Picking oranges and other food, in California

Picking Oranges in near Santa Barbara, CA

So Kim and I, who live in Michigan, visited our friend Satpreet, in Southern California, this past weekend. There was nothing good at the cinema, so we thought, why not? (kidding)

One of our main goals was to try loads of good food – and that we did. In addition to the burritos from the Mexican food truck, the amazing Indian food our friend’s mom made and the oranges fresh from the tree, we picked spectacular places to eat. If any of you makes it out to SoCal, and you’re not the Bubba Gump type, then you might just absolutely adore these places.

Cafe Gratitude – Los Angeles

Our first day in L.A. we ate at Cafe Gratitude, near West Hollywood (around the corner from Paramount Studios!). Cafe Gratitude was, in short, simply and subtly magnificent.

Kim and Satpreet at Cafe Gratitude, LA

Everything on the menu is titled I AM HAPPY, I AM THRIVING, I AM GLORIOUS and so on. That weekend was one of the rare few days that it rained (and snowed and hailed…), and they had a chalkboard asking “What do you like most about the rain?” Dancing in it, the smell, the rainbow that follows. I came up with the somewhat lame, but truthful, answer of “just the rain.”

We ordered 3 dishes to split: I AM FESTIVE, I AM COMFORTED and I AM HEARTY (Taco salad with walnut chorizo & cashew cheese, roasted rosemary yams with spicy nacho cheese, and pesto pizza on onion crust with cashew ricotta & topped with brazil nut parmesan, respectively.)

The food was fresh, healthy, unique, and most importantly, delicious. Normally, “vacation-food” insists on being greasy, heavy and over-eaten. But aside from our grilled cheese from In-N-Out, I felt good and healthy at the end of the weekend – no guilty conscience and resolution to jog every day. These were 3 dishes, and 3 words, that easily sum up our feelings of being together again.

I’m sad I have little hope of returning to it very soon. For a full day and a half, I named Cafe Gratitude my favorite restaurant, but our later food ventures forced me to push it to 2nd place.

Backyard Bowls – Santa Barbara

In Santa Barbara we ate at Backyard Bowls, no doubt one of the most unique eateries and so perfect for our palettes. We split two bowls, the Green Bowl (Acaí, Banana, Broccoli, Spinach, Ginger, Lime Juice & Apple Juice with Strawberries, Blueberries, Granola & Honey) and Diego’s Power Bowl (Acaí, Banana, Strawberry, Hemp Protein, Peanut Butter, & Hemp Milk with Banana, Hemp Seeds, Granola & Honey). The pictures don’t do them justice – I couldn’t imagine their delicious-ness from the website’s photos. You just have to taste them for yourself.

I desperately wish we had a Backyard Bowls near where I live – It’s worth the $8 bucks, and the serving is fairly big anyway. Kim and I have both tried to more closely imitate these bowls (though unique yogurt concoctions are far from foreign in our kitchens), but nothing compares to the flavors they’ve put together.

Until next time!



Banana Nut Bread

Banana Nut Bread at Fourth Broomstick


I made a banana nut bread this morning. I wasn’t really in the mood for something sweet or actually all that creative (what?!). Really, I just wanted something to photograph, and I wanted something to do with the tons of ripe bananas we had. I found a recipe on 101 Cookbooks that baked the bananas (still in the skins) before adding it to the bread batter. So I tried baking the bananas first! (I didn’t follow the rest of that recipe, I made up my own). I really couldn’t tell a difference, to be honest, but they may have been the fault of the simplicity of the overall recipe that didn’t let the baked bananas shine.

Banana Nut Bread at Fourth Broomstick

Banana Nut Bread recipe

3 bananas

two handfuls of nuts

1/4 cup pumpkin

1/4 cup water

2 cups sifted flour

vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 eggs

Toast nuts on the stove at medium heat, stirring occasionally so they don’t burn. Bake bananas until the skins are dark and they start to ooze. Cool before mixing with the rest of the ingredients.

