Monday, June 27, 2016

Crockpot Monday: Banana Bread

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2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas


After mixing up your batter, pour it into a prepared loaf pan. If you have a round crockpot and not an oval one, pick a round cake pan that fits snugly inside the stoneware. Prop your lid open just a tad to let some steam out. I used a chopstick (no idea how to use them, but they’re handy!)

Cook on high for 4 hours, or until an inserted knife comes out clean. Carefully remove the hot pan from the stoneware and let cool.


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Friday, June 24, 2016

Book Review: The Wurst of Lucky Peach

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The best in wurst from around the world, with enough sausage-themed stories and pictures stuffed between these two covers to turn anyone into a forcemeat aficionado.

Lucky Peach presents a cookbook as a scrapbook, stuffed with curious local specialties, like cevapi, a caseless sausage that’s traveled all the way from the Balkans to underneath the M tracks in Ridgewood, Queens; a look into the great sausage trails of the world, from Bavaria to Texas Hill Country and beyond; and the ins and outs of making your own sausages, including fresh chorizo.

We all know my weakness for awesome cookbooks and summer is officially here, so I thought a book about sausages would be perfect! Well, I was right and I was wrong. This book, while advertised as a cookbook, isn't a cookbook. In fact, it only has about 40 recipes. The book is far more about the history and types of sausage. Unfortunately, it feels like it's suffering from a bit of an identity crisis.

So, while a disappointment as a full fledged cookbook, this book is still fantastic. Honestly, it's worth it just to read the rants about ketchup and mustard. If you're interested in learning about types of sausage, the geography of sausage, or even read short travelogues done by people traveling for sausage, this full of personality book might be for you. If you're looking for a cookbook, give this one a pass and keep your eyes open for a book stuffed with sausage recipes. Stuffed..get it?


I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Cover Reveal: Under the Full Moon

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Cover Reveal

Under the Full Moon For months, gruesome murders have gone unexplained near a rural English tavern in the woods. The deaths have been primal, and on the eve of the latest corpse discovery, a stranger enters town. Desperate to earn the trust of the patrons that same evening, he insists that he knows what beast has tortured the small community, and he knows how to stop it before it kills again. Not everyone is convinced, and when another person goes missing, unlikely alliances are forged to end the nightmare under the full moon. Add on Goodreads

head shot boom
 Mike Zimmerman is a graduate of Oakland University in Rochester Michigan where he studied History, Political Science, and Social Studies. He is a published author in Renaissance Magazine and likes to write both fiction and nonfiction in his spare time. Mike Zimmerman has also published a full-length, historical fiction novel titled "Dracula's Apprentice." Follow his website


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Crockpot Monday: Apple Oatmeal

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1 cup of rolled oats
2 cups of milk
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla
pinch of salt
1 chopped apple


Add oats, chopped apple and milk to your crockpot. Mix in brown sugar, vanilla, and a pinch of salt.
Cover and cook on high for 1-2 hours or low for 2-3. Garnish with some cinnamon for a bit of extra yummy.


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Monday, June 13, 2016

Crockpot Monday: Baked Oatmeal

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3 cups rolled oats (not instant or quick oats)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons flax meal (optional)
1 cup milk
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup dried fruit


Mix all the ingredients together in the crockpot. Stir well with a spoon. You want to make sure the baking powder gets dispersed evenly.

Cover and cook on low for 3-5 hours, checking every so often. This is done when the edges are brown and are beginning to crust, and the center is set. An inserted knife should come out clean.

Let it sit in the cooling crockpot for at least an hour before attempting to cut. The longer you let it sit, the more set and brownie-like the pieces will be.


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Friday, June 10, 2016

Book Review: America's Best Breakfasts

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Rise and dine! If there’s one meal of the day to get passionate about—no matter where you’re from in this great land—it’s breakfast with all the fixings. Featuring down-home diners, iconic establishments, and the newest local hot spots, America’s Best Breakfasts is a celebration of two of this nation’s honored traditions: hitting the open road and enjoying an endless variety of breakfasts. Even without a road trip, you can re-create favorites that will satisfy any time of day:

Shrimp and Grits, Hominy Grill, Charleston
Croque Monsieur Sandwiches, Tartine, San Francisco
Kimchi Pancakes, Sunshine Tavern, Portland
Filipino Steak with Garlic Fried Rice, Uncle Mike’s, Chicago
Cannoli French Toast, Café Lift, Philadelphia
Brioche Cinnamon Buns, Honey Bee, Oxford
Morning Glory Muffins, Panther Coffee, Miami

Another week, another cookbook! I just know y'all are shocked to the core! Okay, but who doesn't love breakfast? I go through periods when all I want is breakfast three meals a day...eggs, french toast, bagels, name it, it's breakfast all the time! So when an entire cookbook about breakfast and the breakfasts done in yummy restaurants came up in my list, how could I possibly have said no?

