Gluten Free Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

A friend of mine gave me this recipe to try out, so this was my first time trying it. It is AMAZING! The best part of it all is that it’s pretty guilt-free. When I tried it I really felt like I was eating something unhealthy. You have got to give this one a try. I put it all together in my Nutri Ninja, so the cleanup was super easy. Please let me know if you try this one!

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean paste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp (a pinch) of salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped semi or bittersweet chocolate (or chocolate chips)

Throw all of your ingredients into your blender, food processor, or Nutri Ninja (bullet) & blend until smooth. Fold in your chopped chocolate (or chocolate chips) & fill up your muffin tins 3/4 of the way full. Bake at 400 degrees F for 8-10 minutes for mini muffins or 16-18 minutes for standard size muffins.

 

Quick and Easy Weeknight Dinner: Bowtie Lasagna!

Here is a recipe for an easy lasagna using bow tie pasta that my stepmom gave me. I filmed this over a year ago when I lived in my old house when I was thinking of starting my blog. This is not a healthy recipe ny any means, but it’s a good one for those nights you want some comfort food, or when you have company coming over. Let me know if you try this recipe!

Heres what you’ll need:

  • 1 lb lean ground beef (or Italian sausage or whichever meat you prefer)
  • 1 box of bowtie pasta
  • 2 8-ounce pkgs of mozzarella cheese
  • 1 16-ounce container of cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan (optional)
  • 1 24-ounce jar of spaghetti sauce
  • Italian seasoning 1-2 teaspoons.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add your pasta. Boil pasta to al dente per package instructions.
  3. Meanwhile, brown your meat until cooked thoroughly. Drain excess fat.
  4. Add your jar of sauce to the browned meat and heat through.
  5. In a large bowl, add 1 package of mozzarella cheese, your package of cottage cheese, your Parmesan, and your Italian seasoning. Add in your cooked/drained pasta and mix thoroughly.
  6. In your 11×13 casserole dish, add your pasta/cheese mixture, covering the bottom evenly.
  7. Spread your meat/sauce mixture evenly over your pasta.
  8. Add your other 8-ounce package of mozzarella on top.
  9. Bake on 375 degrees F for about 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F and cheese is melted and slightly browned.
  10. Allow to sit for a minimum of 5-10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Oil Pulling 101

Oil pulling, according to Tummala Koteswara Rao, is ancient Ayurvedic practice. It was introduced to the western world in the early nineties, but its popularity seems to have peaked just in the last few years.

Oil pulling is the act of swishing oil in your mouth for 10-20 minutes to “pull” harmful bacteria and toxins. It’s as simple as that. Traditionally sesame oil was used, but coconut oil has become the more commonly used oil due to its antibacterial properties.

I was quite intrigued about oil pulling and decided that since there is simply no harm in it, than why not? I’ve been oil pulling on and off for almost a year now and it has done great things.

There are so many benefits of oil pulling. They are as follows:

  • Whitens teeth
  • Prevents cavities & gingivitis
  • Strengthens teeth and gums
  • Helps TMJ
  • Helps headaches
  • Improves acne, psoriasis, & eczema
  • Cures hangovers
  • Removes toxins from the body

In my experience with oil pulling, I can say with confidence that it has helped whiten my teeth. I’m a coffee drinker, so this is one of my favorite benefits of oil pulling. Also, the first time I tried it I had a terrible toothache where a cavity was developing. The second day my tooth no longer hurt and it seemed to help reverse the cavity! I do feel like it has only done wonderful things to improve my oral health, but I really can’t say that it helped cure anything else; however, that is enough for me! In ancient times oil pulling was how they maintained oral health!

I must say that it’s really hard to get past the taste and texture of the solidified oil in my mouth. After the first 30-60 seconds the oil warms up enough to become liquified and then it is smooth sailing…it actually is only solid up to 76 degrees and then it becomes a liquid. If I remember I will put my jar of oil on top of the oven while it is on and that will liquify it, which makes for a more pleasant experience.

Directions:

Using extra virgin (unrefined) coconut oil, take 1 tablespoon and put it in your mouth. Immediately begin swishing. Continue this for 10-20 minutes. I usually end up going for 15, never any less, and never go longer than 20 minutes because the toxins in which you just pulled could become reabsorbed. When the time is up, spit your oil out in the trash can. Make sure not to spit into the sink because as the oil solidifies and could potentially clog your drain. Do this every morning before eating and before brushing your teeth. Rinse your mouth with warm water and be sure not to swallow any of the oil. Brush and floss. Repeat daily. I usually take a couple of days off per week and I occasionally get out of the habit, but always go back to it.

