a few things I’ve done, seen + learned over the past few weeks that are worth sharing in a line or photo or two.

[eats at home]

2013.03.08 - strawberry-almond, blueberry-ginger-coconut paleo muffins

I made a bunch [3 dozen!] of paleo-friendly muffins so that Jeremy + I have quick and easy breakfast-on-the-go options [which, apparently, we’ve been needing after this whole Daylight Savings lose an hour thing]. I used this great recipe from Amazing Paleo for the strawberry ones and then made a blueberry-ginger-coconut version subbing coconut flour for the almond flour, blueberries for the strawberries, adding some candied ginger and dried coconut and a few extra egg whites to compensate for the incredible density you get while baking with coconut flour. They have been delicious and are easy freezer-to-toaster options for the ones you don’t finish in the first few days after they come out of the oven.

2013.03.10 - Mason Jar Roast Chicken [stock, lemon, garlic, thyme + rosemary]

We’ve been roasting a chicken at least once a week these days. This is my new go-to favorite – a vertical roast with the chicken sitting on a mason jar full of stock [which I made myself, thanks to inspiration from Kira!], two lemon quarters, fresh rosemary and thyme as well as a couple cloves of bruised garlic. The mix is packed with flavor and steams the chicken full of its deliciousness from the inside, while the skin that’s coated with some butter, salt and pepper gets crisp and brown. You should try it!

2013.03.09 - Peanut Butter Banana Blueberry Oat Parsley Dog Treats

I made a double batch of dog treats [loosely based on my Two-Ingredient Dog Treats] to use up some bruised fruit and finally get the dog some treats as I kept forgetting to stock back up on their favorite goodies. These are a mouthful – Peanut Butter-Banana-Blueberry-Oat-Parsley treats, made with some peanut butter, mashed bananas, mashed fresh blueberries, oatmeal and fresh parsley [for fresh breath!]. The dogs are digging them.

2013.03 - Herb Coated Roasted Baby Zucchini

I did a modified juice Nashville cleanse this week, where I drank juice all day until the evening where I joined Jeremy for a light dinner. One evening I used one of my recent favorite OXO tools to mince up some fresh parsley, rosemary and garlic, added some olive oil and coated some halved baby zucchini before tossing them in the oven for a quick roast or broil. Served on top of butter lettuce, it satisfied my need to chew and eat something warm [finally!] without going overboard on calories, carbs, etc.

[eats around town]

2013.03.12 - BBQ Shrimp & Grits [Whiskey Kitchen]

I met a recent alumna from my high school at Whiskey Kitchen for dinner with Jeremy and asked for recommendations as to what to eat, as usually I’m there for happy hour and am completely satisfied by their Tennessee Whiskey Yam Fries and Blue Ribbon Pub Cheese. I got a shout-out for the Shrimp n Grits and knew after the first bite that I hadn’t been steered wrong. The sauce hovered between sweet, savory and tangy, the shrimp were perfectly cooked, and I could’ve gone face-first into that mini kettle of grits if I hadn’t been out in public.

2013.03.15 - Back to Cuba

Last minute errand running had me by Back to Cuba which I’d seen on the twitters as a great recommend by Vivek and Amy and also has a great write-up in Jennifer Justus’ new book. Vivek + Amy both recommended the Carne Asado platter, served with rice and beans and a tamale, and thanks to Vivek I also got an order of sweet plantains, a Cubano sandwich and a deliciously sweet, tart + flakey guava cream cheese pastry. Don’t worry, I shared. And, y’all? If you haven’t been, you really must go. Jeremy and I already planning a return visit.

so, do tell. what’ve you been eating these days?

xo,

@

CENTRAL NEW JERSEY [1987-1992] : A PHOTO ESSAY, OF SORTS

[I have decided to write a series of picture-filled ‘sweet journey] posts that I hope will share my story, a story of a Third Culture Kid turned Adult. You can find earlier posts here : Paris [1980-1983] and Manila [1983-1987]]

This is where we begin the tale of a newly-initiated Jersey Girl trying to make her way in the blaze of neon, slap bracelets and New Kids on the Block, otherwise known as the ’80’s. We moved to a modest Colonial style home in central New Jersey, West Windsor to be exact but “near Princeton” to the non-Jersey folks. Surrounded by farm land and about a 70-90 minute drive to New York City or Philadelphia. Essentially the best of both worlds.

My life was all about school [I was a nerd – often found on my bed or couch, or up a tree on occasion, reading, reading and doing some more reading], playing the viola and perfecting my soccer fullback skills. We saw a lot more of my extended family since we were finally Stateside, so we often spent holidays together, at one or the other’s homes.

