Green Apple Cucumber Tuna Salad

There are some things that people swear are good.
For instance:

Birds.
Tapenade.
Downtown Abbey.
Crocs.
Tuna…
 
Some of them kind of gross me out.
Some of them scare me.
And one in particular puts me into a deep coma when I try to watch it.
I leave the mystery of which one is which to you.
 
However, I am not one of those people who say, “I don’t like ______”, then never try it again.
(Except for birds…that fear is straight up diagnosable.)
So when a friend brought out a big bowl of tuna salad,
I politely put on my best fake smile & told myself to just eat it & hold my breath so I wouldn’t taste it too much…
Yeah, like a 5 year old.
Don’t judge me.
 
So I took a bite of this so called “amazing” tuna salad…
then I chewed it a little…
then I took a breath.
And I am SO GLAD that I did.
It was friggin’ delicious!!
I mean, who knew canned fish could taste like springtime in your mouth!

This recipe has tart green apples & sweet dill relish that adds equal amounts of sweet & sour, fresh & crunchy cucumbers & celery, a light dose of yogurt for creaminess & a hit of lemon juice to brighten all of the flavors up!
Ok, so I know it sounds like a weird combo, but trust me.
This tuna salad is probably one of my favorite meals now & if it can convert a canned fish hater like me, I think it’ll be a hit with you, too!
Not only is it good, but if you omit the crackers/bread, it makes for a nice little protein packed, low carb lunch!
P.S. You can put it in a sandwich or eat it with crackers.  I like eating it with saltines because they are my favorite cracker & apparently somewhere deep inside of me there is an 80 year old woman just drying to get out.

Enjoy!

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Baked Banana Nut Oatmeal

So every morning I wake up I have this battle in my head about what’s for breakfast?
If it were up to me, I’d only have green tea. 
Straight. 
No Frills. 
Yeah. I know. 
I can be pretty hardcore in the mornings.
But according to everything I read & my super concerned fiancé,
 I’m supposed to eat something before noon. 
Pfft. Fine.
 
Cut to me standing in front of my pantry for about an hour looking at all of the things that have been forgotten & potentially may go bad in another day or two,
& pondering if eating chips at 7 am qualifies as breakfast & whether I will ever be into the 5 gallon protein shake powder I bought last year…
Then after about 20 minutes of that, I usually promise myself I will finally stop wasting food when there are starving children in ________ & try to figure out what to do with todays’ saddest-almost-dangerous-food in my kitchen.
The winner today: Ripe Bananas
So of course I just had to make:
 
This is a really easy one-bowl recipe that uses a lot of what you may already have in your kitchen.  It’s pretty healthy for you if you use Splenda brown sugar vs regular brown sugar & 1% milk instead of whole milk.  
It tastes a little like a cross between banana bread & an oatmeal bar.  It’s warm & extra delicious with a little extra milk (or cream if your motto is calorie shmalorie) & even more bananas & walnuts sprinkled on top.  
I’ve even heard of some making it the night before & eating it cold…
I don’t know why but do whatever tickles your pickle. 
It’s your world.
I just live in it.

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Holiday Gift Guide: 2013 Favorites for the Baker & Foodie

The tree is up, the lights are hung, my cookie swap cookies are now just a faint delicious memory & the window cling snowflakes are up!  
Oh yeah, it’s most definitely Christmas up in here.
I know, I know, you’re probably saying, “Window clings?! Really?!” 
Yes, girl, really. 
Don’t judge!
I’m relaxed, I’m singing cheesy songs & I’m ready to plan Christmas dinners!
Yes, girl. 
Dinners…with an “s”! 
Then someone has to go & ruin my “Zen-mas” mood & remind me that I have to buy gifts.
Crap.
As soon as the pressure is on, all of those great ideas that I tell myself I will remember come December are just not there anymore & I’m left scrambling for something unique & thoughtful at the last minute…which usually means that you are getting something I baked and/or bought at the supermarket.
This year, I decided to do something a little different & kept a running list of things that I not only loved but actually owned & used A LOT in 2013. This is not a sponsored blog & no company I mention has contacted me peddling their wares.  Now if they would like to send me some more mats or pans, I wouldn’t be totally against a little package in the mail 😉 
I just really want to spare the lost souls that empty thousand-yard stare that I so frequently see going on in the store isles this time of year.  
It’s like rows & rows of sad, gift giving zombies out there. 
No joke.
So here’s my list of top Foodie Gifts for 2013! 
I know it’s a little late for this but if you two day ship with Amazon.com, 
you will get it on time!! 
I provide links to most of these products on my Amazon Store that you can find HERE or on the side bar of this here blog ——->
 
