When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. Isaiah 43:2

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Olive Oil Banana Bread

I am a hoarder of food. I don't like to waste and I can't stand to throw things away that could be used later. Thus the 7,000 (or so) frozen overripe bananas in our chest freezer chillin' alongside our half a steer's worth of beef, and several bags of bread from the bread store (for those days mommy is too lazy (or unprepared) to make her own bread.)

Hubby: Everything in the freezer smells like bananas. Can't we just get rid of them? They've been in there forever.

Me: Don't worry honey. All the beef in there is vacuum sealed and I will just make a big batch of banana bread here one of these days...

This conversation repeats weekly.

In comes Pastor Jim with his, "Get out there and demonstrate God's Love" message this morning...and...Ah ha! I can show people God's love and make my husband happy too! Banana bread for everyone!

And so we get home from church today and I get the kids all suited up for mixing time with mommy. We pray about who we should give banana bread to. We are all ready to go. Until, I realize, I have no butter. No butter, no margarine, no Crisco, nothing creamy whatsoever to bake into our banana bread...

Now, I have one of the most fabulous banana bread recipes on the planet. It calls for A WHOLE LOT OF BUTTER. So, what to do, what to do...

Hubby: Go borrow from the neighbors!

Me: I CANNOT borrow one of the ingredients to my bread that I am supposed to be GIVING to others as a sign of God's love. That's like saying, "excuse me, can I help you fix your car? Oh and can I borrow the money to get it done?"

No. I am not borrowing. And I do not want to go to the store on a Sunday with three children in tow. And we have like $10 left in the bank this month anyway. Soooo.

I look in the pantry one more time and what I have a WHOLE lot of is...Kirkland olive oil! Olive oil? Could that work? It might. It is actually probably healthier than butter I think to myself.

First step, "cream butter and sugar together in the bowl." OK, so the kids add the sugar and the olive oil to the bowl and we start mixing, and mixing, and mixing. There is nothing creamy about this mixture. It looks like oil and sugar, mixed together...I could build small oily sugar castles out of it, but surely no good bread could come from such a base.

At this point, I have to consider whether to go on. Do I waste the flour, baking soda, salt, eggs, and bananas (well, we know "wasting" the bananas was not a big consideration, but you know what I'm getting at)? Or do I stop here, count our losses and get some butter on the 1st.


Well, let's just give it a try.

We mix, mix, stir, stir, squish the thawed bananas into the bowl (like "poop" the kids say! Gross.) Happy kids, muffin tins covered in batter, loaf pans half full and ready to go into the oven...and then we put them in the oven to bake. A sad anthem rolled around in my head as I put the mixture into the oven--like I was putting the sad, sad olive oily batter to rest once and for all.

I checked on our concoction a few times as it baked...and it started to turn much browner (more brown?) than I had ever seen my beloved buttery banana bread turn--stupid olive oil. So I took them out to cool and sadly sighed...what a waste. Did I mention I hate to waste?

Well, as I got my trusty knife out to pry them from the sides of their tins, something strange happened. I didn't have to pry. They just slipped right out. And they were so soft and fluffy...what was going on here?

And then I tasted them...and they tasted awesome! Even my hubby said so...well, he ate it. He didn't say anything really. But he ate the whole thing, and for him, that's a big compliment.

And that's the story of the olive oil banana bread and muffins. I'll post the recipe soon and you won't think I'm quite so crazy when you see 2 1/2 cups of olive oil listed as the second ingredient! :)

Image taken from addicted to costco.com

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Friday, September 18, 2009

It's not Their Fault

I've spent most of this week PMS-ing. And when I say PMS-ing, I must say it is more like that description of the woman on that commercial who has a hard time with daily functioning due to PMDD. I am a mess. I yell, I moan, I whine, I am irrational, nothing fits or is comfortable on my whole body; I am slightly crazy. I am also unorganized and flaky. I cry in the closet sometimes.

And you know what??? My kids deserve better than that.

It is not their fault that they were in trouble all week. I wasn't organized or motivated enough to get some organized activities together for them. It is not their fault that they were whiny and in each other's space all week. I failed to redirect their energy in healthy ways.

