I’m back and so glad to be here. It’s been an incredibly busy summer that started out with us packing and moving the in-laws from their apartment into a senior’s facility. They didn’t need to do much downsizing because the spaces were comparable in size, but their move inspired me to continue to clean out the accumulation of “stuff” that one collects over the years.
As we packed—and packed and packed—I kept thinking that I don’t want to put my boys through this. Better to get stuff sorted and recycled and discarded BEFORE it’s time to downsize.
There’s also the fact that the older we get, the harder it is to make changes in our life. At 95 and 86, my in-laws were resistant to the move. They didn’t want to leave their apartment. They didn’t want to part with anything. My father-in-law kept packing and unpacking and repacking the same box, until we’d finally sneak it out of his room when his back was turned, tape it closed, and move it to the pile of boxes so he’d be done with it.
Except when we’d arrive the next day, he’d have opened all of the boxes in his search to find the one we took from him.
On the day before the actual move, I was packing up the last of the kitchen items. When I thought I was finished, I double-checked each cupboard and drawer to ensure that I hadn’t missed anything. Then I opened up the dishwasher…and it was full of dirty dishes that my mother-in-law had been storing there until the move.
My DH says that the look on my face was priceless, a mixture of stunned disbelief and barely contained annoyance. Before a few choice words could escape, I sealed my mouth shut, unloaded the dishwasher, and proceeded to wash and dry all of the dishes so I could pack them away for the movers.
The packing ordeal lasted three whole weeks. Three weeks of hot, humid weather. Three weeks of sorting and packing, unpacking and repacking. Three weeks of digging deep and discovering more patience than both my DH and I thought we ever had.
Thankfully, it’s long over now and the in-laws are still adjusting to their new place. On the day my in-laws moved, my mother went in for her knee operation, which I’ll tell you all about next time. 🙂
During my in-laws move, I lost 10 pounds, a nice bonus considering I’d been trying to lose those 10 pounds for about 10 years. But now I’m sure I’ll gain those 10 pounds back this winter because of the BAKE, LOVE, WRITE Cookbook: 105 authors share their favorite recipes and advice on love and writing.
You should check it out. Maybe buy copies to give to your friends and relatives as gifts. My Banana Nut Bread is in the book along with a pile of mouth-watering recipes that will make you want to spend time in your kitchen. And then, of course, there’s the advice on love and writing that each author shared.
When was the last time you packed up and moved yourself or someone else? Did you love it as much as I did? Or are you looking forward to the next move?
(Special Note: This post first appeared on the Women Unplugged blog.)
My guys love bananas. I however do not. I have a vivid memory of eating a banana as a young girl but near as I can figure, I had sunstroke and the end result wasn’t pretty – or discussion for a food post. To this day, I can’t stand the smell of bananas. Whenever any of my guys eat them, they’re not allowed near me with their banana breath.
This recipe started out as a labor of love but turned into a healthy favorite family snack.
In our house, we have bananas around for breakfast or lunches. However as soon as the bananas get spots, my guys won’t eat them. Needless to say, there’s always several bananas left on the counter that either get thrown away or turned into my version of Banana Nut Bread.
This recipe makes a single loaf with 1 to 2 bananas, doubled with 3 bananas or quadrupled with 6 bananas. You can also play fast and easy with the amount of white or whole wheat flour you use. My preference is half and half, originally because I didn’t want to scare my guys off with an all whole wheat flour concoction. In the end, it’s what suits our taste buds, so that’s the mixture I’ve stuck with.
Because I can easily make 4 loaves at once, I’ve always got a few loaves frozen for lunches or to pull out to take to my mom or my parents-in-law’s house, saving them the trouble of baking for themselves or guests.
Banana Nut Bread (makes a single loaf)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease a 9 X 5 X 3 inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, sift together:
1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Put the following ingredients into a blender:
3/4 cup skim milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 to 2 ripe bananas (when doubling recipe, use 3 bananas)
Blend until smooth, then add a handful of walnut halves and blend using the chop or grind function. (This saves on the time consuming task of chop-chop-chopping!)
Pour liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix well.
Turn into the prepared pan and bake for 65 to 70 minutes or till a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 to 20 minutes, then turn out of the pan to let cool on the counter.
Eat the loaf while it’s warm or freeze it for later use. And even if you’re like me and can’t stand bananas, give it a try because once it’s cooked, the banana smell and taste are totally gone, replaced by something far more delicious.
So what’s your least favorite food and is there a reason why you can’t stant to eat it?
This week marks the second anniversary of my Dad’s passing so I’ve been thinking about him a lot. And thoughts of Dad always lead me to memories of his sweet tooth, which he kindly passed down to his kids. Inspired by Myndi Shafer’s recent blog, and in honour of my dad’s memory, I’d like to share with you my recipe for Poppycock, which I used to give to him every Christmas.
Sheila’s Poppycock Recipe
1 cup pecan halves
1 cup whole un-blanched almonds
8 cups popped popcorn
1 1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup margarine
1/2 cup golden corn syrup
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. vanilla
Heat oven to 300 degrees. Spread pecans and almonds on an ungreased cookie sheet and toast lightly. In a very large unbuttered bowl, mix nuts and popcorn together.
In a small heavy saucepan, combine the brown sugar, margarine, corn syrup and cream of tartar. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture forms a soft ball when dropped into cold water, approximately four minutes. Note: if you like your poppycock less chewy, then cook until the mixture forms a hard ball when dropped into cold water, approximately five minutes.
Remove from stove and stir in the soda and vanilla. Be careful because the addition of the soda makes the mixture foam up.
Pour over the popcorn and nut mix. With a wooden spoon, stir until evenly coated. Leave in bowl until the poppycock is partially cooled but make sure you stir it once in a while to keep the mixture from forming into one hard ball.
When the popcorn and nuts have cooled some, dump it on to the countertop or on large cookie sheets and continue to stir occasionally until fully cooled. I usually leave it out overnight and every time I walk by, I stir it to break it apart. Someone will no doubt sneak a piece or two but that’s okay because it’s easy to make a second batch.
This makes a wonderful Christmas gift. I like to put it into jars and tins to give to family and friends. Enjoy!
(Originally published at Women Unplugged.)