Banana Pumpkin Pancakes

I originally found this recipe in Cooking Light Magazine but it was just for banana pancakes. I kicked it up a few notches and made it mine! They are not your normal run of the mill pancakes, they’re a bit more on the rich and custard side but so good, and filling! Loaded with protein also, and when you add the pumpkin more fiber! Easy to make and super easy to eat! I’m not normally a breakfast person but these pancakes are a hit. You can add other items or topper to them but we just added butter and syrup. I also of course forgot to take pics so these are generic pancakes. Similar to the size of what I made. This recipe made about 10 pancakes.



3 medium ripe bananas (we had so many bananas in the freezer that had just gotten too ripe and they worked perfect in this recipe. Just make sure they’re thawed out before using)

6 tablespoons whole-wheat flour

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

½ cup canned pumpkin

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

½-¾ cup chopped walnuts


  1.  Mash the bananas with a fork until smooth. Add the pumpkin, flour, pumpkin pie spice and eggs, whisk well.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, or an electric skillet. I used a rectangular electric skillet so I could make more at once.
  3. Spoon/pour batter onto hot skillet into medium size pancakes. Cook 2 minutes or until tops are covered with bubbles and edges are cooked.
  4. Carefully flip the pancakes and cook another 1-2 minutes until done. They will be a little thicker than normal pancakes and this is fine. They’re kinda like french toast pancakes.
  5. Serve hot with your favorite topping!

Hot Shrimp Scampi Spinach Dip

I have now made this dip twice. It is beyond incredible! Creamy, garlicky, cheesy, rich and loaded with shrimp. If there is anything left over you can use it as a topping on baked fish as well, which I did! Still incredible. If you don’t like shrimp or garlic stay away. Once you start eating this you can’t stop either so be prepared. The first time I made it we had a friend over for cocktails and snacks, this friend is a chef by the way. He was blown away by it. So it’s officially my new dip. It is best served with tortilla chips or pita chips. Even thin crostini would be great or crackers. I used greek yogurt cream cheese the first time I made it. It’s a mix of greek yogurt with cream cheese and less calories than regular cream cheese. But it’s just as good with regular cream cheese which I used the 2nd time. The recipe also calls for a shallot, which I didn’t have the first time I made it so I used 1/2 of a vidalia sweet onion. I also used light mayonnaise but feel free to use regular.

Give this recipe a try, you won’t be disappointed!

Hot Shrimp Scampi Spinach Dip

Hot Shrimp Scampi Spinach Dip


1 8 oz. package cream cheese of choice (cut up into cubes)

10-12 oz. medium cooked shrimp, chopped into chunks. (2-3 chunks per shrimp)

2 cups fresh spinach leaves roughly chopped

2/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese (feel free to use more cheese also)

1/3 cup light mayonnaise

1 medium shallot, finely chopped

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon minced garlic (more if you like a lot of garlic!)

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Basil leaf for garnish


Preheat oven to 350°.

In a large skillet, melt the butter at medium-high heat. Toss in the shrimp, spinach, shallot and garlic.

Stir gently until the shallot is translucent and the spinach is wilted. This should take about 5 minutes, making sure all the ingredients are heated through.

Remove from the heat and add in the lemon juice.

Transfer the mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add the mayonnaise, 1/3 cup of the parmesan cheese and the cream cheese and mix well.

Put mixture into a baking dish large enough to hold it all. 8×8 or larger. Anything is good as long as it’s large enough to hold it all. Sprinkle the rest of the parmesan cheese on top and bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes. Top should be lightly browned and bubbling.

Garnish with a basil leave. Serve hot/warm!

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Refreshing Cucumber Salsa

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I received this recipe in my email this weekend and just had to try it out. It was originally from a Taste of Home reader from North Dakota (Crisp Cucumber Salsa) and the only thing I changed was the type of cucumber. I used the english/hothouse cucumber and didn’t peel it. The original recipe called for peeling the cucumber, which I would only do if I used a regular variety. The english style holds up better and stays firmer.

I made the recipe for a couple of friends and it was a huge success. So easy and healthy as well! The original recipe called for serving immediately but I think letting it chill for a bit would be better. I will definitely be making this quite a bit this summer!

A refreshing, light, crunchy salsa/relish. It would easily go on burgers, hot dogs, chicken or fish as well! I might even try using greek yogurt instead of the sour cream next time! If anyone tries it that way let me know!


