Chocolate Banana PB Smoothie

We’ve been trying to get back to healthy eating lately, which means lots of smoothies in our house! I usually do the typical fruit smoothie, but when I saw this recipe for a chocolate banana pb smoothie, I knew I had to try it! It really tastes like a chocolate dessert. I love having something that tastes really good, that it makes you think it could be bad for you.
Chocolate Banana PB Smoothie 2

As I type this, it’s snowing outside. So, it’s a little bit tough to get into a smoothie mood. lol. Soon though! We have been having nice weather, April is always just weird in Minnesota. And annoying.

Chocolate Banana PB Smoothie

As the snow is melting, and the weather gets nicer, my allergies have been acting up. Well, I think I finally found the solution! Normally, I’m taking Zyrtec or one of those other OTC meds for allergies that never seem to work. Well, a few weeks ago I started using lavender, lemon, and peppermint essential oils. I have had no allergy problems since. Seriously! It’s crazy! Anyways, one more healthy thing for us to do… I bet adding peppermint to this smoothie would taste great! I have got to try that next!

Chocolate Banana PB Smoothie

recipe slightly adapted from A Curvy Carrot

Ingredients:

  • a banana
  • 2 T cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chunky pb (I have almond butter, so I’ve been using that. Yum!)
  • 1 & 1/2 cups milk
  • ice

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

– Jill

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An Update and Young Living Oils

So, it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged. We’ve been super busy, and I just haven’t been baking and cooking as much as I used to. Now I’m going to get back into the swing of things. I find that it’s really key to have a meal plan if you want to be successful in making food and not being lazy. lol. So, what we’ve been up to:

Heading to the cities (kid free!)

Heading to the cities (kid free!)

painting!

painting!

silly sleeper

silly sleeper

story time!

story time!

and my obsession: essential oils!

and my obsession: essential oils!

So, a little bit about essential oils. If we’re friends on Facebook, I’ve been talking about them kind of a lot. And the reason is because they’ve changed our lives. Awhile ago a friend (my BFF!) of mine gave me a bottle of Purification and Thieves and about 6 months later I found myself buying the kit that came with a diffuser and the oils you see in the picture above. The rest is history.

COLDS FOR KIDS

I’ve found that Aaron and I haven’t been sick since using Thieves and Purification. And the best part? Emma had an ear infection a few days ago, I put a drop of Purification on a cotton ball and put that in her ear and she was better that night. Seriously! A miracle!

MEDICINE CABINET MAKEOVER v1.1

We’ve been using what is called the “Medicine Cabinet Makeover” for awhile now. You basically can say there’s an oil for everything. When I get a headache I use Panway or Peppermint and my headache is gone. And I have to say, I feel a lot better being able to give myself and my family things that are all-natural and healthy for you. Wow, never thought I would say that. I can see we’re going down an all-natural, healthy path for our family and I never really thought this is where I would end up. But here I am. And it’s good. God is really good!

Now, I’m sure some of you are even curious about what do you do with the oils? Some of them have to be diluted (like Panaway), so what I do is put a drop of Panaway in my hand and a drop or two (or four depending on how sensitive you are) of olive oil in my hand and then rub that on my neck if I have a headache or on my temples. Pretty easy. When the kids are sick I put a couple of drops of Thieves in my hand along with olive oil and then put that on their feet. Aaron even goes as far as brushing his teeth with Thieves. Crazy, right?! Haha. Seriously.

ALLERGIES 1.1

One of the things I’m most excited about (and I posted this on FB this morning) is the three Essential Oils for allergies. I’ve had seasonal allergies for years and nothing ever helped 100%. So, you can bet I am excited to see how these work!

So just a brief explanation of what’s been going on. If anyone has any questions, feel free to email me or leave me a comment!

Blessings!
Jill

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Caramel Chex Mix

Last week the hubs and I went to see Catching Fire. Such a great movie! We really enjoyed it. I made this Caramel Chex Mix and we snuck it into the movie. Since then I’ve made it two more times. Yep, it’s that good!

Caramel Chex Mix-- Reini Days

It’s sweet and salty, and totally addicting. And since I used some coconut oil, it’s also healthy. Honest.

Caramel Chex Mix 2-- Reini Days

This Caramel Chex Mix would make a great homemade gift for Christmas. It’s easy. It’s cheap. And it seriously is so good. Addicting.

