Banana Pancakes

Well, since Sara’s post about teaching your children to cook, I decided Milly should start learning. I have been staring down a rotting banana on my counter top for days now, I just can’t bring myself to throw it away. And it is a good thing I didn’t. I decided to try the paleo banana pancakes that I am always coming across on Pinterest.

First things first, hand your two year old daughter two highly fragile eggs and the rotting bananas for pictures. Needless to say, we used different eggs than in the picture (smh).


2 eggs & 2 ripe bananas (an egg for a banana but I had two ripe “rotting” bananas)

Side note: I also have tried them with 3 eggs and 1 banana and they were easier to cook and just as yummy.


Place ingredients in blender like so:

And blend:

I used coconut oil to cook the pancakes.

They were absolutely delicious and didn’t need any syrup, but I added some real maple syrup and fresh blueberries anyway. Yummmmmm!





We were fortunate enough to have tour dates in Hawaii! This was my first time to Hawaii, although Sara has been many times before. We pooled our favorite pictures together. Enjoy!



Mini Ham & Cheese Quiches


Here’s the recipe for my Ham and Cheese Quiches, but in the bite sized version that I shared with my friends on The Chew! They are SO good!

  • 2 store-bought pie crusts
  • 1/2 pound bacon (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 red onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 pound ham (sliced)
  • 1/2 pound Swiss cheese (sliced)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Prepare a 12-cup muffin tin by spraying lightly with cooking spray and place on a baking sheet. Using a round cookie cutter, cut out circles of pie dough to line each muffin tin. Place in the oven to bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

3. Meanwhile, preheat a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and sauté until crispy. Remove from pan and set aside. Add the butter to the same pan. Once the butter has melted, add the onion, season with salt and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

4. Divide the cooked bacon and onions into the bottom of each par-cooked crust. Then, tear the ham and cheese pieces to fit inside the muffin tins. Layer the ham and cheese on top of the onions and bacon, ending with a layer of Swiss cheese.

5. Whisk the eggs, cream, dried mustard and a pinch of salt together until well combined. Divide the mixture between the 12 cups. Sprinkle a little nutmeg on top of every mini quiche.

6. Place in the oven to bake until the center of the quiches are set (about 20 minutes).

7. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.


Back to Basics


Psychologists say that the things that children remember most from childhood are:

1. Time spent outdoors
2. Time spent on vacation with family
3. And…time spent around the dinner table.

I grew up on a farm in central Missouri. I have 6 siblings, 2 older brothers and 4 younger sisters. My mother cooked 3 big hot meals every single day, in a tiny kitchen with NO DISHWASHER!

I remember some of my earliest memories were of standing in the kitchen watching my mother cook and her telling me little things to do, like stir the gravy, or add 2 cups of milk to this, or peel those potatoes, and on and on. I loved it! It was the safest place I could ever imagine being. The only other place I can think of in which I felt that same safety and security is being in my Granny’s kitchen. She wouldn’t really let me help her as much as just watch her. But I watched these two incredible strong and hardworking women make this food completely from scratch that would bring so much joy to huge tables full of family members. And if it took 2-4 hours to prepare with love, it likewise took about 30 minutes to devour, with gratitude!

Now, don’t roll your eyes, or sigh, or report me to women’s lib groups….but we were also the women who not only prepared and served these meals, but we also cleaned them up while the men excited to the TV room! But you know what? That was our norm. We were farmers, and very old fashioned. I wouldn’t have it any other way, and I don’t. My 2 daughters are also following in those footsteps. They are both learning to cook. They can already at ages 12 and 10, make meals such as baked chicken, fried zucchini, mashed potatoes, salad, fried corn, pork chops, spaghetti & meatballs, lima beans and quiche! My husband and children appreciate this so much and are always bragging on this. My son Avery said to me the other day, “mom, I want you to teach me to cook all of my favorite things that you make before I leave for college!” And of course, I will gladly do just that! By cooking for your kids; you help them to make good choices when they aren’t with you. I have somewhat made my kids food snobs because they prefer my home cooking over fast food and most restaurant food.

Not to mention the emotional and psychological benefits that come with feeding your family and sitting around the table…doing something radical- are you ready for this??? TALKING! TALKING! TALKING TO YOUR CHILDREN. Checking in with their hearts, no phones, no tv, no distractions other than “pass the butter please.”
And being a working mom is no excuse! I’m a working mom who travels. I have a housekeeper who works approx 3 days a week, but the other time, I am cooking, shopping, doing laundry, etc….


