Keeping It Simple – Recipe: Peanut Butter Banana Bread

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As much as my blog has given me a place to journal, write, capture sweet pictures of my littles, and enjoy new recipes, it has also awakened other things.  It has allowed me to see how much I love the simple, everyday pleasures, and, through that, it has taught me even more about how much I value every single moment with my family.  As I look back through some recent pictures, I can see just how much I enjoy the small things that become such a bigger thing when captured through journals and pictures.

I enjoy cheering my oldest boy on as he plays soccer.  While it sometimes makes for a crazy morning, I truly love the hour that we spend at the field watching my boy do something that he loves.

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I love a lazy morning with a good cup of tea.  While most of our mornings are not lazy because everyone has to get out the door way too early, it just makes me appreciate the lazy, weekend mornings even more.

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I love how a simple tea party can put a smile on even the most unsuspecting members of the family.  The love that surrounded my girl as we all gave her a very simple, easy tea party could be felt everywhere.  I am not sure what I liked more – seeing the boys get in on the fun or watching my girl’s eyes light up with pure joy.

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I truly appreciate, and never take for granted, the fact that we have an extended family who is so much a part of our lives.  When we all get to be together to celebrate events, such as a special birthday, it makes my heart so incredibly happy.

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While I declare every season my favorite for one reason or another, I truly do enjoy all of the big and little things that the different seasons represent.  Spring – rebirth, flowers, warmer days; Summer – school is out, swimming, slower (or no) schedules, family reunions; Fall – football, cooler weather, Thanksgiving; Winter – Christmas, New Year, snow. For now, of course, I am all about Spring and simply cannot get enough of beautiful flowers.

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I love all of the support that I have received from family, friends, and strangers as a result of this blog.  I love that I know that there are people praying for my family, my Ethan, as we make this journey together.  And, I love knowing in my heart that, while he has had a rough year with some serious illnesses, it has been made better because of the people who continue to care enough to read about him, follow his story, and pray for him to continue to improve each day.

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I love Pinterest.  I know that I have declared my love for it on multiple occasions, but it is true.  It has simplified my life in many ways.  I have boards for gifts, meals, crafts, breakfast, and many sweets.  Whenever I know that I want to make something new, that is where I turn.  Yes, I read several blogs and often find many ideas and recipes on my own.  But, having a place to store it all has just taken things to a whole new level.  When I found this Peanut Butter Banana Bread by the amazing Joy the Baker, I immediately pinned it because I knew that it would make an easy breakfast or after-school snack.  While Ethan and Summer were watching a movie on Tuesday, I got to work in the kitchen, managing to put the bread in the oven just in time to take it out right before we went to pick up Gabriel and Emma.  When we returned home, the aroma in the house was amazing, and everyone was excited about their snack…so excited that this bread lasted less than 24-hours.  It is a winner.  If you like peanut butter and bananas, you need to try this bread very, very soon.

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas

1/3 cup plain yogurt

1/3 cup creamy all-natural peanut butter

3 tablespoons butter, melted

2 large eggs

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Preheat to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare a 9×5-inch loaf pan by spraying it with cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, flaxseed meal, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together mashed bananas, yogurt, peanut butter, and melted butter.
  5. Whisk in eggs and sugars, blending mixture until sugar is completely incorporated.
  6. Pour the wet mixture into the larger bowl with the dry ingredients.
  7. Fold together with a spatula until no more flour bits remain.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and cook for 45-55 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before removing from the pan and placing on a wire rack to cool completely.
http://cookingformykids.com/2012/04/19/keeping-it-simple-recipe-peanut-butter-banana-bread/

Very slightly adapted from Joy the Baker’s Peanut Butter Banana Bread.

Enjoy the simple things today!

I have linked up at the following:

Fireflies and Jellybeans for Show Off Your Stuff

A Glimpse Inside for Catch a Glimpse

Something Swanky for Sweet Treats Thursday

The 36th Avenue for Show Me Extraordinary

Somewhat Simple for Strut Your Stuff

Eat at Home for Ingredient Spotlight

Simple is Good – Recipe: Nathan’s Sugar Cookies, The Valentine’s Edition

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Summer and I baked all day.  We made cupcakes for the teachers, sugar cookies for Ethan’s class party, and cheesecake brownies for our dinner tomorrow night.

