Adaptable Recipes, Dinner, Healthy Food Makeover

Makeover Monday Meal- Out of the Deep Blue Sea Edition

Makeover Monday Meals- Air Fryer Crab Cakes

 

As the signs of summer begin to appear, many people are moving their weekend meal game to the grill. However, taking out the grill after a long day at work or school, might not be in the cards.  However, when the temperatures begin to rise, it’s not a great time to turn the oven on. The air fryer has changed that for many families who are looking for a quick and healthy way to enjoy family favorites.

When it comes to seafood, fish can be polarizing. Some people aren’t crazy about the texture. However, a lot more people are likely to love shellfish. If you are from the Mid-Atlantic or Northeast, you probably enjoy crab and crab cakes. Crab cakes highlight the subtle sweetness of crab combined with a little breadcrumb, scallions or chives, red bell pepper, and seafood seasoning. These little treasures are then pan-fried in a little oil and butter to make them even more irresistible

Nevertheless, what most of us don’t want to indulge in is the extra calories and this recipe from the Food Network for air fryer crab cakes allows us to enjoy all the flavor we love, without all the extra fat.

.

Never fear for those of you who are vegan or perhaps are allergic to shellfish, we’ve found a recipe from the Power Hungry blog for vegan crab cakes made with hearts of palm. So, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Best of all, both recipes come together in less than an hour, which is perfect for a busy weekday night.

Air Fryer Crabcakes by Food Network adapted by Still A Chick Lit

Crab Cakes:

1 large egg (3 tablespoons Aquafaba or ¼ cup silken tofu pureed with 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, vegan egg replacer, or liquid vegan egg replacer = 1 egg)

1/3 cup mayonnaise (light mayonnaise or vegan mayonnaise)

1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper (about 1 small bell pepper)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

A 1-pound fresh lump or jumbo lump crabmeat picked over for shells and cartilage

3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs (gluten-free panko breadcrumbs)

Nonstick cooking spray, for the air-fryer basket and crab cakes

 

 

For the crab cakes: Whisk together the egg, mayonnaise, bell pepper, chives, parsley, lemon zest and juice, mustard, seafood seasoning, 1 teaspoon salt, and several grinds of black pepper in a large bowl. With a rubber spatula or large spoon, very gently fold the crab and panko into the mixture. Try to avoid breaking up lumps of crab as much as possible. Cover the crab mixture with plastic wrap and allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day. This will allow the panko to absorb more liquid and help bind the crab cakes together.

 

Just before cooking, divide the crab-cake mixture into 4 portions. Lightly compact each portion to form a patty (about 3 1/2 inches in diameter) with your hands to ensure they hold their shape while cooking and place it onto a large plate.

Preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees F and spray the basket with cooking spray. Place the crab cakes into the basket and spray the tops with cooking spray. Cook until deep golden brown and crisp, flipping halfway through and spraying again with cooking spray, about 16 minutes. Serve warm

 

Vegan Crab Cakes by Power Hungry

Ingredients

1 can (14 to 15 ounces) hearts of palm, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Old Bay or another seafood seasoning

1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

1/4 cup finely chopped green onions

1 cup gluten-free panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), divided

Garnish with, optional

Lemon wedges

Chopped fresh parsley

Serve with, optional

Cocktail sauce

Instructions

Preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees F and spray the basket with cooking spray.

Cut the hearts of palm lengthwise; cut slices crosswise into 3/4-inch lengths. Transfer to a medium bowl and, using fingers, gently press and break apart into shreds.

In another medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, Old Bay seasoning, salt, and pepper until well blended. Stir in hearts of palm and green onions until well combined (I like to get my hands in, to further break up hearts of palm).

Sprinkle half the panko over the hearts of palm mixture and mix in thoroughly (do not mash). Form into fourteen 1.2-inch-thick patties (I used a #40 cookie scoop to portion).

Spread the remaining panko in a small dish. Dredge patties in panko, pressing gently to adhere. As they are dredged, place patties into the basket and spray the tops with cooking spray. Cook until deep golden brown and crisp, flipping halfway through and spraying again with cooking spray, about 12-14 minutes.

