Saturday, March 31, 2012

Today's Basket

It was such a relief to pick up a basket today! After a week and half without a basket I start to go through withdrawals. I hope this one lasts a while because all sites will take next weekend off for Easter! Hopefully I'll be camping and wouldn't be able to pick one up anyway.

Without further ado, here's what I got in my Bountiful Basket today: romaine lettuce, asparagus, broccoli, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, grape tomatoes, Minneola tangerines, grapefruit, pineapple, bananas, and pears. I also bought a case of Minneola tangerines. They remind me of an orange, only sweeter and juicier.

I've been pretty busy today so I haven't put a lot of thought into how I might use everything this week. The nice thing about this week's produce is that you don't really have to do anything special with it. Each vegetable would make an easy side dish for just about any meal and each fruit would be delicious as a snack, and that's probably how I'll use everything this week. If I do anything particularly different with any of it, I will be sure to post the recipe! In the meantime, here are a few ideas, just in case you're drawing a blank on anything.

Romaine lettuce: green salad, sandwiches

Asparagus: roast or saute it

Broccoli: cheesy potato chowder (substitute one head broccoli for the carrots), broccoli salad

Sweet potatoes: sweet potato fries

Cauliflower: roast it baby!

Grape tomatoes: salad, eat as a snack

Minneola tangerines: snack, smoothies

Grapefruit: snack

Pineapple: snack, smoothies, grilled

Bananas: snack, smoothies, frozen chocolate & peanut butter covered bananas

Pears: snack, smoothies, pear crisp

Friday, March 30, 2012

Italian Dressing Mix

Last week I wanted to make Italian beef hoagies in my slow cooker. I had planned on it all week and I knew I needed to go to the store to buy Italian dressing mix for it, but for whatever reason, I spaced going to the store. I remembered when it was time to put the roast in the slow cooker. In case you haven't noticed, I hate running to town for just one or two things. It's such a hassle. I avoid it if possible. I figured if I could make my own taco seasoning, I could probably make my own Italian dressing mix, so I started searching the Internet. I found a few recipes that had odd ingredients I didn't have. Finally, I found this one. It called for celery salt, which I didn't have, but I did have Bon Appetit, which I think is similar, so I used it. I haven't actually made salad dressing out of this yet, but it worked fantastically for my Italian beef hoagies.

Italian Dressing Mix

1 Tbs. garlic salt
1 Tbs. onion powder
1 Tbs. sugar
2 Tbs. oregano
1 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. basil
1 Tbs. parsley
1/4 tsp. celery salt (I used Bon Appetit)
2 Tbs. salt (I used sea salt)

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container. 2 Tbs. mix equals 1 packet of Italian dressing mix. To make dressing, mix 1/4 c. vinegar (the original recipe says cider vinegar, but I think I'd use red wine vinegar), 2/3 c. oil (I think I'd use olive oil), 2 Tbs. water, and 2 Tbs. dry mix.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Duggars' Liquid Laundry Soap

I have a fascination with the Duggar family from "19 Kids And Counting." I am forever amazed at how they stay so organized and how their children are so well behaved. In an episode that aired a long time ago, they talked about how they make their own laundry soap because it's so much cheaper than buying it. It really didn't look very hard. I kind of put it away in that "maybe I'll try that one day" corner of my mind.

A little more recently, someone pinned it on Pinterest, and I thought, "Huh. I guess I should really do that." So I went to the store and bought all the stuff I needed for it. I brought it all home and it's been sitting in my laundry room for like two months now...

Last night I did some laundry and realized I was almost out of laundry soap. I was pretty bored, so I decided I might as well try making laundry soap! It really was easy, and I think it really works! I've done two loads of laundry with it so far, and both have come out just as clean as they did when I was using store-bought detergent.

I was able to find everything at Wal-Mart by the laundry stuff. I apologize because I honestly don't remember how much I paid for everything, but I think it was around $10-12, not including the five-gallon bucket. Next time it will be even cheaper because all I'll have to buy is the Fels-Naptha soap. If you have the time to do it, I think the savings is worth your effort!

The Duggars' Liquid Laundry Soap

4 c. hot tap water
1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 c. washing soda (it has to be washing soda, not baking soda)
1/2 c. borax

Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted (this took me about 10 minutes). Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken. Stir again and fill a used, clean, laundry soap container half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use because it gels up. It is quite watery.

