Monday, September 8, 2014

Semi-Homemade Banana Bread with Chocolate Frosting

About a year ago, my boss told me about her love for Trader Joe's Banana Bread box mix.  She was raving about it and told me how she likes to add her own secret ingredients (fresh banana, chocolate chips, chia seeds and flax seeds) to make it even tastier.    

The box mix is really exceptional on its own.  But, I have to agree with my boss that a couple additional ingredients take this banana bread over the top.  And I'm not just saying that for brownie points!  I keep it pretty simple with the addition of some ripe banana's, which not only add flavor but moisture too, and chocolate sauce because banana's and chocolate make such a delectable paring. 

This semi-homemade banana bread is so incredibly tasty and is so easy to make.  There is hardly any measuring and the batter comes together so quickly.  The end result is a super moist, tasty treat perfect for a quick breakfast, snack or even dessert.  I'm so glad my boss shared her trick with me! Yum!! 
Trader Joe's Banana Bread

Sunday, September 7, 2014

What's for Dinner?

So, Lovebug is almost five and, like most kids her age, she isn't the most patient child.  Everything seems to be urgent in her world.

She really needs to tell me something.

- or -

There is something that she has to show me.

- or -

If she asks a question, it has to be answered immediately.  Or else she'll ask again and again in higher and higher octaves until she gets an answer.

I find myself constantly asking / telling her to be patient and praising her when she is.

So, this weekend, she was asking me to help her with something while I was in the middle of doing something else.  So, I asked her to be patient.

She looks at me and says, "Mom, I was already patient.  Don't you remember that time at the store when you told me I did a good job being patient?"

And so, I spent the next few minutes explaining that patience isn't something you do once and check of a list.  But, something that should be practiced often.  She looked so confused and disappointed.  Here, she thought she was all done being patient and I just completely burst her bubble.  Poor girl!

I wonder what other things she thinks she's done with?

Anyway, what's for dinner?

Sunday: Grilled Steak, Squash and asparagus

Monday:  Eat out

Tuesday: Lasagna, kale and corn salad

WednesdayChicken & Strawberry Salad with Crusty Bread

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Chicken Piccata, roasted cauliflower and green beans

What's on your menu this week?

'What's for dinner?' That question used to haunt me until I started Menu Planning a couple years ago. Now, menu planning is a scheduled part of our weekend routine. See how we do it here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Floral Burlap Wreath

Earlier this year, I made a simple burlap wreath to use as a backdrop for seasonal decorations in my home.  Each month, I am changing the embellishments on the burlap wreath to create entirely new wreaths to celebrate holidays, seasons, etc.  

Here is how I embellished my burlap wreath so far:

I didn't have a holiday to work off of this month, so I could let my imagination run wild.  The only problem was my imagination seemed to be taking some time off.   I had no ideas....  

So, I thought I would keep things simple and embellished my wreath with a nice ribbon bow.  I had it up for a couple days and I just didn't love it.  It looked perfectly fine, but I wanted something more although I didn't know what.  

So, I sat there staring at my burlap wreath one day hoping to come up with something new.  Do you ever do that?  Sit there looking at something hoping that you'll see it in a new light or from a new perspective?  It almost never works for me, but I do it anyway.  What was the definition of crazy again? ;o)

After about 5 minutes of blankly staring at the wreath with no new ideas (no surprise), I gave up and started picking up around the house.  I gathered some things that needed to be put away when I saw one of Lovebug's flower hair accessories sitting on the table.  Suddenly, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.  

I gathered all the flower hair accessories I could find in the house and about 5 minutes later a new wreath had emerged and I loved it!  It was colorful, fun and FREE since I found all the embellishments in my girls' bathroom!!  You can't beat that!! 
Floral Burlap Wreath

Monday, August 18, 2014

Grasshopper Ice Cream Pie - 2 Year Blogiversary!

The Lovebugs Blog is turning two tomorrow!!  

The last two years of blogging have been so incredibly rewarding for me.  I've met some super talented people, worked with some fantastic brands, learned so much and felt personal fulfillment by sharing what I'm most passionate about.  It's been such a fantastic journey so far!

I'm so grateful for each and every person who has taken the time to join me on this journey.  Whether this is your first time visiting or if you are a regular reader - THANK YOU!  I can't tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to share a small part of your day with me.  The Lovebugs Blog would be nothing without you!

I also wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you to the rich community of talented bloggers who continually inspire me with their recipes, projects and ideas.  I have learned so much from you and can't thank you for the countless recipes, ideas, tutorials, instructions and diy projects you have shared.  Thank you!

To celebrate The Lovebugs Blog anniversary, I made this super easy and tasty Grasshopper Ice Cream Pie.  It's not a traditional Frozen Grasshopper Pie but my simple ice cream pie that has the same flavor profiles as a grasshopper pie.    All you need is an oreo crust, your favorite mint chip ice cream and a decadent chocolate ganache.  It requires very little effort and is a great dessert option for an after dinner dessert, a celebration or to serve to company. 

We love this mint chip ice cream pie, but you could substitute any flavor of ice cream and have  a delicious dessert.  Indulging in this Grasshopper Ice Cream Pie was the perfect way to celebrate two years of blogging.  It has been such an incredible journey and I can't wait to see what the future brings!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

What's for Dinner?

