Banana Butter Pancakes

For those who are lactose intolerant, LACTAID® has a great recipe for banana pancakes. I made them this morning, and they were very hearty and tasty. Definitely a keeper!


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups LACTAID® Reduced Fat Milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sliced bananas (1/4-inch thick)
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided, for cooking (I used Pam spray)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts ( I added this ingredient)


Preheat oven to 200F.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Melt the butter in the microwave (30 seconds) and set aside. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl and add the milk, vanilla extract and 3 tbsp melted butter. Mix well. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture, stirring until smooth.

Heat the remaining 2 tbsp melted butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the banana slices and cook 3-4 minutes per side, until bananas are caramelized and golden brown. Allow them to cool for a few minutes, and then add half of the banana slices into the batter. Reserve the rest for pancake toppings. Add the walnuts to the batter.

Spray a skillet with Pam and heat over medium heat (I use medium low to low heat). Measure 1/2 cup batter and pour onto pan. Cook until bubbles appear on the edges of the pancakes, and then flip and cook until brown on the other side.

Remove pancakes from the skillet and transfer them to an oven proof dish covered with a piece of aluminum foil. Place in oven, where they will remain warm until ready to be served.

Serve pancakes and top with caramelized bananas!


Mrs. Fields Blue Ribbon Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have had the Mrs. Fields Best Cookie Book Ever since 1996, when I was ten years old. As a child I was obsessed with learning how to bake, but my cookies never came out quite right. At first I decided it was our old oven. But as the years went on I realized I was always trying to cut the recipes in half or quarters, or mixing the batters by hand (not a good idea!) and that’s where things started going wrong. This time, I was prepared with my stand mixer, determined to make the FULL recipe, even if it meant having lots and lots of leftover cookies. This recipe turned out to be extremely easy to follow, and I placed the leftover blob of cookie dough in the fridge, where it will stay safe until I’m ready to bake a new batch.

You can find this recipe for Blue Ribbon Chocolate Chip Cookies on page 6. I made a couple of minor changes, which I’ve listed below.


2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter, softened

2 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

12 oz semisweet chocolate chips (about 2 cups)–Note: I used milk chocolate chips and the cookies came out great =)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (this is an extra ingredient I added)


Preheat oven to 300F. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix with a wire whisk and set aside. In a large bowl, blend sugars with an electric mixer at medium speed. Add the butter and mix to form a paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs and vanilla. Blend at medium speed. Do not overmix.

Add the flour mixture and chocolate chips. Blend at low speed until just mixed. Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 18 to 22 minutes (I baked them for 22) or until golden brown.

Yield: 3 1/2 dozen





Apple Banana Spinach Smoothie

Here are two versions of a healthy smoothie: one with spinach, one without.

For the spinach smoothie:

Blend 1 banana, cut into chunks, with 1/3 cup cold water and 1/2 apple, cut into chunks. Add 1/2 cup raw spinach and 5 chunks frozen mango.

Not the best picture =(

Not the best picture =(


For the next smoothie, I omitted the spinach. It didn’t change the flavor much.

Looks much tastier!

Looks much tastier!

DIY Day: Blue Lip Balm!

This will probably be my last DIY post for a while. I’m done with experimenting; of all the lip balms I’ve made, only one came out with a good consistency. Oh well. This one is worth trying, maybe with a little less beeswax next time.



1 tsp beeswax beads
1 tsp coconut oil
1 vitamin e caplet
5 drops vanilla oil
Loose pigment color (I used NYX loose pigment)
1 tsp olive oil


Roasted Russet Potatoes

If you have 30 minutes and Russet potatoes, you can make these. They make a great side dish for steak or pork!


  • 2 Russet potatoes
  • Salt
  • Trader Joes Everyday Seasoning
  • Olive oil


Wash and scrub the potatoes. Slice in half and then slice in half again. Cut each quarter into four more chunks until you have 1-inch wide wedges. Toss with olive oil in a bowl.

Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with Pam. Arrange the potatoes skin side down (some will topple over) and sprinkle with salt and everyday seasoning.

Bake at 450F for 30 minutes.

photo 3


BBB: Bananas, Brown Sugar, and Butter

Sometimes you feel like having Bananas Foster without the alcohol, and you want just a tiny bit of crunchiness. The sugar and flour will caramelize into a chewy texture if you cook it a bit longer. I will be making this a LOT more for my husband!


  • 1 ripe banana, peeled, cut in half, and sliced lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1.5-2 tablespoons butter
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon flour


Melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add the flour. Cook for about 1 more minute, allowing the mixture to thicken. Add the bananas and cook for 2 minutes per side, until bananas are covered in golden crust.

So easy to make!

So easy to make!


DIY Day: Sugar Scrubs in a Pinch!

I found these little jars at Walmart. They are perfect for storing my sugar scrub experiments!

From the left: Brown Sugar Coconut Scrub, Lavender Scrub, and Mixed Sugar Scrub

From the left: Brown Sugar Coconut Scrub, Lavender Scrub, and Mixed Sugar Scrub

Here are the recipes, starting with the one on the left:


Brown Sugar Coconut Scrub:

  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 5 drops vitamin E oil (from a capsule)
  • 5 drops vanilla essential oil


Lavender Scrub:

  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. sweet almond oil
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil


Mixed Sugar Scrub:

  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 5 drops vanilla essential oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract


For all the recipes: Combine the dry ingredients, add the coconut or sweet almond oils, and then add the essential oils. Store in an airtight container.

Apple Crisp 2.0

Apple crisps are so fun to make. This one isn’t particularly sweet, but it’s perfect for when you want just a bit of fruit and crunch for an easy dessert. Pair with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream topping!




2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup oats
Dash baking soda
1-2 tablespoons milk
2 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
Dash of nutmeg
Dash of cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, softened


Combine the oats, brown sugar, milk, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and butter in a bowl. Whisk well and add the apples, tossing to coat. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

DIY Day: Lip balms and scrubs!

I’m on a quest to find the perfect lip balm (and scrub) recipe!

I experimented with different ingredients and quantities, and although they came out a bit messy at first (see first batch on the left), they looked decent when I set them out to solidify.

Lip balms

Here are the recipes, starting from the left, and a note on their outcomes =)

First: This came out great!

  • 3 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp beeswax (beads)
  • 5 drops peppermint oil
  • 3 drops Vitamin E oil
  • Lipstick shavings


Second: This one also came out with a good consistency.

  • 1 tsp. shea butter
  • 1 tsp. beeswax
  • 2 tsp. sweet almond oil


Third: Don’t try this at home. It never solidified!

  • 1 tsp. sweet almond oil
  • 2 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1/8 tsp. beeswax
  • 4 drops vitamin E
  • 1 tsp. honey


Fourth: A liquidy mess!

  • 1 tsp. sweet almond oil
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. shea butter


Fifth (scrub): from the website Alyssa and Carlacan’t go wrong with sugar scrubs!

  • 1 tsp. sweet almond oil
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1.5 tsp. sugar
  • 2 drops peppermint oil

Great Granola

Granola—so many ways to make it. This is a mixture of recipes. I tried to copy the ingredients that were included in some granola we ate in Wisconsin…mine didn’t come out as sweet as that one, but it’s still tasty.


  • Sunflower seeds
  • Chopped walnuts
  • Pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • Pecans
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Sesame seeds
  • Shredded coconut
  • Raisins
  • Dried cranberries
  •  3 cups Rolled oats
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup


In a bowl, combine 2 cups of the nuts/seeds/coconut in whatever ratio you like. Add a dash of salt. Add the syrup or honey. Mix well. Spread over aluminum foil that has been sprayed with Pam on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until browned. Watch it carefully!