Banana Milk

 

Hot infusions have really interested me lately, so when one of my coworkers mentioned that her family used to heat up warm milk with a banana and drink it I was intrigued. Less than 24 hours later, I made it for myself.

I asked her, “Did you slice the banana or put it in whole? Did you blend it’ll mash it? Did you add anything else?”

I love bananas and I love milk, so I’m surprised I had never thought of combining them hot before. I’ve mixed them together cold before and made a good super simple banana smoothie. But never hot, until now.

Her family uses sliced bananas, or sometimes plantains. I tried it out myself today with a sliced banana and a dash or cinnamon. It was so good. Flecks of banana flesh blended into the milk. After I drank the liquid, I was left with the mushy banana slices that I ate with a spoon.

I’m sure there are so many other things you can do with this. You could blend it in a blender or beat with a mixer but that would make a much thicker drink. I just wanted a warm milk with the flavor of banana. Later I’ll try some other flavors of hot dairy infusions and try cooking or baking with them.

  

Happy birthday to me

I turn 25 on Tuesday. I’m not that excited about it. A few years ago, a few of my friends were turning 25 and they were telling me how they were dreading it and I just did not get it. I told them, “It’s just a birthday, you should be excited.” But one friend was telling me how she hasn’t accomplished everything she thought she would by 25 and it’s weird to be growing up. Now I get it.

But, instead of thinking negative, I’m trying to think positive and be excited about my birthday. I got another year on this earth with some amazing people whom I love very much.

To celebrate, I got myself some presents that I thought I would share with you all here.

Birthday gifts 2

I bought these gifts for myself to inspire me to go out and do great things.

The planner is, of course, so I can plan better. I get one just about every year and this year I splurged on a big, pretty planner.

I don’t have that many pairs of nice jeans. This year, I’ve bought a few pairs of what I consider to be expensive jeans at thrift stores because that way I’m getting good quality for a low price. The problem with that is that they wear out fast because they’re already used when I get them.

Take, for example, the J Brand jeans I bought from Salvation Army for $20 that I absolutely love, but feel slightly embarrased to wear because the hole in the knee just keeps expanding. So, new jeans should make me feel more inclined to leave the apartment. I bought the Madewell jeans last week when there was an extra discount on sale items but it looks like that ended.

I threw away an old pair of running shoes about 6 months ago and I’m just now replacing them. I want to be a runner. Something in me loves running.

The books are by two inspiring women who I hope to learn from. I ordered them as audiobooks last night.

I’ve never listened to an audiobook before. Scratch that. I did listen to a Harry Potter book as an audiobook when I was staying with my brother’s family one time.

Does listening to an audiobook count as reading a book? Very important question. I want to know if I can fulfill my book quota for the year. My older sister and a two of our friends are doing this 2016 book challenge from the Modern Mrs. Darcy blog.

Now that I think about it, I guess I’m ready for 25, and not because of these new gifts I got myself. I’m ready because I have some amazing people at my side and I’ve grown in the past year. It’s time to celebrate that.

Bring it on, February 2nd!

Super simple chilli

FullSizeRender

A lot of America is covered in snow right, or at least it seems that way by the news being shared on my Facebook feed. And here I’m sitting in my living room with no socks on wearing thin yoga pants and a tank top.

I’m told that El Nino should hit California any day, so I’ve braced for the story by stockpiling canned goods.

If you’re staying in this weekend and feel like eating some comfort food that can warm your insides, consider making a big pot of chilli. I made this super simple chili recipe a few weeks ago and it was well appreciated.

IMG_4584

This recipe is meant to be made in a crockpot. But I imagine you might be able to make it on the stove top in a big pot with a lid. You may not need to adjust the cooking time and temperature accordingly.

For those of you who do have a crockpot, this chili is a fix it and forget it miracle. It comes from the Crockpot 5 Ingredients or Less Dump Meals cookbook by Cathy Mitchell.

Corn and Two Bean Chili

1 can (about 15 ounces) pinto or kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (about 15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (about 14 ounces) fire-roasted diced tomatoes

1 cup salsa

1 cup frozen corn

1/2 cup minced onion

1 teaspoon  chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

  1. Coat inside of slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Combine beans, tomatoes, salsa corn, onion, chili powder and cumin in slow cooker; stir to blend. Cover; cook on low 5 to 6 hours or on high 21/2 to 3 hours. Top with sour cream and cheese, if desired.

I just got a crockpot for Christmas and I was excited to try it out with an easy recipe that I knew I couldn’t screw up.

Of course, make to your own taste. I had to leave out the onion to accomodate the picky eater in my household, which is fine by me because I hate chopping onions any way. I also just about doubled the seasoning measurement to make it spicier. I bought pico de gallo for the salsa by accident, so I put in the blender on low before adding it to the mix.

It turned out to be a filling bowl comfort food that seems to be rather healthy to boot.

Let me if you try it out for yourself. I’d love to see pictures so tag me on Instagram or Twitter with @ecobrien22 so I can check them out.

Devil’s food cupcakes and doughnuts

Making something new out of an old favorite

For the past few years, I’ve made this Devil’s Food Cake at some point during fall or winter. Well, I just looked back on the first blog post I did on the recipe and this year was only the third time but it feels like more.

It’s my boyfriend’s favorite kind of cake. His grandma used to make a similar version for birthdays, so it has a special meaning for him. Plus, who doesn’t love cream cheese frosting?

This year, I got a doughnut pan from a holiday gift exchange at work, so I decided to try a new spin on the Devil’s Food Cake. Hence, Devil’s Food cupcakes and doughnuts. :)


Did you know the cocoa in devil’s food cake tuns the batter slightly red? Some bakers like to make the red more intense with food coloring, but I leave it out.

I really wanted to try out my doughnut pan the same day I got them, so I put batter in those first and spooned the remaining batter into my cupcake pan. I’m now the proud owner of one cupcake pan and one doughnut pan, so this may become a habit. every time I want to make either doughnuts or cupcakes, I could end up doing both. Otherwise I’ll have to wait for whichever pan I’m using to cool.

The devil’s food cake recipe and the cream cheese frosting recipe are both from King Arthur Flour, one of my favorite places to find good baking recipes and advice.

They tasted great, except the cupcakes came out a little dry. I’m sure that wasn’t the recipe’s fault though. I must have left them in the oven just a minute too long.

 

I’m looking forward to doing more baking in 2016. There are so many things I want to make. I actually made this in 2015 and I’m just now putting up the photos. I’m making big plans for the new year.

Here’s to a great year ahead full of life, love, ambition and sweet things.

My favorite ways to take care of others

Cinnamon rolls

I’m making a conscious effort to be a more loving person. I want to spread positivity and peace. Be the change you want to see in the world, right? So I’m sharing my favorite ways to take care of others.

  • Cracking jokes in an attempt to make someone laugh
  • Giving someone a thoughtful gift
  • Making a delicious meal
  • Checking in on someone
  • Sending snail mail
  • Doing the dishes

Sometimes a simple phone call or text to friends or relatives can make a big difference in their lives. I know it does in mine. I try asking specific questions and getting past the general “How are you” by asking questions like “How has the news affected you,” “What have you been up to this week” and “Is there anything I can help you with.”

Do you have any ideas on how to make friends, family and strangers feel special? Have you ever taken that one love languages quiz? I’m pretty sure my love language is acts of service, but it’s close between that and quality time.