Easy, Guilt-Free Mini Banana Muffins {You Can Make with Ingredients Usually in Your Home}

Yesterday, I posted on my Instagram stories my easy, guilt-free peanut butter, banana mini muffins, and got TONS of questions about them! So, I’m sharing the complete recipe with you here! Feel free to Pin it for easy reference, by clicking on the “Pin it” icon at the very bottom of the post. If you LUV it as much as we do, you’ll probably make these a staple in your home. The substance of these muffins is the bananas (You want really ripe bananas, so I usually make this recipe when I have overly ripe bananas laying around that haven’t been eaten.) and peanut butter. (You can probably make these with any nut butter of your preference, if you have allergies or want to go with a healthier option.) I also stated in my stories that there are several options for using your overly ripe bananas, so don’t throw them away! Peel them and freeze them for use in your smoothies or make 2-step banana pancakes.  Anywho… these muffins are delicious and perfect for snacking and satisfying your sweet tooth! They’re flour-free and oh so yummy!

As I said in my stories, if I have enough to, I always double or triple this recipe, because my family pops them like candy and we tend to go through them quickly. If you triple the recipe and use a mini muffin tray, you can stretch this recipe to make around 60 mini-muffins, give or take a little.

Recipe (again, you can double or triple this, but this is the single recipe):

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix…

1 banana

1/4 tsp. baking soda

pinch of salt

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

1 egg

3 tbsp. honey

1/2 cup peanut butter

Mix all ingredients, and when the mixture is nice and smooth, add dairy, nut & soy-free mini chocolate chips. Mix again until they’re evenly distributed.

I spray my muffin tin(s) with coconut oil spray so they don’t stick and then scoop the mixture into the muffin cavity about 3/4 full.

(I try to use organic options whenever possible.)

Bake for 7-9 minutes, depending on your oven.

And voila…

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Make these before a playdate, get-together or just to have for the week so you can snack on them or give them to your family for breakfast. You can also alter the recipe by skipping the chocolate chips and adding blueberries if you use a regular-sized muffin tray. Whatever you do, I hope you enjoy and LUV them as much as we do!

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How I’m Getting Organized in the New Year and Why I Don’t Like to Use My Phone for My Calendar

My organization struggles usually do not lie in the organization of my home, but more the organization of my brain. Does anyone else know what I’m talking about? I blame it on “pregnancy brain” that never really went away, though my husband said it existed long before children. (How dare he?!) Anyone who knows me knows I’m notoriously forgetful and have done the occasional double-booking of events. (I don’t know what they’re talking about. I think it’s a conspiracy.) But nonetheless, I’m going to take a step this year to try to work on this personal challenge, and it’s starting with my new Simplified Planner.

 

First of all, I don’t do virtual calendars (any of my brands that collaborate with me, just close your ears/eyes now). I know this confession sets me back to the last decade, but it’s true. I’ve tried. It’s just not me. I like to write my events/tasks/lists in a tangible form that I can open and see without having to click through. As a blogger, I stare at my phone too often through the day. It’s my communication source for business and personal use, and I can operate almost every aspect of my life through this little device. When I put my kids to bed and make their lunches and try to regroup for the following day, I just don’t want to open my phone back up and stare at it some more. I like to grab my planner, open it and make my plan for the following day(s). It’s just my personal preference, and I happen to know I’m not the only one. Not even in 2017. So, stop judging.

So I bought myself a fancy new planner. (I even had it monogrammed, because monogramming makes EVERYTHING better.) I’m spending these first couple weeks plugging in any important info, and I plan to use this to help me with my business AND personal calendar, and it’s even great for goal setting.

There are sections for weekly prep, including reminders to plan your meals ahead, organize your tasks for the week and inspiration for personal time. There’s enough daily space to write out as much as you need AND monthly calendars, if you’re like me, and you like to look at your whole month in a glance. AND… there are tons of additional products to help you with specific areas you want to tidy and organize. Here are some of my favorites…

Because I LUV words of affirmation wherever visible, I also really LUV her gold foil-pressed prints for framing on your wall. Hang over your desk or in a high-traffic location for daily reminders of what’s important to you.

Check out her entire website to see all of the amazing items Emily Ley has to offer. Emily happens to live locally to me, and she’s really a great person. She started this company from her home office and inspires women everywhere to not only follow their dreams, but to remember what’s really important in life. I’m excited to implement my planner in my daily routine, and I’ll try to check in with you occasionally on my Instagram stories with how my planner has been helping me with my organizational goals in the new year.

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Last-Minute Gifts that Can Arrive Before Christmas with Amazon Prime

Are you “one of those” who still hasn’t gotten your Christmas shopping done? 😉 Don’t worry- I’d guess the majority of us still have some sort of shopping and/or wrapping to get done. (I haven’t wrapped one present yet, so I’m “one of those”, too!) Don’t want to leave your couch? I’ve got you covered. Here are some creative gift ideas (that I know I would LUV to receive) that you can order from the comfort of your home (or office) and have arrive before Christmas with Amazon Prime. Because let’s be honest… we all have a “Priming” problem. Happy Shopping and Merry {almost} Christmas!

