Starbucks Pumpkin Bread (egg free if you choose) and Trader Joe's Cookie Butter

Wow, I haven't blogged anything in a VERY long time and that may be because most of what I've been doing is making other people's recipes but that shouldn't stop me from sharing. If I find something incredible, I should share it :) 

Here's a recipe for a copy cat of Starbucks Pumpkin Bread that I made and fell in love with. I did change one little thing. I replaced the eggs with Chia Seeds. This bread will be a regular now and may replace Banana Bread in my life...  Head over to CopyKat Recipes for the recipe and to Trader Joe's for their amazing Speculoos Cookie Butter! 

Fruit, Nuts & Greens Dinner Salad

For two main-dish salads:


  • 1 bag salad greens, of choice
  • 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced
  • 1 mango, pitted, peeled and chopped
  • 1 can mandarine oranges, drained
  • about 1 cup dried cranberries
  • about 1 cup roasted walnuts
  • 2 seasoned (your choice) and cooked chicken breasts, cooled
  • salad dressing (your choice, I used an asian ginger and sesame)

  1. Divide the bag of greens among two dinner plates.
  2. Top greens with avocado, mango, oranges, cranberries, walnuts and chicken. 
  3. Add dressing and serve!

“What is more refreshing than salads when your appetite seems to have deserted you, or even after a capacious dinner - the nice, fresh, green, and crisp salad, full of life and health, which seems to invigorate the palate and dispose the masticating powers to a much larger duration.”

Alexis Soyer 19th century French chef.

Zucchini-Carrot Bread

From Betty Crocker:


  • 1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini (2 medium)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots (3 medium)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Gold Medal® whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves (I omitted this)

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottoms only of 2 (8x4-inch) loaf pans or 1 (9x5-inch) loaf pan with shortening or cooking spray. In large bowl, mix zucchini, carrots, sugar, oil and eggs with wire whisk. Stir in remaining bread ingredients. Divide batter evenly between pans. Bake 8-inch loaves 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, 9-inch loaf 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Enjoy!

Original recipe along with a recipe for honey spread can be found here.

Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana

The copycat recipe for Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana can be found all over the internet and for the most part, they are all the same. I followed this recipe pretty close making only a few changes. It turned out tasting identical to what I've had in Olive Garden... And it's easy!


  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 2 large Russet baking potatoes, sliced in half and then 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 large (very large!) onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup bacon bits (Or Oscar Mayer Real Bacon Bits and more than 1/4 cup!!!)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups Kale or Swiss Chard, chopped (Swiss Chard is so much better)
  • 16 ounces chicken broth
  • 1 quart water (Or, what I learned is... make this 1 quart chicken broth, too)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

Brown sausage in a soup pot, breaking it up into large, bite-size pieces. Add chicken broth and water (or all broth!) to pot and deglaze. Place onions, potato and garlic in pot. Cook on medium, simmering, until potatoes are done. Add bacon. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer another 10 minutes. Turn heat to low. Add Kale/Swiss Chard and cream. Heat through and serve... With salad!!!

Grilled Chicken & Eggplant in Tomato Dill Sauce

Here's another recipe adapted from feast from the Mideast 250 Sun-Drenched Dishes from the Lands of the Bible by Faye Levy. Once again, this has been modified to make it easier and for more flavor.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 - 2 teaspoons Penzeys Turkish Seasoning
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 large eggplant, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 - 1.5 pounds chicken, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 - 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • a few sprigs fresh dill, chopped

Heat oil in a stew pan and fry onion until golden. Add in garlic and chicken, with some salt and pepper and fry until chicken is white. Add canned tomatoes, Turkish seasoning, chicken broth, and eggplant. Simmer, covered, over medium heat until eggplant is soft. Add dill and lemon juice and simmer five more minutes. Serve with a side of flavored couscous.