Monday, September 22, 2014

Banana-Poppy Seed Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

How amazingly delicious does that yummy bite look?! I love traditional banana bread, I can hardly exercise self-control when I make it, but yesterday we were all craving something just a bit more sweet. I remembered back to when I was a little girl and my mother would make small loaves of banana bread as a gift for our neighbors during the holiday season, she would slice the loaves, arrange them perfectly on little red or green plates, then drizzle them with a lite frosting, then add a bit of tiny sugar sprinkles. I always loved those little loaves, especially when some was reserved for our family, it was so delicious! So, after searching Pinterest for a bit, and after scanning through quite a few recipes, I came up with my own little cake and we all loved it!

I love this cake, it is fluffy, just the right amount of sweet, the poppy seeds give a nice touch of texture, and you just can't go wrong with cream cheese frosting!

Banana-Poppy Seed Cake
4 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. sour cream or plain yogurt
1 egg
2 very ripe bananas, smashed
2 Tbsp. poppy seeds
*2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 C. all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda

-Grease an 8x8" pan.
-Preheat oven to 350 F.

1. In a medium sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and sour cream. 
2. Beat in egg and bananas. Then add poppy seeds and vanilla extract, beat until just mixed.
3. Add remaining ingredients, beat until just mixed. Pour batter into prepared dish, bake 20-25 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let sit until cool before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
2 Tbsp. butter, at room temperature
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
*1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 C. powdered sugar
2-3 tsp. milk

1. Cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Add powdered sugar and slowly add milk until you reach your desired consistency. Pour over cake, let sit 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy!

*If you find yourself out of vanilla extract, you can substitute the same amount of maple syrup.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Glow-in-the-Dark Galaxy Bottles

I came across this idea on Pinterest quite a while ago and have been meaning to actually do this little project for a while. I was able to find everything I needed at our local Wal-Mart.

What You Will Need (per bottle)
*1 hard plastic bottle with a wide lid
1 bottle of hair gel
Glitter glue
Glow paint
Glow-in-the-dark stars
Super glue

*To make 2 bottles you will need 2 packages of the stars and 2 bottles of hair gel.

Begin by adding 1-2 Tbsp. water to your bottle, then add a tube of glitter glue - I had each of my boys pick a color and we used the entire tube - then add 1-2 Tbsp. of your glow paint, then fill the bottle about 3/4 of the way with the hair gel. Then add all of the stars that will fit through the top, then fill the rest of the way with water. Shake it up a bit to be sure you have the consistency you would like. Then, super glue the lid onto the bottle so it won't come unscrewed - that would be a disaster! And....Voila!

I found all of this at Wal-Mart!

My older sons' smile is absolutely priceless! They love their galaxy bottles!

 Be sure to let your bottles sit in the light during the day so they will glow at night :)

Use your extra stars to decorate your kiddos' bedroom! They will love it! And yes, I know it is not October, my boys really wanted this particular picture has been October in their room since June!

Hawaiian Moco Loco!

My sweetheart and I used to stay up late and watch Man vs. Food, in one particular episode the host traveled to Hawaii and ate "Loco Moco" and let me just tell ya, it looked A-MA-ZING! I am a sucker for fried eggs, my husband loves hamburger, we all love gravy, and everyone in our home absolutely loves rice! So, I thought I would give it a try! I have been making this regularly for over a year, it is definitely a family favorite, I hope you love it too!

p.s. I have heard it called both "Moco Loco" & "Loco Moco" - and I do have to give a disclaimer, I cannot claim that this is authentic, this is simply my own version. Enjoy!

