Links I Like

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So I haven’t been very creative in the ways of cooking, baking, or mothering this week. I was going to share a really good banana bread recipe I found, but then I realized we were out of eggs, so I couldn’t make the bread, which means I couldn’t take scrumptious, delicious pictures of the bread for a post about the bread! Anyway, I decided to give you a glimpse into what I’ve been doing on the web this week since I came up short.

  1. I’m trying to get back on track diet-wise and not give into pregnancy cravings as much, which has lead me to troll Pinterest for recipes.
  2. You may have heard the Pope is coming to the USA so there have been many articles circulating about him. So far, this is my favorite.
  3. A friend of mine introduced me to a new maternity wear website. The clothes are so chic and affordable!
  4. If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, then you probably already know I have a few banana bread recipes already in my arsenal. Even still, I was eager to try this one.
  5. I’m not ready to move Sophie into a toddler bed, despite our new arrival coming soon. I’ll want her to stay in the crib until she’s at an age where I can rationally explain sleeping in a big girl bed to her. So where will baby #2 sleep? I am currently in love with this bassinet! 

Otherwise, I haven’t been up to too much. I’ve been exhausted, anticipating our trip to New York in a couple weeks, house hunting, planning a gender reveal, and trying to mom. What have you been up to?

Pregnancy Announcement Outtakes.

If you follow me on Facebook, then you know my family is expecting baby #2 this February! In classic blogger/Pinterest fashion, I got to work right away on a cute announcement.

This first try resulted in this photo, a very unhappy big sister. Which was comical enough to warrant saving, but not what I wanted for our Social Media debut:

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Next, I tried doing a photoshoot with her in this amazing “Big Sister” shirt from etsy.com. Though the shirt is cute, the foil lettering made the actual shirt hard to read in the pictures due to the reflecting sunlight. Also, said sunlight made our little Sugar Plum squint in every frame. This turned out to be our best shot, but I hated how I left a lawn chair in the background… FAIL. 
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One day, baby got into our cabinet filled with Disney Infinity toys. That got me thinking, there’s got to be a whole Disney family among those figures…. Yes, The Incredibles! Lucky for me, we had the mom, the dad, and the big sister. It was perfect! This is what our final announcement looked like:

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I set it as my cover photo, so I can display it until the baby comes.

I hope you got a laugh at my other picture fails! If you didn’t catch it on facebook already, I had posted my favorite picture fail of all earlier in the week… I call it, ‘Mom Selfie: Interrupted’

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Why Blog?

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Why does anyone care what you cook for dinner? Why would they care what you did with your daughter today? This generation is so self-centered…. Is it?

Writing is a pretty common practice, and have been for centuries– specifically journaling!

At times it can seem as self-obsessive as taking a selfie, when in actuality, writing is a way for a person to reflect, grow, and keep an autobiography of their life. Why is this important? Because every human life is important. Your thoughts and experiences are unique to your person! In this millennium, millions of human experiences are kept on the web, immortalized, even. We may not see the value in it now, and we may not ever, but the ones who come after us might. Think about how the world has changed in your life-time. The generation of teens currently in high school were too young to remember 9-11. Wow. Me, on the other hand, I remember waking up to my mom shouting at the television as the second plane crashed into the towers. Maybe, some day will want to know what it was like to witness that. Think about how different our world would be with our the Diary of Anne Frank? I’m not trying to be dramatic, but as readers, we invest our time into stories that force us into empathy with the author, but in the case of journals, they’re not just stories. They are real, raw experiences and emotions of the person who lived them.

So maybe people don’t care how much sleep I got last night, what I made for dessert, or how many teeth Sugar Plum has… but that doesn’t mean my chronicling of it is worthless. Strive to genuinely express yourself, because that is priceless, even if you’re your own audience.

Favorite Gluten Free Cookies

When I’m hard on my gluten free diet, I’m willing to sacrifice a lot of things… but not cookies.

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It was hard for me to find a cookies, by recipe or store bought, that weren’t dry, mealy, or otherwise unpleasant. After much experimentation, I have finally decided on a permanent recipe, that I know will yield me delicious results every time!

What you need:

  • 1 1/2 cups white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1/4 cup gluten free flour [I use Pamela’s]
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 2 Tbs of nutella or peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, SOFTENED
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs ROOM TEMPERATURE
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 12 oz (2 cups) gluten-free chocolate chips
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together rice flour, corn starch, g free flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt for 30 seconds, set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until mixture is well blended and creamy (if you aren’t using a beater blade, the paddle attachment that scrapes the bowl while mixing, then occasionally scrap down sides and bottom of bowl throughout entire mixing process). Mix in eggs one at a time, blending until combined after each addition. Stir in vanilla. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredient and mix until combined. Mix in chocolate chips and nutellla [or peanut butter]. Drop dough (I shaped into balls for more even rounds) about 2 1/2 Tbsp (45g each) at a time onto Silpat or parchment paper-lined baking sheets, spacing cookies 2-inches apart. Bake in preheated oven 9 – 11 minutes until golden. Sprinkle tops with Maldon Sea Salt if desired, cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
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These cookies please even gluten-lovers [ like my husband]. Not to mention, these cookies christened some of my new silicone baking items I bought from zulily a few weeks ago.

I’m a simple gal, really. A little bit of online shopping and a couple cookies are enough to make me happy.

Favorite Banana Bread

This is my own gluten free recipe, but you can substitute the gluten free flour for regular, if you prefer. Either way, it’s great with a cup of coffee!

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Ingredients:
2 cups of all purpose, gluten free flour
4 eggs
1/2 cups of dark chocolate chips [or chunks, i use a mix of both]
1/3 cup of organic coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup of unsweetened apple sauce
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas

Sugar Plum wanted to help in the kitchen… and by “help” I mean she wanted to sit on the floor and grab her feet in my presence.

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I like to freeze my bananas over night, and then thaw them the next day. They don’t look very appetizing after this process…. but its easier than mashing them with a fork. Personally I feel this technique gets you a more intense banana flavor.

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Preheat your oven to 350.
Combine Dry ingredients first, then add wet ingredients such as the extract, bananas, applesauce, etc.
Spray 2 loaf pans with coconut oil or PAM.
Pour mix into pans and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

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This is by far my favorite g-free banana bread recipe and I hope you enjoy it too!

Note: If you do not plan to eat this within 1-2 days, I highly recommend refrigerating it. I microwave refrigerated pieces for 20 secs in the microwave, covering the slice with a paper towel. Enjoy!