Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Strawberry Lemon Bread

Oh my gosh, this bread is so good!

You need to go make this, like right now.
You won't regret it.

I had a quick bread recipe, but I didn't have half of the ingredients, so I just said a quick prayer & started tossing things together. I don't experiment all that often. But I had a feeling this bread was going to turn out nicely & it did. It is just beautiful! :)

It comes together in about 10 minutes, plus bake time.

Strawberry Lemon Bread:
(Makes 1 Loaf)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 cup of strawberry yogurt (I used Yoplait with fruit inside)
1/3 cup coconut oil (you can substitute vegetable or canola oil)
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon.
1 or 1 1/2 cups strawberries, cut in fourths (I used frozen, since it was all I had. I thawed them out a little first)

Mix the first 5 ingredients together. Put strawberries in a bowl & toss with about 1/4 cup of the dry mix, set aside. Mix the wet ingredients together (if using coconut oil, you will need to microwave it for about 30 seconds before adding it, so that it turns to liquid. Otherwise it'll be too hard to work in). Add wet ingredients to the dry mixture & stir just until moistened. Fold in strawberries. Do not overmix or your bread will be tough.

Pour batter into a greased loaf pan & bake at 325 for 45-50 minutes.
Cool for 10 minutes in the pan before removing. You can serve warm or at room temp.

1. I'm sure blueberries or raspberries would be delicious too!
2. You could make muffins out of this by just pouring the batter into muffin tins & baking at 325 degrees for about 18-22 minutes (do the toothpick test. If a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, they're good to go).
3. You could sprinkle a little bit of sugar over the top before baking to give it a slightly crisper/sweeter top.

This bread is not overly sweet. It's light, moist & delicious. This will definitely be a bread that I make during the summer. :)

If you try this, please let me know what you think! <3

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Tastiest Resolution!

Good morning, everyone!

How are your New Years Resolutions holding up?
I have to say that mine is going quite well thus far. Though it's only been a couple of weeks, I am in a good "healthy" groove & I can't see myself breaking it (except on date nights). I feel so good. I have more energy & I've been sleeping better, but I think the best part is that the food I am eating doesn't taste healthy. Which is Always a plus! :)

I have oatmeal almost every morning. I Love oatmeal! I discovered Chocolate Covered Katie (I call her the Oatmeal Queen) & her many different oatmeal recipes. All of which are incredibly healthy AND delicious. :) The Almond Joy one is my favorite by a long shot. Peanut Butter Breakfast Pudding would be second with the Frappuccino one (Yes, it tastes Exactly like a frapp from Starbucks & you can eat it cold. It's so yummy) is a close third.

But check this out gang! (Did anyone catch my Conan reference there?)
Gather round gang! She has healthy cookie recipes too!

Oh my gosh are these cookies ever good. They're all vegan & have such small amounts of sugar that it's mostly protein or grain, depending on the type of cookie you're making. All her recipes are easy to follow & most of them are easy to manipulate depending on your diet (be it sugar free, gluten free, vegan, fat free, etc).

Yesterday my daughter practiced her reading with my son.
2 birds with one stone. She gets practice & the baby doesn't cry.

Whilst she did that, I made this!!
It's banana bread that I threw together in about 10 minutes.
The longest part was waiting for it to bake for 35 minutes.
It was so delicious. My poor husband is allergic to bananas, so he can't partake in this yumminess.
Poor me... I'm going to have to eat this whole thing myself. ;)
Oh, I forgot about my daughter. She hates bananas, but she loves banana muffins/breads. Isn't she weird?

The bread is one of her recipes. It's vegan & incredibly moist. Mine isn't as pretty as hers, but it tasted very good. The texture is a little bit different than a normal quick bread would be, but it's incredibly moist & scrumptious.

Today I am going to continue ignoring the giant tree in my living room (Yay for procrastinating!) & make some breakfast cookies she has on there & her Peanut Butter Bread. You all need to go visit her site! It is really wonderful. :) www.chocolatecoveredkatie.com

All goals depending on the boy, of course. Sometimes he tells me that baking is silly & I should just hold him instead. :)

See that face?
It's his "Why aren't you holding me?" face.

What were your New Years Resolutions (Or did you make any)?
How are they going?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Roos-N-More Zoo

Yesterday we went to Roos-N-More! We didn't quite have the funds to do anything for our daughter on her birthday, which was a couple of weeks ago. So we went out yesterday & celebrated her 6th birthday. It was so much fun! I can't say enough good about the day.

If you have never been to Roos-N-More & you live in, near or plan on visiting Las Vegas/Moapa in the near future you need to go. It is probably one of the coolest places I have ever been to. I'm not sure who had more fun, me or my 6 year old, lol. :)

This was our first time visiting Roos-N-More & I am going to write a review right here. I read a LOT of reviews for this place when I was researching places to take her. People were saying really good things about it, but there were a lot of unanswered questions.

