Low­Fat Banana & Chocolate Chip Muffins

  • ○  3 medium very ripe bananas
  • ○  1egg
  • ○  1/3 cup low­fat milk
  • ○  1/2 cup granulated sugar (maybe substitute with honey)
  • ○  1/2 cup brown sugar
  • ○  1 1/2 cups flour (wheat or white)
  • ○  1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ○  1 teaspoon salt
  • ○  2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup chocolate chips (depends on how chocolatey you like it!) Also I like to use mini chips, less chance of them sinking to the bottom of muffin.
  • ○  2 tablespoons pecans/chopped walnuts (optional)
  • ○  1/2 Cup Applesauce
  • ○  1/2 Cup Rolled Oats (also called old fashioned or whole oats)


Ezra's BATMAN! Chocolate Cupcakes with Reese's Surprise!

Ezra recently had his 4th birthday party and with this came the usual choices like cake, cupcakes, or cookie cake. There's also deciding if I was going to make some spectacular creation like a previous Dinosaur Train CakeJake and the Neverland Pirate Cake, or this one I pulled off in Liberia West Africa Estevam Turns ONE! over 8 years ago. I thought the heat alone was going to melt the homemade marshmallow fondant off that cake!

We (wife and I) have had great cupcakes over the years and I thought it was time to go that route again. The theme was BATMAN! And we found some nice cupcake topper rings with the Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman logo. Even if the presentation is not going to be "spectacular" like previously mentioned cakes, we still want it to be special.


How to MacGyver a broken electric smoker!

I knew a month ago that my smoker was broken but being the Frugal Guru that I am (read: cheap) I couldn't throw it away! Using my culinary MacGyver skills I decided I could still use it to smoke the chicken I was doing for this July 4th weekend.
WOW! My smoker has faded over the years! I wonder if that is from a combination of heat and sun? 
 I realized that I could easily make this usable as a charcoal smoker. The bottom of my smoker has a round electric element with lava rocks. Otherwise there was plenty of room and a metal bowl as a base. I had my wife get a bag of Match Light Charcoal when she was at the store.


Chile Coban Pecans (Pecan Crack)

This recipe, as most of my recipes, has a story behind it...

A Chef friend came to stay with me last summer for a few days because we both were attending the same conference in my town. We could catch up, show him around town, hang out...and of course attend the conference together. It just so happened that he brought me some gifts. One gift was several pounds of pecans.

A short time later another friend came back from a trip to Guatemala and gave me a package of Chile Coban, a very specific tasting dried pepper with a bit of smoke flavor. 


Grilled Chicken Tortilla Soup

On the Anastasis & Africa Mercy we served chicken tortilla soup with fresh chips (corn tortillas cut in wedges, fried, & salted) and salsa, often serving rice as well. On the Caribbean Mercy we bought the chips, there were no fryers on board. This recipe tastes so much better just grilling the chicken but I have a few other options I think you should try as well.

I won't bore you with the bulk preparations from the galley but walk you thru a recipe that's close to mine (for home use) that is from allrecipes.com: chicken tortilla soup -->


Packed Lunch

People, feed your children good food.

Over the years I have really paid attention to how kids eat and what's in their packed lunch and I have to say, it's getting bad.

Most meals are carb heavy w/(fattening rich) sauces galore, skinny kids bring lean cuisine and weight watcher meals, and for the parents we know don't cook...yes, we can tell you packed your kids lunch with leftovers from whatever restaurant or take out joint you ate at last night, night after night after...

It's Summertime! If your not going to purchase school lunch this year then lets get a "game plan" together! Start trying out foods this summer to see what your children like. Watch the trash can, it doesn't lie! Start cruising Pinterest like a PRO. Build up a menu of choice you can shop for and throw together quick once school starts. Lets get ahead of this!

Here, let me start you off with some IDEAS!

Once again, I paraphrase a great quote from my friend PW, "Never saw anybody get fat from eating school lunch!".


Recipe is an "Idea"

Jacque Pepin describes it best in this video. Watch it! It's a small investment of time. [3:55]

"Have you ever had a dish turn out wrong no matter how closely you stick to the recipe? According to legendary chef Jacques Pépin, recipes describe a process that can never be duplicated exactly; what you need to understand is the “idea” behind the recipe, and use it as a point of departure."

Who is Jacque? One of the greatest! (at least in my opinion) He was on PBS in the early days with Julia Child.