Saturday, February 28, 2009

Banana Bread

Everyone usually has their favorite banana bread recipe, this just happens to be mine. It's nothing fancy or out-of-this-world delicious, but it is really tasty and very easy! As long as I have bananas, I always have everything to make it. I happened upon this recipe my junior year of college when I was living in the apartments at OC with Kara (Best roomie, ever!!! Miss you, girl!). I was looking for a recipe that didn't call for baking powder, since I didn't have it or plan on buying it. So, this one was found online and apparently is served at the Jam N' Jelly Inn...not sure where that is!

Banana Bread

A ingredients:
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

B ingredients:
1/2 c. butter (or margarine), softened
1 c. sugar

C ingredients:
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

3 ripe bananas, mashed

Measure and sift (or use wire whisk) A ingredients. Cream B ingredients and add Add C ingredients. Add A ingredients. Stir in mashed bananas and mix well. Pour into well-greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes. **I sprinkled the top with raw sugar before baking.


Friday, February 27, 2009

2 new recipes

Here are a few new EASY and yummy recipes to share from this week! The soup recipe is a hand-me-down from my mom and VERY healthy, light, and delicious!

Chocolate Trifle
1 box chocolate pudding, prepared (allow to set in fridge)
1 box vanilla pudding, prepared (allow to set in fridge)
1 box brownies, prepared according to pkg (I like to add chocolate chips and/or butterscotch chips)
1 container Cool Whip, thawed
2 Butterfingers or Heath Bars, finely chopped

Layer (in order) crumbled brownies, vanilla pudding, chocolate pudding, Cool Whip, and Butterfinger bits....REPEAT.

Chill and serve.

Cheese and Chicken Soup (serves 4)
2 cans chicken broth
1/4 c. chopped onion ( I use frozen)
6oz. Velveeta cheese, cubed
1 can Rotel (I use mild)
1 c. chicken, cooked and chopped
3 c. broccoli, chopped (I use frozen)
1 1/2 c. carrot, chopped (I use frozen)

In large pot, bring chicken broth and onion to a boil. Add cheese and cook, stirring often, until cheese it melted. Add Rotel and vegetables and chicken. Simmer until vegetables are tender (20-3o min). Serve with cornbread.

***Use any veggies you wish, fresh or frozen. Squash and zucchini are especially tasty in this soup!


Monday, February 23, 2009

Just arrived!

I have had my eye this painting for several months and it arrived TODAY!!! I just remembered last week that I had a little extra $$ in my PayPal account, so I went ahead and ordered it and it arrived just about 30 minutes ago! If you haven't checked out this blog, you must! Sara has such a fun style and love for color! I love my new Sara Mincy print SO much!! It has the perfect whimsical red, lime and black combo! I hope to order some more (very inexpensive @ just $6) prints in the future! For now my print has made it's home in my kitchen, in a frame that I already had!


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Day 2009

Krispy Kreme Doughnut (heart shaped and CHOCOLATE of course!)
Flourless Chocolate torte w/ whipped cream and strawberries

We had a really nice and relaxed Valentine's Day! We didn't really do a whole lot, but that made it nice! We all slept in until 9:30. We had planned to wake up and go out for a real breakfast, but we slept too late (fine by me!). So, we went with everyone else in town to get a Krispy Kreme doughnut. I hadn't had one in quite a while. They were really yummy! Then we went home, put M down for a nap, exchanged gifts and cards, watched movies, ate either a very late lunch or very early dinner (linner? lupper? dunch?). Anyway, Josh got us take-out from new fave! He gave me a nice list of dinner options, and that's what I chose. I passed up the roasted chicken, etc., for some good ole' Mexican food! So, I of course needed a siesta. We finished off with a flourless chocolate torte for dessert and watched movies the rest of the evening...NICE!

Hope you had a nice Valentine's Day!!


Friday, February 13, 2009

Dark Chocolate Truffles

chocolate truffles

Today was Josh's day off, so he let me have a few hours at home to myself...nice! With my time I cleaned house, did laundry, made truffles and a flourless chocolate torte for dessert tomorrow night. I also decorated the table a little for V-day. We have a tradition of placing a to-go order and eating at home. I usually make dessert and try to make it Valentine-y. We refuse to go out to eat with the thousands of others!

It was fun to have some time in the kitchen by myself! Sadly, my truffles didn't turn out very well. They taste fine, but they're kind of dry and they fall apart. I'm trying to figure out where I went wrong. I followed the recipe exactly. These are the truffles from the cooking class I took. I'll have to try again soon. I will say that they contain 72% cacao, so they are very rich!! Instead of cocoa powder, I dipped them in crushed Heath bar. That was a nice relief to the bittersweet chocolate.

