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HAPPY HALLOWEEN! No Tricks, Just Treat Yourself to this Delicious Pumpkin Cookie with Cream Cheese Frosting!

Cookies are hands down the ultimate comfort food for fall. It seems that every holiday celebration features a favorite cookie as a part of the seasonal celebration. Serve these little Pumpkin bites warm with a cold glass of milk. Don’t forget….always underbake!

PUMPKIN COOKIES WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

pumpkin-cookies

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 oz. cream cheese
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt; set aside.
  2. In another bowl, cream together the butter and sugars. Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Stir in the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture by hand until just combined.
  3. Drop on prepared baking sheets by heaping tablespoonfuls; Butter the bottom of a drinking glass and then dip the bottom of the glass in a bowl of sugar. Flatten the dough balls with the bottom of the glass until they are about Âľ inch thick, dipping the glass in sugar as necessary to prevent sticking.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 13 to 15 minutes. Cool cookies on wire rack.
  5. Once cookies have cooled completely, frost or drizzle with cream cheese frosting.
  6. While the cookies are cooling make frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and pumpkin pie spice and beat until smooth and creamy.
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This Desert puts the Pretty in the Peach!

Summer should get a speeding ticket! I honestly don’t know where it went! Looking forward to sweater weather has never been my thing, so I still hold on to summer as long as I can….and my white jeans. I was elated when the Today Show fashion consultant said that your white skinny jeans can be a fall staple this year. Not that I needed the affirmation, but it was good to hear.

The end of summer has left us a bounty of juicy peaches to enjoy! Searching for great peach dishes through collections of cookbooks and recipes, I have found that although the “plus-it-ups” are fun, many of the old basics and “Mom Recipes” are still the “Blue Ribbon Winners!”  This peach recipe can be made in an 8×8 casserole or individual ramekins. Hot out of the oven, serve it up with some cool & creamy vanilla ice cream. Life is good…..and here it is…..easy & delicious…..

MOM’S PEACH CRISP

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INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350*
  2. Arrange peaches evenly in an 8×8-inch baking dish or stack the peaches halfway up in a ramekin.
  3. Mix flour, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl using a pastry cutter until evenly crumbled.
  4. Fold oats into flour mixture; sprinkle and press topping into peaches.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until topping is lightly browned, about 30 minutes.

Dear Friends,

Cheers to summer, cheers to peaches and cheers to doing what makes you happy! Until next time…

🍑Laura

P.S. CHECK OUT THESE GREAT FINDS…

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3 Sensational Recipes to take the Labor out of your Labor Day!

Labor Day….summer’s last hurrah? I’m not sure what happened to the ‘dog days of summer,’ but our August has been more of an Eskimo Dog…..chilly with precipitation! Fortunately, the outlook for Labor Day looks good so let the picnics begin!

Last minute company?? No worries with these eazy breezy dishes! Keep it seasonal AND simple…

First, let’s start with an appetizer that doubles as a salad…..

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SLICED BOSC PEARS WITH GOAT CHEESE AND PECANS

Simply slice pears in 1/4 inch slices, top with 1 T. goat cheese, add a toasted pecan and serve! Want to fancy it up? Drizzle a little store bought…did I say that??? …..balsamic glaze over the top.

WEDGE SALAD DIP

I found this recipe on Pinterest recently, and I thought…”Genius!’ This dip has all of the incredible flavors of a wedge salad, serves a crowd and is always a hit! Duplicating this as a Greek Salad Dip, or any of your favorite salad combos work well! *As a side note, however, not everyone loves blue cheese, so I like to use the blue cheese on 1/2 and label it!

IMG_8473INGREDIENTS
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 1 package Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 1½ c. chopped romaine lettuce
  • ½ c. chopped tomatoes
  • ½ c. chopped cooked bacon
  • 2-4 oz. crumbled blue cheese (according to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine cream cheese, sour cream, and Ranch Dip mix and mix until smooth.
  2. Spread into the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate or other similarly sized pan.
  3. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, bacon, blue cheese, and chives.
  4. Enjoy with your favorite crackers

NOW FOR THE MAIN COURSE!!

