Magic Reindeer Food Recipe and Free Printable

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A fun activity to do with the kids this year is to make magic reindeer food that can be sprinkled on the yard on Christmas Eve. The sparkle will draw the reindeer to your house on Christmas Eve.

Reindeer Food

Making it is super easy! Lucas and I made a large batch using Kellogg’s All Bran Flakes so that we could pass them out to all of the cousins before Christmas.

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Magic Reindeer Food Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Kellogg’s All-Bran Flakes, lightly crushed
  • 1/4 cup red or green sugar crystals
  • 1/4 cup Christmas sprinkles

Directions: Place all ingredients in a large zip-top bag and gently shake. Pour into small mason jars and add label with poem.

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Magic Reindeer Poem

Sprinkle on the lawn at night
The moon will make it sparkle bright
Santa’s reindeer fly and roam
This will guide them to your home

 

FREE PRINTABLE

Just right click on the image below, save to your computer and print to whatever size you need.

 

 

Reindeer Food Printable Tag

 

 

 

 

 

Blaze Play Date Ideas & FREE Play Date Pack

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As you know, we (as all parents) are big proponents of utilizing toys to teach kids important concepts such as language, math, science, etc. The best way to learn is through FUN. That is true for all of us – adults include. That’s why we love Nickelodeon’s Blaze and the Monster Machines and the NEW toys available at Target and other major toy retailers. Through the show and toys, Blaze and his buds teach kids about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) concepts. I’m very excited that Target is also offering a FREE Play Date Pack for download at Target.com/Blaze that is the perfect reason to get young Blaze fans together for some learning fun! We had our own little play date recently and it was a hit!

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The Play Date Pack has recipes like this delicious smoothie, which the kids LOVED.

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even cute cut-out invitations…

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activity sheets for the kiddos…

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and various STEM concepts that we introduced about during the play date!

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It was so much fun for the kids!

Download Your Blaze Play Date Pack and More!

To download your FREE Blaze Play Date Pack available exclusively via Target, head on over to Target.com/Blaze. Make sure to also visit  www.blazePlay Date.com where you can upload a photo of your kiddos Blaze play date and enter for a chance to win a $100.00 Target GiftCard! They are giving out one (1) GiftCard per month from now until December. Plus, everyone who uploads a photo will receive a 10% coupon offer for Blaze at Target via email!

Our Summer Yurt Camping Trip & Campfire Hot Dogs Recipe

We love camping because it gives us the perfect opportunity to truly disconnect and spend quality time with each other as a family and with nature. It’s a moment to breathe and find some stillness in a world that has gotten way too fast paced. This past month, we packed up the car and headed only 30 minutes away to Fort Yargo State Park in Georgia to do some yurt camping. This is our third time camping in a yurt and let me tell you…it’s a much easier way to camp with young kids.

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We had a great time! We did lots of goofing off…

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and hiking…

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and canoeing…

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and crafts…

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and reading…

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and sleeping…

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and swinging in the hammock…

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and eating, of course! No camping trip is complete without s’mores which we packed into a container. Unwrapping all of the chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers and placing them in a big container makes the whole process of making s’mores much easier so you can just enjoy each other’s company around the fire.

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Oh and eating them is nice too! 🙂

We also made Campfire Dogs, which are a twist on the boring hot dog and so much fun to make! Here’s how you make them.

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Campfire Crescent Hot Dogs

Ingredients

  • 1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls (8 count)
  • 8 hot dogs
  • Condiments (mayo, ketchup, mustard, relish, etc)

Directions
1. Unroll the crescent rolls into separate triangles along the perforations. 2. Place the hot dog on the edge of the widest part of the triangle and roll the hotdog.

Campfire Dogs

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3. Skewer your crescent dog and roast it over the fire until golden brown. We like to roast over indirect heat (not directly over the fire) so the crescent can completely bake through and then at the end we place it over the fire to get it a little crispy. 4. Serve immediately with mayo, ketchup, mustard or other condiments.

If you want to read more camping with kids tips activity ideas, make sure to read my Camping with Preschoolers post too!

 

Celebrate the Great American Campout

The summer is a great time to take the family camping. Plus, the Great American Campout Day is in a few days on June 27th! Below are some fabulous ways to celebrate Great American Campout Day in Georgia or make sure to visit National Wildlife Federation for additional ideas throughout the country.

