Banana Pumpkin Breakfast Bread

Virtually overnight my son went from eating baby food to refusing it.  At about 9 months old, William decided he wanted to feed himself, and hasn’t looked back (well, maybe for a few spoonfuls of applesauce!).  So, in an effort to keep up with his eating, I stumbled upon a delicious, nutritious bread on the King Arthur Flour website.  I’ve made some adjustments after reading the comments, and with my desire to throw flaxseed into whatever I can and get away with it, I came up with this recipe.  To my delight this bread is not just satisfying to our little boy, every one loves it, and I hope you and your family will too!

*This bread is best if it rests overnight, but if you just can’t wait, try and allow it to fully cool before slicing.

Enjoy, William’s Breakfast Bread!

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Banana Pumpkin Breakfast Bread


  • 1/4 cup soft butter (1/2 a stick) ~4 ounces
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (or a jar of baby food, apples) ~4 ounces
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar ~5 ounces
  • 3 Tablespoons Agave
  • 2 large eggs
  • 7.5 ounces pureed pumpkin (half of a 15 ounce can, this way you can get two loaves out of one can, freezes well)
  • 1 cup mashed bananas, about 2 very ripe bananas ~8 ounces
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups Premium Whole Wheat Flour (I prefer King Arthur)~6 ounces
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

**I have included measurements in volume as well for anyone using a food scale.  My husband got me my food scale a couple years ago, and I don’t know if this sounds sad or not, but either way, it is one of my favorite gifts.  I use it when I bake and it is wonderful (and helps make clean-up a little easier)!


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pan with butter and set aside.  In a large bowl (I just use my KitchenAid stand mixer with paddle attachment), beat together butter, applesauce, sugar, agave, water, eggs, pumpkin puree, banana, and vanilla.  At this point my butter doesn’t look beautifully incorporate, but it melts beautifully into the bread. Add the flour, flaxseed, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice to the butter mixture and stir to combined. Spoon mixture into loaf pan and bake for approximately 70 minutes.  Depending on your oven, check it at an hour, but I find that it needs all of 70 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack in loaf pan for 10 minutes, remove bread from pan, and allow to cool completely.  Once the bread is cooled wrap it tightly in plastic wrap overnight.  After bread has been sliced keep in the refrigerator up to a week.

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Adapted from http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/easy-whole-grain-pumpkin-banana-bread-recipe


Bread and Butter

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So, I’ve been really into making my own Artisan Bread whenever I can.  It may sound laborious or unnecessary, but I must say, surprisingly, it is not.  You will see it is well worth the time and effort to make these treats for you and your family.  Let’s start with the butter, and head back to my Aunt Rachel’s in Vermont.  Rachel always had the most delicious, spreadable butter on hand in her fridge, and I just loved it.  For the past year or so, I’ve been making canola butter and my refrigerator is never without it.  You take three simple ingredients; butter, canola oil, and salt and whip until you can’t whip any longer. IMG_0711 IMG_0714

It is well worth it for an easy spread when making grilled cheese sandwiches, to spread on a bagel, toast, pancakes, I could go on and on, but then again, I could put butter on just about anything.  For those who are opposed to canola oil, I’m sure you could use avocado oil, grape seed oil, almond oil, etc.  I never have used a different oil, but if you do, let me know how it turns out.

Canola Butter

  • 2 sticks good quality butter (1 cup), room temperature
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (if not using salted butter)

Put butter in bowl of stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, and whip on medium high for about 5 minutes or until mixture is fluffy and pale yellow.  You will need to scrap the sides every so often to make sure everything is well blended. IMG_0712

Next, with the mixer on low, add the salt, and slowly add the canola oil.  Turn the speed up, and whip on medium high speed for another 5 minutes or so, until mixture is light and fluffy (fluffier!)  Don’t forget to scrap the sides. IMG_0715

Pour the butter mixture into an airtight container and refrigerate overnight!  Then enjoy for as long as it will last in your house! IMG_0716 IMG_0717

Disclaimer:  I was told equal parts butter to oil, I just liked the consistency of using a little less oil.  Go with what you feel! Also, you may not want to make the bread and butter the same day since they both use the stand mixer, and the butter needs a night in the refrigerator to firm up before you enjoy, but if you do, I suggest making the butter first.

Now onto the bread!

My cousin Jennie and her son Berkley came out to Michigan to visit for a week this summer, and while they were here she introduced me to this amazingly simple and delicious bread.  Now I make it at least twice a month.  It takes a few simple ingredients, a dutch oven, very little effort, and in a couple of hours you have homemade artisan bread.  Let’s get baking!

