Mom’s Homemade Banana Bread

Mom's Homemade Banana Bread

Happy Monday! Are you staying warm out there?! I hope the cold weather didn’t stop you from having a fun and relaxing weekend. My husband left me for the slopes in Colorado this past weekend (no hint of jealousy there at all), so I was left to fend for myself for a few days while he skied with his brother and dad. I was productive and got things crossed off my list, but it was so nice having him come back on Sunday afternoon.

Being the great wife that I am, I made some homemade bread yesterday so he could come home to a warm house filled with the smell of fresh bread (and maybe, partly because I really just wanted to make some bread and I finally had the time to do it — but that’s neither here nor there). While I didn’t make Mom’s Homemade Banana Bread yesterday, it’s just as comforting, warm and inviting for a cold day (which is today!) — plus, it’s even easier than the bread I just made since there’s no yeast involved! This quick bread couldn’t be quicker — literally, just dump and mix everything together.

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Cauliflower & Aged White Cheddar Mac & Cheese

Cauliflower & Aged White Cheddar Mac & Cheese

I’m celebrating today with a big, warm bowl of Cauliflower & Aged White Cheddar Mac & Cheese today. You know why? Well, for one, it’s cold outside, but I’m celebrating because this little corner of mine on the web, called RD in the Midwest, is exactly one year old today! One year! I don’t know if I’m more excited about making it a year of blogging or when I reached a year working at my “real job”.

What a year! I honestly can’t believe I’ve been navigating my way through blogging for already a year now, sharing with you little glimpses into my Midwest life as an RD, runner, and wife.

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My platform has remained the same (sharing with you mostly healthy recipes, but also sharing some of my favorite sweets — since everything is okay in moderation…famous last words of a dietitian) over the year and I don’t plan on changing it anytime soon. It’s been so encouraging hearing from readers when they’ve tried a recipe, maybe that they normally wouldn’t have tried before, and enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed making, eating, and writing about it. You guys are the reason I keep with it each and every week! There are days when I feel like my posts are going out into space somewhere, unread and under appreciated for the work that goes into them, but then I get a comment from a reader and I realize once again why it’s all worth it.

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Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

How is it that Valentine’s Day is already this week?! Weren’t we, like, just celebrating Christmas?

Are you a Valentine’s lover or hater? Or somewhere in between? I wouldn’t say that I embrace the holiday, but I’m not one to completely disregard the whole day either — as in, I wouldn’t be completely against my husband doing something special for me on Saturday (hint, hint). ;)

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Growing up, I wasn’t one that got called to the office after school to pick up my bouquet of flowers or — the more desired gift — a donut cake or giant heart-shaped cookie from her mom or boyfriend, but I still had fun handing out my own homemade treats or candy to friends.

I’d like to say I’ve grown up a bit from passing out Sweethearts or Dum Dums during Homeroom…I’ve moved on to cupcakes with sprinkles! Baby steps, here people, baby steps.

But these cupcakes aren’t just any kind of cupcake, though. These Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting will win over anybody’s heart once he or she bites into this little bit of heaven. It’s moist. It’s rich. And it’s topped with cream cheese frosting — and cream cheese frosting makes anything better. Amiright?! You could put cream cheese frosting on a cookie that is as hard as a rock and I would probably love it. But don’t worry, these cupcakes are already good enough to stand their own — the frosting just takes them to the next level.

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Brussels Sprouts & Pancetta Pizza

Brussels Sprouts & Pancetta Pizza

Whew, what a weekend! The weather, the excitement of the Super Bowl…

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…and the completion of another weekend project!

First of all, was I out of the loop or did this snow come from no where? I knew it was supposed to snow this weekend, but I didn’t know it was going to snow all day yesterday! There was no hope for leaving, so I had a productive day checking one thing off my list after another. Don’t you love it when that happens?!

Since I don’t care all that much about the Super Bowl, I’ll jump to what I’m most excited about: our completed dining room!

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After last week’s big debate on colors, I finally made a choice and we got it up on the walls on Saturday. Although initially it looked a bit bright (because, let’s face it, it is), with the furniture and things back on the walls, it looked a lot more inviting. While I’m not a huge fan of vertical blinds, we changed the vanes to a gray color and it made all the difference. I’m realizing my last minute choices seem to be the most successful ones.

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And you know what else I’m excited about? This pizza — Brussels Sprouts & Pancetta Pizza.

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In My Home… + Weekend Getaway Recap

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No matter how unready you are for the week, Mondays come around with unforgiving regularity, don’t they? Usually I’m rushing to finish up odds and ends on Sunday in order to catch even just a little bit of R & R on Sunday evening before the start of the week. But not this weekend. Nope, Philip and I had a weekend full of relaxation.

With all the moving, house projects, and general craziness going on, it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. We put aside our “home to-do list” and headed North for a weekend getaway at my aunt and uncle’s lake house. They graciously let us stay there for the whole weekend and take advantage of all of their “winter toys”.

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Citrus Salmon with Kale & Whole-Wheat Couscous

Citrus Salmon with Kale & Whole-Wheat Couscous

Can we just talk about the weather we’ve been having lately? It’s been…well, not miserable! Finally. Okay, so it hasn’t actually been all that bad (yet) compared to other years, but when it’s cold, it’s cold. But the weather the past few days have made going outside almost enjoyable. It was so nice on Sunday (a balmy 40 degrees) — and knowing it wasn’t going to last long — I took the opportunity to drop what I was doing and go for an impromptu run around our new neighborhood. Just what I needed! Cabin fever is a legit thing, I tell ya.

