Saturday, August 29, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
2 C flour
1 C sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 C mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
1/3 C vegetable oil
1/4 C milk
1/4 - 1/3 C walnuts or Craisins
1/4 - 1/3 C chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
In one bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
In a second bowl, mash bananas and add the eggs, oil and milk. You can add a little vanilla if you like but it's not needed.
Once each bowl of ingredients has been blended, add small amounts of the dry mixture to the wet, stirring as you go. A mixer will be overkill here - you want things moist, with the flour just blended in. Add 'stuff' and stir gently. Pour into greased 9x5 loaf pan. Place on lower rack of oven (top will rise and crack - mine gets quite brown). Bake 55 mins or until toothpick comes out clean (or covered in melty chocolate!) Cool for a few minutes in the pan before removing loaf to wire rack.
Kraft calls this Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread. I usually throw brown bananas in my freezer, and thaw before use. Ideally, use a mixture of fresh and thawed bananas. If you use much more than 1 cup, the texture isn't as nice.
It is important to mix the wet and dry separately, and then mix them together - but not too much, before you add the 'stuff.' Too gloopy and it is overmixed. This really does take 50-55 mins to bake, but I have successfully made this recipe into muffins if you need it to go faster.
I like to do toasted walnuts and dark chocolate - crumbed walnuts don't work as well as chopped. My other usual is White chocolate or dark chocolate with Craisins. I've been thinking of trying crystallized ginger and dark chocolate. What can you come up with?
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Every year, English teachers from across the country can submit their collections of actual analogies and metaphors found in high school essays. These excerpts are published each year to the amusement of teachers across the country. Here are some previous 'winners'.
1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.
2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.
4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.
5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
7. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.
8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.
9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.
10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.
11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.
12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.
13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.
14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.
15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.
16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.
18. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.
19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.
20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.
21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while .
22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.
23. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.
25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.
I think number 17 is my favourite, with number 8 a close second. What's yours?
Monday, August 10, 2009
or maybe like a sweater-mullet? You know, business in the front...party in the back! Thanks for the lacy sweater goodness Pam!
If I'm lucky, it will make it easier to make some headway on my single-chapter-long novel "Turned." Last night, I transferred the text from my Open Office file into Scrivener, which allows you to separate text into chapters and scenes. The look and feel is not too far away from iTunes, with a left-hand gutter called the 'binder' that can be turned on or off - this is where you can see the structure of your document. There's also a nifty 'corkboard' view which allows you to pin up virtual index cards with brief synopses of each chapter/scene, and makes it simple to view pieces of your work. Rearranging the pieces is easy with the Outline tool, which shows the synopsis and draft number along with the title of each section. When you're ready to see how the pieces fit together, you can either Export to a document or PDF format, or view a selection of your scenes as a continuous file within Scrivener.
There can be as few or as many chapters and scenes as you like, and each can be 'tagged' so you can keep track of which draft you're on, whether it's a scene or a concept, et cetera. In addition to text, Scrivener can be used to store all those bits of research any writer needs - photos, maps and other images, and other media such as music or video. So there's no need to have more than one program open, and everything flows together! I popped a photo into the Research 'binder' by drag-and-dropping it straight from iPhoto, and it let me resize the picture right there. Easy. And for less distraction, an annoyance second only to writers' block, there's a Full Screen Edit view that hides everything from your e-mail to the dashboard.
When I'm more familiar with Scrivener's capabilities, I'll give a more thorough review. For now, keep watching this space!