Date Night in Hell’s Kitchen…

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Like a deer in the headlights…or short grain rice in a paella pan (:

versus the alternative: Hell Date in our Kitchen…which generally includes tired, hungry hysterical kids, spilled whatever and a counter full of disaster…aka a typical Wednesday night at home.   Recently, with my saintly sister-in-law visiting, the husband and I jumped at the opportunity to have her watch the kids so we could spend a little long needed time away from the cuckoo’s nest.   After a couple work-swamped and kid-frayed months, a night where we could reconnect…an evening to escape a bit.

Some strained couples might very well find their way back to each other over a dim-lit restaurant table or sitting together peacefully in a dark theater (the only thing I’d find is him snoring annoyingly next to me)…but our road” home” has always led to and from Spain.  My longing for and his love of the place is the very first thing we discussed on our fateful first introduction to one another.  10 years and 2 kids in, we still (delusionally) plan kid-free distant holidays on the Iberian coast and Andalusian countryside.  Spain is our place.  Our panacea.  Well, if you can’t go to your panacea, you can sure as Barcelona rebuild date night over a kick-ass paella and mouthwatering tapas!  Turns out the fastest way back to both of our hearts is through our Spanish food-loving stomachs.   And so it’s a date.  And we agree to meet a Summer Tapas and Paella class at Sur La Table on W. 57th. …

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wrestling my apron…not the most auspicious start…

An expansive and impressive cooking class space greets us…along with another 6 couples and the charming and energetic Chef Robert Ro.  Our menu for the evening: Sauteed Shrimp with Pimenton and Sherry, Majorcan Flatbread with Caramelized Onion, Pine Nuts and Raisin, Vegetarian Paella with Piquillo Peppers and Artichokes and Chicken Paella with Chorizo and Asparagus.

"This sure beats me snoring through a chick-flick!"

“This sure beats me snoring through a chick-flick!”

Interactive, fun and delicious food: an absolutely great environment to reconnect, learn some new skills (mainly, the firefighting wonders of kosher salt after one of our eager classmates set the paella pan on fire…shout-out “Pyro” Ron!) while preparing a fantastic meal that you get to rewardingly devour.  Honestly, one of the best dates I’ve had in years with this old guy.

A little affection...

A little affection…

Classes generally run about $59-$79 per person which includes all food and use of cooking materials and tools.   August classes include:

Coastal Italian Cuisine, Summer In Provence and Taste of Tuscany, etc…Check Sur La Table’s monthly calendar for many more class options.

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Veggie Paella fixins’

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The start of chicken/chorizo paella…

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The cooking passionate Chef Robert Ro.

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He answered the call of Group Leader…lead, playa’, lead (:

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Veg goodness…

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Working the dough…

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Majorcan flatbread with caramelized onions, pine nuts and raisins.

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Veggie Paella Yum.

Te amo, mi Viejo.  Gracias por una noche romantica (:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Summer Gazpacho

summer gazpacho

Easy Summer Gazpacho

Hawt, hawt and humid…for–at least–the next 2 months.  Pretty much the only good thing that comes out of this oppressive weather is that it puts the wet and sticky kibosh on my face stuffing.  My belly begs, “Hold up, Chubster! Step away from anything hot, carb-ladden and heavy on the ‘ol digestion!”  I always listen to a protesting belly…so here you have it.  The easiest summer gazpacho.  Simple, quick, cool and light…and so very tasty and refreshing.

just rough chop and blend...easy easy!

just rough chop and blend…easy easy!

SUMMER GAZPACHO

Serves 6-8

1 cucumber (deseeded), rough chopped

6 tomatoes, rough chopped

1 red bell pepper, rough chopped

1 serrano chile (deseeded), rough chopped

2 teeth of garlic

1/3 cup of sherry vinegar

1/3 cup of olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Rough chop all ingredients above and place in blender.  Add olive oil, sherry vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.  Blend well until smooth.  Pour in large bowl and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.  Serve thoroughly chilled and top with tomato and avocado garnish.

 

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Only 2.5 Hours Away From NYC–Family Vaycay

Viceroy view

Majestic view from the Viceroy Hotel, Brickell.

