Banana Bread

I was gonna post the last well, week. But life got busy!! Which made me think of something some one said to me yesterday.
“how to you do everything Rhonda?”
Oh I soooo do not do everything!!
Lots of things I get done happen at night or during nap time. Both are highly important to me!
I’ve got a mile long to do list. And many things I wish to do.
But well I don’t.

The whole past week I was gonna do some more baking and other stuff but it was busy.
Last week’s evenings went like this.
Monday – Regan was on call. Solo with the kids.
Tuesday night – As soon as Reg got home I was off to YW. And got home at 8:45 or so. Then did my blog post πŸ™‚
Wednesday Night I went to a Love and Logic Parenting seminar. Which was good and interesting. Some stuff I really liked, other bits felt a bit…. um degrading to kids. And not at all in line with Gospel teaching. So some good. Some not.
Thursday Family Home Evening Kit Group I am in met together.
Friday Reg was on call again and We went out to dinner with some of my family to Boston Pizza and then I had my niece sleep over so I could go out to a girls night.
Saturday night I went to a dinner and RS broadcast.

Needless to say it was busy πŸ™‚

Anyway, my point in sharing all this was….. that sometimes life runs away. And I’m not always on top of things. In fact more the opposite most of the time! But I’ve been asked by people how i get all this stuff done.

I don’t watch TV much. As in haven’t seen anything for over a week or more. And if I do watch I like to do something while I do. Like make invitations or cards or fold laundry or whatever.

I try and do things while my kids play around me. If they want to be in the backyard, I fold laundry down stairs or read a book in the backyard or make phone calls or whatever I can down there. If they are happy on the deck I load the dishwasher or edit a few pictures. Eli makes all this harder. HE is a lot more high maintenance than either one of my first kids were. (And despite what some people say I do not agree that he is normal. He spent from 3:45 pm to 7pm crying on and off the whole stinking time. And that’s a good day lately. That’s not normal) I’m still getting used to accomplishing as much as I like to with him around. Perhaps God is teaching me to sit down and enjoy my kids.

Each night I write down my to do list for the next day. I have all kinds of to do lists. To do lists for house projects. Sewing tutorial to do lists. Blog post idea lists. I am a list kinda girl. I love a good list pad πŸ™‚

I have a crazy calender with all my dates an deadlines and all that written all over it. It is kind of looking crazy for September. crazy fun πŸ™‚ I’ve started highlighting Regan’s on call days too. So I can see at a glance all those when I am planning or scheduling things. I should have taken a picture of it but I didn’t know I was even posting about this til I sat down and started to write and now it’s too dark out. πŸ™‚

I think it’s funny that women are so comparison driven. The fact is everybody’s life is sooo different. And I don’t think it’s even able to compare vague things like what you get done in a day. It’s my opinion that more people get more done than they think, that everyone wastes more time than they realize AND that most people are not as busy as they think they are.

Just a few of my somethings that need to be done….
1. Logos for my brothers’ company (need to finish the final draft)
2. a blog header for a friend
3. Preparations for Lucy’s B-Day party on Friday
4. a few photo shoots that should have been edited already (right Christine??)
5. bills paid (did that tonight)
6. prep for having a bunch of girls from church over tomorrow night to make hair pretties (which means making my house is kind of clean hahahaha)
7. laundry (did 4 loads today – but still more to do…)
8. Type out a few recipes that I’ve been asked for by a few people.
9. Actually finish my photography blog photo shoot give away (which I posted about entirely tooo long ago eeekkkk!)
10. Scrapbook. It feels like it has been entirely too long since I did that! (a week or so)

The thing I’ve been thinking about is a quote I heard the other night at the RS broadcast. Which basically said that a wise person knows how to distinguish between the things that need to be done and the things that don’t and then leave some things undone by eliminating the non essentials. Now it sounded much prettier when they said it, but you get my point!

This is an insanely long rambly post.
If you actually read my thoughts then let me hear what you think! πŸ™‚
And I’ll get back to editing those pictures….
And since no post is fun without photos…
here are some of the current editing crop.



