Banana Cake with Cinnamon Glaze

There’s nothing better than a slice of warm banana snack cake with a crunchy cinnamon glaze on top. Enjoy with a hot drink or some cold milk. One of the best cakes I’ve ever had!

Banana Cake with Cinnamon Glaze | thepajamachef.com

I love bananas. For eating alone as a snack, I prefer them slightly green. For eating sliced with some natural peanut butter, I prefer them bright yellow. But for baking cakes or bread? They need to be spotted, and as close to black as possible without rotting or being so mushy that you can hardly touch them without squirming. Sorry for that visual, but you know it’s true! :)

Banana Cake with Cinnamon Glaze | thepajamachef.com

I’ve made a few other banana cakes in my lifetime–this chocolate chip banana cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting is out of this world–but this simple one is my favorite. My mom’s friend passed along the recipe and it is just so good. It’s one of the first recipes I remember baking on my own. Usually we made it with a very simple powdered sugar glaze, but last time I made it I added some cinnamon and OH MY GOODNESS. Cinnamon glaze > plain glaze anyday. I need to try this on doughnuts. I was seriously eating it with a spoon, so if the glaze looks a little thin in spots… ha ha.

Banana Cake with Cinnamon Glaze | thepajamachef.com

This cake is a cinch to throw together, but it tastes like a million bucks! Enjoy! :)

two years ago: Red Velvet Marshmallow Bites
three years ago: Spicy Sausage, Chicken, and Bean Stew
four years ago: Crockpot Hot Potato Soup

Banana Cake with Cinnamon Glaze

  • Servings: 24
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Print

from my mom’s friend Lis

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup mashed bananas
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

for glaze

  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • milk to thin, if necessary

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream together butter, sugar, and eggs. Fold in flour, baking soda, baking powder, buttermilk, bananas, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir until just combined.

Spread in a greased 9×13 inch pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow bars to cool for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, make the glaze by whisking together butter, powdered sugar, and cinnamon. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary, to thin glaze. Pour glaze over warm bars and allow to cool completely before slicing.

Book Review: The Secret of Pembrooke Park

Welcome to the next installment of Sarah’s book reviews! Today we have a Gothic/Regency/Inspirational book to review for you… Julie Klassen’s The Secret of Pembrooke Park. And it is fabulous. :)

The Secret of Pembrooke Park, by Julie Klassen – A Review on thepajamachef.com

Here is a description of the book from the publisher:

Abigail Foster is the practical daughter. She fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry, and the one man she thought might marry her seems to have fallen for her younger, prettier sister.

Facing financial ruin, Abigail and her father search for more affordable lodgings, until a strange solicitor arrives with an astounding offer: the use of a distant manor house abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left: tea cups encrusted with dry tea, moth-eaten clothes in wardrobes, a doll’s house left mid-play…

The handsome local curate welcomes them, but though he and his family seem acquainted with the manor’s past, the only information they offer is a stern warning: Beware trespassers drawn by rumors that Pembrooke Park contains a secret room filled with treasure.

This catches Abigail’s attention. Hoping to restore her family’s finances–and her dowry–Abigail looks for this supposed treasure. But eerie sounds at night and footprints in the dust reveal she isn’t the only one secretly searching the house.

Then Abigail begins receiving anonymous letters, containing clues about the hidden room and startling discoveries about the past.

As old friends and new foes come calling at Pembrooke Park, secrets come to light. Will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks…or very real danger?

As usual, my five point review:

  • This plot. It. is. AWESOME. Think intriguing mystery plus action plus a bit of romance. Mmm, my faveee! My biggest complaint with many Christian novels [and I’d say this one is more “clean” than “Christian”] is that the plots aren’t complex. I know some of these authors are good, but sometimes their fiction can just be la-di-da happy bunnies and kitties. Yup, I said that. :) Well, if you’re looking for a good plot and a complex mystery, look no further. This is it.
  • These characters. I instantly liked Abigail. She’s smart, and mature, and organized. Her role had been taking care of her family. But truthfully, I never liked her family. They didn’t appreciate her, even her father [who blamed her for losing the family money]. I get her sister’s actions, but her parents? Ugh. Abigail makes some great friends in the community, and of course has two great options for love interests. I’m on team William, the local curate [basically pastor], not team Gabriel [aka neighbor]. Read and see who she chooses! :)
  • Though I know I said I liked the complex nature of the mystery, one area that I found confusing was tracing family relationships. Having a family tree included would have been useful, but ultimately would have spoiled the unraveling of the story. So I’ve got it… but you just have to be pay attention to make sense of it all.
  • I loved all the Jane Austen and other classic English literatures references in this novel. So smart, especially since this book was set in the 1800s. How fun would that have been to live in those times, reading new Jane Austen novels!
  • Though this novel is on the long side [460 pages], it goes by in a flash. I read most of it over this past Valentine’s weekend, and it’s definitely a stay-up-all-night read! Five stars for sure!