This question comes up time and time again on my local Mom’s listserv:  “Where can I take the kids for a family friendly vacation that’s only 2 hours or so away from NYC?”  Go south, my mommy friends.  Hop a quick plane ride  (about 2.5 hours going and just over 2 hours on the return) to paradise…bienvenidos a MIAMI!  Yes, Miami is often thought of as an adult Shangri-la: crazy nightlife, hot clubs and topless beaches…BUT,  it is also a very family friendly place.  Especially, if you stay out of the South Beach party playground.  I personally love the Brickell/Key Biscayne/Coconut Grove/Coral Gables areas (neighborhoods all within 5-15 minutes of each other) which also happen to be a stone’s throw away from the airport–convenient when having to car-it with fussy baby New Yorkers who hate being tethered to automobiles.   Airfare from NYC is generally affordable (think $150.00 for coach class if bought in advance and outside a holiday or high season period).  Below–shots from our most recent viaje–my favorites for a great Miami family holiday:

Bill Baggs State Park, Key Biscayne

Calm and clear waters…Bill Baggs State Park, Key Biscayne

Just over the Rickenbacker Causway (and 10 minutes from our hotel in Brickell–see below), is the glorious Key Biscayne and Bill Baggs State Park.  $8 admission fee and you’re smack dab in paradise.  Beautiful beaches and calm clear waters, a very family friendly beach.  Bike rentals are also available in the park in addition to the most awesome cuban inspired meal you might ever eat while wearing a bathing suit…check out: Boater’s Grill.

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Heavenly view from our table at delicious Boater’s Grill

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These are memories (:

These are summer memories (:

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Peace is the Beach (:

While I love the beach and could spend every day there, the husband is more a dry land fella.  No problema, family friendly activities abound…and if you go off season (early summer), something holier than thou to crammed New Yorkers: NO LINES, anywhere.   We had two great outings: 1) the Miami Zoo.  A top notch and fabulously expansive facility.  The highlight of the day was feeding the giraffes in the Samburu Exhibit.  We waltzed right up to the giant beauties without even a 10 second wait.  2) the wondrous Miami Children’s Museum.  Another mammoth center of fun with a gazillion things for the wee ones to do.  Again–miracle of miracles–we went on the 4th of July and we were, like, one of only 10 other families inside.  Mind blowing…I’ve seen more people at a Starbucks on Columbus and 67th on a random January morning.  I like me some elbow room.

Magical experience...Miami Zoo

Magical experience…Miami Zoo

An African Safari without a HELL flight and vaccines!

An African Safari without a HELL flight OR vaccines!

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Mammoth Facility of Fun

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A little lunch at the Miami Children’s Museum

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Triceratops Rodeo

Where to rest your sun soaked head each night?  I’m a fan of the Viceroy Hotel.  Located in Brickell (about 15 minutes from the airport and another 10 to Miami Beach), which is more mellow than the often raucous South Beach and it still has a very cool urban-meets-beach vibe and an impressively evolving dining scene.  The best part of the Viceroy hotel would be it’s gargantuan infinity pool, enormous hot pool and sweeping views of Biscayne Bay.  A close second: the roomy rooms with little European kitchenettes (think small sink, mini-bar fridge–perfect to sock away apple juice sippies or string cheese and yogurt–microwave and fancy coffee maker) that come in handy when snack time comes a shriekin’ for the youngins’.  We stayed in an enormous double for about $190 a night (rates vary, check website) which fit 5 of us nicely.

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Hell of a Massage Found Here ^^^^^^^

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Count ‘em: THREE pools…alright, one of ‘em is decorative…but not the BIG one.

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Our room. Fit a family of 5 quite nicely.

Eats.  So many wonderfully delicious things to shove into freshly bronzed faces.  Below are a few of my all time favorites.  You cannot get a bad meal at any of these fab joints:

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Rosinella. Home of my favorite risotto.

1) Rosinella, Brickell.  Simple and delicious trattoria style Italian.

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Ceviche 105. Mouthwatering ceviche and Peruvian dishes.

Ceviche 105, Downtown Miami.   The place for ceviche.

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Best everything Coral Gables Bakery/Restaurant

Chocolate Fashion, Coral Gables.  Gem of a breakfast/lunch joint.  Awesome and addictive bakery.

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One of the best Egg Benedict of my life.

Peacock Garden Cafe, Coconut Grove.  Whimsical garden setting and stellar brunch options.