With the great much improved weather and the idea of “fresh starts” still on my mind with the new year, I was craving something other than soups for once. Citrus Salmon with Kale & Whole-Wheat Couscous was the result.

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(Philip’s Favorite) Soft & Chewy Snickerdoodles

Soft & Chewy Snickerdoodles

Hello again! It’s the new homeowner here! I’m feeling especially like an adult today because not only am I living in a house that we own now, but because we went furniture shopping yesterday and purchased a new dining room set. A gorgeous, classy, sophisticated, too-good-to-be-mine kind of dining room set. Oh, and a large copper-colored spoon, fork, and knife set to hang on our (bare) walls. It’s debatable whether I’m more excited about my life-size silverware or the new table that I’ll get to eat at in about a week when it’s delivered. Either way, it’s fun to see this house of ours come together. Wheee!!

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Jumping back about a month ago, I was sitting on our floor, surrounded by boxes while we were packing, sifting through old papers and the random things that start to collect in a desk. Well, I came across an old piece of scratch paper that I had started writing on when I first met Philip (okay, it’s only about 2 years old, but it seemed ancient). On the paper was a list of all of his favorite things — so I could remember the important things like his favorite color, candy bar, non-chocolate candy, cake, and season. Of course those are crucial things that I didn’t want to dare forget. But on there were also his favorite flavors like cinnamon, lime, and garlic — which still comes in useful today. Thankfully when I went through the list, I was able to confidently say I knew all of the “favorites” and could throw away the piece of paper (mostly glad so I could get rid of the paper).

On that list were some of his favorite cookies, including snickerdoodles (because of the cinnamon, no doubt). When I was first getting to know Philip, I made these cookies and sent them with his dad when he was going up to Madison to visit Philip. If I hadn’t won Philip over yet, the cookies definitely did it. They were an instant hit with him! They were soft and chewy and extra cinnamon-y.

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Making a House a Home: Fresh Paint

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It’s back to a normal work week! Whew, doesn’t it seem like forever since there was a normal week of work? I guess it’s been too long for me; I went in to work on Saturday and, embarrassingly, it took me a half hour (no joke!) to log into my computer because I had forgotten my username. Not even my password…just my username.

My guess is it’s a combination of being off work for over a week, being knee deep in house projects and cleaning, and losing brain cells because of all the said cleaning (although I’m finding baking soda and vinegar work wonders when cleaning).

Like I mentioned last week, our project this past week was to put some paint on the walls. It was a rush after getting back from Iowa to make the final decisions on the paint colors and to purchase the paint before Philip’s parents came Monday evening to help, but it all got done and looks pretty darn good, if I don’t say so myself.

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Top 10 Most Viewed Posts of the Year + Year Recap

Most Viewed Posts in 2014

Wow, is it really the last week of 2014?! Where has the year gone?

I suppose I should back up first and ask how everybody’s Christmas was. I hope you had a very blessed and merry Christmas full of warmth, cheer…and delicious food! Philip and I continued our (1 year) tradition by going to a Christmas Eve service on Wednesday followed by going out for sushi and sipping on hot chocolate at home. Since we didn’t decorate for Christmas this year and our thoughts have mainly been focused on our new house, it finally felt like Christmas for us.

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Ever since we moved into our new home last Saturday, we have been in mild disarray for the past week; so it was especially nice to get away for a few days and head to Iowa to spend Christmas with my parents. It still felt great to come back home, though. And now begins a few days of painting! I’ll fill you in on that next week.

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Now back to the new realization I had that 2014 is almost over. I feel like the last week of any year is a good time to reflect on everything that happened during the past year and to anticipate what’s to come in the coming year. 2014 has been an exciting year and seemed to be a year of “firsts” for me. I started a new job in January, launched this blog (!!), successfully completed my first triathlon and marathon, celebrated Philip and mine’s one year wedding anniversary, and we bought our first home! I can’t wait to see what next year will bring.

Whatever the year may bring, I know I’ll be bringing you more tasty and healthy recipes for you to try in the coming year (is that a sigh of relief I hear? ;)). In keeping with this year-end reflection time, here are your top 10 favorite posts from 2014.

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We’re First Time Homeowners! + Chicken Vegetable Chowder with Lemon-Basil Dumplings

Chicken Vegetable Chowder with Lemon-Basil Dumplings

How was everybody’s weekend? Nothing too special here except, ohh you know…

We bought a house!!

I know. I’ve been impatiently waiting to share this exciting news with you once we finally closed on the house and we had the keys in our hands to make it official. Well, it finally happened this past Friday after putting an offer in back in October. Whew, it’s quite the process!

We couldn’t be any happier with our very first home as homeowners (well, besides the fact that our hands are raw with all the cleaning we’re doing). Why do we love it? Well, for one, the kitchen is pretty great (that was high on the “must have” list in our house search). It’s close (as in I can see it from our driveway close) to the running trail I run on almost everyday during the summer. It’s in a great neighborhood (which has awesome Christmas lights, by the way! I was so impressed. I didn’t think people decorated like this anymore. Turns out my drive home from work is not where all the great lights are). And most of all, we love this house because it’s ours. Nuff said.

Friday night we celebrated our new ownership by relaxing in front of the fire, eating pizza, and making a list of short-term and long-term projects and purchases. It’s always fun to dream.

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But Saturday is when the real fun started… We’re knee deep in boxes, cleaning has ensued in full force, and a trip to Menards with a long list in hand has already happened.

Since we’re still in between apartment and house for the week, I quick made Chicken Vegetable Chowder with Lemon-Basil Dumplings on Saturday before we packed up everything in the kitchen that evening. It’ll last us for most of the week and that means no need for the kitchen amongst all of the craziness! Great planning, huh? :)

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