Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Banana Cinnamon Snack Cake

I made this cake yesterday with some very ripe bananas. It is very moist and tasty. I sprinkled the top with powdered sugar because we aren't big frosting fans. The kids enjoyed it, too!

Banana Cinnamon Snack Cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2-3/4 cup sugar (or more for a sweeter cake)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup low-fat sour cream
3/4 cup mashed ripe banana
2 tablespoons oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Set oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Grease a 8 or 9-inch square baking pan.

3. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon
and salt.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, banana, oil, egg and vanilla. Pour
over dry ingredients, and gently stir with a spatula until JUST blended (do
not overmix!).

5. Spread the batter into prepared baking pan.

6. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the top of the cake is light brown, and
edges begin to pull away from sides of the pan.

7. Cool cake in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Loosen sides of cake with a dinner
knife or a spatula. Invert cake right side up and cool completely.
8. Frost with cream cheese frosting or sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Our Weekend

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Menu Plan Monday, July 28, 2008

Good morning!

This week will certainly be another busy one! Sometimes I think I need a vacation from my vacation. lol We had a nice weekend at the lake. I'll post some pictures later today. DS is at hockey camp this week. I always cry after leaving him at camp the first day. I can't believe how grown up he has become. I don't know where the time has gone.

At home we're having Potty Training Camp with dd. We have the jar of m&m's as an incentive:

We also have a potty chart on the fridge, ready for the Princess stickers:

My mom is in the hospital with severe nausea and is having tests done. We're praying for her healing and positive results.
Back on topic~here's the menu for this week:
Sunday~Cheeseburgers, Creamy Italian Pasta Salad, Fresh Pineapple
Monday~Best Ever Grilled Pork Chops, Olive Oil and Garlic Penne with Zucchini
Tuesday~ BBQ Chicken Breasts, Rice Pilaf, Corn on the Cob
Wednesday~Beef Enchiladas, Cheesy Taters, Baked Beans
Thurday~Spaghetti, Meatballs, Tossed Salad and Garlic Toast
Friday~ Pizza and Wings Night
Saturday~Beer Can Chicken, Tortellini Antipasto Salad, Fresh Fruit Cup with Yogurt Dressing
For more ideas, visit:
Have a week full of blessings~

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Gift of Reading Basket

As a birthday gift for a reader in my life, I created a Gift of Reading Basket. Inside the basket were gourmet cookies, white tea, personalized book plates, a bookmark, a journal and a gift card to Barnes and Noble Booksellers. I repackaged the cookies and tea into clear plastic bags and tied them with happy birthday ribbon.
I'm shopping for my next basket gift now. Our niece is heading to college next month, so I'm making her a bucket filled with snacks/drinks/goodies for her room. I'll post photos when I'm done.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Learn to Read Basket

Our nephew, Gavin, is celebrating his 3rd birthday this month. I put together a Learn to Read basket for him. Inside the basket are 2 Pre-K Color and Shape workbooks, 2 Thomas the Tank Engine Step into Reading books, Pooh Card Game, a tablet of construction, drawing and tracing paper, crayons, colored pencils and stickers of Thomas and some vehicle stickers to create stories on paper. I'm going to add some fruit snacks and crackers too. I think he'll love it. He's quite the little learner.

A Grace Filled Woman

This was shared on the catholicmom board today. A nice message on a Monday.

A Grace-Filled Woman

I want to become the full-grown, fully mature, grace-filled woman that God envisioned before I was even born.

I want to be the full-size, grown-up version of that wonder-filled baby girl He knit together in my mothers womb.

I want to be so in tune with Him and His thoughts and ideas for me that I can know and celebrate on a daily basis that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

I want His dream for me to be a reality. . . .

This great God of ours works in us to make us all we can be. He does not just sit on the sidelines waiting for us to trip up while we try to be a bigger girl than we are. He just longs for us to grow and live each season of our lives to the max, and He empowers us to do it if we really want to.

Thats what being a Big Girl is all about: living life to the fullest in all ways, in all places, and in all situations.

~Jan Silvious


Menu Plan Monday, July 21, 2008

It's another Monday! Where has the week gone? We followed last week's plan. The BBQ Chicken Salad was delicious. It's a definite keeper. Saturday's wedding reception food was delicious. They served classic "hunky" wedding food including homemade Haluski. It was the best that I've ever had. I'm going to attempt to recreate it this week. Congratulations to Bryan and Cindy on their marriage!
A "Happy Birthday" goes out to my baby brother, Dom, AKA Uncle Buddy! He turns 34 today! I wish him all the happiness he deserves.
Here's the menu for this week:
Sunday~Spaghetti, Chicken Parmesan, Salad and Garlic Toast
Monday~Pork Tenderloin, Haluski and Salad
Tuesday~Chicken Paninis with provolone and roasted red peppers, Potato Pancakes and Creamy Cucumber Salad
Wednesday~We're going to a local theme park and will eat dinner out.
Thursday~Enchiladas, Mexican Rice, Corn
Friday~ Pizza Night
Saturday~Beef Kabobs, Potatoes with Bacon and Cheddar, Fresh Fruit Salad
Be sure to check out the other menus at!
Have a week full of blessings,

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saucy Eats

Hi all~

Have you visited the blog, Saucy Eats? They are 2 gals who use their blog to share recipes. It's a great resource. Right now they are hosting a contest for a free 50 dollar Williams-Sonoma gift card. How awesome is that?!

My favorite recipe was shared by Angela at A Pinch of This, A Dash of That. It's her Citrus and Garlic Roast Chicken . I love chicken and having it roasted it the best, especially with garlic and citrus. MMMMMmmmmm...delish!

Happy Cooking!


