Monday, April 12, 2010

Banana Cake


Thanks to Suzanne at Not Quite Donna Reed, I was inspired to start making my own cakes again and putting my glass cake stand to use. I used a recipe in my 1956 The American Peoples Cookbook for banana cake and banana frosting, but as I tend to do, I altered it.

I put in my food processor:

1 cup whole raw almonds (whirr the processor until the almonds turn into an almond flour)
1 cup arrowroot flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla
2 brown-skinned bananas (removed from their peel, of course)
1/2 cup real maple syrup
tbsp. molasses
2 eggs
1/4 cup plain full-fat yogurt (I didn't have buttermilk on hand)

Blend it all well and I baked it in a cake pan at 350 degrees for I don't recall how long. I tend to ignore the clock and go by smell. I don't know how I do it, but when it smells done to me it usually is.

For the frosting:

Put in food processor:

1 brown-flecked banana
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup butter

Now here is where I really fudged it. I only had a little confectioners sugar. I didn't measure it, but I think it was about 1/2 cup. The recipe called for over 3 cups of the stuff. So I added in some plain white sugar, the last of my arrowroot flour, some white whole wheat flour and a little corn starch (and 2 drops yellow food coloring) and that seemed to thicken it up without making it too sickly sweet. Next time I make frosting I'm cutting the confectioner's sugar in half and replacing it with arrowroot flour to see how it comes out!

The frosting was still a bit runny, but quite tasty and usable. Because of this I didn't bother frosting the sides of the cake but just made the top look sort of like a slice of banana.

To be honest, I'm not a very good cake decorator. My brother is amazing! He made a birthday cake that looked just like the Rocket from Little Einsteins! For the antenna on the top he used a cherry blowpop lollipop!

Anyhow, Suzanne, you asked me to post a picture of the cake, and here it is!

Walmart Waste

Last week I was in a hurry, needed groceries, had two kiddos (one heading for a nap) and knew that Target doesn't sell cedar mothballs so I went to the Walmart Super Center. I bought the groceries on my list and made my usual dinners without diverting from the recipes and we all came to the same conclusion, "Yuck!"

Today I opened the container of GV cottage cheese and took a taste. It was DISCUSTING without being rancid. I'd hate to waste it so I'm wondering if I could make some sort of cheesecake or something out of it. Otherwise it is unpalatable for lone consumption. And since when does cottage cheese need a laundry list of ingredients?!

Ok, I admit, I'm spoiled by farm foods and better quality products. But my goodness, even Aldi's cottage cheese is 100 times better than GV! It is true. Once you've had the real deal there's no going back.

The Parent's Choice diapers leak like a sieve. (I usually buy the Target ones.....yeah, I haven't been cloth diapering lately. Getting lazy as the pregnancy advances.)

The Parent's Choice baby wipes don't work in those pop-up containers.

If I'm going to buy cheap produce, I'll go to Aldi's. At least their produce is less expensive than Walmart's by far! And does Walmart really believe they can sell squished, visibly moldy strawberries for $1.50 a pound? And what's the shiny stuff all over the lemons?

And why in the world would I get my 2 year old daughter a faded, worn-looking t-shirt that has a cereal box logo on it!?

My FIL is a Walmart truck driver and he says the Walmart stores down south are LOT better than the Walmart stores where we live. Perhaps so.

I think Walmart has gone way too far with their cheapness. I'd rather pay a little more and get a much better product at other stores.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Off the Nest

After two days of brooding I am off the nest today. I love feeling more energetic, though I'm still sitting on my fanny in front of this computer!

The weather has turned windy and COLD! It is temporary, though, the sun is shining and the lawn will need mowing soon! I love that the alfalfa field next door is greening up nicely and I see little baby leaves on the trees and shrubs! Soon dappled shade will cover the south side of my house and hopefully I'll get my hands on a rototiller so I can start my garden.

Well, I suppose I ought to get my daughter down for her nap and put my energy to use.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Brooding


When I was a young girl we had chickens and I always thought it was funny how cross the brooding hens looked.

