Banana coffee cake

Banana Coffee Cake

First posted on August 31, 2016. Updated on August 12, 2020.

Last weekend, I had company over and took that as a good reason to try out a new recipe. I wanted to make a coffee cake because it’s delicious and perfect for a relaxing brunch.

(If you’re reading this and thinking, you had company over? During this Covid thing? Well, my mom did visit briefly, but that’s not what I was talking about. This was originally posted in 2016. That was pre-pandemic, and pre-baby. I think this was the second and last year I went to FYF, a music festival in Los Angeles. We had Paul’s sister and her boyfriend staying over since we lived closer to it than them. Or maybe it was the year they went and I didn’t feel like it. Any way, back to the recipe.)

I like reading recipes and then combining them to get the outcome I’m looking for, and this banana coffee cake creation is a direct result of that. It’s made from combining three different recipes on three different websites to get exactly what I was picturing in my head when I started searching for recipes.

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Fish tacos with chili-lime dressed cabbage slaw

When Maggie first started eating, I wrote a note on my phone with meals I wanted her to try fairly early on so she would get used to them. In that long note of hopes and dreams (kidding) I included the 10 meals Paul and I eat the most. Fish tacos was on that list.

Maggie seemed to really like cod and salmon early on, but now that she is a toddler, of course she is getting more particular and also unpredictable. She doesn’t eat fish much any more when I serve it, even if it’s in the form of fish sticks or nuggets. I make fish tacos any way though. She eats the sides of fruit and vegetables and torn up pieces of tortilla. Surprisingly, she didn’t even want the sweet potato fries I served the tacos with. I’m hoping she will get back to loving fish sometime. In the meantime, Paul and I enjoy eating fish tacos.

I like having an easy slaw for tacos as a way to add in extra vegetables to the meal. For chicken, pork, or beef tacos, I sometimes make a chili-soy dressed broccoli slaw. But for fish tacos, I like having a more citrusy and simple chili-lime dressed cabbage slaw.

This recipe for fish tacos is so easy, it’s almost not a recipe. It’s a meal idea with step-by-step directions. This is a recipe made with mostly all ingredients from Trader Joe’s, but you don’t have to get all the ingredients from there. You can find these ingredients anywhere. For the tacos pictured above, I used the Trader Joe’s battered fish nuggets.

If you like this recipe, you may also like:

These soft fish tacos with cabbage slaw dressed in a chili-lime vinaigrette are great for summer and easy to make on a busy weeknight.

Fish tacos with chili-lime dressed cabbage slaw

Yield: 3 servings

12 fish nuggets, or 3 servings or fish
12 corn tortillas

Chili-lime dressed cabbage slaw
1/2 a bag of shredded cabbage
2 medium carrots, julienned
1/2 teaspoon chili garlic paste
2 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons canola (or other neutral) oil

Bake fish nuggets according to package directions.

In a large bowl, mix shredded cabbage and the julienned carrot with the chili-lime vinaigrette. Warm tortillas on a comal, skillet, or flat griddle. You can keep them in a tortilla warmer until everything is ready. For each taco, use two warm tortillas. Garnish the tortillas with the chili-lime dressed slaw, top with the fish, and serve with salsa and cilantro.

California Pizza Kitchen inspired Thai chicken pizza


People usually debate that either New York or Chicago has the best pizza in the United States. Outside of the United States of course there is Italy and I have heard good things about Japanese pizza. Personally, I love California pizza. Full disclosure, I have never been to any of the places listed above except California, where I have lived my whole life. So I guess I’m pretty biased. In California, we’re not afraid to put off the wall toppings on our pizza. One of my favorites at a place in Santa Monica was salad pizza. Yes, really.

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Corn cookie and mixed berry ice cream sandwiches

Two of my favorite summer flavors are sweet corn and fresh mixed berries. You don’t typically see them together, but corn and berries actually go really well together in a dessert.

For the Trader Joe’s ice cream sandwich last week, I made corn cookie and mixed berry ice cream sandwiches. For the contest, I named these “Berry Corny Ice Cream sandwiches.”

The winners of the contest are to be announced today. Although Trader Joe’s hasn’t posted the Instagram post announcing the winners yet, I don’t think I’m one of them. The contest rules said they would direct message the winners before the announcement and I didn’t get one. But I still thought it would be fun to share my ice cream sandwich idea and recipe here. I hope you like it!

These ice cream sandwiches only have five ingredients and they were all purchased at Trader Joe’s. One of the contest rules was to use no more than five ingredients and to get them all from Trader Joe’s.

Baking sheet
Large bowl, at least 2 quarts in size
Small saucepan
Loaf pan or brownie pan

If these were sold in stores at Trader Joe’s, they would come with some very corny dad jokes on the box. For my entry in the #TJsIceCreamSandwichContest berry ice cream is sandwiched between two corn cookies for the perfect summer treat.

corn cookie and mixed berry ice cream sanwich

Corn cookie and mixed berry ice cream sandwiches

1 can Corn Cookie baking mix
1 large white egg
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 quart French Vanilla Ice Cream
1 bag frozen Fancy Berry Medley

1. Make corn cookies according to directions, using one large egg and two sticks of unsalted butter. Let cool.
2. While cookies are baking, make the berry ice cream. Add 1 1/2 cups fancy berry medley to a small saucepan and heat to medium. Once berries begin to release their juices, turn off the heat. Wait 10 minutes for the berries to cool. Meanwhile, scoop entire contents of French vanilla ice cream into a large bowl, at least 2 quarts in size. Add berries once cool and stir to combine. It’s okay if the mixture melts some. Add all the ice cream mixture to a loaf pan or brownie pan and freeze until solid, about 4 hours.
3. Assemble ice cream sandwiches. For each sandwich, place one corn cookie flat side up on a flat surface. Top with one scoop of berry ice cream (about 1/3 cup), add top cookie and gently press the two cookies together until the ice cream spreads to the edges. Eat immediately or wrap each individually in plastic wrap to save for later.

Note: My mom and sister both said these cookies look perfectly round, which I thought was a nice complement. I used a cookie scoop to get that look.

Pineapple cotija salad


Surely you’ve heard of watermelon feta salad. Now meet pineapple cotija salad. It’s simple and refreshing, as any summer salad should be.

I was already buying pineapple for the pan grilled pork chops with pineapple salsa I was planning on making and I had been wanting cotija cheese for tacos this week, so I thought why not combine the extra from the two and make a salad? Of course, then the pork chop recipe used an entire pineapple, so I had to wait for the next week to make this salad.

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Pan grilled pork chops with roasted pineapple salsa

pork with pineapple salsa

One of my favorite summer meals is pork chops with pineapple salsa. I don’t make homemade salsa often, but I love this recipe. It’s straightforward and always tastes great.

The marinade for the pork makes it tender and flavorful. I love that both the marinade and the salsa are spicy and sweet.

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Coconut mango popsicles

coconut mango popsicles

I love homemade smoothies and popsicles in the summer time. They are such a special treat. I like that with homemade popsicles I can be sure that they are relatively low in added sugar, free of additives and full of fruits or veggies.

These mango coconut popsicles check all the boxes. Refreshing? Yes, definitely! But also full of fresh fruit and relatively low in added sugar. They are dairy-free and vegan too, if that matters to you.

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Lemon-herb chicken with blueberry balsamic sauce

Lately I have been making two more involved meals a week for dinner and everything else has been super easy. I only want to make things on the easy nights that don’t require a recipe. This lemon-herb chicken with blueberry sauce was a more involved recipe that felt like something I would get at a restaurant. In other words, it’s worth the effort.

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