The Best Banana Oatmeal Muffins I’ve Ever Made

Banana Oat Muffins
Banana Oat Muffins

This Banana Oat Muffins recipe is one of my new favorite recipes and I wanted to share it with you in time for the weekend.

I’ve been obsessed with oatmeal these days: steel cut oats for breakfast, dark chocolate oatmeal cookies, breakfast oatmeal cookies (recipe blogged here), and oatmeal waffles (recipe here)! There’s something filling about oats and the fiber content is a plus. So, I’m always on the lookout for all kinds of ways to enjoy oatmeal.

The other day I googled banana oat muffins and a few recipes came up. I spent time going through the recipe comments because I think that’s one of the best ways to know if the recipe works and how much people like it. Well, the Banana Oat Muffins recipe from Genius Kitchen had so many amazing reviews and comments, I just had to try it!

Banana Oat Muffins
Banana Oat Muffins

The best thing about these muffins is that they use about 5 bananas, or 2 cups.  I always seem to have ripe bananas in the fruit bowl and this recipe put them to great use. Continue reading

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Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Waffles

Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Waffles
Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Waffles

I’ve been meaning to post this Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Waffle recipe for some time now and, given that it’s National Waffle Day, why not?

Oatmeal is a food and fiber that I’ve always loved, be it in cookies, for breakfast, or in granola bars. Now I’m loving oatmeal in waffles. It also seems like waffles are all the rage these days, so I’ve probably been craving them subliminally. Have you seen the chicken and waffle recipes on Instagram and social media? What about waffle sandwiches at brunch? I admit to partaking in the latter.

When I was looking around for an oatmeal waffle recipe, I came across lots of them: gluten free, vegan, sugar-free. I tried many versions and tweaked the sugar levels. Interestingly, many used maple syrup, but I just stuck to regular sugar, to keep the batter thick. I played around with the fruit ingredients, sometimes using applesauce from a jar and sometimes increasing the fresh fruit content to where I didn’t include any applesauce.

The thing about this strawberry banana oatmeal waffle recipe is that it’s pretty forgiving. As long as it’s not too runny or too thick, a waffle iron can handle it! I also make it in a big glass measuring cup, which makes pouring it onto the waffle iron very easy. Continue reading

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Apple Crumble Cups – So Tasty and Presentable!

Apple Crumble CupsIf you like crumbles, or anything with oatmeal, sugar, and butter in it, then you’re going to love these Apple Crumble Cups that are easy and oh-so-presentable!

I’ve written two posts on crumbles (peach/strawberry and peach) in the past. If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a crisp, a crumble, and a cobbler, it’s that crumbles contain oatmeal. This recipe is from allrecipes.com and is originally called a crisp, but it’s technically a crumble!

The reason I wanted to share this recipe is because I’ve been searching for one that makes mini crumbles. I was served something like this at a friend’s house, and I loved how cute and compact it is. Yesterday I was talking to my mom about a recipe she had seen on TV, and it reminded me of all the uneaten apples sitting in our fruit basket. I had to make some type of crumble!

Apple Crumble CupsHere’s the recipe, as taken from Allrecipes, attributed to Debbie Eckstein. I’ve changed the name to call it ‘Apple Crumble Cups’ instead of ‘Apple Crisp Cups’. At the end, I’ve given tips on how I made my cups. Continue reading

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Sharing the ‘Little Things’ That Made Me Happy In A 24 Hour Period!

Enjoying the little things in life

When you enjoy the little things in life, you feel happier. It sounds simple, and it is. You know what I’m talking about: the little things like appreciating a blue sky after a few days of rain, walking around comfortably in above zero temperatures after weeks of freezing weather, and engaging in a pleasant 15 minute conversation with your teen.

In today’s busy world, I feel like I’m always on the go and that I don’t have a second to myself. Well, in the last few days, I’ve enjoyed a lot of little things that have made me happy, despite running around and overscheduling my time. Perhaps inspired by the little notebook I picked up from the dollar store recently or perhaps inspired by mindfully appreciating every moment I have with friends and family, I thought I would share the simple things that brought me joy over a 24 hour period.

Here are the little things that made me happy over the course of a day: Continue reading

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Chocolate Candy Box Cake – Sooo Easy To Make!

Chocolate Candy Box Cake Made With Kit Kat Border
Chocolate Candy Box Cake

Every once in a while, you come across the easiest wow-factor cake and you wonder why you’ve never tried to make it before! That’s how I felt about the chocolate candy box cake that I’d been seeing on Instagram for a while now.

I’ve heard this cake called: ‘chocolate candy box cake’, ‘candy box cake’, or ‘Kit Kat cake’ – the latter because of the border around it. It’s basically a chocolate cake that has a bunch of candy on top. It has a border made of Kit Kat or other chocolate finger treats or pirouline wafers. You can make it in the shape of a circle or a rectangle and you can put only chocolate on it or a mix of candy and chocolate. Once you’re done, wrap a ribbon around the cake, and you’re done.

I did some online searches and watched a few YouTube videos for tips on how to make the cake. There’s lots of inspiration out there, so have a look.

Here are the 5 easy steps I took for making my daughter a chocolate candy box cake for her 18th birthday. You can also read my last post on throwing a surprise 18th birthday party, where we served this cake. Continue reading

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5 Tips For Hosting An 18th Surprise Birthday Party!

