Baking in general can be a tricky thing. There’s a science to it- the ratios, temperatures, and type of ingredients you use matter a LOT. Try cooking with a cold egg when you’re supposed to use room temperature sometime, and you’ll see that it can make a big difference.
So think of the technique involved when I was creating my banana bread recipe. I started out with this ultra-moist recipe from All Recipes, and went from there.. After TONS of experimentation, I finally got it just right.
Just in time to get what felt like God-awful news- after some generalized pain, and a lot of stomach issues, I found out that gluten was the culprit. My banana bread baking days were done.
Or so I thought. But just like that first time, I decided that I wouldn’t give up. I set out to modify my banana bread recipe to create a Gluten Free version. And you guys? I NAILED it. Not only is this gluten free banana bread delicious, it’s yummy without disclaimers. Like, not “good for gluten free.” It’s just GOOD.
And- because it’s FALL, y’all- I just had to give it a little pumpkin spice twist. Check out the full details below for my Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Banana Bread– we promise, you’re gonna love it.
We just finished up our last real week of summer, and we wanted to send it out with a bang. What better way to do it than with an end of summer playdate with some of our friends? We planned a kids’ luau for our end of summer party, and it went off without a hitch (or britches, in Izzie’s case, but that’s another story). And even better- it didn’t cost an arm and a leg!
My daughter is OBSESSED with kids’ party planning. She makes lists, drawings, and diagrams in preparation. She plans menus. She shops for goodie bags. She visualizes the décor.
The only problem is? Then she wants me to carry out her vision. Which is no mean feat, as it turns out, especially when you are as big a cheapskate as I am.
So when she decided “she” was going to throw an end of summer party, I used my powers of persuasion to convince her to throw a kids’ Luau instead. This decision might have had something to do with the fact that I have a garage full of island décor from my sister’s baby shower, but she didn’t need to know that.
By reusing decorations, buying in-season fruit for the snacks, and keeping it simple, we found a way to throw an amazing end of summer playdate for my daughter and her friends. And there were cocktails. Because of COURSE there were. Read on for the recipe for a perfect end of summer luau (and those cocktails. Because YUM).
It’s no secret that making healthy freezer meals can save you tons of time and money. Pinterest abounds with recipes for easy freezer meals that you can make ahead of time. They help save money on takeout, allow you to shop the sales, and are perfect for days when you just.can’t.cook.dinner. But what about the days where you just CAN’T with finding a healthy breakfast for toddlers? Or when you can’t stomach the thought of coming up with original lunch ideas for kids? We’re not shy about the factfact we HATE making sandwiches every day, and would do just about anything to avoid doing it- even if that means sandwich-prepping in bulk. So if you are looking to save time and money on toddler lunch ideas they’ll actually EAT, check out these genius ways to create healthy freezer meals for kids that they’ll LOVE.
For years, I thought wheat basically gave me life. I love to bake, and I love to eat all the gluten-filled things. I am known for my creative recipes, and my Browned Butter Cookies have been a potluck staple for as long as I can remember. So when my doctor told me I should limit my gluten consumption, it was like a punch to the gut. No bread? Only gluten free cookies?!? For now, I’ll spare you all the tears, but saying it was an adjustment would be an understatement.
Now, a year later, I still enjoy baking and sharing what I’ve made with my friends. Some recipes, like this one, still contain ALL the wheat in their original form. But I also find a slight thrill in trying to make things gluten free. If there are any other gluten-free friends out there, this recipe is easily adaptable, and equally delicious. You can use any cup for cup flour exchange. I also recommend adding an extra tablespoon of cream cheese to help make these Gluten Free Cookies amazing. However, for the sake of this post, please know all the photos use wheat flour.
My favorite part of this recipe is the bag of Nestle Triple Chips. I typically have to buy one bag of white chips and one bag of semi-sweet chips for this recipe. And while I don’t mind having extra chocolate around the house, I loved being able to just dump the whole bag into the dough. We even get the extra flavor of some dark chocolate- yum!
Another Saturday, another week of Mothering under our belt, another Saturday Six. Enjoy!
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1. Crafts and Cabin Fever
We’ve been housebound a lot recently thanks to rain, ear infections, and the dreaded flu. When we get cabin fever, we like to bust something out of our secret craft stash! This week, we looked forward to a break from the rain with this Hide and Seek Rock Painting kit that we can take outside when the clouds part! And you can’t go wrong with ANY of the craft kits from ALEX Toys! (But this one’s on sale for 50% off right now!)