Today, I am pregnant and feeling just a broody as those hens. I'm trying not to let my brooding state affect me so but it seems I can't help it. After a few days of heavy activity, perhaps the brooding is a way to get me to just relax. I just hate that downer feeling! I've been singing hymns and trying to pray (my brain is all mushy and I'm having a hard time focusing) but I'm really just chalking it up to one of those pregnant moods.

At least it is nice out today and I took the kiddos outside to play and enjoy the sun and warmth. As a treat, we got to see the neighbor and his granddaughter driving their pony around the field! There are so many benefits to living in the country!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Going Green

Vincent Van Gogh
You can buy this print at www.art.com

After a bit of rainy weather we are having unusually warm weather for April and I'm thoroughly enjoying watching everything turn from brown to green!!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

HOME-making


Madame Vigee-Lebrun and Her Daughter, Jeanne-Lucie-Louise (1780-1819) 1789
You can get this print at www.art.com

A great deal of stress and worry was lifted off my shoulders when my husband made it clear that a perfectly neat home and stressed out wife and cranky kids were NOT what he wanted to come home to. He'd be much happier coming home to a happy wife and kids and just a clear path to his favorite chair where he receives the kisses and embraces of a wife, a son, a daughter and a 50 pound dog who thinks she's a lap dog.

For some reason it was ingrained in me that a home isn't happy unless it is clean and tidy. Granted, a perpetually dirty and disorganized home can and does cause added stress, grief and even illness, it shouldn't be our number one goal to mop the kitchen floor every day while our children look to us for attention.

My husband didn't marry a HOUSEKEEPER. He married a HOMEMAKER! My job is to make a home and that entails more than just outward tidiness. Frankly, that's a never-ending goal that's never reached.

If you truly want to clean house, then start with who you are as a wife and mother before God. (Or just wife if you haven't any children yet). Then let us work on how we treat, care for, love and nurture our husbands and children. It is much more important to spend the time correcting a misbehavior in a child or soothing the sore back of our hardworking husbands than it is polishing silver. It is of far greater value to utilize hospitality and welcome a needing person to dinner than it is to close up the house to guests because it isn't "perfect" enough. If you want to clean house, purge it first of all that is contrary to the Lord whether it be item, deed, action, thought or word.

Sure, we should make our homes comfortable. Sure, we should not ignore the blessing of the home God gave us and our husbands work so hard to provide. Just like we should dress appropriately for serving the Lord, our homes should reflect our service to the Lord. But again I urge you not to be a housekeeper, but a homemaker.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Lemon Water and Ostrich Ferns

I had read somewhere that lemon water is good for easing heartburn, but I just brushed it off. After all, I have a big container of fruit flavored tums to put the fire out during pregnancy. Then, I started getting sick in that I was sick of plain water and the tums were making me terribly nauseous-I mean viciously nauseous! So, I started drinking lemon water and fully expected the citrus to aggravate the heartburn I experience every pregnancy (and yes, I do give birth to children with full heads of hair). After all, orange juice brought on the burn. The opposite occured. I could eat nearly anything I normally would and not experience heartburn! So, the tums lay untouched and I am now a believer in lemon water. One glass every other day (and carefully not overdoing it and sleeping properly) have nearly completely eliminated my heartburn! This is especially comforting because of sugar issues I'm having during this pregnancy I have to eat before I go to bed or else I awaken in the middle of the night feeling ill and unable to sleep. However, eating before bed was a sure trigger of heartburn but the tums left me feeling sick anyway and left a terrible morning breath taste in my mouth that was bad enough to waken me. Lemon water is my miracle cure!

Today, arriving in the mail, was a box containing 11 (I ordered 10!) ostrich fern plants. Ostrich ferns are gorgeously tall ferns that create edible fiddleheads in their baby stages every Spring. Last year hubby and I discussed a location in our yard for a nice shade garden. By rule with a yard as small as ours if I plant anything, I tend to plant edibles. But what shade plants produce edibles? Ostrich ferns are one!