Quick & Easy Breakfast or Afternoon Snack: Peanut Butter & Banana Smoothie Recipe

Mornings get a little crazy in our little corner of the world--especially when we are out of town over the weekend and grocery shopping gets delayed by a few days!  This week, the usual breakfast fare ran out by this morning--so, it was time to get creative with the ingredients on hand. 

The kids needed breakfast--and they needed something with a little protein and something with a sugar "charge" for the day.  We threw together Peanut Butter Banana Smoothies--and the recipe will probably be a regular on our breakfast menu options!

Ingredients for a Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

1/2 Ripe Banana Sliced, Frozen if desired
1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder or 1/2 c. Vanilla Greek Yogurt
1 c. Vanilla Almond Milk (I use Unsweetened or Light)
1 tsp. Milled Flax Seed
1 Tbsp. Peanut Butter (or other nut butter of choice)

Instructions for a Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie 
Toss the ingredients into a blender and process on high for 1-2 minutes or until the mixture is smooth. Cannot be much easier than that at 6 a.m. or mid afternoon.  Pour into a tall glass or large mug and serve.

Our thoughts on this recipe:
We don't add ice cubes to smoothies.  Most people seem to.  We think it "waters it down" and just isn't really necessary.  We tend to toss in frozen chunks of fruit and a little flax seed instead for that "thickening" effect.

If the bananas are not fairly ripe--add a tsp. of honey or a dash of sweetener--especially if you are using an unsweetened or homemade nut butter and unsweetened almond milk!

The middle daughter sometimes adds in a tablespoon of chocolate hazelnut spread with the peanut butter (or instead of the peanut butter) depending on her mood for the morning.

Disclaimer:  We may receive slight compensation from affiliate linking within our posts.  We only include affiliate links to brands and products which we use and would recommend in our recipes and posts.  All opinions are our own. 

Runes Book Spotlight & $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

This morning, we are featuring Runes: a paranormal romance series by Ednah Walters.  Check out this young adult, fantasy series, learn about the author and enter for a chance to win a prize in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post.

Runes Series Book 1
by Ednah Walters
Genre: YA Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Seventeen-year-old Raine Cooper has enough on her plate dealing with her father’s disappearance, her mother’s erratic behavior and the possibility of her boyfriend relocating. The last thing she needs is Torin St. James—a mysterious new neighbor with a wicked smile and uncanny way of reading her.
Raine is drawn to Torin’s dark sexiness against her better judgment, until he saves her life with weird marks and she realizes he is different. But by healing her, Torin changes something inside Raine. Now she can’t stop thinking about him. Half the time, she’s not sure whether to fall into his arms or run.
Scared, she sets out to find out what Torin is. But the closer she gets to the truth the more she uncovers something sinister about him. What Torin is goes back to an ancient mythology and Raine is somehow part of it. Not only is she and her friends in danger, she must choose a side, but the wrong choice will cost Raine her life.

(book 2)

(book 3)

(book 4)
Goodreads * Amazon

(book 5)

(book 6)

(book 7)

USA Today Bestselling Author Ednah Walters is a multi-published author of four different series--her Norse-mythology-based bestselling YA Paranormal romance series, RUNES(YA-Paranormal Romance) and Nephilim THE GUARDIAN LEGACY-(YA fantasy romance).
She also writes contemporary romance under E. B. Walters. The Fitzgerald Family series started with SLOW BURN. There are six books in this series. Her new USA Today bestselling series, INFINITUS BILLIONAIRES. Impulse (book 1) was published in January 2015. Indulge (Aug 4th). 


Book Review of This Life I Live by Rory Feek

Somehow, I missed the growing popularity of Joey & Rory in the country music world in recent years.  I have always been one to switch from music genre to music genre every few months--but, with three teen/tween girls, my last several years have been spent listening to Pop, Rock, and (sometimes) old-school country music.  Nothing "new" country in a long time.  I did; however, catch pieces of the Joey & Rory story toward the end of Joey's life--and was drawn to learn more about them in Rory Feek's book, This Life I Live.  What did I think of This Life I Live?

I received a complimentary copy of this book for use in my review.  All opinions are my own. 

About This Life I Live by Rory Feek.  The story she said he was born to write. Her story. His story. The love story of Joey and Rory. By inviting so many into the final months of Joey’s life as she battled cancer, Joey and Rory Feek captured hearts around the world with how they handled the diagnosis; the inspiring, simple way they chose to live; and how they loved each other every step of the way. But there is far more to the story. Written by half of the GRAMMY winning duo Joey+Rory, Rory Feek, This Life I Live goes into Rory Feek’s childhood and his love story with Joey – from how they met, to their “long goodbye”.

This book is already a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestseller!

