Sunday, February 28, 2016

Week 10, 2-28-16

Best-laid plans - you know the rest.  I did accomplish a bit of Tidying, but at Brother Sonny's house.  My Thinning turned into a pound gained.  Oops!  

I used to read some books that featured a Mexican detective who always said, "Oh, well. Tomorrow is also a day."  That's my motto right now and will continue to be for one more week.  Then just watch my steam.  Wish I could remember that author.  Loved those books.

Thrifting:  Remember the outfit from last week with the parrot shirt?  I found the perfect bag for it at Goodwill - $3.  The colors don't match in the photo, but in reality, they're perfect.

Tales:  I finished the second Covington series book and thoroughly enjoyed it.  The next book is ready for pickup at the local library and it came from Tulsa, OK.  We're blessed with a consortium (is that the right word?) called Mobius which brings me books from all over. 
This is the second book.  Coming up - The Heart of Covington.

In the meantime, I'm reading a book recommended by one of the ladies from Five on Friday called Moonlight Over Paris.  I think I should have read the other two books by the same author first, but too late.  When I saw "Paris" in the title, I said, "Gotta read that."  And if you haven't yet discovered Five on Friday at,  you should take a look.  Bloggers from all around the globe share five things from their prior week. You'll see the names to click on at the end of Amy's Five on Friday post.  A wonderful way to get a peek at how others live.

Time for others:  My neighbor and friend, Steg, clears my driveway of snow, and I make banana bread and almond soup for him as often as I can.  This week it was banana bread, and I thought you might like the recipe.  It's a wonderful way to use those overripe bananas.

(I found the recipe on the Kitchen Bliss blog, her version of a recipe from the Hana Maui Botanical Gardens on the 1st Travelers Choice Internet)

3 small very ripe bananas
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 eggs
1-1/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

Heat the oven to 350°.

Blend together the bananas, shortening, and eggs.

In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and then gently fold them into the banana mixture. 

Pour into a greased and floured loaf pan.  Bake 40-45 minutes.  Cool before cutting.

The original recipe says to bake in a 9 x 9 square pan sprayed with non-stick spray and then cut into squares.  Adjust baking time.

Steg comes up with something he's eaten and then my job is to duplicate the recipe.  I found this on the internet, and then discovered that I've been making it for years, but with 1/4 cup less flour and calling it Banana Snack Cake.

Friend Joey told me about another recipe for using overripe bananas she found in the Taste of Home Baking book.  It's Banana Coffee Cake.

She's always finding wonderful recipes in that cookbook, and I think I shall have to finally give in and buy a copy, though I swore I wouldn't add to my too-many-to-fit-on-three-bookshelves collection.  I'm going to adapt this recipe to my taste, and if I like the result, I'll post it.

Tasting:  We celebrated friend Joey's birthday with lunch at Nearly Famous.  They have wonderful food, friendly and efficient staff, and allow us to bring in a birthday cake.  We actually had a pre-birthday cake, because her real cake comes when they have the Cousins Birthday Celebration.  Joey and her sister Kathy, plus their cousins Billie and Larry plus all the spouses (eight in all) go out to dinner, then to the home of one of the cousins for birthday cake and coffee.  They take turns, so each cousin couple hosts twice in a year. The cousin couple makes the birthday cake.   

Here's the pre-birthday cake:

I just wish I could find a serving plate to fit a 13 X 9 baking dish cake.  I try a different pattern each time.  Sometimes I also use pecans.

And here's the recipe:

                This recipe is a collaboration between Betty Crocker, Brother Dan, and Moi

1/4 cup + 2 Tbs butter
1 cup (packed) brown sugar
1 20 oz can sliced pineapple in heavy syrup
1 jar small whole red maraschino cherries
1 small pkg pecan halves (optional)
1 Duncan Hines Pineapple Supreme Cake mix
1 cup Dole (not from concentrate) pineapple juice
1/3 cup oil
3 eggs

Place the 1/4 cup butter in a 13 x 9 glass baking dish.  Melt in oven while preheating to 350°.

When butter has melted, sprinkle brown sugar over evenly and using a fork, smooth so entire bottom of pan is covered.  When pan has cooled, spread the remaining 2 Tbs butter over the sides of the pan.  If you get a few sugar crumbs on the sides, no problem.

Put the pineapple, cherries and pecans (if using) decoratively on top of the brown sugar.  The cake will be flipped, so be sure to put the side you want showing next to the sugar.

Put cake mix, juice, oil and eggs in a mixing bowl and using a hand mixer on low, blend together; then beat on medium for two minutes.  Pour over pineapple and smooth evenly.

