I have this as the desktop picture on my laptop computer and I suddenly realized I totally forgot to post it! We were in the Adirondacks a couple of weeks ago and got to see what our property looks like with all the big trees taken down. It was sunny! It looked so different, it was weird. To me it looked bigger, to DH the property looked smaller.
Here's a gratuitous pic of the beach/lake area.
From the Post Star newspaper:
"October is days away, and that typically means the region begins to see the threat of snow. Parts of the Adirondacks could see snow showers and rain showers mixed with snow tomorrow, with slight accumulation possible in higher elevations, according to the National Weather Service. Places like Indian Lake and Minerva are expected to see snow showers Wednesday night. Highs tomorrow in much of the region aren't expected to get out of the upper 40s as a cold front and low pressure system linger in the Northeast."
It was overcast and chilly on Saturday, but we went on our annual apple picking trip. Where I live in the Hudson Valley, NY there are TONS and TONS of places to go apple picking. What we consider a "good" place to go apple picking is a place that has: lots of varieites of apples, a hayride, animals to feed/look at, fresh cider doughnuts, friendly people and reasonable prices. The place we've been going the last few years fits the bill just fine. Plus, they have a FREE corn maze, which is a great bonus because around here it's like $7-8 per person to go in a corn maze - I just can't see paying $20+ for the three of us to walk through a corn field, ya know? The corn maze at the apple orchard is admittedly smaller than the places that charge money, but it's really fun and is fine for us. This year seemed to be a very good year for apples (but not a great year for pictures - I have some nicer pictures from this same place in my post from last year when it was beautiful and sunny, if you want to see more pics including the hayride and corn maze you can see them here.)
It's easy to pick waaaay too many apples. We did ok - I think we picked only a little too many. :-) I needed like a walk in bath or something just to wash them all. I also couldn't get them all in the fridge, so I put some down in the basement to keep them cool. The cooler you keep the apples, the longer they last. The ones in the bin in my fridge will seriously be fine for a couple of months at least. We picked mostly Golden Delicious, MacIntosh and Red Delicious, but they had lots of other varieties.
Next month we'll be going to our favorite local pumpkin patch to pick our pumpkins. Do you go apple picking or pumpkin picking? Are there different things to "pick" in your area?
DH informed me yesterday that this Wednesday we are hosting a meeting at our house with a potluck beforehand. Of course I have my old standby potluck recipes, but I would consider trying something new, if any of you would like to share your tried-and-true "potluck pleasers" with me? The potluck is at my house, so it doesn't have to actually "travel", so that's not a concern. Also, of course I never know what the other people are going to bring, so it should be a good "main dish" in case they mostly bring "sides" or desserts.
If I choose your recipe, I'll document it here on my blog. (You can see how for a previous potluck I made Hybrid Lasagna here from Wow Chow Cooking, and AK Mom's Maple Nut Banana Bread here from At Home In Alaska.)
Maple Nut Banana Bread from At Home in Alaska
Thanks for any and all suggestions! I can't say that I love to cook, but between the cooler fall weather, and just having seen Julie & Julia (see my post about that here), I am in the mood to cook and try something new.
Yesterday my Dad took me to the movie Julie & Julia. I seriously can't even remember the last movie for "grown ups" I went to at the movie theater. The last kid movie I saw at the actual movie theater was "Cars". It's just so crazy expensive. We don't even do the Netflix or Redbox thing. We just borrow movies from the library for free. Yeah, we're like 3 years behind on current movies, but neither I nor DH are losing any sleep over it.
Anyway, we went to a matinee, so it was "only" $6.50 each. The movie was GREAT, so I don't feel so bad about the admission price (which my Dad paid anyway, THANKS DAD!) but the concessions. OMG. Ok, I totally know that's "how they make their money", but I kinda just stood there stunned, looking at the prices. I think I blacked out for a bit, but I can remember that a large popcorn was EIGHT DOLLARS. A liter size bottle of water was FOUR FIFTY. Luckily, my Dad has a "card" for the movie theater, so he actually got a free small popcorn, which he could "upgrade" to a medium for $1.00, so we shared a medium popcorn and a liter of water for a total of $5.50, which turned out to be not SO bad. So, the total for the two of us, with the cheaper matinee prices, plus a free sm. popcorn upgraded to a med. for a $1.00 and a liter of water was $18.50. Which I guess in the scheme of life isn't TOO bad, but HOW ON EARTH COULD A FAMILY OF FOUR GO IN THE EVENING TO SEE A MOVIE AND HAVE SNACKS AND DRINKS WITHOUT TAKING OUT A SECOND MORTGAGE? In this economy how are people affording to go to the movies? I can't believe I have not heard of any movie theaters going out of business!