01_1987 - 1992 - Alexandra

alexandra, circa 1989-ish . straight rockin’ the patterns, colors + neon .

02_1987 - 1992 - Mary Frances, Santa Claus & Alexandra

my cousin Mary Frances & I on Santa’s lap . I finally could face Santa without tears!

03_1987 - 1992 - Alexandra & Anna

me and my bestie, Anna, prior to an Elementary School orchestra concert .

04_1987 - 1992 - Phillip Pugh & Alexandra

me and my superstar viola teacher, Mr. Pugh . I loved being in pictures, can’t you tell?

06_1987 - 1992 - Comets Soccer Team 01

The Comets . Man, don’t we just scream soccer all-stars? I scored the teams only goal all season, in position as fullback [coach just screamed “run! go! RUN!”], in the last few minutes of our very last game . All-stars, indeed!

07_1987 - 1992 - Petra & Alexandra 02

A favorite summer tradition was celebrating my father’s July birthday at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ where I got to bring a pal or two along to ride the coasters for a day . I may not look like it, but I loved the super fast upside-down ones. Here, I’m with my pal Petra [my dad’s sitting behind her] .

08_1987 - 1992 - Mary, Alexandra & Al

Granny Mary, me & Grandpop Al after my First Holy Communion . The short period of time I had pink, instead of red, glasses .

09_1987 - 1992 - Petra & Alexandra 01

Another favorite summer past-time was spending a few weeks a year at various spots along the Jersey Shore . Here with Petra and a friend of hers at Long Beach Island . 

10_1987 - 1992 - Claudia, Alexandra & Pete

with Mom & Grandpop Pete on Easter Sunday .

11_1987 - 1992 - Bonnie, Alexandra, Petra & Annaslumber parties were all the rage . with my besties [bonnie, petra and anna] eating pizza, watching a riveting movie, apparently .

12_1987 - 1992 - Petra, Courtney, Bonnie, Jane, Jana, Hana, Anna & Alexandra

another birthday party where swooning over boys and sharing gossip became more important than watching movies and eating pizza .

13_1987 - 1992 - Dorothy & Alexandra

in front of our gigantic lilac shrub with my great Aunt Dorothy [my Grandpop Al’s sister] . this must have been before or after a community orchestra concert, given my uniform . I often wear Pacifica’s French Lilac perfume to remind me of spring in New Jersey . this was taken a few months prior to moving to our next destination…

a few things I’ve done, seen + learned over the past few weeks that are worth sharing in a line or photo or two.

[a new weekly series, so I am catching up on the past few weeks]

01_2013.02.21 - {blvd} French Onion Soup + Wedge Salad 01

{blvd} : french onion soup + mediterranean wedge salad

Jeremy and I met a friend who was back in town for a visit at Arnold Myint‘s newly revamped {blvd} restaurant [formerly cha chah]. This was my first french onion soup that was creamy, and though the cheese could’ve used some more broiling, it was delicious! Salad was worth ordering again, too. Loved the pairing of the cool wedge lettuce with green goddess dressing.

02_2013.02.23 - Chinatown Lunar New Year Banquet 01

Chinatown restaurant Lunar New Year banquet

For the first time since we have been together, Jeremy and I made multiple plans to celebrate Chinese New Year during the the tail-end of the holiday. Our first celebration was at new-to-us Chinatown restaurant in Green Hills. We feasted with new friends and had a great time. The sweet and sour whole fish [the blue & white platter on the right] was the highlight of the meal, but every single one of the dozen or so dishes was delicious. Jeremy and I hope to return to Chinatown to satisfy our pretty regular cravings for Chinese food. Vivek recommends trying the braised pork belly, which is at the top of our list.

03_2013.02.23 - NHA Teddy's Wagon - Pearl 01

Pearl : dachshund mix at Nashville Humane Association

Now that I’m working pretty regularly during the week, I no longer am able to head over to the shelter to walk and socialize the pups like I used to. I am, however, spending most Saturdays with Teddy’s Wagon, NHA’s off-site roving adoption unit. Make sure to keep an eye out for the bright yellow RV with Teddy on the side when you’re out and about Saturday morning. You’re always welcome to come on board and tour the state-of-the-art customized interior and, of course, cuddle the pups and cats on board and available for adoption.

