Popeye Muffins

Yes, these are GREEN muffins! Made with spinach and bananas, sure to please even the pickiest eater. Feel free to call them whatever you want. I chose Popeye because, well… he eats spinach 🙂 But if you make these during Christmas, they can be Grinch muffins, or during St. Pat’s they can be Shamrock, etc. Both my 3 year old son and my husband enjoyed these. I had a bag of spinach that I needed to use up. And I’m just not a salad person. So naturally I found a way to bake with them! Go start your ovens and make these perfect snack!

What you will need:

8 cupcake liners

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
1 banana, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
About 3 large handfuls of baby spinach

Note: This is half the recipe and made 8 muffins. Feel free to double it if you need more! Oh, and there are no eggs 😉

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Set aside. In a blender (I used a Magic Bullet), blend oil, milk and spinach until there are no chunks. Pour into the dry ingredients and add the mashed banana and vanilla. Stir until combined.

Pour into liners about 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 16-18 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Enjoy!

Warrior Dash

Yes. I did it! I completed the Warrior Dash! And it was a blast! I thought I would write about my experience to help others who are thinking about doing it. And let me just say, it was an experience! I did the one in Channahon, IL. Yes, it’s far. They do it at the Dollinger Family Farm. It’s beautiful! But definitely a hike for those of us who live up North.

So, I’ll start with getting there and parking. At about 6:30 in the morning, me, my mom and dad and 2 year old started the drive. It took about 45 minutes to get there from my parents house. Early on a Saturday morning with no traffic. I was in the 8:30 AM wave so I had to be there by 7:30 AM. Once we arrived, we had to pay $10 cash for parking (which is ridiculous because we all already paid for the event) and then they told us where to park. This is where my anxiety REALLY started to kick in! We are in the middle of nowhere, on a farm. There is no concrete parking lot. All cars have to park on grass. Muddy, wet (because it had rained the entire day before) grass. Well, I got stuck! Thank God I had my dad with me! He helped some other guy push my car out. If I was by myself I would have been crying. But they got it out, I parked and we were on our way! Already filled with mud.

The first thing you see is a booth for the waivers. This was great because I didn’t print mine out due to lack of ink. But they have you covered! I filled out the waiver and continued in. There are people greeting you and passing out green glasses that say Warrior dash on the side for free! Bonus! I’m wearing them in the pictures. Then you need to bring your waiver and ID to pick up your bib. Here is my picture right after I put mine on…

Then, you go to the next booth to pick up your t-shirt and warrior hat. Everything was easy, and people were so nice and at this time, it wasn’t too crowded so I was happy.

I met up with my friend and her sister-in-law which was so great! I definitely recommend running this with friends. Here is us before the race!

All clean 😉 The music was loud by the start line and everyone was getting pumped up! And then… we were off! Let me just say, I was really nervous. Like, I have never done anything like this before. Sure, I have done running races, but this was 3.1 miles of 11 obstacles! I’m not going to go into detail, but the obstacles were definitely challenging. Doable but challenging and scary especially if you do not like heights.

My favorites were jumping over fire (because, when do you do that willingly?) and climbing up a wall with only a rope to pull you up. Then you climb down and have to go through yucky, muddy water. So fun! At one point, this guy next to me said, “We actually PAID to do this!) Yes, yes we did 🙂

The last obstacles are the Goliath slide and then crawling through muddy water under barbed wire. Then you run to the finish line and get your medal! So much fun. Here I am at the end…

And with the girls…

Afterwards, you can go get a beer and your picture taken and shower. I surprisingly didn’t get a beer but the showers were great and much needed! I’m highly impressed with the entire event.

It was such a great experience! I’m not sure I’ll do it again, mainly because it’s so far for me and the parking situation was awful. But I’m so glad I did it and completed every single obstacle!. I’m sore, my legs are all scratched up but I can say I’m a warrior! Tips:

-Drive an AWD vehicle
-You need waiver, ID, towels for the car, and cell phone or camera for taking pictures
-They have a gear check if you need it but you are also able to go back to your car once you check in
-Run with a friend!
-It is not timed! Only the first 25 girls and 25 guys who finish move on to the championships
-Obstacles are optional if you feel you cannot complete one
-Have fun! You WILL get muddy!

 

Ice Surprise Eggs

What is with this surprise egg obsession? If you have a toddler in your life, you probably know what I’m talking about. If not, just search “surprise eggs” on YouTube and you will see. Millions upon millions of views on videos of people opening eggs, plastic or chocolate, with toys or candy inside. So, I decided to do something different for my little guy. I went to the dollar store and picked up some balloons and cheap toys.

I put the toys inside the balloons.

Then, I filled the balloons with water…

Put the balloons in the freezer overnight and…

Tada! Ice surprise eggs 🙂 Really fun and inexpensive and the perfect thing to do on a hot summer day.  

Here’s Liam excited to melt or “open” the eggs!

      

It was fun, but hard to get the toys in the balloons. Definitely would help to have 2 people. My suggestion is to fill the balloons after your kids go to bed so they are ready by the morning. And once they are frozen, the balloon comes right off, you just need scissors. Have fun with it! Fill with new toys, or old ones, make them big or small. You really can’t go wrong and kids love surprises!

