Gluten-Free (Flourless) Banana Oatmeal Bread

Gluten-Free (Flourless) Banana Oatmeal Bread.

When you have a bunch of bananas that ripen before you eat them – and you know nobody will eat them – they are perfect for baking.

I have a really yummy banana bread recipe, but it is not the “healthiest.”  I decided I wanted to make something with less (or no) sugar, and maybe no flour either.

I was excited when I found this super-easy and oh so yummy recipe at The Baker Mama.

It’s been very hot here, so I baked this early on a Sunday morning.  I made one loaf for my youngest son and his wife (my son loves banana bread and my daughter-in-law likes to eat healthy and gluten-free if possible) and one loaf for hubby and me.

My son mentioned that if I added some protein powder to the recipe, it would be the perfect breakfast.  I will have to try that next time.

But how simple is this recipe with five healthy, wholesome ingredients?!

Hope you will give it a try.

Gluten Free Banana Oatmeal Bread

Ingredients:

3 ripe bananas
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2  eggs
¼ cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp baking soda

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 9×5-inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth and well combined. Pour into prepared loaf pan.
Garnish the top of the batter with thinly sliced bananas or pecans or walnuts, if desired).

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Do not overbake or bread will be dry tasting.

Let loaf cool completely in pan. Store in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator,

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Hope is the Thing with Feathers…

Abstract Feather 1 – 11×14

Hope is the Thing with Feathers.

Do you think
every feather
is uniquely different?

Just like
snowflakes…
and leaves on trees…
and blades of grass…
and grains of sand…
and people.

Abstract Feather 2 – 11×14

As I was playing around one day
with pouring paint
and creating feathers,
they sure were!

Abstract Feather 3 – 11×14

Instead of pouring on canvas,
I poured these abstract feathers
on 300lb cold press watercolor paper.

They are all so very different,
even though I used the same exact colors and same paper…
yet there is something I uniquely like about each.

There is something so magical about feathers…

What bird is it from?
Or did it perhaps fall
from the wings of an angel?

Hope is the thing
with feathers
that perches in the soul
and sings the tunes
without the words,
and never stops at all.

– Emily Dickinson

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Overflowing Abundance

Fuchsia Flower – The Symbol of Overflowing Abundance

Overflowing Abundance.

Love abundantly.
Laugh abundantly.

Give abundantly.
Receive abundantly.

Work abundantly.
Play abundantly.

Live a life of overflowing abundance.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

There are some that believe the fuchsia flower symbolizes overflowing abundance.  Looking at the abundantly-blooming baskets hanging on my front porch, I couldn’t help but be inspired to feel the overflowing abundance life has to offer.  I hope you will think about it… if only for this moment…. and choose to live a life of overflowing abundance.  Abundance because you choose to love and laugh and give and receive and work and play abundantly.

Daylily in Watercolor

Loving Lily – Daylily in Watercolor 11×14

Daylily in Watercolor.

The daylilies are in full boom
this time of year.

Along the edge of the woods.
Along the sides of roads.

Varying shades of oranges
and yellows and pinks and reds.

I have Lily fever!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

#WorldWatercolorMonth

PS  Congratulations Lynn at Lynz Real Cooking for being chosen as the random winner in the drawing of the #WorldWatercolorMonth Yellow Canary Souvenir Pouch!  Lynn – please email your mailing address to mckinneyjodi@gmail.com so I can send it your way.

Old-Fashioned Classic Stuffed Peppers

Old-Fashioned Classic Stuffed Peppers.

People stuff peppers with a lot of different things and prepare them many different ways.

But there is one classic, old-fashioned way I sometimes crave.
The way Grandma used to make them.

Simple.
Hearty.
Lots of tomato sauce.
And served with a side of mashed pototoes.

Last Sunday, I made them for dinner.

Here is my recipe – like Grandma made.

Old-Fashioned Classic Stuffed Peppers

  • Servings: 4 stuffed peppers
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 4 large red or green peppers (best if you use the one with 4 lobes – or bumps – on the bottom as opposed to those with 3, so they stand nicer)
  • 1 lb. “Meatloaf Mix” (a mixture of ground beef, pork, and lamb)
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 large can tomato sauce
  • 1 large can condensed tomato soup
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine ground meat, cooked rice, onion, salt, and pepper.  Combine with your hands until evenly incorporated.

