White Loaves

My white loaves were devoured by all.  I tried the cinnamon sugar variation – sprinkling cinnamon, sugar and a layer of soft butter on the rectangular dough before rolling – and it was enjoyed as well.  Today I’m going to chop up some chocolate chips and apply those before rolling.

29 Days of Giving: Day 6

Day 6 of giving was devoted to my middle son.  He was home sick yesterday, so I decided to give him the gift of being pampered for the day. We made  pancakes, fresh bread, watched way too much tv, played way too much on the i-pad, and had a pedicure in the afternoon.  He watched Kung Fu Panda 2 in his bed for a final treat.

29 Days of Giving: Day 5

My gift for the day was to a neighbor ….  we have sons who play in the same basketball league, and week after week I think of how silly it is for both of us to be driving to practice.  I gave her a call tonight and asked if she would like me to do the running this week.  She was thrilled; it turns out her mom is in town and the two of them had been trying to get the basement cleaned out all day, and this would allow them the perfect opportunity to complete their project.  She then proposed that we trade driving duties each week…it WOULD be great to NOT chase the princess through the school for an hour!  This giving project is really paying off :)

My secret give to my husband for the day was to put away his pile of clean laundry!  Maybe tomorrow I’ll label the drawers for him (ha, ha).

29 Days of Giving: Day 4 : Secret Gives

Late last night – practically very early this morning – I decided to do a ‘secret’ give to my husband.  I was up finally watching the season finale of American Horror Story – only a month late – when I heard the familiar coughing and tossing and turning coming from upstairs.  Hubby’s respiratory infection seemed to be getting worse, so after my initial annoyance with thinking about the restless night ahead for both of us, I quickly moved myself into the spirit of the Giving Challenge.  And then it hit me…I purchased some essential oils in the fall combined in a formula made to alleviate respiratory ailments.  I dabbed some on a paper towel, and quietly put it on the nightstand next to his side of the bed.  My first secret give!  We both slept surprisingly well and he’s none the wiser, and I have to say, that feels kind of fun!  My goal is to give in secret to him once a day, and just see what kind of energy it creates.

I continued my giving in secret today by finally fixing our duvet cover – hey it only took me 2 1/2 years.  For some reason, the down comforter always slides to my side of the bed inside of the duvet.  The duvet has loops at the bottom that can be tied to the comforter but not the top.  I found a pair of unused shoestrings and sewed them to each of the upper inside corners of the duvet, locking it in place.  I felt like MacGyver.

Muffins for the Monkeys

With an entire bag of “ready to use” bananas staring me down, I decided to make a batch of these muffins.  I made the following changes: I reduced the cinnamon by half, and made muffins instead (I was able to get 11 from the batter).  I baked them at 350 for 21 minutes.  They were moist, and I enjoyed the layers of flavor!

For great pictures and complete instructions, please see Lauren’s Latest at

http://www.laurenslatest.com/peanut-butter-banana-chocolate-chip-bread-mini-loaves/

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Bread {Mini-loaves!}
yield: 6
Print This Recipe Print This Recipe

Ingredients:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 egg
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray 6 mini loaf pans with non stick cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk all dry ingredients together until combined- flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon and sugars. Create a well in the center and pour in remaining ingredients, excluding the chocolate chips. Mix until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Divide evenly between loaf pans and bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Cool 5 minutes in pan and remove to cooling racks. Serve warm or at room temperature.

29 Days of Giving: Day 3

Just a short post today…one of those days where I definitely got up on the wrong side of the bed (or rolled off the wrong side of the couch, as it was).  Hormones suck.

My gift for today was a half off coupon to Jo-Ann Fabrics paired with a handmade thank you note.  My dear neighbor is working on a beautiful Queen of Hearts inspired handbag for me to take to Jump Back Ball next month.  She had me over to approve of her progress today, and to choose a handle.  The texture of the bag is so fun…almost feathery, very whimsical with a porcelain red rose near the clasp.  I was thrilled and touched by the details she clearly thought through for me :)  I know she frequents Jo-Ann’s, and I thought she might be able to splurge a bit for herself with the 50% off.  I tucked the coupon into a handmade card that I chose just for her..done in her favorite ‘airy’ colors, pastel blues and yellows, with lots of pretty little butterflies hovering around a newsprint insert.  She is a magnificent artist, and it’s cool to see her ‘coming into her own’.  I feel so fortunate to have her in our lives…we get to admire her beautiful artwork daily; I’ve never met someone talented in so many different mediums.

One of the assignments in Cami’s book is to identify items that are hard to part with, and explore why they are hard to give away.  After some reflection, it became clear that the hardest things for me to part with are those things that hold special memories.  Perhaps my life lesson that is to come from this experiment of giving, is to let go.  Do I really need 2 CRATES full of my daughter’s baby clothes, when someone else could put them to good use?  I think not.

29 Days of Giving: Day 2: Yin and Yang

My mind was racing from the moment my middle one not so quietly snuggled into bed with me this morning….what would I gift today.  I kept reminding myself that the point of this exercise is not to plan out each and every gift, but to open myself to consciously gift when the opportunity presents itself.  Nevertheless, I planted the idea of gifting the 2 sweatshirts that have been folded on my bedroom floor for over a week, but that seemed like cheating since I had already planned on giving them away….

I decided to treat myself to a coffee at a local coffee shop I visited earlier in the week…the owner is very friendly and welcoming and I’m really trying to support local business.  So after surviving a 40 minute haircut for my oldest son, I declared it time for a treat.  Upon arriving at the coffee shop I was bummed to see that the owner was not working; in her place, was a teenage girl with bright blue hair…polite,reserved,  a bit on the shy side.  I ordered my mocha, and three brownies for the kids.  Being in the bad habit of never carrying cash, I used my bank card.  Then I noticed the tip cup on the counter.  Normally I don’t feel compelled to give in these circumstances but today felt different.  It was near noon, and the cup was empty.  I dug through my purse hoping to dig up a single…no luck.  The best I could do was 52cents.  I hesitated, thinking to myself that 52cents almost seemed…hmmm…petty maybe?  And then I thought about the challenge…the point is to give consciously…and I clearly wanted to give a token of appreciation to this somber girl.  I quickly tossed my coins in when she had turned around to clean up from prepping my drink.  To my surprise, she quickly looked back at the sound of the coins, and with voice of gratitude sweetly thanked me for the tip.  The smile on her face meant mission accomplished.

We don’t appreciate enough what our simple interactions with others can mean…

As for Yin and Yang…are giving and receiving.  Not two minutes after publishing my first post yesterday, my phone rang and it was my neighbor gifting me two great Pampered Chef pans, a new book to read, and some clothes for Cate.  Cue Twilight Zone music…..

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.  Mahatma Gandhi

29 Days of Giving – Day 1

I had originally intended this blog as an outlet for my cooking adventures, but have decided to use it as a way to record my 29 Days of Giving (based on 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life by Cami Walker).  Today is Day 1…my gift for the day is to my oldest son.  Now that we finally have snow, he complains daily that none of the neighbors have bothered to shovel their sidewalks.  Mind you, his is not lacking in the winter attire department, and could fill in nicely for Randy in A Christmas Story.  But, it irks him ..so today I shoveled the sidewalks down to the corner…even those of my neighbors who are afraid that I will sue them if I get hurt on their property :)

I was struck by a passage I just read in Cami’s book.  I will approach my daily ‘chores’ with the attitude of giving a gift.

One little monkey is on her way down the stairs.  Looking forward to consciously giving tomorrow.

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