Sunday, October 27, 2013

Dairy Free Banana Bread

I haven't made goodies for my co-workers in awhile, and with Halloween coming up I knew I wanted to make some kind of bread/muffin. I purchased some adorable mini muffin liners awhile ago and really wanted to put them to use!

I had TONS of bananas in my freezer just waiting to be turned into delicious banana bread or muffins so I quickly knew I'd be making banana bread. I've made banana bread so many times I've lost count - but I wanted to switch it up and try to make it dairy free so my friend Matt at work could enjoy it too! 

After searching online for awhile, I decided to just use my GG's recipe and replaced the butter with oil and the sour cream with apple sauce. Seemed easy enough and I was just hoping for the best!

 The Goods
3 Tablespoons Oil
1 Cup Sugar
1 Egg - beaten
1/2 Cup Applesauce
(*bonus points if homemade!)
2 Cups Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
3/4 Cup Banana - Mashed up
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

Soooooo were my hopes too high? 

Absolutely not! And in fact - I can't even tell the difference between these one and the one's I've been making with butter and sour cream all these years! 

Here are just some of the cute lil gems I made to take to the office tomorrow.

And because I made a TRIPLE batch - I made some mini loaves too!!

Make the regular, make the diary free kind, heck - make BOTH, but make sure you make ONE of these soon!!!

Homemade Applesauce!

My brother was recently talking about making A LOT of applesauce (we're talking a bushel of apples here people!!), and it got me wanting some to eat and maybe even bake with. With that fresh in my mind, I bought a two pound bag of apples yesterday and made the delicious treat just hours later. 

I knew I wanted to keep my applesauce pretty simple, so I just used apples, water and a tiny pinch of sugar. That's IT! No cinnamon, no other sweeteners, nothing! It may sound boring but it's incredibly tasty and really doesn't need anything else.

Wash, peel and dice the apples.

Add a lil water and a pinch of sugar if desired.
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 25 to 30 minutes - until tender and starting to fall apart.

Transfer to a blender or food processor and puree to your liking.
Store in an airtight container in your fridge.

Homemade applesauce is amazing and I really should make some more often. 
Maybe even make bigger quantities like my brother!!

Sunday Night Dinner: Take 34

One of my best friends came over for dinner tonight and I made and old favorite - Turkey Sloppy Joe's! I had a craving for them last week so I decided to make them for Sunday Night Dinner and Alison wasn't objecting! 

With the Sloppy Joe's, I made some homemade Sweet Potato Fries that I baked instead of fried. 
We dipped them in ranch with a little spicy seasoning sprinkled on top.

And last but not least, some semi-homemade cole slaw. 
I thought we needed something "green" and this was better than nothing! 

All in all, tonight's dinner was a great Sunday Night dinner and it really didn't take too long to make. 
You should all try making your Sloppy Joe's with ground turkey - it's leaner and still amazingly tasty! :) 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

MORE Fall Holiday Decorations

I recently posted about my Fall Holiday Decorations, but I completely forgot about a homemade Halloween banner I made last year and have added a couple NEW decorations too!

Check out the fun new things I have around my place...

Homemade Banner, Carved Pumpkin, Chalkboard Art and Fresh Flowers!

Spiders, spiders and MORE spiders!!!

Do you decorate for the holidays? 
I LOVE it and cannot wait for all the upcoming holidays in the next few months! 

Sunday Night Dinner: Take 33

Since the whole Salmonella outbreak, I've been afraid to eat chicken so I've pretty much been avoiding it altogether. Actually, I honestly can't tell you the last time I did eat chicken. I've been creative with my meal choices, but one can only east SO much bacon...

So while thinking about what I'd eat for dinner tonight AND what to have for lunches this week, I decided on roasting a turkey breast! I know, I know - Thanksgiving isn't for weeks, but it IS Fall and who doesn't love some turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy? YUM!

For dinner tonight I enjoyed a lil Thanksgiving dinner just a little early.  Hate all you want, but I'll eat this meal no matter what month it is because it's alway tasty! Anyway...I had some delicious roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans and some rosemary sourdough. 

Hello Thanksgiving Wannabe Dinner!

I plan to use the leftovers for lunches and dinners this week and may even freeze some of the turkey breast. 

What did YOU have for dinner tonight?

Pumpkin Carving and Seed Roasting!

It's not Halloween to me if I don't carve a pumpkin and then roast the seeds. I usually do it closer to the holiday, but the I had the opportunity to carve pumpkins and hang out with a great friend this past weekend. 

Our pumpkins and carving tools!

I've always been a fan of carving pumpkins and I am not against using patterns. I purchased a new book and went with the hardest possible pattern! What can I say - I like a lil challenge!

Not bad, right? I think I did a pretty good job if I do say so.

Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of my friend's pumpkin, but it was interesting to say the least. :) Let's just say they were the first person I've ever seen who carved their pumpkin before scooping out and and cleaning up the goop. 

I dried the seeds overnight and then roasted them with a little melted butter and salt. Once they were crisped to perfection, I took them out and tossed half with cinnamon sugar and half with a spicy mixture. Both turned out great and I think I'll be using this method from not on! I want another pumpkin just for it's seeds now...

MMMmmm Pumpkin Seeds!

Did you carve a pumpkin or still planning to do so? 
Do you do roast the seeds or just throw them out with the other scraps? 

Look for more Halloween related posts to come soon!

Garden In Transition

I know it's been FOREVER since I updated you about the garden, but it's mostly because there hasn't been anything to really update...

I haven't added to it in awhile, but I've removed a lot of dead plants and old window box linings. I'm working VERY slow, but I'm prepping to have some kind of Fall Garden. I'm just waiting until I know it won't be too hot and it's forecast to be about 90 again this week! C'mon crisp cool Fall temperatures! 

I can't wait to go shopping for some new goodies soon! Until then though, I figured I'd give you a quick update about what's actually still living! 

Empty window boxes...

Blueberry and Raspberry Plants

Dill, Rosemary, Oregano, Sage, Parsley and Basil

Marigolds still goin' strong!

The ol' cherry tomato plant.

Check back in the next few weeks (hopefully) to see what new things I have growing.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Fall Holiday Decorations

I love decorating. I love decorating for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Fall in general. This time of year is one of my favorite times and I look forward to decorating when every October rolls around!

Take a look below at the set up so far this year! 

I've accumulated these decorations over the years and plan to keep adding to my collection!

Sunday Night Dinner: Take 32

I was originally planning to make Roasted Squash for dinner, but turns out I'd had my squash too long. :( Oh well, I wasn't too disappointed and was happy to replace the squash with a grilled cheese sandwich. Mmm mmm mmm!!!

I'm sure roasted squash would have been very tasty, but I'm not sad I had to have the grilled cheese instead... 

I was already planning on making a salad tonight, but once the squash was out I opted to roast some brussels sprouts to have with the salad and grilled cheese. 

While things didn't go as I'd originally planned, tonight's dinner was absolutely a success. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sunday Night Dinner: Take 31 - Part 2

In this post last Sunday, I mentioned there was a Part 2 to come. And I'm sorry it's been a week, but Part 2 is FINALLY here! I hope you're not disappointed because I honestly think it was worth the wait! 

When I made the Pesto Chicken, Rice and Grilled Veggies I intentionally make much more than I'd be eating that night because I knew I'd be able to use them in meals the next few day. Meals, yes - I said meals as in using one meal's cooking for multiple other meals! I learned to do this awhile ago and it's GENIUS if done right!!

Everything cooked Sunday Night

So what did I do with the leftover deliciousness? I made three different things actually, but unfortunately only have pictures of two of them! :( Have no fear - the unpictured rice bowl was still amazing and I would have one right now if I could.

For lunch Monday, I took leftovers.
And made a chicken, rice, grilled veggies, hummus and sprouts 
pita sandwich that was so tasty. 
A co-worker even asked where I'd purchased it!

Tuesday night I made a salad with chicken, rice, grilled veggies, sprouts and a little light ranch dressing. 

All the different meals were amazing and different enough so I didn't feel like I kept eating the 

I'll try to share more meals I make like this as I do it. It makes cooking delicious homemade food SO much easier and even quite enjoyable to some extent. 

Elina and Robyn Make...BLONDIES!

We'reeeeeeeeeeeeee back!

And back with some AMAZING Blondies! These are crazy delicious and SO easy to make. I made them one weekend for co-workers, and after discovering how great they were - Elina and I made them the following weekend. I decided to blog about them so no one missed out on these tasty treats!

Check out how to make them and then do so - you WON'T be upset!

The Goods:
1 cup Self Rising Flour
1 cup All Purpose Flour AND 2 tsp Baking Powder
3 1/2 ounces Unsalte Butter
1/2 cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 to 3/4 cup Macadamia Nuts - roughly chopped
3 1/2 ounces White Chocolate
Parchment Paper

Preheat Oven to 350.
Lightly grease 8" square pan and line with parchment paper.
Set aside until batter is ready.

Bring water to boil in large sauce pan.
Remove from heat and place heat proof bowl on top.
Add butter and white chocolate to heat proof bowl, 
stirring occasionally until melted completely. 

Add the sugar.
And then the eggs and vanilla too!

Fold in the flour and nuts until fully incorporated.

Pour batter into pan and smooth with spatula.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
If top starts browning before fully set,
cover lightly with foil.

Anddddd they're done!
Cool in the pan a few minutes.
Remove and then cool completely before baking.

Now...go make some and enjoy!!!