Banana, Bourbon, Pecan Cupcakes with Maple Buttercreme

Banana and Bourbon, you had me at Bourbon, with Pecans and Maple, it makes a tasty Cupcake.  Check it out!!

Banana, Bourbon, Pecan Cupcakes with Maple Buttercreme

  • 2 Cups A P Flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 stick or 1/2 Cup Butter better at room temp, makes for easier mixing
  • 1 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 3 to 4 really ripe bananas
  • Bourbon, this is really to taste on how you want it.  I did 2 Tablespoons the 1st time and I could hardly taste it, so I added a couple more, it was better, more pronounced.  It is up to you or if you don’t want to add it, it is not necessary.
  • 1 to 1 1/2 Cup chopped Pecans
  • Smoked Sea Salt, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake pans with those handy-dandy paper liners, this makes about 24 for me.

In Medium size bowl mix (I also use the strainer here) flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, set aside.

In large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, then add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg, then add bourbon, mix, add mashed bananas, mix, add vanilla, mix, then add dry ingredients and mix well, add pecans and blend.  Scoop into prepared cupcake pans, fill about 3/4 of the way.  Bake for about 16 to 20 mins.  Set timer for 16 mins and check them.  Usually done at 18 to 19 mins.  Use tooth pick to check if done.  Take out and cool on a cooling rack, then frost.  I sprinkle Smoked Sea Salt on mine, gives it that added oomph.

Maple Buttercreme Frosting

  • 2 Sticks of Butter or 1 Cup (room temp)
  • Powered Sugar (sifted or use a strainer, always sifted)
  • Maple Syrup

I put the 2 sticks of  butter in a large bowl, then I take my strainer and place it over the bowl and basically pour powdered sugar in the strainer, about 2 cups then mix.  I add some maple syrup and mix, then taste, probably needs more powdered sugar, so I take the strainer and put more powdered sugar, another cup or so and more maple syrup, then mix and taste, hmm, taste good to me.  You can do it according to your taste.  Some people like really sweet frosting, I am not one of them, sweet yes, but I don’t want my teeth to hurt.  I really like the Maple so I go a bit heavy on that.  Taste as you go and you will know.

Hope you like them if you try them.

Chris

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FMC #15 – BLACK FRIDAY, to shop or not to shop? That is the Question!

To Shop or Not to Shop, HA that is the question.  Since 1952, Black Friday is regarded as the day the Christmas holiday shopping season starts in the United States.  For many years, the day after Thanksgiving would start around 6 A.M.  That gives people time to relax after their big Thanksgiving feast and enjoy time with family, watching sports, or my favorite, napping.  However, in the 2000’s, retailers starting opening their doors earlier like, 4 or 5 A.M.  Then, in 2011, chain retailers starting opening their doors at Midnight.  And if that is not enough, in 2012 WALMART and other chain retailers starting opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day at 8 P.M., infringing on our National Holiday.  What is next, forget Thanksgiving and just go shopping?  What about the people who are expected to work?  Where do you draw the line and say enough you greedy retailer bastards, let us have our Holiday in Peace?

I cannot even fathom why someone would want to go face mass crowds and chaos on Back Friday, much less on Thanksgiving Day.

Several years ago, I went out on Black Friday.  It was when stores opened at 4 A.M.  I set my alarm for 3:45 A.M.  I got to Kmart just after 4 in the morning and the parking lot was all ready jammed.  It took awhile to find a parking space.  I  went into the store and was flabbergasted, as it was a mad house.  I had checked the ad before going there and they had a few things on sale that I wanted.  However, it was difficult to get around, especially when everyone had a shopping cart and not too many people were nice.  I got to the men’s section to get what I wanted and of course, they were out of the size I needed.  I knew it would be impossible to find a store clerk to ask if they had more, so I just moved on to the next item on my list.  I ended up getting a few things and headed to the cashier.  Seriously, the lines were ridiculous.  I was in line well over an hour.  By the time I got out to my car, it was light outside.  Then, I went to Macy’s at the mall.  What was I thinking?  Parking was, well you can just imagine.  I made it into the store, not quite the frenzied chaos that was Kmart was, but still very crowded.  No carts or bags to carry your items, I was overloaded with stuff in my arms.  And now the wait in line, yes, waiting and waiting while holding all this stuff, just to save a few bucks, hmmmmm, indeed.  So I made it out of there, by that time I was hungry, sore, tired, and really grouchy.  It was almost noon, I spent 7 hours and only hit two stores, that was it for me.  So I told myself I would never do that again.  Shopping on Black Friday is not for me.   I went home and slept the rest of the day away.