When Lovebug was a baby, I remember thinking that every thing she did was awesome.  Not awesome, like the overused descriptive word.  But, awesome as in awe inspiring.  I was literally in awe of even the littlest things this tiny human learned, did and even attempted.  Recognizing her hands, rolling over, cooing, and other daily activities proved to me that my child was (still is!)  a genius.  And I was the proudest mama on earth!  

I've learned that the immense pride over my children's successes (big or small) never really goes away as I'm continually amazed at the new things they learn.  But sometimes, a simple new skill will take my breath away.  This weekend I experienced one of those moments....  

Lovebug has learned to pump her legs when she's on a swing.  

I am bursting with pride!!  She has hit another milestone of life.  She pumps her legs on the swing!  She no longer needs us to push her because she is completely self sufficient!  It's both exciting and heartbreaking at the same time!

The look on her face as she moved her legs up and down nearly brought me to tears.  I didn't think I could be more proud of her in that moment.  But then, I saw how proud she was of herself and suddenly it was like the floodgates of pride opened up and I was infinitely more proud of her mastery of swinging!  

It was the highlight of my weekend!  Truly, I'm just so proud of her!  Isn't it funny how the littlest things can evoke such strong emotions? 

So, what's for dinner?

Sunday: Eat Out

Monday:  Chile Verde with Beans and tortillas (New Recipe!)

Wednesday: Lasagna with broccoli and salad 

Thursday: Left overs

Friday:  Chicken Parmesan Sandwich with Roasted Squash

Saturday: Turkey Meatball Stew (recipe coming soon) with rice and salad

What's on your menu this week?

'What's for dinner?' That question used to haunt me until I started Menu Planning a couple years ago. Now, menu planning is a scheduled part of our weekend routine. See how we do it here.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Easy Homemade Lemonade

Nothing is more refreshing on a hot summer day than a tall glass of fresh homemade lemonade.  Am I right?  

I had forgotten how much I liked homemade lemonade until My Love made a delicious recipe using simple syrup and fresh squeezed lemons a couple months ago.  It was super tasty but a bit too much effort for my liking.  Make and cool simple syrup then juice a ton of lemons? Who has time for that when they are melting in the 100 degree weather?  

So, I came up with my own recipe for homemade lemonade that is a bit... Well...  Let's just say my recipe is rustic, k?  

I just mash together some lemon and sugar creating a sticky mess, then add water and ice and voila!  Delicious lemonade in seconds!  No juicing or straining required here.  See, what I mean by rustic?  My lemonade even includes seeds, free of charge!!  :)

What I love about this recipe is that by mashing the lemons, you not only get the flavor from the lemon juice but you also get the incredible flavor from natural oils released from the peel as well, making it super lemony.  The sugar dissolves as it mixes with the juice and oils so no need to melt it prior to adding it the lemonade.

This homemade lemonade is super quick and easy and it tastes divine!  Plus, the recipe is for single servings so you can whip up a glass any time the craving strikes or the temperature creeps over 100 degrees!
Easy Homemade Lemonade Recipe

Sunday, August 10, 2014

What's for Dinner?

I need a day off.  No, a week off.  Actually, a week off where the rest of my family continues with their normal routine at work and school and I take the time I would normally be at work OFF.

In fact, if I had a week off like this. I would spend the first two days cleaning house.  I mean a deep clean.... sorting, organizing, purging, donating. The works!  Every room would be tackled.

I'd spend the next two days working on projects.  I have at least twenty projects that are either half done or that I have materials for that I just haven't had time to complete.  I'd dedicate two glorious days working on projects.

Then, I would spend the last day relaxing in my clean and organized home, basking in the glory of my completed projects.  I might even consider a mani/pedi and/or a massage in the morning and a great book to devour the rest of the day.  

Is that so much to ask?

Let's be honest thought, even if I did take a week off, it wouldn't go according to my plan...

Two days would barely scratch the surface of doing a deep clean of each room in the house.  Instead of getting the house clean and organized, I'd end up with a bigger mess than I stared with, because, you know, things always get worse before they get better.  Plus, the efforts of each day would be for not when the tornado of family comes home and leaves a trail of destruction in each room.

And the projects.... You know how it is.  You start a project, which gives you an idea for another project that you should really do before you get back to that other project that is sitting there staring at you, half done.  Plus, a good number of the projects are so big they would require a full week to get done anyway!

And the day of relaxing...  Who am I kidding?  How could I relax when (1) the house is a bigger disaster than when I started the week (2) I didn't get to ANY of my projects but I did think of seven new things I could do and (3) all I would be thinking about are my sweet Lovebugs?

I'm better off just going to work, slowly chipping away at the house and projects when I can and save my time off for something fun that I can enjoy with my family.

It was nice to imagine how I would spend my week off, anyway.  And putting it in writing almost (read: didn't at all) made it feel real.

What would you do if you had a week of time off?

Anyway, back to the real reason you're here.  What's for dinner?

Monday:  Grilled Steak, twice baked potatoes and grilled corn

Tuesday:  Spaghetti and Meatballs with saut√©ed zucchini and salad  (pushed up from last week)

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Orange chicken with brown rice and bok choy (new recipe!)

Saturday: Eat out

What's on your menu this week?

'What's for dinner?' That question used to haunt me until I started Menu Planning a couple years ago. Now, menu planning is a scheduled part of our weekend routine. See how we do it here.
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