April 20, 2007


oops, sorry! there was a bad typo in original recipe posted here. i fixed it. mea culpa. if you made this the wrong way, leave a comment, and i'll make it right by you.

i guess i could have just waited to say anna banana. sorry again.

i make the best banana cake in the world. no kidding. this started with my friend, kathy, who gave me her recipe for banana cake. i've changed it over and over again until it's my recipe, so much so that kathy is waiting for me to make and bring her one of these. this cake is really not too unhealthy. i haven't mastered the art of splenda baking; if you use splenda and have success, please let me know. i'd LOVE to feel totally guilt free when i make this and EAT it.

1/2 c plain yogurt
1/4 c room-temperature butter
2 c brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 c (3 whole)mashed ripe bananas
2 c flour
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt

cream yogurt, butter, and brown sugar. beat in eggs, vanilla and banana. beat well. mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt . add to mixture. mix until blended. pour into 2 greased and floured 9-inch baking pans. bake at 350F for 35 minutes. cool in pans for 5 minutes on wire rack. make frosting:

1/4 c room-temperature butter
1 mashed banana
1/2 t vanilla
2 c powdered sugar
1 to 2 T milk

this is kind of a thin frosting. after the 5-minute cooling period, frost the top of one layer. put second layer on top of this. spread the frosting as best you can all around sides and top of cake. after frosting cools and frosting sets up, scrape off excess. it will pretty much look like a glaze. it's very sweet, it might kill you to discard the excess; but it'll kill you for sure if you eat it.

have i steered you wrong? ever?


Posted by Stacey at 09:01 PM | Comments (1)



i just wanted to say anna banana. sorry.

potatoes anna

this is a recipe i go to over and over again. it's so simple to make, looks beautiful, and tastes fabulous. what's not to love about these ingredients? it is NOT low fat. i've made these so many times i can't even hazard a guess as to how many times. usually christmas eve or christmas, brunches, anniversary parties, whatever.

potatoes (i usually use idaho bakers -- what i always have on hand)*
salt and pepper
butter (about half a stick at room temperature, the other half melted)

*most cooks don't recommend bakers, but they've always worked for me.

peel as many potatoes as you think you'll need to fill up whatever size pan you're using and the people you'll be feeding. i've done this with as few as 2 potatoes (small saute pan - 6") and as many as 10 in a larger, deeper saute pan (12"). use a pan with an oven-proof handle. just because your pan handle is plastic does NOT mean it's not oven proof. if it's bakelite plastic, it's oven proof. if you're not sure what the handle is made of (what type of plastic), don't use it. slice the potatoes thinly (about 1/8" thick). i use a mandoline or my food processor. you can use your knife if you want -- doesn't bother me if it doesn't bother you.

slather a nice thick layer of room temperature butter all around the inside and bottom of your pan. don't be stingy. place a slice of potato in the very center of the pan and then spiral the slices all the way to the edge of the pan. salt and pepper this layer. drizzle a very small amount of the melted butter on top of this layer. add another layer of potato slices. you won't have to be so careful with the design on any more layers -- it won't show. just make sure the layer is as even as possible.
salt, pepper, drizzle melted butter. continue layering, seasoning and drizzling each layer as you go, until pan is filled, ending with, of course, salt, pepper, and butter.

cover pan tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil or a double layer of regular foil. place a heavy oven-proof plate on top of the foil over the potatoes. make sure the plate fits inside the lip of the pan so that it can push the potatoes down.

place your pan on the stove burner. turn burner onto medium high. when you start to hear the sizzle, turn on timer for 5 minutes. preheat oven to 400.

place pan (plate and all) into oven. bake 50 minutes.

remove aluminum foil. invert the potatoes onto a plate or platter or cake stand. you'll want to use something with a lip, though, because butter will be oozing.

cut into wedges to serve.

leftovers (if you are lucky enough to have any) can be broken up in a saute pan and crisped up to make quick home fries.

Posted by Stacey at 08:41 PM | Comments (0)

November 02, 2006



i've written before (on our regular site) about why i love to cook. i'm doing it again. indulge me. as if you had a choice.

i love to cook. i have to cook. i don't feel productive or that i'm doing my job unless i cook. my life is all about home and family -- it's who i am. if you read my stuff on the other page, you won't be reading too much into this.

i grew up in an alcoholic home where my mom cooked very little, but what she did cook was good. when she cooked, it was because she was feeling good. those were the times that our house felt almost normal, like a home. home in the 50's and 60's meant that the family ate at least 2 home-cooked meals a day. mom baked. mom was there for you. i knew that when i grew up (to this 6-year-old girl, grown up meant 18), that that's what i'd do/be. and so i have this need to cook.

so i cook. and i bake. a lot. at least 2 or 3 times/week. when the house was filled with boys, the baked goods disappeared quickly. now that we're in our downtown loft, there are friends and security guards who are the beneficiaries of the goodies.

my mom bought me my first cookbook my last year in high school; in fact i don't remember any other cookbook in the house at all. it was "betty crocker's cookbook," eleventh printing, 1972. i love it. it's falling apart; the spine is entirely gone. the stitching barely holds it together. this book sucks me right back into my past. i made my first peanut butter cookies (these may have been the first cookies baked in our house) from this book that first year. cookies that made me a legend in my own mind because i improvised and added a dash of cinnamon to the recipe that i believed made the cookies. i remember what i was wearing when i baked the first batch: gold wide wale hip hugger, bell-bottom pants with a white button-down oxford shirt (perma press, of course). [this remembering what i wore on certain days or times is a weird thing i have -- drives bill nuts.]

