Mashed Potatoes – Loaded!

No box of potato flakes will ever set foot in my pantry – homemade mashed potatoes are so much yummier & soooo simple to make. I’m all for the standard mash, but sometimes I like to take them to the next level. Enter my Loaded Mashed Potatoes…a whipped, silky, creamy, cheesy accompaniment that easily takes the place of your typical potato side!

Here’s what you need:
  • 6 medium potatoes, cubed (skins optional)
  • 1/2 cup milk – more or less to taste
  • 4 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

(Stop here – everything above this is my Basic Mashed Potato recipe & can be used without the ingredients below!)

  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked & chopped

And here’s how you make it:

In a medium sauce pot, cover the potatoes with cold water high enough so they’re just covered. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and continue boiling on medium/high for 15 minutes. Drain potatoes & set aside.
Return your pot to the stove & set on a medium/low heat. Add the butter & milk, cooking until warmed – don’t boil the milk! Add the potatoes, salt, pepper, sour cream, cheese, onions, and bacon. With a hand mixer turned off, mash the ingredients together for about 10 seconds. Turn the mixer on medium and whip the potato mixture until light and fluffy. Add additional milk, salt, and/or pepper to taste.
These potatoes reheat really well in the microwave. In fact, I had my leftovers for dinner tonight (it’s a Dinner for One night for me), and this is all I have left to share:

Musings: Gardens & Banana Peppers

Something occurred to me the other day. I love gardens – especially the potted gardens filled with herbs, vegetables, flowers…a sprinkling of odd greenery here & there. I am, however, NO gardener. Don’t believe me?
Herb Garden
What makes this really ironic is that I’m surrounded by master gardeners, some related, some not, all with delicious food growing in their gardens. Our neighbors, separated only by the fence between our townhouses, have lush planters full of beautiful vegetables & gorgeous flowers growing all over their deck & yard. I’m jealous! Ha! Luckily, they share. :)

Our Neighbors’ Deck
Last night they gave me two banana peppers, something I’ve never cooked with. Since then, I’ve been wracking my brain trying to think of how to cook with them. Some recipes look good, while others look just…plain…odd. Sooner or later I’ll find the right recipe, and I’ll be sure to share it here!

The Best Banana Bread…EVER!

(Tuesday evening)

Inevitably, we always end up with a bunch of bananas on the counter that are over-ripe. There are many different ways you can use them: banana muffins, banana pudding, banana cream pie. All of these get better the riper the banana. But, by far, my favorite recipe to use over-ripe bananas in, is this recipe I found at

I follow the base of this recipe to the tee – as you should for any dessert. But, I have found that you can adjust the amount of bananas a bit, remove one or add an extra, it doesn’t seem to affect the end result: an amazingly moist, satisfying, not-overly-sweet, version of an American favorite. The only way I know to make it better is to add a couple handfuls of chocolate chips to the batter. What can be better than bananas, nuts, and chocolate in a cake-like bread? Not much, unless you warm up a slice and add a pat of butter. :)

I have five over-ripe bananas sitting on my counter right now….

Best Banana Bread


(Wednesday evening)

….and tonight I used them!

Once again, the recipe proved to be simple & adaptable! I realized I didn’t have creme fresh OR sour cream, so I had to get crafty. This is where it comes in handy to have a 1-year old in the house, because I found the perfect substitute: YoBaby whole milk banana yogurt! I made a double batch tonight, so one full container equaled about 4 tbsp, which was the exact right amount for this recipe. I love it when a plan comes together.

Speaking of….



One hour & fifteen minutes later….


Weekend Favorites: Blueberry Pancakes

Every Saturday morning I ask Mia what she’d like for breakfast, and every time the answer is the same: Blueberry Pancakes. The recipe makes enough for a family of four, give or take, and it’s truly a favorite in our house!

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1/2 pint blueberries
And here’s how you make it:
Place 1/4 stick of butter into a large skillet over medium to medium/high heat. The pan is ready when the butter is melted and starts to foam a little.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In a separate mixing bowl combine the milk, egg, oil, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, whisking to just combine.
Pour the batter, about 1/4 cup at a time, into your preheated skillet. Sprinkle each pancake with blueberries to taste. Cook four minutes, or until you see bubbles appear all over the top. Flip the pancakes & cook an additional three minutes. Repeat the process until batter has been used up. Serve hot with butter and syrup.
Things to note:
  • I start with the pan on medium/high to preheat, but once the first set of pancakes has finished, I reduce the heat to medium. After the first set, the remaining batches need less time – about three minutes the first side, and two minutes the second side.
  • These pancakes reheat really well – on Sundays we will take leftovers, wrap them in a damp paper towel, and microwave for about 30 seconds. Yum!

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