Category Archives: At Home

Sometimes You Need A Muffin

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

I woke up this morning with a case of the sniffles. I refuse to call it a full-blown cold, because I need denial to function. After a sudden three-inch snowfall, I also needed a muffin. Not just any muffin- I needed a donut pretending to be a muffin.

In a Pinterest frenzy one day, I came across this delicious looking gluten-free banana chocolate chip donut recipe from Janie’s Kitchen. Since we can have gluten and I don’t own a donut baking pan (yet), I whipped up the slightly altered, lazy, sloppy, less healthy recipe below into some heavenly warm muffins in a jiffy and knocked back two with a milk chaser before bed. Take that snow and sniffles!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins


  • 1 cup Mashed Ripe Banana (Roughly 2 small bananas)
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1/4 cup Butter (Melted)
  • 2 Eggs (Room Temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup Chocolate Chips (I used a bag with half peanut butter chips, because YUM)


1. Preheat the oven to 325F
2. In a large bowl, stir mashed banana, sugar and greek yogurt with a fork.

Mix until incorporated.

3. Add melted butter, eggs and vanilla extra and mix.
4. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the batter and mix

until just incorporated. Do not over mix!

5. Using a spatula, fold in the chocolate chips.
6. Grease muffin tins or use liners (I only had six

liners, so I did half of each- so fancy around here).

7. Bake for 15-20 minutes- they should start to get a

little golden on top and a sharp knife will come out clean

if you poke them in a non-chips region; they look a little

lumpy on top, but that’s what makes them delicious.

8. Makes 12 muffins- I filled the tins all the way to the top-

they only rise a little bit.

9. If you end up with some spare batter and can’t wait 15-20

minutes, put on your flannel pajamas and throw it in a mug

in the microwave for five minutes, then eat that with a fork.

I am not recommending this lifestyle, but you have to do what

you have to do when you have the sniffles.


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Filed under At Home, Daily Life, Recipes

On the Wall Over Our Bed


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Filed under At Home, Crafty, Photos

The World Went White


Pittsburgh saw the first real snow of winter today. When I woke up, my street was covered with the slush of it and I had to drag my snow shovel out of the basement. Those of you who’ve been reading for a while know, winter is my least favorite time of year. I grew up in Atlanta. Snow is a strange, awful substance that I’m convinced is designed to ruin anything good in the world.

In honor of the snowfall, I pulled out some yarn scraps and whipped up this dish towel while I watched Quills on Netflix. A little sadism from the Marquis de Sade himself- he reminds me of Old Man Winter. I suppose I’ll settle in for the long, miserable slog. In the meantime, I’ll focus on these paper flowers I picked up in San Antonio and dream of spring.



Filed under At Home, Crafty, Photos

Get In Shape, Girl

I love my couch. It is so conveniently close to my laptop, which I also love. Oh, and that pile of books and blank notebooks on the other end of the couch. A big comfy quilt to lounge under. A pile of throw pillows to prop up against. I could wear a groove in this cushion for the rest of the winter. I would prefer to do so.

But, as part of my “Make 2011 Great!” program, still a work-in-progress, I have sworn to spend a little less time on the couch. Do I have a work-out regimen in place and a January gym membership? Oh no. Instead, I’m trying to spend less time consuming. Not food. Stuff. Mental junk. Movies on Netflix, and endless reams of pop culture internet articles, and checking Facebook a thousand times per day, and whatever’s in my Hulu queue and on and on. Mindless surfing and time-wasting that eats up the time I want to spend doing other stuff.

The first goal of 2011 being great is that I spend more time making something and less time consuming things. So, in the interest of dragging myself out of that groove, I made myself a projects board that faces the couch. Nothing fancy- just a three-sided display board (like we used for the science fair in school), some Post-It notes in fun colors, and a Sharpie. Then I covered it with project ideas- crocheting another blanket for my niece, folding paper cranes, doodling, books and articles I’d like to write, places in my neighborhood that I’d like to check out, books I want to read. (The photo uploader is being weird, or I’d show you here; I posted it on Twitter).

Now, when I come home out of the cold, instead of trying to think of something to do and falling back into my old ways with a Veronica Mars marathon or a documentary, I can pick up a project and hit the ground running. At least, I hope that will be the result. My flabby brain muscles can use the workout.


Filed under At Home, Building a Better Me

Pack Up Your Troubles

There are few tasks in life that I find more detestable than moving. Nonetheless, I’ve done quite a bit of it in the last 33 years. At last count (and I’m probably forgetting something here), I have moved 19 times, between 15 different homes in six cities. That’s a lot of dragging yourself around, especially considering the number of books that make those moves with me. I would leave household pets behind before books. Really. I mean it.

My current townhouse has been my home for longer than any other, besides my two childhood homes. I moved in with the ex, but once that travesty ended, my name was the one on the lease and I stayed. (By the way, if you are dating someone who you think will later break your heart, I highly recommend that you have only your name on the lease- the amount of wrangling this saved me was epic). It’s finally starting to look the way I want it to- cozy, colorful, book-centric, handmade, and with the occasional bargain antique tossed in for good measure.

It’s not perfect. I’d love a kitchen with a counter. Mine has none. No really- not an inch of counter in sight- a sink, a stove, a refrigerator. I’d pinch someone else’s grandma for laundry hookups to avoid the laundromat. And if you have a spare gardener, the nine square feet of my patio that’s under 3 feet of evergreen weeds could use some attention. But it’s affordable, it’s in a great neighborhood, and I love it.

