Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Summer Reading -- 'Z'

Because our summer was hot, hot, hot ---- there was a lot of reading going on at my house.

World War Z by Max Brooks
This is not something I would have even been tempted to put on my reading list -- but, a good friend talked about it at our weekly Stitcher meeting and intrigued.  The next day, after a search on Amazon.com, I found myself pressing the 'buy now' button.  Received the book on a Thursday and finished it late following night.

The entire book is done in a report format by different survivors of a plague.  Those who get the plague become zombie-like creatures and they in turn, bite and infect others, creating more zombies. It sounds as though the book would be filled with blood/guts and moaning/hungry monsters -- it's not.  Don't get me wrong - there are zombies, and they do moan and go after healthy humans - but, that's not the main story.  The real story is how a small portion of the world's population did survive and what we can learn from their stories. 

And, I do have to put a disclaimer in here - another reasons I wanted to read this book --
it will soon be a movie - starring Brad Pitt.
Brad looking all angst-filled -- trying to save the world - nuff said.
I know, I'm shallow like that !


Friday, September 16, 2011

Sunday Baking

Late Sunday afternoon - the mixing bowl, loaf pans and cookies sheets drying on my kitchen counter. 
I spent most of the day baking --  4 loaves of Cream Cheese Banana Bread and a double batch of Snickerdoodles.   

Note:  The baking was also my attempt to stay away from the television and the constant coverage of the 10th anniversary of 9-11-01.  All the remembering and rehashing was wearing me down and I needed to get away from those sights & sounds.  My family wasn't directly affected by what happened -- and I can't even imagine the feelings of the families who lost loved ones on that awful day.  As I measured and stirred and baked -- my thoughts & prayers were directed to those families. May they have comfort in their memories of their life before -- and the courage to make new memories in here and now.

Friday, September 9, 2011

In my genes . . . . .

There were ripe bananas in the house this week - which meant it was time to bake Banana Bread, using my old standy by recipe from Southern Living: 

Hawaiian Bread 

In a large bowl, mix together: 
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups granulated sugar 
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

In a smaller bowl, mix together:
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups ripe bananas, mashed*
  • 1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple, drained
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Add wet ingredients to dry, stir just until no more flour is visible.  Pour batter into regular size loaf pans (sprayed with PAM). Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes or until bread tests done with a toothpick (adjust baking times for smaller or larger pans).  Cool in pans for 10 minutes before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely.  Keeps very well for 2-3 days at room temp or can be frozen (well wrapped) up to 6 months. 
* 2 cups of either grated carrots or zucchini can be subsituted for the bananas 
Note:  The above picture is proof positive that I am my Mother's Daughter.  I've stopped buying crushed pineapple in those small (and expensive) cans that are the correct size for this recipe.  Now I buy the larger economy size (read: cheaper) and use half for a batch of bread. 

And, if you need more proof - I save the remaining crushed pineapple in a recycled peanut butter jar that goes into the frig until it's needed.  Believe me, I thought of my Mom when I reached for this jar and smiled.  If you could see inside her refrigerator - you would understand -- which is the reason I put the date on my jar !!!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Need something for the 'blahs'

I hate to admit it – but, my current quilt is not working for me.  Just not feeling the love.  And, the feeling was confirmed when I took it to the Stitchers meeting Monday night and heard mixed reviews from the friends.  This is what I get for sewing in a rush to finish instead of paying attention to my instincts about color/texture/design – no one to blame by myself.

In an effort to solve the problem -- Tuesday night I pulled the ‘blah’ quilt top out and tried to ‘audition’ some borders – thinking that I could find some color that would make the rest of the quilt really pop.  Check out the pictures below – go ahead, I’ll wait.  (Yes, I know the pictures are awful, but what do you expect when it’s 9pm-- dark outside -- and my overhead light is one of those ‘save the earth’ bulbs that my husband and OG&E have installed in every dang fixture in the house!)

OK - do you see what I’m talking about ?   Not working is it ?
Here's what I'm thinking :  
  • Adding 3 inch strips between every 2 or 3 rows -- in a pretty Kona cream.  Might give the quilt a cleaner look  by breaking up all those prints. 
  • Or maybe doing 3 or 4  large flowers in one corner using raw-edge applique and match them to a rose-red small print border. 
This quilt top definitely needs something to perk it up.  And, whatever I decide -- one thing is for sure --  the seam ripper and I will be BFFs this holiday weekend.  With some time & luck -- I hope to have a 'new & improved' quilt top next week. 

Note to self:  scrappy / random is hard !