nineteen years

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Nineteen years today. Three kids, cancer, the death of several parents, and a million more of life’s ups and downs.  We’ve been through a lot together and it has made us stronger than ever. I can’t imagine going through life with anyone else. Happy Anniversary!

banana muffins

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I always feel like a good mom when my kids come home to a homemade, freshly baked and (reasonably healthy) treat after school.

These banana muffins from an old Cooking Light recipe fit the bill perfectly. I’ve adapted the recipe over the years, moving away from “light” butter and egg whites, and substituting white whole wheat for half of the white flour (they don’t even know).

Here’s the recipe Give it a try. And if you make them into muffins instead of loaves, they are done in 20 minutes. Just in time for an after school treat.

Banana Bread

(adapted from Cooking Light)

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 2/3 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
1/4 cup skim milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray

Directions:

Combine sugar and butter in a bowl; beat at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended. Add banana, milk, sour cream, and egg whites; beat well, and set aside.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt; stir well. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture, beating until blended.

Spoon batter into a loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for  1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Let cool completely on wire rack.

For muffins, set the oven to 400° and cook for 18-20 minutes.

november

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Here it is a week into November and I still haven’t processed that it’s fall. That’s probably in part due to the fact that it is 85 degrees outside. The biggest clue I have to the fact that we are headed straight for Christmas is that it actually cools down at night. Which is such a relief.

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I am trying to get ahead of the holidays this year and start doing things that will help me to enjoy them, instead of feeling stressed. Two things that worked out well for me last year is to complete the family calendar, that I make for my dad and siblings, before Thanksgiving. I pulled this off last year and what a difference it made! Also, to take our Christmas card picture early in November and get those cards ordered! I actually love sitting down with a cup of tea and a Christmas movie in December to address them. It’s just getting them printed that stresses me out.

So, November to do list:

1. Complete Dad’s Calendar

2. Take Christmas card picture and order cards

Other than that I want to make sure that I get in exercise, crafting, baking and spending time with friends and family. Because, really that’s what it’s all about.

{adorable embroidery pattern by the talented Minki Kim}

 

happy fall

It’s fall and I’ve been having a hard time embracing the change in season since we have been in the middle of a heat wave for weeks. I always forget that here in southern California fall means hot, dry wind. But I’m doing my best to hunker down and find the joy that fall has to offer.

Inspired by my crafty friend, I have been playing around with crazy quilting a mug rug. It’s a lot of fun and the perfect project to pick up and put down throughout the day, whenever I have a few minutes.

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I’ve also been doing some hand quilting on this small quilt that has been languishing for a couple years now. I am hoping to turn this into a wall hanging for the master bedroom. I want to hang it over the bed, since I am afraid that anything I hang there might come down in an earthquake. But a nice, soft quilt? That would be okay.

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And I unearthed the knitting needles and started on a Prayer Shawl that will be donated to my church. I love the color so much and I hope that it will bring some peace and comfort to someone in their time of need.

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I adore fall colors and have been enjoying them everywhere. We may not get the gorgeous fall foliage they do in New England, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy the beautiful colors of fall.

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This is also the time of year for us to get out into the yard and start the post-summer clean-up. Hubby and I spent an unprecedented child-free day doing just that. It’s amazing what a little TLC in the yard can do.

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But don’t worry, it wasn’t all work and no play. We treated ourselves to lunch in a charming nearby town. It was fun to reconnect and remember who we were before we had children.


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I hope you are embracing fall (or spring) wherever you are!

this week in my kitchen

Not too many pictures this week, but here is what I was able to capture.

Pulled Pork in the crockpot, which was nice because I was able to keep the oven off and the house cool. I’m not a big crockpot fan, but this one was a winner. The recipe was from 100 Days of Real Food and was quite good.IMG_2570 IMG_2569Before Boy #2 went of to camp, we made his favorite dinner of BLTs.IMG_2599And while the boys were away, the Girl got a few days of her favorite dinners, which I mostly forgot to photograph, but the first night was a simple pasta with red sauce. salad, and garlic bread. That was probably my my favorite dinner at her age too. She is so my child.IMG_2656 IMG_2658I am absolutely enjoying summer fruits right now, especially cherries. It makes me sad that they are so expensive, so I never really get my fill before they’re gone. And we are all still enjoying the homemade strawberry jam on toast almost every morning. IMG_2666I never took a picture of it, but in place of my morning latte, the last few mornings I’ve been enjoying a London Fog. Here is how you make it:

  • Brew up a half a cup of Earl Grey Tea
  • Warm up a cup of milk with a splash of vanilla and a little honey
  • Froth it up with a milk frother (optional)
  • Pour it into the tea
  • Enjoy!

Linking up with Heather over at Beauty that Moves.

 

summer fun: mini crossbow

My boys are 11 and 14, and it is sometimes a bit hard to get them off of their iPods and tablets. But there are limits in place, and they have dug into some fun projects already this summer. The first one was this mini crossbow that basically just required hairclips, popsicle sticks, embroidery floss, and a hot glue gun.IMG_2157IMG_2164IMG_2155IMG_2163IMG_2167IMG_2169It shoots toothpicks and I find that mildly concerning.

 

this week in my kitchen

A busy week for us, winding up the school year. But there is always something happening in the kitchen.

Once a week, the kids have to cook dinner, we call it Kids Cook Night. The Girl is perfecting her Pasta with Red Sauce technique, and is quite good! Here’s what she looks like while she tends the pot.

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Baked Chicken Parmesan from Skinnytaste is another people-pleaser in our house. Everyone else had pasta as a side dish, but I skipped it this time.IMG_1976-001

My favorite way to eat the rainbow, chicken stirfry.

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IMG_1800And caramel brownies to celebrate 8th grade promotion (which is what the call graduation now, apparently).IMG_2085

Linking up with Heather at Beauty That Moves. Click over to be inspired!