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Friday, March 27, 2015

Overload

Hi everyone. I can not begin to tell you what has been happening in my little corner of the world. Most importantly, let me tell you we are all doing okay. It may be a while before I "see" you. To those of you who were working on special posts for the April calendar, I deeply apologize. There will be no calendar. I will also be offline for an indefinite amount of time. Stay well and thank you all so much, Louise...

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Cookbook Wednesday | Going Bananas

Chiquita Banana Recipe Book ©1947

Remember the other day when at the last minute I announced that Marion and I were attempting a get-away? Well, we did. It was rather eventful in a humorous sort of way, I guess…You see, the one thing I have finally realized when dealing with Marion since here last major hospital stay is, you can’t give her much notice. Once a vibrant and on the spot go getter, Marion is beginning, just beginning mind you, to “act” her age. I say that with a tongue and cheek demeanor because, I’m not really sure what is meant by “act your age”, but that dear readers is a challenge for another day:)

Early in the morning of said get-away, I informed Marion that we were going for ride. A long ride. I had the beautiful weather on my side and I was taking full advantage of it. No need to rehash the bitterly cold Winter we’ve been having even this late in the year with Spring days away. However, Mother Nature blessed us with an unseasonable warm couple of days and I planned on jumping on it. Marion was going even if she threw a tantrum as we went out the door which thankfully, she did not!

My intention was to head to New York. I’ve been missing my family in New York for months now and Marion has been hinting about missing hers also. For those of you who still have children at home, or those of you who are familiar with the movie, “Are We There Yet,” you might be able to understand how my line of patience may have been crossed more than a few times when every, what seemed like 5 minutes, Marion asked said question.

“Are we there yet,” she said looking at her watch.

“Not yet Marion” I replied we’ve just left the gas station and haven’t even gotten on the interstate yet.

”How long does it take?” she inquired.

”Oh about 4 or 5 hours” I mumbled.

”What!” she shrieked. “Go back, go back!”

I was prepared for the go back reaction. Four or five hours in a car is enough to drive anyone crazy, including me! I did manage to quiet her down though and made her an offer she couldn’t refuse. I told her if she absolutely couldn’t make the entire trip to New York, we would stop half way, relax, spend the night and head back home. I candied up how beautiful it would be to make such a lovely drive on such a beautiful day and she finally agreed.

Unfortunately or fortunately, two hours into the ride and an infinite amount of “are we there yets” later, Marion had enough.

”Go there” she once again began to shriek.

There, believe it or not, was a sign on the interstate announcing the promotional benefits of joining the gamblers club at a local casino!

”I haven’t gambled in years” she informed me. Quite frankly I didn’t know she gambled at all and when she told me she once bet $20.00 on a horse and won, I was astonished!!!

We pulled off the interstate and headed for the casino! We made reservations but since it was too early for us to check in, we “had” to hit the casino floor for a while. The front desk was more than happy to watch our luggage while we investigated. Now, I have to tell you an important bit of information about Marion and outings. I’ll try to explain it as gingerly as I can. Marion refuses to eat or drink anything if she plans on going out for any reason. Doctor, shopping, women’s shelter, anywhere! If she has a doctor’s appointment at 4PM, she will not eat or drink a thing until after the appointment. No exceptions. (it's a pit stop thing:)

I don’t know when she did it or how she did it but somewhere between reservations and walking through those casino doors, Marion not only devised an itinerary for the rest of our day and evening but also for the next day too. I tried to rent one of those mobile chairs so she could go skimming around the place but, she wouldn’t have it. She did however see the “Players Club” desk where you sign up for a card and they give you “free” money. Free to Marion means give it to me now!!! But, Marion didn’t get one because, she has never, ever had a drivers license and in order to get one you have to have what is referred to as a “government ID.” She was not happy but, it didn’t stop her from hitting those slots one after another in every direction. I was mesmerized by her energy, her knowledge and her excitement!

We had a wonderful time both days:) I was glad that we booked two separate rooms though. It seems, Marion was having a most difficult time getting into her bed the first night, unbeknownst to me. Marion only stands about 4’11” and the platform beds in the rooms are pretty darn high. Apparently, she tried to climb on a hassock in the room to get up on the bed but she then realized she would have to use the hassock every time she got up during the night. Her solution? She called the front desk, insisted that someone come up and rearrange the room, remove the platform so the bed would be lower so she would be able to get in and out of the bed. She also, so the girl at the desk told me the next morning, gave every single person she talked to a lecture on how none of the senior citizens roaming the casino would be able to get in their beds and that they were probably spending the night in the chairs in the rooms. How dare they!!!

