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Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

June 18, 2013 12:20 pm · Posted by Lauren G

Time to make some cookies! And it'd be great if I could use up some bananas that are getting a little too ripe. What about some banana oatmeal chocolate chip cookies because I already have all of the ingredients on hand. If you haven't noticed...I'm a little bit of a lazy baker. They turned out moist with the perfect amount of sweetness. Plus, they have fruit in them so they're basically healthy.

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2)
  • 1-3/4 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. In a bowl, combine the first six ingredients; beat in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Add egg, bananas and oats; mix well. Stir in chocolate chips.
  4. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheets.
  5. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks. 

Yield: 4 dozen.

(Inspired by Taste of Home)

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Lucky Charms

June 11, 2013 12:26 pm · Posted by Lauren G

I bought a horseshoe necklace a while back, and a wear it almost every day. I mostly like it because it's cute, but the horseshoe is a pretty common symbol of good luck. Hopefully I'll be getting some of that soon! I was curious to see why it represents luck, and I stumbled upon this list of other popular good luck charms from around the world. 


Cricket: These insects are considered good luck in Asia. Crickets have also made their way into pop culture, including Cri-kee in Disney's Mulan and Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio. There was also The Cricket in Times Square from the great Chuck Jones.

Ladybug: When a ladybug lands on you it is said to be good luck. Killing a ladybug is considered bad luck.

Dragonfly: Dragonflies are another lucky insect. The dragonfly was once considered to be a sign of a "good rice harvest." 

Scarab: Scarabs date back to Ancient Egypt, when scarabs where considered good luck beetles.

Natural Objects

Acorn: In Norse folklore, both the acorn and its bearer, the oak tree bring good fortune. A lone acorn is also thought to ward off lightening when placed in a windowsill. For more about the acorn and oak trees, read Superstitions About the Oak Tree and the Acorn.

Rainbow: Rainbows are considered lucky because we all know if we find the end of the rainbow there will be pot of gold. A rainbow also has seven easily discernible colors. The number seven is mentioned below.


Dolphin: Dolphins are considered lucky in many different cultures including the Ancient cultures of Greece, Sumer, Egypt, and Rome. For "Christians and Native Americans, the dolphin is a symbol of protection, and its image is said to bring good luck."

Pig: Pigs are considered a symbol of good luck in Germanic cultures.

Tortoise: Tortoises are considered a good luck symbol in Feng-Shui decorating.

Elephant: Feng Shui and the Ganeshsa is the Hindu God of Luck. The elephant has also made its way into British, Canadian and United States cultures as a good luck charm in the 1930s.

Red bat: Red bats are considered lucky in China. The red bat is thought to ward of evil. Five red bats can also represent the "five good fortunes" of health, love, longevity, love, wealth and virtue.

Tiger: Tigers are considered lucky in Chinese astrology. The tiger is also considered a protector against certain evils including theft and fire. 

Icons and Figures

Buddha: A Buddha charm or statue is thought of as being lucky, especially if you rub the Buddha's belly.

Saint Christopher: As the patron saint of travelers, it is common for Catholics to have a Saint Christopher cross in their car. 

Man-Made Objects

Dream catcher: Dream catcher, from Native American culture are considered good fortune because they catch the negative images from dreams.

Red Chinese Lanterns: Red Chinese Lanterns are another red symbol of luck in the Chinese culture.

Horseshoe: Horseshoes were thought to bring good fortune when they were hung up on the wall of a home or above a doorway. When horseshoes were made by blacksmiths, this added to the idea of luck that embodies the horseshoe. Blacksmithing was considered a lucky trade. 

Coins: "See a penny pick it up and all day long you'll have good luck. Leave it there and you'll despair." Some even take the idea of luck to the other side of the coin, and believe that if the coin is face down that it's best to leave it on the ground. Coins have a place in Feng Shui as well, as luck bringers.

Pot of gold: A pot of gold is what you will find at the end of a rainbow, making it doubly lucky. 

Symbols and Numbers

Nautical star: The Nautical Star is seen as providing guidance, and it is a good luck symbol for sailors.

The Number Seven: The number seven is considered lucky by different cultures including the U.S. culture. The number seven is also considered a lucky number by people living in England (Wikiepdia.org). It's not just Western culture that holds the number seven in high regard on the luck scale. In the mythology of Japan, there are the Seven Gods of Fortune. The number seven is also important in world religions and spiritual beliefs including Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity. 