Crowd pleasing  and delicious!

GRILLED HOT ITALIAN SAUSAGE SANDWICHES WITH ROASTED ONIONS AND PEPPERS

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  • Pre-heat oven to 400*F.
  • Slice assorted peppers, red, yellow, green & orange in 1/2″ slices.
  • Slice sweet onions, preferably Vidalia in 1/2″ slices.
  • Place onions & peppers in a roasting pan. Drizzle 3 T. over top & sprinkle with salt & pepper. Roast approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are transparent. 
  • *Careful not to over-roast or they become mushy…..
  • Grill assorted Italian sausages. Cut into 2 inch slices & place on top of the onions & peppers. Serve with fresh Italian rolls & enjoy!

 

For dessert?? Vanilla Ice cream with fresh sliced peaches on top!

VANILLA ICE CREAM WITH PEACHES

Dear Friends,

Thanks so much for swinging by! As I have gotten older, even though I love to cook….and eat….dining out is soooo much easier. I’m constantly on the hunt for dishes that have amazing flavor and have the look of something complicated that took a lot of time to prepare.

Cheers to enjoying your Labor day filled with time spent just the way you like it.

Until next time…

🍹Laura

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ONE GREAT RECIPE WHEN YOUR FRIDGE BITES THE DUST!

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One of today’s nightmares….YOUR FRIDGE DIES!

As you open your refrigerator and there is a distinct dark quiet that overtakes you, you begin to cringe. No hum, no lights…… and you think, “Shit.” Sticking your nose in to hopefully smell nothing,  you immediately feel the carton of milk to gage the temperature. While quickly reaching for the freezer and opening it, you notice that the seafood, steaks, and everything else has begun to defrost….all at once! Quickly surveying the damage, you resort to throwing out the spoiled and attempting to salvage what is left.

Always stocking up on frozen shrimp, I had quite a bit in the freezer as well as a HUGE bag of scallops, a package of andouille sausage …and OKRA! With the help of a small trip to the grocery store, I came up with this delicious recipe.

SEAFOOD GUMBO (SERVES 8) 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 1 C. diced onion
  • 1 C. diced green pepper
  • 1 C. diced celery
  • 1 lb. andouille sausage, sliced
  • 1 lb. fresh or frozen and thawed shrimp
  • 1 lb. fresh or frozen and thawed scallops
  • 2 C. each of fresh or frozen sliced okra
  • 1 C. sliced Roma tomatoes, fresh or canned, drained.
  • 1/2 C. flour
  • 2 C. fresh or frozen and thawed sliced okra
  • 1/2 C. chipped roma, fresh or canned & drained
  • Chopped scallions & parsley as garnish
  • Cooked rice

 

DIRECTIONS:

  • In a large dutch oven, saute in 3T olive oil:
  • 1 C. each: diced onion, diced green pepper,  & diced celery 

IN A SEPARATE SKILLET SAUTE:

  • 1 lb. andouille sausage and add to the dutch oven.

STIR IN:

  • 2 C. each of fresh or frozen sliced okra
  • 1 C. sliced Roma tomatoes, fresh or canned, drained.

ADD:

  • 1 lb. thawed shrimp & scallops and sauce until pink and tender.

SPRINKLE:

  • 1/2 C. flour over top and blend in the mixture, cooking for 1 min.

POUR:

  • 3 C. prepared Chicken broth over top.

SEASON:

  • 1 t. salt
, 1 t. black pepper
, 1/2 t. white pepper
, 1 t. cayenne pepper, 
1 bay leaf

GARNISH:

  • T. scallions, minced T. parsley

SERVE:

  • With Cooked rice

 

Dear Friends,

It would have been easy to cook up the thawing food and freeze it for another day, but it was fun to get creative. The flavors in the recipe blend beautifully and after purchasing a new fridge, I was able to freeze what we hadn’t eaten for another day.  Serve this dish with an ice cold beer or a crisp sauvignon blanc! If you don’t like seafood, chicken is a great substitute.