$10.00 gets you in the door. Babies are free, but I'm not sure of the exact age cut-off. You can pay for special tours that show you extra animals that they may not normally be able to bring out into the main area, such as kangaroos/wallabies or porcupines as they may scare easily, hurt someone or themselves. So they're kept away & shown on more private tours.

Upon walking in the door we were greeted by a friendly little coatimundis. I had never heard of these before, but it was really cute. The staff was so friendly & offered bits of information about each animal. They would tell facts about where they're from, what they eat, what their habits are, etc.


The next animal we saw was called a Bearcat. They told us the full name, but I can't remember it. This animal was super cute. It's face was very bear like, which I suppose is where it's nickname came from. ;) He was very sweet. And when you scratch him, your fingers smell like popcorn! It was so crazy. He was very friendly & would try to climb up on you & say hello (I apologize for the quality of my pictures. My camera phone was almost dead & not wanting to cooperate).

A little farther past the Bearcat they had a little gated area that had a bunch of big animals. Two Bactrain (or two hump) Camels, a couple different types of Goat, a Yak (I think), a Zebra, a Donkey, a Zedonk (which is a half zebra/half donkey), some Miniature Horses, as well as a couple of other animals I couldn't identify.
There was an emu in there who did not want anyone to pet the donkey or the zebra, lol. The zebra would go to one side of the fence & stick it's face out for you to scratch, then the emu would come up & scare him away. Then the donkey, who was at the other end of the fence asking to be scratched would get scared away by the emu. This went on for several minutes. The emu was quite persistent that we not pet his friends, lol.

They had an indoor area where they kept the little baby animals like wallabies & a couple of other little critters I can't remember the names of. They had two different monkey breeds in there. Some creepy crawlies (millipede, tarantula, scorpion, king toad). A Kookaburra (yes, just like the song) that laughs & is seriously so so cute! There was a Toucan too! That thing did not look real either. We kept commenting that when it was still, it looked like a plastic statue.
There were many other little animals in there too, I just can't remember each one.

Kookaburra, petting the donkey (before Mr. Emu scared him away)
& trying to get a pic with the monkey, but he hopped away.

A baby kangaroo & an adorable, friendly little thing.. But I can't remember what it was called!
I wish my super power was remembering everything I read/hear.
I would rock.

Petting the babies.

A baby Serval. His name is Mufassa & he was SOOO cute!

My baby peeking out through the stroller.
It was quite cold, so we had him bundled up inside. :)
I <3 his face.

The black & white lemur, who I believe was named Remington, kept jumping on me. I did not mind this at all, as this little creature was so adorable. I would totally have taken him home (I am sure they are not meant to have as pets, but still.. he was a cutie). :) This was the best shot my brother took of him. He kept moving around.
2nd photo is my lovely husband petting a zebra. It is very surreal to see a zebra up close, I might add. You constantly see them in cartoons/movies/discovery channel, etc.. but to see one up close just seems so special. They are majestic creatures.

I'm cheesy.

Elexis, Me & Jonathan holding the Australian Lizard.
He was COOL! I would not at all mind if one of my kids said they wanted a lizard like this.

I didn't ask what kind of bird this was, but I thought she was pretty (Yes, I am say "she" because it's pink. I know it is quite possible that it was a boy, but I just have a feeling this one was a girl, lol). They had a lot of other birds there too.
A parrot greeted us when we came up & another chirped pretty loud & scared my daughter, lol.

The Millipede! Yes, I actually held it. I told my daughter that I would hold it if she did... And she did. So I had to. I minded it less than she did though, surprisingly. It actually just feels like the biggest roly poly ever.
My brother & I used to let those crawl all over when I was little, so I just found my inner child & it became less gross. Lol :)
Jonny took a turn. It is the weirdest feeling ever. All those little legs crawling on you...

They offer an "Otter Tour" and a "Kangaroo Tour". The former is $30.00 & books up quickly because they can only take a handful of people on that tour. The latter can take more people & for that reason, is a much cheaper $7.00.
Now we did not go on the Otter Tour, so I can not tell you anything about that. We did, however, go on the Kangaroo Tour & we all quite enjoyed it. We got to see the inside of a kangaroo's pouch. We saw African Crested Porcupines & learned a lot about them. They are actually pretty huge!
We saw a sloth, though it was too cold for them to bring him out. I think at $7.00 the tour was definitely worth it. I quite enjoyed myself. My husband, daughter & brother all enjoyed it too. So it's definitely a place for all ages.
My suggestion would be to learn from my mistake & CHARGE YOUR CAMERA before you go! I was silly & assumed it had a full (or at least mostly) charged battery.. But you know what they say when you assume. Silly me.
My video camera had only about 30-45 minutes left of battery power, so I got some good footage.. But not everything I would have liked to film. And my phone was almost dead too, so I didn't get to take as many photos as I would have liked. And out of the many I did take, only a handful of them turned out nicely.