Four leaf clover: The Four Leaf Clover is one of the better known Western symbols of luck, probably due to is popularity on St. Patrick's Day. Four-leaf clovers do exist, they just are not as common as the three-leaf variety. If you find one, it's considered good luck.

Bamboo: Although considered invasive by some, a gift of bamboo is considered good luck, specifically the Dracaena Lucky Bamboo. 

Wish Makers 

A Wishing Well: A wishing well is a place where you toss a coin (another symbol of good luck) and make a wish. Wishing wells can be seen in children's programming on shows like Dragon Tales. Another fun example of a wishing well in popular culture is the wishing well the movie Goonies.

Wishbone: A wishbone is a symbol of good luck. It also is a wish maker. Two people tug on the wishbone, each making a wish. After the wishbone breaks, the person with the bigger piece will have their wish granted.

Stray eyelash: A stray eyelash is seen as a wish maker, much like the wishbone. If a stray eyelash falls upon your cheek, place it on your finger and make a wish. Then blow the eyelash away.

Falling star: A falling star or a "shooting" star as it is sometimes called asks the person lucky enough to see it to make a secret wish.

(Inspired by Yahoo Voices)

Filed under: fun Tagged with: good luck charm, lucky charm, good luck
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Obsessed: Backless Dresses

June 4, 2013 3:32 pm · Posted by Lauren G

Summer is coming and I'm ready to show some skin! Right now, I'm obsessed with backless dresses. It's such an unexpected way to heat things up, and I'm tired of seeing side cleavage and butt cheeks. With a backless dress, you can keep it sweet and flirty or go a little bit sexier. The possibilities are endless! My only suggestion is to figure out your undergarment situation before you buy. You don't want to take home a see-through dress that you can't wear a bra with...awkward.

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Skinny Spinach Dip

May 28, 2013 1:37 pm · Posted by Lauren G

  • 4 cups chopped fresh spinach, loosely packed
  • 12 ounces plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Stir together first seven ingredients in a large bowl in a large bowl until evenly mixed. Transfer mixture to a small baking dish, and use a spoon to spread so that is is flat on top.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the edges are slightly golden. Remove and immediately sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. 

(Inspired by Tablespoon)

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Cast Iron Skillet Brownies

May 23, 2013 12:56 pm · Posted by Lauren G

My friend wanted me to "teach her how to bake." Her only request was that it be chocolate, so after a quick scroll through my Pinterest pins, we decided on these cast iron skillet brownies. The hardest part of this recipe is probably melting the chocolate since it can burn so easily. Other than that, it's pretty straight-forward and so delicious!

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces chocolate chips or coarsely chopped chocolate

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs. In another bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, and salt.
  2. In a medium cast iron skillet, bring butter and cream to a simmer over medium heat. Add chocolate; reduce to medium-low. Cook, stirring constantly, until chocolate has melted, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, and let cool 5 minutes.
  3. Add chocolate mixture to sugar mixture, whisking until blended (reserve skillet). Fold in flour mixture. Pour batter into skillet.
  4. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. (I actually cooked mine for about 37 minutes until a toothpick came out clean, but the brownies turned out a little dry around the edges. Next time, I'll probably take mine out at around 30 minutes for some gooey-er brownies.)
    5. Serve from skillet, warm or at room temperature.

    (Inspired by Simply Food Love)

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Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

May 16, 2013 12:20 pm · Posted by Lauren G

I needed dishwasher detergent, and surprise surprise, I was too lazy to go to the store. If I can make my own laundry detergent, why can't I make my own dishwasher detergent? Well, I can! Some recipes I found online called for citric acid, lemon juice, or even citrus oils, none of which I had and was obviously not going to go to the store to buy. Then, I found the simplest recipe ever, equal parts baking soda and Borax. All you need to do is mix the Borax and baking soda together. Then, add about two tablespoons to your dishwasher's detergent compartment, and run as usual. I mixed mine in a jar so I could just pour it in to the dishwasher. 

The dishes seemed clean to me, so it looked like this homemade dishwasher detergent works. I'm not sure how it'll do with stuck on foods though because I'm one of those crazies that likes to scrub down my dishes before running through the washer. According to About.com, "Borax and baking soda are both natural disinfectants and mild abrasives – just what you need to blast away stuck on food and germs. In fact, you may be interested to learn that Borax is a common ingredient in many commercial detergents."