Homemade Bath Paint

My 2 year LOVES the water. Swimming, bath time, running through sprinklers, you name it, if he can get wet, he’s in. At bath time, he will stay in there for…ev….er. So I needed something for him to do besides splash water all over the place. I’ve seen homemade bath paints before, mainly Pinterest, and finally decided to give it a try. In this post I will do my best to explain everything I did so you can try it, too!

Oh, and this activity is also good for those kids who hate bath time. Now maybe they will enjoy it…? Always worth a try.

Ok, here we go:

What you will need:

1/4 cup corn starch
1/2 cup baby wash/shampoo
Food coloring
Paint brushes
Some type of bowls/ tin to hold the paint. I used a muffin tin. It worked great to separate the colors.

Feel free to double this recipe, but I found it was enough. I made three colors but could have easily made 4.

In a bowl, mix together the corn starch and soap until smooth. Divide into bowls or tin, however many colors you want to use. Stir in for coloring until you get desired colors. Super easy. Paint away!

I was worried about the food coloring staining my bathtub but it comes right off.

Here are some pictures of my little guy having fun!

      

Will I do this every bath time? Hell no! Too much mess and it uses too much soap. But it was really fun. My guy had a blast! I think he was in there for almost an hour. Pruney hands and feet!

So, try it out and have fun with it 🙂

 

Irish Soda Bread

Happy St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow everyone! Don’t worry, I’ll do another post that will contain booze 😉 For today, I wanted to make something easy that I’ve never made before. This bread is so delicious and will probably be a new family tradition for me to make every St. Patrick’s Day. No special tools required. I loved baking like this! I like to pretend I’m not in this century and go back in time. For some reason, making this bread made my imagination run wild! So, let’s put on our aprons and enter the 1800’s…

What you will need:

Cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or greased

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder. With a fork, your fingers or a pastry blender, cut in the butter. Stir in buttermilk and raisins until dough is moistened. Knead in the bowl for a minute (dough will be sticky).

Turn dough out onto prepared baking sheet. Shape into a ball. With a sharp knife, cut a cross or “X” shape on the top of the dough ball going about 1/2 inch down.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Let cool a few minutes before slicing, buttering and enjoying!

Easy Homemade Play-Doh

Sorry guys, this is an un-edible recipe. Well, I guess you COULD eat this, but it would be nasty :p Liam got Play-Doh for Christmas and at first I was like, “great, now our carpet and floors will be ruined!” But I got over that thought pretty quickly because Play-Doh is so fun! My son will play with it for hours, as he has been while I wrote this post 🙂

We got 3 colors; blue, red and yellow. For some reason I wanted to try to make our own. The days are long. I hate winter. Why not?! Liam wanted green, I wanted purple so away we went. I put half of this recipe in one bowl and the other half in another bowl so I could make both colors and not have a ton. So here we go… Let’s go make some Play-Doh!

What you will need:

3 cups flour
3/4 cups salt
3 tablespoons cream of tartar
2 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Food coloring of your choice

In a large, heatproof bowl, mix flour, salt and cream of tartar. In the hot water, add oil and food coloring, stir, then pour into dry ingredients. Tip: I put the water in a big coffee mug and heated it up in the microwave. Then I added the oil and food coloring to that, stirred and poured over the dry ingredients.

Mix until everything is moistened. Knead for a minute or two (careful, it will be hot!) on a lightly floured surface. Store in an airtight container NOT in the fridge.

Pictures of my son, Liam, playing with our Play-Doh!

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Sweet Molasses Bread Rolls

I found this recipe on Pinterest, from http://www.itsalwaysautumn.com. She said these rolls were like the ones you get at Outback Steakhouse, but I haven’t been there in years! So I didn’t want to call them that since I have no idea. I just saw that they were brown, made with molasses and honey and was sold! The dough is very easy to work with and is beautiful. I have a thing for raw dough, whether it be cookie dough or bread dough, I just love how it looks and feels. And cookie dough obviously tastes amazing, too 🙂 So, c’mon! Let’s go bake some bread…

Note: The dough needs to proof twice, so read all the instructions and make sure you have time before starting.

Oh yeah, and I apologize in advance for the different lighting/coloring of the pictures used in this post. I use my iphone 6 and took all the shots on different tables in my kitchen. I am no photographer so for now we just have to deal with it :p

What you will need:

4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 egg
2 tablespoons softened butter
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour

In a large bowl (or bowl of your electric mixer), combine yeast and warm water. Let yeast proof for about 10 minutes. Add all other ingredients except the whole wheat flour, and mix for about 1 minute until combined.

Note: I still do not have a stand mixer. I know! So sad 😦 But I was still able to use my hand mixer for this. If you do have a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment and then switch to a bread hook to knead.

Add 1 cup of the whole wheat flour and mix on low. Slowly add the last cup of whole wheat flour and mix for several minutes until a nice dough is formed and it pulls away from the bowl.

Turn dough out into a nice big bowl and form a ball (pictured below). Let rise in a warm place for an hour.

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Punch down dough and form 15 balls or rolls. Tip: Wet fingers to prevent dough from sticking. Place them in a greased 9×13 inch bake pan.

Let rise a second time, about an hour, until nice and puffed like so…

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and bake for about 22 minutes. Serve with butter and enjoy!

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