Caramel Chex Mix 3-- Reini Days

Caramel Chex Mix

recipe adapted from the back of a box of Corn Chex Cereal

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups popped popcorn
  • 2 cups Corn Chex Cereal
  • 2 cups Rice Chex Cereal
  • 1 cup nuts (I used almonds and pecans)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees and lined a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Put your popcorn, cereal, and nuts in a large bowl.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt your coconut oil and butter. Add in maple syrup and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, and boil for a minute or so.
  4. Pour over cereal mixture and mix well. Then put on lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake for about an hour, mixing every 15 minutes.
  6. Once the Chex Mix is cooled add your cranberries.
  7. Enjoy!

– Jill

Notes:

  1. If you don’t want to use coconut oil, you can always use all butter and just leave the oil out.
  2. The original recipe called for 3/4 cup of brown sugar, but I cut some of it out.
  3. The original recipe also called for melting some white chocolate chips and putting that on top after baking, but I cut that out, too.

 

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Mini Reese’s Cheesecake Bites

Last week I made these Mini Reese’s Cheesecake Bites because we had a ton of leftover Halloween candy. I’m sure none of you have leftover candy anymore, but that’s okay. I’m sure you all know where to find some Reese’s PB Cups. :)

Mini Reese's Cheesecake Bites 3 -- Reini Days

I almost made these using Snickers instead of Reese’s PB Cups, but then I thought I should just follow the recipe and see what happened. And I’m glad I did!

Mini Reese's Cheesecake Bites 2-- Reini Days

These little babies were awesome. Peanut buttery. Chocolatey. Rich and sweet. Lately, I’ve been craving something sweet after dinner. These hit the spot.

Mini Reese's Cheesecake Bites-- Reini Days

Can I admit something though? I had a hard time chopping up the Reese’s PB Cups. Those guys are my favorite candy. And at first I felt like maybe I was wasting them. Well, that obviously wasn’t true.

Mini Reese’s Cheesecake Bites

recipe from Table

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 1 cup graham crackers, crushed up
  • 2 T melted butter

For the cheesecake:

  • 2- 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temp.
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 T flour
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs

For the ganache:

  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup Reese’s peanut butter cups, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 24 count mini muffin pan.
  2. Stir together graham cracker crumbs and butter. Put a teaspoon of the graham cracker mixture into the bottom of each cup.
  3. Bake for 5 minutes.
  4. While that’s baking, make your cheesecake. In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese and peanut butter. Add in flour, sugar, half-and-half and vanilla. Beat until well incorporated. Stir in eggs.
  5. When the graham cracker crusts are done, turn your oven down to 350 degrees. Top each graham cracker cup with 1 tablespoon of cream cheese mixture. Bake for about 12-15 minutes until the cheesecake is done. Let cheesecake come to room temp and then stick them in the fridge for at least two hours.
  6. After the cheesecake bites are good and cold, make your ganache. In a large pot, bring some water to a boil. In a glass bowl, mix your chocolate chips and heavy cream together. Set bowl over pot, and stir until melted.
  7. Spoon chocolate ganache over cheesecake bites and top with chopped pb cups.
  8. Keep in the fridge and enjoy!

Notes:

  1. The original recipe said it makes 12 mini cheesecakes, but somehow I got 24. There ya go.

– Jill

 

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Buffalo Chicken Sandwich

Last night we had these sandwiches for dinner. They were a huge hit! A little spicy for the kiddies, but that’s okay. More for the adults.

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches-- Reini Days

And let me tell you, I had one of these Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches for lunch today and it was still so good. One of the best lunches I’ve ever had. Don’t you just love when you can look forward to lunch? Or maybe it’s just me. There’s only so much peanut butter and jelly a person can eat.

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches 2-- Reini Days

I love how easy this was to make. It’s definitely something I will be making again and again.

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches 3-- Reini Days

Buffalo Chicken Sandwich

recipe slightly adapted from Eating Well Magazing, December 2013

Ingredients:

  • 2 T flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 chicken fillets, split in half
  • pepper
  • 2 T oil
  • 3 T hot sauce
  • coleslaw
  • blue cheese
  • hamburger buns

Directions:

  1. Place flour, egg, and breadcrumbs in separate bowls. Sprinkle pepper over chicken. Coat both sides of chicken with flour, then dip in egg. Then coat in breadcrumbs, pressing to help crumbs stick.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken to skillet and cook about 5 minutes per side until chicken is golden brown and reads 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.
  3. Put hot sauce in a bowl, and once chicken is done toss it with the hot sauce.
  4. Top each bun with chicken and then blue cheese and coleslaw.
  5. Enjoy!

