I have been searching for a good banana bread recipe because I often find I have several very ripe bananas left over at a time. I hadn’t found one that struck me as anything special until I stumbled across Money Saving Mom’s “Freezer Friendly Chocolate Banana Bread“.

 

How can you go wrong with chocolate and bananas?!

You can’t!

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This is a very simple and fun prewriting activity you can use with your preschool little ones. All you need are:

-dark plates or trays

-shaving cream

-qtips

Smudge the shaving cream over the plate or tray and let your little one go to town making shapes and letters with the qtip. Or if the qtip is too difficult, he/she can use his/her finger.

Here is a video to demonstrate.


Have fun!

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Here is my first Friendly Mom video!

I am very excited to start venturing into vlogging and demo/review videos. Please subscribe to our Youtube page: Friendly Mom and watch for new videos as they come up.

Thanks so much!

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I have always been a big fan of kids helping in the kitchen. Cooking is such a great learning experience and why not share it with your little ones?  I can’t wait until my daughters are old enough to cook with me.  I think we will have many a fun time!  I have still enjoyed cooking with nieces (and hopefully I will get the chance to with my nephews!), and I am always on the look out for kid friendly recipes. When I talk about kid friendly I look for two proponents- 1) Easy to make, 2) Kids will want to eat it!

I received a sample copy of Family Fun magazine in the mail and found a very fun recipe under the section “Kids in the kitchen” for green bean fries!  What I like about this recipe is it feels like you are eating fries because they are crunchy, but you are getting some veggies and everything is baked, not fried.

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The other day I was going through the cupboards trying to find something to satisfy my sweet tooth.  I wanted to make something for dessert that was quick and easy, but something that my family would enjoy.  I found a box of Jello strawberry cream pudding.
I have made a few other desserts using pudding, and I like the fact that it is so versatile.  I had also bought some strawberries earlier in the day so I thought, why not make a cute little dessert that would have a Valentine’s Day theme?  So I give you my simple Valentine’s Day dessert!

I think it is a great Valentine’s Day dessert to make with your kids, or a simple, yummy dessert to make for your hubby on Valentine’s Day.  I know my husband liked it!!

*The following directions are for if you are using 2 relatively large dessert dishes. If using smaller dishes, use a smaller amount of pudding.

1) You simply make the pudding according to the package directions.  Let it set, then pour a 4th of it into a dessert dish (I like using my water goblets, they have the same effect).

2) Then you can either put whipped cream (homemade or store bought, it doesn’t matter) or cool whip on the next layer.

3) Cut up some strawberries in verticle slices (they should look like little Vs) and layer them on top of the whipped cream/cool whip.

4) Put another 4th of the pudding on top of the strawberries.

5) Top with a dollop of whipped cream/cool whip and garnish with a strawberry slice.

How do you make the strawberry look like a heart you ask? Very simple. Take a larger piece of sliced strawberry (it should already look like a V) and then use kitchen scissors to round out the tops.

Once I figured out that the strawberries ressembled hearts I wondered what other cute Valentine’s Day desserts I could make?  I bet this same recipe would be even tastier with some chocolate mixed in.  Strawberries and chocolate…Is there any better taste combination?!

What I liked about it was how amazingly easy it was to put together and yet it came out so pretty and seems like a Valentine’s Day dessert to me!

Enjoy!

What desserts do you like for Valentine’s Day?

Please send me some recommendations/comments about desserts you like.  I would love to try them out!

 

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Every so often a product comes along which I love so much that I feel the need to tell everyone about it.

The product I am focused on today is a panini press: Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler.  We received it as a wedding present and it is one of those items that never leaves the kitchen counter because it gets used so frequently.  The reason I love it is that it is so versatile and easy to clean.

One might ask, “Isn’t this almost the same thing as The George Forman Grill?”  My answer is no and I will tell you why.

The grill pans are reversible and removable so when you are done, you simply remove and throw in the dishwasher or scrub by hand.   There is also a drip pan underneath that is easy to remove and clean. When you fully close the grill the pans lie completely flat and parallel to one another.  Even if you are grilling something uneven like a chicken breast, the grill compensates by making the same amount of space on the backside so you get even cooking and grill marks every time.