In another large mixing bowl, combine tomato sauce, tomato soup, and water.  Whisk until evenly incorporated.

Add 1 cup of sauce to meat mixture.  Combine well.

Cut tops from peppers and remove seeds.  Stand pepper “cups” in a deep roasting pan.  Stuff peppers with handfuls of meat packed and mounded.  Pour remaining sauce over all.

Cover and roast peppers for 1 – 1 1/2 hours until meat is cooked, sauce reduces, and peppers have softened.

Serve with mashed pototoes and ladle additional sauce over all.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

A Bucketful of Love

“Bucketful of Love” Watercolor 11×14

A Bucketful of Love.

How much love can a bucket hold?

When it’s holding a little girl, who happens to be your granddaughter, it is definitely overflowing!

Last weekend, I was “helping” one of my daughters-in-law and her sisters get ready for the upcoming wedding of one of the sisters.

As we worked in the barn where the reception will be held on a sweltering hot day, I had the “job” of entertaining my granddaughter so the girls could work.

Once we found a couple buckets of water, we were busy for hours, made a huge mess, and had a bucketful of fun!

I am not a great portrait painter, and I didn’t do my little cutie justice, but it was fun to try, and since it’s #WorldWatercolorMonth, I thought I’d share.

Bucketsful of Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Let’s Make the World More Colorful

Let’s Make the World More Colorful Watercolor 11×14

Let’s Make the World More Colorful.

Let’s make the world a happier place.
Let’s make  the world a kinder place.

Let’s make the world more loving.
Let’s make the world more peaceful.

Let’s do it one person at a time.
Let’s do it one act a time.

Let’s Make the World More Colorful.

#WorldWatercolorMonth

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Another Day

Starting a New Day in Mars, PA – June 29, 2018

Another Day.

Another sunrise.
Another beginning.

Another chance to smile
and make someone else smile.

Another chance to give
and also to receive.

Another chance to win,
but also learn to lose.

Another chance to change
something you didn’t do well yesterday.

Another chance to speak kindness
to someone who is lost.

Another chance to do something for the first time,
or maybe for the last.

Another chance to see and smell
and listen and taste and touch.

Another chance to hug
and say, “I love you.”

Another day.
Another chance to embrace the beauty of this life.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

PS – It is July 1st, which means World Watercolor Month begins today!  I haven’t had a chance this past week to do any watercolor painting, but sure plan to do some this month (and hopefully today!) to share.  Don’t forget you can support #WorldWatercolorMonth and The Dreaming Zebra Foundation by purchasing one of these Limited Edition WWM Souvenier Zippered Pouches with My “Terry’s” Yellow Canary Watercolor Design on it.  100%  of proceeds on this product goes to The Dreaming Zebra Foundation! These flat pouches vary from small to large and can be used for pretty much anything.  I’d like to give one of these away to one of my faithful followers and friends here at The Creative Life in Between.  If you’ve read this far and would like entered in the random drawing, which I’ll announce the winner of next Sunday, just add a comment saying “Enter Me in the Drawing!”  If you’d like to purchase one, simply click on the photo below.

Playing & Creating – Enjoying the Journey

Playing and Creating.

Some leftover paint
mixed up for a pouring project
that I played with on paper
with a goal of creating a wave…

Turned out to look
nothing like a wave,
but so many other things
magically appeared.

I see a bird
and a dolphin
or a crocodile
and a fish.

I feel movement
and life
and freedom
and joy.

Art
imitating
life

While enjoying
the special time
at life in between.

Relaxing
while playing
made something
I would never sell or hang on a wall,

but I created
and learned
how things react
and mix and mingle.

Art – like life –
isn’t always about
the destination –
but about the journey.

Play and create today.
Do something that brings you joy
in that “in between” time you get to call your own,
and enjoy the journey.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Original Watercolors, Acrylic Abstracts, and Handmade Rustic Decor available at McKinneyX2DesignsKlaus the Mouse available on Amazon here.

Baking Lady Locks Cookies

Baking Lady Locks Cookies

We’ve talked about it before…. the Pittsburgh Wedding Cookie Table.

As we say around here, “It’s a ‘Burgh Thing.”

And no respectable wedding cookie table would be without Lady Locks.

As much as I love baking cookies, I have never truly mastered the esteemed Lady Lock.

But one of my best buddies has….