Rory Feek is a great storyteller.  Of course, I guess, this shouldn't be a surprise as he has been a songwriter for a number of years.  However, I think it's a little more difficult to engage a reader over a couple hundred pages than a listener for a couple of minutes.  This Life I Live tells Rory's life story--from his difficult upbringing through meeting Joey, losing her to cancer, and his present day life--and readers will be pulled along by his mild, honest, matter-of-fact tone and his openness.  

This Life I Live is a sad story--but, not entirely.  While this book could certainly have been written with a woe-is-me slant--readers won't find that in Rory Feek's words.   In the early pages, he talks about his parents and their turbulent relationship--and his many ups and downs growing up--but, he looks back on the characters of his life with honesty and real emotions--and generally finds a lot of positive points in those relationships.  Later on, as he and Joey adapt to their differences in goals and plan--he approaches those honestly and with hope as well--but, doesn't sugarcoat the realities.  When Joey asked him, later on, if God was going to heal her--Rory responded with the same honesty and soft-spoken, matter-of-factness that readers will find throughout the entire book.  Rory Feek tells a sad story--but, he also tells a story of finding God, finding peace, understanding love, and moving forward with hope.

Would I recommend This Life I Live by Rory Feek?  I love memoirs--and, in a sense, that is what Rory shares in this book.  This is his life story.  His ordinary, yet extraordinary, story.  This is his love story with Joey.  This is the basis for his future with his daughters.  If you are a fan of Rory & Joey--I think this is a must read.  But--even if you have little idea of who or what the duo was about--as I did--this book is a great read for fans of memoirs or autobiographies.  Feek writes in a very simple, down to earth, realistic style.  He seems to be just an "ordinary" guy.  He doesn't sugarcoat life's realities--nor seek to gloss over personal imperfections.   He pens his thoughts, his emotions, and his experiences for the world to read as he sheds light onto the lives and life experiences that helped Joey & Rory emerge and evolve.  Readers are not beaten over the head with religion in this book--but, Christian faith does take on a more prominent role as the book progresses.  I think this is a wonderful book of perseverance, inspiration, and hope--dotted with finding the meaning of love and life--and learning to make sense of loss and grow from it.

Buy This Life I Live by Rory Feek on Amazon

Meet the Author:
A true renaissance man, Rory Feek is known as one of Nashville's premier songwriters, entrepreneurs, and out-of-the-box thinkers. He is a world class storyteller that crosses all creative mediums from music and film to books and the Internet. As a blogger, Rory shares his heart and story with the world through his thislifeilive.com blog that has over 2 million Facebook followers.

The love story of he and his wife, her recent battle and loss to cancer, and his vignettes of unwavering faith and hope in the face of tragedy inspire millions of readers who follow along with each post.As a songwriter, Rory's written multiple number-one songs, including Blake Shelton's "Some Beach", Easton Corbin's "A Little More Country Than That", and Clay Walker's "Chain of Love", and had dozens of other songs he's written recorded by Kenny Chesney, Randy Travis, Reba, Trisha Yearwood, Waylon Jennings, and many others. As an artist, Rory is one-half of the Grammy nominated country-music duo Joey+Rory. He and his wife Joey Martin toured the world, sold hundreds of thousands of records, and had their own weekly hit television show that aired all across the country on RFD-TV. Their latest album "Hymns That Are Important To Us" sold 70,000 copies the first week and debuted at number one on the Billboard album charts.

As a filmmaker, Rory just finished directing his first feature-length film, "Josephine", an epic love story set during the declining months of the Civil War, with a screenplay that he co-wrote with Aaron Carnahan. Rory has three other screenplays in process. He also writes, shoots, and edits their music videos, and is the creator of the TV shows and specials in which he and his wife appeared.

He and his 2-year-old daughter Indiana live an hour south of Nashville in an 1870's farmhouse near their family-owned diner, Marcy Jo's Mealhouse.

Visit the This Life I Live Book Website 

Check out Rory Feek's Blog  

The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan Book Tour and Giveaway

This morning, we are sharing The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan, a new fantasy novel from author Steve Wiley.  Learn about this book, meet the author and enter for a chance to win a prize in the book tour giveaway at the end of the post.

The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan
by Steve Wiley
Genre: Fantasy
"Intelligent, Enchanting, Playful" ~ Publishers Weekly
Warning: Content may be deemed offensive by Polish Indians, vice presidents of something, my wife, Finbar Finnegan's wife, LinkedIn, little kids who think this book is for little kids, Thumbelina, Brown Liners, mermaids, and the wind.

