Orange Banana Protein Smoothie

Orange Banana Protein Smoothie

This is my favorite smoothie, and my go-to when I want something quick and fresh.  It's fast and easy, and I love knowing that it's got whole fruit and no added juice. I make this one for my kids a lot and they love it.  And it reminds me of an old fashioned Orange Julius.

Because you are starting with whole oranges, you don't need to add any extra juice or other liquid to this.  It's great because you get all the fiber and vitamins from the fruit, not just the juice. You can however add a splash of milk or cream (or almond milk) if you want it a little creamier. 

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Pressure Cooker "Boiled" Eggs

I've tried every trick out there for cooking easy to peel eggs. EVERY. TRICK. And I don't think there was a single one that worked consistently. Some methods would work one time, and then not the next time.

Make hard or soft "boiled" eggs in your pressure cooker - perfect every time. This is fool proof. The peels just slide right off. From

Then I discovered cooking eggs in my pressure cooker.

I'm telling you - perfect eggs every time, and the shells practically fall off. 

If you have a pressure cooker and haven't hard cooked eggs in it yet, you must try. And if you like hard or soft boiled eggs but you don't have a pressure cooker - you must get one!

If you don't yet have an electric pressure cooker - let me just take a moment and tell you about mine. Don't be scared - they are not the dangerous things they used to be. They are electric and easy to program and super safe.

I have two! The first one I've had for several years and it is my favorite - is the Cuisinart Pressure cooker. It's a workhorse.  The second one I had to try because everyone was raving about it is the Instant Pot. They are both great, and they both have their advantages. The Instant Pot is a multi cooker - it can be a slow cooker and a pressure cooker and a rice cooker and a yogurt maker, and I guess it does even more than that because they call it a 7-in-1 cooker. If you really think that you will use all those other features, then it is a great choice. But as for just pressuring cooking, I like the Cuisinart best. It has more options for adjusting your pressure cooking settings, and more options for timing, simmering, and sauteeing your ingredients before you start the cooking cycle. Those things are also possible with the Instant Pot, but I just find the Cuisinart to be more intuitive and easier to program and use. Also, it's less expensive. Either way though, you can't go wrong. 

Anyway, back to the eggs. Here are the instructions.

Pressure Cooker Eggs:

Perfect soft cooked eggs in the pressure cooker.
  • Place a rack or trivet in the bottom of your cooker pot

  • Add about a cup of water - I like to use hot water just to get it going faster. You want the water to be under the rack, not touching the eggs. (be sure to read the directions on your cooker for the minimum amount of liquid you can use - I think it's about a cup for most.)

  • Carefully place eggs on the rack. A lot of recipes you read for this have you putting them in separate little cups or making little foil nests for them. I have never found this to be necessary and it just takes more time. Yes, occasionally one or two will crack, but I've found that this happens regardless of whether you "nest" them, so I really don't see the point. You can cook just one or two at a time if you prefer to eat them warm (best for soft cooked eggs), or I can fit about 10 at a time in my cooker without crowding them too much.

  • Close your cooker and set it to low pressure.

  • Cook according to the times below.

  • When your time is up - use the quick release method and get the eggs in an ice bath to quickly stop the cooking. I sometimes just dump a bunch of ice and cold water right in the pressure cooker pot on top of the eggs. This is quicker than lifting them out one at a time.

Just in time for Easter! Easy instructions for how to cook perfect eggs in your pressure cooker every time. from

Cook times for pressure cooker eggs:

  • Soft Cooked: 3 minutes on low pressure, quick release, ice bath. These will have still slightly runny yolks. I LOVE these for breakfast - either mashed up on toast or just lop of the top of the shell and eat them with a spoon.

  • Medium Cooked: 4 minutes for on low pressure ,quick release, ice bath. These will have just solidified yolks, maybe sometimes with a small dot of wet still in the very center. This is my favorite if I'm making eggs to peel and eat whole for lunch or snack. I personally love to dip them in salt. I think this is also perfect for slicing on a salad.

  • Hard Cooked: 5 minutes on low pressure, quick release, ice bath. These will have fully solid yolks. This is best for making deviled eggs or egg salad.


But seeing is believing! You have to see how easy this is, so I made video. If you don't want to watch the whole cooking process, just skip forward to about the 4 minute mark, to see how they peel so easily that I can do it with one hand!

Easy Homemade Lemon Curd

Have you ever made something, and then immediately wish you hadn't done it, because there is just no going back?  This is one of those things. It's way too good, and I've already made myself a little sick with all my "tasting". 

First, backing up: Why did I do this to myself?

We've been buying this amazing locally made Greek yogurt.  It's a total treat for us because it is EXPENSIVE.  We're talking $12 for a quart of yogurt.  And you know my kids can polish that off in one sitting!  I guess if I put it in perspective, $12 for yogurt is certainly cheaper and healthier than taking them out for breakfast.  Or maybe I should compare it to going out for ice cream - because this stuff is so decadent that it's more like a desert. Only, yogurt!  Protein! So it's better than taking them out for ice cream. Still, expensive for yogurt.  We've tried every flavor and our very favorite is the lemon curd flavor. 

Since my kids keep asking for it, rather than break the bank buying more and more and more, I figured I'd better try to make my own. It's honey sweetened, creamy Greek yogurt, with lemon curd folded in.  I can do that. I make yogurt all the time, so that part is no big deal. Then it just comes down to making lemon curd. 

And that's the part I wish I hadn't done.  Because I can't stop 'tasting' it.  