One side of the pan has the grill and the other side is completely flat like a griddle. You can also open The Griddler completely and have two flat surfaces to cook something like pancakes, two grills to have a flat grilling surface, or one of each. (This works for if you are making small portions of items and want them all cooking simultaneously.)

When you are done you simply remove the pans and drip pan.

The Griddler also has add on pans that you can buy seperately to turn your Griddler into a waffle maker.(Cuisinart Waffle Plates) We recently bought them and have been very pleased. It is nice to only have to store extra pans and not a whole appliance. I will say that the waffles are on the small side, but it makes 4 at a time and that is perfect for us.

The things I make most often on the Griddler are bacon (grill side), pancakes (griddle side), and hot press sandwiches.  It has made my life easier in so many ways.  It also really doesn’t take up all that much space (just slightly larger than a George Forman, but does way more).   If you are looking for a fast and easy way to grill and much more, then I would recommend The Griddler by Cuisinart.

**I have had it for 5 years now and it is still going strong! This thing is built to last.

Check it out!


Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler

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More and more I am seeing spaghetti squash used in many dishes.  It has a nice consistency and is a healthier replacement for pasta. For those who are living a gluten-free lifestyle or eating paleo, spaghetti squash is the way to go!  I decided to try some spaghetti squash in the traditional sense and make it with some meatballs. We loved it and have used it for many recipes since!

The spaghetti squash isn’t difficult to cook, but it is a bit time consuming. There are several ways to do this, but my favorite way is to poke holes everywhere with a fork and then set it directly on the top oven rack, bake it in the oven at 375 for about 40 minutes.  When you cut it in half afterwards, the squash is very tender and easy to remove.  You simply remove the seeds and pulp and scrap the “spaghetti” out with a fork.

 

The meatballs I make are very simple too.  I take about a lb of ground beef and simply add garlic salt, Italian seasoning, and bread crumbs (you can use a little gluten-free flour if you want it to be gluten-free). Normally I would add an egg as a binder to get everything to stick together, but my husband is not a fan, so instead I mix in a little plain greek yogurt or sour cream.  Then I broil them in the oven on a foil lined cookie sheet. It takes about 6 minutes for them to cook through.

Lastly, I heat up some pasta sauce and mix it in the spaghetti squash. The pasta sauce adds a savory element.  It really blends well with the spaghetti squash. Of course we add a little parmesan cheese on top.  I highly recommend spaghetti squash as an easy and healthy alternative to the standard spaghetti!

**Little friendlymom tip- If your kids just aren’t having it, make up a small batch of normal spaghetti for them and mix in a little spaghetti squash! That way they get to have their pasta with a little veggies mixed in. 😉

 

What dishes do you make with spaghetti squash?  Please share your recipes! I would love to try them out!

 

 

 

 

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Often times the weekly grocery trip can seem daunting. What are we going to need for the week? What will we eat? And so on and so forth. Not to mention how difficult it can be to figure out what to make for dinner after running after the kids all day long.  Often I don’t have the energy to go looking for recipes.  How do I fix this scenario you ask? By planning ahead with a weekly menu.  I am going to share with you how we eliminate some of the stress of food planning for the week by being organized. Continue reading

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Since having my daughters, I noticed that my husband and I had a difficult time with eating at home. We were so busy and always running after the kids.  The stuff that we did make at home had to be quick and easy.  While we thankfully weren’t eating fast food all the time, we needed the food at home to be made “fast”.  So we resorted to the easy-to-make box dinners.  Continue reading

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So I have a 3 year old who LOVES to paint. I am very happy to oblige her but her little sister always wants to join in the fun. The problem with this is, the 1 year old is always sticking everything into her mouth!  I have non-toxic paint, but still. I wanted them to both be able to enjoy themselves without having to worry about my 1 year old eating everything in sight, so I decided to go looking for a recipe for edible paint.
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I came across Momtastic. She has a great many things on her site, but I was drawn to her little how to video on homemade edible finger paint.   http://www.momtastic.com/diy/171489-edible-homemade-finger-paint/ Continue reading

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