Chocolate Banana Pudding Recipe

Recipe creation of Crystal A. Johnson, Editor©

Forgive me Patsy Mae(Mom), my first experience with Banana Pudding I did not like.  Yuck, to put it mildly.  I am not a fan of texture of bananas.  I will refrain sharing my thoughts on bananas but this recipe is for the banana lover.  A friend of mine would bring her very sweet banana pudding to my annual Christmas party every year.  It was always the biggest hit.  The secret ingredients of it success kept under lock and key until her family member let her not it was not so secret then she shared the secret of this sweet pudding.

As restaurant critic, I am privy to some pretty innovative takes on comfort food these days so I thought I would take some liberties with the southern American classic dessert by entering chocolate into the equation.  Hold on choco-holics.  We are talking chocolate fudge and chocolate covered pretzels.


  • 2 cups of chocolate pretzel rounds
  • 1 large Box of Banana Pudding or 2 small boxes
  • 3 to 4 Bananas
  • 1 can of condensed milk
  • 2 8oz containers of whip cream or do a homemade equivalent
  • Chocolate Fudge syrup


You can follow the box directions for a few deviations.  If you love the classic vanilla wafer then don’t let me stand in the way.  Layer bottom of glass sheet pan or bowl with whole chocolate covered preztels.  Then layer sliced banana to your liking.    Add  to your pudding mix about two or three splashes of condensed milk.  Then pour Chocolate fudge syrup over the very top of the pudding mixture.    Crumbled two handfuls of chocolate covered pretzel and place in sandwich bag.  Seal then use a rolling pin to crumble.  Pour crumble pretzels on top.   Enjoy.


5 Human Foods a Dog Should Not Eat

When you live in Lala land(Los Angeles) you come to be around dogs, especially little dogs, they are everywhere.  In my time in LA, I had two roommates with dogs and you get so attached easily.  Thus, if you love your dog you want to do the right thing and that right does not include giving him human food everytime those puppy dog eyes look at you.  With the safety of dogs in mind and some help from the experts, we give you a listing from Web MD of human food which dogs should not eat. -Crystal J, MCCN Editor

Avocado-Avocados contain a substance called persin. It’s harmless for humans who aren’t allergic. But large amounts can be toxic to dogs. If you happen to be growing avocados at home, keep your dog away from the plants. Persin is in the leaves, seed, and bark, as well as in the fruit.

Onions and garlic in all forms — powdered, raw, cooked, or dehydrated — can destroy a dog’s red blood cells, leading to anemia.

Coffee, Tea and other Caffeine: Caffeine in large enough quantities can be fatal for a dog. And, there is no antidote. Symptoms of caffeine poisoning include restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations, muscle tremors, fits, and bleeding.

Grapes and raisins have often been used as treats for dogs. But it’s not a good idea. Although it isn’t clear why, grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. And just a small amount can make a dog ill.

Macadamia Nuts– containing macadamia nuts because they can be fatal. As few as 6 raw or roasted macadamia nuts can make a dog ill. Symptoms of poisoning include muscle tremors, weakness or paralysis of the hindquarters, vomiting, elevated body temperature, and rapid heart rate.

To see more of the listing (Click Here)

It’s a smart idea to always keep the number of your local vet, the closest emergency clinic, and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center – (888) 426-4435 – where you know you can find it in an emergency.

Chicken Teriyaki Recipe

Teriyaki (照り焼き, テリヤキ) is a method of Japanese cooking in which sliced meat or fish is grilled, pan-fried, roasted or broiled in a special sauce made from soy sauce, sugar, mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine) and sake (rice wine). The word “teriyaki” derives from the word teri, which refers to a shine or luster given by the sauce, and yaki, which refers to the cooking method (grilling or broiling).  Teriyaki is used in most Japanese dishes. Traditionally, the meat is either dipped in or brushed with the sauce multiple times before completion. (Click to See Recipe)

Serving Up More than Food Malibu Cafe at Calamigo Ranch

There is nothing quite like Malibu Cafe at Calamigo Ranch.  An outing there is an experience.   It a perfect date location for the 1st date or old married couple.  The menu has quite a of comfort food selections such as devilled eggs, pulled pork, hamburgers, fabulous eggs rolls and more.  Words will scarcely do it justice.  Moreover, we will leave a few surprises for your first visit there.  What you should definitely know, the music is a great part of the experience with Afro Cuban music by the Hamid Cooper Latin Jazz Band on Saturdays and the Bluegrass Brunch on Sundays. 

