Trying a New Online Recipe: Banana Walnut Bread (sans walnuts)

With bananas being a staple in this house, making banana bread is nothing new. I’ve made various versions of it as long as I can remember and still am up for trying new ones. This time via a tweet from Healthy Living Blogs, I found Banana Walnut Bread by Sara Runs, which was a loaf recipe rather than the muffin versions I’ve made more so recently. Muffins are great for both weekend mornings and “grab and go” weekday breakfasts but a still warm loaf cooling in an amazing smelling kitchen just screams weekend. I chose to make it on a snowy lazy day version of a Saturday and so ended up warming up the house a bit and making something delicious at the same time.

BananaBread_SR_112515

Here is my breakdown of this recipe.

  • Ingredients shopping: Easy. I “shopped” my own kitchen since the recipe included basic ingredients that are staples. I omitted the walnuts since that was the one thing we don’t keep on hand all the time.
  • Prep: Easy. As long as you have enough bowls for the steps, it is super easy. I used my KitchenAid stand mixer and so there was very little effort needed.
  • Cooking: Easy. I set the oven timer to the full 55 minutes and only  checked on it twice. I ended up adding an extra two minutes to the time.
  • Make it again: Absolutely. The banana bread turned out so delicious that we almost ate half of it within ten minutes. I can see myself making this to give away as well.
  • Modify it: Since I didn’t have walnuts in the pantry, this was a modified recipe to begin with. When I do have walnuts, most likely when the holiday baking season has been around a bit more, I will try making that version/the actual recipe.
  • Works for leftovers: Yes but this didn’t last long.
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Life in a Photograph – Fast-forward & Rewind

I’ve long believed that the universe gives a bit of a push when it is needed. Fate, destiny, the ever so grand pedestal on which things that are meant to happen happen, all set up to change things because of some sort of event, a certain person or persons, or in this case, just what seemed to be a simple photo.

Yes, a photograph.

I was recently reminded of that photograph as part of a social media “remember when” that usually reminds me about things like that I talk about music, pets, and knitting quite often which isn’t really groundbreaking. Having that photo version of me starting back, however, was different. I don’t call it a tipping point since I know now that things had started changing a short time prior but it was part of that. It was part of the slow shift, a grain of sand that wouldn’t have registered if I had stepped on it alone. I saw the tired eyes, though happy to be among friends, that had started in frustration at my closet just a short time before, just one of the many frustrations that I was holding on to and had held for too long. Too long, I had decided, it had been too long.

I try to keep some sense of positivity in my life even if it is just making sure that the music surrounding me makes me happy but I am only human. There are times that range from feeling bothersome to overwhelming, be it warranted or not, and I know that focusing isn’t good for me nor the people dealing with the grumpy cloud I’m dragging around. At least, my heavier than normal heavy footfall gives warning.

Now the heavier footfall is one that I try to pace to keep up with all that I surround myself with, pausing when needed for extra breath, grinding my heels in an attempt to crush what is against me, and running forward as much as possible and away as little. When I look at that photo, I see it differently now, rather thinking of the year that followed it than the night it was taken. There were many photographs of me with tired eyes that could have been taken during that time but it would have been because of good things. It could have been due to a late night filled with great people or fantastic music or trying to get one more row knitted or one more chapter read. It could have been because I was catching up having a good day after a bad one.

The timing of this all works with this being a week when people are expressing a concentrated gratitude for things. Think of the use of the word “concentrated” like coffee, being generally thankful for things is your daily coffee, or tea or juice if you prefer, and this week is like doing shots of espresso.

BING!

ZIP!

BWAHAHA….er ha?

BAHAHAHAHA. There, that is a bit less comic book villain style but that is how I will look at that photo if it appears from the shadows again. If it appears again and if I notice it. I’d rather focus on the things that I am thankful for in my life like the opportunities ahead of me, the people who part of my life who are there for me when I’m in good moods and bad, surrounded by a flurry of crazy creative ideas, shared laughter and shared words, and the art and music that adds beauty to it all.

Fitbit Flex: Go Go New Gadget!

This past weekend, a good friend of mine got married to a great guy. After the beautiful ceremony was the fun-filled reception. I cannot remember the last time I danced that much! Now if I only had gotten my new gadget beforehand!

Super excited mode means iPhone photo taken with happy shaking hands

Super excited mode means meh iPhone photo taken with happy shaking hands

I have been talking about wanting a Fitbit for awhile now and both Darth Husband and I were reading about the various versions.  I decided on the Flex. A big reason I decided on it was because I wore old school pedometers in the past and was always knocking it off and/or dropping it. Having it strapped to my wrist means less potential destruction or me just plain losing it.

Right now, I’m reading up on all the bells and whistles as well as getting used to wearing it. I’m wearing it on my left wrist where I’d usually wear a watch though I haven’t worn a watch in ages. (Blame the cellphone!) So far it doesn’t seem awkward so that is a good thing.

Now I just have to see how awkward my stats end up but I see this as a fun challenge and will update you all about wearing the Fitbit and getting my butt in gear (and off the couch) in the future.


Disclaimer: This Fitbit was a gift from Darth Husband and was paid for out of his own pocket.  We received no free product or discount for a mention in the post. 

Keeping the Pace and Keeping the Peace

So far I have successfully made it through about half of January and haven’t broken my resolution. All the written years have been 2014.

I’m glad I said “written” because I just typed 2013.

Yay for the backspace key!

