The Tailored Spoon | Simple Living, DIY, Creative, Frugal, and Fun. Just like a Hobbit.

Hello Friends,

If you can still call me that.  Over a year has gone by since I began this blog and I have managed to write 46 posts. When June came around this year for my year anniversary, I began to rethink my direction.  For those of you who have your own blog, you know it’s a challenge to stay focused. Blogging is not simple nor easy.  Anyone who says otherwise is crazy.  You work hard getting posts out, social media, all the SEO stuff, updates to the wazoo, creating recipes, photography, and I have probably left something out.  AND if you have family, that is another niche.  I have a child with special needs and another still at home, so interruptions are common.  But I began a food blog, because I enjoy baking and I like to share what I bake. I enjoy certain aspects of food blogging but there are many things that I flat out sucked at and the process behind it all was burning me out.  It must be those creative types, that is me. I am 105 percent Right-Brained.

Let me explain.  From the time I was 3 years old, I always had crayons, pens, paints and any other media for drawing.  To this day, I am kind of obsessed with writing instruments. Pens.  I write a bit of Calligraphy, I LOVE lettering, I LOVE to draw, use markers, and watercolors as well.  In school I loved music, played the clarinet, band, and also sang in the jazz choir.  I have taken art classes, upon art classes. That’s why photography comes so easy to me, have been doing that since high school.  I also have a Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design.  My life is completely right-brained.  I don’t think there is much Left-Brain about it.  Creativity is just my Passion. I do enjoy gardening though, sharing tips, printables and many, other things.  Oh! I also had an Etsy shop a while ago and sold items that I sewed. Yes, and I sew too. So you might say I am a Jill of all trades!  😀

So in a nutshell, since my right-brain has taken over, my blog will be slowly changing into a Creative/Crafty/Lifestyle Blog.  This will be a step by step process.  My focus will be on simple family and nothing will be complicated. It might include some

  • photography and photos for tutorials
  • short reviews on products. (Only stuff I recommend)
  • a few VERY SIMPLE recipes (how-to, spices, diy cleaners, simple, kids, etc.)
  • crafty projects (sewing, holiday decor, papercraft, etc.)
  • art
  • drawing
  • printables
  • gardening
  • DIY
  • Shop

Now that you know about my future blog adventure, if this it’s something you are interested in then stick with me. It will be fun! If not, then my feelings won’t be hurt if you leave.  My blog name …I haven’t got one yet, but I have an idea. But I will be slowly adding features.

My Painting “The Quiet Coast” By Karen Padua 2010

I hope you will stay tuned!

Bananas and chocolate, who can pass THAT up? If you can, then I can’t be your friend. Just kidding, you wouldn’t be reading this post otherwise.  Simple Dark Chocolate Chip Banana Quick Bread. This recipe is a quick bread, meaning there is really not much in the way of prep, aka no yeast bread.  It really only requires one bowl and a few kitchen tools. And if you aren’t ready to tackle yeast yet, then you are good to go.  My goal has always been to do things as simple as possible.  Sometimes I just don’t have time for complicated.

So if you’re ready, let’s get this show on the road or in your kitchen.

What makes a good flavorful Banana Bread?

Simple answer. Very ripe bananas.  Almost black bananas. I have a few good recipes on banana bread. One of them I talk about the ripeness of bananas. I have been known to use black bananas. They work just fine.  But that is as far as I go.

Preheat your oven to 350°F or  176°C. Grab a large bowl and add the 4 ripe bananas.  Mash them with a fork or a potato masher.  I used my Granny’s old Potato Masher and it probably dates back to the 50’s.

Add the sugar, White sugar is fine but I used light brown sugar, packed.  Not as sweet and adds a little moisture to the batter. Then add the vegetable oil, egg and pure vanilla extract.  Whisk ingredients together until combined.

  • I make my own vanilla extract here.

Spoon and level your 1 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour.  Add the properly measured flour, baking powder, and the baking soda.

Stir all the ingredients until combined, and then gently fold in the dark chocolate chips, saving some for putting on top before baking.

Slowly pour the batter into the prepared pan, using a spatula to help guide the batter in the pan. Place your extra dark chocolate chips on top for garnish and extra Chocolately Goodness!  Place in the center of the oven on the middle rack and bake for one hour or when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove and allow to cool for about 15 minutes on a wire rack. Slice and enjoy!  Unless you have some willpower, you’ll have more than one piece.  😀

Love Banana Bread? Try these other Banana Bread Recipes:

Banana Blueberry Quick Bread
Maple Banana Bread

Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

  • 4 medium very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup sugar*
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare a 9 X 5-inch loaf pan by spraying the bottom and sides with non-stick oil, then line with parchment paper, this is helpful for when the bread is done baking and cooled. You can just lift out the bread. No mess. Or just spray with non-stick cooking oil.

  3. In a large bowl mash the bananas using either a potato masher or a fork.  Add the sugar, oil, vanilla extract and egg. Whisk together.

