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krista

Blueberry Banana Muffins

Recipes By August 21, 2016 Tags: , , 2 Comments

I have been making this recipe since my kids were little – so forever.  I usually make it into a quick bread loaf but decided to try muffins this go around.  They turned out great and I was able to use up my very ripe bananas in the process.muffins4a

I like to use foil liners so the muffins don’t stick. These muffins also freeze well.

Blueberry Banana Muffins

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Put liners in muffin tin.muffins1a

  • 1 stick butter – softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 – 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 – 6 oz. carton of blueberry yogurt
  • ½ cup blueberries

Cream butter and sugar, add egg and mix well.  Stir in flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  In separate bowl, smash peeled bananas, then add yogurt and mix together.  Stir banana/yogurt mix into batter. Then gently stir in blueberries.

Fill muffin cups about ¾ full.  Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.  Makes about 1 ½ dozen muffins (or 1 loaf).muffins2a

Enjoy!

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Growing Tomatoes for the Grandkids

Grandkids By August 14, 2016 Tags: , , , 5 Comments

I like growing tomatoes.  It is exciting to watch the blooms turn into fruit and then the green fruit ripen.  I also like growing enough tomatoes to give some away.  However, the best thing is when my granddaughters come to visit and they pick and eat the fruit right from the vine.  I plant beef steak tomatoes for my husband but I plant bite sized cherry tomatoes for the grands.  In the winter, when I plan out the garden, I always have the cherry tomatoes on the outside – it makes it easier for little arms to reach them.tomato-picking3a

Last week my 3 year old granddaughter came by for a visit.  I purposely did not pick any tomatoes for several days so there would be some red, juicy ripe ones left on the vines.  She was very excited and fished around through the green leaves looking for the prize.  It looked like a summer Easter egg hunt.  She was popping them in her mouth and eating them as fast as she could find them.  You would have thought it was candy!  This is the positive side of not using any kind of pesticides or chemicals in my garden.  The fresh picked tomatoes can be eaten right from the source.tomato-picking5a

This is the second year she has feasted on tomatoes from my garden.  I did the same thing fifty years ago in my grandmother’s tomato patch.  I hope it registers a warm memory for her to retrieve some day when she is a grandmother.tomato-picking2a

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Mexican Fiesta

Family By July 31, 2016 Tags: , , 8 Comments

This week we went back to my husband’s home town of Albuquerque, New Mexico, for his class reunion. His mom lives there, so we try to make the trek from New England to the Southwest about once a year.  This time we decided to relax, not do any sightseeing and eat.  Albuquerque has the most amazing food.  Anything you want to eat…they have it.  Of course, our main focus was Mexican food.  Yum.  Mexican restaurants in Connecticut cannot compare to the delicious food found in New Mexico, no matter how hard they try.  This was our main attraction this week…enjoying the delicious food.  Oh yes, and the class reunion. 🙂

Red chili, green chili, breakfast burritos, tamales, tacos, enchiladas, sopaipillas, we ate it all. Except the pig snout…I threw that in for fun.  I actually found them proudly displayed at an indoor market.

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The most interesting one of all….

pig snout2

 

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I Want Sprinkles

Grandkids, Toddlers By July 24, 2016 Tags: , , , 4 Comments

Our three year old granddaughter was visiting us last weekend.  Saturday it was very hot.  She had woken up especially early that morning, so she ended up taking a mid-morning nap.  When she got up I suggested we get some soft serve ice cream at McD’s. I’m not a big ice cream fan but I was looking for some serious air-conditioning time.  My suggestion was met with enthusiasm from both the granddaughter and her grandpa.

Before we left I asked if she wanted an ice cream Sunday, maybe hot fudge? She replied, “I want sprinkles”.  Ok… I asked it a different way. “Would you like chocolate or vanilla ice cream?”  Her response, “I want sprinkles”.  Message received.  No matter what, sprinkles needed to be involved.  I wasn’t sure if McDonalds had sprinkles, so I rummaged through my cabinet and found a bottle…just in case.  I tossed it into my purse.  I figured I could put them on the ice cream myself and she would be none the wiser. Off we went.

