Best Ever Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Already it’s been a rough week: rough on office managers, rough on 13-year-old girls, and rough on day-old bananas. You know what you do when life hands you rough bananas? You make banana bread! And you add some serious chocolate chips. Here’s how it all started…

Today, I was chatting with my buddy Sarah about the office move, commiserating how hard it is to make everyone happy while succeeding in mooching two very sad-looking bananas from her. So sad, in fact, that as I was leaving the office, one banana peeled itself off from the stalk and landed on the floor as I was talking to another coworker. Mmm, I love floor banana.

And yet I caught that banana before it escaped and then stopped by the school to pick up my kids. As my daughter approached the car, I could see she was crying. There is nothing harder than being 13 and female. Well, okay, there are probably quite a few things harder than that, but being 13 is the beginning of learning how hard life can actually be.

So the minute my conference calls ended tonight at 5pm, I whipped up a batch of banana bread with massive amounts of chocolate chips. I altered a recipe I found online and since it turned out so amazing I am writing it down here because I’ll need to find it again. Like tomorrow maybe.



2-3 bananas, ready for their escape (in other words, mushy)

1/2 cup olive oil

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups sugar (yes, I know it’s excessive)

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup plain greek yogurt

1/2 cup chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 4×9 inch loaf baking pan with cooking spray.

Put everything into a big bowl and stir the crap out of it.

Pour all of the mix into the baking pan. Spread the mix evenly in the pan. Sprinkle more chocolate chips on top in the center of the loaf.

Bake for 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

This was easily the best banana bread I’ve ever made. Super-duper moist inside, full of chocolate, crisp on the edges outside. It’s crazy-town good. My son sliced and ate four pieces before I could even take the picture.

You should try it tonight. Life is short and bananas and chocolate do make things better.


Whole30 Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup

I started Whole 30 eating on January 6th. Maybe to lose a little weight but mostly because I was starting to experience daily bouts of food-baby belly, migraine headaches, acid reflux and indigestion, and generally feeling like poop. I knew that holiday eating was mostly to blame. I thought that the migraines were unrelated, honestly, and due to a medication that I’m taking.

Anyway, I embarked on this Whole 30 path with a friend of mine who is half my age and figured I had nothing to lose because without all of the holiday foods, I generally eat fairly well. I don’t drink, don’t eat junk food at all. It’s going to be easy right?

Oh no, my friends. I discovered that artificial sweeteners made up about 30% of my daily intake. Sugar free mints accounting for about half of that. It’s funny what you end up addicted to. Damn you Splenda! That was easily the biggest pain point for me. Eating food that just tastes like food without that extra sweet boost? Boooorrrrriiinnnngggg.

I’m on day 11 now, and I looked back my calendar and wondering if the following can be attributed to the Whole30 thing:

  • No migraines. What?!
  • Less head/sinus congestion.
  • And well, other things that are gross or TMI.

It’s been going fairly well with all of the cooking (so much cooking!). I scored big time on a recipe I made up last night that I want to share with you and have on hand for the future.

First, I must confess: I made the soup last night and it was disgusting. I kept it though because I knew that I was missing some ingredients and that I could fix it today. And fix it I did!


Fire Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1 small onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cans (14.5 oz each) Muir Glen® organic fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
2 jars (12 oz each) organic roasted red bell peppers
1 can (14 oz) chicken broth
2teaspoons basil leaf flakes
1 teaspoon parsley leaf flakes
1 teaspoon salt
6 organic dates, chopped finely
1/2 can (13 oz) coconut cream

Fire roasted tomatoes and peppers with a touch of cream add a richness to this tomato soup while the dates add a hint of sweetness.

In 3-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until onion is crisp-tender. Add dates and a splash of the chicken broth and return to a simmer.

Stir in tomatoes, peppers, broth, basil, parsley, salt. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat; pour into a large bowl to cool slightly, about 15 minutes.

In blender, place half of the mixture. Add 1/4 can of coconut cream. Cover; blend until pureed. Return to saucepan. Repeat with remaining mixture. Heat over medium heat until hot. Remove from heat.

Honestly, the dates in this mixture are what makes this recipe delish! I like my soups savory and this one hits the mark! Serve it with home made meatballs (as I show in the picture) or add shredded chicken for more protein.



Five ideas for designing a dark and moody room without needing to up your meds

I’ll admit it, I adore a moody room. I’m not afraid of dark interiors with rich colors and statement-making vignettes. Bring it on, I say! Could I live on the set of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell? Yes, yes I could. I would eat those rooms if they were a food. In fact, I’d get fat on them. These rooms are the dark chocolate of interior designs.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: do you feel the darkness?

I’ve had a thing for dark interiors for some time now. I’ve got Pinterest boards devoted to Dark Rooms, Stormy Seas and Creepy Paintings.

Since dark and moody has now been declared a trend for 2015 by Apartment Therapy, I wanted to pull together my all-time favorite dark interiors and point out ways to follow the trend without needing therapy afterwards.

The key is to avoid creating rooms so dark and moody that there is no comfort, brightness or hope within them.

To avoid dark-room depression, here are five tips for designing a dark room that will keep you feeling warm and fuzzy, not sad and dismal.

1. Freshen a dark space with bright greens

Exclusive First Look at Haymes 2015 Colour Forecast....bureauofjewels/etsy and facebook...XXX.....

The palms, the pillows and the green velvet sofa paired with the dark walls create a freshness not typically found in dark rooms (image credit to Martina Gemmola / styling by Ruth Welsby). Dark and moody yes, but fresh and cozy as well.

2. Pair dark florals with organic textures

New dark floral wallpaper by Ellie Cashman. Visit

This room features dark floral wallpaper by Ellie Cashman. Paired with a rustic wooden bench, loose knitted throw and organic linens, the room isn’t overpoweringly dark.

3. Warm up dark walls with glowing wood

Today’s the day – are you ready to see everyone’s gallery wall reveals? Led by the talented Mary Ann of Classic • Casual • Home and Cindy of Rough Luxe, it’s the third and final week of the Project Design series on creating gallery walls. If you’re a little late to the party, you can catch up here: Week One: Gallery Wall Inspiration Week Two: The Gallery Wall Plans for My Home Office Now on to the reveal! The blank black wall above my home office console is blank no more: And since it’s ...

See how the warm wood tones in the furniture and frames above make the space feel cozy rather than cold? This would work with a warm rustic farmhouse table in a dark dining room as well. You can find this image and the designer’s blog on Driven by Decor.

4. Don’t go black, go blue!

Beautiful navy entryway: paint is Sherwin Williams Naval, part of the Pottery Barn Collection

If you’re afraid that black or even charcoal walls can be a little over powering, try a dark blue wall instead (this color is called Naval from Sherwin Williams). The blue wall featured above has a healthy mixture of both black and green in its tones which helps it feel more nautical than naughty. Check out the post about this space on Earnest.

5. Create some shine with warm metallics

A Lovely Library. One Room Challenge: The Reveal Sappington Villa Bedroom. Black walls. Interior Designer: Jessie Miller.

In case you haven’t noticed the theme here, the secret to successfully creating a dark space is to use contrasting elements such as the warm metal objects in this bookcase display. Brass, gold, and even tarnished silver can all add warmth to a dark space. The designer of this space (at the Design Daredevil blog) uses bright gold metals throughout the room, you can see the full room reveal here.

Hopefully by using these five ideas, you can adopt some darkness in your own spaces without having to see your psychiatrist as a result.