Click on the links below to take you straight to the products…

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Our 2016 Family Photos with Lydia L Photography

Every year, we get all spruced up and take our holiday photos. My husband and kids are not huge fans of having family photos taken, but they put on a happy face and aren’t allowed to complain ONCE since they know I only ask them to do “official” family photos once a year! (Though as my blogging career expands, that’s changing a little. Sorry guys!) Lydia of Lydia L Photography found me through Instagram and reached out about a collaboration, and I was immediately excited when I saw her work. I LUV that her photo style is both classic and whimsical and was excited to work with her this year.

But when I actually got to the shoot and saw her in action… Well, I knew this was going to be a good relationship. 🙂 Even my husband commented about how great she was at posing us and getting our children to participate! She was completely professional, and she was extremely knowledgable at working with lighting and posing all of us in ways that she knew would look both organic and endearing. Of all of the photos that she sent, here are the ones I selected as my favorites… You’re getting a sneak peak before I’ve even sent out my Christmas cards (which NEVER happens), so I hope you enjoy, and let me know what you think!

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As my kids get bigger (at a pace that makes my stomach hurt), it’s so extremely important to me that I document these years. I LUV having photos taken around the same time each year so I can truly see how much they’ve changed from the photos the year before. It’s amazing to me how much bigger they seem with each passing year, and I know I’ll cherish these photos all the days of my life.

LUV what you see? Here’s some even more exciting news… Lydia will be giving away a FREE MINI SESSION to one of my lucky followers in the Tampa Bay/Sarasota/Bradenton/St. Petersburg, Florida area. Stay tuned to my Instagram and to Lydia’s Instagram in the coming days for details to enter SOON!

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Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide {What’s On My List}

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I’ve sent my list to the Big Guy, and here are some of the items I’m hoping he is stuffing in my Christmas stocking!  Here are the links to what you see above and some of the other items I’m LUVing… Go ahead and forward this to “your” Santa. 😉

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COMFY & COZY Gift Guide

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The holidays give me all kinds of cozy feels. As soon as my tree(s) are up, I just want to throw on some comfy jammies and slippers, light a candle and sit by the tree. If you’re looking for the perfect holiday jammies/robe/slippers, etc… here are some of my favs…

Now go pour yourself a cup of Joe and snuggle up. Give yourself permission to just enjoy life for a moment. After all, it IS the most wonderful time of the year.

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BLACK FRIDAY DEALS

Black Friday is full of amazing deals, but it can be hard to know where to start! Here I’m sharing the ones I’m excited about, so take a look, and hopefully this will help you narrow it down…

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American Eagle is my go-to for jeans. Since I wear jeans on the daily, I tend to think of myself as the jean connoisseur. AE is 40% off everything right now PLUS free shipping! They have the coziest sweaters and dresses for the fall/winter months, and their boot selection is one of my favs as well. Here are a few of my favorite things from AE…

Banana Republic is having 50% off 5 regular priced items. (NO EXCLUSIONS!) Here are some of the items I LUV…

 

Bauble Bar is 30% off through 11/27! I literally LUV everything! Just do yourself a favor and head there to shop! They have great jewelry to complete your holiday outfits, great items to add to your holiday wish-list and great gift ideas for others!

Nordstrom has an extra 20% off selected sale items and a 40% off designer sale. Nordstrom has so many awesome deals right now, but it can be a little intimidating to sift through. So I’ve done the hard work for you and found all of the deals, and these are some of my favorites…

Revolve has up to 65% off!

Shopbop has some great deals right now…

Spend $200+, get 15% off; Spend $500+, get 20% off; Spend $800+, get 25% off through 11/28! Use code: GOBIG16

Tory Burch has 30% off purchases of $250 or more with code THANKS through 11/28!

And my favorite, Urban Outfitters has Buy one, Get one 50% off all apparel through today!

Hope this helps you narrow down where you want to spend your Black Friday! Skip the lines and all the headaches and shop cyber! I know I am!

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Pumpkin Patchin’

Today we went pumpkin picking and painted/carved our pumpkins. I can’t believe I’ve been picking pumpkins with my handsome hubs for 15 years!? Even though he and I end up usually doing most of the carving, sharing these traditions with our kids is so important to me. I thought I’d share a look inside a special day for us…

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We started at a pumpkin patch close to our house but couldn’t seem to find just the right ones. Though the hunt is half the fun, right?

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So we headed to the second patch, where we found just the right ones…

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This patch had some “spookies” (as we call them) and my oldest was less than stoked. Last year, my little guy was also petrified of anything spooky. But a couple weeks ago, I took him on a long walk to check out the decorations in my neighborhood during the day. Apparently seeing them in the light (and touching them and lifting their drapes to see they were made of plastic and batteries) really helped him conquer his fears. Emerson wanted nothing to do with them still, but Corbin hopped right up and said, “See Sissy! They’re just pretend!”

