Brown Rice Banana Chocolate Chip Cake

We celebrated Baby’s Big Boy’s first birthday last week. The celebration involved some logistics: a trip out of town, the packing of an unfrosted baked cake, a pack’n'play, a swing, two bags of baby food, a bottle warmer and a ton of other stuff. It takes a lot of planning to get away for a few days with this little rascal. Good thing he’s cute; it makes it all worthwhile.

We frosted the cake shortly after our arrival, added a sparkler in the middle, and bam…it was decked out for the occasion! The frosting was hastily done but the cake was very tasty. I’m never disappointed when I mix ripe bananas and chocolate. The result is always moist and fragrant.

Most importantly we had a wonderful time with family and some tender moments with James as he experienced a lot of firsts: first lick of frosting (with a grimace), first candle, first birthday song, first presents. We took a lot of pictures.

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Sweet Potato-Raisin Muffins

I’m not sure why I started my fall baking so late this year but I know I missed it. I’m not one to go long without cake, muffins or cookies. But the good news is that once I started baking, it’s as if I couldn’t stop. I made pumpkin muffins last week and as soon as they were eaten (mostly by me) I made sweet potato ones. I think I just needed to get a taste again to rekindle my love for all things sweet and comforting.

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Parmesan and Cilantro Crusted Sole

I have a few favorite fish recipes that I make on frequent rotation. I have been eating more fish lately and the old favorites suddenly weren’t offering enough variety anymore. Maya also started protesting the over presence of sea creatures on our table. I made this recipe in search of a new texture and flavor. It’s been successful so far, including with the little people.

I have made this recipe a couple of times with different fish. It works well on a single large fillet or individual fillets. The cooking time will vary depending on the type and thickness of the fish.

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Homemade Ginger Beer Recipe

Aside from smoothies and fresh juices, I’m not much of a drink maker. I do enjoy a good drink but I usually like it made for me. Ginger beer sounded so much fun to make and I had to give it a try and share it with you. With just the right amount of tang and spice, it is lively and delicious. I’ll even say it’s more refreshing than lemonade.

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Green Harissa Recipe

I love adding harissa to stews, marinades and salad dressings. A little bit goes a long way in spicing up a dish. For a quick sauce, I like to mix a few teaspoons into yogurt or mayonnaise. It dresses up meats, vegetables and sandwiches instantly.

Green harissa is lighter and tastes fresher and more herbaceous. Red harissa is wonderful too. I think I love both pretty equally. Try them and let me know which you like better. I’d love to know.

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Stewed Cherries with Almond Granita

Cherry season is almost over so this is a must-make-now (or-regret-for-the-rest-of-the-year) recipe. Sure, you can enjoy almond granita anytime but it just goes so well with cherries that it would almost be a crime not to make them together.

Okay, let’s reconsider. I think you’ll still enjoy the almond granita with any other fruit or even on its own. It’s such a light and refreshing dessert. Barely 50 calories or so per serving. Enjoy, my friends.

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Vanilla Melon Butter

Fruit butters are a fall staple as far as I’m concerned. I usually make them with pumpkin or apple but rarely think of them in other seasons despite the variety of fruit available. This time I started a little early. Melon butter turned out fragrant and delicious. It is a great way to make a favorite summer flavor last a little longer.

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Eggplant Rolls with Goat Cheese, Roasted Pepper and Walnuts

There have been too many recipes on my mind lately that I almost forgot I promised you this wouldn’t be the last eggplant recipe I post this summer. Luckily some beautiful eggplants in the market reminded me, and I sprang right into action for fear that I would forget again. Eggplants lend themselves well to stuffing so I decided to stuff them once more. But this recipe is quite different; the eggplants are sliced, grilled and filled with a creamy mixture of goat cheese, roasted red bell peppers and walnuts. It also happens to taste more summery or perhaps simply more appetizer like, but it can be made more substantial if served with fresh crusty bread.

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Red Bean Stew

I love beans. I cook them all the time regardless of it being summer or winter. These past few months I’ve been in a bean-indulgent mood. I’ve cooked stews with beans of all kinds of shapes and colors almost on a weekly basis and still haven’t tired of them. This week I made a pot of red beans just for myself so I can have a warm, uplifting bowl for lunch every day. But beans make exciting dinners too, especially if you make a big pot and have plenty of leftovers.

I use dried beans. I soak them in the morning before I leave for work. Hours later I come back to find them nicely engorged and ready to be cooked. I dump them into a pot with my favorite seasonings and some good stock. I turn on the stove and bring the liquid to a boil, then I simmer the beans until they’re perfectly soft and creamy.

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Spinach Cakes

Next time you’re caught up with a bunch of spinach (or leftover mashed potatoes) you don’t know what to do with, make some spinach cakes. They’re tasty and nutritious. We love them topped with smoked salmon or a fried egg!

Getting hungry just writing this…

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