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.
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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

Cooking for My Kids: Project Lunchbox – Recipe: Peanut Butter Yogurt Fruit Dip

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As I mentioned yesterday, I am trying to participate in the 30 Day Lunch Box Challenge hosted by the sweet Marla Meridith of Family Fresh Cooking.

PhotobucketFor today’s lunch, I decided to make a fruit dip to go with the apple slices.  I also packed leftover cheese ravioli, carrot and cucumber slices, and a few cubes of angel food cake.

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So far, I am truly enjoying coming up with different, healthy lunches each day.  And, I can tell by the fact that the lunch container is actually empty when I unpack each day, that the boys are enjoying it, too.

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I was not exactly sure what I wanted to do for the fruit dip, but I did know that I wanted to incorporate peanut butter since apple slices and peanut butter are a favorite after school snack.  The creation was yummy and a perfect flavor combination for the apple slices.  Honestly, it could have doubled as a sweet treat, too, but I decided to go ahead and put in the angel food cake cubes for a nice little lunch dessert.

Peanut Butter Yogurt Fruit Dip

Peanut Butter Yogurt Fruit Dip

Ingredients

1/2 cup yogurt

1/4 cup peanut butter

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon chocolate sauce

Instructions

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a bowl, and whisk together until smooth.
  2. Serve with fruit slices.
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Enjoy!

Beauty in the Unexpected – Recipe: No Bake Chewy Granola Bars

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Yesterday life took a very small unexpected turn.  I went to bed Tuesday feeling rotten and woke up Wednesday feeling even worse.  Luckily, I already had a doctor’s appointment scheduled first thing for an unrelated follow-up, so I was able to get started on some medication.  As soon as we returned home, I made Summer an early lunch and got into bed.

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Summer was right beside me every step of the way.  I had a fever, which put me in and out of consciousness.  At one point, Summer surrounded me with about 15 of her stuffed animals because she wanted to tuck me in all nice and cozy.  She also got me water, held my hand, and brought her little DVD player into bed with us so that we could watch movies on it instead of having to get up and down to change out new ones.  Oh, and she even took some pictures….because that is what Momma does.  I had no idea that a sick day could turn into a day with some definite memory-making moments.  But, it did.  Sometimes, many times, there is so much beauty in the unexpected.

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Such was the case when I decided to make the No Bake Chocolate Chip Granola Bars that I found on sweet Lauren’s blog.  As I have mentioned many times, I am always looking for snack and breakfast recipes.  It is a bonus if it can play a dual role.  So, even though we already have a Granola Bar recipe that we love, I knew that, after making The Best Cinnamon Rolls Ever, Lauren’s recipes are the real deal.  The granola bars were a hit.  And, on a day like yesterday when I was partly taken out of commission, it is always nice to have homemade treats on hand for the littles.

No-Bake Chewy Granola Bars

No-Bake Chewy Granola Bars

Ingredients

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup honey

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup peanut butter

2 cups quick cooking oats {not rolled oats!}

1 cup crispy rice cereal

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, stir oats and rice cereal together, and set aside.
  2. In a small cooking pan, melt butter, honey, brown sugar, and peanut butter together over medium high heat until it comes to a bubble.
  3. Reduce the heat and cook 2 more minutes.
  4. Pour in vanilla and stir.
  5. Pour over the cereal/oats mixture, and stir to combine.
  6. Cover a 12x8 or 13x9 pan with parchment paper and lightly spray with cooking spray.
  7. Pour in the oats mixture and press out to be about 3/4 inch in thickness. It is very important to really press the mixture down so that they stick together.
  8. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips and press down lightly.
  9. Cool to room temperature for at least 2 hours.
  10. Store covered or wrapped in plastic wrap to hold in the freshness.
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Enjoy your day…and find the beauty in the unexpected.

I linked up at the following:

Mrs. Fox’s Sweets for Mrs. Fox’s Sweets Party

Polkadots on Parade for Wow Me Wednesday

Sugar and Dots for What I Whipped up Wednesday

Something Swanky for Sweet Treats Thursday