Tried and True Recipes: Banana Bran Muffins



I've had this recipe for some time.  It came from the back panel of a box of Millville Bran Cereal (Aldi).  I've been meaning to make them for some time.  Yesterday I started to clear the counter top and decided to put the recipe in the tras...and then I read it.  I realized the amount of the ingredients and the fact that it made 12 muffins meant they were relatively low in carbs/fat with plenty of fiber to offset those counts. Next time I will substitute the Stevia baking blend for the sugar.  I just wasn't thinking this morning...I was baking pre-coffee, lol.

I did not mash the bananas.  I did break them into big bite sized chunks.  The ripeness of the bananas and the bran cereal helped them to break down fairly quickly.

These muffins were tender and light and not heavy as I feared they might be.

Banana Bran Muffins

Heat oven to 400F

1 cup all purpose flour
1tbsp (yes, tbsp) baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Mix in small bowl.  Set aside

2 cups bran flakes
1/3 cup fat free milk 
1 cup very ripe bananas
Mix in large bowl and let sit at least two minutes until bran flakes soften.

2 egg whites
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Beat egg whites until foamy.  Add with butter and nuts to bran flakes and stir to blend well.  Add in dry ingredients and blend until all is moist. Spray 12 cup muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.   Spoon batter into muffin tin, putting same amount in each cup (I guess about 1/2 cup each).  Bake 20 minutes.

Immediately turn out of muffin tin and cool on wire rack.
 

This Week In My Home: A Family Way With Savings


Sometimes new just isn't in the budget.  Fortunately slipcovers can be found fairly inexpensively if you look carefully through clearance end caps at stores like Walmart or Target.


Saturday:  I had a plan for mine and John's meal which involved using up all the bits of leftover vegetable dishes in the fridge and a crock pot cooked meat.  Maddie enjoyed the bones from the beef.

Family coming in this evening, so I planned for a simpler meal.  I had hot dogs in the freezer, made potato salad from scratch.

We packed up leftovers right away after the meal.

Living Well:  My grandsons don't get opportunity to 'run free' very often. When they asked if they might go outside and play we told them what their boundaries were and turned them loose.  They ran out to play.  They didn't stay out long, but I couldn't help but think of the beagle incident the week before, lol.

Retirement Remedies: Affordable Make-Up Basics




While this is hardly a fashion blog and not likely to turn into one, it has certainly been my focus of late about how to look my best on a budget.  That being said, it's understandable that as I put on my makeup today I couldn't help but note some basic items that I consider my 'go to' items.  I do have other make up items but they don't stay in my cosmetic bag.  They move in or out depending upon my mood/season/desire for change.  My basics stay pretty much the same.  I thought you might be interested to know what I use and why/how.





I start with a concealer stick.  I have one that is from Cover Girl and is in crayon form. It is the TruBlend FixStick.  I have some sun damage to my skin from years of time spent in the sun without sunhats or sunscreen.  While the damage is not horrid, there are some dark spots I like to tone in a bit. I put this on first in summer and I'll share why in  a moment.  In winter, it goes on over my primer.
I like the coverage it gives me for dark spots, but I do blend it into the skin.  I don't want to look patchy.  You can also use as a highlighting tool (though I don't) by putting it on over the top of your makeup.  I prefer to use it just as a concealer.

This Week In My Home: Family Time


My oldest son and his two boys came up this weekend to spend time with Grampa...Gramma pulled meal duty for two meals.  Grampa took care of breakfast and our son provided supper for us one night.  I won't say it was hard, but I can't tell you it was easy either.  Guys are guys are guys if they are 60 or 3 and I mean that sincerely.  Everyone happily did whatever I asked, but asking was key.
I've survived it...and good thing as there is family coming in mid-week and next weekend as well.  My family is anxious to see me, to make sure for themselves that I really am okay.  Well I am.  I am slowly building up my strength and still taking it fairly easy.

Meals were kept simple as could be this weekend.  Now it's time to plan for the week ahead.

Hamburger, Corn on the Cob, Lettuce, Tomato, Onion, Potato Salad and Strawberries with Sugar free angel food cake
I skipped the bun, measured out half a cup of potato salad, and had half an ear of corn.  The strawberries were fresh and sweet, just the way God made them and they were delicious.  I kept carbs low this meal on purpose since I knew I would be having the cake. The package said a serving size was one-fifth the cake.  I shook my head and said, No way.  I cut the cake into 12 pieces which seemed more reasonable to me.  It also cut the carbohydrates per serving in half.