Amicalola Falls State Park- The Hike Inn

A five-mile hike from the top of Amicolola Falls will bring visitors to the 20-guest room Hike Inn. Guests have access to hot showers, but there are no outlets at this backcountry getaway. The Hike Inn serves breakfast and dinner every day in a family-style setting and is perfect for Appalachian Trail hikers or families looking for a wilder kind of vacation. gastateparks.org/AmicalolaFalls

Smithgall Woods State Park- Luxury Cottage Camping

If you have never seen a chandelier in the middle of the woods, stay a night at Smithgall Woods State Park’s Smithgall Cottage. Rustically opulent and built of smooth Montana lodge pole pines, the cottage features immaculately decorated rooms, including a great room with a large stone fireplace, an exercise room, a kitchen, a dining room and four bedrooms (2 Kings; 1 Queen; 1 Double/Double) with private baths. Nestled at the heart of the park, the cottage’s large decks overlook the surrounding bubbling brooks and gorgeous forest scenery. gastateparks.org/SmithgallWoods

Stephen C. Foster State Park- Suwanee River Eco-Lodge

Run by Stephen C. Foster State Park, the Suwanee River Eco-Lodge in Fargo, Ga., consists of 10 cottages and a conference room that can seat up to 100 people. Perfect for hunting or paddling vacations, business meetings, retreats, reunions and weddings, the eco-lodge sits just 18 miles from the beautiful Okefenokee Swamp. gastateparks.org/StephenCFoster

Yurt “Glamping”

There’s no need to pitch a tent when High Falls, Tugaloo, Red Top Mountain, Fort Yargo and Cloudland Canyon State Parks offer the glamorous camping (“glamping”) option of yurts. Made of wood and canvas, yurts sleep up to six people and come with beds, futons, screened windows and locking doors, as well as an outside deck, picnic table and grill/fire ring. Yurts will also soon be added to Sweetwater Creek State Park. http://gastateparks.org/Yurts

First-Time Camper Program

For those who have never ventured into the woods, 13 state parks offer loaner gear through the First-Time Camper program. The program’s equipment was donated to the parks by Coleman, REI and The North Face, and, for just $50, first-time adventure seekers can spend two nights in a modern campground with a tent, sleeping pads, chairs, a camp stove, lantern and marshmallow-roasting sticks. Park staff and volunteers can help set up the tents and provide “Camping 101” instructions. http://gastateparks.org/FirstTimeCamper

 

Baseball Snack and Goody Bag Ideas & Free Printable

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Spring baseball is in full swing and we are soaking up every glorious moment at the ball field with Lucas and his PeeWee baseball team. There’s nothing like spending a breezy, sunny afternoon on the ball field. Win or lose…I just love watching my kid play. His intensity and passion for the game is truly inspiring.

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While we always do some sort of end-of-year party with goody bags for the team, I also like to bring a special snack for the kids at some point during the season. It’s a fun way of recognizing the kids efforts and hard work throughout the season!

Baseball Goody Bag Ideas

The snacks don’t have to be difficult, but they do have to be yummy! We like to include Kellogg’s® Rice Krispies Treats® – these are a classic treat beloved by kids and adults. The packaged ones make it easy to include in snack/goody bags for the team without spending time in the kitchen. They are the perfect “on-the-go” treat!

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Along with the Kellogg’s® Rice Krispies Treats®, I like to add a couple fun things like baseball bounce balls and temporary tattoos, sunflower seeds, and a sports drink.

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Today, I want to share with you a cute printable that you can use for your own child’s baseball or softball snack bags. The tags say “Great Game!” Just download, print, cut out, and attach to the snack or goody bag.

Download Printable

To download your FREE printable, click HERE.

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Enter to win! Kellogg’s® Rice Krispies Treats® presents MLB Play Catch with Cal Online Instant Win Game. To enter, click HERE.

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Kellogg’s® Rice Krispies Treats®, Major League Baseball® and legendary shortstop Cal Ripken, Jr., are teaming up to help families unlock the fun this baseball season with their favorite snack! Prizes include playing catch with Cal Ripken, Jr. during the MLB 2015 All Star Week, signed baseballs and more! Plus make sure to find year-round inspiration for family fun with Rice Krispies Treats® at www.KelloggsFamilyRewards.com. You can also vote for your favorite creations for the chance to win more exciting prizes.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Kellogg’s® Rice Krispies Treats®.

