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!

Cookbook Bites Smoothie: Banana Cupcake

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)

Recipe by Suzanne Nikolaisen

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Quick Iced Tea (To-Go)

Tree with sunrise
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!

Backpack with travel mug of iced tea to go
On my way to work. In the parking lot with travel mug of iced tea.

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.
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
Iced tea that brews while you're on the go.
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.)

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

Polka-dotted teapot from my children's book
"The Cupcake Tree & Other Silly Poems for Silly You"

The Cupcake Tree (Children's Poems)

I illustrated the polka-dotted pot of tea for a children's books of poems The Cupcake Tree & Other Silly Poems for Silly You that I wrote and illustrated for my daughter which is now available on the Kindle for $2.99. You can see some of my other art at the Fabled Garden Press blog.

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Saturday, October 4, 2014

"B" is for Banana Bread (and Bigfoot)

Banana Bread

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)

Extra Rich Vanilla Extract
Extra Rich Vanilla Extract

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.

B is for Bigfoot, cover sketch
B is for Bigfoot children's ABC book, 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. ???

B is for Bigfoot children's ABC book cover drawing ready to finalize
B is for Bigfoot ABC book cover drawing ready to finalize in ink and add color.

Update: B is for Bigfoot and ABC Book of Wonderful Creatures is available for $2.99 on Kindle.

Fresh baked banana bread
Cookbook Bites Recipe Review of Banana Bread

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 Baking.com

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