Stay tuned for the delicious dishes I made with the thawing steak, chicken and other goodies from my freezer.

Cheers to knowing that if this is the worst thing that happens in a day, life is good. Keeping our thoughts and prayers for victims of the hurricane and our soldiers defending our country is so important.

PLEASE remember to thank our police officers, fire fighters, soldiers and anyone else who provides a service to our country and our safety. In an uncertain world, I do try not to take anything for granted.

Every day is a gift.

Thanks for swinging by & Cheers to you!

🍻 Laura

PS: Check out these great finds for your kitchen:

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LOBSTER PLATTER AND BIBS

 

 

 

 

 

 

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HOW TO KNOW WHEN YOU ARE TOO OLD TO BUY GREEN BANANAS

You can’t turn it back, I keep reminding myself….But now I realize that there are definitely 5 signs that let you know you are getting older.

What led me to this realization was a recent trip to the west coast of Florida. As we strolled from the airport security to our gate, we were approached by a man on an electric cart asking us if we’d like a ride. Normally the dudes on those carts transport fat people, old people, celebrities, people with physical challenges or lazy people and they just whiz on by, but this time stopped to see if Steve and I would like a ride. A RIDE? US? You’ve got to be kidding! I didn’t think we were any of those! That was the first sign.

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While hiking in the woods several weeks ago with my son, his wife and my granddogter, Harper, they asked if I wanted to sit down and rest for a while. I teach step aerobics, I reminded them, and myself. That was sign #2.

 

 

 

I no longer get carded, even if it’s required by law and on Tuesdays at our local outlets, I never have to show my driver’s license in order to get the senior discount…sign #3.

Perfect strangers ask me to watch their stroller and packages in a shopping mall and sometimes even their sleeping baby in the stroller….sign #4.

And last, but not least, the catalogs and email inbox have gone from Victoria’s Secret to AARP and Frontgate.

Trying to maintain my sense of humor about the aging process, I have lumped women and men into categories; everything from those who literally let themselves go to those who habitually try to reverse the process. What used to be called a moo moo is now called a tunic, and lifting faces or face lifting has been replaced by pumping some kind of shit into wrinkles to puff them out making someone appear to have stayed in the boxing ring too long.

I used to wonder why anyone would want to live in a 55+ community but now I get it. Reminders of inevitable aging are everywhere, not just in the mirror, and perhaps living in a community that isn’t youth focused isn’t such a bad thing. I, for one, love being around young people and find delight in sharing their youthful optimism and humor, so I’m not sure how happy I would be in that kind of community.

At 61, there is a realization that there is an end, and I find myself counting the hopeful years that we have left living in good health. I have some rules to follow like never taking a selfie or face timing from below my chin…and always holding the camera over my head, forcing us to look up.

Over the past few weeks, I have felt with the pain of my daughter in law’s sudden death of her mother and the pain of Steve’s daughters coming to terms with the few months their mother had left after finding out she was stricken with pancreatic cancer. There are no words, but one thing I do know is that time is precious, too precious not to waste on negativity of any kind. So, as my Steve always says, “I have no yesterdays. Time took them away. I only have today and hope for tomorrows.”

Upon returning from our trip to Florida, I distinctly noticed by the smell,  that I had left some bananas in the fruit bowl that were way overripe…so I tried this amazing banana bread that I recently found on Pinterest. I’m still not sure at what age I should no longer buy green bananas, so instead I did some research about how to quickly ripen bananas. As for this delicious recipe, I did modify it and make it without the glaze which reduced the sugar and the calories. The banana bread is so flavorful, the glaze isn’t necessary.  I’ve added it in the event you may want to give it a try. 