i made home-made cinnamon rolls (YEAST!) from the recipe in this cookbook. my grandfather stepped right in the pan of rising rolls because i placed the pan on the floor in front of the warm air blowing from the front grate of the refrigerator. nobody in this house had ever used yeast and so i had no idea where to place the pan. some of the rolls were ok, but to this day, i rarely bake with yeast unless it's in a breadmaker.

that same summer, i baked a special dinner for bill: chicken fricassee with chive dumplings. i cannot tell you how it irks me that he doesn't remember this. i remember him coming into the house, filthy from his summer job cleaning barrels at the barrel yard (duh. where else would you work cleaning barrels?!) and him lifting the lid of my rival electric frying pan to see what i'd made. the electric frying pan was another gift to me from my mom. it lived for maybe 10 years -- i'm on my third incarnation -- can't live without one.

i do go on, don't i?

in short (heh), i've cooked/baked many, many things from this cookbook. a very old friend of ours recently reminded me of a cake i made first in 1974. it's called "best chocolate cake," and it is that. i've made the cake a number of times since that first time -- it was bill's favorite for a long time. but i stopped making it for his birthday after his 32nd birthday. matt was 4, jax was less than a month old; and it wasn't easy getting this cake made. it was a labor of love. i presented it to him proudly thinking he would be impressed and appreciative. he said, "i don't want any -- i'm on a diet." i dumped the cake out into the sink, and haven't made it again until yesterday. he learned his lesson and was much more appreciative.

i think you'll like it, too.


2 c flour
2 c sugar
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1/2 t baking powder
3/4 c water
3/4 c buttermilk
1/2 c shortening
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
4 oz. melted, unsweetened chocolate, cooled

measure all ingredients into large mixing bowl. blend 1/2 minute low speed, scraping bowl, blah, blah, blah. beat 3 minutes high speed. pour into pan(s). bake oblong (13x9x2) 40 to 45 minutes, layers (two 9-inch or three 8-inch) 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick blah. blah, blah. cool. frost with


1/3 cup softened butter
2 oz. melted, unsweetened chocolate, cooled
2 c powdered sugar
1 1/2 t vanilla
1 or 2 T milk

mix thoroughly butter and cooled chocolate. blend in powdered sugar.stir in vanilla and 1T milk. beat on high until fluffy, adding additional T of milk if necessary. frost cake(s).

***wouldn't you know it -- bill REMEMBERS the HIP HUGGERS and the dumping of the cake!

Posted by Stacey at 09:42 AM | Comments (4)

July 28, 2006


lemon bar for web.jpg

yum. i made these late yesterday afternoon. despite the fact that they are very rich and lemony, this is all that's left. i know that the crust looks a little thick, you'll be glad because it's so good. i've made a lot of lemon bars in my life, and, this is the very best recipe i've found. stop making your lemon curd over a double boiler -- it's really not necessary. this recipe is almost as easy as the betty crocker box lemon bars (which are pretty good, btw. just not nearly as good as these).

notice the "ourbucks" coffee cup in the background. if you're a long-time reader at the nbl, you'll know what that is. it's our little private coffee label. a joke.

lemon bars (recipe found at recipezaar)

2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 c butter, chilled and cut into pieces

curd topping:
4 large eggs
1 1/2 c sugar
1/4 c flour
3 lemons, juiced
2 lemons worth of zest
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt

powdered sugar for dusting

1. crust: stir together flour and sugar. cut butter into mixture until crumbly. pat into bottom of buttered 9" x 13" baking pan. bake in 350F degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned.

2. meanwhile, prepare topping: beat eggs slightly. stir together sugar and flour in separate bowl. add to eggs. beat well. add lemon juice, zest, baking powder, salt. beat until smooth.

3.. pour over hot crust. return to oven. bake for 25-30 minutes longer, or until JUST set.

4. sprinkle with powdered sugar while hot. let cool (it will set up a lot more) and cut with a sharp knife into SMALL bars.

Posted by Stacey at 10:58 AM | Comments (0)

July 02, 2006


this was originally posted on the "nbl" back in the summer of 2003. made it again this morning. it's worth reposting here.

ok people. this is a joke. you're supposed to laugh. i'm not seriously thinking i'm martha stewart. i just thought it would be funny to post a staged picture of the peach crumble along with the recipe. it's funny cuz we're really such a weird family. k? got it? the whole time i'm taking the picture, jax is sitting in his beater car smoking a ciggy talking to his a.a. sponsor, and bill's swearing at the pool pump cuz it got messed up in the "big blackout." me? i'm wearing pearls and my apron and heels. what? you don't believe me? what?

ok. here's the crumble:

peach crumble 001.jpg

and here's the recipe:

peach crumble (robin benzle of cleveland's wdok radio station: chow time)

6 ripe peaches, sliced, into buttered casserole dish

mix: 1 c flour with 1/2 c brown sugar

cut in: 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter

add in to the butter, flour, sugar mixture: 3/4 c quick cooking oats

pour over top of peaches

dot with pats of butter if you want more butter -- who doesn't?

bake 25 minutes at 375 deg.

top with whipped cream

Posted by Stacey at 11:15 AM | Comments (0)
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