12 Days of Christmas Activities – Day 11 Gingerbread House Party #12JollyDays

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We have lots of young nieces and nephews, which only makes the holidays more fun. Every year, we like to host a holiday party that is just for them. We have thrown cookie decorating parties, movie night & hot cocoa parties, and this year we hosted a gingerbread house decorating party.

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Several of my nieces and nephews came over and donned their cute, personalized aprons (which doubled as party favors)…

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enjoyed a few yummy treats and decorated their own gingerbread house. To keep it simple, we purchased gingerbread house kits, but you can also make gingerbread houses from graham crackers and icing.

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it’s a fun, low key party that is easy to pull together and a lot of fun for the kids (and adults too)!

 

Get the Holiday Products Pictured Above

Whimsical Sugar Cookie Apron by Personal Creations. Perfect for holiday baking with your little one, this red apron features white polka dots and sugar cookie appliques. 

Sous Chef Apron by Personal Creations. Adult and child sizes available. 

Make sure to visit PersonalCreations.com for lots of great Christmas and holiday decor and gift ideas! Save 20% off your entire order when you enter PCSM20 at checkout!

$500 Holiday Giveaway!

Enter via the giveaway widget below for a chance to win a $500 PersonalCreations.com Gift Card! Must live in the US and be 18 + up to enter.

$500 Personal Creations Gift Card Giveaway

12 Days of Christmas Activities – Day 10 Give Back #12JollyDays

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One of the most important lessons that we want our kids to learn throughout their lives is the importance of community and helping one another and giving back. While these are lessons we encourage year-round, we also make it a point to include several give-back activities during the holidays. Whether it’s running over a batch of cookies to share with our neighbors or picking out a few toys to give to a child in need or baking a batch of treats to deliver to our local fire station, we make sure that Lucas (and Amelia will too when she gets older) is fully involved in the process.

This year, we put together some treats for two of our local fire stations…

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and then hand delivered the treats right after school.

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It was a great experience for all of us and a wonderful way to show our gratitude to the men and women who protect us every day. The firefighters were awesome – they gave us a tour of the station and invited Lucas up on the firetruck and let him try their uniform on. He was so excited!

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Make some time to give back in some way this holiday season. Your family could sponsor a family in need, buy a few toys for a child-in-need, volunteer at a food bank or drive, deliver treats to your local fire station, write letters to active or wounded military men and women.

 

Get the Holiday Products Pictured Above

Personalized Baking Pans by Personal Creations. Several designs and styles. Metal pan heats evenly, browns food beautifully and will never rust.

Make sure to visit PersonalCreations.com for lots of great Christmas and holiday decor and gift ideas! Save 20% off your entire order when you enter PCSM20 at checkout!

$500 Holiday Giveaway!

Enter via the giveaway widget below for a chance to win a $500 PersonalCreations.com Gift Card! Must live in the US and be 18 + up to enter.

$500 Personal Creations Gift Card Giveaway

12 Days of Christmas Activities – Day 9 Family Game Night #12JollyDays

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One of the easiest ways to connect as a family is to plan a game night. We love doing this during the holiday season when the winter nights are longer and we just want to be snuggled up inside. It’s also a great activity to do during the week right after dinner. This year, we surprised Lucas by including game night as one of our daily advent activities AND pulled out a bunch of brand new board games we knew he would love!

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We set aside a few hours with no phones or TV and it was ON!

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And, of course – we enjoyed some treats!

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Below are a few tips to have a successful family game night.

  • Make it special by setting out a few treats and hot cocoa
  • Have music playing in the background
  • Put away all distractions, including smartphones, iPads, etc. This should be time that everyone focuses on each other.
  • Get the kids involved by letting them take turns choosing the games you all play
  • Be open minded about the games you play! Board games, video games, card games, charades – all are fun!

 

Get the Holiday Products Pictured Above

Snowman Face Mugs by Personal Creations. Toast to good friends and cozy winter nights with a cup of hot cocoa served in this merry mug. Smiling snowman looks just like the real thing–right down to his charcoal eyes and mouth and 3-D carrot nose. 

