Bloomsburg at Millersville, or, Banana Beer Bread Test

I’ve been meaning to fiddle with beer breads again, and I found the perfect opportunity today.  Last night I bought a 4-pack of Wells Banana Bread Beer.  I had been thinking of a cherry wheat with craisins and apples, but this beer simply spoke to me!  Previously, I have made beer breads with cheese and Mrs. Dash, and also with cheddar, apples, and cinnamon.  The Manheim Farm Show starts this week and I want to enter the quick breads category with something unique.  Well, here goes!

I had to test two recipes because I was unsure about the flavor of a sweet beer bread.  One was the clear winner.  I’ll gobble these loaves for breakfast and make another batch of the winner to submit to the show.

Banana Beer Bread

    • 3 C self-rising flour
    • 1/2 C sugar
    • 1/2 C mini semisweet chocolate chips
    • 1/2 t cinnamon
    • 1 ripe banana, mashed
    • 1 bottle Wells Banana Bread Beer
    • melted butter and raw sugar for topping

Combine flour, sugar, chocolate chips, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Add banana and beer, stir until just mixed.  Pour into parchment-lined loaf pan.  Bake @375º for 50 minutes.  Brush top with melted butter and sprinkle with raw sugar.  Bake for another 5 minutes.  Cool on wire rack and devour.

This bread is moist and chewy, with a crunchy, sweet, buttery crust.  It’s unlike any other banana bread you have ever tried.  Yum!

Awesome stuff I did today besides skip out on a football game and bake bread:

  • Went to my favorite diner for brunch:  I had a bacon, cheddar, and veggie omelet and did the puzzles in the newspaper
  • Prepped some other stuff for my entries into the farm show, including pie crust and rhubarb curd
  • Pinned a bunch of cool stuff on Pinterest:

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BU at LIU Post, or, Another Football Roadtrip

I often accompany Chuck when his football games are far away.  When his dad, brother, and/or friends cannot come in my stead.  As I have mentioned before, these road trips usually involve some kind of loving bribery that makes my company and navigational skills payment for a nice hotel room or a shopping spree or outrageously awesome dinner theater.  Yesterday, Bloomsburg played at Long Island University, Post Campus in Brookville, NY.  I tagged along and made sure to document the important parts.

First, the trip is long and full of tolls.  New Jersey and Staten Island are the worst offenders.  Normally, if you can avoid these places, do so.  And prepare yourself for the down time.  Fortunately, I am quite skilled at reading in the car.  Remember, I grew up road tripping – motion sickness is for wimps!  I finished A Dance with Dragons as we entered Nassau County, NY.

We decided to grab brunch as we had arrived a bit early.  The local diner had an hour wait, but then I noticed an IKEA and decided that meatballs would tide me over.  When out of town, I have a rule about never eating in a chain or franchise that I can visit at home.  In the sleepy mid-section of PA where we live, many novel stores and products take time to take root.  We have only recently discovered self-serve frozen yogurt bars!  IKEA is popular enough among my friends and family, but we have to drive to Philly or Baltimore to shop there and cannot get delivery.  Plus, those meatballs are bangin’.

Here is what I found in the parking lot at IKEA:

Do they make kitty Dalek stickers?

Best.  Family. Stickers.  Ever.

Then we went to the game.  BU won, the LIU Post fans were whiny and obnoxious, and a bunch of drunk students heckled everyone who walked to or from the guest seating.

I started reading Freakonomics and worked on some crosswords.  The campus of LIU Post is very pretty and wooded.  This area of “Lawn Guy Land” seems pretty swank.  There are lots of large houses and gated driveways.  Of course, the whole place is part of the flight path for JFK.  That would get old, fast.

Now, don’t laugh at me.  I have never been to NYC. If we had the money or time, we might have made this trip into a long weekend.  Alas, I never have the time or money.  I love the arts, I love cities, and I love history.  I know, I am a total bumpkin.  Look how excited I was just to drive past the city:

Central PA is a weird, ethnocentric type of place.  Most people here dislike New Yorkers  and city life in general.  I don’t think this type of billboard helps anyone overcome stereotypes:

Still, I find the city enchanting, even from a distance:

I abused my navigational powers and directed us to Manhattan.  We drove across the southern tip of the island and got stuck in terrible traffic.  I’ll blame the street festival we saw, but I know the city is not a place to bring a car.  Chuck was less than amused.  I thought it was beautiful, and I need to go back tomorrow.  Or ASAP.  Whatever.  I was busy looking at architecture but I did manage to snap a photo of us entering the New Holland Tunnel.

Okay, you can laugh at me now.

A Post About Boating, OR, Kutztown at BU

Last Saturday was Kutztown at Bloomsburg.  Instead of going to that game, I went to the boat.

I have to do a post to explain boating.

But first I have to explain what boats meant to me before I was a boater.

Before I was a boater, boats were canoes.  Canoes are just another way you can die while camping. Canoes are scary. Boats that are not canoes are scary, too.  Ever see the Godfather? And fishing, which is what you do in boats when you are camping, is boring.  And fresh-caught trout for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, is disgusting.  I like eating fish now, but only fish I didn’t have to catch and gut.  I’m all about farm to table and low-impact food and buying local produce, but if I ever buy half a steer, I’m not going to butcher it.

Being one of seven children, I rarely experienced a hotel or motel until I was on the high school debate team.  We usually camped.   The first camping trip I remember was our trip Out West when I was four.  Mom packed me and my brother Jon (then two) into our Plymouth Voyager and caravanned cross-country with two other vehicles carrying my grandparents, Aunt Mary (mom’s baby sister, who at the time would have been nine at the time), one of my uncles, and some friends.  Like a bunch of hippies we spent three weeks driving for miles to camp in the wilderness of Colorado, Utah, and Arizona, eating the fish we caught and only using flushing toilets when we stopped for gas or visited relatives.  I remember having a blast, but I think my camping experiences went downhill once hot showers became a priority.

