Healthy Banana Cookies

IMG_2191YUM! There’s nothing quite like a healthy cookie (the fluffy, cakey kind that I like), and so I must share with you these healthy banana cookies!

IMG_2170I made a chocolate version of these cookies for Grant a few weeks ago and they were delectable (I’ll probably post that recipe eventually as well), but obviously with the pounds of chocolate, they were not quite as healthy as the chocolate-free variety. As an ever ferocious advocate for healthy foods, I just had to make them healthier.

IMG_2198These cookies are great because you can eat them for dessert or breakfast (they have oats, guys) or a pick-me-up in the middle of the day. Versatile cookies are wonderful!

IMG_2175Healthy Banana Cookies

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups processed oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 scoops vanilla protein powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 medium bananas
1/4 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup honey
3 tbsp coconut oil

METHOD:

1. Combine processed oats, flour, protein powder, salt, baking soda, and nutmeg in a large bowl.

2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine bananas, greek yogurt, honey, and coconut oil. Process until smooth.

3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Place dollops of dough onto a greased cookie sheet. Press down onto the dough so it is slightly flat.

4. Bake cookies in a preheated 350 oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown on top.

5. Enjoy!

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My 15 Favorite Quotes From Literature

Words are powerful things. As a reader and a wanna-be writer, I know this to the core of my being. Words are everything. So much can be packed into a line – emotion, love, finality, consequence – and I think this is why there are some lines of literature I’ve simply never been able to shake.

Obviously, choosing your “favorites” of anything can be a task. When it comes to books and literature, the options are endless, and the beautiful language abounding makes it extremely difficult to make a definitive list of one’s all time favorite quotes. However, these quotes I have chosen made a resounding impact on me the moment I read them, and lived on in my mind and heart even years later. I think it is sometimes possible for a single quote to make an entire book, and the quotes I list below are of that kind.

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So without further ado, I give you my 15 favorite quotes in literature:

1. “Before I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.” Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird

TKAM Wall Plaque // Peels and Posies on Etsy
TKAM Wall Plaque // Peels and Posies on Etsy

2. “Even a broken heart doesn’t warrant a waste of good paper.” Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle

I Capture the Castle Brooch // Peels and Posies on Etsy
I Capture the Castle Brooch // Peels and Posies on Etsy

3. “Books are cold but sure friends.” Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

4. “Even the darkest of nights will end and the sun will rise.” Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

Les Miserables Bookmark // Peels and Posies on Etsy
Les Miserables Bookmark // Peels and Posies on Etsy

5. “I am no bird, and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.” Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre Bookmark // Peels and Posies
Jane Eyre Bookmark // Peels and Posies

6. “He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights Bookmark // Peels and Posies
Wuthering Heights Bookmark // Peels and Posies

7. “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

8. “What are men to rocks and mountains?” Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice Mountain Magnet // Peels and Posies on Etsy
Pride and Prejudice Mountain Magnet // Peels and Posies on Etsy

9. “Take the Adventure, heed the call, now ere the irrevocable moment passes!’ ‘Tis but a banging of the door behind you, a blithesome step forward, and you are out of the old life and into the new! Then some day, some day long hence, jog home here if you will, when the cup has been drained and the play has been played, and sit down by your quiet river with a store of goodly memories for company.” Kenneth Graham, The Wind in the Willows

10. “All this he saw, for one moment breathless and intense, vivid on the morning sky; and still, as he looked, he lived; and still, as he lived, he wondered.” Kenneth Graham, The Wind in the Willows

11.“Onward and Upward! To Narnia and the North!” CS Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia

Narnia Bookmark // Peels and Posies on Etsy
Narnia Bookmark // Peels and Posies on Etsy

12. “Girls aren’t very good at keeping maps in their brains”, said Edmund, “That’s because we’ve got something in them”, replied Lucy.” CS Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia

13. “Narnia! It’s all in the wardrobe just like I told you!” CS Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia

14. “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.” JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter Wall Plaque // Peels and Posies on Etsy
Harry Potter Wall Plaque // Peels and Posies on Etsy

15. “And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” F Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

I hope you enjoyed this list! What are your favorite quotes from literature? Tell me in the comments!

