banana pudding bites


My mission- a delicious dessert, that wasn’t cookies, that was easy to make/eat and didn’t require utensils… the result Banana Pudding Bites!

I landed on banana pudding when I was searching through recipes to make for the shrimp boil we hosted on Saturday (more photos of the shin dig coming soon); it was simple enough and would compliment the spicy shrimp perfectly, besides you can’t go wrong with a classic.  The only problem was I didn’t want to serve something that needed bowls and utensils and I needed something that would withstand being in the heat for the better part of the afternoon. So what do you do with this kind of dilemma you make it cute, you make it bite sized.  Honestly, I must say that I am rather impressed on how fantastic these little guys turned out, I was fully prepared for my experiment to be a disaster.  However, this is defienetly a ‘recipe’ that I will store in my make again soon (real soon) file and if you like banana pudding you should too!

Here’s the gist…

I used this delicious banana pudding recipe from Paula Deen (and no there isn’t tons of butter in the pudding- but it is the best banana pudding recipe I have EVER come across and I have tried a few) and instead of arranging the chessmen cookies and sliced bananas in a 9×13 like recipe calls for I piped the pudding on to individual cookies using a disposable pipping bag and my jumbo closed star tip and topped each of them with a thick slice of banana.  Call it deconstructed banana pudding if you will ;)

Oh, and in case you want to try it… let me give you two suggestions- 1. buy 3 bags of chessmen cookies, the banana pudding in the piping bag goes a long way and 2. if you mix your pudding early and leave it in the fridge make sure to leave the pipping bag out for a few minutes before pipping your cookies. The pudding is really thick and was difficult to pipe while cold.


christmas 2011 recap

The holidays this year were filled with many different things…  Time to relax and enjoy playing with the boys, time to start “new” traditions and to introduce the boys to old ones. Time to cherish with family that we don’t get to see very often and time to hang out with friends that live far away.  Honestly we got to spend a whole bunch of time appreciating what is really important and spending time surrounded by people that we love; to say that we are blessed would be an understatement.

goofing around with mom
jamie relaxing
festive playtime with duplo- and no I did not make him wear the Christmas tree headband. he would frequently put them on and wear them around the house :)

Jay Bird at the sing a long playing frosty the snowman with Mary Beth
decorating cookies for the neighbors

quality control
christmas eve photo
"santa" setting up Jay's duplo table

the boys' stockings after santa came :)
holiday jammies
bed head and new toys
helping charlie with his books

jay getting michael to draw for him

mary beth and charlie

mom, ed and the boys
group shot of my family
snuggling with auntie frannie

halloween 2011

a monster says ROAR!!

This is probably the only good photo I got of Jay on Halloween since he was so busy and not too interested in posing for his Mommy.  However, I love it!!

We really had a Monster of a good time (sorry couldn’t help myself) this  year; it’s been so much fun especially since Jay is a little older and able to participate in the holiday activities.  I decided that it was time to let Jay help make and decorate some sugar cookies. I figured that it could be the biggest disaster ever or we could have a great time… It was the later ;)  He loved every minute of helping to pour in the ingredients (which he has done on multiple occasions while helping with other baking projects), mixing everything together, spreading the flour, rolling the dough, using the cookie cutters but I am sure that his favorite part of it all was decorating the cookies.  He spread icing on a few of them but sprinkles were by far the best part of the whole deal.  I am sure that he would have put a whole bottle on each of them if I would have let him.  The whole project honestly took twice as long to finish as it would have normally but every time I looked over and saw his little face I was reminded of how precious and totally worth it that “extra” time was.

taste testing
taste testing some more, don't worry I switched knifes after this...

not too big of a mess...

p.s. Aren’t his curls adorable right now??

enjoying the usual

Often times I find myself in the kitchen during the weekends.  Making bread for the week, experimenting with a new cookie project or convincing Jamie to tackle some type of food thing that I am too intimidated to try on my own.  Well this past weekend was no exception; however, we did have a little bit of perfect weather/ bike riding/ outside enjoying time mixed in too.  It was more of the usual and wow it was wonderful!