Bake 30-35 minutes or until it tests done with a toothpick.  Get your serving dish ready.

Remove from oven and immediately place serving dish over top of cake and flip.  Leave the baking pan over the cake for 5 minutes to allow glaze to disperse.

Trying My Gadgets:  As we're into gadgets right now, when I bought myself a new one, I got one for friend Joey also. One step forward (Nu Wave oven) and one step back.  Doesn't it look like fun?  Maybe we'll find time to try them this week.  

Things That Grow:  Due to time constraints, cold weather, and blustery winds, I didn't accomplish one thing in my yard or gardens this week.  I did, however, go to the Lawn and Garden Show with Brother Bill.  I thought you might like to see a few of the photos.

Chosen Brother Peter from the Botanical Center was creating and donating a painting.

The flowers

The butterfly house

The fun

The things I want

The hydroponics garden system would work in my garage (if I had room for it), but it's rather expensive ($800+) plus electricity for the light source.  On the upside, your produce is strictly organic and no dirt to wash off as the plants grow in only water to which you add nutrients (about $50 per year).  And the birds couldn't get to your strawberries.

I used to have a cookbook program called Around the World. They didn't upgrade for Windows 7, so I bought new cookbook software for my recipes.  New software comes with all kinds of bells and whistles I don't want, so I finally started just saving my recipes in a Word file.  If you'd like to try my method, here's a little -

Teaching:  You might want to highlight and print the instructions first so you aren't switching back and forth between windows.  My instructions are for Windows 7, but if you've upgraded, hopefully the method will be the same or similar.

We'll use the two recipes from this blog for examples.  First, go to the recipe for banana bread and holding the left click side of the mouse down, highlight the entire recipe (and photo, if you desire) from the top to the bottom.

Right click the highlighted area and a menu will open.  Left click "Copy".  

Open your Word program and on a new document, right click and a menu will open.  Left click on "Paste" - enter.

You should have a new Word document with the banana bread recipe.

Now left click the 4-color butterfly up in the top left corner.

Left click "Save as".  A new window will open.

Left click "My Documents", if you're not already there.

Left click on "New Folder" on the light blue bar toward the top.

A new folder icon will appear with the words "New folder" inside a white box.

Key in "My Recipes" - enter.

Double left click "My Recipes".

A new window will open.

Left click "New Folder" again.

Key in "Breads, Quick" - enter.

Double left click "Breads, Quick" and another window will open.

Look toward the bottom at the file name "Road to Hana Banana Bread".  If you like this name, just left click "Save" at the bottom.  Otherwise, you an put your cursor on the name and change it to whatever you wish.

Now left click the top left corner butterfly and left click "Close".

Now left click the butterfly again and choose "Open".

Scroll to "My Recipes" and left click.

Now left double click "Breads, Quick" and there's your recipe.

Close Word and let's do another.

Highlight the recipe for Pineapple Upside-Down Cake.

Right click and "Copy".

Open Word.

Right click and "Paste".

Left click the butterfly for the drop-down menu.

Left click "Save as".

Double left click "My Recipes".

Left click "New Folder"

Key in "Cakes" - enter

Double left click "Cakes".

Change file name by adding -DOWN CAKE.

Left click "Save" at the bottom.

Left click the butterfly.

Go down and left click "Close".

Left click the butterfly and choose "Open".

You should see at the top:
My Documents - My Recipes - Cakes - and down below Pineapple Upside-Down Cake.

Think of it this way:
     File Cabinet = My Documents
     File Divider = My Recipes
     File Folder = Cakes
     Recipe in the file folder = Pineapple Upside-Down Cake.

Now left click "My Recipes" and there are your new file folders:  Breads, Quick and Cakes.
If you open a folder, there will be your recipe.

Let's try another.  Highlight the Cherry Chocolate Cake recipe.


2 eggs, beaten
1 box devil’s food cake mix
1 can cherry pie filling
1 tsp almond extract

Heat oven to 350°.

Grease and flour a 9 x 13 baking pan, or two 8” or 9” round cake pans.

Mix all ingredients well, using electric mixer.

Pour into prepared pan and bake 25-30 minutes.

When cool, frost with Pudding Frosting using chocolate pudding and a little maraschino cherry juice, or cover with Chocolate Ganache.  You can also make a torte with white chocolate pudding frosting and some of the cherries from an additional can of cherry pie filling.  (Joey’s idea and a good one).  If you make the torte, put frosting on first layer, then pie filling, then more frosting before adding second layer.  This will make cutting easier.