If you want, you can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons once soap has cooled. I added 4 drops of lavender after I had put the soap into the old laundry soap bottle. That way, I can try a few different scents. The Duggars suggest using lavender, rosemary, or tea tree oil. My book on essential oils says you can use any scent you like but suggests citrus or evergreen oils. I chose lavender because my husband and daughter both have sensitive skin, and lavender is supposed to be safe. Next time I might try sweet orange.

This recipe yields 10 gallons of soap. For a top load machine use 5/8 c. per load (you'll get about 180 loads). For HE front load machines use 1/4 c. per load (you'll get about 640 loads).

Taco Seasoning

I don't know about your house, but tacos are definitely a favorite at our house! One day (some time last year, I think) I wanted to make tacos but I didn't have any taco seasoning. I pulled up and searched for a recipe. I picked the one with the best rating and tried it out. I've never bought a packet of taco seasoning since then.

Taco Seasoning

4 Tbs. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. paprika
2 Tbs. cumin
4 tsp. sea salt
4 tsp. black pepper

Mix all ingredients and store in airtight container. 2 Tbs. mix equals 1 packet of store-bought taco seasoning. 

For taco meat, brown 1 lb. ground beef and drain. Add 2 Tbs. seasoning along with 2 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 2/3 c. water. If desired, add 1 can of chili beans. Simmer until thickened.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Guacamole Salsa

I didn't get a Bountiful Basket on Saturday because I still had a lot of produce from the last two or three weeks to use up, but I ordered one today for this Saturday so I'm looking forward to that! I stumbled across this recipe on Pinterest right after I got my Mexican pack. I had originally planned to make salsa verde with my tomatillos, but after I saw this recipe, I decided to try it instead. I was not disappointed! We put it on burritos, quesadillas, and chips, and it was yummy every time!

Guacamole Salsa
Adapted from Frosted Bake Shop

1 1/2 lb. tomatillos, peeled and quartered
1 jalapeno, chopped
1/3 bunch of cilantro (probably about a cup)
1 thick slice onion (probably a tablespoon or two)
1 garlic clove
2 avocados, halved and peeled
1 tsp. salt

Put everything in a blender, making sure to add the tomatillos first. Blend until smooth. That's it! It might help the pulse a few times at first to get the tomatillos going, but once they break up and release their liquid, everything else should blend easily. Makes about 3 1/2 cups.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Cheesy Potato Chowder

I can't say enough about this soup. It's so easy. It's delicious. It's versatile and will help you use up veggies from your Bountiful Basket. It's easy to cut in half, but the leftovers are so good, don't bother. I found it in my "Big Book of Soup" cookbook by Taste of Home and I've made it about a million times since then. The original recipe calls for carrots, but it's also wonderful with broccoli. I'm convinced you could add just about any vegetable you wanted to and it would still work great. Just be sure to add different vegetables at the right time so they don't get overcooked. For example, carrots and potatoes both take a long time to cook, but broccoli doesn't, so when I use broccoli I add it when the potatoes have about 5 minutes left. The original recipe also calls for salt, but I think the processed cheese and bacon make it salty enough, so I omit it.

Cheesy Potato Chowder 

10 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed 
3 carrots, diced 
2 (14 1/2 oz.) cans chicken broth
1 lb. processed cheese (Velveeta), cubed 
1 tsp. dill weed 
1/4 tsp. pepper 
1/2 lb. bacon, diced and cooked
3 c. milk

In a large saucepan or dutch oven, bring potatoes, carrots, and chicken broth to a boil and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the cheese, dill weed, and pepper. Cook and stir until cheese is melted. Add bacon and milk. Heat through. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Fruity Pebbles Treats

I've loved Rice Krispies treats for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid my mom used to buy the large bag of marshmallows so that they'd be extra marshmallowy. Good times! Several years ago, when Bud and I were first married, he asked me to make treats with Fruity Pebbles instead of Rice Krispies. They were good! But truth be told, I kind of forgot about them until Post cereals were on sale at the grocery store this week. Fruity Pebbles was the one kind of Post cereal that I didn't have a coupon for, but when I saw them I thought, "Mmm...Fruity Pebbles treats..." So I bought them and a bag of marshmallows and the rest is history.

