Maple Walnut Banana Bread

 

Hello there– We have a treasure sitting in our fridge– it’s a huge jug of real maple syrup fresh from upstate New York!  Our daughter-in-law’s Dad, Alfie is a warm and wonderful guy.  Every year he taps trees around his town and in the spring is joined by family a friends at in the maple sugar shack to boil down gallons of maple syrup.  Then being the generous guys that he is, he mails big jugs to people far and wide (including lucky us!!).

So this little recipe uses a precious half cup of that lovely syrup and which accounts for it’s rich and wonderful flavor.  Plus while it’s baking in the oven, for kitchen smells like that New York maple sugar shack– maple luscious!

MAPLE WALNUT BANANA BREAD
2 large ripe bananas
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 tsp. maple extract (optional)*
3 tab. milk
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4  cup walnuts, chopped and divided
3 tab. brown sugar

In a large mixing bowl, smash the bananas to a creamy substance.  Then mix in the maple syrup, oil, egg, maple extract and milk until all blended.  Add in the flour, baking powder and salt and stir it all together.  Finally mix 3/4 cup of the walnuts.

Spoon the mixture into a 5″ by 9″ loaf pan** that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Mix together the brown sugar and the remaining 1/2 cup of walnuts and sprinkle them over the loaf of banana bread.

Bake it all up at 350 degrees for 50 -55 minutes until it’s browned and a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.  Delicious warm from the oven– or toasted the next day for breakfast  with a smear of butter!!

*maple extract is optional– it just adds a little more maple flavoring.
** I used 2 half size loaf pans and cooked it about 5 minutes less.

Full House


Lois visiting her great grandmother– with Mom & Grandma looking on.

Hi all– The last two weeks we’ve had waves of kids (and their fun friends) coming through the house.  There were plenty of cute grand-kids and dear great grand-mothers to pose for pics.  So I hope you’ll indulge my little family scrapbooking here– it’s a time I want to remember…

First in the door were Laurel and her three bright coworkers.  Lots of chances to get to know them over dinners and morning mugs of tea.

Then baby Lois and her parents, Ani & Brian, arrived– The following section may be titled “Lois on Laps!!”
     

     
above photos:  breakfast time with Grandpa Larry, at the Taqueria with Auntie Laurel, Four generation picture with my mom–Great Grandma Lo!! , post bath time snuggle with mom, having fun with Great Grandma Honey and Great Grandpa Stu,  And– her first taste of solid food–avocado!! (very messy & entertaining)

Then the fun began with the arrival of the three big grand-girls and their parents– Micah & Jodi!

    


above photos: 3 girls following clues on their treasure hunt,  coloring one of Aunt Lolo’s giant photos,  more treasure hunt clues in front of their Happy Birthday banner,  Micah & Jodi selfie,  obligatory walk to Yogurtland.

There were  few other good times–

     

     


above photos:  Lois’ first trip to the pool,  afternoon stop at Porto’s incredible bakery,  Girls’ day out to register for John & Laurel’s wedding things,  Albert & Liz dropping in for brunch, family walk…

I’m still remembering our wild and wonderful weeks together. Thanks everyone for making the trek home!  So grateful.

Day in L.A.

 

Hi friends– Tomorrow is our anniversary– #42!  (Yikes! Where did all those years go?)  We celebrated last weekend with a 14 hour vacay- a little art, a walk along the beach and of course, breakfast, lunch & dinner!  Here’s our day:

Breakfast at my new favorite restaurant–Republique

    

Spent a tranquil morning at LACMA– (wonderful Reformation special exhibit from 3 German museums)

    

Lunch at Joan’s on Third–deli & market

There was an afternoon walk along the beach at Santa Monica.

And a stop for gelato on a stick  before we headed up to West Hollywood for dinner at Shake Shack.

Thank you Larry for walking through all the ups and downs of 42 years together.  It’s been grand–   looking forward to all we have ahead…

Out & About In Ojai

 


Hello friends– Last weekend Larry and trekked up the coast to Ojai for a day with the 3 grand-girls and their dear parents.  After these crazy winter rains, the citrus groves and hillsides stretched out green and lush–beautiful drive into the valley…

Jodi pulled out the wok to make us a tableful of a delicious lunch, while Mary Ann and Grandpa set up for a round of her latest game invention– Buzzing Bee.
     