Let's start with the things that I loved.  The pages were that lovely glossy finish which makes it easy for slightly messy cooks to carefully wipe down without destroying your book. This is almost a must in cookbooks for me so I was thrilled to see it. The photography in this book is absolutely gorgeous and really helps to make this cookbook a gem in the kitchen. I love that the recipes are clearly laid out and for the most part, ingredients are easily attainable. When you have recipes from some higher end restaurants, that can be a problem.

Now..for what I don't like about this book. To be blunt, it skips most of the country. I did a quick count on the map that's at the front of the book and only 20 states are represented, 21 if you count Washington D.C. This disappoints me. I'd have much rather seen something a bit more all encompassing than 8 recipes from the state of Florida. Surely people in Michigan or Arizona or some of the remaining states know how to throw together an awesome breakfast!

All in all, this is a great cookbook, just don't expect it to be a true representation of our culinary country!


I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own and not influenced by my total lack of juice yet this morning. ;)

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Monday, June 6, 2016

Crockpot Monday: Apple Coffee Cake

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cooking spray
2 cups Bisquick mix 2/3 cup applesauce
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 apples, peeled, cored, diced (green is best, but feel free to use any you have on hand)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg

Crumb topping:
1/4 cup Bisquick
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)


Spray your crockpot with cooking spray and set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients for your coffee cake. Stir with a rubber spatula--no need to break out the mixer. The batter will be thick and lumpy. Pour into your prepared stoneware insert.

In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the crumb topping and sprinkle evenly on top of the batter. Cover and cook on high for 2 to 3 hours, or until the cake browns and pulls away from the sides. Uncover the cooker and cook on high for another 30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.


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Friday, June 3, 2016

Book Review: Sweeter Off the Vine

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A cozy collection of heirloom-quality recipes for pies, cakes, tarts, ice cream, preserves, and other sweet treats that cherishes the fruit of every season.

Celebrate the luscious fruits of every season with this stunning collection of heirloom-quality recipes for pies, cakes, tarts, ice cream, preserves, and other sweet treats. Summer's wild raspberries become Raspberry Pink Peppercorn Sorbet, ruby red rhubarb is roasted to adorn a pavlova, juicy apricots and berries are baked into galettes with saffron sugar, and winter's bright citrus fruits shine in Blood Orange Donuts and Tangerine Cream Pie. Yossy Arefi’s recipes showcase what's fresh and vibrant any time of year by enhancing the enticing sweetness of fruits with bold flavors like rose and orange flower water inspired by her Iranian heritage, bittersweet chocolate and cacao nibs, and whole-grain flours like rye and spelt. Accompanied by gorgeous, evocative photography, Sweeter off the Vine is a must-have for aspiring bakers and home cooks of all abilities.

Oh of my greatest weaknesses in life..from the church paper printed ones to the fancy professional, I just love cookbooks. This one isn't any different.

Divided into seasonal sections, the author has filled this book with fruit recipes that go from the most basic to some quite advanced. Since it appears that Spring is finally here and cherries are popping up in stores and at the market, I'm really looking forward to trying out those particular recipes.

So, since we're talking recipes, let's break down the book a bit...The recipes are well written and easy to understand. If you have basic cooking knowledge, you'll be able to follow along easily and should end up with some scrumptious desserts.

The photos are absolutely delicious and call me to go to the market, pick up some goodies and to bury myself in the kitchen for a weekend. Sadly, life keeps getting in the way of me having a baking marathon, but it will happen!

If I had one complaint about this book it's that the pages are plain paper and in no way wipe-able. If you get something on this one...and you will, after all, you are isn't coming off. I'd suggest you get a sheet of plastic to put down over top so you can see the recipe, but still protect the book.

After that, happy baking and enjoying the fruits of your labor!


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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Something Has to Change

1:59 PM
As some of you may know, I've been down and out with horrible, rotten allergies for the past two weeks. I could live with the congestion, but man, the pain is just too much. So what's a girl to do? She hauls herself off to urgent care in the hopes that they can give her something to make it feel at least a little bit better. That's what I did...and that's where this post begins.