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First Corbin hunted for his perfect pumpkin…

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He said, “You like the white ones, Mommy.” Yup. 😉

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He found his pretty quickly…

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Em, on the other hand, likes to really take her time.

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She thought she’d decided on a white one…

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But then she changed her mind.

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Here we are with the winners…

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Links to me and Em’s matching outfits (FYI: You can get both of our dresses for around $30 total!)…

Thanks for following along with us! I rarely share our personal stories on here, but I’m trying to make a point to change that every once in a while. Hope you enjoyed… 🙂

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Our Trip to the Oscars

In honor of Oscars weekend, I thought I’d take a minute to share my Oscars experience with all of you. The picture quality is not very good (as this was 2 years ago and taken with my iphone then) but it was an experience I’ll never forget and only hope to do again (though it’s not always likely). My husband was part of a project associated with The Academy, so he was able to secure this bucket list moment for me. While I was holding out hope we’d get to go again this year (as I do every year), it’s unfortunately not going to happen this time. So I’ll share these moments with all of you, snuggle up with my best gals Sunday night and watch from my living room sofa, remembering the best weekend of my life. Here’s an inside look… (again, apologies for the poor picture quality and btw NONE are edited).

Dress shopping…

I had less than 2 days to find a dress, accessories, have alterations and pack for the weekend. I also had a 2-year-old in tow. (Glamorous, right?) Here were some of the options I considered.

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Here was the winner… (I found it at Georgette’s in Tampa.)

Arriving…

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We got out of the limo and Jared Leto was to our right and Harrison Ford & Calista Flockhart just behind us.

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Just SOME of the photos from the red carpet…

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Inside the show…

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We went to an after-party at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills, but I don’t have any photos of that, believe it or not.

Another highlight of our weekend was a trip to SUR Lounge, where Katie Maloney of Vanderpump Rules was our waitress.  My husband jokes how I wasn’t star-struck by anyone on the red carpet, but speechless when I met the cast of VR. Go figure!

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We also ate at Villa Blanca on the day of the Oscars…

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Another one of my favorite parts about the trip… shopping Rodeo!

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I was never going to be ready for this weekend to end! But it was fun as friends were sending us snippets of sightings of us on TV!

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Sometimes, I still can’t believe it happened. But it truly was the most memorable experience of my life…

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Maybe if I click my heels three times, I’ll magically transport back…

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Hope you enjoyed my little trip down memory lane. Don’t forget to tune into the Oscars Sunday night LIVE at 7 o’clock  EST on abc.

cropped-red-heart1-e1442961605806.png, Bec

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Gluten-Free (from the box) Valentine’s Day Cupcakes and a Poem to Share with those you LUV {Happy Valentine’s Day}

Yes… I’m giving you a recipe for “from the box” cupcakes.DSC_2656My neighbor makes these delicious gluten-free cupcakes with a box mix. You’d think they were from the bakery, they taste so great! So, since I’m all about easy-peasy,  I thought I’d share for all you gluten-free peeps!

The mix:

Get the King Arthur gluten-free yellow cake mix. It looks like this:

The recipe is on the box, but my friend suggests you also add 1 tbsp. of vanilla directly to the cake batter.

She said you can either use Pillsbury frosting (Put entire contents into a bowl and whip using a hand mixer until fluffy.)

OR… here is a simple homemade frosting recipe:

1 cup butter (soft, room temperature)

3 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp or more of whipping cream.

Whip butter until light (until it turns light yellow). Add powdered sugar and whip for another couple minutes. Add vanilla and whipping cream. Use sprinkles and decorations as you’d like.

She also wrote this amazingly adorable little poem and hand-delivered with bags of treats for the kids. I had to share what she wrote, in case you’d like to share with those you love! (I’m not even kidding… this girl is missing her calling writing for Hallmark.)

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Here’s what she wrote:
On Valentine’s Day,
And the whole year through,
Nothing feels better,
Than having a friend like YOU!
For the times we get to laugh,
And the times we get to play,
I’m thankful for your friendship,
And there’s something I’d like to say.
So here’s a treat for YOU!
You’ve been HUGGED & KISSED by me.
Now there’s something you must do.
No need to make a copy,
No need to spread the cheer.
Only one thing you need to do today,
And I’ll make it very clear.
Just hear my words of KINDNESS.
And feel it in your heart,
Our friendship is a GIFT from GOD,
I loved you from the start!
You are awesome! You are great!
What more is there to say?
I love you very much dear friend,
Happy Valentine’s Day!

There it is. Hope you enjoy spreading some cheer to those you LUV this Valentine’s Day. Thank you Lisa for this incredibly thoughtful gift to our family. Your thoughtfulness and creativity never ceases to amaze me.

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

<3, Bec

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