Category Archives: food

I Bake: Banana Chocolate Chip Espresso Muffins

Well, that’s probably the longest title for a muffin recipes ever.  This is a recipe from one of my VERY few cookbooks.  I’m not big into buying cookbooks because it’s just so much more convenient to find  a perfect recipe online. But Baked is an exception. I may have mentioned the book before, but my favorite things about it are: the design (check out the preview of the book on Amazon), it’s full of deer motifs, every recipe has a giant picture, and there are TONS of tips of the trade inside.

So I totally failed at taking photos of the actual muffins I baked, but they pretty much look like the photo below.  (And the only reason I failed is because one of our sneaky dogs grabbed 7 of them off of the cooling rack while I ran an errand.  Oh and the other 5 were devoured a little too quickly by actual human beings). But yeah, these are so so good and the espresso powder adds that little extra flavor burst.

Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins
Adapted from Baked
Yields 12 muffins

4 medium over-ripe bananas (1 1/2 cups), mashed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2  cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups flour  (I used half wheat and half all-purpose flour)
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder **
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used mini chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease a 12-cup muffin pan.

In a mixer, combine mashed bananas, sugar, and butter. Mix until well blended. Add milk and egg. Slowly add the flour, espresso powder, baking soda and salt and mix until smooth. Add in the chocolate chips.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15 minutes in the pan before transferring to cooling rack to cool completely.

**Espresso grounds are not that same as instant espresso, pleassssee don’t substitute – you won’t get the same flavor!



Yes, chocolate pairs well with wine. But it also pairs fantastically with a dark beer, or 5.

Nieces are so much fun. Especially when you can buy them sugary treats and then leave them with their momma the rest of the day 😉

I’m pretty close with one of my cousins, who is about a month younger than me, started dating her husband just days before me & Chris, got married a month before us, lives 1 mile away…and just had a sweet little baby boy!!

When I’ve been wearing my hair long for too much time, I want to chop it off. So I do.

Truffle fries from Moo Creamery are AMAZING.

Sometimes my crazy dog likes to snuggle.

Crockpot Love: Short Ribs n Beer

I’m not sure if there is a breathing being on earth who doesn’t love a Crock Pot. So easy, so delicious.  Throw a bunch of crap in the pot, doesn’t really matter what.  I am pretty positive that nothing less than mouth-watering could come out of one.  Especially when it involves BEER. Can I get an amen?

So yeah, that’s kind of what I did here.

Crock-Pot Short Ribs w/Beer

1 – 1.5 lbs of short ribs
A few shallots, sliced
A few stalks of celery, cut up into 2-3-inch pieces
3 cloves of garlic
Large bottle of a brown ale (I used Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale) *
Chicken stock – about a cup
A sprinkling of salt & pepper

Throw everything in the crock pot! (Don’t you love that?).  Only add enough water to barely cover the meat.  I actually used no water, just added some extra chicken stock.  Cook on low for 6 hours.  Come home from work, make sure you have a towel nearby to wipe up the drool.  These guys are SO good, totally soaked in the beer and it tastes amazing.

*Note:  If you can’t find a large bottle, use a few small bottles. Remember, the better the beer, the better these will taste – so don’t skimp! 🙂

If you want to make a  side, make these yummy Sweet Potato Latkes.

The latkes were good, but a little too greasy for me. Heck, they’d probably be too greasy for anyone. But they tasted DELICIOUS.  Next time I will try and bake them.


I spent a little too much time yesterday pinning recipes on Pinterest that included beer as an ingredient. All that led me to make this SUPER delicious German-style meal tonight.

German potato salad, beer Brats & Kolsch-Braised Red Cabbage.

A little bit of love (time) was put into the makings, but it was all so worth it. Nom Nom.  I think my favorite part actually may be the potato salad.  It’s actually not so bad for you, since the only fats added are BACON pieces. Yep, I had you at bacon, didn’t I?  The recipe for the beer Brats didn’t included the sauerkraut on top, it actually showed the potato salad on top, but I felt this presentation looked & tasted better 🙂  Here’s the recipe links:

Kolsch-Braised Red Cabbage

Grilled Beer Brats & German Potato Salad

Baby Shower: Owl

This passed weekend I helped throw an owl themed baby shower for my cousin, who I am super close to because we’re almost the exact same age, had been dating our men for the exact same time and got married just once month apart!  Unfortunately for me, she beat me to the baby making stage 😉

Everything turned out super cute! I made the mini cupcakes and mini {gluten free} chocolate donuts (which I will share an easy recipe for later because they were SO good).  I also made a bunch of various paper things with owls on them that I forgot to take photos of including name tags, gift bags, food cards, & some other misc. signage.   Just two months until the due date! ❤

The Cleanse

So our cleanse went really well!  Monday through Thursday of last week we were on a strict diet of raw fruits and veggies, and some raw nuts thrown in the mix for good measure.  I think we were more strict on ourselves that we needed to be, but I am glad we did it because when juice day came around I never felt super hungry, or that I ever needed any real food.  I’m going to give you a day-by-day glimpse just to show you the process.

