End of School

June 3, 2003

End of School

What a whirlwind the last two weeks have been!! Trying to get in everything that needs to be done before school ends is unbelievably exhausting. Eli’s class did a performance down at the school pond that was all about the animals and life at the pond. The resident bullfrog croaked throughout, as if knowing he had a wonderful audience. I made my froggie cupcakes (but made with banana bread) for the refreshments afterwards for the kids. For the grown-ups I made Blueberry Lemon Bread and little cucumber/ herb cream cheese sandwiches. So that night had me up cooking and assembling.

During the school year, I have Emmett’s nap as down time during the day that is peaceful and I can get things done, uninterupted. When Eli is out of school, Emmett’s naps are for spending quality time with Eli, doing things we can’t do while the little one is around- play games with little pieces, do puzzles, even just really pay attention. So my down time has just vanished. Emmett is also still somewhat portable, so doing errands is still a reasonable task with him. Eli, on the other hand, expresses his displeasure in such activities, and is so against being forced to participate that it is way too much of a chore to do them. Thus, I now will go grocery shopping, etc., at night after the kids are asleep.

I was up late last night writing thank you cards to teachers for giving Eli such a fabulous year. I was so tired, but at midnight, was still telling myself that it was way too important to put down until done. They really deserved the praise, and had worked hard all year. The least I could do was adequately acknowledge it. So, write I did, into the night.

Thank you Mrs. Rago, and Thank you Mr. Arnold. You provided Eli with a much needed base to work from and allowed him so much growth. You dwelled on his unique qualities and made him feel so good about his abilities. Your caring, communication with us and constant attention to Eli amidst his classmates provided him with a fabulous environment for the social growth he really needed. We can only hope his teachers in the years to come are as good for him as you two have been. Thank you!!!!

Banana Bread

This recipe is from an old Haviland cookbook. Everyone always says it’s the best banana bread they have ever had. Try it and you’ll see!

3 or 4 really ripe bananas(the blacker, the better)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter- melted

1. Preheat oven to 325æ.
2. Mash the bananas in a large bowl and generously sprinkle with cinnamon.
3. Mix in flour and baking soda.
4. Beat in eggs and then the melted butter.
5. Stir in the sugar and mix thoroughly.
6. Grease a loaf pan with butter or cooking spray.
7. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake at 325æ for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.
This can also be made into muffins (adjust cooking time).
-note – if you find you have one kind of blackish banana hanging around, squeeze it out of it’s peel into a ziploc baggie and pop it in the freezer until you have more.

Froggie Cupcakes…
These look great all on a platter together- always impressive! The kids love them!

Frost cupcakes with green frosting (I use cream cheese frosting, colored with paste food coloring, on banana muffins). For each set of eyes, cut one green gumdrop in half, push one white chocolate chip into the cut side of each half, then drop a dot of brown decorating gel onto each “white”.

The eyes stay on best if the tops of the cupcakes are trimmed flat.

Blueberry Lemon Bread
A nice change from banana bread as a quick bread. Good smeared with butter. From The Wooden Spoon Bread Book.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
6 Tbsp butter
12 Tbsp sugar
2 eggs
zest from one lemon, cut into thin strips (or use a zester)
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
enough milk to bring lemon-milk mixture to 1/2 cup
1 cup fresh blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a small loaf pan with cooking spray.
—I make all of my quick breads now in a long “danish” loaf pan from Baker’s Catalog. it makes a good size for slices for tea, breakfast, or brunch.
2. Mix the flour, salt and baking soda together and set aside.
3. In a medium sized mixing bowl, cream the butter. Add the sugar 1 Tbsp at a time- creaming well each time.
4. Beat the eggs into the butter mixture, one at a time, beating well after each.
5. Stir in the lemon zest
6. In a measuring cup, mix together the lemon juice and the milk to bring it to 1/2 cup.
7. To the creamed butter mixture add the reserved flour mixture alternatively with the lemon-milk mixture, beginning and ending with hte dry ingredients. Blend well after each addition.
8. Spoon 1/3 of the batter into the prepared pan.
9. Fold the blueberries into remaining batter, and spoon into the pan. The berries have a tendency to sink to the bottom of the loaf when baking- this tactic will achieve a better distrubution.
10. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Cucumber Sandwich Rounds

Slice the cucumber with a mandoline (also called a v-slicer)- *see note*
Lay the rounds on paper towel for about 1/2 hour to get the moisture out.
Use a decorative cutter to cut rounds from white bread.
Spread chive cream cheese (comes in a tub- or use another herbed one) on the bread.
Top with a cucumber round.

*note* The best one is the Ultimate Slice and Grate from the Pampered Chef. I have the one from Williams-Sonoma that is the same price and it is not nearly as well planned out: for example, there is nowhere to store the blades, they get jammed into the box with it. And, for the same price ($45), there are many more features. I’m dying to get the Pampered Chef one, but I can’t justify it since I have the W-S one.

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