View the Restaurant

Check out the Weekend Entertainment.


An American Swan Story: Mila Kunis’ Move from U.S.S.R. to U.S.A

Former “That 70’s Show” star Mila Kunis has really gone on the rise in the last few years from being a part of  ensemble cast of the TVshow to A-list movie star. The Book of Eli is becoming a cult classic, the hit film Black Swan  to starring lead opposite Justin Timberlake in Friends with Benefits, it hard to believe English is her second language.     Kunis was born in Chernivtsi in the Ukrainian SSR. Her mother, Elvira, is a physics teacher and drug store manager, and her father, Mark Kunis, is a mechanical engineer and cab company executive. She has an older brother, Michael.  Her family moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1991, when she was seven years old. Kunis is Jewish and has cited antisemitism in the former Soviet Union as one of several reasons for her family’s move to the U.S.  She has said that her parents “raised me Jewish as much as they could”, though religion was suppressed in the U.S.S.R.

Kunis has stated that a lottery system allowed her family to make the move: “It took about five years. If you got chosen the first time around, you went to Moscow, where there was another lottery, and you maybe got chosen again. Then you could come to the States.” On her second day in Los Angeles, she was enrolled at Rosewood Elementary School not knowing a word of English. “I blocked out second grade,” she says. “I don’t remember, but my mom tells me that I came home and cried every day. I wasn’t that traumatized. It was just a shock.”  Kunis added: “I didn’t understand the culture. I didn’t understand the people. I didn’t understand the language. My first sentence of my essay to get into college was like, ‘Imagine being blind and deaf at age seven.’ And that’s kind of what it felt like moving to the States

About Losing Weight For Black Swan

When “Black Swan” wrapped, Mila felt like herself again, especially since she was now free to indulge in all her favorite foods, including Chinese and calorie-laden burgers. “It took me five months to lose 20 pounds, and it took me hours to gain it back!” she jokes in the same interview cited by PopEater.

Mila loves to cook her Ukrainian food

History of American Cooking- Colonial Williamsburg Experience

Yes, Colonial Williamsburg is a great place for the foodie with a history. You will not taste the food because it is not allowed but behold preparation of food and watch how cooking in the U.S.A.’s early days foreshadows our one pot meals which continue today. 

The Evolving Face of Latino

The old cigarette slogan said, “You’ve come a long way baby.” This is an appropriate statement for the influx of Afro-Latinos in Hollywood.  Although culturally in the hearts of many an “Afro”- Latino there is no divide between being a Latino.  In fact many would never call themselves Afro-Latino no matter how dark they may be,  and even though  a great deal of people both non-Latino and Latino alike simply see them as Black.  It is like somehow you are diminished as of Latin descent the more apparent your African blood may be. 

What is interesting about the increasing successful amount of Latinos in Hollywood including Zoe Saldana, Maxwell(Puerto Rican), Soledad O’Brien(Cuban), Lloyd Banks(Puerto Rican), Rosario Dawson(Cuban and Puerto Rican), Tatayana Ali(Panamanian),  Laz Alonso(Cuban) and more is their desire to bring a  social understanding by vocalizing  they are both Latino and proud in addition to being “Black and proud.”  Probably because of an awareness of the historical discrimination including a marginalization of culture due to color.  

 In the 90’s it was rare as it is today for visibly Afro-Latinas such as Lauren Vélez would be cast as the leading lady as a Latina character on a television show (New York Undercover) but her look made her pefect for a on play romantic chemistry between both  Latin and African American leading men.  She also starred in the classic film, “I like it Like That.”


