Weeknight Baking: Double Chocolate Banana Bread

A day of endless rain - torrential downpour at times - made for a cozy afternoon indoors, baking.  With four brown spotting bananas calling out to me on the counter, I opted for banana bread when my daughter insisted, "chocolate banana bread!"  Upon the suggestion I shrugged, oh what the heck, who am I to withhold chocolate from our banana bread.  This recipe did not disappoint.  Truth be told, about 90% of it was eaten within a day.  Yum.

Dinner Last Night: Caramelized Pork Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

Add this one to your repertoire peeps!  This recipe takes pork loin to a whole new dimension - I am a fan, this will definitely be a repeat recipe in our home.  In addition, the pineapple, red onion, cilantro, cucumber salsa is light, crunchy, and refreshing, capped off with a zingy Sriracha mayo.  Holy yum!

image/pinchofyum

2017 Goals Recap

Well, we're already about 1/4 of the way through 2018, it's about time I cobble together some goals for the current year, don't you think?  In the meantime, here's a recap of my 2017.  

throw kindness around like confetti
I think this went fairly well.  It is very easy to become consumed or absorbed in our little worlds, ignoring those around us that we interact with but do not inhabit our regular orbits.  I tried to go out of my way to make small talk with strangers, offering more than just a smile, and continuing the conversation were it fruitful.  I also tried to acknowledge and thank service people with more genuine thanks than I have before.  Going out to eat with two young kids is not always a cake walk, but when servers take the time to offer extra crayons or water with a straw and lid, it means a lot. On the whole, I feel like I achieved this goal.

try new things
Well, we did attend a symphony this year, which was positively lovely!  Plus, it's an annual benefit function, so we plan to make it an annual thing, and I'm glad we made that initial leap.  In terms of experiences, I tried more adventurous outings with my kids, ditching the stroller and being spontaneous, subscribing less and less to the rigidity of routines like nap time, which has allowed us some spur of the moment adventures.  


+ build an exercise habit 

Um...yeah, this not so much.  I tried, and I have been exercising, though I'm still far from calling it a "habit."

+ give back
I ended up giving back in unexpected ways.  I'm on the board of a local moms group and this year I was the philanthropy chair.  I helped organize an adopt-a-family at Christmas and we sponsored a student at one of our local elementary schools for the 2017-2018 school year.  Our club provided this student with a large donation of items each season (short sleeves for spring, winter coats for winter, you get the idea).  Also did a marble jar with my kids which we call "Kindness Marbles."  When they are caught being kind, a marble goes in the jar.  Upon filling the jar, we counted the marbles and assigned each marble the value of a dime.  Instead of spending this money, we talked about selecting organizations where we could put our kindness back into the world.  I had my kids pick who they wanted to give back to since collecting the kindness marbles had been their effort.  They selected "building houses for people" and "babies," which led us to give back to Habitat for Humanity and March of Dimes. 


+ bake something every week
Ha...also didn't happen.  I had some unexpected health things emerge this year, including gallbladder removal surgery.  This and some dietary changes made baking low on the priority list.

+ put away my phone
Yes, I think I've done better this year, but there is always room to improve in this area.



2018 goals coming soon...
                        Past goals for 201620152014201320122011201020092008

February & March Favorites

+ finally found an aluminum-free deodorant I love (bonus, it's also sold at Target!)

+ eating lots of roasted plantain chips from Trader Joe's - have you tried these yet?  soo good and healthy-ish as snacks go

+ finally jumped on the essential oils bandwagon and wondering why I waited so long - currently diffusing lemon, peppermint, and lavender in the diffuser - my house smells like a spa

+ watching this oldie but goodie series, freaks + geeks on netflix, fun to see a lot of now-famous actors making their screen debuts (Seth Rogan, Jason Segel, James Franco, Linda Cardellini, Busy Phillips, and Rashida Jones - just to name a few)

+ devouring and making on repeat this easy dairy-free ranch dressing (super simple too)

+ reading this lovely children's book explaining the meaning of foreign words that don't directly translate into English

+ listening to the Hamilton soundtrack (after seeing the show in mid February) - I am totally hooked, the hype is real!

+ enjoyed watching this quirky movie on amazon prime (a cute, albeit unusual love story)

+ loving this travel food show on netflix as well (the host is a goofy, lovable writer from everybody loves raymond)

+ just started listening to oprah's super soul conversations podcast - especially this episode

Quote of the Week


“God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.” 
- Voltaire

image/iamblessed

Paint by Pencil

Have you seen these?  CJ Hendry draws portraits of paint with...wait for it...colored pencils!!  Isn't that wild?  Follow on instragram here - I find these absolutely mesmerizing!

image/cjhendry

Quote of the Week

"Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come."
- William Wordsworth, Imitations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood

image/bippityboppityboo