Thursday, January 27, 2011

Infamous Banana Bread and Sean McConnell

Ok - it's day 2! It's late...but I'm back! There's some commitment!

Music Dabble:
I'm starting with this because lately it's rocked my world. Seriously. I went with a few friends and saw Sean McConnell at a bar in The Woodlands called Dosey Doe's, which is a bar/gourmet restaurant/coffee house all in one. (Sidenote: the coffee is A-MA-ZING! I want some right now!) The history of the building is really neat and it has some GREAT acoustics. Anyways... it ended up being a full band acoustic show, and I'd never seen them that way. I've loved his acoustic shows and loved the full band shows, but was really excited to see the stripped down full band show.

And it did not disappoint one little bit! It ranks as one of the top 5 shows I've EVER seen. I'm not kidding - I could talk your ear off about some of the shows I've been lucky enough to be a part of, and this was one of the 'magical' ones. I was AMPED when I left, when I woke up the next day and for the days that followed. Mainly because of a new song Sean sang called 'Praise the Lord'.

Sean's not a Christian-artist, but he's definitely a Christian and that shines through in the music he writes. Which means a lot to me because my Christian faith is my foundation and really important to me. He prefaced the song by telling us that it was about finding out what religion and a relationship with God really meant. I knew exactly what he was talking about as it was a process I went through in my late 20's. So this song struck a STRONG chord with me. I can't share the actual song with you as it's not on a CD yet, but HERE IS THE LINK TO A VIDEO - please, please, please check it out. It's just a small slice of his mastery when it comes to lyrics. If it's something that interests you, I urge you to check out more of his work - I'm floored by his talents...

Recipe Dabble:
Speaking of the Sean McConnell crew, they are often the recipients of what I create in the kitchen, for a few reasons.

1. They travel in a van. 5 guys, 1 van, 1 trailer. And they are making the run from TN to TX more and more often. So I try to 'sweeten' the trip when possible!
2. It gets it out of my kitchen.
3. They appreciate it - and let me know that they are always up for goodies!

As a side note, the other most common recipients of my kitchen creations are Wade Bowen's guys - they love and appreciate it too!

And last week - I got to see BOTH of my bands! That called for some work in the kitchen! So I made their favorite, my banana bread. I've posted the healthy version of my banana bread in the past, but some have requested the 'regular' recipe, which is what I have been making for these guys. I made it in muffin form last week because it was easier to split that way, and it only took 20 minutes to bake, rather than an hour and a half with 2 loaves! So here's the recipe - sorry for the shoddy cell phone picture!


1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup butter
3 cups white sugar
3 eggs
6 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking soda
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Grease four 7x3 inch loaf pans. In a small bowl, stir together 1/4 cup white sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Dust pans lightly with cinnamon and sugar mixture.
2. In a large bowl, cream butter and 3 cups sugar. Mix in eggs, mashed bananas, sour cream, vanilla and cinnamon. Mix in salt, baking soda and flour. Stir in nuts. Divide into prepared pans. Top with streusel (recipe below).
3. Bake for 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

(Makes ~32 muffins, bake for 20 minutes; or 2 regular loaf pans, bake for ~90 min, start checking at 75 min)

Streusel Topping recipe:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons butter (maybe a little more...)
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix together until crumbly.

Fitness Dabble:
Another 3 mile loop today! I need to get to the GYM. My strength training is seriously lacking. I think I'll hit it up tomorrow and Sunday this weekend... But overall, I've done something almost every day, and that's an improvement over last week. I'll take gradual improvements! My food has been pretty much spot-on, so that's good.

That's enough dabbling for today, more to talk about, but I'll save it for later!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New format & Snickerdoodle Blondies!

Ok - I'm going to try something new that might actually get me posting here more often. So many things happen throughout my days that I actually think 'I should blog about this', yet I never do. And I'm getting rid of all my other blogs. Everything's going to be here. Trying to keep up with 3 was just a ridiculous idea. Good concept, bad in execution. So here we are...

What's the new format? Dabbles.