Friday, July 18, 2008

Birthday Luncheon

Today I hosted a birthday luncheon for our friend, Kathy. There were 4 of us and we had a menu of BBQ Chicken Salad (recipe below), Rolls and cinnamon rolls(thanks, Georgenne!), and Angel Lush for dessert.(thanks Karin!)
Everything was delicious. I made some votive favors inspired by Vickie at Uncommon Artistic Endeavors. Here's a picture of mine:

Here's our table and setting:

Here's the guest of honor:

Click to play kathybirthday

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BBQ Chicken Salad

My version of this salad is based on the recipe at Kraft.

BBQ Chicken Salad

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Olive Oil
Mrs. Dash Chicken Grilling Blend
Sweet Baby Ray's Original BBQ Sauce
1 (12 ounce) bag of mixed salad greens
2 small tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 1/2 cups croutons (I used cheddar garlic croutons)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup Ranch Dressing

1. Brush chicken breasts with olive oil. Sprinkle both sides of breast with Mrs. Dash Chicken Grilling Blend. Grill chicken until done, about 10-15 minutes. Slice cooked chicken into strips. Toss the strips with enough BBQ sauce to coat.

2. Toss remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Serve topped with the warm chicken mixture.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Quick Cinnamon Rolls

While dinner cooked last evening, I whipped up a batch of Quick Cinnamon Rolls from They were yummy! I think next time I will add more cinnamon to the filling because I like a more cinnamony (is that a word?!) roll. I also will try some cream cheese frosting on them, too.
These rolls would be great for breakfast, too!


Shots from the Gardens


A Stella D'Oro Daylily

A Butterfly visits the Enchinacea
I'm anxiously awaiting the blooming of the black eyed susans in the bed along the garage. They make such a statement. We also have some morning glory vines with buds that should bloom this week if the weather stays nice.

Menu Plan Monday, July 14, 2008

Good morning!
It was interesting reading about the mom new to cooking at Laura's today. I totally agree with Laura that Taste of Home is a great place for beginning cooks and menu planners to start. I've been a subscriber for 13 years now and some of the recipes I started with from their magazines during our first years of marriage have remained our favorites.
Amazingly enough, we did stick to our menu plan last week. Here's the plan for this week:
Monday~Thursday Lunch Plans: Leftovers, Sandwiches, Fresh Fruit, Salads
Dinner Plans
Sunday~Leftover Buffet
Monday~Spiced Pork Chops, Parsley Potatoes, Green Beans
Tuesday~Grilled Lemon Basil Chicken Breasts, Rice Pilaf, Sweet Peas
Wednesday~Cheeseburgers, Homemade Fries, Corn on the Cob
Thursday~Kielbassi, Macaroni and Cheese, Baked Beans
Friday~Birthday Luncheon for a Friend: BBQ Chicken Salad, Rolls, Veggie
Pasta Salad and Angel Lush for dessert.
Dinner: Grilled Pizza and Buffalo Hot Wings (We deep fry the wings and use the butter with the sauce.)
Saturday~ We're attending a friend's wedding reception.

Have a week full of blessings,

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Altered Christmas Clipboard

The weekly challenge at Magical Holiday Home was to make an altered clipboard. I made the above version as my first attempt. I plan on adding ribbon to the tags to make the white less striking and cover the holes.



Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Menu Plan, Thursday, July 10, 2008

We were away for a few days, so I was unable to get the menu posted on Monday. We had a nice stay at camp for 3 days/2 nights. We were able to dodge some raindrops and get out onto the lake on Monday. Tuesday was our 13th Wedding Anniversary, so we went to dinner and a movie and dh's mom and dad took the kids for the night. I'm so blessed to be married to a wonderful, kind, loving, handsome, man. He's my best friend. So here's what we've eaten and what we will be eating the rest of the week:

Sunday~BBQ Italian Chicken Breasts, Italian Potato Salad, and Fresh Fruit

Monday~Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes, Garden Ranch Pasta Salad and Watermelon

Tuesday~Our 13th Anniversary~We had dinner at Rizzo's Restaurant It was delicious! Their sauce reminds me of my Nana and Pap's sauce and the house dressing remind me of the salad they served every Sunday.

Wednesday~Beef Tips with Gravy, Mushrooms, Onions and Peppers over Noodles with Green Beans

Thursday~String Cheese Manicotti, Tossed Salad and Garlic Toast

Friday~Pizza and Wing Night

Saturday~Stuffed Cabbage Rolls and Mashed Potatoes

Hope your week was great!


Saturday, July 5, 2008

Echinacea, Purple Cone Flowers

These were taken after the rain last evening. I love how the pink deepens in color as the flowers mature on the plant.

Be Blessed,

Friday, July 4, 2008

Our 4th


Today was a nice day. We had dinner with my brother and his girlfriend. We had burgers, pasta salad, veggies and dip, watermelon and firecracker cupcakes for dessert.

After dinner, the kids did sparklers. They always make me so nervous! Thankfully, all went well.

Hope your day was great!



Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July to all! May your day be blessed and safe!
Thank you to all of our service men and women who preserve our independence each day!
Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Our Garden Gate

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Hi all,

I saw this recipe over at Vickie's blog and just had to try it today. It is a moist and delicious cake. It's also wonderful with a cup of tea. I encourage you to try it out for yourself! Also, visit Vickie's blog, she has some great recipes and some wonderful gift ideas there.

Here's the recipe:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (8ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk (I used buttermilk, and I recommend it)
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
(Combine ingredients and sprinkle over cake batter.)

Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.Combine flour, baking powder, soda, and salt; add to butter mixture. Add milk. Add vanilla and beat until blended.Pour batter into a greased 13 x 9 inch pan. Sprinkle with topping. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. (It took about 47 minutes for my petal pan). Cool in pan.Yield:12 servings