Saturday, December 29, 2012

Juliet's Balcony and the Love Notes

Oh! I have to share this one more thing about Juliet's Balcony! This is so fun! I mentioned, the statue of Juliet (small at the bottom on the ground..actually larger than life, in person) where the bronze is rubbed clean on her bodice from all of the male tourists that wrap their hands around her breast for their pictures! I have a few of those pictures myself of my boyfriend (at the time) and our other friends...:) 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

New Year's Eve Cookies! To Go With Your Champagne!

These little babies are cute and festive, and because of their 
sweetness are superb with Champagne!  

An excellent little treat for a New Year's Toast! 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Oh the Magic of Beef Bourguignonne!

So, the story is that I wanted to make something grande for my son's 21st birthday, last year. So, I tackled the famous Julia Child's recipe for Beef Bourguignonne  (Julia's spelling). It was a lot of work...for a novice. But, it was magnificent! 

This year, I wished to make something special for our guests on Christmas Eve...and so there was no question, and it was much easier, this time. I made a double batch-using two large roasts, thinking there would be leftovers for the next day, and served it with French bread. But, I am not exaggerating when I tell you that there was arguing over the last spoonful! 

For the Love of God, Why didn't Anyone Tell Me About Strata??

The Most Amazing Breakfast Dish-Ever!!

Seriously, I had to hear about "Strata" from the movie "The Family Stone"? One of my favorite movies, but I expect with something this fabulous...everyone would be making it!  Apparently, this is quite a long-standing tradition in many parts of the world and continues to be a Christmas-favorite. In addition to our favorite Beef Bourguignonne, for Christmas Eve Dinner, this will now be our Christmas Breakfast every year, going forward. I cannot wait to experiment with new years to come! 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Friday, November 30, 2012

Don't Make This Fabulous Chocolate Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting! But, Do What I Tell You :)

I was so tired yesterday, I took a short nap after watching the Nutcracker Ballet with Sophie. After dozing for about 30 minutes, I shot up with a sudden urge to bake a cake!  Without a recipe in hand, I just threw together some ingredients and ended up with this! 
It was almost perfect :) 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Waste Not, Want, Not! Roast Those Turkey Bones for Stock!

Don't throw out the turkey bones...

This yummy bird can give you enough stock for half a winter! 
The trick is to brown it enough to make a super-rich glaze, that will intensify the flavors. 

Throw the lovely bird into the oven at 425-450, and roast 30-45 minutes, until the bones are brown and juices dripping all over bottom of the pan. You can roast longer, depending on the size of the bird.

  The longer it roasts and the browner the juice, the better it is! 

Let cool and throw all of the bones and the juices-scraping the bottom, into a (very) large pot.  
Cover with water and then boil the dickens out of it, and simmer for hours. 

Strain out bones and skin and meat. Freeze in plastic containers, for soup stock.

Later, add veggies, herbs, and spices to taste when you reheat for soups and more :) 

My favorites to add include: onion, garlic, thyme, rosemary, lemon, celery,
 curry, sea salt, and black peppercorns.  

Allow stock and ingredients to simmer on low for 2-3 hours and strain. 

Waste not, Want not! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Bag the Canned Cranberries! Make This Beautiful Cranberry Conserve in 15 Minutes!

Super easy, fresh and filled with chunky fruit...everyone loves it! 
This picture is before cooking, so you can see all of the beautiful fruit. 

Take a Bath, Turkey!

There is much to be thankful for, this year. 
Including, the fact that I did not drop 
my wet bird, nor tip over the brining-bin on my kitchen's wood floor. 

Getting a wet 25 pound bird and a bin full of water into the garage 
is no easy task! 
Especially, when my husband is out of town and my eight-year-old son is my aide. 
But, with the use of a towel as a slider, and a little prayer, we did it! 
I learned about brining from Martha Stewart, of course, and have used her recipe for years, with modifications, to create a tender and juicy bird with great depth in flavor. 

If you wish to try it this recipe is below. 

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Brine Recipe: 
1 Turkey, rinsed, patted dry, neck and giblets reserved (optional)
1 Large, Clean bucket or bin-large enough to hold turkey and water to cover
1 1/2 cups salt-course if possible
1 cup sugar
3 bay leaves
2 tbsp coriander or coriander seeds
2 tbsp black peppercorns
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 bottle of Reisling or other white whine
2 medium onions
6 garlic cloves-crushed
1 bunch of fresh thyme
1 bunch of rosemary

Bring 1 quart of water, and all ingredients to boil on the stove, stirring until salt is dissolved. Let cool 5 minutes.  

