Tag Archives: fruit

One-ingredient ice cream.

I’ve missed sharing ideas with people! I’ve decided to set a goal of posting at least once a week. Now that The Mini-Munchkin is about the same age that The Munchkin was when I started this, I feel like I can take the time to set up more good photos & write some more. Though the girls are so big now, I don’t think I could call either of them Munchkin anymore. I’m currently accepting nominations for new aliases for my 4- & 1-year-olds.

But so that I don’t bite off more than I can chew, let’s start with something easy, shall we?

banana swirl

This ice cream has one ingredient: bananas.

It’s easy to make. It’s fat-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, & delicious.

It’s been making the Pinterest rounds, & even Daniel Tiger on PBS is getting into the act; my 4-year-old informed me that this comes from one of his shows & is called “Banana Swirl.”


Just take about 1 ripe (but not banana-bread ripe; I made that mistake this first time. Think still yellow.) banana per person, cut them into thirds or quarters, & freeze. I just stuck mine in a Ziploc baggie. After a couple of hours, remove them from the freezer, stick them in your blender or food processor, & pulverize. The “snow” setting on my Breville worked like a dream. After a couple of minutes, you should see smooth, soft-serve-looking “banana swirl.” That’s it!

Dairy-free | Soy-free | Nut-free | Gluten-free | Vegan

Why does this happen? Bananas have high pectin levels. Pectin is the gelling agent that you add when you make jam. It acts as a stabilizer to create that creamy texture. Mangoes apparently also have high pectin levels & would likely produce the same effect if frozen & blended.

This is a great treat for summertime. We made ours to refuel after gymnastics, but I’m thinking one morning I might top it with fruit & granola & serve “ice cream” for breakfast, just to shake things up a bit! What do you think of that?


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Award-winning (!!!) peach-strawberry cobbler.

Yesterday was Pioneer Day, a holiday that commemorates the day in 1847 when the Mormon pioneers first entered the Salt Lake Valley. It’s a state holiday in Utah; everywhere else, Mormon wards put on picnics/barbecues/etc. to celebrate. Our new ward had a barbecue & “Dutch oven” baking contest on Saturday. (“Dutch oven” is in quotes because entrants were instructed to bake it in their ovens at home, then bring it in a Dutch oven. I used my Le Creuset Dutch oven. It still counts.)

Meet: the winner! Ta-da!

This recipe originated from The Princess & the Frog: Tiana’s Cookbook: Recipes for Kids, was modified by Tina at Mom’s Crazy Cooking, & then re-modified by me & my unfortunately still wonky (that Indiana-ism is the only word I can think of that can accurately describe it) oven.

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 cups diced fresh peaches (I wound up having to freeze half of mine because produce gets to the store a little riper down here than in the Tri-State Area; they still worked fine)
  • 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries (ditto)
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup cold milk (I used 2%)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 (or prepare your campfire, if you’re ambitious enough to be all “authentic”). Use a pat of the butter to grease the inside of your Dutch oven.
  2. Melt remaining butter in the microwave. Set aside.
  3. Combine fruit in a small-ish bowl & sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. of the sugar. Stir gently & then set aside to macerate.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, & salt. Add remaining sugar, milk, & vanilla; stir until well blended. The batter will be (perhaps alarmingly) thin.
  5. Pour the melted butter into the batter & whisk quickly until just combined. The batter should be a little thicker now. Pour immediately into the bottom of your Dutch oven.
  6. Gently spoon the fruit mixture into the batter & lightly press it partway into the batter.
  7. Bake (uncovered if you’re using the oven; covered if you’re using a campfire) about 1 hour, or until top is golden brown. Serve warm. Win a baking contest!


Filed under Holidays, Recipes

Strawberry Spinach Salad.

Hi, all! I’m late posting today because we decided to take The Munchkin to see her first in-theatre movie, Cars 2, this morning to celebrate her using the potty for the first time! (Yes, we were planning on going anyway, but it was nice to call it a reward.) It was a little loud in the theatre for all of us, but we all liked the movie. Munchkin was also quite excited when she saw the Winnie the Pooh movie preview.

I’ll post about the weekend’s crazy birthday bash next, but I need a little detox from Sweets Week first.

This is my favorite salad. Period. I make it all the time during strawberry season. I love how fresh & light it is, plus it boasts lots of antioxidants! This is another great recipe from The Essential Mormon Cookbook, & just like with the last one, I halve the dressing recipe & still have plenty for at least 6 people. This is how I make it; if you’re making it for a huge church get-together or something, double it. Oh, & the dressing keeps really well in the fridge, too!