According to Wikipedia

Black Hispanics are often overlooked in the U.S. mass media and in general American social perceptions, where being “Hispanic” is often incorrectly given a racial value.   The situation is also the same in the U.S. Hispanic media and the Latin American media through their telenovelas.

Since the early days of the movie industry in the U.S., when Black Hispanic actors were given roles, they would usually be cast as African Americans (as in, NON-Hispanic black).For those with Spanish-speaking accents that betrayed an otherwise presumed non-Hispanic African American origin, they may seldom have been given roles as Hispanics.

Hence, this is what makes Zoe Saldana lead role in Colombiana triamphant.   She clearly is a light skinnned Black.  She clearly has a Spanish name.  She is both Dominican and Puerto Rican.  Although not Latino, Blair Underwood was proud to play the role of an American President of Afro-Cuban descent.  (See Interview).  The hope is that Univision, telenovelas and more forms of media will embrace all that makes up the image of Latino.

MCCN’s Erika L. Holmes talks about her Latin Comfort Foods:

Written by MCCN Editor Crystal Johnson

Discuss this Topic on our Forum Page(Click Here)

LA Street Food Fest 2011 Winners

MCCN attended the Los Angeles Street Food Festival.  The much talked about closure of the 405 profoundly effected the turnout for the event but even without super large crowds it was clear the logistics for the event were in order.  I enjoyed it much better than last year.  MCCN’s Chef Jay Bonilla was a newby to the event.   He not only enjoyed the food and drinks but  he appreciated the open  festival atmosphere.  Popular trucks such as Fry Smith and the Grilled Cheese truck were on the scene.  The Dim Sum Truck surprised me with their Cheeseburger dumpling.  The incredible sauce ties the dumpling experience together.  Great Balls on Tires.  The ribs and mac & cheese in fried ball was like dinner in one bite.  SedThee Thai continued to spice it up with Great flavor.  The Naan Stop truck served up Samosas with potato marinated in curry.  Check our this year winners and our event video:


Best in Show

Javier Plascencia / Mision 19 / Smoked Oyster Asada  w/ Chicharron and Sea Beans

 Best Old School Street Food

Antojitos Carmen / Huitlacoche Huarache

 Best Nouveau Street Food

Ricardo Zarate / Peruvian Cau Cau

 Best Original Showmanship

La Guerrerense / Sea Urchin Tostadito with Pismo Clam

 The Sweet Tooth

Bulgarini Gelato



Javier Plascencia / Mision 19 / Smoked Oyster Asada w/ Chicharron and Sea Beans

Honorable Mentions

2nd Place – Mariscos Jalisco / Taco Dorado de Camaron

3rd Place – Naan Stop / Samosas

4th Place (three way tie) – Seoul Sausage, Starry Kitchen and Great Balls on Tires

France: Bastille Day

Bastille Day is the French national holiday celebrated every year on July 14th. When in France, you may call the holiday La Fête Nationale (National Celebration), or Le Quatorze Juillet (the fourteenth of July).

The holiday memorializes the 1790 Fête de la Fédération, a festive commemoration held on the first anniversary of the July 14th, 1789 storming of the Bastille fortress-prison.

The storming of the Bastille was an episode in French history where protesters demonstrated against the tyrannical royal authority and raided the Bastille for arms and ammunition. To the citizens, the prison was the ultimate symbol of royal oppression and autocracy. Prisoners included   people jailed on flimsy, arbitrary royal indictments and political prisoners imprisoned for publishing material found offensive to the royal court.

Read More

Esai Morales Talks about Healthy Eating

MCCN Editor’s spoke with her favorite celebrity crush, Esai Morales. He talked about his passion in recognizing Earth Day, ” I want to become a part of the solution and not part of the problem.  It is not a left or right issue.”  Using his age of 47 as a frame of reference, Morales discussed changes in his diet  like vegetablesand whole grain pasta.  He says, “You don’t have to have a big meaty meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner.    It is not neccessary and quite  frankly that is why a lot of us are coming to an early grave.”