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1  Double Chocolate Espresso Energy Bars with Sea Salt (Copycat RX Bars) in Recipes and Cooking Tips by Banga on: January 31, 2018 06:12:54 PM
If you're at all like me, you're always on the hunt for a clean, healthy snack that you can grab on the go. I was so excited to discover RX Bars, because they have no junk, no ingredients I can't pronounce, no added sugar!! Yay! What they do have? Real ingredients and a hefty price tag. For $2.50 a pop that isn't a bar I will be eating on the regular! However, since the ingredients are listed right there on the front of the label, you know you have to be able to DIY those bad boys!

It took a bit for us to choose which flavor to go with, but my kiddos picked chocolate (because, well, CHOCOLATE) and I wanted coffee (because COFFEE). We went with both and a little flurry of fleur de sel for fancy pants-ness. These took us literally 5 minutes to make. FIVE. And while you may not be someone who keeps all of these ingredients on hand, you should be now! Egg white protein is available in many health food stores and online, but you can always make these vegan by using vegan chocolate protein powder instead! I can't wait to try new flavors next!

Double Chocolate Espresso Energy Bars with Sea Salt (Copycat RX Bars)


3/4 cup egg white protein (or Shakeology!)

1 cup pitted dried dates

1/2 cup raw cashews

1/2 cup raw almonds

1/4 cup raw cacao powder

1/4 cup cacao nibs

2 tsp. espresso powder

2 Tbls. coconut oil

2 Tbls warm water

1 tsp. sea salt

Line an 8x8 inch pan with wax paper. In the bowl of your food processor, add all ingredients except water and pulse to combine. Add water slowly while pulsing until a soft dough forms. You may need to add a bit more water if the dough is too dry! Turn dough out into the pan and press firmly. Add a little flourish of salt on top if you like! Refrigerate about an hour and then slice into 6 bars. Refrigerate up to a week wrapped in wax paper.

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2  Re: Vintage Halloween Swap Gallery (Send Out 9/25) in The Swap Gallery by Banga on: October 02, 2013 10:12:55 AM
Behold the goodies I was lucky enough to receive from KarenLouiseM!

A wreath covered in burlap and all sorts of vintage paper goods, tin can flowers, and knickknacks, a long paper bunting, a pair of papier mache trick or treaters, and some little treats for my son. He got a skelly necklace, a little pumpkin basket, a grow a-skeleton and a sticker book.

I'm so spoiled:) Thank you so very much, Karen! Oh, and don't worry, I found a few tiny pieces and glued them back on (you can see them missing in the photo, but I fixed it!).
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3  Re: OWS round 93-96 Gallery in The Swap Gallery by Banga on: September 03, 2013 05:26:38 PM
Man, go on vacation for a few days and you miss so much!!

First, I am so glad you like the badges and supplies, artista! You can absolutely plant the paper inside as long as you have a nice, sunny window. If you want you can tear the paper up small before planting, and make sure to water daily until you see sprouts. Then you can just water as needed. They are wildflowers and will come back each year. So if something blooms and withers, don't yank it out! Cut off any dead leaves nd just let it hang out. You never know what will pop up next:)

Second, I came home to so much great mail! rlynn was supremely sweet and resent the beanie for Jude in a larger size. Now he has one that fits his generously sized dome, and one for his teddy bear, Elvis. He's thrilled!

I also had a crazy awesome package from watsonc7. A scrabble tile pillow for Jude, a zipper pouch, and an applique tee. I tried so hard to get him to pose for me but we had a long drive to get home today, so this is the best I could do:)

Thank you so much, ladies! This kiddo is so spoiled.
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4  Re: OWS round 93-96 Gallery in The Swap Gallery by Banga on: August 28, 2013 11:06:29 AM
Here is a picture of the excellent vintage trim and the little beanie rlynn sent for Jude! It is a tad snug, so he wouldn't let me snap many pictures, but I love the stripes!
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5  Re: OWS round 93-96 Gallery in The Swap Gallery by Banga on: June 26, 2013 10:19:50 AM
I am so glad you liked your package, A2K!

Anyone who would like seed paper, feel free to PM me your address. I have tons and tons, literally:) I will stuff an envelope for you. That small envelope I sent to A2K will easily do a window box of wildflowers.