So there you have it: sun, swim, play, eat, sleep…what makes for a better family holiday?   Te quiero, Miami.  Nos vemos pronto.  xoxoxxo

 

 

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If-You-Turn-On-The-Oven-I-Will-Combust Salad

Summer Salad

It is hawwwwwwwwt up in NYC this week.  Muggy, humid and utterly sweltering…all anyone wants to do is flee indoors to AC, strip of their clothes and throw back an icy beverage while re-hydrating in their underwear.   That’s what I do, anyway.   Yet the troops can’t live on fruit-infused water alone.  Rather than turning on the oven and combusting in my very own kitchen, I like to whip up this light and easy summer salad which I blend with a delicious Dijon Vinaigrette (also combines fabulously with cold artichoke hearts, some chilled asparagus or a seasonal tomato salad).   The above is farmer’s market romaine lettuce, local tomatoes, English cucumber, Haas avocado, red onion and a sprinkling of feta cheese and store-bought breaded chopped chicken.  This takes all of 5 minutes to make and is as tasty as it is simple.  Stay cool, my friends.

Dijon Vinaigrette   

3 heaping tablespoons of light olive oil

1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar

2 heaping teaspoons of dijon mustard

splash of worcestershire sauce

splash of fresh lemon

1/4 cup of shredded parmesan cheese

pepper to taste

 

 

 

 

 

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Easiest EVER 4th of July Dessert

angel food cake

foodcakes

little firecracker

Good Bless the USA (-:

Seriously…the EASIEST 4th of July dessert (short of opening up a box of themed colored Big Stick popsicles–love those) EVER.  Berry allergies aside, if you come across a party guest that doesn’t love this, you very will may accuse them of having seared taste buds AND of being unpatriotic.

Step 1: Take your butt down to Wholefoods (or local market).   Step 2: Pick up a chocolate Angel Food Cake and purchase along with fresh blueberries, raspberries and strawberries and a pint of heavy whipping cream.  Step 3: Drop the cream into a mixer or simple stirring bowl, add a couple tablespoons of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and beat a few minutes until whipped cream texture.  Step 4: Rinse berries.  Step 5: Cut slices of angel food cake and plate with a mound of fresh berries and generous dollops of whipped cream.   Done…and super delish.

 

 

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Safari Birthday Party

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snack sandwich

snake sammie

cup cakes

cupcakes

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N pic

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me and girls

full shot safari party

My kids are obsessed with the Lion King and all things animal and Africa.  In a bid to save some money on my littlest’s birthday (as I’ve written in previous post, NYC birthdays can easily set you back a thousand dollars), we decided to do a small, low-key home party with 8 of her friends.  The theme was Safari…I think we pulled it off (:  Fun was had by all…and in reality, it was only a handful of hours of moderate stress fro me (home parties are not for the totally faint of heart).

We’re lucky enough to have a children’s play space in our building, so we kicked off the festivities down there…spending about 30 minutes letting the kids run around and acclimate.  Followed up with about an hour (and some) in our apartment for a couple of themed games, snacks, cupcakes and the tried and true pinata.   Below are some tips for a successful and affordable home party:

1) Keep the guest list minimal.  We capped ours at 8 kids (plus caretakers).

2)  Designate specific space in your apartment (for you suburbanites, this could easily be only your yard).  We closed off our bedrooms and utilized our dining and living space.

3) Clear furniture and breakables from party space.  Kids will be kids.  They run, they jump, they mess with things.  Anything of value should be put away.

4) Keep your menu simple and make your own food, if possible.  I like party times away from major meals of the day.  We held our bash at 2:30pm.  Kids had already eaten lunch so we provided a variety of juices and water, small sandwiches, olives and pickles, crudite and dip, a variety of chips, cookies, novelty candies, fruit, and cupcakes.  I also like to provide some champagne or wine/beer for the adult guests.  I realize some parents frown upon booze at kid gigs…honestly, it is the only way I can power through em’.

5)  Go with a theme that is easy to execute.  My kids’ fervor for animals and the Lion King made this one easy for us.  a) Look around your house at what you might already have available.  We were in possession of great little animal figurines, some fabrics, floor mats and artwork that helped with setting and table-scape. b) Soundtracks are easily down-loadable on Pandora, Spotify or iTunes and music helps with the overall ambiance. c) Scour the discount online retailers (Amazon, Oriental Trading Company, Shindigz, Party City, etc.) for great deals on decorations and paper goods.  I love Retail Me Not for additional coupon discounts.

With decorations, food, games, prizes and party favors, this Safari Party set me back about $300-$350.  That’s approximately a $500-$900 savings compared to utilizing one of our local kid’s clubs or gyms.  Not bad.

