Bananas Foster Breakfast Strata



Come and get your Christmas carbs, ladies and gentlemen.

The December 2013 issue of Cooking Light, was, far and away, one of their best issues yet.  When I get the issue in the mail each month, I promptly draw up a bubble bath (inevitably putting in way too much soap and then laughing way too much when I turn the jacuzzi jets on and the bubbles go up over my head.  The saddest part?  I know that it’s going to happen every single time.  But, it’s one of those little childish indulges-I revert back to age 5 when I used to beg my parents to buy me Mr. Bubble.  Sometimes a She-Ra action figure or a glamorous Barbie would catch my eye instead, but I pretty much exclusively wanted Mr. Bubble.  Odd?  Yes. But at least I was a clean child.)

So, usually I flip through the magazine and just dog-ear the pages of recipes that I want to try.  This issue is all wrinkly and warped from getting wet and most of the pages have dog-ears.  That’s a brilliant success for me.  Bravo, Cooking Light, bravo.

Anyways, this was one of the recipes I wanted to try.  You know, to get in the Christmas spirit.

Or just in the spirit of having something with rum in it for a lazy Saturday breakfast.





Bananas Foster Breakfast Strata

Servings: 8-10



For the strata:

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

3 medium ripe bananas, sliced

1/2 cup rum

1 cup  brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup half-and-half

1/2 cup granulated sugar

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

Two 12-ounce cans of fat-free evaporated milk

1 (1-pound) French bread baguette, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

For the streusel topping:

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 tablespoons powdered sugar



1. For the strata: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Over medium-high heat, place 1 tablespoon canola oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet.

3. Add the bananas; sauté 1 minute.

4. Carefully add half of the rum; cook the rum until flames subside. (I didn’t get much of a flame on mine-if you don’t that’s ok. Just be safe.)

5. Add remaining the rum, 1 cup brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook for about 3 minutes or until the bananas are soft.

6. Transfer the banana mixture to a large bowl, and smash the  bananas with a pastry blender or fork until chunky.

7. In a separate bowl, whisk together the half-and-half, granulated sugar, eggs, and evaporated milk.

8. Add the egg mixture and bread cubes to the smashed bananas, tossing well to coat.

9. Spread the mixture into your prepared baking dish and bake for 20 minutes.

10. For the streusel topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, walnuts, brown sugar, rolled oats, and salt.

11. Stir in 1 tablespoon canola oil.

12. After the strata has baked for the 20 minutes, carefully remove it from the oven; sprinkle evenly with the streusel.

13. Bake for an additional 30 minutes or until golden and set. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.


Source:  Cooking Light December 2013 issue as part of my monthly contribution to the Cooking Light Bloggers’ Connection.

December 20, 2013 - 11:34 am

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - This is a definite breakfast dream of mine! Yum!

December 20, 2013 - 5:10 pm

natalie@thesweetslife - I do the same thing! Except I rip the pages out instead of dog-earring them…and this one was definitely ripped out. Cannot wait to make it-yours looks fab!

December 21, 2013 - 2:41 pm

Claire @ Simply Sweet Justice - This looks ah-mazing. I think I need to subscribe to this magazine now!

December 21, 2013 - 3:23 pm

Joanne - I made a savory strata this past week and I think I need to follow it up with this rum-infused sweetness!

Baked Bean Chimichangas




It’s really cold here in Milwaukee.  And probably everywhere else in the non-Southern United States.

But I’ve seen the Milverine TWICE now in the past two days.  I consider this an incredibly good omen.  (If you aren’t familiar with the Milverine, check out THIS post for the explanatory links.)

But the problem is this:  he’s not wearing a coat..ever.  He’s wearing a few layers around that chiseled chest of his, gloves, and, of course, a nice tight skull cap, but I’m a little worried about him.  He’s still walking with the determined, jagged steps.  He still has a slight, menacing scowl.  But I’m worried that he’s going to end up stranded on the south side of Milwaukee with frost bite (which, actually, might be a pretty horrible nightmare to some.)

He doesn’t know how much the sight of him brightens my day.  It’s weird, my mild obsession.  He’s a good luck charm for me.  Even if I had the most horrible of horrible, long days, the simple sight of the Milverine cheers me up.  I fist pump the air and shout “Milverine!” in my car when I see him.  It makes me happy.  And since last week was such a hectic week for me, I consider my two-day-solid streak of seeing him as a little good karma headed my way.

