Be Happy Anyway

Be Happy Anyway
From Brave Girls Club

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mmmm. Tasty.

I maybe a day late, and I am certainly a dollar short, but I finally have something to share.

By the way, I have misplaced my good camera. Don't ask me how. If I knew, I guess it wouldn't be lost.

Today, I had three REALLY ripe bananas. They were so ripe that when I opened them, they fell apart immediately. Oddly enough, the peel was still pretty yellow. I don't quite understand the Price Chopper bananas. They are always green at the store, but they ripen soooo quickly. So what is one to do with such ripe bananas? You must make banana bread.

I don't follow recipes well because I never have on hand what the recipe calls for. I started with A Farm Girl Dabbles recipe, but realized I had almost NOTHING from that recipe, but I did like how she mentioned substituting one banana with a half a cup of pineapple and a half a cup of applesauce. I then went to The Betty Crocker website and used that as the basis for my recipe. The result turned into a perfect banana bread. I am sure that some of you understand how hard that is for me with me deflicted (dilapidated + afflicted) oven. I am sorry there is no smell-o-vision or taste-o-vision so you will just have to use your imagination or buy some bananas and make your own.

The recipe is as follows:

1.25 c sugar (approx. 250 grams)
0.5 c butter/margarine - melted (1 stick)
2 eggs
2 c bananas ( I had 3 large ones) (500mL)
0.5 c crushed pineapple (125mL)
0.5 c natural applesauce
0.5 c milk (125mL)
1 tsp vanilla
2.5 c all purpose flour (approx. 315 grams)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 c chopped nuts if desired (I left out.)

(If you don't have pineapple and apple sauce add another banana.)

Grease the bottom of 2 loaf pans.
Oven 325-350F (165C - 175C)
Move rack lower so the top of the loaves will be in the middle of the oven. (That really helped.)
Mix the wet and add in the dry.

Split batter between two pans.
Bake 8 inch loaf for 1 hour, 9 inch loaf for 1.25 hours. Cool 10 minutes. Loosen from the sides. Set on cooling rack. Cool 2 hours before slicing.

I like banana bread really cold with margarine on it. I am sure it would be really good warm with butter on it. It is definitely good warm temperature with nothing on it. In general, it is just good banana bread. It would be better, however, with nuts, like most things.

While I am sharing recipes, here's dinner. Sorry for the phone pictures. (Someone better pray to St. Anthony to help me find that stinkin' camera.)

I started with the recipe on the back of this can:
As usual, I don't have what the recipe called for so here's what I made:
1 lb smoked sausage
1/2 cup of diced sweet bell peppers (red, green, yellow)
1 can black beans (rinsed)
1 small can corn (drained)
1 can Hunt's Zesty & Spicy pasta sauce
1 can petite diced tomatoes

Slice the sausage and put in a large skillet for two minutes to brown slightly. Saute the peppers. Add the corn and beans and stir. Add the pasta sauce and diced tomatoes. Simmer for 5 minutes. Serve over rice.

The results?

Mmmm. Tasty. Oh, wait! I said that already

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Other Day I Heard...

...a colleague who teaches at the college where I work say some thing peculiar to me. It may not be to you so here it goes.

Most of the evening instructors work only part time because they are retired or work full-time jobs in the morning. The woman who works in the classroom that adjoins mine works elsewhere during the day. Yesterday the weather was behaving strangely, starting out at a pleasant 50-something degrees and ending in the windy 30s by the time we came to work that night.

We were both commenting on the weather as people who are just getting to know each other do when she said told me about her lunch. She said, that around 11 o'clock, her cubemate and she went out to get something for lunch and enjoyed the weather so much that they sat outside to eat. As I was driving home last night, my mind started spinning and was still whirring away this morning at the grocery store. I was pondering the word - CUBEMATE.

It's not that I have never heard this term before, having worked in an office briefly where there were cubicles. What puzzled me was why she called her co-worker her cubemate. Does that imply that the two women are closer than coworkers but not close enough to be called friends? There are so many other things she could have said:
  • coworker
  • colleague
  • friend
  • mate (for my Aussie pals)
  • acquaintance (probably not if they work side by side)
  • she could have left the person out of the story since she had no bearing on the weather comment
So my question to  you is, when does a person you spend everyday, back to back or side by side, 8+ hours a day in an 8 foot by 8 foot space that you choose to lunch with....when does that person become your friend?

