Author Archives: Ashley

she {hearts} the best banana bread

I just love this banana bread! Martha does it again. The sour cream in this recipe seems to be what makes the banana bread so rich and yummy. Personally, I always add mini chocolate chips (bonus trick I learned from my mother in law: coat the chocolate chips in flour prior to adding them to the batter and they won’t sink to the bottom of the loaf, or whatever you are baking!). This banana bread is perfect for brunch or snacking (this fact has been verified by my kids on many occasions). Enjoy!

banana bread

banana bread

  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (2-3 bananas)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts and/or chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan; set aside.
  2. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs, and beat to incorporate.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add dry mixture to the butter mixture, and mix until just combined.
  6. Add bananas, sour cream, and vanilla; mix to combine.
  7. Stir in nuts and/or chocolate chips, and pour batter into prepared pan.
  8. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Let rest in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool.

she {hearts} dairy free chewy chocolate chip cookies


When my oldest daughter was about four months old, she started showing symptoms of a dairy sensitivity. Since I was nursing, I had to remove dairy from my diet completely. Her symptoms improved (and eventually she was cleared to try dairy and shows no symptoms now), but I was most impressed by how great I felt. No bloating, no sharp stomach pains, and I lost my baby weight (and then some!) so quickly when not eating dairy.

Since then (my daughter is 4 now), I’ve tried to avoid dairy for the most part. I don’t go crazy trying to keep it out of my diet, but I do know that I feel so much better when I don’t have it. I have really enjoyed discovering and trying alternatives to dairy, whether it be products or recipes.

A good friend recently made these dairy free chewy chocolate chip cookies using this recipe from Cheeky Kitchen. Now, if only I’d found this recipe 4 years ago when I first entered the world of dairy avoidance. These cookies are heavenly! The following recipe varies slightly from the original, but has been tweaked a tiny bit by me to make more cookies with the most perfect crispy edges and chewy texture. You can use regular chocolate chips if you aren’t going extreme with the dairy avoidance, or you can use non-dairy chocolate chips. My favorite are the Enjoy Life brand.

Oh, and when washing your hands after rolling the dough into balls, the brown sugar makes for an excellent hand scrub. A mini spa treatment and whipping up ridiculously delicious chocolate chip cookies sans dairy? Now I call that a successful afternoon.

Dairy Free Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 10 ounces dairy free mini chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer or stand mixer to beat together coconut oil, eggs, and brown sugar until very well blended.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, mixing together one by one until all are incorporated.
  4. Measure dough by the tablespoon and roll into balls. Space a dozen dough balls per large cookie sheet and press each ball to flatten a bit.
  5. Bake for 7-8 minutes. The edges of the cookies should be slightly browned.
  6. Cool on cookie sheet for 3-4 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let the cookies finish cooling. Makes about 3 dozen cookies. Enjoy!

She {hearts} The Plaid Barn

Craft supplies are my love language. I most definitely can’t get enough. I love awesome deals almost as much as I love discovering unique craft supplies. The Plain Barn is a daily deals site which offers both great crafty supplies AND sweet prices!

The Plain Barn provides daily deals on high-quality supplies, and when you sign up for their daily email, their deal of the day will be delivered right to your inbox. The Plain Barn’s daily deals include (but aren’t limited to) paper goods, stamps, washi tape, jewelry supplies & kits, notecards and envelopes, ribbon & elastic, and party supplies. The have also broadened their offerings to include accessories (earrings, scarves, bracelets, camera straps, hair accessories, necklaces) and grab bags of supplies. The daily items offered are always up to date and possess the uniqueness that your local chain craft store can’t always measure up to.

I have ordered from The Plain Barn a few times. My favorite item is the self-inking address stamp I purchased a few months ago. The designs that were offered were unlike any I’d seen for address stamps. I am wowed every day by their trendy offerings!

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Visit The Plain Barn to sign up to receive daily email alerts containing their crafty deal of that day. You can also find The Plaid Barn on Facebook and Twitter.

She {hearts} Freebies

The Plain Barn is offering a goodie box full of assorted awesome crafting swag (worth $50!) to one lucky She {hearts} It reader (also known as the reader I will be forever jealous of)!

To Enter:
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Product Purchased

she {hearts} You & Me by Jessie Steele

Jessie Steele is a company known for their vintage-look aprons and kitchen accessories. Pavilion Gift Company has recently worked with Jessie Steele to produce their “You & Me by Jessie Steele” line, featuring adorable mug sets, teapots, and cookie jars.

I was provided with the “You & Me by Jessie Steele” Mommy & Me Aqua Spring Rose Bunch 3 piece mug set as well as the coordinating “Me Too” mini mug. My older daughter was ELATED to have a little tea party with her mommy. I had intended to save the “Me Too” mug (that’s cuteness overload right there) for my 6 month old daughter to use when she is a little older, but my monster-truck-obsessed 2 year old son jumped right in and insisted that he be part of the tea party. Both kids were giggling and doing “cheers!” and dumping spoonful after spoonful of sugar into their tea (and mommy’s tea, too).


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I love the sweet idea behind these “You & Me by Jessie Steele” mug sets. They are the perfect Mother’s Day gift and also recognize special grandmas, nanas, and aunts. They can be purchased through Pavilion Gift Company’s website.

She {hearts} Savings

Use code “CHICMOM” for free shipping on all orders of $25 or more on Pavilion Gift Company’s site. This offer will end May 12 – Mother’s Day!

She {hearts} Freebies

We have a “You & Me by Jessie Steele” Mommy & Me Aqua Spring Rose Bunch 3 piece mug set for one lucky She {hearts} It reader!

