On the Menu: Melt In Your Mouth Banana Bread


{image via Smitten Kitchen; no relation to my recipe.  just a pretty picture}

This recipe comes from Orange, Texas where my mom grew up.  Mary Martell was one of my grandmother's best friends and she loved to cook.  To celebrate one of Mary's big birthdays, her family and friends surprised her with a cookbook full of collected recipes.  I go to this book often for Southern favorites and comfort food.  This banana bread is delicious and incredibly moist!  Freezes well too!  I baked this yesterday...

2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
2 cups flour
4 eggs
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups bananas, very ripe, mashed
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix oil and sugar together in a large bowl.  Add the eggs and mashed bananas, mix well.  Mix all dry ingredients together and add to the other ingredients. Mix just until well blended. Stir in nuts if desired. Put in 2 well greased medium loaf pans. Bake 55 minutes.



What I Want Now: Antelope Carpet by Stark






Oh my, oh my!  I am currently obsessed with the antelope carpet by Stark.  It is fabulous and a different masculine option rather than seagrass which is a common find here in Houston and other Texas cities.  Don't get me wrong, I adore seagrass and have it in various places in my home.  But I am head-over-heels for this look and hopefully I will have the chance to use it one day.  I think it would look amazing not only in a study, but a children's playroom (if you have all boys like me!) or even in a guest room.

I've heard the antelope carpet is pricey, but not absurd and there is a waiting list.  Lucky for me, the space I envision it in is not too big!

{image credits: 1 HAR, 2+3 Maddie G Designs, 4 Cote de Texas, 5 The Peak of Chic}


Over-the-Knee Boots


I bought the above boots in black yesterday at Nordstrom's.  One of my favorite looks during the fall and winter is to wear boots over skinny jeans.  It's almost a daily wardrobe staple of mine during the colder months.  They are like my flats for winter.  I have been seeing over-the-knee boots everywhere lately and really wanted to try a pair out.  I had to laugh at myself when I went shopping yesterday.  Here is how my conversation went with the salesgirl...

Salesgirl:  Hi, how can I help you?
Me:  (very bluntly) I'm looking for a pair of black leather, over-the-knee boots, but I do not want to look like a hooker.
Salesgirl: blank stare...she luckily laughed soon after.

I'm really happy with them, but I feel like I may have made an impulse decision.  I was in a hurry and really wanted a pair, so I only looked at a few before deciding.  Now I'm having buyers remorse browsing sites like Piper Lime.  Hmm...




Are You a Gleek


Are you a Gleek?!  I sure am!!!  I have always loved musical theater, so I don't know how I did not jump on the Glee bandwagon from day one.  Oh wait, I know why.  Probably because the hubs said no way in heck he was going to watch it.  But after hearing so many raves about the show, we watched it one night and we were both hooked.  Ok, hooked might not be the word he would use, but he really does enjoy it...THANK goodness.

I was so excited about the new season starting this week!  I was unable to watch the season premiere until tonight and of course, I loved it.  I headed right to itunes and downloaded my favorite songs of the episode.  Do you know what the good thing was about not watching the episode until tonight??  I only have to wait a few more days until the Britney Spears episode airs!!!  I am beyond excited about that one.  Yes, I was a Britney fan back in the day (and admit it, you were too!).  My best friend and I went to her concert on my 18th birthday, had front row seats and she held a sign saying it was my birthday.  Shameful.  But hey, Britney noticed and waved, so that was fun.  


Even though I adore Glee, I have to say a little something about Rachel's wardrobe on the show.  It was awful last year!  I was glad to see that it has improved.  During the premiere episode, her outfits got a little bit cuter and more stylish UNTIL the last scene.  At first they showed a head shot and the little blue and white polka dot number appeared stylish (I liked the deep-v back).  I envisioned a tailored skirt paired with the shirt.  BUT, then she headed to the auditorium and the camera showed a full body shot and it was a dress...and it was bad.  Extremely dorky.  To make matters worse, they had her wearing penny loafers with scrunched socks???!!!  Was the wardrobe team trying to start a trend?  Don't think this one is going to take.  Just my opinion.

Ok, so sorry to rant about that, but I just had to.  I am still a Gleek and love every minute of the show!



On The Menu: Chicken Spaghetti & Peanut Butter Cake

{image via Paula Deen}

We spent some time at the farm this weekend which is always my excuse to try out new recipes or old favorites that are not necessarily diet friendly.  I love splurging on the weekends!  I tried Paula Deen's Chicken Spaghetti which was divine and came up with an easy peanut butter cake recipe.  Here are the recipes from our menu...

