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Growing up, breakfast was the most important time of the day. Yes, you read that right. The most important time of the day. I know you’ve heard it said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but in my childhood home a hot breakfast was served at 7 o’clock am and cleaned up by 7:30 am. In my home now, we just aim for getting breakfast in bellies before they hurry out the door. These Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins happen to be one of the few things that rival a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios for my kids.
I feel that muffins with freshly ground whole wheat flour and bananas fall towards the healthy spectrum, but the butter, sugar and chocolate chips tip that healthy scale the other way. The whole wheat gives the muffins a nuttiness and delicious texture. I’ve tried to substitute white flour for the whole wheat in a pinch, but my kids notice. They comment on how they taste weird and I’m left with a pile of uneaten muffins. So in our opinion, whole wheat is the only way to go.
If you want to make them a little more healthy go ahead and substitute half the butter for plain yogurt and honey for the granulated sugar. No one will notice that, just don’t mess with the whole wheat. I’ve adapted a recipe from Marta Writes which was adapted from the original recipe from King Arthur Flour.
Once the batter is mixed, quickly drop scoops of dough using a cookie dough scoop into the sprayed muffin tins. I’ve found the 3 tablespoon sized scoop is perfect for the regular sized muffin tin and the 1 tablespoon scoop is the right size for mini muffin tins.
- ½ c. butter
- ½ c. brown sugar
- ¼ c. granulated sugar
- ¾ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- 3 bananas, smashed
- 2 eggs
- 2 c. whole wheat flour
- ⅔ c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Cream butter and sugar, add spices, bananas, eggs and flour. Mix. Add chocolate chips. Scoop into sprayed muffin tins and bake at 350 for 23-28 minutes.
My kids gobble these up for breakfast, pack them in their lunch and feast on them as an after school snack.
Easiest Strawberry Jam Ever – made with just 3 ingredients, in one pot. This small batch, no-pectin strawberry jam is delicious and super easy to make!
Hello there! This is Katie from The Casual Craftlete blog. Today, I am very excited to share one of my favorite jam recipes. This Easiest Strawberry Jam Ever recipe really does live up to it’s name. It’s made with 3 simple ingredients and is so fresh and delicious. Strawberry season will be soon and you will want to save this recipe. This jam is perfect on toast and bagels in the morning, yogurt for a snack, or on top of ice cream for dessert. There really is no wrong way to eat strawberry jam. Sometimes I just dig in with a spoon.
The three ingredients you will need for this jam recipe are fresh strawberries, granulated sugar, and fresh lime juice. Start by washing one 16 oz container of fresh strawberries. Then hull and dice the strawberries into large chunks. Add the prepared strawberries into a medium size sauce pot. Next, add granulated sugar and freshly squeezed lime juice into the sauce pot with the strawberries.
Stir ingredients over medium-low heat until the sugar has dissolved (about 5 minutes). Increase the heat and bring mixture to a rolling boil. Stir and mash strawberries frequently and continue to boil, until jam has thickened (about 10 minutes). I like to use a potato masher because I think it is easier to mash the strawberries, but you could also use the back of a wooden spoon. Then transfer the jam to a clean mason jar and cool to room temperature. Seal the jar with a lid and store in the refrigerator up to 10 days. My jam never lasts that long because I eat it up in just a couple of days.
- 16 oz strawberries, washed, hulled and coarsely chopped
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- Juice from 1 lime
- In a medium sauce pot, add prepared strawberries, granulated sugar and freshly squeezed lime juice.
- Stir ingredients over medium-low heat until the sugar has dissolved (about 5 minutes). Increase the heat and bring mixture to a rolling boil. Stir and mash strawberries frequently and continue to boil, until jam has thicken (about 10 minutes).
- Transfer the jam to a clean mason jar and cool to room temperature. Seal the jar with a lid and store in the refrigerator up to 10 days.