After rinsing and drying turkey place in clean or cooking bag-lined bucket. Add the hot water mixture from the pan and add additional water, enough to cover the bird fully.  If necessary, weigh the bird down with a plate to keep it submerged. 

Place in refrigerator, or add ice as necessary to keep bird at 40degrees.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dreamy Oatmeal, Chocolate, Cranberry Bars! Warm & Gooey!

So these were a last-minute throw-together recipe at 10pm, the night before my daughter Sophie's pre-school Halloween party.  The great thing about working with food on a regular basis, is that you can usually discern how things will taste, before you even make them.  That makes it easy to come up with new and wonderful flavor combinations!

Her teachers loved them...and also, I packed up a few bars and sent to my son's lovely 3rd grade teacher, and she stopped me after school to say how much she loved them :) and could she have the recipe?  Of course! Good women- ALWAYS SHARE!! :) 

BAR COOKIES are SO EASY!  It saves you the time of placing each cookie and the pan AND eliminates edge burning, leaving a soft and semi-moist cookie-without dry edges! It's a winner all the way around! 
Recipe to follow: 

Dreamy Oatmeal, Chocolate, Cranberry Bars

  • 2 cup all purpose flour (can use whole grain) 
  • 3 cups uncooked whole oats (not instant)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter-softened
  • 2 eggs-room temp
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract-not imitation
  • 1/2 cup organic vegetable shortening
  • 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped baking chocolate
  • 2 cups dried cranberries


Using hand or stand mixer, beat butter, shortening, and both sugars until creamy; add eggs one at a time; add vanilla extract; and beat until mixed-approximately 1 minute. 

In a separate bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda, and sift together with hand whisk. Slowly, add flour mixture in small batches to wet ingredients and beat on low, until combined. Add in chocolate and cranberries and mix just enough to get evenly distributed throughout batter. 

Spread out mixture in parchment (or wax) lined 9 x 13 baking pan. Keep batter away from edges of pan just a bit, as it will spread out and puff up over sides while baking.  

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and sides look firm.  Okay to have center appear wet.  Remove from the pan and allow to sit at room temperature on counter. Batter will continue to cook for a few, and then cool down.  Wait until almost completely cool to cut into desired size.  Recommended: 1x2" bars. These are nice and rich in flavor, and heavy with oatmeal. Great for breakfast and with coffee, too! 

From Teri and Sophie, with Love...

$25,000 Sandwich Cookie Contest! Link Here!

There is nothing more fun to avid, Mommy-bakers than a great contest with great prizes! 
This one is just beginning...entries due by January 2, 2013.  
See you there!! 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

White Bean Chicken Chili & Honey Corn Bread-My Recipe for the Perfect Saturday in Fall, Meal!

Chicken Chili Recipe: 


  • 1 lb raw chicken (deboned), chopped.  
  • 1 12-16oz bag of beans-prefer white/navy (may use canned-skip soaking process)
  • 4 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cups kale or other greens, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, smash, peel, chop
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 3 Tbsp Cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika (cayenne or other pepper, optional) 
  • Salt (preferable Sea Salt-for better quality and flavor) to taste. I use approximately 1 1/2 tbsp per large pot. Yum! 
 Follow soaking instructions on bean package. When beans are ready, strain out and pour into large stock pan.  Fill pan with water, to cover beans over 1".  Cover pan. Bring to a boil and turn down to Medium heat for 15 minutes. Add chicken and all vegetables. Stir in spices. Turn heat down to Low and simmer until beans and chicken are tender (approximately 2 hours). Stir, occasionally.**Salt! If you use Sea Salt you do not have to worry so much about salt intake, as it is much healthier for you and we need salt! 

I do not recommend using canned chicken! It will lack the depth of flavor that fresh chicken brings. To add even MORE flavor, you could also boil the chicken ahead of time, remove chicken, strain, and return chicken to the pan (removing any bones, first).  Then, use that stock to start your chili. **Do not hyper-boil your beans. Be sure to follow the heat and timing directions. If you cook beans to hot/quickly, they may disintegrate.     

Honey Corn Bread:

  • 2 cups corn meal
  • 1 cup white flour (can substitute rice flour + 1/2 tsp addtl baking powder) 
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs-unbeaten
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt (Sea Salt, preferably)
  • 4 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (real, not imitation!)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 stick butter-for serving
  • Additional honey-for serving

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Butter bottom and sides of 9 x 12" glass pan. In large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients.  Then, add all wet ingredients to the bowl. Stir, GENTLY, just until mixed. Pour batter into pan and bake at 425 degrees for 25-28 minutes.  Remove from oven when sides are slightly brown and a toothpick inserted in center, comes out clean.  While hot, place pats of butter on top and swipe around until melted in the cracks.  Top with honey to serve.  After cooled, covered and store in refrigerator 3 days. 