Today’s topic is “something you hope you never to have to do,” and while moving will happen at least one more time if I find and buy a house, I hope never to have to decide to leave my home.  I moved away from my family years ago for school and work and to have adventures. I love them dearly and the feeling is mutual. I’d like to visit them more often if flights weren’t so expensive.

But something I think about occasionally is what would happen if something bad and unplanned came up. What if I was really sick and needed someone to help me out? I would have to decide between going home to my family or being a burden on my friends. BC was great when I had my gall bladder out and took time off work to look after me, but that’s not reasonable for anything more than a few days. Family would probably win. But then, I’d be in a horrible situation and be 14 hours away from all the emotional support I count on every day in the little life I’ve finally managed to build for myself. 

My sisters both live close by, but if something happened and my parents needed cared for, I’d have to find a way to chip in. They won’t be healthy or young forever, no matter how much I wish it. Again, they’re family and if they need me, I go. But I would be torn leaving my life entirely to go back home. I’ve moved around enough to know how hard the friends I’ve made and the community I have now would be to replace if I had to start all over.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I never have to make that decision. I love my little townhouse. I love my Pittsburgh chosen family. I love staying still for once in my life.

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Filed under At Home, Family, Friends, Pittsburgh, Soul Searching

If I’m in the House Anyway

Since, as I may have mentioned,  I’ve been holed up in my house quite a bit, I’ve gone on a tear of re-doing it a bit. The break-up left me with some furniture that was not quite my style- lots of dark wood and black leather, which looks a little morose in my tiny little townhouse. I decided on a discount-store binge to grab some paint and craft supplies and see what I could whip up to make it a little more cozy around these parts.

First, the coffee table. We bought a matching set from Target when we were setting up house, and I had a bunch of Asian-inspired stuff  I wanted to use to decorate. We ended up with this:

Which was all well and good, but really, the color is pretty close to the color of my carpet and those fun little grooves on top serve as the world’s best crumb-catchers. Scrubbing it down with a toothbrush and furniture polish left it raggedy looking and the ex during one of our wonderful morning screaming matches managed to put a foot through the particle-board leg which left an unpleasantly memorable hole. Which I had to look at every day when I got home. I decided it was cheaper to buy some paint than replace it entirely, and decided to go with cream to lighten up the room. I pasted over the hole with newspaper, spray-painted with primer and then hand-painted with interior wall paint. I figure if the paint chips, with the dark wood underneath, I should end up with “shabby chic”. Then I bought myself some flowers and threw on a pashmina I scored for five bucks. Now I have this:

Also, on my 101 in 1001 goals, I had listed that I wanted to take a sewing class. It just so happens, that I finally registered and after two Friday evenings, demonstrated my ability to use the machine well enough to whip up a throw pillow. I’m almost finished with a twin so that they can hop onto my couch. I love the retro bird fabric I found. For now it sits here:

And have I mentioned that I have a new niece, the lovely Butterbean? She’s adorable. See:

So, I decided to whip her up a blanket. My sister, who is not a fan of the pink princess mode of girl stuff, has willingly decided to use green and purple for the nursery instead. I found some baby yarn and decided to make a purple blanket for the little doll baby.

And finally, on the tour of what I’ve been up to, into the kitchen. I’m actually home and off the road for work and vacation for a few weeks, so I dredged up some groceries and recipes to feed myself and make a mess of my kitchen. I had a sack of peaches from my CSA this week, and they sent along a recipe for peach cupcakes with brown sugar cream cheese frosting. Delish. They turned out almost spice-cake-ish- and could easily be muffins without the icing, so I’ve been icing them for dessert and grabbing the plain ones in the morning. The recipe makes a ton- so I’ve also been trying to pawn some off on strangers.

Not bad for a few days work, if I do say so myself. I also ordered a slipcover for my hated black leather couch that should show up in the next week or so to cover its sticky cracked leather with a little more color. I’ll let you know how that experiment pans out.

If I’m going to be home, I might as well make it home-y. So far, so good.


Filed under At Home, Crafty, Daily Life, Style

Killing My Television

I’d been meaning to cut back on how much tv I watched after work. Really I had. And my cable package, with movie channels and a DVR, and the works was NOT helping me save money for vacation this summer, or a car, or a house, or a kid, or all the big expenses I plan to need some money set aside for. So, maybe it was a sign when the tv gave up on me the other night.

For the meantime, I’m not replacing it.

After wrangling with Comcast for thirty minutes, I’m keeping my internet and local channels (which I can watch on teeny tiny tv from my spare bedroom instead) and saving $110 a month by losing my home phone and the rest of the tv bells and whistles. That’s $1,320 a year. And if I find I’m not even watching the little tv, I’m ditching that too. I don’t have a DVD player at the moment, so replacing with Netflix is out of the question.

I have a house full of books, piles of them I still need to read. I can walk to the library. I can cook myself dinner instead of zoning out to Oprah on the DVR and microwaving something. I can work on my novel more. I can go see my friends, go the movies, clean my disaster of a house, spend a little more time on personal maintenance, call my mom, go to a ballgame, take a walk, do some laundry, surf the internet, plan a vacation.

Yes. I need to make lists. I should also probably buy a radio. To keep me company. Living alone and without the television for a while is a good thing, but it makes for a quiet, quiet house.

I’m taking suggestions- what else should I do while I don’t watch tv?


Filed under At Home, Daily Life