We cranked out some whole wheat bread, homemade yogurt (it’s delicious but we haven’t mastered the consistency yet- guess we just need more practice), a super yummy tomato soup (with farmers’ market veggies), experimented by making these (also with farmers’ market veggies)

Super yummy (and easy too) sweet potato crackers! The recipe says that they need to be eaten within the week (because of the lack of preservatives) but I really don't think this will be a problem- Jay has been been gobbling them down!

and we took these

and made this…

Jay waiting not so patiently while Mama took the photos- what can I say? He gets his patience from me...

Don’t worry, we let him enjoy more than his fair share of strawberries straight from the baskets.  They were so delicious, I just hope they still have some at the farmers’ market this weekend when we go.  I have plans for more freezer Jam (btw- I just used the recipe from the pectin box, I know not really original, but it was easy peasy and so good), fruit leather and there is a super yummy strawberry cupcake recipe that I am dying to try too… I’ll let you know if any of that actually happens :-)

Jay has been making such silly faces lately- squishing up his face and furrowing his eyebrows at us. I have no clue why he was making this face but I love it all the same.
sweet goodness

Strawberry Smiles- we moved to the high chair as things got a little messier

We certainly hope your weekend was as sweet as ours and that your week is shaping up nicely too!

christmas craftiness

I love crafting; however, I don’t get a whole bunch of time to do it anymore.  So this year, as an excuse (kind of) to be able to, I decided to make a good majority of our Christmas presents.  I love getting things that are homemade from people; I love the thought and time that is put into those gifts.  I hope that people we know do to, since I am probably going to try and do the same next year too! Although, in a perfect world I would start a little sooner in the year than I did this year.  Check out some of the projects we gave…

a necklace that I made for Holly with interchangeable flower pins
cookies that I used for my Mom and Frannie's place card at Christmas dinner
more gingerbread cookies
an elephant pupet that I made for Jay
a camera case that I made for Holly- by far my favorite gift to give, I love how it turned out!
shirts made for Jay using freezer paper stencils- a snowflake initial and a "jay bird" shirt
hooper crossing shirts for Aunt Nicole
2010 ornament, Jay's- a Jay Bird and Jamie's- a carrot because we put in the garden this year
bows, bows and more bows that I used for gift wrapping (can be worn later in hair on shirts, purses etc)
a wrapped present with bow
our table set for Christmas dinner
Jamie's place setting
Jamie making pickles
lots and lots of pickles!!

Some of the things that I made but forgot to take pictures of included a “Grandma and Me” book for my Mom, a Perreault Memory Game for my three year old cousin (this was adorable and I regret not getting a picture of it… I’ll have to make one for Jay and take pictures), a frame with family pictures for Mimi (we didn’t make the frame but the pictures are all ours), dog rope toys, pickles- which Jamie and I made together (I actually did take pictures while we were making them just none of them packaged nicely and ready to be given), a delicious honey- cinnamon butter, homemade Almond Joys (that I may or may not have “tasted” while making)cookies, cookies and more cookies!  I think when I added up my cookie total I was up to somewhere around 375 and that didn’t count the candy and other baking!


is what I am today!  I thought  that today was simply going to be wonderful since my dear husband was home from work, we got to sleep in a little bit and we were going to have lunch with Grandpa.  Little did I know what those two had up their sleeves…

Let me preface this by saying that my husband is pretty horrible at secret keeping; he can do it but don’t ask him to do it for long and he better know that he can tell at some point.  So I am going to give him some serious credit for keeping this surprise under wraps! What is the surprise you might ask?  Well my lunch guys- aka Jamie and Grandpa- very subtly told me that my new oven was going to be delivered this afternoon.  Um excuse me?  My new what??  I know that the picture Grandpa gave me shows a brand new Kenmore stove/oven (not sure which is the real technical name so I am just going to use them both) but honestly they couldn’t be serious right?  They were super duper serious and I am pretty sure that it took a good five or so minutes to really sink in that I was getting a new oven.