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She {hearts} SwimZip

Sun protection is super important to me, especially when it comes to my kids. My kids have acquired my exceptional paleness (you’re welcome, my dears) so it’s always a long, dramatic process to get them sunscreened up in the summertime. Sunburns and the potential long-term effects of too much sun exposure are painful, scary, and issues that should not be taken lightly.

SwimZip is a line of fashionable kids swimwear whose shirts zip up the front, making UV protection a “zip!” Their adorable SPF 50+ line keeps kids skin sun-safe and reduces the need for lots of chemical-laden sunscreen on their delicate, often sensitive skin. And, as every parent knows, it’s usually not a fun time having to wrangle a wriggling two year old and lather them up every few hours while they are having fun in the sun. Each SwimZip piece is made of quality stretch lycra/nylon, which blocks 99% of UVA and UVB rays and is chlorine resistant. This tagless line’s key feature is the full length front zipper, which makes for easy on, easy off (especially when wet!).

Betsy, the founder of SwimZip, was diagnosed with skin cancer at just 26 years old. She wanted to take her scary and traumatic experience and bring something good of it, and she saw it as a “chance to help others avoid my fate – and maybe even save lives.” Betsy says, “With the conviction that comes from knowing without a doubt that you are doing something right, I dove headfirst into the world of UPF sun protective clothing … and thus was born SwimZip.”

Betsy graciously sent me the Caribbean Dolphin front zip rash guard shirt for my oldest daughter to try out when we went on our beach vacation this past week. I love how the shirt opens and zips up the front of the body, eliminating the hassle of trying to fit a big-kid head through the usually small head hole of normal rash guard shirts. The material is light and comfortable, and kept my daughter cool yet protected those delicate shoulders with an SPF of 50+. Plus, how bright and fun is the design? And the hot pink definitely pleased my girly-girl.

The SwimZip sets are ADORABLE and so unique. My favorites are Grey Grey Go Away! and Ruffle Me Pretty.

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SwimZip SPF 50+ kids swimwear is perfect for summertime swimming and outside play at the beach, at the pool, or in the backyard. These pieces give kids ultra sun protection while adding so much style with their unique designs and front zipper feature. SwimZip was born of a passion to protect kids from the harmful effects of too much sun exposure without using harsh chemicals and with ease and style in mind. You can also find SwimZip on Facebook and Twitter.

She {hearts} Freebies

Betsy would like to give away one SwimZip front zip rash guard in either Caribbean Dolphin or South Seas Turtle to one lucky She {hearts} It reader!

To Enter: follow the easy instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below.

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She {hearts} French Press Mornings

I am so drawn to amazing design with an encouraging, meaningful message. I want those messages to fill the walls of my home and the designs created by French Press Mornings couldn’t fit more perfectly with my decor and style.

I purchased the Luke 6:45 Floral print for my baby girl’s (so close to being finished, now that she’s almost 6 months old!) nursery. I love the message and the design perfectly complements the vintage, whimsical feel of the room. I hope my baby girl is always encouraged by this verse, and it will be a print that will adorn the walls of her room for years to come.

Another favorite French Press Mornings print of mine is the Matthew 6:33 print. I ordered the large size to hang in our front entryway.

Jenny, the sweet-souled designer behind the French Press Mornings shop, also blogs at French Press Mornings. She writes about faith, family, and her incredible (my words, not hers!) eye for design. She obviously has the biggest heart and talent. In her shop, she not only offers her poster prints but also custom baby announcements, custom blog design, and custom poster prints. Next on my shopping list is the Rise and Shine & Sleep Tight print set for my son’s room. Adorable and so stylish.

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For gorgeous wall art, custom announcements, or custom blog design services, Jenny from French Press Mornings is the one to turn to. She is so incredibly talented and will work with you to produce just what you are looking for. You can also find Jenny blogging, and on Facebook and Twitter.

She {hearts} Savings

Use code “SHEHEARTSIT15” for 15% off your purchase until midnight on 4/6/13.

She {hearts} Freebies

Jenny is offering TWO 8×10 posters (excluding custom design) to one lucky reader!

To Enter: follow the easy instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below.
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Product Purchased

She (still) {hearts} nourish organics

 

Just about a year ago, I reviewed Nourish Organics here on She {hearts} It and I love this company so much that I’m back at it again.  Nourish Organics is an organic skincare company owned and operated by sweet Olivia, who I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for a few years now. Her passion for chemical-free, safe, 100% natural, nourishing skin care is so inspiring, especially to a momma of little ones.

As I’ve said before, I’ve tried just about every product in Nourish Organics‘ line and am hooked. My favorite products are the sweet orange sugar scrub (so moisturizing and smells delicious), the organic peppermint wash (so invigorating) and organic peppermint lip balm (I love the peppermint flavor and the non-waxy, moisturizing formula). I use the organic coconut balm to soothe my sensitive skinned-kids’ eczema and diaper rash.

 

I was elated when Olivia offered to let me try the new organic grapefruit wash. I am a sucker for anything citrusy, and the refreshing scent of this wash is delightful. Made with renewable, organic oils, the formula is super moisturizing and perfect for spring (who am I kidding, it’s perfect for all year long). This wash tops my list of favorite body products, and it is a daily treat to use it in the shower.

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Check out Nourish Organics‘ line of super-moisturizing, organic, amazing-smelling washes, scrubs, balms, and oils.  This skin-loving line is all natural, providing peace of mind in the care of your skin, and your babies’ skin, too.

 

She {hearts} Savings

Use code “sheheartsit” for 15% off your organic grapefruit wash purchase until 3/19/13.

She {hearts} Freebies

Olivia is offering an 8oz bottle of Nourish Organics‘ new organic grapefruit wash to one lucky reader!

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