Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I am happy to say we are expecting the arrival of baby #3 on the tentative due date of April 2nd.

As exciting as it is I have had a completely opposite pregnancy than I had with my boys (fingers crossed for a girl but will be just as thrilled with another boy)… nausea, vomiting, heartburn and exhaustion…topped with two adorable and energetic 3 and 1 year olds.

It has been HARD getting myself to make dinner or fold laundry let alone write on this blog. I do enjoy writing though and hope, as I hit my 17 week mark tomorrow, that this “all day” morning sickness fades away SOON.

I started working on the post a month or two ago so it’s given me an easy post for today… as well as reminding me Jeffrey needs a haircut – his hair has definitely grown since I took these photos.

I thought I would share a yummy and HEALTHY treat my mom came up with. I planned to freeze the extras only there ended up being no extras after we ate them all…

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On special Grandma weekends Jeffrey stays at MeMa’s and they came up with this excellent Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin. I was so impressed! I love treats and the thought of whole wheat goodies just doesn’t compare to white flour goodies… but these I LOVE!

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Nice and thick… filled with chocolate chips and walnuts…

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Getting our muffin tin ready with a chin showing traces of the chocolate chips he snuck (the best part of baking)…


Jack may have had a few too… he had the hard work of looking cute and stacking tuna cans…


Filled just so and ready for the oven…DSC_0955 (2)

And fresh out of the oven…

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Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

1-1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup banana
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup honey
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup oil
3/4 cup chocolate chips
walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients together. Mix wet ingredients. Combine. Add chocolate chips and walnuts. Pour into greased muffin tins or use cupcake liners as I did. Bake for 15-18 minutes.



Letting Go of Gluttony

I’ve gained weight.

In a previous post on Intuitive Eating I recommended the book “How to Have Your Cake and Your Skinny Jeans Too,” by Josie Spinardi. A book I still find very good! At the time of the post I was 151 pounds, now I am back up to the 157-160 pound range I was stuck in before…sigh. This may sound like Intuitive Eating doesn’t work BUT, as with all things, you still have to “follow through” for changes to occur.

So – in order to better honor my waistline – I have decided to cut back on the holiday celebrations. Some days baking is the only option to celebrate with my boys and making three goodies in a row isn’t very effective in the “I’m trying to shed a few pounds and keep them off” world. Autumn3 I do LOVE sweets and don’t intend to cut them out of my diet but just because I “can” eat a dessert everyday (in moderation) doesn’t mean I shouldn’t strengthen my Intuitive Eating muscles before leaving a full plate of cookies on my counter alongside gooey toffee bars alongside Ding Dong Bundt Cake…

So I am going to stick with celebrations not involving food, or at least avoid so many sweet ones at this point!

And honestly I have been discouraged. I want to say, “I am content to stay this weight forever! I am happy with me and accept myself as I am!” I absolutely need to accept myself but the reality is – if I don’t figure this eating stuff out now, even if I only gain 5 pounds a year, in 12 years I could have gained 60 pounds – putting me at 220 when I’m 40!

Between having kids (which already leaves me way less active) and metabolism slowing down with age – I don’t know if my eating will maintain this current weight or if gradually the pounds will start sneaking on. Autumn Lucky for me my library always has great books on display, and I came across the book “It Was Me All Along: A Memoir” by Andie Mitchell. Andie’s story is her weight gain/ weight loss journey. She lost over 100 pounds without cutting anything from her diet – just eating in moderation and being more active.

I won’t say it’s a “happy happy” book because there is definitely some sadness – like her breaking up with the man she calls her best friend because she doesn’t have romantic feelings for him anymore – which I found disappointing!

Either way she had some wonderful insights and encouraged me in my fight for a healthier life!

My favorite line of the book was, “Another plate wouldn’t have brought me any greater satisfaction, because contentment doesn’t double by the serving.”  

This really hit a nerve – the contentment of “one” cupcake doesn’t double if I have TWO!? I realized how much a second or third serving, in so many foods, actually brings discontent because I’m left with so much regret and guilt!   Autumn2 I absolutely want to learn to be content with who I am, right here, right now (which is a process in itself) because even though it seems like it, weight loss isn’t going to make me happier. I do want to make changes though, so I can be healthier as well as setting a good example for my children!

I want to come to the place where eating a dessert (or any food for that matter) can be described as Andie does in her book, “…it was delightful. I’d made it special; I’d enjoyed it, and because of that – the eating lacked regret.”

Dorito Taco Salad

DSC_1545 I love taco salad.

I bought a head of lettuce – realizing later I already had lettuce! So salad seemed like a good choice for dinner tonight…

Caleb suggested trading out the tortilla strips for Doritos and it was a good idea!

Dorito Taco Salad
Serves 4
Head of Iceberg Lettuce
1.5 lb. Ground Hamburger
1 package taco seasoning
1 cup salsa
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup ranch dressing
Avocado, Kidney Beans, Grated Cheese, etc.

While cooking taco meat chop up lettuce and avocado (and any other veggies you prefer), grate cheese, rinse and drain kidney beans.

Mix together salsa, cottage cheese and ranch.


Assemble your salad and enjoy!


Vegan Sesame Garlic Fried Rice with Tofu & Spinach


I love planning meals based on the ingredients I have in my fridge and cupboards… and by what needs to be used up before going bad.

The feeling of “not wasting” is wonderful!

