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It is summer in Houston, and last night our bedroom A/C went kaput! My first reaction was to grumble, but then I reminded myself to “choose happiness!” I was thankful we had a guestroom to sleep in that had cool air and a fan. As we crawled into an unfamiliar bed, I was quickly reminded of the times I preached to others: “Every good hostess should sleep in her own guestroom for one full night. You will immediately see what is missing!”

Today, where we see every form of fashion on our streets, the question of men and shorts still produces uncertainty among many. There is a reason for this that is embedded in our DNA, and to fully understand we need to explore a little history.

“What are the main table manners children should know?” A common question I am frequently asked. Yet I have a tough time narrowing my answer. I pick my top three, then a fourth pops into my mind. Then a fifth. We may not all attend black-tie events, but we do all eat. Your children will one day be placed in a situation where they need to skillfully know their way around a dining table.

As we approach Mother’s Day, I would like to take a special look at the precious women in our lives that hold the title of Mother-in-law. Do you remember the movie Monster-in-Law? It starred Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda in a romantic comedy centered around the tumultuous relationship between a bride and her future mother-in-law. If you have not seen it, you should. It will keep you laughing but, sadly, may hit closer to home than you would like to admit.

I recently asked a group of college students these questions showing them the same photos. I had them shout out adjectives for the pictures they were viewing. For the home I heard: beautiful; wealthy; cared for; loving family; a place I want to live. For the broken-down home they said: old; no curb appeal; I wouldn’t go near it; scary; unstable.

“Rules without reason equals rebellion.” -Cynthia Grosso, Charleston School of Protocol. This could be my motto! I have a stubborn streak that can serve me well, but when it gets me into trouble, I just blame it on my DNA. No matter the reason, I am not the best rule follower unless I know why a rule was created. 

Remove your hat! Don’t set it on the table! Never let someone see the lining! Women, keep your hat on! Women, take your hat off! Ahhh…..I’m so confused!!! The old rules of hat etiquette were so straight forward, and everyone knew what to do. A gentleman removing his hat inside a building was as second nature as brushing his teeth. In today’s changing society, there is much confusion about hat etiquette, for both men and women, so let’s solve this mystery by starting with the “why” of hat protocol.

Do you find your spouse often saying, “Are you listening to me?” Or maybe you feel your child is not being an active part of the dinner conversation. If this resonates with you, it might be time to brush up on the finer points of being a good listener, while teaching your family to do the same. Below are 11 tips to help you get back on track so you can start enjoying deeper and more meaningful communication with those you love.

“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11 ESV).

 

When I am tired and my mind does not seem to focus on a deep study of the Bible, I will flip to Proverbs to keep focused on God’s Word in a more simplistic way. Yet, every time I read this book, I walk away amazed at the power it brings and thankful for the renewal I feel. The verse I read today really resonated with me.

As a stay-at-home mom to 2 toddlers, a large part of my day is spent in the kitchen preparing food. Meal planning at the beginning of the week is essential to ensuring my family is well fed with home cooked nutrition (I give myself a break on the weekends)! If you get overwhelmed with meal planning like I used to, try these tips to sooth your soul:

As a wife and mother of two rambunctious toddlers, it is a challenge to get a home-cooked dinner on the table at a reasonable time. Pulling the children away from their toys, getting them seated at the table, cutting up their meal, blowing on food that is too hot, and calling my husband away from his work can be exhausting.

Sometimes you just need to re-post tips that were great to read. I find myself saying this quite often when it comes to The Gottman Institute. They are some of the leading relationship experts in our country, and the research they did on trustworthiness is very informative.

Meeting friends for dinner after work, grabbing coffee with your girlfriend or just ordering pizza on a Friday night with neighbors. We all have a deep desire to be connected in a world that often forgets the importance of relationships. Many of us have the desire to entertain, but we let our circumstances keep us from extending hospitality. Often it revolves around our lack of confidence in our ability to host events. I get this!

A perfect entertaining year for me would be hosting a different themed party each month! Will I do that? No. Will I dream about it? Yes! If I cannot have a party every 4 weeks, I can at least help my Lisa Lou family with ideas so hopefully a few of you can carry the torch of hospitality for the rest of us.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for. Read that again.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for. Read that again.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for.

  • Alina Gersib

Bananas Foster Pancakes with Cinnamon Butter Taste Test



Happy Foodie Friday! This recipe comes courtesy of Penny and Eleazar Martinez.

www.thefrankincensetree.com

info@thefrankincensetree.com

Each of our Taste Test Reviews comes with the original recipe and the tester's notes/changes listed with the ingredient list in blue. We hope you enjoy!


If you are looking for an absolutely decadent dish, this is it! I am not exaggerating when I say that this bananas foster topping is one of the most delicious treats I have ever tasted. The combination of maple syrup and bananas creates an almost caramelly flavor, if you are a lover of caramel, this topping will be one of your new favorites. Not only is it delicious with the pancakes but it could also go well with a bowl of plain greek yogurt for an indulgent tasting dessert that would be on the healthier end! The tanginess of the yogurt would pair delightfully with the sweetness of the topping.


Growing up each year for our birthdays my mom would cook me and my siblings a special breakfast of our choice. My go-to was waffles with whipped cream and peaches, but if I knew this existed back then, I think my choice would have been different. If you have kiddos at home, this would be a great special birthday breakfast dish!


Bananas Foster Pancakes with Cinnamon Bu
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Download • 1.88MB

Makes 12 mini pancakes

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes



Ingredients for the Pancakes:

*1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

*3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

*1 teaspoon salt

*1 tablespoon granulated sugar

*1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

*11/4 cups milk

*1 egg, room temperature

*3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

*1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preparation for the Pancakes:

*Sift flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and ground cinnamon twice into a large mixing bowl.

*Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.

*In a separate bowl add vanilla, egg and (slightly) cooled melted butter. Beat lightly until blended.

*Lightly beat in milk.

*Add the wet ingredients to the well of the dry ingredients. Mix until smooth.

*Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium to medium high heat.

*Pour batter onto griddle in approximately 1/4 cup increments.

*Lightly brown on both sides and serve warm.



Ingredients for the Bananas Foster Topping:

*1/4 cup butter

*2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed

*1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

*1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

*1/4 cup maple syrup

*1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

*2 firm, ripe medium bananas, cut into 1/2 inch slices

*1/4 cup pecan halves


Preparation for the Bananas Foster Topping:

*In 10 inch nonstick skillet, toast pecans over medium low heat until fragrant.

*Transfer pecans from skillet to a cutting board.

*Coarsely chop pecan pieces. Set aside.

*Using the same skillet, combine butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup and vanilla extract over medium-high heat.

*Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly with wooden spoon, until sugar dissolves and mixture is thick.

*Lower heat to medium.

*Add banana slices, gently spooning sauce over each slice. (I recommend tilting the pan to the side in order to pool the sauce, this makes it easier to spoon over the bananas)

*Cook about 3 minutes, or until bananas are glossy and coated with sauce.

*To serve, place 2 pancakes on each individual plate.

*Spoon banana slices and sauce over pancakes.

*Garnish with chopped pecans and whipped cream, if desired.

*Serve immediately.



Recipe and Taste Tester - Alina Gersib