2 pounds chicken wings
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 5 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons green onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • oil for deep-frying
  1. Cut off the tips of the chicken wings, then cut the wings apart, set aside.
  2. Combine all other ingredients in a large bowl, mix well. Add chicken wings and marinate for at least 2 hours. Stir every so often.
  3. Heat oil in a large pan or wok. Deep fry chicken wings about 8-10 minutes, until outside is golden brown and inside is cooked.


Blooming Candy Cupcakes

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter! I had a great day with my family, making special memories and eating of course! We pretty much ate all day long. My mother and sister came over in the morning, we had a big breakfast together and then they helped me prepare our Easter dinner. We made the traditional ham and mashed potatoes, roasted broccoli and salad, but being Italian we had to have Lasagna and Peetz (fried bread dough) as well. For one of the desserts I made these Blooming Candy Cupcakes. I found the recipe in my Phyllis Hoffman Celebrate Easter magazine. The cupcakes had a light lemon flavor and the frosting was light, fluffy, and delicious! The candy was cute but I preferred the cupcakes without any on them, so I did some with and some without. I think I’ll be eating light for the rest of the week to make up for all the calories consumed on Easter (It was so worth it though)!

The ingredients for the Blooming Candy Cupcakes are:

  • 1-1/3 cups cake flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup butter-flavor shortening
  • 2 large eggs, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Garnish with jelly beans

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pans with paper liners; set aside
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt twice; set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine half-and-half, vanilla, and lemon extract; set aside.
  4. In a separate medium bowl, beat 3/4 cup sugar and shortening at medium-high speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add egg yolks (reserving whites), one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture to shortening mixture alternately with half-and-half mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat until smooth. Stir lemon zest into mixture.
  5. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar at medium speed until soft peaks form. Increase mixer speed to high; gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Beat until stiff, glossy peaks form. Fold one-third of egg-white mixture into cake batter; fold in remaining egg-white mixture. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans, filling each cup two-thirds full.
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the centers come out clean. Remove from oven; cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
  7. Spread Marshmallow-Cream Cheese Icing onto tops of cupcakes. Garnish as desired with assorted jelly beans.

Makes 1-1/2 dozen cupcakes

Marshmallow-Cream Cheese Icing:

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (7-ounce jar marshmallow creme
  • 1 (8-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add marshmallow creme, and beat until combined. Add whipped topping and beat until smooth. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Morning Glory Muffins

I have seen so many recipes for Morning Glory Muffins over the years and I have always wanted to try to make them. I liked the idea of these muffins being packed with so many good for you ingredients like carrot, apple, and raisins. I’m so glad that I finally did because we really liked these muffins! I don’t know if the kids realized that they were getting fruit and veggies in their muffin. I would definitely make these again. The recipe came from my Taste of Home 30-Minute Cookbook.

The ingredients are:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 medium tart apple, peeled and shredded
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir in carrots, raisins, coconut and pecans.
  2.  Combine eggs, oil, apple and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
  3. Spoon into greased or paper-lined muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until muffins test done.

Yield: about 1-1/2 dozen

Dads Fried Rice

I was very lucky growing up to have so many good cooks teach and influence me, and my Dad was definitely one of those people. He is a meat and potatoes kind of guy and made hearty meals like stews and BBQ ribs, and my favorites, chicken and dumplings and definitely his fried rice! Everyone loves his fried rice! There’s never been a recipe, he just showed us how to make it by sight and taste. Now my own family loves when I make my dads fried rice for them. I tried my best to write down a recipe but please taste and adjust as needed. The ingredients are:

  • 1 pound Bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup Onion, chopped
  • 7 cups cooked Rice
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • Soysauce, to taste
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

First I fry the bacon and onion until the bacon is crisp (over about medium high heat). Then drain about half of the bacon grease into a glass cup (that way you can add some more if your rice is to dry). Add your cooked rice to the bacon and onions. Mix all together. There should be a little shine on the rice. Cook (fry) for about 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and soy sauce to taste. Remember the soy sauce is going to add saltyness, so start off with a little bit at a time. You could always add more but you can’t take away. Pour the beaten eggs over the rice. Leave alone for about a minute then stir the egg into the rice. Cook until the egg is set. Add the green onion and mix all together. Taste again, add salt, pepper, or soy sauce as needed. Remove from heat and serve. Enjoy! I add a little more diced green onions over the top of my husbands because he likes more than the kids do.

Easter Craft-Sock Bunnies

I was watching my cousins little boy for him today and thought it would be fun if we all did an Easter craft together.  The kids (and I) had a lot of fun making these sock bunnies and I think that they turned out super cute! I got the idea out of my Phyllis Hoffman Celebrate magazine (my favorite magazine, and I subscribe to about 7 different ones).

Here is a list of items you will need. I already had about half of these items and the rest I went out and bought.

  • 1/3 cup rice
  • Pastel-colored adult spa sock (I found mine at Michael’s for $2)
  • Polyester fiberfill
  • 2 ponytail holders, same color as sock (dollar store)
  • Glue gun
  • Scissors
  • 1 (1-1/2-inch) white pom-pom
  • 2 white ponytail holders (for whiskers)
  • 2 plastic eyes
  • Pink felt
  • Pastel-colored ribbon

Step 1: Place rice in bottom of sock. Add one handful polyester fiberfill for bunny’s body. Secure with colored ponytail holder. Add polyester fiberfill to form bunny’s head. Secure the top of head with second colored ponytail holder. Glue pom-pom to the back of body to make the tail.

Step 2: Cut each white ponytail holder into 2 (1-1/2 inch) pieces. Apply a generous amount of glue in center of bunny’s face, and carefully place ends of whiskers in glue. Top glue with bunny shaped nose cut from pink felt.

Step 3: Glue eyes on bunny above nose and whiskers, and tie ribbon around bunny’s neck.

Step 4: Cut the sock’s cuff down the middle to form bunny’s ears. Cut tips of ears into a rounded shape.