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The Misadventures of Mrs. B: 2010-03-14

Cook. Writer. Wife. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Klutz.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Banana Bread

Bananas are good.

Bread is good.

We can therefore assume with a fair degree of certainty that banana bread is as good as bananas + bread.  Twice the goodness, in other words.

And you know what? For once, I've found an equation that I can actually understand.  I was never much at math.

Let's get this party started!

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.

The recipe calls for 5 ripe bananas.  Well the bananas in the middle there certainly fit the bill! But they were pretty small so I took another two regular-sized bananas and added them as well.

Mushy bananas aren't so pretty.  But they're in a pretty bowl so that's okay.  Here's a poll: Do you like chunks of banana in your banana bread? I'm not talking slices here, just little pieces.  I wasn't exactly overly-concerned about getting it uniformly smooth.

Eggs.  4 of them.  OH! And this is weird:

I was all like "oooh, yay, a double yolk!".  This was only the second time I had gotten a double yolk in my life, the first time being a few days earlier.  Strange, right? But then...

I got another one.  What are the odds, do you think? Not just two in one carton, but two in one recipe? I'm probably just making too big a deal out of this.  Rob said it's these New Jersey chickens.  I guess it must be.  Pennsylvania chickens don't do things like this all the time.  At least not to me.

Moving on.

4 eggs, beaten and then mixed with the bananas.  Set the bowl aside.

And here comes the butter.  Two sticks of it, in fact, or one cup.  Nice and soft.

And whip it!

Whip it good!

Come on.  You know you were singing it, too.

Once the butter is whipped up nicely, add 2 1/2 cups of sugar but not all at once, just a half to a full cup at a time.  Combine thoroughly after each addition.

Add in a tablespoon of vanilla extract.

Add in your banana/egg mixture and combine thoroughly.

In a separate bowl, mix together 3 1/2 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons of baking soda and a teaspoon of salt.

And add it in stages just like you did with the sugar.  Believe me, you don't want to just dump this on top all at once and try to turn on your mixer.  Unless you like being covered in flour.

I'm not saying I did that this time.  But I may have done it in the past.  Stand mixers make me over-confident, what can I say?

And then for all intents and purposes, you're done.

If you like bland banana bread!

I for one do not.  So I added 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg.

Then I added in more cinnamon.  Because I'm crazy like that.  Crazy and unpredictable.

Grease two 9x5 loaf pans and divide your batter between them.

Don't, by any means, lick batter off your fingers, the spoon or the bowl.  That would be wrong.

Then pop those babies in the oven and go find something else to do for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

When your entire house smells like banana heaven and you're just about ready to die of banana bread lust and you want banana bread so bad you think you're going to explode...!

This happens:


It was so ridiculously moist and flavorful, I just about wanted to slap myself for having the audacity to make it.  But my hands were full of banana bread and that would have just been messy.  So I continued eating.

And then I felt pressed to give a loaf to the neighbors.  Because they've been so good to us and it was the least I could do.  But my heart was heavy, I'm not gonna lie.  It's tough for me to part with food.  Still, they loved it!

Oh...and in case you were wondering: Yes.  This bread WOULD be even better if a handful or two of chocolate chips was mixed into the batter.

But you didn't hear that from me.


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Blessed with Grace

Sumo Sweet Stuff

The Trendy Treehouse

Ultimate Recipe Swap - Life As Mom


Company Girl Coffee: Backyard Beautification

Hello, Company Girls and other blogging friends!

This week seems to have flown right on by, at least to me!

One of my favorite projects this week involved working out in the yard.  The warmer temps have had us itching to get outside! We already knew that we wanted to buy a grill for out back and some patio furniture, but there was one glaring problem:

The nasty, nasty condition of the patio.

It's clear to me that RD spent very little, if any, time in the backyard prior to our moving in.  I'm talking about years and years worth of mud dried onto the concrete, along with pine needles and old leaves.  Clearly as part of our Backyard Beautification Project, something needed to be done about this!

So the neighbors across the street were kind enough to lend us their pressure washer! Of course they've been kind enough to do many, many other things - they're truly the nicest people I've ever met.  Constantly giving.

