September 21, 2015

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Raisin Cookies


I recently posted a picture of these cookies on Instagram and received many requests for the recipe. I have to say, not only are they easy to throw together, I think they are fairly healthy. They only use 1/4 cup of butter, which sounds even better when you say 4 tablespoons… and they are full of healthy oats.

I found the original recipe online through the “myrecipes” website, but as usual I’ve changed things up a little. Don’t we all find ourselves with a couple of overripe bananas every week? You can peel and freeze them to use in smoothies or bake a banana bread. These cookies are a nice change from the usual.

You could definitely add nuts to this or other dried fried. They perfectly mimic the tops of muffins, so I guess they’re a bit like banana muffin cookies.



  • 2 mashed overripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup raisins

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

2. Combine the mashed bananas with the brown sugar, butter, sugar and vanilla extract in the bowl of a mixer. Mix until well combined, then add the egg. Mix again until properly incorporated.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour. oats, baking soda and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the banana mixture in thirds, mixing to combine after each addition. Next add in the chocolate chips and raisins and stir by hand.

4. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and drop heaping tablespoons of the batter a couple of inches apart. Bake in the preheated oven until golden, about 16 minutes. I use the convection setting on my oven and they were done in 12 minutes.

5. Allow them to cool for a couple of minutes on the cookie sheets and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Do you have a favorite ingredient that you would never substitute? This vanilla extract is mine. I have used it forever and wouldn’t dream of using any other brand. Since I’m no expert baker I can’t give you any technical reason for my obsession, just that it tastes fantastic! It adds awesome flavor to smoothies, too. Most important, its REAL vanilla extract. Many of the extracts available in the grocery store are artificial. Make sure you read the label before you make your purchase.

August 26, 2015

Mexican Grilled Chicken Salad


We love this Mexican grilled chicken salad. It’s fairly easy for a weeknight and definitely a healthy choice, it’s become part of our normal dinner rotation. The tomatoes and corn from our local farms have been so delicious this summer and they usually have a nice array of peppers too. Now is the time to make this!


To help with your weeknight dinner planning, you could grill-up a double batch of boneless chicken breasts using your favorite BBQ rub or mine (All Purpose Red Rub). Make chicken fajitas the first night using half of the chicken breasts, and then use the left over grilled chicken for this salad. You could also substitute steak or shrimp, or use an assortment of different grilled vegetables to make it vegetarian.



Quantities in the ingredients list below are a bit loosey goosey. I generally take the biggest platter we have and fill it up. Three of us eat most of it, with enough left over for a couple of lunch size portions. Not very precise, but you can’t really mess this one up. Just use any combination of the ingredients listed below that you love, and serve it with the dressing on the side… voilà! Or shall I say Olé?



  • 1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1- 15oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • About a cup of shredded carrots (or more if you like)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1-2 cups of corn (fresh or frozen)
  • 1-2 grilled red bell peppers, seeded and skins removed – sliced in strips
  • 1-2 grilled poblano peppers, seeded and skins removed – sliced in strips
  • 1 large grilled jalapeño pepper, seeded and skin removed – sliced in thin strips
  • 1 bunch of scallions, ends trimmed and grilled whole
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • Fresh lime wedges
  • Cooked BBQ boneless chicken breasts (1 per person)***

Place the chopped romaine lettuce on the bottom of the platter and pile all the other ingredients on top.



For the dressing… this is very complicated so pay close attention:

  • 1 cup of your favorite salsa
  • 1 cup of sour cream (I use light)
  • A few shakes of your favorite hot sauce (optional)
  • 1/4 of a fresh squeezed lime
  • Pinch of kosher salt and pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and serve on the side with the salad. So easy! If you’re lucky, your container of sour cream or salsa will only be half full and you can just add the other ingredients right to the container and shake it up. Fancy schmancy stuff!

Crushed tortilla chips are a delicious final topping. Yum!

*** To make the chicken:  pound each breast to an even thickness. Not thin, just even them out. Sprinkle each breast liberally with BBQ rub and grill until properly cooked through to 165 degrees. 


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