Friday, June 12, 2009

Strawberry-Banana Muffins

As promised, I couldn't help but experiment with an old favorite recipe this week. My banana bread recipe is a favorite with my husband and kids. Here it is, jazzed up a tad. The sweet bananas contrast with the tart strawberries (although the berries are pretty sweet, now, in season.) The butter gives the muffin a cake-like texture - much better than banana breads with oil. Those are dense, but I wanted a lighter bite. These are great as biggies for breakfast, or minis for dessert, afternoon coffee, or in a kids lunch box. Enjoy!

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
3 bananas, mashed with a fork
1 cup finely chopped strawberries (pulse frozen berries in a food processor until fine)
2 cups flour (mix with next two ingredients in a separate bowl)
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350-deg. Cream together butter and sugar in a mixer. Add the well beaten eggs and mix again. Combine the mashed bananas and strawberries and add, mixing just until incorporated. Add the flour, soda and salt mixture and mix well. The batter will be thick. Place in paper-lined muffin cups, 3/4 full. Bake for 20-22 min for mini muffins, or 26-28 min for regular muffins, until toothpick comes out clean. Makes approx 18 regular muffins or 36 minis.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

West Texas Weekend: Lajitas Resort

Look at this great place I found. Well, found in cyberspace, that is. But I plan to go as soon as we are able. The 8 hr drive from Dallas doesn't seem so bad when you factor in the cost, beauty and remoteness of this little gem. Of course, for a weekend getaway, flying is probably preferable. But I'm putting this on the calendar for next Spring Break and taking the whole crew. Imagine how pretty the weather will be in March!

Lajitas Resort, between Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park, along the Rio Grande. (Close to Marfa, Texas, another place I've been dying to visit. But that's another blog.)


Lobby Casita - sleeps 6

One of the many guestroom types

where I would park myself while Marshall
took the kids horseback riding

Spa Golf

La ed on FM 170 between the Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch

Organic Decor

One of the first things we learn as an interior design major is that unexpected is interesting. Not wacky, off-the-wall unexpected, but the kind of surprise that's pleasing to the eye. One of the best, most pleasantly surprising things in a room is often organic: shape, color, texture, made in nature. That's why it's so important, in my opinion, to incorporate a little of the outside, in.

I was great about this when I was newly married, childless, straight out of college with that design degree in hand. We had a creeping rose on the back fence and I would cut tiny little red roses and place them in assorted vases all over our little house. Now, if I put something like that out, it would be covered in papers immediately, or carted off to become part of a Lego invention. Somewhere along the years the clutter just took over. My organic is now dust bunnies. However, I vow that will change!

Here's a look at some great, real, ways to bring in the softness of nature. Notice these are not florist-designed arrangements. Rather, real people collected these sprigs and stems from their yards and markets and put them in beautiful vessels. Not hard!

Greenery from the yard or garden. I love the "messiness" of this arrangement.
These are perfect for the kitchen, and useful. The decor should be appropriate to the use of the room.

Clean and simple. Pick up a bag of lemons at the store next time you go.
Hard not to love the simplicity here.

Cut some seasonal blooms and put them in the vase that you're probably already using for decor.

A real person who enjoys their bedroom. These little flowers can be purchased at the supermarket, and any little clear glass vase or bowl can be found in your house, somewhere. Softness is especially important in the bedroom - a place that most of us forget to seasonally decorate.

Pink Party prep

Strawberry Treat by Thorsten (TK)

Berry season is here! I cannot even tell you how many pints of strawberries, blueberries and blackberries are being consumed around here. It is the mainstay of Gillian's diet lately. LOVE them! Here's a short list of what we're doing with them:
in yogurt, with and without granola
in cereal
in cottage cheese
on ice cream
with whipped cream
dipped in chocolate (oh yes!)
baked in breads and muffins* - recipe to come
in cobblers and pies

I am really working on a savory component that would incorporate some kind of berry. Suggestions?

Speaking of strawberries, we have a big ole party coming up. We are having fun planning Gillian's "pink" party! Her third birthday is Friday, and I cannot believe it. Meanwhile, while I'm in denial, we've been assembling a cache of pinkness. We found Oreos with pink filling, pink princess candies, pink candles, pink magic wands, pink necklaces, candy molds for pink princess popsicles, and a great recipe for pink strawberry cupcakes. I will try my hand at those Friday. update to come.