Saturday, September 12, 2015

Beyond Simple Banana Cupcakes

With a growing and busy preteen at home, I am all about simple recipes. The recipes around the Web for banana bread or cake take many ingredients and I seldom have them. On hand, I had four ripe bananas and a white cake mix by Pillsbury. I spent $0.94 on the mix and $2.00 on the bananas. Add your favorite frosting and you're done.

Yield =  24 cupcakes

1 box white cake mix
4 bananas, ripe
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water, cold

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, begin by mashing the bananas with a fork very well. 
Using a wooden spoon, to the bananas mix in eggs, oil, and water. 
Lastly, slowly mix in cake mix a little at a time. 
Once all is combined well, use a mixer to mix at high speed for 2 minutes.
Place two tablespoons of the batter in each cupcake liner in the cupcake pan.
Bake for 19 to 23 minutes.


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Positive Thinking Experiment

I've been thrown some curve balls in my life that I am proud to say I have handled well. In order to stay positive throughout all the negativity, I have journaled, created vision boards, and I even listened to countless hours of positivity-focused audiobooks. There's no secret recipe to happiness because everyone gauges happiness in different ways. To me, happiness is security with the ones I love. Pretty simple, huh?

OK, so you don't need to do what I did, and I wouldn't recommend the hours of book reading or listening. If you're working on being a more positive person, or even if it was your new year resolution, here is a guideline to follow.

1. Take gratitude walks. It is hard to carve out time to walk around, but I encourage you to take 10 minutes at first and work up to 30 minutes a week. I suggest taking a walk anywhere, even around your house, with your significant other and mention all the things you are grateful for. You can do it alone, like I do around my office building, by talking to yourself in your mind going through a list of things you're grateful for. 

2. Journal three things you are grateful for every morning. I use The Five-Minute Journal iPad app (under $6) and I record three things I am grateful for every day, three things that would make today great, and my daily affirmation. In the evening, I write three things that went well today. It is an exercise in just jotting it down so you can remember the important things. The app also allows for photos.

3. Create a vision page. I find a vision board tedious and more than I can handle. In one hour, I covered a simple sheet of white paper with images and words of things I want in my life. I keep it on the side of my fridge so I am sure to see it daily. It keeps me hopeful.

4. Avoid news. This is actually the base of my experiment. News is rarely good, and you typically have to hear/see all the bad news before you see the good. This goes for local, national, and international news. Before this, I was a news junkie watching CNN, MSNBC, and HLN daily. Since I stopped watching and reading news, I feel happier inside. Of course, all the pertinent news still gets to me, mainly through my husband and Twitter (I follow AP and WSJ).

5. Eliminate negative friends. This  was a hard one because I had to eliminate two people who I thought were my closest friends. Over time, I realized the things they said and the way they said them were self-centered and meant to hurt me. Not good friends at all. You may want to have a serious discussion about your feelings first before you stop returning calls and emails. Still, I replace negative people with positive people. Remember, you can always reach out to me!

Let me know how your journey to a more positive you goes!


Monday, April 27, 2015

Recipe: Gluten-free Banana Bread

This recipe is as easy as pie, or banana bread. This is my first gluten-free recipe. Give it a try.

4 ripe bananas, peeled
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup walnuts, chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
6 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix dry ingredients (flours, salt, baking soda, and walnuts) in a large bowl.
3. In a medium bowl, smash bananas with a fork, then add oil and eggs. Mix until smooth.
4. Pour dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until well incorporated.
5. Use olive oil to grease a loaf pan.
6. Pour batter into pan (9.25 x 5.25 x 2.75 inches) lined with parchment paper and brushed with olive oil.
7. Bake for 50 minutes.

Slice into the loaf and drizzle a bit of honey on top before serving. Or, you can cover a slice with sweet fruit.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Top 5 Must Have Apps

Download these apps today for life changing experiences!

1. Duolingo - FREE. Learn several languages, like Italian and Spanish, in easy to follow games. Repeat after the teacher, type in the language you are learning, and much more.

2. Clue - FREE. For women only, track your menstrual cycle and all that comes with it: period, pain, mood, and more. Follow a very easy to use calendar to stay on track.

3. Five Minute Journal - $5.99. This is a journal that holds true to its name. Log your day, goals and accomplishments, in just five minutes a day. You can even load photos and read inspirational quotes. Perfect for brushing your mind daily.

4. Overdrive - FREE. Download this app to connect to your local library card. Library card required. Download FREE audio books. Most can be listened to in 14 to 21 days. Then, return the titles when you're done. Couldn't be easier.

5. KRINGL - FREE. The Kringle app is perfect for parents. During Christmas, point your phone/tablet to your tree or living room and the app places a life-size Santa delivering gifts right in the shot. He moves and makes noise. It blew the socks off my child!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Quick and Delish Meatloaf

This recipe is very easy, fast to assemble, and yummy. It was adapted from Food Network's recipe. Give it a try and let me know if it's not the best you've had.

1 pound ground beef
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup quick-cooking oats

1/3 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon prepared mustard

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Mix all meatloaf ingredients well and place in a loaf pan.
3. Mix ingredients for topping and spread on loaf. 
5. Bake for 1 hour.

DIY Makeup Storage

Use what you already have in the kitchen to neatly store your makeup and beauty tools. Take out your cake stand, cutlery tray, Mason jars, cookie packaging, and straw dispenser.

Nail polish + cake stand

Mascara + cutlery tray

Various makeup + Mason jars

Shadows + cookie tray

Brushes + straw dispenser

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Very Easy Risotto Recipe

My 2015 is all about simplicity. I am on the hunt for very easy, few-ingredient recipes. I cooked this risotto recipe today and it was perfection.

Easy Mushroom Risotto


2 cups of cooked rice
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup chicken broth (or 1 cup water and 2 bullion cubes)
2 Tablespoons oil
2 cups diced mushrooms
2 cups diced onions


1. In a large saucepan, add oil, onions and mushrooms and sautee until onions are golden.
2. Add cooked rice to saucepan and stir until well incorporated.
3. Stiir in chicken broth and black pepper until broth is evaporated. This should take 10 minutes.
4. Serve as a side and enjoy!

Please let me know how you like this recipe. Feel free to use other veggies instead of mushrooms, like carrots or peas.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Recipe Redo - The Duffin

This is a slight variation of an eggless recipe on It is very easy; chocolate chip cookies are harder to make. If you have a doughnut tin, by all means use it. Since I don't, I used my regular muffin/cupcake tin. Mini muffin tins work well here too. If you use a regular muffin tin, fill 12 halfway.

Yield: 18 mini muffins, 12 regular muffins

1/2 c granulated sugar
1/4 c unsalted butter, melted
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c milk
1 tsp baking powder
1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Set aside.
4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter and sugar.
5. Add spices and vanilla, whisk well.
6. Add milk and whisk again.
7. Add dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.
8. Fill the muffin pan.
9. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 17 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center of each muffin comes out clean.
10. Cool in pan for 2 minutes, transfer onto a wire rack.
11. Prepare the coating: melt butter in a small bowl; in another small bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon.
12. When muffins are completely cool, dunk each one in melted butter and then roll in cinnamon sugar. 
13. Return onto wire rack and let cool for few minutes.