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Chocolate Hazelnut Swirled Banana Bread

Holy shit you guys. I'm writing a blog post... with a new recipe! I haven't posted a new recipe in about a month! 

I think I'm always taking a break, and returning here to say "life has been crazy!" Truthfully when is life not crazy? 

To give you all a little recap of what I have been up to the last few weeks, I have been right out straight with the  kids and school starting. Chase is in Kindergarten now, Owen is in 2nd grade, and Mads just turned 3. What the fudge?! She was in my belly when I started this little adventure called blogging. The summer flew right by, and now we are smack dab in the middle of fall weather. It's cold, my heat is on, I'm wearing wool socks, and I'm baking like a lunatic.

We've also had some family things that have thrown everyone for a loop, and made us all stop to count our blessings and not take day to day life for granted, because in a split second something can happen to change everything. 

If you all remember a few months ago I shared a little recap of my little sister Jamie's wedding. She is just 23 and she married her best friend Tim who is 24. Being newly weds, they are just starting out and have limited funds, as most young couples do. Tim recently changed jobs and started a new endeavor in roofing. Just a couple of weeks on the job and he had a terrible accident. While on a roof working, he fell through a skylight to the ground fracturing several vertebrae, rupturing one, fracturing his shoulder and some ribs. The injuries were so bad they could not care for him at Laconia Hospital, and he had to be transported up to Dartmouth for spinal surgery. As you can imagine this has been an emotional roller coaster for my sister and Tim, but now that he is on the road to recovery, things are looking up for them!  Though the finical strain still looms over their heads. 

Tim was their primary bread winner, being out of work for several months while he recovers is going to hit them hard, and even after he recovers, he will most likely need to find a new line of work. Not to mention the medical debt they are about to have dropped on their heads..... You all do not want to know what a spinal surgery costs, as well as almost a week in the hospital! 

Because they need the help, I started a Go Fund Me page where people can donate any dollar amount to help them get back on their feet. They are too proud to ask, but I am not! Please help my sister and her husband out! Every dollar counts! 

And now that I've asked you to empty your pockets hahaha, lets talk about banana bread. 

I'm a huge fan. It's the first baked treat I fell in love with way back as a little girl. My Nana and my Bambi Kenny (great grandmother) both used to make the best banana bread ever. In fact, Nana used to make it every year for my birthday. Naturally, it is one of the most made treats today in my kitchen. 

This one is great, it has the classic texture and taste of banana bread, but swirled with some Nutella, it gets kicked up a notch! 

Chocolate Hazelnut Swirled Banana Bread
Banana bread base recipe is adapted from Joy the Baker's Chocolate Bourbon Banana Bread found in her book, The Joy the Baker Cookbook

2 cups all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 3 medium bananas)
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup chocolate hazelnut spread (something comparable to Nutella) 


Preheat oven to 350. 

Sift together, flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl. Set aside. 

Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. 

Add in eggs one at a time, and mix until incorporated. 

Mix in banana mash and vanilla. Once the mixture is full mixed, fold in try ingredients. 

Mix batter together until everything is combined. 

Heat hazelnut spread in microwave for about 20 seconds or until it is melted. 

Spread half of your banana bread batter into the bottom of a greased bread pan, drizzle with half of your hazelnut spread. Top with remaining batter. Drizzle the rest of the hazelnut spread over the top of bread. Using a fork or knife, gently swirl the batter together with the chocolate hazelnut spread. 

Bake for one hour or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean. 

Please if you can spare, donate just the cost of a cup of coffee to help Tim and Jamie out! Click here to read their story, and learn how to help!


How To Get The Most Of Your Farmer's Market

Farmer’s markets are in full swing this time of year. One of my favorite weekend or evening activities is packing the kids up and driving to our favorite markets across the state of New Hampshire. We tend to be regulars at the Bedford, Concord, Wolfeboro, and Manchester markets, each one offers something I can’t get at the others. Today, I’ve shared a few of my favorite tips on how to get the most out of your market.

1) Know the growing seasons in your area and then create your shopping list. I create my family’s menu based on what is seasonal. If we want fresh fruit for breakfast, I know that in June I can get my hands on the best fresh strawberries, July is full of blueberries, August is for peaches and nothing beats fresh September apples! Also be sure to buy the seasonal items you love in bulk! I freeze a LOT of fruit so we can make muffins, smoothies, and other goodies year round.