No-Knead 5 Minute Artisan Bread

No-Knead 5 Minute Artisan Bread

Artisan Bread

  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 packet of yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 3/4 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3 1/4 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, more for shaping

makes one loaf, double and divide into two loaves, or make one large loaf (pictured above)

Add yeast and warm water to the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with dough hook, and stir on low for a few seconds.  Add flour and salt to the water and yeast and stir on low until you can ensure that you will not get flour all over you, then you turn up the speed.  Stir until the dough is combined, which take a couple minutes.  The dough is typically very sticky (more so on humid days) and still tends to stick to the sides of the bowl, don’t worry, you can add a touch more flour if you feel that it is too sticky.  After the flour is fully incorporated, stop the mixer, peel the dough off the hook, remove the hook, and with wet hands (shaped like a shovel) scoop the dough off the sides and bottom of the bowl.  Leaving the dough in the bowl, place a towel over the bread and let it rise for 2 hours at room temperature or 5 hours in the refrigerator.

After the dough has risen preheat the oven to 450 degrees with your dutch oven (top and all) inside the oven.  I use my 5 1/2 quart Le Creuset.  Once the oven is preheated wait an additional 20 minutes before putting the dough into the dutch oven.

Spread a generous about of flour onto the counter and remove the dough.  Generously sprinkle flour on the top of the dough, form into a round loaf, and with a serrated knife, make three cuts (not too deep) into the dough (you can do any design you want here and don’t have to limit yourself to three cuts).

Once the pan is heated (preheated plus an additional 20 minutes) plop the well floured dough into the hot dutch oven, put the top on and bake for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes, remove the top and bake for 10 more minutes.

Once the bread is baked remove from the dutch oven onto a cutting board, wait a good 10 to 15 minutes before slicing and enjoy!

The first time I made this without my cousins supervision, she did have to go home eventually, I preheated the oven to 350 degrees, didn’t wait an additional 20 minutes of heating the dutch oven, realized shortly after putting the bread in the oven that the oven needed to be at 450 degrees, turned up the oven and baked for a little longer than 30 minutes, and the bread still was delicious.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that this bread/dough is forgiving!

Here is a picture of my first attempt at this bread (wrong temp and all).


Recipe from: http://www.food.com/recipe/5-minute-artisan-bread-325571

Rigatoni alla Gin

No, this is not a typo.  I did not get my liquors confused.  I would like to introduce you to Rigatoni alla Vodka’s sweet, subtle sister, Rigatoni alla Gin.  While I love the Vodka version, my Uncle David turned me onto this version where he dares to use gin, and it works, oh does it work.  Adding gin instead of vodka lends a subtly sweet flavor, and makes for one delicious sauce.


Rigatoni alla Vodka was always a treat at our house, or something my Grandmother would make if someone said they liked it.  Since then, I’ve made it on special occasions, or when someone was really craving this deliciously rich treat.  Not too long ago, I was craving this perfect pasta dish.  I went to the liquor cabinet, and we only had gin.  No worries, I knew that my Uncle had used gin in the past, so I knew it was something I could switch out.  I got to googling recipes and low and behold, my Uncle’s Rigatoni alla Gin recipe came up from his cookbook, Dad, Now What’s for Dinner?:  A Collection of Family Favorites by Dr. David Liporace.  I was so excited to see this recipe that I made it on the spot and haven’t looked back.  I tweaked it a little because I love peas in my Rigatoni alla anything and made some other adjustments here and there based on what I had on hand at the time.  It turned out perfectly.  I hope you all try this special dish and enjoy it with your family!


Rigatoni Alla Gin

1 pound Rigatoni

1 small onion, diced

1 clove garlic, diced

2 cups Marinara Sauce (recipe below), or 1 16 ounce jar of your favorite store-bought sauce

1 8 ounce can Hunt’s tomato sauce

1/8 teaspoon Herbes de Provence (or Italian Seasoning)

4 Tablespoons Butter

1 Tablespoon Fresh Basil (or 2 teaspoons dry basil)

1/3 cup frozen peas

3/4 cup heavy cream

4 to 5 Tablespoons Gin

salt and pepper

Original Recipe: https://books.google.com/books?id=qXvrqLE7AkAC&pg=PA91&lpg=PA91&dq=rigatoni+alla+gin&source=bl&ots=KmHpEXEN_C&sig=2X03To6g9abURQgl7DCyLaBUR7c&hl=en&sa=X&ei=r0-8VPS_Nor6yATXpILYCg&ved=0CCQQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=rigatoni%20alla%20gin&f=false

In a large sauce pan, heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion and a nice pinch of salt, sauté until translucent.  Add garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds or so.  Add marinara sauce, Hunt’s tomato sauce, butter, Herbes de Provence, basil, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Simmer for 30 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt generously with kosher salt.  Cook pasta al dente, according to the box.

After sauce is done simmering, remove sauce from the heat.  Add cream, peas, and gin.  Put back on heat and simmer to desired thickness, or about 10 minutes.