I went to Kmart on that Saturday after Black Friday and got the same stuff in the men’s department that I wanted that they were out of and at the same price as Black Friday and there was no crowds, no chaos, no problems.  Yea for me.

I can say that I have experienced Black Friday and it is one experience I can definitely do without.  I would much rather enjoy the holiday of Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving, to me, is about family, friends, and being thankful.

And don’t forget the FOOD!!!

I hope everyone has an awesome, hearty, and blessed Thanksgiving.

Chris

 

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Being Thankful, Are you Thankful?

Are you Thankful?  Holiday’s bring about feelings of togetherness, charity, and thankfulness.  That is all good and well, but what about the rest of the time?  I think sometimes people forget to be thankful, especially for the little things.

  • Getting out of bed in the morning, yea, you really don’t think about it, but there a lot of people who simply cannot do that.
  • Having a roof over your head
  • Clean sheets
  • A cup of coffee
  • Hearing the leaves rustle in the wind
  • Having a pet look at you with absolute love and devotion
  • Having food and water
  • Having one really good friend
  • Smelling a flower

There are so many little things to be thankful for that sometimes we forget about them or just take them for granted.  Being thankful is positive.  When you are positive, life is better, I think.

I believe in God and I pray.  I thank God for prayer because without it I think I would be insane.  Some people don’t believe in God and that is their choice, but I think being thankful is still important.  I believe it is positive and helps bring balance to your life when you are thankful.

I am thankful just to write this post.  I hope that by reading this it will help others remember to be thankful, not just at the holidays, but year round.  I enjoy writing these posts and having a blog.  I hope that it helps or encourages people.  I try to write positive articles that make sense and will reach out to people.  It also helps me to express myself and sometimes get things off my mind.  So, thank you for reading this post.  I hope you liked it.  And remember to be Thankful for what you have, for many people have much less.

With much thanks,

Chris

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FMC #14 – A Salute To Our Veterans

A Salute to Our Veterans.  Thank you for your service.  November 11th is an important day, a day filled with honor and respect.  A day to give thanks to our Veterans for all that they have done to fulfill the duty with they chose to serve.  I, thank you for all that you have done.

Both my dad and my brother were in the Army.  Neither were in at a time of major war, but still overseas.  I know my Father was proud of his Military Service and so was my brother.  They would have done whatever was necessary to defend our country.

Veteran’s Day is an official US Holiday observed annually on November 11, that honors military veterans, any persons who served in the United States Military.  It marks the anniversary of the end of World War I, the major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. The United States previously observed Armistice Day, but then the U.S. holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.

Thank You for your service.  I hope that some day we can all be at peace, however, that seems impossible, so I am thankful for our military to keep us as safe as possible.

Respectfully,

Chris

Posted in Friday Morning Coffee, Inspiration | 1 Comment

One Dish Meal – Bacon Wrapped Chicken with Potatoes & Carrots

Easy one dish meal, Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breasts with Potatoes and Carrots.  Simple to throw this together and then just put in the oven till done and ding ding dinner is done!!

  • 4 Boneless Chicken Breasts – I used Open Nature or Organic Chicken
  • 1 Pound Bacon – use a good quality bacon so it is not overly greasy, I use Open Nature Bacon
  • Red Fingerling Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Red Onion – sliced
  • Granulated Garlic, Basil, Salt, Pepper

Preheat oven to 350

Take chicken breasts rinse and pat dry.  Place in baking dish, season with garlic, basil, salt, and pepper, place some onion slices on each breast.  Take bacon, I use 3 slices per breast, lay on chicken and tuck under, or pick up breast and wrap bacon around, however you want to do it.  Wrap all breasts and place on one side of baking dish.  Clean and pat dry potatoes and carrots, peel if you like, I leave the skin on, place on other side of baking dish, add rest of sliced onions, season again and place in oven uncovered.

Bake about 60 to 90 mins, depends on how big the breasts are,  or till chicken juice is clear and bacon is crisp.