2) Be green. And no I do not mean the color of your skin, but eco friendly. Be sure to pack a couple of your favorite reusable bags that are easy to carry around when full. Also purchasing products in glass containers? Ask the farmer’s if they do a jar or bottle deposit so you can recycle that glass! This also helps cut down their costs, they reuse the glass that is returned to them!

3) Don’t over plan. I find that I always find new items to try at my markets, so I always budget a little extra spending money for spontaneity. Like last week… I picked up a mushroom growing kit for my kids. Not only will I have mushrooms in a few weeks, I did a fun project with my kids. So glad I brought that extra $20 with me! Or that time I just HAD to pick up quail eggs because I found them to be absolutely adorable!

4) See something new at the market, but are unsure of how to use it? Ask the farmer who is selling it! I have gotten some of THE best recipe advice from the folks I purchase my produce from. I found these “Stone Cherries” at a French market in Montreal this summer… though my French is not so great…. I made sure to ask the non English speaking farmer how to use them. Boy am I glad I did! These little things are delicious!

5) Stay hydrated! I tend to walk a lot at our markets and am usually carrying heavy bags and a toddler. I find that I get quite thirsty while shopping. What better way to quench my thirst than a bottle of my favorite Pure Leaf Iced Tea!


Have you tried Pure Leaf Iced Tea yet? If not be sure to check them out at, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest for great recipe ideas!

What is great about Pure Leaf Iced Tea is that they are not filled with artificial ingredients. Made with real brewed tea, you can’t find a more refreshing beverage choice!

Want to see what farmers markets look like across the nation? Snap a photo at your local market and share it on Twitter or Instagram with #LoveofLeaves and your location tagged. Then visit to see your photo on the map. You might even get a special surprise!

Also be sure to check out Pure Leaf’s “Share the Love of Leaves” program!
Through the “Share the Love of Leaves” program, the brand made a $100,000 donation to Wholesome Wave, a nonprofit that focuses on making fresh, healthy, locally grown food affordable and accessible to all. With your support, we helped Pure Leaf make a difference in communities nationwide by bringing the total donation to $150,000. Together, we’ve helped to provide 100,000 pounds of locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables for those in need.

(Disclaimer: I received monetary compensation for writing this blog post. However as always, all opinions are 100% my own.)


#TeamRyan Blogger Auction

Thank you to all of those who donated items to the auction, and to those of you who bid! It was a HUGE success. Over the next week, I will be contacting all of the winners with info on how to proceed with their donations. There are a LOT of people to reply to, so be patient, I am getting to each bidder/emailer one at a time. 

Last winter a fellow food blogger and friend Ashley, from Center Cut Cook announced she was pregnant with her first child (YAY! Exciting!) However she also had another major announcement. Her husband Ryan was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. My heart broke for Ryan and her when this news was made public. Ryan and Ashley are much like Stevie and I. They are the same age and also  high school sweethearts. Ashely is equally obsessed with food and social media as I am. I'm sure in REAL life, we'd all hit it off. 

I can not imagine the struggles they go through everyday balancing a newborn baby, chemo treatments, Dr.s appointments, and the emotional roller coaster that they were thrown on.  Ryan's cancer is incredibly rare for someone at the young age of 29. Typically colon cancer is extremely treatable if detected early, which is why people over the age of 50 are recommended to get a routine colonoscopyPoor Ryan never had the chance to prevent or catch it early, because how many 29 year old men worry about colon cancer? 

Since Ashley and Ryan live all the way over in the Chicago area, there is not much we blogger friends can do to support them. So the blogging community teamed together to plan a fundraiser on their behalf. All proceeds will be donated directly to Ashley and Ryan to help with living expenses and medical bills while Ryan is in treatment. You guys.... they have a newborn baby. Babies are expensive, I know, I've had 3!  And medical costs while treating cancer? We probably don't even want to know what that costs. 

They need our help, support and prayers!

Below you will find a large selection of gift boxes made by fellow food bloggers, signed cookbooks, kitchen equipment, homemade baked treats and much, MUCH more. 
How to Bid: Send your bids to me! Email them to with the subject line saying  #TeamRyan Bid, and then list the item name and number plus the $ amount you want to bid on the package. I will be keeping bids updated as often as I can. ( I took the WHOLE week off so I can sit by my computer and be on top of the action!) Be sure to keep checking back because the bids will change often, there WILL be bidding wars I am sure! 
Bids. All bids entered must be in $5 increments. (Minimum bid on ALL packages is $5).
Hours of Bake Sale:  September 1st 9pm EST- September 7th 8:59pm EST
Shipping:  Items can only be shipped to the US mailing addresses ,(unless otherwise noted in the package details)  AFTER the winner has paid bid amount. 
How to Pay for your Item:  After the bidding has ended, I will contact each winner by email telling them they won the bid and how to pay for their items. Once payment has been confirmed, your items will be shipped to you by the appropriate blogger or brand who donated the item. 
Keep up on Social Media:  Be sure to check out the chatter on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by searching the hashtag #TeamRyan 
NOW check out what is up for bid.....
1) 1 Gallon of Pure New Hampshire Maple Syrup Donated by Carrie B. (Bakeaholic Mama

