Second Chance Banana Bread

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Banana Bread

At my son’s school they have something called “Second Chance Breakfast” for those students who either didn’t have time for breakfast at home, or who are hungry at the midmorning break. Spane has coined a lot of second chance items in our house, dry food for Rolo is “Second Chance Cat Food”, etc.

Spane and I like bananas, and we especially like them when they are just ripe, are firm and might have a little green still on them. I even have a banana slicing tool from Chef’n which makes slicing them a snap. Still, it’s hard for us to get through a small bunch of bananas without one or two going brown. Sure enough, one had gone brown, and knew that it was destined for banana bread.

Why do I call it Second Chance Banana Bread? Well, because it’s a second chance for the banana itself, and because the night Spane and I made it, I was very tired and fell asleep waiting for it to finish baking. When I woke up the house smelled of burnt sugar. The whole loaf was black on top. A little bit in the center had not burned, and we ate that. It was so good, Maria gave me three bananas she had that had also gone brown, so I could make a second loaf – and not burn it.

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Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Cream Cheese Stuffed Chocolate Dipped Strawberries


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The other day, when I was perusing Pinterest, I came across something that looked fabulous. It was strawberries stuffed with cream cheese, and it was called Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries. I pinned it, and decided it would make a nice treat for the kids in Spane’s class going to the Planetarium field trip. Last year, I made White Chocolate Rum Raisin Cookies for Mrs. Mary’s class when we went to The Natural Science Museum.

I lucked out, and strawberries were Buy One box, Get One Free. There are 24 kids in Spane’s class, plus the teacher, and possibly one or two more parents who, like me, volunteered to go on the trip to help with the children. There were enough strawberries, with a few extra for the house.

I decided to change the original recipe a little and dip the strawberries in chocolate. All the recipes on the Internet tell you to add shortening to the chocolate to temper it. I don’t like shortening, and I knew that I had dipped strawberries before without it. Of course, looking in The Joy of Cooking, I found that I didn’t need shortening at all, just a candy thermometer, that I have a nice glass one with a clip. There are instructions later in this post about how to do this.

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Barbecued Potato Chip Tuna Casserole

Spane at the kitchen table

Well, it’s not the prettiest casserole in the world, but it tastes very good. My mother would make this if we had left over potato chips. My mother wasn’t much into snack food, so this was not something we had a lot, but it is one of those comfort foods that I remember fondly.

When I was four years old, my father got stationed in Kaiserslautern, Germany. My mother bought most of the food at the local farmer’s market and the local grocery store. We didn’t get a lot of American goods, I remember going to the PX only twice. The first time I had French fries, it was in France, and they were more like potato chips. I remember really liking them.

When we returned to the United States when I was six, I was surprised to find out that French fries were long rectangular potatoes fried in oil. I didn’t like them very much. The elusive, thin chip we had in France was actually a potato chip, and the brand my mother bought, that I really loved was Granny Goose.

When we moved to Los Angeles when I was eight, there were no Granny Goose potato chips. I really didn’t like the regular brands, except for the barbecue flavor chips. This leads me to my recipe. Granny Goose is out of business, and the only chips Spane and I really like are barbecue flavor. Of course, my mother used the Granny Goose salted chip for her casserole. That’s probably why the only time she made it was when we were living in Northern California.

But, I found out last night that barbecue chips make a really good casserole, and I’m going to share it with you here. When you make this, make sure you get a good barbecued chip, the Lays Tangy Carolina chips are particularly well suited for this.

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Sour Cherry Fudge Cake – Happy Birthday to Me!

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Sour Cherry Fudge Cake

Cake baked in its pan, cooling

For my birthday, I wanted to make myself a special cake. I love chocolate, and I love sour cherries. The combination is fabulous.

This is my favorite cake in the world. It’s a very rich cake, and takes time and effort to prepare, but well worth it. My only suggestion to you is not to make it when you have a lot of other intense dishes to make, you’ll look like me when you’re done! Don’t let that deter you – you and your guests will be impressed with this luscious cake.

Yesterday, I made Rose Fudge Truffles and Black Forest Fudge for Founder’s Night at Spane’s school, prepped Rose Petal and Lobster Salad for my birthday, and made this cake. By the time we got back from Founder’s Night, I was so pooped that we decided to have the cake tonight. Amber and Noelle came by, and the four of us enjoyed cake together. A good time was had by all.

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Lobster Rose Petal Salad with Lemon Butter Dressing – Great Grandmother’s Recipe

Lobster Rose Petal Salad

Dressed Lobster and Rose Petal Salad

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When I was a little girl, my mother used to go on about how she loved going to her grandmother’s house when she would serve Lobster and Rose salad. I was always hoping that my mother would recreate the recipe, but she never did.

When my great-grandmother was making this salad, lobster was a lot less expensive. I decided that for my birthday, despite to cost, I would recreate Christine Jorgensen’s recipe myself.

I went to the market and bought a small lobster tail. I broiled it and put it on the table to cool before putting it in the refrigerator. All of a sudden, I heard a ker-plunk, looked up, and there was our Maine Coon cat, Miss Rolo Louise Knocker-Offer Boswell, looking guilty, with the end of the hot lobster tail in her mouth, trying to run off with it. I ran up to her and said “Hey, you can’t have that. That’s MY dinner!” I grabbed it, and washed it off. I don’t think she had gotten a chance to eat any of it.

Spane and I had the lobster and rose salad for my birthday dinner. When I tasted it, I could understand why my mother had gone on about how good it was. The combination of buttery lobster and astringently sweet rose was an incredible treat for my mouth. It was truly amazing!

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Rose Fudge and Black Forest Fudge – Happy Birthday to Me!

Rose Fudge Truffles and Black Forest Fudge

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It’s my birthday, and I can make anything I want to! It’s also Founder’s Night at my son Spane’s school, so I thought I should bring something to liven up the festivities. I got up early this morning and make two kinds of fudge, Rose Fudge and Black Forest Fudge. As of this writing, there are no pictures, but there will be as soon as it sets.

I love the flavor of roses, there is nothing like it. I have some rose syrup that I often put in lemonade, and love roses with peaches. What could be better in fudge?

One of my favorite cakes is a Sour Cherry Fudge cake, and I’m making that for my birthday cake (more later), so I decided to take that to the candy level as well.

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