In My Life, I've Loved Them All

Playing in the Kitchen: Go-To Banana Bread

This is my family’s new go-to Banana bread recipe.  Since I was a kid, we had always defaulted to The Fannie Farmer Cookbook
version of Banana bread.  It is quick, made from ingredients we had on hand, and didn’t require a stand mixer.  But the bottom always over cooked by the time the center was done. And it’s pretty dense.

Knowing there must another convenient yet tasty version that wouldnt burn all of the time, I tried a banana bread recipe from Saveur magazine. It required several different bowls, and the resulting bread was way too moist.

A couple years ago, a neighbor (and caterer) so kindly gave us her recipe! And it is now our go-to Banana Bread. The secret ingredient: Buttermilk. No more burning, and not too wet inside. AND sprinkling cinnamon-sugar on top before it bakes makes for a delicious crust.


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Banana Bread

Banana Bread

Heat oven to 350 degrees

1 1/2 Cups Sugar
1/2 Cup Shortening
2 eggs
4 Tbsp buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
4 mashed bananas
2 Cups flour
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt

1 Cup Pecans (chopped)

Cream together sugar and shortening. Add eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and bananas.

Combine baking soda, salt and flour.  Gradually add dry mixture to the above.

Add chopped pecans.  Mix thoroughly and pour into greased and floured loaf pan.

Bake for 45 min. to an hour.

Note:  When I bake the small loaves, it usually takes 45 mins.  Large loaves take about an hour.

I also make a sugar and cinnamon mixture* and sprinkle on the top of the loaves before baking

*For the cinnamon sugar mixture, I just eye-ball it. Start with a couple tablespoons of sugar and add 1/2-1 tsp of cinnamon. Mix together in a small bowl; it should be a light brown/sand color.

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year I cooked a wopping ZERO items for the Thanksgiving meal. Sad, but such is life when you work in the Hospatility Industry and Thanksgiving is just another work day. I did get to enjoy a lovely meal wih family and friends and watch a little Football.

And I only had I piece of pie ;)

Happy Thanksgiving!

28 Quilts & Astronomical Block Challenge with Karen Nyberg

I saw the NASA booth at the 39th International Quilt Festival in Nov 2013, and this video of Astronaut Karen Nyberg asking for quilt squares to add to the one she made while on the International Space Station.

So I figured 10 months to make an 9.5” quilt block would be a piece of cake! Of course, I left everything to the last minute and Priority Mailed my block in the week of the deadline.

astro quilt block

I thought all of the blocks would be made into one super record-breaking quilt! But when I arrived at the International Quilt Festival 2014, I found that the 2,200+ blocks were assembled into 28 72”x90” quilts. Makes sense, and made for a much more manageable way to display the work of Quilters from around the world.

It was a beautiful exhibit to walk through… but my heart began to sink when I realized there were 4 huge notebooks of quilt squares to flip though. Squares that were not the correct dimensions or were received after the deadline. Did I measure right!? Was my block mailed in time?!

Luckily, I found my block on the 26th quilt I looked at! It was on the bottom row of the quilt, so I sat on the floor to get a picture with it.

Found my #star #block! #AstroBlockChallenge #quiltfestival

A photo posted by Cindy (@inmylife99) on

HUGE BONUS: I found out in-route to the Festival that Astronaut Karen Nyberg was going to make an appearance! Had I known in advance, I would have worn a nicer shirt. Being able to meet here really completed this entire experience!


I made sure to take a picture off all 28 of the Star themed quilts… in thoughts to mash them together into a photo of one SUPER QUILT like I had originally thought it would be.

Now I am realizing that 1) Many of the 2,200 contributors could not make it to Houston to see the Display in person and 2) Professional photos of the quilts are not available online quite yet. I thought they be posted as soon as the festival started… but now it may be a week or 2 until gets the online. And that is an eternity to the Quilters who want to see their block!

So to help out, here are the pictures I took of the Astronomical Quilts. They are taken with a point-and-shoot camera, but hopefully are clear enough for quilters to find their blocks!


** click on photos to enlarge **

AstroQuilt1  AstroQuilt2

astroquilt3  astroquilt4

astroquilt5  AstroQuilt6

AstroQuilt7  astroquilt8

astroquilt9  AstroBlock10


AstroQuilt11  astroquilt12

astroquilt13  astroquilt14

astroquilt15  AstroQuilt16

AstroQuilt17  AstroQuilt18

astroquilt19  astroquilt20

astroquilt21  astroquilt22

astroquilt23  astroquilt24

astroquilt25  astroquilt26

astroquilt27  astroquilt28


Instagram in Pixels

For Future Reference: The Pixel size of a photo for Instagram is currently 612×612. Anything larger will be reduced via Instagram… which is all well and good, unless you have text, then things might get a bit pixelated.

I advise resizing a photo yourself (PicMonkey is a great free online photo editor) so your Instagram pic will show up exactly like you want it to :D

I learned this the hard way on May 4th.

Now I know!

Wedding Hair Trial #1 – Rope Braid Bun

To save a little sanity the day of the wedding, I want to try to get a reasonable idea of what to do with my hair.

I have been doing my own up-dos for my work Christmas parties for 3 years… but they were basically “on the fly” involving clear elastics and bobby-pins… so I couldn’t replicate them even if I tried.  Oh dear.

The Challenge:
Find a GREAT DIY up-do for a June Wedding.
The Terms:
Island Wedding (aka Humidity!)
Bridesmaid Appropriate (not too plain, not to showy)
DIY-able (I don’t want it to the Cake Wrecks of Hairstyles!)
Google Searches!

Here is my 1st Hair experiment. (Original tutorial at
You basically make a rope braid, secure with a clear elastic, and pin into a bun!


I think it would be cute with a jeweled hair comb to the side of the bun.
I also only spent about 5 minutes before running out the door to work.  So for an event I’d get a more defined braid going, and do a little more to the sides/front frame of my face.  But this is cute enough for work and a little more professional looking than a basic pony tail.

I still have a little under a month to figure out something!  In the mean time, I’ll have some interesting hairstyles for work!


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