Weekly Photo Challenge: Waiting

Carson, waiting for us to finish decorating for the holidays.  Or rather, waiting for JGL to finish while I putter and clean around the house.

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Banana Nut Muffins

I was going to blog about these last week, but then I think every single food blog I follow blogged about banana bread in every variation you could imagine within days of each other.  So I waited until this morning to jump on the banana nut bandwagon.  I even added one muffin just for JGL with a strawberry banana combo, just like one of my favorite food bloggers, Joy the Baker, did.  It stayed in the mix long enough to snap this picture, and then it was ostracized to the other end of the kitchen until JGL ate it.  Sadly, I’ve never been able to stomach the strawberry banana combo–don’t even get me started on that one time when my banana contaminated my cashew butter and strawberry jam sandwich….

But I digress…this recipe is one I’ve been tweaking for about four years now.  I found the skeleton of it when trying to find a recipe for a friend who couldn’t eat refined sugar, and from that point on I’ve been slowly tweaking, adding, and improving the recipe bit by bit, year by year. If you’re really watching your figure, you can replace the oil with more plain yogurt, but I think a little bit of veggie oil helps these guys have an incredibly luscious texture.

One of my favorite aspects of this recipe is the use of honey, and I have found that local honey really brightens the flavor, texture, and just basically everything about these baked goods.  One of my favorite ways to serve is fresh out of the oven, cracked open with a little bit of butter and then more honey drizzled over the melting butter.

Serve generously, serve often, and the exprience is heightened with a fresh cup of coffee and a warm puppy curled up by your feet.

Ain't she precious when she's sleeping?

GAL’s Banana Nut Muffins
Makes 24 muffins, or 2 loaves of bread
 
1 cup honey
1/2 cup plain low fat yogurt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 cups mashed bananas
1/2-1 cup pecans, walnuts or whatever your favorite nut is (optional)
3 cups white wheat or whole wheat flour
3 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp salt
 
Heat oven to 325 degrees.  Combine flour, BP, BS and salt in a bowl.  In a separate bowl combine honey, oil, yogurt, eggs, and bananas–mix well.  Add nuts to wet ingredients, and then carefully add the dry ingredients to the wet.  Mix until just blended.  Pour into greased muffin tins and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until cooked through.
 
This also makes great banana bread–use bread pan and cook for 1 hour.
 
 

Nothing Sadder Than a Dog That Won’t Run…

I got horribly sick about three days after bringing Lucy home.  I mean miserable flu/head cold/sinus infection/just want to curl up and sleep all day kind of sick.  I lived for the moments when she would sleep–because when puppies sleep, they SLEEP.  I could pick her up, carry her around the house, move her in and out of her crate and she just slept through it all (aka, I could sleep/wrap presents/clean the house, have a dance party, etc etc).  But when she was awake…it was Puppy Watch 2008, constantly.

In those waking hours with my head full of sick, I would call JGL and beg him to come home from work, I would call my mother on the phone in tears begging her to come down for Christmas (to which I got the “You wanted a puppy, GAL…” lecture), I was desperate for anything legal to make the dog sleep.  And when I finally started to feel better, we started walking, because if I walked with her enough, she slept more.  I had started our venture with these dreams of running with my steadfast and ever ready pal, but I was too out of shape to run.   But that was all poor Lucy wanted to do–she would pull, and pull and pull until a) we had to get a gentle leader, and b) we had to get a gentle leader because my arm was almost getting pulled out of the socket.  So we walked, and walked, and walked until I couldn’t walk any more.  Six months later before her first car ride to New England, I literally walked over 10-14 miles with her in one day just to try to make it through the car ride up (which much to my chagrin, the kid was still wide awake the whole way through).  Lucy, like Ricky Bobby, was just born to go fast.

So when JGL and I started training for a 5K a few months ago, I thought to myself, “Great!  I’ll get back in running shape, and then once I can go a good distance, we’ll start bringing Lucy along!”  Which I did, about three weeks ago.  It was relatively warm out, and about 10 minutes into the run, Lucy quit on me.  We cut the run short, turned it into a walk, and I chalked it up to the heat.