I mentioned before that when I was a kid my mom would buy the big bag of marshmallows. I'm too cheap to do that. It's much cheaper to buy the regular 10 oz. bag. I tried making Rice Krispies treats with the recipe on the box, but they weren't gooey enough, so I started reducing the amount of cereal. It works like a charm! This is my adjusted version of the recipe for Rice Krispies treats that they put on the box, and this time I used Fruity Pebbles, of course, but it works just the same with either cereal. I also think it would be great to do half of one and half of the other. Using all Fruity Pebbles makes them really, really sweet (but still oh-so delicious). I think if you used half and half, you'd get the flavor of the Fruity Pebbles, but maybe it wouldn't be so overwhelming.

Fruity Pebbles Treats

1 (10 oz.) bag large marshmallows
3 Tbs. butter
5 c. Fruity Pebbles or Rice Krispies

Spray a 13x9" pan with cooking spray. In large microwave-safe bowl, microwave marshmallows and butter for 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Add cereal and stir gently until evenly coated. Pour into pan. Rub butter on or spray your hands with cooking spray; press cereal mixture into pan. Cool, cut and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my husband wrinkled his nose when I brought home brussels sprouts in my Bountiful Basket. I had volunteered that day and they had so many extra brussels sprouts they said if any of the volunteers wanted more they could take brussels sprouts plus another extra.

I guess I should explain about volunteering here. Bountiful Baskets runs solely on volunteer work. Even the site coordinators are volunteers. As a rule of thumb, the BB website suggests that you volunteer once for every six baskets you buy. Really, it's the least you can do for all that awesome produce they give you for such a low price! It's not hard. All you do is show up an hour early to your site, help unload the truck, distribute the produce among the baskets, and help participants get their baskets and add-ons. In return for volunteering, you get to pick one large extra or two small extras from whatever is in the baskets that week. A watermelon would be considered a large item, while a kiwi would be considered a small item.

Back to my brussels sprouts. I'd never had brussels sprouts before. I didn't dare take extra ones. What if we didn't like them? What if they turned out to be as yucky as kid folklore made them out to be? I stuck with the ones I already had. When I got home I immediately checked the BB facebook page to see what people were saying about brussels sprouts. Most people claimed that roasting was the way to go. I did a little more searching and I found Ina Garten's recipe on It seemed simple enough, so I went for it. Everyone on facebook was right. Roasting is the way to cook brussels sprouts! I also read somewhere that they're good with balsamic vinegar. We love vinegar anyway, so it seemed like a great fit for us. I just put the vinegar out on the table and let everyone put as little or as much as they liked on their own brussels sprouts. My in-laws had come over for dinner that night, and everyone (including Bud) raved about how delicious they were. Now each week Bud hopes that I will bring home brussels sprouts.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1 1/2 lbs. brussels sprouts
3 Tbs. olive oil
3/4 tsp. kosher salt (I used sea salt)
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut off the brown ends of the brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Cut large ones in half, leave small ones whole. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Sprinkle with more kosher salt, and serve immediately. Serve with balsamic vinegar, if desired.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Chile Rellenos Casserole

For three weeks in a row now, I've gotten Anaheim chiles in my Bountiful Basket. I got them two weeks in a row in my regular basket, and this week I got them in my Mexican pack. I haven't really done anything with them yet because everything I've been thinking about involves roasting them and I just haven't gotten around to doing it. I had every intention of roasting them on Sunday, but the weather turned bad and I didn't want to roast them inside. However, I had already planned to try a new recipe for chile rellenos casserole Sunday night, and since I already had some roasted chiles in my freezer, I decided to use them. Later this week I'll roast the ones I have now and freeze them too.

I have roasted Hatch chiles in my freezer. In August 2011 I bought a huge burlap bag of Hatch green chiles from Bountiful Baskets. I roasted them all, then skinned and seeded them. I chopped some and left some whole. I froze the chopped ones in 1/2 c. portions, since that's about the same as a can of diced green chiles. I've used up all the chopped ones but I still have a lot of whole ones, so this will be a great way to use them up!

