Category Archives: Desserts

Fudgy Brownies (Made with Oil)


I’ve been looking for a good, fudgy brownie recipe made with oil for a while. Like a really, really long while. And they always turn out too dry or cake-like for our taste. But these ones finally hit the spot. “Keep it or keep looking?” I asked Austin after giving him one of these tonight. “Keep it. Blog it. Make it again!” was the response. The 10 college boys in the next room currently devouring batch after batch seem to agree.

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup flour

Directions and Notes

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Grease a 9″ round pan.

3. In a medium bowl, beat together the oil and sugar.

4. Add the vanilla and eggs and beat until just combined.

5. In a separate bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients, and then pour the dry ingredient mixture into the wet ingredients. Stir until combined.

6. Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees until the edges of the brownies are pulling away from the edges of the pan.

7. Cool completely before cutting.

Note: Double the recipe for a 9×13 pan and increase the cook time to 30 minutes.


Frozen Bananas


Maybe frozen bananas are “a thing”… I don’t know, but I somehow didn’t find out about them until Austin & I moved to China and he suggested them as a fun snack idea. His family sometimes ate them as a snack/ dessert growing up, and I’m so thankful he introduced me!



peanut butter

chocolate, melted


chopped nuts

shredded coconut

Directions and Notes:

Peel the bananas and arrange them on a dish. Top with any desired toppings (plenty of peanut butter and chocolate are a must!) and place in the freezer for at least 1 ½ hours, preferably 2-3 hours until frozen but not completely rock solid.

Remove from freezer and eat immediately.

These are a great snack for us and a really good party food. Our students love the “frozen banana buffet,” putting all kinds of stuff on top and then enjoying their own creations.

Strawberry Banana (Soft Serve) “Ice Cream”


Picture 51


4 small ripe bananas, chopped into large pieces

1 super-heaping cup of ripe strawberries, washed and with leaves removed


1. Freeze the bananas and strawberries about 4 hours until very hard. Process in food processor until smooth. Blend in powdered sugar if desired.

2. Serve immediately as soft serve or return bowl to freezer to harden a little more before eating.

Picture 50 Picture 52

This isn’t creamy like real ice cream, but it’s a good frozen treat for hot days or any days.

Picture 61

In the past when our food processor was broken, we also used our blender, but it required adding a little milk which resulted in softer ice cream if eaten immediately (If put back into the freezer, the milk makes it harden too much).

Chocolate-Chocolate Truffles



For filling:

12 walnuts, shelled

2 Tablespoons cream/ milk

about 160 grams dark chocolate (for China friends, that’s 2 large 80g Dove bars)

1 Tablespoon powdered sugar

For outer shell:

100 more grams (melting) chocolate of choice (semi-sweet worked well for us)

unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting

Directions & Notes:

1. In a magic bullet cup (or by hand), pulse the walnuts and milk/ cream until it makes a paste.

2. In a double boiler (or the microwave), heat the dark chocolate until it is melted. Stir in the walnut and milk/ cream paste and the Tablespoon of powdered sugar. Place in the freezer for about 20-25 minutes until it is cooled and slightly stiff.


3. Just before removing the bowl of filling from the freezer, melt the chocolate for the outer shell.

4. Roll the filling into about 1″ balls. Dip into the melted chocolate quickly just to coat them, but not long enough so they melt and lose their form.

5. Place the dipped balls on a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle with cocoa powder. Cool and enjoy!  IMG_3421

Note: For recipes that call for a double boiler, I improvise to make my own “double boiler” by using a small pan with some water in the bottom and placing a comparatively shallow metal bowl with roughly the same circumference on top: IMG_3417