If I had made some sort of grandiose plan to work out or whatever the past two weeks (give or take) would be a big fat fail.  It would warrant an extra bold font.

fail

I think I jinxed myself last month thinking of how I lucked out last year during flu season and hoped to repeat it. When going through drafts before Christmas, I even found a  long forgotten draft of an old post idea about being lucky. Good thing I hadn’t set that to autopost (not that I would actually have one scheduled for over a year though) because then that would be mocking me too.

I definitely didn’t luck out this time and when January hit so did The Plague. Anytime an illness is more than just a cold and ends up really nasty I refer to it as a plague since dramatic flair helps the healing process…. or so I say to myself as I’m whining.

My January to-do list ground to a halt as the “Hmmm, I don’t feel too well” progressed to that moment when you are proud of yourself for finishing a small mug of tea after relishing in the fact that bathroom tile is cold. It wasn’t pretty but luckily it has since evolved to a mutant cough and my being aggravated that I am still not feeling well. It isn’t nor wasn’t the end of the world and will eventually become part of the “that January when I got really sick” list.

Hitting the giant pause button for a list of things ended up being more helpful than just getting better. It was like a giant computer style reset/reboot/hey look we’re going to make you shut down everything as we restart. I had to slow down. I had to ignore some stuff.

I am a multi-tasker. That is the way I’ve always been. It might be something as simple as having music on as I’m doing something but I still see that as multi-tasking. (Plus rarely do I enjoy absolute quiet.) There are TWO things going on at once. With the holiday season and the related events, to-do lists, planning, plotting and cleaning, I wasn’t even aware of just how much I was in “Go! GO! Yarnalone!” mode I was in. (Now I have the Inspector Gadget theme stuck in my head… DO! DO!)  It wasn’t insanely busier than my usual mode but I can see bits and pieces that were significantly more hectic.

Hectic happens.

I have to deal with it.

I can’t hide out watching The Gummie Bears on DVD and wishing that marshmallows count as a food group.

Well I could but that wouldn’t be practical.

The focus is really to keep the pace and keep the peace.  This idea first came to me one morning when I was stuck behind an obnoixously slow person during the walking portion of my morning commute. I understand that people have varying walking speeds but think of it like when you are driving and can’t get around the person doing 15 mph below the speed limit. I just wanted to keep my pace without the ridiculously unwarranted stress.

So the pace means things that are needed, the responsibilities, and the actual stuff that needs to get done. The peace is making sure this all happens without the ridiculously unwarranted stress and also with making time for myself.

Then I can sit and knit and maybe even actually watch The Gummie Bears on DVD.

2014: The Resolution

January means a new year which means the New Year which means New Year’s resolutions.

I have one:

Remember to write 2014 the first time when writing in ink because making a 3 into a 4 sans white out is much more difficult than a 2 into a 3.

I’m pretty serious about this.

I’ve done the more old school  New Years resolutions before. By “old school” I mean the more common ones that many people make over and over and I don’t want to just get stuck in some sort of time warp.

Let’s do the resolution warp agaaaaaaaaaain:

  • eat better

  • work out more

  • stress less about things I have no control over

  • save more

  • sleep more

  • blah blah blah.

A new calendar year is easily seen as a new beginning. If you have paper 12-month with no bonus month calendar meant it was time to take the new one out of the plastic. If you use a digital calendar, congrats, you got to click the “Next” button. It is a fresh start in the sense of a non-smelling new car smell or the first page of a brand new spiral-bound notebook.

I get it. It just don’t work for me.

I don’t want to be controlled by a number, actually two of the same numbers: 01/01 It makes me think of binary coding back in college.

Binary coding… machines… control… machines taking control… Terminators….

Yeaaaaaaahhh, so I’m going to add this feeble attempt to keep the last ramble tie in to my initial start in saying that 2014 my plan is to kick butt, just not metallic post-apocalyptic metal robot butt, and most not likely not all starting January 1st.

December 2013: Ninja Rap but not wrapping paper

This year was one of the first in a few years that I felt a bit behind with Christmas shopping. I had planned out some items and had ideas for some others but I just hadn’t been out as quickly to get them. Darth Husband and I did hit a few stores on Black Friday (though hours after the doorbusters) but only got a few things. This has been our Black Friday plan for a while now. Unless there is a specific item that we were hoping to get that we know will sell out, like a big screen TV we got a few years back, we wait. It also helps Darth Husband out because then I can get in a nap and am not kicking into pumpkin mode a la Cinderella.

I did have a plan for our friends’ almost five-year-old though that ended up successful – TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES! I found out that she liked Ninja Turtles from an “elf” as I told her when we gave her her presents. She got her Christmas as well as her early birthday present at one time. Turtle Power x 2: pajamas, of which I didn’t get a picture, and a bouncer ball!

NThop

I remembered the bouncer balls from when I was a kid and knew she’d get a kick out of it. Too bad they don’t make adult sized versions. Well technically you could bounce about on a stability ball but that wouldn’t end well.

Ever since I had the gift ideas set, I’ve had Ninja Rap from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: II the Secret of the Ooze stuck in my head. Vanilla Ice back in the day of parachute pants and steps cut in the side of haircuts and pre- renovation DIY reality shows is so amusing.

Darth Husband and I watched TMNT: II today thanks to the greatness that is Amazon Prime movies. I love early 90s movies when special effects was animatronics based rather than all CGI. Also, major kudos to the guys in the suits especially with all the back flips. I can’t even do a backflip without a suit. Ok, that is totally because I have absolutely no interest in doing a backflip. I can barely do something slightly resembling a cartwheel (or at least when I last tried who knows when ago) so a backflip attempt would not end well.