I am more thankful than ever to be able to borrow movies for free from the library and eat our own 50 cent industrial products sized bag of microwave popcorn at home!!!
Anyway, it WAS a GREAT movie. If you don't know the plot, it's about a young writer who starts a blog and decides to cook her way through Julia Child's 700+ page cookbook, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking". It was particularly interesting as a blogger myself. Meryl Streep plays Julia Child and she is perfect. As if I wasn't already feeling inspired to cook lately, now I REALLY am in the mood.
Do you guys go to the movies? Do you have any tricks to save money? Are you as aghast at the prices as me, or am I totally out of touch with reality?
A quote from my last post, "I used one of my new Cutco knives to chop the nuts. It worked great. Those knives are wicked sharp. In fact I've cut myself three times since we got them, less than a month ago."
This time I was washing one of the knives. There was too much blood at first for just a band aid.
I had just gotten home from shopping at the "warehouse club" where I had bought a lot of meat in big packages. I always separate everything when I get home, and I trim the fat off as well. This way when I grab something out of the freezer, it's ready to go. I am a freak about worrying that I'm going to kill my own family from ecoli or salmonella or whatever, so I am constantly washing/disinfecting everything. In this case, I had just finished using the knife to trim fat off beef, and it seemed like I should wash it before trimming the pork cutlets I had. I'm not sure exactly what happened, but next thing I knew I was bleeding. So now besides the ecoli and salmonella, I had to worry about my own blood contaminating who knows what, so I made my own little homemade tourniquet. Nice, huh?
Well, yesterday I asked my bloggy friends if anyone had a good banana bread recipe 'cause I had a couple of bananas that had gone to the dark side. I got some GREAT suggestions, however, I made the executive decision to make AK Mom's Maple Nut Banana Bread because her recipe only called for 1 cup of mashed ripe banana, which is all I had, plus it sounded really good, too! :-) (Incidentally, in the past I made a dish by one of the other commenters on that post - my good friend Rebecca. She has a cooking blog called Wow Chow Cooking and I made her recipe for Hybrid Lasagna, which was fantastic - you can see that post here). Thanks also to Jude, Kristine and Wingnut for your comments and ideas.
Anyway, you can see AK Mom's post with the recipe for Maple Nut Banana Bread at her blog At Home in Alaska. (Her recipe calls for an egg substitute, but I only had regular eggs, and I calculated that two real eggs were needed for this recipe.) Notice that AK Mom and I have the same dishes, pretty cool, huh?
So, isn't this how some of the other "food blogs" start? With a picture of all the ingredients set up?
Normally I would never set this all up like this, but I was bored waiting for DD to finish her homework and join me for this project.
Finally DD (dear daughter) was ready to help. So first we mashed the banana. Which was gross.
Then we started mixing the ingredients.
Now, I am not usually one to alter a recipe, but I really like nuts in banana bread, and this recipe only called for nuts on the top. So I chopped some extra nuts to add into the batter. So sue me.
I used one of my new Cutco knives to chop the nuts. It worked great. Those knives are wicked sharp. In fact I've cut myself three times since we got them, less than a month ago.
My Cutco cut is healing nicely.
So then into the oven it went. Despite how professional I may seem (HA HA), I don't usually particularly like to cook or bake, however, I think the cooler fall weather is inspiring me to be a little creative. I usually make things that take very little prep and few ingredients. Normally if a recipe has more than say, six ingredients, and takes longer than 10 minutes to prepare my eyes start glazing over. But, now and then I get the urge to make something that is of a skill level above preschooler. Anyway, 53 minutes later, voila!
Is that not beautiful?
(It looks very dark on the sides, but it's the reflection of my black cooktop - it's not burnt, I promise! In fact, it came out perfectly. That's why I love to bake in glass - you can SEE if it's burning!)