Once pasta is cooked, drain and reserve until sauce is ready.  Once sauce is ready ladle two or three ladles full of sauce into the pot where you cooked the pasta.  Place pot over low heat and stir pasta until nicely coated with sauce.  Scoop pasta into serving dishes, pour with extra sauce, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

My Marinara Sauce

1 28 ounce can tomato puree, or whole tomatoes pureed in blender

5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

crushed red pepper

1 teaspoon dried basil (or fresh)

parmesan rind (optional)

salt and pepper

In large dutch oven, heat 3 Tablespoons olive oil, garlic and pinch (or however much you want) of crushed red pepper over low/medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Do not let the garlic brown!!!  Add tomato puree (I always save my can and rinse with a little water to thin out sauce later on, I usually end up using about 1/2 cup of water), 1 teaspoon salt (to start, you can always add more, and I do), 1/4 teaspoon pepper, basil, and parmesan rind.  Simmer for at least an hour.  Taste after an hour, adjust seasoning.  Remove parmesan rind before serving.

Knock You Naked Brownies – Williams College Style

It is an exciting weekend in the Miness household this weekend; the Carolina Panthers play in their second playoff game of the post-season on Saturday (Go Panthers), and The Golden Globes are Sunday!  While I love football, and the food and fun that accompany it, award shows just make me feel happy.  The Red Carpet, the fashion, the stars, and the actual award ceremony itself, make me giddy.  So as a treat, I am making something sweet, knock you nakeds!

While the professional athletes leave it all on the field and Hollywood’s elite strut their stuff on the red carpet, I will indulge in these chocolatey gooey brownies, squeeze into my sweat pants, and enjoy the show.

Oh Happy Day!

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While teaching tennis at the Nike Tennis Camp at Williams College I became obsessed with these amazingly decadent caramel brownies (I also met my husband there, a double bonus).  I found myself hoping that everyday when we went to lunch, or dinner, these beauties would be just waiting for me at the dessert counter, of course they weren’t, but a girl can dream.  Ever since then I have dreamt about these brownies, and was so excited to see Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman) making these on her show one day.  I made her version, and while they were delicious, they were not exactly like the ones I came to love at Williams.  That taste test sent me on the hunt for the Williams College brownies, and led me to their head baker, Jerry D’Achille (my grandmother’s friend from Hoosick Falls, thanks for the hookup, Gram!).

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Jerry and I chatted, and I got to baking, and baking, and baking…here is the result!

Knock You Naked’s

  • 1 box Duncan Hines Devil’s Food Cake
  • 1 stick butter, melted (and a little more for greasing the pan)
  • 1/3 plus 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 60 unwrapped caramels, such as Kraft

Audrey displays the caramels!

  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • flour, for dusting the pan

In a double boiler (I just use a glass bowl over a saucepan) begin melting the 60 unwrapped caramels (a perfect job for kids, Audrey (and Andy) were given this task) and 1/2 cup evaporated milk.  This process takes the longest so I like to get it going while I do the other prep).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour (light dusting) 9×9 cake pan, set aside.

Combine Devil’s Food Cake mix, melted butter, and 1/3 cup evaporated milk and stir until well combined.  This mixture is thick, but spreads nicely with your hands.  Scoop a touch more than half of the mixture into the prepared cake pan and spread evenly.  I start with my spatula, but always finish with what Ina Garten calls the best kitchen tools, clean hands!  Bake this portion for 10 minutes, remove, and allow to cool (and I’m sure your caramels are still melting, so it works out perfectly).

Once the caramel/milk combo is melted and smooth, pour on top of the cooled, baked bottom layer of brownie goodness.  Then sprinkle 1/3 cup chocolate chips over the caramel.  With the remaining cake mixture, crumble it over the top of the caramel and chocolate chips.  Don’t feel like every inch needs to be covered because the crumbles spread out.  Bake for an additional 12 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.  These brownies are best when refrigerated for a bit to allow them to firm up.  The cooling process takes a few hours, and this is why I usual make these a day in advance.

Cut into whatever size bites you desire, and ENJOY!  And feel free to do whatever you want with your clothes after eating, if it’s getting naked, then so be it.

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Soup’s Up! Lentil Soup

Ok.  My family and I are back in Michigan after a wonderful visit with our family and friends in North and South Carolina.  Needless to say, it is much colder here than there; so, I thought, it’s time for some soup!  And starting the new year off with a healthy, delicious lentil soup that everyone can enjoy (even my 8 month old) is an extra bonus.

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Since lentils help lower cholesterol, are good for digestion, and are a great source of magnesium and folate (just to name a few health benefits) this soup is perfect for any New Year’s Resolutions that involve eating healthier (I don’t really make resolutions, but am all for a healthy meal that the whole family can enjoy).  I hope your family enjoys this meal as much as mine does.