There was a hike down to the creek and some splashy wading (for girls, not grandmas!)

   

Also, a lot of browsing and a few selections at Bart’s Books (a rambling indoor/outdoor used books store) — followed by pizza and gelato at Papa Lemon’s.
     

     

And Jodi rounded us all up for a few family photos just outside their front door (thanks Jodi– you know this grandma loves family pictures!)

Thanks Micah and Jodi– loved loved the meals, the talks and time with you all… It’s the best!!

(Almost) Winter in Madison!

 

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Hi hi– back from a week with our Laurel in Madison, WI.  I booked this trip anticipating snow up to my waist, icy winds and swirling snowflakes.  But, surprise!, it was all sunshine and balmy days.

Even without snow, it was a sweet time with that girl of ours.  Laurel is the best best travel buddy.  Here’s what we do — tourist, shop, eat.  Repeat.  So here’s a little of each in the dead of Wisconsin winter!

Our winter “touristing” included frozen lakes, state park look outs and a woodsy museum.

Here we are astride Lake Menona (don’t ask me why I thought that was a good idea!)

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Brave people ice fishing on the lake– and ice at the lake’s edge.
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One afternoon we ambled along a trout stream.
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Laurel and John up the look out tower– and we did find real snow–piled in the parking lot!!
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After touring the Aldo Leopold Museum (early ecologist), we took a soggy trek back to the home in the woods we shared with his wife and 5 kids!
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John’s trusty jeep carried us through the woods,gorgeous fungi on the forest floor.
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Through the forest, just before a flock up enormous sandhill cranes passed over head– It was a so magical!
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We squeezed in a little shopping–kitchen store, books stores, thrift shops, the indoor winter farmer’s market along the way.
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And you know we found some good things to eat –starting with morning coffee & scones.
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Friday “Fish Fry” at the Tip Top Tavern–and a humongous pretzel at the Grumpy Troll Brewery
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Indian breakfast at the indoor Farmer’s Market
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And Laurel pulled together a Wisconsin cheese tray feast when friends dropped by…
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And one last P.S.– Thanks to our awesome nephew Shawn– who surprised us with the best seats for a Maroon 5 concert in Milwaukee– a big serendipity!!  We felt like rock stars ourselves!
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So thank you, thank you Laurel & John– you are always so warm and welcoming. Love you.  xox
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Rain and Shine in San Francisco

 

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Hi friends– Back from a week of pounding rain followed by glorious sunshine in San Francisco.  Went up to watch little grand-girl Lois, while her mom trolleyed off to work, and to help pack a few boxes to empty the house for a remodel.  Funny — I have dozens of pictures of that Lois and not one to show you of boxes!

Loveable Lois and I read books, sang songs, danced around the living room and had long talks about all she has ahead…
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photos: Off to visit the pediatrician check-up, tummy-time!  & on the changing table.

And we spent a day with Mae & Eero (more grand-kids in SF).  That is always loads of lively fun fun!
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photos:  Mae absorbed in her new book, stop at the bookshop, Eero checking on his new cousin.

And in SF we usually find our way to good places to eat.
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photos: family fills the window seat at Smitten ice cream shop, a festive birthday dinner for Ani at Outerlands, Mediterranean roasted chicken wrap on the back patio at Souvla,  afternoon tea and desert at Tartine Manufactory.

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Thank you AA & Jessica, Ani & Brian for a best time talking and eating and walking with you and those sweet grand-kids.  Loved it.

To China and Back

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Hello all– Our three grand-girls and their amazing mom have been off to China for about 6 weeks.  They traveled to Hunan Province for Chinese New Year with their other Grandparents there!  From all I heard it was a sweet time– here are my favorite photos:

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The girls with their grandparents in China.

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Jodi and the girls sitting down with her parents for the sumptuous New Year’s feast!  (Jodi’s mom is an amazing cook!)

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Twelve amazing dishes for the feast! –my favorite  rice coated meatballs–and the crabs!!

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Welcome Home at LAX.  Missed these girls and their mom, so glad glad they’re home.  Love that big smile Jobay!!!

P.S. Thanks Jodi for all your beautiful photos!  xox