  4. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and stir until moistened. Fold in the dark chocolate chips. Reserve some for garnish. Take the bowl with batter and pour into loaf pan, guiding it with a spoon.

  5. Put some extra baking chips on top for more color and taste. Then place pan on middle rack in the oven and cook for approximately 60 minutes or when a knife or toothpick inserted in the center comes clean. Allow to cool for 15 minutes on wire rack.

*Adjust the amount of sugar. The riper the bananas add sweetness to the bread and lessen the need for the amount it states in the recipe. Try substituting 1/4 Brown Sugar, packed instead. 

Simple Dark Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Calories 437 Calories from Fat 162 Total Carbohydrates 63g 21% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

If you enjoyed this banana bread recipe feel free to let me know in the comments or hashtag #tailoredspoon on Instagram!  You can also subscribe to Tailored Spoon’s Mailing list! When you subscribe you will be notified of new recipes and updates! If you have questions, please ask me and I will try to answer them as best I can. Thanks so much for gathering here at the Tailored Spoon! I love sharing the recipes that I cook for you!

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Two Words…Simple and Salad

When I hear simple and salad, this recipe instantly comes to mind.  If you have about 10 minutes, that about all it takes to put this salad together. Give or take an additional 10 minutes for prep. I first made this Asian Cabbage Salad about 20 years ago.  I used to take this dish to Church Potlucks and of course, always a big hit. It is one of those recipes I like to heap on my plate and tossed with a simple sweet lemon dressing, not as a side dish, but the main dish.   It fills you up for a few hours, and then you’re hungry again.  Eat more salad!

The Asian Cabbage Salad with Ramen Noodles is pretty versatile. And you don’t have to keep it to the standard either. Replace ingredients with what works for you.  That is the name of the game, Tailored to fit you. The base of this salad is the cabbage.  Everything else is pretty much optional.  🙂

Asian Cabbage Salad Recipe…Tailored

This recipe has many simple ingredients that give this Cabbage Salad a nutty, sesame, and lemony-gingered flavor. Maybe that’s why is soooo addicting! Adding the crunchy ramen noodles, coupled with the sesame seeds and slivered almonds, they give this yummy salad the ultimate crunchy texture.

What’s in this Asian Cabbage Salad?

  • Sesame Seeds
  • slivered almonds
  • green onions
  • tri-colored coleslaw with carrots
  • ramen noodles without the flavor packets

For the Dressing:

  • sesame oil
  • fresh lemons or lemon juice
  • rice wine vinegar
  • sugar
  • ginger
  • optional: mandarins for garnish

The Crunch Factor:

Let’s get started by roasting some slivered almonds and sesame seeds. Preheat an oven to 350°F (176°C) On a baking sheet lined with parchment, spread 1/4 cup slivered almonds and 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds. Roast for 6-8 minutes until slightly brown.   Set aside.

Tailored Tip: If you don’t have almonds, add something else for crunch.  Maybe Pepitas or Sunflower kernels, they are both nice and crunchy. 

Take three lemons, wash them and slice them half.  If you have a citrus juicer, use that and squeeze to yield 1/4 cup of lemon juice.  Or just use your hands and squeeze.  Lemon Yoga! Add the lemon juice to a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, then add 1/4 cup sesame oil, 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger or grab some fresh Ginger Root and grate about a teaspoon, 3 to 4 teaspoons of sugar.  It smells wonderful!  Then replace the lid tightly and shake. Your dressing is made!

Now for the salad, you can choose how easy prep will be.

For the Coleslaw:

Quicker Way: Buy a bag of tri-colored cabbage coleslaw with purple cabbage, white cabbage, and carrots. Done. Or just shred a one-half head of cabbage (you probably won’t use that much), shred one-quarter of red cabbage and shred one carrot.

Then slice 3 green onions, but only the tops.

The Final Crunch Factor:

Open up two packages of Ramen Noodles and toss those flavor packets. Don’t need those hanging around.  Place the Ramen Noodles inside of a Ziploc bag and a start crushing into small pieces. I have found I can do this with a hammer or meat tenderizer. Or use your hands. Have your kids help with this task. They will have fun!

Time to put this salad together. Sometimes I can hardly wait to dig in since this Cabbage Salad is so good!

In a salad serving bowl add your shredded cabbage, carrots, and sliced green onions. Then top it off with the toasted almonds and sesame seeds. Add some mandarins for color and flavor. Pour on the Lemon-Ginger dressing.  Be sure to shake again, since it had time to settle. Toss lightly and enjoy!

Tailored Tip:  Only just before serving, add the Lemon-Ginger dressing. Letting the salad sit with the dressing will make the Ramen noodles become a bit soggy. We don’t want that.