I will try to get pics of the flourless torte. Hopefully it will turn out better than the truffles!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Chocolate and Organization

Ikea jars...LOVE these!! Josh and I each have one with cereal and a scoop. It makes breakfast easier, since our pantry is in our laundry room. The bowls, spoons and milk are all pretty much right there. And, they just look cute:)
M's "In-Box"---This sits outside her bedroom door and is a great catch-all for things that go in her room to be put away later. I usually put things in there while she's sleeping.
My "Out-Box"---my new trick for not forgetting everything
My "In-Box"---a nice huge Pottery Barn tub that conceals all of the paperwork, mail, etc., until I'm ready to sort through it.

Meal Planning
Menu Calendar
Monthly Grocery List

One of my New Year's goals was to be more organized. I have found a few new tricks for myself that seem to work much better! I am in love with those wonderful collapsible storage totes in a great array of colors from Target. They are cheap and match every room of my house! They are perfect for toys and I have one that makes a great "out-box". I keep it by the laundry room door, so I don't forget to leave the house with something. I've always been a label freak, so they get their own labels, of course.

Another goal I made in January was to eat at home more often/cook more. My new system of planning a month in advance, instead of a week or not at all, has worked really well. Towards the end of the month I go through my calendar and see when we'll be home to eat, etc. and then make a menu calendar for the month on my computer. I set aside an hour or two and go through all of my recipes and try to get a wide-variety of meals for each week and I typically stick to one type of meat each week, since there are only two of us. That seems to help with the budget. The other thing I do is make a master grocery list for the month. Once I have my menu calendar set, I write out all of the weekly/recurring things that I buy (bread, milk, eggs, etc.) and then I go week by week and write out everything that will need to be purchased for the meals for that week (pictured above). This helps me jot out a quick grocery list each weekend and then I go to the store on Sunday night, when it is completely empty and quiet! This really doesn't take too long and has helped with budgeting and eating at home, because I have everything completely scheduled out.

As I mentioned in my previous post, my thoughtful hubby got me cooking lessons as part of my b-day!! We were able to go last-minute on Tuesday and it was SOOO fun!!! We went to Kam's Kookery and had a HUGE feast of chocolate!!!! We got to try our hands at making chocolate crepes, truffles, etc and we ate full-sized portions of everything that Kam made! We had chocolate truffles rolled in toffee, chocolate crepes filled with chocolate mousse and topped with homemade caramel and whipped cream, flourless chocolate torte with raspberry sauce and whipped cream, molten chocolate cakes with strawberries and whipped cream, and pots de creme with whipped cream! WOW! I am a huge chocolate junkie, but I don't think I've ever consumed that much in a 3 hour period in my entire life! It was all incredible! Everything had butter, eggs, cream and DARK CHOCOLATE! This was definitely a wonderful gift! Thanks, Mom, for keeping M on a moments notice so Josh and I could enjoy this evening together! If you ever want to go for a fun date or girls night and have cooking demonstrations and EAT, this is for you!! Visit for her calendar of events. On a side-note, I was SO sad that I forgot my camera!!! So, I didn't get any pics of the fun night or the delicious and beautiful food...bummer!


Sunday, February 1, 2009

B-day Weekend

Friday night before dinner~
At dinner~
Lunch with Josh's mom~

I had a great b-day weekend! My mother-in-law came down on Friday and stayed through Saturday to take care of M so me and Josh could have some time together (THANK YOU, PAM!!!). It was wonderful! Friday night Josh took me to Tom & Jerry's for dinner! It was really tasty....great Caesar salad, truffle fried chicken, mashed potatoes, bread and chocolate mint brownie dessert thingy with ice cream...YUM!!! After a late dinner, nothing else was open, but we wanted to still hang out, so we went to our favorite hang-out, Barnes and Noble, for coffee and reading. I enjoyed my stack of about 6 magazines!

Saturday we went to breakfast at Joey's Cafe (love the place!), shopped and went to a movie. We hadn't been in forever! It was great to have a nice relaxed day with just the two of us!

Oh, and among other thoughtful things, Josh surprised me with a cooking class!!! So, we get to go sometime this month and learn how to cook together! I'm super excited!! One of my secret "dreams" has been to go to culinary school. Although, I would use it for myself and not use it professionally.

Yay for 26! I can now say that I'm closer to 5o than I am my birth....weird!