Everyone must have had the same idea (air-conditioning) because it was crowded.  I sent the two of them to find a table, while I waited in line. I ordered a cup of vanilla soft serve, inquired about sprinkles (they don’t have any) and waited for my order. Then, while at the counter,  I quickly and discretely pulled out my bottle of sprinkles and generously added them on top.  If anyone saw me they didn’t comment. I was pretty happy with my stealthy secret agent skills.  sprinkles-resized

The sprinkle topped ice cream was well received. She ate all the sprinkles and a little bit of the ice cream before she declared she was done.  After cleaning up her hands and face, she wanted a mint from my Altoids can. Since grandpa and I were not finished yet and I wanted to keep her entertained for a few more minutes, I told her to look for it in my purse.  She loves digging though my purse!  I heard a gasp and she produced the small jar of sprinkles I had brought with me.

She looked at me with a shocked expression and said, “Why do you have the sprinkles?!”

Busted!

Moral of the story: Never try to outsmart a three year old.

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Making Memories

Grandkids By July 17, 2016 Tags: , , , 7 Comments

When I was little my grandmother lived on a large piece of land, probably more than a half-acre with lots of trees and vegetation.  Running along one of the property fences were blackberry bushes.  I am not sure if she planted them or they were there when she moved in. When the berries were ripe, we were out there picking them.  With four grandchildren picking and eating they were gone in a matter of days.  My grandmother didn’t care, she knew we liked them.  It is a nice memory of summers at grandma’s house.raspberry-picking-edit

At my house I have a huge raspberry bush.  Last week the berries started to ripen.  I was excited about it, so I arranged for my grandchildren to come over for lunch.  Afterwards, grandpa took them both out to the bush and picked the ones that were ripe.

It is a very prickly bush but the berries are delicious and worth the peril to obtain them.  My oldest granddaughter picked them last year and was excited when I told her some of the berries were ready to eat.  The youngest one doesn’t quite understand the difference between a ripe berry and everything else.  She still wanted to participate, so she kept picking the unripen fruit.  This time next year they will both be picking and eating the raspberries…along with grandpa.

Hopefully, they too will have warm memories of picking and eating berries in the summer at grandma’s house. 🙂

 

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World Famous Potato Salad

Recipes By July 10, 2016 Tags: , , , 15 Comments

Ok. Ok.  Maybe not WORLD famous – although I do have friends who live in Japan that like it.   However, IT IS frequently requested at summer BBQ’s.potato4A

I learned to make potato salad from my sister-in-law, probably three decades ago (when I could barely cook!).  I don’t make it the same as she does but that is where my recipe got its start.

I like to use red potatoes and then cook them a bit longer, so the end product is a little lumpy but creamy. The potatoes are done when you can easily pierce them with a fork and a twist will break them apart.  It may take a few times to figure out the cooked potato consistency that your family likes.

Yummy Potato Salad

Serves about 8-10 as a side dish

  • Approximately 2 ½ pounds of red potatoes (half of a 5# bag) – peeled, rinsed and cut into chunks
  • 2-3 hard-boiled eggs – peeled, rinsed and chopped
  • 3 generous (meaning heaping on the spoon) tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon of brown mustardpotato5A
  • 1 tablespoons of yellow mustard
  • 2 teaspoons of garlic salt
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of pepper

Bring water to boil in a large pan.  Add the potatoes chunks.  Keep it on a low boil, stir occasionally until the potatoes are tender.  Drain.