Roasting Almonds 6 minutes

  • 2 tablespoons Sesame Seeds
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 3 green onions tops only
  • 1 bag tri-colored coleslaw with carrots
  • 2 packages ramen noodles flavor packets removed
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice 3 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger or 1 teaspoon minced ginger root
  1. Preheat an oven to 350°F (176°C) On a baking sheet lined with parchment, spread out the slivered almonds* and sesame seeds*. 
  2. Roast for 6-8 minutes until slightly brown. Set aside.
  3. Slice 3 green onions, but only the tops.
  4. Open up two packages of Ramen Noodles and remove flavor packets. Place the Ramen Noodles inside of a Ziploc bag and a start crushing into small pieces. 
  5. In a salad serving bowl add your shredded cabbage with carrots and sliced green onions. Then top it off with the toasted almonds and sesame seeds. 

  6.  Pour on the Lemon-Ginger dressing*. Be sure to shake before pouring, since it had time to settle. Toss lightly. Add some optional mandarins for color and flavor.

  1. In a small glass jar with a tightly fitting lid, add sesame oil, lemon juice, rice wine vinegar, sugar, and ginger.  Close jar and shake to combine ingredients. 

*Use Sunflower kernels or pepitas for crunch instead of almond or sesame seeds.

Asian Cabbage Salad with Ramen Noodles Amount Per Serving (1 cup) Calories 209 Calories from Fat 108 Total Carbohydrates 20g 7% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Enjoy my recipes? Please comment below and subscribe for more posts to receive a free printable as my gift to you! Thanks for hanging out here at the Tailored Spoon. I love sharing the recipes that I cook! You can also connect with me on:

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I never looked back. And you won’t either. Don’t go and buy a packet of taco seasoning mix when you can put this taco seasoning together in a matter of minutes. Those packets have too many unwanted ingredients. This way you can mix various amounts of spices to together and create a taco seasoning mix to your liking. Want it mild for the kids? Deciding to kick it up a bit? Why not. This is why tailoring foods can be fulfilling.  You are cooking your way!

The Do-It-Yourself Taco Seasoning has a total of six spices.

  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cumin
  • Paprika
  • Chili Powder

Most likely you have these spices in your kitchen. I have quite the collection of spices, roughly about 80 or more.  I don’t know, is that too many?  This photo only shows half. For the taco seasoning mix find a small jar with a tightly fitting lid.  You probably could use a spice jar or if you are like me, I hoard every jar. Hi, “I am Karen and I collect jars.” Now just to clarify I have thrown out more than half. But this is my collection. From various trips to Goodwill, and I recycle many of them.

  • A Jar Tip:  Both Target and Walmart package their salsa in some nice small jars with silver metal lids that have no branding on them.  Look carefully. I have only found it with their organic brands. 

If you have your cleaned jar ready, gather all your spices and your set of measuring spoons. Have you found that most measuring spoons don’t fit in the spice jars? What’s with that?

I own a set of measuring spoons that actually fit in the jars. I bought these on Amazon. They really come in handy.

The Taco Seasoning is quite simple to put together:  In a small glass bottle that has a tightly fitting lid, add your six spices. The easiest way to add the spices to the jar is by using a small funnel. But if you don’t happen to have one, have no fear! Super Parchment is here to save the day! Can you tell I watch too many Superhero movies? Blame my Husband and kids.

Tailored Tip: Cut a square piece of parchment paper roughly 6 x 6 inches and form into a small cone.  Then use it like a makeshift funnel and pour the spices into the jar. It works well! Just call me Ms. Macgyver. Thank you.  😀 

Then use a small spoon to stir all the spices together in your container and you are ready to use it for a variety of dishes. If you like the chalkboard labels I used on my jar, I found them on Amazon and it includes a chalk marker.

If you are wanting to make more seasonings, here a few more you might like:

Recipe inspired by https://www.allrecipes.com

  • 4 tablespoons Chili Powder
  • 3 tablespoons Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 3 tablespoons Cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Onion Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • .25 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  1. Combine all spices in a jar or container and stir well with a small spoon. Or just close the jar and shake. 

  2. Store for 6-12 months in an airtight jar or container. It will last longer but the potency of the spices will diminish over time. 
  • This recipe yields = 3/4 cup of seasoning.  Feel free to double it. 
  • Equals to 12 tablespoons or 36 teaspoons. 
  • Optional: Add 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes and salt. 

Amount Per Serving (1 teaspoon) Calories 271 Calories from Fat 99 Total Carbohydrates 47g 16% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

If you enjoyed this recipe feel free to let me know in the comments or hashtag #tailoredspoon on Instagram!  You can also subscribe to Tailored Spoon’s Mailing list! When you subscribe you will be notified of new recipes and updates! If you have questions, please ask me and I will try to answer them as best I can. Thanks so much for gathering here at the Tailored Spoon! I love sharing the recipes that I cook for you!

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The Running of the Roses, Derby Day, Greatest Two Minutes in Sports, or the Kentucky Derby.  Whichever you consider it called, the Classic Mint Julep has its place on the first Saturday of every May….

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