Oh so yummy.  The chicken is juicy and bacon is crisp and together it is a great bite.  The potatoes and carrots have the taste of bacon and are tender from cooking in the chicken juice and bacon grease.

Hope you enjoy it.  Thanks for reading my post.

Cheers,

Chris

 

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Extra Special Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yummy extra special Chocolate Chip Cookies.  They are extra special because I add Butterscotch Chips and chopped Pecans.  Just trying to add some wicked goodness to an old classic cookie.  This is the recipe I use, basic chocolate chip recipe with a few adjustments that I made.

  • 2 3/4 cup AP Flour, I use unbleached
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 2 sticks of butter, I use unsalted and organic grass-fed butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar, I use organic sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, I used eggs that I get at the Farmer’s Market, they are organic free-range
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla, I use Organic Bourbon Madagascar Vanilla
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, I use Guittard
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips, I use Guittard
  • 1 cup chopped Pecans

Preheat oven to 375, I use parchment paper on my cookie sheets but you don’t have to or use an ungreased cookie sheet.  Mix flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.  In a larger bowl combine soften butter and both sugars and cream together, add eggs and vanilla, and mix.  Then add in flour mixture and combine till ingredients are mixed well.  Then add chips and nuts and mix again.  Lots of mixing, my arm is tired after this.  I form them into little round balls on the cookie sheet.  Bake anywhere from 8 to 12 mins.  It just really depends on how big you make them and what kind of oven, etc.

For me the perfect cookie is at 11 mins.  I have set it at 8 mins and he cookies so not done, then I go to 10 mins and they are better but not quite done, so I go to 12 and poof, cookies overdone, so 11 mins for me.  It is amazing what 30 seconds to 1 minute can do, lol.  I take them out of the oven and slide that parchment paper with the cookies on it to a cooling rack.  I generally use 2 cookie sheets, so one is always in the oven when making several batches.

I hope you like these, I think they are really good.  Thanks for reading my post.  Enjoy!!

Good Eating,

Chris

 

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Day Light Savings Time – Fall Back – Hallelujah

Remember to turn the clocks back 1 hour.  We are back to real-time.  I am so thankful.  I really dislike Day Light Savings Time, it throws me off-balance.  I know most people love it because there is more day light in the evening and more stuff can be done, but that doesn’t work for me.

Here is a link that I found that gives a history of how Day Light Savings Time came to be.  The idea of it was conceived by Benjamin Franklin.  I admire and respect Benjamin Franklin, he is one of my favorite people, However, I could have done without this idea.

http://www.webexhibits.org/daylightsaving/index.html

 

 

I love it when it gets dark early, then I get dinner done earlier and get to bed earlier.  When it is still light at 8 or 9 o’clock at night, that completely messes me up and throws me off-balance.  My body and mind just never get used to it.

So Hallelujah, no more Day Light Savings Time at least for a little while.

Happy Sunday to you all.

Respectfully,

Chris

 

 

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Awesome Artichoke and Cheese Dip

I am a fan of the basic Spinach and Artichoke Dip, However I am not a big fan of cooked spinach.  So I made a few adjustments to make it how I like it.  I like to use artichoke bottoms because it gives the dip a bit more texture and they are chunkier.  I like to add jalapeno for some heat.  I use Asiago cheese because it adds more flavor.  Check it out!!

  • 8 oz cream cheese, soften
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onions
  • several cloves of garlic, I use about 8
  • Jalapeno, I use 1/2 a large one or 1 whole small one, I also remove seeds, very finely dice
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup Asiago cheese
  • 1 can of Artichoke Bottoms, not hearts

Mix sour cream, mayo, and cheeses, than add onions, garlic, jalapeno and mix again, then add artichoke bottoms, mix gently, then put in baking dish and bake at 350 for about 20-30 mins.  I like to serve it with tortilla chips.  It is so yummy.  Hope you like it!!

 

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FMC #13 The Benefits of Taking a BATH

If I had a bathtub like this, I would be taking a bath every day.  A girl can dream, seriously.  In today’s fast paced world most people take a shower, it is quicker and easier.  And some people just prefer to shower than take a bath.  However, the lost art of taking a bath can be very helpful to both body and soul.