Serve warm

 

Adaptable Recipes, Breakfast, Makeover Monday Meals

Makeover Monday Meals- Breakfast Edition

 

Bursting with Berries

If you haven’t guessed it by now, we are obsessed with blueberries. They are hands down our favorite berry. We love the versatility of blueberries. They are great in a smoothie, perfect in salads, delicious in scones, and are out of this world in a muffin.

 

However, there is a debate when it comes to which blueberries are the best.

Maine blueberries are smaller, but these wild berries boast an intense blueberry taste; ranging from tangy tartness to succulent sweetness. Wild Maine blueberries are frozen fresh and have more brain-healthy anthocyanins than larger blueberries.

Unlike cultivated blueberries, wild blueberries have a season, which runs from summer to early fall. Moreover, these blueberries are only commercially harvested in Maine, Eastern Canada, and Quebec.

Cultivated blueberries are the ones most of us see in our produce departments. They are larger and tend to be more uniform in size. These blueberries are also grown all year round in various states such as North Carolina, and New Jersey.

Regardless of the specifics, blueberries are delicious and we love discovering new recipes to adapt and share with you. More importantly, the batter for these muffins can be made the night before, refrigerated, and baked off the next morning.

 

Bakery Style Blueberry Muffins Small batch recipe by Butter Your Biscuit adapted by Still A Chick Lit

1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 tablespoon (gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend, white rice, brown rice, millet, or sorghum flour. If the flour doesn’t contain a binder add ½ teaspoon xanthan gum)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg (3 tablespoons Aquafaba, ¼ cup silken tofu pureed with 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, vegan egg replacer, or liquid vegan egg replacer= 1 egg)

1/2 cup granulated sugar (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, monk fruit sweetener granulated, golden sugar, coconut, raw cane, or turbinado sugar, pulsed finely)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sour cream (dairy: light sour cream, plain yogurt, plain Greek yogurt) (non-dairy: vegan sour cream, plain unsweetened almond or soy yogurt)
1 1/8 cups fresh blueberries

CRUMB TOPPING
3/8 cup (6 tablespoons) cake flour **
1/3 cup granulated sugar (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, monk fruit sweetener granulated, golden sugar, coconut, raw cane, or turbinado sugar, pulsed finely)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted (vegan unsalted butter)
1/2 -2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

** To make gluten-free cake flour

1 Part Sweet White Rice Flour

1 Part Brown Rice Flour 1 Part Tapioca starch or tapioca flour, they are the same

 

Mix dry ingredients and store the blend in an airtight container.

Recipe for the gluten-free cake flour mix

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

To make the crumb topping, in a small bowl mix melted butter, flour, granulated sugar, and cinnamon with a fork and set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together 1 cup of flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.

In another bowl whisk together the egg and sugar until combined. Add in oil, sour cream, and vanilla and mix until combined. Then add wet ingredients to the dry and mix just until combined. Do not over-mix.

In a small bowl add 1 1/8 cup blueberries and toss with 1 tablespoon flour and gently fold into the batter. Fill each muffin tin about 2/3 full. Scatter the remaining blueberries on the top of the muffins, then top with generous portions of the crumb topping.

Bake at 400-degrees for five minutes. Then drop the temperature down to 350-degrees for the remaining 13-20 minutes until muffins are lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. Makes about 8 standard muffins or 6 jumbo muffins

Notes

  • You can make the muffin batter the night before. You can leave the batter in the bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.
  • You can substitute all-purpose flour to make the crumb topping.

 

Breakfast, Healthy Food Makeover, Makeover Monday Meals

Makeover Monday Meal- Breakfast and Snack Edition Edition

 

Blueberries are little berries that pack a big punch. Not only are they delicious, but they are also good for you.

 

Blueberries are nature’s candy. Whether you eat them by the handful, in a salad, or in a pie, blueberries are nature’s candy. Not only are they delicious, but they’re also good for you.

Here are seven science-backed health benefits of blueberries:

  • Blueberries are an incredible source of nutrients.
  • Are high in antioxidants.
  • Improve cholesterol levels.
  • Lower blood pressure.
  • Improve insulin sensitivity.
  • Boost cognitive functioning.
  • Contain prebiotics.

July 12th is National Blueberry Muffin Day, which is fitting since blueberries are at their best in terms of flavor in the summer.

If you’d like to enjoy the bounty of blueberries now, this recipe for a blueberry corn muffin is a tasty way to begin your Monday morning and it only takes fifteen minutes from mixing it to putting the muffins in the oven.