I'm going to dabble a little here, and dabble a little there. There will be stuff here about the music I'm digging that day, there will be recipes, new workout ideas, craft projects, etc. A little of this, a little of that. Read what you want, ignore the rest...

Recipe Dabble:I'm going to try to bake one treat each week to sell at work to raise money for my Avon 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer that I'm doing in April. I have to raise $1800 and I'm about $600 short right now. I know I'll get there, but want to spur it along a little... So I decided to do something easy and these looked just like the ticket! I originally got the recipe from Jamie at My Baking Addiction, but when I looked in my pantry and saw the cinnamon chips sitting there, I thought they'd be a great addition to an already great concept - so into the batter they went! And I must say, these were easy, and AWESOME. I must get them out of my house so I don't eat them all! I plan on wrapping them and bringing them in tomorrow...

Here's the recipe:

Snickerdoodle Blondies
adapted from My Baking Addiction

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
a pinch nutmeg
1 cup cinnamon chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and/or line a 9×13 inch pan. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and set aside.

2. In large bowl, beat together butter and brown sugar for 3-5 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla, and beat until smooth.

3. Stir in the flour mixture until well blended. Fold in the cinnamon chips. Spread evenly in prepared pan (mixture will be somewhat cookie batter-ish, so it’s best to spread it out with a greased spatula or your hands). Combine the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a little bowl. Evenly sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over the top of the batter.

4. Bake 25-30 minutes or until surface springs back when gently pressed. Cool before cutting.

Makes 20-24 bars.


Music Dabble:

About a year and a half ago, Wade told me I NEEDED to get Seth James' CD, That Kind of Man. And I had every intention of doing so, but then it slipped my mind. How freakin' unfortunate! After seeing him with Wade, Cody and Sean on the acoustic tour in December, I was reminded of the conversation a year earlier and resolved that I WOULD get myself that CD. And I did. And I LOVE IT.

There are so many highlights on this album - I just keep it on regular rotation in my office. If you've seen him in concert, you'll recognize Cigarettes, Anger and Wine, Honky Tonk Saturday Night, Leaves of September and likely Thing for You. I also really like If the World Was Mine and Let's Make Us. Of course the love songs. I really do like his voice. A LOT. And he is just a little more than talented on the guitar. (That's an understatement).

Life Dabble:

This week picked back up on what will be my 'regular schedule' until rodeo season hits...

Monday - Young Life Club

Tuesday - Beth Moore Bible Study at FBC Houston

Wednesday - Young Life Campaigners

Of course there's work and workouts too, and everything else fits in around all of that. I'm busy, but not as busy as I've been in years past. I'm not packing out every single weekend. And I'm actually enjoying this non-frenzied pace of life. I'm striving to have at least 2 'free' weekends each month where I can spend as much time enjoying what I have at home and getting things done so I'm not always overwhelmed.

Fitness Dabble:

Walked the 3 mile loop at Memorial Park with my friend Sarah today at lunch. Hopefully I can hit up the gym in between work and Campaigners tonight. I've eaten on plan today and will avoid the kitchen tonight - always too many treats around when high school friends are involved - if only I could get some of that teenage metabolism back!

Ok - that's it for the first 'dabble' post. Hopefully I'll return tomorrow!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Christmas Dinner

I simply wanted to link up the recipes I used for our Christmas Dinner (mainly so family could see them...) Sorry, there wasn't exactly time for pictures!

Ham (Mom brought and baked)

Crash Hot Potatoes

Green Bean Bundles

Roasted Vegetables (no recipe, just fresh broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus drizzled in olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt/ground black pepper and roasted for 20 min at 425^)

Garlic Roasted Mushrooms

Garden Salad (brought and made by my uncle)

Parker House Rolls

And I guess that was it! I know there weren't a ton of leftovers (which made me happy!), but it was plenty to feed 9 people a great meal!


German Chocolate Cake

Snickerdoodle Bundt Cake

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie

Now, there were plenty of leftovers of the above! Much to the dismay of my hips!

Another post coming soon with the 12 Treats of Christmas!