Happy First Day of February!! How did we end up to be in the second month of the year already? I’ve been busy sorting, organizing, and de-cluttering our house, thus you’d notice the lack of blog post. We’ve been living in our house for almost four years now, and I joked that we finally started putting up our windows treatment. Since I moved to Iowa for a job almost nine years ago, I’ve basically moved every three years for a new job. You’d think that I’d be a pro in decorating our house by now. I had put off a bunch of small projects for a long time, and decided that we just needed to work on them this month.
Now… on to these cookies. I made these cookies a couple of weekends ago when the weather was deadly cold. The wind chill was so cold that I think they said that you only need to be exposed to it for 15 minutes before you get frostbite; so I decided to stock up our freezer with cookie dough. What do you do when you crave for homemade cookies, but also want to feel like you’re eating something healthy? You make Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. I always justify that since oatmeal and raisin are both very good and healthy ingredients, these cookies are actually good for you! Since we’re going to be snowed in again this weekend, it looks like a good day to enjoy freshly baked cookies. This recipe is simple, it’s intended to highlight the juicy raisins and oatmeal. A little bit of spices added some warmth tone to the cookies. They’re great with a big cup of coffee, or hot cocoa. Have a great Sunday!
Almost 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!
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.
I 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.
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.
As 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.
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?
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.
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 :)