 

This recipe is based on Martha Stewart’s Blue-Barb Corn Muffins in the May 2022 issue of Living

 

Blueberry Corn Muffins by Still A Chick Lit

Active Time 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Makes: 12 muffins or 6 jumbo muffins

1 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend, white rice, brown rice, millet, or sorghum flour. If the flour doesn’t contain a binder add ¾ teaspoon xanthan gum)

¼ cup fine yellow cornmeal

¾ cup granulated sugar (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, monk fruit sweetener granulated, golden sugar, coconut, raw cane, or turbinado sugar, pulsed finely)

2 large eggs at room temperature (2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon Aquafaba, ½ cup silken tofu pureed with ¼ teaspoon baking soda, vegan egg replacer, or liquid vegan egg replacer= 2 eggs)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

 

8 ounces or 2 scant cups of fresh or frozen blueberries

¾ cup whole or 2% milk (non-dairy unsweetened almond milk, rice, soy, or light coconut milk)

1 stick unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled (unsalted vegan butter)

2 teaspoons vanilla

 

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Line a standard 12-muffin tin with baking cups. In a medium-size bowl whisk together, flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Reserve 6 tablespoons of blueberries and set them aside. Stir into the dry ingredients. Make a well in the center of the mixture; add eggs and whisk. Then whisk in the melted butter, milk, and vanilla.

Divide the batter evenly among muffin cups, about 1/3 cup ( they will be very full) Press a few pieces of the reserved fruit into the tops of each muffin., then sprinkle with sugar. Bake until tops spring back when lightly touched, about 24 to 30 minutes. Let the muffins cool for five minutes in the muffin tin. Remove the muffing and transfer it to a wire rack. Let cool completely for about 30 minutes.

 

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Adaptable Recipes, Dessert, Makeover Monday Meals

Makeover Monday Meals- Who Needs A Cookie Edition

Cowboy Cookies

 

After a long day of meetings, phone calls, IT issues, mass transit delays, and traffic, sometimes you just need a cookie. Whether large or small, you can’t stay mad when you have cookies.

Cowboy cookies seem to be a fusion combination of chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, coconut macaroons, and pecan Sandies with a hint of cinnamon.

This cowboy cookie recipe came to prominence courtesy of Family Circle magazine’s First Lady’s Cookie Contest. Laura Bush’s Cowboy Cookie recipe bested Tipper Gore’s Gingersnaps in 2000, and it remains one of the most popular recipes. In any case, if you’re a fan of chocolate chips, oatmeal, coconut, and pecans, this cookie is for you.

 

This particular recipe comes from the Baker By Nature Blog and highlights melted brown butter to add a little extra nuttiness to the cookies. These cookies are also pretty easy to make for the perfect Monday post-work detox.

Cowboy Cookies by Baker By Nature adapted by Still A Chick Lit

1/2 cup unsalted butter melted until browned. (vegan unsalted butter)
1/2 light brown sugar, packed (Swerve brown sugar substitute, organic light brown sugar, vegan light brown sugar)
1/4 cup (99 grams) granulated sugar (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, monk fruit sweetener granulated, golden sugar, coconut, raw cane, or turbinado sugar, pulsed finely)
1 large egg at room temperature (3 tablespoons Aquafaba, ¼ cup silken tofu pureed with 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, vegan egg replacer, or liquid vegan egg replacer= 1 egg)

1/2 large egg yolk at room temperature (1 tablespoon of whisked egg yolk) ( ½ tablespoon Aquafaba, ½ tablespoon chickpea flour plus ½ tablespoon cold water, mix well, or ½ tablespoon full-fat coconut milk)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 and 1/3 cups (270 grams) all-purpose flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend, sorghum, white rice, or brown rice flour. If the flour blend doesn’t contain a binder add ¾ teaspoon xanthan gum)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (178 grams) of old-fashioned oats (not steel-cut or quick oats)
3/8 cup (60 grams) sweetened flaked coconut
1/4 cup (64 grams) pecans, roughly chopped plus more for decorating
6 ounces (340 grams) of semi-sweet chocolate chips (vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips)
1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt optional

Instructions

 

Preheat the oven to 350 (F). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

In a large bowl using a whisk, beat together the browned butter and both sugars until well combined, about 2 minutes. Don’t worry if they look a little separated here.