Monday: I had a store-bought super healthy juice for breakfast, salad for lunch and another salad for dinner.  This night we had a little bit of salmon on our salad.  Water is all I drank, all week.

Tuesday-Thursday: Fruit for breakfast, snacks of raw almonds, salads for lunch and dinner. I was already sick of salads by the 2nd day. I wasn’t using any dressing and basically my salads were an arugala/spinach mix, and I threw on tomatoes, mushrooms and avocados with a bit of lemon sprinkled on top.  Since I got sick of plain salads so fast I tended to eat random things throughout the day like raw coconut pieces (lol).  We also borrowed a juicer from our friends and sometimes I’d just have a large glass of juice. My favorite was apple spinach.

Thursday afternoon we received the juice.  Speaking of the juice, funny story. Kind of.  It arrived in a very small box.  I opened said box and counted 12 juices (6 per day, per person).  I was sort of confused because I was PRETTY DANG SURE I ordered a 3-day juice plan for each of us.  So I went back to the website and nope, I really did just spend WAY too much money on one days worth of juice.   I still don’t know how I feel about it, if the juice had been thicker/more substantial I probably would think it was worth it. But, it was thin compared to fresh juice I have purchased and made. So I don’t know…anyways.

Friday: starting of juice only day! There are six juices to drink in the day.  The first one was “Green Juice” – a bunch of lettuce and other veggies, and a hint of lemon.  This juice was my least favorite and you actually have to drink it TWO more times in a day.  I think each time I got to this juice my brain was making the experience 10 times worse that it probably was – by dinner, I hated it and basically chugged the whole thing.  The other juices were PAM (pineapple, apple, mint), Spicy Lemonade (lemonade with a tiny kick of cayanne), and cashew milk (w/vanilla bean, cinnamon, agave) – these all were REALLY good, yummy…loved them.

Saturday: Only ate fruits/veggies again. BUT that evening I had a margarita. Well earned.

Overall, I am glad we did the cleanse but I was still bummed about only doing the juice for one day and the whole “crap, that was super pricey” thing.  I was proud that we did so well with the diet and didn’t cheat at all.  Not gonna lie, I was totally craving fresh mozzarella every day.  I also lost about 6-7 pounds.  We tried to go to the gym one day and I really felt a lack of energy, probably due to not having any carbs. I also feel a whole lot better and definitely see the affect it had on my appetite, I don’t feel as hungry as I did before this whole thing and I see myself stopping before I feel full, I was never like that before.

So there’s that!  Soooo happy to eat carbs sparingly again and not have to worry about NOT being able to eat something. I am such a believer in moderation!  And you know what? I just realized I still haven’t had a beer! What’s up with that? 😉

The Pre-Cleanse

Cleanse. I’m not even joking here.  You may be surprised after seeing my last few  posts about eggplant parmesan, cupcakes and other baked goods. I kind of am too.   I’ve seen a handful of people talk about trying the Blueprint Cleanse over the past few months, and while I wasn’t intrigued at first – the last person I read trying it left me with a feeling of MUST. BUY. NOW.  Then I looked at the price, and kind of re-thought that.  It’s pricey.  But I have an addiction to buying random things online at a whim, so I bought it. Just kidding (I mean, I probably really do have a problem..sigh, why do they make it SO easy to purchase things with two clicks?).

Anyways, Chris said he wanted to try it as well! Which I’m extra excited for; some women I’ve seen do this had to COOK REAL FOOD for the rest of their family while all they had was juice. Sad.  So I ordered two 3-day cleanses for us that arrive for us on Thursday.  I’m really excited to try all of the juices (6 a day) and see how my body reacts to this.  I’m not really doing it to lose weight, but I’m sure I will.  No coffee, no beer, no cupcakes, no carbs…ah!  And you  need to pre-cleanse beforehand so your body doesn’t want to bunch itself in the face when you suddenly switch from a hamburger to drinking super healthy juice all of the sudden.  So this is what Chris and I bought at the grocery store today:

It was pretty comical trying to fit all of this stuff on my kitchen island, you can’t see half of it.  We have: bananas, oranges, lemons, peaches, apples, a coconut, strawberries, frozen blueberries & raspberries, pineapple, raw almonds, pistachios, corn, snap peas, avocados, agave, almond butter, corn, tomatoes, spinach, kale, arugala, sprouts, asparagus, onions, a sweet potato, and a some nutrient packed juices that happened to be on sale for 85 cents 🙂 Whew. That blows my mind.

So that’s what we will be eating for the next 4 days, then we’ll start the 3-day juice cleanse.  Our friends let us borrow their juicer so I’m going to spend the rest of the evening looking for juice recipes to make for this week.  We will also have to “post-cleanse” with the same types of stuff to get our bodies sort of back to normal.  I’m hoping the cleanse will make me feel better in general, have more energy, help me lose some weight, and not feel like I have to stuff my face/finish entire meals.  Let’s do this!

PS, going to go have my final beer and perhaps an ice cream 😉