What are you reading lately?

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. However, I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to Bethany House for the chance to read this great book!

SRC: Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice

Panfried falafel served up with lots of creamy tzatziki [cucumber sauce] and a tangy Greek rice. No one said vegetarian food had to be boring!

Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice | thepajamachef.com #SRC #vegetarian

I’m so glad it’s a Secret Recipe Club [SRC] day! What’s SRC? Basically a fun blogging group where you’re secretly paired up with another blogger. Everyone makes a recipe from their assigned blog and posts on the same day. The club has grown over the years and now has four groups. Since I first joined a few years[!] ago, I’ve been in group A. But when I had the chance to switch groups, I got SO excited because–hello!–new blogs to explore! :) So now I’m in group C and loving it! This month I was assigned to Jamie’s blog, Our Eating Habits. Jamie lives in Canada and like any food blogger, loves food. She says on her about page: “Eating is a big part of my life, so I make sure everything that goes into my mouth is tasty.” A sentiment I agree with! [And that is EXACTLY why I bought jalapeno cheetos on Saturday at the grocery store. Those are SO good. Anyway…] Jamie loves cooking and baking for her family and has an impressive number of recipes on her blog. It was so fun to browse her recipes! I was tempted to make these red velvet M&M cake mix bars for Valentine’s Day, and will make this Butterscotch Confetti at Christmastime this year! I was all set to make those red velvet bars when I saw that Jamie had a falafel recipe…and I was sold!

Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice | thepajamachef.com #SRC #vegetarian

Though I love falafel, sometimes I’m hesitant to order it at restaurants because it’s easy to make it too dry since it’s basically deep-fried chickpea balls/patties. Chickpeas are a drier bean anyway, so it makes sense. That’s why I’ve been excited to see so many pan-fried recipes for falafel lately. This recipe doesn’t disappoint! It’s so flavorful and moist [sorry!]. I changed the recipe a little from Jamie’s version, using lime juice instead of lemon, and adding the zest in for a little something special. Jamie used an egg as a binder and I decided to exclude it just so I didn’t have to worry about not cooking the falafel enough. I compensated for the lack of egg by using more chickpeas and less bread crumbs. Served up with some creamy tzatziki, chopped tomatoes and red onion, on a pita or lettuce-wrap style, this is an awesome meal! I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make this tasty vegetarian meal. Jamie added mayo to her tzatziki sauce and I thought that was genius! The mayo made the sauce a little creamier and added a little extra zip, but it also tasted good without.

Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice | thepajamachef.com #SRC #vegetarian

As a side, I made a super easy lemon rice. It has just four ingredients: jasmine rice, chicken broth, rosemary, and lemon juice and is SO addictive. The bright, fresh flavor was perfect alongside the falafel. This is not a meal to be missed! Hope you try it today. :) Thanks, Jamie, for a great recipe!

one year ago: Fresh Cranberry Coffee Cake
two years ago: Go-To Pancakes
three years ago: Sunrise Muffins
four years ago: Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes

Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 50 minutes
  • Print

Falafel and Tzatziki from Our Eating Habits; Greek Lemon Rice from Thank Your Body

Ingredients:

for falafel

  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • zest of 1 lime
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1/2-1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1-2 cans chickpeas [15 ounces each]
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • oil for cooking

for Tzatziki

  • 2 cups plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cucumber, seeded and grated, pressed dry with a clean dish towel
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill [or 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped]
  • 1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste

for Greek Lemon Rice

  • 1 cup jasmine or basmati rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • juice of 1 lemon [approximately 1/4 cup]
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste

for serving

  • pita bread
  • chopped red onions
  • chopped tomato
  • romaine lettuce

Directions:

Begin by making the tzatziki. In a medium bowl, stir together yogurt, cucumber, dill, and mayo. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate while cooking falafel and rice.

