Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Friday Friend Recipe #48: Banana Bars

Friday Friend Recipe #48:  Banana Bars

Making my way thru my Friday Friend Cookbook, one recipe at a time.

What is the Friday Friend cookbook:   I have about 50 of my closest friends and family on an e-mail forum which I called the Friday Friends (from all over the county).  At first, most of them didn't know each other, (they knew me) but over the past 15 years, we've answered and shared silly--and serious---questions,  exchanged Secret Santa Christmas gifts,  had a dieting contest in which we paid a $1 a week and that money went to a scholarship fund for a Friday Friends son's memorial scholarship, and we went on a great vacation for my 52 birthday.

AND,  we contributed recipes for a cookbook.
Which brings me to this... recipe #48

Banana Bars

This is a great bar to make when you have really ripe bananas.
Banana bread?  Or Banana Bars?  With cream cheese frosting?!
April is from the south and she makes banana deserts all the time.
This is one of her best.

Banana Bars
April Cain
Winnemucca, NV

1/2 cup soft butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas 
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, vanilla and bananas and mix well.
Add the rest of ingredients and mix together well.
Pour into a greased  15x10x1 baking pan.
Bake at  350F for 15 mintues.
Let cook and frost with cream cheese frosting.

1/2 cup soft butter
8oz cream cheese
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Blend until smooth. Frost bars and cut into squares to serve.

Woo Hoo!
April makes her debut appearance in the Friday  Friend Cookbook!!
But not the first time on my blog.
I have  her tagged in 10 posts.
Count 'em here!  (or just click on them to see)

April is....
host of movie night

host of beer tasting night

hillbilly cabin co-host of the Traveling Cocktail Party  (remind me to write a post about that sometime)
here below is the spread they  put out for the hillbilly appetizers

Kind host of our day on the water in a pontoon boat
Among many other things.

A couple of things come to mind as I write this--
1)  April is kind
2)  April likes to host parties

BUT---April has a wild side!!
(a country mile wild!)

She's a motorcycle mama!!

And she loves 4-wheelers!
(no helmet?)

boating without a life jacket!!
(I told you---WILD SIDE!!)

She is also a cooking friend--
We've taken a Cajun cooking class together and also went to a Taste of Home event and now, now she is a founding member of our Cooking Club!

Those are the many faces of April!

Monday, March 30, 2015

It's Monday (what are you Reading)

It's Monday, what are you reading is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.
Stop by and check out what everyone is reading now!

This week I finished Storm Front by Jim Butcher.

from Goodreads:
 Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment. Harry Dresden is the best at what he does. Well, technically, he’s the only at what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal creativity or capability, they come to him for answers. For the “everyday” world is actually full of strange and magical things — and most of them don’t play well with humans. That’s where Harry comes in. Takes a wizard to catch a — well, whatever. There’s just one problem. Business, to put it mildly, stinks. So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry’s seeing dollar signs. But where there’s black magic, there’s a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry’s name. And that’s when things start to get… interesting. Magic. It can get a guy killed.

from me:
I first read this book in 2008 -- it's the first in a series of books called "The Dresden Files".
I wrote:
a good book, with a great detective. Even if he is a wizard, or because of it. You'll fall in love with him.
I gave it 4 stars.

After picking up this audio version on sale,  I am still going to give it 4 stars!
It's just a fun book.  It makes me smile, and  yes, still a little bit in love with Harry. 

We took a long car trip this past week.
8 hours up and then
8 hours back.
I read out loud to the Handyman.
Laugh if you will, but I did.
I read this  (or part of this) 

Non-fiction.  It's very interesting, but reading that long and 'serious' made my throat hurt.

And now I have a dilemna.
How do I finish it with the Handyman.
Do I follow him around reading to him as he's walking around the house?
Changing his clothes?

I'm not sure what to do!!
 Stay tuned to find out.

and I just began listening to this one...  

It's gotten some good reviews.
Here's to a good reading week!!


This Week's  Musing Monday question is:

How old were you when you realized that you are an AVID reader?

I just think I always knew.
I would spend hours and hours and pour over the Scholastic book order forms in elementary school.  Luckily my parents thought it was money well spent and I was able to get lots of books.
I spent many a long afternoon lying on my bed reading when I was  younger.
I think there were only a couple of years in high school, where I wasn't an 'avid' reader -- too busy being social at that time.
But, for most of my life, I've just known I was.

Musing Monday is hosted by  
A Daily Rhythm
(previously -- Should Be Reading) 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Audio Challenge Update

This year I decided to join the 2015 Audio-book Challenge, which is hosted by The Book Nympho and Hot Listens.
In the past couple of years, I have come to LOVE audio.
It's so easy and nice and, well, awesome, to listen to great read while you do the dishes!