04_2013.02.24 - Bombay Bistro Chaat 01

bhel puri chaat at Bombay Bistro

Jeremy and I were meant to finish our Lunar New Year celebration the night after our Chinatown feast with a banquet organized by the Chinese Arts Alliance of Nashville. Sadly, due to an event start time misprint on the tickets, we showed up just as dessert was being served. We didn’t  mourn for too long, though, as we were right around the corner from our favorite Indian restaurant in town, Bombay Bistro. Though I learned how to make a few different chaat recipes through a University School Nashville evening class, I’ve yet to tackle that myself so I always order some chaat variety when we’re out and it’s on the menu. This bhel puri is my favorite – sweet + sour tamarind sauce, cool yogurt, fresh veggies, fried bits and chickpeas. All for me!

05_2013.02.24 - Pinned It and Did It - Lemon Rind Cubes 02

07_2013.02.24 - Pinned It and Did It - Lemon Rind Cubes 10

pinned it and did it : lemon rind ice cubes

Yes! Something I pinned and actually did! No matter it’s simply some sliced lemon rinds in ice cubes. I used a large number of meyer lemons and oranges recently in some baking projects and rather than shoving a half or two of the rinds down the garbage disposal to freshen things up, I sliced the rind into skinny strips, placed 3-4 in each ice cube well, topped off with water and froze. Stored in a ziploc bag in the freezer, I grab two or three when the disposal’s starting to smell funky, whirr it around, and problem solved!

10_2013.03.03 - Doughworks Truck Gamecock + ZolliKoffee Chai

soy chai // zolli koffee . gamecock // doughworks craft doughnuts

Jeremy and I have a new Sunday morning routine. After I’ve made an early weekly grocery run to beat the pre- church rush, we head out to a coffee shop for some breakfast and work on some crossword puzzles [our favorite are from the Vanderbilt University Hustler newspaper] or play gin [I’m currently winning, but I doubt it will stay that way for long!]. We’ve been going to a new place each week, hoping to find a favorite where we will become regulars. On this Sunday we headed over to Jackalope Brewing Company who is sharing space with newly opened Zolli Koffee. After grabbing our morning java we ordered breakfast from the visiting Doughworks Craft Doughnuts truck. I had my first taste of hot[ish] chicken, topped with honey, dill-centric dressing and blue cheese crumbles. It was delicious! Hope I spy the truck around town again soon as I want to try one of their sweet offerings.

11_2013.03.04 - Vietnamese Roast Pork Salad 03

12_2013.03.04 - Vietnamese Roast Pork Salad 05

vietnamese sweet pork salad, slow cooker edition

My friend Sarah recently shared her version of a favorite Vietnamese dish of mine [she and I went to the same high school and actually traveled to Vietnam on the same school trip, though in different years]. Once I saw the recipe I couldn’t stop thinking about it. A quick Monday morning run to Interasian, where I was able to stock up on pretty much everything needed for the dish aside from the pork, lettuce and peanuts, and dinner was served. Bonus trip down memory lane not guaranteed for everyone! Highly recommend you make this dish if you’re a fan of Vietnamese flavors. I can’t wait till the weather’s warmer so I can try grilling the meat and getting that char flavor.

Angela Roi.jpg

Angela & Roi handbags

One of my favorite bloggers, Kelly at Design Crush, recently highlighted this wonderful concept. Purchase your favorite handbag from the selection of quality, timeless pieces and select a charity close to your heart to which some of the proceeds from your purchase will be sent. I personally have my eye on a Casual Shoulder bag in gray [when they’re back in stock!] with a brown ribbon in honor of my father-in-law who died of pancreatic cancer.

Tim’s Place / Albuquerque, New Mexico

Huffington Post Food recently featured Tim’s Place, the only restaurant in the United States [that this family is aware of, at least] owned by a young person with Down Syndrome. I wouldn’t care if the food was fantastic or mediocre, if I lived in Albuquerque I would have to make Tim’s a regular part of my schedule so I could get some of those genuine [and free!] hugs. Watch this video – but be sure you have some tissues nearby. It’s definitely a feel-good happy-maker!

What have you been up to lately? I’d love to know!

xo,

@

MANILA, PHILIPPINES [1983-1987] : A PHOTO ESSAY, OF SORTS

[I have decided to write a series of picture-filled ‘sweet journey] posts that I hope will share my story, a story of a Third Culture Kid turned Adult. You can find the first in the series here : Paris [1980-1983]]

After spending a few years in the romantic history- and cheese-filled city of Paris, my father took an offer with a job that would have us relocate to the tropics of the Philippines. It was here that I started school, made friends that I still remember to this day and cut my teeth on my favorite breakfast to this day : garlic fried rice, a runny fried egg and longganisa. And it was here that we were introduced to the life of an expat that has all but disappeared since.

