Grandma Mac’s Zucchini Bread or What Memories are in Your Recipe Collection?

It doesn’t matter what sort of baker you are, you’ve probably made zucchini bread. It’s that quintessential August oven project that comes up every year when there’s more zucchini than you know what to do with. Not that it uses all that much zucchini; it doesn’t. But it’s the thought that counts for this late summer pastime: I have lots of zucchini, ergo I make zucchini bread.

Continue reading

Blueberry-Banana Bread–Kona Inn Banana Bread Redux: Lighter and Healthier

Sunday, February 23, 2020 is NATIONAL BANANA BREAD DAY. I had no clue, but you know there’s a day for everything. I’d love you to make my loaf to celebrate the — uh-hem — holiday, but I’ll be totally happy if you make it tomorrow or even the next day, too. The original version of the famous Kona Inn Banana Bread has been a star in my baking repertoire for at least 35 years. Sure there’ve been other banana breads I’ve cheated with and lots of other sweet quick breads….but this is the one that has passed the test of time and feels like the world standard–at least at my house. The recipe for my bread came from THE FANNY FARMER BAKING BOOK by Marion Cunningham, one of my go-to basic baking books in 1985, 2020, and all the years in between. (The book’s out of print, but there are used copies available. Don’t hesitate if you like to bake.) These days, you can also find the recipe in several places and versions around the web, even on Epicurious or Food Network!

Continue reading

Cherry-Almond Breakfast Scones for a Royal Wedding Morning (Jammies Allowed!)

Scones bring to mind something akin to a slow-paced and leisurely ambling sunny afternoon with time for a visit to the local tea shop or maybe a hour or two on the porch with a friend who happens to like to bake. Perhaps there’s a can’t-put-it-down novel to read while you nibble and sip or a string quartet playing in the next room…  (Sigh, sigh.)

Continue reading

Banana-Cranberry Bread with White Chocolate Chips


This luxurious bread is filling enough for breakfast, light enough for an afternoon snack, and is also perfect for the neighborhood potluck–especially during December when you hopefully have some cranberries left in your freezer. (If not, run to the store now and see if there are any left.) While it begins as a simple pan of down-home banana bread, the festive additions –cranberries, white chocolate, and walnuts– make sure it ends up anything but.


Continue reading



 More Time’s Apple-Pear-Cranberry Pie 

More Time’s Thanksgiving Basics and Organization

More Time’s Thanksgiving Starters, Soups, and Sides

More Time’s Vegan and Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Buffet

More Time’s Cranberry Thanksgiving or How to Get the Kids Involved

Baking at Thanksgiving. It’s a big deal to some people and a late afternoon stop at the grocery for others. Perhaps because often folks are cooks OR they’re bakers and rarely both. The pumpkin pie may have all the memories the turkey never garnered and the homemade yeast rolls and butter just might be why your grandson shows up.  On the other hand, it could be all about the dressing, gravy or even the ham at your house where no one looks twice at dessert. I once brought turkey and dressing to a summer potluck, where a close friend refused to eat a bite. When I asked why, she said, “You didn’t make gravy. I don’t eat dressing without gravy.” She truly had some serious food traditions and it’s not unusual.  Listen to your friends and family talk about Thanksgiving and you’ll see.

Continue reading

38 Power Foods, Week 20 — Papaya — Papaya-Candied Ginger Muffins with Cashews

A crispy-moist, very gingery muffin made with oats, whole wheat, and yogurt. Don’t tell.


Somewhere on toward 6:30 and there was no light anywhere that October morning. Only the too-lazy-to-make-their-own-coffee guys were struggling down the street to the gas station where ethanol-fragranced cheap brews waited.   No birds stirred.  The dogs slept on.  Donning jeans and t-shirt in the dark, she searched for her moccasins by sitting down and feeling around on the floor of the closet with her hands. Toddling down the hall to the bathroom, she made peace with her body, and then carefully made her way down the stairs, feeling each tread with her toes before proceeding to the next.

She approached it as she would a whole shark awaiting skinning, butchering, boning, and fileting down there in the deep, dark Saint Paul kitchen that morning. Coming around the corner, flipping on the light and the coffee maker in the same movement, she saw the big papaya waiting on the counter.  The big fruit didn’t know its last minute (save the time it took to brew the coffee)  had arrived.  And she had no idea how she was going to kill it.

