Thursday, October 18, 2012

Books and Banana Bread

Do I have a special for you today. I stumbled across a book series that I absolutely love on my weekly trip to the library. Lately, I have steered away from the romance novels that are more about the "canoodling" and less about developing relationships. Lucky for me, my local library makes "good, clean" love stories easy to find, with a special sticker on the side. So when I picked up Sweet Caroline, a Lowcountry novel, by Rachel Hauck, I was immediately wrapped up in this world based out of one of my favorite places to visit, Beaufort, SC. I quickly ran back to the library and picked up the rest of the series, Love Starts with Elle and Dining with Joy.


All three of these ladies, Caroline, Elle, and Joy, are pushed into a situation where they suddenly have to discover who they are, what their purposes are. Caroline, a people-pleaser, was unexpectantly given ownership of a failing restaurant and has to decide whether to keep it or to drop it and go to Barcelona for an incredible job opportunity. Elle, a free spirit, closes her art gallery with the expectation of moving away to marry the man of her dreams, only to be faced with no man, no job, and no gallery. Joy, the humorous and the local tv show cooking host, can't cook. Now that her show has been moved to a prime time national spot, her secret of not being able to cook is threatened, and she could chance losing everything. 

Each of these ladies not only struggle with discovering their purpose, but they are each faced with unexpectantly developing a relationship with a man...and more importantly, they are faced with their relationship with their Creator. 

These stories were quirky, good stories where I had to put a bookmark at the end of the chapter so I wouldn't keep reading. I was completely engrossed in their lives and the outcomes weren't always 100 percent predictable. 

This is a good beach read or a great coffee, blanket, fireplace read. And I recommend both. 

And now, for a recipe. 

At the end of Dining with Joy, I found a wonderful surprise: a recipe for Banana Bread. Throughout the novel, Joy was constantly reminded of her father's infamous Banana Bread, something he made on a regular basis and was the source of so many memories. I was pleased to find the recipe at the end of the book. I didn't have all of the ingredients, but I sure did have most of it. I tried it, and it was GOOD. So I'm going to share my variation here for you. 

Almost Dining with Joy Banana Bread Muffins Original Recipe Found On Rachel Hauck's site here

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup Turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ripe, mashed bananas 
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup milk, plus 1 Tbsp white vinegar, mixed
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  1. Preheat oven to 325. 
  2. In a large bowl mix flours, sugars, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. 
  3. In another bowl, mix eggs, bananas, oil, milk mixture, and vanilla. 
  4. Add the wet to the dry mixture and blend. 
  5. Slowly stir in chocolate chips and peanut butter
  6. Pour into a greased muffin tin. 
  7. Bake for 40 minutes. 
This is slightly different, but came out great. And it's a good thing I was paying attention to the muffins. The original recipe, which is for bread not muffins, had you cooking for twice as long. I almost went outside for an hour on my hammock while I waited for it to be finished. Thank goodness that didn't happen. :} 

So whip up a batch of "Almost Dining with Joy Banana Bread Muffins", and curl up with one {or all} of these three books. You won't regret it. 


  1. Hi Jana, I just wanted to thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. I love comments and just don't get enough!! ;)

    So thank you for making my day. I love a good book - I'll have to see if my library has books by this author. Thanks!

  2. Oh, and I just noticed you linked to A Virtuous Woman. Thank you so much!! :)