I also got a fantastic package from gamemom this week! I had family in town, so I apologizethat it took a few days to post pics! She made a memory game for my son (which I have to say, is amazing, and I love that you sent it with a little storage box as I am crazy for organization in the playroom!) as well as stickers, chalk, and die cuts for playtime!
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6  Re: OWS round 93-96 Gallery in The Swap Gallery by Banga on: June 05, 2013 10:21:52 AM
So many awesome items so far!  Love the eeyore and ewok stuffies! And I must start adding hoops to my wishlist

Yesterday we got a super fun package from Oath Keeper. She made an apple tree game for my son. It has blossoms, birds and apples for him to stick on and off. She also sent me some rubber stamps to feed my addiction:) Thank you so much, Oath Keeper!
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7  Feeding Your Foodie Baby - Part 2 - Finger Foods! in Recipes and Cooking Tips by Banga on: May 15, 2012 07:49:50 AM
Feeding a growing boy gets really interesting once he decides to be independent and feed himself. Get ready for prunes smeared in the hair and far flung bits of Cheerio to appear in random places days later. I just happened to discover some crusty green stuff on the back of a dining room chair leg the other day. It took a butter knife to scrape it off and I have no idea what it was. Nice. One of the ways to avoid a little of the mess and to allow your little to still explore the fun of self feeding is combo finger foods. Jude had issues with finger foods at first, in that all he could pick up were Cheerios and puffs. Banana chunks slipped right from his fingers like a bar of wet soap. Even when rolled in baby cereal. Any cooked fruit or veggie shot right out of his hands. It was sad to watch, really. He'd try so hard to pick up a bite, only to have it escape him inches from his mouth. And a kid can't live on baby puffs, even if they are fun to stick to his forehead.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Baby Truffles

10 oz. pitted dried dates
1/2 cup dried strawberries
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup sunflower seeds

Place everything in a food processor and pulse until a ball forms. Using a one inch cookie scoop (or fine, use a spoon) scoop into balls and roll in your palms. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment and chill for an hour. Then you can transfer them to a container without them sticking to each other and store in the fridge for up to a week. Freeze them if you won't eat them that fast. Depending on how many teeth your kiddo has, you may want to let them come to room temperature before serving!

Substitute almonds for the cashews and apricots for the strawberries. That's my favorite:)
You can also use raisins, cranberries, prunes, dried pineapple with coconut... Let me know if you come up with any yummy flavor combos!

Carrot Apple Cheddar Bites
makes 2 dozen

1 cup shredded carrot
1 cup shredded apple
1 cup shredded chaddar cheese
4 egg yolks
1-1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour, bread crumbs, or baby cereal (I use Earth's Best Rice Cereal)


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Toss all ingredients in a bowl and stir until well combined. Using a cookie scoop, scoop out the mixture and press it firmly into the scoop. You can also use a tablespoon and roll into balls with your hands. Place a few inches apart on cookie sheets. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until set and just beginning to brown at the edges.
Store a few bites in the fridge for up to three days. Freeze the remaining bites in ziploc bags for up to a month.

Zucchini Ricotta Bites - Substitute 2 cups of shredded zucchini for the carrot and apple. Add 1/2 cup ricotta and increase dry ingredients by 1/4 cup.

Sweet Potato and Pear Bites - Substitute 1 cup shredded sweet potato and 1 cup shredded pear (use a firm pear like Bosc) for the carrot and apple.
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8  Embroidery Hoop Name Letters for Nursery Decor... in Interior Decorating: Completed Projects by Banga on: January 24, 2012 06:50:04 AM

... and how to cut fabric with your Silhouette!
I wanted something different than the usual wooden letters to hang my son's name on his nursery wall. I ended up using appliqued embroidery hoops, and I love them! The only trouble was that I am not much of a sewer and I don't have any of the seamstress/quilter tools for cutting appliques from fabric. What I do have is a Silhouette. While they have since come out with special fabric/needles to cut fabric on the Silhouette, you don't need them. If you don;t have a Silhouette, you can always cut your appliques by hand.

You'll need:
10 inch embroidery hoops
Linen/Muslin (cut into 11-12 inch circles)
Decorative fabric
Fusible webbing
Spray Starch and iron
Fabric glue

To do:
1. If using a Silhouette, choose your font and size in the designs studio software.
If cutting by hand, print out your letters onto tracing paper to make a pattern and cut fabric. Skip down to step number 4.

