Monday, May 27, 2013

Banana Fritters

For some time now, I've been wanting to make a recipe I haven't made in quite awhile. It was something my mother would often make on the weekends when my sisters and I were kids. I think it was a recipe she had grown up with as well. Around the time I left home (I can't recall if it was when I went off to college or after I graduated from college), my mom gave me a small red binder with a few recipes that she had typed out — family recipes that she wanted to pass on. I'm pretty sure each of my sisters has something similar as well.

One of the recipes was for Banana Fritters. Now, I'm not a big fan of bananas, certainly not in their native form. Too mushy. But I like Banana Bread, and I like Banana Fritters.

Basically, Banana Fritters are little pancakes with banana slices in them. Generally, I am not a big pancake eater — they're rather carby. But as I said, I've been thinking that it would be fun to make them again. I see the recipe every time I make cornbread muffins — it's on the same page.

So a couple days ago, I announced to my husband that for breakfast on Monday I would be making Banana Fritters.

I departed somewhat from the traditional recipe, however, to suit some individual preferences, substituting coarse cornmeal (polenta) for half the flour and using buttermilk instead of plain milk. And they turned out just fine. They may not be the prettiest meal in the world, but they are tasty!


Banana Fritters (revised)
Serves 2.

1/4 cup flour (I used whole wheat)
1/4 cup coarse cornmeal
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/8 cup buttermilk
1 egg
2 bananas (this is a really good way to use bananas that are past their prime)

Mix flour, cornmeal and salt; add milk gradually. Beat egg and add.

Slice 2" pieces of banana in half and stir gently into batter.

Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a large pan. Spoon banana pieces into pan and brown on both sides. (They are ready to turn over when the edges start looking dry.)

Serve with honey or syrup.


Monday, May 13, 2013


On the south side of our house, there are two azalea bushes. You can't see them from the street, because they are hidden behind a big rhododendron. I generally see them only when I have to take something to the yard waste bin.

They were there when we bought the house, and I don't know why they were planted where they are not visible from the street or from a window. 

But they are so beautiful.


One of the things I had to leave behind when we moved was a wild azalea that my dad had brought up and planted in a corner in the backyard, where I could always see it through the sliding glass door. It had a wonderful, delicate fragrance.
I took some photos of it before we left, to help me remember it.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Midway Through the Quarter

This week, I turned in my first project for Graphic Design 4 (Packaging Design). The assignment was to design three labels for a new line of herbal tea, and incorporate the names of three rivers.

In the course of developing the design, I purchased three bottles (different flavors) of GTS Kombucha. (The bottles above are from a different brand of beverage — the Tao of Tea.) Out of curiosity, I tried one of them. I think it was Guava Goddess, and it was pretty tasty. Slightly effervescent, more tart than sweet, but not bad. The other flavors were Cosmic Cranberry and Multi-Green. I would say the Multi-Green is more of an acquired taste.

On Tuesday, we photographed my labels; yesterday, I dropped out the background, edited out some extra reflection, and added a slight tabletop reflection in Photoshop.

Once again, I started out the quarter being kind of freaked out about doing something so new and completely different, and ending up pretty pleased with the result.

Now, I'm back to being freaked out. Next assignment: packaging design for three chocolate products for a fictional chocolate company called Mr. Brown's Chocolate.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


A couple months ago, the craftsy blog featured an article about Zentangles. I thought, That looks like fun!

Rather than investing in their kit, however, I requested some books from the library. I picked up the first one a few weeks ago, but only today did I have some free time to sit down and try it out.

I had managed to buy a Pigma pen and a sketchbook, and I had made my own 3-1/2" template for drawing the outline for the image area.

 This is my first effort.

I can't help being somewhat self-critical. It's kind of low-contrast, and not nearly as "artistic" as the examples included in the book. But that's really not the point.

It was fun to just focus on drawing the lines and the patterns. It reminded me of how I would zone in (zen in?) on the illustrations I did for the publishing company I used to work for. A lot of what I did then was recreating distinctive fabric prints, such as these:

Friday, May 3, 2013

Currently On My Design Wall

Sometimes I like to plan a quilt; sometimes I just wing it. This quilt falls squarely in the latter category.

While I'm taking classes, it's a little difficult to give enough head-space to consciously designing a quilt top. So I go to the other extreme and just start sewing together random pieces of fabric.

In the course of making quilts, I'm always saving leftover bits and pieces. After awhile, enough of them collect that I can do something with them.

For this project, I started with an odd-shaped red rectangle and then started adding alternate light and dark strips to two sides. After adding four strips of each value, I trimmed the blocks to 9" square. Then I sewed the 9" blocks into four-block units. I came up a little short, and made five additional blocks.

I still have lots of really small strips left over now, and an idea of what I might do with them.