Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Banana Bread Cake

Is January over yet? 

Most of this month has gone by insanely fast. Which is totally fine with me considering I am sick of this dang "polar vortex" crap and my favorite month is coming, February. Can it just be here already? I have lots of things I am soooooo looking forward to!

Over the last month lots of things have happened. Some awesome, some not so good. There is a chance that some big changes  are coming around here, and while I'm excited I am also getting anxiety from it. 

One thing I do to get my mind off of life things is baking. I love it. Not to mention it satisfies my HUGE sweets cravings. I always seem to have 7-8 bananas frozen in my freezer. I can never use them up. So I am always looking for yummy new ways to use them. I love bundt cake so this specific time I was trying to find a recipe to use my bundt pan and I found this keeper.

Probably the most moist banana bread I have ever had. And the sweet cinnamon swirl just added that little bit of extra sweetness to it that put the cake over the edge. I'm pretty sure I ate half myself.

adapted from Yes, I Want Cake
  • 3 C flour
  • 2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 T lemon juice + scant 1 C milk
  • 1/2 C butter, softened
  • 1/2 C applesauce
  • 1 1/2 C sugar
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 C mashed ripe bananas (about 4 medium bananas)

for the cinnamon swirl

  • 5 T butter
  • 1/4 C brown sugar + 2 T
  • 1 1/2 T cinnamon

Preheat the oven 350 degrees. 

Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. Add the lemon juice to a measuring cup, then pour the milk in. Mix, and let sit (don’t be frightened, it will curdle. It’s okay! or you could also use buttermilk, vinegar in place of lemon juice, or plain yogurt instead.)

Cream the butter, sugar, and applesauce together. Add the vanilla, eggs, and mashed bananas and mix until combined.

Alternately add the dry ingredients and the lemon juice + milk to the wet mixture. Mix until everything is well incorporated.

Combine the ingredients for the cinnamon swirl in a small bowl. Set aside.

Pour half of the mixture into a greased bundt pan. Then pour the cinnamon swirl over the batter. Pour the rest of the batter into the pan. 

Bake for 60 -  65 minutes. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Creative Collective Link-up``~Word(s) of 2014~``

Melyssa at The Nectar Collective is one of my favorite bloggers. She writes all about positivity in your life and I love that. When she first wrote about her new year long link-up "The Creative Collective" I knew I wanted to join in. Of course, leave it to me to completely forget that it started until a few days after the first link-up. However, I still decided to participate in the first prompt!! 

For the first prompt we were supposed to pick a word (or words in my case) for us to focus on for the entire year.

I chose a saying because just one word didn't really fit what I was going for. "Live Simply" are my words for the year. There is constant pressure on me people to have a perfect house or a perfect family. I am always comparing myself to others and am always trying to keep up with everyone around me. This also causes me to spend to much money buying things I don't need to try to make things perfect. Instead I want to try to use what we have and be grateful for what is already around me. 

There is no need for anyone to compare themselves to other people. We need to just focus on ourselves and be happy with what we already have. My goal to live simply is just as simple as it sounds. Stay home and focus on my boys, be creative and use what is already around me, and stop worrying about other people and "keeping up" with them. My art around my words is exactly that. Simple and is made up of things I already had. My little ones crayons, a piece of white card stock and a little pretty calligraphy was all it needed. 

Live Simply. Love Life. Be Happy. 

The Creative Collective

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What Did Little A Say?

One of our favorite Sunday traditions is getting Papa Murphy's pizza for dinner and watching football. This particular Sunday, I got Little A his own Mini Murph pizza kit. (which I've talked about here)

Little A: Mommy! I finished my pizza, I get my tortilla now!

Mom: Your tortilla? You mean your tattoo?

Little A: Yeah! My tortilla-too!!!!!

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Love To Last A Lifetime

This past weekend I had the pleasure of being apart of two very special peoples wedding. One of my very best friends, who has been my friend since 7th grade, and her fantastic fiancé.

These two people couldn't be more perfect for each other. I haven't met too many couples that truly complement the other so well. They lift each other up and make each other better people (didn't think that was possible). They glow when they are around each other or even just talk about one another. And I couldn't be happier for them.

It was a really fun weekend, even with the freezing rain we got Friday night. I must say, walking in heels on an ice rink -parking lot- is quite the experience. The wedding day was gorgeous and, thankfully, not too cold!!

I'll never forget the wonderful memories made. The icy rehearsal, meeting great people, staying up till 1 am, getting ready, watching my best friend walk down the aisle, and pigging out on the most amazing Italian food. Every moment was perfect. I'm so very blessed to have been apart of it all.

Friday, January 3, 2014

What I Learned My First Year of Fantasy Football

Guess what?! 

I am the champion in my fantasy football blogger league!! Who would have guessed it would have been me...not me! Being my first year and not really understanding how to do everything. Beginners luck? Maybe. I learned a few things along the way though. It doesn't have to be as intimidating as you may think!!

1. If you think you have drafted the worst team in history...
    Don't worry yet! There are so many changes that happen during the season. The players that are projected to do really well may end up completely sucking and only getting you 2 points a game. Which leads me to my next point:

2. What do you do when after 3 weeks your running back who was projected to kick booty is only getting you 2-3 points each week? Drop his non-booty kicking a**. There are so many players out there who weren't expected to have a great year and ended up having a great year simply because the starters weren't playing up to par.