Place chopped eggs and drained potatoes in a large bowl.  Add the mayonnaise, mustards and spices.  Stir with a large spoon.  Once the mayonnaise and mustards are mixed in – taste.  Add more mayonnaise to make it creamer, more yellow mustard to make it tangier and of course, a little salt if it seems bland.  Caution: start out by adding just a little more – you can always add more, but you can’t take any away! 😉potato3A

Once everything is combined and tastes good, cover the bowl and put in the refrigerator.  Let is cool down before serving.  I usually make mine the day before.  It also tastes better once it sits.potato2A

Mine usually looks like chunky, yellow mashed potatoes.  Hmmm.

Enjoy!

 

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Mission Impossible to Finished

Family By July 3, 2016 Tags: , , 15 Comments

All I am hearing in my head right now is…the Mission Impossible theme song.  I know I will not be able to type out the tune, so I will let you hum along in your head with me.

This is an update to a previous post.lego15

Back in December my (grown) sons received the S.H.I.L.D. Helicarrier Lego set, with close to 3000 pieces, as a Christmas gift.  They were beyond thrilled.  If you didn’t get a chance to read that post, you can find it here.lego8-resized

 

 

It took these two professional engineers almost 6 months to put it together.  In all fairness, they both work full time jobs, one has a wife and two small children and the other has a girlfriend and a new YouTube channel.  These things tend to get in the way of serious FUN and ADVENTURE. However, not to let go of a challenge – they kept after it until it was done.lego9-resized

My youngest son was always the kid that played with all the Lego people, packing them into every space possible on a model.  The older one, not so much, he was more into the model itself.  Thus, the close-up pictures of the Lego people were taken by my youngest, while the table shot was provided by my oldest.  It was a great team effort.lego11-resizeid

 

For those of you looking for a good family project – Lego has a solution for you.  The Avenger’s Helicarrier, it’s better than a 1000 piece puzzle (times 3)!  It will keep them busy for months.

 

 

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Birthday Pie

Recipes By June 26, 2016 Tags: , 15 Comments

What do you get the person who has everything?  It gets harder and harder (as we get older) to find that perfect gift. This is the dilemma I faced with one of our dear friends.  Then I discovered he really likes apple pie.  Who wouldn’t want to be given a home made pie? So I set out to find a delicious but fairly simple apple pie to make for him.  This one is fabulous.  He now gets an apple pie every year for his birthday.  Actually, I make two at the same time because my husband also likes apple pie.  They both think it is the best gift ever!!!

I am not a pie maker but this recipe is fairly easy and straight forward.  As I mentioned earlier, I double the recipe to make two pies because I only do this once a year.  I also don’t make pie crust from scratch, I purchase mine from the freezer section of the grocery store.  They come in packs of two which is very convenient. Make sure to buy the deep dish variety and then over fill it a bit.

Birthday Apple Piepie2

Filling:

  • 6 cups thinly sliced apples
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 T. flour
  • 1 – 9 inch deep dish pastry pie shell (freezer section of grocery store J)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Put oven shelf in center of the oven.

Peel, core and slice apples.  In a bowl toss apple slices with lemon juice and vanilla. Stir together sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and flour.  Then toss with the apples.  Fill the pie shell with the apple mixture.  Mound the slices if necessary.pie3

Topping:

  • ½ cup flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup cold butter (1/2 stick) cut into pieces

Mix flour and brown sugar in a bowl. Cut in butter (use a fork if you don’t have a pastry knife) until is resembles coarse (not fine) crumbs. Sprinkle mixture evenly over the pie.pie5

Bake pie on cookie sheet, on center rack, for 40 to 50 minutes until the juices form bubbles that burst slowly and the pie is slightly brown on top.  Remove from oven and cool.

Now its time to party!!!

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Jailed Tomatoes

Grandpas Garden By June 19, 2016 Tags: , , 16 Comments

Jailed Tomatoes

What? You don’t’ keep your tomatoes in protective custody?  Well…mine are on lock down.  That is because of the #@$!#* deer!!!