Using a glass pan will help to prevent burning on the sides. Do not beat eggs, just fold into the batter with a spoon when adding to the wet ingredients. Don't overcook...dry corn bread will fall right apart. Serve warm.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sophie's Pumpkin Spice Cutout Cookies

Sophie was very excited to make these Fall cut-out cookies! She wanted to show all the kids how to make cookies with their Moms, she said.  We stayed in our jammies while we made them. :) 

 These are super rich in flavor, and a bit soft at the bite.  We like this type more than the traditional hard sugar cookie. We added a few extra spices like Nutmeg and Cinnamon, to give it that Pumpkin-like flavor. 

Then, we topped them with a Pumpkin glaze that we made from our frozen Pumpkin puree we made last year-from the pumpkins in our garden! :) 

We were happy with ourselves, about that! 

(click this link to see how to make your own Pumpkin Puree) 

Sophie took over the entire cookie making process, and did every step, except for placing in and removing the pans from the oven. 

First, she mixed the dry ingredients with a whisk. Then, she blended the wet ingredients in the mixer; and then slowly added the dry ingredients. 

She made 2 discs out of the dough and wrapped them in waxed paper and refrigerated for 2 hours. Once they were chilled, we rolled out the dough to a 1/4" thickness and used our cutouts to make shapes. 
Then, Baked them at 375 Degrees for 5-7 minutes, until browned.  Once they cooled, we glazed the tops and we were done!  We ate a few right away and saved the rest for Dad and brother, and one for the dog, Cappuccino. Cappy was very happy with that. 

What Mom likes about these cookies is that they are EASY enough for kids to do most of it themselves, but they FLAVOR is good enough for adults to enjoy! 
Nice and thick, soft and a bit chewy, packed full of yummy fall flavors. 
 We hope you enjoy making these with your kids, too! Read more for recipe...

Sophie's Pumpkin Spice Cutout Cookie Recipe: 


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk or cream
  • Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon 
  • Directions
Sift together flour, baking powder, Nutmeg, Cinnamon and Salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Add a bit more flour if dough is too sticky. Pull off dough with hands and form into a ball.  Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar. Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Cut into desired shape, place at least 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet or parchment, and bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time. Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven and then move to complete cooling on wire rack. 
1/4 cup Pumpkin Puree
1 cup Confectioners (Powdered) Sugar
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
In small saucepan, stir all ingredients together and let simmer for 10 mins. Transfer to bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. Brush over top of cooled cookies and allow to dry approximately 30 mins, until hardened. 
Store in an airtight container 5-7 days. 

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Monday, October 22, 2012

The Very Best Cranberry Conserve! Homemade and Simple! Easy for Busy Moms :)

As women in charge of the households and lives of many, we cannot spend all day in the political realm trying to save the world!
Back to the kitchen's we must love and serve! Thanks be to God! 
So, in the spirit of love, 
let me share with you another one of my favorite recipes! 

My favorite Cranberry Conserve is by Ina Garten @ Food Network! 

I found this recipe years ago and have such rave reviews from family and friends that I serve it without fail at every Thanksgiving gathering! 

It is rich with cranberry taste, yet chunky and full of sweet, nutty flavorings!  It is as simple as throwing the ingredients together and letting them meld over heat. Chill and serve! 

You will LOVE this and so will your GUESTS!!

Ingredients  Makes 4 cups-I always double it! 

  • 1 (12-ounce) bag of fresh cranberries, cleaned
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 orange, zest grated and juiced
  • 1 lemon, zest grated and juiced
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans


Cook the cranberries, sugar, and 1 cup of water in a saucepan over low heat for about 5 minutes, or until the skins pop open. Add the apple, zests, and juices and cook for 15 more minutes. Remove from the heat and add the raisins and nuts. Let cool, and serve chilled.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Cute Thanksgiving Craft Idea from Martha Stewart

Aren't these the cutest?! I saw these in the November 2012 issue of Martha Stewart's Living Magazine.  I am going to try to use the husks from my garden to make these with the kids. 
I thought you might like to see the tutorial in case you want to make with yours for Thanksgiving :) 

Happy Fall! 

Plant Your Garlic This Fall! Now is the Time!

It's a cold, fall Saturday morning here in Michigan and 
I have just gone out to rip up my garden!

I love this part of gardening, as I am able to reminisce about each plant that I helped to nourish and grow and think back to my families enjoyment-as well as mine, and all of the delicious recipes that they inspired! 