In other words, I didn’t know from papaya. (Except all sliced up on a brunch buffet; I’m a mango girl.)

Looked like I should peel it, so I did.

Hmph.  I chopped off the ends. 

Sliced it down the middle.  This thing was gorgeous!  No wonder they call it “Fruit of the Angels.”  A little light was peeping through the shades in the dining room.

I sliced the papaya into moons and then chopped it up finely.  Next, I mixed up the wet and dry ingredients for the muffins in the 8-cup Pyrex (my go-to muffin bowl) and spooned the batter into the greased tins with my ice cream scoop:

These appear to bake forever and, actually, they do.  Count on 30 minutes at 400 degrees F.  They’ll be quite browned.

By then the dogs were padding around yawning.  (file photo)

Hey, Dave!  It’s breakfast!

papaya-candied ginger muffins with cashews  makes 14*
      These muffins are not the biggest powerhouse of nutrition, but neither are they shirkers.  They contain whole wheat, oatmeal, cashews, yogurt, and lots of papaya.  They’re also fairly low in fat, using just 1/4 cup canola oil for 14 muffins, which is less than a teaspoon of oil (40 fat calories) per muffin.  Not too bad!  I looked at six or seven papaya muffin recipes for ideas and then used my own proportions to create this recipe using things I had in the larder.

       One of my favorite Melissa Clark quotes is, “Muffins are just an excuse to eat cake for breakfast.”  Not so here.  Enjoy!

Background is my kitchen wall.  Love the color!

  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt 
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 plus 2 tablespoons milk (or 3/8 of a cup)  
  •  1 cup unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup whole oats (not instant)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder**
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I like Penzey’s Vietnamese cinnamon–available online)
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied ginger (can sub 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted cashews   

  • 2 cups finely chopped papaya


Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grease muffin tins thoroughly.

  1. Whisk together oil, yogurt, egg, and milk in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Stir together well all  of the dry ingredients (flour-cashews) in a medium bowl.
  3. Pour the milk mixture into the bowl and stir until just combined. 
  4. Add the papaya and stir gently.  Divide prepared batter evenly among greased tins.***
  5. Bake about 30 minutes until quite browned.  Muffins will be moist.
  6. Serve hot or at room temperature as is or with butter, if desired.

*I made one 12-count muffin tin full and then greased a large oven-safe coffee cup and made one extra-large muffin.  You could also use a couple of custard cups to make the extra two muffins.

**These muffins are quite dense, though not heavy.  But if you’d like a lighter muffin, try increasing the baking powder to 2 teaspoons.

***I like to use an ice cream scoop, but a big spoon will do.  

about papayas

Papayas are available year-round (though they’re more prolific come summer and fall) and weigh about a pound each, though some grow much bigger.  Wonderful as is, or with plain yogurt, the beautiful orange “meat,” is delicious and the seeds are edible, too.  Full of antioxidants, along with vitamins (lots of vitamin C) and minerals, the papaya also contains papain, an enzyme that helps digest proteins.

Nutrients in
1.00 each (304.00 grams)
Nutrient%Daily Value

vitamin C313.1%

vitamin A66.5%




vitamin E11.1%

vitamin K9.8%

Calories (118)6%

chart courtesy–click for more information about the beautiful papaya

If I had to say what papaya tasted like, I’d wager a cross between honeydew melon and mango.  And….

I can’t resist:  So buya some papaya! 


Join our blogging group!

 I blog with a great group of writers every Friday where we cook our way through the list of foods from Whole Living Magazine’s Power Foods:  150 Delicious Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients:    Read more about tasty papaya this week at these sites: 

Ansh –  
Minnie Gupta from

Sarah – Everything in the Kitchen Sink

Sing a new song,

Happy Mother’s Day–Prune Quick Bread (Reposted)

A bread for Jacque Franklin, who broke bread for me so many times.  Thank you and be well, my friend.
Before the quick bread post, click on the link below to send a Mother’s Day Card that will work toward ending hunger…  from THE WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME–BLOGGERS AGAINST HUNGER.  HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, FRIENDS…
                                                NOW ON TO THE BREAD!!
My husband loves this bread.
But, when I mentioned to him (before he tasted it)  that I was working on a recipe for prune bread, he made a face, rolled his eyes and laughed.  Sometimes, we never escape third-grade humor.
I don’t cook a lot with prunes, but have remembered a couple of great recipes  lately…one was from THE SILVER PALATE.  I want to say it was Chicken Marabella and it was famous.  The other is a pork roast with prunes that’s to exhale repeatedly over. French recipe. OOOOh.  It’s lovely. So different.  So smooth.   So company friendly.  Reheats like a champ over the weekend after a Friday night dinner party.