Thank you for letting me share my Easiest Strawberry Jam Ever recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
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The Michaels Makers Challenge for the month of May was to take one of the many classes that Michaels offers. I was really excited because there are so many options and different classes I wanted to take. Cake decorating, oil painting, drawing, flower arraignment, knitting and crochet, all of these are things that I’d like to learn more about.
I went into my local Michaels and spoke with Bonnie, who runs the eduction part of our store. I loved talking to her and finding out more information. Did you know that Michaels offers free classes in their stores? You can try out a new craft skill for just the cost of supplies.
When I spoke with Bonnie, she told me about the upcoming classes and showed me the projects that would be worked on. I decided to go with the knitting class because it was something I have wanted to learn how to do and this was the perfect chance.
The class I went to was for a knit fringe clutch. It was super cute, but Bonnie let me know ahead of time that I would most likely just be learning the motions and that I wouldn’t finish in the class. I did learn everything I would need to finish at home, which I’m still working on. 😉
Our class size was small; 4 students to 1 instructor, which was great for individual attention. I felt as though I could ask questions and get help when needed. I feel that is really important so you don’t get discouraged right from the start.
I roped my sister into taking the class with me. This is her, on the right, and Bonnie the instructor on the left. Bonnie taught us how to read the pattern and sat down with each of us to show us how to get started.
Here’s my first row. Hooray!
and my second row. I got a bit further in the class but I’m still working on it. Can’t wait to show you it all finished.
Another great way to explore your creativity is by trying out a craft kit. Michaels has everything from sewing kits to art kits and everything in between.
I’m dying to know what class would you take at Michaels this month?
Check out the classes the other Michaels Makers took.
I’m a sucker for anything handprint from my girls. I love seeing the growth from year to year through their hands. You probably know this because I like to post project and gift ideas using handprints. Of course I had to make another Mother’s Day Handprint Flower Printable for 2016.
These always make a fun gift for grandmas too because it’s one of a kinda artwork from their favorite children.
They are quick but can be messy so I suggest having some wet wipes nearby. Also, clothes that are okay to have paint on them, and a surface that could get paint on it. 😉
Other then the suggestions above, you’re going to need the free printable, which you can download below, some paint, a paper plate to put the paint on, and a paint brush.
Paint your child’s hand so that you can control the amount. Then they can place the hand on a stem.
You can also let them use their creativity to make flowers with their fingers or thumbs.
This can get on the messy side so beware and have your wipes handy.
I loved watching how she made each flower.
A fun little action shot of her showing me her painted thumb.
And there you have it. You can have each child complete one page each, or have each child do only one flower. This project is so fun and each one is unique.
To download the 3 stem option click below
And to download the 4 stem option click below
All printables are property of The Crafting Chicks, LLP. Not for resale or commercial use. If posting please link back. And if you download it’s good karma to leave a comment.
We are so excited to bring you our Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2016! We’ve rounded up our favorites gift ideas from some amazing shops. These are things that we either have and love or wish we had. We’ve also found some great deals on some of these, but you have to act fast. An make sure you snag something for yourself!
Without further adieu
The Crafting Chicks Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2016
The Fashionista Mom is always on trend. Here are our tops picks:
NuMe Mother’s Day Gift Pack: Who doesn’t love having beautiful hair? NuMe has a great line of hair care and products as well as the tools that will make your hair look it’s best. The blow dryer is so compact and lightweight and works fast. NuMe has a special deal for Crafting Chicks readers: $179 Curl Jam + Bold Dryer + White Shampoo and Conditioner by using Promo Code: CRAFTC179
1. You choose your meals.
2. They deliver fresh ingredients.
3. You cook a delicious meal.
Strong – Fit Mom hits the streets or gym with ease. She actual likes to work out and enjoys showing the kids how to fun exercise is. Here are our top picks:
Charge HR FitBit, well any FitBit really, is sure to make her heart skip a beat. These things are addicting and make you want to move around a lot.
Wireless earbuds are the new thing at the gym. These are a great price and have 5 stars on Amazon.