Now...however is the time to let the soil re-boot!  Leaving in some of the root vegetables and throwing on top some of the last tomatoes that were left on the vines will help to give some added nutrients to replenish the soil.  

I will also cover the garden with dried leaves and grass to help it over-winter. 
But...I also get to PLANT THE GARLIC!! 

In warmer regions, garlic can be planted in the early spring. But, most experts say that planting in the fall is best and 
gives the roots a good amount of time to grow strong and deep. 

See the best planting and growing guide I have found, here in the link below, 
by Organic Gardening Magazine! 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

An Easy Way to Peel Fresh GARLIC!

Oh! This is a good one! I love garlic! 

 I always use the traditional SMASH AND PEEL method for garlic cloves...but if you have alot to peel, it sticks to your fingers and makes a mess! 

 This is a good tip from Gluten Free Girl ( and her chef :) 

 It's a good blog to follow, too! Check her out!


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Holidays are Approaching...How To Properly Set Your Table

Setting a proper table is a MUST for entertaining
With the holidays approaching, it's a good thing to learn. 

Here is a diagram for the proper way to SET your table. 

 Click the Link to get full instructions, by  

More Tips from:  HomeMadeSimple...How to Set Your Table.

  1. Napkin
  2. Salad fork
  3. Dinner fork
  4. Dessert fork & spoon
  5. Bread and butter plate with spreader
  6. Dinner plate
  7. Dinner knife
  8. Teaspoon
  9. Soup spoon
  10. Cocktail fork
  11. Water glass
  12. Wine glass (red wine)
  13. Wine glass (white wine)
  14. Coffee cup and saucer

Saturday, September 22, 2012

How to Order a Drink Like a Skinnygirlcocktails

With all of these heavy political issues we women are facing today, it's nice to come across something FUN and REFRESHING!
I am not a big drinker. But, I do like a light fru-fru cocktail or a good glass of vino, once in a while.
So, I thought this is so cute that Bethenny Frankel is putting out these "how to" guides and videos for women. In this day and age of casual-everywhere, it's refreshing to add
 some formality to our endeavors.
In fact, the market for books on social graces is on the this might come in handy! Here is one of her most recent...How to Order a Drink Like a Lady..simple, but cute.
This is a good one to SHARE with your girlfriends! More to come from Skinngirlcocktails..
I promise :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, Champagne's First Lady & An Amazing Woman!

Let me introduce you to Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin. What an AMAZING woman! She built an entire empire and legacy for her heritage, that spawned an entire industry. With the aid of her salesman, Louis Bohne, she was the first to trade Champagne, internationally.
Not only did she have to break the law and commandeer ships and sneak them into Russian ports during war-risking her own freedom and inheritance; but she also had to INVENT the manner in which to bottle/cork/transport across the ocean these thousands of bottles...WITHOUT LOSING THE FIZZ!
Oh my gosh, if you read the story, which I will post the link to, next, you will be FOREVER IN AWE & INSPIRED!
CHEERS TO YOU, Barbe-Nicole` Ponsardin, and may I achieve a fraction of what you did!!
This is a very well written, easy to read, and INTRIGUING story of her life and history of the company. One of the BEST CHAMPAGNE HOUSES in history...and still today!
You can order it at here.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Two Cakes in One Day

Ohhhh, but it was so much fun :) 
For the past two weeks I was head-long into a writing project. But, the party is upon us for our Daughter and my husbands Granddaughter.
Boxes cakes just won't do for this occassion!

For two sparkling little Birthday Girls, there are nothing like flowers, butterflies, and princess sprinklers to get them giddy.  These are both made from scratch, except for the the only buzz they will have is sugar :)

Happy Birthday to Sophie-4,  and Ariana-3, 
Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing &
 Italian Vanilla Coconut Cake w/Vanilla Creem Cheese Icing
Mama Mia!!
La Dolce Vita!!
Enjoy Your Life

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Goodbye Crappy School Lunches! Hello, LAPTOP LUNCHES! Buy Them Here! :)

BPA, Phthalate, Lead-Free! EcoFriendly

for You and Your Child!

I am so excited to be selling these! After years of fighting with the schools over their toxic lunches they feed our kids, and struggling to send a healthy lunch that would be well-preserved and not smashed up in a bag...this is the SOLUTION!

Eco-friendly lunch containers, available in a multitude of sizes and colors, with neat options like expandable pockets for drink containers, hot and cold canisters, and more! Also offered, are more professional styles for Mommies and Daddies on the go!  Kids are not the only ones that need to eat healthy, you know!

So ditch the artifical colors, high fructose, and pink-slime!
Keep your kids healthy and energized throughout the day with healthy fruits, vegetables, pasta, sandwiches,and more. Foods that YOU make for them!