Since I had to go grocery shopping anyway, I decided to go to the urgent care that's over near where I wanted to shop. I hadn't been there before and so I was a little bit surprised when they had me step on the scale in addition to all the usual tests. The number I saw there terrified me. I had suspected that I had been putting on weight again, but not nearly as much as that number showed. I am now at the highest weight I have ever been at. Then, when she took my blood pressure and that was also high, something just shifted inside of me. I have to do something. If I don't, I'm going to die. That may sound dramatic, but it really isn't. At the weight I'm at, my body has to work harder at every single thing it does. This puts wear and tear on heart, my lungs, my joints...and those things can wear out completely.

My doctor warned me back in August about my weight and my blood pressure. She wasn't particularly kind about it and it made me defensive.  This time, nobody said a word. They just showed me the numbers when they came up. Then, I spent a week thinking about those numbers and what they mean to me. Those numbers are the reason that I have trouble climbing up or down stairs. They're the reason I won't volunteer to chaperone trips with the boys. They're the reason that I have some of the health problems that I do.

The numbers scared me, but they got me thinking and for that, I'm thankful. For too long, I've let pride get in the way of me getting help in this area. I've never had a healthy relationship with food. Growing up, food was a sanctuary of sorts. My grandmother used food as a way to show us that she loved us. I never walked into that house without an immediate offer of being fed being made. As I grew older, food became either a way to fill the holes in my emotional world or a control object. Soon I hope to write an entire post regarding my relationship with food. This isn't that post.

This post is about the decision that I've made. Twice now, my doctor has given me a referral to the Sparrow Hospital Weight Management Clinic. Twice, I let get pride get in the way. I told myself that I've lost weight before and that it's not rocket science. I can do this alone. The truth is that I can't do this alone. When I'm doing it alongside someone, I do okay. When I have that accountability. The problem with that comes along when the other person meets their goal or they don't take the time/make the effort to be my cheerleader. When that happens, it's easy to make excuses and let things slide.

It's time to stop the cycle. It's time to get the help that I need to understand what it is that I need to do. If what that is equals therapy, so be it. If what that is means surgery to help my body start helping itself again, so be it. So, I made the courageous decision to attend a meeting next week at the weight management clinic. It's just an introduction to what they do there so I can see if it's the right fit. I suspect that so long as insurance covers it, I'll be going there on a far more regular basis and finding my way to healthy again. After all, I want to be able to ride roller coasters with my boys, to travel comfortably on trips, and most importantly to live a long, long life where I watch all my dreams and hard work turn into something amazing.

I've also made the decision to keep this off of social media for the time being. I'll be posting about it here and over on Welcoming Weight Loss as things happen and I treasure any support that I get, but this is a private decision and that on some level, I need to do for me on my own.


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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Book Review : Wonderland

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Artist Amily Shen takes adult coloring book fans on a magical journey inspired by Alice in Wonderland.

Follow the White Rabbit into this imaginative coloring book inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, featuring intricate pen-and-ink drawings by acclaimed artist Amily Shen. Meet the Cheshire Cat, attend the Mad Hatter’s tea party, and play croquet with the Queen of Hearts in this evocative tale that invites you into a strange and beautiful new world of coloring.


I suppose we all knew that it was just a matter of time before I dove head first into the magic that is coloring books for adults. As an adult (or so they say), I've never stopped coloring. I've always had a few coloring books and a few tons of crayons lying about for those especially stressful days. It's an easy and fairly inexpensive way to escape the chaos that is adult life and swap it for just a little bit of time as a child again.

When it comes to this particular book, it's perfect for those of us who may have graduated beyond the basic shapes and into more detailed drawings. Each drawing is its own work of art and when combined with a nice heavy paper, it makes for hours of relaxation and entertainment. After all, you're only as limited as you decide yourself to be! Who says Alice has to be the traditional blonde? Maybe she'd like to be a brunette for a while! The white rabbit? I think he'd be rather handsome with black spots!

As someone who colors multiple times a week, this is a book that I'm really looking forward to working my way through. Then, when I'm all done, I think I just might slip off the slipcover, flip it over, and color the gorgeous illustrations that are printed on the reverse. It's a shame that we no longer have a playroom. A finished version of that would be perfect to hang upon its walls!


I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.
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