Tuesday, December 26, 2006

How Not to Cook a Turkey

Decorate your home with beautiful things.
Invite a houseful of guests.
Spend Christmas Eve afternoon preparing wonderful dishes.
Set a lovely table.
Greet guests with spiced hot apple cider and gifts.

Forget to turn on the oven to cook the turkey.

Eat ham with "all the trimmings".

Never let Mom (who has a BA in Home Economics) live this one down.

And have a fantastic Christmas day...even without the turkey.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Banana Bread

For Christmas this year, our visitors are all receiving a loaf of homemade banana bread.

Here's the recipe that I have used for years; its a great-flavored, moist loaf from Beard on Bread by James Beard.

Banana Bread
makes one loaf

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter or other shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed, very ripe bananas (about 2 bananas)
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Sift the flour with the soda and salt. Cream the butter and gradually add the sugar. Mix well. Add the eggs and bananas and blend thoroughly. Combine the milk and lemon juice, which will curdle a bit. Slowly and alternately fold in the flour mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Blend well after each addition. Stir in the nuts, then pour the batter into a lavishly buttered 9x5x3 inch pan and bake in a preheated 350 oven for 1 hour, or until the bread springs back when lightly touched in the center.

And because normal people don't like nuts in their bread, I leave them out. I suppose you could add them...if you must.

Monday, December 18, 2006

My Book of Quotes

I confess that I stole this idea from Father Tim, the main character in Jan Karon's Mitford books. My quote book grows in spurts and starts, often going unnoticed for a month, and then receiving an abundance of attention for weeks at a time. Often I will reread what I have previously copied down, and usually I will be rewarded with a smile and a pleasant memory of time spent in travels through a book. I love the specialness of this little leather-covered book.

There are a few poems included, sometimes song lyrics, and occasionally a quote from a friend or pastor.

Here are a couple of my favorites....

He who hath not a dram of folly in his mixture hath pounds of much worse matter in his composition. ~Charles Lamb

Well...I certainly have at least a dram...perhaps a bit more.

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!
~Emily Dickinson