Baltimore is a bit of a mess right now. So much that Johns Hopkins University closed and all of us who were already in lab were instructed to go home. This is a food blog so I don't intend to elaborate more on that situation except by saying that I'm not used to being home during the week! That's why I went to lab this morning actually. We weren't even supposed to report until noon, but I didn't know what to do with myself all day so I figured I would go in early and get some work done. But once my boss called for the third time telling us to go home, I figured I'd just have to find a way to entertain myself for the afternoon!

My first thought was to go for a nice long walk along the water since the weather is finally beautiful, but then I remembered there's a reason why campus was closing haha. So, next choice? BAKE, of course! I had to bake something that I already had all of the ingredients for since I can't go shopping. At first I thought that might be a problem, but then I realized that this is the perfect opportunity to post a recipe for times when you're in a pickle and need a quick, sweet, easy-to-make treat. I've used this for last minute potlucks, snow day treats, you name it!

As long as you usually have bananas on hand, you're probably in good shape to make this recipe. I will say that this bread is the best when you use really old, brown bananas. My mom used to throw bananas into the refrigerator in a ziploc bag once they got past the point that we would eat them, and then bake some banana bread once we had enough bananas stocked up. Honestly, that's the way to do it. Then you don't feel so sad when you realize your bananas have all gotten too ripe between breakfast one day and the next. Just make some banana bread! And then try not to eat the whole loaf as soon as it comes out of the oven... it also makes for great peanut butter sandwiches the next day for lunch!! I know oftentimes people add nuts or chocolate chips to banana bread, and feel free to do so if you'd like... but honestly I think this banana bread is so good that additions bring it down! Crazy right? Adding chocolate makes it worse? Is that a thing? With really great banana bread it is. Try it! I know everyone says they have the best banana bread recipe, but this one is just soooo so moist it's amazing. And the fact that everyone asks me for the recipe and abandons the one they've been using for years just speaks the truth;)

mom's banana bread

2 sticks butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
6 very ripe bananas (best when they're brown!)
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream or 1/2 cup milk

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and sugar together using a standing mixer. Add the eggs, bananas, and vanilla and mix to combine well. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add to the banana mixture until thoroughly combined. Then add the sour cream or milk and pour into three prepared bread loaf pans. Bake for 40 minutes or until browned along the edges. Depending on how ripe your bananas were, the center will be more or less cooked. I kind of like it just a little gooey along the center line, but if you want it to be completely done, try baking for closer to 45 minutes.


Now that I'm on the East Coast, I've been trying to see my aunt and uncle who live in Brooklyn every few months. Why not, right? It's an easy, 3 1/2 hour bus ride from Baltimore. The hardest part is finding a weekend that works for both parties! "Every few months" doesn't sound like very often, but once you consider other travels and commitments, it's harder to plan than you'd think. But every time I visit, I spend the bus ride home thinking about how glad I am that I set aside a weekend to make the trip. And how lucky I am to be a part of such a great, loving family! New York is an amazing city to visit, but my favorite part of each trip is spending time in the kitchen with my aunt. We have a very similar cooking style- recipes are merely suggestions, music should be playing in the background, and a glass of wine in hand makes the experience even better. So we just have a lot of fun cooking together! In December when I visited, they were hosting a baby shower and I helped my aunt make ALL of the food. Enough to feed 40-50 people! We were cooking all weekend! It was so much fun. High pressure though, right?! One of my favorite things we made was paté. One traditional (chicken-liver), one vegetarian (roasted red pepper and walnut). Take your pick- they're both amazing!!

chicken-liver pâté

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 medium shallots, peeled and finely chopped
1 pint fresh chicken livers, approximately one pound, trimmed
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/3 cup Madeira or port
3 tablespoons heavy cream

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large, heavy sauté pan over medium heat. When the butter begins to foam, add the shallots and sauté until translucent. Add the livers, thyme, salt and Madeira or port, then increase to high heat. Cook, occasionally stirring, until the wine has reduced and the livers are lightly browned, about five minutes. You have to be a bit careful here because you still want them to be very soft and pink on the inside. Add the contents of the pan to a blender or food processor, along with the remaining butter and cream. Purée until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Pack the pâté into a glass jar or bowl, then smooth the top with a spatula. Cover with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate until firm, about two hours. Serve over toast with a baby pickle on top to add some texture!

roasted red pepper and walnut spread

2 (7-8 ounce) jars roasted red peppers, rinsed and drained
1 cup coarse baguette bread crumbs
1 cup walnuts, toasted
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Purée all ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add the olive oil in a slow stream and blend until incorporated. Serve over toast!


We took a road trip to the Carlsbad Flower Fields a few weeks ago and fell so hard for the rows and rows of beautiful ranunculus.

The fields are over 85 years old and span more than 50 acres. With so many options to choose from, we just couldn't decide which color stem was our favorite.


Happy Monday!

These stems have been sitting on our kitchen table for a week now...and we don't think they could get any prettier.

Amazing how some flowers will last forever and some wilt after just a few days. These pink beauties remind us to appreciate this lovely, spring day!


This is a super simple recipe! I like to make it during spring because it combines the winter comfort of beets with the exciting freshness of pistachios! Plus it has goat cheese. Anything with goat cheese is great! The beet is definitely the main flavor, so this isn't a recipe for beet-haters by any means, but if you like them, you're sure to love it.

spring beet salad (serves four- we all know what happens when you eat too many beets!)

1 beet, scrubbed and trimmed leaves
olive oil to drizzle
1/4 cup shelled pistachios, chopped
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Begin to wrap the beet with aluminum foil, but drizzle with olive oil before closing completely. Place on a baking sheet and roast until easily pierced with a fork, about 45-60 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Now you want to remove the peel from the beet. I always thought you had to peel with a knife, but my aunt recently taught me that actually just rubbing your fingers on the outside of the beet works just as well, and doesn't result in you cutting away half your beet! So... rub off the peel of the beet with your fingers and then slice the beet into 1/4 inch thick triangles. Divide between four serving bowls, sprinkle with the chopped pistachios and crumbled goat cheese, and drizzle with olive oil to finish!

aren't beets beautiful?!


This is a modified recipe for a delicious, healthy snack. Why modified? Because sometimes your 6 month old fights every nap of the day and right as the sun is setting and you try to head out to the store for supplies, she finally falls asleep. #mamadrama. So we modify.

I'll provide the full recipe so you can truly taste the classy, taste bud bursting experience known as cowboy caviar.

cowboy caviar recipe

1 cup cooked organic bean mix 
(follow directions on how to cook... it's typically an all day process. you can also use canned beans. just drain them first. i recommend black beans, black eyed peas, white beans and kidney beans)

1 package frozen sweet corn thawed

1 cup diced celery

1 cup diced red pepper

1 cup diced yellow pepper

1 jalapeno diced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 handful chopped cilantro

1/2 cup rice vinegar

1/3 cup white sugar

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

Start by slicing, draining and dicing your veggies and beans. Put together in bowl and place aside.

Next bring the rice vinegar, olive oil, sugar and salt to a boil in a saucepan over low to medium heat. Cook until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let cool for 5 minutes and poor over the bean mixture. Cover and throw it in the fridge for at least an hour. 

When ready to serve, drain the liquid a bit (not completely because it's so tasty you won't want to lose it all) and serve with your favorite chip!

Easy peasy. Even a mom juggling a cray baby can do it!