Gosh, it even came out looking just like the picture on AK Mom's blog! I hereby declare this recipe Carole-proof! It looks and smells wonderful, I can't WAIT to have some for breakfast tomorrow! Thank you AK Mom for the recipe, and also thank you to the others who gave me suggestions - there is a high probability we will have black bananas again soon, so I'll have the chance I'm sure to try some of the other recipes. :-)
I feel bad showing you this beautiful loaf and I can't share it with you...but you can go make one - if I can do it, you can too! :-) Actually, I don't usually have "kitchen disasters". However, I will admit DH (dear husband) has forbidden me to ever make anything with Bisquick ever again. Don't ask.
Anyway, DD is really beginning to enjoy cooking and baking, so maybe I'll do this again sometime soon, this was fun!
Preferably a recipe with nuts. I also have more bananas that aren't this frighteningly over ripe that I can use.
You might wonder how it is I don't already have some "tried and true" banana bread recipe. You see, none of us really like bananas that much. However, DH has been eating a banana nearly every morning for many months now - I think it started back when we started Weight Watchers - it's a low point, filling breakfast. Occasionally a few bananas end up going south before he gets to eat them. This time I thought to myself, "Self, why don't you make a banana bread out of those?". So I searched for banana bread recipes on Allrecipes.com but there are a ton of really well reviewed ones on there. I'm sure if I crack some actual cookbooks, I'll find plenty of banana bread recipes in there too.
I don't know how to choose, so I thought I'd ask my bloggy friends if they have a favorite. If you have a banana bread recipe that you love, would you share it with me?
Well, as you can see, I decided to do my hair today (geez, do I need a little Acnepril for my forehead, or what?). I am "marinating" as I type this. I have been dying my hair for many years. Since I was like 18, I think! I've done it all different colors, even red. Everyone would ask me if I was Irish. I have green eyes and freckles, so once my hair went red, I guess I really had the look o' the Irish. One time back in college I dyed it a color that was waaaaaaaaaay too dark, and it was before "goth" was in style. I washed my hair with Tide for like 3 days to try to take some of the color out.
I have a whole "hair dye" outfit, that lucky for you isn't really shown in this photo. I wear an old men's undershirt with black sweatpants that I also wear for house painting. It's like walking down memory lane of old hair colors and houses. I always try to dye my hair when DH isn't around. Firstly, he hates the smell, but secondly, even though we've been married 15 years, this really isn't how I want him to see me.
Well, time has ticked by as I typed this and I'm finished marinating. Time to go rinse and condition!
Should I dye my hair today, or go to the mall to try to find new sneakers? Now you might think it's a no-brainer - surely new sneakers can wait over "roots showing". However, I haven't been able to wear my sneakers for a week or so now. For some reason, all of a sudden, they hurt my feet. It's the weirdest thing. I can wear other shoes, but if I wear my sneakers for any length of time, my feet start to hurt. I mean, I know over time sneakers wear out, but it's like they just suddenly "stopped working" one day. Very weird. Anyway, I really miss being able to wear sneakers. I had just started walking again for exercise now that DD is back in school, and now I can't. I mean, I could. But I really don't want to "exercise" in cowboy boots, flip flops or clogs, you know? And this is like, THE BEST weather and time of year to enjoy the outside. (Not to mention that doing a little exercise does wonders to take off a few of those summer hot dogs and ice creams.) Unless I start using the best diet pills, I'm gonna start losing the battle of the bulge that I worked SO HARD on earlier this year. So, that is why I'm very tempted and motivated to go get new sneakers today.
On the other hand, do I really want ANOTHER bad hair day?
If I ever become a celebrity, when I die, the world at large can mourn me for exactly one day. I do not want people to have to look at magazine covers with me on it for weeks on end, no television tributes or movie marathons.
It's such an adventure when I have to go to an auto accessories store. I think a silent alarm goes off in the back room alerting employees that a customer that has no idea where to find what she's looking for, nor does she know the exact name of the item she's looking for has entered the building. One time my DH wanted this thing for Christmas, I still don't know what it's called, but I went to Sears and told the guy, "My husband wants one of those lights with like a cage around it and a hook on top that has a long cord that you'd use in garage or something." The guy knew what I meant, luckily. That's why I can never order hardware or tools off the internet because I don't know the names of anything, and searching for "thingy" doesn't seem to work.
