Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I hate throwing away spoiled food. I always have a twinge of "there goes another $2 in the trash can... again."

And we always, always....  always end up throwing away bananas. We may eat a few, but we never finish the bunch before they turn into a squishy brown mess.

So... why don't I do the smart thing and just buy less bananas? Because mushy bananas give me an excuse to experiment in the kitchen, of course!

Yum. Yum. Yummy.
After all my trials and some non-edible errors, I think I have finally found my favorite recipe for banana bread. It's perfect. Perfect for my palate, that is. And for my little monkey's discerning tastes as well.

I'm not gonna lie, the recipe is really more of a quick bread dessert. It ain't low-carb, low-sugar, low-anything.  And since Paula Deen just came out saying she has diabetes... Let's pretend I just gave you a long lecture and a stern warning about practicing moderation, limiting your sugar intake, and that you-should-practice-healthy-habits stuff.

And you will now ignore the hypothetical lecture if you're gonna make this bread.

I like this recipe because it uses imitation almond extract, which still gives a little bit of a nutty flavor, but without using actual nuts. This is a big plus for sharing the bread with others, since most adults/kids with nut allergies aren't bothered by imitation flavoring. (or if you are my 2 year old daughter who doesn't like the consistency of nuts in any food, or her class at school - where nut allergies are prevalent)

If you want to try it out, here goes:

Preheat your oven to 350.
(In my case, I should turn on the oven sometime the night before making this recipe, since it takes  f  o  r  e  v  e  r   for our oven to get to the selected temperature. Seriously.)

Put 1/4 cup of softened butter and 1 cup of white sugar in your stand mixer.

If you don't have a stand mixer, I suggest you stop right now, put all your ingredients back in the fridge and go out and buy a stand mixer. Your life will be changed and your culinary habits will be forever benefitted by a stand mixer. And you can help stimulate our economy with your purchase. And you should help because I have little faith that our elected officials are going to be able to do anything about it with more pokey porky politics. And on that note, be sure to go vote this year. And on that note, try to not let the annoying political advertising get to you before election day. Did I mention that I love having a DVR, since I can skip over all the mud slinging?

But I digress... Mix the sugar and butter and throw an egg in there as well. Then add a full teaspoon of imitation almond extract. (Or nuts instead, if you really want them.) Then throw three ripe bananas into the newly purchased mixer's bowl as well. Don't worry about mashing the bananas up beforehand, just peel 'em and toss them in. That's the beauty of a good stand mixer.

Add 2 cups of all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Mix all this for together, then stop and scrape the side of the bowl and then mix for another 30 seconds.

Now comes the fun part: throw about a cup of white chocolate chips in and then throw another cup of milk chocolate chips in. Or throw the whole bag in.... it's up to you! Be extremely liberal with your chips.  Like Nancy-Pelosi-liberal. Or Eugene-V.-Debs
-liberal. Don't try to keep the chips, you must give them away and redistribute them! This bread needs them more than you do!  You need to pay your fair share of chips, in order to do the things that have been decided are national priorities. And I've decided this bread is a national priority!

Oh, I'm so ready for this election year to be over.

Mix the whole gooey mess a few times by hand with a spoon, using your own arm strength (look at you! already working off the calories!) and then pour the batter in an 8x4 loaf pan. The pan will be pretty full.

Oh, snap! Two of my favorite things in one picture.
Banana bread and Nutella.
If your banana bread doesn't turn out,
just toast a piece of it and slap some Nutella on it.
Nutella can make anything taste good.
Bake it at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then turn your oven down to 325 and bake for another 45 minutes. You may need to vary the length of time, depending on your oven. Remember, this is calibrated for my oven.. And it may still be heating up for something I might cook tomorrow.

Can you smell it?

When you do pull it (fully cooked) out of the oven, you better be ready to fight off the hungry wolves who will come hunting for it!

Hungry wolf.
Or my little monkey, depending on the time of day.


1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp imitation almond extract
3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
White chocolate chips
Milk chocolate chips

Trying to shove the whole piece of bread in her mouth.
Love it!