Moco Loco
1 lb. ground beef
Salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder

1 C. white rice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 C. vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 tsp. salt
1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1/4 C. flour
3-4 C. water & 3-4 beef bouillon cubes OR beef broth
Salt, black pepper, onion powder

4 large eggs

1. Heat a medium-large skillet on medium heat and form ground beef into 4 patties. Season both sides of each patty with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.
2. Heat olive oil in a medium pot on medium heat, add rice, salt, and garlic. Cook until rice is beginning to brown, stirring often. *Meanwhile, begin cooking the hamburger patties.* Once the rice is browning turn up the heat to high and add the broth. Once the rice is boiling, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until cooked - 20 minutes. 
3. Cook hamburger patties until browned on each side, about 5-10 minutes per side, then remove to a plate and set aside. Add flour to the skillet and whisk into the grease. Slowly add the water (and bouillon cubes) or broth, and whisk in thoroughly. Season the gravy with salt, black pepper, and onion powder. Bring to a simmer then return the hamburger patties to the skillet, let simmer until rice is done cooking.
4. Heat a small skillet on medium heat and spray with non-stick spray, fry eggs (be sure to season with salt & pepper) until just barely cooked - over-easy, you will love the extra "sauce" from the fried egg! Serve as pictured! 
-Serves 4!

If you are wanting to make this meal a bit healthier then use a lean ground beef, ground chicken would even work, and use brown rice instead of white rice.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Younique's 3D Fiber Lash Mascara (My Own Review)

I finally tried this product and I am in love! The picture above shows me without makeup, with regular mascara, and then with 2 coats of Younique's Moonstruck 3D Fiber Lashes (only on top lashes). As you can see, there is a huge difference! I was really hesitant at fist because the product is $29 and because I have really sensitive skin and have had reactions to makeup products before. Well, I have not had any issues with bad reactions and honestly, $29 for awesome lashes is soooo much cheaper than eyelash extensions and I have been told by friends of mine that use this product also that it lasts for months - almost needless to say, I don't regret this purchase at all! Plus, it's going to make my eyes look fabulous for family pictures next month! My only issue is, where was this 6 years ago?! My bridal & wedding pictures would have been even more incredible!

Here's where you can find out more info/buy this awesome product!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Quinoa Tacos

Here is another "meatless Monday" dinner idea for you! I try to do a few meatless dinners each week because it really helps with our grocery budget, it definitely pushes me to get creative, and also because I want my family to be healthy - going meatless often encourages me to incorporate more veggies and other foods into our dinners - and I think it's important for my kiddos to try different foods. This dinner is pretty darn simple, and, who doesn't love tacos?!

Quinoa Tacos

Mexican Quinoa:
1 C. Quinoa
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
2 C. broth
*1-2 Tbsp. taco seasoning
1/4-1/3 C. tomato sauce

1. Heat olive oil in medium sized pot on medium heat, add quinoa, salt, pepper, and paprika. Saute, stirring often, until quinoa is darkening in color and making a popping sound. Add broth, bring to a boil, cover & simmer until cooked, about 20 minutes.
2. Add taco seasoning and tomato sauce - be sure to add a little at a time until you reach the desired flavor.
3. Serve with your tacos!

*Homemade Taco Seasoning: 1 Tbsp. chili powder, 1 tsp. ground cumin or paprika, 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1/4-1/2 tsp. garlic powder, 1/2 tsp. onion powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper.*

Three-Bean Refried Beans
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 large cloves garlic, finely minced
1 can pinto beans, drained & rinsed
1 can red beans, drained & rinsed
1 can white beans, drained & rinsed
(or just use 3 cans pinto beans)
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika 
1 C. water or broth

1. Heat oil in medium-large skillet on medium heat, add onions and saute until browning. Add garlic and beans. Cook for a few minutes until beans are softening and garlic is fragrant.
2. Add remaining ingredients and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Spoon beans into a food processor and blend until mostly smooth. Pour back into pan and continue to cook for about 10 minutes, be sure to adjust the seasoning to your liking. Serve!

Assemble Your Tacos!
12 hard tacos, or soft tortillas
Diced tomato
Grated cheese
Baby spinach or lettuce
Sour cream
Sliced Avocado
*The ideas are endless!*

p.s. While I'm cooking the quinoa and beans I like to place my hard tacos on the oven rack (simply hang them) and keep them in the oven on a very low setting so they're nice and warm when it's time to eat.

Oh! And this would also make a great 7 layer dip!