And here is the banana bread recipe that was asked for from the last post.

Banana Nut Bread
from Martha Stewart Baking Handbook
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups veggie oil
2 Tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 3)
1 cup coconut
1 cup walnuts, pecans (or chocolate chips)
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350. Coat two 9 by 5 inch loaf pans with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, and oil on medium low until combined. Beat in the flour mixture. Add the vanilla, banana, coconut, nuts (or chocolate!) and buttermilk. Beat just to combine.

Divide batter evenly between pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, 60 to 65 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely. Bread can be kept at room temperature, wrapped well in plastic for up to 1 week or frozen up to 3 months.

Now I am off to bed to rest my foot (i’m currently suffering from Plantar Fasciitis which my handy hubby doctor diagnosed for me but there isn’t so much you can do for it except stretch your calves and roll your foot on a frozen bottle of ice (which I am doing right as I type this) and be in pain.)

MSBH Challenge

I wanted to tell you all about something I am doing over the next year.

I have this amazing cook book all about baking that I coveted for a long time but the $45 price tag got to me.

You see I collect cook books. Like some women have shoes. I have cook books. All different kinds and sizes. And my husband is often commenting how I don’t need more cookbooks. I can’t explain my love for them. I have been known to settle down under a blanket on the couch and read a cookbook.

Reading each recipe and thinking about the flavors and cooking methods. Which sound good to me. Which surprise me with their combinations. I came by it honestly. My maternal grandmother is the same. My mother as well.

I could list my favorites for different reasons. Best desserts. Best for kids recipes. Best French. Best Mexican. Etc. (you are seeing my inner Foodie coming out!)

Anyways, back to my challenge. This marvelous cookbook called “The Martha Stewart Baking Handbook.” It goes over anything you would want to bake. From cream puffs to all kinds of fancy cakes to baguettes and fancy yeast breads to Italian pastries.

Well I decided that I want to learn to make every thing in the book. No, I have no seen the show Julia and Julia (although I want to badly). No, I am not doing this because of or inspired by that movie. I think it will make me a better baker. And really it sounds incredibly fun πŸ™‚ (and a bit fattening….) I told my SIL Lindsay about my plan a few weeks ago and she told me to blog about it. So I will. I have no idea if any of you actually even would want to read about that… but it’s my blog. hahahaha.

I’ll share what I learn and how I mess up and what I know for next time. Shortcuts or whatever. Forever more this little challenge will be called the MSBH Challenge.

So I started the year yesterday.
And we had a good friend Anna over for Sunday dinner (who I haven’t seen in a while. And who my children instantly liked! Anna has kids my age. But we just get along super good. (I think her girls are pretty awesome too!) Anna, who my kids wanted to give a tour of our house too, which included showing her the embarrassingly large pile of laundry in the laundry room – clean on the counter to fold and dirty on the floor to wash, and she just smiled a yeah-that’s-completely-normal kind of way and sweetly said there are a few kids around here to take care of…. which would be ONE of the many reasons why I just love her!) And I made recipe #1 (not number 1 in the book but the first one I made in the challenge)and #2 for the frosting.

Here it is.
Yellow Butter Cake with Chocolate Frosting.

I totally messed up the frosting. You see you beat room temperature margarine (or butter for better taste) with white sugar for 3-4 minutes and it makes it all fluffy and airy. Then you pour in your cooled to room temperature melted chocolate. The key is cooled to room temperature melted chocolate. Cause if you just pour in a bit cooled melted chocolate it makes the fluff and air of the previously beat margarine (or butter) and sugar completely leave.

See it melts the butter with it’s hot self. (You know like when you’re in a room feeling all pretty and cute and put together and then a real knockout girl walks in and you suddenly feel not quite as put together….) Then you are just a runny mess. Just like the chocolate. And it takes a whole lotta icing sugar and to make it back into a reasonable icing. Which is what I did. And just pretended that that was how it was supposed to be! I mean nobody else read the recipe. Just me. And my kids only ate the icing off their pieces of cake πŸ™‚ So my mistake worked out!

