01 January

Elvis Sandwich

January 8: Elvis Presley’s Birthday (1935)

Islander’s Mommy is a huge Elvis Presley fan. She went to Graceland (twice!) when she was on a work trip in Tennessee and she has amassed a large plastic bin full of Elvis memorabilia (publication clippings, books, ornament figurines, keychains, etc.). Her beloved bin still sparks a lot of joy for her, and she says she will only part with those material items when she passes away. May God bless Mommy with many more years (born in 1942)!

As her birthday is in the same month as Elvis’s, we decided to have an Elvis themed birthday for her using the items in her plastic bin to decorate the table. We streamed-watched the “Elvis” movie together as a family. We took her to see the Elvis statue at the Blaisdell Center where he had his “Aloha from Hawaii” concert in 1973. And we cooked some of Elvis’s favorite foods to eat for her birthday, the most popular of which is the fried peanut butter and banana sandwich.

There are various versions of this sandwich, but it basically includes peanut butter and sliced bananas on buttered bread that is fried till golden brown. Some recipes include bacon (like ours—because, well, bacon just makes things better!). 

In honor of the “King of Rock ‘n Roll’s” birthday, we made the Elvis sandwich to celebrate Queen Mommy’s early birthday. Long live our Queen!



  • 2 slices bread
  • Butter
  • Peanut butter
  • Bacon, cooked and sliced in half (optional)
  • Half banana, sliced into rounds (or lengthwise)


Generously butter one side of each slice of bread. On the other side, spread peanut butter. Cook and slice the bacon in half (if using). Slice the banana.

Arrange bacon and banana slices on top of the peanut butter. Heat a skillet on medium high. Place the bread slices on the skillet buttered side down. Cook till brown and crispy, around 3 minutes per side. Sandwich the bread together and transfer to a cutting board. Slice in half. Serve hot.



(Australian Bush Bread)

January 26: Australia Day

We have not had the opportunity to travel to the Land Down Under. But we have friends from there, although they live in New Jersey, where we met when we lived there for a while, too. Gary and Girlie B. even got married on Australia Day! Their wedding reception concluded with fireworks over Sydney’s Opera House (we saw their lovely photo album).

We still visit with each other occasionally and they give us nice Aussie souvenirs, such as the aboriginal cloth featured in our food photo above with a bush bread called “damper”. It is very rustic and simple, traditionally baked with coals in a campfire or oven by drovers, stockmen and swagmen who had bare basic provisions of food supplies in the outback. But damper is delicious hot out of the oven, with its crustry bits and crumbs, and smothered with a little butter or jam, although it is traditional to eat it with golden syrup.

For a quick way to celebrate Australia Day, bake a quick bread from the bush—a delightful damper!


(Adapted from Australia’s Best Recipes)


  • 3 cups self rising flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted (see Notes)
  • 2/3+ cup milk (water is traditional)


In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Melt the butter in the microwave and pour over the flour mixture.

Stir in the milk, adding a little more if the dough is too dry and crumbling. Mix until it sticks together. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a round ball. Avoid overworking the dough as it will get too tough. Flatten into a 7-8 inch disk (or leave as a mound shape).

Brush the top with a little extra milk to brown the top when baking. Score some deep lines (and “X” or 8 wedge marks) on the top. Place  on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for 20-30 minutes, or until the bread makes a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Slice into wedges and serve. Eat warm with butter, jam, golden syrup or honey.


  • Some recipes suggest cutting up cold butter pieces and mixing cutting it into the dough with a pastry blender.
  • Feel free to sprinkle shredded cheese on top of the damper or experiment with different spices and flavorings in the dough.
  • Damper does not last for more than a day and is best eaten fresh as it hardens the following day.
  • Search for other bread and Australian recipes in our blog.


(Paraguayan Cheese Buns)

January 20: National Cheese Lovers Day

Smile and say “cheese” “chipas”! We blogged before about Brazil’s pão de queijo. Now we are posting a similar recipe from its neighbor, Paraguay. Their cheese buns are called chipas. Both pão de queijo and chipas are made with tapioca starch/cassava or manioc flour to give it a nice, chewy texture. In this Paraguayan recipe, we used Parmesan cheese. These cute round cheesy buns are sure to bring smiles to those who eat them, as they are delicious hot and fresh from the oven as a snack or a side dish. Prepare Paraguayan chipas for National Cheese Lovers Day!


(Adapted from Tablespoon)


  • 1 ¾ cup tapioca starch/cassava or manioc flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 8-10 teaspoons milk
  • 1 ¼ cups Parmesan cheese, grated


In a mixing bowl, combine the tapioca starch/flour with baking powder and salt. Add the softened butter. Beat in the eggs.

Slowly pour in the milk and mix until well combined. Fold in the cheese. Use a 1 ½ inch scoop and place dough on lightly greased baking sheet.

Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven. Serve immediately.


  • If the dough is too dry, add a teaspoon of milk at a time.

  • Try other shredded hard cheeses in this recipe. Some may be saltier than others so adjust the seasoning to taste.

  • Search our blog for other recipes containing cheese.


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