Saturday, November 22, 2014

Kitchen Tested: Best Banana Loaf Bread Recipe . . . Ever!

Okay, I just had to put "Ever!" because it is really the best banana loaf recipe I've tried!  Actually, this is just the second (haha!) time I baked a banana loaf.  But I am going to stop trying other recipes because I found the perfect one for me!   

The first recipe I've tried was moist and it had peanut butter and Nutella in it but these flavors overpowered the taste of the bananas. Sometimes, it is better to keep things simple (as much as I like peanut butter and Nutella, haha!).  So I found a simple, easy to do, easy to follow banana loaf recipe at

I know I said "keeping things simple" and I did. . . sort of, haha!  In addition to the ingredients listed in the recipe, I just had to add semi-sweet chocolate chips and chopped pecans, cinnamon powder (because cinnamon and bananas go well together!) and around 2-3 tablespoons of greek vanilla yogurt (because I read that adding yogurt in your batter makes your cake/cupcake extra moist)!  

This banana loaf got me giddy with excitement!  It was love at first bite. . . .literally, haha!  It was moist, I can smell and taste the bananas and it has the perfect balance of sweetness. 

If you are looking for a better banana loaf recipe like me, this is it!  If you are going to bake for the first time, make this your first!  And if you are thinking of Christmas gifts, this can be it! 

I hope you will like love this banana loaf recipe as much as I did!

Happy Baking!

Below is the original recipe from  I have put my personal notes/comments in red:


  • 1/2 cup butter (softened at room temperature or you can microwave your butter for 15 seconds)
  • cup sugar
  • eggs, beaten (I did not beat them together. I beat them one at a time as I mixed them in the batter)
  • bananas, finely crushed (I only used 3 overripe bananas - equivalent to 3 cups of mashed bananas)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • My own addition to the list:
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 2-3 tbsp of greek vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet choco chips
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • Directions:
1. Cream together butter and sugar.
2. Add eggs and crushed bananas. (Add the yogurt and cinnamon powder too.)
3. Combine well.
4. Sift together flour, soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture.  Add vanilla.  Add the chocolate chips, pecans then mix everything but do not overmix)
5. Pour into greased and floured loaf pan.  (Since I was using a non stick loaf pan, I didn't grease and flour it anymore).
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes.  (Mine took a little bit longer). 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Baking Disaster!

Aaaaaaacccckkkk!!!!  I just had a baking disaster!

What happened?

One of my favorite cupcake recipes is the Pinoy Cheese Cupcake by Kawaling Pinoy. (I blogged about it here.)  I have made this recipe several times and the cupcakes always come out great!  So yesterday morning, while mixing the batter, I felt that something just wasn't right, the batter felt heavier.  But I really didn't give it a thought.  So when I tasted them, something definitely went wrong. They were dry and tasted . . . floury.  So I went back and realized that I used the wrong measuring cup when I was doing my prep work!  The recipe calls for 1 3/4 cup.  I thought I was using a 1/4 cup but I was actually using a 1/2 cup!  (Aren't fractions fun?!!!)  So what was supposed to be a 3/4 cup of flour became 1 1/2 cup!  That was a lot of extra flour!

See how dry they are?  

Looking at them makes me sad, haha!

I don't want to throw them because they aren't that bad but I cannot eat them as they are.  So my plan was to just heat them in the microwave and put a scoop of Dulce de Leche or Butter Pecan ice cream over them.  (Yummmm!!!)

But I woke up this morning and thought why not try using them for French Toast?!  I made a mixture good for 2 cupcakes.  

Here you go:

1 egg
1/4 cup of milk
1 tsp of cinnamon sugar
1 tsp of granulated sugar
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

Just beat the egg and then whisk it together with the rest of the ingredients. 

Dip the cupcake slices in the egg mixture (for a few minutes).

Melt some butter (over medium heat) in a non-stick pan and then fry the slices until golden brown.

Serve with pancake syrup, Nutella or your favorite spread. =)

These were so good, my picky eater asked for "more". . . three times.

What can I say?  It was a good day to have some dry cupcakes! =)

So if you find yourself having some baking disaster, do not fear.  You can French toast anything! Haha!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

She said what?

We were at a clothing store last Sunday to buy some long sleeve PJs for the kids since the weather is getting cooler.  So while I was looking around, our 3 1/2 year old Princess did too and helped herself, got a pair of pink pants and said, "Mama, I like pink. . . HOT pink!"  

Yes, you are never too young to learn about HOT pink! I had to correct her though.  

This is baby pink!  Haha!

Since we moved to LA last May, this little girl has become more articulate.  I've even heard her use some of these phrases:

What's up with that?!
What in the world?!
What in the whiskers?! (I know, whiskers?!)
Oh dear  (and she just sounded like a grown up. . . an old one! Haha!)

One time, she did something and wanted to say "sorry" to me . . .
She said: "Sorry man

The other time, we were about to leave the house and she wanted me and her Papa to hurry up so . . .
She said: "Come on guys!"

As they say kids say the darndest things.

Well, they also say the funniest things..

She left the room and left her toys around so Hubby cleaned up.  When she came back and saw the clean room. . .
She said: "Papa, why you clean up? I like kalat! (kalat is the Filipino term for "mess")
Oh nooooo . . .

Last night, whe was pretending to go to class and I was her teacher. . . 
She said::  Good morning Teacher!
Me: Good Morning Princess!  Did you do your homework?  Let's try to count okay.
She (starts counting): One. . . .Two . . . Three. . .  GOODBYE Teacher! 
Where is that little girl who likes going to school?! Haha! 