067_1983.12 - Grandpop Al, Mary Frances, Alexandra, Granny Mary & Eddie 01

while my father started his position in Manila and began the home search for a suitable place for his family, I spent a few months with my [paternal] grandparents in Philadelphia with my mother and [maternal] grandfather, Pete . here I am with [from l to r] Grandpop Al, Mary Frances [cousin], Granny Mary and Eddie [cousin] in front of the Christmas tree . Philadelphia, PA

068_1983.12 - Alexandra & Eddie 01

bossing Eddie, my oldest cousin, around in front of the Christmas train set . the train set was a long-standing tradition of my Grandpop Al’s and was always a highlight of the Christmas season . Philadelphia, PA

069_1983.12 - [Great] Uncle Mike & Alexandra 01

goofing around at a family meal with my Granny Mary’s brother, my Uncle Michael, who lived around the corner from my grandparents in Philadelphia . their neighborhood was very much reminiscent of the traditional ethnic enclaves you would find in the early years of a city’s development . this one brimming with Lithuanians, Poles, Russians and the like . Philadelphia, PA

070_1983.12 - Alexandra 04

be warned . what they say is true . not long after this habit developed, I was sporting my very first pair of glasses! Philadelphia, PA

071_1983.12 - Alexandra 05

my earliest food memories center around this kitchen table at the back of my grandparents Philadelphia row home . here, I’m making meatballs with my mother and grandmother . clearly after a doughnut breakfast! [until his last days, my Grandpop Al would have a predictable breakfast of a plain cake doughnut or two.] also – check out the Osh Kosh overalls! Philadelphia, PA

072_1983.12 - Alexandra, Claudia & Mary Frances 01

Christmas Eve with my mom, Claudia, and cousin Mary Frances . Philadelphia, PA

073_1984.01 - Claudia & Alexandra 01 [CA]

ready and on our way to join my dad in the Philippines, my mom and Grandpop Pete and I journeyed to San Francisco where we spent a day or two before an extended stay in Hawaii . notice the matching tennis shoes Claudia and I are sporting? that’s a Smurf jacket on me . child of the 80’s!                      San Francisco, CA

074_1984.01 - Alexandra & Pete 04 [HI]

the airline lost our checked luggage so we restocked at the nearest ABC store for stay in Honolulu . hence the oversized tacky Hawaiian shirt on Grandpop Pete and the gigantic running shorts I’m swimming in . Honolulu, HI

076_1984 - 1985 - [ICA] Class 01

soon after finally arriving in Manila I started pre-school and dove head-first into a community where I was, for the first and not the last time in my life, the minority . don’t you love the smocks the boys and girls had to wear? one of the clearest memories I have of my time at the Institute for Child Advancement [ICA] was learning and reciting the Filipino National Anthem . Jeremy can tell you that I only remember the first line or two anymore, but I’ll belt them at the top of my longs at the most inopportune moments regardless . Manila, Philippines

077_1983 - 1987 - [Home] Alexandra 08

my makeshift Fisher and Price kitchen was my most favorite corner of my room . Manila, Philippines

078_1983 - 1987 - [Home] Alexandra 07

with a close second, the outdoor sink where I dragged all my Fisher and Price dishes and cookware for a good scrubbing . Manila, Philippines

079_1983 - 1987 - [Home] Alexandra 10

it was in Manila that Mushka joined our family . she was the runt of a littler of black labrador retrievers and was loved and adored from day one . ‘Mushka’, by the way, is colloquial Russian for ‘little black fly’ . rather suited her . Manila, Philippines

080_1983 - 1987 - [Home] Claudia 01

see? even Mushka got a piece of my birthday cake . Manila, Philippines

081_1983 - 1987 - [Home] Easter Stephen & Alexandra 01

our home, and most homes in Manila I believe, didn’t have central air conditioning . the bedrooms on the second floor did, but the rest of the house was wall-to-wall French doors and windows with plantation shutters to allow the tropical breezes to cool the house down on their own . so even during our annual Easter egg hunt, I stripped as bare as was acceptable and made do with the heat!         Manila, Philippines

082_1983 - 1987 - [Home] Living Room 01

of all the homes I’ve lived in, this one is the one I’d love to revisit . this is a picture of the living room that my father took to send home to us so we could have a preview of our new home before we made the big move . those French doors! the light! sigh…. Manila, Philippines