Right now on Webkinz World it's the "Fall Festival" and you can get random fall prizes if a leaf floats across your screen and you click on it. The only thing is, they are being SO STINGY with the stupid leaves! You can go an hour and not even see a leaf! For Pete's sake you people at Webkinz - THE PRIZES ARE VIRTUAL - THEY ARE FREE - can ya BE a little more generous with them?? Good golly. I really don't need my daughter sitting in front of the computer for HOURS on end just trying to get a leaf you know!
I HATE airshows. All I do the whole times is stress out that there is going to be an accident. Same thing at the circus. I can't enjoy it.
I love, love, love to look through cookbooks, especially old cookbooks. But I don't like to try new recipes very often. For all the money spent on the ingredients needed, then the time and effort put into the prep and cooking of it, only to have DH and DD not really like it....well, that pretty much deters me from trying a lot of new things. On the other hand, hey, you cannot complain about having a family that is actually really happy to hear we're having Kraft macaroni and cheese or tater tots or crockpot meat and gravy for dinner. :-)
People falling on treadmills are some of the funniest home videos! (Did you see the Mythbusters where Adam gets drunk, then tries to run on it to see if exercise helps sober you up? Hilarious!!)
I have never been to a Sonic, but I might be going to one this week or next...I am very curious to see if it's "all that". I think I heard there are also "secret" things you can order that aren't on the menu - like a "frito pie"?? I think In-and-Out has a somewhat famous "secret menu" too, but we don't have any of those here....yet...
This entry is a little bit "PG" rated. You are warned.
I was very underwhelmed by Jay Leno's new show. Even when he was on the Tonight Show I never really thought he was that funny. Conan, on the other hand, to me is so funny I have to be careful of waking DH up - I can keep from laughing out loud, but my laughing shakes the bed.
When I have a sore throat (like right now) sometimes I like a little shot of Sambuka. For medicinal purposes of course. Actually, DH and I always refer to it as "Sambvka", because the kind we buy has like a Roman "V" for the "u". Also, sometimes I like to say "smoooooooth" in a raspy voice after the first sip.
I can't believe 80s fashion is back. I really thought I would be older than this before I saw stuff kids are wearing that I used to wear. DH wants to know when the "big hair" is coming back.
Went to a local giant flea market recently and I got: a vintage postcard of the area our "cabin to be" is in, a giant bag of kettle korn, a $10 Totes brand winter coat for me, a plastic thingy that goes on a soda can that makes the top like a bottle top so DD can now drink her 4 sips of soda and not have the rest go to waste, and a vintage "Big Golden Book" called "The True Story of Smokey the Bear". Incidentally, just so you are aware, Smokey's OFFICIAL REAL NAME is "Smokey Bear", not "Smokey The Bear". A lot of people don't know that.
I have been guest posting at gspn.tv. They really have some great podcasts. I am especially loving the 10 or 12 minute "Almost Daily Devotionals". Also, I am glad to be getting my Lost "fix" with their "Weekly Lost Podcast" to tide me over until that show finally comes back on.
There is one restaurant in Rhinebeck, NY that everyone seems to think is so great - I see it in reveiws and recommendations everywhere. I've been there a lot. It's not all that, people!
I can't decide whether to mow the lawn tomorrow, or go to the warehouse club and liquor store (we are at critical, Defcon Level 1 toilet paper and wine levels). But, I'm feeling kinda crappy, so I might not do either.
We were at DD's school open house tonight and I forgot to tape the Survivor premiere - d'oh! We'll have to watch it online maybe tomorrow. DH just saw a headline about a guy who punched another guy in the head at a school open house. DH said, "Well, I guess that's where you'd want to punch a guy if you wanted to hurt him." I said, "I'd have punched him you-know-where if I really wanted to hurt him". Apparently if you're a guy it's not the "thing to do" to punch another guy you-know-where. Etiquette-wise it's fine for a woman to go for the breeches though.
"Hoarders" on A&E is my current favorite, must-see show. (You can watch episodes for free at the A&E website.)