CARAMEL BANANA UPSIDE DOWN BREAD


Ingredients
½ cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into several pieces
About 2 bananas, sliced in ÂĽ inch rounds
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1½ cup whole wheat flour
Âľ cup white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
ÂĽ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup mashed overripe bananas
2 large eggs
â…“ cup coconut oil or oil of choice
â…“ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Caramel Glaze: (Optional)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9X5 inch loaf pan.
Spread the brown sugar on the bottom of the loaf pan. If using nuts, sprinkle them evenly over the sugar. Dot with the butter. Put it in the oven for about 8 minutes. Stir the mixture until dissolved and spread evenly on the bottom of the pan. Place a single layer of the banana slices on top of the sugar mixture along the entire bottom of the pan.
Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add all the remaining wet ingredients and beat just until combined. Do not over-beat.
Pour the batter over the sliced bananas in the pan.
In an oven preheated to 325 degrees F, bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean but moist.
Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before inverting it on a cake platter.

To prepare the Caramel Glaze, place the butter, brown sugar and heavy cream in a small saucepan (you can also microwave the ingredients for a minute). Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let it sit for a minute. Pour the glaze evenly over the cake (on the upside down side with the bananas on top).

FIVE WAYS TO QUICKLY RIPEN BANANAS

1) Bananas in a bunch take about 24-48 hours to ripen. Bananas that grow together also ripen together, so only separate the ones you want to ripen more quickly.

2) Placing bananas in warm places takes about 24-48 hours to ripen.

3) Place the bananas in a paper bag. It takes about  12-24 hours to ripen.

4) In the oven, ripening bananas takes about 30-50 minutes. The peels turn shiny lack when they are ripe. 

5) Microwave your bananas 30 seconds-2 minutes. 

Dear Friends,

Thanks for swinging by today. I know my article was somewhat tongue in check with a bit of morbid reality thrown in, but laughter is always a great cure for worry, and it makes sense not to worry about things you can’t control. So, after all of this, I will continue to buy green bananas now that I know how to hurry the ripening of them.

Until next time…

Cheers to lots more years!   Laura

 

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4 MUST HAVE FALL RECIPES

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As the evenings grow cooler and the day’s shorter, I enjoy autumn’s beauty of gold and red but knowing that winter looms in the not so distant future, I try to find ways to celebrate the season and create personal happiness.

Embracing the changes as we grow older is very much the same and parallels the seasons of our lives. An article I read recently addressed happiness. The essence was simply about the rules we establish for personal happiness and the more rules we do have for that happiness can set us up for unhappiness.  If your joy depends on the weather being sunny and warm each day, and you live in a place where the climate is very seasonal, for example, then you are setting yourself up for unhappiness. I have truly found, that acceptance of my own changes, and yes, that of the changing weather, has made a huge difference. As trite as it may sound, having a half full cup is a healthy cup.

Fall reminds me of pumpkins, apples, squash and wonderful memories of with my children, gathering candy from enthusiastic neighbors, and spending time with friends on those crispy evenings.

Enjoy these delicious seasonal recipes and keep making cherished memories!

ROASTED SPAGHETTI SQUASH

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup of Four-Cheese Italian White Cheese Blend (Mozzarella, White Cheddar, Provolone, Asiago)
  • Fresh thyme
  • Fresh ground pepper
  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F. Hold your spaghetti squash firmly, cut in half length-wise and scoop out the innards and seeds. Place both halves on a baking sheet, held in place by a small foil ring to ensure stability. Sprinkle fresh cracked pepper over each half.

2. Heat olive oil over medium heat and sauce the shallots until tender, about 4 minutes.

3. In a large bowl, combine heavy cream, chicken broth, shallots and fresh thyme.

3. Sprinkle a first layer of grated cheese in the cavities of each squash halves. Divide the cream mixture on top of cheese in each halves, then top with additional cheese.

4. Roast in the oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the flesh of the spaghetti squash is very tender when poked with a fork. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

In a hurry? Place the raw spaghetti squash halves face down in a shallow dish with a bit of water, and microwave for 8 minutes (less or more, depending on the size of the squash). The flesh will be almost cooked through. Then  proceed with the remaining steps and bake for only 20-25 minutes in the oven.

