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Showing posts from 2015

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.

Simple Banana Cupcakes
Yield =  24 cupcakes
Ingredients: 1 box white cake mix4 bananas, ripe3 eggs1/2 cup vegetable oil1/2 cup water, coldDirections:
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.


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. 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 off…

Finance Fridays: Travel

Just returning from a business trip to Chicago made me think of how much more I could have spent while traveling. It is easy to get sucked in all the gift shops, tips to hotel employees, and meals. The most important thing is to stay organized.

Plan the logistics of the trip. If flying, try to avoid driving to your local airport and paying parking fees. If a family member or friend is not available to drive you to the airport, a public bus may get you there. If you have to park at the airport, park in the economy lot. If you are driving, fill up on gas before leaving and avoid stopping unless you need more gas. Stopping at convenience stores or restaurants will entice you to spend more.

Spending on meals can be pricey, especially in a city like Chicago. I purchased crackers and granola bars for the drive and stay so I was not temped by convenience stores. Try to purchase food at restaurants you know are inexpensive.

It is preferred that you tip the valet, bell hop, taxi driver, and room …

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.

Gluten-free Banana Bread

Ingredients: 4 ripe bananas, peeled1 1/2 cups almond flour1/2 cup coconut flour1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda1/2 teaspoon sea salt1 cup walnuts, chopped4 tablespoons olive oil6 eggs
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Mix dry ingredients (flours, salt, baking soda, and walnuts) in a large bowl.In a medium bowl, smash bananas with a fork, then add oil and eggs. Mix until smooth.Pour dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until well incorporated.Use olive oil to grease a loaf pan.Pour batter into pan (9.25 x 5.25 x 2.75 inches) lined with parchment paper and brushed with olive oil.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.

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 liv…

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.

Quick and Delicious Meatloaf

Ingredients: 1 pound ground beef1 1/4 teaspoons salt1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper1/2 cup chopped onion1/2 cup chopped bell pepper1 egg, lightly beaten2 Roma tomatoes, diced1/4 cup quick-cooking oatsTopping: 1/3 cup ketchup2 tablespoons brown sugar1 tablespoon prepared mustardDirections:
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.

Easy Mushroom Risotto

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
Ingredients: 2 cups of cooked rice1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper1 cup chicken broth (or 1 cup water and 2 bullion cubes)2 Tablespoons oil2 cups diced mushrooms2 cups diced onions Directions:
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.

The Duffin - Recipe Redo

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.

The Duffin

Yield: 18 mini muffins, 12 regular muffins

Ingredients: 1/2 c granulated sugar1/4 c unsalted butter, melted1/4 tsp ground nutmeg1/2 tsp vanilla extract1/2 c milk1 tsp baking powder1 c all-purpose flour1/2 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 insert…