Next, mix up the falafel. In a food processor, pulse together onion, parsley, garlic, cumin, coriander, cayenne, lime zest, and lime juice. Then add 1/4 cup bread crumbs and 1 can chickpeas and pulse together, being careful to not completely pulverize the chickpeas. Check to see if mixture holds together, then add additional bread crumbs and/or chickpeas, pulsing gently, until mixture can be shaped into patties. I used 1/2 cup bread crumbs and 1 1/2 cans chickpeas [approximately 2 1/4 cups chickpeas]. Season to taste with pepper and salt. Shape into small patties–I used about 1/4 cup for each. Place on a plate or baking sheet and pop in the fridge to chill while starting the rice.

In a small saucepan set over high heat, combine rice, chicken broth, rosemary, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, then stir. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer, cooking for 15-20 minutes until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Fluff with a fork and season with pepper and salt to taste.

While rice is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and when hot, cook falafel patties, about 3-4 minutes per side until heated through and browned on each side.

Serve falafel in a pita or with lettuce, topping with onions, tomato, and tzatziki. Rice is great on the side or in the pita too!

Be sure to see what other SRC members made this week:

#TripleSBites: Crumb Top Apple Pie

This walnut-laced crumb topped apple pie is a perfect dessert for the pie lover in your life!

#TripleSBites Crumb Top Apple Pie | thepajamachef.com

Ben loves all desserts, but his two favorites are pie and cheesecake. Often for his birthdays I’ll make one or the other instead of a traditional cake. So this Crumb Topped Apple Pie, while not a traditional Valentine’s Day dessert, is certainly appreciated in my house!

#TripleSBites Crumb Top Apple Pie | thepajamachef.com

I’ve made plenty of apple pies in my day, but with this recipe, I have found my new go-to. The apple filling is sweet and perfectly spiced, but the crumb topping takes the cake [hahaha]. I’m usually not a nut-in-desserts girl, but the walnuts in the crumb topping are absolutely DIVINE! I can see other nuts, like pecans or almonds or even hazelnuts working really well in the topping too.

Crumb Top Apple Pie | thepajamachef.com #TripleSBitesThis pie is great on its own, or a la mode. Maybe with yogurt it could be an acceptable breakfast?! :) But if you’re looking for more Valentine’s desserts, read on!

Spicely Chocolates for #TripleSBites | thepajamachef.com

As part of #TripleSBites we were all sent some fancy chocolates from Spicely Organics. These chocolates were EXCELLENT! I got to try Honeybush Caramel Milk Chocolate and Green Earl Grey Dark Chocolate. Both were delicious and part of their tea-infused line of chocolates. The Honeybush Caramel tasted like cinnamon and spice, along with sweet caramel, while the Green Earl Grey tasted like earl grey tea and citrus. Normally I like dark chocolate better than milk chocolate, but the milk chocolate option was my favorite. On their website, Spicely also has some other flavors and you can win them through our giveaway, which ends today! These chocolates remind me of some specialty ones I purchased in France when I spent a summer in Nice during college. So you know they have to be good! You can find Spicely on Twitter and Facebook too, if you want to learn more. :)

Kitchen IQ for #TripleSBites | thepajamachef.com

We were also sent a handy spice grater from Kitchen IQ. It’s great to use for grating cheese or cinnamon or chocolate… the essentials, really! I love the design–it’s very easy to use and feels safe for your hands unlike my large grater. I know I will use it often! I hope to share a new recipe soon where I use it…. so stay tuned! :) You can check them out on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, and also check out our giveaway for their prize! I’ve had such a great time being part of #TripleSBites over the past week or so, and hope you’ve enjoyed it too! Have a great Monday, guys!

three years ago: Mexican Chicken Alfredo
four years ago: Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Crumb Top Apple Pie

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Print

crust and pie from Life as Mom

Ingredients:

for crust

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup butter, chunked
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons cold water

for pie

  • 6 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced – I used a combination of Granny Smith and Golden Delicious
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract

Directions:
Begin by making the crust. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, butter, and salt with a pastry blender or two knives. Mix until the mixture forms pea-sized pieces. Stir in cold water until dough comes together. Transfer to a pie pan, spreading the dough along the bottom and sides of the pan. Set aside.

When pie crust has come together, preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together apples, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Transfer to unbaked pie crust.

