Simple Blessings & Chocolate Banana Bread

As we enter a new week, I found myself stepping back to take a look at where I am: a fresh start to a new week, planning a camp trip with my beloved husband, finishing my last week at my current job and preparing to begin another next week… Sure, there are things that aren’t so great but why dwell on that?

I feel overwhelmed with the level of gratitude I feel towards God right now. I am thankful for the little things down to grocery shopping with my husband and not having a single squabble (trust me, with my OCD Type A personality type, that rarely happens!), or the new show we are able to start watching together on Netflix. Such simple things that will sometimes slip through the cracks but are still total gifts from God himself!


To avoid getting super sappy on you, I will just jump right into sharing the recipe I tried last night. I had some banana’s that were way over ripe (that’s what happens when you are just above 5 feet tall and the bananas get stuck on top of the fridge…) and we had some baking cocoa from a recipe we had recently made.

Therefore: Chocolate Banana Bread!



Chocolate Banana Bread

1 C. Sugar
2 Eggs
1/3 C. Vegetable Oil
1 1/4 C. Mashed Banana (3-4 bananas)
1 t. Vanilla
1 1/2 C. Flour
1/2 C. Unsweetened Baking Cocoa
1/2 t Baking Soda
1/2 t Salt
1 C. Chocolate Chips

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Beat together sugar, eggs, and oil.

3. Add in mashed bananas and vanilla.

4. Combine flour, unsweetened baking cocoa, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips in a separate bowl.

5. Add dry mixture to wet mixture, slowly, until blended. Do not over mix.

6. Spray loaf pan with non stick spray and see baking times below:

Standard Loaf Pan- 70 minutes.
3 Small Loaf Pans- 40 minutes
6 Mini Loaf Tray- 30 minutes

I used the mini loaf tray and they turned out phenemonal! Definitely a make again! (Note there is one missing- we ate it right when it came out of the oven!)


shared with love, t.


Roasted Tomato Soup

This soup was honestly, so delicious! I was nervous trying a new recipe that could be hit or miss when we had company coming over but it was such a success, we will be making it again! Next time we will probably double the batch so there are leftovers.

Like a fool, I forgot to take a picture of the final product, so this is the one picture I got… I will get better at this picture/blog thing!



So, without further ado, here is the recipe:


3 tablespoons olive oil
½ large white or yellow onion, sliced
2 pounds small vine-ripened tomatoes, such as Campari, sliced in half
1 teaspoon salt, plus additional to taste
½ teaspoon sugar
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced *I used minced and it worked fine
Freshly ground black pepper
2 or 3 thick slices peasant-style bread, crusts trimmed *I used gluten free bread since we had a friend with celiac’s with us
3 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Parmesan
1 – 2 cups cup vegetable broth or water *I omitted this all together because we like thick soup
Soft goat cheese or ricotta and chopped fresh herbs (such as parsley, thyme or basil)


  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Pour the olive oil into a baking dish or pan that will hold the tomatoes snugly (I used a 14-inch cast iron skillet); scatter the onion evenly over the bottom (I didn’t exactly measure the onion, I used roughly half but I made sure the pan bottom was covered- the more onion you add, the more onion flavor you get).
  3. Arrange the tomatoes cut side up on top of the onion and sprinkle with the salt and sugar. For garlic lovers, you can do garlic salt instead for a little extra flavor.
  4. Roast 20 minutes; then scatter the garlic over the tomatoes and roast for about 10 more minutes – the tomatoes and onion should be soft and golden and their juices bubbling. Season the tomatoes with the black pepper to taste and cool 10 or 15 minutes.  I didn’t measure the pepper and seasonings, I just estimated and it came out fine.
  5. Transfer the tomatoes to a blender or food processor. Tear the bread slices into small chunks and add to the tomatoes (one half at a time if blending in 2 batches) along with the cheese. Add enough broth or water to barely cover the tomatoes – it will depend on how juicy the tomatoes are after roasting. The tomatoes, onions, and 3 slices of bread filled my blender close to the top.
  6. Puree until smooth, in batches if necessary, adding more bread and/or liquid to achieve a consistency you like. I prefer the soup with a little body rather than very brothy. Taste for seasoning. Drop a dollop of the goat cheese in the center of the soup and sprinkle with herbs. This makes it look pretty and the cheese makes it a tad creamier!

Like I said, so delicious, we will definitely make it again and double the batch!

Originally found on with my notes in ItalicsI.

served with love, t.

“Skinny” Penne Bake

Tonight I was given the opportunity to not only cook for my husband but also for one of his Army buddies from his unit. Although our time was short, the food was great and the company was greater.

The recipe I tried was from another blog called “Skinny Mom”. I stumbled across the recipe on Pinterest and had to try it! Needless to say, it was a hit! Now that we’ve tried it, I have to share with you. Bon appetite!




  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • ½ tsp minced garlic
  • 23.25 oz jar Prego® Light Smart Traditional Italian Sauce
  • 12 oz package penne pasta
  • ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • ½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups low moisture, part-skim, shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp fresh oregano, diced (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, diced (or 1 tsp dried)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook penne according to the package instructions for al denté, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the onion and garlic until tender, about 3 minutes.
  3. Turn down heat to medium-low. Add the entire jar of pasta sauce to the onion and garlic, stir.
  4. Drain pasta and add to pasta sauce.
  5. In a medium size bowl combine cottage cheese, ricotta, 1½ cups of mozzarella and herbs.
  6. In a 9×13 pan, add ½ pasta mixture. Then spread all of the cheese mixture evenly on top. Next, layer the remaining pasta. Sprinkle the top with the rest of the shredded mozzarella.
  7. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.


Original Blog Credit:

baked with love, t.