19 May

Rain, rain, go away!

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We have had so much rain, everything is flooded including our swamp of a yard.  The grass is in desperate need of mowing, but the lawn mower would just sink if I even attempted it. It’s going to look like we brush hogged it by the time we are able to mow!

The garden has gotten off to a very slow start.  I’ve had to replant much of it again.

DSCF6427You probably can’t see the little plants in this picture, but all the beans and purple hulled peas came up with the seconding planting.  A third of the garden is in beans and peas.  I’ve replanted the bare spots in the potato and corn rows, we’ll see if they do anything.  The far end has tomatoes, peppers, and melons which are really beginning to take off finally.

I don’t know if you can tell in the picture, but the blackberries off to the right are covered in blossoms.  We are going to have a bumper crop this year, but then again we have a bumper crop of blackberries every year!

Jim and I finally had a free minute (things have been crazy!) to try out the new BBQ.

We mostly just enjoyed the fire, but Jim did fry up a pound of bacon, with Cosmo’s supervision of course.

Yesterday I baked a loaf of sourdough rye for Jim, and just because I felt like it, I’m baking more bread this morning.

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What am I going to do with it all?  Beats me.  I ran across an interesting recipe for a Mexican bread pudding with really unusual ingredients… I forget what it was called.  Stale bread, fruit, spices, eggs, buttermilk… and onions?  Oh and cheese too!  Bizarre, but I might try it!

17 May

Dutch oven cookout

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Yesterday we did a dutch oven cookout for the Arkansas search and rescue team, along with some people from out other states who do search and rescue as well.  While we were expecting 70 – 100 people, I’d say we had just about half of that.

Because we knew we’d be gone for about eight hours, Jim and I decided to take the camper and Cosmo with us.  Now Cosmo had been in the fifth wheel with us a couple of times when he was a puppy, and he’s taken a couple of trips in the truck camper with us, but he’s never been left alone in either.  What an experience that turned out to be!  Cosmo is a very smart dog, and he only had to watch me ONCE to figure out how to slide the door handle shield over to the side, and unlatch the door.  There was no keeping Cosmo in the camper!  LOL

Fortunately, he loves people and was pretty good all day… with the exception of his escape artist feats.  No barking!  Even with all the search and rescue dogs there (barking), Cosmo was quiet.

The theme was Mexican.  We had something like 75lbs of shredded, seasoned chicken, and I don’t know how much beef, pork, rice and beans we had cooking, but it was a lot of food! Five cobblers were stacked up in the smaller dutch oven, and were scarfed down in nothing flat!

We had twelve dutch ovens going to feed the crowd, and I must say our little team of six did a great job of pulling it off.  Veronica, the gal in the purple shirt, always does a bang up job of making sure everything gets done.  Jim is always on top of the ovens, adding coals, rotating them, and doing the heavy lifting.  Funny, I can’t get that out of him at home!

13 May

Wonderful banana bread!

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I ran across a recipe for banana bread that used a lot of bananas… exactly what I was looking for as I had six bananas that needed used up and I don’t typically care for banana bread enough to want to make two loaves, so this was just the ticket!

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Banana Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 egg
5-6 bananas, very ripe, mashed
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 4 inch loaf pan.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice and toasted walnuts.

3. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar, then mix in the eggs, followed by the mashed bananas.

4. Combine banana mixture with the flour mixture and stir just until moistened. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, between 1 hour and 15 minutes to an hour and a half.

5. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack ten minutes, then turn out.

The recipe I found didn’t have any spices in it, so I added the cinnamon and the allspice, plus an extra 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and the toasted walnuts.

I liked this so well I will be making it again, next time I may add a teaspoon of vanilla, although it was pretty good without it.  The banana flavor was fantastic!

Also the original recipe baked it at 350 degrees, which I was pretty sure was too hot given the density of the loaf with all those bananas.  I baked mine for an hour and fifteen minutes at 300 degrees (non convection), then ended up turning the oven up to 350 degrees for an additional ten minutes, so I’ve changed the recipe to 325 degrees which should work perfectly, and will be how I bake it next time.