Banana Orange Bread recipe

20 May 2014

There were overripe bananas on the counter. That's what started it. Not wanting them to go to waste I thought something should be done with them, but didn't want the go-to banana bread. To Pinterest I went. I love that place, seriously. I can sit down and lose hours. I'm not sure if that's good, but it brings on so many "why didn't I think of that" moments. Anyhow, I found this awesome recipe for Red Velvet Banana Bread. I love all things red velvet, but this idea got the mental wheels turning. So, I took that yummy sounding recipe and gave it my own spin.

1 orange cake mix, just the mix, ignore the directions
3 eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
3 bananas, mashed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prep a loaf pan. I used a 9x5x3 like the original recipe called for then prepped it with Baker's Joy spray. I like easy. Mix all ingredients with an electric mixer. Pour into prepared pan and cook 45 to 55 minutes, or as in my case, until a good result with the toothpick test. That's all there is to it!

Simple, right? It's so good. Especially warm with butter. I imagine whipped cream cheese on this toasted would be to die for. I also think the same concept would be great with caramel, pineapple, chocolate cake mixes... use your imagination!

The Ragnarok Prophesies Blog Tour

15 May 2014
I recently had the opportunity to read both Fade and Fall, books 1 and 2 of the Ragnarok Prophesies, by A.K. Morgen. These are YA novels that I intended to let Little Miss read to give me review input, but I devoured them on my own first. I am glad I did.

Fade grabbed me first with it's breathtaking cover. One look and I wanted to know what was up. Arionna Jacobs is a teen on the cusp of adulthood, college bound and ready to take life by the horns. Her mother's tragic death changes everything, forcing Arionna down a different path. That path crashes her into Dace Matthews, making an ancient Norse prophecy reality. It's a story of heartache, fantasy, mythology, trust, love, and self discovery. Arionna felt real to me; the author did a superb job of conveying the characters' emotions in a way that they leap from the page. A strong heroine, Arionna was clever and handled the craziness in her life better than many adults probably would. Dace is a shape-shifter, he shifts into a wolf. As a result, he is complicated and comes off as jerk at times because of the primal nature of his wolf. Both grab you and take you along with them through a book that was never quite like I thought it was. Each time I thought I had it figured out, I found I was wrong, yet thrilled that was the case. I thoroughly enjoy books like that.

Fall dives right in where Fade ended. Not only do we see more of Ari and Dace, but other characters are better developed to the point you feel you are reading about your friends. Ronan I absolutely love, something about him enchants me. A story of courage, sacrifice, and love, the plot unfolds in such a way that you are flipping pages like mad, needing to see what happens next. All I can say about the ending is I need book three NOW!

I have been pretty vague in my descriptions here because I keep wanting to include spoilers. Since reading them drives me nuts, I refuse to do that to y'all. The stories are great reads. They combine Norse  mythology, adventure, paranormal elements, and romance in such a way that the story is compelling. I will say both books started out a little slow, but eventually grabbed me and sucked me in. There is an insta-love aspect to the story, BUT as the plot unfolds it makes sense. Don't judge it by that and think it's just another YA supernatural romance. A.K. Morgen delivers much more than that in these gems. I recommend both Fade and Fall to any YA lover.

Fade - The Ragnarok Prophesies: Book One: Amazon | BN | Kobo
Fall - The Ragnarok Prophesies: Book Two: Amazon | BN | Kobo
Learn more about A.K.Morgen at

Ramblings of a Texas Housewife Product Review and/or Giveaway Disclosure- I have received no compensation other than the offer of free product to review and/or giveaway. Any opinions expressed on Ramblings of a Texas Housewife are my own. My reviews are never reviewed or edited in any way by sponsors.

I got sunshine in a bag...

06 May 2014
Actually, I sent sunshine in a bag. It's not a lot, but I put together a little something to send to a friend to let her know she was in my thoughts. Since the idea is sunshine to brighten a day up, I used yellow, orange, gold... you get the idea.

This bag was made up of:
  • A small gold, glittery make up bag
  • lemonade packets to add to bottled water
  • lemon ginger tea bags
  • small Slim Jim
  • handful of butterscotch candies
  • package of Juicy Fruit gum
  • snack size Butterfinger candy bar
  • Mallo Cup
  • yellow highlighter
  • there was also a sunshine shaped note I forgot to get a pic of
It's not a lot, but enough to lift someone's spirits. The whole thing weighed in under 13 ounces, so you could put stamps on it and toss it in the mailbox to mail without a trip to the post office. I'm thinking this cost about $3 to send. 

I love getting "happy mail", but have discovered I love sending it even more! You never know when a small gesture will completely turn a day around for someone. There's nothing like spreading a little sunshine! 

May the Fourth Be With You

04 May 2014
Art Wars
Art Wars (Photo credit: The Official Star Wars)
I love May 4th! It rocks my socks off! I geeked out and watched Episode IV in between dozing off and on all day. I am an old geek! 

I hope all my fellow geeks enjoyed their day.

It's that day. Again

03 May 2014
Flower sad
Flower sad (Photo credit: @Doug88888)
I don't like May 3rd. Perhaps one day it won't bother me, but as of now it still does. It wasn't as bad as the first one post divorce, or even last year, but it's still not great. Today would have been my 18th wedding anniversary. Stupid May 3rd.

