Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bananas, Strawberries and Apples

I've come to the conclusion that I have so many WIPs (works in progress) because I simply cannot finish one thing before starting something else. I have an idea, and I have to run with it, even though I haven't finished the last (2, 3, or 4) ideas. My day off today was no exception. The thing is, I do finish eventually. And today I finished several WIPs. So it was a good day.

Kim and Krue visited for lunch. Krue and I both had runny sneezy noses, so I cut us up some apples. I'm quite a neat apple eater, but Krue prefers to crush his apple pieces into little microbial bits before eating about 10 percent of them, then smearing the rest on his face, clothes and anything else within reach. After they left, Wayne took Sasha to the vet for her annual shots. While they were gone, I made muffins. I wrote previously about this wonderful James Beard recipe for banana nut bread, but I've tweaked it by adding strawberries, which are plentiful here this time of year and delicious combined with bananas. Substitute about 3/4 cup of very ripe smashed strawberries for some of the banana and cut up the walnuts very finely (I didn't have walnuts, so used pecans). I use a tip from Hello, Cupcake! (a book my friends, Jimi & Leon gave me for my birthday) to make the muffins. Put a large zip lock bag into a container to hold it and pour the batter in. Gently press out the air and seal, then cut a triangle out of the corner. Use it to squeeze the batter into the muffin tins and fill about 3/4's full. It's really neat and easy. I doubled the recipe since I had enough overripe bananas, so it made about 5 dozen muffins.

I worked on Dave's neverending scarf. The thing never seems to get any longer. I worked on my rat mat for the cats and then I painted a tshirt to wear to work on casual days. Here's the shirt:

The colors are all metallic, but that doesn't really show here.  The goldish color is really copper.  I have this idea of doing these for everyone at the library...name your hobby and I'll paint the dewey decimal number and an icon on a shirt!  It's freehand (I used to be a sign painter in another life), and I forgot how much I love painting.  I just have to let it cure for a day, then iron both sides for about 30 seconds each and it will be washable.

More apples are forecast.  I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of my iPod's big brother (or sister?).  I ordered a new iMac from Apple Sunday night.  Got the shipping notice today.  I should have my very first Apple computer by next week.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Deep Fried Florida State Fair

Wayne and I spent my Wednesday off this week going to the Florida State Fair. He loves that he can get in for only $6 as a senior now. I did, too, as I asked for 2 senior tickets. I lied. I’m not 55. I think I’m pissed that the ticket guy didn’t ask for my ID. We love to just walk around and look. We don’t ride the rides, and anyway, it was too cold for that, though there were some crazy people in paddleboats and kayaks in the little lake.

My favorite part is Cracker Country. It consists of a circle of historic buildings from the 19th and early 20th century such as an old railroad station, school, general store and post office (which is an actual working post office). Like a small Old Sturbridge Village, folks that work there dress in period clothing and tell you about what they’re doing. They are blacksmiths, teachers, farmers, they make soap and candles and print newsletters and demonstrate cracking a homemade whip (hence the term Cracker). You can go there all year round, not just during the fair.  In the “town center” is a small building with an outdoor stage under huge live oaks where The Pleasant Family was playing some great bluegrass (“We’re not really a family and we’re not very pleasant). I bought more of my favorite soap from Miss Jenny. It’s Patchouli with poppy seeds in it. A bar lasts for months and months and makes my whole bathroom smell wonderful. We also bought some Florida Holly honey from Aikens Family Farm based in Zephyrhills. It has a very different taste from orange blossom or clover honey. Miss Jenny’s husband is a potter and as I was admiring his pottery, I mentioned to her that I’d love to see him make yarn bowls. I described what I meant and hope to see some of them next year. His stuff was really nice.

Sorry I didn’t get a picture, but I did get a picture of a Krispy Kreme Donut Burger. Actually eating one was a challenge I was not up to. A brave fair goer allowed me to take his picture with his burger, saying “this may be the last thing I eat!” The thing is a burger nestled between two grilled glazed Krispy Kreme donuts (cheese and bacon will cost you $1.50 more, but what the hell, knock yourself out). We also found the deep fried butter place. Yup, they take a pat of butter and bread it or something, then fry it and coat it with cinnamon sugar. They also sell fried Snickers, Oreos and Pepsi (Pepsi infused dough that’s been…deep fried). We wandered around the building with the judged crafts looking at woodworking and some rather tacky crochet, as well as paintings that belong in MOBA. Here’s a slide show of the pictures I took. Click on them to see a larger version.