Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday Morning Staff Meeting

Thanks for coming to the meeting this morning. I'd like to thank each one of you for taking time out of your busy day to visit here with me. I never cease to be amazed that someone would be interested in our little lives here in the American midwest. But, on second thought it makes sense because I love to hear about how you are living your lives in other parts of this country, and in New Zealand, Germany, Australia, Norway and many other places that I am able to visit thanks to the magic of the internet.

This past week seemed to just "poof" into thin air. Where did it go? Not a single blog post since last Monday's meeting. Heck, I can't even use the excuse of getting kids ready to go back to school, not unless our daughter has decided to go for her PhD. And our son? Yes, he's entering his final year of nursing school. He can buy his own back-to-school clothes and books.

Just to keep myself in training I went out and bought three spiral bound notebooks, just so I could feel a part of the school year excitement. They were 5 cents each so it was no stain on my budget!

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First and foremost in our meeting agenda is.... the food.

This week I traveled over to the Italian grocery store. Most days I try to stay out of there and certainly far away from their bakery department. The temptation is too great if I wander into the "bakery zone".

Anyway, the treat this morning is called a banana boat.


I'm not a big fan of bananas but this is really good. Yes, I had to do a taste test to make sure I wasn't serving you something awful.

It's basically a eclair shell filled with vanilla pudding, sliced bananas and whipped cream. It's not heavy at all. Everything has a nice light texture.


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I am reminded to ask if you've ever made vanilla pudding from scratch. I certainly never had until a couple of years ago I decided to serve Elvis's favorite dessert to my guests. What is it? Banana pudding, the kind with sliced bananas and vanilla wafers lining the bowl. The recipe called for vanilla pudding made from scratch.

I was skeptical but it was easy and delicious beyond belief. The difference between homemade pudding and the box stuff.... well, just think about the difference between homemade macaroni and cheese and that screaming-orange-boxed-stuff. Yeah, that different.

I'm going to dig around my pantry and find that recipe. Stay tuned and I'll share it with you one day this week.

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Have you read Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett? A neighbor gave me the paperback and I started it, but you know how I am with novels. Somehow I just can't dig into them. I put it down for awhile but now I'm determined to read it again.

Why? Because on Netflix I discovered that they've made a movie from the book. It's a made-for-TV version that is many episodes long. It's currently being broadcast on the Starz channel, which we don't get. You can imagine my frustration when I watched the last chapter available on Netflix and discovered that it wasn't the last chapter! I've got to wait for the others to be released. In the meantime I'm in suspense and have picked up the book in an attempt to pick up when the episode left off.

By the way, it's a very good movie and I'm enjoying it immensely.

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The heat has finally subsided a bit here in the midwest. It was pretty intense simply because we have such high humidity. It's like living in a steamy shower sometimes.

I'm very happy to be able to tag along with all of you on your summer vacations. We weren't able to take one this year. I will be traveling to Arkansas with my mom for the last two weeks in September. We'll have fun visiting our friends down there and eating the local fare.

Best barbecue - McClard's, Hot Springs
Best ribs - Shorty Small's, Little Rock
Best burgers - The Shack, Jessieville
Best fried pickles - Yet to be determined.

If it isn't too hot we'll take a day and go to the Crater of Diamonds diamond mine.


It's not a mine in the sense that you go underground, it's all above ground. This area is the ancient top of a volcano that has been worn down to ground level. The soil is a strange greenish/brownish color. They till the soil with a plow and disc, bringing new material to the surface. And yes.....some very large diamonds have been found. Just last year someone found a 5.75 carat diamond.

Wouldn't you like to go along with us on a diamond hunting excursion?

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My chores for the day are awaiting so I must go. Please feel free to stick around and discuss whatever you wish. Thanks again for visiting with me today.


chocolatechic said...

Oh...How I so have wanted to go to that diamond mine.

I have had dreams where I found a 2 carat diamond....but hasn't come true yet.

I have been reading smut this summer. Nothing but smut, and I am not ashamed to say that I have been enjoying it.

Where in the world is Jefferson City, Missouri said...