Have a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Lentil Soup

adapted from Alton Brown’s Lentil Soup

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 pound green lentils, rinsed, drained
  • 1 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes (no-salt added)
  • 1 quart vegetable stock (you could use chicken stock as well)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Heat a 5 1/2 quart dutch oven (or large sauce pan) over medium heat.  Add olive oil, onion, carrot, celery, and salt.  Sweat for 5 to 7  minutes or until onion is translucent.  Add lentils, tomatoes, stock, 2 cups of water, coriander, and cumin; stir to combine and bring to a slight boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for 40 to 45 minutes or until lentils are tender.  Blend half of the soup in blender or use an immersion blender for desired consistency.

** If blending for an infant, blend well and add more stock or water to thin it out.  I just finely blended a few ladles of soup until smooth (very smooth, William is still not keen on chunkier food). **

Top with homemade croutons:

I just cut some leftover bread into chunks, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss and bake on baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown).


Serve with crusty bread and a salad for the perfect dinner!

original recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/lentil-soup-recipe.html


We hope every one had a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, and a Happy New Year!   Cheers to 2015!





2014 in review

So, apparently a monkey can do it!  I received this email from WordPress and wanted to share it with you.  Thanks for subscribing to my blog!  I look forward to a productive year in the kitchen in 2015 (to make up for my slack these last couple of weeks while I was down south visiting family; while there I should have renamed my blog name, “Who’s feeding my family?”  Thanks to all of our family who fed us over the holidays (you know who you are), our belly’s thank you!

Happy New Year, and enjoy the review!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 260 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Snack Time! Chickpea Poppers and Granola Bars

Okay!  Here are two of my favorite snacks (my 2 year old daughter loves them too).  The chickpea poppers are something I make often, since they don’t last long, and I find myself eating half of as soon as they come out of the oven.  And the granola bars are from my FAVORITE food blogger, Jenn Segal – Once Upon a Chef,  www.onceuponachef.com.  If you are not subscribing to Once Upon a Chef, start.  She is fabulous, and is the one who made me feel like I could start a blog of my own, Thank you, Jenn!

The chickpea poppers are a recipe from a cookbook my brother Michael and his family (Meredith, Myla, and Lea) gave me one year for my birthday.  It’s The Mom 100 by Katie Workman, and it’s wonderful.  I did  basically nothing to this recipe, well, except doubling it because these bite sized beauties are amazing.  Please enjoy these delicious, nutritions snacks!




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Chickpea Poppers

(adapted from The Mom 100 cookbook by Katie Workman)

  • 2 cans of garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Drain and rinse two cans of garbanzo beans.  Dry on a dishcloth.  Fear not the skins that come off of the chickpeas, they will eventually turn into your favorite bite.  If I had the time and energy to peel the skin off of each chickpea, I would.  The little skins are like potato chips once cooked! After the chickpeas are dried, place them on a large sheet pan (cookie sheet) and, with a spatula, toss with Olive Oil and salt.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.  Some chickpeas will be crisp, some soft, the variety makes them unique and perfect.  Sometimes I like to add a Tablespoon of Curry to spice things up!  Feel free to mix in any combination of flavors you like, and let me know what worked for you.

Granola Bars

(adapted from Jenn Segal http://www.onceuponachef.com/2013/04/chewy-chocolate-chip-granola-bars.html)

  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 Tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/8 (generous) teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups Quick Oats (1-minute oats)
  • 1 3/4 cups crispy rice cereal (i.e. Rice Krispies)
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup craisins (or dried cherries, or raisins), optional
  • 1/3 mini chocolate chips (or to taste), optional

Prepare a 9×13 cake pan with foil (leaving a 2 inch overhang for easy removal).  Spray the foil lined pan with cooking spray.

In a large sauce pan combine butter, sugar, honey, and maple syrup and heat over medium heat until bubbly and slightly thickened.  Whisking occasionally. About 3 minutes.  While butter mixture is heating, in a separate bowl combine the oats, rice cereal, almonds, flaxseed, and put aside.

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Once the butter and sugar come together, take the mixture off the heat and add the vanilla and salt.  Then add in the oat mixture and stir to incorporate.  Add in your craisins(raisins, cherries, etc.), if using, combine and pour into your prepared 9×13 pan.  Evenly distribute your granola bar mixture using a spatula.  Sprinkle all, half, or however many mini chocolate chips you want over the top (my daughter prefers them without the chocolate chips and I prefer them with, we end up half and half) and gently press them into the granola bar mixture.

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Refrigerate for at least an hour.  Remove and slice into bars.  I like to store mine in the refrigerator in a parchment lined tupperware.  These bars will last about three to five days at room temperature, and longer in the refrigerator.  Please enjoy!

The best granola bar!

The best granola bar!