The reason I choose coconut oil is because it is amazing! It certainly isn’t the cheapest, but with its antibacterial properties I find it to be the obvious choice. Here are some other awesome uses for coconut oil:

  • Cooking with a high smoke point
  • Add to food or drinks
  • Use in place of lotion…it makes your skin feel AMAZING
  • Makeup remover
  • To help diaper rash
  • Prevent age spots
  • SPF 4
  • Prevents stretch marks
  • Kills yeast
  • Hair treatment
  • Chapstick
  • In place of lanolin
  • Helps eczema and psoriasis
  • Helps increase milk supply for breastfeeding mothers
  • Improves insulin levels
  • Sunburn relief
  • Shaving cream and aftershave
  • Season cast iron pans
  • Helps get rid of cellulite
  • Has anti inflammatory properties to help with arthritis
  • Soothes bug bites
  • Tanning oil
  • Stimulates hair growth when applied topically
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Natural deodorant
  • Helps with cold sores

There are skeptics out there, but from experience I can say that it is a great practice with proven benefits. My daughter, who is almost 10, also does oil pulling…always ask your doctor, but it is safe for children (who are old enough to not swallow any), and those who are pregnant and breastfeeding. I hope you’ll give it a try; there is certainly no harm in it!

Photo of the Week!

FB_IMG_1450997614597My favorite photo this week is this photo of my 3 kids on Christmas Eve. As a tradition, they open their Christmas pajamas after dinner christmas eve. This year I was able to get them matching PJs:) I rarely get a photo of the 3 of them together. Mainly because of their age differences, it’s hard to get them together.

This week has obviously been a little hectic for me. I had my mom here, and then my dad, step mom and little sisters, and then Christmas a couple of days after. So my blogging schedule has been out of whack. I have all 3 of my kiddos home with me for another week, but I plan to work on some things with them for my blog. Plus, big things in store for Mamarazzi Blog in 2016! Stay tuned:)

Gingerbread Man Recipe

This week’s video is a recipe and demonstration for my gingerbread man cookies!

Here is the recipe:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter (1.5 sticks)

Mix dry ingredients and set aside. In a standing mixer, beat your room temperature butter, add your brown sugar, molasses, and then your egg. Slowly add your dry ingredients and beat until incorporated. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and work until a ball. Flatten into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour (or freezer for 20 minutes). Again on a floured surface, knead your dough and roll into a ball. Coat your rolling pin in flour because this dough is sticky. Roll put to 1/4 inch and then cut out your men with your cookie cutters. Bake for 10 minutes on 350 degrees. Place on a rack to cool completely.

To make the royal icing:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

Using your whisk attachment on your stand mixer, beat your egg whites until frothy and begin to slowly incorporate your sugar. Whip for a few minutes until smooth and has a shiny appearance. Add food coloring if desired. Spoon icing into a piping bag and snip just a bit off the tip. Decorate cookies.

How to Make a Tornado in a Jar!

 

Tonight’s experiment was so fun for the kids! Basically you vigorously swirl the jar to create cintrifugal motion. It is actually quite amazing how defined the tornado was! Our first try didn’t work because we used a tad too much soap. You need the smallest drop you can produce and then you’re in business! Watch the video to see how it’s done!

Chipotle’s Corn Salsa Recipe

Just a quick recipe for tonight! I was craving Chipotle tonight, so I decided to make their corn salsa. I have never made it before and didn’t look up a recipe. I just threw in what I thought would go in it and it tasted precisely likes theirs. I didn’t measure anything, but I’ll do my best.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 package of frozen sweet corn
  • About 1/3 of a red onion, minced
  • About 1/8 of a jalapeño  (I removed almost all of the seeds because you only want subtle heat)
  • About 1-2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro
  • About 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt
  • The juice of half a lime

Just mix it all together and adjust to taste. I’m going to use it for taco night and to eat with some tortilla chips…yum!