(And just for fun the meat I made for dinner too.) My new favorite meat. New as in the last year new. But still new.) Pork. mmmm. I used this recipe here. And we all gave it a two thumbs up!


MSBH Challenge #1 & #2

A Perfect Lunch

I was lucky today to enjoy a quiet lunch filled with good things amidst the crazy day of driving to here and there and watching some extra kids.

A favorite drink

Left over soup from last night’s supper
Recipe comes from Eat, Shrink and Be Merry
“Rome on the Range”

8 large plum tomatoes
2 large red bell peppers, seeded & chopped
1 large red onion, chopped
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp each minced fresh thyme and fresh rosemary
2 cups beef broth
1 cup V8 juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
12 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

12 oz extra lean ground beef
1/4 cup minced shallots or onions
1/4 cup unseasoned dry bread crumbs
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coarsely chop tomatoes and combine with red peppers, onion, garlic, olive oil, thyme and rosemary in a very large roasting pan. It’s best if veggies are in a single layer.

Place roasting pan in oven on middle rack and roast veggies for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and give quick stir. Return to oven and turn on broiler. Broil for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare meatballs. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well. Using your hands space into about 48 mini meatballs using about 1 tsp of meat mixture. Set aside.

Remove veggies from oven. Transfer half to blender or food processor along with 1 cup of broth. Puree til smooth. Transfer puree to large soup pot. Chop remaining veggies into bite sized pieces and add to pot, along with every thing else. Bring to boil. Add meatballs. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes, until meatballs are cooked through.

My alterations:
Used regular onion since I didn’t have red.
Had no breadcrumbs so I used a bit of oatmeal (has to be quick cooking or else you notice it)
Had no Italian seasoning so I used a little rosemary and thyme combined to flavor the meatballs.
And I just dumped all my veggies into a big pot, and used my hand held bruan mixer to mix all of it up. I didn’t want too many chunkies. πŸ™‚

Also left overs from supper last night…

Recipe comes from Eat, Shrink and Be Merry
“Pizza for the upper crust”

1 can 10 oz tomatoes with Italian herbs
1/3 cup pizza sauce
1 12-inch thin crust pizza shell
1/4 cup freshly grated Romano, Parmesan or Asigo cheese
3 oz fresh mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
Black pepper

Preheat grill to medium and leave lid closed to keep hot (or preheat oven to 425)

Drain tomatoes in a sieve, pressing down to remove as much liquid as possible. Break up any large chunks with fingers.

Spread pizza sauce over crust, leaving 1/4 inch border around edge. Top with drained tomatoes. Sprinkle evenly with Romano cheese.

Using small knife cut mozzarella cheese into thin slices. Spread evenly over pizza. Sprinkle with basil and pepper.

Place pizza directly onto grill or middle oven rack. If grilling cook 4 minutes. Then shut off heat and leave life closed. cook another 3 minutes of so til toppings are hot and cheese is melted. If cooking in oven, bake for 10 minutes or til cheese is melted and edges are browned.

My alterations:
Had no Italian seasoning so I used a little rosemary and thyme combined
Used Romano cheese (mmmmm)
And plain old mozzarella cheese.
Used fresh tomatoes since I didn’t have that kind and just squeezed out the liquid as much as possible.

And a good book to read.

What was for lunch at your house?
And yep, its seems we don’t seem to have much luck traveling with kids….

Banana Chiffon Cake

Banana Chiffon Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 7 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 350ΒΊF. In a large micing bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, mash bananas. Add oil, egg yolks, vanilla and 3/4 cup cold water; mix to combine. Add to flour mixture, and whisk batter until smooth.
2. In a large bowl, place egg whites and cream of tartar; using an electric mixer, beat until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter just until combined (do not overmix.) Pour into a 10-inch amgel-food cake pan with legs. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Invert pan onto legs over counter; let cool completely. Reinvert pan, and run a thin metal spatual around edge to release onto platter. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Serve.

(I added some cream cheese icing.)