It's good, Mama!
MORE, please!

If you try this recipe, we do hope you enjoy it. If not, do you have a favorite banana bread recipe you wanna share with me?

Monday, January 16, 2012


Hello hello! Happy MLK Day, y'all! 

In the heavily edited words of Dr. King: I have a dream that my four two little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin their ability to sleep through the night, but by the content of their character their ability to stay happily awake for hours on end.
Okay, okay. It's not as admirable of a goal as Dr. King's dream, but if my kids don't sleep at night, the least they can do is be happy when they are awake!! 

But honestly, I can't complain. It's been a milestone week for us here.  

Just as we were about to officially diagnose Abbott as what Dr. Sears calls a "high needs baby," he had some very serious growth spurts. According to those smarty pants doctors who wrote the list (and make all moms feel like morons everywhere), a "high needs baby" is one who displays at least half of the features listed on their "high needs" traits.  Abbott hit 'em all. And then he added some extra grumpy characteristics all his own.

But this week we've seen some drastic improvements. Lil' homeboy is actually agreeing to nap for longer than 15 minutes. His 'stanky toots aren't making him scream as much any more. He hasn't spit up his food in .... days. Yes, days. And he actually drank from a bottle twice yesterday. Granted, it was only one ounce each time, but he took those ounces down like a champ instead of his usual approach of screaming his head off in a blind rage.

Ahh... yes, growth and development. As much as I love his itty-bitty infant stage, I'll take growing out of it any day. Don't get me wrong, when he's happy, he's the most charming little man you've ever seen. It's just that those happy times are used to be(!) few and far between.

Seriously, how can you be grumpy all the time when you have a morning chat with me like this:

The past two weeks have seen some serious growth emotionally, mentally, and most definitely physically:

Seriously, Mom? Size 3M clothes?
That was so last month for me.

He's also getting his hair back!
In true Abbott-style, he lost all his hair on the top of his head
and looked quite like a roly-poly little monk.

No, his hair loss wasn't that bad. But close.

Yes, I'm still a 2 month old and I do get fussy.
Mom, put the darn camera down and hold me!!

But I'm getting bigger by the minute!
Seriously, a button popped off my outfit the other night.
The same outfit had fit earlier that morning.

Also, if you live in the Meriwether/Troup County area and happen to read this blog, I'd like to take a moment to make a plea for you to keep your eyes peeled for another handsome little dude who answers to the name "Nike." 

Some close family friends of ours had their little spaniel run away over the weekend.  They had all been out at my parent's skeet range and the gun fire spooked him. One of the spaniels didn't mind the shooting, but Nike bolted away.

Nike and his partner in crime engage in a Mexican stand-off
with one of my parent's barn kitties.
I don't think anyone won this match.

He is white with black spots and brown eyebrows. If you see him, please let us know!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Hello, 2012!!

And hello to writing the wrong date on absolutely everything. It usually takes me till at least March before I get the hang of writing the correct year. You know you do it too... (Seriously, I can't be the only one.)

I hope your holiday was fantastic. Things were definitely busy around here. We did a lot of eating, driving, eating, visiting, sleeping, eating, playing, and a little more eating.

Did I mention we ate a lot?

 Christmas started off a few days early at my parents cabin/lodge in west Georgia.
This meant the boys spent a lot of time doing lots of manly things.
(Like drinking hot beverages and snuggling with infants in front of the TV.)

Not a hot beverage.
It's actually a cold beverage and the first of many sugar cookies in Evie's hands.
She caught on quickly to the Santa idea and the gift-giving-and-receiving concept, but she's still a little fuzzy about the whole it's-Jesus'-birthday thing. We're working on that.

We sprung a surprise on her:
Santa knew we were coming to the cabin and he even left presents here for us. 
What a nice guy!

The present-opening madness begins.
And the madness really didn't end until a few days later.
This kid scored big-time. Luckiest little girl on the planet.

