Friday, December 5, 2014

Peanut Butter & Blueberry Smoothie

Long ago and across town, there used to be a crêperie that made crepes to order. One option was peanut butter and blueberries. So very good! This morning I put said ingredients (not the crepes) in the blender and created a smoothie--instantly transported by taste back to the trendy little neighborhood crêperie and good memories of visiting the shop with my family.

After I poured a serving of the Peanut Butter & Blueberry smoothie into a travel mug to take to-go, I poured a taste and it was indeed a splendid concoction for a blueberry and peanut butter fan like myself. If you like this combo, I bet you'll like this too. :) 

Then I poured the last bit for my dachshund. He's a huge smoothie fan and this one was no exception. He's now content and taking his first morning nap.


Peanut Butter & Blueberry Smoothie
1/2 C Blueberries (frozen)
1 Chobani Blueberry yogurt
1 T Blueberry jam
2 T Peanut butter
1 banana
1 C ice
1/3 C milk
1/2 C water
2 packets of Splenda

Put the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth, serve immediately. 

Source: Suzanne Nikolaisen

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Pumpkin Muffins (Lowfat)

I've been looking for lighter recipes for go-to favorites and found one that is a lot lighter than Heirloom Pumpkin Walnut Muffins. This recipe for Pumpkin Muffins calls for no butter, milk or eggs. Since it was Halloween I kicked the recipe up with Guittard Vanilla-Milk chips and walnuts. (The white chocolate chips were awesome with pumpkin in the Buttermilk Pumpkin Pancakes.)

This recipe works with just the pumpkin, the cake mix and the water.

Pumpkin Muffins
1 15 oz can of pureed pumpkin
1 Package spice cake mix
2/3-1 C water
1/2 C Vanilla chips (white chocolate chips)*
1 C Walnuts (chopped)*

Combine ingredients and mix well. I think (I was going for the traditional muffin batter consistency and added a little too much water and they came out a touch under done, so you might go for a little thicker batter--that you'll get with the measurement above.) Spray the muffin tin with butter flavored Pam and bake 20-ish minutes or until a toothpick test comes out clean.

*Optional ingredients.

Original Recipe Source: The Better Baker, Lowfat Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Smoothie: Banana Cupcake

I reached for some yogurt goodness today. Gotta run, but this is perfect for on-the-go. Enjoy!

Smoothie: Banana Cupcake
2 C ice cubes
1 C water
1 & 1/2 banana
1 Yoplait Light: Boston Cream Pie yogurt (2 points)
1 package WW Smoothies mix: Greek Yogurt & Honey (2 points)
1/16th tsp (Tiny, tiny bit, couple of drops) of almond flavoring

Blend ingredients together and serve immediately. (4 WW points, 24 ounces)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Quick Iced Tea (To-Go)

This was the sunrise yesterday. Beautiful!
Homemade iced tea is kind of a grass-roots thing we can do to make a smaller footprint AND drink more water. Win-win! Go you! Go us! :) A "coffee-shop rebellion?" If only they didn't sell those lovely breakfast sandwiches, pastries, and have such nice atmosphere!
On my way to work. In the parking lot.
This method of iced tea is super easy and calls for a reusable travel mug (no paper cup sent to the landfill), tap water and a bag of your favorite tea (which I believe is biodegradable: plant matter+paper). You don't have to drive anywhere to get it (no additional carbon emissions from your car per-serving). Most travel mugs seem to hold about 16-20 ounces of fluid/water.
One of the last roses of summer? Looked like a watercolor painting to me.
When we make our own tea at home we can choose to go herbal or caffeinated and we know what flavor we're getting. (There's no weirdness like the "cutting-edge" flavors at the coffee shops. The last time I ordered an iced tea from a coffee shop I ordered blueberry tea and it had a nasty sage(?) flavor as well. The tea wasn't even drinkable. I dumped it out thinking "What a waste of money! I've got to be able to make this better myself, at home.") Making tea to-go at home is a snap and we get to enjoy the "fruits" of our labor (fruit tea... ha!) Oye! It's too early for puns! Enjoy!

Iced Tea (To-Go)
1 Tea bag (your flavor of choice)
16 oz.+ cold tap water
Sweetner (2-3 packets of Splenda, optional)
1 Travel mug

Get your favorite travel mug and fill it with cold tap water (or drinking water). Add 1 tea bag of your  choice. I tend to use fruit flavors like blueberry or strawberry. Add sweetener if needed and add the lid to the container. Allow to steep approximately 15-30 minutes before drinking. (Just leave the tea bag in. There's less fuss, and with the blueberry and strawberry, it doesn't seem to affect the flavor and the tea bag seems to stay out of the way while drinking.) I make this before I leave for work and by the time I get to the office, it's ready to drink. (Option: Try 2 tea bags with different flavors like white tea and peach and see what you think.)


P.S. About the spotted tea pot...

I created this little pot of tea for The Cupcake Tree a book of silly poems I wrote for my daughter. You can see some of my other art at the Fabled Garden Press blog. I'm in the process laying out the book to publish to the Kindle and the Nook.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

"B" is for Banana Bread (and Bigfoot)

My daughter's friend stayed over, so I made some banana bread for breakfast. When I went to look for the recipe on Cookbook Bites I realized I hadn't actually posted my favorite recipe to the blog so I grabbed my camera to remedy this. (Recipe below)

While the banana bread was baking, I went to work on the cover art for an ABC book I've been working on with Matt Smith. The book is called "B" is for Bigfoot, an ABC Book of Wonderful Creatures that will be available to preorder in November as an eBook. I've been busting a move getting the art finished and have love, love, loved working on this project! We have an editorial review coming in about a week for final changes.

Early cover sketch
My drawing teacher in college suggested I create something like a children's book... so, I've been working on this since last winter creating letters to go with my favorite legendary monsters as a fun way to introduce the storybook of world myth (so-to-speak) to kids as they're learning their letters. It's fun to watch shows like Finding Bigfoot and Destination Truth---and years ago In Search of with Leonard Nimoy. I'm guessing there are other cryptozoology fans out there because they're still making these shows. ???

Cover drawing ready to finalize in ink and add color.

Banana Bread
1 C walnuts (optional, I didn't have any)
1 3/4 C (Plus 1 heaping T, high altitude) all-purpose, unbleached flour
3/4 C Sugar
1 t Baking powder
1/2 t Baking soda
1/2 t Salt
1 t Cinnamon
2 Eggs
1/2 C Butter, melted (Cooled)
3 very ripe bananas, mashed (about 1-1/2 cups)
1 t Vanilla

Combine the walnuts, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a separate bowl.  Next melt the butter and cool. In a separate bowl combine the eggs, butter, mashed bananas and vanilla. Add the wet mixture to the dry and combine. Prepare 1 loaf pan. Pour batter into the pan and bake at 350 for 55 minutes (or until a toothpick test comes out clean). Let the loaf of banana bread cool a few minutes then slice to serve.

Recipe Source: Banana Bread Recipe & Video by Stephanie Jaworski, Joy of

Copyright notice: "B" is for Bigfoot was created by Suzanne Nikolaisen and Matthew Smith as a Fabled Garden Press book. All rights reserved. Copyright 2014.


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