Here are two samples of their products, and I have included the quick VIDEOS on each so you can see the details, first hand!.  


Mommy Laptop Lunch Urban Swing Bento Kit

The New MomAgenda Planner, is Awesome! Buy them Here!

I picked up my first MomAgenda planner last year in a little shop in Michigan, and fell in love with it!
It has a beautiful placekeeper ribbon, and fabulous organizing tools for work and home.
The company also specializes in many other types of planners, such as the Kitchen Planner...which you can also buy here :) 
Click the link on my left side bar (of the blog) and it will take you to the site.
Let me know when you get yours and if you love it as much as I do!
La Dolce Vita, Mommies!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

A Better Basil Pesto

It started with this...

and ended with this...

Fresh, Basil Pesto!

Last year, when I started this little blog, I threw together a Basil Pesto and posted it.  I was reprimanded by someone whom claimed to be an authentic Italian whom smashed my recipe to bits.  She was right to some degree in that I was blending the ingredients far too much and making it too liquidy.
So, this year, I made it differently and like it much better.
I still did NOT use the mortar and pestil however, so forgive me again.  It seems I cannot
bring myself to forego the food processor to get through this much basil!
As it turns out though, this worked just as well :)

Basil Pesto!

12 cups Fresh Picked Basil
1/2 cup Pinenuts
2 cloves Fresh Garlic
1 tsp Sea Salt
1/4 cup Olive Oil (EVOO optional)
1 cup Fresh Parmesan, Shaved

Wash and dry basil, and within hours of picking, blend in food processor until small bits.  Add remainder of ingredients and blend until smooth.  Taste, add more Sea Salt if needed.

Serving Suggestions:
On Eggs, Omelots, Egg dishes
On Tomato slices
On Toast or Crackers

Mangia Bene!
La Dolce Vita!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Guest Blogger, Tracie Ring Sikora..and Blueberry Buckle!

THANK YOU to Tracie Ring Sikora for this fabulous recipe! Tracie and I are Facebook friends, although am not sure about how the connection was made...I think through my sister, Tonya. But, the great thing about social media is that
virtual friends end up feeling like real friends :)

Tracie is a high-energy Mom, whose label is "Senior Vice President @ Sikora Family".
I love that!
I think all of us Wives, Mothers, and other keepers of the family life
ought to have such a title!

Thanks Tracie, for sharing part of the Good Life!

Read her great recipe, below!
La Dolce Vita!

Blueberry Buckle
by Tracie Ring Sikora
(compliments of Taste of Home)

1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk (I used Silk Coconut Milk...makes recipes richer and has a better flavor)
2 cups fresh blueberries

‎2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/3 cup cold butter, cubed

Directions: In a small bowl cream butter & sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Combine the flour, baking powder, & salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Fold in blueberries. Pour into greased 9-inch square baking pan.

For topping, in a small bowl, combine the sugar, flour & cinnamon; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over blueberry mixture.

Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Yield: 4-6 servings.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting...Best Summer Cake Ever!

Summer is a time for fun and good food!
This is the dish that I bring to almost every summer event, including brunches and sports picnics!  Each time I make it, I get rave reviews and everybody wants the recipe! It is very EASY to make and with an usual trick of freezing the cake right out of the oven which locks in the moisture.
This is a very moist and heavy cake, which allows you to slice up until little sections for easy serving at big events.
Make it in a travel tin and you are ready to go!

1 1/2 cups ripe, mashed bananas
2 tsp lemon juice
3 cups all purpose flour (do not use cake flour)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup softened butter
2 1/8 cup sugar
3 large eggs (room temperature)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup softened butter
8oz softened cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 275 degrees (yes 275...very low but long cook time balances it out to perfection)
Grease and flour 9 x 13 pan

Small bowl:
Mix mashed banana with lemon juice, set aside.

Medium bowl:
Mix flour, baking soda, salt, set aside.

Large bowl:
Cream butter, sugar together until light and fluffy  (2-3 minutes)
Beat in eggs, one at a time, then stir in 2 tsp vanilla.
Beat in flour in small portions, alternating with the buttermilk.

FOLD in banana mixture
Pour into pan and bake in preheated over for one hour plus 15 minutes.  As ovens differ in temperature, bake until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from oven and PLACE IMMEDIATELY IN FREEZER-UNCOVERED, for 45 minutes up to 3 hours.  Remove and frost.

For frosting-cream butter and cream cheese together until smooth.
Beat in vanilla and confectioners sugar on high speed until smooth.
Spread on cooled cake. 

Enjoy! Mangia Bene!