Monday, September 28, 2015

3 girls, 2 schools

Could  someone please explain to me how I am MORE busy now that my kids are in school??? I was really counting on having some free time.  I'm still holding out hope!

How cute are these little ladies!  Even though we're so busy, I'm sure I'm going to miss these days...

Hope your school year is off to a good start!

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Banana Bread 4 Ways

Whenever I have overripe bananas on my counter I feel the need to bake banana bread.  I found so many banana bread ideas that I loved that I couldn't pick just one.  So I made all four.  Win win.

I also found a healthier banana bread recipe on Sally's Baking Addiction.  I loved that I had all the ingredients on hand - no trip to the grocery store required!

2.5 cups white whole wheat flour (all-purpose will work too)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup light brown sugar, loosely packed (or dark brown sugar)
1 cup mashed very ripe banana (about 2 large very ripe bananas)
1/4 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt (or any yogurt)
1 large egg, beaten
3/4 cup milk (almond milk, soymilk, cow's milk, rice milk)
Fresh or unthawed frozen blueberries
Chocolate Chips
Chopped nuts

1. Preheat oven to 325F degrees. Spray mini loaf tin with nonstick spray.
2. In a large bowl, gently toss the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together until combined. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, mix the honey and brown sugar together - it will be thick and lumpy. Try to get out as many lumps as you can - a fork works well to break it up. 
4. Add the mashed banana, yogurt, and beaten egg. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Gently begin to fold it all together. It will be very thick. 
5. Add the milk slowly and continue to gently mix the ingredients together. The milk will thin everything out, but the batter will still remain thick. Don't over-mix the batter, which will lend to tough, dry bread.
6. At this point, I divided out the batter into 4 bowls using a 1 cup measuring cup.  Each bowl had about 1 1/3 cups of batter.
7. Gently fold in your mix-ins, being careful not to over-mix the batter.
8. Pour the batter into the mini loaf tin. I topped the batter with the mix-ins so that I could tell each loaf apart (and to make it look pretty!).
9. Bake for 25-30 minutes OR until very lightly browned on the edges. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Allow to cool completely.

You can't go wrong with chocolate chips and you don't need a lot to notice the taste. Ava calls it her "treat breakfast"!
I was surprised at how much I liked the blueberry banana bread, considering I don't like blueberries.  I think I may have liked it more than the chocolate chip bread, which totally goes against my policy of not mixing fruit with treats!
I gave the other two loaves away so I don't have pictures of their insides, but I got good feedback so I think they were a hit too!

Tastes best the next day, like most banana bread recipes.  
Bread will remain fresh when wrapped in foil or plastic wrap  and stored at room temperature for up to 5 days.  
Bread will freeze well, up to 3 months.

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Friday, September 11, 2015

Family Thumbprint Tree - 50th Anniversary Gifts

My parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this past summer.  It's so hard to buy gifts for parents, right? I searched all over Etsy for the perfect gift. In the end, I ended up getting them several gifts.  

I made them a Family Thumbprint Tree. I found this free PDF file online (click here). Then I edited it by adding a new heart on the tree trunk with "R+C" inside the heart.  I also added their anniversary date to the bottom of the image. I was able to get all of our family members' thumbprints, including my mom and dad's, and then I found a cute frame on sale at Michael's.

My parents renewed their wedding vows so my brothers and I surprised them with this 50th anniversary Unity Candle Set from Things Remembered

I took pictures during the ceremony and the dinner afterward and made them a Shutterfly photo book. I scanned photos from their actual wedding for the book also.  This was my favorite gift :)

I have one last gift for them that I'm saving for Christmas. I don't think my parents even realize that I have a blog so the odds of them seeing this is slim to none. But just in case, I'm going to wait to post it.  It's too good to ruin!!!!  Be sure to check back after Christmas!  If you're looking for an anniversary gift and want to know about this mystery gift, leave me a comment with your email address and I'll send you the info. 

Happy 50th Mom and Dad!!

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