Back to the bread.  I made this bread when I was working on an article called, “Quick Bread 101,”  in which I attempted to work out a basic quick bread recipe that let you add whatever you had on hand …say bananas, apples, blueberries, etc.  I think I got it right, but this variation is my absolute favorite.  It would be a sweet Mother’s Day gift, a great addition to brunch. 

I’ve been gone a few days to a funeral, so thought it was a good time to bring out the prune bread recipe and share it on the blog.  If you tried it from examiner, sorry.  I have re-written the recipe specifically for prunes.  It makes stuperous muffins!!  (stuperous is my word for something between stupendous and super)
Alyce’s mom and nephew Michael…..
  As I write, Friar Tuck is over at Dr. Bill’s getting a little nip and tuck done to raise his voice.  Yes, Tucker’s getting neutered, but, you know, it had to happen.   I apologized ahead of time because he’ll be a little groggy afterward.
          ….              …..                …..                         …….
(Below:   Later this afternoon……Poor baby)
Our sour-cherry tree in bloom.  Pie cherries will be ready about the fourth of July.  Come pick before the birds get them all.  If we get up early to bake before the heat comes, we can have pie for the holiday.
Sing a new song; bake a new bread;
Happy Mother’s Day!
In Memorium…Carol Curtiss..The Quintessential Lutheran Party Girl..
God, Love Her!

Prune Nut Bread

makes 1 9x5x3 loaf


  • 1 cup prunes chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups orange juice
  • Simmer chopped prunes in orange juice for about five minutes. Let cool slightly.
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter cooled or sub canola oil
  • 1 egg you might want to use 2 at altitude
  • Mix cooled butter/oil and egg and add to orange juice and prunes.
  • Set aside.
  • 21/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped nuts


  • In a large bowl, mix well all dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and stir just until well-mixed.
  • Spoon into greased and floured 9x5x3 loaf pan. Bake about 50 minutes until bread is firm to the touch, is pulling away from the sides of the pan, and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the bread comes out with just a few moist crumbs.
  • Let cool in pan 5 minutes. Bang pan on counter or board and turn out onto rack to cool completely before slicing. Keep well-wrapped on counter for 1-2 days or freeze for up to 2 months.


Can be made into muffins. Pour into greased muffin tins and bake at 400F 15 min. Turn out on to rack to cool.
copyright Alyce Morgan, 2010. All rights reserved.