The last few days I have been a bit under the weather, so I took a hot bath with Epsom Salt and Eucalyptus essential oil.  And let me tell you, it works wonders.  Feeling much better and I have to say that taking a bath really helps.

I enjoy taking a bath and just wanted to share with you different things I use and do when taking a bath.

  • When I need to relax I do this – I get a glass of wine.  I fill the tub with warm water, I add Epsom and Dead Sea Salt, plus a few drops of Lavender Essential Oil.  I light a few candles and turn off the light and close the door.  I just lay back and soak, the warm soothing feeling from the salts and the sweet relaxing scent of lavender are calming.  It is tranquil to watch the flickering of the fire on the candles, such a peaceful feeling.
  • When I am sick with a cold or flu, I take a really hot bath with Epsom and Dead Sea Salts.  I use Eucalyptus and Lavender Essential Oils.  The Eucalyptus can help clear congestion and the lavender can help relax you.
  • When I have cramps, I take a hot bath with Epsom Salts and Clary Sage Essential Oil.  Both can help to soothe cramps.  The Clary Sage can also make you drowsy, so be careful in the tub.  I usually go right to bed after this bath.

There are so many different products you can use when taking a bath.  So it is fun to try different stuff.

  • An array of Salts, like Epsom and Dead Sea Salt.
  • Essential Oils
  • Scrubs, both salt or sugar
  • Natural and scented Soaps

I use different Essential Oils for different moods.  In the summer, I still take a bath even in hot weather, I use Orange or Lemon Essential Oil just to lighten things up in a cool bath.  Please note that when using Orange or Lemon Essential Oil, don’t head out into the sun after.  It can cause a skin reaction when exposed to the sun.  This is called photosensitivity or phototoxicity.  During the cooler months I use a lot of different Essential Oils just to mix it up, but my favorites are Rosemary, Lavender, Frankincense, Cedarwood, and Clary Sage.

Taking a bath is a great way to take time for yourself.  It is just you and the tub filled with whatever delicious stuff you put in your bath.  Your body and mind can heal, relax, or rejuvenate when taking a bath.  So it might not be a bad idea to take a bath instead of that shower once in a while, you might like it.  I know I do.  Take Care and Enjoy a Bath.

Respectfully,

Chris

 

Please note that this post is what I do and I am sharing that.  This is not any type of medical advice and I am not suggesting that you do this.  I am not a medical person, so please seek advice from your doctor.

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Monday Manners – Being Positive in a Negative World

Being Positive in today’s world can be tough sometimes.  I know this to be true because I have to tell myself everyday be positive, it will get better, be thankful, and to find something good about each day.  When life smacks you down, find the positive in it and move on.  Here are some things that I try to do to stay positive.

  • Just Breathe – Just taking a few minutes to sit and be still and take a few deep breaths can really help to set the mind in a more positive state.
  • Take a walk outside – Nature can really heal.  Taking a walk on the beach or where there is grass and trees can help ground you.  It helps me become more calm and peaceful.
  • Laugh – It has been said that laughter is the best medicine.  I know I feel a whole lot better after a good laugh.
  • Smile – Smiling is positive.  When you frown or scowl like I tend to do, it brings out negative vibes, so I try to smile more.
  • Take a shower or bath, get dressed up, put on make-up, do your hair, or whatever stuff like this,  because it helps you feel good about you and when you feel good about yourself, you are positive and sending out positive vibes.
  • Be Thankful – I think when you are thankful you are more positive.  Even when life is rough, there is always something to be thankful for.
  • Get together with friends – Talking and sharing with friends can be a real positive influence, plus it is fun.
  • Have some FUN – I have found that sometimes I get into a rut, daily chores, paying bills, running errands, just doing everything that needs to be done and there is no time for fun.  That is just too negative, I feel I have forgotten how it is to have fun sometimes or laugh, so you really need to make time to have fun.  Life is to be lived or experienced, don’t just exist.

  • Enjoy the little things, appreciate the little things – yes, this is a good one.  I love to take my coffee in the morning and sit on my porch and just listen.  It is still and quiet, just peaceful.  I love clean sheets and a freshly made bed.  Sometimes just the little things can really make a difference.  I am so thankful for the little things.

Think positive and positive things will happen.

Respectfully in positive thoughts,

Chris

Posted in Health and Wellness, Inspiration, Monday Manners | 2 Comments