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As I was decorating the cookies, I was thinking about just how easy they are to make.  The dough does not have to be chilled, and as long as you generously flour the surface and the rolling pin, they roll out so nicely. Summer did all of the cutting, and they did not stick to the surface at all.

If you are still looking for something quick and easy for a class party, after-school snack, or even small dessert after a large celebration dinner, give these cookies a try.  They are simple and good, which equals perfect.

Nathan’s Sugar Cookies, The Valentine’s Edition

Nathan’s Sugar Cookies, The Valentine’s Edition

Ingredients

1 cup butter

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoons heavy cream

3 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Prepare baking sheet by lining with parchment paper.
  3. Add butter to mixer, and mix until whipped.
  4. Slowly add the sugar, and mix until combined.
  5. Add the cream, egg and vanilla.
  6. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  7. Slowly add the flour mixture, and mix until combined.
  8. Lightly flour working surface.
  9. Roll out cookie dough, cut out with shapes, and place onto baking sheet.
  10. Bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on how thick you make the shapes.
  11. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool.
  12. Decorate with favorite frosting (I used cream cheese).
http://cookingformykids.com/2012/02/13/simple-is-good-recipe-nathans-sugar-cookies-the-valentines-edition/

Happy Valentine’s Day Eve!

A Snow Day – Recipe: Tomato Soup

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It sleeted yesterday.

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And, then it snowed.

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I was getting lunch prepared, and I got a call from my mom, “Tell the kids to look outside.  It is sleeting.”  We ran to watch.

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A few minutes later, I want to sample my sister’s queso, and as I was walking back home, we saw a big snow flake fall.  I walked in our back door and said, “It is starting to snow!”  That took the excitement level up a notch.

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I started taking pictures, and Sean started throwing on jackets, hats, and shoes.  Before I knew it, there was one then two then three then four then five littles in my backyard.  Yes, my nieces could not resist joining in on the fun, too.

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With the weather we have been having, we all knew that this might be our only winter day.  And, because of that, yes, we let Summer, the one who was a sweet, sick little angel on Saturday, play in two 5-minute intervals.  We did not want her to miss out on the fun.

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The snow/sleet fun only lasted for about 30 minutes, but that is all that it took to fill up their winter fun memory bank.  They jumped on the trampoline, ran around the yard, and slid down the slide.  It was good, perfect, wonderful fun.  It was a brief moment in time that created a huge, happy memory for my littles.

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While we did not have this soup to warm up our bellies yesterday, it truly would have been the perfect weather for it.  I made it last week on a day that I wanted something simple but good.  After seeing Bev share her delicious Roasted Tomato Soup recipe and Robyn share her Tomato Soup recipe, I was inspired to come up with one of my own.  All I can say is that it was just what my taste buds ordered.  I made grilled cheese sandwiches with Lia’s Garlic Spread and Nonna’s homemade sourdough bread.  Yes, it was all simple, but it was absolutely one of my favorite meals.  Simple is good.

Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup

Ingredients

3 gloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

48 ounces chicken stock

2 15 ounce cans tomato sauce (I used Muir Glen's tomato sauce. I am typically not brand-loyal to many things, but I do believe that they make the best canned tomato products, in my opinion.)

2 tablespoons whipping cream

Ground black pepper, to taste

Kosher salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Add the olive oil to a stock pot, and heat over medium heat.
  2. Add the minced garlic.
  3. Saute for about 3 minutes.
  4. Pour in the chicken stock and tomato sauce.
  5. Sprinkle in some ground black pepper and kosher salt.
  6. Cook for 10-15 minutes over medium or medium low heat.
  7. Pour in the whipping cream and cook for another 5 minutes over low to medium low heat.
  8. Taste and add extra ground black pepper and/or kosher salt, according to your taste preference.
  9. Sprinkle with a small amount or parsley, and serve with a grilled cheese sandwich.
http://cookingformykids.com/2012/02/13/a-snow-day-recipe-tomato-soup/

Enjoy!

I shared this recipe at A Southern Fairytale, Cooking with Karyn, Delightfully Dowling, Skip to My Lou, Mrs. Happy Homemaker, Make Ahead Meals, Frugal Antics and Add a Pinch.