Winter & Holiday Inspirations

Danger oversees the renovations from his “Cat Cave”.

The cold has set in much earlier than expected this year. But the sound of hammering and sawing and the prospect of all new and energy efficient replacement windows and ceiling fans being installed earlier this month has given this old cabin a new lease on life.

My own projects have been following a similar bent.  I have decided to replace every single crappy metal curtain rod in our home with wooden ones instead.   I just came to the conclusion that there is absolutely no reason to put up with decor items that you loathe or that Walmart or anyone else decides is good enough for the masses. Making what I like for less has become more of a mission statement than ever before.

My decision to replace what was unacceptable came after  was able to find two curtain rod shelves for our two living room windows for a mere $3 apiece at the local Goodwill store.  After trying unsuccessfully to find ones to match it online, I enlisted the services of a friend who did working on the side to make me three more.   He charged me $20 apiece, and it was still a good deal considering the level of his workmanship. It was definitely well worth it.   Now since I have been thoroughly bitten by the DIY bug and have been spending my spare allowance on power tools of my own, I have figured out I can bang out a few more of these beauties myself for a few dollars each.

I confess, I have always been interested in homesteading, and in self-sufficiency.  I grew up with the mentality of make it last, make it do or make it yourself long before the buzz words, reduce, reuse, recycle, re-purpose or sustainability even came onto the scene!  In our disposable society and with increased focus on green living, frugality and preparedness, it is important to relearn and reteach these life skills that our parents, grandparents and ancestors knew how to do.  Sadly, we are losing those wonderful living libraries of practical knowledge daily.

It is totally appropriate that we treasure the knowledge that most will be more than happy to pass along and to put it to good use.  And besides, nothing in this world is more empowering than a sense of accomplishment being able to do or make something yourself at a fraction of the cost it would have been to hire someone else to do it or to purchase it outright.  Every single skill that you learn how to do on your own is just that much more money in the bank in terms of what you are not going to have to spend or what someone else might be willing to pay you to do!  With the explosion of how-to videos on venues such as You Tube and interest portals such as Pinterest and instructions on learning how to do just about anything you care to name, it is possible to gather skills even if you don’t have a handy grandparent or mentor nearby.

One of the things I have been doing for the holiday season is baking.  My gift-baking for this year is going to be an absolute favourite here in the Enchanted Forest.; the Zappa Family Rotten Banana Bread.

Oddly, I stumbled upon it just before I left the Greater Los Angeles area, while I was still pregnant with my now 26-year-old son!  It was featured on the Home Show, and the guests were Dweezil and Moon Unit Zappa,  children of recording artist, Frank Zappa.

Zappa’s Rotten Banana Bread

6 Bananas  (black)

1 stick of Butter

1/2 cup of Sugar

2 Eggs

1 tsp. Vanilla

1 Tbsp. Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt

1 tsp. Baking Soda

1 1/2 Cups Flour

1 tsp. Baking Powder

Nuts and Raisins to taste (optional)

Mush ingredients together. Add bananas. Put in bread pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 Hour.

Personal Notes:  I substitute 1 Tbsp. of Greek Gods Honey Yogurt for the Sour Cream and I bake my loaves in a vintage terracotta bread pan made by Henry Watson Pottery in Suffolk England.  In the 30+ years that I have  owned this pan, I have never had a bad loaf of bread come out of it, regardless of what kind of bread loaf it was.   You can find them at times in thrift shops or even on eBay.  The latter will see them as a bit pricey, but even with the prices I have seen lately, it is still worth it for something that only gets better with use.

I hope that Gail Zappa and the kids will realize that I am posting this here on my blog because it is quite simply the best banana recipe I have ever had.  Every time we bake it our house, it is with a nod and a smile of thanks to them for sharing it with me and the world all those years ago.

 

 

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