2 cups finely chopped, seeded cucumber (I used english cucumber)

1/2 cup finely chopped seeded tomato (1 medium plum tomato)

1/4 cup chopped red onion

2 TBS minced fresh parsley

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped

4-1/2 tsp minced fresh cilantro

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup light sour cream

1-1/2 tsp lemon juice

1-1/2 tsp lime juice

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp seasoned salt

Baked tortilla chip scoops


1: In a medium bowl, combine the cucumber, tomato, red onion, parsley, jalapeño pepper, cilantro and garlic.

2: in a small bowl add the sour cream, lemon juice, lime juice, cumin and seasoned salt.

3: Pour creamy mixture over the cucumber mixture and mix gently. Coating all ingredients.

4: It can be served immediately but is better chilled for about 15-30 minutes before serving. Stir before serving.

Calories: 16 per 1/4 cup (without chips)

Fat: 1g

Sodium: 44mg

Carbs: 2g

Protein: 1g

Strufoli (Italian honey balls)

 This is a reposting of a previous blog from last year! Still a timeless treat no matter what the holiday is, and this time it’s for Easter! So give them a try! They are not hard to make, honest!!

This is a recipe that my grandmother (Nana) used to make for us years ago, usually around Easter. Though they are good at any time of the year for any occasion. The first time I made these it took me forever to roll each little ball. Then I talked to my Italian Aunt Rosie about making them and she laughed when I told her I rolled each little ball individually. She said that took way too long! She told me to roll the dough into long strips like giant pretzel rods and just cut them! Simple! These little honey balls are really good and bring back so many childhood memories. They stay fresh for a very long time and you can even freeze them for another time! (Without the honey of course!) They really are simple to make and always a hit.

Strufoli (Honey Balls)


4 eggs

¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon butter

2½ cups flour

½ cup honey

vegetable oil

colored nonpareil (confetti)


1. In a large bowl, mix together eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, sugar, and butter. Add flour, 1 cup at a time. The last ½ cup of flour can be added if necessary to make a smooth dough. Let dough stay in bowl, covered with a dish, for ½ hour.

2. Roll out portions of dough. Cut dough into strips, rounded like pretzels, then cut into ½-inch pieces.

3. Heat about 2½ inches of oil in the bottom of a pan or deep fryer. Fry the pieces of dough, a handful at a time. If you can do this in a frying basket, it will be easier to take them out. Place pieces on paper towels to drain.

4. Heat honey until just under the boiling point. Place strufoli in a bowl and drizzle honey over them, gently tossing. Arrange on a large platter and sprinkle with the nonpareil (confetti). You can shape into a mound on a large flat dish or into a wreath.

Makes about 150 little strufoli

Slow Cooker Cheesy Enchilada Soup

I keep talking the talk about my slow cooker but I hardly use it. So this past weekend I finally did.

Though I have to remember to start it early in the day, not at the end of the day. Either way, we had this soup twice during the week. It was delicious! So simple too.

I got the recipe from a fellow blogger Reeni. She has a great blog and I make quite a few of her recipes. Check out the original recipe at Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice.  I changed a few things but it still came out awesome.

I can’t wait to make it again when the weather here in Florida finally cools down for more than a day. Don’t be afraid of your slow cooker. I honestly use to only use it to warm wine for Mulled Wine!  But I’m experimenting more and plan on using it more and more. And this recipe is pretty healthy for you as well! Lots of fiber and protein! 

Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Soup


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large sweet or Vidalia onion, diced

1-2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

1 can (11 ounce) Rotel diced tomatoes & green chiles

4 cups low-sodium/low-fat chicken broth

1 ¼ pounds boneless chicken breasts

2 cups corn (15-16 ounce can is good)

1 can black beans (15 ounces or so)

1 tablespoon chile powder

1 teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon oregano

2 cups shredded cheese of choice (I used Great Value’s Fiesta Mix)

1 cup light sour cream, plus more for serving

sliced avocado for garnish (this is delicious by the way, I was skeptical at first but happy with the results!)

Tortilla chips for serving if desired.

Coarse salt and pepper 


1. In a medium skillet heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, peppers and garlic. Season with salt/pepper. Cook this until everything is softened, about 10-15 minutes.

2. While that is softening add to the crock-pot the Rotel tomatoes, chicken broth, chicken, corn, black beans, chile powder, cumin, oregano and 1 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher is good) and about ½ teaspoon of black pepper.