Roasting chiles isn't hard, but it is time consuming. Doing it on your barbecue grill is the easiest way. All you have to do is throw them on a hot grill, then turn them every once in a while until they get nice and charred all over. Once they're charred, throw them into a plastic bag and seal them up. That lets them steam a little, and it makes them easier to skin. Once they're cool enough to handle, peel the skins off and slice the chiles open and remove the seeds. That's it! You can use them right away or freeze them like I did. They're yummy!

Back to the chile rellenos casserole. I love chile rellenos. I've been wanting to make them ever since I roasted countless batches of Hatch green chiles. I'd looked at several recipes and to tell you the truth, I was just too lazy to do all that work. You have to fill each chile with cheese, then dip each one in batter, then fry them, then make a sauce to serve them with. Like a lot of things, I'm sure it's not that hard, just time consuming. At any rate, I just never tried out a single recipe. After I started to build up quite a supply of Anaheims in addition to what I already had in the freezer, I figured it was time to start using some of them up. In the past I had seen recipes for chile rellenos casseroles, but I'd never bothered to try any of them either. I was worried a casserole wouldn't live up to a "real" chile relleno, but I had to try something. I searched the internet for a chile rellenos casserole, and this is what I found. I halved the original recipe, so it could easily be doubled to make in a 13x9" pan.

Chile Rellenos Casserole
adapted from

6 roasted Anaheim or Hatch green chiles
2 c. cheese (I used colby jack and cheddar, but I think you could use whatever you have on hand)
3 eggs, separated
3/4 c. milk
3 Tbs. flour
1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1-2 Tbs. diced onion
salt and pepper to taste for both egg mixture and sauce

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8x8" baking dish. Layer 3 chiles, then 1 c. cheese, then 3 chiles, then 1 c. cheese. If you cut your chiles open and lay them out flat, they will fit the pan almost perfectly. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. In a small bowl, mix egg yolks, milk, flour, and salt and pepper to taste. Fold in egg whites. Pour over chiles and cheese. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown. 

While chiles are baking, puree the diced tomatoes in a blender. Heat olive oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and saute until translucent. Add pureed tomatoes and simmer over medium-low heat until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Spread evenly over the casserole and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let it stand 5-10 minutes before serving.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Dinner

I know this is too late for anyone who actually wanted to have corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day, but I thought I'd post it anyway since you might be able to find corned beef for a really good price now that the holiday is over. (Note to self, go check the grocery store for cheap corned beef...) Plus, if you picked up a basket on Saturday, you'll probably have all the vegetables you need, except for the onion, so this could be a great way to use up your carrots, potatoes, and cabbage.

Until last St. Patrick's Day, I'd never had corned beef, cabbage, or Irish soda bread. My mom mentioned that she hadn't had any for a while, and it sounded good. So I started looking for recipes on the internet. Lo and behold, I found a recipe for corned beef and cabbage in the slow cooker! In case you didn't know, I love my slow cooker. I don't get why people don't use them more. What could possibly be better than spending fifteen minutes in the morning to throw everything together and viola! Dinner is done eight-ish hours later. Anyway, back to making corned beef and cabbage for the first time last year. It was a hit! Everyone said it was great and it was easy-peasy. Just the kind of food I love to cook. I was happy to cook it again this year.

Irish soda bread turned out to be super easy too! It's a quick bread, so all you have to do is mix everything together by hand. You don't even have to use a mixer. Then you pour it in the pan and bake. Easy! And did I mention it's absolutely delicious? It is. 

Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage
taken from

1 medium onion, cut into wedges
4 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 lb. baby carrots
3 c. water
3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 1/2 tsp.)
1 bay leaf
2 Tbs. sugar
2 Tbs. cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 (2 1/2-3 pound) corned beef brisket with spice packet
1 small head cabbage, cut into wedges

Place the onion, potatoes and carrots in a 5-qt. slow cooker. Combine water, garlic, bay leaf, sugar, vinegar, pepper and contents of spice packet; pour over vegetables. Top with brisket and cabbage. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours or until meat and vegetables are tender. Remove bay leaf before serving. 