The 5K was two weeks ago, I took a break from running, and this morning decided it was time to start again.  With Lucy.  And for the first half of our 3 mile jaunt, she was awesome–we had rhythm, pace, and we were both feeling so good that we just might run the whole thing, no breaking to walk.  And then she started to slow down during the song on the iPod when we were suppose to speed up, and then the poor thing pooped out on me again.

By the time we got home, she just spread herself out on the coolest piece of floor she could find and panted.  Yes, Dear, I did break the dog again.  I’m not sure what is sadder–that I’m in better shape than my dog, or that I let my dog get out of shape.  Either way, we’re hitting the pavement again bright and early tomorrow.

Please don't make me go again...

Needless to say, we don’t have working dogs here at the homestead!

Lucy made a friend

There’s a sad little baby bird that is trying desperately to learn to fly in our backyard.  JGL and I watched it toddle into the back yard, but it looked like he had headed all the way back.  Shortly after letting the dogs out, we realized that dear Carson and Lucy had honed in on something and were stalking it through the backyard.  JGL jumped into action and saw it was the bird.  Thankfully it was ok, but after getting Carson out of the way and grabbing Lucy’s leash, the bird kept coming closer towards Lucy.  It seems like our little socialite is a neighborhood favorite now…

Rolling in the Deep Irises

I came home and did my daily garden check, and much to my dismay, I found this…

So I asked the usual suspects if they had seen anything, and of course this sweet face didn’t know anything about it

Nope, didn’t know anything at all.  Didn’t see, hear, or smell anyone else rolling in the irises.

And she almost had me convinced, but then…

Well, maybe I do remember something about irises, exploring, barking at the birds nest that is just above the irises…

She looks all sweet and innocent, but I know when I wasn’t looking, this is the Lucy that’s been trampling the plants for the sake of trying to catch that damn bird.

Moment to Moment

‎”I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

It’s amazing to me how life can change in a moment. One minute it’s sunny, the next minute it’s raining; one day the flower bed is empty, the next new life is forcing it’s way to the surface; you go to bed never thinking that the next morning you’ll wake up and the world as we know it has been changed forever.

But I am no expert on all the big things going on in our world today, so I won’t be commenting on them here. But, here are some of the ever changing happy moments here at the Homestead…happiness truly is a warm puppy!

“Hold you horses, Ma–I’m almost there!”

“Ball. Ball. Baaaallll!”

Wanderlust

The other two members of the L. Homestead couldn’t be more different–Carson (on the left) is calm, quiet, the consumate gentleman.  Lucy (the yellow one on the right)j is high spirited, super vocal, snuggly and bullish.  Carson has been trusted off leash since I met him; Lucy loves to run, and she loves to make JGL and I chase her up and down the neighborhood.  Neither are great working dogs, although Carson does love to incubate the bulbs in our flower beds.

So we were a little surprised when we couldn’t find Carson this morning.  In our Sunday best JGL and I literally combed the back woods of our our house trying to find buddy boy while Lucy bayed on her lead in the back yard.  I found a few new daffodil bunches, a tree waaaaay out back with initials and the date 7/27/70 marked on it, and did not find a Carson.   After a good 30 minute search, Carson finally made his way back to the house unscathed.

He knew he was in trouble, and it looked eerily similar to this…

I’m still not sure if this is wanderlust in Carson’s old age, or if maybe buddy’s hearing is going or what, but either way we’re glad he’s back safe and sound.   Lucy’s just glad she got a free pass today 😉

Daffodils and Dog Hair

These were the two things I found when getting ready for work this morning–a beautifully brave daffodil in the front flower bed that opened up in the middle of the unseasonably warm night, and Lucy.

Lucy, Lucy, Lucy.  That crazy yellow dog has been shedding like a maniac.  Our house is constantly full of little (or in some cases large) yellow tumbleweeds that come together almost instantaneously.  She has always shed, but this year it has been the worse that we’ve ever seen it.

Now, there are fabulous garden uses for the dog hair–helps deter deer and bunnies, and you can apparently compost it.

But this time of year, we’re just doing all we can to get rid of it.  I swear, if I could find a legit use for copious amounts of dog hair (dog hair rug, dog hair poncho, dog hair booties), I’d be a rich woman.  But for now, we’re letting it ride on the warm breezes across the neighborhood.  A little Lucy Love for everyone!