Honey Celery Seed Dressing

  • 3/8 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. ground mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. finely grated onion (just take a cut onion to the side of your box grater a half-dozen times & use your 1/2 tsp. to scrape the resultant goo off the inside. You could also use dried onion powder or flakes, but I don’t know the conversion for that)
  • 1/4 cup lemon or lime juice
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp. celery seed (if you have an aversion to the taste of celery, you can cut this in half)
  1. Add all but the last 2 ingredients to a blender cup & blend well.
  2. Lift the lid; gradually add oil & celery seed while blending.
  3. Toss with washed baby spinach, sliced strawberries (macerate them with a little sugar if you’re serving this outside to keep them fresher), & sliced toasted almonds (if you can find the honey-roasted salad topper ones in your produce section, those are the best, but my grocery store didn’t have them). Serve immediately. If you’re taking this to a potluck or waiting to serve it, leave the dressing on the side for guests to add themselves so that the spinach doesn’t wilt.
  4. Refrigerate remaining dressing to use later.

Get Your Craft On Tuesdays


Filed under Healthy living, Recipes

Lemon bars.

It’s Sweets Week here in our house, with 2 birthdays, a birthday party, & Father’s Day falling in the same week. I have a feeling that next week will be Stretchy-Pants Week…

My Husband The Connoiseur’s family has a tradition where, on someone’s birthday, they get to choose a dessert for his mom to make. One of his favorites is lemon tarts. Now, my mother-in-law is an amazing cook, & while I do know my way around the kitchen, I also know better than to try to compete with her. So when my husband requests something of hers, I instead find a similar recipe. That way, if it tastes different, it’s not because I made it wrong! Genius, right?

So for Father’s Day, I made lemon bars for My Husband The One Whose Special Day It Was. Still lemony, but not lemon tarts. This is me preserving my pride & vanity. I found this easy but delicious recipe at Favorite Family Recipes & added notes for next time to make it lemonier, because we love lemon! Except The Munchkin. Which is unfortunate, because in addition to the third of a pan or so that’s still left of these, we now have 3/4 of My Husband The Birthday Boy’s German chocolate cake… Yikes! Like I said, next week is Stretchy-Pants Week. Anyone feel like coming over & helping us finish it all off?

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup margarine (or butter-flavored shortening — what I used)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • (I would also add some lemon zest to the crust)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 & lightly spray 9×13 pan with cooking spray.
  2. Blend together with 2 forks or a pastry blender until crumbly.
  3. Press into bottom of pan.
  4. Bake about 20 minutes or until just starting to brown.
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • juice of 2 lemons (about 6 Tbsp.)
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon extract — this is me adding this
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • lemon zest — she says “a little,” but I zested a whole lemon & still thought it could use a little more. So I would do zest of 1 lemon in the filling & a little more zest from the other lemon in the crust.
  1. Whisk together in medium bowl until well blended.
  2. Pour over crust.
  3. Bake 20 minutes.
  4. Sift powdered sugar over the top & cut into squares.

works for me wednesday at we are that family36th Avenue


Filed under Holidays, Recipes

No-fail banana bread. (With chocolate chips!)

I’ve posted a couple other recipes for ripe bananas, but this was the first. Meaning it preceded all other banana recipes. This has been my go-to staple for years, ever since my Aunt Becky (the one whose Christmas letter inspired my Painted Easter Cookies) gave me her ward’s cookbook as a wedding present. I’ve professed my love for ward cookbooks in the past, mainly for the reason that I know that the people submitting them have actually made them themselves, in a real kitchen, with small children underfoot. But even knowing that, I could never get banana bread right! With every new recipe I tried, it would always be charred on the outside before it was done on the inside. This was the first to be edible — indeed, tasty — so I’ve stuck with it the last five years. This time I decided to mix things up a little bit & add whole-wheat flour (to make it healthier) & chocolate chips (to counteract any undue healthiness).

  • 1 3/4 cup white/wheat flour blend (I just mixed together 1 cup all-purpose & 3/4 cup whole-wheat, but you could even use just all-purpose, since that’s what the original recipe, you know, asks for…), divided
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2-3 ripe bananas, mashed (Get your kids to do this! They’ll love you for it!)
  • 1/3 cup margarine, or butter-flavored shortening (I very rarely use anything but real butter in my cooking, so when I do, it’s for good reason.)
  • 2 Tbsp. milk (skim is fine)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup plus a little (okay, more than a little) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 & grease an 8x4x2 loaf pan.
  2. In bowl of electric mixer, combine 1 cup flour with sugar, baking powder, baking soda, & salt.
  3. Add mashed banana, margarine, & milk. Beat on low speed until blended; scrape sides of bowl.
  4. Beat on high for 2 minutes & scrape sides of bowl.
  5. Add eggs & remaining flour; beat just until incorporated. Mix in chocolate chips.
  6. Bake 53-70 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out with only a few moist crumbs.
  7. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan & cool completely before slicing. (Oh, who are we kidding here? Just make sure you use a sharp enough serrated knife & you’re golden.)

