January 19, 2016

Cookie Butter Banana Bread

Cookie Butter.

For those of you who know what that is, enough said. For those of you who don't... O.M.G. you must buy it immediately!! Trader Joe's has become infamous for their version, but there is also the Biscoff brand you can buy at many grocers and I've even seen it at World Market. This stuff is life changing. I try not to keep it in my house because I can't keep my hands out of the cookie jar. (Sorry, I couldn't resist).

But seriously, you don't know what you're missing if you haven't tried it. The problem is, it's kind of hard to know how to eat it. I opt for straight out of the jar which is all good and fun, but sometimes I'm feeling a little more creative. What goes well with heavenly cinnamony spread?

Thus, Cookie Butter Banana Bread. A basic banana bread taken up a notch with the addition of 1/2 cup of cookie butter. Oh yes.

This bread is moist, spicy, full of banana flavor, and absolutely divine. Spread a little more cookie butter on top of each slice for a real treat. ;-)

Cookie Butter Banana Bread

Makes 1 loaf


1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup Biscoff spread or Trader Joe's Cookie Butter
1/4 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
2 tired bananas
2 eggs
7 tablespoons sour milk (To make sour milk: adding 1 teaspoon white vinegar to the milk and let it sit for 5 minutes. You need a total of 7 tablespoons of liquid (milk + vinegar).)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup white or dark chocolate chips (optional: I left these out)


1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray your loaf pan with cooking spray.
2. Cream oil, cookie butter, greek yogurt, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer (and hand mixer is okay too).
3. Add the bananas, eggs, sour milk, and baking soda to a blender. Mix until liquefied.
4. Pour half of the banana mixture into the butter mixture with 1 cup of flour and the salt and mix until just combined. Repeat with the rest of the liquid and flour. Do not overmix!
5. Pour into loaf pan. Bake approximately 50-60 minutes. The center will still be gooey. Bake a little longer if you prefer it more done. If it starts to brown to quickly on top, cover loosely with foil during baking. Let sit at least 20 minutes or until completely cool to cut. Tastes better the next day. :-)
Optional: Pour white or dark chocolate chips in mixing bowl before pouring into loaf pan. Gently fold into bread mixture.



January 12, 2016

Greg's Homestyle Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup + Big News!

There's just nothing like a big ole' steamy bowl of chicken noodle soup. It's the epitome of comfort. So much so that there's even a self-help series named after it. My boyfriend got it in his mind to cook some chicken noodle soup from scratch. He had a hankering for awhile, and I guess I just didn't get around to it fast enough. Can't say I minded walking in to a homemade dinner, though. ;-)

You've probably also been wondering where I've been. I'm long overdue for a post. But I am happy to say that my holidays were fun filled and exciting. Not only did I get to spend quality time with family and travel to Cabo San Lucas for a little R'n'R, but I also got engaged! So, I've been wedding planning like a mad woman the past few weeks. The date is July so we have to get going as venues and vendors book up to a year in advance. So, sadly, Bikini Baker has taken a back seat. But I'm really hoping to be able to commit more time to it. Part of the problem is that it gets dark so darn early that by the time I cook dinner, it's black outside and impossible to take any quality photos. The days are starting to be longer and hopefully my wedding planning can slow down here pretty quick. Can't say I mind it too much though! It's an exciting time! :-)

This soup was chunky, savory, and full of flavor. A soup that eats like a meal. Folks, I present to you...

Greg's Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup


1 gallon water
1 whole chicken
1 large onion, peeled and halved
3 bay leaves
10 whole black peppercorns
2/3 bunch celery
1 pound whole carrots
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced
1/3 bunch celery, chopped
1 8 oz package sliced mushrooms
1 8 oz package dry egg noodles


1. Place chicken and water in a large pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, skimming fat as needed, 30 minutes.
2. Place the halved onion, bay leaves, peppercorns, whole celery, whole carrots in the pot and simmer, covered 1 hour.
3. Strain broth and reserve chicken. When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove skin and shred into bite-size pieces.
4. Return strained stock to pot over high heat, and stir in chicken bouillon, chopped celery, mushrooms and chopped carrots. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes, or until carrots are tender.
5. Add in noodles. Simmer until noodles are cooked, about 10 minutes more. Stir in chicken and heat through.

How did you spend your holidays?

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