Current Bid: $130- Linda Philips 
2) OXO Baker's gift pack donated by OXO

Current Bid: $100- Andrea Waage

3) Le Creuset 5.5 qt Round French Oven donated by Le Creuset 

Current bid: $310- Lori L. 
4) Very Culinary's Favorite Kitchen Tools donated by Amy W.  (Very Culinary

Current Bid: $90- Edee

5) $100 World Market Gift Card donated by World Market 

Current Bid: $200- Keirsten (Oh My Veggies) 

6) Star Fine Foods Mediterranean Food Gift Basket donated by Star Fine Foods

Current Bid: $90- David Duncan

7) The Flavor Bible donated by Donna and Chad (The Slow Roasted Italian

Current Bid: $100- Liz Harris 

8) John Boos Walnut 20x15x1 1/2 Cutting Board donated by Donna and Chad (The Slow Roasted Italian)
Current Bid: $150- Tricia @ Saving Room For Dessert

9) Red Velvet Lover's Cookbook and a $25 Amazon Gift Card donated by Deborah H. (Taste and Tell Blog)

Current Bid: $85- Brenda Smith 

10) Cuisinart Mini Prep Food Processor donated by Lauren G. (Climbing Grier Mountain)

Current Bid: $75- Kris M.

11) 5-Flavor Salad Dressing Basket from The Biltmore House in Asheville NC donated by Melissa S. (Melissa's Southern Style Kitchen)
This gift basket contains all five of our Biltmore« dressings, Zinful Raspberry, Creamy Vidalia« Onion, Cabernet Poppy Seed, BBQ Ranch, and Summer Tomato & Sweet Onion. Ideal for friends and family celebrating any occasion. You can even add a new twist to an old favorite by using our Vidalia Onion or BBQ Ranch dressings as a marinade.

Current Bid: $70- Darlene G.

12) Baking Basics Gift Basket donated by Joan H (Chocolate, Chocolate and More)

Current Bid: $100- Monica

13) Pine Ridge Barbecue Sauce Gift Basket donated by Milisa A. (Miss in the Kitchen)

Current Bid: $50-  TIED Valarie Myers& Aimee W.
14) One SIGNED copy of the Smart Cookie Cookbook donated by Christi J (Love from my Oven)

Current Bid: $35- Nancy Orr

15) A signed copy of The Recipe Girl Cookbook and a $50 Crate n' Barrel Gift Card donated by Lori L. (Recipe Girl

Current Bid: $150- Cathy 

16) A copy of Surprise Inside Cakes AND this matching cake stand donated by Amanda R. (I am Baker) 

Current Bid: $125- Susan D. 
17) Low-Carb Baking Bundle donated by Carolyn K. (All Day I Dream About Food
Includes, almond flour, Swerve sweetener, whey protein & parchment paper.

Current Bid: $100- Lisa Plotnik 

18) Anthropologie Gift Card $50.00 donated by Meagan W. (A Zesty Bite)

Current Bid: $115- Jodi R 

19) Home cheese making kit and a slate serving board donated by Jennifer F. (Savory Simple)

Current Bid: $100 Lisa Plontnik  
20) Chocolate Lover's Gift Pack donated by Jocelyn B. (Inside Brucrew Life)
Includes, a bundt pan, Baker’s Joy, spatula, chocolate cake mix, chocolate Yankee Candle, Reese’s Pieces, Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, and a dozen homemade Chocolate Reese’s cookies! 

Current Bid: $70- Kristen Duke 

21) Amazon gift card, bamboo kitchen tools and Rachel Ray Stoneware donated by Shawn S. ( I Wash You Dry) 

Current Bid: $110- Mary (Baseballmom23)

22) A Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker in Cranberry; A Trio of Bamboo Cooking Spoons; and A Set of Four Nourish Soup Bowls donated by Hayley P. (The Domestic Rebel) 

Current Bid: $125-Gigi

23) Cuisinart ICE-21 Ice Cream Maker donated by Mary Y. (Barefeet in the Kitchen)

Current Bid: $125- Chris Wiess 

24) Two Silpat Baking Mats and a Batch of Cookie Butter Butterscotch Cookies donated by Lisa L. (Wine and Glue)

Current Bid: $70-  Jennifer F. 

