Death of a patio set…

When I got my very first apartment one of the first things I bought was a little patio set. Two chairs and a table with a very French Bistro look. I had some fantasy of me sitting out there in the morning drinking coffee and eating fresh homemade pastries from my kitchen. And then it hit me. I live in Phoenix. I am overlooking a parking lot. It is too stinking hot to be drinking coffee and the air is too stinking bad to be sitting outside inhaling it in. And the pastries? Don’t even get me started.
My first year of living on my own was pretty much a diet of Strawberry Frosted Pop Tarts and Stove Top Stuffing….and then running to my parents house to eat dinner every night. My crappy oven baked everything uneven(though the apartment complex assured me nothing was wrong with the oven) and so very few things came out of it. My mother was not a fan of me cooking in her kitchen, or anyone for that matter.
I bought myself a toaster oven, not exactly my dream appliance but it at least baked thing evenly. And with that my Pop Tart phase ended and I moved into the muffin phase of my life. I didn’t get too fancy as I was a first year school teacher in the state that ranks 48th in teacher salary…good food was a luxury to say the least. Though I must admit I did steal many an item from my mother’s pantry. :)
After making the banana pound cake with the mascarpone cheese I decided to remake one of my old standards from my teaching days…the banoffee muffin. If you are unfamiliar with banoffee it is the combo of banana and toffee. If you can’t picture the flavors together, think bananas fosters…minus the ice cream and flames. Like I said it’s nothing fancy, but it will fill you up in the morning and I think it is healthier than a Pop Tart,
Oh and in case you are wondering, I never did eat breakfast on my patio. After a year of being out in the Arizona sun, my patio set had warped something horrible and you could no longer sit on the chairs or place anything in the table. So the only pastries they got to see is if someone dumped some on them in the dumpster. Sigh.




  1. Hi Peabody,

    It’s the first time I’m visiting your blog, and I think it’s great! Love the beautiful baked goods you make, your writing, and the absolutely gorgeous pictures you take!

    I’ll be definitely visiting again,

  2. Ah, you brought me back in time there Peabody. First apartments…my roommate and I lived off Ramen noodle and lunch meat. My favorite was egg drop ramen (you can imagine..) I think the Universe puts us in those situations when we are young because in our older (wiser?) days we would never consume that stuff.

    But still to this day my mouth waters around Ramen but I can’t stomach the stuff anymore :)

    Thanks for bringing me back to that time, if only for a little while.

  3. I think we all had a time in our life where we had fancy aspirations like that. I call mine “bachelordom”.

  4. I feel educated to some new flavors here. They look delicious.

  5. We may have constant rain, but at least not blistering heat that warps the furniture. Yeah!

    My first apartment food was peanut butter sandwiches. No toaster oven required. And thank goodness I didn’t have to open the fridge door because it was wedged in a corner and opened the wrong way.

    The muffins look wonderful.

  6. Thank you, Peabody. I needed a treat for the girl’s in my vet’s office. Made a batch of these, put them warm i a wicker basket and took them to the girls. All of the vets, techs and office staff loved them.

    Thanks from me and the staff of Dr. W. Mandel.

  7. I love hearing about your teaching days…seeing as how I’m getting ready to apply for a Master’s in Edu and go on to teach High School English, and I’m so sorry about your patio furniture :( RIP!

    These muffins look so scrumptious, I can almost smell them now :)

  8. These sound delicious!!

  9. I can’t even remember if my first apartment had an oven — if it did, I didn’t know how to use it. All I knew how to make was soup!

  10. RIP patio furniture! I think if you throw in one of these muffins after it into the dumpster, it will surely be in heaven :).

  11. Some days I read your blog nodding my head furiously the entire time. Today was one of those days. I too bought a patio set as soon as I got my first apartment with dreams of sitting outside drinking coffee and reading the paper. My view looked out over a street to the Staples parking lot. The “deck” was actually over the garage so every few minutes I was treated to the soothing vibrations of the garage door opening and closing.

  12. That was a sad little story with a pithy ending for the patio set.
    I can just imagine you sitting my your wee toaster oven
    waiting for your pop tarts to…pop?
    I love cold weather and rain. And I love the humble muffin in pop tart clothing.