My tips for cooking at home:

1. Always keep meat in the freezer. Pull something out in the am to thaw.
2. Always have frozen dinner rolls ready to make.
3. Always have salad and feta or goat cheese and croutons and dressing. Throw together a salad every meal.
4. Always have canned veggies
5. Always have spaghetti and spaghetti sauce and frozen meatballs.
6. Always have potatoes.


Those would be my basic go to’ so that you can always whip something together in 30-40 minutes.
And if you don’t work, try to make dinner during the day while kids are at school, so it’s out of the way and you can go to sports activities knowing that you have something wholesome already made when you get home.
And now, if I can’t be home, I know that my girls can prepare a whole dinner for the family. It makes them, and me so proud!


Back to basics.


Sour Cream – Chicken Enchiladas

This is a great way to have Mexican at home on a budget. Add jalapeños inside the enchiladas for an extra kick!



  • 1 can (10.25 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 container (8 oz) sour cream
  • 1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chilies
  • 1 package (10.5 oz) flour tortillas for soft tacos & fajitas (twelve 6-inch tortillas)
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese (12 oz)
  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken or 2 boxes (9 oz each) frozen diced cooked chicken, thawed




1. Pre-heat oven to 350º F. Spray 13×9 inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. In medium bowl, mix soup, sour cream, and green chilies.

2. Spoon 2 tablespoons soup mixture down center of each tortilla; set remaining mixture aside. Reserve 1/2 cup cheese for garnish. Top each tortilla with about 1/4 cup chicken and scant 1/4 cup cheese. Fold sides of tortillas over fillings; place seam side down in baking dish. Spoon remaining soup mixture over the filled tortillas. Cover tightly with foil.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

4. Remove from oven. Uncover; sprinkle with reserved 1/2 cup cheese. Return to oven; bake uncovered for 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. If desired, serve with chopped tomato and shredded lettuce.


Moving Tips

Oh goodness! Watching the above video brings back so many memories. That house is where Jay and I started our family. Thank you to Good Housekeeping for the reminder. I love having that video of our first home together as the Barker Family.

And that got me thinking about all the stuff 9 people and RoRo can accumulate over the years. We have been married for 6 years, and we are now in our second home together. Are you wondering how we managed to move all of our stuff?? Well…we had help. (lots) We have learned a few tricks, provisos, dos and don’ts….

  • Do take pictures or video of your home for the sentimentality, or even posterity. Memories are all we have from the past. Don’t lose them!
  • Don’t rent a storage place for years and years and years and forget what you even have in the thing.
  • Do not throw all of your excess in a POD and forget about it (Yes, I have a storage unit AND a POD).
  • Do have someone else pack you up and move your entire home.
  • Do have your decorator put all of your pictures and curtains up before moving in.
  • Do buy a house that you have never seen while on a 4 hour flight to L.A. Isn’t that how everyone buys a house? (I might have to explain more on this later).

And if you want some REAL tricks, check out this awesome buzz feed!

After reading the above, maybe, instead of hoarding in storage buildings and PODs, organizing and goodwill-ing are in order. Check out the time KK saw my POD here!



Turkey Meatloaf


Courtesy of Food Network
Courtesy of Food Network
  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1 medium onion, peeled
  • 2 pounds ground turkey breast
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce



1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a small bowl, stir together the oats and milk. Thinly slice 1/4 of the onion and set aside.

3. Finely chop the remaining onion. In a large bowl combine the turkey, oat mixture, chopped onion, bell pepper, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, salt and a few grinds of pepper. Mix just until well combined.

4. Transfer the mixture to a 9 by 13-inch baking dish and shape into a loaf about 5 inches wide and 2 1/2 inches high. Pour the tomato sauce over the meatloaf and sprinkle with the sliced onions.

5. Bake for about 1 hour or until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees.F

6. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 to15 minutes before slicing.


20 Facts about us

Soooo, we did it! Our first blog challenge-Here it is!

BTW, the picture above is the Glam Squad for the Cheatin’ video. From left to right- Colleen Runne (makeup), Sara, KK (wardrobe), Kim Clo (hair)

I made a questionnaire that we both filled out. And I added extra questions so it is even more than 20. I know, we rock!