2. Cut decorative fabric to 8 1/2 by 11 inch squares (one for each letter you'll cut). Lay out your decorative fabric and spray heavily with starch. Iron and repeat. Do this 4 or 5 times until fabric is as stiff as a piece of cardstock.

3. Using a brayer, press fabric sheet onto cutting mat. Run through the Silhouette cutter, using the setting for heavy cardstock. You may have to cut twice. Repeat for each letter.

4. Lay fabric letters onto fusible webbing and peel off the paper backing. Trim excess fusible webbing from around the letters.

5. Iron the letters on to the centers of your muslin/linen circles. Double check the fusible webbing packaging for iron setting information!

6. Stitch by hand or with a machine around the edges of the letters. I used decorative stitching settings on my machine.

7. Place each circle into an embroidery hoop. you may choose to secure them with a bit of glue. Trim any excess fabric.

8. Trim edges with rickrack and add a ribbon to hang.
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9  Raise a Foodie Baby - How to Make & Store Baby Food in Recipes and Cooking Tips by Banga on: January 24, 2012 05:35:22 AM
I knew way before my son Jude was even born that I wanted to make my own baby food. My mother always did and she swore it was easier and cheaper than buying jarred food. As usual, she was right. Making Jude's food has proven to be far less expensive than buying it and with a little planning, it takes very little time. It easily fits into our hectic schedule (being a mama, running an online shop, and working part time makes for a busy chica!). I love that I can control everything that goes into his food and it is so much fun to introduce him to new things. So far, Jude loves almost everything! Avocado was not a big hit, strangely enough, but once he can have hot sauce and cilantro, I bet that'll change.

Of course there are a hundred products on the market for baby food prep and storage, and many are wicked expensive. You don't need to run out and buy a Baby Bullet or a Brezza to make baby food, though. They claim to streamline the process, but really, it's not all that difficult of a process anyway. All you need is:
- a pot
- a blender (an immersion blender is awesome!)
- and an ice cube tray.

Really. A few good resources don't hurt. Try the Wholesome Baby Food site for great ideas for recipes, info on food allergies, and tips for introducing foods. I also love the book Super Baby Food. It also has tons of recipes, as well as lots of money saving tips, but it's been instrumental in helping me figure out portion sizes and feeding schedules for Jude. The sample menu plans are awesome. I highly recommend this book!

I try to make as many fresh fruits and vegetables as I can, but some are just far too time consuming (no way will I be shelling peas!) or are not in season. Those I buy in the frozen organic section. Spinach, peas, green beans, mangoes and peaches are all ready in literally minutes. Fresh vegetables obviously need more prep and cook time. Take a free hour and do a big batch or two at once!

Basic Baby Puree
This method works well for fresh:
Sweet potatoes
Winter squash

Peel, chop into small pieces, and add to a pot with some water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until fork tender. Blend in the pot, or transfer to a blender or food processor and blend until pureed. I don't bother straining as enough water helps make any fruit or veggie smooth. Transfer puree to ice cube trays (they fit about 2 Tbls. per cube) and freeze. Transfer cubes to a ziploc bag labeled with the date and food type.

That's it! Done and done. Once you get into the swing of it, the real fun begins. Adding spices, making interesting flavor combos, and changing up the texture makes for interesting meal times. Currently Jude is really digging baked apples with cinnamon, oatmeal, and yogurt for breakfast. I don't blame him, it's fricking delicious!

So seasoned mamas, what do you like to cook for you baby?
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10  Re: Ongoing Wish Swap round 67-69 Discussion's Only :) in ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED by Banga on: May 02, 2011 12:31:59 PM
Holy cow, guys! 40 pages of posts since I was last here!!! You all are chatty! Smiley
The first post I read when I logged on was edie's "how could you have contractions for days and not know it?" I laughed out loud! I couldn't believe it either. Just a day later I crafted up this little guy:

Jude McCoy was born Thursday March 24 at 7:17 AM and he was 9 lbs. 8 oz. and 21.5 inches long. Phew!

I so miss swapping and crafting with you all:) Little by little he's napping better during the day and I don't have to go back to work for a few more weeks. I'm hoping to find a bit of crafting time in there somewhere so I may be able to actually join a new round soon! Yeeha!
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