Entries Tagged as 'gelato'

Banana Crumb Muffins

January 11th, 2014 · 1 Comment



This was a treat I made when I was pregnant. I was using up some bananas I had, but made my treat extra decadent when I mixed a hot muffin with some salted caramel gelato!


Banana Crumb Muffins
From: All Recipes
Note: I added 1 tsp. vanilla, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, and 3/4 tsp. cinnamon to the muffin batter.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.

In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.

In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.

Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

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A Few More Days in New York

June 10th, 2013 · 2 Comments

Last week I was out in New York for work for a few more days.

Like every trip, mine began with a stop at Tortas Frontera at O’Hare. I was actually kind of afraid I wouldn’t be able to stop because of timing, but then my flight got delayed an hour and I had more than enough time. I changed it up this time and instead of getting a torta, I got the tortilla soup and the fully loaded guacamole. The soup broth was really rich and flavorful. The guacamole was good, but getting all of the toppings was a mistake, I think. I’d stick to just one or two or none next time. Also, maybe it was a fluke, but the chips were SO salty.

Even though my flight was delayed, I arrived early enough to visit with Jeannette and Yvan and Juliette (6 weeks old now, I think). The skies were bright and mostly sunny in Long Island City, so I don’t know what was up with the delays. It seemed fine on the Chicago side too. It didn’t even start raining in New York until later at night. Dallas was flying to Newark at the same time I was flying to New York and he had way more issues than I did.

I stayed at an SPG property called the Element Times Square West, located at 39th and 8th. I booked the room because it was a good rate, but it ended up being pretty nice and spacious for a New York City hotel room. Not that I used it, but each room in the hotel had a kitchen with a big fridge, two burners, a sink, dishwasher, microwave, dishes.

Even though I think the Element was on the lower end of the SPG spectrum, they still had the Heavenly bed that they have at the Westin, which was nice.

The view from my room at the Element.

Most days I took the subway to and from work, which made me feel like I was living there again.

While at work, one of my coworkers was on vacation for two weeks so I used his desk. He has a pretty nice view of the East River, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge!


The food in New York is always great! With my coworker, Stephanie, I had lunches at Flavors Cafe, where we got some great salads, and CRISP, a modern Mediterranean spot. My coworker from Chicago, Ranee, has been traveling to New York a ton and took me to Zaitzeff, a great burger spot. The menu is short and to the point, not straying all over the place with fancied up burgers. All the beef is grass-fed here. I got a cheeseburger with avocado and grilled mushrooms and it was amazing. Ranee and I split fries and neither of us finished them, but I was so full from the burger that I didn’t even eat dinner really! I think I had a fruit cup!

I also met up with Jess one night and we had dinner at Tia Pol, a tiny little Spanish tapas spot on 10th Avenue between 22nd and 23rd. I’d hoped to see her new apartment that she just bought and moved into the week before, but it was getting late. I was still glad we could catch up while I was in town!







Lastly, but not leastly, the food highlight of the trip was when I finally visited Eataly with Ranee and her cousin, Isabelle. Eataly is a high-end 50,000 square foot Italian food market and shopping center. Mega chefs Mario Bitali and Lidia Bastianich teamed up with restauranteur Joe Bastianich (Lidia’s son) for this amazing creation. The shopping and the tasting rooms are all mixed into one huge crazy experience. You walk along and look at meats and cheeses and then theres and area to sip wine while eating meats and cheese. You’re looking at the bins of fresh produce, when you stumble upon the vegetarian restaurant. There’s seafood and freshly made pasta, a beer garden, an amazing bakery, meats and produce and a whole line of Italian desert stands. I could have spent all day there!





In the end, we put our names in for the pizza and pasta spot and there was a wait, so we went to the vegetarian restaurant, sat at the bar and shared and artichoke that was BY FAR the best artichoke I’ve ever eaten. As we were finishing, with perfect timing, we were texted that our table was ready for dinner. I love gnocchi, but a lot of places screw it up, so I don’t order it too much, but I figured this was the place to get it. The gnocchi here was served with braised lamb shank ragu and was AH MAZE ING! To finish, I had the salted caramel gelato. OMG. So done. I’m sort of glad I don’t live in New York because I’d go broke at this place!

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Hase-dera Temple in Kamakura

May 5th, 2013 · No Comments

One of the Japanese gardens at Hase-dera.

Chris helping Kai with the hand washing ritual.

Kai, having a little too much fun with the water! :)

Kannon-do Hall

A view of Kamakura Bay.

Rachelle & Dallas

Tandy, Kanoa, Chris & Kai.=

Inside of a pretty umbrella.

Dallas photobombing through the bushes, in front of Kyozo Sutra Archive.

My new love, this ume (plum) drink, was discovered at a vending machine at Hase-dera in Kamakura. Chris told me it was his favorite, so I gave it a try. YUM!!! I was forever on the lookout for the ume drink after this.

A view as we climbed the hill.

Kamakura Bay.

Kamakura Bay.

View large panoramic of Kamakura Bay.

This kannon statue was on the walking trail.

An old stone statue. There were a bunch here.

These ema are prayer boards, or wish boards. People write down they’re prayers or wishes and hang them up here where the gods will receive them.

This one was in English….

…. but there were so many different languages represented.

More ema.



After our okonomiyaki lunch, we walked up the road to Hase-dera temple. We didn’t spend too much time taking part inside the temple or doing temple rituals. The grounds here are so beautiful, we mostly just walked around. There were a lot of beautiful Japanese gardens with all kinds of peonies growing. The temple is known more for its hydrangea, but it was not the right season. Hase-dera is built along a big hill. The gardens are at the bottom and the buildings are a little farther up. You can climb a trail to the top – I kept telling Dallas there better be monkeys at the top, after all that climbing. When we got to the top, no monkeys. But there was an amazing view of Kamakura Bay, which was pretty cool. I mean, I know Japan is an island, but I never really thought about beaches!

Jizo-do Hall





Hase-dera has hundreds of small Jizo statues. I’d venture to say thousands, even. These are left by parents mourning the loss of mizuko, or children lost to miscarriage, stillbirth or abortion. I read that the statues remain in place for about a year before being removed to make space for more statues. They estimate that since WWII, there have been about 50,000 Jizo statues placed at Hase-dera.

The entrance to Benen-do Hall and Benten-kutusu Cave.

Dallas in Benten-do Hall.

Hase-dera also has a cave, Benten-kutsu Cave. Inside are a bunch of really old carved statues and the whole place is dimly lit by candlelight. It’s a little bit creepy! Of course, this was one of Kai’s favorite things!

Leaving Hase-dera. We stopped at Kamakura Gelato before heading home.

Here are some more great photos of Hase-dera that I found online.

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