Whisk in the eggs and yolk, beating until well combined. About 45 seconds. Whisk in the vanilla.

In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, oats, coconut, pecans, and chocolate chips.

Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing just until combined.

Scoop 2-inch balls of cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2-inches between each ball so they have room to spread.

Bake, one sheet at a time, in preheated oven for 12 minutes, or until cookies are golden and set at the edges, and still slightly soft in the center.

Press extra chocolate chips and pecans on top of cookies when they come out of the oven (optional). Sprinkle with sea salt, if desired.

 

Notes

  • Let the dough rest for about 5-10 minutes to give the flour an opportunity to hydrate. This is an optional step but helps to ensure a tender crumb.
  • Do not overbake
  • It’s important to let the cookies cool on the baking sheet to allow for carry-over baking.

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Book Lovers, Book Reviews, Fiction, North of 40 and 50 plus Authors

Book Review- Serpent’s Loop by Lynn Lipinski

 

Witnessing a murder at the carnival he works for was a painful reminder of Zane Clearwater’s dark past. He had hoped all that was behind him, but one look at the fear on his sister Lettie’s face and he’s right back in the thick of it. Even if means jeopardizing his dream of becoming a police officer, he’s desperate to protect her at all costs.

Unfortunately, that may be harder than anticipated. Zane knew Lettie was a whiz with a computer, yet he had no idea she was putting some of those skills to work on the dark web in questionable schemes that have landed her in serious trouble.

Zane has a slew of questions.

As do the police… and the FBI.

When Lettie takes off for California, Zane embarks on a journey of discovery that will test the limits of their unbreakable bond. Can he keep the promise he made to himself and protect Lettie? Or is this one mess she will have to face on her own?

 

Written by Lynn Lipinski, Kirkus Review said that readers of Serpent’s Loop will be hooked on the brother-sister team and assorted shady characters.”  They were right.

 

If you’re a fan of mysteries and suspense novels, this story delivers. However, if this genre isn’t your usual cup of tea, it’s well worth your time. The dialogue is smart, the characters are memorable, and it’s just a great read.

 

Serpent’s Loop is available on Amazon.

 

Lynn Lipinski

Follow her on Instagram @lynnlipinskiauthor

 

Dessert, Food Glorious Food, Makeover Monday Meals

Makeover Monday Meal- You Deserve A Cupcake Edition

 

There are days when everything seems to go wrong, from sleeping through your alarm clock to printer issues just when you’ve got to run to a meeting. Conversely, there are days when you feel like a rockstar. You had nothing but green lights on the way to work, the barista nailed your coffee order, and you got a parking space close to the entrance instead of in the hinterlands.

Whether you fall into the former or latter category, cupcakes are great for commiseration and celebration. This recipe for a one-bowl vanilla funfetti cupcake comes from The Kitchn

This recipe has been scaled down to make 6 standard-size cupcakes or 4 jumbo cupcakes, perfect to satisfy your sweet tooth without too much temptation lingering around. We adapted the recipe for vegan/vegetarian, low-sugar, and gluten-free dietary needs.

Vanilla Funfetti cupcakes by Ktchn adapted by Still A Chick Lit

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend, sorghum, white rice, or brown rice flour. If the flour blend doesn’t contain a binder add ¾ teaspoon xanthan gum)
7/8 cups granulated sugar (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, monk fruit granulated sweetener, coconut, turbinado, and raw cane sugar, pulsed finely)

3/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/8 teaspoons salt
2 large eggs (2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon Aquafaba, ½ cup silken tofu pureed with ¼ teaspoon baking soda, vegan egg replacer, or liquid vegan egg replacer= 2 eggs)
3/8 cups canola oil, or melted and cooled unsalted butter (unsalted vegan butter)
1/2 cup milk (dairy: whole, 2% or, fat-free milk) (non-dairy: unsweetened almond, rice, soy, or light coconut milk)
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

¼ cup rainbow sprinkles  (vegan sprinkles)

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. Line 6 muffin pans with paper liners; set aside.

Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.

Add the eggs, oil or butter, milk, and vanilla and mix with an electric hand mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Fold in the sprinkles. Do not overmix or the sprinkles will streak the batter.

