banana cream pudding magic

I have some serious banana cream pie lovers (& critics) in my life: Mr. M and my Dad. So when I stumbled on the recipe for Magnolia Bakery’s Famous Banana Pudding, I earmarked it for a day when they both could enjoy it. It’s definitely not a pie, but more of a banana cream trifle, and so darn easy to make as long as you’ve got the time! Well, the day to try out the recipe just happened to be this Saturday… and I can proudly share the recipe it here because it earned their well-respected banana cream seal of approval.

banana cream pudding
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Cuisine: dessert
Serves: 8 servings
  • 14-oz condensed sweetened milk
  • 1½ cups cold water
  • 1 package (3.4 oz) Vanilla Instant Pudding
  • 4 Ripe Bananas
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 box (12 oz) Nabisco Nilla Wafers
  1. Mix the condensed milk with the water on a low speed for 1 minute. Add the pudding mix and mix on medium speed for 2 more minutes. Cover the bowl and place it in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
  2. Whip the cream in a large bowl until it forms stiff peaks. Fold in the cold pudding mixture until completely combined.
  3. Pick a glass bowl or dish to use for serving. You'll want it to be big enough to layer all of your ingredients inside! Layer the Nilla wafers along the bottom, then add a layer of bananas, and top with a layer of the pudding cream. Repeat for an additional set of layers.
  4. Wrap up the dish and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and enjoy! (It's best if consumed before it's been in the fridge for 8 hours... but in our house, it's still yummy the next day)




Raley’s Chefs’ Menu for Easy & Delicious Dinners


As weeknight working-parents, we don’t have time for 30+ minute recipes in our kitchen Monday-Friday. Oh, and please don’t get me started on those delivery-via-FedEx “meal in a box” subscriptions. While they might be fun for a weekend meal, it’s not fun to learn how to cook a new recipe every single night. I like 5 or less fresh ingredients and only a couple of dirty pots or pans please!

So imagine my delight when Raley’s offered a $25 gift card in exchange for trying out their new Chefs’ Menu meal options!  “Sure! Looks easy & fun” I wasn’t sure what to expect – and honestly thought there’d only be a few options in the store to try – but when I got to the store I realized just how easy it was to shop for ANY meal on a Tuesday night after work.

 Step 1: Find the Chef’s Menu section of the store (right in the middle of the meat section)


Step 2: Choose your meat and grab a guide! All you need to pick out is a Meat, Sauce, Side & Veggie!


Step 3: Checkout and head on home!

As you can see, the total for my meal was $16.36! Spending about $16 for a fresh meal for all of us without too much thought = EASY!


I decided on the Thai Chicken Stir Fry meal (as prepared by local chef Suleka Sun-Lindley from Thai Basil Restaurant here in Sacramento). Miss L was thrilled by the loads of squash in the meal, and Mr. M was intrigued by the Thai Sauce.

Step 4: Cook the meat


Step 5: Add the veggies. Heat the side and the sauce.


 Step 6: After 10 minutes, plate and ENJOY!


Miss L gobbled up her portion without blinking, and then asked for more. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any, since Mr. M and I had already fought for the remaining extra portion! To say this was a hit would be a major understatement. And the “prep” for all of this was so incredibly easy!

I’ll definitely be stopping in to Raley’s to grab these Chefs’ Menu meals both on nights where plans have gone awry as well as nights when we’re craving this stir fry goodness – and I’ve told my family & friends who live near Nob Hill Foods & Bel Air Markets to try them as well. I’m excited to try the other recipes (and meat selections) next time!

So thank you Raley’s for the chance to review this new option… and thanks for making it so delicious!

disney, family

it’s finally time to go inside out


To say that our family has been waiting forever for INSIDE OUT to come out would be an understatement. We got our first preview of Inside Out at the D23 Expo in 2013 and we were all in stitches laughing at the dialogue/storyboard they shared with us. Since then, we’ve been crossing our fingers that the rest of the movie would turn out just as well… and the Tomatometer seems to be saying that it really is just as wonderful as we hoped it would be!

We’ll be hopping into the theaters for the Saturday morning matinée (Miss L already picked out her Bing Bong stuffed animal to take with her), and I’m certain we’ll probably return for a second trip later on!

If you’re taking your little ones (or you’re a “Big Kid” who wants to join in on the fun), here are some fun coloring sheets, an Inside Out craft project, and even some nail art you can have fun with!