Just askin'.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

What Happens...

...when you leave the house to buy one of these:
This is my favorite pen for doodling and outlining.
on an empty stomach?

You come home with all this:
While I was out, I had to go to the post office. As I drove back toward Hobby Lobby for my favorite pen, I saw the HyVee grocery store. I had never been to one and really wanted to look inside. It was a food wonderland. All of the goodies that I normally buy for the kids were on sale, the bag of flour was 59 cents and those vitamin waters were 10 for $10. I couldn't resist. As we wandered around, I found a special treat:
Brown goat cheese from Norway. I even got Caitlin to try it and she liked it.

When I got home, I made this delicious sandwich:
This sandwich is made with Panera's Tomato Basil bread (I bought a loaf the other day), tomatoes, English cucumbers, red bell peppers, feta cheese, and roasted red pepper hummus. Mmmmm. The calories in this sandwich come from the Panera bread, but it is oh, so worth it!

Once I had my new pen, I was able to go back to drawing, which led to these:

I guess creativity is contagious because Little Man got in on the fun, asking for scissors so he could make snowflakes.
Yeah, I probably should buy him smaller scissors.

What has impulse buying caused you to purchase?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day was ushered in with a icy blast and some fluffy snow. Being bundled up in the house led me to want to warm it up with my defective oven.

I found a recipe for brownies on the internet and got to mixing. Unfortunately, the oven and I have been having a battle for awhile. The temperature is inconsistent so I just guess on the baking time. The brownies came out soupy in the middle and done on the sides. I pulled them out anyway, but they ended up needing a little more baking time so in they went again. (Bad idea.) Now I have some VERY crunchy brownies, but they taste very good.
I need to invest in some parchment paper to line my baking pans.

I also dipped Oreos into dark chocolate and decorated them with white chocolate. These goodies made there way into James and Gary's lunch boxes. Cait was out the door so early this morning that I forgot to send her to school with hers.

Here are my Valentine's creations:

Now, I am off to get ready for work and to put on a pair of these:
Have a happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2012


Well, I did it.

I went blonde, something I have wanted to do for awhile. I love it. It's actually blonder than the picture. It was just SOOOOO windy Saturday, and I couldn't get a picture outside of the car without crying from the cold air.

What else is going on??

Well, today is a snow day. I woke up to the 5:45 a.m. alarm and woke up my daughter, but then I realized it was supposed to snow last night, so I turned on the local news. Sure enough, it snowed and there was no school. I have been up ever since. I feel a little nap coming on today.

Some news on the FEATURING Magazine front - There is a preview available at the FEATURING website. Check it out. Very exciting. And if you haven't signed up to be updated on the subscription, now's the time.  While you are previewing the magazine, click on the STAY INFORMED link at the top of the home page. This is going to be a great magazine.

Very exciting....did I say that already? Well, it's true.

Hope you are all staying warm on this wintery day.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Ole' Ole' Ole'!

When I was three my parents bought me a tiny little piano. I used to bang on that thing like there was no tomorrow. My talents didn't stop at tickling the ivories. I also had a penchant for song writing. The first song I ever wrote was "I Love You." It went like this:
I love you.
You love me.
I love you.
You love me.
 Catchy, huh? You must imagine it being sung at the top of my lungs. Even at three, I liked to be out there.

So February is when we celebrate all this love stuff right? That's why these socks are so great!

The kids and I received a wonderful package of happy mail from this great person.

I am still waiting on a teaching job back in Texas. In the meantime, I am enjoying my short workweeks and short workdays while I have them. The gym calls my name most days. I usually answer, but Friday was so cold and rainy that I couldn't bring myself to drive out to my gym. Instead, I broke out the Wii Fit and had fun exercising the way I used to a few years back. I forgot how hard it is.

There has been some drawing, too.
 On this girl, I was working on getting movement into the drawing but I then gave her a sad face, not on purpose, but it is what it is. I figure each drawing is a learning experience on what not to do the next time.

Only nine more days until Valentine's Day. Do you have anything special planned? I would love to hear about it.
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