Growing up and getting trapped in adult life is something that most people eventually face, but while reading The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan, a charming and magical book by Steve Wiley, it is almost possible to forget about the inexorable progress of time. With a main character who is teetering on the edge of forgetting about magic forever, this novel is a touching and thought-provoking ride through nostalgia, memory and the promises of youth. Wiley's sharp, tongue-in-cheek style of writing makes the pages fly and the Chicago skyline makes a stunning backdrop for this mystical romp.
In Chicago, a secret L train runs through the mythical East Side of the city. On that train, you’ll find a house-cat conductor, an alcoholic elf, a queen of the last city farm, the most curious wind, and an exceptional girl by the name of Francesca Finnegan.
When we first encounter Richard K. Lyons, he is a man who has long forgotten the one night, when he was still a boy called Rich, when Francesca invited him aboard the secret L for an adventure through the East Side. The night was a mad epic, complete with gravity-defying first kisses, mermaid overdoses, and princess rescues. Unfortunately for Rich, the night ended like one of those elusive dreams forgotten the moment you wake. Now, Rich is all grown up and out of childish adventures, an adult whose life is on the verge of ruin. It will take the rediscovery of his exploits with Francesca, and a re-acquaintance with the boy he once was, to save him.
Half of the proceeds from this book are donated to Chicago Public Schools. For more information, visit fairytalechicago.com.

Steve is a father, husband, uncle, brother, friend, and purveyor of fairy stories. He grew up in and around Chicagoland, where he still lives with his wife and two kids. He has been published in an array of strange and serious places, from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., to Crannóg magazine in Galway, Ireland. The Fairytale Chicago of Francesca Finnegan is his first book. He has an undergraduate degree in something he has forgotten from Illinois State University and a graduate degree in something equally forgotten from DePaul University. Steve once passionately kissed a bronze seahorse in the middle of Buckingham Fountain. Seriously, he did.  

Loved by a Killer Book Spotlight and Giveaway

Our first book spotlight this morning is on Loved by a Killer by C.F. Rabbiosi.  Check out this paranormal thriller, learn about the author and enter for a chance to win a prize in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post.
Loved By A Killer
Loved By A Killer Series Book 1
by C.F. Rabbiosi
Genre: A Sexy Paranormal Thriller

Raina loved performing upon the London stage, but one night she found herself dancing for only HIM. She froze, and looked to the balcony where the gaslights flickered dimly over his shadowy form. If only she had known that this beautiful monster would soon rip her away from everything in the world SHE EVER LOVED, perhaps she wouldn’t have lingered so long.

Marcus loved being a blood thirsty predator, but one night his gallivanting brought him to his knees in front of HER. If only he’d known what would happen when she danced, that she would remind him of someone who was everything in the world HE EVER LOVED, perhaps he would’ve turned away.

As he drags her deeper and deeper into his depraved world of torture and violence, she begins fighting with her own darkness that threatens to consume her every day. And oh, how it begs to be released. And though she knows it’s wrong, she desires her captor anyway.

Until she begins falling for someone else…

Meanwhile, prostitutes are being butchered in the streets and she begins to wonder: Is her dark lover, the one she is bound to, The Ripper?

With an accurate account of the creepy gaslit times of London and real Jack the Ripper crime scenes, Loved By A Killer is an exciting read from start to finish.

"Hot damn! are you serious?" I'm in love. I'm seriously entranced." -Nicole Horn
"As soon as I got to page 3, I was like well, I know what I'm doing the rest of the night. I loved all the real serial killers and horror, mixed with a hot romance." -Holly Byers
"I know I have things to do but this story is so good and I'm riveted. So intense." - E. B. Black
"I absolutely loved it and couldn't put it down." -Sherry Aue
Beautifully written, and the story flows, gripping you from the moment you meet Lord Marcus Loxley in that first chapter. I love the intricate historical aspects of the book, the underlying Jack the Ripper story, and the uniqueness of Ms. Rabbiosi’s vampires. I absolutely enjoyed each second of this book and can’t wait to read more from this author.
-Amazon reviewer D.C. Triana

I feel like I could write a book on this book. I was instantly captivated from the very first chapter and it didn't let me go until the last page. I absolutely loved this story. Lord Marcus Loxley is a very complex character that seemed so "human" (pardon the expression considering he's a vampire), that I felt like I was experiencing everything as he was. This book had so many different facets to it. Historical London. Jack the Ripper as a back story. Crime. Lust. Greed. Poverty. Death. Blood. It was the type of story that you're sad when it's over because you're forced to leave the world you were just completely immersed in. Rabbiosi does a fantastic job with the historical elements and I cannot wait to read more by this very talented author!
-Amazon reviewer J. Saman
This was quite an interesting concept for a book. I was thrilled to find out that the events regarding the historical murders were accurate. The twists and turns of the plot are easy to follow, but not easy to predict. I'm plenty excited for the next book to come out to see what happens next! -Exposure Book Blog

Charity lives in the University town of Columbia, MO with her husband and three girls. She holds degrees in Science and Registered Nursing, but found her true passion in writing.

Her stories are inspired by Interview with the Vampire, The Last Vampire, Buffy and True Blood and finds herself on most days living and writing in her own fantasy world- when she’s not chasing after her kids.

Member of Writers Digest, Writers Café, and Word Press.