I found the perfect banana bread recipe, and it includes Nutella

I muddled two banana bread loaves before I hit perfection.

I blame the recipes, both ripped from the women’s lifestyle magazines to which my mother and I subscribe (don’t judge me, they’re awesome). Both loaves were dense and dry, more suitable for home insulation than human consumption. I even tried to salvage one loaf by cutting it into pieces and re-baking them as banana nut bread croutons. It was bad. Real bad.

But Twitter handed me a gift one day in the form of Nutella Swirl Banana Bread.

A link to the following recipe appeared in my timeline, and it sounded like perfection. Bananas? My favorite fruit. Nutella? My favorite chocolate-y spread. The option to make banana bread muffins instead of a loaf? Count me in.

The muffins were fantastic. I prefer the muffins to a loaf because of a shorter baking time and the portability of a muffin. The Nutella adds a new flavor to a traditional recipe along with keeping the muffins moist. I recommend eating them slightly warm so the Nutella is still a little gooey.

Nutella swirl banana bread - in muffin form. HECK YES.

Nutella Swirl Banana Bread Muffins

Recipe courtesy of Babble.com 

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed very ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup plain, low-fat yogurt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • One cup all-purpose flour
  • One cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Nutella (or to taste)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray 12 muffin tins with non-stick spray or fill with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until well combined – the mixture will have the consistency of wet sand.
  3. Add the banana, eggs, yogurt and vanilla and beat until well blended. Don’t worry about getting all the lumps of banana out.
  4. Add the flour, baking soda and salt and gently stir with a spatula just until combined. If you are adding nuts or other optional ingredients, throw them in before the batter is completely blended.
  5. Fill each muffin tin about a third full with the batter. Top with a spoonful of Nutella, and cover with a heaping spoonful of batter.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops are golden and springy to the touch.
  7. Enjoy with a glass of milk. Trust me, these muffins and milk belong together.

The $10 Challenge: Wild Eggs

Biscuits and gravy at Wild Eggs.

I’ve done quite a few of these Challenges.

In the process, I’ve discovered a few similarities between exceptionally good restaurants in Louisville.

  1. There’s nowhere to park and/or there’s a wait.
  2. The hosts and hostesses don’t wear a uniform and/or they have at least one visible tattoo.
  3. The dishes have catchy names.

If a place has two out of three, some good food is probably coming your way. But when a restaurant has all three … prepare for a foodgasm.

This coveted trifecta was present during a trip to Wild Eggs, a breakfast, brunch and lunch restaurant with several locations throughout Louisville.

My roommates and I had to stalk a woman in a minivan to find a parking spot in the small lot at the Dutchmans Lane locations. The friendly hostess had some impressive ink running up and down her arms. And when we were seated after just a five-minute wait, I squealed when I looked at the menu and saw dishes with names like Batman and Reuben ($11.99) and Sweet Home Apple Bourbon crepes ($9.99).

The signs all pointed to some good eatin’. And let me tell you, good eatin’ was had by all.

Continue reading “The $10 Challenge: Wild Eggs”

Bring on Thanksgiving with the help of pumpkin spice muffins (Recipe)

Pumpkin spice muffins.

Thanksgiving is getting the shaft this year.

Before I could even put away my orange Pumpkin Fairy tutu, retailers had dragged out the trees, bows and candy canes.

But what about Thanksgiving? Where are all the pilgrim hats? The horn things filled with food? For goodness’ sake, where are the turkeys shaped like hands?

I’ve baked pumpkin spice muffins twice this past week to get myself and others into the Thanksgiving spirit. As Rob put it, the muffins “smell like autumn.” I hope you can also use this easy recipe to spread some Thanksgiving love.

Pumpkin spice muffins

Recipe adapted from my friend Sally Scherer, who got her version from All Recipes

Ingredients

  • One 15- or 16-ounce can of pumpkin (I prefer Libby’s)
  • One box of spice cake mix
  • One 6-ounce bag of dried cranberries, such as Craisins

Directions

  1. Dump the spice cake mix and can of pumpkin into a mixing bowl.
  2. Blend the cake mix and pumpkin until it looks like this:

    It looks gross, but it's very tasty.
  3. Pour in the bag of dried cranberries and mix them in with the batter.
  4. Lick the beaters (if you used a mixer) or spatula. Seriously. It’s imperative and delicious.

    This batter is delicious. Lick like no one's looking.
  5. Spray two muffin pans with nonstick spray or fill with cupcake liners. Fill two-thirds of each cups with batter.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
  7. Let muffins cool. Enjoy.