SPINACH and ARTICHOKE STUFFED SPAGHETTI SQUASH

I found this delicious recipe and picture on Pinterest. It’s a keeper! 

spinach-artichoke-spaghetti-squash-recipe-taste-and-tell-3-optIngredients
1 spaghetti squash, seeded
3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
Âľ cup chopped onion
salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup light sour cream
3 ounces less fat cream cheese
Âľ cup grated parmesan, divided
3 cups packed baby spinach
1ÂĽ cups canned artichoke hearts, chopped
Âľ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
chopped fresh parsley

Place the spaghetti squash in a microwave safe dish, cut side up. Pour about half an inch of water in the dish, then cover with plastic wrap and microwave until soft, about 10 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly, then with a fork, scrape up the strings from the squash.

In a pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, 5-8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 60 seconds. Add in the sour cream, cream cheese and half of the parmesan cheese. Stir until the cream cheese has melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the spinach and artichoke hearts and cook until the spinach has wilted. Pour half of the mixture into each spaghetti squash half and gently pull up on the spaghetti squash strings to combine with the sauce as much as possible. Top with the shredded mozzarella and the remaining parmesan. Place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Sprinkle with fresh parsley, if desired, and serve hot.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH ESCAROLE SALAD WITH CHIPOTLE RANCH DRESSING 

Found from Cuisine at Home and Serves 8

salad

 

FOR THE SQUASH—
11/2 lb. butternut squash
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and black pepper

FOR THE DRESSING—
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup mayonnaise or greek yogurt
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice 2 tsp.honey

1/2–1 tsp. minced chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce

FOR THE SALAD—

1 head escarole, chopped (about 8 cups)

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 400°. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Peel skin from squash. Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds. Cut flesh into 11/2-inch chunks; toss with oil, salt, and pepper. Roast squash on the baking sheet until browned, 25–30 minutes. Cool squash to room temperature. Mince garlic with the 1/2 tsp. salt, then place in a medium bowl. Whisk in mayonnaise or greek yogurt, buttermilk, lime juice, honey, and chipotle until dressing is well blended. Refrigerate dressing until ready to serve, or up to 2 days.

Toss escarole with desired amount of dressing. Top salad with roasted squash and cranberries; garnish with pine nuts.

PUMPKIN COOKIES WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

pumpkin-cookies

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 oz. cream cheese
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt; set aside.
  2. In another bowl, cream together the butter and sugars. Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Stir in the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture by hand until just combined.
  3. Drop on prepared baking sheets by heaping tablespoonfuls; Butter the bottom of a drinking glass and then dip the bottom of the glass in a bowl of sugar. Flatten the dough balls with the bottom of the glass until they are about Âľ inch thick, dipping the glass in sugar as necessary to prevent sticking.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 13 to 15 minutes. Cool cookies on wire rack.
  5. Once cookies have cooled completely, frost or drizzle with cream cheese frosting.
  6. While the cookies are cooling make frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and pumpkin pie spice and beat until smooth and creamy.

Dear Friends,

I hope we all are able to accept the changes in the seasons of our lives because each and every day is a blessing. Cheers to that.

Laura

SO….NOW FOR A LITTLE SHOPPING THERAPY inspired by CELEBRATIONS and SUNSETS….

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Dowan Porcelain 7oz Souffle Dish/Mini Casserole Set, 4 inch, Set of 4, Red & Orange Sale: $19.99 Free Shipping for Prime Members

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Le Creuset Set of 4 Mini Cocottes with Cookbook, Flame (Additional colors available) Price: $99.95 Free Shipping for Prime Members

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MANY COLORS AVAILABLE!