Fill each paper liner 3/4 full. Bake until the cakes are lightly browned, spring back when tapped gingerly, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean, 15 to 18 minutes.

Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

 

Adaptable Recipes, Dinner, Easy Preparation Meals, Makeover Monday Meals, Quick Springtime Menu Ideas

Makeover Monday Meal- Dinner Edition Soup for Springs on for Spring

 

 

 

 

It’s officially springtime, a time of renewal when our landscape begins to awaken from its winter slumber. However, early spring is a little different, especially in March, the month that comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. The temperature in early spring is on a bit of a rollercoaster. Some days it feels like spring, and other days are cool and cold in some cases.

What kind of meal can you make that is both light and comforting at the same time. This Italian Wedding soup is just the ticket. It’s not heavy, yet it’s filling and tasty. This original recipe comes from the Eating on a Dime blog. The genius of this recipe is the number of ingredients you can buy ready-made frozen meatballs and you can use pre-chopped onions, carrots, and celery to save time. The use of a slow cooker or, Crock-Pot is key to just how easy the soup is to make.

Just put the ingredients together in the morning, set your cooker, and head off for your day ahead knowing that all you have to do is add the pasta and spinach when you get home. In twenty minutes’ time, dinner is ready.

We have adapted the recipe for vegan and gluten-free diets. The substitutions are in the parenthesis.

Notes:

This recipe can be doubled and tripled easily. It freezes well in an airtight container for up to three months.

 

 

Crock Pot Italian Wedding Soup Recipe by Eating on A Dime adapted by Still A Chick Lit

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 6 hrs

Total Time: 6 hrs 10 mins

Course: Soup

Cuisine: American

 

Servings: 6

 

Ingredients

1 pkg frozen chicken meatballs 24 oz (or plant-based frozen vegan meatballs )

1/4 onion chopped

3 large carrots chopped

2 stalks celery diced

3 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

8 cups unsalted or low-sodium chicken broth or unsalted chicken stock (8 cups unsalted vegetable stock or low-sodium vegetable broth)

1 1/2 cup orzo pasta (gluten-free orzo pasta)

4 cups spinach chopped

1/2 cup parmesan cheese optional to top (Vegan parmesan cheese block like Violife)

Instructions

Place everything but the orzo and the spinach in the crockpot.

Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

15-20 minutes before you are ready to stir in the orzo and the chopped spinach.

Cook until the pasta is soft.

Serve immediately with fresh parmesan cheese.

 

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Book Lovers, Books and Organization, Guest Blog Posts, North of 40 and 50 plus Authors, Television Books

What You Can Do When You’re Drowning in Books

What You Can Do When You’re Drowning in Books by Emma Grace Brown

If you’re a book lover following your heart to create a home you love, you may be surrounded by a sea of books. It’s a booklover’s dream and a nightmare at the same time to be able to say you have more books than you know what to do with. Fortunately, Still A Chick Lit Fab And Forty Plus shares some great ways to organize your home library and some fantastic shelving options you could incorporate into your house.

 

 

 

Sort your books

If your book collection is really overwhelming it may be time to lighten it. It can be difficult for a booklover to part with books, so here are some criteria professionals recommend for making your collection a bit smaller:

 

Keepers

Books you are keeping could include ones by favorite authors, books that are hard to replace, selections that work well with your overall collection, collector’s editions, unread books, and books you have enough space to keep.

 

Discards

In your discard bin, you can include old, moldy, or damaged books, books that aren’t favorites or classics, those you already read and will not reread, books that have outdated information, and books that you simply don’t have room to keep. In short, you’re in the process of decluttering, so be sure you get geared up for the work. Gather some boxes, tape, and a marker, and don’t forget to dress comfortably by wearing clothes that are stretchable and breathable. There’s some work ahead!

 

When it comes time to eliminate your discards, Living Well Spending Less notes that there’s a variety of options. Books can be sold online and given to senior centers, churches, or hospitals, or you may offer them through local or online book swaps. Also, consider giving your items to your favorite charity organization.

 

Choosing an organizational system

Even if you have a pretty large book collection, you probably don’t want to use the Dewey Decimal System to get your library under control. HowStuffWorks has some great suggestions:

 

  • Subject matter. Organizing by subject matter is a relatively simple and straightforward system. You can decide on what subjects seem most appropriate and their order. For instance, if you are a history buff, you might include a general history section, or if you have a larger collection, a whole section on the Civil War may be more appropriate.