Place flour, butter, brown sugar, walnuts, cinnamon, and almond/vanilla extract in a food processor. Pulse until mixture forms coarse crumbs. Spread evenly over apples.

Bake for 1 hour or until filling is bubbly. Check pie after about 40 minutes and cover with foil to prevent burning, if necessary.

Note:

Pie can be frozen, unbaked, for up to 2 months. Just wrap in two layers of foil and do not thaw before baking–just add 15 minutes extra to the baking time.

Disclosure: I received chocolates from Spicely Organics and a spice grater from Kitchen IQ as part of my participation in #TripleSBites. I was not compensated in any way–for my time, to create a recipe, or to publish positive comments. I was not required to use these products as part of my recipe. My opinions are my own. 

#TripleSBites | thepajamachef.com

Be sure to check out other yummy recipes whipped up by my friends below:

#TripleSBites: Potato Rosemary Knots

These soft and doughy Potato Rosemary Knots have a fancy shape and are full of lots of fresh herb flavor! They’re a great compliment to any dinner.

Potato Rosemary Knots | thepajamachef.com #TripleSBites

Making fresh bread and rolls is something that I absolutely love to do. I love the process of kneading the dough and seeing it come together from a mess of flour and liquid and salt and yeast into something wonderful. Though I use my stand mixer to knead the dough more often than not, I still like seeing the magic happen. Of course, another perk of the bread making process is the eating process. :) Can’t deny that! Having fresh bread to serve with dinner elevates the meal to the next level. Whenever I walk through the bakery at the grocery store, I’m always tempted to pick up a loaf of bakery bread or a package of rolls. They just look SO good, you know? And it’d be so easy. But then I remember that roll recipes like this one can be made in a matter of minutes as I’m making other components of dinner, and enjoyed for pennies on the dollar instead of dollars on the dollar like at the bakery. Baguettes and croissants are my exception to this rule though, but I’d love to try to make them both!

Potato Rosemary Knots | thepajamachef.com #TripleSBites

Before making these Potato Rosemary Knots on a recent lazy, home-from-work-early Friday afternoon, I had never baked with potato flakes, flour, or mashed potatoes. I’ve seen so many potato bread recipes, and have enjoyed many a slice before, but never had made it myself. In fact, when I was shopping for these potato flakes I ended up asking one of the Publix employees where the instant potatoes were in the store because I just could not find them! I don’t think I’ve ever bought them before. But I loved seeing how the potato flakes folded easily into the dough, giving it a hearty, nutty appearance and baking into something soft and wonderful. :) For this recipe, I used the requisite dried rosemary but had it been summer, would have used fresh rosemary. I amped up the flavor with a bit of Gourmet Garden’s Italian herbs though! Gourmet Gardens is one of our sponsors for #TripleSBites so it was only appropriate, and it tasted SO good with the rosemary and the extra herbs. Mmm!

Potato Rosemary Knots | thepajamachef.com #TripleSBites

one year ago: Lindsay’s Chicken Noodle Soup
two years ago: 60 Minute Sandwich Buns
three years ago: Loaded Sweet Potato Fries
four years ago: Tomato Tortellini Soup

Potato Rosemary Knots

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 80 minutes
  • Print

from Mazola Oil

Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 to 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon yeast [or 1 package rapid rise yeast]
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon Italian Herbs from Gourmet Garden, optional
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup instant potato flakes or buds
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • poppy seeds or rosemary, for topping

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, yeast, sugar, onion powder, salt, rosemary, Italian Herbs, olive oil, and potato flakes. Heat milk and water until approximately 120-130 degrees F. Stir into dry ingredients. Stir in enough flour to make a soft dough, then knead until smooth and elastic, about 4-6 minutes. This can be done in a stand mixer or on a floured surface. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment or a silpat. Divide into 12 portions. Shape each piece into a long rope [10-12 inches], then tie into a loose knot. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheet, then cover and rise until doubled, about 20-30 minutes.

Brush each roll with olive oil, then top with poppy seeds or rosemary. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

#TripleSBites | thepajamachef.com

Be sure to check out other yummy recipes from #TripleSBites at the link below!

Disclosure: I received herbs and spices from Gourmet Garden as part of my participation in #TripleSBites. I was not compensated in any way–for my time, to create a recipe, or to publish positive comments. I was not required to use these products as part of my recipe. My opinions are my own.