Combine flour, baking powder, a salt, and whatever seasoning you wish. Slide the baked bananas out of their skins and mash. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract (I also added banana flavoring too….), pumpkin and water. Add wet ingredients to dry, add water or milk if necessary. Fold in nuts

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes.

Banana Nut Bread at Fourth Broomstick

Peanut Butter Banana Bread Pudding

Kim here.

I invited my brother’s girlfriend, the wonderful Sarah, over to finally bake together! And Beth came home as well! We all love to cook and bake, so honestly, I have no idea why it took this long for this to happen. We made an amazing bread pudding, and I LOVE peanut butter, bananas, bread, and I love them all together in bread pudding. I used the photos of this recipe for my 365 photography challenge. Recipe below.

Peanut Butter Banana Bread Pudding

Hulk Brownies

I went into my mom’s office today to scope out the scene (I’m making some artwork for the currently empty gray sad walls!), and there happened to be a potluck – my lucky day! So I took this as an excuse to make some of those recipes you pin but never make. Check mark!

I’m actually planning on making these in a couple weekends anyway, but… can’t hurt to make ’em twice, right?

Hulk BrownieI’m not sure who named these Hulk Brownies. I think it was just the description of the Pinterest photo that I pinned. Either way, these were pretty good. The pictures at Buns in the Oven is by far a superior ooey gooey brownie photo than mine, but hey, I ran out of chocolate chips.

Hulk Brownie

Hulk Brownies


1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Hulk Brownie

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9×13 baking dish. Melt butter over low heat in a small saucepan, then add sugar and stir until combined. Don’t let the sugar boil.

Pour butter mixture into a large bowl. Beat in cocoa powder, eggs, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla extract until well combined.

Taste it, to make sure it’s deliciously good. If it’s amazingly good, BUT a little salty, that’s okay, it’s doesn’t taste too salty once baked.

Stir in the flour and chocolate chips until well combined.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes. I baked it for 30, and I thought it wouldn’t been better if it had been a little undercooked. BUT hours later, the brownies were fantastic! So if you’re eating them later, do the 30 minutes.

Hulk Brownie

I ate mine with peanut butter.

Onion Fennel Orange Upside-down Shortcake

(Kim here.)

Whoa, what a title, there’s a lot in this recipe! I made it the other day from the Savory Baking Cookbook by Mary Cech. Like I’ve said a million times, I love this cookbook. The Chili Cheese bread is pretty much ridiculously amazing (tonight I made corn muffins, and you bet I dropped about a cup of cheese into the batter when no one was looking.) (Just kidding, people were looking, and they definitely didn’t care ).

I’m doing a 365 photography challenge and today I was…. a bit lazy, you could say. Instead of taking a new picture, I used the onion upside-down cake photo from two days ago, but hadn’t yet had time to edit and post. I’m a busy woman, so I don’t mind having two photoshoots on a day when I have the time. I won’t get too much into it, but I don’t really like this photo too much. I’m think I’m still sad I’m not Katie Quinn Davis. ; )

onion fennel orange upside-down shortcake

Onion Topping
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry sherry
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup water (I forgot this)
1 small red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, and roughly chopped (I forgot this too)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
zest of 1 medium orange
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup whole milk

Combine all the onion topping ingredients – except the last two! – into a large saucepan and cook on medium high for 25 minutes.

To prepare shortcake, put the flour, baking powder, salt, orange zest, and butter in your food processor. Pulse for 10 seconds the mixture is well-combined. It’ll look pretty much the same, so I tasted it to make sure the butter was fully incorporated. You may want to test this yourself mostly because it tastes good. Add the milk and pulse until the mixture forms a dough. You could eat it at this stage too, I wouldn’t blame you.

Add the red peppers and 1/2 water to the onions. I completely forgot to do this, and it still turned out, but I’m thinking it might have been even BETTER with these ingredients. Can’t say for sure.

Spread the dough over the onions. I had difficulty doing this. It was certainly not as easy as wasting time on Pinterest. Just try and cover the onions and you’ll be okay. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the shortcake comes out clean. Cool about five minutes, then set a plate over the pan and carefully flip it over so the cake falls out of the pan. Serve IMMEDIATELY. Or you can wait and eat it later.