 

  • If you have a substantial amount of fiction, alphabetizing by authors’ names may be your best bet.

 

  • The old cliche about judging books by their covers is not always true. For some readers, this is just the ticket. You can organize by color or another aesthetic quality.

 

  • If you have books from throughout your life, you may want to consider shelving them in the order they became part of your story. You could line them up from children’s books to teen novels, textbooks to parenting and self-help, or whatever categories apply. Similarly, you might shelve books in the order that you read them.

 

  • Perhaps it makes sense to you to put your books in the order that seems most important. Spiritual and personal guides may come first, or perhaps home maintenance manuals take top priority. Maybe your favorite fiction books are most prominently displayed. This highly personal system may just work best for you.

 

Storage and shelving

Once you know how you want to organize your books, you will need a place to put them all. Think about what you would like to incorporate into your own unique home library.

 

  • High ceilings? Try high shelving and a ladder.
  • Shelving can be installed under stairwells.
  • A home office is a classic choice for bookshelves.
  • Perhaps you have a nook, loft, or other room to reinvent into a reading room.
  • Tight on space? Incorporate a vertical bookshelf onto a column or turn a room divider into book storage.
  • If you read in bed, you may want to find some space in your bedroom for books.

 

Enjoying your new library

Swimming in a sea of books is the booklover’s paradox. It’s wonderful to have a lot of books, but it can feel overwhelming when you can’t find them. Thankfully we live in an age of ebooks, which take up zero shelf space. For those books, you can hold, follow these handy tips to do your sorting, decide on your personalized organizational system, and install your own unique bookshelves. Then you can sit back, relax, and read.

 

The Still A Chick Lit Fab And Forty Plus blog features fiction, food, fashion, modern fairy-tale beginnings, and Fun For Life North of Forty, Fifty & Up! Read more interesting articles today!

Written by guest contributor Emma Grace Brown

https://emmagracebrown.com/ 

 

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Living Your Best Life North of Forty and Fifty Plus

Makeover Monday Meal- Breakfast and Snack Edition

 

 

The humble banana is low in calories and has no fat, no sodium, and no cholesterol. They also contain vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and vitamin B6. It’s no wonder that over 100 billion of them are being eaten all over the world every year, making bananas the fourth most popular agricultural product. The average American eats about 27 pounds of bananas each year. So, it’s more than likely that most people find themselves with a few overripe bananas to make banana bread or banana muffins. Most of those recipes call for at least two or more bananas. However, what can you do with one lone overripe banana. You can make a one-banana mini- banana loaf. It’s the best way to use it in a delicious and healthy way.

This is an adaptation of Dominique Ansel’s banana bread recipe by  Baking Mischief 

Mini Banana Bread loaf recipe by Baking Mischief adapted by Still A Chick Lit

This mini version bakes in a 5.5 x 3-inch loaf pan (or can be baked as muffins in a muffin tin)

 

Prep time: Quick 10 minutes

Bake time- 22-24 minutes (depending on your oven)

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

½ cup (60g) all-purpose flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend, white rice, brown rice, or sorghum flour. If your flour blend doesn’t contain a binder, add ½ teaspoon xanthan gum)

½ cup granulated sugar (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, monk fruit granulated sweetener, coconut, turbinado, or raw cane sugar, pulsed fine)

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon baking powder

⅛ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

1 medium overripe banana

1 large egg (3 tablespoons Aquafaba, ¼ cup silked tofu pureed with 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, vegan egg replacer, or mung bean liquid egg replacer= 1 egg)

3 tablespoons (42g) unsalted butter melted (unsalted vegan butter)

Cinnamon Sugar Crust

1 teaspoon (4g) granulated sugar (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, monk fruit granulated sweetener, coconut, turbinado, or raw cane sugar, pulsed fine)

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a mini loaf pan, line with parchment paper sling (optional), and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate medium bowl, mash the banana and whisk in the egg until well-combined. Pour banana mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Add melted butter and mix until butter is incorporated into the batter. Don’t over mix, but there should not be pools of butter remaining around the edges of the batter.

Transfer the batter to your prepared loaf pan, leaving ¾ inch of space from the top of the pan (discard extra batter if there is too much).