Santa Advent Figurine Calendar by Personal Creations. This personalized Advent Calendar is both fun and elegant and looks beautiful in the home. It’s made of wood and has numbered drawers that can be filled with a small chocolate or toy or rolled up paper with an activity. 

Make sure to visit PersonalCreations.com for lots of great Christmas and holiday decor and gift ideas! Save 20% off your entire order when you enter PCSM20 at checkout!

$500 Holiday Giveaway!

Enter via the giveaway widget below for a chance to win a $500 PersonalCreations.com Gift Card! Must live in the US and be 18 + up to enter.

$500 Personal Creations Gift Card Giveaway

12 Days of Christmas Activities – Day 8 Cookies for Santa #12JollyDays

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The tradition of leaving cookies for Santa is one of our favorites. Every year, we pick a day close to Christmas Eve (usually 1-2 days before) and bake a few different types of cookies and treats. We don’t worry about whether the cookies are perfect or misshapen. It’s just about having fun and being together. I like to choose easy recipes that Lucas can mostly do himself.

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Fun and cute like the treats below!

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On Christmas Eve, we head to my parents for their annual party and when we get home Lucas puts out a plate of cookies and glass of milk for Santa…

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He also likes to leave Santa a note.

“I love you. Your the best. Merry Christmas.” – Lucas

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and, carrots for the reindeer of course!

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From baking and decorating the cookies to leaving the cookies out for Santa on Christmas Eve, this is such a fun activity to do as a family.

Get the Holiday Products Pictured Above

Dear Santa Message Plate by Personal Creations. Start a new Christmas Eve ritual by leaving Santa a special message on the cookie plate. He can even write back! Includes soapstone chalk.

Sous Chef Apron by Personal Creations. Adult and child sizes available. 

Make sure to visit PersonalCreations.com for lots of great Christmas and holiday decor and gift ideas! Save 20% off your entire order when you enter PCSM20 at checkout!

$500 Holiday Giveaway!

Enter via the giveaway widget below for a chance to win a $500 PersonalCreations.com Gift Card! Must live in the US and be 18 + up to enter.

$500 Personal Creations Gift Card Giveaway

How To Keep Your Family Active & Healthy This School Year

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The summer is officially winding down and kids are headed back to school. Lucas actually started the 2nd grade a few weeks ago and already things are super busy. It’s back to early mornings, getting breakfast on the table, rushing out the door to get Lucas to school on time, homework, after school activities, dinner, etc. Craziness! When things get busy, it’s so easy for some of the important things like eating healthy and leading an active lifestyle to fall by the wayside. It’s definitely easier and quicker to skip breakfast or go through a drive-thru for dinner! So today I thought I’d share with you a few tips on how to keep your family active and healthy even when things get busy this school year.

Active Family Checklist

Start the day with a healthy breakfast. This is important for EVERYONE in the family. Yes, including YOU. A healthy breakfast doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Fresh fruit, whole grain cereal, and milk is easy, delicious and quick!

Have easy and nutritious snacks ready for kids to choose from after school. A few ideas include: fresh fruit that’s set out in a bowl, string cheese, milk, yogurt, and whole grain crackers. The key is to let your kids know what they can and can’t have and have these snacks easily accessible to them.

Enroll your kids in active after school activities. Sports are always great, of course! Lucas plays baseball so three nights out of the week, we are at the ball park for practice or games. I even use part of this time to be active myself by taking the baby for a walk around the park in her stroller or hitting the playground while Lucas is at practice.

Even if it’s only for 20 minutes – go outside as a family! This could be a trip to the local park or a walk around your neighborhood or even head out to your backyard to throw a ball, play hopscotch, or jump rope. Not only is it good for you to be active, but the entire family gets to unwind after a long day at school and work and you get to spend quality time together. It’s a win-win!

Limit screen time. This includes TV, iPads, iPods, video games, computers…all of it. If kids have limits set on their electronic usage then they WILL find other, more active things to do. I like to keep a list of activity ideas for Lucas so that when he says “I’m borrrred. I don’t know what to dooooooo” – I can just hand him the list of ideas. The list includes everything from ride your bike to build a fort to chores.

Plan your dinner menu ahead of time. This way you can plan around after school activities and ensure that even on those nights you can still have a healthy, home cooked meal. For example, we try to plan meals that will have leftovers during the week. Then on nights that Lucas has baseball we can eat leftovers. Many times we will repurpose leftovers meaning that last night’s roast will turn into hot roast beef sandwiches and a salad tonight. Keeps leftovers from getting boring!