Inside Out Coloring Book Pages



Inside Out Nail Art Designs


Inside Out craft: DIY Memory Balls



Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream


My two favorite things to grow in my backyard as a kid were strawberries and sunflowers. I loved the sight of those gigantic yellow flowers and the added bonus of sun-dried treats inside! And there was nothing quite as joyful on a hot summer day than taking a dip in the pool and grabbing a sun-ripened strawberry straight from the dirt.

Even though strawberries are now grown year-round in California (yes – our Farmer’s Market sells strawberries in January), there’s still not quite anything like the taste of the summer berries! And since we loaded up on quite a few at last week’s market, I thought we’d make some ice cream to welcome summer in the right way.

This recipe comes from the oh-so-fabulous recipe book Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home — but I’ve doubled the strawberry to make it much richer than her regular recipe! Happy strawberry summers to all!

Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
The perfect strawberry ice cream for every summer day!
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 1 quart
Roasted Strawberries
  • 2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 3 T lemon juice
Ice Cream
  • 1½ cups milk (whole preferred)
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • ⅛ tsp sea salt
  • 4 T cream cheese, softened
  • 1¼ cups heavy cream
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 2 T light corn syrup
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • Ice (for an ice bath)
  • 1 Freezer Ziploc bag
Roasted Strawberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Mix the sugar and the strawberries in a glass dish (8x8 works great!) and bake for 8-10 minutes.
  2. Use a food processor to blend the strawberries and lemon juice together.
  3. Measure 1 cup of the strawberry mixture for the ice cream, and reserve the rest for toppings or other uses.
Ice Cream
  1. Create a slurry by whisking together 2 T of the milk with 2 T of cornstarch.
  2. Mix the softened cream cheese with the salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Cook the milk, cream, sugar and corn syrup in a medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat until boiling. After 4 minutes, remove it from the heat and add the cornstarch/milk mixture. Heat it over medium-high heat again until boiling for an additional minute.
  4. Slowly pour the hot mixture over the cream cheese and whisk until combined and smooth. Add the strawberry mixture and buttermilk to the bowl and stir.
  5. Prepare an ice bath large enough to submerge a freezer bag. (hint: I like to use one half of my sink)
  6. Pour the ice cream base into a freezer-sized Ziploc bag and submerge the bag in your ice bath for 30 minutes.
  7. Use your ice cream maker to prepare and freeze your ice cream base as directed.
  8. When your ice cream is ready, place it in a storage container and seal it to be air-tight in your freezer. For maximum freshness, press a piece of parchment paper directly against the ice cream before sealing it.



disney, geeky, saavy

Magisto is still my favorite video app

Three years ago, I shared my love for a little video editing app named Magisto. I sung its praises for creating wonderful little edited music videos from all of my iPhone snippets with little to no work on my part. Just select your video clips, pick some music, give it a title, and wait 5 minutes to complete the magic! That’s really it! That’s all I did for this video using random clips of Miss L riding her trike around the neighborhood:

I raved again about it months later because it was still so awesome. And, of course, I shared a couple more examples:

So I’m back to speak the praises of Magisto one more time but for a different reason. I’ve always used the free version of the app because I haven’t had the need to subscribe monthly for the added features, and because there is a free version! But as of Tuesday… I’ve have a FREE Premium (Pro) plan for the next 12 months, and you can have one too!

Victoria Lim, media host/guru, shared a few of her sage photo & video editing tips at #DisneySMMC On The Road Portland. In her travel pack she carried battery chargers for all devices, extra battery packs, crazy mobile lenses, a selfie stick, and a mobile microphone. When it came to video phone apps, she recommended Cute Cut, Videolicious, and…. Magisto! She showed us just how quick and easy it was to make a assemble a video of her son getting his first haircut at the Magic Kingdom along with the end result that Magisto mashed up together in about 5 minutes. (If there’s anything painful about the app, it’s the wait time for your video to process!)

Along with the recommendation came a code for a 12-month FREE Premium (Pro) plan: MAGISTOTRIAL12.  So now you really have zero excuse to ignore me this time and pass up this app!

Just download the app for your iPhone or Android phone, create a login or use your FB/Google account to access the program.

Then visit magisto.com and login with your account:


Select “Settings” from your personal menu…


… then scroll down to “Redeem coupon” and enter magistotrial12 and click “REDEEM.”

Pretty easy to do and quite a bargain saving $9.99/month x 12! Hope you have fun as much fun with the app as we have these past 3 years and be sure to thank #DisneySMMC for the gift!