The little elf was kind enough to take a break
and hand out presents that weren't even hers.

Our family likes to pull out the weapons on Christmas.
And then engage in mortal combat.  Only kidding.  (Kind of.)
Uncle Battle was providing a helping hand -or pocket knife- to cut a ribbon and Uncle Winston was inspecting Abbott's new rifle. 
Yes, our 7-week old baby boy has his own rifle. And I can assure you, when he's old enough to lift it, he will learn how to use it! Till then, Abbott's dad and momma will get the benefit of sighting the rifle in for him.
Watch out.

Gabba Gabba's big surprise from Santa was a massive lawn mower.
She popped a few wheelies and spun a few donuts in the yard getting used to the steering.
Who knew cutting the grass could be so much fun?

After our "first" Christmas was over, we loaded up the kiddos and hustled back to the city to make sure we didn't miss Santa at our own house.

Santa didn't forget us. He came to our house too.
And Evie scored again.

When Evie learned Santa hadn't completely finished the milk and cookies we left for him, she ran into the kitchen and helped herself to his leftovers.
Before she had even opened a single present, she chowed down on Santa's leftover lemon biscotti and milk. Seriously, what kid does that?!  I swear we feed her. She's not starving, I promise.

She soon discovered the Mickey and Minnie that Santa also left behind - 
and the present opening madness started up again.

(Disney's stock went up this month, in case you were wondering.)

Every kid needs a Slinkie.

Santa remembered Abbott too.
Doesn't he look comfy with his new New England Patriot's bear?
Abbott, Dadda, and the bear can watch Pats games together!
After Christmas morning, we loaded up the kiddos again and trekked to Aunt Nancy's house in Macon for a delicious lunch and even a few more gifts.

Aunt Bridget and Uncle Winston safely guarding Mickey and Minnie...

Cousin Jonathan plays with the new puppy, Samson.
This little guy became Evie's best friend for the day.
(And by little guy, I do mean the puppy. Although Evie likes Jonathan too.)

I managed to snap a picture of Dadda catching a nap.
He loves it when I take pictures of him sleeping.)
Evie left her new baby doll to nap with him. So sweet.

Later on, we drove back to Gabba and Grandaddy's house to try out Evie's new saddle for Cocoa the mini horse. Have you ever seen anything more adorable?  

Seriously. ADORABLE.

She's ready for the Derby, y'all!

Check out those stirrup straps. 
They are actually leather dog collars that Gabba found to fit the saddle.

Not kidding. Dog collars.

We unloaded two of our chickens on Gabba Gabba because we have a serious egg problem at our house. Meaning, we have too many eggs being laid. It's only the winter and our girls are laying a ton - so we will be up to our eyeballs in egg yolks when the heavy springtime laying rolls around.
Problem solved:  Gabba has two new chickens and we still have five chickens. By my calculations, five chickens egg output is a lot more manageable than seven!

Our girls have never been around a rooster. Their new home has roosters.
So, I guess we can't call them girls anymore... they are now women. Poor things. Roosters aren't exactly romantic suitors. They are more like... well, roosters.
And yes, I realize my 'girls" are actually chickens and I shouldn't be calling them girls or women in the first place. Just go with it, okay?

In other non-farm life news... we decided to start the new year off with a very sweet event.  Our baby boy was baptized on January 1st.

Abbott's seriously contemplating the baptismal vows.
Actually, he's debating whether or not he looks like a girl in the frilly christening dress. His momma wore it, his sister wore it, and now he's wearing it.
We added a blue ribbon and let him wear cowboy boots underneath.
That makes it all better, right?!

He looks pretty content with that reasoning.

Back Row- Uncle Battle, Grandaddy, Evie, Dadda, Pop
Front Row - Gabba Gabba, Abbott, Momma and Nana

Abbott: "You're not going to kiss me again, are you?"
Evie: "Yup. Try and stop me little man."
I love this picture

Does it get any better than these two cuties?!

We're your parents and there's nothing you can do about it!
Simultaneous realization: "Oh, crap."