Irish Soda Bread
taken from 

3 c. flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
1/3 c. white sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 c. buttermilk (if you don't have buttermilk, add 2 Tbs. white vinegar to a liquid measuring cup, then add enough milk to make 2 c.)
1/4 c. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9x5" loaf pan. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda. Blend egg and buttermilk together, and add all at once to the flour mixture. Mix just until moistened. Stir in butter. Pour into pan. Bake for 65 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the bread comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack. The original recipe says to wrap it in tinfoil for a few hours or even overnight for the best flavor, but I've yet to remember to make the bread that far ahead, so I don't know if it's true or not.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Today's Basket

I had a request to do a few posts featuring my Bountiful Basket each week. I thought I could post what I got today and talk about what I'm thinking about doing with everything in it, then as the week goes on I'll post the recipes that I actually use.

A lot of people are afraid to try a basket because they don't think they'll use it all and/or they don't know if they'll like what they get. Using everything can be a challenge, especially if your family is small like ours. A lot of people can make their produce stretch for two weeks. I've tried to do that, but by the middle of the second week, I run out of everything and I get mad that I have to buy produce at the store because it's so expensive. One important tip is to plan your meals around your basket. Don't already have your meals for the week planned and then try to fit your basket items into your menu. You'll get frustrated and you'll never use it up.

Don't be afraid to try new things! You will get fruits and vegetables you've never heard of in your basket. If you don't know what it is, look it up on the internet! The Bountiful Baskets facebook and Pinterest pages are great resources. I never would have bought brussels sprouts, but a couple months ago I got them in a basket. My husband wrinkled his nose when he saw them. I looked up a few recipes on the internet, and checked the BB facebook page to see what everyone else was doing with them. The general consensus seemed to be that roasting them was the was to go, so that's what I did. Bud tried one to humor me, and he actually like it! They turned out to be delicious! If it weren't for Bountiful Baskets, we never would have tried them, and now they are one of our favorite vegetables. If you do get something you don't like, it's no big deal. Even if you don't eat that particular thing, you're still getting a great deal on everything else.

Figure out the best way to store your produce to make it last, especially if you're going to try to make a basket last for two weeks. There are tons of resources on the internet about how to store every fruit and vegetable.  A couple years ago I had a Tupperware party and bought a few Fridge Smart items. Those things have been great! They're not cheap, but after using them to store Bountiful Basket produce for a year now, they have definitely paid for themselves. I've had bell peppers stay good for three to four weeks in a Fridge Smart container. If I had just left them in my fridge, they would have gone bad after a week, if not sooner.

Do any prep work that might help you ASAP. For example, with a melon, the best way for me to use it up is to cut up the whole thing the day I get it and store it in the fridge. That way I can give it to Bonnie Mae as a snack whenever I want, without having to cut it each time she wants some. Pineapple is the same way. If it's already chopped and in the fridge, all I have to do is throw a couple pieces into the blender for a smoothie or set it out on the dinner table with cottage cheese.

I got an awesome basket today! I also got a tortilla pack and a Mexican pack. Later this week I'll probably post a couple recipes that feature Mexican pack items. My regular basket had bananas, oranges, green apples, a canary melon, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, green onions, salad savoy, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and English cucumbers. I didn't take a picture of my Mexican pack, but it had Anaheim chiles, poblano chiles, jalapenos, avocados, limes, onions, green onions, tomatillos, garlic, and cilantro.

Back to the regular basket. Here are a few ideas for each item:

Bananas: smoothies, banana cake, banana bread, frozen chocolate and peanut butter covered bananas

Oranges: smoothies, fresh squeezed orange juice

Green apples: apple pie, apple crisp, smoothies

Canary melon: cut into chunks and eat

Potatoes: roast, french fries, cheesy potato chowder

Carrots: roast, cheesy potato chowder

Cabbage: Asian chicken salad

Green onions: Asian chicken salad

Salad savoy: last time I got this, I thought it was kale, so I made kale chips out of it and they were good, so I guess this week I'll be making salad savoy chips...

Romaine lettuce: Frito salad

Tomatoes: sandwiches, Frito salad

English cucumbers: sandwiches, Frito salad, cucumbers in vinegar

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mango Smoothie

Around our house we really struggle to eat the fruits and veggies we should. I have an especially hard time getting my 2 year old daughter to eat anything besides meat and cheese. One way I've been able to get fruit into her is via smoothies.