So take a good *charged* camera. Eat a good breakfast before you go, so you're not hungry halfway through. Maybe even bring lunch with you & keep it in the car (they won't let you bring food into the park) since the parking lot is not at all far away from the park itself.
Also, remember that you are going to a petting zoo & therefor you will smell like an animal when you leave. I don't know why this thought hadn't occurred to me. We made plans to go eat at Rain Forest Cafe afterward & I am sure we smelled lovely, lol. Next time it will be home first for a shower.

All in all though, the day was simply wonderful. Even the cold weather wasn't enough to lessen the fun.
We all came home, took turns showering & then made cups of hot tea & warm lemonade to warm us up & try to prevent getting sick from the cold weather.

Elexis sleeping with her new snake from Roos-N-More.
She named her Mrs. Snake. :)

One more picture of Zander for good measure. :-D
Can't get enough of him! <3

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A New Attitude for a New Year. :)

Hi! How was everyone's New Years celebration? We celebrated last night. I had set the DVR to record the fireworks so we could watch them the next evening with our daughter. I don't know about you, but New Years at our house calls for Sparkling Apple Cider. This year we all agreed that pumpkin waffles should be thrown into the mix. :)
We turned on the Countdown to New Years recording around 6:30pm & everyone watched that while I made waffles. When the countdown reached a minute, we poured the cider, counted aloud the last 10 seconds, raised our glasses & shouted Happy New Year!! It was fun. Then we told Elexis it was late & time for bed (though I'm not sure she believed it was actually midnight).
The rest of us then watched 50 First Dates. It was a unique, belated, but very fun New Year celebration.
What did you do?

As for resolutions? I haven't made one in a handful of years (because I normally just break them), but this year I think I am ready to try again. I want to work on my mind & body. I want to learn more & get healthier. I want to work on myself. I have been hearing the phrase, "you can't help anyone if you don't help yourself" a lot lately it seems. So I'm going to roll with it & start working on me.
I have found a handful of very healthy & VERY filling breakfast recipes that I am going to start with. I already tried one of them. I've had it three times this week & I LOVE it. It's basically blended peanut butter oatmeal. So scrumptious. :)
What are your resolutions??

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Christmas is over.

Wow, it's already 2013! Happy New Year, by the way. ;)
How were your Christmases though? What did you do? Do you have a favorite Christmas tradition?
Mine is probably having homemade hot chocolate & blueberry muffins for breakfast while opening or handing out gifts.
This was one of the best Christmases in my memory bank. I just had such a wonderful day from beginning to end. Honestly, the entire season was just wonderful. :)

This Christmas was special for my daughter as well. She made a gift for my husband (a little clay coffee cup, painted orange. Because he loves coffee & the color orange), got a Little Mermaid CD for me & picked out the stuffed tool set we all gave to her new little brother. She was very proud of this. :)
She got a lot of great gifts, but there was one that made her cry.
Here's the story:

Three(ish) years ago, Elexis got sick while I was at work. On my way to pick her up I stopped by the store to grab some medicine for her & while there I spotted an adorable, stuffed St. Bernard puppy. He was $5.00 & was screaming at me to take him home to my sick little girl. With the combination of his face & price tag, I could not argue. She loved him. His name was Jellybean & she took him everywhere. He slept with her at night & joined us for activities during the day.
And then he was gone.
We looked everywhere! Our apartment, Grandma's house, my boyfriend's (now husband's) house. We called stores that we had recently been to, but no one had seen him. He was gone. And she was so sad. :(
Since then I have been searching for the exact same puppy & have failed. Miserably.
Until last month. I found a puppy that was VERY similar. Similar enough that I knew she wouldn't notice a difference. I mentioned it to my husband & we decided that at $10.00 it was worth a shot.
Here's how it went.... :)

'Twas the night before Christmas....
Just kidding. I'm not going to attempt a parody. :-P

Santa ate up his cookies & he drank up his coffee (Elexis thought he would need more energy if he was going to visit ALL the children of the world).

Jellybean is left by the cookie plate with a note.

A note from Santa!
Didn't he burn the edges so nicely?? Way to go, Mr. C! ;)

She cried. She was so happy.

She barely put him down the rest of the day.

Gifts from my sister, brother-in-law & their kids.

This is a pretty fun game. :)

Setting it up.
The only thing is that you have to be very careful not to bump it or all the marbles spill & you have to start over.

Iron Chef Mini!!
Lol, she was having fun with her new chef gear. She made herself some oatmeal. Then she helped me make the icing for my German Chocolate Cake.

THIS is my German Chocolate Cake!
It is so delicious yummy divine!
Seriously, this is without question the best German Chocolate Cake I have ever had.
I will make it again & post the recipe.

This is what Christmas is like in a Filipino household. They eat well. :)

This is more of my delicious cake. Oh my soul.
We didn't actually eat the pieces that large. That would have killed us.

Lexi enjoyed it too.
This picture is SOOO blurry! She wouldn't hold still! 

That was a very very fun & very exhausting Christmas. We all slept like babies when we got home. :)