Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Banana Bread (again)




Yes, I've already posted an banana bread recipe--but it wasn't mine.   It was someone else's that I wanted to make a couple of years ago, and while it was very good, it wasn't what I usually make.
Since Saturday was National Banana Bread day and I had very (VERY) dark bananas, I decided to make some and  I thought I might as well post it.  It's the same banana bread that my mom makes--the one we have made for years.

Let me back track just a little bit here--because I've said this before--but it seems to me, most of the time, that people who like to cook don't always have a signature recipe because we like to try new things constantly.  
People who don't really like to cook, find a recipe that they like and stick with it for the rest of their lives.  And then they become famous for them.
I resent them for that---I'm just sayin'.  I mean, some of my best friends who hate to cook, get asked to bring that 'special dish' all the time.  Then they look at me and think  'who the hell knows what she'll bring!'  (ahhh, but they like it because it's always good!  Well, most of the time.  I am brave enough to bring a never before made dish to someone's home.  Turns out great--99% of the time)

Okay, now I'm off my rant!   My point?  That maybe I should stick with the tried and true also, because I know it's always going to be a hit.
Speaking of hits....
This is the banana bread that my mom has made for years, as have I.  It's a good moist banana bread. I gave half to my son and his wife, because otherwise, the  Handyman and I would have eaten ALL OF IT.  And believe me, we don't need to be doing that.   It is on a splattered old recipe card  (You could see it if you followed the Friday Friends on facebook), but that just  means it's been used and loved, right?




Banana Bread
from Debbie's mom

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sour milk  (we just do the homemade buttermilk thing--milk with a splash of lemon juice in it and let it set for about  5 minutes)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup mashed bananas

Combine ingredients in order given, adding bananas last.  Bake in a loaf pan at 350 for an hour.

That's it in a nutshell.  
But...be sure and mix the sugar and shortening before adding eggs, then mix again, then add the dry ingredients.  
I had to figure that out for myself when I was very young!
And grease and flour the loaf pan, or the two loaf pans
You can add nuts if you want to.  I like them, but no one else does.



Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday Morning Thoughts


Good morning!

While cleaning out some drawers this weekend, I found this quote that I had saved.  (I don't know who wrote it so I can't give them credit, but I do know it wasn't me)

People who read books are different from other people.  They're smarter for one thing.  They're more sensual for another.  They like to hold, touch and smell what they read.


I must have saved it because it describes me.  (That was a joke)

Yesterday, the Handyman and I took a quick trip to  Reno, where, among other things we went to Barnes and Noble, where I picked up this book:




It was just a random grab as I was walking by the shelves.  Some of my best reads have been random grabs.
But anyway, this is a book of essays, by writers, telling about their favorite places to browse, read and shop.   (a bit ironic that they are talking mostly about  independent bookstores and I purchased it at a big chain.  Shame on me.)
I read the first essay on the way home  (I wasn't driving--don't worry) and I cried. Not like big sobs, but I got teary eyed about the love we can have for bookstores.
Truly, people who aren't bookworms- book nerds, cannot understand that feeling.   The Handyman doesn't---he just laughs and shakes his head.  He likes to read a book, but he doesn't --well, he just isn't---a bookworm, like me.

I can't wait to read the rest of the essays!  

Do you have a favorite bookstore?  Where you liked to browse, read and shop?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Well, hello there! (and chocolate chip cookie #8)



Hmmmm.... I don't really know how to start.  I've been missing in action for a couple of months and a couple of months before that too.
I'm not sure what I want to do with this blog. Cooking/food? Books?  Random thoughts?
Oh...that's what I was doing.  I just haven't been doing it lately.

I guess I'll just jump right in.... and give you an update in my life, in a nutshell.

1)  I've read 16 books since the first of the year.  I have not blogged about a single one of them ... and there were some great books too!
The one that has stuck with me the most is  "The Light Between Oceans"


It was a great book, but it left me feeling horrible!   Yes, a book can leave you with conflicting emotions.  I was very bothered by a decision in this book... I cannot tell you which one, because I would spoil the story for you, but it's not the most obvious one  (there are more than a few bad choices by characters in the book).  For days, I rewrote a certain part of the book in my mind---this, of course, is why I'm not an author---because my reworking of the story made  the plot too obvious and common.   It was a great read. Check it out if you haven't already.


2) I am keeping up on my goal of working my way thru this cookbook to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie  (none as good as my mom's yet)




This cookie was  #8 in the blog countdown  (okay, yes, I am working my way thru very, VERY slowly)  but #6 in the cookbook.


I made notes to what  I did.  This was a pretty good little cookie.  

Chocolate Chip Cookies VI
1 cup unsalted butter  (to be honest I just use what I have on hand and most of the time it's regular butter--with salt)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup granulates sugar
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 large eggs
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp warm water
24 oz (4 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips.  (I used 12oz)
2 cups walnut pieces  ( I used one cup)

Cream butter.  Add vanilla, salt and sugars, beat until light and fluffy.   Add eggs and beat well.
Dissolve baking soda in warm water.  Add baking soda mixture and flour to creamed mixture, beating just until all the flour is blended in. Stir in chocolate and walnuts.  Do not overmix.
Bake at  375F for about  10 minutes, until light brown.  







3) This morning, I thought I was going crazy.  I thought the Handyman had left for work.  It was early---like  7:20. He opens at   7 on weekdays,  9 on Saturdays--I can remember him telling me he was going up to take a shower, but then I guess I just forgot about him.  Oops.  I was busy doing my 'stuff'.  Making a list, cleaning the fridge,  having my coffee, carrying my book around.  I sat down at the computer and I heard water running upstairs.   I thought GREAT, WE HAVE SOME KIND OF LEAK.  Then I heard someone walking around.  It scared me!    I really had forgotten he was still here and it really frightened me.
But for just about  30 seconds.

Menopause?
Alzheimer's?
Crazy as a Loon?

I can't figure it out, but it must be one of the above.

(This is fun....it's kind of nice to be back)

My Big Backyard (on Thursday instead of Wednesday)

Because I'm a nerd, I want to see how my backyard changes throughout the year. So! I'm going to take a few pictures of it ea...