Monthly Archives: August 2010

Ahhh it’s a Banana Breeze

Pie that is. I loved this recipe when I saw it mostly because it calls for a graham cracker crust and you can buy those nicely pre-made at the grocery store. But look at what else is in it: sweetened condensed milk. Now be honest. Have you ever had anything that contained sweetened condensed milk that was bad. Just in case you don’t know the answer, I’ll help. It’s no.

Additionally, the instructions say to chill for several hours and it doesn’t need to be baked. Given these days with temperatures of over 100 degrees, I was totally sucked in to making this pie.

Bananas are hard to keep in this house.  We are a family of banana fans. But I grabbed 3 bananas, put them aside with strict orders that they not be touched. I’m so glad I did that. This awesome, creamy, SIMPLE  pie is Mmmmm FABU! I’m sure you will agree. :-)

Banana Breeze Pie

1 – graham cracker crust

3-4 medium firm, ripe bananas

1-8 oz package cream cheese

1-can sweetened condensed milk

1/4-cup real lemon juice

2 tbs banana liqueur

1-tsp vanilla extract

1 tablespoon lemon juice (to sprinkle over banana slices)

Soften cream cheese to room temperature.  Cream the cheese until fluffy.  Add sweetened condensed milk and gradually increase mixer speed to whip.  Whip for two minutes.  Stop mixer and add lemon juice.  Again, gradually increase speed of mixer to whip and whip another 2-3 minutes.  Add vanilla extract and mix well.

Cut bananas in a bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent from darkening.  Place bananas in pie crust reserving enough to place on top of the pie if you wish.  I just place them all in the pie crust.  Then dump the pie filling on top of the bananas.  Chill several hours.

Today marks 33 years since the death…

of my appendix.

It was summer vacation and I was working as a waitress at JoJo’s  in Hoffman Estates, IL. I had to work the dinner shift and as the night wore on, I started feeling sicker and sicker. Eventually I was freezing, wearing the manager’s jacket, and he said I really needed to go home.

I called my mom to come get me and she came to take me home. But I didn’t feel any better and she ended up taking me to the emergency room around midnight.

The doctors had a hard time trying to figure out what was wrong with me because I didn’t have any pain in my lower abdomen but, instead, had pain closer to my sternum. After many hours and many tests, they finally figured out that it was my appendix and they scheduled me for surgery.

As I waited in my hospital room for the surgery, my mom came in and she was crying. Thinking she would be relieved, I told her, “Hey mom, I’m going to be okay. They know what’s wrong now.” To which she replied,

“But Elvis died!”.




I guess I knew where I rated in the whole scheme of things.

Yes, Elvis, the King of Rock and Roll, died the same day as my appendix in 1977.

It’s kind of strange to remember the very day you had an appendectomy when you were 16 but given that Elvis died the same day, I am never able to forget.

And so, as it is every year, this will be a day given over to fond remembrances of the King and, of course, my appendix. 🙂


I do love cake. It all started when I was in first grade at Highland Elementary School. There was a cake walk at the school carnival. I had no idea what a cake walk was but I love games so I got into the circle and began to play along.

As I remember, it was actually kind of like musical chairs except there was a chair for everyone. So around we walked. Then the music stopped and I sat in the chair closest to me. Magically (to my seven year old way of thinking) I won a cake! A whole cake. A big cake. A cake of my choosing from a whole table full of big, beautiful cakes.

I remember my utter disbelief at my good fortune. I couldn’t believe my parents were going to let me take a whole cake of my own home with me but they did. I chose a peppermint cake. It was pink and I had never had anything like it. Chocolate ruled in our house. It was in a 9 x 13 pan, too, which I had also never seen before and it seemed HUGE!

I believe that this one exciting moment in time is what caused my love for cake. I’m sure it was also instrumental in sparking my competitive streak. I learned just how sweet it can be to win!

My tombstone will probably read:

Here lies Lauri. She liked cake and she liked to win.


Operation Beautiful

I love surprises and games. The unexpected, the competition, well… they just do it for me.

The other day I was reading my book from the Bartlesville Library. As I turned the page, I noticed there was a note inside.

I have found many notes inside library books. Usually they have been used as place holders and are just scraps of paper that don’t really have much meaning. On a couple of occasions I have found a recipe left inside of a book which always seems like a gift because I love to bake and cook.

But the note I found this time was something very different.

I was sitting outside on the patio reading but I immediately tweeted the photo, minus the website. I didn’t know what the website would be about and thought I would check it out later when I went back in the house but I loved the message in the note. It made the retweeting rounds because I wasn’t the only one who saw the value in the cool message.

When I came back inside, I was very interested to go to the website written on the note. What an amazing discovery! The mission of Operation Beautiful is to end negative self-talk in women. The author,Caitlin Boyle, began leaving notes in public restrooms to let women know that they are beautiful just the way they are. In an effort to end negative self-talk which hurts you emotionally, spiritually, and physically, she began jotting down whatever message came to mind in hopes that it would bring a smile to the recipient and maybe just change that negative talk.

LOVE this!

It took me until the age of 41 to really like myself. I think that’s a very sad statement for me to be able to make. I suffered an eating disorder – bulimarexia – for many years ultimately almost killing myself when I shut down my metabolism in 1999. It is only by the grace of God that I am even here to write this today.