I am jealous...I want to dig for diamonds since I don't know when....we even lived in Texakana and didn't go....One of these days.
I just bought the book from Barnes. Am almost finish with Wicked, then I'll try it......the movie did look good. from what I saw of it......Have fun with this cool weather for a change....

Vee said...

My sister was always called "Diamond" because of a certain well known diamond mine. Sure, I could get excited about finding a diamond that large.

No, I've not read Pillars of the Earth, but now I must Google and learn more.

Funny you should mention the difference between homemade and the boxed version...sorta, that is...because on Chocolatechic's recommendation, I'm trying the difference between cinnamon toast and "real" cinnamon toast. Just as soon as the oven gets up to speed or somebody shows up to help me eat it. Anyway, the banana thing looks very tasty. Glad to hear that it isn't stale.

Ackkk the humidity. It's cold here well, it's below 70, but one can't move without breaking a sweat. I hate it.

Have a great week, Suzanne...must get myself to a school sale pronto so that I, too, can feel as if I'm not missing out.

Vee said...

Okay, it sounds perfectly dreadful to read. I'd have to watch it in movie form and then I'm not convinced that I would enjoy it. If I want to read about architecture, I'd prefer to read it in non-fiction form. Gosh! Just call me "Cranky Pants" today. Did I mention how humid it is?

Leslie T said...

I've made banana pudding from scratch, and you're right-- it's great stuff. And not really that hard to make.
This week I'm reading The New Good Life by John Robbins. He's the guy who wrote Diet For A New America. This book is about living in a fiscally responsible manner, which is something that I embrace (even though I do confess a weakness for going out for sushi way too often, and I will throw my $20 bucks into the ring anytime for a good salmon roll and accompaniments). The book is interesting, and among other noteworthy things he talks about how he lost his entire life savings to Bernie Madoff.
Other interesting facts -- he was the primary heir to the Baskin Robbins empire, and walked away from it (and refusing any inheritance) at a young age to become a vegan, living in a one-room cabin with his wife and son for 10 years. Hmmmmmmm. Interesting concept. Not exactly my cup of tea, living on a remote island in Canada with one set of clothes, but hey, it's nice to know that there's somebody for everybody in this world, huh? If my husband floated the idea, "Honey, we're gonna live in a one-room cabin for ten years, and you can have one set of clothes and we're going to exist on cabbage and kale..." I might have wished him well and told him to send me a postcard. :)
Life is interesting. I love reading about other people's journeys, and the fascinating things they've chosen to do with their time. Seriously. It's an amazing thing, the vast experiences that each person in this world has had, some remotely different than anything I would ever imagine for myself.
Hope you have a great week, Suzanne!!

Steph said...

My mom and grandfather are originally from Arkansas and we used to go there all the time when I was younger. As a matter of fact, my grandfather owned a bowling alley that Bill Clinton used to bowl at. He always said he was stuck up, lol. Anyways, I went to that diamond mine when I was probably 9, still have a few pictures. I don't think I ever found much of anything though.

Millicent said...

Oh, you must try the recipe for banana pudding on the Nilla Wafers box. It's vanilla pudding from scratch. My husband loves to make it and does for potlucks at our church. Always gets raves ~ it was the same recipe my grandmother used, and we all know grandmothers really know how to cook.

We went to Arkansas in May. If you are near Mountain View (due N of Little Rock), go to Jo Jo's Catfish Wharf if you like catfish and hush puppies. The hush puppies are to die for, and the view is of the White River. Good food.

Mary said...

I have to buy a box of crayons. Nothing says fall to me like the smell of crayons. And oh the possibility of all those sharp points....

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I would love to be traveling to Arkansas this Fall! My family lives near enough to eat that BBQ in Hot Springs...for lunch! Enjoy planning your trip! ♥

Anonymous said...

I've read PILLARS OF THE EARTH as well as the continuation of the story - the book WORLD WITHOUT END. Both were quite wonderful - I loved them both and were sorry when I came to the end as I wanted the story to go on and on. We don't have STARZ either, but ordered it the day before the series began and cancelled it the day after the final episode ! It was WELL WORTH IT - loved every episode !