Get a good night’s sleep. Sleep is important for all of us. We need to refuel our bodies every night with the proper amount of sleep so that the next day we have the energy to make healthy and active choices.

This conversation is sponsored by Horizon Organic. The opinions and text are all mine.

Tips for Cooking with Kids plus a Kid-Friendly Recipe!

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One of our favorite things to do as a family is spend time in the kitchen. I’ve been cooking with Lucas since he was very young (about 2 years old) and he loves it. I can honestly say that involving him in the kitchen has helped him to learn to appreciate good food, healthy eating, cooking from scratch, and has even been educational as it helps to reinforce math and reading (measuring ingredients, reading a recipe, etc). I plan on doing the same thing with little Amelia – in fact, she is already chomping at the bit to help in the kitchen! The key to cooking with kids is preparation – below are a few tips that have helped us.

Cooking with Kids

Tips for Cooking with Kids

1. Be prepared. Set out all of the ingredients and utensils before your child enters the kitchen. If your child is younger, then pre-measure all of the ingredients that way he can help by pouring the ingredients into the bowl. One trick that I used as Lucas got older and really wanted to measure his own ingredients but wasn’t quite able to do it without a lot of help from me is that I would scoop out all of the flour (or whatever ingredient) the recipe called for and put it in a bowl. Then, I would have him “measure” the ingredient from that bowl into another bowl. That way if he didn’t fill the measuring cup enough or too much – I knew that he couldn’t mess up the recipe since the bowl he was measuring from had the right amount.

2. Make it educational! Start by involving them in picking the recipe you will both make, then have them read the recipe (or read it to them if they are too young to read) and practice math by measuring, counting the stirs, etc.

3. Give kids age-appropriate utensils like plastic and wooden spatulas and spoons. However, allow ores-school aged kids to cut. I know it’s scary, but this is the one thing they will really want to do and will make them feel good. What we did with Lucas is we allowed him to cut veggies and fruit using a butter knife. I’d pre-cut some things for him to make it easier and I’d give him softer things to cut (i.e. button mushrooms, bananas, berries, etc).

4. Be safe! Make sure to keep sharp knives away from kids, turn pot handles so they can’t be grabbed by tiny hands, offer kids a sturdy, balanced step stool, and teach your kids how to be safe in the kitchen.

5. Make it fun! Turn on some music, give kids a chef’s hat or their own personalized apron to wear. Most of all, it’s important that everyone have a good attitude. So be prepared for spills, flour on the floor, etc. That’s just part of it and it’s fun!

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Personalized Sous-Chef Apron via Personal Creations

Just this week, we put our aprons on and whipped up one of our favorite kid-friendly recipes – Banana-Walnut Bread and both kiddos joined in. Well, Amelia mostly ate the bananas and stood next to her big brother looking awfully cute LOL. Lucas, on the other hand, pretty much did the rest with just a little help from me!

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This is a wonderful recipe for kids because there are several steps that are just fun to do and easy for kids of all ages. The bananas have to be mashed.

Lucas mashing bananas

Lucas mashing bananas in our personalized The Jolly Kitchen bowl from Personal Creations. See it HERE.

 

The nuts have to be crushed (we use a mortar and pestle now, but when Lucas was younger we would put them in a large zip-top bag and let him crush the nuts with a small rolling pin).

Using the mortar and pestle

Using the mortar and pestle

And, of course there’s measuring…

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and, mixing…

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Personalized Wooden Utensil Set via Personal Creations

 

Banana-Walnut Bread Recipe

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt {or regular table salt}
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup chopped nuts {your choice}
  • 1 cup very ripe bananas, mashed {approximately 4 medium bananas}

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with butter.

2. In a large bowl, beat the softened butter and sugar until creamed. Add the eggs, lemon juice and vanilla, mix well.

3. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and stir together. Stir into the butter mixture until just combined–you don’t want to over mix–it’s ok if there are a few lumps.

4. Finally, fold in the sour cream, walnuts and bananas. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.

5. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool loaf in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Happy cooking! To check out any of the personalized kitchen gear above, please visit PersonalCreations.com. They have tons of personalized products for everyone in the family and they make the perfect gift for any occasion. LOVE, love, LOVE!