Throughout the years we camped at the beach and in the mountains, with family and with friends, mostly in Delaware and Pennsylvania but occasionally we trekked to the Outer Banks or Out West again.  We even camped at my grandparents’ house! I learned how to braid my hair to hide the grease if we didn’t have showers.  Once, I ate nothing but fish and peanut butter and honey sandwiches and raspberry breakfast bars for three weeks.  Bug bites, sunburn, being almost eaten by a bear, twisted ankles and torturous climbs to see pretty waterfalls  (as in, they all pretty much look the same, people!) have turned me into a disappointing non-enthusiast for camping.

Of course, I’m talking about TENT camping.  While I longingly ached for more than a sleeping bag on the cold ground, people known as “Not Real Campers” had travel trailers, fifth wheels, and motorhomes parked in the camping space next to ours.  It was like they were rubbing my nose in it!  They have TV and power and soft cushions on which they can rest.  I guess, since everyone I knew back then thought sleeping on rocks was awesome.  It’s not like I got to go into those vehicles or anything.

My Father-In-Law has a boat. Now I’m a boater.  When Chuck and I first met almost 10 years ago, I fell in love with boating.  These boats have big engines in them and you can use them as transportation, like a car.  They have flushing toilets, showers, and some even have bathtubs!  The beds have mattresses and the windows have curtains, but unlike a hotel, your view is always waterfront.  In the slip, you have cable and internet.  Everything even has cute nautical names like “head” and “galley.”  I’ve been on a boat with a dishwasher in the kitchen and chandeliers in the dining room!

When I first went on one of these boats, I immediately thought of those “Not Real Campers” in their RVs.  They are quite similar.  When you go camping, you can camp in a tent or you can camp in a recreational vehicle.  When you go boating, you can boat in a canoe or you can boat in a powerboat.  Obviously you know which one I would choose.

…….

Okay, so blah blah blah, my husband went to a football game and then did even more football stuff, and I went to the boat.  I just wanted to be sure you understood that I was NOT camping on the water.  Here is the awesome stuff I did on the boat:

  • Read more of A Dance with Dragons.  I guess I am dragging it out because I know it will be an eternity until the next book is published.
  • Did the puzzles in the newspaper.  I like the Jumble and the Crypto-Quip.  The answer is always a pun.
  • Went to a catered dinner at the Nauti Goose.  Again, I love puns.  We met new friends and saw old friend and had some very good food.
  • Took a sunset cruise and watched the sun go down while we slowly rode around on the bay.
  • Back in the slip, my FIL “practiced his religion” (this means he watched college football -the apple does not fall far from the tree) while I shared drinks and cookies with more friends old and new.
  • In the morning, we took another long boat ride.
  • Went out for “lupper” on Sunday at a new place in town called The Port House Grill.  I had the Southwest with a side of their fresh fries.  I gobbled it up so fast it was embarrassing.  Yum!

I took this picture on a sunset cruise a few years ago.

Football Road Trip to Ohio 2010

Every year around Labor Day weekend there is a Big Special Game that involves a team that BU does not usually play.  This means that to get to the game, one of the teams has to travel.  Really far.  Today, Chuck is in Easton, MA to see the season opener.  Google tells me the game is the Bloomsburg Huskies at the Stonehill Skyhawks.  I’m kidding; I was actually planning to go along and once the plans changed, I kept the day off from work.  I worked on the kitchen and had someone hook up a propane line for my range.  Sometimes it’s nice to have a weekday off to tie up loose ends.

Two years ago this weekend I travelled with Chuck to Ashland University for the season opener.  It was an epic football weekend road trip.  Chuck scheduled four games in three days because moderation is not known in the football vernacular, and I tagged along because I guess he had no one else to bring along.

Actually, I had a great time.  I can read in the car and I love hotel rooms so as long as I have daylight and an indoor pool I will go anywhere.  I’m no stranger to “roughing it” but my husband always tries to keep me comfortable when I tag along on football-themed road trips.  So I usually milk him for a room with a Jacuzzi.

spa tub

Our hotel room in Kent, Ohio, 2010

If you ever have to drive through Ohio, one place you cannot miss is Mike’s Place.  This has nothing to do with football (well, if you are a Kent State fan or alum, it might), but has everything to do with kitsch and good food so actually, everyone wins.  If you do not love tacky, geeky, cluttered décor and hundreds of menu items, you probably just need to take an Adderall.    Leave extra time to explore the contents of the restaurant’s walls.

Me in front of the X-Wing Fighter at Mike’s Place in Kent, OH

We also went to Toledo, Ohio for a football game.

To make up for it, Chuck took me to the Toledo Museum of Art.  I know what you’re thinking.  It’s either, “I don’t know anything about art so this new blog is clearly not for me,” or “Toledo, Ohio is not a place where any reputable artwork will be found.  C’mon.”  Well, you are wrong.  This experience more than met my expectations. The Chuck Close was not on display for some reason, but the collection includes works from many of my favorite artists, the special exhibits are accessible and interesting (when we were visiting this temporary exhibit featured 1960s psychedelic rock posters!), and the glass pavilion did not disappoint.  The Matisse mural “Apollo” was my favorite.

Me in front of the Matisse

My next post will be about the other things we did on our football roadtrip to Ohio in 2010.

Things I did today instead of driving the whole way to Massachusetts to watch a football game:

  • Stayed home from work anyway
  • Met the propane technician and hooked up the range in my new kitchen
  • Bought a newspaper and worked on the puzzles while eating a BLT in a booth at my favorite diner
  • Filled my new china hutch