Before I go any further let me explain just how monumental a new oven is.  I LOVE to bake, I mean really love to bake.  Not sure you believe me?  Check here, here or here or let me tell you that since last Friday I have baked over 350 cookies… believe me now?  I love to bake, it’s a release and also one way I recharge.  That being said, I have strongly disliked (I won’t say hate since that’s a strong word and it has put food on our table for a good 3 years) our oven since we moved into our house.  The rest of the house- great, the kitchen- wonderful, the oven- not so much.  The burners can be tricky but worst of all only one, yup just ONE cookie sheet would fit in the oven at a time- this oven was small!  You see my problem?  If not re-read a bit… 350 cookies baked in less than a week- do the math and I am sure the problem will come to you.

So getting a new oven is huge, I mean really huge!  It was delivered this afternoon and already I am in love, I might be able to fit in it if I tried- but I won’t, I’ll just leave you the visual.  Aren’t my lunch guys sweet?  They are so thoughtful and I am so grateful!

here it is-it's wonderful! and yup those are my pink polka dot slippers you can see in the oven window :-)

The only question now is what to make first…

we’re getting ready!

One week tomorrow is Christmas and we have had some busy little elves at our place getting ready for the big occasion, but I think we are almost ready.  We just need all of the family to get into town so we can get this celebration started :-)

Here’s a peak at what we’ve been up to… what’s left to do on your list?

all of our packages have arrived

our tree has been picked

it has been delivered

and trimmed

the lights have been hung

the decorations have been put out

a few breaks have been taken to play

holiday goodies have been baked

and they have been taste tested too!


tasty tuesday- apple muffins

This was breakfast on Sunday morning.  It was cold out and I wanted something fall-ish and yummy to go along with the coffee that was brewing.  Coffee in the morning is rare in our house but it was decaf so no need to worry; I wasn’t bouncing off of the walls all day with a caffeine high :-)   I did a quick search and found a recipe for apple muffins but it wasn’t quite what I wanted… so I played with it and let’s say I was happy with the results!  Since I am not one to hoard recipes, here it is in all of it’s glory (with my changes).  I suggest that you make some at your earliest convenience; your tummy/ hubby/ 9 month old (yes Jay got to eat some too) or whomever you care to share with will thank you.

Apple Muffins- the original recipe made 18-24 but since I think muffins are better warm from the oven, I halved everything.  The recipe below will make 12

Cream together:

1 cup of sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup of oil (I used vegetable)

1/2 tbsp Vanilla

Sift: (I am occasionally lazy, especially in the morning, so I didn’t sift and they still turned out well)

3/4 cup wheat flour- you could use all white flour but I have been trying to incorporate whole grains into all of my baking lately

3/4 cup white flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon – I used apple pie spice which is a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice but you can use plain ground cinnamon

1 medium sized Granny Smith apple, diced (I like tart apples for baking)- about 1 1/2 cups

Brown Sugar for topping- about 1/4 of a cup


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture.  The batter will be very, very thick- think cookie dough consistency.  Add the diced apples. Mix until well combined.

Spray or line a muffin tin.  Fill the muffin cups 3/4 (or more if you like larger muffins) of the way full.  Sprinkle with brown sugar.  I put walnuts on a few of our which was good but not great- it’s a take it or leave it thing in my opinion- doesn’t taste bad but doesn’t add anything to the muffins either.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes (mine took almost the full 25 minutes and our oven usually bakes faster).  Take out of the oven and enjoy the warm-apply-fallish-goodness!

Oh and isn’t my kitchen helper cute?

the ants go marching two by two

or twelve by twelve in this case!  Yesterday, Jamie sent me a message from work asking if I could whip up some cupcakes to help celebrate his boss’s birthday today and this is what he took in with him…

I made these Vanilla Bean Cupcakes which by the way were really yummy, we had to taste test them of course :-) and topped them with homemade butter-cream icing and candy to look like ants!  Best part of the project, I got to use my new kitchen-aid mixer, a birthday present from my family, which I LOVE!!  I have used it pretty much every day since getting it… I am a dork, I know.  Thanks Jamie for the fun project, hope everyone enjoyed!