083_1983 - 1987 - [Home] Master Bedroom 01

the plantation shutters and windows I mentioned earlier . this is the master bedroom . see the spot for a window air conditioning unit? Manila, Philippines

084_1984.07 - Claudia, Alexandra, Noella, Dio, Nita & Pete 01

our family pretty much grew by three during the years we spent in Manila . as I alluded to in the introduction to this post, we were introduced to an expat lifestyle while living in the Philippines . it was common to have housekeeping help, driver[s], gardener[s], etc. here, Noela, Dio and Nita join us at a birthday dinner celebration for my father . Noela was my best friend, looking the other way when I snuck into my parents bedroom to jump on their mattress . I looked up to her and Nita so much so that for years I would answer the “what do you want to be when you grow up?” question with “a maid”. Manila, Philippines

085_1983 - 1987 - Dad & Friend 02

my adventure-seeking father and his colleague-turned-friend, preparing to jump off his friends’ property wall into the backyard pool. Manila, Philippines

1983 - 1987 - Dad & Friend 03

and he made it, a-ok . Manila, Philippines

086_1983 - 1987 - [Home] Pete & Alexandra 01

my best babysitter, Grandpop Pete did much more of the same as he did when we lived in Paris . read books, listened to his records . I love that this photo demonstrates that despite the tropical temperatures [as evidenced by my bare feet and nothing-but-a-sundress wardrobe] he remained in a crisp button-down shirt, pressed trousers and lace-up shoes . Manila, Phillipines

087_1983 - 1987 - [Orphanage] 01

and my mother spent much of her time volunteering at a local orphanage . remember this, as this passion is going to rear its head in a major way 10+ years down the road . Manila, Philippines

088_1984.09 - [Ballet] Jimbo & Alexandra 01

it was in Manila that I first took ballet . here I am posing with my instructor, Jimbo [legs for days!] Manila, Philippines

089_1984.09 - [Ballet] Class 02

I never said I was good . [I’m in the far right in this picture . doing the exact opposite of everyone else!] Manila, Philippines

090_1984.12 - Stephen & Alexandra 02

I love and cherish the memories I have of the scraggly Charlie Brown-esque Christmas trees we had every year . we weren’t so much in the right climate to find 7′ pines or firs . Manila, Philippines

091_1985.01 - Alexandra 02

it was in Manila that, thanks to my Granny Mary back in Philadelphia, that I received my first ever Xavier-signed-butt Cabbage Patch doll . Manila, Philippines 

092_1985.01 - Alexandra 03 and it was in Manila that I celebrated each birthday with a traditional meal of homemade pancit . Manila, Philippines
093_1986.02 - [Baguio] Melanie, Erin & Alexandra 02

I had sleepovers with my best friends Erin and Melanie where we stayed up into the wee hours of the night dreaming up fantastical lives for our favorite My Little Ponies . Manila, Philippines

094_1983 - 1987 - [Country Club] Swimming Lessons 05

I learned how to swim at the Country Club, taught by my parents, and became that kid that never wanted to get out of the water . ever . Manila, Philippines

095_1987.01 - 7th Birthday 02

the same Country Club that was the venue for many a birthday party . my own and those of my friends . I wish I could remember who that brave young boy flying solo at my 7th birthday party is . I’d love to know how he survived such an event! can we also talk about how lovely the dresses we wore back then are? so frilly and frocked and feminine . Manila, Philippines

097*_1983 - 1987 - [Home] Alexandra 04

it was in Manila that I allowed my mom to girl-y me up . never again did I have my hair in French braids or wear sweet smocked dresses with white mary janes and lace ankle socks . Manila, Philippines

098*_1985 - 1986 - [ISM] Kindergarten Class 01

and it was in Manila that I established the trend of being either the only, or one of two, girls tall enough to get a spot in the back row for class pictures . here, with my kindergarten class and teacher Mrs. Narvasa at the International School of Manila [ISM] . Manila, Philippines

099*_1985.11 - [HKG] Alexandra 05

it was also while we lived in Manila that we took a brief trip to Hong Kong [here, posing in Repulse Bay], unaware that we’d be returning for 6 year stint in just a few years . Hong Kong

100*_1985.08 - Taran Family 02

and it was while on a home leave trip over the summer that we reunited with my father’s side of the family to celebrate my Grandpop Al and Granny Mary’s 40 years of wedded bliss . in the back row, left to right, we have Claudia, Stephen, Shari & Michael [dad’s youngest brother and wife], Nadia & Al [dad’s oldest brother and wife] . seated in the front row are my aunt Mary [dad’s younger sister] and uncle Ed with their two children, my grandparents and me! Green Lane, PA

xo,

@

My pal Kate [of Kate Schmate] and I have known each other for over 10 years. Eep! We became friends during the second year of Big Horizons, a service-learning based pre-orientation program for incoming freshman at Vanderbilt University. It was my second year involved with the program and I was student directing while she was a small group leader/counselor.