My childhood was filled with these types of lovingly crafted parties…my mother was/is a creative visionary.  I have so many wonderful and indelible memories.  I can only hope to pass on a little bit of her magic to my kids.

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Uber Boober

babe 10 wks 001

On the eve of my youngest’s 2nd birthday, I find myself morphed into this person I couldn’t have ever imagined I’d be: the ultimate Uber Boober.

Yep.  Still nursing a walking, talking, wheeling and dealing, honest-to-goodness toddler.  Really, if you think about it, a very small lady.  She eats three square meals (and a boat load of snacks), she’s practically potty trained, she argues and rationalizes in almost complete sentences…but yet, she’s still on the boob.  And the really strange part for me: there’s no end in sight.  She’s not compelled to give it up and I’m ambivalent about a set wean.  We’re just coasting along the milk highway…going with the flow (I love puns), like picturesque Route 66, with no end in sight.

Yet, I can’t believe this is me.  I’m apathetic to granola.  I don’t even own a pair of Birkenstocks.  Incense make me nauseous.  And even more humbling, I’m this awful hypocrite:  ME, the mom who poked fun at the other mothers nursing kids with mouths full of teeth and the early ability to reason.  “Get her off the boob already!”, I’d chortle…”Enough with human pacifier bit”…as I finger wagged.

Who is this maternal earth goddess exorcising me and how the hell did she get in my bra?  I get the…was going to write baby’s but really she’s not one anymore…toddler’s motivation.  It is sweet (like actually tastes super sweet–think watered down condensed milk), it is nurturing, it is safety, it is comfort, it is love.  My motivations are a bit more muddling:

Possible Reasons Why I’m Making Like A Blond Gorilla In the Mist

  • Bam. ^^^right above…we’re evolved primates, man.  We’re mammals, this is what our kind do.  What we’re suppose to and are physically equipped to do.

 

  • It is so damn easy.  Like a fish to water, a moth to a flame, a baby to my boob.  Easy Peasy.  From the first kid onward.  Sacked with these enormous udders since adolescence,  finally they serve a genuine purpose (outside the awkward gropings, creepy gawking and enough under wire to fence an entire Mexican border).  I’m like the  Mary Lou Retton (hey, shout-out to the shorties) of breastfeeding…a true and talented natural.

 

  • It’s so good for the baby/toddler/(child?)  Organic this, non-GMO that, BPA free, phalate free…feeding these little people and yourself is exhausting…grocery shopping is like trying to read endlessly written minuscule fine print.  Here’s some science to back me up:  http://news.brown.edu/pressreleases/2013/06/breastfeeding  http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/breastfeeding/en/

 

  • And…what do ya know…It’s also good for me (and you too, woman)…more science: http://healthland.time.com/2013/06/07/more-breast-feeding-could-save-billions-and-prevent-thousands-of-breast-cancer-cases/

 

  • This might very well be my last baby.  Shop’s creaking to a close.  Ol’ ovaries aren’t what they used to be.  Maybe this is my way of holding on to the last bit of baby and one of my great biological purposes as her mother.

 

  • My Ego wants to nurse.  Turns out I’m also holding on to youth and fertility.  Breast feeding signifies these powerful things.  Yuh huh…aging is id humbling.

 

  • My husband might be the only actual male member of La Leche League.  Never did a bigger breastfeeding cheerleader exist in the history of time.  Bring It On caliber nursing advocate and incidentally, not breastfeed himself.  He’s convinced the lack of mother’s milk is the root of all his failings and negative character attributes.  Ra Ra Ra, GOOOOO Lactation!

 

  • My 2nd is a prickly little pear.  She’s always been independent and headstrong.  You have to really work for her affection.  The boob is our closeness time when she actually needs me.

 

  • It’s like Ambien for babies and toddlers.  Nothing gets that kid to sleep faster…nothing.

 

  • Weaning, while a few days at most, is psychological warfare…at this point, she’d annihilate me.  I need some sort of weaning Navy Seal training before being able to really stand my ground.  Basically, I’m a pussy.

And so we’ll continue on…until…until…who knows…in the meantime make room for me at the co-op, fellow Uber Boobers, can’t wait to try the free-trade, organic carob, kale and hemp cookies!!