St. Patrick’s Day Potato Soup and Irish Soda Bread-A Repeat Post

I had a farm in Ireland…….
Not.  I did, however, visit once.
I wish I could go back.
I can’t go today, but I can make Potato Soup and Irish Soda Bread on
St. Patrick’s Day……
I’ve been making this meal for a long time.  I love it, but I don’t make it any other time of the year.  I don’t know why.  Perhaps it wouldn’t be special if I made it, say, in May or September.  You, however, have no holiday strings emotionally strumming over these recipes and could make them next week or next year.
Go you.  So, here’s the soup………..and then the bread–
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Potato Soup
2 slices of bacon, diced; 1/4# Canadian bacon, chopped*
2 onions (different kinds are nice), chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 leeks, chopped
3 large pototoes, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
1 turnip, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
1 parsnip, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces, optional
6-8 cups unsalted chicken broth
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
parsley or dill
In an 8-10qt soup kettle, sauté bacon until about half-done; add Canadian bacon.  Cook until well browned.  Remove meats  from pot and drain on paper towel-lined plate.  Cool and  refrigerate until you’re going to serve the soup.  Pour out all but enough bacon grease to coat the bottom of the pan well.  Add onions, garlic and leeks and saute until almost golden, stirring often.  Add potatoes, turnip and parsnip and cook 2-3 minutes until hot.  Add chicken broth.  Bring to a  boil and lower the heat.  Simmer until all vegetables are soft, about 25 minutes. 
Salt and pepper to taste.    Puree in food processor, with hand-held blender or by hand using potato masher.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream, a bit of the bacon and ham and a garnish of fresh parsley or dill.  Make sure there’s fresh ground pepper at the table.
*You could choose to use all bacon.
There isn’t much better than soup and bread anywhere.  If you’re cold.  If you’re really hungry.  Can you think of anything better?  I have a friend whose husband doesn’t like soup,  Just doesn’t like it at all.  He did, however, eat soup at my house once.  And asked for the recipe later.  Such folks are few and far between.  Who doesn’t walk in a house, smell soup simmering or bread baking and go, “Wow!  It just smells so good in here.”  And, while we can’t always put our fingers on what makes us happy in life, we do know we like it when the house smells like something good to eat.  Those  “Wow”s come with big smiles and anticipatory movements that include looking around for the delighting elements.  So, here’s the bread.  More on the provenance later.
Irish Soda Bread – American Style
4 cups flour
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp salt
1tsp baking powder
1/4 c butter
1 1/2 c currants or raisins
1 1/3 c buttermilk
2 large eggs (3 if at altitude)
1 t baking soda
Grease a 2-quart  round bowl (ovenproof), casserole or  deep cake pan. (Or bake free-form on a parchment lined baking sheet.)
Preheat oven to 375F.
In food processor, or large mixing bowl, measure dry ingredients except baking soda and mix well.  Cut in with blade attachment or with knives or pastry blender, the butter.  In a large mixing cup, whisk together the buttermilk and eggs; add the currants and baking soda.  Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and mix well to form a very wet dough.
Turn dough into the prepared baking bowl and bake for about an hour or until bread is very well-browned and firm in the center.  A wooden skewer stuck in the middle of the bread should come out clean.  You may have to test several times.
Let this bread sit 15-20 minutes before cutting or it will crumble.  Cool completely before wrapping tightly in foil and storing in the refrigerator.  Will keep 3-4 days.
 Excellent leftover just as it is, but even better for toast made under the broiler.
2012 update:  If you’d like to make whole wheat Irish Soda bread (very traditional), read my post on Darina Allen’s bread here.
copyright 2012 alyce morgan
Me and the green.
A couple of notes on the provenance of the recipes:
I began (and later changed) the potato soup years ago from a recipe called  “A Cold Winter’s Day Potato Soup” from THE EASTERN JUNIOR LEAGUE COOK BOOK, edited by Ann Serrane and published by David McKay in ??1980.
The bread recipe is one I have no idea about from whence it came.  It’s on a recipe card I’ve had for so many years.  I’d guess I copied it out of a magazine or a book at the library one day as a young wife.


While we are making the potato soup, Tucker tries to figure out if he likes onions skins.   Nah….
Sing a new song,
all photographs copyright Alyce Morgan 2003 and 2010

Root Vegetable Barley Beef Soup or Where’s the weather, Craig?

Solution for a cold winter’s day

 You know how you feel you know your weatherman?  Dave and I refer to the ones we like (Mike and Craig on channel 5 in Colorado Springs -NBC affiliate and Al Roker on TODAY) by their first names, though they wouldn’t know us from Adam.

“What’s Craig say today?”
“Did Mike say what the temperature would be tonight?  Should I bring the herbs in?” (cover the annuals, shut off the sprinklers, bring in the car…. oh the things governed by Mike.)

“Why is Al in another studio?”  “And what’s he wearing?” “How’d he lose all that weight?”  Answer is always, “I dunno.”

Today these intimate friends have forecast all day long for horrible weather…across the country, including Colorado Springs.  I canceled a trip to go oversee an inspection on our new house (actually quite old-built in 1915) in St. Paul:

 So the snow would come and go and disappear.  But the sky stayed gray.  Which it doesn’t in Colorado Springs.  Except once a year or so.  But bad weather?  Not happening.  Not here.  Not yet.  No how.  Maybe later or tomorrow. 

Who knew, though?  Bad weather?  I make soup.  I make bread.  And I did.

The soup is hearty enough for a Super Bowl stew; it’s a beef vegetable soup with nearly only root vegetables and  some barley.  Maybe it could be made from your pantry; I did it from mine.