– Jill

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Chocolate Sheet Cake

This cake is currently my favorite. I’ve made it a bunch of times. Sometimes I make the recipe into cupcakes. Sometimes the normal cake. Sometimes I halve the recipe and make a 9-inch round cake. So many options.

Chocolate Sheet Cake-- Reini Days

This cake is almost like a fudgie brownie. It melts in your mouth. It’s really, really simple to make. So, I think we have a winner on our hands!

Chocolate Sheet Cake 2-- Reini Days

The best part? It’s an instant hit with my kids. (What’s not to love? It is cake after all….) Today the kids gulped down their lunch after they heard cake was for dessert. This cake is so big we’ll be having it tomorrow too. Cake for breakfast? Not a bad idea.

Chocolate Sheet Cake 3-- Reini Days

Chocolate Sheet Cake

recipe slightly adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 & 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 T cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla

For the icing:

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 T cocoa powder
  • 3 T milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • sprinkles and any other fun things you want to add.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 or whatever the largest size baking sheet you have is.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt butter and coconut oil. Add cocoa. Then pour in your cup of boiling water. Bring mixture to a boil and then turn off heat.
  4. Put your half a cup of milk in a liquid measuring cup that has a pour spout. Add eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Whisk together.
  5. Pour chocolate mixture into your flour mixture. Mix, and then add the egg mixture. Stir until everything is mixed well.
  6. Pour into your greased baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes until toothpick inserted in the middle of the pan comes out clean. I like to start checking around 15 minutes.
  8. While the cake is baking, rinse out the saucepan that you used earlier. Melt butter in the saucepan. Whisk in cocoa powder, milk, and vanilla. Add powdered sugar and add more milk if you want your icing thinner. Stir in pecans. Pour icing over cake as soon as it comes out of the oven. I then like to put sprinkles on top to add a little flare.
  9. Enjoy!

Notes:

  • I love using whole wheat flour, but if you want to use white flour you can.
  • The original recipe called for 2 cups of sugar, but I wanted to cut back on the sugar.
  • If you don’t want to use coconut oil, feel free to omit it and use all butter.
  • If you don’t have buttermilk you can mix 1 tsp lemon juice with 1/2 cup milk. Let sit for 5 minutes before using.
  • I choose to cut the icing in half. If you want more icing, go ahead and double the icing ingredients except for the pecans. With the recipe how it is, you get a thin coat of icing. Do what your heart tells you.

– Jill

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Irish Nachos

We really love nachos in our house. If I could eat them everyday, I would. But we don’t. And we probably shouldn’t. So, when I found this healthier version of nachos from Riddlelove (love her blog!) I knew that I had to make them. So, I did. And then I made them again. And again. And, yep, you guessed it. Again. And my plan is actually to make them tomorrow for dinner.

Irish Nachos 2-- Reini Days

This is one of those recipes that is more of an idea than a recipe. You pretty much can use whatever you have on hand. White potatoes. Sweet potatoes. Onions. Peppers. Chicken. Beef. Chicken sausage (my fav!). Whatever you have on hand is great.

Irish Nachos 3-- Reini Days

Irish Nachos

recipe slightly adapted from Riddlelove

Ingredients:

  • 6 potatoes (I did half white, half sweet), sliced in either wedges or diced
  • 2-3 T oil (I used coconut, but olive would be good too)
  • 1-2 cups cooked chicken, sausage, or whatever meat you have on hand
  • 1 pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • garlic, minced
  • other seasonings (I used salt, pepper, and a mix of other stuff)
  • cheese
  • sour cream
  • salsa
  • and whatever else you want for your nachos

Directions:

  1. This time around I diced up my potatoes, but if you want to make them into wedges you can do that too. Heat a large skillet on medium heat with your oil and then add potatoes and stir. Add garlic and other seasonings and stir well. Cover and let potatoes cook for about 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so.
  2. When you have about 5 minutes left go ahead and add in your meat, pepper and onion. Saute with potatoes until all is heated through.
  3. Now you can either throw everything in a large baking dish and sprinkle cheese on top and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or if you want the easier method I just like to serve the nachos and then top with cheese, sour cream, and whatever other servings you want.
  4. Enjoy!

– Jill

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