And remember, as much as we all love gifts, nothing beats the gift of love for your fellow man/woman. Take some time this season to tell someone how much they mean to you because you never know just how many more trips you get around the sun.
That being said, your mom might look at you crazy if you show up with hugs for Christmas so let’s get into it! 
 
Happy Chrismakwanzakah!

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Cranberry White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies & The 2013 Great Blogger Cookie Swap!

Some people build houses. 
Some people donate clothes & toiletries.
Some people give their pocket change. Some people run for miles. 
We bake cookies & send them to strangers.
Then we blog.
Why do we do it?
To raise money for pediatric research for kids’ cancer!  It feels so good to pay it forward.   It feels 100x better when it’s for a good cause.  
2013 is the third year of The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap & I’m proud to say that I have been participating in it for all 3 years. 
That’s sayin’ a lot because I have the attention span of a…. oooh, I should water my Christmas tree.  
I love taking part of this event every heart because it makes me feel like I’m part of a big community of people who love to do what I do, want to share it with others & care enough to take the time to reach out to someone they hardly even know & send them a little something that will put a smile on their face.  We are a pretty neat bunch!
So I signed up, donated my $4 & waited for my email telling me who my matches were.   Now to make a cookie I’ve never made before… I’ve made A LOT of cookies in my day but after dropping off a cookie order to a customer, they asked me if I could make them a cookie with cranberries in it. Boom! And a cookie & a blog was born. I’m all about cranberries.   I usually put them in my yogurt or salads or just directly into my mouth but just never in a cookie Something in my brain must have told me they were too sour for cookies but that’s also probably the same part of my brain that tells me that wine & brownies are a good combo. After a little tweaking, a little rummaging through my cupboards & a little taste testing, I decided to make these Cranberry White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies for you & three of my new blogger friends at A Picture Journey, Rose and Henry & Dining With Alice!  
Saving the best for last, I want to thank Amy from Simple Everyday Food for her delicious gingersnaps, Christine of Cooking With Cakes for the decadent chocolate chunk peppermint pattie cookies & Amy at Cakestar for her amazing hazelnut chocolate chip cookies!  You made my day with your yummy cookies!! So go make some cookies, send them to someone to let you know you are thinking of them  & bake someone happy!

Lemon Currant Pound Cake with Lemon Glaze

There’s nothing I like more than a good baking challenge & this holiday season Donsuemor contacted me again with a challenge to make something out of one of their new products.  
In case you haven’t heard of Donsuemor, they are a California-based company that specializes in making delicious French madeleines & cakes.  This company has a special spot in my heart because they were one of the first companies to show interest in my “little-blog-that-could”.  
 
Two years ago I made these “accidental” Almond Roca Mocha cake bites (…let’s just say there’s a weight limit to a cake pop…so the pops became bites!) & the year after that I had a Peruvian Tea Party with my family where my dad ate about 10 madeleines before he fell asleep on the couch. Ha!
 
This year I decided to get back to basics & used their new Lemon Currant scone mix to bake something a little different 🙂  
I figured after about 2 years of constant baking for my business, I could handle a new challenge & decided to take their scone mix & make myself a pound cake.
 
Why a pound cake?  
Well, first of all because I love ’em & second of all, because I wanted a cake that would travel well to a friends’ holiday party.  This cake came out absolutely delicious!  It was like a scone-cake hybrid.  The Lemon Glaze added another level of tartness & sweetness that made it perfect for a big ol’ cup of coffee at the end of the night.  The scone mix already had most of the ingredients in it that I needed for pound cake (flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, etc) so with a couple of little additions, I had a ridiculously easy yet visually pretty treat! 
 
So get your mix here, get a pretty pan like mine here & make yourself a 
Lemon Currant Pound Cake with Lemon Glaze!

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