3. When the onions, garlic and peppers are softened add to the crock-pot and mix it all up thoroughly. Cook on high for 3-4 hours (this is what I did because I started late in the day) or 5-6 on low. Remove the chicken breasts to a cutting board and shred or cut into small pieces. I shredded mine. Add the sour cream and cheese to the pot and mix well. Add the chicken back to the pot. Cook 1 more hour on low heat.

4. Serve same day or next day. We had it the next night and it really gave the flavors time to grow. Garnish with more cheese, sour cream and avocado, or chips. 

Leftovers are even better! Love this soup!

Twice Baked Butternut Squash (two ways)

This recipe was originally a Rachael Ray recipe which I adapted.  The first time I made it I ‘twice’ baked it back in the original shell of the squash. It came out wonderful. Delicious. Filling.

Twice Baked Butternut Squash

Twice Baked Butternut Squash

The 2nd time I made this I was all ready to put it back in the shell/skin to ‘twice’ bake it when I decided to try it in a casserole dish instead. Maybe it wasn’t as fancy or unique as baking in the skin but it was easy and less of a hassle. 

Twice Baked Butternut Squash Casserole

Twice Baked Butternut Squash Casserole

I think both ways came out excellent. Both delicious. Both filling. This was the entire meal for John and I. It was more than enough. It can easily be used as a side dish as well. If using as a side dish I would say it serves 4 people but as a meal, 2 people.

The recipe is a little time-consuming but it is well worth it. It’s a simple dish with lots of flavors. Butternut squash is also low in calories and just plain delicious so give it a try! Actually the most difficult part of this is cutting the squash in half. Make sure you have a strong knife and sturdy counter!


1 butternut squash

extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

salt and pepper

fresh nutmeg

6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, divided in half (leave out if you wish)

¾ cup sharp cheddar cheese, divided (or use any kind of sharp cheese you want, I used a combo of horseradish cheddar and regular cheddar last time)

8 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese (feel free to use full fat one also)

¾ cup grated parmesan cheese, divided. (we use Locatelli)

½ cup chopped finely red onion

4-5 cloves of garlic, minced (use less if too much for you)

2-3 scallions chopped (all parts)


Heat oven to 425°. Halve the squash lengthwise. Be very careful! Like I said this is the hardest part of the recipe. Scoop out the seeds and mushy stuff. (you’ll see what I mean)

Drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt, pepper and a little fresh nutmeg. If using powdered just lightly sprinkle a little bit on top. Honestly this will not make it taste like a cake or anything weird. 

Roast till fork tender, 30-40 minutes. Let it cool so you can handle it easily.

Carefully scoop out the inside of the squash into a bowl, trying to keep the skins intact. (if you’re not going to use the skins than don’t worry about it)

Mash the squash.  I have a pretty lame masher so I put the squash flesh in my food processor and blended it till smooth.  

Put the squash in a large bowl and add half the cheddar, half the bacon, half the parmesan cheese, all of the ricotta, red onions, garlic and scallions. (you can save some scallions for topping if you wish)

Mix all completely. If using the shells place the filling back into the two shells. It will be a lot but don’t worry it’s fine.  If not using the shells place into a casserole dish. (I sprayed the casserole dish with cooking spray just in case).

Top the squash with the remaining cheddar, parmesan and bacon. Put back in oven for 5-10 minutes until bubbly and golden brown.


Serves 2 as a meal or 4 as a side dish

Summer Couscous Salad

It’s been a while but here is a new recipe. I made this dish yesterday to bring to a friend’s for a barbecue. She said to bring a side. Turns out she made almost the same exact salad! Very funny, but they had a few different ingredients so it was cool. (Hers had chopped red pepper, and everyone who knows me knows I would NEVER put sweet peppers in anything!)She also didn’t have the carrots or tomatoes.

I just threw this together quickly and it can totally be changed to what you like. It’s your choice!

This was a very fast and easy salad to make. It’s a nice change from the usual heavy ‘pasta’ type salads. Mostly veggies also so how can it be bad? Enjoy.

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1 ½ cups pearl couscous (cooked according to package directions) I also used chicken broth instead of water

1 can corn kernel, drained and rinsed

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

¼-½ of an english cucumber chopped small (If you use a regular cucumber, remove the seeds and peel)

1 stalk celery sliced/chopped

1 carrot grated or chopped

cherry tomatoes/halved (I used about 20 or so)

¼ cup red onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon dried dill

½- 1 teaspoon garlic powder (approximately)

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste


Put all ingredients in a large bowl (except for olive oil). Mix thoroughly. Then slowly add some olive oil to make it smooth and silky. I think I used a couple of tablespoons. 

Chill several hours and serve.