Saturday, August 31, 2013

Make a treasure out of someone else's junk!

One of my favorite projects is to find old chair someone has dumped because the seat is broken or a leg needs glue. I have found three different old rush and caned chairs left for trash. First I sanded the chair, glued loose joints and put a new finishing stain and varnish on it. Replacing rush seats is fairly easy but most available rush these days is plastic and not so nice to sit on.  Now I have just finished the alternative way to redo seat. I had scraps of quilting cottons that I made 1" wide strips that I stitched together in long pieces. I used to do this to braid rag rugs. I used the rag balls to redo seat. Not only does it look great and colorful but it is more comfortable and stronger.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Back in the kitchen for motivation on my cookbook!

So another year has slipped by on me but now I am really taking my cookbook seriously! I have started retesting some old recipes to make sure they turn out as good as I remember and tweaking them a bit. I am starting out with breakfast recipes that I really like and I am hoping to get feedback on each recipe as to how clear the instructions are and how well they turn out. My past experience taught me that a recipe should be tested by at least 3 people before it goes into a book. I hope that by publishing some of the recipes on this blog will get me some helpful feedback!

First on my list is "Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Muffins with Streusel Topping"
 I have tried several different recipes and I think this one comes out the best.

Banana Nut Muffins with Chocolate Chips


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 overripe bananas
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1 package mini chocolate chips

Streusel Topping is optional if you like sweeter muffins

1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly butter 2 muffin tins. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Mash 3 of the bananas with a fork in a small bowl so they still have a bit of texture. With an electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk, whip the remaining bananas and sugar together like you mean it, for a good 3 minutes. Add the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla and beat well, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Fold in the nuts and the mashed bananas and chocolate chips with a rubber spatula. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins to fill them about halfway. Give them a rap on the counter to get any air bubbles out. Sprinkle a little streusel on top of each muffin. Bake until a toothpick stuck in the muffins comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before turning the muffins out. Serve warm or at room temperature.