This Week In My Home: Easing My Way to Savings

                                           Lovely fresh tomatoes...It's so good to eat them in season!
                                         

Saturday:  Put a turkey in the crock pot this morning to cook.  I'll use for meals and sandwiches this week.

When the turkey was done, I saved the broth that accumulated in the crock pot.  I put in a jar in the fridge so I can de-fat it.  I"ll use it for soup this week.

My dishwasher was packed full...I washed a full load of dishes on the longer wash cycle due to the fullness of the machine.

Made a small pan of chicken vegetable soup.  I used odds and ends of leftovers in the fridge: leftover roasted chicken and vegetables, a bit of panzanella (yes, really), onion, celery, garlic and a few frozen peas from the freezer.  Yummy stuff that soup.  I've been on a big soup kick lately.  I find in the evening it's just the sort of rich nourishing stuff I need.

I made spaghetti for lunch using a frozen portion of sauce put up in the freezer.

De boned the turkey and packed it for the fridge...just after John made a turkey sandwich for his supper.

Living Well:  Enjoyed going through the vintage magazines Dale sent me.  I spent all day reading short stories and articles, enjoying vintage ads.  I never peruse a new magazine half as hard as I do these older ones!

Iced Tea Chat: Gently Easing Into Routines


Hello dears...Come in and have some tea.  Though pleasant enough outdoors it's very warm.  There's lemon, lime and ginger root to flavor the tea if you'd like.  I wish I had fresh mint.  My but that is refreshing in an icy glass of tea!  I acquired a taste for good tea unsweetened in the hospital and assure you I can drink it just so...but it must be GOOD.  Perhaps I'll become a tea aficionado just as I have acquired a taste for really good coffee.

There are no sweets.  I'm not ready to push that into my diet at present, though I've eaten plenty of melon and berries of late.  I'm waiting upon the peaches to begin coming in.  I'm not such a fan of the early varieties except the white peaches.  However, I did find some lovely nectarines in the grocery yesterday.  I'd gone in to remedy the lack of whole wheat products in my home.  I bought bread and pitas and rolls which I put in the freezer and some brown rice and whole grain pasta.  I don't expect to use loads of those things but I have them on hand for when I do want them. I took all the white pastas from the cupboards/pantry and the lovely jasmine rice I'd bought and will pass that on to the kids and my niece.  I did this because the pastas made a major stumbling block for me this past weekend.  I just couldn't seem to shake the idea that only pasta or rice or bread made a starch.  I didn't feel well overall and was not eating quite as well as I might.  I gave myself a stern talking to, spent hours online researching menus and snack foods and copying out ideas I might use.  In the end, I realized I'd forgotten that some vegetables are higher in carbs but better for you than pasta of rice: potatoes, corn, butter beans, black eyed peas, dried beans...Well that was just the right twist to get my head screwed back on right...and the inspiration to go by the grocery when we were out to pick up a few necessary whole grain items.

This Week In My Home: A Little At A Time


Well this past week went rather well.  Overall I did nicely with my meals and my foods choices but I confess, when I was tired and weary, meals were the last things I wanted to plan. Fortunately for me, I learned long ago with the Atkins diet that planning meals out ahead of time is key to success.  I figure it's pretty much the same with my current need to eat well and right.

One of the tools I was given at the hospital was an illustration of The Plate Method.  I found one online to share:

3-4 ounces of protein, 1/2 cup starch or starchy vegetables, up to 3 cups of non-starchy vegetables, 1 medium fruit (or 1/2 cup starch or 1 slice of bread) and 1 cup milk (or another 1/2 cup of starch or bread).  It is recommended that I have three milk servings daily.  This is something I've not yet worked my way into but I am trying to get in two daily.

This has been the most helpful of things in laying out a meal plan as well as serving myself portions.  You might notice it varies from the U.S. Government 'plate' which divides the plate into four sections, with 1 fruit on 1/4 of the plate.  I think the diabetic plan promotes eating more vegetables.  It is truly about finding the balance of carbs plus fat plus protein to balance the body's production of sugar.

This Week In My Home: Savings Changes


My yellow knock out rose a couple years or so ago...A piece of the root has grown from under the new back door steps and simply refuses to NOT grow...So I've a new rosebush by the side of the porch railing...just loaded with blooms.

Saturday:  Home again...I happily accepted the offer of a rep sample glucometer, extra test strips from the hospital's Diabetes Health Ways  program, as well as coupons for medications that were pricey.

When we arrived home we realized that while the glucometer from the drugstore was free, they included the wrong lancets for the finger stick device.  I will return those and swamp them for the right ones.

