Tuesday, January 31, 2012

whole wheat banana muffins and bread

Whole-Wheat Banana Bread

2 ¼ cup white whole-wheat flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
3 ripe bananas, mashed
¼ cup plain yogurt (I used applesauce this time and did not like it as much)
¼ cup honey
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil (I used canola oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease pan.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
In a separate bowl mix mashed bananas with yogurt, honey, eggs, oil, and vanilla.
Fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture until blended. Do not overmix.
Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake large loaf for 40 – 50 minutes or until it comes clean with a toothpick.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

weekend update

The weather has been wonderful this weekend. Cold true, but beautifully sunny! Reminds me that spring will come... someday... soon, hopefully ;)
So yesterday we got up and had our big family breakfast, our Saturday morning tradition. Then we got ready and went to my nieces school to watch her play in a round robin basketball tourney. It was fun, my little boy loved it! He was dancing and cheering her on.
Later on that evening The Hubs and I had a burger cook off. It was a grand ole time! We each made two then had a taste test. Having ourselves the judges and the cooks was not really a good idea ha ha how can you judge? that's right, you cant! So we both won ;)
Today was church. I got the opportunity to teach the nursery Sunday school. They are so precious. We sang, colored, played. :)
My Hubs also had the opportunity to preach for our second service. He did wonderful and I learned a lot.
Today was also the that we both decided to fast and pray. We know God will do great things. We just have to wait on his timing. Going all day, especially at church where there always seems to be food served ( we're baptists after all ha! ) it was difficult but we did it. And you know what? I would do it again.
Our fasting ended at 6 pm though so Hubs got us Chinese :) I tried making fudge.... yeah I hate making fudge... Fudge is my enemy :(
Well, Guess I will end this post and go watch Once upon a time and relax.
-Our little kiddo is on Mommy and Daddy's bed dressed as Buzz Light year eating cream cheese with a spoon... gets his weirdness from his Dad ;)

Friday, January 27, 2012

these are a few of my favorite things...

1. My Ipad for sure!! Love it Love it Love it... love all Mac products really.
2. John Freida hair care products... does wonders for me do.
3. Cake Boss. Yup kind of addicted to watching someone make cakes... does that make me odd? My dream is to one day open a bakery/ coffee shop and run a successful photography business... " a dream is a wish your heart makes" oh I miss Magic Kingdom...
4. Krispy Kreme Donuts... the kind with the frosting inside and chocolate on top, wow people, wow.
5. The Beach...ahhh... nuff said!
6. Shawl or wrap. Love them! So cozy, so warm. My aunt bought me one the other day and I have pretty much been wearing it ever since.
7. My little boy... STINKIN. ADORABLE. !!!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

drinking water is really good for you... who knew?!

OK so I am aware that almost everyone already knows that drinking water is good for you. Good for your body, very good to drink in the winter when turning on your heat and being indoors most the time dries your skin up to prun-ishness. Drinking it keeps your mind running right, keeps all your organs doing their thang. Seriously good stuff folks, gooood stuff. So one who is aware of such water health benefit knowledge you would think would be drinking a lot, every single day or at least the recommended 8 glasses right?... well you would think that, but you see I know the benefits I get it but sadly drink very little of anything daily. Of course this has resulted in dry, puffy hair. In severe dry eyes, skin everything. Well, I have found my cure!! My Hubs bought me one of those cups with the cover and straw that looks disposable but isn't, I love mine. Seriously, its the best! It seems to keep my water colder longer then a normal cup,and for some reason the straw makes drinking more fun ( I am odd I know) and it has a spill proof cover. I have a toddler, its important my cover is spill proof y'all.
Anywho, point of this status is, is that for the best two days I have drank a gallon maybe gallon and a 1/2 daily of H20 and wow the change, I mean like ta da! My hair is soft and shiny, my nails are showing improvement, my skin is less dry, hardly using any lotion which is abnormal for me, I am a lotion junky ...for real.
So again point is.... drink your water folks! Simple but with most people and depending on where you live and all that need more than the recommended 8 glasses, it's true. So try it, go get yourself a big glass of ice cold water ( side note: ice cold water burns calories, like seriously it does) Go become healthy, you know you want to ;)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Chicken with a Cocoa Tomato Sauce, Risotto and Dinner Rolls



  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, plus 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, for cooking
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 pint tomato sauce
  • 1 pint diced tomatoes ( I have used chili ready tomatoes, italian etc. which ever suits your fancy)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar


Season both sides of chicken breasts with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. In a cast iron skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned, about 10 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken from pan to a baking dish and set aside.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, onion, and garlic to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, cocoa, oregano, basil, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Stir until well blended. pour over chicken, cover and simmer for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Arrange the chicken on a serving platter and serve :)


Servings: Makes 2 1/4 cups
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup long-grain brown rice
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • Parsley for garnish
Bring chicken stock to a boil. Add butter. Once butter is melted, stir in the rice and reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook 45 to 50 minutes. The rice should be moist.

Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Stir in cheese, garnish with parsley and serve immediately.


  • 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water (110 degrees to 115 degrees)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
( I have used all all- purpose and they come out wonderful!)


  1. In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand 5 minutes. Blend in sugar, salt and 3 cups all-purpose flour at low speed until moistened; beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Beat in egg and oil. By hand, gradually stir in whole wheat flour and enough remaining all-purpose flour to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise until doubled or cover and refrigerate overnight. Punch dough down and form into dinner-size rolls. Place on greased baking sheets for plain rolls or knots, or in greased muffin tins for cloverleaf rolls. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour or 1 to 2 hours for refrigerated dough. ( at this point after shaping instead of rising I flash freeze in the freezer then bag up so I always have rolls on hand, just let unthaw in a baking dish until they rise they bake) Bake at 375 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown. Serve warm. If desired, dough may be kept up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Punch down daily.

the soft pretzel that tastes like a pretzel rod for real!

Makes 16 full-sized or 32 miniature

2 cups warm water (100°F to 110°F)
1 tablespoon + 2 tablespoons sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons canola or other neutral oil
1/4 cup baking soda
1 large egg
Coarse or pretzel salt

Vegetable-oil cooking spray

1. Pour warm water and 1 tablespoon sugar into bowl of electric mixer fitted with a dough hook* and stir to combine. Sprinkle with yeast, and let sit 10 minutes; yeast should be foamy.

2. Add 1 cup flour to yeast, and mix on low until combined. Add salt and 4 cups more flour, and mix until combined, about 30 seconds. Beat on medium-low until dough pulls away from sides of bowl, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add another 1/2 cup flour, and knead on low 1 minute more. If dough is still wet and sticky, add 1/2 cup more flour (this will depend on weather conditions); knead until combined, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a lightly floured board, and knead about ten times, or until smooth.

3. Pour oil into a large bowl; swirl to coat sides. Transfer dough to bowl, turning dough to completely cover all sides. Cover with a kitchen towel, and leave in a warm spot for 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in size.

4. Heat oven to 450°F. Lightly spray two baking sheets with cooking spray (parchment paper, ungreased, also works). Set aside. Punch down dough to remove bubbles. Transfer to a lightly floured board. Knead once or twice, divide into 16 pieces (about 2 1/2 ounces each) or 32 if making miniature pretzels, and wrap in plastic.

5. Roll one piece of dough at a time into an 18-inch-long strip. [I find the pretzels much easier to roll on an unfloured board, oddly enough, but see what works for you.] Twist into pretzel shape; transfer to prepared baking sheet. Cover with a kitchen towel. Continue to form pretzels; eight will fit on each sheet (you may need a third sheet if making miniatures). Let pretzels rest until they rise slightly, about 15 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, fill large, shallow pot with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil. Add baking soda (and step back, it foams up quickly) and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Reduce to a simmer; transfer three to four pretzels to water. Poach 1 minute on each side. Use slotted spoon to transfer pretzels to baking sheet. Continue until all pretzels are poached.

7. Beat egg with 1 tablespoon water. Brush pretzels with egg glaze. Sprinkle with salt. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on wire rack, or eat warm. Pretzels are best when eaten the same day, but will keep at room temperature, uncovered, for two days. Do not store in covered container or they will become soggy.

* To save even more dishes, I rinse out the bowl, oil it and use it for proofing the dough. And you thought making bread wasn’t simple!

homemade plain bagels

makes 12 bagels


Optional Toppings:

  • 1/2 cup lightly toasted chopped onions (2 teaspoons each)
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds (about 1/2 teaspoon each)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (about 1/2 teaspoon each)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt (about 1/4 teaspoon each)


Combine the water, yeast, and 3 tablespoons of the sugar in the bowl of an upright mixer fitted with a dough hook. Stir and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Gradually add 4 cups of the flour and the salt, and mix until the mixture comes together.

