Saturday, December 31, 2011

Banana Muffins

One of my baking specialities is banana bread or banana muffins. My DH requests this ALL the time and even the kids can't get enough. We are having a New Year's Day brunch so I figured, what better to share than my uber delicious banana muffins!

2 cups flour (1 cup white, 1 cup whole wheat)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/3 cups mashed bananas

Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a separte bowl and set aside. Cream butter and sugar. Stir in eggs and bananas. Add your flour mixture. At this point you can either put in a 9x5 greased loaf pan or make 12 muffins with a small loaf or right around 24 muffins.

For larger loaf bake 60-65 minutes
For muffins bake 23-27 minutes
For small loaf bake 30-35 mintues

Here's my number one tip when making this recipe. Don't use the full 2 1/3 cups of bananas, add some applesauce. I generally do 2/3 cups applesauce and the rest mashed bananas. Otherwise it is just too much banana going on.

Linking up to Thirty Handmade Days and Muffin Mondays

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Phew! It's over ...

I wish I would've taken a picture of my living room, kitchen, bedrooms, etc this weekend. Every room looked like Santa's sleigh exploded all through our house! We have piles of gifts, boxes and wrapping paper EVERYWHERE. I'm not sure that my house has had as much TLC as I have given it over this past weekend. The dead Christmas tree has been taken out (leaving a nice trail of needles along the way), the floor has been swept and mopped multiple times (I decided to drop the glass jar of applesauce on Christmas morning) and toys have been picked up, moved, picked up again and so on about 10 times a piece. I enjoy spending time with family on Christmas, but I'm just not a fan of the aftermath of it all. I think it's safe to say we might have everything back to normal around New Years Day. Now to work on finishing up my Twelve by 2012 list!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

EXPIRED! Old Navy! $10 for $20!

It's baaack! Groupon is again offering $20 worth of goodies from Old Navy for only $10! Get yours now! I picked up the last one and got A and J new pajamas for Christmas. Since the pajamas were on sale for $10 a piece all I had to pay was tax!

Reminder: I'm a part of the Groupon affiliate program so when you purchase from one of my links, I get paid.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wrap it up!

I've been busy wrapping up all our Christmas presents. It seems like the pile grows each year and this year was no exception. I made it one of my goals to add a personal touch to each gift I give this year. I started by buying things that I knew people would enjoy and that fit their personality. I did some buying on Etsy (keychains & custom prints) and searched all the sales for the best deals. With so many people to buy for you can easily hit the point of spending too much on all the presents. I created a couple jar recipes gifts for the sitter and family friends since I know everyone enjoys homemade cookies. I feel like I accomplished this goal ... now to watch them all open their gifts on Christmas!

If you are still in need of some wrapping ideas/tips/tricks/or what not here's some cool ones I've found recently.
Simple red and white accents [source]
Wrapped in maps [source]
Fabric ribbon accents [source]

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Oatmeal Chunk Cookies (in a jar!)

I love making up jar recipes to give to neighbors, the baby sitter or anyone you want to show your appreciate towards without spending a lot of money. I've done these for years from soups to brownies, but this year I came up with a recipe of my own.

Oatmeal Chunk Cookies

Layer in the wide mouth canning jar in this order
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup chocolate chunks
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar

Add a tag with the following directions
You'll need:
1 slightly beaten egg
1/2 cup softened butter
1 tsp vanilla

Mix the jar ingredients with wet ingredients. You may need to use your hands to get it all incorporated. Create 1 1/2 inch balls and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake about 10 minutes in a 350* oven. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Linking up to Thirty Handmade Days

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Cookies!

Every year I get together with my MIL and SIL and we bake cookies. I'm not talking about a batch of cookies ... we are talking about TONS of cookies. All different kinds, shapes, ingredients, etc. It has become our tradition since DH and I got our first apartment together (I was still in high school!). Here's a couple pictures of last year's baking.


Yes we are slightly crazy, ok really crazy. Well Sunday was our day ... Christmas cookie day. We gather all our recipes (some I found and have been pinning for weeks), the ingredients, the aprons, the kids and whatever else we may need and get to baking. Bear with me as I try to get all the descriptions in ...
From the top ... snickerdoodles, chocolate crackles, orange crackles and corn flake wreaths
From the top left ... chocolate pretzel bark, oreo lollipops, chocolate covered wheat thins, chocolate dream bars & chocolate/peanut bars
Bottom row ... modified version of the chocolate bark, peanut butter cookie cups, buckeye bars, brownie pops and buckeyes (we got tired of dipping so some are left plain)
Sadly, not everything was a success ... we attempted the incredibly easy holiday candy, but it only made it as far as the trash can. I'm not sure what we did wrong, but it was gross. I mean really gross. 

If you want any recipes from the stuff above, let me know and I'll do my best to put some up. Happy holiday baking!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Check it off the list (x3)!

Recently I've been productive on the Twelve by 2012 list ... Here's a quick run down of what all I accomplished!
  • Few hours at the spa -- check! I got a facial and manicure at the Woodhouse Day Spa.
  • Friday night DH and I went out for sushi (remember my love for sushi?) on a little date night with his cousin and wife, plus we did a little Christmas shopping. YAH!
I hate cell phone camera photos, but hey what are you going to do?!
  • I picked up a copy of Vogue and thoroughly enjoyed it with my Diet Coke by my side :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas shopping on Etsy

I've been meaning to post about this for a couple of weeks, but I'm a little behind.
I started on my Christmas shopping since it will be here before we know it. I've always have a tough time deciding what to do for my three step-sisters. You see, we didn't become step-sisters until about 5 years ago so we never lived in the same house or had to really become sisters. I consider them my friends ... we are all very close in age so it works for us. 
A couple months ago I got a Heartsy offer for an Esty shop, Tesoro Jewelry, and knew I couldn't pass it up. Jessica's stuff is super cute and totally affordable! I found a set of three key chains (all which could be custom designed!) and went to work planning my gifts. I picked a font that best fit the style of each of my sisters (they are all VERY different!). The process was super easy and in less than a week the key chains arrived at my door. I couldn't be happier!

I got the Heartsy shopping bug again last month, too. I decided on a certificate to MursBlanc. This time I got something for myself (hey I need presents too!) and a gift for my step-sister and her husband. I can't wait to get these in the mail!
Gift for myself, I asked to have the background changed to blue or grey to match our bedroom.
Print I chose for my step sister & her hubby
All I will need to do is get some frames and I'll be set. This is shaping up to be a pretty great Christmas after all!

Best of all, this counts towards one of my Twelve by 2012 goals -- add a personal touch to every gift I give.