Cute DIY Succulents (Made From Rocks)

I LOVE succulents! You’ve probably noticed this if you follow my Facebook page or instagram account. I like them because they are hardy and beyond cute and can be planted basically anywhere. Such as a vintage teapot or a pretty crystal goblet. Guys, succulents are, like, the best plants ever.

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Even though they are supposed to survive anything, sometimes succulents too will die. For instance, my husband bought me a cactus for our one-year anniversary, which we deemed our “love cactus.” I put it by the window and watered it occasionally, but for some ridiculous reason it still died a few months after we got it. :'( (Fortunately, our love did not die with it.)

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So for those out there who are hard on plants but want some succulents in your home, I’ve got the perfect succulent solution for you – cactus rocks! All it takes is some flat rocks and green paint and a pretty little thing to plant them in. What’s nice about these rock succulents is that you can put them anywhere in your house – rocks don’t need sun, see? Furthermore, you can forget about them entirely but they still will not die. WOO HOO!!!!!

Here’s what you need:

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  • some flat rocks
  • a few shades of green paint
  • a paintbrush
  • dirt, sand, or small pebbles
  • a planting container

Here’s how to do it:

Lay your rocks on a piece of paper so as not to get paint everywhere. Paint one side at a time. Let dry completely.

IMG_2476Meanwhile, put some dirt, sand, or pebbles into your planter, filling it about 3/4 of the way. Once the paint on your succulent rocks has dried, wedge them into the dirt so they stand on their own. You can put one to a planter or stuff them all in there like I did. I personally like the look of a full succulent container.

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Place wherever you’d like! This is the easiest DIY ever and turns out SO CUTE! If you like succulents give this one a go. Don’t forget to instagram your creation and tag @peelsandposies!

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Vanilla Green Tea Energy Bites (With Kale) and Spring Break Adventures

IMG_1895This past week was Spring Break for Grant, which – perk of being a teacher’s wife – means Spring Break for me too! Some things never get old, and Spring Break is one of those things. It’s nice taking a little break from life sometimes, even if it means I’m behind in everything now.

spring breakFor the first part of break Grant and I went to Billings, Montana on a little weekend getaway. We had a great time thrifting and eating good food and riding our bikes along a cliff edge. Then, on Monday my brother and his beautiful wife came to visit us in the Bighorns! Leslie and Andrew have been married since January and live in Texas. They decided to make a loooong road trip to come see us, stopping along the way at places like Carlsbad Caverns and the Grand Tetons. It is nice living in a part of the country that can be a road trip destination – Wyoming is so beautiful and contains so much adventure, which makes it easier to convince people to come visit us! While they were here, we explored the Tongue River Canyon, journeyed to Shell Falls in the Bighorns, and visited the Badlands. It was a great time!

Andrew and some mountain goats
Andrew and some mountain goats
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Watching some bighorn sheep
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We saw LOTS of bighorn sheep

spring break 2So it was a fantastic week off, but now it’s time to get back to reality. If you are having a hard time getting back in the groove like me (especially when the sun is shining and everything outside is begging you to take a break) I have some energy bites to hopefully get you in the spirit of things again. My Vanilla Green Tea Energy bites are bursting with flavor and color and adventure, kind of like spring itself.

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And since energy bites are obviously the cure for everything……….

IMG_1902 IMG_1912Vanilla Green Tea Energy Bites

INGREDIENTS:

3 cups oats
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp chia
1/2 tsp salt
2 scoops vanilla protein powder
2 to 3 green tea bags, contents only
1 cup kale
4 tbsp honey
3 tbsp coconut oil

METHOD:

1. Mix oats, flour, chia, protein powder, salt, and the contents of your tea bags together in a large bowl.

2. Process your kale in a food processor until smooth. You may need to add water (one teaspoon at a time). Once kale is processed (it is okay if there are still some chunks), add honey and coconut oil and process together until smooth.

