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Archive for February, 2010

A Bun in the Oven!

This post is both an apology and an explanation.  Any regular readers out there have probably noticed the blog posts have been a little slow the past few weeks.  I really feel badly about that…and I do miss it, I promise!  The thing is, as you’ve probably guessed by now, I’m pregnant.  Which is not a problem at all, it’s WONDERFUL actually!  But it’s been bad news for the blog, since I’ve fallen prey to the typical nausea and loss of appetite that affects many women in the early stages of pregnancy.  About the only things I’ve been able to eat for the past couple months are white flour-based.  It’s the anti-South Beach diet – all carbs, all the time!  In theory I miss cooking, but I really haven’t even been able to think about it – even the Food Network has been too much for my faint stomach to tolerate.

One interesting observation from this unique period of life is that our food budget nearly DOUBLED!  And that’s without the usual amount of wine that we buy.  We usually have a pretty high food budget, I feel, compared to most people, and we’ve sometimes wondered whether we’d be better off financially by eating out more and not cooking with as many good, fresh ingredients.  Well the answer to that question has been answered very definitively – it is a LOT cheaper, and a lot healthier, for me to cook at home.

Anyway, it seems like my appetite is coming back and the nausea is waning, so I’m very hopeful that I’ll be back in business with more blog posts soon.  And I won’t be interrupted by travel either, since for the first time in a long time, I can plan on being home for most of the coming months of this year.  It will be interesting to see how this blog evolves as a baby changes our lives – I am imagining new adventures in homemade baby food,  trying to develop a young palate, and struggling to cook grown up meals for the sleep deprived parents lie ahead.  Thanks for sticking with us!

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Color in the Kitchen

In decorating, I constantly feel pulled between very clean, white, neutral, modern, sparse looks and lots and lots of bright color.  Maybe it’s two competing sides of my personality, the side that loves organization and the side that craves adventure.

I saw this kitchen in the recent issue of House Beautiful, and was immediately drawn to it for the way it combines my two loves in the kitchen – lots of white and lots of color!  The cabinetry is all done in high gloss white – and oh how I love the shine of high gloss.  I am sure you could overdo it, but I’d love to use it in unexpected places in our dream house – like  a pale, pale, bluish white in high gloss on a ceiling, or copying this idea, using it in the kitchen.  I also like the marble countertops here, which I don’t always like.  But the continuation of white really adds to the clean look. 

But to keep things from getting too boring, they used this awesome blue glass tile on an entire wall!  The glass tile gives a great shimmer and interest to the room and that color POPS!  For some reason I love the idea of doing a wall like this in a really funky bright pear green.  I have a lot of bright right accessories in the kitchen, and I think the off green and the bright red (as long as you keep it from being Christmasy) would be very cozy in the kitchen!

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Banana Bran Muffins

These Banana Bran Muffins are from my regular rotation that I thought I would share.  The first reason I made these muffins, and one of the reasons I continue making them, is to use up leftover buttermilk.  We buy our milk and buttermilk (and egg nog, when it’s in season!) from a local dairy, Maple View, who sells their milk in glass recyclable jugs at the Harris Teeter near our house.  The buttermilk is very, very thick and rich, and after using a cup (or sometimes less) for a random recipe, it kills me to just dump the rest out after it expires.  So when it comes close to expiration date, I start searching cookbook indexes for ways to use up the buttermilk.

Nine times out of ten I’ll make these muffins, because they are yummy, healthy, and freeze well.  The muffins are dense from the bran, with chunks of banana, walnuts, and raisins, and rich flavor from orange zest and molasses.  There are tons of good vitamins and fiber in these so they actually make a very healthy breakfast.  To ensure they don’t taste TOO healthy, I usually toast the sliced muffins and slather them with butter.  Because they have fresh banana chunks, I usually keep them in the refrigerator.  And the recipe does make a lot, so if you’re not serving a crowd, put half the cooled muffins in a freezer bag and save them for later.

Banana Bran Muffins

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