Optional Cinnamon Sugar Crust

In a small bowl, stir together sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over the top of the batter.

Bake

Bake for 30 to 38 minutes, until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Allow cooling in the pan for 15 to 20 minutes before removing and slicing.

Serve and enjoy.

Store the bread tightly wrapped at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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Living Your Best Life North of Forty and Fifty Plus

How to Plan an Affordable Staycation That Feels Like a Real Getaway

With the official start of spring just around the corner, chances are you’re ready for a little time off to be with your family, friends, or that one special someone. However, as we watch the prices of everything, including gas, rising, a getaway might cost more than we can comfortably afford. Guest blog contributor, Emma Grace Brown has a great few tips to help you plan an affordable and enjoyable staycation at home or nearby.

 

How to Plan an Affordable Staycation That Feels Like a Real Getaway by Emma Grace Brown

 

What do you do when you want to get away but can’t go far due to COVID-19? Plan a staycation of course! A staycation is a safe, budget-friendly alternative to long-distance travel during the pandemic.

Staycations needn’t be dull either! Whether you’re exploring the great outdoors or discovering local hidden gems, there’s a lot of fun to be had right in your own backyard. Ready to start planning your staycation?

 

These tips from Still A Chick Lit will help you plan an affordable local getaway or home staycation that feels like the real thing.

Plan Ahead

Preparation is the key to a truly guilt-free staycation. Take a long weekend off work, set a budget, and chart out what you plan to do at home or on the town. A roadmap makes it easier to stick to your staycation!

Book a Local Stay

This is also the time to book local lodging, and getting out of the house can make a difference if you want your staycation to feel like a real getaway. You won’t have to spend a lot either with many hotels offering discounts to local travelers during the pandemic. To make it more romantic or special, consider a B&B for a more personalized experience.

Dress to Impress

 

It’s been months since you’ve had a reason to get dressed up, so take advantage of it. Refresh your wardrobe with a couple of new pieces before your trip, like a fun and flattering dress, pajamas for cozying up at your B&B, and maybe even some lingerie. Not only will you look and feel your best, but you’ll also get a little bit of retail therapy too! If you’re on a budget, look to deal sites with promo codes and discounts to help you save money.

 

Pick a Theme

Not sure where to start planning your staycation? Planning an itinerary under COVID-19 restrictions presents challenges, but it’s far from impossible! A theme provides a great focal
point for planning. Do you want to take a culinary tour of the town, explore local history, or get back to nature? With a few adaptations, you can do whatever your heart desires.

● Get takeout, delivery, or dine outdoors rather than eating in. Instead of splurging on gourmet dining, take a tour of local taco trucks, ice cream shops, or another budget-friendly (but delicious!) food.

● Explore art museums and visit local art galleries. Galleries are rarely crowded outside of openings, but be sure to wear your mask.
● Visit local attractions like zoos, aquariums, and botanical gardens during slow midweek hours.
● Plan a DIY walking tour of your city’s historic downtown or visit nearby historic landmarks.
● Get outdoorsy with hiking, biking, paddling, horseback riding, and other outdoor experiences. National parks are a great place to start your outdoor adventure.

Make Time to Relax

Fun activities give you an experience to remember, but don’t forget to relax on your staycation too! Vacations can be just as stressful as a day at the office when your itinerary leaves no room for downtime.

● Get mindful with yoga and meditation.
● Recreate the spa experience at home with bath bombs, facial masks, self-massage, and soothing music.

● Curl up with a good book in a tranquil setting or go on a walk while listening to an audiobook. Reading for pleasure is a rare treat for many adults!
● Clean and organize your home before your staycation to ensure you’re not stressing about the mess and to create the perfect harmonious environment for your staycation if you plan to stay put.
● Most importantly, disconnect from work. You can’t relax when you’re answering emails and phone calls. Set an away message on your email, turn notifications off, and let yourself sleep in. You’re on vacation!

Travel right now is a question mark for everyone. Instead of pining for a far-in-the-future getaway, plan one that’s more feasible in the interim. A staycation can be just as relaxing, and it won’t hurt your pocketbook!

 

Still a Chick Lit offers tips on fiction, food, fashion, and modern fairy-tale beginnings at forty, fifty, and up. Check out our books!

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Find out more about Emma Grace Brown at emmagracebrown.com