Blissfully Delicious

healing salveAlmost a year ago or so, a friend of mine dropped off a small beautiful-jelly canning jar of what looked like a homemade cream at my desk. She told me that it was a diaper cream. It was beautiful green and I really didn’t think much of it, until I started using it. I quickly noticed that it worked better than the “extra” and “maximum” strength store-bought version that I was using at that time. I reached out to her and asked her what was in it, and then she told me what it was: all-purpose healing salve, that can be used to sooth irritation skins or even hair gel!

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I started using this cream on my son’s eczema prone-skin, and his bums when they look irritated; and I was very pleased how quickly it heals the skin. I  love that majority of the ingredients were organic and natural and I knew exactly what was in it. Since I had already stocked up on store-bought creams, I didn’t make this cream right away. I used my gift jar very sparingly, only when I felt like I needed it. I finally had the opportunity to make them when I was home this Christmas. I made a ton of them to hopefully last me a year or so. I made two versions of this salve (although both are intended for calming skin worries). While this is not a food-related post, I wanted to share this with my readers since I know some of you would find this pretty useful.

Disclosure: The content of this post isn’t intended to replace any medical treatment; neither should it be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You’re encouraged to seek the advice of your healthcare provider for any of your medical-conditions. This post also has affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small compensation when an item is purchased through the links below.

better for you banana breadI have an incredibly soft spots for banana bread. I always crave a thick and moist slice of banana bread for breakfast.  Just like most quick bread recipes, they require very little preparation, you don’t have to break out the mixer. You mix your wet ingredients into dry, so you use a whisk and then a spatula.  One loaf can usually last through the week, unlike some of the other baked goods, that are only good for three days, or have to be enjoyed “immediately”, or “the same day”.  Whenever I see those words, they just scare me, because in a household of two adults and two little people, I can’t honestly say that I would be able to eat an entire recipe of something in one day. That’s why I usually save recipes like that when I have company.

better for you banana bread 2 The other day, I was just thinking about when my banana bread obsession started. And I think I can trace it back to my high-school and college years. I remember wanting to cook and bake in college, but between studying for my classes and working three jobs, any time spent in the kitchen seemed like a luxury. What I did instead, whenever I went home during breaks, I’d try my hands on cooking meals for my family and baking, and this loaf was the one that I always made. It was easy and reliable, even for a novice like me. Soon, I realized that my parents didn’t care for them, so it was just me, and sometimes my sister who would eat them if she happened to be home at the same time as I was. After a long-hiatus of not making them; I have to make them myself even though these days, only Red and I would be the two people eating it at the house. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ve probably noticed that I have posted several versions of banana bread. But I’m such a die-hard fan that I always welcome a new recipe variation. My heart and tummy are definitely still open for a possibility of a better and yummier version of banana bread that I currently make today. This version uses yogurt (or sour cream) instead of oil, or apple sauce. It also mixes regular all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour. Alternatively, if you want to use white-whole wheat flour, I would say that you can replace the entire 2-1/2 cups with that.

apple pancakesAs the most important meal of the day, breakfast has became such a luxury for me. During the week, I feel like I’m constantly two steps behind, starting from the minute I wake up, all the way till it’s time to hit the bed. It starts with getting the kids ready and out the door to school; and myself to work. As much as I love eating breakfast, I just can’t get myself together enough to prepare something special during the week, so I end up eating store-bought granola bars with a little fruit, or dry cereals. On the weekends, I try to make something a little more special like pancakes, French toasts, eggs, and or bacons. When you think about it though, there isn’t that many variations of breakfast food. You’ll end up with the same thing over and over again – even when you go out and eat at restaurants.

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These pancakes though is a little break from my regular plain whole wheat pancakes that I normally make with chocolate chips (I can’t seem to get the kiddos to eat them without those morsels!) Most special breakfast that are healthy tend to be bland, but these my friends, are relatively healthy thanks to the whole wheat flour, and made fluffy with buttermilk – but yes full of flavors. Then, to top them off,  dollop a huge heaping of diced apple cooked in maple syrup. It’s hard to beat these right?

brussel sprouts bv This week was my first week back at work after two long weeks off and gosh, it felt like it was the slowest week ever! Most people at work are feeling kind of the same way; it’s hard to do a full week at work after two long weeks off. Plus, the snow storm finally hit this week; so it’s been so cold all this week; which probably makes everyone feel even more sluggish! I miss those days when my schedule is a little bit unstructured at home: with my kids running around (and fighting for toys) in the background, and being able to eat what I wanted to eat, baked whatever I wanted, watched movies until super late in the night, and not having to worry about having to wake up early for work, etc.  Actually the staying up late was a huge issue that I’m definitely paying it this week. We also got hooked on a TV series called “Reign”; have you guys watched it? Oh my goodness, I’m totally obsessed now, it’s pretty bad! A friend of mine mentioned it to me a couple of months ago, and I finally got a chance to watch it. Now I’ve been dying to park myself on the couch and watch a couple of episodes on Netflix; which probably is now going to be once or twice a month since we’re back at work.

brussel sprouts bv 2 I know that I probably should have a more “predictably healthy” food-posts 2015 start, instead of posting these sweet and plushy Vanilla Marshmallows as my first post of the year, and then followed by my second post that talks about my new addiction to a new TV series. To compensate for that, I’m sharing a vegetable recipe today, hooray! And it’s so simple that you almost have to make it, and include it in your menu whenever you want something quick, easy, and delicious for your side dish. It’s so simple that all you need is just to remember to pick up a stalk or a bag of them from the grocery store. I also estimate the amount of ingredients in this recipe below; so please feel free to adjust the seasoning to your taste. You can thank me later :)

marshmallowsOne of the things that I love about having this blog is that it has chronicled all of the different stages of our family, including our family’s eating preference, so it’s like our family’s own personal food diary. Once in a blue moon, I’d pull an older post, read it, and then get to reflect on what were some of the things that were happening around that time that we enjoyed that particular meal. Last year around this time, my daughter was absolutely obsessed with yogurt and granola, so I made my own granola. I never even considered about making my own until I saw how much she loved (and ate it!).  Recently, her big thing has been drinking hot chocolate with LOTS of marshmallow. One of her teachers always says that it’s nice to curl up with a mug of hot chocolate, marshmallows, and a good book. I thought that it’s time that I make my own marshmallow with her.

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I tried making marshmallow once and it was everything that I imagined that it should be: sweet, light and fluffy. None of the artificial flavors. It’s one of those things that once you get to taste the flavors of a homemade version; it’s really hard to go back to the store-bought version. My daughter was just a few months shy of turning one at that time, so she didn’t really eat sugar or dessert yet, let alone marshmallows. Now that she’s four and a half, I feel like I get to do so many more fun things to do with her. She’s also so excited about making all of these treats. I just love this 4-year old stage. When I first made marshmallows, I just cut them into squares, but this time, I tried doing the shapes for the kids, which didn’t turn out as beautifully as I had imagined in my head. So I did several shapes, and cut the rest in squares. You can also add all sorts of flavorings to make them more fun (peppermint for example); but I personally plan on dipping them in chocolate and roll them in sprinkles. They’re good up to a month, so we’ll see if these will last this long in our household.