My oldest daughter turns 18 in February and we decided to throw her a surprise 18th birthday party. She’s got a lot going on during her last year in high school including balancing school, social life, and university applications. We knew she wouldn’t have time to plan something that we could work on together, so I thought it best to throw her a surprise. I’m glad we did, because, a few days after her party, she said that she would not have had time to plan a party on her own.

I’d never thrown a surprise party at home before, so this was new to me. The hardest part was hiding some of the decorations and the cake, as well as orchestrating her being out of the house. Also, having 3 hours to decorate and get the food and activities ready was quite a challenge. But, I had lots of people helping me and it all worked out. I think the main thing to keep in mind is that kids like to be together, no matter what the occasion.

Here are my 5 tips for throwing a successful 18th surprise birthday party: Continue reading

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Finally Feeling Like It’s Okay To Talk About My Anxiety Journey

(Originally published on January 31, 2018)

It’s Bell Let’s Talk Day today in Canada and, although I’ve struggled with anxiety for over 25 years, I’m finally feeling like it’s okay to talk about my journey. Bringing attention to mental illness is not something that comes easily for me because I’ve often worried about being judged by my anxiety. It’s probably a function of my age (I went to school in the 1900s, as my daughter likes to say) and a function of how others around me have told me to behave and (not) talk about my anxiety. I can’t blame my parents for telling me to keep quiet about my feelings when I was a young adult, when the real effects of having anxiety began to surface for me. It just wasn’t talked about if you wanted people to think you were normal.

So, I talked about my anxiety to my close friends, who were there for me as I dealt with a specific problem. Outside of the situation, we didn’t talk about what was happening in my mind, for two reasons. One, I didn’t really know there was a term for it because I tended to have mainly trigger-based anxiety and, when I wasn’t anxious, I was generally fine. Two, I was too busy to sit down and think a lot about anxiety as a topic and as a treatable illness – I had to finish school, get a job, move on with my life. My friends and I didn’t talk about mental illness as a subject or what I was going to do about my anxiety. We dealt with the current crisis and symptoms, and moved on. As long as I was busy, I could keep my anxiety at bay.

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My Favorite Winter Scarf Is A Fashion Scarf

Wool/Silk Scarf by Kala Scarves

We usually think of winter as a time for thick, heavy-knit scarves that we wear with our coats, but it’s also the perfect time to wear a warm fashion scarf! Maybe you’re like me and tend to wear dark colors like blues, greys, browns, and black at this time of year. I find that adding a scarf in a complementary or contrasting print is a great way to add texture and depth to a monotone winter outfit.

You know I love scarves from all of the previous posts I’ve done, like this one and this one.

So, why do I love this Kala scarf in particular? This scarf has so many things going for it: it’s a 25% silk/ 75% Australian wool combo, making it super soft and warm; it’s medium weight; and, it goes through a series of cool colors from one end of the scarf to the other. I especially love that it’s Rothko inspire because he’s one of my favorite painters. If you’ve spent time in front of a Rothko painting, or been lucky enough to visit the Rothko Chapel in Houston, then you know that there’s a certain feeling of simplicity and serenity to his work. The abstract nature of this scarf adds an element of quiet color to any outfit. I also like the all-around small fringe. Continue reading

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Chicken-Ginger Noodle Soup – Perfect For This Freezing Weather!

Chicken-Ginger Noodle Soup

With wind chill values of -35 degrees celsius in Toronto, a bowl of warm Chicken-Ginger Noodle Soup sounds just right! It’s been so very cold these last few weeks in this part of North America and we’re spending a lot of time indoors. That means plenty of time with family and friends and lots of time to cook and experiment with new recipes.

A few weeks ago, I received the cutest package from Blue Goose Pure Foods, a Canadian organic meat producer that works with Canadian farmers who are committed to treating animals humanely. Blue Goose products are sold in grocery stores and specialty retailers across Canada, and they are easily identifiable by the illustrated blue and white chicken on the labels.

This is not the first time I’ve received a pre-arranged delivery from Blue Goose. The last one was a whole chicken and a recipe for Beer Can Chicken. You would’ve seen the details on my Instagram Stories, and the end result was a delicious, moist, tender chicken, which you can see here:

Beer Can Chicken made with Blue Goose Pure Foods Organic Chicken
Beer Can Chicken made with Blue Goose Pure Foods Organic Chicken

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Linzer Cookies- Something New For New Year’s!

Linzer Cookies with Black Cherry Spread from Bonne Maman
Linzer Cookies filled with Black Cherry Spread from Bonne Maman

Jam-filled sablé cookies have always been a holiday tradition in my family – it just wouldn’t be the holiday season without some kind of shortbread cookie in the lineup! In fact, when I used to come home from university, my mom had a box of these yummy cookies frozen and waiting for me. She still does that anytime I go home, no matter what time of year it is.

This holiday season, I tried a new version of jam-filled cookies: Linzer Cookies, from the Holiday Cookies* cookbook by Alice Medrich. The combination of almonds, almond extract, lemon and lime zest made the cookies unique, crunchy, and oh-so-tasty! Linzer cookies are, by definition, made with almonds, and originated in Linz, Austria.

Linzer Cookies made with Black Cherry Spread

Our wedding anniversary is between Christmas and New Year’s and, given that jam cookies are my husband’s most requested cookie, it gives me the perfect excuse to make one more holiday cookie (not that I need one) at this time of year. In fact, my husband reminded me earlier this week that I hadn’t made any this year! He also likes anything with almond flavoring, so these cookies were made for him! And, he loved them.

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