There are a lot of things I like about smoothies. They're fast. They're portable. They help us use up all the fruit we get in our Bountiful Baskets. They're healthy. I've noticed that a lot of smoothie recipes have honey or agave to sweeten them, but I find that if you use good fruit, you really don't need sweetener. Using a whole orange gives you the juice you need for a good smoothie without the added sugar of bottled juice. I also love to use nonfat plain Greek yogurt because the protein in it helps me feel full until lunch time.

Mango Smoothie

1 mango, peeled and diced
1 orange, peeled and quartered
1 banana, peeled and chopped into 3 or 4 pieces
1/4 c. nonfat plain Greek yogurt
8 ice cubes

Place everything in a blender and blend until smooth. Easy! This makes about 3 cups, which is perfect to split between my daughter and me. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tropical Banana Bread

The first thing I have to do is apologize for the photo for this post. I know, it's terrible. I promise I'll get better at taking pictures! That being said, let's move on!

I participate in a food co-op called Bountiful Baskets. It's awesome. It's available in several states, so if you've never heard of it, check out their website. For $15, I get about $40-50 worth of produce each week. Just a heads up, it requires a bit of planning, as you order on Monday for pickup on Saturday, but for the money I save, who cares? I don't know what I'm getting until I pick it up, so it's always a fun surprise. I'm sure a lot of my posts will involve Bountiful Basket ingredients, as does this one. Today's ingredient is bananas!

Speaking of bananas and making banana bread, I have a tip. I don't know about you, but I never want to make banana bread when I have overripe bananas hanging on my banana hammock. On the other hand, when I do want to make banana bread, I never have any overripe bananas. The solution? Put your overripe bananas in the freezer, peel and all! On the day you want to make banana bread, just set them out to thaw. Once they're thawed you can cut the tops off and squeeze the banana out. It will be mushy and kind of watery, but for baking, it will work fabulously. As for measurements, I've found that 1 banana equals roughly 1/2 c. mashed banana.

If you've never toasted coconut, I like to do it in a dry nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Just be sure to stir it constantly and watch it closely because once it starts to brown and get "toasted" it can burn quickly! It only takes a few minutes. 

Tropical Banana Bread
Adapted from

1 c. wheat flour
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 eggs
1/2 c. applesauce
3/4 c. vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
2 c. mashed ripe bananas (about 4 bananas)
1/2 c. sweetened coconut flakes, toasted, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. In another bowl, beat the eggs, oil, and vanilla; add pineapple and bananas (I do all this with a whisk, no electric mixer required). Stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened. Pour into two well-greased 9x5" loaf pans. Sprinkle each loaf with 1/4 c. toasted coconut. Bake in preheated oven for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. (Note: it's important to check your bread with a toothpick. I've had it take almost 90 minutes to be done, and I've also had it been almost too done after just 60 minutes. Every oven is different.) Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

Monday, March 5, 2012

A New Attempt At Blogging

Hello. I am a wannabe good housewife. My husband of seven years works while I stay home with our 2 1/2 year old daughter and our two spoiled Weimaraners. Since I quit working nearly two years ago, I've tried many things to save money and be healthier. I've also tried a lot of things just because I can make the time to do so. However, I still do not run a perfect household. My house is still messy most of the time, I'm not always caught up on my laundry, and let's just say my yard is in desperate need of some TLC.  I'm always looking for ways to improve on that.

I'll admit, I'm a facebook addict. Therefore, I spend a lot of time on facebook discussing my latest project with my friends. My current interest happens to be essential oils, but I also love to cook and I'm always trying new recipes and posting them on facebook to share with all my friends. One day it occurred to me that maybe I should post all that stuff on a blog. That way I don't repeat the same conversation with five different friends. I've had a blog before, which I used to post pictures of my cute kid, but over time I figured out that it was easier to do that on facebook, so my blog posts were few and far between. I'm hoping that now I have a blog with a focus, I'll be better at posting to it!

I have to tell you that I'm not a real visionary, so most of what I'll be posting will be recipes and ideas that I found on the internet (probably on Pinterest) and have tried out for myself. I will always be sure to give credit to whatever website I got it from! I'm just hoping that if these things interest me, maybe they will interest you, and maybe you'll be braver to try something out if you know that a regular person like me can do it. In reality I'm pretty lazy, so if I've done it, trust me; it's easier than you might think.