3. Pour the liquid mixture into the oat mixture and stir until all oats are incorporated. If the mixture is too dry, add water one tablespoon at a time. If too wet, add flour one tablespoon at a time.

4. Once fully mixed, roll mixture into balls, using about a tablespoon of your dough per ball. These will last up to two weeks in the fridge. Enjoy!

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10 Sad Books That Will Make You Appreciate Your Life More

DSCN7479I like being happy, but let’s face it – as humans, sometimes we enjoy wallowing in other people’s pain. And books are the perfect vehicle for doing this. There are times when all I want to do curl up with a nice, sad book, something that is going to give me a good cry and make me ruminate on life a while. In these times I have a few go-to sad books that I would love to share with you. Each of these books has strong, relatable characters involved in some sort of misfortune. Jumping in to the lives of these tragic characters really does lend some perspective on a hard day – at least my life isn’t as hard some of the lives in these books.

1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Probably the most tragic love story of all time. Cathy Earnshaw and Heathcliff grow up and together and have loved each other their entire lives, but they are both so selfish, conceited, and ego-centered that their love ends up destroying them.

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Wuthering Heights Bookmark // Peels and Posies on Etsy

2. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. The main characters of Gone With the Wind have a similar problem to Cathy and Heathcliff – they are selfish. Rhett and Scarlett are both hard-headed and independent, and they fall in love completely, but in the midst of war and turmoil their love simply cannot endure.

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3. The Lifted Veil by George Eliot. This short novel is a haunting tale of a loveless marriage. The main character, a poetic, dying man, tells the tale of how he blindly fell in love with his wife, despite seeing visions of what their married life would be like. This 90 page book really makes you think about life and how the choices you make affect it.

4. The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy. This is also a short, poignant tale about a man on his deathbed, who, as he dies, realizes that his life has been empty and void of love. A startling look at the inner life of the common man, this novella is sure to bring tears for humanity.

“The very fact of the death of someone close to them aroused in all who heard about it, as always, a feeling of delight that he had died and they hadn’t.”

5. The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald. Everyone knows the story of Gatsby and Daisy (thank you Warner Brothers), but have you read it? This book is one of the strongest works of literary fiction written by an American author. The characters are memorable and colorful, and the twisted plot unforgettable. You don’t get the full effect from the movie – if you haven’t read this one, it’s a must.

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The Great Gatsby Bookmark // Peels and Posies on Etsy

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

6. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. Such a story. Such a saga. Les Mis, also a movie based on a book that demands to be read, is about a righteous man who is served a cruel slice of life. In all of his trials, he remains a good good man, and this is why his tragedy is so heartbreaking. It is a story of the rise and fall of the common man, and anyone who loves literature must read it.

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Victor Hugo Bookmark // Peels and Posies on Etsy

7. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. Another short novel about a bitter marriage, Ethan Frome is a singular story that parallels the harshness of a New England landscape to an adulterous marriage. When Mattie Silver comes to work for the Fromes, to care for the house and Mrs. Frome, who is chronically ill, Ethan falls in love with her. The lengths he goes to escape his embittered wife is audacious but becomes his undoing.

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8. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. This story follows the lives of a missionary family who has gone to Africa. The arid African landscape changes everything they have ever known – including their hearts. This poignant novel is riveting from the first page to the last, and I think I cried throughout the entire last half.

“It’s frightening when things you love appear suddenly changed from what you have always known.”

9. Atonement by Ian McEwen. Perhaps you have seen the movie. Atonement is about how the clouded judgement of a young girl and her quick words of accusation can upheaval an entire life. Set in the English countryside during World War II, this novel is engaging and never short for emotion.

10. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. This lyrical novel is the story of an African American woman’s fight to become her own person during the Depression era. Beautifully written and well worth a few tears or more.