Dark Chocolate & Banana Muffins

UPDATE: I just discovered that Kim and I, here at Fourthbrookstick, have been awarded the Liebster Award from Nicola at Unhip Squirrel! I couldn’t believe it! We’d like to offer other people ideas for new ways of eating and thinking about food and cooking, and it’s great to be recognized for that! Thanks so much Nicola! Make sure to visit her blog too, because she’s got some delicious stuff!

Round up your best recipes, y’all, because now Kim and I must now choose 5 from all your amazing blogs to forward this award to!

And on that note, of unique recipes, here’s a not-so-startlingly unique concept, but delicious never-the-less!

With peanuts. Of course. I was inspired to make this from Caron’s Chocolate Banana Bread recipe at VeganMonster. I’ve been waiting for my bananas to ripen enough to bake with, and when I read Caron’s blog, I’d found a match!

I don’t actually own measuring spoons, so since I’ve moved out of Mom & Dad’s, when I cook, I kind of got in the habit of guesstimating, well, everything. So I was a pleasantly surprised when these muffins turned out a perfect light, moist texture and delicious taste.

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup flax seed

1/4 cup oat flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

a couple pinches salt

1/2 cup applesauce

2 bananas

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips +/or crushed peanuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine whole wheat flour, flax seed, oat flour, baking soda, cinnamon, chocolate chips and peanuts in one bowl.

Mush bananas and combine with applesauce. These, and the dark chocolate, are our sweeteners. Notice there’s no sugar or butter in this recipe. This is an incredibly tasty, “no-guilt”, as they say, muffin. Dark chocolate, as opposed to milk chocolate, or even semi-sweet chocolate, has less sugar and cocoa butter (fat), while tasting, in my opinion, far better than milk chocolate.

Slowly add flour mixture to applesauce mixture, folding it into itself.

Spray muffin pan, and fill muffin cups to somewhat overflowing. Bake for about 15 minutes, but check on them after 10.

What I thought: Once these were baked, and I’d taken my photographs, I curled up on the couch and ate these with a cup of coffee and read “Sense & Sensibility.” Perfect. They were perfectly sweet, healthy, and filling.


Grapefruit Rosemary Quick Bread

Kim here.

My dad bought a lot of grapefruits a couple weeks ago, and although I like grapefruit, I guess I wasn’t wanting them every single day. So we still had about a half dozen this morning.

grapefruit rosemary bread at fourthbroomstick.wordpress.com

Today I woke up thinking, in this order, “It’s Sunday, it’s sunny, we have grapefruit, and I’d really like to combine it with rosemary.”

So I made this.


4 tablespoons coconut oil

2 cups whole wheat flour (sifted)

2 tablespoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon rosemary

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon marjoram

2 eggs

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 grapefruits

Grapefruit Rosemary Bread at fourbroomstick.wordpress.com

Melt 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a 5X9 loaf pan in your preheated oven. Remove once melted and tilt pan until coated in oil. This will make a tasty crust.

Cut the skins off the grapefruits and squeeze out the juices, as much as you can. Use a food process to blend what’s leftover from squeezing out the juice. Keep 1 cup of the juice. You should probably drink the rest, because it tastes fantastic! Keep about 1/2 cup of the blended pulp.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and the three spices in a large bowl. Whisk the eggs and sugar together until frothy. Melt remaining coconut oil and set aside. Add grapefruit juice, pulp, and vanilla extract. Combine with flour and mix. Pour in melted coconut oil. Pour into prepared bread loaf pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Make sure to smell it occasionally while it’s baking because it smells awesome. I was surprised how good it smelled.

Grapefruit Rosemary Bread at fourbroomstick.wordpress.com

I did not use as much sugar as I have called for in the recipe. I only used 2 tablespoons, but it was not enough to cover the tartness of the grapefruit. Even though I generally like tartness, I would prefer this if it were sweeter. I used the paler grapefruit, but I think grapefruits with deeper color are sweeter. I ate mine with agave nectar, and it was delicious, but you could use a glaze as well.