She baked them for my first son’s wedding, and she baked them for my second son’s wedding.  So when I offered to help bake some cookies for my oldest daughter-in-law’s sister’s upcoming wedding, I asked Tracy if I could pay her to bake some Lady Locks.

Her reply…

“How about I teach you?”

When I told my daughter-in-law we were going to make them this past Sunday, she was so excited.  She had been googling the recipe to give them a try, but was a bit hesitant to tackle these, so she wanted to join in the lady lock baking lesson too.

Now my grandma made these every year for Christmas and for special occassions like family weddings.  I tried her cryptic recipe a few times years ago, but they never came out quite right.  At one point in time I had her special lady lock pins, but somehow they are nowhere to be found.  (I likely tossed them out of frustration after trying several times!)

Fortunately, Tracy still has her grandma’s, which were handed down to her mom and then her.  I found a local store in the Strip District of Pittsburgh, In the Kitchen, that carries them and sells them online for anyone interested in purchasing (which I did).  It’s important you get the correct kind.  Expert old-time bakers were able to make these on clothespins (and some people still call them clothespin cookies), but I can’t even imagine!

Baking these are not for the light of heart or spirit.  Though they are made from just a few simple ingredients you likely have in your pantry, these tasty little buggers are a bit tedious to make.  (Especially when you double the recipe and have a 1-1/2 year-old helping!)

Tracy generously allowed me to share her Mom’s recipe here, which was a COMPLETE success!  (Probably because she did most of the hard work….. after all…. my granddaughter did need to take a few breaks to swing and play in the pool and eat lunch and join Pap Pap for a tractor ride during the 5-hour bake-a-thon!).  Colleen, her mommy, was a trooper rolling and tapping and filling the whole time – even while 8 3/4 months pregnant (this girl never ceases to amaze me!).

We filled half of our 200 lady locks with pink-tinted vanilla filling and the other half with white almond-flavored filling.  They both are melt-in-your-mouth divine.

Here is the recipe.  The best ever, full-proof success lady locks recipe.  Thanks Tracy!

Lady Locks Cookies

  • Servings: approximately 100
  • Print

Cookie Shell Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 lb butter
  • 1 cup water

Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups Crisco
  • 3 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 3/4 cup canned Evaporated Milk
  • 4 1/2 Tbsp. flour
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Mix flour and butter with pastry blender like when making pie crust to form crumbly mixture.  Stir in water until dough forms.  Shape dough into 2 balls, cover with saran wrap, and refrigerate for one hour.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare the Lady Locks Pins by rubbing your hands with Crisco and then rolling the pins in your hands to grease them.  (You only have to do this for the first batch – they will be greased enough after that from each subsequent baking.)

Roll out dough to 1/8″ thick on floured surface.  Cut dough into 2″ x 1-1/2″ rectangles.  Wrap each rectangle of dough around Lady Locks Pin pinching edges well to seal.  To do this is a bit tricky.  You must pinch the dough together, then roll it in your hands and/or on a lightly flour-dusted counter (or both!) to get them smooth and even. Then take a butter knife and cut through the center of the dough on the pin to create two evenly-sized pieces – pushing  them apart about 1/8″.  (You will get two cookies from each pin).

Fill a cookie tray or baking stone with dough-wrapped pins about 1/4 inch apart.  Bake approximately 10 minutes until just lightly browned.

When they come out of the oven, you can allow them to cool a minute or so, then you need to tap the ends of the pin on the counter to loosen the baked dough and slide off the pin on the narrowest tapered side.  (It’s a bit like playing hot potato, but necessary to remove the shells from the pins.  Tracy says if you leave them cool too long on the pin, the will likely stick to them and break in the process of removing.)

Once you have baked all of your shells, and they have cooled, prepare the filling.

With an electric mixer, beat the Crisco.  Add 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, and beat again.  Add 1/4 cup canned milk, and beat again.  Add flour.   Beat again.  Add salt.     Beat again.  Add 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar.  Beat again.  Add 1/2 cup canned milk.  Beat again.  Add vanilla (or almond extract).  Beat again.  If you are going to tint your filling, add food color, and beat one final time until incorporated.

Using a pastry tube or decorator with small tip, fill shells with filling.

These cookies freeze well, and actually taste phenomenal straight out of the freezer.

Do you have another favorite Lady Locks recipe?  I’d love to hear how you make them.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi