Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Banana Bread Recipe

I'm cookin' some up right now, and it smells glorious!
I tweaked this recipe a bit from Betty Crocker, because I almost never have buttermilk on hand.

1/2 c softened butter (about 10 seconds in the microwave until you can leave a fingerprint, but not melted)
1 1/2 c sugar
2 large eggs
3 medium mashed bananas (1 1/2 c)
1/4 c vanilla or strawberry yogurt
1/4 c milk
or one tube Gogurt plus enough milk to make 1/2 c
1 t vanilla
2 1/2 c flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 c nuts or chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut 2 rectangles of parchment paper the size of the bottom of your pans (I use 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2) and lay them in the bottom so the edges curl down.  Mix butter and sugar.  Blend in eggs.  Mix in bananas, yogurt, milk, and vanilla.  Stir in flour, soda, and salt, and then add nuts or chips.  Put one dollop into each pan to flatten the paper.  Adjust it so it is straight in the pan, and then divide the rest of the batter evenly between the two pans.  Bake about an hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let them cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes or so before you take them out.  Betty Crocker says to let them cool for two hours before you slice it, but I can never wait that long.  Plus it is most delicious when it is still warm.  Keep it wrapped tightly.  You can store it for 4 days on the counter or 10 days in the fridge.  (If it will even last that long.)  I usually eat up one loaf and freeze the other for later.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Merry Christmas

I love Christmas!  It is an exciting time of the year when people are especially generous in reaching out to neighbors and people in need.  I am really trying to keep my focus on Christ rather than shopping and busyness. This time of the year can become quite stressful sometimes with all of the obligations that come from tradition.  I want to teach my children that "Jesus is the reason for the season," and we give gifts to celebrate His birthday.  Since we can't buy a gift and give it directly to Jesus, we give it to someone He loves instead.  I like to sing the Happy Birthday song on Christmas morning to help them remember.  I rarely ask them, "What do you want to get for Christmas?" but sometimes ask them, "What do you want to give for Christmas?"

What traditions do you and your family share to make Christmas Christ centered?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Beanbag Words

Last month in our issue of the Friend magazine, there was an article about a game to play where you toss a beanbag to people in a circle and take turn saying positive things about whomever you throw it to.  We played the game for Family Home Evening, but used Sweetheart's favorite stuffed horse, "Horsey."  It was good to get some positive words flowing in our family, and we could feel the Holy Spirit with us stronger.  Sweetheart wanted to play the game again another day just with me.  It is a great feeling to be given so many compliments by a tiny four year old boy.  He really is a sweetheart.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Our Gingerbread Ornaments

Here's a photo of our finished gingerbread people.  This picture is pretty busy--kinda like Where's Waldo.  See if you can spot the Grandma and Grandpa and the missionary.  There's also one in pajamas.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Gingerbread Men Ornaments

My kids and I have been having fun doing a craft together this week.  We are making gingerbread men out of salt dough to give as gifts for teachers and friends.  Here's our recipe:

Salt Dough

2 cups flour
3/4 cup salt
about 3/4 cup warm water
1 t vegetable oil

Mix it all together (you'll have to use your hands).  It is better to err on the side of too dry than too wet, as you can always add more water later.  Roll the dough out about 1/4 inch thick, and use cookie cutters to cut shapes.
Use a drinking straw to cut a hole at the top or cut a paper clip with wire cutters.  Insert the paper clip U shape carefully in the top of the cookie, making sure not to go through the front or back.
Lay them out to dry.  It will take a day or two.  Make sure to turn them over every now and then to prevent curling.  It seems letting them dry on a towel helped them to dry quicker.  You can also bake them at 200 degrees for a long time--a few hours.

Once they are dry, paint them with acrylic paint.