So, no more. I am not going to let my own little hormonal fluctuations interfere with my family's well-being. Starting tomorrow, I have two new goals. One, get up before the kids and have quiet time with God. Two, get showered, dressed and ready for the day before everyone is up. Oh and three, I am not going to drink Diet Pepsi any more. It's not good for me and it doesn't help my moodiness any. There I said it. Now I have to do it, right?

Starting Monday, we will be on a strict family schedule that even the most PMS-y mom can follow and that will keep things from getting so haywire even when mom's having a down swing in her moods.
Thank you husband and family for grace, but enough is enough!

To sleep now and no more Facebook for a week! I'm grounding myself.

EASY Pepsi Chocolate Chip Cake

My latest quick dessert (because my hubby loves a nice dessert at the end of his meals and I seldom have time to make one with dinner cookin' in the oven) is this super easy (and not at all good for you) cake that the kids can make FOR YOU!

Add one can of Pepsi (I use caffeine free because that's what we have, and I am quite sure any soda would do just fine) to one box of yellow cake mix and add some chocolate chips. (The amount depends on your child; she may choose to add an entire bag when you tell her, "just a few," and it really doesn't matter...more chocolate, happier husband!)

Mix well with a big spoon (or stick or small craft dowel--whatever you can find!). Bake in a lightly greased cake pan (all I could find was my big tub of margarine that I never use for anything else, so I smeared some of that around in there with a paper towel) at 350 until it is golden brown and firm to the touch on the top (no jigglies--if you take it out before this hardening occurs, you might as well just eat the batter--which is good too...call it pudding!) Cut into squares and enjoy with a nice glass of milk after dinner.

So easy, a four year old can do it! (That's our gigantic cat, "Cliff," on the floor hoping for some batter drips.)

Follow our blog at: http://hanerhome.blogspot.com/ I can't promise it will be edifying, but it will be mildly entertaining from time to time.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I Have Blog Brain

For those of you who blog, I'm sure this is nothing new to you. But, I find it odd that I see the entire world these days in terms of blog titles and Facebook status updates. What do I mean? Well, if you have to ask, you don't blog. But, here's a little explanation (because you asked.)

My world is consumed with mommyhood and wifelihood. (Yes, you're right. I don't want to look it up, but I'm pretty sure it's not a word. Thank God I don't have an editor for this thing.)
I watch my children playing outside and instead of thinking, "Oh, how nice that I'm playing outside with my kids," I think, "How can I blog about this?" Or, "Gosh, I hope something funny happens so I can blog it." I find myself searching for my camera, trying to catch the right angle when something painful, interesting, ironic, or intriguing occurs, because after all, my readers need a visual! Worse yet, I occasionally find myself thinking, "Oh, I better update my Facebook status about this because it's pretty funny and I bet I'll get a lot of comments."

It's a sad existence when your main feedback from a day's work comes through the computer from "readers" and "friends." FB users, you know why that's in quotes.

My personality thrives on feedback, so the sporadic, "thank you for my juice mommy," or, "thank you for wiping my poopy behind..." Oh wait, that never happens. Why don't we make our kids thank us for changing their stinky messy sometimes explosive poopy diapers? I guess that's a blog for another day...

Anyway, does anyone else find themselves thinking in terms of blog entries and Facebook statuses? If not, perhaps I should take an e-break until I can think outside the social networking box again.

Try not to laugh!

There are some things so pure and beautiful that you can't help but smile. I'm going to try to watch this anytime I am feeling sad or frustrated because it is so wonderfully uplifting...and really, the idea of four babies the same age gives me a little perspective as well. :) Thanks Stacy for posting this. If you are reading this on Facebook, and cannot see the video, please go to our family blog at: http://hanerhome.blogspot.com/

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bedtime Rituals

We have done lots of things to put our kids to sleep over the years, none of them "recommended." Nursing, bottles, long car rides, rocking, bouncing, etc...But, the latest for Caden is taking a little stroll around the neighborhood. It is foolproof in getting him to sleep and also gives mom a little workout. Here's Caden before the walk and after about a block and a half. He then transfers quite well to his crib for a good two hour nap! Yippee! Finally a bedtime ritual that doesn't rot anyone's teeth or increase ozone depletion.