 

 

 

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Empanada Mama

chicken emps

empanada

 

red pepper

finely chopped red pepper, white and green onion

 

open empanada

Add about 1 heaping tablespoon of meat filling to each disc

fold

fold stuffed (outer edges moistened with water) disc over into a crescent shape and press down to seal

fork empanada

strengthen seal by pressing fork down on closed edges

braid

scrunch edges together with your fingers and fold crimps slightly over each other

Though this post should really be called “FEED ‘YO MAN!” as Father’s Day is next Sunday.   Besides miraculously being transformed into a childless, well-rested, rich, single professional athlete, I can’t imagine anything Dads would like more on their one allotted day than to be left alone for a bit and a basketful of warm and perfectly flaky empanadas.   Carbs and man caves (in our case, it’s the bathroom with the door shut)–of course–follow a close second to athletic prowess and supermodels on yachts.  But, hey, chin up, Pops:  We got you some chimichurri too!  These are deliciously easy chicken empanadas.  A simple recipe passed down to me years ago from my dear Argentinean friend and neighbor.  Coincidentally, I like to sing loud wail-y ballads from Evita while I crank out this yummy pockets…but only because it’s Father’s Day, I’ll sing silently in my head, Babe.  xoxoxox

Chicken Empanadas

Makes approximately 20 

Preheat oven to 400 F Bake

3 tablespoons of olive oil

1 lb of boneless skinless chicken breast

1 red pepper, finely chopped

1/4 onion finely chopped (yellow or white)

handful of green onions, finely chopped

3 teeth of garlic, chopped

handful of parsley, finely chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 a jar of pitted green olives, chopped

1 egg (for pastry wash)

2 packets (of 10) empanada discs (found in most grocery frozen food sections)

Directions

Remove frozen empanada discs from freezer and leave thawing on counter.  Heat olive oil in saute pan.  Add  minced chicken and cook thoroughly until browned.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Remove cooked chicken from pan.  Still on medium/high heat, add chopped red pepper, green/white onion and garlic. Add additional salt and pepper, if desired.  Saute until soft and translucent. Return cooked chicken to pan and add chopped handful of parsley.  Heat and mix thoroughly.  Remove from heat and add chopped green olives.  Let cool to a warm.  Remove discs from package and place on cutting board surface.  With plain water, run wet finger around rim of disc.  Add 1 heaping tablespoon of chicken filling to center of disc.  Fold disc over to crescent shape and press shut.  To firmly secure seal, use a fork to further press down.  Push pieces of disc rim together with your fingers, creating small crimps.  Fold crimps over one another to make a braid-like pattern.  Line empanadas up on non-stick baking sheet (I like to use Silpat).  Using 1 beaten egg and a pastry brush, paint egg mixture on tops of empanada dough covering.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and slightly puffed.  Serve at room temperature.

 

 

 

 

 

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Birthday Bedlam

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Another check on the NYC Family Living Cons List: the down-to-earth (read: inexpensive, home-based) kids B-Day party.   They very well may have NEVER existed or–have in most recent times–gone the way of the Dodo bird. The average UWS birthday party for the 5 year old and under set can easily set you back over $1300.  That’s some serious cheddar for mini people who probably won’t store an indelible memory for another few years.   Besides the run-of-the-mill absurdities of conspicuous wealth making a complete muck of things, the terrifying thought of hosting 10-20 kids in our gilded shoe boxes is probably the real clincher.   And so we have (exasperated) parental mass flight to the local children’s gyms, the cliched tourist traps and kid themed craft meccas.  Well, this year, I just can’t.  I can’t.  I won’t.  Call me cheap, call me insane.  I’m bringing it back Old School.  I’m clearing out most of my living room furniture, scouring over Oriental Trading Company catalogues and clicking my Retail Me Not coupons and taking this Dodo bird HOME.  My home.  Uh, shit.  As in my little apartment.  Oh, screw fear.   It’s going to be fabulous…and if not, I’ll later spoon finger leftover cupcake icing into my mouth and chase the Crisco sweet taste of failure down with shots of tequila.  But first, I do have a Plan A:

1) Combine sibling parties.  No one ever promised you a rose garden…or your own birthday party.  My girls’ B-days are only 6 weeks apart.  This is a real cost cutting move.  2 kids, 1 party.  The little gals are young enough (4 and 1) that they don’t mind sharing their day…or at least they haven’t figured out how to effectively complain about it yet.

2) Trim your guest list.   Plus +1′s are hard to come by in NYC…even with the baby set.  Let attendees know that, due to space constraint, this needs to be a sibling free party.  You can also skim down to outside-class-friends if your child’s school allows you to celebrate with a small, low key class party…think mini cupcakes and quick happy birthday song.