3. How do I find these players?
    If you have cable and time to be lazy and watch TV for a while, I highly suggest the Fantasy Football ESPN channel. Yes, there is such a channel and it helped me tremendously. I tried reading about players online but it didn't really help.

4. My starting QB just got injured in the first play of the game and is projected to be out for the next 6-8 weeks.
   Yes, this happened to me. And my back up QB was...well, refer to #2. However, I greatly benefited after another team lost their starting QB because there back-up ended up being awesome. 

5. It's ok if you lose 3 weeks in a row.
    Sometimes you just need time to work the kinks out and find players that are consistent. You can still win even if your having a losing streak.

6. Check your team BEFORE the Thursday night game.
     I completely forgot there were Thursday night games at the beginning of the season and didn't start someone I should have. There he was, on my bench, with 20+ points...oops.

7. Have someone who has played fantasy football help. 
    Whether its your boyfriend, husband, brother, dad, or girl friend who has played before, don't be afraid to ask for their help/opinion. It can make a huge difference when looking for a new player. There were a few times I thought I was screwed and wasn't going to be able to find a new wide receiver or running back, but after a little consulting we found a few that ended up getting my 20 pts a game!

I definitely will play again next year!! It was fun. Plus I think my husband enjoyed talking football constantly with me :). 

Venus Trapped in Mars

Thursday, January 2, 2014

14 Things in 2014

Did you miss me?! After taking a much needed month long break from blogging and putting pressure on myself to blog I feel so much better and excited to start this new year fresh. I have been blogging for 8 months but I was always wondering if I was doing everything wrong and I didn't know where I felt I fit in. I took this last month to reflect on myself and my blog to see what I really want out of it. I have decided that I don't need one or 2 specific subjects. I should be able to just write about whatever feels good at the time. This is going to be my own special hodge-podge place to put my thoughts and feelings. And it feels good. 

Many people make resolutions for the new year. I, however, never have and probably never will. I instead make a "bucket list" of sorts for my year. They are my goals to achieve and I look forward to all of the fun adventures the year will take me on. 
I decided to just list 14 even though there are a few more things I would like to do. Most of those are just little things I need to do anyway and should have already had done...haha. I have a tendency to procrastinate just a teeny tiny bit. ;) Maybe that should be something I should not work on this year! 

1. Get my blog streamlined. 
     Even though I am not going to try to be specific to one or two areas, I do still want to get a few topics figured out and then just add in whatever I want whenever I want!

2. Go on vacation with my husband. 
    We really need to take 4-5 days to get away and focus on us. Our lives are so busy and now with 2 boys it is very hard to take the  time we need for each other. A nice relaxing vacation is just what we need! A nice, warm, sunny place is sounding quite fantastic compared to the -20*F weather we are currently having.

3. Start Running.
    For real. I know I talked about this a lot this last summer but with a newborn, it was a very unrealistic goal. I now am planning on really focusing on me and doing things that make me happy and feel good. Running is one thing that I want to do for myself. 

4. Go hiking at Devil's Lake. 
     I have been wanting to do this for a LONG time. I have never been there so I'm putting in on our to do list now so we can make time for it this summer. Hubby: remember this, plan a hiking trip & picnic with your wife...I know you are reading ;) 

5. Stay a night in downtown Chicago.
    We go to the Chicago area at least once a year but usually get down there about 2-3 times. We have never just planned a trip to go downtown and stay downtown. Its usually a trip to Ikea and then back home. This year I think we need to just stay overnight and enjoy the city. 

6. Go to Door County. 
    In the summer, Door County is gorgeous. There are so many fun little activities to do and so many great places to eat. Taking a day trip up there with or with out the boys would be wonderful!

7. Take a cake decorating class.
    There are so many things I want to learn how to do for my cupcake business!! Plus, it would be fun. 

8. Repurpose an old piece of furniture. 
    Who doesnt want to do that?!

9. Get our home organized.
    We still have so many boxes that haven't been touched and frames that are sitting on the floor waiting to be hung. I really want to get everything organized and decluttered. I'm hoping that it will make it easier to take care of our home. 

10. Spend the summer outside getting our landscaping re-done.
      The people who lived here before us did a wonderful job landscaping. However, it is way more than what we want and have time for. The front yard is bare compared to the jungle that is our backyard. 

11. Go to a concert with my Mom for our birthday. 
      My mom and I share a birthday and she made it a tradition that we do something fun every year to celebrate. This year, we are going to see JT and the 20/20 Experience. I couldn't be more excited!

12. Go on the Polar Express train with my boys. 
       The Polar Express is one of our favorite Christmas books. I found out that our local train museum does a Polar Express train ride before Christmas every year. We tried getting tickets but they were sold out. We will be planning ahead this year and will buy them when they go on sale in August.

13. Go to The Fire with Little A.
      The Fire is a pottery & mosaic studio in our area where you can do projects yourself. I have been wanting to go but it always seems to not work out. This is officially on our must do list!

14. Have a girls day in Cedarburg. 
      Cedarburg is a little town filled with adorable shops & a winery a few hours from here. We have mentioned a few times how much fun it would be to go together and spend the day shopping and enjoying each others company. I have some of the greatest girl friends and any excuse to be with them is a must. 

What about you, do you have any must-do's in 2014?