I don’t live in the country and my house doesn’t border the forest, I actually live by the beach.  So where do the deer come from?  I suspect they swim across from a tiny island a mile or so from land.  It is supposedly home to some of Billy the Kids buried treasure.  To add to the bury treasure intrigue, low tide exposes a sandbar, for short periods of time, allowing access ttomato-garden1o the island by foot. If deer can’t swim, then that must be how they get across – the land bridge!

My family rolls their eyes at my theory.  Yet, last month I visited Fire Island, NY which is surrounded by the ocean.  There are signs posted, in the sand dunes, with a warning, DO NOT FEED THE DEER!  Ha…maybe my theory isn’t so crazy after all – beach deer do exist.

tomato-garden2I guess it doesn’t matter how they get into my yard, they do.  They wait until the tomatoes are just ripe enough (when you think, ‘tomorrow I will pick it for my sandwich’), they remove the fruit and the branches they are attached to.  Basically, destroying my dreams of a bacon, lettuce and tomato and the possibility of the plant producing more tomatoes.  This inspired my husband to create the jailed tomato fix.  He built a cage around our tomato garden, when the plants get taller we put screens on top to keep them from getting munched. tomato-garden3

Our system works pretty well.  Once in a while an unsuspecting tomato plant wants to stretch its branches beyond the border, which is a mistake, it will be gone by the next morning.  Last year I discovered that deer must not like onions. My scientific evidence?  The tomato plants with onions bordering them did not get touched.  So this year I increased the onion protection patrol and planted two bags around the tomato plant parameters.  I didn’t mess with onion seeds, I used bulbs so they would come up faster.

I take guarding my tomatoes seriously.  Hopefully, my efforts will be fruitful! 😉

Does anyone else have this issue?

 

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My Thankful Journey

Family By June 12, 2016 Tags: , , 16 Comments

In general, I am a positive, upbeat person.  However, we all have those periods when things get to us or drag us down.

I went through one of those seasons recently and decided to take some “positive” action against my “negative” attitude.  I started a Thankful Journal.  I don’t journal, I didn’t keep a secret diary when I was a teen or tween.  I tried once, but quickly abandoned it when I couldn’t think of anything interesting to write about.  Of course, now I blog weekly about all kinds of things….hmmm.

I started my Thankful Journal with a purpose, rules and a deadline.  I was determined to get out of the doldrums, this was my main purpose.  My rules were simple and straight forward, I had to write down 5 things I was thankful for every day (I couldn’t miss a day), they couldn’t repeat and I could not use my family in the list.  The reason for the last rule was that I already know I am thankful for my family, I was trying to stretch my gratitude muscle. My self-imposed duration for the exercise in thankfulness was 30 days.  I figured that I should be able to do it for 30 days.

I found a cute notebook (duh) and began my journey.  It was not as easy as it sounds.2016-04-phone-pics 1479 Some days I was in bed and realized I did not make my thankful list for the day. I wasn’t even sure where I left the notebook.  I learned to keep it close and take it to bed with me, so I wasn’t stomping down the stairs at night looking for it. I challenged myself to take it seriously and look carefully at my life to acknowledge the small, wonderful blessings that I have.  The first few days were kind of dry and rote.  But as I kept at it and searched for interesting things I was thankful for, it became easier.

I found that I was grateful for things like a warm breeze blowing on my face instead of an icy winter blast or that a ceiling fan was finally installed in my bedroom and I can sleep better at night.  I realized I am grateful for living in the modern world with indoor bathrooms, air conditioning and hot water running out of my kitchen tap.  Things we can easily take for granted.  The list goes on and grows as your imagination embraces thankfulness.

The 30 day exercise did help me shake my gloomy state. And yes, I did all 30 days, I didn’t miss any (I did come close though).  I also began having more of a grateful awareness in my every day journey.2016-04-phone-pics 1474

I encourage you to do your own Thankful Journal – use your rules – then see what you discover about yourself.

I’m just thankful for everything, all the blessings in my life, trying to stay that way. I think that’s the best way to start your day and finish your day. It keeps everything in perspective

— Tim Tebow

 

 

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