Living Well:  It wasn't the sight of home on the hill that undid me today...it was Maddie's sweet and eager greeting which ended with her 'kissing' me on my nose, something that girl is seldom moved to do...and then coming indoors and seeing my house, my things once more, brought on a welter of tears.  God is so good!  I'm sure heaven is a lovely place and I'll enjoy it immensely, but in the meantime, this is the only home I know and I like it very well indeed.

This Week In My Home: Changing Lifestyle


While her wake-up call is for the family to come down for coffee, my wake up call wasn't half so pleasant, lol.  However, meal plans are not only necessary but will be followed rigidly for a bit, until I get used to this whole thing.  Some of the menus posted this week are actually some that I had in hospital and am adapting.  A few are meals I've planned for us this week.  Most of the vegetables you see here are limited to 1/2 cup serving.  However, you can easily add a salad or skip bread and add another 1/2 cup to your vegetable serving.

By the way: Sarah's protein news last month was very much in evidence in all the menus I took note of over the past week and I was told it was best to eat meat at least once every day, as it balances the carbs.  Keep that in mind.

I'm not planning projects this week, not just yet, but I do have some goals I'll share at the end of this post.

Meat Loaf, Mashed Potatoes, Butter beans, Blackberries with Whipped Cream
Serving portions are the standard ones.  Meat the size of a deck of cards (about 3 ounces), 1/2 cup each of the potatoes and butter beans, 1/2 cup of the berries with fat free whipped cream dolloped on top.  That's the meal I made today and it was very good, very filling.  Measuring my food is interesting.  I think 1/2 a cup doesn't sound like much but it's really a quite generous serving.
* an addendum here:  butter beans and mashed potatoes are both carb heavy and will cause a spike in blood sugars.  Choose one or the other and have a salad or steamed broccoli, etc which does not have starches.

He Wanted The Moon: The Madness and Medical Genius of Dr. Perry Baird, and His Daughter's Quest to Know Him



Dr. Baird suffered from Manic Depression.  Treated in the 1950's, the story of his treatment, as chronicled by himself, is very reminiscent of scenes depicted in movies such as Snake Pit.  Treatment was harsh and sometimes cruel.  Yet, Dr. Baird kept copious notes as he watched his marriage dissolve, saw the end of his medical licensing and practice and found himself shunned by the very doctors who were friends and colleagues, some of whom practiced psychiatry.   His notes became ground breaking advances in the treatment of manic depression as a bio-chemical disorder.

The book not only chronicles Dr. Baird's mental sufferings and physical mistreatments, it also chronicles the loss of a father to a family.  In the 1950's, it was believed that the family of those who suffered from mental illness were best to 'forget' the family member entirely.  Dr. Baird's wife was encouraged to divorce him and ultimately to move on into a new life, one which did not include the mentally ill.

Through a series of odd coincidences, Ms. Baird is contacted by long lost family members who had held on to the boxes of papers Dr. Baird had written as he researched and experienced manic depression.  Through his writings, a daughter finds her father once again, long after he has passed away.

The book is a riveting read and I highly recommend it.  I received this book from bloggingforbooks.com in consideration of my personal review.

A Coffee Chat: Home, Home is Best


Hello....It's been quite a while, I know.  I just got home this evening and I'm a little overwhelmed with life at the moment, but I want more than any other thing to be back in a normal life routine. For a Saturday evening, that means just what I'm doing right now: watching Presley's Country Theatre, and typing a post.  Normally it would be a menu post.  I do need to do that, too, but mostly I want to chat.

John has done admirably well keeping the place nice.  I came home to a newly mown lawn,  a few clean dishes on the baking counter that he didn't know what to do with, little stacks of clean laundry.  Truthfully supper was just beyond me this evening when we came in, but we stopped at Subway and picked up a sandwich.   I hadn't had an afternoon cup of coffee in over a week.  It was lovely.

I don't think this shall be a long chat but I wanted to let you all know how very very much I appreciate your well wishes, your concern and most of all your prayers.  I desperately needed those prayers!

And because I know you're curious, and because I think perhaps maybe by sharing I might save someone else the grief of going through what I have, I want to tell what I've been through.  It sounds like less typed out than it was, to be honest.

Monday two weeks ago, I was straightening the bathroom when I had a little spell of breathlessness.  I started to cry, though it wasn't impossible to breathe, but I put it down to a slight panic attack and went on about my business.  The little bouts of breathlessness came and went throughout the day, enough to make me just sit down and be still.

Afternoon Coffee Chat: Weathering the Storm

Hello dears...Do come in.  I've a fresh pot of coffee and though it's hot outdoors, I confess that after my day in the kitchen t...