  13. What an interesting flavor combination! I’ll have to give these a try.

  14. Now I feel terrible about neglecting my own patio furniture! My parents bought them years and years, but since then we’ve moved, and now there’s no longer a patio to use them on! They sit piled up in a sad heap outside the garage, waiting to find some sort of purpose… Anyways, the muffins sound wonderful, no matter where they’re eaten. Bananas and toffee are an incredible combination, so I would imagine that these are quite a treat!

  15. And, did you know that 2007 was the second hottest year in Phoenix. But I don’t complain as far as theres no snow to shovel :D

  16. I think instead of sacrificing food on a student budget I sacrifice a social life, damn that oven keeps calling my name!

  17. HA! i’m in phoenix also and i know what you mean!!!! love your blog!

  18. These muffin ingredients are definitely on my preferred list…the mini size would help my portion control—yum!

  19. lol at the dreamy mornings in the boiling heat- that is hilarious! These look and sound fabulous, what a yummy combo!

  20. i love bananas foster …and in a muffin sounds heavenly!

  21. I love the use of whole wheat flour. That alone makes those muffins more healthy than a pop tart. Delicious flavor combination! Bravo!

  22. The last photo is super-stylish… in fact, I love all of them. Banoffee, great one!

  23. We all started somewhere. My mother never allowed me to cook so when I had my first guests over for dinner they had canned carrots, potatoes and meat pies (storebought)…I remember saying how delicious they were….”gag me with a very large spoon”……:)

  24. I love your story about the patio set. When we first got married we were piecing together a patio set for our first home. That first winter we had a huge snow storm in D.C. and my husband was trying to clean off the edges of the roof so the melting snow wouldn’t back up under the roof and into the house. What he doesn’t realize as he’s working is that he has started a small avalanche. The entire roof of snow came plummeting down, knocked him off the ladder and literally crushed our patio set. Thankfully, it didn’t hurt him. Took us a few more years to get another set.

    Your muffins sound simply delicious!

    Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

  25. Those look like a pretty decadent snack. Toffee is just about my favorite treat. I love the second picture where you zoomed in on the middle muffins. Nice shot!


  26. I was afraid for a moment that it was going to be banana coffee, but banana and *toffee* — that makes my mouth water! I love your story. Do you have patio furniture at the new house? I don’t think it will warp there! ;-)

  27. Pea, your food is fabulous and your baked goods make me drool – but your writing is also a reason for me to visit you. You crack me up!
    The muffins sound and look wonderful – who can resist banana and toffee together? I know I’m not that strong.

  28. Be honest, does the mini size really help with portion control… or is it just easier to pop them in your mouth? :-) This is a great-sounding combo to get easy but impressive little treats! I’ve been looking for recipes to incorporate whole wheat flour too so this is just perfect!

    Your blog is amazing, by the way!

  29. Oh, sad! The death of a patio set… But yes, these muffins are probably healthier than a Pop Tart — and certainly much tastier!

  30. ahh, memories – love the patio-set story :0)

    bananas + toffee = epitome of decadence. in a muffin? even better :0)

  31. These sound just wonderful! I love toffee…and with banana it would be great. I love eating outside when it’s springtime…too bad I don’t have anywhere to do that at my apartment!

  32. Yum! All my favorites in one bite! Scrumptious!

  33. I have a really nice patio set and I think we sit on it once a summer. Such a shame. I just don’t like the heat.

    But I sure do like the idea of these muffins. And yes, they have to be better for you than pop tarts.

  34. Those look good. Oh and I too would shop at my parents Mart as my dad would call it. LOL.

  35. First apartments! The joy of youth! What a time. The only thing I really remember baking in that first oven – little, really little – was an apricot pie. It was so spectacular I still remember it but have no idea what or where I got the recipe.
    Love the chocolate, toffee and banana!!

  36. Those muffin pictures are gorgeous!

  37. Oh the poor patio set!

    These muffins sound delicious- It seems like i’m constantly making banana desserts these days. I bet they’d be good with a caramel glaze/drizzle.

  38. It’s just the opposite here.. my mom steals stuff from my kitchen and pantry. ha!

    Muffins look marvelous! I heart ANYTHING banana! And I’ve never heard of toffee ruining anything either. heeee!


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