The other night, I haven't taken a bath and it's getting late.
She said: "Mama, take a bath.  It's sleeping time!"  
I swear, somewhere inside of her is a grown up, haha!

And kids say the sweetest, melts-the-heart things too.
There was one time when she just suddenly told me . . .
"Mama, you are my best friend!"
Awwww, sniff. . . sniff. . . 
I hope she'll say the same thing when she grows up! 

And kids are honest too.

One night,while she was combing her Dad's hair
She said: Papa, you don't have hair.  Mama has lots of hair!"

Sorry Huney, that was just really funny!  It's one of my faves!  Haha!

Hope this post has brighten up your day just as it brightened mine.  Just spreading some good laughs to brighten up this cold and sort of gray day here in LA. =)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Trader Joe's Fave - Chocolate Croissants!

I had an appointment the other day and came in too early.  To kill time, we went to Trader Joe's which sits on the same lot where we were.  We rarely go to Trader Joe's so it can be a little bit overwhelming standing in the middle of this food and grocery shopping paradise not knowing where to start or what to get because there is just a lot of good stuff!  So I told Hubby to google for top TJ products.  We got a few things but the most I was excited about was the Chocolate croissants . . . or shall we say "Pain Au Chocolat" for a more French feel to it, haha!

I don't really expect a lot from frozen bake-ready products but I'm glad we tried these croissants! They were light, crisp and flaky, just the way I like it.  I will go back to TJ's just to get more of these, haha!

Thanks to Trader Joe's, having freshly baked croissants right at home is possible and is easy as 1-2-3!

1.  Proof (to let the dough rise) the dough at room temperature for 9 hours. I did mine overnight.

The next morning . . . . 

Me:  Amazing!

2. Make an egg wash (just beat one egg) and brush (if you don't have a pastry brush, you can use a paper towel) the top and sides of the croissants with it.  This was the hardest thing I did for these croissants!  Haha!

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees C and bake the croissants for 20-25 minutes until crisp and quite brown.

Let it cool for a few minutes before serving.

Enjoy with your favorite hot drink . . . and just imagine sipping it at a cafĂ© in France. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Trip to the Grand Central Market

I'm still here!!!!  Haha!  I know, I know, I've been blogging irregularly (again!) but I'm glad I was able to post one today!  Woohoo!  There are so many topics I've listed down, photos I want to share with you. . . which I will!  I guess I just have to be better in managing everything in my plate!  (Read: be more organized! Haha!)  I won't promise anymore but I will really try my best to blog regularly.

Thank you for sticking around and I hope you enjoy reading this post! =)


I've been visiting Hubby in LA since 2008 and haven't been (nor heard) about the Grand Central Market. . . until I watched an episode of "NCIS: Los Angeles"!  (Yes, you can learn a thing or two from watching TV shows! teehee)

The Grand Central Market is located at Downtown LA (which is probably at least 20 miles away from us).  The only time we go to Downtown is when we have some personal business to attend to or to have lunch in Chinatown.  I guess we just added another reason then, haha!

Grand Central Market is the oldest public market in LA which started operating in 1917.  It occupies the ground floor of the Homer Laughlin Building.  This building is also known as the first earthquake and fire free building in LA. (Thanks Wiki!)

The market isn't really that big but it has enough stalls where you can buy things like fresh produce, spices, nuts and candies.  There's even a liquor store!  It has more food vendors actually which makes this place a foodie's haven.  (For a complete list of the vendors and more details about GCM, please click here.)

Here are some photos I took of the market:

A few tables were set up along the street as well

Food stalls range from cheap Mexican food (there are several of them) 

There's one stall which (I read) serves good  Pupusas (a Salvadoran food made of corn tortilla
with different kinds of fillings)

To hip eats like Wexler's (Bagels with cream cheese and smoked lox?!)

Cool graffiti adorn Wexler's stall

And Eggslut (where the line gets crazy! )

And if you're a cheese lover, there's DTLA Cheese for you.

Cheese Heaven!

Other food vendors I saw include a woodfired pizzeria, German sausages, Texas BBQ and there's even a newly opened stall which offers Oysters!

There are also local food artisans which offer unique and high quality organic products like:

Better Booch which makes Kombucha tea (a fermented drink made of tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast). 

Going around the market and taking some photos sparked some appetite (Haha!) so here are some of the things we Hubby and I tried.

We had a double patty burger from Belcampo Meat Co.  Their patties are made of organic grass-fed meat which makes this burger. . . .Yummm! 

We also had Tacos from Tumbra Tacos a Tomas ---- which was filled with so much meat!  I found it it underseasoned though. 

Another thing I enjoyed is the Spicy Drunken Noodles from Sticky Rice!

We had a lot but I made sure I saved some space for some dessert from McConnell's!

There were a lot of flavors to choose from!  Two flavors that stood out for me were the Turkish Coffee and the Eureka Lemon and Marionberries (so refreshing!)

By the way, McConnell's one scoop of ice cream actually consists of two scoops so you can actually have two different flavors!

But the coffee lover in me said I had to have two scoops of the Turkish Coffee, haha!  

I'm glad I did!  

It was indeed one fun and filling afternoon with Hubby and the kids! 

It's been a month now since we went to the Grand Central Market (Yep, that says how long this has been sitting in my draft folder, haha!) so I think it's time to take another trip to Downtown LA because there are more things to explore and more food to try!    

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