There's a "before" picture.  See how grimy it looked! And there's Rob in the beginning stages of the work.

See the difference? It's amazing!


Anyway, it was soon determined (by me) that I had way more patience for this task than Rob did, so I offered to take over while he used a scrub brush on a long stick to make the job a little easier.  But it really wasn't necessary - it would just have to be a long job.  So he went into the garage to put together the patio furniture while I veeeeeeeery slowly washed the patio.  Veeeeeeeery slooooooowly.

By the way, and this is just a friendly public service message: If ever you find yourself barefoot and pressure washing a patio, KEEP THE SPRAY OF WATER AWAY FROM YOUR FEET!

It might hurt.  A little.

End of message.

Anyway, here's how it looked after!

It looks like an actual patio again! I cannot express the pride we both felt at the sight of our clean concrete.

I also cannot adequately express the spaghetti arms I had afterward.  I felt like I'd been lifting weights for two hours.  But it was worth it!

So on Wednesday, to celebrate and let's face it, because he was too eager to wait any longer, Rob grilled some burgers for dinner.

He also got a little saucy and cooked bacon on the side burner.  Show-off.

In case you didn't know already, frying bacon smells good.  I wish I had Smell-o-Vision to share it with you.

In honor of the first day of spring, we'll be having my family over on Saturday for burgers and hot dogs.  We're really looking forward to it! Rob's so happy to be playing host for once.  And as I've stated previously, he'd been just about ready to explode from grilling desire.  Now he can grill to his heart's content!

I hope everyone had a good week and wish everyone a fantastic weekend!

PS - When the patio was finished Rob said, "You only did this yourself so you can blog about it".  And I laughed because I had been planning to post on it anyway, regardless of who actually did the work.  And then he said in this whiny voice, "Myyyyy husband is sooooo laaaaaazy! I had to do it aaaaaall by myyyyyyself!".  That was the best laugh I had all day!

But now that I'm thinking about it...maybe he's right...   ;-)


I is for Icicles and...I!

I am not entirely sure what to post in my "I" entry today!

Immediately I thought about these icicles which were hanging off the eaves of my father-in-law's house prior to our moving in.  I saw them on one of the days we stopped by to move things into the attic and I couldn't believe how huge they were!

That side of the house is the one that gets all the sun, so it stands to reason that the snow on the roof would be melting and refreezing all day long...

Seriously as thick as my wrist!

I sure don't miss them! Now the snow is a goner and the patio is clean (that's a subject for a whole other post!) and we have the grill and patio furniture and even tiki torches.  We are definitely trying to usher in the warm weather!

Then, after thinking about the icicles, I thought about..."I".  As in myself.  My favorite subject.

Just kidding.

I am learning a lot about myself lately. 

I am learning that I do have drive when it comes to achieving my goals. 

I am working hard to keep the house in order, most of the time, and it IS possible to do so. 

I am capable of asking for help when I need it, and help is available when I do. 

I don't have to do it all, and no one expects me to.  No one has as high a set of standards for me as I do, and I only disappoint myself when I set the bar too high and don't reach it.

I do have people in my life who care, and I am so lucky to have them.

I do have the best husband in the world, but I knew that already.  (Hon, seriously, I'm just trying to get a comment out of you here! C'mon!)

I am allowed to have desires and wishes, and it's okay to voice them and not be afraid.  And there are special people in my life who do care whether or not I see those things through.  I've always had this idea that it wasn't right to want things for myself.  Even something as simple as wanting to have a garden - I told Rob the other night that I didn't want to do it anymore.  In reality I felt bad thinking of spending time doing something I wanted to do as opposed to something I had to do.  It felt...frivolous.  Stupid.  And you know what? He was sad for me.  And I realized that it was okay to have things for myself, and that people who really care about me will want the same things I do.  Seems simple enough, but I forget that.  A lot.

I am just happy to be here!

It's important every once in a while to sit down and take stock and see where you really are as opposed to where you only *think* you are.  And I'm in a very good place, all things considered.  Life could definitely be much worse - I am very deeply blessed.

