Very Ripe Bananas

What do you do with your very ripe bananas? Recently I've been stashing them in the freezer and using them as an ice substitute in smoothies. And, of course, there's always the compost pile. 

My mom always taught me to use the very ripe bananas for banana bread. Since my frozen banana stash is starting to resemble Mt. Fuji, I thought I'd try making banana bread. This recipe comes from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything--hands down my favorite and most used cookbook. The bread turned out delish! And, the best part, no more rotting bananas!


1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 stick (8 T.) butter
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 c. dry coconut shreds


1. Preheat over to 350 degrees and grease 9 x 5 loaf pan.
2. Mix first 4 ingredients.
3. In a separate bowl cream the butter, eggs and bananas.
4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
5. Gently stir the vanilla and coconut into the batter. Do not over mix.
6. Pour the batter into the pan.
7. Bake for 45-60 minutes until top is golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.

I love the coconut in this! You can add a half cup of nuts too if you want.



Last week my husband and I celebrated our anniversary. Throughout the day, I found myself saying, "Marriage is the best thing that has happened to me." Instantly I was checked, and thought That's so cliche. But, the more I thought about it, the less I thought that in today's world, that statement is not cliche. And that made me sad.


Another timesaver

In an effort to eliminate as many toxins and chemicals from my cleaning, I've found an easy way to keep my kitchen washrags and brushes clean. Each morning I add a little extra water to the teapot to brew my early cup. The leftover boiling water is dumped over rags and brushes to disinfect anything that may be threatening to grow. Easy. Clean. Green.


Wish Lists

I've recently discovered the joy of Amazon.com's wish lists. . .and the universal wish list button. I'm sure I'm way behind on this, but oh well.

I've already started one for me. . .and one for Andie. Christmas and birthdays, here we come! Don't worry, I'll be updating these often :)

Pumpkin Patch Pictures

The blog has been neglected in light of a couple of editing jobs I'm working on. To keep you busy, here are a few pictures from our recent pumpkin patch trip. Next year will be even more fun when Andie can stand and pose for pictures :)

And on an editing note. . .I'm working on a couple of self-published titles. I definitely think there's a place for self-publishing (especially if you're an itinerant speaker and can sell them as you travel), but for the rest of you, what are your thoughts? Is it good that anyone can "write a book" and see their dream fulfilled?


Writers are . . .

The more research I do into the writing and freelance business, the more information I'm bombarded with. It's really incredible how much I can pull up on the computer that is applicable to what I need to know today and can use right away. I'm astounded that there can be such a wealth of information and still writers who send out random queries or manuscripts without an ounce of knowledge as to who their audience is and what they require. 

Having said all that, the more I research and listen to other writers, the more I see that there are no rules. Well, there are rules, but they're more like common sense things--find out a publisher's genres and submission guidelines before you query, don't just show up on an agent's doorstep with a manuscript--act like a professional, etc. But there are also rules out there that writing books tell you to follow that people break all the time and are still successful. For example, there is no perfect "process" to follow to writing a great novel--everyone has their own style. Also, queries should give the publisher/agent what they want, but you can break the format rules (renegade writer's blog says 1 page isn't necessary). 

I believe every writer has their own style and way of doing things because we're creators. If all creators were the same and were inspired the same way, we'd all come up with similar creations. The uniqueness of a project comes from the individuality of the creator. There's something we can glean from every writer, but for me, it seems that the most valuable "advice" I find is hearing things other writers do that affirm what I've already discovered for myself. Earlier I posted some comments from Louis Sachar. Here's some new things I learned at the SCBWI monthly meeting from published author Ally Carter.

"Writing is like running an old hose. First the dead stuff and dirty water comes out. To get to the good water, you have to let it run. My first drafts are "dirty water" that I work on until the good stuff flows out."

"Contests are good to gauge when you're ready for querying an agent."

"My writing process is to start with the character and ask, 'What's the worst that could happen?'"

"It's (publishing) a small business."--that's actually very comforting to me because I don't feel like I have to conquer the giant; I just have to get my foot in the door.

"Don't get it right, get it written."--this isn't Ally's personal quote, she got it from somewhere else, but it's one of the mantras of my writing career right now.


Orchard Pix

Family Tradition

When we were going through pre-marital counseling, we were challenged to think of traditions we could establish for our own family. We've got a couple so far, and this weekend we started a new one!

Established traditions:

1. Cut down our own Christmas tree at Christmas tree farm in Owasso.
2. Christmas morning wake up, do presents and stockings, then big pancake breakfast while we watch a classic Christmas DVD--so far Isaac has bought me a new one each Christmas!

New tradition:

Apple picking and pumpkin patch! We just discovered a great family event--www.livesayorchards.com. Originally we went to pick apples, but we discovered so much more! There's a hayride that takes you to the orchard and pumpkin patch. They equip you with an apple picker (even being from Michigan, this was my first experience with one) so you can get the harder to reach apples because the school field trips have cleared the low ones. And they give you a half-bushel basket to fill with as many apples as you can balance. There were tons to choose from. This time we picked from the red delicious trees, but next year I want to get Granny Smiths so I can do more picking. A half-bushel is a lot more than it sounds like, so we'll be eating apples for breakfast (baked apples), lunch (sliced apples) and dinner (apple dumplings, pie and more!) for a long time! 

The pumpkin patch is huge! We didn't get a pumpkin this year since Andie's too small to care, but we will certainly be picking one out next year. We did get lots of pictures and came back all smiles. The farm also has a market which sells veggies and canned products. We loaded up on onions, tomatoes, Amish dill pickles, and sweet potatoes. I am so excited to eat everything.

Next year we'll take the whole family--grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. Can't wait!

Quick Breakfast

The milk is gone, rice milk that is, so cereal is not an option. So, I took what I had and whipped up a yummy breakfast. Scrambled eggs with turkey lunch meat shredded into the mix. Then put it on a warm tortilla and added mont. jack cheese on top. Kept it on the stove til the cheese melted. Then topped it with salsa. Yummy and simple! I keep my castiron skillet/tortilla warmer always on my stove, that way it's always ready for use. Thanks Mom and Dad Abad for the must-have kitchen tool.


Time-saver tip

When I'm in the kitchen, I always find myself going in circles from stove to counter, to fridge, to counter, to stove, to fridge, to sink, to fridge, etc. etc. So, to save time, I try a couple of things. First of all, I try to get my ingredients Rachel Ray-style and stack them all up and bring them to the counter at once (I inevitably forget things, but it's a start). As I use each ingredient for my meal, instead of putting it in the fridge at that moment, I make a stack at the end of the counter of things that need to go in the fridge. When I'm done preparing my meal, I take one trip to the fridge and deposit everything at once. I suppose I'm saving energy in the process too How green of me :)