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“Two things everybody’s got tuh do fuh theyselves. They got tuh go tuh God, and they got tuh find out about livin’ fuh theyselves.”

I hope you enjoyed my list! What are your favorite sad books to read? Tell me in the comments!

New Spring Line in the Shop

If you haven’t browsed my Etsy shop in a while, I am pleased to say that you will find a variety of new, springish items available for sale! In particular, a new line of market totes. Reusable grocery bags are all the rage these days, and I am happy to now be offering a handmade option!

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As with all my items, my totes are hand-painted with an original design. These totes are very lightweight and can be easily folded down to fit into your purse before filling them with goodies from the farmers’ market.

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I’ve also made some new banners, perfect for hanging in the gardener’s home.

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If you love spring as much as I do, keep your eye on my shop as I’ll continue adding spring items throughout the season.

When the weather starts getting warm I cannot help but be inspired by hopeful memories of springs’ past, and so a frenzy of creation ensues. I am inspired by vegetable gardens and green everywhere and singing birds and bright sunshine. Right now, I’ve got chia growing in a planter on my kitchen table and brussel sprouts and cabbage patiently waiting until it gets warm enough to be planted outside.

This time of year is possibly my favorite because it carries with it the burgeoning of possibility in new life. What are your favorite things about spring?

Lemon Lavender Pudding – With No Processed Sugar!!

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When I was a child I hated pudding. The thought of those pudding cups by the lunch meat in grocery stores still makes me shudder, and to this day I am very suspicious of pudding that anyone else has made. You see, Americans have a problem, and that problem is instant pudding. You know what I’m talking about – the kind that comes in a box and all you have to do is stir in some milk? Or, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, the kind you actually have to boil?

GOSH! GROSS! INSTANT PUDDING NEEDS TO BE BANNED FROM THE WORLD.

When I discovered my ability make pudding at home (which is an ability that everyone has, you just have to muddle through ages of social convention and societal pressures to find it), suddenly pudding became delicious again.

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Honestly, homemade pudding is probably one of the most simple and quick desserts you could make. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it took more time to go to the grocery store and buy that stupid little box of sugar, preservatives, and who-knows-what-else than it would take to throw some milk, cornstarch, and flavor-of-choice into a sauce pan and boil. Not to mention, if you make homemade pudding, you have the freedom to make it soooo much healthier than anything you could find in the grocery store.

Such as this delicious Lemon Lavender Pudding – sweetened with agave nectar rather than white sugar.

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Lemon Lavender Pudding
Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup lavender infused water (1 tsp of dried lavender soaked in water for about ten minutes, strained)
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup milk
1/4 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp cornstarch
pinch of lemon zest

METHOD:

1. Combine all ingredients except milk, lemon zest, and vanilla into a sauce pan. On medium heat, bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.

2. When it starts to bubble, slowly add milk to the mixture, continuing to stir. Heat until the pudding has thickened to your liking.

3. Take off heat and stir in vanilla and lemon zest. Best served warm.

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It’s Pi(e) Day! Celebrate with this Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Truffle Pie

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Nothing says Happy Pi(e) Day like a Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Truffle Pie!

*Nerd moment* Today is actually Pi Day of the century, in case you weren’t aware. It’s 2015, so we are celebrating Pi Day on 3-14-15. And to be perfectly accurate, you should eat your pie at 9:26…3.1415926535……………………. *Nerd moment over*

Dessert in my house is generally chocolate because that’s what Grant prefers and I seldom eat dessert. However, there is the rare occasion that I crave something sweet, and in these moments all I want is something fresh and fruity (read lemon bars, strawberry shortcake, etc). This pie is the best of both world – fresh and fruity AND a chocolate lover’s delight – so it is the perfect pie with which to celebrate Pi(e) Day at the DeRocher household.

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Isn’t it funny how food is so strongly related to memories? I have this particular, lovely memory of helping my grandma make a fresh strawberry pie with a strawberry jello glaze. The pie not only impressed me because it was delicious, but also because it was the most beautiful pie I’d ever set eyes on. That memory of Grandma’s fresh strawberry pie is what inspired me to make this one. And since Grant loves chocolate – especially truffles – that was an obvious addition.