25) Zingerman's Deluxe Bread Gift Basket donated by Liz. (The Lemon Bowl)

Current Bid: $80- Melissa G. 

26) Biscoff Goodie Basket PLUS a copy of the Biscoff Cookbook when it releases in November! Katrina B. (In Katrina's Kitchen)

Current Bid: $90- Susan D. 

27) 11 brand new, classic baby board books in honor of sweet baby Miles! Donated by Lauren B. (Lauren's Latest)

Current Bid: $150- Jamie Lothridge 
28) Dessert Mashups Cookbook Basket donated by Dorothy K. (Crazy for Crust)

Current Bid: $110- Valerie Brunmeir 

29) Coffee Lover's Gift set donated by Aimee S. (Shugary Sweets
The set will include the coffee mug, spoon, Two Brothers coffee (local in Illinois), tea towel and a fresh batch of coconut biscotti from Shugary Sweets

Current Bid: $90-Mary BaseballMom23

30) Whoopie Pie Making Kit from Tanya S. (Lemons for Lulu)
Includes, Whoopie Pie Cookbook, two cookie sheets, baking mat, cookie scoop, spatulas and a piping kit. 

Current Bid: $135- Imperfect Kitchen 

31) Gourmet Chocolate Gift Basket donated by Roxana Y. (Roxana's Home Baking)
Current Bid: $60- Kathy Crow

32) Rodell Vanilla gift pack + a $50 Sur La Table gift card donated by Lynne F. (365 Days of Baking
Current Bid: $120 - Ashley~ Spoon Full of Flavor
33) Two jars of Foodie with Family's spicy and sweet Candied JalapeƱos from Rebecca's most popular post ever. Taste them and find out what the fuss is all about! 

Current Bid:$110- Jennifer Blough
34) One SIGNED copy of the Smart Cookie Cookbook donated by Christi J. (Love from my Oven)

Current Bid: - $50  Sue Ellen. 

35) These cute stand mixer earrings hang about 1/2 an inch off of hypoallergenic hooks. Donated by The Busted Button.

Current Bid: $55- Imperfect Kitchen

36) A Pier 1 (21 piece) Tasting Party Starter Set, Gooseberry Patch The Christmas Table Cook Book, Gooseberry Patch Collectors Christmas Book #9, Set Matryoshka Measuring Spoons donated by Lark's Country Heart.

Current Bid: $80-  Darlene 
37) Pizza Lover's Kit donated by Monica M. (The Yummy Life)
Current Bid: $130- Darlene 
38) Crocheted Garlic Girl Design Earrings donated by Jodi. (Garlic Girl)  3 sets of earrings 3 separate bids. These earrings retails for $26/pair! 
Garlic Girl Design Earrings are handmade with thinly woven thread and a tiny crochet hook.
Lightweight and elegant, each pair is unique and created in a variety of shapes, sizes and warm
Mediterranean colors. Available in a variety of metals and beads, these eye-catching earrings are
lightweight and add a unique and pretty accent to any special look or outfit.

Current Bids:Pair #1 -$30- Katrina
Pair #2 - $20 Darlene
Pair #3 Darlene $30
 39) Wine Bottle opener donated by Barb K. (Creative Culinary) Retails for $180, minimum bid $75.
SCIP Le Thiers Cabernet Sauvignon Varietal Vinewood Handle Corkscrew. Classic Le Thiers styling. 5-Spires and long lever for effortless pull. Made in France. The handle is made from the actual vine and it has a leather pouch with a belt strap. Both the pouch and the metal are inscribed with the varietal used for the handle. Gorgeous yes but the best wine bottle opener I've ever used!
Retail value is $180
Current Bid: $150- Jenny Davis 
40) Paderno Spiralizer donated by Holly Nilsson ( Spend with Pennies

Current Bid: $75- Lori Alter

To read more about Ashley and Ryan's story, check out their #TeamRyan Facebook page. If you don't want to bid, but want to make a donation go to Ryan and Ashley's Give Forward fundraiser page.

Special thanks goes out to Amy from Very Culinary for her design help! Also a big thank you to all the bloggers who joined in to help,  OXO, Star Fine Foods, Le Creuset and World Market!