Marion’s 95th birthday is this Friday. This morning, (17th) she asked me if we could go back to the casino. She’s feeling lucky for her birthday! I told her we coudn’t because even though it will be the first day of Spring on Friday, there’s a Winter storm warning in affect for the entire weekend. Whew! I better start saving my pennies:)

Upside-Down Bananas Foster Cake

”In the early 1950s New Orleans was the major port of entry for bananas shipped from Central and South America. Owen Brennan, owner of Brennan's Restaurant, challenged his chef, Paul Blangé, to include bananas in a new dessert. It was Owen's way of promoting the imported fruit. At the same time, Holiday Magazine asked Owen to provide a new and different recipe to include in an article on the restaurant. Bananas Foster was born.” (source:recipe)

Mention the words Bananas Foster and I go ga, ga. Seriously I do. It is, without a doubt, my very best favorite flaming dessert bar none!!! I can actually remember the date and time of each and every Bananas Fosters plate that has been set before my eyes. And believe me, there have been many. I have had Bananas Foster created for me by some of the best chefs and some of the well, not so good cooks. I do believe I could probably make the dish blind folded, which of course would not be a good thing to do considering you ignite it table side after adding the banana liqueur and rum.

Although we usually have a bunch of bananas in the house, Bananas Foster have not been on the menu in quite some time. I doubt we will be enjoying bananas flambé any time soon. Too bad you might say but don’t. After I baked this Upside-Down Bananas Foster Cake for Marion, I realized that with a bit of tweaking, I may just be able to get my “fix” another way because, this cake is not only reminiscent of the real deal, it is oh so good too!!!

Upside-Down Bananas Foster Cake

You would think that since today is Cookbook Wednesday, that I harvested the recipe for Upside-Down Bananas Foster Cake from one of the many banana cookbooks that have. I didn’t. Truth be told, although they are really cool and sometimes comically graphic, the recipes in these books circa 1947 don’t come anywhere near being as scrumptious as my cake.

Choosing Bananas ©1947

Take these Banana Ham Rolls for example. Even if I could get past rolling up the bananas in sliced boiled ham, there is no way on Earth I would be able to bathe them in cheese sauce. Just not happening!

Baked Bananas In the Peel ©1947

I do have a couple of banana recipe books hanging around here. I thought maybe I wasn’t being fair about my selection. Let’s try another sample from another book.

Chiquita Banana Cookbook ©1947

I know, a Springtime Salad may be just what Mother Nature had in mind. Or not:)

Banana Salad Recipes ©1947

I found today’s recipe for Upside-Down Bananas Foster Cake in my trusty Cake Doctor cookbook by Anne Byrn. Whenever I reach for a boxed cake mix, I then hit the bookshelf for the Cake Doctor. The author recommends using a butter recipe golden cake mix because she thinks it has a “finer more delicate grain which complements the crusty crunch of the cake exterior once baked in a cast iron pan.” (you can also use a plain yellow cake mix. I went with the butter recipe mix)

Upside-Down <p>Bananas Foster Cake

Marion enjoyed the cake immensely. I did take a little nibble of it and realized I must bake it again so I can have some too. Marion was only able to eat a few "healthy" slices so I packed up the rest of the cake and sent it home with Bill's mom. She was kind enough to give me a hair cut on the spur of the moment and refused to take a cent! She confessed to me the next day that she knew I was baking a cake and hoped she would be "paid" in pieces, lol...It was difficult, but I resisted having a piece. I must admit though, it was almost as rewarding to know the cake was enjoyed, almost as much as actually having a huge slice warmed with ice cream on top! That's how Bill's family enjoyed it:)

This post is linked to the Little Thumbs Up (March 2015 - BANANA) event organised by Zoe (Bake for Happy Kids) and Mui Mui (My Little Favourite DIY) and hosted by Faeez of BitterSweetSpicy.

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I'll also be sending this link over to Joyce's Cook-Your-Books:) Thanks Marjie!

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