What’s the best way to spend some kid-free time?…



…Eating and sleeping of course! Yesterday we convinced my mom to take the kids for the night so we could enjoy a night out. It was sorely needed. We had about 24 hours without the kids which felt like forever… in a good way. We’re not the type of parents that have ever found it hard to leave the kids for any period of time. We pawn them off to friends and family whenever we can and run out the door, hardly looking back.

So this time we ran over to our friend’s place where we were made a delicious meal of crab dip, cherry and cheddar-pepper sausages and a wild rice dish. The food and company were great and it was all the better because I didn’t have to do any of the cooking or cleaning up. It’s amazing how much less I eat when I’m not serving two toddlers and then cleaning up the left overs.

Our post-dinner activities included sitting around a campfire and then watching John’s dog Turk attempt to defile his girlfriend, Leslie. It was high-class entertainment for sure. I bet you’re sorry you missed out!!!

On our way home we stopped by a neighbor’s house for an extra hour of fun before passing out close to 2AM knowing there wasn’t going to be anyone waking us up at 0-dark-thirty. I pulled my hungry ass out of bed close to 10 and made breakfast for two.

On the menu: Hawaiian bread french toast with pumpkin butter and maple syrup. It was darn good but unfortunately I was all out of pecans and walnuts. wah wah.

Then we walked the dogs and got home just in time for the Bears game. Our Bears game fare included more sausages like the night before and then I made this:

You should smell my house right now. It’s heavenly. This Ultimate Banana Bread recipe comes from Cooksillustrated but I added the chocolate chips to the recipe because everything is better with chocolate chips. If you don’t agree, I don’t think we can be friends. The pic shows the two smaller loaves. The large loaf was mostly devoured by the vultures sitting around the football game before I thought to take a photo of it.

It’s a blurry pic and for that I’m sorry but I had to work fast otherwise the above pic would just have been crumbs.


These are my guys. I think they’ll keep me around for a little longer. I wonder how they’re going to embrace the zucchini bread that’s up next…

As for myself, I have a happy heart, a clear head and a full belly so I’m as content as could be. Life is good.

As for you, you’d better just make this banana bread. your won’t be sorry. Here’s the recipe:

Ultimate Banana Bread from Cooksillustrated


  • 1 3/4cups (8 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2teaspoon table salt
  • 6large very ripe bananas (about 2 1/4 pounds), peeled (see note)
  • 8tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly
  • 2large eggs
  • 3/4cup (5 1/4 ounces) packed light brown sugar
  • 1teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2cup walnuts , toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
  • 2teaspoons granulated sugar


  1. 1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8½ by 4½-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in large bowl.
  2. 2. Place 5 bananas in microwave-safe bowl (if using frozen bananas skip microwaving and just thaw saving juices); cover with plastic wrap and cut several steam vents in plastic with paring knife. Microwave on high power until bananas are soft and have released liquid, about 5 minutes. Transfer bananas to fine-mesh strainer placed over medium bowl and allow to drain, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes (you should have ½ to ¾ cup liquid).
  3. 3. Transfer liquid to medium saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until reduced to ¼ cup, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat, stir reduced liquid into bananas, and mash with potato masher until fairly smooth. Whisk in butter, eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla.
  4. 4. Pour banana mixture into flour mixture and stir until just combined with some streaks of flour remaining. Gently fold in walnuts and 1/2 cup chocolate chips, if using. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Slice remaining banana diagonally into ¼-inch-thick slices. Shingle banana slices on top of either side of loaf, leaving 1½-inch-wide space down center to ensure even rise (I skip this step). Sprinkle granulated sugar evenly over loaf.
  5. 5. Bake until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, 55 to 75 minutes. Cool bread in pan on wire rack 15 minutes, then remove loaf from pan and continue to cool on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.


One response »

  1. Pingback: Black Raspberry Cake | baileyshenanigans

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