banana muffins

It is incredible how quickly produce seems to go bad when you are living by yourself.  I’m sure everyone has experienced this before.  Somehow the strawberries that you swore you bought the other day are already moldy, the milk is sour, and all your bread is stale.  I mean I guess it’s my fault for being incapable of buying food for just one person, but it’s still so frustrating.  When I came home to old, mushy bananas, I just could not throw away any more food, so there I found myself, in my all black “architect” ensemble, baking.  As great as black clothes are for hiding coffee stains and pen leaks, it is apparently not the ideal color to mix with flour, especially if you make as much of a mess in the kitchen as I do.

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grilled panzanella salad with grilled peppers, squash, and tomatoes

Creole tomatoes are one of the many reasons that I love summer.  They are so vibrant and fresh that I find myself trying to work them into every meal that I eat! Toast, eggs, and tomatoes for breakfast, Caprese sandwiches for lunch, pasta with fresh tomato sauce for dinner – I think you get the picture.  For everyone not fortunate to enough to live in Louisiana, any tomatoes can easily take the place of these (I just find myself to be a little bit partial…).  I’ve somewhat lost interest in leafy green salads after it became a go-to meal at the beginning of summer, so that was definitely out.   While rummaging around trying to think of something, I found a loaf of rejected, slightly stale French bread and knew it was time to make a panzanella.  This salad is perfect for so many reasons.  Really, anything goes here.  Leftover asparagus?  Toss it in.  Can’t find squash?  Substitute a cucumber.  Also, the grilled French bread makes this salad a little heartier than your typical lettuce-tomatoes-light vinaigrette combo .  With the  fresh grilled veggies and lemony dressing, this panzanella is sure to be a hit regardless of what you throw into it.
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