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Easiest peach cobbler. Ever.

Earlier this week I saw an easy peach cobbler recipe on Chef in Training, & it made me nostalgic for campfire dinners, with cobbler & pineapple upside-down cake made in the Dutch oven over the coals for dessert. There’s something about eating around a campfire that makes everything taste that much more delicious.

I don’t have a campfire, but I have an oven, some canned peaches, & cake mix!

(Please pardon the less-than-stellar photo… I opted to place my Boden order — 25% off sale!!! — before making cobbler, & by the time it was out of the oven, the light was spent. Priorities, priorities!)

So here’s how to make the easiest cobbler (or upside-down cake) ever:

  • 2 cans peaches in light syrup or 2 cans pineapple chunks in juice
  • cinnamon, to taste (but not if you’re making the pineapple version)
  • 1 yellow cake mix
  • 1 stick butter, sliced into small pieces (lowfat version: omit this. It won’t be quite as golden on top, but it’ll still be cobbler-y!)
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Pour fruit & syrup into bottom of 9×13 Pyrex baking dish. Cut into bite-sized chunks, if needed.
  3. Sprinkle cinnamon evenly over the top. (Or, if you’re me, forget to do this until the oven’s open & you’re putting it in, then pull it back out & sprinkle over the top of the whole thing…)
  4. Add cake mix, making sure it’s evenly distributed.
  5. Place butter slices evenly over the top of that. See the pretty layers?
  6. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden & cake is set. Let cool slightly, then enjoy — no campfire needed!

(P.S.: I just did some research for you, & in case you were wondering, this is just as fantastic heated up in the microwave after sitting in the fridge for a day. I know, I know — the sacrifices I make for you, my readers. Enjoy!)

Tidy Mom

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Chewy, Chunky Oatmeal Breakfast Bars.

First, I want to take a moment to give a Web shout-out to all of my dear friends (& readers!) in the Midwest & South. A possible tornado hit Bloomington, Indiana, where we spent three amazing years, & where The Munchkin was born. Reading my friends’ Facebook updates last night about tornado sirens, thunder, & hunkering down in the bathroom into the wee hours turned my stomach in knots. I’m just so grateful to know now that all of my friends are unharmed! I know that right now there are so many who aren’t so fortunate.

One of my fond memories of our time in Bloomington was an unlikely visiting teacher named Sue. (The LDS Church gives members the opportunity & responsibility to care for & serve one another by assigning them certain people to visit once a month & generally look out for.) I had never had a visiting teacher so different from me: I was a new mom; she was older & had no children. At first I had misgivings — how could we have anything in common to talk about? — but she served me so well at such a stressful time of my life that I knew it was meant to be.

One of those ways she served me was by bringing me these breakfast bars so I’d have a nutritious snack that was easy to munch on. They’re low in fat, high in protein & fiber, & seriously addictive!

(By the way, yes, I do recognize the fact that this makes 4 oatmeal recipes in a row here on Make Myself at Home. I seem to be on a bit of a kick lately. & I’m not the least bit sorry. Neither is My Husband The Volunteer Taste-Tester. Or The Munchkin, apparently…)

Sue’s Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 6 oz. fat-free vanilla yogurt (I used Yoplait Light Very Vanilla)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 Tbsp. skim milk
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil or applesauce (I used oil this time, only because I didn’t want to open a whole new applesauce container)
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. vanilla (I just used 1/2 since I used Very Vanilla yogurt)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour (or use just 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup raisins &/or Craisins
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (or use 1 cup of all raisins/Craisins… but where’s the fun in that?)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9×13 pan.
  2. In a large bowl combine sugars & wet ingredients.
  3. In another bowl combine flours, baking soda, salt, & cinnamon.
  4. Add flour mixture to wet mixture; stir well.
  5. Stir in oats, fruit, chips, & nuts.
  6. Spread dough into bottom of prepared pan.
  7. Bake 22-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  8. Cool before cutting & enjoying.

Do you have any dishes that bring back fond memories of old friends or places you lived?

Tidy Mom

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The Perfect Oatmeal Raisin Cookie.

Oatmeal has a special place in my heart. Oats just make every recipe better, don’t they? Heartier, tastier, healthier (yes, I am still deluding myself on this one) — you just can’t go wrong with oats! This Martha Stewart recipe is no exception.

