31 December 2011

NEW YEAR'S EVE

















I wish everyone a very Happy New Year!  Our celebration will be very low-key, as always, and we will be having home-made pizza and some bubbly after a while.  The attire is pyjamas!


There is a new party in blogland, and I am going there now to link up.  CJ at In and Out My Nest is starting today with "Weekend R & R" -- a place to share what we like to do at the weekend. 


You all come and join us, OK?


And on Sunday we all visit The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sunday.  See you over there, too!


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28 December 2011

OLD FASHIONED BANANA BREAD





When I posted these photos to my Facebook page yesterday, several people requested the recipe.

These two recipes are both old, both came from my mother, and are the two best I have ever found.  The first one is REALLY old (as in probably 75 years!), and it makes a large dense rich loaf.  You must bake both at a low temp, and test in the middle.  When the tester comes out clean, it is done.  If the top begins to get too brown, cover loosely with foil.  I have never had a problem with either of these having a sad streak in the middle.

The second recipe doubles very easily, and that is what I did here, using four loaf pans that are smaller than the one I use for the first recipe which works better in single batches.  

Ovens vary! Use an oven thermometer if you are not sure that yours is calibrated correctly.

Serve with spreadable creme cheese.  I keep these loaves frozen until ready to use.  Then I store them in the fridge first wrapped with wax paper and then placed in a ziplock.   The bread slices more easily when it is cold.

Both these recipes make a very moist rich bread.  



BANANA BREAD
1 stick butter 
1 cup sugar
2 beaten eggs
4 mashed ripe bananas
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
pinch salt
1 cup chopped pecans
Cream butter and sugar, and add eggs.  Add bananas.  Sift dry ingredients and add to the banana mixture.  Add nuts.  Bake at 300° F for about an hour.  (Ovens vary)  Use a cake tester to make sure it is done in the middle.
  
BANANA NUT BREAD II
3/4 cup butter (1 and 1/2 sticks)
1 and 1/2 cup sugar
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole buttermilk
3/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
Creme butter and sugar thoroughly.  Blend in bananas, eggs, vanilla.  Sift flour, soda and salt.  Add to mixture, alternating with buttermilk.  Add nuts.  Pour batter into greased and floured 9” x 5” loaf pan.  Bake at 300° F for 1 and 1/4 hours.  Test with cake tester.  Cool in pan then turn out onto cooling rack.  

26 December 2011

TOP PROJECTS FOR THIS YEAR

WRITING

#1

By far my biggest project this year:
the publication of my book about my mother
GENEVA.

You can read about her and the book on the book's site here.  There are excerpts and recipes.
#2

PAINTING AND PAPERING

We wallpapered the DR with some great old Vintage York paper found in an antiques shop in Savannah. 
#3

We worked on "The Never-ending Kitchen Re-do" for nearly seven months!

#'s 4 and 5
Two projects here:

(1)  a recycled board from the old kitchen became a shelf in the narrow front hall and 

(2)  a flag I painted on canvas.
In case you were wondering why 11 of the stars are larger - those are for the states which seceded from the Union!  Just my artsy-fartsy take on the flag...
#6

A little white Crate and Barrel desk was painted chartreuse to better blend in with its surroundings.
 Further changes are afoot this year!

#7

MAKING CORDIAL

The summer's bumper crop of blackberries became delicious Blackberry Cordial -- some of them, anyway.  Others became Cobblers.
#8

A old pair of cheapo lamps were repainted for the third time -- and got new shades.  Lighting the DR, this is probably their best incarnation yet.

#9

Dowels I added to the ends of the butcher block island make it easier to grab a dish towel when I need one.  This should have occurred to me years ago!


#10

CANNING AND PRESERVING

Homemade cranberry orange relish made the house smell so good and adds some zip to the holiday meals.


The tomato canning project was not as much fun, more of a character-building experience!

#11
REPURPOSING

Part of an old light fixture which came with the house has become a lantern for a candle which was integrated into the decorating scheme this Christmas.