Here are the levels we could sign up for:
  • Newbie (I’ll give it a try) 1-5 
  • Weekend Warrior (I’m getting the hang of this) 5-10
  • Stenographer (can listen while multi-tasking) 10-15
  • Socially Awkward (Don’t talk to me) 15-20
  • Binge Listener (Why read when someone can do it for you) 20-30
  • My Precious (I had my earbuds surgically implanted) 30-50
  • Marathoner (Look Ma no hands) 50+

I went out on a limb and took the  Stenographer level.
I thought it might be hard, but  I thought I could I do it.

Could I?  That's a lot to listen to. 

Well considering today is March 24th and I'm listening to my 9th audio book as we speak, I think I can!
I should really bump myself up to Socially Awkward.

Right now I'm listening to Storm Front by Jim Butcher, narrated by James Marsters.

It's the first in the Harry Dresden series.
I've read it in print form, but it was on sale on Audible.com last night, so I figured, why not give it a listen?
James Marsters does a good Harry Dresden voice, and he has narrated the first 10 of the series.
I can't wait to listen to them all.
I have a slight crush on Harry Dreseden.
(this happens to me once in a while,--- crushes on characters, you?)
 The Dresden Files was adapted to television in 2007 by the Sci-Fi Channel, and was canceled after one season.

These are the audio book I've read so far this year:
The Martian by Andy Weir
Yes Please by Amy Poehler
A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler
Delicious by  Ruth Reichl
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Should I bump up to Socially Awkward?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Pet Sematary

from Goodreads:
The Creeds have just moved to a new house in the countryside. Their house is perfect, except for two things: the semi trailers that roar past on the narrow road, and the mysterious cemetery in the woods behind the house. The Creed's neighbors are reluctant to talk about the cemetery, and for good reason too.

from Me:
 3 stars.
It was a great, creepy Stephen King book,  the problem for me was, that I  had listened for years to everyone saying how it was his creepiest.
All that talk took some of the creepiness out.
It's still pretty creepy and if you like SK, then don't read this one while you are waiting for a pedicure, or in the dentist's office.
Be home, at night, alone, in a chair, no TV, no radio, no interruptions. Then it will be perfect.
Stephen King is the master of foreboding! 
And I love his descriptions and his character development.

I have to share this photo with you --

For some reason a few months ago (last summer) I started taking a picture of  my morning coffee cup along side the book I am currently reading, and posting it on Instagram.
This morning the  cat jumped up on the table, so I just snapped it.
Ironic, don't you think?  
Pet cat, Pet Sematary?

I was also reading Pet Sematary as part of a read-a-long

Some of the other's in the read-along-have already posted and after reading
Care's post,  I have questions too!

She asked these questions (among others) (and there might be a spoiler here):

WHAT the heck happened to the family who lived in the house before the Creeds????????!?!??!??!?!
Why the heck did kids maintain the path to the Pet Sematary – the FAKE one? who cares, WHY.  WHY!?!?!?!
WHO did not protest any kids on their property maintaining said path?  WHA?
What was wrong with these people of Ludlow that they would humor kids to bury their pets on someone else’s property?

These things are a puzzle to me too!!
Especially why anyone would let those kids on their property!!?

I've been wanting to read this one  (and Salem's Lot)  (And Christene) for a long time, (hint hint Somewhere in a Book or whoever schedules SK read-alongs)
So, Thanks for pushing me along!

My favorite SK Book?
The Stand.

The Martian

from Goodreads:
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first man to die there.

It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he's stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive--and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to get him first.

But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills--and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit--he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

from Me:
What a fun read!
And now I kinda have a crush on Mark Watney!
It was just a fun read.
I can't wait for the movie.
4 stars from me!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Cooking Club


We finally started The Cooking Club!
You might think it just looks like a normal dinner party, 
It is not.

It's our Cooking Club.

I tried to get everyone's attention to take a photo....
April's eyes are closed (sorry April), and I caught Debbie mid-bite (sorry Debbie) but at least every one is looking my way.
Everyone but the Handyman, that is.
(He's busy buttering his bread or something.  He must eat, has no time for photos)


 I picked my best cooking friends and we had a great time!

Gina and Sally

 Debbie and April

There is no picture of me.  Maybe next time.

This is what we did --- 
we drew names for a dish.
for example:   appetizer, salad, side, main dish and dessert.
And then we decided on a theme.
Tonight's theme was: cooking like mama used to do.
You had to make a dish that your mother used to make.  
Then you had to come talk about it and 'justify' it if need be.

We had so much fun talking about the dishes our mom's used to make.  Even the guys got into it, they started telling stories of  mom's cooking and food memories when they were growing up. 

Gina brought her mom's old recipe box.
It was fun to see the old typed ones?  It seems we all have some that were typed on note-cards. As well as all those hastily written on the backs of envelopes and stuff.
And you notice the 'old momish' type of appetizers?  Stuffed celery and olives and gherkins? 
Those were from Debbie E. she even served them in her mother's old serving dishes.

