When you’re stuck with a bunch of brown bananas at the end of a long week, what’s a girl to do? Some might make banana bread or muffins, which is find and dandy. But, if you’re like me – by Friday you’re ready for a good cocktail. And there isn’t a better way to use up bananas than with a banana daiquiri.

I’m not one for fru-fru umbrella drinks, but I fell in love with the banana daiquiri on our honeymoon, where we were fortunate enough to visit the gorgeous island of St. Thomas. There we took a tour, with a wonderfully charismatic tour guide named Sunny Liston. If you’re ever in his neck of the woods, look him up. You’ll have a blast! One of the best views on the island is from the highest mountain top peak (naturally!) and they have a little shopping area/bar. “The Mountain Top” bar is actually home to the banana daiquiri, where it’s said they first concocted it back in the 40’s. The place burned down a few years ago, but it’s been rebuilt since. Thank God, I don’t think that gorgeous island would be the same without this gorgeous drink in hand.

I’ve thought about the drink from time to time since, and tried to recreate it to no avail. Until, I stumbled upon this recipe from Saveur. Nail on the head, people! Sweet, frothy, and strong. 6 ounces of rum may seem like a lot, but you wouldn’t know it’s there. The ripe bananas + banana liqueur gives it the perfect tropical kick. No fakey tasting banana – ugh, is there anything worse? Next time you have some bananas that are about to end up in the compost pile, make these daiquiris. It’s the next best thing to sitting on a tropical beach!

We’ve been having pizza night on the regular here. There’s always a new fun twist that I’m coming across in my daily blog reads, and making a note to try. We’ve had weirdo winners in the past, so I’m always anxious to try different topping combinations that wouldn’t normally come to mind. I’d had this chicken ranch pizza from Annie bookmarked for too long, and finally gave it a spin last week when we had some extra chicken hanging out in the fridge.

And, we have another winner! I went ahead and added bacon, simply because I had some of that hanging out in the fridge too. And really, when it comes to bacon – why not?  I loved that that the sauce of the pizza was buttermilk ranch dressing.Kind of white pizza-ish, but far less heavy. I  loved the tomato on top too. Tomato can be so good on pizza, if done right – but can easily turn into a soggy mess if overdone. Will definitely be putting this one into pizza night rotation from now on! A great summer pizza.

Lasagna. One of the most comforting meals on the planet. I remember making it for my dad and myself, on the nights my mom was working late giving riding lessons at the stable. She’s not a huge fan of Italian, so I always tried to make something that Dad & I really enjoyed, but didn’t get a chance to have too often. I always used the recipe right off the box, and it always turned out great.

I’ve tried other versions since then, but none of them ever lived up to the classic in my eyes. Although, I do love a good spinach-mushroom lasagna. And, I’m looking forward to trying a seafood lasagna at some point in the future. As with most other pasta casseroles , the possibilities are endless. But, at heart, I’m a traditionalist – so, that’s what I’m sharing with you today.

Layers of perfect pasta, lean ground sirloin, creamy ricotta and chewy mozzarella, and a nice zippy marinara sauce. I’ve used fresh pasta in the past, but to be honest – I prefer the box. While I love homemade pasta, I usually use boxed lasagna noodles. They seem to hold up better for leftovers than fresh pasta does. Plus, who doesn’t love the ruffles on the pasta? In the past I’ve had problems with the lasagna being too watery. I find that only happens when I used a combo of whole milk ricotta and whole milk mozzarella. If I use part-skim ricotta, it’s always just right.  The addition of cottage cheese may seem a bit odd, but it really does lighten up the texture of the ricotta. If you don’t have a favorite lasagna recipe, give this one a try. It won’t let you down, I promise!

Crème brûlée has always been one of my favorite desserts. The first time I had it I was probably 12 or 13. My best friend’s mom worked in DC, and sometimes we were fortunate enough to tag along. Her boss at the time was a lobbyist, so he knew all the good spots in town, and enjoyed taking “the girls” out to a nice lunch. We always chose McCormick & Schmicks, for the fist-sized fried shrimp – and, the crème brûlée. There’s just something about that sweet, cold custard underneath a crunchy layer of caramelized sugar. I was young, but even at that tender age, I recognized.

No matter how many times I’ve indulged in it since those days of yore, I never tired of it. It’s relatively easy to make at home (you don’t even need a torch!), and is super impressive. There are also about a million different ways you can “spin” it – seems like I’m always finding a new flavor combo for this decadent dessert.

The coconut was just perfect! It wasn’t overwhelming, but it was definitely present. I came across a couple recipes, but settled on this one because it used coconut milk. Several recipes called for adding shredded coconut to the custard, and I didn’t like the sound of that. I like the custard to be smooth, and the coconut milk kept that smoothness, but also added a ton of coconut flavor. I also felt like it was a bit lighter than a traditional custard since it uses less heavy cream than most recipes call for. I hope you enjoy this tropical twist on a classic as much as we did.