Big Horizons @ Saddle Up!Big Horizons 2001-2002 Leaders . Saddle Up! Project Day

Our friendship continued while we were both still at Vanderbilt. She even had a small hand in the romance brewing between my then crush [now husband] and I, when she took this photo of J for an interview she wrote on him for the [now defunct] literary magazine Versus.

JP01The Husband . Swoon! [amiright?!]

In those ten years, we’ve both graduated from Vanderbilt University, married our college sweethearts and returned to Nashville to make a life for ourselves and our families. Oh, and though she may be ahead in the human baby department, we both have Boston Terriers! [Theirs, Lucy. Ours, Ramble] Speaking of said human baby, Kate + JD’s sweet little, Maggie, turned the big 0-1 recently and they turned to me to help them out in the smash-cake department for this fun monkey-themed party. Because Maggie’s still so young and hadn’t yet eaten any processed sugar, ever, Kate’s only request was that we use alternate sugars.

MSMiss Maggie, delicately eating her own Honey-Banana Cake!

Moving with the monkey/banana theme, I suggested a delicious banana cake recipe [from my pal Lesley] as the base, subbing the cane sugar for [local] honey. One of my favorite and key steps to make a delicious cake with a strong banana flavor is roasting the bananas prior to adding to the cake batter, making sure to include all the juices that accumulate within the banana peels into said batter. Give this cake recipe a go, and let me know how it turns out for you. You won’t miss the traditional cane sugar. I promise!

xo,

@

PS – See some cute pictures of Maggie, and the cake set up, in Kate’s recap of her sweet daughter’s 1st Birthday, here.

honey-banana cake | sweet betweens 02

banana cake, topped with [optional] freeze-dried banana slices [like these]

Honey-Banana Cake

adapted from Lesley EatsBanana Bread

Yield : 1 large or 2-3 small loaves [I doubled the recipe and made 1 8″ round cake and 20 cupcakes]

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

heavy 3/4 cup honey

3 large eggs, room temperature

1 tsp salt

3 large ripe bananas

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup + 3 TBSP unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Directions

1. To Roast Bananas: Preheat oven to 450 F. Place bananas on lined baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes on each side. Remove from oven and let cool.

2. Adjust oven temperature to 350 F. Prepare loaf pan[s] by buttering and and dusting with flour. Set aside. Measure out salt, baking soda, flour and spices into a large bowl. Whisk to incorporate then set aside.

3. In bowl of electric stand mixer, cream butter and honey until uniform liquid [about 5-6 minutes]. Add eggs one at a time, allowing them to incorporate into honey mixture before adding the next one.

4. Add cooled bananas to honey mixture. [Make sure to peel bananas over stand mixer bowl so the sweet liquid from the roasted banana is also included in the mixture]. Mix on medium until mashed/broken to desired consistency. [I like to have some bite-sized chunks of banana in the final product.] Finally, add vanilla extract until just combined.

5. Add flour mixture to honey mixture in three additions, mixing on medium/low until just incorporated.

6. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan, smooth top and place in oven. Bake for up to one hour, checking for done-ness with a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf at 45 minutes. [The top of the loaf should spring back slightly to touch and the inserted toothpick should come out clean.]

7. Let loaf cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing and letting come to room temperature on wire rack, about 30 minutes.

honey-banana cupcake trio | sweet betweens

I topped the extra banana cupcakes with chocolate chips, banana + honey and blueberries

Honey-Cinnamon-Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

1 1/2 packages cream cheese, softened and cut into 1/4ths

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature and cut in 1 TBSP pieces

1/4 cup honey

1 vanilla bean

1 tsp vanilla extract

1-2 dashes of ground cinnamon

Directions

1. Add cream cheese and butter to the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Using the whipping attachment, mix on medium/high for 5-6 minutes until combined, light and fluffy.

2. Add honey, vanilla bean caviar and cinnamon and whip for another 2-3 minutes on medium/high until combined.

3. Spread frosting on cooled loaf with offset spatula or pipe with frosting bag.