Swim suit season is hitting fast. Getting a great swimsuit from Athleta is sure to make anyone happy. I’ve gotten my last few from here and I love them. Great fit and they last. You can also
Everyone needs to hydrate when they’re working up a sweat. The CamelBak Podium Big Chill Water Bottle is my favorite. For running, biking, or lifting at the gym you are ready for this anything with these bottles.
The Creative Mom is always finding something clever and creative to do. She loves trying new things and can’t wait to finish old projects. Our tops pics are:
Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils are the best. Soft, thick cores are perfect for shading and shadows. The thick leads resist cracking and chipping making them perfect for adult coloring books.
Everyone wants to have stunning artwork for their home. We love the prints at Minted. Minted has amazing artwork from independent artist. There are prints for every style and taste. For Crafting Chicks Readers Minted is offering 15% off by using SPRING16 (exclusive fine art and home decor)
But maybe your creative mom wants to learn how to paint and make her own artwork. Now she can take any class she wants to. CreativeBug is an online classroom that is self paced and ready when you are. The class list is extensive from sewing children’s clothing and quilts to drawing basics and watercolor. Getting a subscription is sure to make this mom happy!
The sour cream topping takes the cake! These are a perfect treat to take to a family dinner party. You can double the recipe for more! You will want to make more! You can also get creative with the toppings for the mini cheesecakes. We love fresh raspberries and strawberries in the summer…and canned cherries in the winter. We’ve even tried drizzling chocolate and caramel over the mini cheesecakes.
To make the mini cheesecakes, you will need: (Makes 1 Dozen)
2 8 oz. pkgs. cream cheese
3 eggs (separate the yolks and set aside, you will need both)
3/4 cup sugar
1 T. flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 box regular Nilla Wafers
Foil Cupcake Liners
Sour Cream Topping:
3/4 cup sour cream
2 T. sugar
1 T. grated rind of a lemon or 1 T. real lemon juice (optional…but it’s good!)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Berries, Canned berries, Chocolate or Caramel…You Choose!
Place foil liners in the muffin tin. Add a Nilla Wafer to the bottom of each liner.
In a small bowl, beat 3 egg whites until stiff. In a Large bowl, beat together: cream cheese, sugar, 3 egg yolks, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Mix in flour and baking powder. Fold egg whites into cream cheese mixture.
In another bowl, mix together sour cream sugar, lemon rind and juice, and vanilla. Set aside.
Fill each liner 3/4 full with cream cheese mixture. Bake for 18-20 min (check after 12 min with toothpick). Remove from oven, and add a spoonful of the sour cream mixture onto the top of each cheesecake. Return to the oven and bake for another 5-7 minutes. Allow the cheesecakes to cool. Add on your fruit, chocolate or caramel toppings.
- To make the mini cheesecakes, you will need: (Makes 1 Dozen)
- Mini Cheesecakes:
- 2 8 oz. pkgs. cream cheese
- 3 eggs (separate the yolks and set aside, you will need both)
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 T. flour
- ¼ tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 box regular Nilla Wafers
- Foil Cupcake Liners
- Sour Cream Topping:
- ¾ cup sour cream
- 2 T. sugar
- 1 T. grated rind of a lemon or 1 T. real lemon juice (optional...but it's good!)
- ½ tsp. vanilla
- Berries, Canned berries, Chocolate or Caramel...You Choose!
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Place foil liners in the muffin tin. Add a Nilla Wafer to the bottom of each liner.
- In a small bowl, beat 3 egg whites until stiff. In a Large bowl, beat together: cream cheese, sugar, 3 egg yolks, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Mix in flour and baking powder. Fold egg whites into cream cheese mixture.
- In another bowl, mix together sour cream sugar, lemon rind and juice, and vanilla. Set aside.
- Fill each liner ¾ full with cream cheese mixture. Bake for 18-20 min (check after 12 min with toothpick). Remove from oven, and add a spoonful of the sour cream mixture onto the top of each cheesecake. Return to the oven and bake for another 5-7 minutes. Allow the cheesecakes to cool. Add on your fruit, chocolate or caramel toppings.