I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to have received this amazing surprise in a random library book. I will now be leaving my own notes along the way.

Something I have learned from working with my gals in the Mrs. Oklahoma International pageant is that beauty truly does come in all shapes and sizes and that we are all beautiful. The beauty that shines from the heart is truly spectacular and much more powerful than superficial surface beauty.

So know this: You are BEAUTFUL!

The verdict: my skin care decision

I have been using the Anew skin care products by Avon since they first came out. I can’t remember exactly when that was but it has to have been over 20 years ago.

Throughout those 20+ years I have received too many compliments on my skin to count. That’s why I was always loyal to those products. Until just a month or so ago.

I had to buy a new formulation. There was no getting the old formulation unless I wanted to buy it on eBay and run the risk of it being out of date, previously open, or something else icky. The new Anew formulation is disgusting. It sits on the top of your skin (similar to Avon lipstick) creating an oil slick and never absorbing. Additionally, it smells nasty.

Smells are important to me. There are so many I just can’t stand, that make me nauseous. When lotions and potions get old, their smell changes so that was a real consideration in my decision about whether I could buy the old items on eBay.

I started to get worried as the creams and cleanser inched toward the bottom of their containers. I did research. There are SO many options, so much variety.

I am a Libra. Born under the sign of the scales, with too many choices, I find my life hanging in the balance and no where to go. Paralyzed.

Finally, I realized I had to do SOMETHING. I decided on a product that I could get relatively inexpensively at Walgreen’s of all places. Cost is kind of a factor when you are purchasing something new because the range of price is as great as the range of selection. But these products had an amazingly good review and amazingly low price.

And they weren’t in the store.

Nowhere on the shelf at Walgreen’s could I find what I was looking for. So there I was again. Paralyzed by indecision. I knew I had to get something and so I took a leap.

I ended up grabbing the Oil of Olay Age Defying products; cleanser, day cream and night cream.

The verdict? I love them! I’ve been using these products for a little over a week and they are awesome.

I love the cleanser. It has the grains in it that makes your skin feel really clean and refreshed. The day and night creams absorb into my skin and it looks

great. Bonus points: it all SMELLS good! And of course, there is a cherry on top of all of this. I got all  three  products for less than $30. Yay!So I’m really happy with my choice. I’m going to use these  products until I find they aren’t  doing the trick. I’d still be interested in trying the one that I went to get initially but when something’s not broken, I don’t usually attempt to fix it. 🙂


You know I love to read. I like to read all kinds of books and regularly go through the new books at the library pulling them off the shelf, look at the cover, look inside, maybe read the back or flap to decide if I want to take them home with me.

I end up reading all different kinds of books this way but if a book isn’t good, I don’t waste my time. Two of my mottoes in life are “So many books, so little time” and “Life is too short to read bad books”.

I particularly like books that draw me in right away and also books that have fabulous characters that I’d like to know in real life. Those books are the hardest to finish, though, because I never want them to end. I miss the characters when the story is over.

A book that falls into this category is Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman. The story drew me in right away but I grew to love all of the amazing, colorful characters inside.

I wrote about this book on The Mrs. Oklahoma Pageant blog because in it, Aunt Tootie tells Cee Cee how to find her fire. The way she did this perfectly described how I would help a contestant in the pageant figure out what platform she should promote.

I contacted Beth and asked her if I could excerpt her story on the pageant blog and she graciously said yes. I was so excited! Later, she asked me if I could share my story on her blog on a page called Brava! She said it was a place where she highlights women that she admires.

Wowza. I was honored, humbled, excited!

I had written an article about the pageant from my perspective and submitted it to a local magazine here in Tulsa. They told me that it wasn’t really what they were looking for so it was just sitting in my computer without a home. I told Beth I actually had already written something and I sent it to her.

The week we were in Chicago at the Mrs. International Pageant, Beth shared my story on her blog. I cried. I finally got to tell people how I feel as the director of the amazing women who enter our pageant and Beth actually thought someone would be interested.

Beth and I have established a friendship that I treasure. If you get a chance to read her book, you should. It’s awesome and truly one of my all time favorites. Thank you, Beth!

Coffee on the rocks

I love iced coffee. When it’s 106 degrees outside, as it has been in Oklahoma the past few days, there is nothing more refreshing.

When I say iced coffee, I mean just that: coffee over ice. That’s all. Coffee on the rocks.
You can’t imagine how hard it is to order this in a restaurant. It seems so easy to me. When you order iced tea, what do they bring you? A nice tall glass of tea over ice. Right?
So why is iced coffee so hard to understand?
When I’ve ordered iced coffee, I’ve gotten coffee, in a cup, with a few tiny, almost melted ice cubes remaining on top. Eeeuuuww, really? Lukewarm coffee is disgusting.
I’ve been asked “What flavor?” What flavor? Umm, coffee would be the flavor.
I usually find that I have to give detailed instructions: please put ice in a tall glass like the one you put Coke in, then pour the coffee over it. Maybe bring me an extra glass of ice in case it’s not iced by the time you bring it to my table.
I’m always so excited to actually get my iced coffee even if I have to give directions. I am very encouraging to the server as I give them the directions just knowing they will be able to get it right.
I’m even more excited when the server already knows how to make me iced coffee. And the ultimate? When the server brings me the iced coffee AND the extra glass of ice and I never told them how to do it. Yay! Bonus points. 🙂