I asked for suggestions, and I searched around a bit, and the recipe I came up with is a combination of a few things.  Ingredients and quantities mostly influenced by a recipe that a reader shared with me, some of the technique borrowed from an Ina Garten recipe, and some just made up because it seemed right to me.  That's how I cook. 

This is a big recipe.  It makes about 4 pints - the jars you see here plus a little more (I spilled a little).  You could certainly cut it in half if you don't think you'll use this up.  But my philosophy when you're making yummy things that take a bit of work, is that you might as well make more and share.  It's delicious and decadent and such a special thing to share.  So make a few jars and give one or two away, people will love you. 

Easy Homemade Lemon Curd


  • 12 eggs

  • 2 cups lemon juice

  • Peels from about 6 lemons (about 1/4 cup)

  • 3 cups sugar

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • pinch of salt


  1. Using a carrot peeler, remove the zest of the lemons, being careful to avoid the white pith.

  2. Put the zest in a high powered blender (or food processor fitted with the steel blade). Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar.

  3. Add eggs, lemon juice, salt and vanilla and process until well blended.

  4. Pour through a strainer into a pot. (You could skip this step, but I thought my kids might not eat it if the texture of the lemon zest remained.)

  5. Add the butter, cut into chunks.

  6. Cook slowly over low heat, stirring constantly. The butter will melt and the mixture will slowly start to thicken. This should take about 10 minutes.

  7. When it is thickened, coating a spoon, remove from heat.

  8. Pour into containers and refrigerate to cool.

It's all really quite easy, and I think if you wanted to speed things up you could probably skip the separate step of pulsing the lemon zest and sugar first, and instead just put everything in the blend and whiz it up and then pour into the pan. 

I really want to try a version of this with just honey.  I did actually use a bit of honey in this one - I only had about 2 1/2 cups of sugar, so I used that plus 1/2 cup of honey.

We will be enjoying this mixed with yogurt for breakfast. I think it would be wonderful over vanilla ice cream, or spread between layers of a white cake, or even in the place of jam on a muffin or toast.  



Dutch Baby (German Pancake)

This is my new favorite breakfast to make for the family!  It has all the qualities that I love in a recipe - it's easy, it's fast, it's versatile, and most of all, everybody loves it. 

It is a variation of a traditional German dish, called a German Pancake.  Some recipes call this kind of thing a Dutch baby, and my kids think that name is a crack up. Apparently the name came from a poor misspelling of the word Deutsch (which means German, in German). I read one source that said that smaller ones are called a Dutch Baby, and bigger ones are called a German Pancake.  I don't know.  My version is a combination of many different recipes I've tried over the years, I experimented with different variations and came up with a version that works well for us. 

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Pancake muffins

I love a good cooking shortcut - or I guess we call them "hacks" these days. So here is one of my favorite breakfast hacks: muffins made from pancake batter. 

Mini Pancake Muffins |

Muffins made from pancake batter? Yes! It totally works.

pancake batter muffins |
pancake batter mini muffins |

When I make pancakes I always make extra batter.

If you look at my breakfast for lunch posts, you'll see that we make a lot of lunches with leftover pancakes. Pancakes refrigerate well and freeze great and they are a perfect item to have on hand for quick and easy breakfasts and lunches. 

But sometimes I get about halfway through the batter and I'm just feeling done with standing over the stove and cooking pancakes.

So I take the rest and just make muffins! 

All you do is fill greased (or paper lined) mini muffin pans with the batter and then top as you like.

These work best with mini muffin pans because pancake batter is lighter than regular muffin batter, so bigger muffins fall a little and don't look quite as pretty. But bite sized pancake muffins are perfect. You can make them plain, or you can dress them up.  I like to fill all the spots with batter, and then add stuff to the top.

In this batch you can see that I did three different flavors. I put a couple of blueberries in some, a big frozen raspberry in the middle of some, and the rest I just sprinkled with a little cinnamon sugar.  

They are so good - light and moist and just perfectly sweet enough. They are the perfect size for little hands and small enough to just pop in your mouth, and they make a great portable breakfast. 

pancake muffin bites |

As for the pancake recipe - I make my own. Pancakes are so easy to make from scratch, it's almost silly. You can read my pancake recipe here. You'll note in my recipe that I say that the butter is optional, but I think it's necessary for muffins - it really helps to keep them from sticking. If you don't want to take the time to melt and cool butter, I've substituted vegetable oil for the butter and they still come out great. 

You can totally do this with a store bought pancake mix if you prefer, I would just gently suggest that you try to find one with no artificial ingredients. For extra tasty pancakes, I always add a little maple syrup to the batter. This makes them taste great on their own, which means that for a quick weekday breakfast or lunch you don't need to get out all that sticky syrup. 

Pancake Muffins

  • Mixed pancake batter (be sure to include the butter or oil, and add a little extra sweetener)

  • oil of choice for muffin pans, or muffin cups

  • mini muffin pan

  • toppings / fillings of choice: berries, chocolate chips, cinnamon & sugar, etc.

Preheat oven to 350, or 325 convection. Grease mini muffin pans, or line with muffin papers.

Prepare your pancake batter as usual. Be sure to include the butter or oil called for in the recipe, and add a little extra sweetener. I usually sweeten my pancake batter with maple syrup. My recipe calls for enough syrup to make the batter nicely sweet without needing to add extra syrup when you eat them. But if you're using a different recipe, or a box mix, I would recommend that you add a few tablespoons of extra syrup or sugar. 

Fill your muffin cups about half way with pancake batter. Add toppings as desired - a piece of fruit, a frozen berry, a little sprinkle of cinnamon sugar. Bake for about 15 minutes for mini muffins (time will vary depending on your oven temperature).


~ Lisa

Make muffins from pancake batter!