My most treasured photos…

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I wanted to share with you all my most treasured photos that I carry with me on my phone! I have them all saved in clouds, computes, phones, tablets, and hard drives. The first two are my older two kids Christmas portraits that I took in 2012. Next is my older kids holding their new baby brother in 2014. Then a photo I took of my daughter at her Christmas concert for school last year. She looks stunning in the photo and it truly captivated her beauty. Next is a photo I found of my daughter when she was only 3 years old (I treasure this photo so much because it is SO her at that age…back when she was an only child; a true princess). Next is a random candid photo of me and my husband at our wedding in 2005, both of us look so young! Then there is my youngest Noah on his 1st birthday a couple of months ago. And lastly…an irreplaceable photo that I treasure so much of my brother Mike and I dancing to Coldplay’s “Fix You” on my wedding day. I remember everything about this moment…the way the crisp autumn air smelled, the pride I felt when my big brother asked to cut-in and dance with me at my wedding, and that comforting/safe feeling that I felt when hugging him. My brother passed away just over 4 years after this photo was taken. Someday soon I will write about him because I have SO MUCH to say…about the grieving process, being a bereaved sibling, and so much more. This January will be 6 years since I lost my only brother! This photo of us is my favorite of us as adults…

Wet Socks to Break a Fever?

socks

Yesterday I took my nine year old daughter to the pediatrician for a persistent high fever. She was already being treated for strep throat and had been on antibiotics the entire time. I was desperate for her fever to break and for her to feel like herself again. Her doctor gave us a really strange suggestion…wet sock treatment. I know what you are thinking…it sounds extremely bizarre! At this point I was ready to try anything!

Wet sock treatment is recognized by top physicians and hospitals (University of Maryland for example), so I knew it must be an effective treatment if doctors are actually endorsing it. The instructions are to take a pair of thin cotton socks and wet them with room temperature water. Wring out all of the excess water so that they are just damp, and then put them on your feet. Over top of the damp socks put on a pair of thick wool socks and go to sleep.

The purpose of a fever is to increase your metabolism so that your body will fight off the source of infection; however, a prolonged high fever can be dangerous. Physiologically what happens during the treatment is this: in response to having wet feet, your body sends blood and lymphatic fluid circulating through your body. What this does is boosts your immune system and allows your body to rest and heal. You can actually do this treatment for five nights in a row, and then take two nights off before starting again.

I can only speak for my own experience. I was so worried for my daughter with a fever of around 104 for days on end. We did the wet sock treatment exactly as directed by our physician. I checked my daughter’s temperature one last time before bed and it was 102.6 at that moment (this is while on Motrin). When she awoke this morning the socks were dry and her fever gone! There is no doubt in my mind that the wet sock treatment is what broke her fever.

I absolutely recommend this treatment. It is so simple and harmless. I honestly can’t imagine how any harm could come from trying this, but I believe you should always ask your doctor first before trying home remedies. This is definitely one to add to your repertoire. We definitely have!

25 Get to know me questions!

1. Do you have a middle name?
Renee!

2. What was your favorite subject in school?

English and photography. They are still my two favorite things. I am a photographer and a blogger!

3. What’s your favorite drink?
Coffee! I am a total coffee junky. I absolutely cannot function without coffee!

4. What’s your favorite song at the moment?
Well, I’m a mom so I mainly only get to listen to Disney radio on Sirius. I love Taylor Swift, Wildest Dreams!

5. What would you name your children?
I’m not having anymore kids, so I’ll tell you my kids current names. My 9.5 year old is Alana. My almost 6 year old is Vincent. My 13 month old is Noah! 

6. Do you participate in any sports?
No, but I’m a soccer mom!

7. What’s your favorite book? 

I do not have time to read, but the last book I purchased on my Kindle was 50 Shades of Grey…one of these days I will actually read it!

8. What’s your favorite colour?
I love purple, but wear black because it’s most flattering!

9. What’s your favorite animal?
Cats! I have 2 myself.

10. What’s your favorite perfume?
I love Clinique Happy.

11. What’s your favorite holiday?
Thanksgiving.

12. Have you graduated from High School?
Yes.

13. Have you been out of the country?
Only to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls! Lol.

14. Do you speak any other languages?
Nope.

15. Do you have any siblings?
Yes. My sister Carie is 5 years older than me. My brother Mike was 2.5 years older than me, and tragically he passed away nearly 6 years ago in an car accident. Would be 37. I have 2 very little sisters. Samantha is 15 and MacKenzie is turning 13 this month. 

16. What’s your favorite store?

Target!

17. What’s your favorite restaurant?
It must be Olive Garden because we go there any time we go out to dinner. 

 
18. Do you like school? 

I love learning, but I must admit…I didn’t care too much for school!

19. Who are some of your favorite YouTubers?
I love the Daily Bumps, Shaytards, and itsjudyslife to name a few.

20. What’s your favorite movie? 
The Other Woman! I just adore that movie!

21. What are some of your favorite TV shows?
The Voice and Grey’s Anatomy is about all I have time for these days.

22. PC or Mac?

Mac!

23. What phone do you have?
I have the Samsung Galaxy S5.

24. How tall are you?
I’m 5’4″.

25. Any pets? 

We have 2 cats.