I am looking forward to seeing what everyone else's "I" posts are today over at Jenny's!

And I'm looking forward to posting later on about a certain bread made with bananas that I baked several days ago.  Needless to say, the bread is gone. 

But the memories...oh, the memories...

You'll wanna come back for that.  Seriously.  It would be in your best interests.  ;-)

Sharing with...

Jenny Matlock


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Salad with Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette

Just so you know, it's not all about chocolate cake and pasta and rich stew and other fattening foods here on Misadventures of Mrs. B.

Oh, no.

Sometimes I like to play it light.

Like tonight.  As soon as the temps start to warm up even a little bit and it looks like spring will actually show itself, I feel the urge to eat salad.

I know! Right? Crazy.

So tonight I figured it might be a good idea to make a salad and feature my favorite and easiest dressing!

Start off with a tablespoon of dijon mustard.

Add a tablespoon of spicy brown mustard.

Mix in three to four tablespoons of lemon juice.  Whisk it vigorously.

Then drizzle in a stream of olive oil as you whisk constantly.  Emulsify.  So scientific.

While this was going on, I was sauteing these beautiful babies...

In a lovely combination of olive oil, I Can't Believe It's Not Butter (hey, like I said, I try to lighten up when possible) and one pressed clove of garlic.

Oh, yum.  Yum yum yum.

I drizzled my dressing over a plate of greens, topped it off with sliced avocado and the mushrooms.

Heaven...I'm in heaven...


And it went great...with my...burger.

Hey.  I can't go completely light.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Delectable Pot Roast

Confession: I never used to like pot roast.  I'm pretty sure I spent the first 20 years of my life, if not more, disliking pot roast.

I am not at liberty in such a public place to explain why I didn't like it.  It's a personal thing.

Anyway, it wasn't until I started experimenting with it...and until I started using a crock pot...that I decided that it was possible to l-o-v-e me some pot roast.

So here's what I've come up with over time!

Start with one large onion...

And peel and slice it up real purty like.

Then take these beautiful carrots...

Peel em and cut 'em up.

Arrange them attractively in the crock pot.  Because it's all about appearance.  Okay, not really, but it makes a nice picture.

Take two garlic cloves...

Smash 'em.  Peel 'em.  Mince 'em.


Oh, and don't forget: When you take a picture of the garlic, make sure it's not in focus.

Sprinkle the garlic over the attractive onions and carrots.

And then here's something I didn't use in the past but, since working with the beouf bourguignon recipe and knowing how delicious that is, I've been using it in my stews and roasts since then.

I just love tomato paste.  I love that rich, terrific flavor it lends.  And it's pretty.  So I added two tablespoons of it.

Finally, it was the time I had been waiting for.  It was time to sear the roast.

My favorite time.

Iiiiiisn't she looooovely...

Sorry.  I sing to my food.  I believe the food is then inspired to taste better.

I dried the roast off with paper towels and sprinkled it liberally with salt and pepper while heating olive oil in a large pot.

And then that happened.  On all sides.  And it was good.

Once the roast was seared with a lovely crust on all sides, I placed it on top of the veggies, etc in the crock pot.  Then I used beef stock in the pot to pick up all of the brown bits which the roast thoughtlessly left behind while searing.

Silly roast.

I poured that stock over the roast and its friends.

And then...I got a little naughty.

Maybe...a lot naughty.

See...I had this bacon sitting in my fridge...

And I didn't want it to go to waste or anything.  Because wasting food is wrong.  Especially if "food" is delicious bacon.

So I layered the delicious bacon over the roast.  It was wrong...and yet it felt oh so right.

A sprinkle of fresh parsley and a palmful of dried thyme and voila...t'was ready for cooking!

After 8 hours on low, I was left with this...

The smell? Divine.

The meat? Fork-tender.

It was ridiculous.  Ridiculous, I say.

Serve it up with those carrots and onions, and perhaps some buttered eggs noodles, and the gravy that you make out of the juices and flour (if that's your thing)...and you've got a meal on your hands.


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What's in Your Crockpot - Smockity Frocks