Despite the elegant appearance of this pie, it is actually incredible simple to make. It only requires five ingredients (five!) and the process of putting it together is easier than most desserts.

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Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Truffle Pie

INGREDIENTS:

3 quarts fresh strawberries, ends cut off
1 bag + 3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup apple jelly + 1 tsp water
Pie Crust

METHOD:

1. Prepare your pie crust. You can either use a store bought pie crust for this or make your own. (I personally use this easy Oil Pie Crust from King Arthur Flour for essentially every pie I make. It tastes better than store bought and contains no lard or shortening, which is a definite plus. I also substituted the 1 tsp sugar for 2 tsp agave nectar.) Place whatever pie crust you choose to use in a deep pie dish. Press against the sides and use a fork to crimp the edges. Bake the crust in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown and flaky.

2. After the crust is baked, prepare the truffle layer. On a double broiler or in the microwave, melt one bag of chocolate chips. Once these are completely melted, stir in the whipping cream until completely incorporated and smooth. Spread the chocolate filling onto the bottom of the cool pie crust. Let cool in fridge for 15 to 20 minutes or until set.

3. While chocolate layer is setting, prepare the glaze. Place apple jelly and one teaspoon water in a sauce pan and heat on medium until jelly starts to bubble and there are no chunks. If the glaze seems too thick, add water a teaspoon at a time. However, you do not want the glaze too thin. Remove glaze from heat.

4. Now pile the strawberries onto the truffle layer. After you have as many strawberries on the pie as you want, drizzle the glaze over top the strawberries, making sure to cover the entire pie. Let this set for five minutes or so.

5. For the chocolate drizzle, merely melt the remaining 3/4 cup chocolate chips in the microwave. If too thick, add milk a tablespoon at a time and stir until smooth. Drizzle over the strawberries. Place in fridge for about an hour and serve with whipped cream.

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Easy Miniature Pies for Pi Day

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Since my husband is a math teacher it is basically a requirement that I make a big deal out of Pi Day. A few weeks ago, he informed me that one of his classes would be celebrating the holiday and requested that I make a pie for the occasion. Never one to back down on a baking challenge, I readily agreed. Then I thought, better than one plain pie would be a bunch of miniature pies! Because mini things are ALWAYS BETTER! Especially if I put some pi symbol cut-outs on them!

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And so my plan was born.

For the sake of expediency, I decided to use pre-made pie crust and canned pie filling. Obviously, it’s not ideal, but I wanted to keep the project simple since I had quite a few students to make mini pies for.

For 12 miniature pies, you’ll need:

  • 2 cans pie filling, your choice
  • 1 freezer pie crust, thawed
  • Egg white wash

Here’s how to do it.

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Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with oil. Lay out your pie crust on a large piece of parchment paper. If your muffin tin is 3 inches across, use a 4-inch circle cookie-cutter (or cup or tin, like I used) and cut out 12 circles. Press the crust into your muffin cups, smoothing out the bumps and going to the very top.

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Fill the muffins cups with your filling, almost to the top. Now prepare top crust layers.

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For a traditional double crust (with a pi symbol, of course!) use a three-inch round cookie cutter (or cup or tin) and cut out as many as you need. I alternated between the whole double crust layer and the simple pi symbol. You can also do a lattice layer, which is the same technique as on a normal-sized pie, but small. Make sure you press the top layer crust firmly into the bottom layer.

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Finally, wash the crusts lightly with a whipped egg white, and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool before attempting to take out of the muffin tins.

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I was thrilled at how cute these little pies turned out, and they’re a quick and easy way to celebrate this nerdy holiday! It would be a fun project to do with little kids. I hope you enjoyed this DIY, and stay tuned for a delicious pie recipe coming your way tomorrow. With fresh ingredients this time. ;)

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