Chocolate Banana Bread

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So what do you do when you have too many bananas and you know that any day, they are going to go bad?

You make Chocolate Banana Bread, of course! (Click Link for recipe)

This recipe is so versatile and perfect for freezing or even making mixes up ahead of time.

The ingredients are all pantry basics, so go ahead and get started!

I made two loaves of bread and 12 mini muffins by doubling the recipe.

After cooling the loaves completely, I sliced them and wrapped two slices in plastic wrap and bagged them in a baggie for extra protection.  These individual baggies will be perfect for sticking in the freezer for future mornings when we want this for breakfast.

I’ve also prepared this mix ahead of time and put in the freezer in baggies, which contained all the dry ingredients.  That way, the next time you have bananas that need to be used, just pull out a bag of dry mix and add your wet ingredients for a delicious loaf of bread!

Like I said, this recipe is handy and oh, so good!

 

Practicing My Green Thumb Skills

For all of these years that we’ve been working on this old house, we have basically neglected our yard in a bad way.

In my defense, I’m just not a yard person.  In David’s defense, he does about 520 other jobs, so he was busy.

It wasn’t something I had to do as a kid growing up in the city.  You had grass and you (as in, someone) mowed it and kept it groomed and that was about the extent of it.

My mom had an amazing green thumb, but all of our plants were inside.  I grew up with green plants all over the house and even grew my own Ivy in a jar of water for years.   That was quite literally the only plant I have ever kept alive for more than a month or two.

So, even though I have moaned and complained about the ugliness of our yard for years now, we have been slow to fix it…..until this past weekend.

This is a picture I have shown before, of the view from our back porch.  Notice the yard?  One birdbath sitting on some bricks….thrilling.

This is the view now.

Nothing to write to HGTV about, but it’s a start and definitely something pleasant to look at, when sitting on the back porch.

David even planted a few veggies in the old rabbit cage.

A fun little gathering on the side.

Some fresh flowers in the buckets we put in last year.

 

We are planning a brick sidewalk here, to replace these stepping stones.

We added a few hanging plants to brighten up the front porch.

 

 

Needless to say, we did some work this weekend and I’ve got the back ache to prove it!

But, in the end, it was well worth it.  Hard work never hurt anybody, right?

Now, if I can just remember to go outside and water these things!

We also had 4 trees cut down in the front yard, in hopes of actually growing some grass and losing the lovely look of dirt.

All in all, we improved things around the farm this weekend and just in time for the storm that’s predicted this week.  (I love it when God waters my plants for me!)

I think I’ll grab a book and just sit on the porch and watch the rain.  I’ve done enough work for a while.

That is, right after the Volunteer meeting today and Collin’s birthday dinner tonight and ……. well, you get the picture.

Have a great day!

 

My Forever Tree

One day David was home on his lunch break and walked outside for a bit.  I didn’t really think much about it, as this was a normal thing, but after awhile he came in and asked me join him outside.

He made up some story about one of the trees and how I needed to come take a look.

I had no idea what he was talking about, but I humored him and listened and just about the time I was going to make my get-away, I looked up and saw this carved into the tree.

My husband – the hopeless romantic.

27 years and I’m still blessed and somewhat surprised by what he does.

I hope he never changes.

Adding to My Pioneer Woman Collection

This week I decided to splurge a little and add to my collection of dishes from The Pioneer Woman’s kitchenware line.

Having already indulged in plates and cups, I thought I would check the shelves this week for anything unique that I might have missed in previous shopping trips.

Sure enough, I found a few items that caught my eye right away – the tea pitcher, measuring cup and ramekins.

I’ve tried to get in the habit of checking each Walmart, as I can, because they all have different items and they seem to get picked over pretty fast.  So I was pleasantly surprised when I turned down the aisle and found all of these things just sitting on a bottom shelf.

I love the tea pitcher because it’s not too bulky and you don’t have to make a gallon of tea in it.

We don’t drink tea as often anymore, so I thought this would be the perfect size for our family and it fits nicely in the fridge.

The measuring cup is just as cute as can be and it actually solved a problem we have with an ugly plastic measuring cup we leave on the counter to fill our coffee machines.

Now we can leave this cute dish sitting out and it won’t ugly up my counter top!

The ramekins are just adorable and I love to have small bowls on hand for salsa or individual butter bowls when we have people over for dinner.

One thing I love about Ree’s kitchenware line is that the prices are very reasonable.

The other thing I love is that they are all mix and match, which fits my style perfectly.

I also think it’s great that they are right up the road at your friendly Walmart store and you can basically pick up a piece every time you shop.