2. We LOVE Low Mess Meals
Have you ever noticed how many delicious “One Pan” dishes there are on Pinterest? But then they’re all “We SAID one pan, but that’s really only if you have a cast iron skillet, and if you don’t then you need to use a regular skillet and then transfer into a baking dish, and I realize this changes EVERYTHING because you were really planning on this dinner when you pinned it and we lied to you about that one dish thing?”
Yeah, we’ve noticed it too. So Christine finally bit the bullet and bought this cast iron skillet and now she’ll never get screwed by Pinterest again. Well, until she tries to do some “kid friendly craft” that proves to be anything but…..
3. National Puppy Day
Is it any coincidence that Chad sent Christine a picture of puppies on National Puppy Day and suggested that one join the family? Spoiler alert: She said No. Or, more accurately, “HELL NO!” I mean, they’re cute and all, but puppies? Stay tuned and she’ll fill everyone in on the ten reasons she gave him for absolutely, under to circumstances, adding another family member let alone one covered in fur that will never be potty trained.
4. Christine is Having MAJOR Problems with Co-Sleeping.
Mainly, her kids all want to and she doesn’t. It’s like having a newborn again with all the shuffling kids back to their beds all night long. Or they stay and rub their feet on her all night long, which is worse. Christine and Chad considered getting an obscenely giant bed like this one from The Ace Collection, but knows they’d still end up getting pushed off the edge somehow. The struggle is real.
And if you haven’t ready any of that, well, now you have something to do while you drink your coffee! Or wine. We don’t judge.
6. Tragedy at Jaymi’s House
We love Abram, we really do, but we were not loving the way he threw Little Blue Truck across the room when he was done reading it peacefully. And we especially did not love the tragedy that befell the TV screen when it happened.
Help Jaymi not feel alone! Comment with the biggest tragic accident that’s happened at your house! And have a great weekend!
Nothing says summer like lemonade- even though here in sunny Southern California, the lemon season is happening now, in this little space between winter and spring. My sweet friend Cynthia gifted me dozens of lemons over the last couple of weeks, and we are definitely making use of this little burst of sunshine. We got the kids involved in washing, cutting, and juicing the lemons (using these kid safe knives and this juicer). Then we put some of the juice in the freezer, placing one-cup portions in Ziploc bags, and froze them flat for future, less-lemony seasons. Finally, when the big jobs were done, we celebrated by making a big pitcher of our favorite homemade lemonade recipe.
2. You may have heard that we won free Chick Fil A for a year, but we ALSO won a free Valentine’s Day Meal. Seriously y’all, we are SWIMMING in free chicken. You may not be willing to sleep in a parking lot for free chicken (because…well…REASONS), but PLEASE tell us you have the Chick Fil A One app installed on your phone. All you have to do is scan when you order, and you’ll get points that add up to free items. And if you’re anything like us, those orders- and those points!- add up fast.
3. Have you done one of those kid interviews that’s been floating around Facebook recently? We did them with our kids, and the answers were equal parts hilarious (Q: What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up? A: A grown up. So I can make the rules) and so sticky sweet we could die (Q: What Makes You Happy? A: Hugging You). Our friend at All in A Dad’s Work asks his kids questions like these on the regular, and their answers are super insightful, and also sometimes super funny. We particularly liked this week’s questions. Go check them out!
5. We busted out our Marbled Shaving Cream Art at a playdate this week and it was a HIT. Each kid made five or six hearts a piece, and it totally stopped them from fighting was a great way to get some art in. And can I say, I kind of felt like super mom handing it off to their Mamas when they got picked up. We recommend busting out the green paint and some shamrock-shaped cardstock to bring it into the new season.
6. Our cruuuuiissseee is coming uuuuuuup! Look for some themed posts that will be going up this week, and get your rainbow tumblers ready. We’ve got a fun DIY headed your way so you can either A.) Cruise with your momsquad in style or B.) Have a virtual drink with The Salty Mamas.
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It’s that time again! Just like we’ve gotta feed these kids breakfast every morning, so too can you expect our Saturday six every weekend! Well, unless we run out of coffee. Then, no promises. But this week we’re caffeinated and hyped up about these six things.
1. This week we were called “Brilliant.” And we will not let that go unacknowledged, so that you very much to The Mummy Club! Obviously they have fantastic taste in blogs, so go check out the rest of their Blogger Showcase.