The bread is a recipe from one of my favorite food writers,Mark Bittman- New York Times.  It’s the quick version of the famous 2006 No-Knead Bread.  If you haven’t yet made that bread, here’s the link to the original article about Jim Lahey (Sullivan Street Bakery) and the bread.  It’s world famous, by now.   Well, nearly.  Definitely the most famous recipe in the New York Times, at least for Bittman, in ten years.  That’s what he said in his last (boohoo) column.  That’s saying something.  ( I have made the “regular” no-knead bread, as well, and will include a pic of that below.)   And, yes, the longer version is definitely better, but the the quick one’s good and it’s short!  We don’t always have 20 hours.  Here’s how:

Root Vegetable Barley Beef Soup for a Bad Weather Day (right)

  • 3T canola oil
  • 5 # beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 3 large onions, chopped, divided
  • 1 bunch celery, including leaves, chopped coarsely; divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 carrots, cut into 1″ pieces; divided
  • 3-4 parsnips, peeled and cored (if large) and cut into 1/4″-1/2″ pieces; divided
  • 1 large turnip, peeled and cut into 1/4″- 1/2″ piece; divided
  • 2 qts water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 c fresh parsley, chopped finely; divided
  • 2 qts beef stock, low sodium (your own fresh or frozen or boxed/jarred from the store)
  • 1 28 oz can chopped tomatoes, no salt
  • 2 c shredded green cabbage
  • 2 t kosher salt
  • several drops of Tabasco
  • 2/3 c medium pearled barley
  • 1T basil or 1 t dry thyme, optional
  1. In a very large stockpot, heat oil over medium heat and add half the beef.  Let brown well and turn.  Let that side brown and remove meat to a plate.  Add rest of beef to the pot and repeat.  Add in onion, the garlic, and 1/3 of the celery, carrots, parsnips and turnips.  When meat is well-browned, add the already-cooked beef and stir well together.
  2. Pour in the water and add the bay leaf, pepper and half of the parsley.  Stir well and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce  heat.  Simmer until beef and vegetables are tender, 1 1/2- 2 hours.
  3.   Bring back to a boil and add the rest of the vegetables (including the cabbage), parsley, stock, tomatoes, salt, Tabasco, barley and basil or thyme, if using.  Cook until barley is tender, 40-50 minutes.
  4. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  5.  Serve hot in large, warmed bowls with hefty hunks of baguette and butter if you didn’t make the bread.

Cook’s Note:  This is a one-afternoon soup in Alyce’s tradition of making the stock and the soup nearly all together.  While it’s not a perfect solution, it’s tasty and workable.  You cook the meat with a few vegetables and make a stock, adding the rest at the end and including some store-bought stock to round out the soup.  It’s definitely not original, but I worked it out myself raising a houseful of kids who needed meals every night for about twenty years.  Before adding the second round of vegetables and jarred/boxed stock, you can also remove the already cooked vegetables and puree them, if you like.  Of course, you throw them right back in the pot.  It gives you the opportunity for having only freshly-cooked veg in the final soup if that’s important to you.

Cook’s Note for the Bread: Read the recipe and instructions thoroughly before beginning.

A little gallery for you:

House so cold, I had to leave bread in the oven and take a temp; it needs to rise at 70 F.

Here’s the bread trail… If you print the recipe from the link, you’ll understand.
Simple, great crumb, lovely crust.. yummy.

Heat bowl 30 min 450F first

Smelling and tapping… Anyone remember James Beard’s bread book?

Note:  Above bread is the quick version of the No-Knead Bread.
Below is the regular version, which is NOT so quick, but still simple.  (Click on link.)

Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the ‘Hood
Cooked up the beef trimmings for the pups…
80th Birthday for Grandpa Gene–Quite a party!
Prayers for peace in Egypt….particularly for the food supply.
Thinking of friend K. preparing a difficult Bartok piece for double piano; the concert’s this week. 
Safe travel for my niece.
Thanks to folks in St. Paul putting our house through inspection.
Blessings on First Presbyterian of Champaign, Illinois, where we worshiped Sunday with family.
Warmth and safety to all those facing the weather in our country.
A great semester to daughter Emily and all her fellow-seminarians beginning the second semester of the school year.
Went to see “True Grit” with Dave, Bill, Lorna and Gene.  Come back, John Wayne?
Sing a new song,