Convenient, cute, versatile, reasonably priced.

If you’re going to have a collection going, this is a good one!

Have you picked up any of The Pioneer Woman’s pieces yet?

 

I’m In Love With Chalk Paint!

I realized today that I had not posted the final pictures of our farm table, after painting it.

So…..here it is!

We used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint – French Linen on top and Old White on the bottom.

We painted the top with three coats of French Linen, then wet brushed a thin layer of white over the gray, to give it a different look.

It took me a few days of walking by the table, to figure out if I was really satisfied with the color, but now that I’ve lived with it for a few weeks, I actually love it!

Overall, David and I were very pleased with this project!

And, even though I have avoided chalk paint for the last few years, I’m pretty sure it’s become my paint of choice for projects like this.

In fact, if you’ve never tried chalk paint, here are a few things to consider:

*It seems scary at first, but the great thing is that it is very versatile.  Just by dipping your brush in water, you can achieve a whole new look!

*It goes a long way!  Yes, it’s expensive ($35 for a quart!!), but we only used 1/2 of each color for this project.   So, technically, we could do two tables for $70 worth of paint.

*It’s fun!

So, there you have it!

Who would have thought that having a pretty table would be that big of a deal?

But, it was exactly what this old house has needed for a long, long time!

Bon appetite’!

If You’re Ever in a Jam…..

Recently I had the privilege of getting together with some women, whom I call friends, and sharing a beautiful time of food and fellowship.

We had a simple meal of Potato Soup, Salad, and Bread packaged in individual sacks, complete with our names on them.

As a simple token of friendship, I made these cute jars of JAM, with wooden serving spoons and a tag, referencing Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, which reads……

 

“Two are better than one,
because they have good return
 for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.”

 

Friendship is about helping each other up; whether literally, figuratively, or spiritually.  Sometimes you have to get in the trenches with one another; be there to listen and pray.

When life gets hard, we all need friends to help carry our burdens.

Be a friend to someone today, because one day, you’ll be in a jam and you’ll need a friend too.

Pecan Pie Muffins

Pecan Pie Muffins have been a favorite of mine for years.  I used to make them from a pre-made mix (anyone remember Homemade Gourmet?), but recently I found a recipe and decided to put it to the test.   Let me tell you….it did not disappoint!

These were delicious!

In case you get a craving for these little cuties, here’s the recipe:

Pecan Pie Muffins
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans
2/3 cup butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
Grease muffin cups generously
 (muffins WILL stick if you skip this step!)
In medium bowl, stir together:
brown sugar, flour, pecans
In a smaller bowl, mix:
butter and eggs
Combine:
dry ingredients with butter and eggs,
just until well combined
Spoon batter into muffin cups,
about 2/3 full
Bake:
Mini muffins – 15-17 minutes
Regular Sized muffins – 17-20
Times will vary!
Check after 15 minutes and add additional time
as needed, to make the muffins firm.
Cool:
For a few minutes, then run a knife around the edges to loosen.
Turn pans over and pop the muffins out.
Put on a pretty plate and
  ENJOY!

 

Our Farm Table is Here!

Mixed in with the posts about the old farmhouse, I want to start sharing what’s going on around here, in the present day.

One of the things David and I vowed to do in 2016, was finish this house and a few other projects we’ve always talked about, but never got around to……like this farm table!

For years we have struggled with our diningroom being right in the middle of the house.  It just always seemed out of place to me and no matter how we arranged it or what kind of table we used, it never seemed to accomplish what it was meant to do, which was – invite you to the table.

Now, I will have to admit that I’ve always had additional pieces of furniture in the room with the table, because it’s a small house and we literally had to utilize every corner and wall that we could.

But, as the years moved along we were able to eventually change things around and utilize the diningroom the way it was meant to be used.

With an empty room to work with, David and I took measurements and decided how long of a table we would need to fill up the middle of the room, lengthwise.

We knew we would need a narrow table to accommodate the narrow room, but not too narrow that your plate would touch the plate across from you, when eating dinner.

So, we measured for two plates and some room in the middle, and came up with the perfect sized table for our little diningroom.

We studied some pictures online and through some weeding out of certain looks and combining other aspects that we liked, we came up with the design of the legs, frame, and top.

While David was doing all the heavy lifting (and cutting, sanding, and drilling), I was trying to decide on paint colors at the local antique store.

I ended up choosing some chalk paint (which neither of us have ever used), so very soon, we will be trying our hand at painting our creation.

Of course, I’ll keep you posted.

Wish us luck!