2. Christine was a little disheartened last year when she didn’t hit her reading goal for the first time in forever, but she’s back in the saddle and killing it this year. Right now she’s reading Little Fires Everywhere and it may just be our next Salty Mama Book Club selection…I mean real characters, Mothers that aren’t perfect, exploring Mother-daughter relationships – what more could you ask for in this can’t-put-it-down book?
3. It’s National Chocolate Cake Day. Which needs no explanation except now you have permission to get dessert tonight, so you’re welcome.
5. The Salty Mamas trade babies every Friday while the Bigs are in school so we can cross some things off our list totally childfree. And despite having a list of errands a mile long, Christine made the executive decision to do this instead.
And she doesn’t regret it one bit.
6. And finally, once upon a time, Christine thought Twitter was lame. Also, she didn’t understand it at all. Which is probably why she thought it was lame. But now? Obsessed. Here’s a mini roundup of Tweets that made us laugh this week.
I need a manicure, pedicure – all the cures ? #momlife
After two kids, I have mastered the epic sport of speed-peeing in a public bathroom. Time starts when the stall door closes and if you don’t finish peeing and wiping by the time your toddler figures out how to open the door, you lose. #momlife
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Whoa! This week was full of ups and downs for The Salty Mamas, but it’s the weekend now and we are gonna have FUN, gosh darn it. So let’s start the day off with some positivity- here’s what’s making us happy this week!
2. It is CAMELIA SEASON. These little flowers have brought me so much joy over the years, especially because they bloom right around Lila’s birthday each year. I was kind of obsessed with having fresh-cut flowers in the house when Lila came home from the hospital (because irrational pregnant woman) and they’ve been part of the centerpieces at her birthday parties ever since. She turns five today, and she loves the camelias as much as her mama does (well, she loves tearing them up, but STILL.)
3. This simple, pretty swing dress from Amazon. It was on a lightning deal this week, but even when it’s not the price is right. And it has POCKETS. Dreaming of the day when I can wear it on my MomSquad cruise! (Hey MomSquad- you should all get one, obviously, so we can be matchy-matchy.)
4. If you haven’t tried this Balsamic Pork Tenderloin that’s been floating around Pinterest lately forever, please cook it up this week. It’s so simple but SO full of flavor. Serve it up with roasted potatoes and a green veggie, and you’ve got yourself a delicious meal that is gluten-sensitivity-friendly. (Which, don’t even get me STARTED on my beef with gluten. It’s a whole post for a whole ‘nother day.) As a bonus side note, the whole meal costs about $5 to make, assuming you are buying your ingredients at the right time. Looking for more simple meals? Check out our post here and our Pinterest board here.
5. We are currently crushing on fellow mom-blogger Lindsey from Every Day Above Dirt. She is so sweet and so real, and her Instagram feed is full of cute babies and puppies and real life. Check her out!
6. Finally, this little video. Because YES, and because we needed a giggle this week.
What took YOU to your happy place this week? We want to hear about it!
It’s winter- glorious, chilly, wholesome winter. Time for scarves and boots and, most importantly- soup. I don’t know about you, but I only have about three really good soup recipes. And while they are REALLY GOOD (especially this kid-friendly Minestrone Soup Recipe!), you can only eat the same soups so many times before you get sick and tired of the same old thing.
So when one of our friends suggested we hold a soup exchange, we eagerly hopped on board. The idea is simple: you and a few friends each agree to make four meal-sized servings of soup. You keep one, and exchange the rest with the others. Everyone leaves the day with four soups– a family favorite, and three new recipes to try.
In our case, we decided to meet at the park. We executed our soup swap quickly, stowed our meals away in freezer bags, and let the kids run around together for an hour or so. While we chose to include the kids, you could easily arrange a wine night or girls’ night in that would serve the same purpose. Whatever works for you!
And just in case you find yourself without soup-swappin’ friends, don’t worry. The Salty Mamas (as always) have your back. Try this kid-friendly Minestrone soup recipe that has been in my family for generations my mom swindled from a favorite restaurant before it closed. It’s simple enough for everyday, hearty enough for a meal, and even tasty enough to serve to company.
A single batch typically renders enough for two meals for my family of four with some leftovers. We keep half to eat that week, and I freeze half for another time (the pasta and zucchini are slightly affected by freezing, but we still think it’s just as good as when it’s served fresh. And you can always add the pasta and zucchini after thawing instead if you’re bothered by small texture changes).