3) Do a weekday party.  Preserve the sacred weekend and help out tired working parents while freeing up more square footage.  Apathetic kiddo party Dads across Manhattan virtually high five you.

4) The standard 5 year and under birthday party runs about 1.5 hours in most kid focused establishments.  Keep to this well-oiled tradition.  If you have the luxury of a local park close by, consider 1 hour in your apartment that would approximately break down to: 15 minutes of guest arrive/intro/craft….20 minutes of kid games (think musical chairs, pin-the-tail, hot potato, freeze dance) 10 minutes of snacks/lunch/pizza…10 minutes for happy birthday and cake/pinata (calm yourself: modern ones have strings to pull instead of wooden bats to bludgeon your coffee table with)…5 minutes for party favor distribution…30-60 minutes wrap up/free play at nearby, walkable park.

4) If just the idea of a home party gives you tachycardia, shop around for Groupon or Plum District  et al kid party deals.  Summer tends to be a bit slower for some of these kid play farms.  Check online or cold call and ask if they can offer you a deal.  Also, our local library and YMCA offer discounted (comparative to franchised chidren’s gyms) party space.  If you’re the gambling type and want to brave the elements, local park permits run around $25 in NYC.

5) Back to the strong hearted, Homesteaders: I’m dead serious about the furniture.  Move it out (I’m moving breakables and large pieces into close door rooms).  Secure only a portion of your apartment for the party.  This way you control mess and hopefully minimize accidents.

6) God Bless Pinterest.  There is a wealth of information (and also…sigh…domestic goddess insecurity inducers) online.  Find a theme and inspiration and build on it while pinning away.

So these are my bullet points and I’m sticking to ‘em.   I’m going to try to keep this kiddo Project X under $350 Total.  Receipts and pics to follow soon.   Meanwhile, I’ve included a little photo recap of last year’s festivities: Vintage Carnival Theme.  I totally caved–after initially booking Chelsea Piers Carousel–(affordable/check it out) and did it at my local My Gym, as temperatures hit 100 F that week.  NO party–no matter how retro adorable–can recover from being held in an acrid boiling armpit.  Ah, NYC in the summahtime….never a dull moment…or pleasant smell.

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Bake Sale Booyah!

Banana Marble Chocolate Chip Bar

 

Banana Chocolate Chip Marble Bar Front

 

banana marble chocolate chip side

 

So I’m sick competitive.  Doesn’t take much therapy (like one session: Awww Dad, you were the arm-chair star) to come to that deeply insightful and utterly useless understanding.   I grew up in a house full of rambunctious, close-in-age girls with a young and distracted (read selfishly immature) workaholic father at the helm.  Turns out, estrogen, teen hysteria and neglect make for close (and character building) quarters.  In a story book environment like that, what little girl doesn’t crave some validation from dear old Dad?  Well, the only way to get it was to stand out from the blurry pack of blond and beat the crap out of someone in sports, academics or artistic ability.  Picture Hunger Games meets suburban Saturday soccer…”Look, Daddy!  Girl down AND a yellow card…will you LOVE ME NOW!!??”  Repeat infighting with report cards and uncomfortably ambitious talent show performances.

So now I’m an adult.  Shit.  And a Mom.  Double Shit.  All my angst and neurosis mostly suppressed…but occasionally spilling over to…bake sales.  Bring IT, Bitch…Oh it’s Brought!        With this heavenly Banana Marble Chocolate Chip Bar.  A little cake, a lot bar.  The banana makes it wonderfully moist while the chocolate gives it rich structure.  Best in Show, Your Daddy Really Loves You, I WIN, good bars.  To the victor go the spoils…in the payment of tragic Karma …can’t wait for my girls to beautifully tie-in all my parental failings with baked up batches of kick-ass brownies.

Banana Marble Chocolate Chip Bars

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup of mashed ripe bananas (about 2 medium)

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

 Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13 x 9-inch pan.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.  Add the egg, vanilla and bananas and beat well.  Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add this to the creamed mixture and mix well.  Divide batter in half.  Add the cocoa powder to half, blend well and spread into the prepared pan.  Spoon the remaining batter on top and swirl with a knife.

Sprinkle evenly with the chocolate chips. Bake for 30 minutes or until the bars test done. Cool completely before cutting.

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