Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ne Ne Nursery

I made this Bananas Foster Bread as a thank you for my wonderful Mom for helping get our soon-to-be son's nursery ready. I have expressed this sentiment before on this blog, but it is worth mentioning again - my Mom is a superwoman. She can do anything, will attempt any job and is more than willing to help in any endeavor. I found a picture on the Internet of a baby nursery I wanted to use as my inspiration, but didn't have the slightest idea of where to start or how to accomplish all of the unique touches I had fallen in love with. I showed my mom the picture, asked her if she would help and if she had any ideas of how to start - of course she did.

The first step was achieving the tree mural that would take up most of the 10 foot wall behind the crib. I told her I found a stick and peel wall decal on the Internet, but she said we could do it ourselves. She started with a free hand drawing of the tree in question, transferred it to a transparency, projected it onto the wall and made a life size stencil. Then I cut it out - that was the extent of my contribution. She then spent a few hours of one of her days off painting the tree using the stencil she had made. And that was just the start of it.

Next up was the fact that I didn't want off the shelf curtains or a bed skirt, so she spent another entire Saturday sewing and hanging curtains, figuring out how to make a crib skirt and whipping that out like a professional. I told you she was amazing! On another Saturday I showed up at her house with some new fabric I wanted to add to the room. As she saw me walk up the stairs to her front door she immediately guessed I had another project in mind for her. That particular day she worked her way through sewing throw pillows and recovering an existing lamp shade in said fabric. The shade and one of the pillows can be seen below, and I told you she could take on any project in spite of lack of experience.

Her last and final project occurred this past Saturday when she spent the day helping me hang these giant flash cards behind the changing table. I wanted them there, I purchased them and the ribbon and then I didn't have a shred of confidence that I could get them hung neatly. Of course she had some really genius idea of how we could do it and she whipped it out in no time at all while we baby sat two of her grandsons.

Some of the other personal touches in the nursery that I love so much are the baby outfits we hung on the wall. No my Mom didn't make these, but they were worn by my two oldest nephews when they were infants. Since my nephews are only six years old now these could hardly be considered heirlooms, but being that they were both New Orleans babies born before Katrina it is miracle that we still have anything from their early life. Since the hurricane hit before they were both one, I spent different portions of the rebuilding process living with each one of them at different times and because of it I have a very special relationship with them and can remember watching them grow each day into little boys. I love having something from each of them in my son's nursery. He will be lucky to have such great older cousins as role models throughout his life.

There is one item though that could be considered an heirloom that made it into the nursery. The white toddler rocking chair below belonged to my husband and was given to him by his Aunt when he was a baby. It used to be brown with a heavily used cotton cover on it that needed some attention. Way before we moved in our house and started this nursery, Forrest began to restore the chair and repaint it a color that would match our decor. He spent several of his Saturdays in his parents garage prepping his chair to pass on this his first born. It is very special to have something of his in the nursery and it has proven to be a very popular piece with my younger nieces and nephews when they have come to visit. Therefore, I have no doubt our son will appreciate it as well.
My mom also crosstiched the alphabet blanket hanging over the crib. She was such a big part of this nursery and she made it all possible. I couldn't have gotten even a quarter of it done without her help. Making this extremely easy bread doesn't even scratch the surface of thank you's that I owe her, but it was a sweet start. I told her recently in a thank you note that if I am half the mom to my son as she has been to me he will be one lucky boy! Here is to my extremely creative, willing and selfless Mom!

Nursery Inspired by Holly Mathis Interiors

Bananas Foster Bread
Adapted from Cooking Light October 2010

Yield: 16 servings (serving size: 1 slice)

  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar, divided
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted and divided
  • 1/4 cup dark rum, divided
  • 1/3 cup plain fat-free yogurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6.75 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Combine banana, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 5 tablespoons butter, and 3 tablespoons rum in a nonstick skillet.

Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to bubble.

Remove from heat; cool. Place yogurt, remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar, and eggs in a large bowl

and mix until combined. Add the cooled banana mixture and beat with a mixer at medium speed.

3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through cinnamon) in a small bowl. Add flour mixture to banana mixture; beat just until blended. Pour batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan; place on wire rack.

4. Combine remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter, remaining 1 tablespoon rum, and powdered sugar; stir until well blended. Drizzle over the warm bread.

5. Slice and Serve.

Click Here for My Adapted Printable Recipe

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Crop Craze

Depending on where you live, there may be a bountiful amount of fresh corn in the supermarkets at an amazingly low price right now. I love fresh corn and I love finding new creative ways to use up that super cheap super sweet maize. The corn I used for this dish was probably the cheapest I have ever gotten fresh corn. It was free! My sister in law, Allison purchased it for a family cookout and we didn't end up using it during the meal. When it came time for volunteers to take the fresh corn home, I was front and center. I wasn't sure what I would do with it, but I knew I wanted it and I knew it would end up in something delicious. I just couldn't have imagined it would have been this delicious. This is a great quick and easy side dish that could be served along side any weeknight meal or even star in a special holiday meal like Thanksgiving. You must give it a try.

Corn Pudding
Adapted from Southern Living
July 2001

Yield: Makes 8 servings

  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3 cups fresh corn kernels (about 6 ears)

Remove kernels from the cob using a sharp knife or a corn zipper.

Combine first 4 ingredients.

Whisk together eggs, whipping cream, and butter.

Gradually add sugar mixture, whisking until smooth; stir in corn.

Pour mixture into a lightly greased 8 x8-inch square baking dish.

Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until golden brown and set. Let stand 5 minutes.

*3 cups frozen whole kernel corn or canned shoepeg corn, drained, may be substituted.

Click Here for My Adapted Printable Recipe

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Perfect Petite Potato Pancakes

I have made quite a few appetizers in my day, but this one is definitely on my list of all-time favorites. The flavors are so amazing, they make a beautiful presentation and they are a cinch to throw together. I first made these for a special Mother's Day dinner while living in my Mother-In-Law's home and then again later in the summer for another family dinner. They always satisfy the crowd and I really enjoy making them. Just blogging them has me craving another petite potato pancake!

Smoked Salmon with Horseradish Cream on Potato Pancakes
Adapted from Cooking Light November 2005

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (about 2 1/4 ounces)
  • 2 pounds of shredded frozen hashbrowns, thawed
  • 1/2 cup grated fresh onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons grated Granny Smith apple
  • 2 tablespoons plain fat-free yogurt
  • 4 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 4 ounces smoked salmon, broken into 48 pieces
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Preheat oven to 400°.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through egg whites) in a large bowl,

stirring until blended.

Divide mixture into 48 level tablespoon-sized pancakes, squeezing each to remove excess moisture.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 16 pancakes; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned.

Add 1 teaspoon of oil at a time as needed. Arrange on two baking sheets coated with cooking spray.

Repeat procedure twice with remaining oil and pancakes. Bake at 400° for 5 minutes or until cooked through.

Combine mayonnaise, apple, yogurt, and horseradish in a small bowl; place 1/2 teaspoon mayonnaise mixture on each pancake. Top each with a salmon piece; sprinkle with chives.

Click Here for My Adapted Printable Recipe