These are our travel staple: any time we’re headed on a road trip, I make up a batch the day before & they keep us going forever. In fact, we had two Indiana-Utah road trips in six months that went awry — in Wyoming both times — & these cookies sustained us in countless mechanic’s shops & in the middle of the I-80 median for hours! (Let’s just say that a new car & a new undercarriage on the new car later, we’ve come to the conclusion that either Wyoming hates us, or their mechanics love us. No offense meant to anyone out there who hails from Wyoming — we’ve just had exceptionally bad luck driving through it.)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 sticks butter, room temp
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 3 Tbsp. milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups rolled oats (not steel-cut or quick-cooking)
  • 1 cup raisins
  1. Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl & set aside.
  2. Cream together butter & sugars. Add vanilla, milk, & eggs; blend well.
  3. Add flour mixture; beat until just combined.
  4. Remove the bowl from the mixer (or, if you’re weak like me… just don’t); stir in the oats & raisins.
  5. Refrigerate dough until firm — 2 hours to overnight.
  6. Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment.
  7. Scoop out about 2 Tbsp. of dough & shape it into a ball. Place on prepared sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing the balls 3 inches apart. Press down with your palm to flatten to a 2-inch diameter.
  8. Bake until golden but still quite soft in the center. If you’re doing 2 cookie sheets at once, bake 16-18 minutes, rotating pans between shelves halfway through. If baking just 1 cookie sheet, bake just 14 minutes.
  9. Cool on wire racks.

What are your favorite road trip staples?

Tidy Mom


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Easter leftovers: Spinach Cobb Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing.

If you’re like me, you probably have about 8 lbs. left of your 10-lb. Easter ham & are hoping that it doesn’t go the way of your Christmas ham leftovers, which may or may not have sat forgotten at the back of the fridge for, oh, 2 months or so.

Again, if you’re like me, you had the best intentions of making slow-cooker split pea soup, but waking up to a high in the 80s just didn’t make soup sound that appealing. (Completely forgetting about it until lunchtime may have played a role as well. Maybe.)

Enter the Cobb Salad. Now, there are different types of salad eaters out there. Some like the iceberg, some like more veggies than lettuce, some like ranch, some like vinaigrettes, etc. I, personally, am a lover of fruity spinach salads with sweet dressings. So this is my version. The honey mustard complements the honey ham quite nicely!

For starters, here’s the easy dressing recipe. I found it at AllRecipes.

  • 1/2 cup mayo (yes, this is a lot… feel free to sub lowfat, fat-free, or even Greek yogurt)
  • 2 Tbsp. dijon mustard (I used the cheap stuff, so it was a little on the bitter side; I compensated by adding a little more honey. If you have the good stuff, great. If not, you can always use regular old yellow!)
  • 2 Tbsp. (plus a little if you’re using cheap dijon) honey
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  1. Whisk ingredients together.
  2. Chill until ready to use.

Easy enough, right?

Now all you need to do is mound some spinach on a plate, top it with some leftover ham, any fruits/veggies of your choice (think avocado, tomato, onion, etc. — I like Craisins), & one of your leftover hard-boiled eggs. Bonus points if it’s still got egg dye on it:

Top with the dressing, & you’re enjoying a perfect 80-degree-day way to use some of your Easter ham (& dyed eggs!).

Here’s what My Husband The Eloquent thought of it: “That was seriously good. & I’m a guy, so I don’t say stuff like that about salad.”

Can’t get any more rave than that!

How are you using your Easter leftovers? I’ve still got about 7 lbs. of ham to go!

works for me wednesday at we are that family

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Busy Mom’s Strawberry Shortcake.

I hope everyone had a happy Easter!

The Easter Bunny paid us a generous visit:

But man (& Munchkins) can’t live by chocolate & jellybeans alone. However, I really wasn’t interested in spending hours on an Easter menu for just us & some hungry missionaries, so here’s our quick-&-easy Easter menu:

  • A Cook’s brand spiral-sliced ham I got for 79 cents a pound with my ShopRite card, with glaze packet included. (No mixing of honey with anything!)
  • The easiest Funeral Potatoes (the Mormon term for cheesy potatoes — this came about because they’re often served at funerals for the families of the deceased) ever, found here & not even made with the cornflake topping. But still cheesy, melty, comfort food-y!
  • Sliced pineapple — I didn’t even feel like making a salad because I was planning on using all my salad energy on Cobb salad with my leftover ham.
  • Strawberry shortcake


This shortcake recipe comes from my mother-in-law… I don’t think My Husband The Persnickety would ever eat it any other way. It’s easy, delicious, & cheap. Win!

Just make a white cake mix using the whole-egg recipe (2 whole eggs instead of 3 egg whites). I poured mine into a Bundt pan to make it prettier, but you could just do a 9×13 even! Give it ample time to cool, then mash up a 1-lb. container of strawberries with a potato masher & add a little sugar to let it macerate. Then whip up some whipped cream (you know, powdered sugar, vanilla), & put it all together! My Husband The Devourer likes the 9×13 method because you can cut it in half & stack layers upon layers of cake, strawberries, & cream.

Mouthwatering Mondays

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