I doubt this man will never know how much his simple presence (and scowl and determined step) can change my day.  And, I think we all secretly have these little “good luck” things in our lives, don’t we?  (just roll with it if you don’t to make me feel a little less crazy).

And now I segue into the food awkwardly.

These chimichangas were on my brains for months before I made them.  I wanted the taste of a chimichanga (basically a loaded burrito), but I couldn’t stand the thought of frying them (I still have high cholesterol), so I had to figure out a way to get that crisped outer tortilla without greasing them up.  This was a decent substitute.

And here’s the thing:  you can put whatever you want in these.  I did a nice bean mixture, but you could add more veggies, etc if you like.  I lightly brushed them with olive oil and baked them until they were crisped and golden.  No, it’s not like a deep-fried, beany-cheesy chimichanga, but there’s enough of a nice texture/flavor here to keep a girl seriously satisfied.





Baked Bean Chimichangas

Servings: 4-6



1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing the tortillas

1/2 cup chopped yellow onion

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

One 4-ounce can green chiles, drained

2 cups black beans (I soaked some beans overnight the night before)

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

Juice of one lime

2 cups refried beans, cooked, and hopefully still a little warm (here’s a link to some homemade refried beans….one of my favorites and I highly recommend it.  It’s a super simple recipe and great to make if you have dried pinto beans on hand.)

Tortillas (use whatever kind you like…and use as many as you like.  I used 8-inch flour tortillas. The bean mixture can make about 12 chimichangas-certainly enough for two per person.)

For garnish (optional, of course):

Cheese-I used a combination of shredded Monterey Jack and queso fresco


1 tomato, chopped

Greek yogurt, optional

Black olives




1. In a saute pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a baking pan (I used a 9×13-inch glass baking pan) with cooking spray; set aside.

2. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, about 4-5 minutes.

3. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

4. Add the green chiles, black beans, chili powder, cumin, and lime juice, stirring until combined.  Cook until the beans are heated through, about 3-4 minutes.

5. Once the beans are heated through, place about 2 tablespoons of each of the refried beans and the black bean mixture into the center of each tortilla.  Top with whatever garnishes you might want inside the chimichangas-I used a small amount of cheese on each one).  Fold in the ends of each tortilla and roll up the chimichanga.  Place each chimichanga, seam side down, into the prepared baking dish.

6. Lightly and thoroughly brush each chimichanga with olive oil.

7. Bake the chimichangas until heated through and lightly browned, about 20-25 minutes or so.  ***Watch your chimichangas carefully.  As oven temperatures can vary significantly, the browning time may be dependent on your oven.  Use your own judgment here.

8. Top each chimichanga with the garnishes of your own choosing, and enjoy.


Source:  A Curvy Carrot original.

December 17, 2013 - 11:10 pm

Joanne - I’m trying to think of whether I have any omens like that or not. Probably for me it’s whether or not I catch the light while crossing the street to get to work. It is a LONG light to have to stand at the corner in this cold!

December 18, 2013 - 11:18 am

Katrina @ WVS - These look smashing!! Yum!

December 18, 2013 - 12:02 pm

Chelsea Smith (@ChelsaBea) - The Milverine, oh man, this guy cracks me up. Love when I have a sighting. And these Chimichangas look amazing! I cannot wait to make them.

December 18, 2013 - 3:07 pm

Kelly Mitchem - These look amazing, obviously the fried part is delicious but healthy is better! Can’t wait to make them!

January 2, 2014 - 10:10 pm

Ginger - Thankyou for sharing your recipes. I love collecting interesting vegetarian recipes and this one looks like a lot of fun.

January 29, 2014 - 11:53 am

Meal Planning | Tiny Spark Academy - [...] 10: Oven Baked Bean Chimichangas (definitely a favorite, use ANCHO chili powder.  Trust [...]

February 14, 2014 - 9:54 pm

15 Crunchy Finger-Licking Chimichangas - [...] Recipe & Photo credit to [...]

March 5, 2014 - 10:40 pm

Felicia - We love this bean filling! Thanks for the recipe!

March 24, 2014 - 5:50 pm

{Menu Monday} Week of March 24 - [...] Friday- Baked Black Bean Chimichangas [...]

Gingerbread Pancakes with Cinnamon Whipped Cream




I’ve had a bit of a rough week and literally wanted to face plant into a nice, warm plate of comfort food.

I think these gingerbread pancakes will do.

My landlord went into foreclosure on my unit. (A pretty sad situation.)  Fast forward a few months later to a sheriff’s sale, a flurry of written notices via certified mail, and a few phone conversations with a less-than-friendly attorney’s office who sent the letters.  (Remind me to tell you who not to use as an attorney if you ever need representation in Milwaukee.  Just sayin’).  Bottom line was this: as of a few days ago, I was under the impression that I was going to be evicted, even though I have been dutifully paying rent each month and have also been dutifully saving to buy a condo in six months when my lease was up.

Thankfully I was referred to an attorney’s office (via a chain of amazing people) who talked with me for about 15 minutes on the phone today, made a few phone calls, and was able to pretty much calm the rapid storm of brewing anxiety in my whole body that had been keeping me up at night (or better yet, waking me up at 2 am on the dot with a head full of circling random thoughts.)

The whole situation isn’t entirely cleared up yet, but thankfully I should be able to stay in my unit for the remaining six months of my lease and get the heck out of there when I can officially buy my own place here in Milwaukee.  (Thank God.)  The whole situation has been more than annoying and incredibly anxiety-producing, but it’s awesome to realize how many great people are out there that are willing to help a girl out.  I’m starting to feel a lot of relief about the whole situation and hopefully will be able to catch up on the sleep.

And these gingerbread pancakes would be the kind of food to make life better in general, right?  Festive, healthy, and full of your favorite holiday flavors.  A great way to spread that holiday cheer. (Also, having glittery, girly pink Christmas trees makes things a little better, too.)






Gingerbread Pancakes with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Servings: 4



For the pancakes:

1 and 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

2 eggs

2 tablespoons molasses

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

3/4 cup water

For the cinnamon whipped cream:

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon (or more, to taste) ground cinnamon





1. For the pancakes: In a  bowl, whisk together the whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.

2. In another bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, eggs, molasses, two tablespoons of the melted butter and the water.

3. Add the brown sugar mixture to the flour mixture and whisk until just blended. (it’s ok if there are few lumps).

4. In a non-stick frying pan over medium heat,  lightly brush the pan with some of the melted butter.

5. Pour about 1/4 cup of the batter onto the prepared pan.  Cook the pancake until small bubbles appear and it’s able to be flipped, about 4-5 minutes or so.  Flip the pancake over and cook until the undersurface is lightly browned, about 1-2 additional minutes.

6. Repeat with the remaining batter (brushing the pan with the remaining melted butter as needed),  keeping the pancakes covered and warm until serving time.

7. For the cinnamon whipped cream:  In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or using an electric hand mixer), combine the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and cinnamon, mixing on medium-high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes (or until you reach your desired consistency of whipped cream.)


Source:  Pancakes barely adapted from Williams-Sonoma. Whipped cream is a Curvy Carrot original.

December 12, 2013 - 10:58 am

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - Loving these…and that whipped cream looks bonkers tasty!

December 12, 2013 - 11:20 am

Maria Tadic - These look super yummy! I making pancakes on a nice quiet weekend morning and these look like the perfect ones!

December 12, 2013 - 3:08 pm

Abby @ The Frosted Vegan - So happy that you got everything worked out, what a mess! These look perfect, especially with that whipped cream : )

December 12, 2013 - 9:28 pm

Kelly Mitchem - I’m so sorry to hear about all your craziness with your place! If these pancakes are even a tenth as good as they look then I’m sure they helped! Yum!

December 12, 2013 - 11:51 pm

Joanne - Girl, you deserve a DOUBLE batch of these with all the stress you’ve been going through!! Eat up!

December 14, 2013 - 11:04 am

Jenny - Hey screw that! And so close to the holidays?!?! Well your blog is always such an uplifting place for me to go, I am hoping for the best for you and sending you some holiday cheer despite this.

December 16, 2013 - 9:30 am

Phi (from - These pancakes look delicious! So sorry you’ve been going through this whole mess with the landlord, that cannot be fun and stress on top of everything that’s going on in life just sucks! Let me know if you need anything :)

February 1, 2014 - 12:27 am

Pancake Recipe Roundup - Jellibean Journals - [...] Gingerbread Pancakes from The Curvy Carrot Gingerbread is definitely in season year-round… at least for breakfast. [...]