Add 1 to 1 1/2 cups additional flour 1/2 cup at a time to make a stiff dough, either stirring with the wooden spoon or working with your hands. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and kneadDoughyeast bread dough.) until smooth and no longer sticky, about 5 minutes, adding just as much flour as needed. ( should be heavier and stiffer than regular

Grease a large bowl with 1 teaspoon of the oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until almost doubled, about 1 hour.

Remove from the bowl and punch down the dough. Divide into 12 equal pieces, about 2 to 3 ounces each, measuring about 4 inches across. Form each piece of dough into a ball. Roll each ball into a 4 to 6-inch log. Join the ends and place fingers through the hole and roll the ends together. Repeat with the remaining dough. Place on a lightly greased surface, cover with a clean cloth, and let rest until risen but not doubled in a draft-free spot, 20 to 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Grease a baking sheet with the remaining teaspoon of oil. Sprinkle the cornmeal on another baking sheet.

In a large, heavy pot, bring 12 cups of water and the remaining tablespoon of sugar to a boil. In batches, add the bagels to the water and boil, turning, for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Dip the bagel tops in desired toppings. Flip bagels onto the prepared sheet pan. Bake for 5 minutes, turn over and cook for another 30 to 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.

Monday, January 23, 2012

our family vacation

Happy late New Year!
I have been away on our annual family vacation to Florida since the beginning of January and haven't had the chance to post. One of my resolutions for 2012 is to blog more. I always have so much I want to get written down but never take the time to write, this year I want to take that time.
Like I just mentioned the Hubs, Goose ( our son, not his real name ha! ) and I packed up and flew south for some of the winter. For the past two weeks we have been soaking up lots of warm sunshine, swimming, going for nightly walks, spending days at Disney World, going out to eat and just enjoying lots of quality time together. I LOVED IT!
We stayed with my Hubs parents, in a big house they rented. It was lovely and spacious. It was located in a gated resort, very close to everything but looked very secluded.
For the first week we lounged, relax, rejuvenated, did barely a thing besides go out to eat and go for walks or took trips to the resorts playground ( which was a large castle that was super cool and yes I did play on the slides and swings as well and no I don't believe you can be too old)
We seriously just took is easy and honestly I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.
The next week we all decided to get tickets to Disney and we ended up getting a 5 day pass. Going day after day to a theme park is VERY exhausting! I enjoyed every second of it but wow didn't I fall asleep quickly at bedtime!
We went to 2 parks with my family in law. 1 park as just a family of 3 and the last one was just a day spend as a couple, just my love and I.
We went to Epcot. Had lots of laughs, a scare ( I got violently attacked by a bird! story for another day) and we got alone time to focus on just each other. It was so very much needed!
We spent most of the day at the world showcase side of Epcot. We had decided to get something from each country to eat, something they are the most well known for.
We ended up not getting something from all of the countries, will probably finish it next time but did at 4 of them.
Fish and Chips at England, a Pretzel at Germany, a Crescent at France, and a Canoli at Italy.
They were all so wonderfully delicious!
On Wednesday of our second week there we took a trip to Cocoa Beach. It is beautiful there! I am deathly afraid of the ocean and was a bit nervous to go but was the one who didn't want to leave when it was time to go. I am a beach person for sure. It was so peaceful and relaxing. Oh how I would love to be there right this moment!
This years family vacation was wonderful, a fun filled relaxing time away.
As much as we loved it though we are happy to be home and I am ready to get back to normal life, something I truly do enjoy.

Meal Plan January 24-February 9


Going to make a batch of waffles to freeze and take out to pop in the toaster
Banana Bread
Egg and Bacon/ or Sausage sandwiches for the Hubs


Pizza mini calzones
Tuna sandwiches
Meat and Cheese Sandwiches

All served with fruit


Oven Roasted Chicken Breasts with Brown Rice Risotto
Shredded BBQ Chicken using Homemade Buns
Tuna Noodle Casserole with Homemade Egg Noodles
Pizza using Homemade Pizza Dough
Spaghetti and Meatball with Homemade Garlic Bread
Chicken Soup with Homemade Bread
Homemade Alfredo Sauce and Homemade Egg Noodles
Homemade Sloppy Joes with Homemade Buns
Pigs in a blanket and Mac and Cheese
Meatloaf and Mashed Potato
Homemade Oven baked Popcorn Chicken with Oven Baked Ranch Wedges
Everything but the kitchen sink Burritos


Energy Balls
Homemade Brownies with Frosting