Paula Deen's Chicken Spaghetti
{with slight variations}

1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp butter, divided
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 (8 oz) package sliced fresh mushrooms
1 (14 oz) can chicken broth
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained...I used Rotel
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp House Seasoning (recipe follows; basically a dash of s&p and garlic powder)
3 1/2 cups cooked chicken...use a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken; much easier!
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 (12 oz) box angel hair pasta, cooked according to package directions
3/4 cup panko or Progresso bread crumbs
1 tbsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 13x9 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium skillet, melt 1/4 cup butter over medium high heat.  Add onion, celery and mushrooms; saute for 5 to 6 minutes or just until vegetables are tender.  

In a large bowl, combine onion mixture, broth, both soups, Rotel, sour cream and house seasoning.  Add pasta, tossing gently to coat.  Spoon mixture into prepared baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs and 2 tbsp melted butter.  Sprinkle evenly over casserole.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until hot and bubble.  

House Seasoning
{makes 1/2 cup}

1 cup salt
1/4 cup ground black pepper
1/4 garlic powder

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Peanut Butter cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

1 box yellow cake mix
3/4 cup peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease muffin or cake tins.

Prepare cake mix acording to package directions.  Add peanut butter and blend with a mixer on low.  Spoon into muffin or cake tin. 

After cake has cooled, add 1/4 cup peanut butter to your favorite homemade chocolate icing or to 1 can chocolate icing (that's what I did) and blend with a mixer in low.

These were delicious!!!

Along with the chicken spaghetti, I served a simple salad.  This was an easy menu that did not take too much time away from family time and it serves a crowd.  Enjoy!


Celeb Sighting!


{Nicole, Julianna, Christina}

My friend, Julianna, last night in Cabo at The Palmilla!
Umm...she said Nicole was wearing a veil with cat ears.  Because that's normal.


What I Want Now: A Tight Back Sofa


My husband would like to remind me that we just designed our living room 2 years ago, but I'm ready to change again.  What I want so bad is a tight back couch.  I ADORE the look.  And not only that, I am so tired of fluffing my couch pillows because the boys are constantly grabbing them and throwing them down.  Tight back couch = problem solved.  I know, I know, they are probably not the most comfortable option, but to be honest, the couch is mainly used when guests come over to sit, not recline and take a nap.  We sit on our club chairs and the boys are all over the place.





{image credits: 1+2+3+4 Cote de Texas, 5 Forgotten}
please let me know if you know where image 5 came from!


Leather Leggings??


I am VERY tempted to try out the fall trend of leather leggings.  I know, probably ridiculous, right?  Well, I'm not about to spend a lot of money on a pair since I am pretty sure I will not like them.  BUT, I just saw Lauren Conrad wearing a pair from her Kohl's line in US Weekly.  Of course they styled her perfectly and the camera makes the pleather look amazing.  You can't beat the price though...$40.  Actually, they are now on sale for $29.99!  Definitely worth a try...even though it probably screams pleather!  I have never bought a thing at Kohl's, so I have no idea what their quality is like.  Is Kohl's like a Target when it comes to trendy clothing??

Speaking of Lauren Conrad's clothing line at Kohl's, here are a few other pieces that look like they could be really cute...

Kabuki top - $19.99

Ruffle sweater - $36.99

To see all of Lauren Conrad's clothing line, click here.  It all looks pretty cute!

PS - I want her hair!

A Visit to the Zoo - Dinosaurs!


A few weeks ago, JP and I took Nicklaus to the Zoo to see the special Dinosaur exhibit they were showcasing.  I must say, I was very impressed.  The dinosaurs were HUGE and very life-like.  They moved and spitted and roared.  We decided not to bring Conrad because he is terrified of things like this.  Well, good thing we didn't, because Nick, who hardly gets scared, was anxious.  But all in all, we had a GREAT time with our oldest and Nick LOVED his alone time with us.


Look how big the T-Rex was!!!


JP and I posed with the dinosaurs in hopes that Nick would follow along.  Nope!  He was just happy watching us stand by the scary beasts.





Petting the goats at the petting zoo


After the Zoo, we headed to Little Bigs for sliders and milkshakes.  YUM!


Can you tell it was hot that day?!