Here are the things I know on 5/3/14. I am so much stronger than I thought I was three years ago. There is nothing I can't accomplish if I set my mind to it. I am smart, kind, funny, heck I am even beautiful. Sure my teeth are falling out and I am fat, but there is beauty in me. There is a good soul. There is worth. I know these things about myself, things I didn't know say five years ago. So, I am thankful for this May 3rd and all the ones that come after. Thanks to 5/3/96 I have two beautiful children. Those 15 years after taught me so much. There was good, there was bad, but they took me from being a 17 year old girl to a woman. Thanks to May 3rd, I am who I am, a perfectly imperfect woman.

Sure, I am sitting here crying, but I can't even tell you why. I know it's not over what was lost, I know it. Maybe it's because this crazy journey that made me not a wife anymore is scary. I question if I am a good mother, a good family member, a good friend, a good person. I am, I know I am. But, I screw up. A lot. All the time. And I hate myself for it. I am terrified of the uncertainty of what the next year brings. If I'm honest, I am fearful of the uncertainty of tomorrow. All I know is I have to keep trying to make every day I wake up the best day of my life. That's what I am doing.

Only do, you know, there is no try. Yoda is a smarty pants, or robe. Whatever. Thank goodness one of my favorite days comes after stupid May 3rd.

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad recipe

02 May 2014

A few weeks ago Moore's Marinades & Sauces sent me a package of goodies for being awesome. No seriously, that's pretty much what it was. It made me feel amazing just to get an email from them full of kind words, the goodies were just the icing on the cake. I haven't had much time to cook lately, so they've just been sitting on the kitchen counter waiting for inspiration to strike. Finally it did when I got a craving for pasta salad. Pasta salads are so yummy when it's hot outside. I am glad I got that craving!

We had a bag of those frozen, grilled chicken strips in the freezer; you know the kind you use for fajitas. That's where I started with this plan. I stood there analyzing what to do with said chicken and that's when it hit me, buffalo chicken. It went on until the Man Child and I came up with the following.

  • 1 package grilled, fajita chicken breast strips - I think our package was 32 ounces
  • 1 -16 ounce bottle ranch dressing
  • 1 - 16 ounce bottle Moore's buffalo wing sauce
  • 1 - 12 ounce package of your favorite pasta
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 2 good sized Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 avocado, optional
Thaw your chicken strips. They are precooked, but you don't want them frozen. Cook pasta according to package directions. We used veggie rotini simply to get in some extra veggies. I am now hooked on the stuff. Drain pasta and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, whisk the entire bottle of ranch dressing with the desired amount of wing sauce. We used half a bottle by the time we were done. I advise to add slowly and taste often. It had a bit of a kick to it, but I probably would have used the whole bottle had Little Miss not been eating with us. The creaminess of the ranch blends nicely with the spiciness of the wing sauce. Anyway, taste and get it to your liking. At this point mix the pasta, sauce/dressing mixture, and chicken in a large mixing bowl. Then add the onion, tomatoes, and celery and blend thoroughly. This is one of those recipes you can be creative with. I used red onion because I love them, tomatoes because I was craving them, and celery because it goes with buffalo chicken like peas go with carrots. You can pretty much do what you want to here. Things that might make nice additions are bacon, blue cheese crumbles, maybe some diced garlic... be creative! The Man Child and I topped our servings with sliced avocado and it was to die for. You can serve it warm or cold. Personally I think it was amazing the next day as lunch cold. The flavors had melded together into perfection. 

Be warned, this makes a lot. I can't tell you how many servings it makes but it fed three very hungry people the night we made it then filled up 3/4ths of a gallon size freezer bag when we put the leftovers in the fridge. It would be great at a BBQ, potluck, or picnic. 

It was a simple week night meal that packed a flavorful punch. I will definitely be making this again!

Ramblings of a Texas Housewife Product Review and/or Giveaway Disclosure- I have received no compensation other than the offer of free product to review and/or giveaway. Any opinions expressed on Ramblings of a Texas Housewife are my own. My reviews are never reviewed or edited in any way by sponsors.

Bad for Me

01 May 2014

I have a hobby I very much enjoy. It's also a hobby that can be bad for me. It sucks when things you love are bad for you. This particular thing is a huge creative outlet, but it's on social media and it's just not always a positive thing. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in expectations there and just the ugly of it that it becomes toxic. I had cut back my time spent there drastically for months and regret getting sucked back in on some levels. Not all, because I have some amazing friends there. But, when a hobby starts to stress you out and you realize your judgement has turned to crap, it's time for a change.

The other thing on my mind is the whole paying it forward thing I wrote about recently. All the comments for my giveaway over on that post are making my heart soar. Kindness is so amazing. It blesses others and blesses you. I've been doing a few small things here and there the past little while and it's been so awesome! Being the reason someone smiles is a great feeling. You never know when a small act can turn around someone's whole day. Seeing what my readers have done for other people just gets me pumped with positivity. I am really loving hearing from you all about how you pass on kindness. 

So, the two things I discussed above got me to thinking and I have decided something. For the month of May, the hobby is shelved. I haven't told anyone this yet, well I'm telling y'all here and now. Anyone who truly needs to know it is going to see this post anyway. Anyway, if I want to write, there are a zillion different ways to do it. If I want to indulge in "me" time, which is what dabbling there always is, I can do roughly a thousand different things. Maybe my focus will switch to getting this blog fixed up the way I want it. Or finishing reading Battlefield of the Mind. Or the other books stacked on my nightstand. Maybe I'll exercise more. Who knows. All I know is the time I spent there is now time I hope to fill with positivity. Sometimes you've got to just do you and what's best for you. That's the idea I'm rolling with here. I'm embracing the positive!