#12

SEWING



An inherited sofa, circa 1959, has become my lounging spot of choice in the breakfast nook of the kitchen by the windows.  It now has a white slipcover.

In the kitchen, two cabinet doors were moved, and the sink area now has an apron and a skirt -- making it a "girl" sink I guess.

#13

One display space over the oven stack...

Another display space we made over the hutch section of the cabinets. The kitchen was finally finished. 


The ugly floor was whitewashed.  All the old blinds went to wherever old blinds go.


The butcher block base, an ottoman, all the cabinets --  everything was painted.


New hardware dolled up the old cabinets, too.




This project involved demolition, carpentry, wallpaper, mucho mucho paint, space planning and careful design.  Thank you, I will give myself a pat on the back!


You can read the whole post and see all the before and after photos here.



#14




An old baker's rack has been adapted to function as a little desk area in the Master Bedroom until I find a secretary at an estate sale one day which has the size and the features I want.  Then I will paint it to my liking and all will be well -- in this room, anyway.




Early next year I have another little Master Bedroom project to share, but you'll just have to wait till the New Year to see!



I invite you to look back through this blog, as well as my previous one here to check out all these projects in detail.  Just click on the "Design Blog" header on the old blog at the top of the page for a list of posts.


First, I am joining Rhoda at SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY  for her recap party of everyone's top projects for 2011.  Check it out! I will also join the other fine bloggers listed below.


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Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday


Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesday
Gina at The Shabby Creek Cottage for Transformation Thursdays
Paula and Patti at Ivy and Elephants for What's It Wednesday



Honey at 2805 for Potpourri Friday 
Diann at The Thrifty Groove for Thrifty Things Friday

Debra at Common Ground for Vintage Inspiration

Sherry at The Charm of Home for Home Sweet Home Friday

Jen at Tatertots & Jello for the Weekend Wrap-up Party 

Donna at Funky Junk Interiors for Saturday Nite Special


Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday







THE CHRISTMAS TABLE



Our table for Christmas dinner.
It got a little fancier as the season moved along.

These two chairs came from the LR in order to make room for the Monster Tree.  The everyday ladderbacks went to the garage for a while.

These tablecloths are dressier, so I kept them under glass.  Please tell me, somebody, why a grown man is as messy as a three-year-old?

I have had these placemats and napkin rings a long time (20 years?), and in the run-up to Christmas, I paired them with the chicken wire chargers which are nearly always in service in the kitchen.  




The candy cane centerpiece has been the star of the table.  I am very happy with the way it has maintained its freshness.





On Christmas Day, I laid the beaded mats down first, then gold-leafed terracotta chargers and the Lenox "Holiday" dishes.  The Fostoria "American" candlesticks joined the party, as well as the sequined napkins rings.  

My mother's silverplate "Reflection" was my flatware of choice, a very traditional look to complement the china.


Red stemware from a neighbor's estate sale held the wine and the water.
(Yes, I am aware that the flute is for champagne -- but it's my table and I put water in it!)

The red glass salad plate is from Pottery Barn some years ago.

A close up of the festivity!








We had Smokey Pumpkin Soup,
Antipasto, Caesar Salad and...

My world famous Lasagna.
Well, it's only famous if you know me, and I have served it to you.
Some zucchini and red peppers and a yeast roll completed the feast.

And yes, folks, that is the ever-present bottle of Tabasco sauce next to my husband.  He won't eat without it.








We know that we are very fortunate to have a warm safe house and plenty of food to eat.  We never take these things for granted, and we are very mindful that  many people are homeless and hungry.  Winter is just beginning, and many people are in need of basic things like food, clothing and shelter.  This week, we will be gathering usable items that we no longer need and donating them to various charitable programs.  Do not forget that many food banks are also in dire need.  


As we celebrate this wonderful generous time of year with excess everything, lots of gift-giving to family and friends, let us never forget to include those who are less fortunate.  


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I am linking this post to Susan's Tablescape Thursday
and

Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday

Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays

Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday
Courtney at French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday







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