Saturday Small Talk

It’s Fourth of July weekend! What are you up to? The 4th rates pretty high on my list of favorite holidays. Every year, we spend the weekend at a cabin with friends. We eat and drink with abandon and spend an afternoon floating down the river. It’s the ultimate in leisure time, and we all look forward to it!

This year, we’re starting a jello shot making competition. Check back next week for our attempt and the results!

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In case you missed it…changing pizza up with a yummy calzone recipe and our first I Love Where I Live–a local’s take on site seeing Washington, DC.

The best of the United States. MICHIGAN WINS!!!! Finally, an objective source recognizes my state’s awesomeness. While you’re at it, 7 Michigan day trips.

If you jump through a bunch of hoops, you could wind up with a home on the island of Sicily for FREE.

Do or don’t: keeping your maiden name.

What I learned leading tours at a southern plantation.

It’s not your job to help everyone.

“Perceptions of mate value change the more time that people spend together.” Which is to say, people can become more or less attractive based on many factors beyond a 6-pack and a symmetrical face.

Is our obsession with CrossFit and boot camp type workouts good for us?

Garrison Keillor is retiring, and a new voice will be at the helm of A Prairie Home Companion.

Tweaking your cookie recipe ever so slightly could give you the exact results you want. More crunchy, more chewy, fluffier, flatter, etc.

Enjoy your weekend!

Easy Banana Bread

It doesn’t happen very often, but sometimes our bananas get to the point they are past the point of being tasty. They’re not rotten, but are definitely over-ripe. Enter Banana Bread. This recipe is so simple, requires a mixing spoon, one half cup measuring cup, one bowl, a teaspoon, and a bread pan. Minimal ingredients, minimal dishes to do, and maximum delicious.

Banana Bread

Based on Simply Recipes

You’ll need:

  • 2 over-ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups flour

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mash your bananas. This should be pretty easy, as they’ll be soft. If there are still small chunks remaining, it’s not a big deal. Mix in melted butter, sugar, egg and vanilla. Blend well.

3. Add baking soda and salt. Mix. Add flour, and fold in until just combined. Don’t over-work the batter.

4. Butter or spray a bread pan. Pour batter in pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes, but check it as early as 40 minutes. The loaf is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

5. Allow loaf to cool in pan. Once cool, remove, slice, and serve.

It’s best when it’s still a little warm from the oven, but will be good for 2-3 days in an air tight container. Good luck making it last that long!

In case you’re interested….an easy granola recipe and homemade cinnamon rolls.

Reese’s Ice Cream Cake

There is nothing I love more than peanut butter and chocolate combining their powers. I married a man who agrees with this sentiment, so when he asked for a Reese’s Ice Cream Cake for his birthday, I was more than happy to oblige.

I used this recipe as my foundation, and modified it to make this creamy, chocolatey, peanut buttery, delicious dessert. It’s perfect for birthdays or a Sunday afternoon treat, and can easily be made a day or two ahead of when you want to serve it.

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Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream Cake

You’ll need:

  • 1 8″x8″ peanut butter swirl brownies. Make ahead, as they’ll need time to cool
  • 1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream (my fave is Breyer’s Natural Vanilla)
  • 1 12 oz. bag of mini Reese’s peanut butter cups, unwrapped and chopped into quarters
  • 20 oreos
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • Whipped cream

1. Make your brownies. Allow them to cool.

2. When they’re cool (or you can’t stand waiting any longer), pull your ice cream out of the freezer and allow it to soften on the counter. You want ice cream you can stir, but not melted ice cream. This will only take 20 or 30 minutes, less if it’s really warm in your house. While it’s softening, prepare the crust (steps 3 and 4), and unwrap and chop the peanut butter cups into quarters.

3. Put the oreos in a Ziploc bag, and smash them to smithereens using a meat tenderizer or a hammer.

20150405_1817134. Prepare a 9 inch spring form pan by spraying the bottom and sides. In a bowl, mix the crushed oreos and melted butter. Press mixture into the bottom of the spring form pan to form your crust.

5. Slice the brownies into tiny squares, about 1/2 inch on each side. Add ice cream, brownies, and half of the chopped Reese’s cups into a large bowl. Use a spatula to fold it all together. The goal is to not crush the brownies or the Reese’s!

6. Once it’s is well mixed, scoop into the spring form pan and level the top. Cover with saran wrap so the wrap is touching the entire top of the cake. This will help prevent freezer burn.

7. Once you’re ready to serve, pipe whipped cream around the edges and sprinkle the remaining Reese’s cups in the middle.

Enjoy!

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