1. What is your middle name? LINN
2. What is your favorite drink? COKE ZERO
3. What is your favorite song at the moment? NOT THE ONLY ONE- Sam Smith
4. What is your favorite food?: Zoe’s chicken salad.
5. What is the last thing you bought?: OUTDOOR LIGHTS FOR OUR SIDE PORCH
6. Favorite book of all time? HUNGER GAMES (the first one)
7. Favorite Color? LIGHT BLUE
8. Do you have any pets? A MALTIPOO NAMED ROMAN
9. Favorite Perfume? KAI
11. Are you married? YES
12. Have you ever been out of the country, if so how many times? YES- probably 20 times
13. Do you speak any other language? NO
14. How many siblings do you have? 6
15. What is your favorite store? H&M
16. Favorite restaurant? Five in Birmingham AL
17. When was the last time you cried? This morning when I watched Parenthood.
19. Favorite Movie? Divine Secrets of the Yaya Sisterhood.
20. Favorite TV show? Parenthood
21. PC or Mac? MAC
22. What phone do you have? IPhone 6 plus
23. How tall are you? 5’8
24. Can you cook? YES! IT’s MY PASSION!

1. What is your middle name? Kaelin
2. What is your favorite drink? Leese Fitch Cabernet or diet coke with lime
3. What is your favorite song at the moment? Ed Sheeran: thinking out loud
4. What is your favorite food? Greasy burger and fries
5. What is the last thing you bought? Spinach and Kefir
6. Favorite book of all time? The help
7. Favorite Color? I truly love so many colors. Black and white together are my favorite!
8. Do you have any pets? I still hope our cat Bailey is alive somewhere
11. Are you married? Yup, for almost 14 years
12. Have you ever been out of the country? Oh yes! Lots of times. Europe, Canada, Mexico, Central America, Australia.
13. Do you speak any other language? Hablo español!
14. How many siblings do you have?: I have two older brothers and an older sister!
15. What is your favorite store?: TJ Maxx
16. Favorite restaurant? Calypso Cafe
17. When was the last time you cried?: Last night while watching Parenthood, that show gets me every time.
18. Favorite Blog? So many are so great but I love the
19. Favorite Movie? Forrest Gump (but honestly, how can you choose just one)
20. Favorite TV show? Presently Parenthood
21. PC or Mac? Reluctantly I have a Mac
22. What phone do you have? iPhone 5
23. How tall are you?: 5’9
24. Can you cook? I’m sure I could if I tried.

Anything else you need to know?




Here we are, already 20 days into 2015… It seems the more you try to slow down and savor life, the faster time flies! Why is that?!?!

But alas… Time went by so fast that we didn’t have the chance to welcome you all to a new year over here on our blog. Better late than never! Welcome to 2015 with all of its maybes, what ifs, and hopes!

We thought to start the new year, even a tad late, we needed some motivation. Though the blog is one of our passions, it seems to get pushed aside by… Life! We found a 31 Day Blog Challenge over on Pinterest (arealfineplace) and thought we could try that for some inspiration. We changed our challenge to a 31 Blog post challenge because let’s just be realistic, the every day part is just plain scary!

This post counts as the Introduction!


Hi, we are the A Real Fine Place blog… Nice to meet you!



Sara and Kaelin


Crispy Baked Fried Chicken


Courtesy of The Food Network


  • 8 chicken pieces (preferably 2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 legs and 2 wings)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups cornflakes
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground sage



1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place a rack in a roasting pan or on a baking sheet.

2. Rinse the chicken in cold water; pat dry. In a wide bowl or on a plate, season the flour with salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Dredge each chicken piece through the flour so it’s fully coated, tap against the bowl to shake off excess flour and set aside. Discard the flour.

3. Here comes the part kids like best: Crush the cornflakes by placing them in a big resealable plastic bag, carefully pressing the bag to push out the air. Seal up the bag (with as little air inside as possible) and run over the flakes with a rolling pin. Open the bag and pour the crushed flakes into a wide bowl or onto a plate.

4. In a large bowl (big enough to dredge the chicken pieces), mix the buttermilk, mustard, cayenne pepper, paprika and sage. Give each floured chicken piece a good buttermilk bath and then roll in the cornflake crumbs.

5. Arrange the chicken pieces on the rack and place in the hot oven. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, lower the heat to 375 degrees and cook for another 25 to 30 minutes, until cooked through and crispy. The juices should run clear when the meat is pierced with a knife.