Give it a shot and let me know what you think!

(Inspired by About.com)

Filed under: homemade, DIY, fun Tagged with: dishwasher detergent, borax, baking soda, Homemade, fun, diy
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Meltaway Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

May 9, 2013 12:36 pm · Posted by Lauren G

Here's another great Pinterest find. These cookies only have four ingredients, and they are super easy to make. No eggs needed! If you use margerine instead of butter, does that mean they're vegan? Except for the cream cheese frosting, which would be such a shame to leave out because it can make anything taste amazing. I forgot the step to flatten the cookies with the bottom of a glass so they look a little funky, but they still tasted amazing! They almost melt in your mouth...no wonder they're called meltaways!


  • 1 C. butter
  • 3/4 C. cornstarch
  • 3/4 C. powdered sugar
  • 1 C. flour
  • 1 recipe Cream Cheese Frosting (see below)
  1. In a medium bowl, cream butter until fluffy. 
  2. Add cornstarch & sugar and blend well. 
  3. Beat in flour until thoroughly mixed. 
  4. Drop by small teaspoons onto baking sheet & flatten out with the bottom of a glass dipped in powdered sugar.  
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Cool on wire rack & frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 3 oz. (yes 3) of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 C. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  1. Mix all ingredients together. 
  2. Color with food coloring if desired.

(Inspired by Landee See, Landee Do)

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Wrapped Sunglasses

May 7, 2013 12:29 pm · Posted by Lauren G

I got these glasses for free. I love them because they're my favorite color and they actually fit my face (which is extremely hard for my little nose), but they say Smirnoff on the sides. I thought about painting them, or covering it with paper, but then I remembered a box of emboridery floss my mom sent me home with after Christmas. I was planning on being nostalgic and making some friendship bracelets, but so far the box has gone untouched until now! I made this project extremely easy by using double stick tape, but you could do the same with glue for something a little more durable.

  1. Cut double stick tape to fit the length of your sunglasses.
  2. Starting with your first color, tie a double knot around the sunglasses making sure it is hidden on the inside.
  3. Wrap the embroidery floss around the glasses, pressing it into the tape as you go.
  4. To change colors, finish off with a knot and start your new color with a double knot.

That's it!

Filed under: crafts, fun Tagged with: crafts, summer, fun, sunglasses
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Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies

April 25, 2013 12:39 pm · Posted by Lauren G

Chocolate chip cookies are always a classic favorite, and has there ever been a more famous recipe than this one from Nestle Toll House? Anyone remember that Friends episode?

Monica: Well, I mean what about friends of your grandmother’s? Wouldn’t they have the recipe?
Phoebe: Well, y’know I may have relatives in France who would know. My grandmother said she got the recipe from her grandmother, Nesele Tolouse.
Monica: What was her name?
Phoebe: Nesele Toulouse.
Monica: Nestle Toll House?!
Phoebe: Oh, you Americans always butcher the French language.

It's a little different than the Martha Stewart recipe I tried here. I can't really tell you which one I prefer so I guess you'll just have to try them both!

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. 
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate morsels.
  4. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets or one lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

(Inspired by Very Best Baking)

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Grapefruit Cookies

April 23, 2013 1:38 pm · Posted by Lauren G

A friend of mine has a grapefruit tree in his backyard and gave me a load of them. What else could I make with grapefruits besides juice? Cookies! These were a little unusual, but a nice combination of tart and sweet. Nice and light and perfect for spring time. The original recipe is for cut-out cookies, but my dough was a little sticky so I just dropped the dough instead.

  • Grated zest of 1 Ruby Red grapefruit, plus 1/4 cup freshly squeezed juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 3/4 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large egg yolks

  1. In a small bowl, combine zest with 1 tablespoon sugar; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and remaining sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add egg yolks, and beat until combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in reserved zest-sugar mixture. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the juice, and beat to combine.
  3. Turn out dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, and shape into a 1-inch-thick disk. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until edges are golden, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes. Transfer parchment paper and cookies to rack to cool completely.

(Inspired by Martha Stewart)

Filed under: Yum, cookies, dessert, recipe Tagged with: ruby red, Yum, dessert, grapefruit, cookies, recipe

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