Right click to "Copy".

Open Word.

On a new document, right click and "Paste" - enter.

Left click the butterfly for the drop-down menu.

Left click "Save as".

Open "My Recipes".

Open "Cakes".

"Save" the recipe.

Left click the butterfly and "Close".

Next week I'll show you how to print the recipe.  You can get it all messy and throw it away, because you can always print another. 

I'll also show you how to send the recipe to a friend.

So for now, try to do better than I've been doing with our health goals.  If you've forgotten them, check the posting from last week.

We scattered Brother Sonny's ashes over his beloved "Sonnyville" on Friday.  Now we just cherish the memories.

Bob is adjusting to his new family.  Such a good boy.  He doesn't jump on you, lick your face, or bark.  


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Week 9, 2-21-16

I'm so happy to be back.  Now where were we?  Oh, yes.

Thread:  I finished the black "doily".  I was right.  It became a table topper - diameter 22" before blocking.  When it's blocked, the edge will be little points and it will be bigger.  The black thread is finally almost gone.

Tales:  I returned my library books unread, but finished one of my books which I felt worth a mention.  It's Book 1 of a series of 7.  If you liked the Mitford books by Jan Karon, you'll like this series as well.  Mitford meets the Golden Girls.

Things That Grow:  Starting seeds indoors didn't happen, but I picked up all the ingredients for my raised bed mix.  It takes five different things. I can get all five bags in my trunk at one time, but it takes three trips for three beds.  This is for one bed.

And here they are, ready to go.  I can go to the store, pickup, unload, and  move everything to the backyard in 45 minutes if I hurry.  That's for each bed.

I finished one bed. I read that you could plant snapdragons and Canterbury bells in February if it was mild.  I was working in a short-sleeve tee, so I thought that qualified as a mild day, so they're planted and now we'll find out.

Two to go

Trying New Gadgets:  My Nu Wave oven is so old, it has dials instead of buttons, but at long last it had its maiden voyage.  I cooked a 5-1/2 pound chicken in 80 minutes, and I was so pleased that the thighs cooked thoroughly, but the breast was not dry.

When I mentioned it to Friend Joey, she said that she'd never used hers either.  She had invited me to lunch, so I picked up a tri-tip on my way over.

After we enjoyed her 5-star barbecued pork sandwiches with chips and Cole slaw, we cooked the 2-1/4 pound tri-tip in 40 minutes.  I found it wasn't as tender as oven roasted, but that might be because I cut it too soon and let the juices run out.  We agreed that with a little practice, we could learn to love our Nu Waves.

Time for Others;  Sadly, I did not make even one Valentine this year, but last week I took Brother Sonny's friend to my attorney, and he started his estate planning.  If you haven't done this yet, I urge you to find time.  My nephews were so blessed that their father's wishes regarding life support were right there in black and white, because ultimately, they had to make the final decision.  If you only do a medical directive and a power of attorney, do it now.  As our family discovered, things can change in an instant.

And Time for Others can be rewarded.  When leaving the hospital one night, Brother Bill walked me to the south entrance, though he was parked at the north entrance.  A raffle fund raiser was being held and $5 tickets sold at the gift shop.  As we walked by, I told him that he should buy one because he's so lucky.  It was the last day to buy.  As he walked back toward the north entrance, he passed the gift shop and then decided to go back and buy a ticket.  He won the 55" TV.

Tasting:  The Cooking Club went to F-D Grill to celebrate Bev's birthday.  She had catfish.

Carol had a lunch portion

Mim had Hawaiian Chicken

And I had tilapia and shrimp

I'm embarrassed to tell you that I picked up her cake at Wal-mart, but she said that it was very good - lemon/raspberry.

More Tasting:  Friend Joey let me borrow her Food Network Magazines.  One had an enclosed booklet of fifty things to make in your muffin tins.  Wow!  An entire year - one a week, with two weeks off for vacation.  I decided to try one.  As you'll see, I need to get bigger muffin tins before I make the next one.

You layer silver-dollar pancakes with blueberries and 3/4 cup maple syrup and 3 tablespoons butter melted together.  You also drizzle the top pancake with the syrup mixture, then bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.  I was supposed to put three pancakes in each cup, using nonstick foil liners.  Well, I had to cut the bottom pancake because it was too big, and I could only fit two pancakes per cup, and my foil liners had paper inside.  They ended up like blueberry summer pudding on the bottom and a rather crispy pancake on top. I'm not sure when I'm supposed to eat them - breakfast, dessert, snack? Anyway, they're good, so I just eat them when I feel like it.