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7 Great Back to School Tips

As a teacher, I always wished that summer could last just a little longer, actually a lot longer, but as a mom, I couldn’t wait for school to start! Summer had run its course and it was time for someone else to take over! The lazy days of summer aren’t lazy anymore! The days are so packed with baseball, tennis, golf, swim team, lacrosse camps, band camp… to name a few. The few weeks and even days before school can be a great opportunity to wind down and focus on what’s important, and that would be getting ready to be in a school routine that promotes success and happiness for all ages. So, essentially it’s important for both kids and parents to get into this routine together. It’s no longer the 3 Rs, reading, writing and arithmetic, It is the 2 Rs…resting and readiness.

STEP 1: STEP INTO A ROUTINE! Structuring the days before school starts eases the transition and makes mornings bearable! Have a balanced breakfast to start the day and a set dinnertime helps! At dinner, spend some time talking about what was great about summer and what to look forward to in the coming school year. After dinner, take advantage of wind down time to the day, set an earlier bedtime, and have a quiet time an hour or so before bed. Reading a book or magazine as a family limits distractions and sets a great example. 

STEP 2: GET A JUMP ON SCHOOL SUPPLIES AND SCHOOL CLOTHES! The before school sales are a great way to stack up on supplies and save money. Get the supply list from your child’s school and shop it out! This routine gets kids excited about the new year…new clothes and new stuff. When shopping for clothes, keep in mind dress codes. That will prevent problems later. 

STEP 3: GET ORGANIZED! Make it a before bedtime habit to get ready for the next day. Lay out clothes and pack up the back pack! This will save time in the morning and make the mornings run more smoothly. Some kids enjoy making their own lunch for the next day. Fill out necessary papers for the school such as emergency medical authorizations, etc. 

STEP 4: GET READY FOR HOMEWORK! Establish a regular homework time, whether after school, or after dinner, let your child decide, but stick to it. Some kids need a break from school and others may enjoy having a snack and getting the work behind them.

STEP 5: SET UP SCHEDULES AND THE FAMILY CALENDAR! Stay ahead of the game by staying ahead! Display a family calendar where everyone can list their activities and appointments. Each family member can have their own color marker and be responsible to keep it up to date.

STEP 6: DON’T FORGET FAMILY TIME! Whether it’s dinnertime,  homework/reading time, or trips to the ice cream store, take advantage of sharing successes, thoughts and concerns. It’s easy to get caught up in everyday activities and adhering to schedules. Being a parent is being a support system and advocate for your child. Being alert to concerns can prevent them from escalating into problems later. 

STEP 7: MAKE MEALTIME ENJOYABLE! Plan ahead simple and flavorful meals that the kids enjoy can turn every meal into a special one. Healthy, kid friendly menus can be anything from french toast wrapped sausage (pigs in blankets), to a simple build your own taco. Ask your kids to offer some ideas of their own. Ownership is a great key to confidence building!

This is a delicious breakfast muffin that your kids will ask for over and over. It also makes a memorable teacher’s lounge treat for the first week classroom warriors, aka your child’s teachers!

                                           Caramel Banana Upside Down Cake Muffins

IngredientsIMG_5749

1 cup packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into several pieces
About 2 bananas, sliced in ÂĽ inch rounds
1½ cup whole wheat flour
Âľ cup white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
ÂĽ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup mashed overripe bananas
2 large eggs
â…“ cup coconut oil or melted butter
â…“ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Instructions IMG_5750
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease the muffin pan. Melt the butter in the microwave and add the brown sugar.Place 3 pieces of cut up banana in the bottom of each muffin tin. Melt 6 T. of butter in the microwave and mix in brown sugar. Spread the brown sugar mixture evenly on top of the bananas.. 
Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add all the remaining wet ingredients and beat just until combined. Do not over-beat.
Pour the batter over the sliced bananas/brown sugar mixture in each muffin tin..
Bake for 40 min. or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean but moist.
Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before inverting it onto wax or parchment paper.

GENIUS IDEA FROM AMAZON! CHECK IT OUT!

Parents: Get all your child’s school supplies delivered right to your door Teachers: Create and share supply lists easily, year after year

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Simply type in your school name, teacher and grade level and up comes the list delivered to your door!

Cheers to a great school year and to setting the stage for success for our kids!

xo Laura