Monday, August 31, 2009

From the Kitchen of. . .

Red & Connie

some classic recipes from my kitchen I wrote out for my friend, Diana who had her bridal
shower this past weekend.

"In France, cooking is a serious art form and a national sport."
~Julia Child

Food feeds your body, cooking feeds your soul--
it's a little piece of yourself in every bite that you make for the people you love.
It was a pleasure to share my favorites with my friend
so that she can bake for her new hubby!

Friday, August 28, 2009

SkyWatch Friday ~ Foggy San Francisco

Heavenly Rays in California.
I couldn't believe how the sky opened up enough to let out light on the city. It was breathtaking.

cold & foggy. There's a Mark Twain quote that reads:
"The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."
*60 miles SE of San Francisco it was 120 degrees! As we entered San Francisco the temperature dropped to 56!!!

Of course, the hallmark of this beautiful city. You can't see the top of the bridge because the clouds are so low and dense.

Enjoy views from around the world! ~Amanda~

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Connie's Banana Bread

Cooking with Red & Connie ~ Banana Bread
Every time someone visits my grandfather or he comes for a visit he bakes banana bread. It is always so delicious!!! A few months ago my friend Cassandra, with whom I am so lucky to work, brought me samples of banana bread she made. Recently I've begun tweaking my own recipe.

I make a double recipe... you start out creaming 1 cup *smart balance and 1 cup sugar

Then, you add four eggs (egglands best for lower cholesterol)
stir together.
Add 2 cups buttermilk and 3 tsps baking soda & stir
Add 2-3 tsps almond extract & stir
Add 4 1/2 cups flour, 2 tsps baking powder about 1 tsp nutmeg and about 4 tsps cinnamon
STIR! =)

Add 8 bananas (mushed)!!!!!
(lots of peals leftover)

Pour into two bread pans and bake in the oven for 60-70 minutes at 375 degrees


Friday, August 21, 2009

SkyWatch Friday ~ California Dreaming

California Dreamin' on Hermosa Beach
"When I admire the wonder of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in worship of the Creator."
~Mahatma Gandhi

Hermosa Beach is one of the most quaint and beautiful places in the world... small town America meets the beach.

"What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. it is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset." ~Crawfoot

Enjoy views from around the world!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Treats of Being a Woman!

sister is a beautiful word.

Last weekend my sister, Rachael and cousin, Sarah came to visit. We had such a wonderful time catching up, and having "girl time" with each other. I love how close we all are. One of the days they were here, Rachael and I went to get pedicures. This is a fantastic experience that I only discovered this year, when my friend Cassandra had me get one at the end of the school year. Since then, I have LOVED pedicures. I adore the way they treat my nails before putting polish on them, and the callous scrub is amazing for my feet...especially because mine are so bad. Something I like to blame on spending summers barefoot.

Pedicures make me feel rich, cozy, and, I guess almost like the royal treatment of a princess.

We got nearly matching polish colors, and treated ourselves to pampering of the feet. It was special getting to do some woman things with my sister.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Connie's Crabapple Jam

Cooking with Red & Connie
Connie's Crabapple Jam

First, you must find beautifully ripe crabapples. For me, it was easy! They are right on the road of my apartment complex!
Pick only the ripe ones. I picked about four cups, but the more the merrier!

make sure you wash them before any of the steps that follow!

Remove stems and blossoms. Cut each crabapple in fourths and take the seeds out. Kind of what you would do if you were going to eat an apple!

Put crabapple fourths in a sauce pan. Add four cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. The crabapples should soften and change color

This is what they look like when they are about ready to strain. You are supposed to use cheesecloth to prevent any pieces of the crabapple from getting into your jam. However, when I was at the grocery store they didn't have cheesecloth, so I just used a regular strainer. It worked fine!

You should have 4 cups of juice, discard the pulp, and pour the juice back in the pan. Bring to a boil, slowly mix in one package of sure-jell and two-four cups of sugar (depending on how sweet you'd like it) Continue cooking at a low boil for about four minutes. Remove from heat.

Pour into Jelly jars! Let sit out until room temperature! =) Enjoy
Love, Red & Connie

Marking the Brownie

I recently read this book called "Blue Moon" part of Alyson Noel's Immortals series. Toward the end of the book she had the protagonist understand the feeling of home, in the way I try to portray through my blog. I felt the need to share. Ever, the main character, lost her whole family in a car accident. Her little sister, Riley kept appearing to her throughout the first story in the series, as Ever was able to see her spirit. Riley crossed over, and since then Ever has been unable to see her, though Riley promised she'd give her a sign that she was still there. This part in "Blue Moon" brought tears to my eyes.

"I reach toward the stack of brownies. Going for the smallest square, figuring I'll just eat it and run. But when I see the unmistakable letter E carved right in its center--I know.
It's my sign.
The one I've been waiting for all along.
Just when I'd given up hope, Riley pulled through. Marking the smallest brownie on the plate with my initial in the exact same way that she used to do.
And when I look for the largest one and see an R carved onto it, I definitely know it's from her. The secret message, the one she promised, right before she left me for good....
I plucked it off the plate and plopped it into my mouth, closing my eyes as I savor its chewy sweetness, immediately immersed in the feeling of home. That wonderful place I was so lucky to revisit, no matter how short a time--finally realizing it's not relegated to just one single place, it's wherever you make it."

How many senses bring us home again?
The smell of cinnamon bread
The taste of homemade chicken soup
The feeling of the fireplace's warmth
The sound of happy footsteps
The sight of mountains.