Hello again! Michelle here and today I’m talking about Photography and making the most of your iPhone photos. I know that you probably have thousands of photos that mean the world to you on your phone right now… I currently have 11,244 photos and 525 videos!!! omgoodness and I have to admit that those are all from this past year!
I use two cameras every single day. My Canon 5D Mark iii and my iPhone 6 (I’m holding out for whatever amazing phone comes out this fall). There are so many apps and filters and resources for photography on the iPhones of today, but I wanted to share with you my process for my iPhone images. There is a fine line between being obsessed and taking 40 shots for that one awesome image… or just taking a couple good images and still being present and involved in the activity that is happening around you. My goal is to never become so involved in getting an image that I’m not present with my family. There is of course a time for both instances of course. There are times that I become a little crazy and my family lets me know. So….. what do I do from taking a photo to posting it on my Instagram account?
First and most importantly, come follow me on Instagram
I use the built in camera of the iPhone to take my photos. I use the “photo” setting. I’m a wide angle kind of girl and I love to get as much into the frame as I can. I feel like the square setting limits a lot of what I can pull into the frame. There are camera functions within many of the photography apps, like VSCO, Instagram and countless others that you can use as well.
Taking Your Images
I look for light when I’m going to take my photo. The most beautiful photos include natural light, whether they are outside or inside my home. Turn your subject so that the light is most flattering on them. Avoid very harsh light and raccoon shadows in the eyes.
I try to be spontaneous with my picture taking on my phone and not focus too much on editing them. I also keep my edits simple and clean. I have three favorite apps that I use for editing.
My first go to app is Photoshop Fix. I use this for the most irritating issue… that angry 11 between my eyebrows or a pimple, scratch, or jelly goo on one of the kids’ faces. Use the healing brush, click and poof it’s gone! If you are a Lightroom user, there is also a Lightroom app.
Next I use an app to edit the look of my image; color, contrast, brightness and sharpness, etc. My favorite app to use is VSCO. I use some of the VSCO presets in Lightroom when editing my photos from big girl camera, so there is some consistency when using the app. VSCO gives you a wide variety of tools to use for your images, including the vertical and horizontal tilt of your photos… for those people who for some reason can’t always take a photo straight. That would be me! Here are two examples and my settings in VSCO.
This morning we ventured to the awesome donut shop in town and this little guy was overwhelmed with the cookie monster in front of him.
All of my color images were edited with the A7 preset and I used the X2 preset for my black and white edit. Once I choose my preset or the filter that will be on the image, I then make the fine adjustments that are found under the tools. For the above two images I made the follow adjustments. Clarity +1, Shadow Save +1, Sharpen +1, Fade +1, Highlight Save +3, Tint +1, and Skin Tone +1. Most of my adjustments were very minor. The only difference on the black and white version was a little added in grain of +2
This image is one that I used on Instagram to show what my car office looks like when I’m waiting for the kids at rehearsals and practices. This image was also the A7 preset with the following adjustments: Contrast +1, Highlights Save +3, Saturation +1, Sharpen +2, Clarify +2.
I’m a huge sucker for sun flare. Some avoid it like the plague, but I love love love a beautiful huge sun flare. This image was also done with the A7 preset. I went a little more drastic with my adjustments to bring out the sun flare more dramatically. Shadows Tint +7, Temperature +1, Highlights Save +6, Clarity +6 and Saturation +1.
I will also use Pic Tap Go for a quicker edit and also Instagram. In Instagram, I typically don’t use the filters at all but instead use the tools similar to VSCO to edit the images. In the end, the goal is to make your image look as close to real life colors as possible while adding a little extra oomph and interest. Avoid filters that make you look like an oompa loompa or an alien. Scroll through the multiple filters and find your favorites. Using consistent filters for editing will give your photography a consistent and clean look.
