It’s the Saturday morning on the “last weekend of summer”.  I woke up late and starting milling about.  Then I realized there was a milk emergency at the house so I high tailed it over to the corner Hucks (gas station for those of you living West of the Mississippi).  Of course I cannot make a shopping trip and only purchase one item, so I also picked up some doughnuts for my sweetheart, two boxes of cereal, some orange sherbet, and the pick of picks – overly ripe bananas.


The first time I ever made banana bread was in college – my best friend’s mother had a delicious secret recipe that was shared.  Yummy, easy, and in line with my personal mantra of “waste not, want not” (old bananas – icky).


I came home and started searching through my old cookbook for the 3×5 card I knew was stuck somewhere in the side pocket.  In addition to banana bread, I discovered a Pandora’s box of delicious foods I used to love to make and eat – in the “college years”. 


The find of finds was my all time, favorite soup recipe. 


My girlfriend and I (same friend of banana bread recipe fame) recreated the recipe from memory many falls ago but have been searching at least five years for the actual, original ingredient list and details.  What a coup!  I have the hand printed copy on a sheet of paper pulled from a spiral notebook.   Ah, college.


So, even though we still have a Sunday and Monday left to wear white pants/shoes, and linen…. I am already looking forward to chilly nights and homemade soup.  In fact, I may even make this delicious treat and eat it in a white linen summer dress to officially say goodbye to hot and hello to fall.


Without further ado, here it is…

The recipe I tried in college that I still love today:


Roasted Garlic & Onion Soup

From Betty Crocker’s Italian Cooking, page 70


2 medium bulbs roasted garlic

1 TBS olive oil

½ cup chopped prosciutto or fully cooked smoked ham (approximately 4 oz)

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves

2 medium onions, coarsely chopped (approximately 1 ½ cups)

1 large baking potato peeled & shredded (use a large cheese grater to shred)

2 cans chicken broth (approximately 3 ½ cups)

¼ teaspoon white pepper

¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Make roasted garlic
    1. Peel away outermost layers of bulbs, drizzle with oil, salt and pepper, wrap in foil, bake in oven for 30 to 40 minutes – you will smell it when its ready
    2. Remove from oven – be EXTREMLY careful as it will be piping hot
    3. When garlic is fully cooked, the gloves should pop quite easily out of their pods.  Mash, and they are ready for soup


  1. Heat oil.  Cook ham, parsley, basil, and onions in oil for approximately 5 minutes
  2. Stir in potato and broth.  Heat to boiling; reduce heat.  Simmer uncovered 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in roasted garlic paste, white pepper, and cheese.  Simmer uncovered approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened.


Tips: The longer you simmer the better.  I also prefer to substitute leeks for the onions.  It gives it a bit of a different taste.  Sometimes I like half and half.  They are a bit milder than the onions but still add a good spiciness to the soup.  The leeks also seem to hold up better if you plan on refrigerating and eating leftovers. 


I also enjoy using the smoked ham in the colder months – again, it’s a bit heartier than the prosciutto and works best if you plan on eating leftovers.


I am a garlic freak so I use more than the 2 bulbs – just a matter of preference.

According to Weight Watchers recipie builder (man, I love e tools) the soup is only 2 points per serving.  That means its delicious and healthy!




Marianne’s Banana Bread


½ Cup butter (1 stick)

1 Cup brown sugar

1 egg


3 ultra ripe bananas

2 Cups flour

Just over ½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon lemon juice, added to 1/3 Cup milk (let sit for 5 minutes)


  1. Combine butter, brown sugar, and egg.  Cream until light and fluffy
  2. Blend in remaining ingredients.  Mix just until gooey.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes
  4. Bake an additional 10 minutes at 325 degrees


Tips:  I also enjoy adding walnuts, or any type of nuts I have on hand.  This morning I chopped up approximately 1 cup of raw almonds; I used about ¾ cup in the dough mix and the sprinkled the rest on top of the loaf

I also added about 1/2 teaspoon of Lockhead’s vanilla for good measure.  And for no real reason at all, I used 4 bananas instead of 3.


I also used my spiffy new silicone bake ware which was very exciting.  The banana bread just pops right out.  Word of caution: you must be careful when putting the dough in the oven because the silicone is extremely flexible and prone to spilling if you don’t have a steady hand.


Necessary disclaimer:  Bananas are healthy but this is not necessarily a low fat or low calorie recipe.  The best advice I can give is, use the bananas then give away this yummy loaf to your favorite skinny person.


I put the information into my Weight Watchers E tools, and it calculated that if the loaf is 10 servings, there are 7 WW points/serving.  That’s approximately 300 calories and 10 grams of fat if we assume there are 2 grams of fiber per serving. 










Recipe I tried today: ROASTED CHICKPEAS


Taken from


A healthy alternative to Cocktail nuts, these spicy beans also taste great tossed into salads.  Store in an airtight container to maintain freshness, or eat them all at once!


Preparation time: 3 minutes

Cooking time: 50 minutes

Level of Difficulty: Super Easy

Serving: 4, ½ cup servings

WW Point value: 2



1 teaspoon olive oil (or spray of that handy olive oil cooking spray)

2 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained

¼ tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp red pepper flakes



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly coat a rimmed baking sheet (I also used foil) with cooking spray.
  2. Spread chickpeas on baking sheet and sprinkle with garlic powder and red pepper; toss to coat
  3. Roast on bottom rack of oven, shaking pan about every 15 minutes, until browned and slightly crunchy, about 45 to 50 minutes.

 Note: The chickpeas will still be somewhat soft.  Cook longer for desired texture.  Cool prior to serving.



How I made it better:  Instead of using garlic powder, upgrade to minced garlic.  I did use the red pepper flakes, but I also jazzed it up with the Gourmet Garden Chili Pepper Blend (The stuff that you squeeze out).


I used my handy olive oil cooking spray – but I premixed in a bowl for maximum spicy coverage.


I’m serving with some prefab chili lime chicken patties, roasted corn, and sliced fresh tomatos.  Yum-yum!

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