Thrifting:  I found this blouse, a Biaggini, never worn, with the tag (but no price) and a bag of replacement sequins. As I am not a fashionista, and do not know brand names, I looked it up on the internet and found his/her(?) clothes in a runway show, so I think it must be designer. I checked it because it had a European size (which shall remain a secret). It was Senior Day, so I paid $2.40.

I love the cute parrot

and decided it was time for

Togs:  I dug in my closet and came up with this.  The shell necklace came from the luau in Hawaii or the Polynesian restaurant at Disneyland years ago.  They gave you a necklace while waiting in line to show you had paid.  Either way, a Freebie, so I considered it more thrifting.

More Togs:  While searching through orange things, I found this "purse" but it's white and didn't go with the ivory pants in the outfit above.  So I put together an outfit with white pants using the "purse".  Actually, it's for your lunch.  I got it by eating a gazillion Lean Cuisine entrees with a special code inside the box, which I entered on a website and finally received this little gem. It has a zipper and everything.  Hey, the blouse is silk, so I can get away with carrying a lunch bag for a purse.  Everyone will think I got it at some exclusive little boutique unless they eat lots of Lean Cuisine or unless you rat on me.

Tidbit 1:  Friend Joey found this lovely hand-crocheted counterpane (much too elegant to be called a coverlet) at a local upscale flea market.  Husband Robert was outside when she brought it in and put it on the bed.  When he went into the bedroom, she called, "Do you see anything new?"  and he called back, "Do you mean this doily on the bed?"  Don't you just love the way men think?!  And doesn't she have a beautiful bedroom? 

Tidbit 2:  I stopped in the library to pick up the second Covington book, and the high school is displaying some of their art this month.  I loved this little key guitar and just had to share it.

Another way to eat apples - fried in butter, with brown sugar and cinnamon.  Not exactly diet food, but Yum!  I had some apples which were starting to shrivel, and this saved them.

My health goals rate only a C+ this week, but I've forgiven myself and ready to pick up and go forward.  So our goals this week:

Some form of exercise five times a week.  Every day:  Drink tea, eat apples, eat a leafy green vegetable, eat a yellow or orange fruit or vegetable.  And now add: a white fruit or vegetable each day.  I can't think of a white fruit except lychees and to me they taste a little like perfume.  However, lots of white vegetables: Potatoes, onions, turnips, parsnips, mushrooms, leeks, shallots, water chestnuts, jicama, cauliflower, icicle radishes, white asparagus.

No specific goals for me this week - in addition to the above, I need to concentrate on Thinning, Trimming, and Tidying.  And there's another birthday this week, so there will be Tasting.



Sunday, February 14, 2016

Week 8, 2-14-2016

Tiki July 25, 1997 - January 24, 2016

Charles Joseph (Sonny) Brannock

His mother nicknamed him Sonny, but it could have been spelled Sunny, because he brought sunshine to the lives of many.   Born in Springfield, MO, June 8, 1944, he graduated from Central High, joined the Air Force, returned to put down roots and rarely left the area.
Working in the automotive industry in one phase or another all his life, he made many friends who shared his love for cars.  He could repair them, rebuild their engines, do the machine work, or put together a kit car, and was always willing to help a friend with his/her car or any other problem.

The auto accident occurred on January 29, 2016, and he made his transition on February 9, 2016.  His parents were Leonard Brannock and Lorene (Miller) Brannock Johnson.  He leaves many happy memories with his sons, Ron and Kelly, his granddaughter Adriana, his brothers Dan, Jim, and Bill, his sister Patsy, his sister-in-law Becky, his “chosen” brother Peter, nieces and nephews scattered from Georgia to California, his dog Bob, his other “family” in Greenfield, and numerous friends and neighbors who worked and played with him.

Thank You to all who came to the hospital to visit Sonny and offer comfort and aid to family members, and a Well Done to all the doctors, nurses, and support staff at Mercy for their excellent medical skills and the patience and compassion shown family and friends.

A private gathering will be held by his family and his ashes scattered over his property, which he called “Sonnyville”, because he loved every inch of it.  If a memorial is planned at a later date, friends will be notified by emails or phone calls.

The photo was taken at company play day.


In the meantime, let's pick up where we left off - Everyday:

Drink tea - eat apples - eat a green leafy vegetable - eat a yellow or orange vegetable or fruit.

Do some form of exercise five times a week.

I've seen first hand how life can change in an instant.  Enjoy every day, laugh often, be grateful, tell your family and friends that you love them, help those who need you.

Sunday, February 7, 2016