Note to self: do not try to buy a lawnmower battery in September. However, if you want a snow blower in September, you're good.
During our family vacation in Chincoteague, VA my Dad offered to take his granddaughters out for the afternoon and allow us to have some time on our own. By this point in the vacation, DH and I sorta felt like we had kinda seen and done everything, so we had to think a little harder to find something to do. We had heard of a "Blueberry Festival" going on, and although it didn't sound like it was going to be the epitome of excitement, we figured, what the heck.
The Blueberry Festival was mostly a craft fair, and after paying $4 admission each, we blew through it disappointingly quickly. However, trying to make the most out of our afternoon, we took a look at the food the vendors had for sale, and decided to try some local fare and sit and have lunch. I forget even what these were called, but the main idea of them was crabmeat. They were DELICIOUS!
As you can see, we found a spot in the shade, and although it was a hot day, it was quite pleasant in the shade. At the festival there was live music, which we enjoyed while we sat and ate. In fact we enjoyed it so much, we lingered even after we finished until their set was over. It was a family bluegrass band called "Mountain Faith" (http://www.mountainfaithmusic.com/).
Where we live bluegrass is not popular, so it was a particularly enjoyable opportunity to hear this kind of music. In fact, we enjoyed it so much, we ended up buying two CDs. We listened to them pretty much the rest of our vacation. The songs were so catchy I couldn't get them out of my mind. Even going to sleep, even the best sleeping pill couldn't have stopped the music! :-) We played them pretty much for days until DD begged to finally listen to something else. Couldn't blame her. I think we got our years' fill of bluegrass in. :-) Fun "date" at the Blueberry Festival.
So, back to our Chincoteague, Virginia vacation recap...
A few days into our vacation, after seeing the ponies and the beach and the wildlife, we had an overcast/drizzly day and were looking for something to do. Surprisingly, nearby was the Wallops Island NASA Flight Facility. Somehow when I thought about "wild ponies" and "beautiful beach" I did not automatically think "NASA", but there it was just outside Chincoteague toward "mainland". They had a Visitor Center, so we decided to explore. They had some cool rockets outside on the grounds like this one:
Across the street from the Visitor Center they had an assortment of gigantor satellite dishes and stuff. I think this is the kind we use to talk to Martians:
The Visitor Center itself was free (bonus!). It wasn't very big or fancy (certainly no Grohe faucets in the bathroom...gosh, not sure if they even HAD a public bathroom...), but it was still pretty fun and interesting. The part I liked the best was they had a small theater in the back but instead of a normal screen, short films were projected on a globe. The films were about things like power usage, population, etc. and they could show on the globe things like who used the most electricity, where the rainforests are, etc.
While we were there watching some films, Moo Cow had the chance to take a quick trip to the moon:
She made sure to take some moooooooooooon rocks while she was there. Ha ha!
DH ate this "Pepperoni Bread Bowl of Death"....and lived!
If you've never seen pig racing before, it's more fun than you'd think. Really!
That's the back of DD and I riding "The Spider".
View of the Dutchess County Fair from the top of the ferris wheel. The fair is actually much bigger than what you can see in the photo, it's so big you can't even get a picture of the whole thing from the top of the ferris wheel.
Between the three of us we ate (over the 4 days we went): pierogies, snow cone, cinnamon roll, "dog bowl" of french fries, vanilla ice cream cone, a "famous 4H" vanilla and strawberry milkshake, peanut budder blackout bar, hot roasted peanuts, bavarian peanuts, sasparilla, black cherry & birch beer from the "Chuckwagon" soda people, fried dough, pepperoni bread bowl of death, cheeseburger and mozzarella sticks.
Believe it or not, we did bring our own lunch most days and brought our own water bottles every day which we refilled at the water fountains to save money. (Keep in mind, we were at the fair for 6-8 hours each day we went.) Plus, because DD is in 4H we were able to get wristbands that got us into the fair all week for only $10 each for DH and I (DD was free), so we saved a LOT on admission too.
We did pretty good resisting all the sales pitches and interesting stuff in the buildings. My Dad bought us a shamwow thing (which is actually pretty cool) the day he came along. I was tempted by a cool bluray player and by the steam mop thing, but I resisted.