Holy cow, I added Tastespotting to my Google Reader list, and that site updates about 30 zillion times a day. I’ll think I’m all caught up on my reading, and I check Google Reader and find that I have like 30 unread items in the last hour.
I’m not complaining. It just so happened that I clicked on the picture for Chocolate Chocolate Chip Banana Bread the other day, wondering how many bananas were called for for the recipe, and found that it required two bananas. And it just so happened that I HAD two bananas (more on that in the next section, if I remember) and I was going to get groceries yesterday morning so I picked up the bittersweet chocolate I didn’t have, and I made a loaf of the bread.
I don’t like bittersweet chocolate usually (milk chocolate is more my namby-pamby speed) and I tend not to like stuff that’s doubly chocolate, but I took a slurp of the batter before I baked it, and I was all
That was some fabulous stuff, and after Fred and I split a piece of the bread after dinner, I had to quick wrap it up and freeze it so we wouldn’t eat it all (and there was no way the pigs were getting this stuff!).
I’ve been doing a lot of stuff in the kitchen lately, actually. Last Wednesday I made Smitten Kitchen’s Mom’s Apple Cake, because I figured like most fruit-based cakes, it would taste better after the flavors had a few days to mingle (and actually, she says it tastes better the second day). We cut it on Friday and Fred liked it a lot. I thought it was good, but one of the many things I forget about myself is that I don’t really like cake with chunks of anything in it, so one small piece was enough for me. We froze some of it, and gave the rest to the pigs.
On Friday, I made a batch of Sundry’s Cow Pat Cookies, only instead of making them with healthy walnuts, I opted for the less healthy peanut butter chips. It actually makes so many cookies that I did a couple of sheets of cookies for Fred and I, and a couple (which I deliberately baked for almost 20 minutes so they’d be sturdier) for the pigs. They were good on Friday, better on Saturday, and by Sunday I had to add the remainder of the cookies to the container of cookies for the pigs, or I would surely have eaten myself into a coma.
Saturday I thawed out the frozen chicken enchiladas I’d stuck in the freezer last time I made a batch of enchiladas (three weeks or so, I think it’s been), and I can report to you that if you make the chicken enchiladas up to the point where you put them in the oven and then freeze them, thaw them out at a later date, sprinkle cheese over them, and bake them, they are DAMN GOOD. I forgot to get anything out of the freezer, veggie-wise, so Fred went out to the garden and picked us a big bowl of romaine, and we had salads.
Sunday, after getting groceries in the morning, I made bacon and eggs for breakfast for both of us. When Fred went off to work on the new chicken coop, I made a batch of Caramel Apple Jam. I went with the recipe posted in Suzanne McMinn’s forum, because whenever I make something new I like to try the original recipe before I get all fancy, but I kind of wish I’d done it Suzanne’s way, because although the diced apple pieces were fully cooked when I put the jam in the jars, in the 10 minutes in the canner, they shrunk a little extra and floated to the top, leaving a liquid on the bottom. I’m sure they’ll taste just fine right to the very bottom of the jar, but they look kind of funny.
There was a little left over from that batch so I put it in a jar and stuck it in the fridge, and then Fred and I gave it a try, and HOLY COW that is some excellent stuff! I might have to try an experimental batch of the jam made with apple puree instead of apple pieces, but if I can get it to look as good as it tastes, I see something that would be GREAT to give as gifts. Two thumbs way WAY up!
Sunday afternoon I used up the rest of the apples I had (half a peck) and made chunky applesauce (I don’t add anything to our applesauce, just apples, cooked, mashed up, and canned) and the aforementioned Chocolate Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, and in between all that, I made a pork roast in the crock pot, which we had for dinner with spaghetti squash and kale, directly from our own garden.
Though I spent most of the day in the kitchen, it was still a pretty relaxed day (I got to take plenty of kitten breaks) and I ended the weekend with a clean house (Saturday, I did laundry and cleaned the bathrooms and vacuumed and got a lot of crap put away), and that’s always a good thing.
So, the banana peels. I read in a magazine recently the following:
In mid-February, I begin saving banana peels in a bag in the freezer. When it’s time to plant tomatoes, I dig a ditch 2 inches deeper than required, lay the peels end to end and cover them with dirt. Then I plant the tomatoes as usual. My tomato vines reached 8 to 10 feet, and the fruits were very sweet.
Since we don’t really eat all that many bananas on a regular basis, I thought I’d go right ahead and start getting those banana peels stored away now. Of the many banana recipes and suggestions y’all gave me back in September was Maryanne’s banana bread. Since I had enough bananas, I made the recipe for two loaves and froze one.
(VERY good banana bread, by the way! I didn’t include pecans because I had none in the cupboard and the pecans we do have need to be shelled and I wasn’t up for shelling a buttload of pecans, thankyouverymuch.)
Which left me with two bananas, and I was thinking about making NZer’s suggestion of Edmond’s Banana Cake, when I was sidetracked by the aforementioned Chocolate Chocolate Chip Banana Bread.
Anyway. That explains why I had two bananas laying around AGAIN. Fascinating, no?
When the foster kittens (or our cats, for that matter) are having litterbox issues that aren’t really optimal (that is, not diarrhea, but not quite what it should be), I like to try giving them some FortiFlora. I don’t know if it’s really the magic formula that it seems like, or if it just so happens that things clear up on their own after I start giving the FortiFlora, but I like to try it anyway. If it doesn’t really help, it also doesn’t hurt, and they tend to like the taste of the stuff.
Sometimes I mix it in a little plain yogurt, but not all cats have the best reaction to yogurt, so over the weekend I mixed a packet of FortiFlora with chicken baby food and brought it up into the foster room.
Not long after I entered the room, put the plate on the floor, and sat down, Lem decided he smelled something pretty fabulous. He came down, spotted the plate, rubbed against me, gave me the questioning “Is that for…. ME?” eyes, and then started eating. Marion heard him eating and immediately jumped down to investigate. Delmar was the third one down and eating, and then finally Claudette decided she could wait no longer to check out this treat, so down she came.
Fred was hanging out with the kittens Saturday night (he requests that I give him a little alone time with the kittens every evening before I go upstairs because sometimes the kittens get overwhelmed with both of us in there) and apparently Mister Boogers started sniffing around at the bottom of the door. Lem heard him sniffing, went over to investigate, and lost his MIND. He was hissing and growling and finally Fred turned around and pulled him away from the door. Lem ran across the room and to the top of the cat tree and arched his back and hissed, glaring at the door. His brother and sisters approached him to find out what his problem was, and he started growling and hissing at them, so they growled and hissed back at him.
I wasn’t privy to any of this, because I was still downstairs, and when I headed upstairs Mister Boogers was coming down the stairs looking completely relaxed and unimpressed. Lem refused to come back down off the tree, and his siblings were all pretty freaked out still, so after a little while we left them alone to calm down.
Next morning, they were back to their usual selves. I guess if we’re going to introduce them to our cats, we need to take it verrrrrry slow!
More pictures – and a movie! – over at Love & Hisses.
2007: No entry.
2006: Biscuits for everyone!
2005: Your fascinating tidbit for the day.
2004: More Myrtle Beach.
2003: It’s got to be early-onset Alzheimer’s, y’all.
2002: No entry.
2001: No entry.
2000: I think back on the shit I pulled as a senior in high school, and I’m flat-out amazed that I managed to graduate.
1999: Just an all-around relaxing day.