Since we don’t have a microwave I can’t thaw anything out very fast. Being caught up with Spring-cleaning and two little munchkins running (and crawling) around – I forgot to set out meat for dinner.

Seeing as I had tofu and spinach in the fridge – needing to be used – I knew I had to find a recipe with these ingredients.

Then in my Pinterest search I came across this yummy recipe for Sesame Garlic Stir-Fry Noodles – containing both tofu and spinach! Woot! Job made easy.

I already had some rice cooking so I decided to change it up a bit… not sure how it would turn out.

I made the sauce and fried up my tofu as directed…


Added in the rice, sauce and spinach and BAM… look what we have here… pure, spicy yum!


Vegan Sesame Garlic Fried Rice with Tofu & Spinach

  • ½ cup + 2 tbsp. vegetable broth
  • 4 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar (I substituted white vinegar)
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tbsp. grated ginger
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups uncooked rice
  • 14 oz. tofu, drained and pressed then cut into cubes.
  • 2 tsp. oil
  • 2-4 cups spinach leaves
  • sesame seeds, for topping
  1. Cook rice. I have a rice cooker so I set that to cook while prepping everything else.
  2. Whisk together vegetable broth, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil. Place in a small pot and bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, adding the ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook on low until ready to be added to the rice.
  3. Bring a large non-stick pot and heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the diced tofu and stir fry until golden brown on all sides.
  5. Add 2 tbsp. of sauce and quickly cover the tofu, taking care not to break the cubes.
  6. Remove the tofu from the pan.
  7. Add the cooked rice along with the spinach and sauce.
  8. Stir fry for a few minutes until hot. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a tbsp. or two of water.
  9. Toss the noodle mixture with the tofu and serve with sesame seeds.


Apple Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze


Emeril Lagasse’s Apple Coffee Cake with Crumble Topping and Brown Sugar Glaze is one of my favorites!

I have some weird texture issues when it comes to fruit – both fresh and cooked – but apples are a different story. I love apple desserts! And this coffee cake is so yummy.

I have made it with the brown sugar as well as “accidentally” with white and it turned out great both times. You can half the recipe as well and it’s just as good.


Apple Coffee Cake with Crumble Topping and  Brown Sugar Glaze


Crumble Topping:

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Brown Sugar Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish with 2 teaspoons of the butter.

In a large bowl, cream together the remaining stick of butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating after the addition of each. In a separate bowl or on a piece of parchment, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add to the wet ingredients, alternating with the sour cream and vanilla. Fold in the apples. Pour into the prepared baking dish, spreading out to the edges.

To make the topping, in a bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and butter, and mix until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the topping over the cake and bake until golden brown and set, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes.

To make the glaze, in a bowl, combine the sugar, vanilla, and water and mix until smooth. Drizzle the cake with the glaze and let harden slightly. Serve warm.

Happy Easter!

Today was lovely!

We went to a Saturday evening Easter church service so today we dressed up and spent the day at home.

We started with a yummy breakfast made by Caleb – eggs with kielbasa, garlic and spinach. He is the egg pro in this house!

He read the boys “The Easter Story“…twice at Jeff’s request…


Then Jeff dropped his cream cheese toast on Jack’s head… on purpose. Jack’s not sure what to think…hmm?


After a bath we dressed up those cuties and had a photo shoot… DSC_1136

The pictures weren’t perfect but they were fun…


It finally warmed up “a bit” outside to go on an Easter egg hunt…


And see what our late night jelly bean planting brought us…




Jack loved his Easter “bucket” and kept dumping it out.


While Jeffrey immediately started collecting eggs and candy before searching for his bucket.


After our Easter egg hunt, as Jeff ran around trying to feed us all Whopper eggs, I prepped our afternoon meal.

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup


Homemade Olive Garden Breadsticks


And for dessert… Fruit Pizza!


Fruit Pizza

Fruit pizza is going to be my new Easter tradition. There are so many sweets and treats but this simple fresh fruit dessert is a nice change.

I found this delicious Fruit Pizza recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction.


Fruit Pizza

Sugar Cookie Crust

  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature*
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (190g) spoon & leveled all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch


  • 8 oz (224g) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups (240g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons (15-30ml) cream or milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • assorted sliced fresh fruit


Make the crust: In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the softened butter for about 1 minute on medium speed. Get it nice and smooth, then add the sugar on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Beat in egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides as needed.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cornstarch. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 different parts. Once completely combined, cover the dough tightly and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and up to 1 day. Without chilling, your cookie dough may spread over the sides of the pan.

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray a 12-inch pizza pan with cooking spray. Remove chilled cookie dough from the refrigerator and press onto the pizza pan in an even flat circle, as pictured above. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the edges are very lightly browned. Overbaking will lend a hard crust. Allow crust to cool completely before decorating. I put the crust in the refrigerator after 10 minutes of cooling at room temperature – this sped up the process.

I usually use this time (as the crust cools) to chop the fruit.

Make the frosting: In a medium bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar and 1 Tbsp cream. Beat for 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and 1 more Tbsp cream if needed to thin out. Beat for 1 minute. Spread in a thick layer over the cooled sugar cookie crust. Decorate with fruit.

Cut into slices and serve. Fruit pizza may be made 1 day in advance, covered tightly, and stored in the refrigerator before serving. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

I used strawberries, kiwis and blueberries.