 I should have taken a photo of everyone's dish, but I didn't.
(what was I thinking???)
But our menu for our Mom's Cooking Theme was:
Stuffed celery/olives/pickles-- Debbie E
Mini Meatloves -- me
Vegetable Salad-- Gina
Scalloped potatoes-- Sally
Cream Cheese Brownies -- April

Just like our mom's used to make!!
Oh...and I put the type of bread on the table like my mom use to:
white bread slices on a plate!
(Sally's husband Paul was very excited about that! )

At the end of the evening, we drew from a hat  (Okay it was a basket-- that basket on the table there) and our theme for next time is
Cajun Cooking!
And I just happened to have a cookbook I got out for everyone to look thru.

 (see that book shelf in the background --- those are all cookbooks.  I have a problem)

I can't wait till next time!!
We talked food, and our moms and books and birds and food!

I am going to link up with Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads!
Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Food 'n Flix -- the Quiet Man

Food 'n Flix is a group of bloggers who get together every month to watch a movie, and then head into the kitchen and mix up something inspired by the flick. 
There is always room for another pillow in front of the tellie, and another chair around the table. So if you're a blogger who wants to join in the fun, please feel free to jump in at any moment.
February's Flick is chosen by Joanne from What's on the List and she has chosen The Quiet Man.
 The Quiet Man, released in the US in August of 1952, directed and produced by John Ford, is “an American romantic classic” starring John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara and Barry Fitzgerald.

 I chose to make some "Irish Roasted Salmon" for the occasion.  Why you ask?

 Where did I get my inspiration?
Well from the first scene of the movie, of course.
They say the fishing is fine, and the trout and salmon are running.

Of course, the Handyman, who watched the movie with me, could not keep up with my inspiration.  He would say I don't see them cooking anything,   I don't see how you get lamb from  that ( there are sheep on those hills.  I can get inspired by that! )
He was not  very good at food inspiration during the movie.
Anyway, I decided on some Irish Roasted Salmon for my Food 'n Flix dish this month. 

For the record -- it was a good marinade.  I'd try it again.  There was a slightly sweet, slightly Irish whiskey taste to it --- but not over powering.

Irish Roasted Salmon
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 14 cup cider vinegar
  • 14 cup Irish whiskey
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme 
  • 1 12 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 (6 ounce) salmon fillets
 Mix together honey, vinegar, whiskey, thyme, lemon zest, oil, salt and pepper. Pour over salmon and marinate 1 hour on the counter, or 4 hours refrigerated.
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Remove salmon from marinade and place on a rack over a roasting pan.
  3. Grill or Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, basting once with the marinade or until golden and white juices are just beginning to appear.

Now, on to the movie.

I have a horrible secret.

I don't like John Wayne.

Go ahead ... call me unAmerican.  Call me a fascist.  Call me unpatriotic.
My dad did.
I am none of those things of course, but it was an on-going  'tease' between my dad and I.  He loved John Wayne and I did not.
Having said that, I still think he is an icon, and American pop-cultural movie hero.
And that by itself makes me like him just a little. I just have to play the game, save face, say I don't like him.

This movie is one of Joanne's (the host of this month's Food 'n Flix) all time favorites.  It is close to her heart, because she watched it every St. Patrick's day with her dad.  
It means the world to her, so,  without further ado...., I will have to say John Wayne was good in this movie!  I did really like his character in this one.

I love old movies, and I am  1/8 Irish, and I love Maureen O'Hara.
The scenery was beautiful and I wanted to live in that cottage of theirs.

It's funny how times have changed tho --
all that 'rough man' stuff and John Wayne's character dragging her thru the country side? 
It bugged me a little, even tho I know, it was just a sign of the times.

And  (this might be a spoiler)
At first I thought

that she was a spoiled brat and wanted her 'stuff and her dowry' more than her marriage, but about 3/4 of the way thru the movie,  the story line revealed how important  Irish traditions were in a community and what that entailed and it seemed to tie it altogether.

There was an epic fight-- a wild rumpus-- at the end.

I'm glad I finally got to watch The Quiet Man.  Thanks Joanne.
It'll always be near and dear to my heart too, because it is the one movie where I actually like John Wayne!  (just kidding)

PS  isn't she beautiful?

PS --  my dad passed away last April, but the movie that will always be near and dear to my heart, in regards to him?
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.
While watching the movie together he mentioned that I was always welcome to bring home anybody I wanted.
He meant in regards to me dating when I was older and I always knew that my dad was open and inviting and welcoming to all people... that is near and dear to MY heart!

Friday friend recipe number 274 and 275-Grapefurit Shrimp Salad and Crispy Potato Chicken

  My Friday Friend Cookbook Countdown #274 and 275 My Mother-in-law's Grapefruit Shrimp Salad and Crispy potatoes . and you know all th...