Since I have 11,244 images, backups are essential. Make sure that your iCloud is up to date and is backing up your images continuously. I’m terrified of a crash. I also use my external hard drives to periodically backup my images as well as an online backup system. I pay a small $3 fee each month with iCloud for an increased amount of storage.
I hope that you have fun doing quick and consistent edits of your iPhone images… and remember to be present and involved in the activities and get in those photos! Come visit me at Michelle Lea Creative.
Salsa recipes are some of my very favorite! Tomato season is just around the corner and I can’t wait! Today we’ve got some of the very best salsa recipes for you. There’s a little something for everyone. Avocado, Peach, Mango, Cilantro, Corn, Pineapple… oh I can almost taste them!
Okie Caviar from The Crafting Chicks
Easiest Fire Roasted Green Salsa from Latina Mama Rama
Avocado Salsa from Cooking Classy
Fresh Mango Salsa from Cookie and Kate
Greek Salsa from Two Peas & Their Pod
5 Minute Restaurant Salsa from The Chunky Chef
Pineapple Salsa from The Gunny Sack
Peach Salsa from The Pioneer Woman
Homemade Fresh Tomato Salsa from Little Broken
Rainbow Salsa from Gimme Some Oven
Tomatillo Salsa Verde from She Wears Many Hats
Chipotle Copycat Corn Salsa Recipe from Bright Green Door
Jalapeno Cilantro Salsa from Laylita’s Recipes
Blueberry Pineapple Salsa from Carlsbad Cravings
Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips from Spend with Pennies
Salsa Verde from Frugal Coupon Living
Fruit Salsa from Know Your Produce
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Hello, if you are coming over from Skip to My Lou, please scroll down for the download!
Teacher Appreciation week is coming up and I’ve been trying to think of a thoughtful gift to give when I saw these Method Pink Grapefuit Cleaners caught. These are my all time favorite cleaner (they’re even on my Amazon subscribe and save). Nothing freshens up a room like a citrus scent! And well, kids are messy and smelly so I figured teachers will appreciate it as much as mom’s do. When giving teacher gifts I aim for a consumable, something they can enjoy and use up so it doesn’t create clutter. And I try to not give treats or food, unless I know what their favorites are.
Pick up a couple bottles of this, get one for you and one for the teacher! Download the printable of choice, I have a Thank You and a Best Teacher one to choose from, have your student write a sweet message, tape it on and your Periodic Element Teacher Appreciation Gift is ready to go!
The made up Periodic Elements go right along with the fun science pattern on the back and sides of the wrapper.
Download the Best Teacher Tag Below:
Download the Thank You Element (as seen on Skip to My Lou below:
Find more teacher appreciation ideas below:
I LOVE banana baked goods. I’m sure you can tell by all the yummy banana recipes that I post. I think I buy bananas just so I can bake with them. Don’t tell my husband. 😉
These yummy Banana Oat Greek Yogurt Muffins are amazing, and if you can believe it, pretty healthy too. There is no oil or flour so they make for a great snack or even breakfast. But you wouldn’t be able to tell by the taste. I had my girls fighting over these.
I like to throw all my ingredients, minus the chocolate chips, into my Blendtec and hit the batter button. It comes out so nice and smooth, you’d never know that there were oats in there.
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 medium ripe bananas
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups rolled oats (old fashioned or quick)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ cup chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 400F. Place muffin liners in muffin pan and spray with cooking spray. Remember there isn't any oil so you'll need to spray so they don't stick.
- Add all the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, into a blender or food processor and mix on high until the batter is smooth and creamy.
- Pour batter into prepared muffin pan, filling each about ¾ full. Sprinkle a few chocolate chips over the top of each muffin. You can also mix them in prior to this, but I like to sprinkle so I can control how many are in each muffin.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the tops of your muffins are set. Allow muffins to cool in pan for about 10 minutes before removing. Store in an air-tight container for up to a week.
I think you’ll enjoy these as well.